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with calling on every one present, to recollect personal obligations, and to walk suitably to them. Call to remembrance vows formed on a bed of languishing, in the hour of difficulty, in the instant of danger, at the table of the Lord; and thankfully pay them: as knowing that “it is better not to vow, than to vow and not to pay.”
Desire more earnestly the best gifts; spiritual, heavenly, eternal blessings. . By all means, in your vows, stipulate for your portion of present and temporal good things, saying, with Jacob, “If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, so that I come again to my father's house in peace, then shall the Lord be my God,” Gen. xxviii. 20, 21—and with Hannah, pouring out the bitterness of an oppressed heart before God, and begging relief of the Father of mercies, saying, “O Lord of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid.” But forget not withal, to stipulate, with Solomon, for “an understanding heart,” to prize and to improve mercies already bestowed; and with Jabez, calling on the God of Israel, saying, “O that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and that thine hand might be with me, and that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me.”
Hannah promised to devote to the Lord the child which should be given her; and ye have solemnly engaged to yield yourselves unto God; and “ye are not your own, for ye are bought with a price.” “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifige, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world; but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God,” Rom. xii. 1, 2.
JAnd Hannah prayed, and said, My heart rejoiceth in the Lord, mine horn is eacalted in the Lord; my mouth is enlarged over mine enemies; because I rejoice in thy salvation. There is none holy as the Lord: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God. Talk no more so eacceeding proudly; let not arrogancy come out of your mouth: for the Lord is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed. The bows of the mighty men are broken, and they that stumbled are girded with strength. They that were full have hired out themselves for bread; and they that were hungry ceased; so that the barren hath born seven; and she that hath many children is waked feeble. The Lord killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up. The Lord maketh poor, and maketh rich; he bringeth low, and lifteth up. He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory: for the pillars of the earth are the Lord's, and he hath set the world upon them. He will keep the feet of his saints, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness; for by strength shall no man prevail. The adversaries of the Lord shall be broken to pieces; out of heaven shall he thunder upon them: the Lord shall judge the ends of the earth; and he shall give strength unto his king, and eacalt the horn of his anointed—l SAMUEL ii. 1-10.
IN man, the master-piece of creation, is discernable various kinds of life, distinct from each other, yet most wonderfully blended and united, so as to form one great and astonishing whole, The animal, the intellectual, the moral life: to which we add, in man, as he came from the hands of his Creator, and in man, “renewed” by grace “in the spirit of his mind,” the spiritual and divine life, the dawning light, the earnest and pledge, the celestial foretaste of everlasting life. The first of these we enjoy in common with the beasts that perish. Like theirs, our bodies grow and decline. Like them we are led by sense and appetite, and are susceptible of pleasure and pain. And, like them, we arose out of the earth, are supported by it, and feel ourselves returning to it again. The second, or intellectual life, raises man far above every other animal. He possesses the power of thought, that productive faculty of the Almighty; that image of God in our nature. He contemplates, compares, reflects, reasons, plans, performs. By means of this he exercises dominion over all other creatures. Inferior to many, in some respects, by this he renders himself superior to all; and reduces all their powers to the subjection and obedience of himself. The moral life places man in society; connects him with intelligent beings like himself, opens a capacious field of duty and of enjoyment; stamps him an object of approbation or blame, of reward or punishment. The divine life unites man to the Author and supporter of his existence, the source of all his comforts, the foundation of all his hopes; the witness and the judge of all his actions; the avenger of all unrighteousness, “the rewarder of them who diligently seek him.” To Adam, as an animal, God said, “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth: behold I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.” vo L. III. 3.I.
In Adam the intellectual life discovered itself, when the Lord God brought unto him “every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air, to see what he would call them; and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.” —God having implanted a principle of moral life in man, said, “’t is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him;” he took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden, to dress it and to keep it; and commanded the man, saying, “Ofevery tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it. For in the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die.” In Adam the spritual and divine life was perfected, when “God created man in his own image.” It was extinguished and lost when by transgression he fell; it was revived by the promise of the Messiah and salvation through his blood; and it will be completely recovered when the image of God is restored through the spirit of sanctification.
All these different kinds of life have their several and corresponding expressions; and according as any one prevails, such is the character of the man. When the habitual cry is, “What shall I eat, what shall I drink, and wherewithal shall I be clothed?” it is easy to determine what life is predominant: it is easy to discern when the brute runs away with the man. Solomon may be given as an instance of the prevalence of intellectual life. He looked through nature, and “spake of trees, from the cedar-tree that is in Lebanon, even unto the hyssop that springeth out of the wall; he spake also of beasts, and of fowls, and of creeping things, and of fishes. “His wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the east country, and all the wisdom of Egypt.” The psalmist has presented us with an exquisite representation of the moral life of man (would to God it were more frequently realized) in the fifteenth psalm; “He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart. He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbour, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour; in whose eyes a vile person is contemned: but he honoureth them that fear the Lord: he that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not. He that putteth not out his money to usury, nor taketh reward against the innocent. He that doeth these
things shall never be moved,” Verse 2–5. Where
shall we look for an example of the highest life of man, the life of God in the soul? Nature stands silent, the whole world lies dead; it presents every kind of life but this. Where is the model to which to refer? Where is the idea of this most exalted excellence of our nature? It is to be found. “I came not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.” “I seek not mine own glory, but the glory of him who sent me.” Read and ponder the seventeenth chapter of John’s gospel, and discover the author, the example, the giver of this divine life; and aspire after a participation of it. We have some of these holy aspirations in the passage now read. We behold a spirit alive unto God; sinking the creature in the Creator; discerning God in every object, and in every event that arises; referring all things to Him “who doth according to his will in the armies of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth.” Let us blend our spirits, with that of pious Hannah, and may God grant us to know and feel the happiness of having tellowship with the Father, and with his son Jesus Christ. “Hannah prayed.” In affliction she prayed; and in prosperity she prayed. Tears and smiles are not more the expression of their corresponding emotions, than supplication and thanksgiving are of that life which dictates them, in a suitableness to the various aspects of divine Providence. Sorrow is no longer sorrow when it is poured out into the bosom of sympathy and