« AnteriorContinuar »
Father. He that honoureth not the Son, ness. 74 To be destitute of this life, in whathonoureth 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 he 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."t “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 John iii. 2
* Rom. viii. 10.
HISTORY OF HANNAH,
THE MOTHER OF SAMUEL.
LECTURE CV. But Samuel ministered before the Lord, being a child, girded with a linen ephod. Moreover his mother
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 seed 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 IL 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 comly and fatally imagine, that the few first years fortless winter. of life may be disposed of as you please: that It is the ordinance of Providence that the a little neglect may easily be repaired, that heaviest and most important part of educaa little irregularitý 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 goodround; and the year shall be crowned with ness, the excellency of religion; 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.
That Providence which has imposed this , him. There my hand has scattered the seeds employment on the febler sex as a task, has of wisdom and happiness; to thy fostering most graciously contrived to render it one of care I commit that tender plant. Cared for, the highest and most exquisite of female it will abundantly reward thy toil ; neglected, comforts; as, in truth, all the impositions, it will grow into a sharp thorn to tear ty nay, the very chastisements of Heaven are flesh. Every day, every hour is producing a really blessings. Let the woman who has change in it. Grow it will and must; what given suck tell if she can, “ bow tender it it grows into, depends upon thyself. Of thy is to love the babe that milks her." Ask hand will I require it." that mother if there be any joy like the joy As Samuel was to be a Nazarite to God of hearing her child repeat the lessons which from the womb, the law prescribed to the she taught him. Ask her if she recollects mother certain ceremonial observances reor regards her pain and anguish; her anx- specting her own conduct, and the treatment ious days and sleepless nights. Ask her, if of her own person, which corresponded te all is not forgotten and lost in the progress that high destination. Abstinence, in parwhich expanding faculties have made, and ticular, from certain kinds of meat and drink, in the richer harvest which they promise. which might eventually affect the bodily er Ask, if she has not already received more mental constitution of the unborn infant. than her reward. If the representation of | With these prescriptions we have no room the case be just, let it procure for dutiful to doubt Hannah punctually complied. And mothers the respect and gratitude which they here we fix the second stage, or if you will, merit; let it reconcile their minds to what erect the second pillar of education. The is painful and laborious in their lot; let it commands of God are none of them arbitrary raise them to their due rank and importance and capricious, but founded in reason and the in society; and let it stimulate them to per- nature of things. Whatever strongly affects severance in well-doing, in the full assurance the mother during the months of pregnancy, that they shall in no wise lose their reward. beyond all doubt affects her offspring, whe
The passage of holy writ, on the considera- ther it be violent liquors, or violent passions. tion of which we are now entering, is a very It belongs to another profession than mine to affecting representation of the effects and account for this, and to determine how far consequences of a good and a bad education, the sympathy goes. But the general belief exemplified in the conduct of Hannah, the of it would most certainly have a very happy mother of Samuel, and Eli, the father of effect in procuring attention to female health, Hophni and Phinehas. Scripture, instead regularity and tranquillity in that delicate of multiplying precept upon precept
, leads and interesting situation. The comfort of us at once into human life, and exhibits the both parent and child, to the end of life; law written in the event. It instructs us what do I say ? through the whole of their how to bring up children, by delineating the existence, may be concerned in it. dreadful consequences of excessive lenity and As soon as Samuel was born, we find Hanindulgence on the one hand, and the happy nah devoting undivided attention to the first fruits of early piety, regularity, and self-go- and sweetest of maternal offices. "The vernment on the other. This theme, being woman tarried at home, and gave her son by far the more pleasing of the two, and suck, until she weaned him.". Nature and coming in more regularly in the order of inclination concur in pressing this duty upon history, shall obtain the preference, in the every mother. The instances of real inabdicourse of our inquiry. Though, indeed, at- ty are too few to merit consideration. The tention to the one must, of necessity, bring performance of it, carries its own recompense forward the other; and the good fortify and in its bosom; the neglect is, first and last, its recommend itself by contrast with the evil. own punishment. Without considering at
The education of Samuel began in the present its connexion with the health and pious resolution of his mother before he was comfort of both parties, let us attend for a conceived in the womb. “ If thou wilt give moment to its influence on morals, and as unto thine handmaid a man-child, then I will constituting a branch of education. Is not give him unto the Lord all the days of his parental and filial affection the first bond of life.” Every parent receives every child un- society, and the foundation of all virtue! It der a tacit engagement to the same purpose: is this which arms a delicate female with and the command of God, from the moment patience which no pain nor labour can exof the birth is, “ Rear that child for me.” I haust, with fortitude which no calamity can have watched over him while he lay in dark- subdue, with courage which no difficulty or ness, mine eyes saw his substance yet be danger can intimidate. It is this which first ing unperfect; in my book all his members inspires the infant purpose to excel, which were written, which in continuance were blows the sacred spark of gratitude into a fashioned, when as yet there was none of flame, which first awakens and animates the them. I added the immortal principle to the latent seeds of immortality in the human finished limbs: I stamped my image upon soul. The first perception of the child, is
thesweet sense of obligation and dependence: 1 brought us out of Egypt, from the house of he feels himself far advanced in a commerce bondage. And it came to pass when Pharaoh of reciprocal affection the moment he be- would hardly let us go, that the Lord slew comes conscious of his existence; and finds all the first-born in the land of Egypt.” It himself engaged in habits of goodness, long was probably thus, that Hannah instructed before he understands the meaning of words. her darling son ; stored his memory with inAnd is it fit that these kind affections should teresting events, and touched his heart by be transferred to a stranger ? Who can be affecting representations of the mercy and so well qualified to communicate these ear-judgment of God, exemplified in the history liest and best lessons, as a mother? Can of his own forefathers. Milk is the proper you complain that your child is cold, indif- food of babes, strong meat belongeth to them ferent or averse to you, when you set the who are full of age. A dry precept is but example of coldness, indifference, and aver-half understood, and is speedily forgotten, but sion, and preferred a little ease or pleasure a tale of distress, the triumph of goodness to his health and comfort, and what is in- over malevolence and opposition; the merited finitely more, to his early, infant morals ? shame and punishment of wickedness, is Can you hope from a hireling, who must have easily understood, is long retained, and its renounced nature too, as well as yourself, impression is not to be effaced. what God, and nature, and decency, and re We advance to the fourth stage of wise gard to your own real well-being have press- and good education, of which we have the ed upon you in vain? It was so much a pattern before us. The same principle which primary duty in the eyes of Hannah, that her induced Hannah to keep her son at home for attendance on the duties of the sanctuary at a season, and to abide with him, constrained Shiloh gave place to it; she revered the ordi- her to send him from home, to give up her nance of that God, who says, “I will have interest in him, when the service of God, mercy and not sacrifice;" and religious ser- and the greater good of the child demanded vice is interrupted for a season, to be re- the sacrifice. It is just the reverse of what sumed with greater ardour and effect, when high life, at least with us, daily presents. the duties of life were faithfully dis- You shall see a mother who hardly inquired charged.
after her child at the time of life when her At what age the child was weaned, the tenderness was most necessary to him, all at history relates not. He remained under the once assuming the parent, exercising an aftuition of his mother till he was of a proper fected tenderness which he no longer needs, age to be presented to the Lord, in the place reducing him to childhood after he is becomwhich he had chosen to put his name there, ing a man, and endeavouring to compensate and to be put under the instruction of Eli, by an after-growth of affection, the unkindand prepared for the service of the tabernacle. ness and neglect which blighted the early And we shall presently find that he was in- blossoms of the spring. She can suffer him finitely more indebted to the solicitous atten- no longer out of her sight. The discipline tions of a pious mother for his progress in which her own wickedness has rendered nedivine knowledge, than he afterwards was to cessary to his improvement, is reprobated as the superintendence of the high-priest of cruelty, and the poor youth is frequently Israel, who knew so ill to rule his own ruined, by having at one time no mother at house, and to whom, of a pupil, he became a all; at another, one too much. I honour the teacher.
firmness of Hannah, as much as I love her I am well aware of the difficulty of form- motherly softness and attachment. To posing a plan of religious instruction for chil- sess with gratitude, to cherish a worthy obdren. Scripture suggests the happiest, the ject with tenderness, and to resign it with most obvious, and the most effectual. It steadiness and magnanimity, is equally an ought to come from the children themselves. object of admiration and esteem. Observe the They are desirous of information. If left to mixed emotions which animate and correct themselves, they will think and inquire.- her countenance as she conducts her well beTheir questions will point out the mode of loved son to the altar. The saint speaks in instruction. Do not be over anxious to take that eye, sparkling with delight, as she dethe lead, but carefully follow them. Their votes what she holds most dear in the world ideas will be directed by what they observe to Him, from whom she had by holy imporand feel; and strong facts and appearances tunity obtained him; the tear rushes to it, of nature will make a deep and lasting im- and all the mother stands confessed as she pression upon them. He who knows what retires. Piety has prevailed, and presented is in man, has accordingly given us, in a the offering: nature feels, but submits. particular example, a general rule of proceed It is easier to conceive than to describe ing in this great article: “And it shall be what was the state of her mind as she rewhen thy son asketh thee in time to come, turned from Shiloh to Ramah: the anxiety saying, What is this? That thou shalt say and regret at leaving her Samuel behind; unto him, by strength of hand the Lord the satisfaction and delight of reflecting in
what hands she had left him, and to what i cation, will, through the divine permission, care she had committed him. But we hear be the subject of the next Lecture. of no wild project formed of removing the I conclude with addressing myself in a whole family to reside at Shiloh, in order to very few words, first, to the parents of the indulge a fond mother's partial affection, with other sex. You see what a heavy barden the continual presence of her little minion. God and nature have laid upon the weaker No, the same spirit of prudence, the same of the two. You are bound in justice, in hodomestic regards, the same sense of duty manity, in gratitude, to alleviate it. To mo which once engaged her to prefer attention purpose will the mother watch and toi, Ilto Samuel, to attendance on the sacred fes- less you co-operate. She has part of her tival, now engage her to prefer the unosten- reward in her very employment: her recomtatious employments of a wife, and the mis- pense will be complete if she obtain your tress of a family at Ramah, to the sacredness approbation, and retain your affection. Has of the tabernacle, and the care of an only offence arisen, does calamity press, is the son, a first-born. But the heart of a mother spirit ruffled, is her person changed! Refinds, and flies to the innocent refuge which flect, she is the mother of thy child; perhaps nature pointed out. She employs her mind she lost her looks, her health, it may be her and her hands during the intervals of the feast, spirits and temper, in doing the duty of : about her absent son; “ His mother made mother: she ought to be the more estimable him a little coat, and brought it to him from in your eyes at least. year to year, when she came up with her Let me next speak for a moment to ingehusband to offer the yearly sacrifice.” Onuous youth. Young man, superadded to all how pure, how cheap, how satisfying are the the other motives to virtue, if you feel not pleasures of virtue! No words can express the force of this, you are lost indeed. There the inward, the incommunicable joy of that is a worthy woman in the world, who loves mother, as her fingers wove the threads of you as her own soul, who gave your first that little coat, as her eyes saw it grow into nourishment and instruction, whó bronght shape, and colour, and shade, as the increas- you into life at the risk of her own, to whom ing stature of the wearer rendered the in- nothing that affects you can be a matter of crease of her labour necessary. You must indifference. She is jealous over you with be converted and become a little child, a du- a holy jealousy. If you tread in the ways of tiful, affectionate, and pious child, like Sa- wisdom, how her heart will be satisfied with muel, to conceive the delight of seeing his in her; if you decline from the right path, if parents return, of putting on his new gar- you become “a son of Belial," you will rend ment, of exhibiting his mother's present. her with severer pangs than those which she These nothings are the bond of affection endured in bringing thee into the world. among virtuous minds, and the source of And can your heart permit you to plunge a their felicity.
dagger into the heart of your own mothes! This we settle as a more advanced stage Who does not shudder at the thought of a of education, as far as it depends upon the parricide so detestable, so monstrous ! Fer mother. To part with the child firmly and a mother's sake, renounce that " covenant unreluctantly, when the proper hour of sepa- with death:” retrace thy wandering steps ration comes; to preserve the commerce of resume the reins of self-government, and reaffection by works and messages of kindness; turn to real rest and joy. and to subject every feeling and pursuit to Young woman, let thine eyes be still to the known and declared will of God. Let ward the nurse, the guide, the comforter, the no one, O woman, usurp thy province, step refuge of thy early years. Alleviate by between thee and thy child, steal his affec- partaking of the burdens and labours of her tions from thee. What, suffer him to have station ; dissipate hier solicitude; soothe ber a step-mother while thou art yet living! pains; give her cause to bless the day she Forbid it nature, forbid it decency, forbid it bare thee. Trust in her as thy most prudent religion. But the hour of separation is ar-counsellor, as thy most assured friend, as thy rived, you have done your duty, he must most intelligent instructer. Do her good now pass into other hands; as a mother you and not evil, all the days of thy life. Rise retained him, as a mother resign him. You into usefulness, into importance, into resort have not laboured vain: you have not tability, by marking her footsteps, imbibing spent your strength for nought and in vain. her spirit, following her example. A daug Be of good cheer, you have trained him up ter unkind, undutiful, ungrateful to a neothet, in the way in which he should go, and when is of all monsters the most odious and die old he will not depart from it. Your heart gusting. Youthful excellence is never more shall rejoice in him many days hence. He amiable and attractive, than when it seeks shall be to thee a crown of glory when thou retreat and retirement under the maternal art dropping into the grave.
wing, and shrinking from the public eye, The disorderly state of Eli's family, the seeks its reward in a mother's smile of an consequence of a careless and neglected edu- probation.
HISTORY OF HANNAH,
THE MOTHER OF SAMUEL.
Now the sons of Eli were sons of Belial: they knew not the Lord. And the priest's custom with the
peaple was, that when any man offered sacrifice, the priest's servant came while the flesh was in seeth. ing, with a fesh-hook of three teeth in his hand : and he struck it into the pan, or kettle, or caldron, or por: all that the flesh-hook bronght up, the priest look for himself: so they did in Shiloh, unto all the Israelites that came thither. Also before they burned the fat, the priest's servant came and said to the Inan that sacrificed, Give Mesh to roast for the priest: for he will not have sodden flesh of thee, but raw. And if any man said unto him, Let them not fail to burn the fat presenty: and then take as much as thy soul desireth, then he would answer him, Nay, but thou shalt give it me now: and if not, I will take it by force. Wherefore the sin of the young men was very great before the Lord, for men abhorred the offering of the Lord. Now Eli was very old, and heard all that his sons did unto all Israel. And he said unto them, Why do ye such things ? for thear of your evil dealings by all this people. Nay, my sons; for it is no good report thai I hear; ye make the Lord's people to transgress.—1 SAMUEL ii. 12-17, 23, 24.
PERFECTION consists in the happy medium ; of Samuel. We saw in her conduct a happy between the too little and too much. It is mixture of tenderness and resolution ; of ateminently conspicuous in every thing that tention to domestic employments, and regard comes immediately from God. “He is the to the offices of religion; of moderated anxrock, his work is perfect, and all his ways are iety about the safety and comfort of her son's judgment." Contemplate the stupendous person, and prudent concern about the culture whole, or examine the minutest part, and you of his mind. We are, this evening, to medifind no redundancy, no defect. All is good, tate on a subject much less pleasing, but not yea, very good. But man is ever in the ex- less instructive: the ruinous effects of educatreme. Now, under the power of an indo- tion neglected; youth licentious and unlence which shrinks from every appearance restrained, sinking gradually into universal of difficulty or danger, and now hurried on depravity, and issuing in accumulated by a zeal which overleaps all the bounds of wretchedness and untimely death. A father wisdom and discretion. Now, he cannot be weak and indulgent; sons profiigate and prevailed on to begin, and now nothing can abandoned; a God holy, righteous, and just. persuade him to stop. He makes his very Observe, in the entrance, the provision good to be evil spoken of, by imprudence and which infinite wisdom has been making to excess in the manner of performing it. supply the breach which was ready to be
In nothing is human ignorance and frailty made in the priesthood. The measure of the more apparent, than in the important article iniquity of Eli's sons was nearly full, their of education. It is conducted, at one time, destruction was hastening on; Samuel is with a severity that intimidates and over- already born, instructed in, prepared for, the whelms; at another, with a lenity that flatters, service of the tabernacle; and the care of a encourages, and fosters vice. One is driven pious mother has been employed in the hand into an evil course by despair, another drawn of Providence to counteract the criminal neginto it, and fortified in it, by excessive indul- ligence and carelessness of a too easy father. gence. It is, in truth, no easy task to ma The representation given us of the degenenage this matter aright. The modes of racy and dissoluteness of the Levitical family, treatment are as various as the character and equals, if not exceeds, all that history relates dispositions of the young ones, who are the of the irregularity, and impurity of idol worsubjects of it. The application of a general ship. The law had made a decent and even rule is impracticable and absurd. The dis- an ample provision, for them who ministered cipline which would oppress one child, is at the altar, but had carefully guarded against hardly sufficient to restrain another within whatever tended to countenance luxury or any bounds of decency. It is happy when excess. But behold every thing confounded. the child is inured to habits of restraint and The directors of religious worship are become submission from the cradle. If the mother the patterns of impiety. There is no reve.. has discharged her duty tolerably, the busi-rence of God, no regard to man. Before the ness of the father and master is half executed. fat of the sacrifice smokes upon the altar of Last Lord's day we had the satisfaction of Jehovah, the choicest pieces of the victim are observing the effects of an early good educa- served up on the abominable table of a luxution, in the example of Hannah the mother rious priest. The pious worshipper has his