Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

mich?” What, warn them of the importance of attending to, and pursuing their temporal interest? What, caution them against frequenting the temple un working days, when they will not be diverted from the pursuit of business or pleasure ou ihe Lord's day? I was in the wrong; and I change the object of iny exhortation. To you, O men, I call, who, absorbed in trivolous, transitory occupations, forget that “ one thing is needful;” to you, who, wallowing in the bonoties of an indulgent Providence, regard not the band from wbich all your comforts flow; to you, who, rising into a little wealth, a little bope, a little conseque ce, have lost the recollection of your having once been needy, and obscure and unimportant; and, what is intinitely worse, have lost the recollection and the practice of ibat humuility, and decency, and piety, which poverty and obscu ity, and dependence tanght and enforced.

To you, O women, I call, who, without a shadow of reasou ; who, in the face of decency and propriety, wbo, in defiance of both feeling and conscience; who, entrusted with the education of children, female childien, feel not the importance of the charge, or are not aware of the influence of example; can dispense with the very externals of godliness, can become the patterns of sabbath neglect or violation ; can trifle with any thing that affects the morals or religion of the rising generation. To you I call, and say, you are treasuring up for yourselves remorse ; and for these young ones, whom you dearly love, shame, and sorrow, and distress. What is the lot of a female, without the consulations of religion; and bow is a young woman to learn religion is not froin her own mother? Let me reinind

you of what you once thought, felt and re. solved. You carried ibat child with uneasiness and anxiety in your womb; you forined a thousand fond wisbes, vou put up a thousand prayers, you came under a iijousand engagements. You employed not perhaps the very words of Hannah, but undoubtedly you

36

OL. ill.

entered entirely into her views, and the fruit of the wornb was to be " holiness to the Lord.” Well, God has been gracious to thee, and remembered thee. Thou hast survived the danger, and been delivered from the pangs of child-birth. You have enjoyed the satisfaction of training the beloved of your soul through the dangers, difficulties and solicitude of infancy and childhood. God has graciously done bis part, and you have so far performed yours. But did your engagements cease, when the infant was weaned? Did you rear that tender plant with so much anxiety, tenderness and care, only to poison and corrupt it, after it had begun to take root, and bud, and blossom? Know you not, that the inconsideration and folly of a day may destroy the pains and labor of many years; and that the eyes of children are much quicker and more retentive than their ears?

Happy that daughter who is betimes formed to habits of discretion, of purity, of regularity, of piety, by the tender guardian and guide of her earlier days! Happy that mother whose attention is bent on infus. ing betimes, in her female offspring at least, the priuci. pies of wisdom, virtue, and true godliness; who is honored to exemplity what she teaches, and is blessed with a docile, affectionate, and improving disciple !

The manner in which Elkanah and Hannab live and converse together, is exemplary and instructive. They have one common interest; they have one darling object of affection; they express one and the same will, in terms of mutual kindness and endearment. said unto her husband, I will not go up until the child he weaned, and then I will bring him, that he may appear before the Lord, and there abide forever. And Elkanah her husband said unto her, Do what seemeth thee good, tarry until thou have weaned him, only the Lord establish his word. So the woman abode, and gave her son suck until she bad weaned him."

There was in all this a commanding principle of re

She

[ocr errors]

ligion, of zeal for the will and glory of God, which regulated the spirit, and inspired the tongue; without which, I am afraid there is but a slender security for domestic felicity in the exercise of even good nature and good manners, much less in a mere sense of decency, or regard to the opinion of the world. These may overawe at particular seasons and in particular situations; but the fear and love of God are permanent and unvarying principles; they enforce and assist relative duty till it grows into a habit, and habit renders even difficult things easy and agreeable.

Samuel, who is his own biographer, has most judiciously drawn a veil over bis infancy. Childish prognos tics of future eminence are generally ridiculous and contemptible; they can impose only on the partiality of parental affection, or the credulity of superstition. The cynic snarls disdain at the relation of these premature prodigies of dawning wisdom, and the sage smiles indulgence and compassion on the fond belief. Let parents, by all means, amuse, delight themselves and eacb other with the sallies of infant, opening genius, but let them keep the delight to themselves. It is one of the joys in which" a stranger intermeddleth not."

In the next Lecture we shall be led forward to consider the presentiment of Samuel before the Lord in Shiloh ; the sacrifice which accompanied that solemn ceremony; the farther discovery of the amiable and excellent spirit by which the mother was actuated ; and the infant prophet's entrance on bis important office.

....Behold once more, christians, the spirit of prophecy still pointing to one and the same great object. The persons and circumstances of the prophets were vari, ous; but amidst that variety, some one striking feature of character, office or condition announced « Him that was to come,” more clearly or more obscurely reflected bis image, and “ prepared the way of the Lord.” The tongues of the prophets are many; but they all speak the same language, they all pronounce one name. The periods of their existence and predictions were widely remote; but all meet in one central point of light, in one auspicious instant, “ the fulness of time, in one illustrious personage, “ to whom all give witness," in one commanding“ purpose and grace”....the salvation of the world. God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers, by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by bis Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; who being the brightness of bis glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, wben he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on bigh," Heb. i. 1...3. Behold all created glory thus absorbed in one glorious, divine person," who is above all, and through all, and in all." “ Wherefore God also hath bigbly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name; that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the tarıb: and that every tongue should c ntess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father," Phil. ii. 9...11.

HISTORY OF HANNAH,

THE MOTHER OF SAMUEL.

LECTURE XVIII.

And when she had weaned him, she took him ир

with her, with three bullocks, and one ephah of four, and a bottle of wine, and brought him unto the house of the Lord in Shiloh. And the child was young. And they slew a bullock, and brought the child to Eli. And she said, O my Lord, as thy soul liveth, my Lord, I am the woman that stood by thee here, praying untò the Lord. For this child I prayed ; and the Lord hath giren me my petition which I asked of him. Therefore also I have lent him to the Lord as long as he liveth ; he shall be lent to the Lord. And he worshipped the Lord there....1 SAMUEL I. 24....28.

" L

ORD, what is man, that thou art mindful of him,

and the son of man,that thou visitest him?" Every serious reflection on the nature, and perfections, and works of God, suggests this rapturous meditation of the holy psalmist. Every view of Deity is at once humiliating and

encouraging to the soul. We seem to shrink into nothing, wbile we contemplate the regions of unbounded space; while the eye wanders from orb to orb; and the mind loses itself in calculating their number, distances, magnitude, lustre and harmony; while imagination wings its daring flight to the world of spirits, and surveys myriads of angels adoring before the throne of the Most High ; and “the spirits of just men

« AnteriorContinuar »