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OR, DIVINE SEPARATION.
“ The days that were before shall be lost.”—Num. vi. 12.
NAZARITE, beloved, was one wholly separated unto God. Daniel, in Babylon,
was a Nazarite, also his companions. Joseph was a Nazarite-one, like Daniel, who never seems to have broken his Nazarite vow. But of all Nazarites there were none like the Nazarite. He was wholly, absolutely separated to do the will of His Father in heaven ; as perfect when occupied with publicans and sinners, as He is now that He is seated in risen glory, at the right hand of the Father.
All Christians properly are Nazarites. Their position is nothing less in God's sight, than that they should be wholly separated unto God to this end are they born of God; but as all Israelites were not Nazarités, so all Christians are not living in the sweet power of conscious blessing of the true Nazarite ; but are, for the most part, is it not to be feared, forgetful, as we may say, of their Nazarite vow.
There are four things about the Nazarite which are not usually sufficiently seen.
The first is, that all the time which a Nazarite was not in his vow, was counted by God as
- lost" time-lost, as we may say, from out of his true existence before God. " And he shall consecrate unto the Lord the days of his separation; but the days that were before shall be lost, because his separation was defiled,” (Num. vi. 12.) Just as time was counted no time, as to their existence, before Israel were redeemed out of Egypt; so all the while a Nazarite was separated from his vow, or which he passed between the breaking of the vow and the renewing of it, was counted by God as wholly lost. In our case, all that time, beloved, in which we are not in the realization of communion is no part of our true existence before God; but is counted by God as lost time, and accordingly, as we shall see, with many of us, alas, how little a time, or space of time, marks our true life or existence before God.
Secondly, Nazariteship itself, as in the case of Samson, was no attainment on his part; for it was that to which, from the very first, he was born ; born into all its rights and privileges, as one wholly belonging to and in the possession of God as his own rightful and peculiar portion. A Nazarite was born such. He was a Nazarite from his birth. (Judges xiii. 7.)
Thirdly, nothing could be more miserable than to have the mere name of a Nazarite whilst without its power.
How melancholy, and how solemn! Samson had the name of Nazarite; but his strength had departed ; his eyes were put out. It is only the pure in heart who can see God. A man may have the name of being in communion long after his strength has departed, and he has become weak as other men. Samson had the name; but he was the mere sport of the Philistines.
Fourthly, Nazariteship often, as in the case of Samson, when once lost, seems not to have been fully regained. Samson had strength; but he never regained his sight. Our failures and downfalls may pass away under the sweet sense of repentance before God, and of renewed forgiveness, but the remembrance will be always grievous to the soul. “My sin is ever before me.”
But, you will ask, What constituted a Nazarite? The requirements of a Nazarite were, first, “ He shall separate himself from wine and strong drink,” (Num. vi. 3), teaching us that we are not in the power of mere natural joy. The joy of mere nature is a poor joy, and there is nothing more unseemly in a Christian than that poor, frivolous, empty hilarity, which often passes as cheerfulness or happiness. Measured by this requirement, how many are there who are quite out