Proverbs 20:1
Wine is a mocker, strong drink is a brawler, and whoever is led astray by them is not wise.
A String of PearlsAlexander MaclarenProverbs 20:1
Abstinence Favourable to HealthJ. Hunter.Proverbs 20:1
Better Sink than DrinkProverbs 20:1
Mischief and Folly of DrunkennessProverbs 20:1
Strong Drink DeceptiveW. Arnot, D. D.Proverbs 20:1
Strong Drink: Four DelusionsW. Clarkson Proverbs 20:1
The Evil Effects of DrunkennessThe Weekly Christian Teacher.Proverbs 20:1
Total AbstinenceProverbs 20:1
Water the Best DrinkProverbs 20:1
Evils to be AvoidedE. Johnson Proverbs 20:1-5


1. Drunkenness. (Ver. 1.) The spirit or demon of wine is spoken of as a personal agent. It leads to frivolity, scoffing, profane and senseless mirth. To be drunk with wine, as St. Paul points out (Ephesians 5:18), is the opposite of being "filled with the Spirit" (see F.W. Robertson's sermon on this subject).

2. The wrath of kings. (Ver. 2) In those times of absolute rule, the king represented the uncontrollable arbitration of life and death. As in the case of Adonijah, he who provoked the king's wrath sinned against his own soul. What, then, must the wrath of the eternal Sovereign be (Psalm 90:11)? To invoke the Divine judgment is a suicidal act.

3. Contentiousness. (Ver. 3.) Quick-flaming anger is the mark of the shallow and foolish heart. The conquest of anger by Christian meekness is one of the chiefest of Christian graces, "Let it pass for a kind of sheepishness to be meek," says Archbishop Leighton; "it is a likeness to him that was as a sheep before his shearers."

4. Idleness. (Ver. 4.) The idle man is unseasonable in his repose, and equally unseasonable in his expectation. To know our time, our opportunity in worldly matters, our day of grace in the affairs of the soul, all depends on this (Romans 12:11; Ephesians 5:15-17).

II. THE SAFEGUARD OF PRUDENCE. (Ver. 5.) The idea is that, though the project which a man has formed may be difficult to fathom, the prudent man will bring the secret to light. "There is nothing hidden that shall not be made known."

1. Every department of life has its principles and laws.

2. These may be ascertained by observation and inquiry.

3. In some sense or other, all knowledge is power; and that is the best sort of knowledge which arms the mind with force against moral dangers, and places it in constant relation to good. - J.

Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.
I. IT DEADENS EVERY MORAL SENSIBILITY. And what is the evidence of the drunkard himself? On his own declaration, are the principles of virtue as vigorous in his heart now as before? Is he as sensible of delight in contemplating the morally sublime, as much shocked with the morally deformed, as much grieved and disgusted with the depraved and licentious?





(The Weekly Christian Teacher.)

The characteristic of strong drink is deceitfulness,

1. A great quantity of precious food is destroyed that strong drink may be extracted from the rubbish.

2. The curative and strengthening properties of our strong drinks, which are so much vaunted, are in reality next to nothing.

3. Strong drink deceives the nation by the vast amount of revenue that it pours into the public treasury.

4. In as far as human friendship is, in any case, dependent on artificial stimulant for the degree of its fervency, it is a worthless counterfeit.

5. Its chief deception lies in the silent, stealthy advances which it makes upon the unsuspecting taster, followed, when the secret approaches have been carried to a certain point, by the sure spring and deathly grip of the raging lion.

(W. Arnot, D. D.)

I. THE MISCHIEF. To the sinner himself. It mocks him, makes a fool of him, promises him that satisfaction which it can never give him. In reflection upon it: it rages in his conscience. It is raging in the body, putting the humours into a ferment. Pretending to be a sociable thing, it renders men unfit for society, for it makes them abusive with their tongues and outrageous in their passions.

II. THE FOLLY. He that is deceived thereby, that suffers himself to be drawn into this sin, when he is so plainly warned of the consequences of it, is not wise: he shows that he has no right sense or consideration of things; and not only so, but he renders himself incapable of getting wisdom; for it is a sin that infatuates and besets men and takes away their heart.

( Matthew Henry.)

The following story is told of General Harrison, one of the candidates for the Presidency of the United States, in connection with a public dinner given him on one occasion: "At the close of the dinner one of the gentlemen drank his health. The General pledged his toast by drinking water. Another gentleman offered a toast, and said, 'General, will you not favour me by taking s glass of wine?' The General, in a very gentlemanly way, begged to be excused. He was again urged to join in a glass of wine. This was too much. He rose from his seat and said in the most dignified manner: 'Gentlemen, I have twice refused to partake of the wine-cup. I hope that will be sufficient. Though you press the matter ever so much, not a drop shall pass my lips. I made a resolve when I started in life that I would avoid strong drink. That vow I have never broken. I am one of a class of seventeen young men who graduated together. The other sixteen members of my class now fill drunkards' graves, and all from the pernicious habit of wine-drinking. I owe all my health, my happiness, and prosperity to that resolution. Would you urge me to break it now?'"

A clergyman complained to the late Sir Andrew Clark of feeling low and depressed, unable to face his work, and tempted to rely on stimulants. Sir Andrew saw that the position was a perilous one, and that it was a crisis in the man's life. He dealt with the case, and forbade resort to stimulants, when the patient declared that he would be unequal to his work, and ready to sink. "Then," said Sir Andrew, "sink like a man."

The working man's capital is health, not wealth. It does not consist in landed property, but in sinew and muscle; and if he persist in the use of intoxicating liquors they will strike at the very root of his capital — a sound physical constitution. After this is lost he becomes unfit for the workshop, for no master will employ a man who wants capital. He has then to repair to the poorhouse or infirmary.

(J. Hunter.)

"The best of all drinks for the athlete," says Dr. Richardson, "is pure water. The athletic lower animals — the racehorse, the hound, the lion, the leopard — thrive well on water, because their bodies, like our own, are water engines, as steam engines are, and that, too, almost as simply and purely."

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