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When Isaiah used the words, "strong drink," in a more...
The Christian Science Monitor
When Isaiah used the words, "strong drink," in a more pronounced way than Bible writers have perhaps usually used them, it is quite evident that he was not thinking of liquids. He was not thinking of innkeepers and sundry liquid intoxicants when he stated that woe should overtake sensually minded men who "mingle strong drink," for the prophet immediately makes the application as unto those who justify evil-thinking persons for selfish reward, while they deny the motives and rightness of those who do justly and love the ways of mercy. "Strong drink" to Isaiah was therefore mental, the stimulus of thinking, whereby mortals govern their judgments, opinions, and actions according to the ways of the world. This becomes quite clear as we find in one of this prophet's verses the words of the above subject used three times in the chapter wherein he rebukes "the drunkards of Ephraim," because they had badly erred and were out of the way, failing to discern the truth, and stumbling in judgment. But the ancient writer does not say that they were so because of liquid stimulation, for he goes on to say in his warning to those who trust in strength of intellect and physical courage that "they are drunken, but not with wine."
In almost every instance strong drink, to Isaiah, stood for mental stimulus through false education. Mortals were then, as now, willing to yield their thought to evil influences, under the belief that evil indulgences bring pleasure; and so the habit of yielding to a false desire for artificial liquids which produced intoxication was seen by Isaiah as one of the types of a mental condition. Drunkenness was then, and is now, the result of willingness to ignore God, to dwell in the five physical senses of the mortal body, and to be subject thereunto; obeying its caprices, bowing down to its whims, and finally paying the tolls in reactions of pain and woe. It all results from a willingness to do evil.
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