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say, or do. Are you highly favoured with

your soul at liberty. How many persons gifts, graces, or endowments? Never forget,

have entailed misery on themselves all their that in yourself you are nothing ; that all days, by venturing to contract forbidden conthese gifts in themselves are nothing; and nexions, and by walking in forbidden ways ! that all your help lies in the Lord alone. Their career has been sad indeed; their Has your course been signally marked by character has become clouded; their state the tokens of divine favour and acceptance ? doubtful; their usefulness curtailed; their Never imagine, that you may deviate in safety life miserable; their end to be deplored! from the path of holiness and life, in the Though, in some cases, where true grace has smallest degree; nor think, that, if you do, been given, the Lord has not utterly forsaken you

will escape the snares of the enemy, or them, but has granted them mercy from time the rod of correction. In Samson's history to time; yet, altogether, their example has you may trace the propriety of these remarks, been more to be avoided than imitated. and learn to take heed where others have

others, the whole course has been of the fallen. (Ps. lxxxix. 31, 32.)

most melancholy description indeed: hopeful The circumstances recorded in this chapter symptoms have come to nought; pleasing clearly teach us, how many are the entangle- anticipations have utterly failed; the life has ments, or the deceitfulness of sin; and how been wretched; and the latter end miserable difficult it is to escape

the
snare,
when

beyond conception. entrapped. Such was the case before us. Oh, who will not fear the Lord ? Who Instead of exhibiting that greatness of charac- will not dread sin ? Who will not shun the ter and exploit which we might well have ex- enemy? Who will not turn from forbidden pected, we behold a mighty champion amusing paths ?

paths ? Who will not break off from evil himself and others with riddles, or wasting courses? Who will not pray, yea, earnestly his strength in acts of petty, though great pray, that he may be kept near to the Lord, , revenge. Is this Samson?

Does God con- and walk in that way which is pleasing and descend to work by such an instrument as acceptable in his sight? this? Then, surely, that work must be of God, and not of man. That he was delivered out of his difficulties, that he smote his

CHAPTER XVI. enemies, brake the withs and cords where

1 Samson at Gaza escapeth, and carrieth away the gates of with he was bound, and slew his thousands

the city. 4 Delilah, corrupted by the Philistines, enticeth

Samson. (Thrice she is deceived. 15 At last she overwith the jawbone of an ass, and that God cometh him. 21 The Philistincs take him, and put out heard and answered his cry in his great

his eyes. 22 His strength rencuing, he pulleth down the

house upon the Philistines, and dieth. distress, was no proof that his ways were

HEN went Samson to Gaza, and saw right; but rather that the Lord was merciful

there 'an harlot, and went in unto her. and gracious, and that he could as easily 2 And it was told the Gazites, saying, accomplish his purposes without, as with Samson is come hither. And they comsuch means.

passed him in, and laid wait for him all Beware, then, of sin: beware of forbidden night in the gate of the city, and were ? quiet

all the night, saying, In the morning, when it paths; beware of playing with the enemy,

Such was

is day, we shall kill him. and parleying with temptation.

3 And Samson lay till midnight, and arose Samson's perilous course.

You see the con

at midnight, and took the doors of the gate of sequence; you see how he stumbled, was the city, and the two posts, and went away entangled, and fell. Oh, the deceitfulness with them, 'bar and all, and put them upon of sin ! It can assume a thousand forms,

his shoulders, and carried them up to the top and put on a thousand faces, to deceive and

of an hill that is before Hebron. destroy: and when your own wicked cor

4 And it came to pass afterward, that he

loved a woman ‘in the valley of Sorek, whose ruptions run in the same stream with the

name was Delilah. outward temptation, the danger becomes 5 And the lords of the Philistines came up immensely greater, and nothing but a mi- unto her, and said unto her, Entice him, ard racle of mercy can break the snare, and set see wherein his great strength lieth, and by

THEN

67

man.

what means we may prevail against him, that 18 And when Delilah saw that he had told we may bind him to afflict him: and we will her all his heart, she sent and called for the give thee every one of us eleven hundred lords of the Philistines, saying, Come up this pieces of silver

once, for he hath shewed me all his heart. 6 | And Delilah said to Samson, Tell me, Then the lords of the Philistines came up unto I pray thee, wherein thy great strength lieth, her, and brought money in their hand. and wherewith thou mightest be bound to 19 And she made him sleep upon her ! afflict thee.

knees; and she called for a man, and she 7 And Samson said unto her, If they bind caused him to shave off the seven locks of his me with seven green withs that were never head; and she began to afflict him, and his dried, then shall I be weak, and be as San- strength went from him. other man.

20 And she said, The Philistines be upon 8 Then the lords of the Philistines brought thee, Samson. And he awoke out of his sleep, up to her seven green withs which had not and said, I will go out as at other times before, been dried, and she bound him with them. and shake myself. And he wist not that the

9 Now there were men lying in wait, abiding Lord was departed from him. with her in the chamber. And she said unto 21 | But the Philistines took him, and him, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. 12 put out his eyes, and brought him down to And he brake the withs, as a thread of tow is Gaza, and bound him with fetters of brass; broken when it 'toucheth the fire. So his and he did grind in the prison house. strength was not known.

22 Howbeit the hair of his head began to 10 And Delilah said unto Samson, Behold,

grow again ' after he was shaven. thou hast mocked me, and told me lies: now 23 Then the lords of the Philistines tell me, I pray thee, wherewith thou mightest gathered them together for to offer a great be bound.

sacrifice unto Dagon their god, and to re11 And he said unto her, If they bind me joice : for they said, Our god hath delivered fast with new ropes 1° that never were occu- Samson our enemy into our hand. pied, then shall I be weak, and be as another 24 And when the people saw him, they

praised their god: for they said, Our god 12 Delilah therefore took new ropes,

and hath delivered into our hands our enemy, and bound him therewith, and said unto him, The the destroyer of our country, " which slew Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And there

many

of were liers in wait abiding in the chamber.

25 And it came to pass, when their hearts And he brake them from off his arms like a

were merry, that they said, Call for Samson, thread.

that he may make us sport. And they called 13 And Delilah said unto Samson, Hitherto for Samson out of the prison house; and he thou hast mocked me, and told me lies: tell made them sport: and they set him between me wherewith thou mightest be bound. And the pillars. he said unto her, If thou weavest the seven 26 And Samson said unto the lad that held locks of my head with the web.

him by the hand, Suffer me that I may feel 14 And she fastened it with the pin, and the pillars whereupon the house standeth, said unto him, The Philistines be upon thee, that I may lean upon them. Samson. And he awaked out of his sleep,

27 Now the house was full of men and and went away with the pin of the beam, and women; and all the lords of the Philistines with the web.

were there; and there were upon the roof 15 | And she said unto him, How canst about three thousand men and women, that thou say, I love thee, when thine heart is not beheld while Samson made sport. with me? thou hast mocked me these three

28 And Samson called unto the Lord, and times, and hast not told me wherein thy great said, O Lord God, remember me, I pray thee, strength lieth.

and strengthen me, I pray thee, only this 16 And it came to pass, when she pressed once, O God, that I may be at once avenged ! him daily with her words, and urged him, so of the Philistines for my two eyes. that his soul was "vexed unto death;

29 And Samson took hold of the two 17 That he told her all his heart, and said middle pillars upon which the house stood, and unto her, There hath not come a razor upon 16 on which it was borne up, of the one with wine head; for I have been a Nazarite unto his right hand, and of the other with his left. God from my mother's womb: if I be shaven, 30 And Samson said, Let me die with then my strength will go from me, and I shall the Philistines. And he bowed himself with become weak, and be like any other man. all his might; and the house fell upon the

us.

(1) Heb. a woman an harlot.
(2) Heb. silent.
(3) Heb. with the bar.

not been done.
(11) Heb. shortened.
(12) Heb. bored out.
(13) Or, as when he was shaven.

(5) Or, humble.
(6) Or, new cords.
(7) Heb. moist.
(8) Heb.one.
(9) Heb, smelleth.

slain.
(15) Heb. before them.

lords, and upon all the people that were Let us pause, and learn wisdom. Is this therein. So the dead which he slew at his the Nazarite unto God? Is this the man to death were more than they which he slew in

be devoted unto God from his mother's womb? his life. 31 Then his brethren and all the house of

Alas! how changed! how fallen! The mighty his father came down, and took him, and

champion of Israel, who had slain his thoubrought him up, and buried him between

sands, and tens of thousands, with an appaZorah and Eshtaol in the buryingplace of rently useless weapon, whose very name Manoah his father. And he judged Israel struck terror into the heart of his foes, whom twenty years.

neither withs nor ropes could bind, nor num(10) Heb. wherewith work hath

bers overcome, when God was with him, is now (4) Or, by the brook.

a poor captive prisoner; his eyes were torn (14) Heb. and who multiplied our

out, and himself became the derision and sport

of his foes. Shall we insult over his fall? God (16) Or, he leaned on them. forbid. Shall we not rather feel pity and com(17) Heb. my soul.

passion for his misery and distress? Shall we

not, also, learn to look to ourselves, and ask, Who can read this history of Samson without Why have we not done the same, or brought fear and trembling? That such a renowned our souls into a deeper misery? Oh, see the character should so greatly fall, may well artfulness of abandoned tempters; see the sound the alarm in all our ears. “ Let him insidiousness of the workings of sin; see the that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he treachery of the enemy. The real language fall” in like manner. (1 Cor. x. 12.) But of every temptation yielded to, is, not the where lay the essence of his fall? In the Philistines, but the devils be upon thee, consciousness of his being endued with such sinner; and if the Lord come not to thy great strength. Not that that strength was aid, thy destruction is sure. the fault, or any fault in itself, for it was the Learn, also, another lesson equally imspecial gift of God; but he was led thereby portant. God may have left you to yourself to forget his dependance on the Lord, to when you provoke him by sin, long before consider his strength more as a possession you have made the discovery.

. than a gift, to cherish an unwarranted degree shake your locks, and say, “I will go out of self-confidence, and to venture on for- as at other times” (v. 20); but the Lord has bidden paths and sinful indulgences. Surely, departed from you ; your vain confidence the fact speaks loudly to all; and," he that soon fails, and you fall still deeper than hath ears to hear, let him hear.” (Matt. xi. 15.) you are already fallen. Have you not often

We have seen how the Lord brought him cause to apprehend that this may be the case out of his perplexities hitherto; will he ven- after grievous provocations, when you find ture on forbidden courses again? Alas! yes. duties dead, and privileges a burden; when Instead of having gained wisdom by his past the Word becomes a sealed book, and the experience, he seems to have been more in- precious truths of the gospel are an empty fatuated; instead of becoming more watch- sound? Look well to your steps, and see ful, he appears more heedless.

Again, we how the matter stands between God and your behold him captivated by an harlot's charms, soul. and brought to the lowest abasement through We hope that Samson's last days were his her artful wiles. In this respect also, it is best. It is likely that the prison became a clear that he had fallen into the snare of vain- sanctified paradise to his soul; that he came confidence. All through the circumstances to himself; and that the spirit of prayer was here recorded, he was not only tantalising restored. As his hair began to grow, so his his paramour, but playing with temptation; strength revived; and his last exploit at once till, at length, God so forsook him, as to marked the vigour of his restored faith, the allow his enemies to triumph in his fall, and strength of his importunate prayer, and his to treat him with the utmost cruelty and triumphant, though inglorious end. Many contempt.

truths are here taught. You see the evil of

You may

sin, the power of temptation, and how far a servant of the Lord may be drawn aside, and yet, through the riches of divine grace, be snatched out of the burning, and made a glorious monument of redeeming love.

12 And Micah consecrated the Levite; and the young man became his priest, and was in the house of Micah.

13 Then said Micah, Now know I that the LORD will do me good, seeing I have a Levite to my priest. (1) Heb. filled the hand.

(3) Or, a double suit, &c. (2) Heb. in making his way. (4) Heb. an order of garments.

A

CHAPTER XVII.

ANOTHER.remarkable history opens before us 1 of the money that Micah first stole, then restored, his mother maketh images, 5 and he ornaments for them.

in this chapter, in the course of which many 7 He hireth a Levite to be his pricst.

evils are brought to light. The hidden corND there was a man of mount Ephraim, ruptions of the heart, its deceitfulness above whose name was Micah.

all things, and its desperate wickedness, are 2 And he said unto his mother, The eleven

here developed in a new manner. It is the hundred shekels of silver that were taken from

case of Micah, his mother, the molten images thee, about which thou cursedst, and spakest of also in mine ears, behold, the silver is with they made, and the Levite they hired to me; I took it. And his mother said, Blessed officiate in the house. be thou of the Lord, my son.

The mother of this man had a certain sum 3 And when he had restored the eleven

of money: this was known to her son, and hundred shekels of silver to his mother, his

he stole it. On discovering the loss she had mother said, I had wholly dedicated the silver unto the LORD from my hand for my son, to

sustained, the woman became greatly enmake a graven image and a molten image:

raged, and cursed the thief whoever he might now therefore I will restore it unto thee.

be. Alarmed at this curse, and accused by 4 Yet he restored the money unto his his guilty conscience, he confessed his crime, mother; and his mother took two hundred and restored what he had taken. Glad to shekels of silver, and gave them to the have regained the treasure, instead of refounder, who made thereof a graven image buking him for his theft, she applauded him and a molten image: and they were in the

for the act, and even called hin the blessed house of Micah.

of the 5 And the man Micah had an house of

ord (v. 2): and then she declared gods, and made an ephod, and teraphim, and

that, as she had devoted the money to the consecrated one of his sons, who became his Lord, she would now carry her intention priest.

into effect, and make a graven and a molten 6 In those days there was no king in Israel, image, which the Lord had forbidden to be but every man did that which was right in

done. This was executed, and a wandering his own eyes. 7 | And there was a young man out of

Lerite, who was more influenced by gain Beth-lehem-judah of the family of Judah, who

than principle, was ready to offer his services was a Lerite, and he sojourned there.

to set forward the impious idolatry. 8 And the man departed out of the city What a complication of wickedness and sin from Beth-lehem-judah to sojourn where he is here. Consider the action of the thief. could find a place : and he came to mount

His eye saw, and his heart coveted this sum Ephraim to the house of Micah, ‘as he jour- of money. He then took it, and thus robbed neyed.

his own mother. Will not sin break through 9 And Micah said unto him, Whence comest thou? And he said unto him, I am

every restraint? Even the respect due to a a Levite of Beth-lehem-judah, and I go to parent, or the duty of taking care of her sojourn where I may find a place.

interests, is of no avail, when that love of 10 And Micah said unto him, Dwell with

money, which is the root of all evil, takes me, and be unto me a father and a priest,

possession of the heart, and aims at the and I will give thee ten shekels of silver by

gratification of its desire. But can wealth the year, and 3 * a suit of apparel, and thy victuals. So the Levite went in.

gotten by iniquity prosper? Can the thief 11 And the Levite was content to dwell

be happy? Is there not a dreadful sound with the man; and the young man was unto

in his ears? Will not a guilty conscience him as one of his sons.

appal him? Can he retain in peace his ill

Was

I

gotten treasure ?
In the present instance,

CHAPTER XVIII. the theft was restored, not because he re 1 The Danites send five men to seek out an inheritance. 3 At

the house of Micah they consult with Jonathan, and are pented of his sin, or stood in awe of the

encouraged in their way. 7 They search Laish, and bring Majesty of heaven. It was the dread of a back news of good hope. 11 Six hundred men are sent to

surprise it. 14 In the way they rob Micah of his priest mother's curse, and not a penitent sense of and his consecrate things. 27 They win Luish, and call the sin, that made him act as he did.

it Dan. 30 They set up idolatry, wherein Jonathan in

herited the priesthood. he, then, a renewed man? Read the sequel,

N those days there was no king in Israel: and you will soon find the sad proof that he

and in those days the tribe of the Danites was not.

sought them an inheritance to dwell in; for Consider the parent. This money seems unto that day all their inheritance had not to have been intended by her for an idolatrous fallen unto them among the tribes of Israel. purpose. She designed to make her son the 2 And the children of Dan sent of their instrument of that sin; and when it was re

family five men from their coasts, 'men of stored, instead of reflecting on her ways, or

valour, from Zorah, and from Eshtaol, to spy

out the land, and to search it; and they said rebuking the thief, she pursued her design,

unto them, Go, search the land: who when and praised him for the part he had acted: they came to mount Ephraim, to the house she had her money, and she cared not how. of Micah, they lodged there. How deceitful is the human heart! Can this 3 When they were by the house of Micah, woman really believe her own words? Can they knew the voice of the young man the

Levite: and they turned in thither, and said she really think, that the God who had for

unto him, Who brought thee hither? and bidden idolatry, could be pleased with the

what makest thou in this place ? and what idols she intended to make? Can she really hast thou here? think that the restoration of the money on 4 And he said unto them, Thus and thus which her soul doated, could compensate dealeth Micah with me, and hath hired me, for the sin of stealing it? or that the man

and I am his priest. whom the law of God condemns as a thief,

5 And they said unto him, Ask counsel, we could really be blessed of the Lord as a pray thee, of God, that we may know whether

our way which we go shall be prosperous. saint? How true it is that sin infatuates,

6 And the priest said unto them, Go in and blinds, as well as hardens and destroys

peace : before the Lord is

your way

wherein the soul.

ye go. Consider the character of this Levite. He 7 9 Then the five men departed, and came ought to have known better. Considering to Laish, and saw the people that were what was his office and employment, he

therein, how they dwelt careless, after the ought to have known that the whole thing

manner of the Zidonians, quiet and secure;

and there was no ’magistrate in the land, altogether, the design of the nother, and

that might put them to shame in any thing; the conduct of the son, and the unanimity and they were far from the Zidonians, and of both in furthering the scheme, was a most had no business with any man. detestable abomination. Did he see it in its 8 And they came unto their brethren to proper colours? If he did, did he tell them Zorah and Eshtaol : and their brethren said so? Did he start with horror at the wicked

unto them, What say ye?

9 And they said, Arise, that we may go up proposal? Alas! no; his god was his belly.

against them: for we have seen the land, and, Whether an idol, or the God of Israel, he

behold, it is very good: and are ye still ? be could bow down before both as occasion

not slothful to go, and to enter to possess the offered, and bless himself that he had fallen land. into such good hands. Are there not many 10 When ye go, ye shall come unto a like him? Are there not many like the man people secure, and to a large land: for God who employed him? Are there not many

hath given it into your hands; a place where who flatter themselves with hopes of safety

there is no want of any thing that is in the

earth. and impunity, because they have such miser

11 | And there went from thence of the able characters to sit at their table, and wink

family of the Danites, out of Zorah and out at their impieties? What must the end be

of Eshtaol, six hundred men appointed with but death and eternal misery?

weapons

1

of war.

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