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millions of other children in all parts of the world should have been so eagerly poring over the life of a little boy born more than three thousand and fifty years ago among a rude people. Why are you doing it ? Let
Hophni and Phineas, the sons of Eli, the High Priest. The Philistines fought against Israel; the Ark of God was taken from the tabernacle into the battle-field. It was captured by the enemy. Hophni and Phineas were killed ; Eli died. The glory departed from Israel. The holy place at Shiloh, where the tabernacle had long stood, was overthrown. Everything was in desolation and confusion. This was the fearful time for which Samuel was raised up. He was the last of the judges. All the days of his life he judged Israel, never receiving a bribe to blind his eyes. When he was old and gray-headed, he called the children of Israel together at Gilgal, and said : " I have walked before you from my childhood till this day. Behold, here I am; witness against me before the Lord and before his anointed. Whom have I defrauded ? Whom have I oppressed ?” And the people answered : “ Thou hast not defrauded us nor oppressed us, neither hast thou taken aught of any man's hand.” It was this Samuel who gave them victory over the Philistines. They looked on his prayers to God as their best protection. He was more than a prophet. He founded schools of prophets, and trained up young ministers as evangelists, who went up and down the land calling the people to God. And he was more than all this. Samuel was the king-maker of Israel. He anointed Saul as first king, and then, when Saul was yet alive, he anointed David, and not Jonathan, Saul's son, as the rightful successor. His words did not fall to the ground. The people knew, and Saul knew, and David knew that what Samuel said was the will of God. And when Samuel died all Israel came together to lament over him. This man left a great name in all the afterhistory of the nation.
It is wonderful that you and many
1. These Bible stories are fresh every time you come to them. Those who have studied them through the greatest number of years, love them best, and find most in them. Hannah's motherly piety is a sweet fountain still bubbling up in every Christian household of the globe. The story of Samuel's holy life in the tabernacle of Shiloh is still a garden of roses from which, after three thousand years, each of you may pick a fresh and fragrant bouquet.
The great work of Samuel's life was to lift up and prepare the people of Israel for the kingdom of David, and David the king was a type of Christ the King, and David the prophet wrote in his Psalms of the Messiah who was to sit upon His throne for ever. Now the story of Samuel leads on to Christ, and God grant that it may lead many of you to the Christ at whose altars this holy child so faithfully ministered.
The place of his birth was a village called Ramah, not far north-east of Jerusalem, which was then a city held by the heathen Jeborites.
It was a dark and dismal time in the history of God's people when Samuel was born. The children of Israel did not occupy all the promised land. Heathen nations held part of it, and vexed, and destroyed, and robbed the scattered tribes.
And yet think of at least two very fortunate and favourable things there were about his beautiful childhood. In the first place he had a good father and mother. Elkanah, his father, we know but little about, but we know three things that are very creditable to
him. First, he was a kind husband. When you fully give up to God the We read of Elkanah saying to Hannah, thing you most cling to-your will, when she was in bitter sorrow, “Why it may be, the having your own way, is thy heart grieved ? Am I not better or your heart's best love, or anything to thee than ten sons ?” Secondly, else, then God often puts into your he was a pious Israelite. We see him mouth a song of gladness. going from Ramah to Shiloh with his 2. Samuel was fortunate in being whole family, children and servants, brought up in the tabernacle with its to offer his gifts to God. Thirdly, we holy places, holy memories, and holy see Elkanah consenting, with his wife,
services. He was set apart to a holy to give up Samuel to the service of the life. He was not entirely separated Lord.
from his family. At least once a year But if the boy's father was good, he saw them, and once a year his what shall we say of his mother. She mother brought to him an ephod or was a praying mother, opening her linen mantle, lovingly wrought by her heart to God in silent prayer, in the own hands. It was very common in bitterness of her soul, standing at the old times for women, even in the gate of the tabernacle. When God
highest ranks, to make clothes for gave her a son she called his name those whom they loved. We are told Samuel, “ asked of God.” And she
that Augustus, the Emperor of Rome, was not a selfish mother. She did not
wore garments made for him by his say of the boy God gave to her, “ He wife, sister or daughter. I have no is mine." She gave him over to God's doubt that Samuel's heart was always peculiar service. Many Christian devoted to his mother. Samuel profathers and mothers fail, in these days, bably went back to his earliest home to understand the fact that their in Ramah. But from the age of three children are gifts from the Heavenly till his manhood he lived in God's Father to be consecrated back to the house—the great tent or tabernacle Giver. And then remember that which had been put up by Moses in Hannah gave up her child at an age the wilderness. He had before him when it is hardest for a mother to be all this while the relic or memorial of parted from her darling. Samuel was the desert life of the children of Israel, probably three years old when he was reminding him of God's goodness and taken to Shiloh to serve in the taber- mercy to his fathers. nacle, and how the mother's arms It was in such a place that Samuel must have longed to hold him! If waited upon Eli, the High Priest, who you know anything on earth more doubtless faithfully taught him the law lovely than a three year's child, I have and opened to his mind the meaning yet to see it. Then I suppose you of the services, and feasts, and sacrifices think she wept as Samuel was taken which priests and people observed. into the tent. But we read of Hannah God must have come very near to the that she prayed, and then burst forth soul of this holy child in these memorin a song of thanksgiving so wonderful ials and in these associations. His that when the heart of Mary, the heart was made ready to hear the call mother of Jesus, was full of gladness, of God, and the voice of God came at she spoke almost the same words. last to the young prophet who had From her lips came, as Dean Stanley been chosen for a great work. In the says, “ The first mention of the early morning, before he rose to put Messiah.”
out the lights, the voice, as you remember, came to him three times, and learning and unlearning, making mishe thought it was the call of the High takes and yet making progress, growPriest, to whom he went, saying, ing more and more into God's favor. “ Here am I, for thou didst call me.” It is said several times of the child Then Eli perceived that the Lord had Samuel, it is said of the child John the called the child. And Samuel went Baptist, and of the child Jesus, that and lay down, and when the call came they grew. “Why of course they again he answered, “ 'Speak, for thy
did," you say.
But the Bible teaches servant heareth.” And the Lord by it that we do not become mature revealed to Samuel that the house of and perfect at once. “ To become Eli was to be sorely punished because religious,” it has been wisely said, of the wickedness of Eli's sons, whose “ does not make a prodigy of a boy or father had not restrained them. And girl. It is not a hot-bed process.” when morning came and Eli demanded The Bible, in the beautiful picture of of Samuel the Lord's word, he told Samuel's childhood, describes a boy him bravely and truly every whit, who was like a tree, but one planted hiding nothing. Then it is said that in the courts of God where it grew inall Israel from Dan to Beersheba knew to beauty and power. God grant that that Samuel was established to be the you all may love His house and His prophet of the Lord.
service. We learn from all this that God's “ The older I grow,” said one of my call may come to children; that He former teachers, “the more Chrismay and does speak to those who are tianity fascinates, amazes, and satisfies in life's fresh morning. It is not by
me." The more this wise man learned the sound of thunder that God speaks and felt and saw, the more he believed as He did in Sinai. It is not by voice that God's ways and plans are the that you can hear as in the days when best. Now there is one part of God's He was revealing Himself to men, but plan which, as I grow older, I admire in the still small voice of conscience, and revere more and more. It is this, in the silent and often unheeded that the soul of the child should be so breathing of His Holy Spirit in your impressed, and trained, and developed hearts when you lie awake and wonder in good, and in love to God and man, and dream and think and pray, God that it will be kept pure and true, and may he turning your minds to do not need to be wrenched violently from something which you have never done bad courses and habits back into before. It may be to seek after Christ,
obedience and holiness. Many young Who is very near, to take your stand people seem to think that the best before others as a Christian, to give thing for them to do is to live for the your life to some special service. Oh, world's pleasures, to live selfish lives, be attentive to every call of God and even to know something by actual exbe very obedient.
periment of sin. But after a while Beginning a Christian life early is they expect to turn about and settle God's way for us.
There is nothing down and get on good terms with God unnatural about it. It doesn't mean and please Him and get ready for that these children are to be little heaven. That is the meanest and saints, free from all faults, perfect in most perilous course any one can mark word and in action. It means that out for himself. It is the meanest they are to be healthy, active, happy because it hardens the heart to the boys and girls, young men and women, tenderest appeals of God. What
loving words and promises the Lord
“ Hearken unto me, ye children, and I will teach you the fear of the Lord." We are told by a great English poet that “ Heaven lies about us in our infancy.” As the arms of Christ were clasped about the children of the Hebrew mothers who followed Him, so the arms of God's love seem still to be clasped about the early years of our lives with peculiar tenderness, and he speaks to us with more than a mother's gentleness. And for one in the youth and freshness of life to set his face against God is greatly to wrong his own soul.
Then this is the most dangerous thing which any child can do. Here are two trains side by side. They are
very close together. You can step from one to the other. But one is going to London and the other to Aberdeen. It is very easy at the start to get into the carriage that is going where you want to go, but after the trains have been an hour under way, if you are in the wrong one you have put yourself to great trouble. I greatly pity young men and women who wake up and discern that they took the wrong train at the start in life. But God's plan for us all is that we should get on the heavenly road at the beginning, in the company of Christian fathers and mothers, and that we should keep to that path which, though it may be at times thorny, and difficult, and dark, yet grows brighter and brighter till the heavenly day!
J. H, Barrow, D.D.
The Bible and Naderu Disqouery.
The Buried City of Pithom.
mised. This being settled, we see an Several papers have recently referred
undesigned coincidence with this fact to the results of the excavations carried in the name of Rameses, which the on by the Egypt Exploration Society
narrative in Exodus gives to the other at Tel-el-Makhudah, in the discovery
of the two cities built by the enslaved of the long buried city of Pithom,
Israelites. The name of the city is mentioned in Ex. i. 11, as one of two
explained as being the name of its treasure cities ” built by the captive founder. Rameses and Pithom Israelites for Pharoah. There are,
both called in Exodus i., 11,“ treasure however, two or three matters of
cities.” The words so rendered occur detail in regard to this discovery which
in five other places in the Old Testagive to the discovery of this buried ment, in I. Kings and II. Chronicles, city still greater interest as further
and are there translated “ store cities" confirming the minute accuracy of the
“ cities of store.” What was the writer of the Book of Exodus.
purpose of these
store cities” or In the first place, the discoveries in
“ treasure cities” is suggested by II. question, according to Mr. Stanley
Chron. xxxii., 28, where we are told Lane Poole, settle the questton as to
that Hezekiah built “ store houses for the name of the Pharoah who knew
the increase of corn and wine and
oil.” not Joseph, as Rameses, II., as, indeed, many Egyptologists had before sur- It would seem therefore that the so
called treasure cities” which the statement of Mr. Poole, who has Hebrews built for Pharoah were depots
himself visited these uncovered store for the storing of the increase of the houses of Pithom, that they “are built land. Such experiences as the seven of bricks, made sometimes with and years' famine in the days of Joseph sometimes without straw." would have taught the Egyptians the A single point in addition may be importance of maintaining such depots, mentioned, that the vexed question of where the surplus produce of fruitful the location of Succoth-the first years might be laid up for years of stopping place of the Hebrews on their straitness. Keeping this in mind, then, departure (Ex. xii., 37)—has by these that this Pithom was one of these excavations been settled. They have “store cities,” what a singular interest
revealed the fact that Succoth was attaches to the account of the discoveries simply another—the secular—as Piof M. Naville, as given in the following thom, the house of (the god) Thom, words in the Jewish Chronicle: “So
was the sacred-name of one and the far as the excavations have gone, they self-same city, a fact in full accord with have laid bare the remains of a build- old Egyptian usage. ing of quite unique character, both as Comment on this is scarcely needed. to its material and its architectural To suppose that a narrative again, as peculiarities..
Receptacle so often before, shown to be so after receptacle, bin after bin, have minutely accurate was written cenbeen laid bare, evidently intended to
turies afterwards is absurd. Only one preserve large stores of food or other theory accounts for the facts : that the perishable articles.”
writer of the narrative was personally But this is not all. The narrative acquainted with them all—a man, in in Exodus v. tells us that at first the short, who had gone through these officers set over the toiling Hebrews experiences. And if such a man, who had given them straw wherewith to then but Moses? We have long felt make their bricks; that after Moses that probably the best and most conthreatened Pharoah with judgment
clusive answer to the modern critics from God, he forbade the task-masters who dispute the Mosaic authorship of of the people any more to give them
the Pentateuch was to be found in the straw; that they were scattered over comparison of the results of recent the land to gather stubble instead of researches in Egypt with the Pentastraw; were beaten because they were teuchal narrative. We believe that not able to furnish the full tale of
the result will be to evince to every bricks as before; that they went to
candid mind that any theory which Pharoah to complain, but were told : placed the authorship of the Penta“Go now and work ; for there shall teuch at any time other than that to no straw be given you ; yet ye shall
which all tradition and external testideliver the full tale of bricks." mony have from the earliest date Plainly the impossible could not be assigned it is only to done; and evidently, if the building posterous. A popular essay of this was to go on, the lack of straw must kind, by some thoroughly competent appear in the bricks. Turning now to person, would in the judgment of the the narrative of these discoveries, what writer, be just now most timely. a singular confirmation of the minute
Professor S. H. KELLOGG, D.D. accuracy of all these details in the Exodus narrative do we have in the
be held pre