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Proverbs 23, 29-35

Proverbs 23, 29-35

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
REV. RALPH WARDLAW, D.D.


Prov. xxiii. 29 - 35.
REV. RALPH WARDLAW, D.D.


Prov. xxiii. 29 - 35.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Jun 25, 2013
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PROVERBS 23, 29-35REV. RALPH WARDLAW, D.D.Prov. xxiii. 29 - 35.
"Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath bab-bling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes? They thattarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine. Look not thou uponthe wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it movethitself aright. At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perversethings. Yea, thou shalt be as he that lieth down in the midst of the sea, or ashe 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."
It was my purpose to have reserved any enlarged illustra-tion of the evils of intemperance, till I should arrive at thispassage in the ordinary course of exposition. I have thoughtit preferable, however, to follow up my two former discourseswith an immediate exposition of its contents. A more gra-phic and vivid description, - a more powerful and awaken-ing appeal, - a more solemn, earnest, and alarming expostu-lation and warning, it is hardly possible to conceive.Before entering on the illustration of it, I cannot avoidrequesting attention to the clear and ample confirmation itaffords of all that was formerly said about the intoxicatingcharacter of the wines of Palestine. I stated before, and re-peat it, that no learning is necessary to make out the onlypoint which it is of any consequence to establish. It is easyto speak of the weak and light wines of that country. But304 LECTURE LIX.how can any one read such a passage as this - and it is very-far from standing alone - without being satisfied, that, what-ever varieties there might be in the wines in ordinary use, -
 
 just as, with ourselves, there are weaker and stronger, lighterand more heady wines, there were some of them, that werenot only intoxicating, but intoxicating to the utmost con-ceivable degree. For assuredly, nothing can go beyond thestage of drunkenness depicted in the verses which I have justread. Why, then, all the learned discussion'? Why theraising of subscriptions for the purpose of sending commis-sions to Palestine, " to examine into the history of ancientwines, their manufacture and use?" Can this be necessary,to ascertain, to any reader of the Bible, whether they wereintoxicating, when he reads of " the drunkards of Ephraiin,"and finds so frequently meeting him, warnings against thesin of intoxication, and against not "strong drink" alone, but" wine" as its fatal cause. To any one, therefore, who sayshe cannot believe that the wines of Judea were at all of thesame heady qualities with ours, - I should think it enoughto say Read these verses. ]o matter whether they were thesame, in their manufacture, and in their qualities generally,with ours or not, - one quality they evidently possessed, -the quality which is the only ground of controversy : - theywere intoxicating.It will be impossible to avoid, in the illustration of thispassage, repeating sentiments of a similar description to someof those advanced in last lecture. For this, - so far as itmay be the case, - allowance will readily be made.Our subject, then, is the sin of intemperance. Here,there is no great likelihood of difference of opinion. Shouldthere be difference, it will be on the part of such as arethemselves, in a greater or less degree, addicted to the vice,and fond to discover grounds of palliation and self-defence,? - or who are just in the perilous predicament of contractinga fondness for it.Intemperance is the use of any intoxicating liquor to ex-cess. It matters not what the liquor be - whether wine ormalt-liquor, or ardent spirits, or extract of opium, or anything
 
PRO VERBS XXIII. 29-35. 305else. The evdl lies, not in the article used, but in the exces-sive use of it. ow I fancy I hear some one say - and smilewith a kind of self-complacency in saying it, as if he hadfound a puzzle for the speaker and a convenient refuge forhimself - Ah! but what is the excessive use of itl - Allowme to say to such persons, that I never hear this questionput, without trembling for him who puts it. I state it asmy pastoral experience, that among all the cases of disciplinefor the sin of intemperance that have come under the cog-nizance of the church, I have hardly known one in whichthe party concerned, when evidence was clear against him,has not been disposed to take refuge in such excuses as -" I grant that I have at times taken pretty freely - perhapsI may at a time have gone a little further than I shouldhave gone; but I always knew what I was doing."ow, first of all, this is far from being always true. Aman frequently says and does things, when under the influ-ence of liquor, of the strangeness of which he is not at thetime sensible; and does even right things in a manner thatplainly betrays his condition to others, when he is entirely,or in a great measure, unconscious of it himself. Butthis is not all. Even supposing what these persons say of themselves were true, what a ground is this for a professingChristian, - nay, what a ground for any man holding eventhe common principles of morality, - to take ! What ! is itconsistent with Christian principle - with Christian prudence- with Christian self-knowledge - with Christian vigilance- to venture thus to the very confines of evil, - to sportupon the borders of sin - to tread, with heedless step, theverge of hell? I can have no hesitation in saying, that theman who goes thus far has exceeded. He may not have gotdrunk; but he has tampered with temptation; - he has vio-lated all the admonitions to self-jealousy; he has shown aconscience not impressed as it ought to be with " abhorrenceof that which is evil," by the very fact of his venturing sonear it; he has shown an inclination, that would go further,

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