Then went Samson to Gaza, and saw there an harlot, and went in to her.…
That story of the blandishments of Delilah is compassed in a few verses, but as a matter of fact, I presume, it spreads over a considerable time. Delilah could not have overcome a man of native wit and ready perception like Samson by bringing those snares against him in a short period; but she might now, with soft, silent look, woo the secret from his heart; then, changing her humour, she would try the loving petulance of the toy of his love as she was: "How canst thou say thou lovest me, seeing thou withholdest this secret from me?" Then inch by inch she wearied out the strength of resistance, and then came that terrible catastrophe; but it was slow, very slow. He felt himself strong through it all, perchance; but because he felt himself strong, the snare was biting through the very joints of his harness; and when the day of danger and necessity came, it fell from off him, and left him a victim to the powers of the enemy. Now, you are an old man; white hairs are upon your head. Did you notice their growth? Did you notice how one by one they began to whiten? Did you not rather, the first day you noticed that symptom of coming age, pluck out the recreant hair and cast it aside as a mere accidental thing? But it grew notwithstanding, till it frosted your head. You see it is bleak, cold winter, and there is not a leaf to be seen, and the earth is bound up in its snowy coat; you never noticed how it stole in, and how bright, warm summer and the green leaves turned to the crispness of the sere and yellow leaf, and one by one dropped away, till at length winter came and killed the last leaf that fluttered in the cold wind. You did not notice this, but it came on. Or see yon noble berg that floats in the northern seas, and upon its pinnacled crown the bright spring sunshine plays till it lights it up into a diadem of glory. How majestically it floats upon the blue bosom of these waters! Then suddenly as in an instant you see that mighty diadem of crystal pinnacles plunge into the depths. Sudden? no, not sudden at all. Sudden in its collapse, sudden in its end; but the warm waters of the springtide far beneath the broad base which weighted it so well were lapping away its strength and melting down the icy surface, and then, when the gravity was just pitched over, it fell. So gradual is sin. You go on in all the joyousness of your sinnership; you glory that you at least have been free from all the grievous pestilences which hang about sin: aye, go on, and float down towards the south, and remember that the warm currents which you do not notice are eating out the strength of your life, and your fall will be sudden, in an instant, because you have not noticed its gradual approach. You do not notice that first sin; you feel that it has not produced any great impression upon you; but toils are being prepared, and inch by inch you are let down to the very edge. It is only taken to put back again; it is only keeping a little longer; it is only preparing the way for disgrace and exposure. It is only a light laugh at the corner of the street, and a merry innocent freak with a strange coy face that meets you. It is only tarrying a while to speak a word of ready and easy good-humoured jest. But her ways lead down to hell, and her end is in the grave.
(Bp. Boyd Carpenter.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Then went Samson to Gaza, and saw there an harlot, and went in unto her.