« PreviousContinue »
Children may likewise honour God, by giving a willing attention to learn their duty, and a hearty desire of rendering themselves acceptable to him.
• If we thus honour God, he will honour us; that is . to say, we shall be honoured in this world with the
esteem of good and wise men, and the particular love • and favour of God, and in a future state we shall receive a crown of glory.
• But if we dishonour God by a contempt of his . authority, an abuse of his gifts, and a disobedience
to his will, we shall, like Eli's sons, be lightly esteemed: • all whose favour is worth gaining will avoid our com• pany, and we shall lose the blessing of God, and all
the glorious rewards that are promised to those who • do well, and shall be for ever miserable.'
We find that Hannah's piety was remembered; for it pleased God to honour her with a family, in return for the honour she rendered him.
THE WORD OF THE LORD REVEALED TO SAMUEL.
From 1 Samuel, Chap. iii.
And the child Samuel ministered unto the LORD before Eli. And the Word of the LORD was precious in those days; there was no open vision.
And it came to pass at that time, when Eli was laid down in his place, and his eyes began to wax din, that he could not see ;
And ere the lamp of God went out in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was, and Samuel was laid down to sleep; that the LORD called Samuel. And he answered, Here am I.
And he ran unto Eli, and said, Here am I ; for thou calledst me. And he said, I called not; lie down again. And he went and lay down.
And the LORD called yet again, Samuel. And Samuel arose, and went to Eli and said, Here am I: for thou didst call me. And he answered, I called not, my son; lie down again.
Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, neither was the Word of the LORD yet revealed unto him.
And the LORD called Samuel again the third time. And he arose and went to Eli, and said, Here am 1; for thou didst call me. And Eli perceived that the Lord had called the child.
Therefore Eli said unto Samuel, Go, lie down : and it shall be, if he call thee, that thou shalt say, Speak, LORD, for thy servant heareth. So Samuel went and lay down in his place.
And the Lord came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak, for thy servant heareth.
And the LORD said to Samuel, Behold, I will do a thing in Israel, at which both the ears of every one that heareth it shall tingle.
In that day will I perform against Eli all things which I have spoken concerning his house: when I begin I will also make an end.
For I have told him that I will judge his house for ever, for the iniquity which he knoweth : because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them nat.
And therefore I have sworn unto the house of Eli, that the iniquity of Eli's house shall not be purged with sacrifice nor offering for ever.
And Samuel lay until the morning, and opened the doors of the house of the LORD, And Samuel feared to shew Eli the vision.
Then Eli called Samuel, and said, Samuel, my son, And he answered, Here am I.
And he said, What is the thing that the LORD hath said unto thee? I pray thee hide it not from me: GOD do so to thee, and more also, if thou hide any thing from me of all the things that he said unto thee.
And Samuel told him every whit, and hid nothing from him. And he said, It is the LORD: let him do what seemeth him good.
And Samuel grew, and the LORD was with him, and did let none of his words fall to the ground.
And all Israel, from Dan even to Beersheba, knew that Samuel was established to be a prophet of the LORD.
And the LORD appeared again in Shiloh: for the LORD revealed himself to Samuel in Shiloh by the Word of the LORD.
And the word of Samuel came to all Israel.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
Whilst the family of Eli were dishonouring God, Samuel, though a little child, was devoutly attending on his service, and daily improving in those religious graces
which are rewarded with the favour of the LORD, and those amiable virtues that procure the esteem of mankind.
It is to be observed that the Divine revelation was given to Samuel by an open vision of the WORD of the Lord. In the New Testament we read, that the WORD was the same DIVINE Being by whom the world was created *, the LORD God.
From the days of Moses, till the time of Samuel, the
* See John i, 1, &c.
WORD of the LORD was seldom revealed. Now and then a person was inspired to deliver messages from God on extraordinary occasions, as in the case of Eli; but there were no settled prophets, to whom the people might have recourse to know the will of the LORD; for it is likely that the Lord withheld the spirit of prophecy as a token of His displeasure, on account of the corruption of His holy worship.
Samuel was laid down to sleep in some apartment adjoining to Eli's, when the Word of the Lord came unto him: supposing that it was Eli's voice, he hasted, with dutiful respect, to wait on him, though in the dead of the night. Samuel, who no doubt, from his early piety, had high and sublime notions of the divine majesty, had no idea that the Lord would condescend to speak as with a human voice.
How humiliating must it have been to Eli, when he found that a little child was preferred before him! For he had reason to regard this circumstance as a farther token of God's displeasure against his house: this would naturally make him inquisitive into the matter that was going to be revealed; and his being convinced beforehand that the LORD was about to speak, would prevent his suspecting that Samuel had invented, or imagined the thing. Eli however, as his duty required, gave the best instructions he could to Samuel who returned to his bed, and at this time seems to have had some visible token of the Divine PRESENCE, for it is said, that the LORD stood and called as at other times, which satisfied Samuel that it was not Eli who called him; he answered as Eli had taught him; and then, with silence and composure, received the awful mes. sage.
We may imagine that Eli experienced the most painful perturbations of mind till he knew what the
Lord had revealed ; and Samuel's backwardness to de. clare the heavy tidings, shews that he had a tender affection for Eli, and was afraid to grieve hin, The patient resignation of the poor old man, shewed, that his heart acknowledged the power of God, and the justice of the sentence pronounced against his wicked sons.
We may learn from the punishment of Eli, that those who do not restrain others from sin, when in their power, make themselves partakers in their guilt ; especially parents, whose particular duty it is, not only to admonish, but to chastise their children, if they do ill.
Young persons, who are well disposed, will listen to sueh mild reproofs from their parents as they must be sensible proceed from an affectionate solicitude for their welfare; but if they are so obstinate and disobedient as to render these ineffectual, paternal love requires, that punishment should be inflicted; for who would wil. lingly consign their beloved offspring to the curse of GOD, and risk the loss of their temporal and eternal happiness? If Eli had properly discharged his duty in this respect, he would have escaped that disgrace and disappointment which, as we shall find, brought down
hairs with sorrow to the grave, -and his sons might have lived to be the comfort and crown of his
THE ISRAELITES OVERCOME BY THE PHILISTINES
THE ARK IS TAKEN, AND ELi's SONS SLAINELI'S DEATH.
From 1 Samuel, Chap. iv. Now Israel went out against the Philistines to battle, and pitched beside Eben-ezer: and the Philistines pitched in Aphek