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conclusion that pernicious beverages, resembling port wine, beer, gin, &c. were the only liquors which the ancients relished, or a God of love recommended. In those days, sweet wines, sour wines, and, consequently, weak wines, diluted wines, &c., were the most approved and the most popular.
Having proved that God, in no part of his Word, has encouraged us to drink these poisons, we shall now, on the other hand, give several quotations from Scripture, to show that he has uttered some of the most solemn warnings against their use.
"Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of the eyes? They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine. Look not thou upon the wine when it is red; when it giveth its color in the cup; when it moveth itself aright. At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder. Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thy heart shall utter perverse things. Yea, thou shalt be as he that lieth down in the midst of the sea, or as he that lieth upon the top of a mast. They have stricken me, shalt thou say, and I was not sick; they have beaten me, and I felt it not. When shall I awake? I will seek it yet again." Prov. xxiii. 29-35. "Be not among wine bibbers, among riotous eaters of flesh, for the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty." Ver. 20, 21.
In these words, woes, sorrows, contentions, and babbling, are attributed to drinking as their origin. Wounds without cause, dishonorable wounds, and inflamed, maddened eyes are traced to the same cause. The tippler is bitten by a serpent, and stung by an adder, so that a deadly poison is circulated through his veins; his passions and lusts are inflamed; he is deprived of sensibility, and reckless of danger, although lying on the very verge of ruin; and is become so infatuated, that he no sooner recovers from one debauch, than he rushes into another. Had Solomon read the history of the baneful effects of drunkenness at the present time, he could not more fully have depicted the character and the consequences of drinking. Is it any wonder that, with such a scene before him, he commands us to avoid even looking at the intoxicating cup? And if we are not to look at
such a liquor, then such a command most imperatively prohibits us from tasting it. What use indeed would it have been for the Bible to have commanded us to avoid gluttony, fornication, reveling, contentions, and every thing that would injure our minds and morals, if, at the same time, it had commended the use of those beverages which, in all ages and countries, have been the most fruitful source of all these evils and crimes? If the passage just quoted does not enjoin total abstinence from all intoxicating drinks, then it will be difficult to find words which could express such a prohibition.
But the Bible has given us another injunction equally conclusive. "It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor princes strong drink; lest they drink, and forget the Give strong law, and pervert the judgment of the afflicted. drink to him that is ready to perish or die, and wine to him whose life is bitter," &c. Prov. xxxi. 4-6. These words enjoin "total abstinence" on kings and princes, and on all persons who are in health; for, by confining the use of the wine here referred to, to the sick, and to the sick alone, it is manifest that all others are prohibited from drinking them. The passage also is valuable, as it shows that both wine and shacar, "sweet drink," were frequently drugged. The weak, boiled, and sweet wines of Palestine could not produce the forgetfulness here mentioned. The wines of Isaiah, which were well refined or filtered, and those of Pliny and Plutarch, which were deprived, by filtering, of all strength, were noted for their inability to affect the head or mind: but the drinks here alluded to were stupefying, and however useful as opiates they might be to the sick, must have been very pernicious to individuals in health; and, therefore, in consequence of their intoxicating character, all are here invited to abstain.
In order to avoid the plain and literal meaning of this text, the advocates of intoxicating liquors say, that the words, "It is not for kings to drink wine," &c., signify "It is not for kings to drink much wine, or drink wine to excess!!" Surely after taking such an obvious liberty as this with the Scriptures, our opponents will not charge us with wresting the word of God to suit our own fancies. You might just as well say that the commands, “ Thou
shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal,” &c., do not mean "total abstinence" from murder and dishonesty, but only that you should slay and defraud with “moderation,” as to affirm that the intimation to kings not to touch wine, and the command to all not to look at it, imply after all, that you are to look, touch, and drink, and poison your health and souls, provided you will do it with "moderation!" We know who told our first parents not to touch the forbidden fruit, and we know also who told our mother not to heed the injunction, and we need not repeat the result of Eve's transgression. He who said of the tree of knowledge "Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it," says "Look not upon the wine." "It is not for kings to drink wine," &c.; and it would be the labor of years, and of volumes, to tell the fate of the millions who have spurned the command; have looked, coveted, taken, tasted, drunk, died, and perished for ever.
"Wine," says the wisest of men, "is a mocker, and strong drink is raging," tumultuous, confusing, or stupefying, and he that is deceived thereby is not wise. Here the Holy Ghost tells us that wine is a mocker, and that strong drink is raging or stupefying; and dare we say that the Spirit of truth wishes us to be "mocked," or that the Author of peace, order, and spiritual life, commands us to use a draught which will make us rage, confound our intellects, and produce stupidity? Here it is not said much wine is a mocker, much strong drink is stupefying; but while the words "mocker and raging" point out the character of the drinks as intoxicating beverages, the plain implication of the text is, that we should avoid the deception by totally abstaining.
How correct, also, is the remark respecting their deception or mockery! how applicable to the present day! There is not a modern drinker of beer, wine, or spirit, but is constantly being mocked. The spirit of what he drinks stimulates him, and he foolishly conceives that stimulus and excitement are real bodily strength; when, instead of this, his frame is actually being poisoned and weakened by the vile liquid that seems for awhile to animate him. His excitement must be followed by collapse; his high spirits, when the fumes of the alcohol have evaporated, must yield to ennui and depression. How pleasantly he felt un
der the stimulus of a moderate glass, but how he is mocked, and how dearly by indigestion, trembling nerves, and often fatal diseases, he pays for the delusive poison. He asked for bread, and the mocker, wine, gave him a stone; he asked for a fish, and that mocker, strong gave him a serpent; he asked for an egg, and that mocker, ardent spirit, gave him a scorpion to bite him. How unwise to be thus mocked, bitten and poisoned! Why not at once buy the bread, the fish, and the egg, and eat them, and gain solid and substantial nourishment therefrom, and thus avoid this daily mockery? Well might the Holy Spirit say, "He that is deceived by wine or strong drink is not wise;" and, alas! in thousands of instances, the deception of these stimulants prevents the poor deluded votaries from ever arriving at true wisdom.
In Lev. x. 9, we read the following prohibition, “And Jehovah spake unto Aaron, saying, Do not drink wine nor strong drink, thou, nor thy sons, nor thy sons with thee, when ye go into the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die; it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations." This command was given immediately after that Nadab and Abihu had perished for offering strange fire before the Lord, and may suggest that these profane men had trangressed through wine. And how many eminent ministers, both in England and America, have fallen through the influence of intoxicating drinks? God, who knows all things from the beginning, foresaw the ravages that drinking would commit on his church, and therefore enjoined "total abstinence" on Aaron and his sons. There can never be a time when more bodily vigor and mental energy are necessary, than when we are waiting upon God; and if wine and strong drinks are conducive to either of these, we can hardly suppose that God would have prohibited the priests from enjoying the strength which they might impart. The fact, then, that he commanded those who came to his altar to practice "total abstinence," affords a complete demonstration that our gracious and all-wise Creator deemed intoxicating liquors not merely useless, but highly injurious to that spirituality and piety which his worshipers ought to possess.
Now, under the New Testament dispensation, all true believ
ers are made "priests and kings unto God," and are, a royal priesthood:" indeed God told the Jewish church that it should be unto Him "a kingdom of priests;" and surely spirituality of mind, and freedom from unhallowed passions, ought to characterize those who live under a spiritual dispensation. To approach the throne of the Eternal, or engage in any part of the service stimulated by alcohol, is to have " strange fire" in our nerves, brains, and heart, and must be highly offensive to Him who has commanded us to be filled with the Spirit. If wine was calculated to injure the devotion and spirituality of Aaron and his sons, then it is just as likely to injure our devotion and spirituality; and that it has this effect upon thousands of Christians might be shown from their sleeping under the Word; from their debilitated and nervous frames; from their gloomy and hypochondriacal views of religion; and their unhappy and querulous tempers, arising chiefly or entirely from the effects of the derangement and disease of their bodily functions, consequent on even the moderate use of alcoholic drinks.
We have already quoted the baneful effects on body, mind, and devotion, which Philo attributes to the use of wine, and which he says were the reasons why God commanded the sons of Aaron totally to abstain; and every one who will candidly examine this subject, must perceive that there are just as good reasons why the worshipers of God should avoid the inebriating poisons of our day, as could be assigned for the prohibition imposed upon Aaron.
It may here be objected, that as the Jews were allowed the use of wine at some of their feasts, it is evident that the Supreme did not expect all his worshipers to abstain. To this we reply, that there were two sorts of wine and sweet drinks: the one, unfermented and innocuous; the other, drugged and inebriating. When, therefore, wine was permitted, the Jews knew, from the benevolent character of the Deity, who gave the permission, that the drink allowed, was "the pure blood of the grape ;" and when wine or sweet drink was prohibited, they also knew, from the purity, and pity, and kindness of their divine Legislator, that the beverage was that which was inebriating. Having but one sort of wine among us, and that generally highly intoxicating,—