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THE apostle not only exhorts the saints to be temperate in all things, but informs us that temperance is a fruit of the spirit. It must, therefore, signify something more than a mere abstinance from intoxicating drinks. Those who are born of the Spirit of God, are by virtue of that birth constituted a spiritual people; that which is born of the Spirit, is spirit; hence, the fruits of the spirit will be developed in them; and when manifested in their deportment, will give evidence that they are born of God, been taught of God, learned of Jesus, &c. Those who do not manifest, in life and conversation, the fruits of the spirit, can, in the absence of such fruits, give no satisfactory evidence of their regeneration. Among other things which belong to godliness, the apostles have frequently mentioned temperance; but temperance, as applicable to the saints, must be understood in a scriptural sense; and if so understood, will be found to apply to the whole life and deportment of the saints. We think it very intemperate indeed, and bordering hard upon the drunkenness of those who have received the golden cup of Mystery, Babylon, to set up any other standard of temperance than what our Lord has given us. The bible should be the rule for christians to be governed by in all things. If the New Testament allows intoxication, then christians may indulge in it, without violating their pretensions to christianity; but so long as we find it written, “Be not drunken with wine, wherein is excess,” we cannot think the divine rule defective on the subject. Shall we then dishonor our divine Law-giver, by attempting to improve his laws, or by making them void by our traditions? If we presume to say that what he has given us, to be received with thanksgiving, and to be used without abusing, is a curse, and should not be used at all, under any circumstances, do we not make ourselves wise above what is written, and thereby offer indignity to our King? The scriptures allow the use of all things which God has given, if properly used; but the scriptures forbid an improper use of any thing.

We are aware that some professors of religion have disgraced themselves, wounded the saints, and brought reproach upon the christian name, by using the things of this life intemperately; but perhaps in nothing have degraded themselves more, than when yielding to their depraved appetite for intoxicating drinks. Where this is the case, the church is bound, by the laws of the kingdom, to put such away, after the steps which that law enjoins have been taken to reclaim them. And we conclude, that any professed disciple of Jesus, who cannot be restrained from drunkenness, by the love of God shed abroad in his heart - if his love to God, love to the cause of Christ, love to the brethren, love to the communion of saints, and order of the gospel, will not incline him to deny himself of ungodliness, to live soberly, righteously and godly, he certainly ought to be put away from the fellowship of all orderly Old School Baptists. But for Baptists, who profess to trust in Christ as their Protector and Husband, to join a humanly invented Temperance Society, is as great a reflection on the name he professes, as for a married wife to leave the abode of her husband and seek the protection of a stranger.

February 15, 1840.

Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 1
Pages 595 – 596