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taken as a very fair sample of wine drinking and its effects. Abigail, in her valuable presents to David, brought him no wine. What an omission this must have been if wine was the common drink. The old prophet that came to Jeroboam was commanded to eat no bread and drink no water in Bethel," a plain proof that water was the common drink; and the old prophet that deceived him and brought him back, gave him nothing but water. Elijah was for a long period supplied with food by the ravens, and had nothing to drink but the water of the brook; and when he came to Zidon, he asked of the widow woman no other drink than water. The angel that brought him the food that was to carry him to Horeb, gave him nothing to drink but a cruse of water. Obadiah fed a hundred of the Lord's prophets on bread and water.
The king of Israel set bread and water before the army of the Syrians, and it is said, that "he set great provision before them." The king of Assyria promised to the Jews if they would submit to him, that they should "eat every man of his own vine, and of his own fig-tree, and drink the waters of his own cistern." Here the fruit of the vine was to be eaten, and the people were to drink water. The traveler in Job went to the brook for water. In Isaiah we read of "the whole stay of bread, and the whole stay of water.” The same prophet says "Bread shall be given and water shall be sure." This is the provision that God engages to make for his people, but he does not promise them wine, he only pledges his word that for drink they shall have water. Then "with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation," is another gracious declaration of the same inspired penman, and which receives a beautiful illustration from Numb. xxi. 16-18. "And from thence they went to Beer: that is, the well, whereof the Lord spake unto Moses. Gather the people together, and I will give them water. Then Israel sang this song: Spring up, O well! sing ye unto it. The princes digged the well, the nobles of the people digged it, by the direction of the lawgiver."
Here we find these people as delighted and joyful round a well of water as the sons of dissipation could be over their cups, and indeed more so the joy here was rational, it was not followed
by depression, nor was the drink that produced it poisonous either to their bodies or their minds. These same Israelites, when asking leave to pass through Edom and other countries, asked for no better drink than water, and proposed to purchase it. Surely if they had been as fond of strong drink as the moderns, we should have heard something about their buying wine rather than water, and of course if wines had abounded or been a common drink, the Edomites would have been able to furnish them with an ample supply.
We have shown before that God prescribed to the Nazarites, to Aaron and his sons, and to John the Baptist, total and entire abstinence from all inebriating drinks; and we have reason to believe that the common beverage of the Son of God was water. His disciples went into the city to buy food, not to buy wine, and the Redeemer, not anticipating such a beverage, asked the Samaritan to give him water from Jacob's well, When his followers also returned, they prayed him, saying, “Master, eat," not “ Master, drink." The accusation that he was a “wine-bibber," was as great a libel as that he was a glutton; there is not the shadow of a doubt but that he generally drank water.
These quotations are sufficient on this head, and fully prove that water was the common beverage of the people. There is every reason to believe, that even their best wines and most harmless wines, were only used occasionally at festivals, or as medicines. At any rate, if we will only weigh water-drinking and wine-drinking, as recorded in the Scripture, in an even balance, we must perceive that water-drinking very greatly preponderates, and has the especial sanction of the divine command and divine example. He provided diet for a million of people for forty years; he brought them food and water by miracle, but never allowed them one drop of wine. We are rather surprised that those who are so strenuous for the use of alcoholic drinks, because, as they say, they are commended in Scripture, do not stay to consider that God speaks in his Word, in the highest terms, of water: if, therefore, tetotalers are committing a great sin in avoiding wine and brewers' beer, then wine-drinkers are sinning to a greater degree in rejecting water, because the Word of God speaks more highly of water than it does of wine. But I shall conclude this chapter.
From a careful examination of the Word of God, we find that in no single instance, can it be proved that it has mentioned intoxicating drinks with approbation; and consequently those who use alcoholic poisons are left without the least sanction from that unerring guide Far from commending such drinks as inebriate, it tells us that they "bite like a serpent, and sting like an adder;" total abstinence is therefore in exact accordance with the letter and the spirit of the word of God.
And when, independent of other reasons, we duly consider the great obligation of self-denial for the good of others, which the gospel enjoins, even to the laying down of life itself, should it benefit either friend or foe, the duty of total abstinence is placed beyond the shadow of a doubt; by drinking what is intoxicating we encourage others to do the same, and thus our example may lead them astray, and be their ruin. "Destroy not him by thy meat for whom Christ died," is the Apostle's exhortation; and to enforce it he mentions his own determination; "Wherefore if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend." In another place he says, "Be not drunk with wine wherein is excess, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns, and spiritual songs;" which evidently prohibits us from seeking the senseless excitement of inebriating liquors; and commands us to obtain the quickening influence of the Holy Ghost. Inspired by his grace, we shall not want the vile mirth of the drunkard, but shall have the melody of divine love in our hearts, and the praises of God on our tongues.
NOTWITHSTANDING the great stress that we lay upon alcoholic beverages, it is a well attested fact, that a very great proportion of the world has, from the most ancient times, been in the habit of drinking nothing stronger than water. We have seen that the Bible, which is the oldest record in the world, most fully corroborates this sentiment. That wines were used at festivals, in sacred libations, and also as medicines, none can deny; but then it is equally clear that they were almost, if not entirely, confined to these uses. We have also, from an appeal to history and science, proved that many of the drinks, which in former times were denominated wines, were as free from anything like alcohol as the purest water.
In the last chapter I showed that Abraham, Samson, Saul, David, Elijah, John the Baptist, the Prophets, the Priests, and the Nazarites drank water. The fact, that the Israelites, during the whole time that their diet was under the immediate direction of Jehovah, were supplied with this simple beverage alone, speaks volumes. Were any of us to live with an individual for forty years, and during that period, were he to have the sole care of providing us with food and drink, and, although it was just as easy for him to give us wine as water, yet, if, notwithstanding the large quantity of wine he possessed, he for the whole period kept out of our sight everything alcoholic or intoxicating, and confined us solely to water, I think we should naturally conclude, that he approved of total abstinence. And further, if the person that acted thus was a friend, in whose judgment we could place the highest confidence, and whose sincere regard for us admitted not the least shadow of a doubt, we should very rationally consider that water was better for us than any other liquid; for, was it not so, our friend would provide for us a more
wholesome drink. Further, were we in a state of entire destitution, and the same kind-hearted, and very judicious friend compassionated our wants, and sent some of his messengers, or some of his most honorable attendants to us, with a daily portion of food and drink, and still directed that our only beverage should be water, we should have the impression deepened that he thoroughly approved of total abstinence. And again, were he, knowing the close connection there is between diet, natural strength, and moral character, and anxious that we should excel in each, under these convictions, to direct that we should avoid all luxurious living, and never taste. "wine or strong drink ;" we should certainly believe, that the principle of total abstinence was one which he considered to be intimately connected with our bodily vigor, mental energy, and the sanctity of our characters. And what if this same personage, on one solitary occasion at a festival, had produced wine, or, on another, had recommended a little as a medicine, to one whose stomach was diseased; yet, as in neither of these instances, it had been supplied as an article of diet, we should not allow these isolated cases to remove from us the impression that he was favorable to total abstinence, on all ordinary seasons of taking food, and for all persons in the enjoyment of health.
If to the circumstances mentioned above, it might be added, that although a million of persons, noted for their disposition to be dissatisfied and to murmur, had been thus fed on the principle of total abstinence, for forty years, yet not a single word of disapprobation had escaped their lips, I think we should say that the people were tetotalers. And if, fifteen hundred years after the last-mentioned event occurred, we find the descendants of these very people fed by five thousand at a time, and that the individual who feasts them, does so for the purpose of raising his character in their estimation, and yet at the feast gives them nothing but water to drink; and the multitude, though not the most contented and best behaved in the world, are so well pleased, that numbers of them follow him because "they did eat of the loaves and were filled," we should certainly conclude that the thousands fed were as rigid tetotalers as the being who fed them. Now I need not add, that the cases thus supposed are the identi