A Growing Menace
The effects of alcoholic beverages are far-reaching in their scope and disastrous to the drinker. The Scriptures are clear and explicit in condemnation of this evil, and it should be considered in the light of divine truth and human experience and reason.
Attempts have been made to justify the use of alcohol as a beverage, but they are all contrary to the word of God and the records of human experience. The advertising schemes of manufacturers and dealers are bad enough, but the appeal to the Scriptures in defense of intoxicants as beverages is a dangerous undertaking. Even Paul's advice to Timothy, "Be no longer a drinker of water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities," has been used in defense of the constant use of beverages containing alcohol. The fact that Timothy was sick, and that his stomach was in such a condition that he could not drink water, often is overlooked. What Paul said to him about water was just as important and necessary as what he said about wine. He who would use a little wine for his stomach's sake and his often infirmities must abstain totally from water, according to Paul's prescription. As long as a person can drink water, Paul's advice cannot apply to him. Also it should be remembered that Paul did not say, "Take a little whiskey or a little beer for thy stomach's sake." The kind of wine Paul recommended for Timothy's ailments is not exactly the same thing as whiskey or beer, and it takes a presumptuous stretch of the imagination to assume that his statement to Timothy constitutes an endorsement of the liquor traffic.
A little morphine to deaden pain on the advice of a physician does not justify the dope fiend's regular use of opium. Nor does a little alcohol in a doctor's prescription, or in a hair tonic, prove that the doctor is indorsing it as a beverage.
It is impossible for the drinker to determine the exact cost, or to measure the extent to which he is affected financially by the constant use of alcoholic drinks. He may determine the amount actually paid to the saloonkeeper for liquor; or when he loses his job because of drinking, he may count the amount he has lost in wages over a period of time. But when he is permitted to stay on the job, it is not possible for him to know always how much greater his salary would have been, if he had practiced total abstinence. That many have been kept from obtaining promotions in their work because of drinking is a fact too well known to be denied.
While under the influence of strong drink men and women have done many foolish things, the cost of which can never be fully known. Money is spent freely for things not only unnecessary, but harmful; bad trades are made; valuable property is destroyed or lost; games of chance are played; all of which take money from the drunkard that would have been used for better purposes by a sober person. Also the repair of broken down health is very costly.
That alcohol has made beggars and bums out of many who would have been self-supporting respectable citizens, if they had been total abstainers, is another fact too obvious for denial. The truth of Solomon's statement has been demonstrated before our eyes: "Be not among winebibbers, among gluttonous eaters of flesh: for the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty; and drowsiness will clothe a man with rags." (Prov. 23:20-21).
Effect On Health, Life And Limb
There is scarcely an organ of the body that is not injured permanently by a prolonged use of alcohol. Irreparable damage is done to the tender membranes of the stomach and intestines. The heart and the whole circulatory system are dangerously impaired. The lungs with all the respiratory system are seriously affected. Boys and girls especially are subject to its evil effects. These are not extravagant statements; they are facts which appear in the records of medical science, and it is not wise for people to ignore them.
A ton and a half of steel swiftly moving over the public highways is dangerous always; but when the steel is in the hands of a drunken driver, it becomes a deadly menace to the life and limb of all men, women, and children who must use our public thoroughfares. Hundreds now in their graves would be alive today if it had not been for drunken drivers and drunken pedestrians. Thousands are permanently disabled, and millions are crippled and must go through life with these handicaps because some have exercised their "legal rights" to drink alcoholic beverages. All these statements can be verified by an examination of the records in the traffic division of the police department at any city hall.
In time of danger from an impending disaster, the sale and consumption of intoxicating liquors are usually prohibited. The safety of the people requires it. In view of the numerous accidents that occur every day in the mad rush of this commercial age, bringing death and destruction to hundreds, it should be evident to all that disaster is always impending, and that danger hangs constantly over the heads of almost every man, woman, and child in the nation. If intoxicants jeopardize the safety of the people in times of impending disaster, they jeopardize their safety at all times, for disaster is always impending.
Daniel knew the wine proffered by the king would be harmful to his body, and he purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with it. The wisdom of his course was abundantly proved. (Dan. 1:3-16).
Effect On The Mind
Tests of science show that alcohol slows down and befuddles the whole mental machinery. While under the influence of liquor, a person's legs, tongue, eyes, and ears are not able to function normally because of the way in which it has affected the mind and nervous system. Things are said and done that the drunkard is ashamed of when he sobers up.
The mind does not recover from the effects of intoxication as rapidly as some may think. The mind and nervous system may be, and sometimes are, permanently impaired, and in many cases insanity is the result. A check-up of the life records of some in the hospitals for the insane will show that alcohol can, and often does, drive people to hopeless insanity.
The mental torture, anguish, and misery produced by intoxicants are vividly expressed by the Scriptures. "Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath complaining? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes? They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek out mixed wine. Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it sparkleth in the cup, when it goeth down smoothly: At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder. Thine eyes shall behold strange things, and thy heart shall utter perverse things." (Prov. 23:29-33) "Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink; that tarry late into the night, till wine inflame hem." (Isa. 5:11) "Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler; and whosoever erreth thereby is not wise." Prov. 20:1) Which is true: these Bible statements, or the liquor advertisements?
A Sin Against Others
There are forces and elements that are open enemies of the family institution and all that is dear to decent people. Poverty, shame, anxiety, and disgrace have destroyed many homes. In order to make the home safe from all these destructive forces, every member of the family should be a defender of its security against that which would destroy it. But the drunkard, instead of taking the side of the protective forces of his home, actually joins the side of the destructive elements in bringing poverty, shame, anxiety, and disgrace upon his own family. Every one knows of cases where this has been done, and it is not necessary to point our specific cases.
The drunkard is a nuisance to the community in which he lives. Any civilized community is better off without him. If he is a so-called mild, respectable drinker, he sets a bad example for the youth of the neighborhood. If he is a sot, he is offensive to all who know how to appreciate human decency. A faithful Christian will not knowingly do anything that causes another to stumble. "It is good not to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor to do anything whereby thy brother stumbleth." (Rom. 14:21) Is there a church member anywhere so deluded in heart as to think he can develop a taste for beer or whiskey, and walk up to the bar and take a drink when he wants to, without causing anyone to stumble.
No government has any moral right to license any man to sell to others that which is so destructive of everything that is clean and pure and elevating in our nation, and that which is so injurious to the public welfare. The righteous function of government is to protect the life and promote the welfare of all the people; when it licenses the sale of liquor, it violates the God-given purpose of its existence. (Rom. 13:1-7) "Woe unto him that giveth his neighbor drink, to thee that addest thy venom, and makest him drunken also." (Hab. 2:15).
The Drunkard's Eternal Destiny
The Bible says that the drunkard shall not inherit the kingdom of God. (I Cor. 6:10; Gal. 5:21) The person who thinks he can drink and never get drunk is deceived. Thousands now in the gutter once thought the same thing. "Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler; and whosoever erreth thereby is not wise." (Prov. 20:1).