Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

lie dormant the precious seeds of faculties wbich are one day to astonish, instruct and bless mankind. These infants, a few years hence, are to be the pillars of the state, the bulwarks of their country, the glory of the church of Christ. That young one shall by and by burst through the obscurity of his birth, and the meanness of his condition; shall become eminently useful, and purchase a name which ages to come shall pronounce with respect and esteem. But what is it to be kuown and distinguished among men? The period approaches, when God himself shall in the face of the universe acknowledge the least of these as his sons, and seat them on heavenly thrones.

It is natural for a man to wish Lis family built up, and for a good woman to wish the name and virtues of the husband of her youth preserved and propagated, even though she has not the fond desire, the flattering hope, of being a mother in Israel. But the determinations of Providence do not always accord with the, innocent propensities of the buman heart, much less with the insatiate demands of pride, avarice and ambition. Even the wise, the amiable and the virtuous are visited with this sore evil, the want of children. It is sometimes the calamity of those who have no other calamity. It demonstrates the imperfection of human bliss; it spreads a field for the exercise of resignation to the will of God; it furnishes both a motive and a subject for prayer : for we can carry with confidence, to the throne of grace, many a petition which we should be afraid or ashamed of preferring to a man like ourselves. Happy is the man, happy the woman, who can deposit this and every other care in the bosom os a Father in heaven. She may sit down with Hannal, and “ eat"and drink, “ and be no more sad."

We are this evening presented with the history of the birth and infancy of one of those illustious children whose fame is universally known, and shall be bad in everlasting remembrance, namely, of Samuel, the pro

phet of the Lord, the judge of Israel, the setter up and the terror of kings; the glory of his own age and countıy; and the morning star of a brighter day. The gist of this precious child was long withbeid, that it might be more devoutly acknowledged, and more bighly prized. Men overlook the ordinary appearances of nature, bowever stupendous and striking. In order therefore to rouse them to attention, and constram them to observe the finger of God, the fiery comet is made to glare through the sky, and the earth shakes to the centre.

The blessing was sweetened to Hannab by erery circumstance that can affect the fond maternal heart. A child to one who had long been aMicted with bar-, renness, and cruelly insulted on that account; a manchild, the answer of prayer; the power of performing for her darling infant the sweetest, and one of the most important, maternal duties; and the cordial concurrence of the father in all her prudent, affectionate and pious purposes; present enjoyment, and blossoming prospects! If there be pure and perfect bliss on earth, it is the portion of such a woman, in such a situation.

66 The Lord remembered her.” Was be ever unmindful or unkind ? No, he delayed, and be granted in love. How much it concerns thee, Oman, O woman, to know and to believe this! What can reconcile thee to the hardships of thy lot, but the persuasion that the good thou desirest is denied in wisdom, and the load that oppresses thee laid on by the hand of a Father? Trust in the Lord and be of good cheer; the time to favor thee will come; “ the Lord will provide,” “ the Lord will remember thee.

“ She bare a son, and called his name Samuel.”. Gracious is the correspondence between a devout spirit and approving, assenting Heaven. Behold the prayer of faith ascending as on eagle's wings, and resting on the footstool of yonder radiant throne; bem hold the good and perfect gift coming down in returu from the Father of lights. Thus the vapours exhaled from tlie briny deep, fall back in copious showers to retresh and fertilize the earth. What a holy contention is here presented to us! The pious soul striving with Gud in supplication, in praise, iu obedience, in faithfulness; the God of mercy striving with the meek and diuenble ove in shewing kindness, in beaping favor upon favor. Samuel,

Samuel, “ a ked and given of God," shall bear to ihe last lour of his life the memorial of his mother's servent importunity at the throne of grace, and of God's hearing her in the time of need. It shall serve forever to remind himself that he was a gift obtained of God by prayer, and devoted to God in gratitude. Every tongue that pronounces, every ear that hears the sound, shall be admonished of the union which devotion forms and maintains between earth and heaven. The mother names, the father a sents, God approves, and time confirms the nomination.

We find Elkanah and all of his family, who were fit. for the journey, again on the road to Shiloh, to celebrate the great yearly festival, afier the birth of bis

Tie bounties of Providence bind more powerfully the duties of the law upon the heart as well as apon the conscience, and thereby render religion not only a reasonable, but a pleasanit service. The pleasure of waiting upon God, in the ordinances of bis appointment, was greally heightened to this good man, by the company of thuse whom pature bad endeared to bim. The length and inconvenience of the road were relieved, and sweetened, and shortened, by friendly conversation, and mutual offices of attention and kindness. The bitterness of strife is heard no more. The sacrifice is offered up with greater ardor, when one flame of affection meets another in presenting it; and the feast of peace acquires a higher relish from its being eaten in the spirit, and in the bonds of love. Sua cial worship, as has been observed, has a most blessed

son.

and peace.

effect in producing, supporting and improving sceial affections. The tie of duty is strengtheid between husband and wife; the bond of natır between parent and cliild, between brother and brother, is fortified and ennobled by going together to tbe house of God, and returning in company from thence. The eye of a stranger is caught and pleased wi b the sight of a decent family on their road to the temple. Your prayers arise with increased ardor from seeing your children around you, in the house of prayer; your hearts glow with a holier gratitude when you hear their voices join in the praises which you sing. Offence has been given, behold it lost, and forgotten forever, because the parties have bowed their knees together before Guit, and pronounced together the petition ot' reconciliation

“ Heavenly Father, forgive our trespasses as we forgive them who trespass against us.”

Common mercies have been received; see how they m-, crease and multiply, see with what additional salisfacs tion they are felt and enjoyed, while the noies of thanksgiving ascend from hearts and lips in unison.... Common distress presses; lo, the burthen is already made light, the mourners have been together before the Father of mercies, the refuge of the miscrable ; they have poured out their hearts before God, and are lightened; they have cast all their care upon bi:1, and are at rest.

Christians, you have no painful and expensive journey to undertake, in order to present yourselves before the Lord. Your Shiloh is at home. Of

you 10 costly sacrifice is demanded ; " Offer unto the Lord thanksgiving and pay your vows unto the Most High; and call upon him in the day of trouble.” Christian parent, Providence has made thee priest to that liitle church and congregation; bear them, as Aaron did the twelve tribes of Israel, engraven like jewels upon thy heart, to the most holy place ; to the altar of in

cense.

son.

ز

“ But Hannah went not up; for she said unto her busband, Not until the child be weaned.” Every du. ty of life and of religion has its proper place and sea

God hath said, and the great Teacher sent from God, hath by both precept and practice established the word, “ I will have mercy and nut sacrifice.” The religion wbich makes light of relative duty, which teaches carelessness or neglect in our lawful worldly concerns, and withdraws men from their place and station in society, is mistaken and erroneous; it is not the religion of ihe Bible; it has neither authority nor example to support it. That man is doing God service, who labors in his vocation, that he may have wherewith to do justly, and to shew mercy; not he who is slothful in business, but eager in argument, and who gives himself to speculating, when he ought to be working with his hands. That woman is performing a religious service, who is looking well to her household giving suck to one child and instruction to another, practising industry and economy; not she who is forever rambling after favorite dogmas or favorite teachers; aiming at shining in the church, when she ought to be shining in her most honorable sphere, her own house ; and engaging warmly in matters of doubtful disputation, while the food and cloathing of her family are neglected. Who can call in question the piety of Hannah ? And surely her absenting herself from the feast at Shiloh, on so just an occasion, will not be deemed an impeachment of it.

But though the history has led me to make these re. marks, perhaps, in our own day, they might bave been spared. Have I not been combating a mistake into which neither the men nor the women of the present age are greatly disposed to fall? Ought I not rather to caution my hearers against the prevalency of a worldly spirit, to the extinction not only of the soul, but to the neglect of the very form of religion? Wkat, warn this generation against " the danger of being religious over

« AnteriorContinuar »