1. Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.
THE history of the world from the days of Noah (Genesis 9:21) proves, that the love of wine and strong drink is a most insidious vice. The wretched victims are convinced too late, that they have been mocked and grievously deceived. Not only does it overcome them before they are aware, but it promises pleasures which it can never give. And yet so mighty is the spell, that the besotted slave consents to be mocked again and again, till “at last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.” (Chapter 23:29-32.)
Its raging power degrades below the level of the beasts. The government of reason is surrendered to lust, appetite, or passion.† Ahasuerus, with his merry heart, shewed himself most irrational.† The conqueror of the East murdered his friend. All is tumult and recklessness. The understanding is gradually impaired.† “The heart uttereth perverse things.” (Chapter 23:33.) Other sins of the same black dye follow in its train,† often hurrying into the very jaws of destruction.† Surely then whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.
Humbling indeed is it to human nature, to see, not only the mass of the ignorant, but splendid talents, brutalized by this lust; that which was once “created in the image of God,” now sunk into the dregs of shame! Yet more humbling is the sight even of God’s own people “wallowing in this mire.” The examples of Noah and Lot are recorded (Genesis 19:33), not as a laughing-stock to the ungodly, but as a beacon to the saints. “Let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall.” (1 Corinthians 10:12.) Even an Apostle had practically learnt, that his security lay not in the innate strength of his principles, but in the unceasing exercise of Christian watchfulness. (Ib. 9:27.) “Take heed to yourselves” — is the needful warning of our Divine Master — “lest your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness, and so that day come upon you unawares. Be not drunk with wine” — said the great Apostle — “wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.” (Luke 21:34. Ephesians 5:18.)