Self-Restraint – Moderation – Temperance – Some Words By C.S. Lewis

Temperance, is, unfortunately, one of those words that changed its meaning. It now usually means teetotalism . . . . “Temperance” meant nothing of the sort. Temperance referred not specially to drink, but to all pleasures; and it meant not abstaining, but going the right length and no further . . . . the whole point is that he is abstaining, for good reason, from something which he likes to see other people enjoying. One of the marks of a certain type of bad man is that he cannot give up a thing himself without wanting everyone else to give up. That is not the Christian way. . . . One great piece of mischief has been done by the modern restriction of the word Temperance to the question of drink. It helps people to forget that you can be just as intemperate about lots of other things. A man who makes his golf or motor-bicycle the centre of his life, or a woman who devotes all her thoughts to her clothes or bridge or her dog, is being just as “intemperate” as someone who gets drunk every evening. Of course, it does not show on the outside so easily: bridgemania or golf-mania do not make you fall down in the middle of the road. But God is not deceived by externals.
From Mere Christianity, pp. 75-76

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