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ness there was more honey, in this thought than in the carcassi The mércies of God are ill bestowed upon us, if we cannot step aside to view the monuments of his deliverances : dangers may be at once past, and forgotten. As Sanson had not found his honey: comb, if he had not turned aside to see his lion; so we shall lose the comfort of God's benefits, if we do not renew our perils by me: ditation)
Lest any thing should befal Samson wherein is not some wonder: his lion doth more amaze him dead than alive: for lo, thit carcass is made a hivey and the bitterness of death is turned into the sweetness of honey. The bee, a nice and dainty creature, builds her cells in an unsavoury carcass; the carcass, that promised nothing but strength and annoyance, now offers comfort and refreshing; and, in a sort, pays Samson for the wrong offered. - Oh the won. derful goodness of our God, that can ehangé our terrors into pleasurepand can make the greatest evils beneficial !: Is any man, by his humiliation under: the hand of God, grown more faithful and conscionable there is honey out of the lion. any man, by his temptation or fall, become more circumspect? there is also honey out of the lón. There is no Samson, to whom every lion doth not yield honeys every Christian is the better for his evils; vea, Satán himself, in his exercise of God's children, advantageth them. 1.".
Samson' doth not disdain these sweets, because he finds them uncleanly laid! His diet' was strict, and torbad him any thing that savoured of legal impurity; yet he eats the honeycomb but of the belly of a dead beast : good may not be refused, because thie means are accidentally evil honey is honey still, thougli in a dead lion. Thosenare dess wise and more scrupulous than Samson, which abhor the grees of God, because they find them in ill vesa sels: one cares not for the preacher's true doctrine, because his life is evil, another will not take a good receipt from the hand of a physician, because he is given to unlawful studies a third will not receive a deserved contribution from the hands of a usurer. It is a weak Neglect not to take the honey, because we hate the liotr. God's éhildren have right to their father's blessings, wheresoever they find them. "*" E' si chinois .. so it stor vite wife
The matchís how made : Samson; though a Nazarite, hath both a wedding and a feast God never disliked moderate solemnities in the severest life; and yet this bridal feast was long the space of seven days. "If Såmson had matehedit with the best Israelite, this celebration had been no greater reither had this, perhaps, been so long, if the custom of the place had not required it. Now I do hot hear him plead his Nazaritism, for a colour of singularity. it is both lawful and fit, in things inot prohibited, to confort ourselves to the manners andírites of those with whom we live, :* * That Samson might think it an honour to match with the Phi] listines, he, whom before the lion found alone, 'is now accompanied with thirty attendants: they called them companions, but they meant them for spies. The courtesies of the world are hollow and tankless, neither doth it ever purpose so ill; as when it shew's fairest. None are so near to danger, as those whom it entertaing with smiles : while it frowns, we know what to trust to; but the favours of it are worthy of nothing but fears and suspicion: open defiance is better than false love. · Austerity had not made Samson uncivil : he knows how to enter. tain Philistines with a formal familiarity. And that his intellectual parts might be approved answerable to his arms, he will first try masteries of wit, and set their brains on work with harmless thoughts; his riddle shall oppose them, and a deep wager shall bind the solution; thirty shirts, and thirty suits of raiment. Neither their loss nor their gain could be much, besides the victory, being divided unto thirty partners; but Samson's must needs be both ways very large, who must give or receive thirty alone. The seven days of the feast are expiring, and yet they, which had been all this while devouring Samson's meat, cannot tell who that eater should be from whence meat should come. In course of nature, the strong feeder takes in meat and sends out filthiness ; but, that meat and sweetness should come from a devouring stomach, was beyond their apprehension.
And as fools and dogs use to begin in jest and end in earnest, 50 did these Philistines; and therefore they force the bride to entice her husband to betray himself. Covetousness and pride have made them impatient of loss; and now they threat to fire her, and her father's house, for recompence of their entertainment, rather than they will lose a small wager to an Israelite. Somewhat of kin to these savage Philistines, are those choleric gamesters, which, if the dice be not their friend, fall out with God, curse (that which is not) fortune, strike their fellows, and are ready to take vengeance upon themselves : those men are unfit for sport, that lose their patience together with their wager.
Iosi i odmori. • I do not wonder, that a Philistine woman loved herself and her father's family, more than an Israeliţish bridegroom; and if she bestowed tears upon her husband, for the ransom of them. Sam, son himself taught her this difference; I have not told it, my father or my mother, and should I tell it thee? If she had not been as she was, she had neither done this to Samson, nor heard this from him. Matrimonial respects are dearer than natural: it was the law of him that ordained marriage, before ever parents were, that pad rents should be forsaken for the husband, or wife : But now, Israelitish parents are worthy of more entireness than a wife of the Philistines; and yet, whom the lion could not conquer, the tears
of a woman have conquered. Samson never bewrayed infirmity · but in uxoriousness. What assurance can there be of him, that
hath a Philistine in his bosom? Adam the perfectest man, Samson the strongest man, Solomon the wisest man, were betrayed with the flattery of their helpers. As there is no comfort comparable to a faithful yoke-fellow, so woe bę to himn.who is matched with a Philistine. . .
It eould not but much discontent Samson, to see that his adver: saries had ploughed with his heifer, and that upon his owu back;
now therefore he pays his wager to their cost. Ascalon, the city
SAMSON'S VICTORY. - " , " I can no more justify Samson, in the leaving of his wife, than in the choosing her: he chose her, because she pleased him; and be. cause she despised him, he left her. Though her fear, made her false to him in his riddle, yet she was true to his bed :, that weak treachery was worthy of a check, not a desertion. All the passions of Samson were strong, like himself; but, as vehement motions are not lasting, this vehement wind is soon allayed; and he is now returning with a kid, to win her that had offended him, and to renew that feast which ended in her unkindness. Slight occasions may not break the knot of matrimonial, Jove; and it any just offence have slackened its on either part, it must be fastened again by speedy reconciliation. t'i. tel
Now Samson's father-in-law shews himself a Philistine, the trae parent of her that betrayed her husband; for no sooner is the bridegroom departed, than he changes his son. What pretence of friendship soever he made, a true Philistine will soon be weary of an Israelite. Samson hath not so many days' liberty to enjoy his wedding, as he spent in celebrating it. - Marriage hath been ever a sacred institution, and who but a Philistine would so easily vio, late it? One of his thirty companions, enjoys his wife, together with his suit; and now laughs to be a partner of that bed, whereon he was an attendant. The good-nature of Samson, having forgotten the first wrong, carried him to a profter. of familiarity, and is repulsed; but with a gentle violence, I had thought thou hadst, hated her. Lawful wedlock may not be dissolved by imaginations, but by proofs. , ;
Who shall stay Samson from his own wife?', He, that slew the lion in the way of his wooing, and before whom thousands of the Philistines could not stand, yet suffers himself to be resisted by him who was once his father-in-law, without any return of private violence. Great is the force of duty once conceived, even to the most unworthy. This thought, I was his son, binds the hands i
of Samson ; else how easily might he, that slew those thirty Phis listines for their suits, have destroyed this family for his wife! How unnatural are those mouths, that can curse the loins from which they are proceeded'; and those hands, that dare lift up thêm. selves against the means of their life and being! 1!' I never read that Samson slew any, but by the motion and assistance of the Spirit of God; and the divine wisdom háth reserved these offenders to another revenge. Judgment must descend from others to them, since the wrong proceeded from others by them, In the very marriage, God foresaw and intended this parting; and, in the parting, this punishment upon the Philistines. If the Philistines had not been as much enemies to God as to Samson, ene. mies to Israel in their oppressioni no less than to Samson in this particular injury, that purpose and execution of revenge had been no better than wicked; now he, to whom vengeance belongs, sets him on work, and makes the act justice: when he commands, even very cruelty is obedience.
It was a busy and troublesome project of Samson, to use the foxes for his revenge; for not without great labour and many hands could so many wild creatures be got together, neither could the wit of Samson want other devices of hostility: but he meant to find out such a punishment, as might in soine sort' answer the offence, and might imply as much contempt às trespass. By wiles, seconded with violence, had they wronged Samson, in extorting his secret and taking away his wife; and what other emblem could these foxes tied together present unto them, than wiliness combined by force to work mischief? .
These foxes destroy their corn, before he which sent them destroys their persons. Those judgments which begin in outward things end in the owners. A stranger that had been of neither side wonld have said, “ What pity is it, to see good corn thus spoiled !" If the creature be considered apart from the owners, it is good; and therefore if it be mis-spent, the abitse reflects upon the maker of it, but if it be looked upon with respect to an ill master, the best use of it is to perish. ' He therefore that slew the Egyptian cattle with múrráin," and smote their fruit with hailstones, he that consumed the vines of Israel with the palmer-worm, and eaterpillar, and canker-worm, sent also foxes by the hand of Samson, into the fields of the Philistines. WTheir corn was too good for &hein to'enjoy, not too good for the foxes to burn up. God would rather his creatures should perislr any way, than serve for the last of the Wicked. But
There could not be such secrecy in the catching of three hundred foxes, but it might well be known who had procured them." Rumour will swiftly fly of things not done'; but of a thing so no. tóriously executed, it is no marvel if Fame bé a blab. The menar tion of the offence draws in the provocation; and now the wrong, to Samson is scanned and revenged: 'because the fields of the Pmlistines are burned for the wrong done to Samson by the Fimnite in his daughter, therefore the Philistines burn the Timnite and his
daughter. The tying of the fire-brand between two foxes was not so witty a policy, as the setting of a fire of dissension betwixt the Philistines. What need Samson be his own executioner, when his enemies will undertake that charge? There can be no more pleasing prospect to an Israelite, than to see the Philistines together by
the ears. wife of Sa had not wines, the
If the wife of Samson had not feared the fire for herself and her father's house, she had not betrayed her husband, her husband had not thus plagued the Philistines, the Philistines had not consumed her and her father with fire: now she leaps into that flame which she meant to avoid. That evil which the wicked feared meets them in their flight. How many, in a fear of poverty, seek to gain unconscionably, and die beggars ! How many, to shun pain and danger, have yielded to evil, and, in the long run, have been met in the teeth with that mischief which they had hoped to have left behind them! How many, in a desire to eschew the shame of men, have fallen into the confusion of God! Both good and evil are sure paymasters at the last.
He, that was so soon pacified towards his wife, could not but have thought this reyenge more than enough, if he had not rather wielded God's quarrel than his own. He knew that God had raised him up on purpose to be a scourge to the Philistines, whom as yet he had angered more than punished; as if these therefore had been but flourishes before the fray, he stirs up his courage, and strikes them both hip and thigh with a mighty plague. That God which can do nothing imperfectly, where he begins either mercy or judgment will not leave till he have happily finished : as it is in his fa. vours, so in his punishments; one stroke draws on another.' '
The Israelites were but slaves, and the Philistines were their masters; so much more indignantly therefore must they needs take it, to be thus affronted by one of their own vassals : yet shall we commend the moderation of these pagans. Samson, being not mortally wronged by one Philistine, falls foul upon the whole nation; the Philistines, heinously offended by Samson, do not fall upon the whole tribe of Judah, but being mustered together, call to them for satisfaction from the person offending: the same hand of God, which wrought Samson to revenge, restrained them from it: it is no thanks to themselves, that sometimes wicked men cannot be cruel.
The men of Judah are by their fear made friends to their tyrants, and traitors to their friend. It was in their cause that Samson had shed blood, and yet they conspire with the Philistines to destroy their own flesh and blood. So shall the Philistines be quit with Israel, that as Samson by Philistines revenged himself of Philistines, so they of an Israelite by the hand of Israelites. That which open enemies dare not attempt, they work by false brethren; and these are so much more perilous, as they are more entire.
It had been no less easy for Samson to have slain those thousands of Judah that came to bind him, than those other of the Philistines that meant to kill him bound: and what if he had said, “. Are ye