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But it was when man would not receive Him, and there was no longer any relation whatever between man and God, that Jesus fully assumed His Nazarite character, separate from sinners, made higher than the heavens. It is Christ in heaven who is the true Nazarite, and who having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, has sent Him forth upon His disciples, in order that, by the power of the Holy Ghost, they might maintain the same position on the earth, through communion with Him and with His Father; walking in the separateness of this communion, and capable, therefore, of using tnis
power with a divine intelligence that enlightens and sustains the obedience for which they are set apart unto the glory of Christ, and for His service. If
abide in me," said He to His disciples, “and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done
They were not of the world, even as He was not of the world. The Church, which was formed of His disciples, should walk as separated from the world, and set apart unto Himself in a heavenly life.
Christ is, then, the Antitype of Sampson's history, as to the principle it contains. But its detail proves that this principle of strength has been entrusted to those who were, alas! but too capable of failing in communion and obedience, and thus of losing its enjoyment.
Sampson sins again through his intercourse with “ the daughter of a strange god;" he connects himself again with women of the Philistines, amongst whom his father's house and the tribe of Dan were placed. But he retains his strength until the influence of these connections becomes so great, that he reveals the secret of his strength in God. His heart, afar from God, places that confidence in a Philistine, which should have existed only between his soul and God. To possess and keep a secret, proves intimacy with a friend. But the secret of God, the possession of His confidence, is the highest of all privileges. To betray it to a stranger, be it who it may, is to despise the precious position in which His grace has placed us; it is to lose it. What have the enemies of God to do with the secret of God? It was thus that Sampson gave himself up to his enemies. All attempts
were powerless against him, so long as he maintained his Nazariteship. This separation once lost, although Sampson was apparently as strong, and his exterior as goodly as before, yet the Lord was no longer with him. "I will go out, as at other times before, and shake myself. And he wist not that the Lord was departed from him.” We can scarcely imagine a greater folly than that of confiding his secret to Delilah, after having so many times been seized by the Philistines, at the moment she awoke him. And thus it is with the Church; when she yields herself to the world, she loses all her wisdom, even that which is common to man. Poor Sampson! His strength may be restored, but he has lost his sight for ever.
But who has ever hardened himself against the Lord, and prospered?
The Philistines ascribe their success to their false god. God remembers His own glory, and His poor servant humbled under the chastisement of his sin. The Philistines assemble to enjoy their victory and glorify their false gode. But the Lord had His eye on all this. In his humiliation, the thought of the Lord had more power over the heart of Sampson; his Nazariteship was regaining strength. He makes his touching appeal to God. Who would fear a blind and afflicted prisoner? But who, amongst this world, knows the secret of the Lord ? A slave, and for ever deprived of sight, his condition affords an opportunity, which his strength had not been able to obtain, before his unfaithfulness deprived him of it. But he is blind and enslaved, and he must perish himself in the judgment which he brings upon the impiety of his enemies. He had identified himself with the world by hearkening to it, and he must share the judgment which falls upon the world.
If the unfaithfulness of the Church has given the world power over her, the world has, on the other hand, assailed the rights of God, by corrupting the Church; and, thereforc, brings down judgment upon itself at the moment of its greatest triumph: a judgment which, if it puts an end to the existence, as well as to the misery of the Nazarite; destroys at the same time, in one common ruin, the whole glory of the world.
In the details of prophecy, this applies to the closing history of the Jewish people.
The chapters that follow, are not comprised in the historical order of this book. They lift the veil to disclose some incidents of the inner life of this people whom the patience of God bore with so long, touched with the afflictions of His people in the sufferings occasioned by their sins. Had they been obedient when the Lord was their King, their prosperity had been secure. Self-willed as they were, the absence of restraint—when they had no king-gave room to all kinds of licence. The last event related in this book, shows to what a height disorder had risen in Israel; but it affords a very important lesson. If the state of God's people, collectively, gives rise to iniquities which require discipline, the whole people are involved in the chastisement that follows; the effect of which is to make them take their condition to heart. That condition had prevented the repression of iniquity, or its immediate punishment when committed. But the people are set in the presence of God, who judges the whole matter, and all the people must have to do with it. Israel, at first, did not even take counsel with the Lord, to learn how the sin should be dealt with. They acted from natural indignation (which was nevertheless quite righteous). The Lord allowed all this, in order that the people might learn where they were. The evil, which required chastening, rendered them incapable of waiting in the first place on the Lord to know what was to be done. Their course of action is determined before they consult Him, for they were far from Him. They merely ask who is to go up first. The Lord points out Judah, but Judah is defeated. Twice beaten when they expected an easy victory, the people, humbled and in tears, have recourse again to the Lord, and enquire if they shall go up. The Lord then gives them the victory. Gibeah well deserved this discipline; but to execute it, Israel needed discipline herself, and God allowed all to take part in it, in order to make it take effect upon all.
But what a state where they all in, when the whole tribe of Benjamin joined the men of Gibeah, when guilty of such enormities! And observe that Phinehas was still High
Priest, although he had already grown to manhood in the wilderness. How patiently God dealt with this people, delivering them when they had so quickly fallen into .sin, and into such depths of sin.
“ And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father” (Gal. iv. 6).
Father ! by that dear name my heart is stirred,
At all times in My love rejoice.”
Draw me! I will run after Thee, will seek
THE Book of Ruth tells us also of the days of the Judges, when there was no king in Israel ; but it shows' us the fair side of those days, in the operations of the grace of God, who, blessed be His name! never failed to work in the midst of the evil, as, also, in the steady progress of events towards the fulfilment of his promises in the Messiah, whatever may have been the simultaneous progress of the general evil.
Ruth, a stranger, seeking shelter by faith under the wings of the God of Israel, is received in grace, and the genealogy of David, king over Israel according to grace, is linked with her. It is the genealogy of the Lord Jesus himself, after the flesh.
This book appears to me to set before us, in type, the reception in grace of the remnant of Israel in the last days; their Redeemer (the kinsman, who has the right of redemption), having taken their cause in hand.
Eli-Melech (which signifies God the King) being dead, Naomi (my delight, my pleasure), becomes a widow, and eventually loses her children also. She typifies the Jewish nation, who, having lost her God, is like a widow, and has no heir. Yet there shall be a remnant, destitute of all right to the promises (and, therefore, prefigured historically by a stranger), who will be received in grace-similarly to the Gentiles and the Church-who will faithfully and heartily identify itself with desolate Israel. God will own this remnant, which, poor and afflicted itself, will in heart obey the commands given to the people.
Naomi, who, in her destitution, is a type of the nation, acknowledges her condition ; she calls herself Mara (bitterness).
He who was nearest of kin, who would willingly have redeemed the inheritance, refuses to do so, if Ruth must be taken with it. The law was
never able (nor the Church either) to re-establish Israel in their inheritance, nor to raise
grace, the name of the dead.