Monday, February 15, 2021

Early Christian Quotes On Drinking Alcohol

Early Christian Quotes On Drinking Alcohol


Clement of Alexandria’s Instructor, Book 2

(Early 3rd Century)

Chapter 2, Paragraphs 7-8:


I admire those who have adopted a calm, peaceful life and who enjoy drinking water, the medicine of self-control. They run as far as possible from wine, avoiding it like they would the danger of fire. Therefore, it is right that boys and girls should keep as far away from this “medicine” as possible. It is not right to add to a difficult time in their lives the hottest of all liquids--wine--as it were, fire to fire, for then wild impulses and burning lusts and fiery habits are kindled. Young men become inflamed from within and are prone to the indulgence of dangerous activities, to the extent that signs of injury appear in their body. The youth come to maturity sooner than they should. The breasts and organs of youth, inflamed with wine, expand and swell in a shameful way, already exhibiting beforehand the image of sex; and the body compels the wound of the soul to inflame, and shameless throbbing follows abundance, triggering the man of upstanding behavior to fall away from what is right; and the sexiness of youth overpasses the bounds of modesty. To the best of our ability, we must try to crush youth's impulses by removing the alcoholic fuel of the threatened danger. By pouring the antidote to the inflammation, keep down the burning soul, keep in the swelling members, and decrease lust's agitation when it is already in commotion.


And in the case of adults, let those who drink wine occasionally with dinner completely refrain from drinking so that the eating of dry food may absorb their excessive moisture. For constant spitting and wiping off perspiration and frequent trips to the restroom are the signs of excess, from the frequent use of liquids supplied in excessive quantity to the body.


And if one is thirsty, let thirst be quenched with a little water. For it is not proper that water should be supplied in too great an amount so that the food may not be drowned but ground down in order to digest; this takes place when the food is collected into a mass, and only a small portion is passed out of the body.


And, besides, it matches divine studies not to be heavy with wine. “For unmixed wine is far from compelling a man to be wise, much less in control,” according to the comic poet. But towards evening, about supper-time, wine may be used when we are no longer engaged in more serious readings. Then also, the air becomes colder than it is during the day so that the failing natural warmth requires us to be nourished by heat from the inside. But even then, it must only be a little wine that is used, for we must not go on to drink excessive amounts.


Those who are already advanced in life may partake more cheerfully of wine to warm by the harmless medicine of the vine the chill of age, which the decay of time has produced. In general, old men’s passions are not stirred to such agitation as to drive them to the shipwreck of drunkenness, for being tied down by reason and time, as by anchors, they easily withstand the storm of passions that rushes down from drunkenness. They may also be permitted to indulge in humor at feasts. But to them also let the limit of their alcohol be the point at which they keep their reason unwavering, their memory active, and their body unmoved and unshaken by wine.




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