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us to seek the power which that union with Him alone can supply. It is by means of the virtue which flows. from him that we are partakers either of his spiritual death or life. From his death is derived a power over the old man to mortify it; from his life a power over the new, to strengthen and confirm it. He is the great source both of death and life. "I am crucified with Christ," says the apostle, "nevertheless I live yet not I, but Christ liveth in me, and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for The great question then for us is, what use are we making of this power. Are we seeking to
live by the faith of the Son of God; are we seeking to put to death the old nature, and to be more and more dead to sin? are we crucifying it by denying it the food by which it thrives? are we seeking to strengthen the life of the new man? Is it, in short, our one constant prayerful object to be confirmed in our union with Christ by feeding on him in our hearts by faith, and by drawing from him fuller and larger supplies of grace for our souls. So that being spiritually conformed here to him, in the likeness of his death and resurrection, we may hereafter rise to the life immortal, through him who liveth and reigneth with the Father and the Holy Ghost, now and ever.
7 Gal. ii. 20.
1 SAMUEL ii. 30.
THEM THAT HONOUR ME I WILL HONOUR, AND THEY THAT DESPISE ME SHALL BE LIGHTLY ESTEEMED.
I SELECTED this text from the chapter which we have heard read, as conveying the application of the whole narrative contained in it; and because I thought it would afford me an opportunity of pointing out the result of a true and sincere desire to serve and honour God, illustrated in the case of Samuel and his parents, and of comparing it with the result of a contemptuous and neglectful treatment of him, exemplified in the case of Eli and his children. On further consideration, however, I found that the union of the two subjects within the compass of one discourse was impossible, and therefore, at the loss of the advantage which the comparison or rather contrast would have afforded, I shall proceed to consider separately the case of Eli and his family, which will illustrate the latter part of tha clause which I have taken for my text, that they that " despise God shall be lightly esteemed."
The general principle contained in the text, as well as the particular instance by which it is illustrated, may be divided into two subjects, THE TRANSGRESSION and THE RETRIBUTION. And although all the persons spoken of in this portion of the word of God may be considered as involved in it; for all transgressed and all suffered, the children as well as the parent; I shall, nevertheless, confine myself more particularly to the consideration of it as it concerns Eli; and in this view the subject is a most important one to parents. May the Holy Spirit then teach them practically a useful lesson from this history of a parent's errors, and a parent's
The FIRST point for our consideration, according to the division of the subjects which I have just mentioned, is THE TRANSGRESSION of Eli. And in order to estimate this aright, we must consider wнO and WHAT Eli was.
He was a person peculiarly honoured of God, at that time holding the first situations, both ecclesiastical and civil-THE HIGH PRIEST AND THE JUDGE OF ISRAEL. This circumstance is not to be overlooked by us, for it was made a special ground of remonstrance against him by God, when he sent his messenger to him. In the 27th and 28th verses, we read that the man of God thus addressed Eli from the Lord, "Thus saith the Lord, did I plainly appear unto the house of thy father, when they were in Egypt, in Pharaoh's house; and did I choose him out of all the tribes of Israel to be my priest, to offer
upon mine altar, to burn incense,, and to wear an ephod before me?" This I need not tell you refers to the choice of Aaron, which is recorded in the 4th chapter of Exodus ; and to his appointment, which is more fully given in the 28th chapter, in which this selection of Aaron with his sons Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar, is narrated, together with the great preparations which were to be made for the solemn investiture of Aaron with the priestly office. The death of Nadab and Abihu is mentioned in the 3rd chapter of Numbers, in consequence of their offering strange fire before the Lord in the wilderness; as well as the transfer of the office of the priesthood to Eleazar and Ithamar. But upon what occasion the high priesthood was transferred from the family of Eleazar the elder, to that of Ithamar, the younger brother, is not specified; we only know the fact of its having taken place, for Eli was descended from the latter. Eli then, not only as the descendant of Aaron, but likewise in consequence of this particular change in the order of the priesthood to which I have referred, had a special distinction conferred upon himself and his family; and the high and honourable office to which he was appointed, to burn incense, to offer upon God's altar, and to wear that glorious ephod, on which was the breast-plate, the urim and the thummim, by which inquiry was made of God, rendered it peculiarly necessary that he should consecrate every power and faculty to the glory of his God. Besides which, God had most amply provided for him. The man of God reminds Eli of this
as from the Lord. "Did I give unto the house of thy father all the offerings made by fire, of the children of Israel?" The persons appointed to serve at the altar were to live by the altar, and the whole splendour of the Levitical service, as well as the account we have of the actual provision made for the priests, sufficiently prove that the situation Eli filled was not more honourable than advantageous. In addition to this, he was the judge of Israel. The government of Israel at that time was a pure theocracy, "God was their king," and he raised up, on special occasions, suitable persons to carry on the affairs of the nation under him. These were called judges, and were, in fact, equal in honour and authority to the kings that were afterwards established; and this office of responsibility was enjoyed by Eli. All these considerations tend to show how much was due from him to God. Nathan in his remonstrance with David, enumerates what God had done for him, that he might be induced, by the recollection of it, to feel his guilt the more acutely; and thus, when we consider the situation of honour, and power, and affluence, in which God had placed Eli, and in which he had given him all things richly to enjoy, we shall see that there was no degree of respect for God, or jealousy for God's honour, that we might not have looked for at his hands. Do not, however, my brethren, allow this argument to be perverted, as if it meant that they only who were so situated were called upon to glorify God. The greater
1 1 Sam. xii. 12.