Metaphysical meaning of temperance (mbd)
Meta. Temperance is the control and satisfaction, under the divine law, of the desires of the soul. It is established in consciousness through a harmonious adjustment of all the faculties of man to the law of Being.
Temperance depends on spiritual understanding. Without understanding the soul seeks satisfaction in external things, and this looking to the outer throws the faculties out of balance. The man becomes deluded with the idea that there is satisfaction outside himself, and he gives up to the gratification of the senses. Intemperance is not confined to drinking. Every form of sensation is intoxicating.
The real character of the desires of the soul is spiritual. To be demonstrated as spiritual they should be given expression in spiritual ways. The desire for stimulants is a desire for more life. The only true stimulant is spiritual life, and the soul craves it. Man, not understanding the source and meaning of his desire, fails to direct it into proper channels and thereby misses the mark of satisfaction.
When Jesus said, "There is nothing from without the man, that going into him can defile him," He was talking about the tradition of the elders, and He was showing the people that they should not be in bondage to it. In this connection He also taught them that power is in thought.
You may ask, "If nothing from without a man entering into him can defile him, how is it that intoxicants degrade and defile him so?" The explanation is that the defiling power is not in the thing but in the error thought of the mind that reaches out to the intoxicant as having power to stimulate and satisfy, thus making a god of it and putting it in the place of Spirit, which alone can give life and satisfaction.
There is little reason for one's calling drink defiling while accepting stimulating solid foods, such as animal flesh. It is illogical and inconsistent to hold that the things that are swallowed without chewing are defiling while anything that must be chewed is accepted and eaten without question. The same good judgment should be used in the choice of solid foods as in the choice of liquid foods.
His thoughts that consciously or unconsciously breathe out cruelty, injustice, and murder, and a general violation of the law of the whole creation--which law is love--make meat eating defiling to man. Men should follow the precept of Paul: "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, . . . do all to the glory of God." God is love.