Evening, August 29, edited from Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening
“All the days of his separation he shall not eat anything that is produced by the grape vine, from the seeds even to the skin.” — Numbers 6:4
Nazarites had taken, among other vows, one which excluded them from the use of wine. In order that they might not violate the obligation, they were forbidden to drink the vinegar of wine or strong liquors, and to make the rule still more clear, they were not to touch the unfermented juice of grapes, nor even to eat the fruit either fresh or dried. In order to secure the integrity of the vow altogether, they were not even allowed anything that had to do with the vine; they were, in fact, to avoid the appearance of evil. Surely this is a lesson to the Lord’s separated ones, teaching them to abstain from sin in every form, to avoid not merely its obvious shapes, but even its spirit and similarity. Taking strict care in our Christian walk is much despised in these days, but rest assured, dear reader, it is both the safest and the happiest. He who yields on an issue or two to the world is in fearful peril; he who eats the grapes of Sodom will soon drink the wine of Gomorrah. A little crevice in the dike in Holland lets in the sea, and the gap speedily expands until a province is drowned. Worldly conformity, in any degree, is a snare to the soul, and makes it more and more liable to premeditated sin. Furthermore, as the Nazarite who drank grape juice could not be quite sure whether it might not have endured a degree of fermentation, and consequently could not be clear in heart that his vow was intact, so the yielding, procrastinating Christian cannot wear a conscience clear of offence, but must feel that this inward monitor is in question of him. Things questionable we need not doubt about; they are wrong to us. Things tempting us we must not linger with, but flee from them with speed. Better be sneered at as a Puritan than be despised as a hypocrite. A careful walk may involve much self-denial, but it has pleasures of its own which are more than a sufficient reward.