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forsake them ; if for the future, you intend to live a better and a holier life ; if you have no uncharitable feelings in your hearts, but are in love, and peace with one another; then assuredly you are in a condition to partake of this most comfortable Sacrament. By keeping back, you misunderstand the merciful institution of your Lord; you make that a stumbling-block and a hindrance, which Christ designed for the support and encouragement of His people.

Still, it may be asked, is there to be no distinction ? Are all, without respect of persons, invited to that Feast, notwithstanding what St. Paul writes of the danger of eating, and drinking thereof to our own condemnation ? No; surely, there is unworthiness which does indeed unfit a man for communicating : there is a state of heart, and a state of life, in which to approach the Lord's table would be an act of daring impiety. “If any man be a blasphemer of God, a hinderer or slanderer of His word, an adulterer, in malice, and envy, or in any other grievous crime,” that man, before he has heartily repented and renounced his sin, may not come. But what an awful condition is this! To be unfit to approach that Saviour who alone can take away sin !

Should there be one here who has so far forgotten God, so deeply transgressed His holy command

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ments, let him consider well what I am saying: unfitness like his implies unfitness for many things besides the Sacrament; it im

Sacrament; it implies unfitness for prayer; unfitness for praising God; unfitness for addressing Him as our Father” who is in heaven: above all, unfitness to stand before His throne; unfitness for death and judgment. Our conscience will witness against us that this is true; so long as we are living in the indulgence of any allowed sin, we must be well aware that we are not walking so as to please God: that if our life were required of us this night, it must go hard with our souls. We cannot but confess that we are in peril—hourly peril--of everlasting condemnation. Why then not hasten while as yet it is possible to escape destruction ? Why not break off at once our transgressions, and turn unto the Lord our God, so that iniquity may not be our ruin? Why wait, against warning, and against conscience, till the day of grace be past for ever, and God arise up to correct us with judgment, and in His anger ?

Little Hadham.

196

SERMON XVI.

ON THE HISTORY OF ELI.

1 SAMUEL ii. 11, 12, 13." 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 I will 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

r, for the iniquity which he knoweth ; because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not.”

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WE have, in these words, the severe sentence pronounced by the Almighty against Eli; and also the reason and cause of that fearful judgment. It is a sentence of utter desolation, misery, and ruin, upon himself, upon his children, and upon his children's children: "I will judge his house for ever for the iniquity which he knoweth ;" and then the reason immediately follows, " Because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not.”

Who can read this announcement of the Almighty's vengeance against a particular individual and his family without mingled feelings of pity, and of awe? Knowing that God is a God of mercy, and long-suffering, of great kindness, one that repenteth of the evil ; must we not think that when He appears to act in a contrary direction to these his usual attributes, it is for a just and sufficient cause ? It is because the sin which he so visits is very grievous, and the warning which its punishment proclaims, one very necessary for our use ? And such, no doubt, we shall find to be the case, on looking into the history of Eli, and the afflictions in which he was involved. That history is to be sought for in the first four chapters of the first book of Samuel, two of which (the second and the third) are appointed for the lessons of this day's service. From them we learn all that is known of Eli, and of his house ; but that knowledge is amply sufficient to vindicate the dealings of the Almighty with his creatures; amply sufficient to show that God is just in all His ways, and holy in all His works—that He is a God of patience and of mercy, but yet one who will by no means spare the guilty.

The first mention made of Eli is in the ninth verse of the first chapter, where he is described as sitting“ upon a seat by a post of the temple of the Lord.” He was sitting there, according to the custom of the priestly office, to regulate the order of the service, and to give counsel, and advice to all who came to inquire of him.

I pass over his interview with Hannah, both before, and after the birth of Samuel. Beautiful as her story is, and fruitful with instruction, I must not enter upon it now. Besides it is familiar to you all. You all know how God mercifully hearkened to her prayer, and took away her reproach among women. He gave her a man-child; and that child, according to her vow, she lent unto the Lord ; that is to say, she set him apart for the service of the ministry; she brought him up unto Jerusalem, so soon as he was weaned, and left him there in the temple—her first born and at that time her only child-to abide for ever in attendance upon the worship of the Lord: she left him in the charge of Eli, on whom he seems to have waited, and before whom he ministered unto the Lord.

What part Samuel had to take in the affliction of Eli will appear by and bye. We must first recur to the account of Eli's sons' misconduct, as related in the second chapter. It appears from what is seen in the fifteenth and sixteenth verses, that they were also priests, and that they abused the privileges of their order; and exacted more than was due from the sacrifices of beasts, which were offered continually, according to the Mosaic law. They were

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