« السابقةمتابعة »
to those who do not receive. For if the case of those who wickedly and obstinately refuse to come to the Lord's supper be clearly wretched," so is the danger great, if we receive the same unworthily."
Therefore, I do not press any one in the first instance to attend merely: I press you to think of it, and to prepare for it. I would rather that you did not attend without such preparation: while, for this purpose, I am always willing to give the best advice that I can, if you have any confidence in my information and friendship. What can I say more? I have represented to you the nature of this holy sacrament, the Eucharist; which is at once a seal, a type, and a commemoration of the covenant of redemption procured for us by our Redeemer, with the price of his most precious blood-shedding: I have laid before you the part of communicants or partakers in relation to the same sacrament: I have proposed to all the most solid inducements that I could think of, to insure a regular attendance: I have endeavoured to anticipate and resolve the objections of those who will not attend; and warned them, as it was my duty, of the consequence if they obstinately persist in their refusal.-It may still be worth while to remind the communicants of a thing
Remember then, that the most essential part of our performance on this occasion consists in receiving the consecrated elements; and acknowledging, at the same time, as we ought, that divine Power which alone can give effect to our action. It is not for us, to do this of ourselves; it is neither within our merit, nor our might. We must expect the enabling which our Saviour promised his disciples by the Holy Ghost. (Acts i. 8.) And being thus enabled, when one says or thinks, "I take and eat this in remembrance that Christ died for me,"-feeding on him inwardly by faith,-and again, "I drink this in remembrance that Christ's blood was shed for me," with the same grateful recollection,-one should also remember
the Holy Ghost, the Comforter, the Life of the ceremony, by which we are enabled to eat the flesh of Christ, and to drink his blood-the Father himself and Fountain of Life also being necessarily remembered in its issue, and likewise in its return-all remembering with one heart and voice the divine Three in One: that we all may be one with them, as they are one. So prays the Son for his disciples: (John xvii. 20, &c.:) so pray we likewise for ourselves by the Spirit that "helpeth our infirmities. For we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us." (Rom. viii. 26.) May it now both fill the Lord's table with guests, and sanctify our hearts with suitable affections,—with glory to God in the highest, and good will toward men.
Hear how sweetly the Spirit invites us, or Christ by his Spirit, "Ho every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat: yea, come, buy wine and milk without money, and without price. Wherefore do ye spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labour for that which satisfieth not?-Hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear and your soul shall live. And I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David." "Come, eat of my bread; and drink of the wine which I have mingled. Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding." (Isai. lv. 1-3; Prov. ix. 5, 6.)
SAMUEL, OR THE MOTHER'S LOAN.
"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."
SAM. I. ii. 20.
"ALL scripture is given by inspiration of God, (says the apostle,) and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works." (Tim. II. iii. 16, 17.) And this view of divine wisdom to the general edification of God's children, or the men of God, will often shew itself in a selection of topics that would not seem very edifying at first to human wisdom; but rather superfluous and digressive, if not frivolous and impertinent. Considered especially with relation to the historical details of the Old and New Testament many private traits and anecdotes of individuals, their wives and their mothers with their nurses may seem of that description; too prominent for a general history, or national either, not always of a nature to be divulged,and taking up room that might be better occupied with other topics. Of this I may cite the story of Ruth as one instance, and this of Elkanah and his wife immediately following it in our bible as another more remarkable in that way. For considering the importance of Ruth, the young Moabite widow, as mother to the house of David, and only wife to a man of some eminence among the people of her first husband, the insertion of her story, or of a part of it, might seem more relevant and more warranted to any extent, than the shortest notice could be of another woman in Israel, who was but one wife of two appertaining to the same husband, and he a poor Levite; being therefore, as one might say, but half a wife to one who could ill afford two: while the fruit of their union, however illustrious in
the first instance, is not known to have been particularly distinguished thereafter in the history of the Kingdom.
But the history of the Kingdom of God in Christ is not a general history of mankind, however general we may find its importance: it is a collection chiefly of domestic records applying to the family of God upon earth, and selected also by God, or his Holy Spirit, with this view. And hence it happens, as it might in a private family, that many little anecdotes have a sufficient interest for the members of such family, which would be too minute for the scope of a wider narration; while other anecdotes particularly relating to the same family shall furnish a more general interest also by their connexion with the history of the times. With the children of God any old family occurrence will have its weight, especially when it happens to be edifying as well as amusing. And I trust to make it appear, that the occurrence which I have now chosen to insist on was one of that sort, "profitable (as the apostle says) for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness."
It appears then, that there was a certain Ephrathite, or one of the country of Ephraim, and a native of the mountain of that name, "Elkanah, the son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephrathite. And he had two wives; the name of the one was Hannah, and the name of the other Peninnah." (Sam. I. i. 1, 2.) "But (as our Saviour once told the lascivious, as well as envious and ignorant Pharisees) from the beginning it was not so:" (Matt. xix. 8:) neither could it then have been so indeed; and for the reason that he also assigned and they might have read, namely that "he which made men at the beginning made them male and female," (Ib. 4,) or one of a sort. So that there being then only one male and one female, neither the first man could have two wives, nor the first woman two husbands; however well either of them might be able to afford it. And whenever a man goes to take a second wife in the
other's lifetime,-whether by bigamy, by divorce, or by THE MORE COMMON PLAN OF ADULTERY, it must also betoken a degree of aversion, of unkindness, or hard heartedness toward his first or proper wife: and is an offence that God will judge according to its degree; as it might have happened with this Levite of mount Ephraim, Elkanah by name. For the least beloved of his two wives had children in abundance; but the favourite none for a long while, any more than Jacob's favourite Rachel. Yet Elkanah was not a bad man seemingly, any more than Jacob, in his other relations. Perhaps he did not take a second wife until his prospect of issue by the first began to decline, which might have been considered reason sufficient for a double marriage in those degenerate times when bigamy was tolerated.
"This man (Elkanah) went up out of his city yearly, to worship, and to sacrifice unto the Lord of hosts in Shiloh ;" giving, when he offered, to Peninnah his wife, and to all her sons and daughters, portions: which shewed an équitable disposition certainly on his part, and was also more than Peninnah deserved. For if Elkanah gave a worthier portion to Hannah, the wife of his love, and the Lord had therefore afflicted her with barrenness, it was no justification of her rival or adversary to provoke her sore, for to make her fret on that account, and even to provoke her on so solemn an occasion as their yearly going up together with their common protector to the house of the Lord; so that the poor creature wept, and did not eat. But mark well the goodness and equity of our heavenly Father in this instance! As Elkanah's undue partiality had now been duly punished, and Peninnah had become the aggressor in a worse respect than could be imputed to him, as much as maliciousness is worse than partiality, while Hannah's only fault was that of being most beloved by her husband-the Lord continued to preserve and rather to increase his affection for her by the very reason