Imágenes de páginas

all the earth; and every tree in the which is the fruit of a tree, yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat."

Iu 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, "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him;" be took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden, to dress it and to keep it; and commanded the man, say. ing, "Of every 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 spiritual 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 cloathed ?" 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 wis dom of all the children of the east country, and all the wisdom of Egypt." The psalmist has presented us

[ocr errors]

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 neighbor, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbor; in whose eyes a vile person is contemned: but he honoreth them that fear the Lord: he that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not. He that putteth not out his money to usery, nor taketh reward against the innocent. He that doeth these things shall never be moved," Ver. 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 hes 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

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 fellowship with the Father, and with his son Jesus Christ.

[ocr errors]

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 dic tates them, in a suitableness to the various aspects of 3 E

VOL. 111.

Divine Providence. Sorrow is no longer sorrow when it is poured out into the bosom of sympathy and tenderness, Every joy is multiplied an bundred fold by every communication of it to the ear and the heart of friendship. Hannah prays, " and her countenance is no more sad." She restores her earnestly expected sou to God; and is infinitely enriched by the restitution. Whether the child ery for relief, or express its gratitude by caresses and looks of satisfation, it is equally grateful and soothing to the fond parental heart. And will the great God in very deed vouchsafe to make himself known to us by the name of the hearer of prayer? Is he exalted to shew mercy ? Can he be pleased with the effusions of a thankful heart? Thoughtless, inconsiderate creatures that we are; blind to our highest interest, dead to our purest joy! We see nothing of God in that distress, in that deliverance. We attended to the creature only, and therefore found no comfort. We endured without hope, and we enjoyed without relish. Happy soul, that can command itself to peace, and say, I have poured out my anguish before the Lord, I have cast all my care upon him, my burden is no longer mine, but his. "Return unto thy rest, O my soul, for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee. He hath delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling.

In the first transports of her joy, Hannah forgets every thing but the glorious object of it. The insults of Peninnah, her delight in Samuel, stand for a while suspended; they are lost and forgotten in the contemplation of Him, who had delivered her from the one, and bestowed the other upon her. But God, as he is in himself, cannot long be an object of contemplation to mortals. It is only by what he doth, that he can be known, and loved, and enjoyed by us. The soul springs up to God, is instantly repelled and overwhelmed by light inaccessible and full of glory," and seeks relief and employment in surveying the ways and works of God.


"My heart rejoiceth in the Lord." But "who is this King of glory?" The spirit shrinks with reverence from the inquiry and the heart sweetly slides into the observation and acknowledgment of what an incomprehensible Jehovah hath done. "Mine horn is exalted in the Lord." "The horn," in scripture language, is the emblem of strength and empire. She was till now undistinguished, unprized, unimportant in Israel; a wife, without the honor of being a mother. But now she has risen into lustre, and place, and pre-eminence. Her Samuel is to her "a crown of glory, and a diadem for beauty!" She had power with God and prevailed; she asked, and God granted her request. This is naturally blended in her mind, with the derision and cruel mocking which she had endured. For the very de-. votions of fallen creatures must favor of the calamities to which they are exposed, and the imperfection in which they are involved. Both nature and piety accordingly concur in dictating the expression of thankfulness which follows; "My mouth is enlarged over mine enemies:" Here the woman speaks; but the saint instantly subjoins, "because I rejoice in thy salvation."

When the life of God is completely formed in the soul, every particle of human corruption shall be purged away. There shall be no feeling, nor recollection, of unkindness or enmity. And in proportion as evil affections are rooted out, and kind affections are implanted, cherished, and promoted, so is the image of God impressed, renewed and preserved. The love of God perfected shall obliterate and efface every trace of resentment against man.

After a short vibration on this string, the heart of the worshipper seems to recur with increased complacency and delight to a worthier subject of meditation, and loses itself in infinite perfection. "There is none holy as the Lord; for there is none beside thee; neither is there any rock like our God." When we attempt

to meditate upon God, thought fails. When we attempt to address ourselves to him, language fails." In vain do we look round for a similitude that may enable us to form a clearer perception of his nature. It is his glory to be single and alone; to defy and prevent every idea of resemblance or comparison. When the whole world of nature is explored, when all the pow ers of nature are exhausted, the soul falls back upon itself, shrinks into nothing from the daring attempt, and exclaims, "There is none beside thee," "there is none holy as the Lord." "Who can find out the Almighty unto perfection!”

....Hannah awakes from this holy rapture, to contemplate this incomprehensible Jehovah, as exercising an intelligent, uncontrollable, irresistible authority over all the ways of men; as the wise and righteous Governor of the world, whom none can successfully oppose, from whose notice none can possibly conceal himself. "Talk no more so exceeding 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," Ver. 3, 4. Behold the cure of pride. There is a God on high, from whom descended every advantage which one possesses above another, who carefully notes the use that is made of his benefits, and will demand an account of them; who "seeth the proud afar off, but has respect unto the lowly." By him actions are weighed;" they are judged, not according to their apparent circumstances, nor the maxims of the world, nor the rank of the parties concerned, but according to truth, according to the real merit or demerit of the action, according to the thoughts and intent of the heart. Thus is the mouth of arrogancy effectually shut, and the whole world laid low in the dust before a holy and righteous God. "The bows of the mighty men are broken, and they that stumbled are girt with


« AnteriorContinuar »