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Drunkenness – Matthew Henry commentary Proverbs 23:29-35

March 30, 2012 Comments off

Pro 23:30  They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine.
Pro 23:31  Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright.
Pro 23:32  At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.
Pro 23:33  Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things.
Pro 23:34  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.
Pro 23:35  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.

Solomon here gives fair warning against the sin of drunkenness, to confirm what he had said, Pro_23:20.
I. He cautions all people to keep out of the way of temptations to this sin (Pro_23:31): Look not thou upon the wine when it is red. Red wine was in Canaan looked upon as the best wine, it is therefore called the blood of the grape. Critics judge of wine, among other indications, by the colour of it; some wine, they say, looks charmingly, looks so well that it even says, “Come and drink me;” it moves itself aright, goes down very smoothly, or perhaps the roughness of it is grateful. It is said of generous strong-bodied wine that it even causes the lips of those that are asleep to speak, Son_7:9. But look not thou upon it. 1. “Be not ruled by sense, but by reason and religion. Covet not that which pleases the eye, in hopes that it will please the taste; but let thy serious thoughts correct the errors of thy senses and convince thee that that which seems delightful is really hurtful, and resolve against it accordingly. Let not the heart walk after the eye, for it is a deceitful guide.” 2. “Be not too bold with the charms of this or any other sin; look not, lest thou lust, lest thou take the forbidden fruit.” Note Those that would be kept from any sin must keep themselves from all the occasions and beginnings of it, and be afraid of coming within the reach of its allurements, lest they be overcome by them.
II. He shows the many pernicious consequences of the sin of drunkenness, for the enforcement of this caution. Take heed of the bait, for fear of the hook: At the last it bites, Pro_23:32. All sin will be bitterness in the end, and this sin particularly. It bites like a serpent, when the drunkard is made sick by his surfeit, thrown by it into a dropsy or some fatal disease, beggared and ruined in his estate, especially when his conscience is awakened and he cannot reflect upon it without horror and indignation at himself, but worst of all, at last, when the cup of drunkenness shall be turned into a cup of trembling, the cup of the Lord’s wrath, the dregs of which he must be for ever drinking, and shall not have a drop of water to cool his inflamed tongue. To take off the force of the temptation that there is in the pleasure of the sin, foresee the punishment of it, and what it will at last end in if repentance prevent not. In its latter end it bites (so the word is); think therefore what will be in the end thereof. But the inspired writer chooses to specify those pernicious consequences of this sin which are present and sensible.
1. It embroils men in quarrels, makes them quarrel with others, and say and do that which gives others occasion to quarrel with them, Pro_23:29. He asks, Who hath woe? Who hath sorrow? Who has not, in this world? Many have woe and sorrow, and cannot help it; but drunkards wilfully create woe and sorrow to themselves. Those that have contentions have woe and sorrow; and drunkards are the fools whose lips enter into contention. When the wine is in the wit is out and the passions are up; and thence come drunken scuffles, and drunken frays, and drunken disputes over the cups; many a vexatious ruining law-suit has begun thus. There is babbling, quarrels in word and the exchanging of scurrilous language; yet it rests not there: you shall have wounds without cause, for causes are things which drunkards are in no capacity to judge of, and therefore they deal blows about without the least consideration why or wherefore, and must expect to be in like manner treated themselves. The wounds which men receive in defence of their country and its just rights are their honour; but wounds without cause, received in the service of their lusts, are marks of their infamy. Nay, drunkards wound themselves in a tender part, for they have redness of eyes, symptoms of an inward inflammation; their sight is weakened by it, and their looks are deformed. This comes, (1.) Of drinking long, tarrying long at the wine, and spending that time in drunken company which should be spent in useful business, or in sleep, which should fit for business, Pro_23:30. O the precious hours which thousands throw away thus, every one of which will be brought into the account at the great day! (2.) Of drinking that which is strong and intoxicating. They go up and down to seek wine that will please them; their great enquiry is, “Where is the best liquor?” They seek mixed wine, which is most palatable, but most heady, so willingly do they sacrifice their reason to please their palate!
2. It makes men impure and insolent, Pro_23:33. (1.) The eyes grow unruly and behold strange women to lust after them, and so let in adultery into the heart. Est Venus in vinis – Wine is oil to the fire of lust. Thy eyes shall behold strange things (so some read it); when men are drunk the house turns round with them, and every thing looks strange to them, so that them they cannot trust their own eyes. (2.) The tongue also grows unruly and talks extravagantly; by it the heart utters perverse things, things contrary to reason, religion, and common civility, which they would be ashamed to speak if they were sober. What ridiculous incoherent nonsense men will talk when they are drunk who at another time will speak admirably well and to the purpose!
3. It stupefies and besots men, Pro_23:34. When men are drunk they know not where they are nor what they say and do. (1.) Their heads are giddy, and when they lie down to sleep they are as if they were tossed by the rolling waves of the sea, or upon the top of a mast; hence they complain that their heads swim; their sleep is commonly unquiet and not refreshing, and their dreams are tumultuous. (2.) Their judgments are clouded, and they have no more steadiness and consistency than he that sleeps upon the top of a mast: they drink and forget the law (Pro_31:5): they err through wine (Isa_28:7), and think as extravagantly as they talk. (3.) They are heedless and fearless of danger, and senseless of the rebukes they are under either from God or man. They are in imminent danger of death, of damnation, lie as much exposed as if they slept upon the top of a mast, and yet are secure and sleep on. They fear no peril when the terrors of the Lord are laid before them; nay, they feel no pain when the judgments of God are actually upon them; they cry not when he binds them. Set a drunkard in the stocks, and he is not sensible of the punishment. “They have stricken me, and I was not sick; I felt it not: it made no impression at all upon me.” Drunkenness turns me into stocks and stones; they are scarcely to be reckoned animals; they are dead while they live.
4. Worst of all, the heart is hardened in the sin, and the sinner, notwithstanding all these present mischiefs that attend it, obstinately persist in it, and hates to be reformed: When shall I awake? Much ado he has to shake off the chains of his drunken sleep; he can hardly get clear of the fumes of the wine, though he strives with them, that (being thirsty in the morning) he may return to it again. So perfectly lost is he to all sense of virtue and honour, and so wretchedly is his conscience seared, that he is not ashamed to say, I will seek it yet again. There is no hope; no, they have loved drunkards, and after them they will go, Jer_2:25. This is adding drunkenness to thirst, and following strong drink; those that do so may read their doom Deu_29:19, Deu_29:20, their woe Isa_5:11, and, if this be the end of the sin, with good reason were we directed to stop at the beginning of it: Look not upon the wine when it is red.

He who would true valour see – John Bunyan hymn

March 23, 2012 Comments off

Who would true Valour see

Who would true Valour see
Let him come hither;
One here will Constant be,
Come Wind, come Weather.
There’s no Discouragement,
Shall make him once Relent,
His first avow’d Intent,
To be a Pilgrim.

Who so beset him round,
With dismal Storys,
Do but themselves Confound;
His Strength the more is.
No Lyon can him fright,
He’l with a Gyant Fight,
But he will have a right,
To be a Pilgrim.

Hobgoblin, nor foul Fiend,
Can daunt his Spirit:
He knows, he at the end,
Shall Life Inherit.
Then Fancies fly away,
He’l fear not what men say,
He’l labour Night and Day,
To be a Pilgrim.

John Bunyan

Bunyan’s inward man faint, but revived by Jesus Christ – Grace abounding exerpt

March 23, 2012 Comments off

255. Upon a time I was something inclining to a consumption, wherewith about the spring I was suddenly and violently seized, with much weakness in my outward man; insomuch that I thought I could not live. Now began I afresh to give myself up to a serious examination after my state and condition for the future, and of my evidences for that blessed world to come: for it hath, I bless the name of God, been my usual course, as always, so especially in the day of affliction, to endeavour to keep my interest in the life to come, clear before mine eyes.

256. But I had no sooner began to recall to mind my former experience of the goodness of God to my soul, but there came flocking into my mind an innumerable company of my sins and transgressions; amongst which these were at this time most to my affliction; namely, my deadness, dulness, and coldness in holy duties; my wanderings of heart, of my wearisomeness in all good things, my want of love to God, His ways and people, with this at the end of all, Are these the fruits of Christianity? Are these tokens of a blessed man?

257. At the apprehensions of these things my sickness was doubled upon me; for now I was sick in my inward man, my soul was clogged with guilt; now also was my former experience of God’s goodness to me, quite taken out of my mind, and hid as if they had never been, or seen: now was my soul greatly pinched between these two considerations, Live I must not, die I dare not. Now I sunk and fell in my spirit, and was giving up all for lost; but as I was walking up and down in the house as a man in a most woeful state, that word of God took hold of my heart, Ye are justified freely by His grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. Rom. iii. 24. But oh! what a turn it made upon me!

258. Now was I as one awaked out of some troublesome sleep and dream; and listening to this heavenly sentence, I was as if I had heard it thus expounded to me: Sinner, thou thinkest, that because thy sins and infirmities, I cannot save thy soul; but behold My Son is by me, and upon Him I look, and not on thee, and shall deal with thee according as I am pleased with Him. At this I was greatly lightened in my mind, and made to understand, that God could justify a sinner at any time; it was but His looking upon Christ, and imputing His benefits to us, and the work was forthwith done.

259. And as I was thus in a muse, that scripture also came with great power upon my spirit, Not by works of righteousness that we have done, but according to His mercy He hath saved us, etc. 2 Tim. i. 9; Tit. iii. 5. Now was I got on high, I saw myself within the arms of grace and mercy; and though I was before afraid to think of a dying hour, yet, now I cried, Let me die: Now death was lovely and beautiful in my sight, for I saw We shall never live indeed, till we be gone to the other world. Oh! methought this life is but a slumber, in comparison with that above. At this time also I saw more in these words, Heirs of God, Rom. viii. 17, than ever I shall be able to express while I live in this world: Heirs of God! God Himself is the portion of the saints. This I saw and wondered at, but cannot tell you what I saw.

Source: Grace abounding to the chief of sinners, by John Bunyan

Jesus our righteousness before God – Grace abounding excerpt

March 22, 2012 Comments off

229. But one day, as I was passing in the field, and that too with some dashes on my conscience, fearing lest yet all was not right, suddenly this sentence fell upon my soul, Thy righteousness is in heaven; and methought withal, I saw, with the eyes of my soul, Jesus Christ at God’s right hand; there, I say, is my righteousness; so that wherever I was, or whatever I was a-doing, God could not say of me, He wants my righteousness, for that was just before Him. I also saw, moreover, that it was not my good frame of heart that made my righteousness better, nor yet my bad frame that made my righteousness worse; for my righteousness was Jesus Christ Himself, the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever (Heb. 13.8).

230. Now did my chains fall off my legs indeed, I was loosed from my affliction and irons, my temptations had fled away; so that, from that time, those dreadful scriptures of God left off to trouble me now; now went I also home rejoicing, for the grace and love of God. So when I came home, I looked to see if I could find that sentence, Thy righteousness is in heaven; but could not find such a saying, wherefore my heart began to sink again, only that was brought to my remembrance, He ‘of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption’ by this word I saw the other sentence true (1 Cor. 1.30).

231. For by this scripture, I saw that the man Christ Jesus, as He is distinct from us, as touching His bodily presence, so He is our righteousness and sanctification before God. Here, therefore, I lived for some time, very sweetly at peace with God through Christ; Oh, methought, Christ! Christ! there was nothing but Christ that was before my eyes, I was not only for looking upon this and the other benefits of Christ apart, as of His blood, burial, or resurrection, but considered Him as a whole Christ! As He in whom all these, and all other His virtues, relations, offices, and operations met together, and that as He sat on the right hand of God in heaven.

232. It was glorious to me to see His exaltation, and the worth and prevalency of all His benefits, and that because of this: now I could look from myself to Him, and should reckon that all those graces of God that now were green in me, were yet but like those cracked groats and fourpence-halfpennies that rich men carry in their purses, when their gold is in their trunks at home! Oh, I saw my gold was in my trunk at home! In Christ, my Lord and Saviour! Now Christ was all; all my wisdom, all my righteousness, all my sanctification, and all my redemption.

233. Further, the Lord did also lead me into the mystery of union with the Son of God, that I was joined to Him, that I was flesh of His flesh, and bone of His bone, and now was that a sweet word to me in Eph. 5.30. By this also was my faith in Him, as my righteousness, the more confirmed to me; for if He and I were one, then His righteousness was mine, His merits mine, His victory also mine. Now could I see myself in heaven and earth at once; in heaven by my Christ, by my head, by my righteousness and life, though on earth by my body or person.

234. Now I saw Christ Jesus was looked on of God, and should also be looked on by us, as that common or public person, in whom all the whole body of His elect are always to be considered and reckoned; that we fulfilled the law by Him, rose from the dead by Him, got the victory over sin, death, the devil, and hell, by Him; when He died, we died; and so of His resurrection. ‘Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise,’ saith he (Isa. 26.19). And again, ‘After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight’ (Hos. 6.2); which is now fulfilled by the sitting down of the Son of Man on the right hand of the Majesty in the heavens, according to that to the Ephesians, He ‘hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus’ (Eph. 2.6).

235. Ah, these blessed considerations and scriptures, with many others of a like nature, were in those days made to spangle in mine eyes, so that I have cause to say, ‘Praise ye the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power. Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness’ (Ps. 150.1, 2).

Source: Grace abounding to the chief of sinners, by John Bunyan

Hunger – JC Philpot

March 9, 2012 Comments off

“He satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.”

Psalm 107:9

We find the living family of God sometimes set forth under the character of the hungry. Let us see what they are hungering after. Is it pleasure, honour, promotion, respectability? O no; these toys and baubles cannot satisfy the spiritual hunger of a living soul. They cannot hunger after that on which they cannot feed. They hunger then after righteousness, as the Lord said: “Blessed are ye that hunger and thirst after righteousness.” They hunger after God himself in his blessed manifestations; they hunger after the bread of life which came down from heaven, that a man should eat thereof and not die. Christ in the letter of the word cannot satisfy their keen appetite. They must feed upon him internally, or their famine still continues. To these hungry, famishing souls, to have Christ in the letter is like a starving beggar standing outside a shop where there is plenty of provisions, and not having a farthing to buy them with. What is Christ in the letter? Will a sight of Christ in the word of God remove the burden of guilt, bring peace into the soul, purge the conscience or subdue the power of sin? Will the mere doctrine of Christ draw up the affections to him, cast out the world, dethrone self, or purify the heart? “Alas!” we say by painful experience, “not one jot, not one jot.” But the presence of Christ in the soul can at once do all these things.

Thus a hungry, famishing soul can only be pacified by Christ coming into his heart as the hope of glory.

JC Philpot