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Desire more earnestly the best gifts ; spiri- stowed ; and with Jabez calling on the God tual, heavenly eternal blessings. By all of Israel, saying, “ Oh that thou wouldest means, in your vows, stipulate for your por- bless me indeed, and that thine hand might tion of present and temporal good things, be with me, and that thou wouldest keep me saying with Jacob, “ If God will be with me, from evil that it may not grieve me." and will keep me in this way that I go, and Hannah promised to devote to the Lord will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put the child which should be given her; and on, so that I come again to my father's house have solemnly engaged to yield yourselves in peace, then shall the Lord be my God;"* unto God; and" ye are not your own, for ye -and with Hannah, pouring out the bitter. are bought with a price." "I beseech you ness of an oppressed heart before God, and therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, begging relief of the Father of mercies, say- that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, ing, “ O Lord of Hosts, if thou wilt indeed holy, acceptable unto God, which is your look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and reasonable service. And be not conformed remember me, and not forget thine hand to this world; but be ye transformed by the maid.” But forget not withal, to stipulate, renewing of your mind, that ye may prove with Solomon, for " an understanding heart," what is that good and acceptable and perfect to prize and to improve mercies already be- will of God."* * Gen. xxviii. 20, 21.
* Rom. xii. 1, 2
HISTORY OF HANNAH,
THE MOTHER OF SAMUEL
LECTURE CI V.
And Hannah prayed, and said, My heart rejoiceth in the Lord : mine horn is exalted in the Lord, my
mouth is enlarged over mine enemies : because I rejoice in thy salvation. There is none holy as the Lord : for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God. Talk no more so exceed. ing 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. They that were full have hired out themselves for bread; and they that were hungry ceased; so that the barren hath borne seven : and she that hath many children is waxed feeble. The Lord killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up. The Lord maketh poor, and maketh rich: he bringeth low, and listeth up. Fle 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 get 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 nian prevail. The adversaries of the Lord shall be broken to pieces: out of heaven shall he thunder upon them: the Lord shall judge the ends of the earth; and he shall give strength unto his king, and exalt the horn of his anointed. -- 1 SAMUEL ï. 1-10.
In man, the masterpiece of creation, are the power of thought, that productive faculty discernible various kinds of life, distinct from of the Almighty; that image of God in our each other, yet most wonderfully blended and nature. He contemplates, compares, reflects, united, so as to form one great and astonish- reasons, plans, performs. By means of this ing whole. The animal, the intellectual, the he exercises dominion over all other creamoral life; to which we add, in man as he tures. Inferior to many, in some respects, came from the hands of his Creator, and in by this he renders himself superior to all; man" renewed” by grace “in the spirit of and reduces all their powers to the subjechis mind,” the spiritual and divine life, the tion and obedience of himself. dawning light, the earnest and pledge, the The moral life places man in society; concelestial foretaste of everlasting life. nects him with intelligent beings like him
The first of these we enjoy in common self; opens a capacious field of duty and of with the beasts that perish. Like theirs, our enjoyment; stamps him an object of approba bodies grow and decline. Like them we are tion or blame, of reward or punishment. led by sense and appetite, and are suscepti The divine life unites man to the Author ble of pleasure and pain. And, like them, and supporter of his existence, the source of we arose out of the earth, are supported by all his comforts, the foundation of all his it, and feel ourselves returning to it again.' hopes; the witness and the judge of all his ac
The second or intellectual life, raises man tions; the avenger of all unrighteousness, “ the far above every other animal. He possesses rewarder of them who diligently seek him."
To Adam, as an animal, God said, “Be shall we look for an example of the highes, fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth; life of man, the life of God in the soul ? behold I have given you every herb bearing Nature stands silent, the whole worla lies seed, which is upon the face of the earth; dead; it presents. every kind of life but this. and every tree in which is the fruit of a tree, Where is the model to which we refer? yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.' " Where is the idea of this most exaltea ex
In Adam the intellectual life discovered cellence of our nature? It is to be found. itself, when the Lord God brought unto him “I came not to do mine own will but the "every beast of the field, and every fowl of will of him that sent me.” “I seek not the air, to see what he would call them; and mine own glory, but the glory of him who whatsoever Adam called every living crea- sent me." Read and ponder the seventeenth ture, that was the name thereof."
chapter of John's gospel, and discover the God having implanted a principle of moral author, the example, the giver of this divine life in man, said, “It is not good that the life; and aspire after a participation of it. man should be alone; I will make him an We have some of these holy aspirations help meet for him;" he took the man and in the passage now read. We behold a put him into the garden of Eden to dress it spirit alive unto God; sinking the creature and to keep it; and commanded the man, in the Creator; discerning God in every obsaying, “Of every tree of the garden thou ject, and in every event that arises; refermayest freely eat: but of the tree of the ring all things to Him “who doth according knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not to his will in the armies of heaven, and eat of it. For in the day that thou eatest among the inhabitants of the earth.” Let thereof, thou shalt surely die."
us blend our spirits, with that of pious HanIn Adam the spiritual and divine life was nah, and may God grant us to know and feel perfected, when“God created man in his the happiness of having fellowship with the own image.” It was extinguished and lost Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. when by transgression he fell; it was re
“ Hannah prayed.” In affliction she prayvived by the promise of the Messiah and ed: and in prosperity she prayed. Tears salvation through his blood; and it will be and smiles are not more the expression of completely recovered when the image of God their corresponding emotions, than supplicais restored through the spirit of sanctification. tion and thanksgiving are of that life which
All these different kinds of life have their dictates them, in a suitableness to the variseveral and corresponding expressions; and ous aspects of Divine Providence. Sorrow according as any one prevails
, such is the is no longer sorrow when it is poured out incharacter of the man. When the habitual to the bosom of sympathy and tenderness. cry is, “What shall I eat, what shall I drink, Every joy is multiplied an hundred fold by and wherewithal shall I be clothed ?" it is every communication of it to the ear and the easy to determine what life is predominant: heart of friendship. Hannah prays, “and it is easy to discern when the brute runs her countenance is no more sad.” She reaway with the man. Solomon may be given stores her earnestly expected son to God; as an instance of the prevalence of intellec- and is infinitely enriched by the restitution. tual life. He looked through nature, and Whether the child cry for relief, or express “ spake of trees, from the cedar-tree that is its gratitude by caresses and looks with satisin Lebanon, even unto the hyssop that spring- faction, it is equally grateful and soothing to eth out of the wall; he spake also of beasts, the parental heart. And will the great God and of fowls, and of creeping things, and of in the very deed vouchsafe to make himself fishes.” “His wisdom excelled the wisdom known to us by the name of the hearer of of all the children of the east country, and prayer? Is he exalted to show mercy? Can all the wisdom of Egypt.” The psalmist he be pleased with the effusions of a thankhas presented us with an exquisite repre- ful heart? Thoughtless, inconsiderate creasentation of the moral life of man, (would tures that we are; blind to our highest into God it were more frequently realized) in terest, dead to our purest joy! We see the fifteenth psalm; “He that walketh up-nothing of God in that distress, in that deliverrightly, and worketh righteousness and speak- ance. We attended to the creature only, eth the truth in his heart. He that back- and therefore found no comfort. We endurbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to ed without hope, and we enjoyed without his neighbour, nor taketh up a reproach relish. Happy soul that can command itself against his neighbour; in whose eyes a vile to peace, and say, I have poured out my anperson is contemned: but he honoureth them guish before the Lord, I have cast all my that fear the Lord. He that sweareth to his care upon him, my burden is no longer mine, own hurt, and changeth not. He that put- but his. “Return unto thy rest, O my soul, teth not out his money to usury, nor taketh for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee. reward against the innocent. He that doeth He hath delivered my soul from death, mine Uiese things shall never be moved."* Where eyes from tears, and my feet from falling." * Psalın xv. 2-5
In the first transports of her joy, Hannah
forgets every thing but the glorious object of ture. It is his glory to be single and alone; to
“My heart rejoiceth in the Lord.” But as the wise and righteous Governor of the “who is this king of glory?" The spirit world whom none can successfully oppose, shrinks with reverence from the inquiry; and from whose notice none can possibly conceal the heart sweetly slides into the observation himself. “Talk no more so exceeding proudand acknowledgment of what an incompre- ly; let not arrogancy come out of your mouth: hensive Jehovah hath done. “ Mine horn is for the Lord is a God of knowledge, and by exalted in the Lord.” “The horn," in scrip- him actions are weighed. The bows of the ture language, is the emblem of strength mighty men are broken, and they that stumShe was till now undistin- bled are girded with strength."
9* Behold the guished, unprized, unimportant in Israel; a cure of pride. There is a God on high, from wife, without the honour of being a mother. whom descended every advantage which one But now she has risen into lustre, and place, possesses above another, who carefully notes and pre-eminence. Her Samuel is to her the use that is made of his benefits, and will “a crown of glory, and a diadem for beauty!" demand an account of them; who "seeth the She had power with God and prevailed; she proud a far off, but hath respect unto the lowasked, and God granted her request. This ly.”. “By him actions are weighed;" they is naturally blended in her mind, with the are judged, not according to their apparent derision and cruel mocking which she had circumstances, nor the maxims of the world, endured. For the very devotions of fallen nor the rank of the parties concerned, but creatures must savour of the calamities to according to truth, according to the real which they are exposed, and the imperfection merit or demerit of the action, according to in which they are involved. Both nature the thoughts and intent of the heart. Thus and piety accordingly concur in dictating the is the mouth of arrogancy effectually shut, expression of thankfulness which follows; and the whole world laid low in the dust be"My mouth is enlarged over mine enemies :" fore a holy and righteous God. “The bows Here the woman speaks; but the saint in- of the mighty men are broken, and they that stantly subjoins, “ because I rejoice in thy stumbled are girt with strength.” Even in salvation."
this world, “the Lord maketh himself known When the life of God is completely form- by the judgments which he executes;" and ed in the soul, every particle of human cor- causeth men to change conditions, and turnruption shall be purged away. There shall eth the world upside down. The affairs of be no feeling, nor recollection of unkindness men, like the frame of nature, are in a state or enmity. And in proportion as evil affec- of perpetual revolution, and the history of tions are rooted out, and kind affections are mankind is simply an account of the rise and implanted, cherished, and promoted, so is the depression of wretched mortals by means not image of God impressed, renewed, and pre- of their own contrivance, by events which served. The love of God perfected shall they could not foresee, and over which they obliterate and efface every trace of resent- had no power. The victor of to-day is toment against man.
morrow a captive, and he who now lieth After a short vibration on this string, the " among the pots, shall come forth as the heart of the worshipper seems to recur with wings of a dove covered with silver, and her increased complacency and delight to a wor- feathers with yellow gold.” thier subject of meditation, and loses itself The greater part of Hannah's song of in infinite perfection. “There is none holy praise is employed in making a more en. as the Lord; for there is none beside thee; larged display of the wisdom and justice of neither is there any rock like our God." the Divine Providence in the government of When we attempt to meditate upon God, the world. They that were full have hired thought fails. When we attempt to address themselves out for bread.” Some are born ourselves to him, language fails. In vain do to ease and affluence, and through indolence, we look round for a similitude that may ena- inattention, or prodigality reduce themselves ble us to form a clearer perception of his na
# 1 Samuel ii. 3. 4.
to want Some acquire wealth by frugality | be silent in darkness; for by strength shall and industry. But however gotten, it is but no man prevail."* an uncertain possession, and we daily see In the conclusion of her song, Hannah, multitudes, not through any apparent fault of rapt into futurity, no doubt by the spirit of their own, “waxing poor and falling into de prophecy, contemplates the final consummacay.” Others, as unaccountably rise into tion of the great mystery of Providence, as distinction and opulence. There is an un- issuing in the establishment of universal orseen hand which gives and takes away. In der: in the suppression and punishment of prosperity there is no ground of insolence vice; and in the unchangeable and permaand triumph; in adversity no reason to de- nent glory of a Redeemer's kingdom. The враіr. .
same hand which balances the spheres, which Her own peculiar felicity again presents conducts all the affairs of men, which preitself to view, and the incense of praise as- serves harmony and prevents confusion, in cends to heaven. “ The barren hath borne both the natural and moral worlds, shall at seven, and she that hath many children is length, by another almighty fiat, “make all waxed feeble." There is a Jewish legend things new.” Then “the adversaries of the which saith, that for every child that Hannah Lord shall be broken to pieces: out of heabore, one of Peninnah's died. It is a mere ven shall he thunder upon them.” “ But who conjecture; Hannah's triumphant song is may abide the day of his coming ? and who rather a proof of the contrary. She discovers shall stand when he appeareth? for he is a spirit too excellent, in other respects, to like a refiner's fire; and he shall sit as a repermit us to suppose her capable of rejoicing finer and purifier of silver." Chastisement in the devastation which the hand of God had shall, therefore, be preceded by righteous wrought, much less in the destruction of her judgment, that every mouth may be stopped own husband's family. That heart must be lost before God. “ The LORD shall judge the to every feeling of humanity, lost to decency, ends of the earth.” Now these words of the lost to the fear of God, who can make the cala- prophetic mother of Samuel, taken in conmity of another, especially such a calamity, a nexion with the clearer and fuller display of ground of self-gratulation and complacency, or a judgment to come, in the writings of the a subject of thanksgiving to a holy and merci- New Testament, clearly point out that gloful God, as if he could become a party to our rious and divine person, in whose hallowed petty jealousies and contentions. No, a spirit name the song terminates-God's Anointed. so regulated as hers, so patient under mortifi- A woman was honoured first to announce cation, so long nurtured in the school of af- the Saviour of the world, under that descripfliction, so observant of, and submissive to the tion; and a succession of prophets henceforwill of Providence, could not taste the mor. ward hold it up to the eyes of succeeding tality of even Peninnah's children as a source generations, as “all their salvation, and all of joy. Her expressions amount to no more their desire.” Samuel, David, Isaiah, Daniel, than a devout and humble acknowledg:nent Habakkuk, each in his day proclaims the apof unerring wisdom, of unimpeachable jus proach of this King of glory, of whom all tice in conducting all the affairs of this who were anointed with material oil, whether world; in building up families, and in bring- as priests, or prophets, or kings, were but a ing them low; in exercising an absolute shadow; and in whose superior lustre they right of sovereignty, which will not be com- disappear, as the light of the stars is absorbe pelled to give account of its matters to any ed in the splendour of the sun. The prophet
The gift of children is not always ess celebrates JEHOVAH who “shall judge the withheld in anger, nor bestowed in kind- ends of the earth,” as that “King to whom ness, as the character and history of Eli's all authority is committed, to whom all family will shortly evince.
“strength is given,” as that “anointed" One, She proceeds to pursue the same idea of Messiah the prince, whose “ horn," should a divine superintendence in every thing, be finally "exalted,” and before the brightthrough a variety of particulars strikingly ness of whose coming, all disorder, iniquity, contrasted one with another, all aiming at and misery shall flee away; who shall first the same end, all calculated to enforce the “ judge the ends of the earth," and then same practical lesson. “The Lord killeth, reign for ever and ever. and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the And thus is the voice of this holy woman, grave, and bringeth up. The Lord maketh near twelve hundred years before Messiah's par and maketh rich: he bringeth low, and day, in perfect unison with the tongue of Jifteth up. He raiseth up the poor out of the Christ himself, and of the apostles of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the Lord, after his ascension into heaven, and dunghill, to set them arnong princes, and to the descent of the Holy Spirit. “ The Father inake them inherit the throne of glory: for judgeth no man; !uit hath committed all the pillars of the earth are the Lord's, and he judgment unto the Son: that all men should hath set the world upon them. He will keep honour the Son, even as they honour the the feet of his saints, and the wicked shall
• 1 Samuel ii. 6-9.
Father. He that honoureth not the Son, ness."* To be destitute of this life, in what. honoureth not the Father which hath sent ever state of perfection the intellectual life
“ God now commandeth all men may be, is to be under the power of everevery where to repent: because he hath ap- lasting death, a death of trespasses and sins. pointed a day in the which be will judge the But if its very first breathings are felt, howworld in righteousness by that man whom he ever feebly, it is a new creation begun, it is hath ordained: whereof he hath given as “ Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Attempts surance unto all men, in that he hath raised will be made to extinguish it, but in vain. him from the dead.”+ “The kingdoms of Like its Author it is immortal. It may be opthis world have become the kingdoms of our pressed, it may be suspended, it may at seaLord, and of his Christ, and he shall reign sons, lie dormant, but it cannot expire. It doth for ever and ever."! And such, in every age, not always make itself sensible to the eyes and is the native expression of a soul alive to ears of the world; for the believer's " life is God, the natural aspiration of the spiritual hid with Christ in God.” But " when Christ, and divine life.
who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye Art thou, O man, through grace a partaker also appear with him in glory.” + “Beloved, of it? You shall “know it by its fruits.” now are we the sons of God, and it doth not As it increases, corruption dies. “ If Christ yet appear what we shall be: but we know be in you, the body is dead because of sin, that when he shall appear, we shall be like but the Spirit is life because of righteous- him; for we shall see him as he is." I * John v. 22, 23. † Acts xvii. 30, 31.
Col. iii. 4. | Rev. xi. 15.
1 1 John iii. 2
* Rom. viii. 10.
HISTORY OF HANNAH,
THE MOTHER OF SAMUEL
. But Samuel ministered before the Lord, being a child, girded with a linen ephod. Moreover his mothes
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 seedi 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 and an old age full of regret; a day of unfixed, before it is apprehended that they have, necessary toil, and a night of vexation; a or can have, any character at all. Many vain- hurried summer, a meagre autumn, a com ly and fatally imagine, that the few first years fortless winter. of lite may bodisposed of as you please: that It is the ordinance of Providence that thu a little neglect may easily be repaired, that heaviest and most important part of educaa little irregularity may easily be rectified. tion should devolve upon the mother. It beThis is saying in other words, “ never regard gins before the child is born; her passions the morning; sleep it, trifle it, riot it away; and habits affect the fruit of her womb. a little closer application at noon will reco- From her bosom the infant draws the prever the loss." · The spring returns, the cious juice of health and virtue, or the baleflowers appear upon the earth, the time of ful poison of vice and disease. The fleeting the singing of birds is come. No matter; period he passes under the shadow of her it is soon enough to think of the labours of wing, is a season sacred to wisdom and piety. spring. Sing with the birds, skip with the If the mother lead not her son to the hallowfawn, the diligence of a more advanced, ed spring, if she fail to disclose to his eager more propitious season will bring every thing eye and panting heart the loveliness of good. round; and the year shall be crowned with ness, the excellency of religioni; if she perthe horn of plenty.” A single ray of reason mit the luxuriant soil to be overrun with is sufficient to detect and expose such absurd- briars and thorns, in vain will she strive to ity; yet human conduct exhibits it, in al- redeem the lost opportunity, by restraints most universal prevalence. Infancy and and punishments, by precepts and masters. childhood are vilely cast away; the morning by schools and colleges, in a more advanced is lost; the seedtime neglected—And what stage of life. The good or the mischief is is the consequence? A life full of confusion, I done by the time he comes out of her hands.