Imágenes de páginas

strength." Even in this world, "the Lord maketh himself known by the judgments which he executes ;" and causeth men to change conditions, and turneth the world upside down. The affairs of men, like the frame of nature, are in a state of perpetual revolution, and the history of mankind is simply an account of the rise and depression of wretched mortals by means not of their own contrivance, by events which they could not foresee, and over which they had no power. The victor of to-day is to-morrow a captive, and he who now lieth among the pots, shall come forth as the wings of a dove covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold"



The greater part of Hannah's song of praise is employed in making a more enlarged display of the wisdom and justice of the Divine Providence in the government of the world. They that were full have hired themselves out for bread." Some are borne to ease and affluence, and through indolence, inattention or prodigality, reduce themselves to want. Some acquire wealth by frugality and industry. But however gotten, it is but an uncertain possession, and we daily see multitudes, not through any apparent fault of their own, "waxing poor and falling into decay." Others, as unaccountably rise into distinction and opulence. There is an unseen hand which gives and takes away. In prosperity there is no ground of insolence and triumph; in adversity no reason to despair.

Her own peculiar felicity again presents to view, and the incense of praise ascends to heaven. "The barren hath borne seven, and she that hath many children is waxed feeble." There is a Jewish legend which saith, that for every child that Hannah bore, one of Peninnah's died. It is a mere conjecture; Hannah's triumphant song is rather a proof of the contrary. She discovers a spirit too excellent, in other respects, to permit us to suppose her capable of rejoicing in the devastation which the hand of God had wrought, much

less in the destruction of her own husband's family. That heart must be lost to every feeling of humanity, lost to decency, lost to the fear of God, who can make the calamity of another, especially such a calamity, a ground of self-gratulation, and complacency, or a subject of thanksgiving to a holy and merciful God, as if he could become a party to our petty jealousies and contentions. No, a spirit so regulated as her's, so patient under mortification, so long nurtured in the school of affliction, so observant of, and submissive to the will of Providence, could not taste the mortality of even Peninnah's children as a source of joy. Her expressions amount to no more than a devout and bumble acknowledgment of unerring wisdom, of unimpeachable justice, in conducting all the affairs of this world; in building up families, and in bringing them low; in exercising an absolute right of sovereignty, which will not be compelled to give account of its matters to any one. The gift of children is not always withheld in anger, nor bestowed in kindness, as the character and history of Eli's family will shortly evince.

She proceeds to pursue the same idea of a divine superintendence in every thing, through a variety of particulars strikingly contrasted one with another, all aiming at the same end, all calculated to enforce the same practical lesson. "The Lord killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up. The Lord maketh poor, nnd 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," Verse 6....9.

In the conclusion of her song, Hannah, rapt into futurity, no doubt by the spirit of prophecy, contem

[ocr errors]

plates the final consummation of the great mystery of Providence, as issuing in the establishment of universal order in the suppression and punishment of vice; and in the unchangeable and permanent glory of a Redeemer's kingdom. The same hand which balances the spheres, which conducts all the affairs of men, 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 be 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 of the New Testament, clearly point out that glorious. and divine person, in whose hallowed name the song terminates....God's Anointed. A woman was honored 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, whe ther as priests, or prophets, or kings, were but a shadow; and in whose superior lustre they disappear, as the light of the stars is absorbed in the splendor of the The prophetess celebrates JEHOVAH 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 forever and ever.

And this 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 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 honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He that honoreth not the Son, honoreth 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 bath raised him from the dead," Acts xvii. 30. 31. "The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign forever and ever," Rev. xi. 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 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 hte, 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 believ

er's" life is hid with Christ in God." But" when Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then ye shall 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," John iii. 2.

[merged small][ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »