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saith, Be it far from me: for them that honour me I will honour, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed. .

Behold, the days come that I will cut off thine arm, and the arm of thy father's house, that there shall not be an old man in thine house.

And thou shalt see an enemy in my habitation, in all the wealth which God shall give Israel: and there shall not be an old man in thine house for ever..

And the man of thine whom I shall not cut off from mine altar, shall be to consume thine eyes, and to grieve thine heart: and all the increase of thine house shall die in the flower of their age. 3. And this shall be a sign unto thee that shall come upon thy two sons, on Hophni and Phineas ; in one day they shall die both of them.' "And I will raise me up'a faithful priest, that shall do according to that which is in mine heart and in my mind : and I will build him a sure house ; and he shall walk before mine Anointed for ever.

And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left in thine house shall come and crouch to him for a piece of silver and a morsel of bread, and shall say, Put me, I pray thee, into one of the priest's offices, that I may cat a piece of bread.

ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS. It is said that Eli's sons were sons of Belial, that they knew not the LORD ; this expression means, that they lived as if they were ignorant of God, and served him like an idol, not for his honour, but their own profit. Discontented with their allotted portion of the sacrifices made by fire, they seized some part of the peaceofferings which belonged to the offerers, at the very

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instant when they are going to feast religiously with their friends : in short, they were guilty of many enormities of the most atrocious kind.What a beautiful contrast did the piety of Samuel afford !

Eli, as high priest and supreme judge, bad power to punish offenders ; and in such a case, paternal love should have given way to zeal for God's glory; and though these wicked men were his own sons, he should have deprived them of the power of bringing the holy religion he professed into disrepute, by removing them from their office ; instead of this he gave them only a few mild reproofs, which they totally disregarded.

As Eli was in other respects a good man, the LORD sent a prophet to him, to awaken him, to his duty, that he might by repentance obtain . pardon for himself ; and the man of God reminded him in the name of the LORD, of the honourable distinction his family had long enjoyed, which would have been continued in that branch of Aaron’s posterity, if they had not for feited it ; but, the sons of El had cast off God, therefore he rejected them.

Eli was of the family of Ithamaz, Aaron's youngest son : how the priesthood came to be removed from the house of Eleazar the elder son, we are not told ; but it is likely that the last priest of this branch had been remiss in his duty, for which reason God deprived his descendants of the honour which he had promised to Phineas (the son of Eleazarj* for his zeal against the Midianites; but though the LORD suspended the blessing for a time, he was mindful of his covenanti he restored the priesthood, and established it afterwards in Eleazar's line.

There is in this section one text that demands particular attention, because it is a declaration from God Numb. xxv. 12, 13.

i Himself,

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Himself, that concerns all mankind. Those who honour · me, I will honour ; and those who dishonour me shall be lightly regarded. It is thus explained by a learned and pious Divine.

* *To honour God is to have an esteem and re. 6. verence for him, and to shew it to the world in such a

manner, as may promote virtue and religion. To en. • tertain just and worthy notions of him, of his power, • wisdom, justice, goodness, mercy ; to love him, to • trust him, to desire to resemble him as nearly as our • nature permits, and in all things to consult his wille • To declare openly before men, that we do thus esteem

him. To be constant and regular in the performance

of all public acts of religion. To set a good example s to others.

We may likewise honour God by improving our • abilities, and discharging the duties of our station in

such a manner, as to procure respect to the religion we • profess, and the country to which we belong.

• He who has wealth honours God with his sub• stance when he relieves the poor, encourages honest • industry and useful knowledge. He who has learn•ing, wit, and judgment, honours God when he so • applies them, as to excite in other men's minds an « ambition of excelling in goodness. He who has -power, honours God when he discourages profaneness

and immorality, and, by his own illustrious example, o endeavours to invite others to well-doing. He who • has reputation, honours God when he employs it to • bring virtue into credit, and make vice unfashionable

and contemptible. He who is in the lowest station • honours God, when in his little sphere he shines an • example, to the poorer sort, of honesty, diligence, • and sobriety; of contentment and reliance on God.'

* Jortin's Sermons, vol. 3.

Children

Children may likewise honour God, by giving a willing attention to learn their duty, and a hearty desire of ren. dering 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 re• ceive 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.

SECTION LXV.

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 dim, 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

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 I; 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 Samnel 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 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 for ever, for the iniquity which he knoweth : because his sons made themselves vile, and he 'restrained them not.

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

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