Anthony_Sermons - (THIRD CLAUSE)

1 cf. AUGUSTINE, De diversis, sermo 351,7; PL 39.1512
2 GREGORY, Moralia XXXV, 14,28; PL 76.765

The copyright in this translation belongs to the author, Revd Dr S.R.P. Spilsbury


(The Gospel for the twentieth Sunday after Pentecost: The kingdom of heaven is likened to a king; which is divided into three clauses.)


(First, the theme for a sermon on the threefold temple, and the golden candlestick, and the six reeds and their meaning: They brought in the candlestick.)

1. At that time: Jesus told this parable to his disciples: The kingdom of heaven is likened to a king, who made a marriage for his son. (Mt 22,2)

It says in the Book of Maccabees that:

They brought in the candlestick and the altar of incense and the table into the temple. (1M 4,49)

Let us see what these four mean, allegorically, morally and anagogically. Note that the temple is threefold: the virginal womb, the faithful soul and the heavenly Jerusalem; in each of which are candlestick, altar of incense and table.

Of the temple of the virgin’s womb, the third book of Kings recounts that Solomon built the temple from three materials, marble, cedar and gold. The marble he covered with cedar, and the cedar with gold (cf. 1R 6,7-22). The marble represents Blessed Mary’s virginity, the cedar (whose smell repels serpents) her humility, and the gold her poverty. The marble of virginity is covered, protected and ornamented with the cedar of humility. A proud virgin is not truly a virgin; and so blessed Mary, as if forgetting her virginity, proffered her humility, saying: Behold the handmaid of the Lord (Lc 1,38) The cedar of humility is adorned with the gold of poverty. Often, the evil of pride arise from the abundance of riches. Into this temple were carried the candlestick, altar of incense and table. Just as in the Divinity there are three Persons and one Substance, so in Christ’s humanity there are three substances and one Person. Jesus Christ is God and man, made of soul and body. The candlestick represents his Divinity; the altar of incense his soul, full of every odour of virtue; the table his flesh, by which we are refreshed and satisfied in the Sacrament of the altar. Blessed and glorious is this temple, which is enlightened by the candlestick of eternal light, made to smell sweet by the altar of incense, and fed from the table of proposition.

Regarding the second temple, the faithful soul, the Apostle says: The temple of God is holy, which you are (1Co 3,17). Into this temple we must bring the candlestick of charity, the altar of incense which is devotion of mind, and the ‘table of proposition’ of the word of holy preaching. Regarding the candlestick of charity, it says in Exodus, where the Lord speaks to Moses:

Thou shalt make a candlestick of beaten work of the finest gold; the shaft thereof, and the branches, the cups and the balls and the lilies going forth from it. Six branches shall come out of the sides: three out of the one side, and three out of the other. (Ex 25,31-32)

The candlestick of charity is ‘beaten’ with the hammer of tribulation, to be increased not in itself, but in the human mind. So St Augustine1 says, on the Epistle of John, "Perfect charity is this, that someone is prepared even to die for brothers. But is it perfect just as soon as it is born? To become perfect, it must indeed be born; when born, it must be nourished; when nourished, strengthened; when strengthened, perfected; and when it reaches perfection, it says: I long to be dissolved, and to be with Christ (Ph 1,23). Here, clearly, the progress and perfection of charity is outlined."

The candlestick of charity must also be made from the purest gold. It cannot be mingled with any vice, since like gold among metals, charity must be pre-eminent among virtues. From this candlestick go forth cups, balls and lilies. The cups, concave so as to hold and proffer drink, represent humility with compunction of mind. Hollowness receives what is poured in, convexity repels. The round balls represent concern for our neighbour’s needs. The lilies are the pureness of chastity. If you have charity, have ‘cups’ for God, ‘balls’ for your neighbour, and ‘lilies’ for yourself.

Note, too, that the candlestick of charity has six branches, three on the right and three on the left, with which it embraces God and neighbour. The three that embrace God are abomination of sin, contempt for temporal things and contemplation of heavenly things. Of the first, the Psalmist says:

I have hated and abhorred iniquity. (Ps 118,163)

Of the second, the Apostle says:

I have counted all things dung, that I may gain Christ and may be found in him. (cf. Ph 3,8)

Of the third, he says:

While you look not at the things which are seen, but at the things that are not seen.

(@2CO 4,18@)

The three branches that embrace our neighbour are sparing the offender, correcting the misguided, refreshing the hungry. Of the first, the Gospel says:

Forgive them, they know not what they do. (cf. Lc 23,24)

Of the second, James says:

He who causeth a sinner to be converted from the error of his way shall save his soul from death and shall cover a multitude of sins.(Jc 5,20)

Of the third, Solomon says:

If thy enemy be hungry, give him to eat; if he thirst, give him to drink. (Pr 25,21)

If with such a candlestick the altar of devotion and the table of holy preaching are brought into our soul, there will indeed be a holy temple for God to dwell in.

Of the third temple, the heavenly Jerusalem, the Psalm says:

I will come into thy house (the Church Militant):

I will worship towards thy holy temple (the Church Triumphant);

and I will give glory to thy name (in both). (Ps 5,8 Ps 137 Ps 2)

So it says in Daniel that:

Daniel went into his house, and opening the windows in his upper chamber towards Jerusalem, he knelt down three times a day and adored and gave thanks before his God. (Da 6,10)

In this temple is a candlestick of light; the Apocalypse says:

The glory of the Lord hath enlightened it, and the Lamb is the lamp thereof. (Ap 21,23) there, too, is an altar of incense:

An angel came and stood before the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given to him much incense, that he should offer the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which is before the throne of God. And the smoke of the incense of the prayers of the saints ascended up before God. (Ap 8,3-4)

This is what Raphael spoke of to Tobias:

When thou didst pray with tears, and didst bury the dead, and didst leave thy dinner... I offered thy prayer to the Lord. (Tb 12,12)

There is a table, to, referred to in Luke:

I dispose to you, as my Father hath disposed to me, a kingdom; that you may eat and drink at my table, in my kingdom. (Lc 22,29-30)

With this threefold temple, we would like to concord three weddings, and celebrate them as we concord them. They are referred to in today’s Gospel: The kingdom of heaven is likened to a king, who made a marriage for his son.

2. There are three things to note in this Gospel: first, the preparation of and invitation to the wedding, beginning: The kingdom of heaven is likened; second, the destruction of the murderers, and the gathering of good and bad to the wedding, from: But, when the king had heard of it, he was angry; thirdly, the condemnation of the man without a wedding garment, from: And the king went in to see the guests. In the Introit of today’s Mass we sing: In thy will, O Lord; and we read the Epistle of the blessed Apostle Paul to the Ephesians: See therefore how you walk circumspectly; which we will divide into three parts and concord with the three clauses of the Gospel. First, See therefore; second: Be not drunk with wine; third: But be ye filled with the Holy Spirit. In this Gospel, the Lord speaks of the wedding which the Apostle invites us to celebrate with psalms, hymns and canticles in today’s Epistle; which is why we read it with this Gospel.


(A theme on the three weddings and their accompaniments: The kingdom of heaven is likened.)

3. Let us say, then: The kingdom of heaven is likened to a king. Note that there are three marriages: of union, of justification and of glorification. The first was celebrated in the temple of the blessed Virgin; the second is daily celebrated in the temple of the faithful soul; the third will be celebrated in the temple of heavenly glory. In a marriage, two people come together, the bridegroom and the bride. Two divided families are united by the good of matrimony, when from each side, one takes another as spouse. Great was the separation between God and ourselves, and to end it and to make peace it was needful that the Son of God should take a bride from our family. To settle the arrangements, many representatives and intermediaries came and made their pleas, and were hard put to it to obtain what they sought; but at last the Father agreed, and sent his Son, who united himself to our nature in the bride-chamber of the blessed Virgin. Thus the Father made a wedding feast for his Son.

Regarding this, St John Damascene2 says: "After the holy Virgin gave her consent, the Holy Spirit came upon her, according to the word of God spoken by the Angel, purifying

her and preparing her to be able to receive the divine Word, and to bear it. Then He who is the Wisdom and Power of the most High God, overshadowed her; the Son of God, homoousios (that is, consubstantial) with the Father, being as it were the divine seed. He joined to himself, from the most pure and holy blood of that Virgin, our ancient bespattered flesh, animated by a rational and intellectual soul; not by natural sowing, but creating it by the Holy Spirit." He also says: " The Word of God assumed everything that he had established in our nature, body and intellectual soul. He assumed the whole, wholly; to confer salvation freely upon the whole of me." The Divinity might have sought to be married more nobly; but the flesh could not possibly have wed more gloriously.

The second marriage is celebrated when, at the coming of the Holy Spirit’s grace, the sinful soul is converted. Whence he says in the prophet Hosea: I will go and return to my first husband, because it was better with me then, than now (Os 2,7); and a little later:

She shall call me, My husband; and she shall call me no more Baali. And I will take the names of Baalim out of her mouth; and she shall no more remember their name.And in that day I will make a covenant with them, with the beasts of the field and with the fowls of the air and with the creeping things of the earth; and I will destroy the bow and the sword and war out of the land; and I will make them sleep secure. (Os 2,16-18)

The soul’s husband is the Holy Spirit’s grace, and when by an inner inspiration it calls her to repentance, the calling of vice is quite useless. No more shall she use the title ‘Baal’, master and devourer, the name of Pride which seeks to be master, of Greed and Lust that seek to devour. Grace takes these names from the penitent’s mouth. Let old matters depart from your mouth (1S 2,3), he says; so that not just the sin but all its accompaniments and imaginations are put from heart and mouth. In that day, when grace is poured in to illuminate the soul, he will make a covenant, will be reconciled with sinners: whether they be ‘beasts of the field’ (miserly and rapacious), ‘fowls of the air’ (proud), or ‘creeping things of the earth’ (gluttonous and lustful). He will destroy out of the land (the sinner’s mind) the bow of devilish temptation, the glittering sword of worldly prosperity, and the war of the flesh. In this way, he will make them sleep secure, and celebrate the marriage like bridegroom and bride in the chamber of a pure conscience.

The third marriage will be celebrated on the day of judgement, at the coming of the Bridegroom, Jesus Christ: of him it is said:

Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye forth to meet him. (Mt 25,6)

He will take as his bride the Church, of which St John says in the Apocalypse:

Come and I will show thee the bride, the wife of the Lamb... And he shewed me the holy city Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God. (Ap 21,9-11)

The Church of the faithful comes down from God out of heaven, because she accepts from God that her conversation is in heaven, where now she lives by faith and hope, and in a little while will celebrate the marriage with her Bridegroom; as the Apocalypse says:

Blessed are they that are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb. (Ap 19,9)

Of these three marriages, the Lord says in Hosea:

I will espouse thee to me for ever. (Os 2,19)

This is the marriage of glorification. Isaiah says:

Joy everlasting shall be on their heads. They shall obtain joy and gladness. (Is 51,11) Hosea continues:

And I will espouse thee to me in justice and judgement and in mercy and in commiserations. (Os 2,19)

This is the marriage of justification. In the judgement of confession, where the soul judges and accuses herself before her confessor, and in the justice of satisfaction where she exercises justice in herself, the Lord espouses the soul to himself in mercy, by forgiving her sins, and in commiserations by conferring grace and keeping her to the end. Finally:

And I will espouse thee to me in faith. (Os 2,20)

This is the marriage of union. It was in the faith of the blessed Virgin, who believed the Angel, that he espoused our nature to himself. So let us say, then: The kingdom of heaven is likened to a king, who made a marriage for his son. The Gloss says: "The kingdom of heaven, which is the present Church, or congregation of the just, is like to a king (God the Father) who made a marriage for his Son when by the mystery of the Incarnation he joined the Church to his Son."

(A theme on the Annunciation of the Lord: Wisdom hath built herself a house; and the rest that follows.)

4. There follows:

And he sent his servants to call them that were invited to the marriage; and they would not come. Again he sent other servants, saying: Tell them that were invited, Behold, I have prepared my dinner; my beeves and fatlings are killed, and all things are ready. Come ye to the marriage. (Mt 22,3-4)

This is what Solomon says in Proverbs:

Wisdom hath built herself a house; she hath hewn her out seven pillars.

She hath slain her victims, mingled her wine, and set forth her table.

She hath sent her maids to invite to the tower, and to the walls of the city. (Pr 9,1-3)

Wisdom (the Son of God) has built the house of his humanity in the womb of the blessed Virgin, a house supported by the seven columns of the sevenfold gift of grace. This has the same meaning as: he made a marriage for his son. She hath slain her victims, mingled her wine, and set forth her table means the same as: Behold, I have prepared my dinner, etc. And, She hath sent her maids, etc. is the same as, he sent his servants etc.

Note that the Lord calls and invites sinners to the three marriages we have spoken of, represented by the tower and walls of the city. The tower is the humility of the Lord’s Incarnation; the walls are works of penitence, whereby one goes up to the city of heavenly glory. He calls them by his preachers, who are called servants and maids. In Luke, they say: We are unprofitable servants; we have done that which we ought to do (Lc 17,10). They are called ‘maids’ because of the solicitous care they take of souls, as maids towards their mistress; as the Psalm says:

As the eyes of the handmaid are on the hands of her mistress. (Ps 122,2)

To these three marriages refer the three things mentioned in the Gospel and in Solomon (Behold, I have prepared my dinner) regarding the marriage of union. The Gloss says: "The dinner said to be prepared, means the Incarnation fulfilled;" and it is so that those invited might come more keenly that the victims have been slain. In ancient times, ‘victims’ meant sacrifices after victory, carried bound to the altar. Here, the ‘victims’ are the apostles, and their successors, who gave their bodies to punishment, that they might summon the peoples to the marriage of the Lord’s Incarnation. Moses says of them in Deuteronomy:

They shall call the people to the mountain; there shall they sacrifice the victims of justice. (Dt 33,19)

The Apostles called the peoples to the mountain of faith in the Lord’s Incarnation, and there, to enlarge that faith, they sacrificed themselves as victims of justice, to make just the unjust. The just man liveth from faith (Ga 3,11).

My beeves are killed, in the marriage of justification, that is, of penitence. The oxen are killed when proud sinners are humbled, being mortified by penance. they then belong to the Lord, not to themselves. They are ‘their own’ who seek the things that are their own

and not the things that are Jesus Christ’s (Ph 2,21). John says: His own received him not (Jn 1,11). When his neck is as stiff as a bull’s, and his eyes are fierce with anger, a man is ‘his own’. When his neck is brought to the dust, his pride humbled in the remembrance of his own worthlessness, and killed by the mortification of penance, then he belongs not to himself, but to the one who bought him. At this wedding-feast, Wisdom mixes the wine when she tempers the joys of the flesh and the world with the bitterness of tears; as Isaiah says:

The drink shall be bitter to them that drink it. (Is 24,9)

The drink of worldly joys, when mingled with the tears of penitence, is bitter to those who drink it, namely to those who are penitent.

My fatlings are killed, and all things are ready, in the marriage of heavenly glory.

‘Fatlings’ are those perfect men who are full of charity within, and seek the things above on wings of contemplation. They are ‘killed’, since by the death of the flesh they are made to rest. In this marriage, Wisdom prepares a table, as said above: that you may eat and drink at my table.

Few or none are those who come to these three marriages. They shrink from the poverty and humility of the Lord’s Incarnation, they fear the harshness of penance, they do not desire the banquet of the heavenly table; they ardently cling to temporal things. Thus there follows:

But they neglected and went their ways, one to his farm and another to his merchandise. (Mt 22,5)

The Gloss says that to ‘go to one’s farm’ is to devote oneself overmuch to earthly labour; to ‘go to one’s merchandise’ is to cling to earthly wealth. (See the second clause of the Gospel: A certain man made a great supper (Pentecost II))

There follows: And the rest laid hands on his servants and, having treated them contumeliously, put them to death. (Mt 22,6)

There is a concordance to this in the second book of Maccabees, where it tyells of the seven brothers horribly killed by Antiochus, together with their mother (cf. 2M 7,1-19); and of Eleazar, who,

choosing rather a most glorious death than a hateful life, went forward voluntarily to the torment. (2M 6,19)

5. The first part of the Epistle is concordant to this first clause:

See how you walk circumspectly; not as unwise, but as wise. (Ep 5,15-16)

Note that there are three verses in this first part of the Epistle, concordant with the three marriages. They are: ‘See hoW, ‘redeeming the time’ and ‘be not unwise’. He who is going to the marriage of the Lord’s Incarnation walks circumspectly, because he is walking in the light, and whoever walks in the light does not stumble. Isaiah says:

The Gentiles shall walk in thy light, and kings in the brightness of thy rising. (Is 60,3)

Those attending the marriage of Incarnate Wisdom are not unwise, but are made truly wise; as Wisdom says in Proverbs:

Counsel and equity is mine, prudence is mine, strength is mine (Pr 8,14).

These are what make man wise: counsel, to flee the world; equity, to give to each what belongs to him; prudence, to beware of danger; strength, to remain firm in adversity.

He comes to the marriage of penitence, who redeems his mis-spent time: redeeming the time, because the days are evil (Ep 5,15-17). The Gloss, quoting St Augustine, says: "The days are called evil because of man’s malice and misery. He redeems it if he loses, or gives away, what is his own, so as to leave room for God; as one gives a coin in exchange for wine. So the Gospel says: If a man will contend with thee in judgement and take away thy coat, let go thy cloak also unto him (Mt 5,40). To have a quiet heart, do not waste time."

He who desires the marriage of heavenly glory is prudent, not imprudent. The prudent man is the man who foresees. He tastes and sees how sweet the Lord is (cf. Ps 33,9), and in this sweetness he understands the will of God.

We ask you then, Lord Jesus Christ, to make us come in faith and humility to the wedding feast of your Incarnation; to celebrate the marriage of penitence whereby we may attend the wedding of heavenly glory. Grant this, you who are blessed for ever. Amen.


(The theme for a sermon on the three tabernacles, which are concordant with the three weddings: There shall be destruction wherewith the Lord will strike.)

6. There follows, secondly:

But, when the king had heard of it, he was angry; and sending his armies, he destroyed those murderers and burnt their city. (Mt 22,7)

The Gloss says: "Previously, he was called a man, when he was inviting, and doing

works of mercy; now, in the judgement, he is called only a king." As the Psalm says: Mercy and truth shall go before thy face (Ps 88,15). There was mercy in his first coming, in the second there will be true judgement. Christ has been called a bee3 which has the honey of mercy and the sting of justice. The prophet Malachi says: For he is like a refining fire and like the fuller’s herb (Ml 3,2). The fuller’s herb is borage, from which loaves called ‘herbatic’ are made, which those who whiten clothes dry and use for soap. Jesus Christ is for the time being like the fuller’s herb, cleansing souls from sin by his mercy; it time to come he will be like a burning fire to the wicked, casting them into the furnace of hell. So it goes on, Sending his armies, etc. The Gloss says, "He sends his armies of angels, through whom he will do justice, destroying sinners and their city (the flesh they live in) as he burns the soul in hell." Those who sinned in body and soul, will be punished in both.

There follows: Then saith he to his servants: The marriage indeed is ready; but they that were invited were not worthy (Mt 22,8). The grace of God is ready; he who refuses what is offered, or does not keep what he has, makes himself unworthy. The wedding feast is ready; why do you not come? Why do you not go in? Why do you make yourselves unworthy? Hear what the Lord threatens through the prophet Zechariah:

There shall be destruction wherewith the Lord will strike all nations that will not go up to keep the feast of tabernacles. (Zach 14.18)

There are three tabernacles, concordant with the three marriages. The first tabernacle is the Lord’s Incarnation, of which Isaiah says:

And there shall be a tabernacle for a shade in the daytime from the heat;

and for a security and covert from the whirlwind and from rain. (Is 4,6)

When the Son of God took a body from the blessed Virgin, a tabernacle to live in like a pilgrim and guest, he made for us a kind of ‘umbrella’ against the heat of the day, worldy prosperity. The Psalm says: Thou hast overshadowed my head in the day of battle (Ps 139,8), worldly prosperity which greatly assails the poor of Christ. He who lacks the umbrella of the Lord’s poverty will find the sun strike upon his head, so that he dies. The Book of Judith tells how

Her husband was Manasses, who died in the time of the barley harvest. For he was standing over them that bound sheaves in the field, and the heat came upon his head, and he died. (Jdt 8,2-3)

And you find the same in the fourth book of Kings, where the son of the Sunamite woman went out to his father to the reapers, and said to his father: My head acheth... and he died (2R 4,18-20). Manasses means ‘forgotten’; he represents the covetous and avaricious man who forgets the Lord’s poverty as he tries to bind the sheaves of riches and honour in the field of temporal abundance, and the heat of worldy prosperity

strikes his head (his mind) so that he dies. You must understand the same of the ‘boy’, the carnal and lustful man, of whom Isaiah says; The child shall die a hundred years old; and the sinner being a hundred years old shall be accursed (Is 65,20). The Philosopher3 says, "Malice is what will prevent you reaching old age."

The humanity of Christ is a ‘security’ for us, as the Psalm says: The Lord is my helper; I will not fear what man can do unto me (Ps 117,6). It is our ‘covert’, so that we say:

Protect me under the shadow of thy wings (Ps 16,8), from the whirlwind of the devil’s temptation and the rain of carnal desire.

The second tabernacle is penitence; as the Canticles say; I am black but beautiful, like the tents of Cedar (Ct 1,4). (See the Gospel: When the unclean spirit (Lent III, fourth clause))

The third tabernacle is heavenly glory, whence: How lovely are thy tabernacles, etc. (Ps 83,2). If anyone will not go up to celebrate the festival of these tabernacles, the Lord will strike him with the ruin of eternal death. The festival of the first tabernacle is celebrated in faith and humility; of the second in contrition of heart; of the third in the sweetness of contemplation. The marriage is ready, but those invited to it are not worthy; so- Woe to those who make themselves unworthy, clinging to things that are worthless, vile and transitory, the dung of temporal things. Go ye therefore, you preachers, into the highways; and as many as you shall find, call to the marriage (Mt 22,9). The Gloss says: "The highways are our unsuccessful actions; for men are often easily converted when they find no success in their earthly activity." (See the third clause of the Gospel; A certain man made a great supper (Pentecost II)).

And his servants, going forth into the ways, gathered together all that they found, both bad and good; and the marriage was filled with guests. (Mt 22,10)

The Gloss says: "As the Church stands between heaven and hell, it collects good and bad indiscriminately;" Peter and Judas, oil and dregs or sediment, grain and the chaff which is threshed away to leave the wheat. The flail of the devil’s temptation threshes sinners like straw. Ecclesiasticus says: Winnow not with every wind, and go not into every way (Si 5,11); which is pride, from which all the devil’s ways proceed. As Job says: He beholdeth every high thing; he is king over all the children of pride (Jb 41,25).

(Against drunkenness: Be not drunk with wine, wherein is luxury; and the rest that follows on the same subject.)

7. The second part of the Epistle is concordant to this second clause: And be not drunk with wine, wherein is luxury; I want to discuss this verse more fully, and show how great a danger there is in wine. Genesis says:

And Noe, a husbandman, began to till the ground and planted a vineyard, and drinking of the wine was made drunk, and was uncovered in his tent. (Gn 9,20-21)

Here we see, literally, how great is the misery that comes from immoderate use of wine.

Morally: Noah is the prelate who by preaching ‘tills the ground’, the minds of those subject to him. He ‘plants a vineyard’ when he edifies them to perform good works, and he ‘drinks the wine’ when he is pleased with them, in accordance with the Apostle’s words: Who planteth a vineyard and eateth not of the fruit thereof? (1Co 9,7). But when sometimes he is vainglorious about this, or falls into sin in some other way, he is ‘drunk’. From this follows his ‘stripping’, the publication of his hidden sin. This is how Saul relieved himself in the first book of Kings, going into a cave to empty his bowels (cf. 1R 24,4). St Gregory4 says that to empty one’s bowel is to vent the evil conceived within the heart as a deed of foul odour. Ham, the wicked subject, divulges the sin of his superior; while Shem and Japhet, the good subjects, turn away their faces and cover it with a cloak. St Gregory says that we turn away from what we disapprove; they took a covering with averted faces, because while they acknowledged the fact, they reverenced their master, and did not want to look at what they covered. So, Be not drunk with wine, wherein is luxury.

Jeremiah says:

I set before the sons of the house of the Rechabites pots full of wine and cups: and I said to them: Drink ye wine. And they answered: We will not drink wine, because Jonadab, the son of Rechab, our father, commanded us, saying: You shall drink no wine, neither you nor your children, for ever. Neither shall ye build houses, nor sow seed, nor plant vineyards, nor have any; but you shall dwell in tents all your days. (Jr 35,5-7)

And a little further on:

And Jeremias said to the house of the Rechabites: Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Because you have obeyed the commandment of Jonadab your father... there shall not be wanting a man of the race of Jonadab standing before me for ever. (Jr 35,18)

Therefore, Be not drunk with wine, wherein is luxury.

Whoever is drunk with wine is not worthy to come to the wedding banquet; he is more worthy ro be burnt with his city, like a murderer. Thus there is a concordance to this in the Book of Maccabees, at the end of the first book, where it tells how Ptolemy the son of Abobus made a great banquet for Simon.

And when Simon and his sons had drunk plentifully, Ptolemy and his men rose up and took their weapons and entered into the banqueting place and slew him and his two sons and some of his servants. And he committed a great treachery in Israel. (1M 16,16-17)

See what great evils come from wine, whereby the devil slays not only carnal people, but

even penitents (represented by Simon), their works (his sons) and their purity (his servants). So, Be not drunk with wine, wherein is luxury.

Hosea says, Fornication and wine and drunkenness take away the heart (Os 4,11), and so Genesis tells how Lot had two daughters, and the elder said to the younger, "Come, let us make our father drunk with wine, and sleep with him, to preserve the seed of our father." And they gave him wine to drink and slept with him (cf. Gn 19,31-35). See how it takes away the heart!

Morally: Lot stands for the just man, and his two daughters are perverse suggestion and perverse pleasure, which sometimes befuddle the mind of a just man and make him ‘Lot’ indeed (meaning, ‘falling’). There is a concordance in Isaiah:

Out of the root of the serpent shall come forth a basilisk,

and his seed shall swallow the bird. (Is 14,29)

The root of the serpent is man’s sensuality; and from it comes the basilisk of temptation and the seed of pleasure, which swallows the bird of reason, which can fly above. So, Be not drunk with wine, wherein is luxury.

Solomon says of this in Proverbs:

Who hath woe? Whose father hath woe? Who hath contentions? Who falls into pits?

Who hath wounds without cause? Who hath redness of eyes? Surely they that pass their time in wine, and study to drink off their cups. Look not upon the wine when it is yellow, when the colour thereof shineth in the glass. It goeth in pleasantly; but in the end it will bite like a snake, and will spread abroad poison like a basilisk. (Pr 23,29-32)

This is particularly applicable to luxury: so, Be not drunk with wine, wherein is luxury.

We ask you, therefore, Lord Jesus Christ, to keep us and our city from ruin and the fire of hell; and make us to go up to the feast of tabernacles, to be free from being drunk with wine and its luxury, so as to deserve to eat and drink at your table in your kingdom.

Grant this, you who are blessed for ever. Amen.

Anthony_Sermons - (THIRD CLAUSE)