"Your love is better than wine." (Song of Solomon 1:2)
"Once more, Christ's love is better than wine, because it produces no ill effects.
Many are the mighty men who have fallen down slain by wine. Solomon says, "Who has woe? who has sorrow? who has contentions? who has babbling? who has wounds without cause? who has redness of eyes? They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine." But who was ever slain by the love of Christ? Who was ever made wretched by this love?
We have been inebriated with it, for the love of Christ sometimes produces a holy exhilaration that makes men say, 'Whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell.' There is an elevation that lifts the soul above all earthly things, and bears the spirit up beyond where eagles soar, even into the clear atmosphere where God communes with men. There is all that sacred exhilaration about the love of Christ; but there are no evil effects arising from it.
He that desires, may drink from this golden chalice, and he may drink as much as he will, for the more he drinks the stronger and the better shall he be.
Oh, may God grant to us, dear friends, to know the love of Christ, which passes knowledge!
Wine was also frequently used as the symbol of joy; and certainly, in this respect, Christ's love is better than wine.
Whatever joy there may be in the world (and it would be folly to deny that there is some sort of joy which even the basest of men know), yet the love of Christ is far superior to it. Human joy derived from earthly sources is a muddy, dirty pool, at which men would not drink did they know there was a stream sweeter, cooler, and far more refreshing.
The love of Jesus brings a joy that is fit for angels, a joy that we shall have continued to us even in heaven itself, a joy which makes earth like to heaven; it is therefore far better than wine.
It is better than wine, once more, for the sacred exhilaration which it gives. I have already spoken of this; the love of Christ is the grandest stimulant of the renewed nature that can be known. It enables the fainting man to revive from his swooning; it causes the feeble man to leap up from his bed of languishing; and it makes the weary man strong again. Are you weary, brother, and sick of life? You only need more of Christ's love shed abroad in your heart.
Are you, dear brother, ready to faint through unbelief? You only need more of Christ's love, and all shall be well with you. I would to God that we were all filled with it to the full, like those believers were on the day of Pentecost, of whom the mockers said that they were full of new wine. Peter truly said that they were not drunken, as men supposed; but that it was the Spirit of God and the love of Christ filling them with unusual power and unusual energy, and therefore men knew not what it was. God grant to us also this great power, and Christ shall have all the glory of it!"
From "Better than Wine" preached on June 2, 1872.