Temperate


The principle involved is that of the concentration of all man’s powers and capabilities upon the one end of doing God’s will, in and through whatever calling God appoints, and the renunciation of everything either wholly or to whatever degree necessary, however innocent or useful it may be in its proper place, that interferes with one’s highest efficiency in this calling (1Co 10:31). Not limited to abstinence, it is rather the power and decision to abstain with reference to some fixed end, and the use of the impulses of physical, as servants for the moral, life. It does not refer to any one class of objects that meets us, but to all; to what concerns speech and judgment, as well as to what appeals to sense. It is properly an inner spiritual virtue, working into the outward life, incapable of being counterfeited or replaced by any abstinence limited to that which is external (Augsburg Confession, Articles XXVI, XXVII). When its absence, however, is referred to as sin, the negative is generally more prominent than the positive side of temperance. The reference in Ac 24:25 is to chastity, and in 1Co 7:9, as the context shows, to the inner side of chastity. In 1Ti 3:2,11; Tit 2:2, the word nephalios has its original meaning as the opposite to "drunken" (see Sobriety; Strong Drink). See also the treatises on ethics by Luthardt (both the Compendium and the History), Martensen, Koestlin and Haring on temperance, asceticism, continence.