Sermon 224. Samson Conquered
Delivered on Sabbath Morning, November 21st, 1858, by the
REV. C.H. SPURGEON
at the Music Hall, Royal Surrey Gardens.
"And she said, the Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he awoke out of his sleep, and said, I will go out as at other timesbefore, and shake myself. And he wist not that the Lord was departed from him. But the Philistines took him, and put out hiseyes, and brought him down to Gaza, and bound him with fetters of brass; and he did grind in the prison house."-Judges 16:20-21.
SAMSON IS, IN MANY RESPECTS, one of the most remarkable men whose history is recorded in the pages of inspiration. He enjoyeda singular privilege only accorded to one other person in the Old Testament. His birth was foretold to his parents by an angel.Isaac was promised to Abraham and Sarah by angels whom they entertained unawares; but save Isaac, Samson was the only onewhose birth was foretold by an angelic messenger before the opening of the gospel dispensation.Before his birth he was dedicated to God, and set apart as a Nazarite. Now, a Nazarite was a person who was entirely consecratedto God, and in token of his consecration he drank no wine; and allowed his hair to grow, untouched by the razor. Samson, youmay therefore understand, was entirely consecrated to God, and when any saw him, they would say, "That man is God's man, aNazarite, set apart." God endowed Samson with supernatural strength, a strength which never could have been the result ofmere thews and sinews. It was not the fashioning of Samson's body that made him strong; it was not the arm, or the fistwith which he smote the Philistines; it was a miracle that dwelt within him, a continued going forth of the omnipotence ofGod, which made him mightier than thousands of his enemies. Samson appears very early to have discovered in himself this greatstrength, for "the Spirit of the Lord began to move him at times in the camp of Dan." He judged Israel for thirty years, andgloriously did he deliver them. What a noble being he must have been! See him, when he steps into the vineyard for a momentfrom his parents. A lion that has been crouching there springs upon him, but he meets him all unarmed, receives him upon hisbrawny arms and rends him like a kid. See him afterwards, when his countrymen have bound him and taken him down from the topof the rock, and delivered him up to the thousands of the Philistines. He has scarcely come near them, when, without aweapon, with his own foot, he begins to spurn them; and seeing there the jaw-bone of an ass, he takes that ignoble weapon,and sweeps away the men that had helmets about their heads and were girded with greaves of brass. Nor did his vigour failhim in his later life, for he died in the very prime of his days. One of his greatest exploits was performed at this veryseason. He is entrapped in the city of Gaza. He remains there till midnight; so confident is he in his strength that he isin nohurry to depart, and instead of assailing the guard, and making them draw the bolts, he wrenches up the two posts, andtakes away the gate, bar and all, and, carries his mighty burden for miles to the top of a hill that is before Hebron. Everyway it must have been a great thing to see this man, especially if one had him for a friend. Had one been his foe, the moredistant the sight the better, for none could escape from him but those who fled; but to have him for a friend and to standwith himin the day of battle, was to feel that you had an army in a single man, and had in one frame that which would strike thousandswith terror. Samson, however, though he had great physical strength, had but little mental force, and even less spiritualpower. His whole life is a scene of miracles and follies. He had but little grace, and was easily overcome by temptation.He is enticed and led astray. Often corrected; still he sins again. At last he falls into the hands of Delilah. She is bribedwith an enormous sum, and she endeavours to get from him the secret of his strength. He foolishly toys with the danger,and plays with his own destruction. At last goaded by her importunity, he lets out the secret which he ought to have confidedto no one but himself. The secret of his strength lay in his locks. Not that his hair made him strong; but that his hair wasthe symbol of his consecration, and was the pledge of God's favour to him. While his hair was untouched he was a consecratedman; as soon as that was cut away, he was no longer perfectly consecrated, and then his strength departed from him. Hishair is cut away; the locks that covered him once are taken from him, and there he stands a shaveling, weak as other men.Now the Philistines begin to oppress him, and his eyes are burned out with hot iron. How are the mighty fallen! How are thegreat ones taken in the net! Samson, the great hero of Israel, is seen with a shuffling gait walking towards Gaza. A shufflinggait,I said, because he had just received blindness, which was a new thing to him, therefore, he had not as yet learned towalk as well as those who, having been blind for years, at last learn to set their feet firmly upon the earth. With his feetbound together with brazen fetters-an unusual mode of binding a prisoner, but adopted in this case because Samson was supposedto be still so strong, that any other kind of fetter would have been insufficient-you see him walking along in the midst ofasmall escort towards Gaza. And now he comes to the very city out of which he had walked in all his pride with the gatesand bolts upon his shoulders; and the little children come out, the lower orders of the people come round about him, and pointat him-"Samson, the great hero, hath fallen! let us make sport of him!" What a spectacle! The hot sun is beating upon hisbare head, which had once been protected by those luxuriant locks. Look at the escort who guard him, a mere handful of men,howthey would have fled before him in his brighter days; but now a child might overcome him. They take him to a place wherean ass is grinding at the mill, and Samson must do the same ignoble work. Why, he must be the sport and jest of every passerby, and of every fool who shall step in to see this great wonder-the destroyer of the Philistines made to toil at the mill.Ah, what a fall was there, my brethren! We might indeed stand and weep over poor blind Samson. That he should have lost hiseyes was terrible; that he should have lost his strength was worse; but that he should have lost the favour of God forawhile; that he should become the sport of God's enemies, was the worst of all. Over this indeed we might weep.
Now, why have I narrated this story? Why should I direct your attention to Samson? For this reason. Every child of God is a consecrated man. His consecration is not typified by any outward symbol; we are not commanded to let our hair grow for ever, nor to abstainfrom meats or drinks. The Christian is a consecrated man, but his consecration is unseen by his fellows, except in the outwarddeeds which are the result thereof.
And now I want to speak to you, my dear friends, as consecrated men, as Nazarites, and I think I shall find a lesson for youin the history of Samson. My first point shall be the strength of the consecrated, for they are strong men; secondly, the secret of their strength; thirdly, the danger to which they are exposed; and fourthly, the disgrace which will come upon them if they fall into this danger.
I. First, THE STRENGTH OF THE CONSECRATED MAN. Do you know that the strongest man in all the world is a consecrated man? Eventhough he may consecrate himself to a wrong object, yet if it be a thorough consecration, he will have strength-strength forevil, it may be, but still strength. In the old Roman wars with Pyrrhus, you remember an ancient story of self-devotion. Therewas an oracle which said that victory would attend that army whose leader should give himself upto death. Decius the Roman Consul, knowing this, rushed into the thickest of the battle, that his army might overcomeby his dying. The prodigies of valour which he performed are proofs of the power of consecration. The Romans at that timeseemed to be every man a hero, because every man was a consecrated man. They went to battle with this thought-"I will conqueror die; the name of Rome is written on my heart; for my country I am prepared to live, or for that to shed my blood." Andnoenemies could ever stand against them. If a Roman fell there were no wounds in his back, but all in his breast. His face,even in cold death, was like the face of a lion, and when looked upon it was of terrible aspect. They were men consecratedto their country; they were ambitious to make the name of Rome the noblest word in human language; and consequently the Romanbecame a giant. And to this day let a man get a purpose within him, I care not what his purpose is, and let his whole soulbeabsorbed by it, and what will he not do? You that are "everything by turns and nothing long," that have nothing to livefor, soulless carcases that walk this earth and waste its air, what can you do? Why nothing. But the man who knows what heis at, and has his mark, speeds to it "Like an arrow from a bow shot by an archer strong." Nought can turn him aside fromhis design. How much more is this true if I limit the description to that which is peculiar to the Christian-consecrationto God!Oh! what strength that man has who is dedicated to God! Is there such an one here? I know there is. I know that therebe many who have consecrated themselves to the Lord God of Israel in the secret of their chamber; and who can say in theirhearts,
"Tis done; the great transaction's done
I am my Lord's, and he is mine.
He drew me, and I followed on,
Glad to obey the voice divine."
Now, the man that can say that, and is thoroughly consecrated to God; be he who he may or what he may, he is a strong man,and will work marvels.
Need I tell you of the wonders that have been done by consecrated men? You have read the stories of olden times, when ourreligion was hunted like a partridge on the mountains. Did you never hear how consecrated men and women endured unheard-ofpangs and agonies? Have you not read how they were cast to the lions, how they were sawn in sunder, how they languished inprisons, or met with the swifter death of the sword? Have you not heard how they wandered about in sheeps'skins and goats' skins, destitute, afflicted, tormented, of whom the world was not worthy? Have you not heard how theydefied tyrants to their face, how, when they were threatened, they dared most boldly to laugh at all the threats of the foe-howat the stake they clapped their hands in the fire, and sang psalms of triumph when men, worse than fiends, were jeering attheir miseries? How was this? What made women stronger than men, and men stronger than angels? Why this,-they wereconsecrated to God. They felt that every pang which rent their heart was giving glory to God, that all the pains theyendured in their bodies were but the marks of the Lord Jesus, whereby they were proven to be wholly dedicated unto him. Norin this alone has the power of the consecrated ones been proved. Have you never heard how the sanctified ones have done wonders?Read the stories of those who counted not their lives dear unto them, that they might honour their Lord and Master by preachinghis Word, by telling forth the gospel in foreign lands. Have you not heard how men have left their kindred and their friends,and all that life held dear-have crossed the stormy sea, and have gone into the lands of the heathen, where men were devouringone another? Have you not known how they have put their foot upon that country, and have seen the ship that conveyed themthere fading away in the distance, and yet without a fear have dwelt amongst the wild savages of the woods, have walkedinto the midst of them, and told them the simple story of the God that loved and died for man? You must know how thosemen have conquered, how those, who seemed to be fiercer than lions, have crouched before them, have listened to their words,and have been converted by the majesty of the gospel which they preached. What made these men heroes? What enabled them torend themselves away from all their kith and kin, and banish themselves into the land of the stranger? It was because theywereconsecrated, thoroughly consecrated to the Lord Jesus Christ. What is there in the world which the consecrated man cannotdo? Tempt him; offer him gold and silver; carry him to the mountain top, and show him all the kingdoms of the world, and tellhim he shall have all these if he will bow down and worship the god of this world. What saith the consecrated man? "Get theebehind me, Satan; I have more than all this which thou dost offer me; this world is mine, and worlds to come; I despise thetemptation; I will not bow before thee." Let men threaten a consecrated man, what does he say? "I fear God, and, therefore,I cannot fear you; if it be right in your sight to obey man rather than God, judge ye; but, as for me, I will serve none butGod." You may, perhaps, have seen in your life a consecrated man. Is he a public character? What cannot he do? He preachesthe gospel, and at once a thousand enemies assail him; they attack him on every side; some for this thing, and some for that;his very virtues are distorted into vices, and his slightest faults are magnified into the greatest crimes. He has scarcea friend; the very ministers of the gospel shun him; he is reckoned to be so strange that every one must avoid him. What doeshe do? Within the chamber of his own heart he holds conference with his God, and asks himself this question-am I right? Consciencegives the verdict,-yes, and the Spirit bears witness with his spirit that conscience is impartial. "Then," says he,"come fair, come foul, if I am right,-neither to the right hand nor to the left will I turn." Perhaps he feels in secretwhat he will not express in public. He feels the pang of desertion, obloquy, and rebuke; he cries-
"If on my face, for thy dear name,
Shame and reproach shall be,
I'll hail reproach, and welcome shame,
If thou'lt remember me."
As for himself in public, none can tell that he careth for any of these things; for he can say with Paul-"None of these thingsmove me, neither count I my life dear unto me that I may win Christ and finish my course with joy." What cannot a consecratedman do? I do believe if he had the whole world against him, he would prove more than a match for them all. He would say-"Heapsupon heaps, with the jaw-bone of an ass, have I slain my thousand men." I care not howviolent may be his foe; nor how great may be the advantage which that foe may get on him: though the lion may have crouchedfor the spring, and may be leaping upon him, yet will he rend him as a kid, for he is more than a conqueror through him thatloved him. He is alone such, who is wholly consecrated unto the Lord Jesus Christ.
"But," says some one, "can we be consecrated to Christ? I thought that was for ministers only." Oh, no, my brethren; all God'schildren must be consecrated men. What are you? Are you engaged in business? If you are what you profess to be, your businessmust be consecrated to God. Perhaps you have no family whatever, and you are engaged in trade, and are saving some considerablesum a-year; let me tell you the example of a man thoroughly consecrated to God. There lives inBristol, (name unknown), a man whose income is large; and what does he do with it? He labours in business continuallythat this income may come to him, but of it, every farthing every year is expended in the Lord's cause except that which herequires for the necessaries of life. He makes his necessities as few as possible, that he may have the more to give away.He is God's man in his business. I do not exhort you to do the same. You may be in a different position; but a man who hasa family,and is in business, should be able to say-"Now, I make so much from my business; my family must be provided for-but Iseek not to amass riches. I will make money for God and I will spend it in his cause. Did I not say, when I joined the church-
"All that I am, and all I have,
Shall be for ever thine;
Whate'er my duty bids me give,
My cheerful hands resign."
And if I said it, I meant it." I do not understand some Christian people who sing that hymn, and then pinch, screw, and nipanything when it comes to God's cause. If I sing that, I mean it. I would not sing it unless I did. If I join the church,I understand that I give myself and all that I have up to that church; I would not make a lying profession; I would not makean avowal of a consecration which I did not mean. If I have said, "I am Christ's;" by his grace I will beChrist's. Brethren, you in business may be as much consecrated to Christ as the minister in his pulpit; you may make yourordinary transactions in life a solemn service of God. Many a man has disgraced a cassock, and many another has consecrateda smockfrock: many a man has defiled his pulpit cushions, and many another has made a cobbler's lapstone holiness unto theLord. Happy the man who is consecrated unto the Lord; where'er he is, he is a consecrated man, and he shall do wonders.
It has often been remarked that in this age we are all little men. A hundred years ago, or more, if we had gone through thechurches, we might have readily found a number of ministers of great note. But now we are all little men, the drivelling sonsof nobodies; our names shall never be remembered, for we do nothing to deserve it. There is scarce a man alive now upon thisearth; there are plenty to be found who call themselves men, but they are the husks of men, the lifehas gone from them, the precious kernel seems to have departed. The littleness of Christians of this age results fromthe littleness of their consecration to Christ. The age of John Owen was the day of great preachers; but let me tell you,that that was the age of great consecration. Those great preachers whose names we remember, were men who counted nothing theirown: they were driven out from their benefices, because they could not conform to the Established Church, and they gave upall theyhad willingly to the Lord. They were hunted from place to place; the disgraceful five-mile act would not permit them tocome within five miles of any market town; they wandered here and there to preach the gospel to a few poor sheep, being fullygiven up to their Lord. Those were foul times; but they promised they would walk the road fair or foul, and they did walkit knee deep in mud; and they would have walked it if it had been knee deep in blood too. They became great men; and if wewere, asthey were, wholly given up to God-if we could say of ourselves, "From the crown of my head to the sole of my foot, thereis not a drop of blood that is not wholly God's; all my time, all my talents, everything I have is God's"-if we could saythat, we should be strong like Samson, for the consecrated must be strong.
II. Now, in the second place, THE SECRET OF THEIR STRENGTH. What makes the consecrated man strong? Ah! beloved; there is nostrength in man of himself. Samson without his God was but a poor fool indeed. The secret of Samson's strength was this-aslong as he was consecrated he should be strong; so long as he was thoroughly devoted to his God, and had no object but toserve God, (and that was to be indicated by the growing of his hair) so long, and no longer, would God bewith him to help him. And now you see, dear friends, that if you have any strength to serve God, the secret of your strengthlies in the same place. What strength have you save in God? Ah! I have heard some men talk as if the strength of free will,of human nature, was sufficient to carry men to heaven. Free will has carried many souls to hell, but never a soul to heavenyet. No strength of nature can suffice to serve the Lord aright. No man can say that Jesus is the Christ but by the HolyGhost. No man can come to Christ except the Father that hath sent Christ doth draw him. If, then, the first act of Christianlife is beyond all human strength, how much more are those higher steps far beyond any one of us? Do we not utter a certaintruth when we say in the words of Scripture, "Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves; butour sufficiency is of God." I think every one who has a really quickened soul will sooner or later be made to feel this. Ay!I question whether a man can be converted a day without finding out his own weakness. It is but a little space beforethe child finds that he can stand alone so long as God his Father takes him by the arms and teaches him to go, but that ifhis Father's hand be taken away he has no power to stand, but down he falls at once. See Samson without his God, going outagainst a thousand men. Would they not laugh at him? and with scarcely time to express his terror, he would flee, or be rentin pieces.Imagine him without his God, locked up in Gaza, the gates fast closed. He goes out into the streets to escape; but howcan he clear a passage? He is caught like a wild bull in a net; he may go round and round the walls, but where shall be hisdeliverance? Without his God he is but as other men. The secret of his strength lies in his consecration, and in the strengthwhich is its result. Remember, then, the secret of your strength. Never think that you have any power of your own; rely whollyupon the God of Israel; and remember that the channel through which that strength must come to you must be your entireconsecration to God.
III. In the third place, What is THE PECULIAR DANGER OF A CONSECRATED MAN? His danger is that his locks may be shorn, thatis to say, that his consecration may be broken. As long as he is consecrated he is strong; break that, he is weak as water.Now there are a thousand razors with which the devil can shave off the locks of a consecrated man without his knowing it.Samson is sound asleep; so clever is the barber that he even lulls him to sleep as his fingers move acrossthe pate, the fool's pate, which he is making bare. The devil is cleverer far than even the skilful barber; he can shavethe believer's locks while he scarcely knows it. Shall I tell you with what razors he can accomplish this work? Sometimeshe takes the sharp razor of pride, and when the Christian falls asleep and is not vigilant, he comes with it and begins torun his fingers upon the Christian's locks, and says, "What a fine fellow you are! What wonders you have done! Didn't yourend thatlion finely? Wasn't it a great feat to smite those Philistines hip and thigh? Ah you will be talked-of as long as timeendures for carrying those gates of Gaza away. You need not be afraid of anybody." And so on goes the razor, lock after lockfalling off, and Samson knows it not. He is just thinking within himself, "How brave am I! How great am I!" Thus works therazor of pride-cut, cut, cut away-and he wakes up to find himself bald, and all his strength gone. Have you never had thatrazorupon your head? I confess I have on mine. Have you never, after you have been able to endure afflictions, heard a voicesaying to you, "How patient you were!" After you have cast aside some temptation, and have been able to keep to the unswervingcourse of integrity, has not Satan said to you, "That is a fine thing you have done; that was bravely done." And all the whileyou little knew that it was the cunning hand of the evil one taking away your locks with the sharp razor of pride. For mark,pride is a breach of our consecration. As soon as I begin to get proud of what I do, or what I am, what am I proud of?Why, there is in that pride the act of taking away from God his glory. For I promised that God should have all the glory,and is not that part of my consecration? and I am taking it to myself. I have broken my consecration; my locks are gone, andI become weak. Mark this, Christian-God will never give thee strength to glorify thyself with. God will give thee a crown,but notto put on thine own head. As sure as ever a Christian begins to write his feats, and his triumphs upon his own escutcheon,and take to himself the glory, God will lay him level with the dust.
Another razor he also uses is self-sufficiency. "Ah," saith the devil as he is shaving away your locks, "You have done a very great deal. You see they bound you with greenwithes, and you snapped them in sunder, they merely smelt the fire and they burst. Then they took new ropes to bind you; ah!you overcame even them; for you snapped the ropes in sunder as if they had been a thread. Then they weaved the seven locksof your head, but you walked away with loon, andweb too, beam and all. You can do anything, don't be afraid: you have strength enough to do anything; you can accomplishany feat you set your will upon." How softly the devil will do all that; how will he be rubbing the poll while the razor ismoving softly along and the locks are dropping off, and he is treading them in the dust. "You have done all this, and youcan do anything else." Every drop of grace distils from heaven. O my brethren, what have we that we have not received? Letus notimagine that we can create might wherewith to gird ourselves. "All my springs are in thee." The moment we begin to think that it is our own arm that has gotten us the victory, it will be all over with us-our locksof strength shall be taken away, and the glory shall depart from us. So, you see, self-sufficiency, as well as pride, maybe the razor with which the enemy may shave away our strength.
There is yet another, and a more palpable danger still. When a consecrated man begins to change his purpose in life and live for himself-that razor shaves clean indeed. There is a minister; when he first began his ministry he could say, "God is my witness Ihave but one object, that I may free my skirts from the blood of every one of my hearers, that I may preach the gospel faithfullyand honour my Master." In a little time, tempted by Satan, he changes his toneand talks like this, "I must keep my congregation up. If I preach such hard doctrine, they won't come. Did not one ofthe newspapers criticise me, and did not some of my people go away from me because of it? I must mind what I am at. I mustkeep this thing going. I must look out a little sharper, and prone my speech down. I must adopt a little gentler style, orpreach a new-fashioned doctrine; for I must keep my popularity up. What is to become of me if I go down? People will say,'Up like arocket, down like the stick;' and then shall all my enemies laugh." Ah, when once a man begins to care so much as a snapof the finger about the world, it is all over with him. If he can go to his pulpit, and say, "I have got a message to deliver;and whether they will hear or whether they will not hear, I will deliver it as God puts it into my mouth; I will not changethe dot of an i, or the cross of a t for the biggest man that lives, or to bring in the mightiest congregation that ever satatminister's feet"-that man is mighty. He does not let human judgments move him, and he will move the world. But let himturn aside, and think about his congregation, and how that shall be kept up; ah Samson! how are thy locks shorn? What canstthou do now? That false Delilah has destroyed thee-thine eyes are put out, thy comfort is taken away, and thy future ministryshall be like the grinding of an ass around the continually revolving mill; thou shalt have no rest or peace ever afterwards.Or let him turn aside another way. Suppose he should say, "I must get preferment, or wealth, I must look well to myself,I must see my nest feathered, that must he the object of my life." I am not now speaking of the ministry merely, but of allthe consecrated; and as sure as ever we begin to make self the primary object of our existence our locks are shorn. "Now,"says the Lord, "I gave that man strength, but not to use it for himself. Then I put him into a high position, but not thathe mightclothe himself about with glory; I put him there that he might look to my cause, to my interests; and if he does not dothat first, down he shall go." You remember Queen Esther: she is exalted from being a simple humble maiden, to become thewife of the great monarch-Ahasuerus. Well, Haman gets a decree against her nation, that it shall be destroyed. Poor Mordecaicomes to Esther, and says, "You must go in to the king and speak to him." "Well," says she, "but if I do I shall die." "Ah,"sayshe, "If thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jewsfrom another place; but thou and thy father's house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdomfor such a time as this?" Esther was not made Queen Esther that she might make herself glorious, but that she might be ina position to save the Jews; and now if she prefers herself before her country then it is all over with her-Vashti's fateshall beas nothing compared with her destruction.
And so, if you live in this world, and God prospers you, you get perhaps into some position, and you say, "Here I am; I willlook out for myself; I have been serving the church before, but now I will look to myself a little." "Come, come," says humannature; "you must look after your family," (which means, you must look after yourself). Very well, do it sir, as your mainobject, and you are a ruined man. "Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all theseshall be added to you." If you keep your eye single, your whole body shall be full of light. Though you seemed as if youhad shut out half the light by having that single eye, yet your body shall be full of light. But begin to have two masters,and two objects to serve, and you shall serve neither; you shall neither prosper for this world, nor for that which is tocome. Oh, Christian, above all things take care of thy consecration. Ever feel that thou art wholly given up to God, and toGodalone.
IV. And now, lastly, there is THE CHRISTIAN'S DISGRACE. His locks are cut off. I have seen him, young as I am, and you withgrey hairs upon your brows have seen him oftener than I; I have seen him in the ministry. He spake like an angel of God; manythere were that regarded him, and did hang upon his lips; he seemed to be sound in doctrine and earnest in manner. I haveseen him turn aside; it was but a little thing,-some slight deviation from the ancient orthodoxy of hisfathers, some slight violation of the law of his church. I have seen him, till he has given up doctrine after doctrine,until, at last, the very place wherein he preached has become a bye-word and a proverb; and the man is pointed out by thegrey-headed sire to his child as a man who is to be looked upon with suspicion; who, if he lectures, is to be heard with caution;and if he preaches, is not to be listened to at all. Have you not seen him? What disgrace was there! What a fall! The manwhocame out in the camps of Dan, and seemed to be moved by the Spirit of the Lord, has become the slave of error. He hasgone into the very camps of the enemy, and there he is now, grinding in the mill for the Philistine, whom he ought to havebeen striking with his arm. Now there are two ways of accounting for this. Such a man is either a thorough hypocrite or afallen believer. Sometimes, people say of persons who turn aside to sin, "There now; look, there is a Christian fallen,-achild of Godfallen." It is something like the vulgar, when at night they see a bright light in the sky, and say, "Ah, there is a starfallen." It was not a star; the stars are all right. Take a telescope; they are every one there. The Great Bear has not losta star out of it's tail; and if you look, there is the belt of Orion all safe, and the dagger has not dropped out of it. Whatis it, then? We do not know exactly what it is. Perhaps it may be a few gases up there for a little while, that have burst,and that is all; or some wandering substance cast down,-and quite time that it should be. But the stars are all right.So, depend upon it, the children of God are always safe. Now these men who have turned aside and broken their consecrationvow, are pointed at as a disgrace to themselves and dishonour to the church. And you who are members of Christ's church, youhave seen men who stood in your ranks as firm soldiers of the cross, and you have noticed them go out, from us, "because theywerenot of us," or like poor Samson, you have seen them go to their graves with the eyes of their comfort put out, with thefeet of their usefulness bound with brazen fetters, and with the strength of their arms entirely departed from them. Now,do any of you wish to be backsliders? Do you wish to betray the holy profession of your religion? My brethren, is there oneamong you who this day makes a profession of love to Christ, who desires to be an apostate? Is there one of you who desireslikeSamson to have his eyes put out, and to be made to grind in the mill? Would you, like David, commit a great sin, and gowith broken bones to the grave? would you, like Lot, be drunken, and fall into lust? No, I know what you say, "Lord, let mypath be like the eagle's flight; let me fly upwards to the sun, and never stay and never turn aside. Oh, give me grace thatI may serve thee, like Caleb, with a perfect heart, and that from the beginning even to the end of my days, my course maybe as theshining light, which shineth more and more unto the perfect day." Ay, I know what is your desire. How, then, shall itbe accomplished? Look well to your consecration; see that it is sincere; see that you mean it, and then look up to the HolySpirit, after you have looked to your consecration, and beg of him to give you daily grace; for as day-by-day the manna fell,so must you receive daily food from on high. And, remember, it is not by any grace you have in you, but by the grace thatis inChrist, and that must be given to you hour by hour, that you are to stand, and having done all, to be crowned at lastas a faithful one, who has endured unto the end. I ask your prayers that I may be kept faithful to my Lord; and on the otherhand, I will offer my earnest prayers, that you may serve him while he lends you breath, that when your voice is lost in death,you may throughout a never ending immortality, praise him in louder and sweeter strains.
And as for you that have not given yourselves to God, and are not consecrated to him, I can only speak to you as to Philistines,and warn you, that the day shall come when Israel shall be avenged upon the Philistines. You may be one day assembled uponthe roof of your pleasures, enjoying yourselves in health and strength; but there is a Samson-called Death, who shall pulldown the pillars of your tabernacle, and you must fall and be destroyed-and great shall be theruin. May God give you grace that you may be consecrated to Christ; so that living or dying, you may rejoice in him, andmay share with him the glory of his Father.