Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

* *

which preserves harmony and prevents confusion, in both the natural and moral worlds, shall at length, by another almighty fiat, “make all things new.” Then “the adversaries of the Lord shall be broken to pieces: out of heaven shall he thunder upon them.” “But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire; and he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver.” Chastisement shall, therefore, be preceded by righteous judgment, that every mouth may be stopped before God. “The LoRD shall judge the ends of the earth.” Now these words of the prophetic mother of Samuel, taken in connexion with the clearer and fuller display of a judgment to come, in the writings in the New Testament, clearly point out that glorious and divine person, in whose hallowed name the song terminates— God’s Anointed. A woman was honoured first to announce the Saviour of the world, under that description; and a succession of prophets henceforward hold it up to the eyes of succeeding generations, as “all their salvation, and all their desire.” Samuel, David, Isaiah, Daniel, Habakkuk, each in his day, proclaims the approach of this King of glory, of whom all who were anointed with material oil, whether priests, or prophets, or kings, were but a shadow; and in whose superior Iustre they disappear, as the light of the stars is absorbed in the splendour of the sun. The prophetess celebrates JEHow AH, who “shall judge the ends of the earth,” as that “King to whom all authority is committed, to whom all strength is given,” as that “anointed” One, Messiah the prince, whose “horn” should be finally “exalted,” and before the brightness of whose coming, all disorder, iniquity, and misery shall flee away; who shall first “judge the ends of the earth,” and then reign for ever and ever. And thus is the voice of this holy woman, near twelve hundred years before Messiah’s day, in perfect unison with the tongue of Christ himself, and of the apostles V O L. III, 3 F

of the Lord, after his ascension into heaven, and the descent of the Holy Spirit. “The Father judgeth no man; but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: that all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son, honoureth not the Father which hath sent him,” John v. 22, 23. “God now commandeth all men every where to repent: because he hath appointed a day in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead,” Acts xvi. 30, 31. “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever,” Rev. ix. 15. And such, in every age, is the native expression of a soul alive to God, the natural aspiration of the spiritual and divine life.

—Art thou, O vain man, through grace a partaker of it? You shall “know it by its fruits.” As it increases, corruption dies. “If Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the spirit is life because of righteousness,” Rom. viii. 10. To be destitute of this life, in whatever state of perfection the intellectual life may be, is to be under the power of everlasting death, a death of trespasses and sins. But if its very first breathings are felt, however feebly, it is a new creation begun, it is “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Attempts will be made to extinguish it, but in vain. Like its Author it is immortal. It may be oppressed, it may be suspended, it may, at seasons, lie dormant, but it cannot expire. It doth not always make itself sensible to the eyes and ears of the world; for the believer's “life is hid with Christ in God.” But “when Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory,” Col. iii. 4. “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is,” 1 John iii. 2.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

But Samuel ministered before the Lord, being a child, girded with a linen ephod. Moreover his mother made him a little coat, and brought it to him from year to year, when she came up with her husband, to offer the yearly sacrifice. And Eli blessed Elkanah and his wife, and said, The Lord give thee seed of this woman, for the loan which is lent to the Lord. And they went unto their own home. And the Lord visited Hannah, so that she conceived, and bare three sons and two daughters. And the child Samuel grew before the Lord.—1 SAMUEL ii. 18–21.

THE character of most men is formed and fixed, before it is apprehended that they have, or can have, any character at all. Many vainly and fatally imagine, that the few first years of life may be disposed of as you please: that a little neglect may be easily repaired, that a little irregularity may easily be rectified. This is saying in other words, “never regard the morning; sleep it, trifle it, riot it away; a little closer application at noon will recover the loss.” “The spring returns, the flowers appear on the earth, the time of the singing of birds is come. No matter; it is soon enough to think of the labours of spring. Sing with the birds, skip with the fawn, the diligence of a more advanced, more propitious season will bring every thing round; and the year shall be crowned with the horn of plenty.” A single ray of reason is sufficient to detect and expose such absurdity; yet human conduct exhibits it, in almost universal prevalence. Infancy and childhood are vilely cast away; the morning is lost; the seed-time neglected.—And what is the consequence? A life full of confusion, and an old age full of regret; a day of unnecessary toil, and a night of vexation; a hurried summer, a meagre autumn, a comfortless winter. It is the ordinance of Providence that the heaviest and most important part of education should devolve upon the mother. It begins before the child is born; her passions and habits affect the fruit of her womb. From her bosom the infant draws the precious juice of health and virtue, or the baleful poison of vice and disease. The fleeting period he passes under the shadow of her wing, is a season sacred to wisdom and piety. If the mother lead not her son to the hallowed spring, if she fail to disclose to his eager eye and panting heart the loveliness of goodness, the excellency of religion; if she permit the luxuriant soil to be overrun with briars and thorns; in vain will she strive to redeem the lost opportunity, by restraints and punishments, by precepts and masters, by schools and colleges, in a more advanced stage of life. The good or the mischief is done by the time he comes out of her hands. That Providence which has imposed this employment on the feebler sex as a task, has most graciously contrived to render it one of the highest and most exquisite of female comforts; as, in truth, all the impositions, nay, the very chastisements of Heaven are really blessings. Let the woman who has given suck, tell if she can, “how tender it is to love the babe that milks her.” Ask that mother if there be any joy like the joy of hearing her child repeat the lessons which she taught him. Ask her, if she recollects or regards her pain

and anguish; her anxious days and sleepless nights. Ask her, if all is not forgotten and lost in the progress which expanding faculties have made, and in the richer harvest which they promise. Ask, if she has not already received more than her reward. If the representation of the case be just, let it procure for dutiful mothers the respect and gratitude which they merit; let it reconcile their minds to what is painful and laborious in their lot; let it raise them to their due rank and importance in society; and let it stimulate them to perseverance in well-doing, in the full assurance that they shall in no wise lose their reward. —The passage of holy writ, on the consideration of which we are now entering, is a very affecting representation of the effects and consequence of a good and a bad education, exemplified in the conduct of Hannah, the mother of Samuel, and of Eli, the father of Hophni and Phinehas. Scripture, instead of multiplying precept upon precept, leads us at at once into human life, and exhibits the law written in the event. It instructs us how to bring up children, by delineating the dreadful consequences of excessive lenity and indulgence on the one hand, and the happy fruits of early piety, regularity and self-government on the other. This theme, being by far the more pleasing of the two, and coming in more regularly in the order of history, shall obtain the preference, in the course of inquiry. Though, indeed, attention to the one must, of necessity, bring forward the other; and the good fortify and recommend itself by contrast with the evil. The education of Samuel began in the pious resolution of his mother before he was conceived in the womb. “If thou wilt give unto thine handmaid a man-child, then I will give him unto the Lord all the days of his life.” Every parent receives every child under a tacit engagement to the same purpose: and the command of God, from the moment of the birth, is, “Rear that child for me.” I have watched over him while he lay

« AnteriorContinuar »