Then went Samson to Gaza, and saw there an harlot, and went in to her.…
I. CHRISTIANS IN A STATE OF GRACE AND DIVINE FAVOUR MAY, IN A GREAT MEASURE, BE FORSAKEN OF GOD, AND YET BE INSENSIBLE THEREOF.
1. The prevalence of some darling idol in the heart may so blind the discerning faculty and disorder the understanding that the soul may not perceive its distance from the ways of religion.
2. There can be no doubt concerning this truth, that God withdraws sometimes from His people, if we observe the many complaints they make to this purpose (Psalm 30:7). These complaints were not without cause, nor would such pious characters complain without reason. The deadened state of their souls made them feel that the Divine influences and power were withdrawn; they found the stream was in a great measure stopped, when the waters of life did not revive their souls.
3. Christians may not perceive the withdrawing of the Divine influence, because there may be a counterfeit resemblance between their idols and their duty. When we have a strong affection for something connected with another thing that is good, we seldom see the difference between them, but fall into error and mistake through inattention. We view under one character things different in their nature; and perceive not the unlawfulness of what we covet, when we find it, in some measure, related to other things that are innocent.
4. The subtlety and the deceitfulness of sin in the souls of the best Christians hinder them from distinguishing the knowledge of Christianity from its life and practice.
5. Believers may not only be insensible of God's withdrawing from them, but also embrace false for true grounds of comfort and enlargement. Sin is so deceitful that it will creep in upon the believer under a mask: sometimes a false hope, at other times a deceitful joy will deceive the saints themselves.
II. EVIDENCES OF THIS CONDITION.
1. When men live easy and indifferent under the means of salvation; when they are not active in the performance of the duties belonging to their several stations and characters in life, but like Samson, instead of destroying the Philistines, for which he was raised up, fall asleep in carnal security, and begin to enter into league with the enemies of God; when they begin to remit their watchfulness, and live secure and careless.
2. When men not only have no fears of their present evil condition, but think well of it; when they imagine that they are rich, and increased in goods, and stand in need of nothing, etc.
3. When thoughts of death and a future judgment are removed from men's meditation and consideration; when the evil day is put far away, and people, like those of whom the prophet Ezekiel speaks, say, "The Lord hath forsaken the earth, neither doth He consider it."
Parallel VersesKJV: Then went Samson to Gaza, and saw there an harlot, and went in unto her.