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could only regret, with unavailing anguish, the loss of those which were past. '.: .,
The Philistines might well rejoice in their advMtage; for who would have supposed that, in this abject condition, Sampson would ever have been able to do thetn any mischief? They were therefore not contested with exulting over him, but extended their impious derision to the Gob of Israel, despising His Almighty power, and extolling a vain idol called Dagon, a god of their own making, to whom they paid that adoration which Was due to the Supreme Iking; to him they ascribed their success, and assembled to perform their pofane rites; Bad that their triumph might be complete, they sent for their poor afflicted captive, to divert themselves with, his misery*, ^The Philistines knew not that God had accepted Samson's repentance, and, as a proof of it, had restored the appointed token, causing his hair to grow suddenly, and that he now came with a fixed resolution to obey the Divine impulse, even at the haawtrd of his life: they therefore led him into their temple, intending, it it likely, to end their barbarities, by slaying and offering him as a victim to their abominable
We *may naturally suppose, that Samson as a man could not help feeling great resentment for the injuries fee ;had suffered; and as mankind were not under tb;e mild Dispensation of Christianity, which alone teaches universal charity and forgiveness of enemies, we must not hastily condemn him for being desirous of revenge for the loss of his eyes. There is great reason to think that Samson moreover wished to maintain the honour of Gob, and that he felt the utmost degree of uneasiness in an assembly Of idolaters, when he prayed to the Lord to strengthen him ence mfore, and that,.believing his prayer was answered, he requested to be led to N 4 the the pillars which supported the roof, being willing to die with the Philistines, rather than they should insult his God with impunity; hoping that the Lokd would accept his life as an atonement for his former disobedience, since he was excluded from a possibility of offering those sacrifices which the law of Moses required for the expiation of sin. Samson therefore firmly grasped the pillars, and bowing his head, as a token of adoration of the Liv'ng Got), and humble resignation to the Divine will, which had ordained him to punish the Philistines, he exerted the* last effort of his strength in the duty required of him, and slew more at his deaththan he had ever done at one time in his; most prosperous days. ''>
Had Samson made a proper use; of the extraordinary strength with which God was pleased to endue him, what a shining character would he have been ! but he certainly acted in a very inconsistent manner, for he ought to Jhave made it the principal business of his life to effect the deliverance of Israel; but he seems to have given himself very little concern about it; he therefore gained no great honour by his victories, because he had generally a view to the gratification of anger and revenge on his own private account. The Philistines neither sought, nor desired, the protection of Divine providence, therefore they could not complain of injustice in God for giving success to Samson; neither could Samson suppose that the Lord strengthened him in that wonderful manner, merely to enable him to avenge himself of his enemies: when he reflected on the numbers he had slain, he must surely perceive that he had been employed as the champion of Israel, though no thanks were due to him for the services which he rendered, but to the Lou D only. : . A ..j .. u-.-,: ...i . Though
Though Sampson was in many respects beyond our imitation, and therefore it would be ridiculous for any man to attempt to slay a thousand with the jaw-bone of an ass, and carry huge gates loaded with iron upon his shoulders, yet the relation of his performing such wonders is not at all incredible; because it is accounted for by our being told that the Spirit of the Lord came upon him. From the New Testament we learn, that Christians are under the influence of the same Spirit; they must not indeed expect to be enabled to perform miracles, because the present state of the world does not require them. Let us however be warned by Samson's example, not to despise the gifts which are bestowed on us, but, whether we have strength, wisdom, riches, or flower, let us consider them as the gifts of God, and employ them as far as we can to his honour and glory^^^-"'
THE BIRTH Of SAMUEL.
From 1 Samuel Chap. i. and ii.
There was a certain man of Ramathaim-zophim, and his name was Elk'anah, and he had two wives: the name of the one was Hannah, and the name of the other Feninnah; and Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children.
And this man went up out of his city yearly, to worship and to sacrifice unto the Lord of hosts in Shiloh, And the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phineas, the priests of the Lord, were there.
And when the time was that Elkanah offered, he gave to Peninnah his wife, and to all her sons and her daughters, portions.
. N 5 But
But unto Hannah be gave a worthy portion, for he loved Hannah.
But Peninnah provoked her sore to make her fret, because the Lord had not given her children.
And as he did so year by year, when she went up to the house of the Lord ; so she provoked her; therefore she wept, and did not eat.
Then said Elkanah her husband to her, Hannah, Why weepest thou? and why eatest thou not? and why is thy heart grieved? am not I better to thee than ten sons? so Hannah rose up after they had eaten in Shilob, and drunk. Now Eli the priest sat upon a seat by a post of the temple of the Lor D.
And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the Lord, and wept sore.
And she vowed a vow, and said, O Lor D of hosts, If thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the Lord all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head.
And it came to pass as she continued praying before the Lord, that Eli marked her mouth.
Now Hannah, she spake in her heart, only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard; therefore Eli thought she had been drunken.
And Eli said unto her, How long wilt thou be drunken? put away thy wine from thee.
And Hannah answered and said, No, my lord, I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit: I have drank neither wine nOr strong drink, but have poured out my soul before the Lord. x
Count not thine handmaid for a daughter of Belial: for out of the abundance of my complaint and grief have I spoken hitherto.
Then Eli answered and said, Goinpsace: and the God of Israel grant thee thy petition that thou hast asked of him.
'And she said, Let thine handmaid find grace id thy sight. So the woman went her way, and did eat, and her countenance was no more sad.
And they rose in the morning early and worshipped before the Lord, and returned to their own house to Ramah: and the Lord remembered Hannah.
Wherefore it came to pass that she bare a son, and called his name Samuel, saying, Because I hare asked him of the Lord.
And the man Elkanah, and all his house, went up to offer onto the Loud the yearly sacrifice, and his vow.
, But Hannah went not up: for she said unto her husband, I will not go up until the child be weaned, and then I will bring him, that he may appear before the Lord, and there abide for ever.
And Elkanah her husband said unto her, Do what seemeth thee good; tarry until thou have weaned him, only the Lokd establish his word. So the woman abode, and gave her son suck.
And when she had weaned. him, she took him up with her, with three bullocks, and one ephah of flour, and a bottle of wine, and brought him unto the house of the Lord in Shiloh. And the child was young.
And they slew a bullock, and brought the child to Eli.
And she said, O my lord, as thy soul liveth, my lord, I am the woman that stood by thee here, praying unto the Lokd.
For this child I prayed: and the Lord hath given me my petition which I asked of him.
Therefore also I have lent him to the Lord as long N6 as