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25. And they slew the bullock, special mention being made of the one brought for the dedication of the boy. “We may try to picture the scene. Elkanah leads the bullock to the north side of the altar of burnt-offering, in the court before the door of the Tabernacle, and binds it to the horns of the altar. Hannah brings her

child, and lays his hand on the head of the victim in token that it is his representative ; at that moment Elkanah or one of the priests slays it (Lev. 1 : 5). Its blood is sprinkled and its limbs burned upon the altar, as an emblem of the complete dedication of the child to Jehovah.”. Cambridge Bible. And brought the child to Eli, that the high priest might receive him into the service of Jehovah.

27. Jehovah hath given me my petition. Hannah was not one of the many who, after they have received a blessing from the Lord, straightway forget the Giver of it.

28. Therefore I also have granted him to Jehovah ; and it was to be a life-long gift ; no

“ Indian gift,” to be retracted. From an old print. saw a logical and necessary con

Note the “therefore”; Hannah The Dedication of Samuel.

nection between the manifest divine origin of her boy and the divine ownership of him. Is there not such an inevitable connection in the case of all that we falsely call our possessions " ? And he (Elkanah) worshipped Jehovah there, as head of the household. Then (1 Sam. 2 : 11) he and Hannah went back to Ramah, leaving Samuel with Eli to enter at once, young as he was, upon his work in the Tabernacle under Eli.

We have in 1 Sam. 2 : 18-21 a tenderly beautiful picture of the boy priest and his loving mother. The linen ephod which young, Samuel wore was peculiar to priests; it hung from the shoulders and was fastened at the waist by a girdle. The high priest wore a distinctive ephod. In addition, every year when Hannah went to Shiloh for the annual sacrifice, she brought her boy a special kind of coat, a long upper tunic such as was worn by kings, prophets, and men and women of rank. Like Joseph's coat of many colors, this coat of Samuel's not only gave proof of his mother's devotion, but indicated that his lot in life was to be conspicuous and unique. “ All his days the people knew Samuel by his mantle,' which was just his little coat made larger for a man. And he wears it to this day as he serves God beside his mother in heaven.". Alexander Whyte. “ Whenever in the Old Testament you find the childhood of any character that figures in the drama elaborately described, you may take it for certain that the historians considered the man so depicted to be the maker of a new epoch.” Elmslie.

The work that Samuel did in the Tabernacle was varied. “He may have lighted the lamps, opened the doors and closed them, swept the apartments, and performed personal services for Eli. Children can begin very early to minister to the Lord.”. J. R. Miller. They can begin by home helpfulness, just the sort of deeds in which Jesus was engaged for the first thirty years of his life. They have much to do also in the Sunday school and the young people's society.

CHILDREN IN THE KINGDOM. The way to get children into the kingdom of God is to set them at work for it, as Samuel was put to work. Dr. Smith Baker wrote most sensibly : “ The old New England farmer's boys did not go to an agricultural college ; but as soon as they were large enough to follow father into the garden and field they dropped beans and corn, and pulled the weeds from the carrots, and then helped to hoe the potatoes, and by the time they were sixteen they could take charge of the farm. In the home, as soon as the girls were large enough to follow mother round, they were given little lumps of dough to make bread, and little pieces 1. 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. of cloth to sew, and helped to wash the dishes and dust the chairs, and by the time they were sixteen they were fitted to keep house. They were educated by having something to do. When I was a lad my Puritan father had me find on the map where the missionaries were, and then he gave me a little piece of land in the garden to plant and get money for missions. It was a wise father's way of educating.”

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Children are put to much work in the church that was formerly thought impossible for them. For instance, the young people's society in many churches is given the leadership of the church prayer-meeting once a month, and the young people do it well. A little twelve-year-old lad in one of our meetings rose and simply said, “This is a good meeting,' and sat down. At once a leading man, one who had not been active in church work, rose and said, “If I had commenced to testify for Christ as young as that lad, I should have amounted to something in the church.'Rev. Smith Baker, D.D.

A teacher in an English Sunday school asked one of the most mischievous boys he had ever taught, “ What shall I do with you ?” The boy replied, “ Put me in the infant class." He was taken at his word, became a splendid assistant to the primary teacher, and now he is a foreign missionary. The same teacher tells of one of his Sunday school boys who sailed on a long voyage with a crew of sixty-five. Notwithstanding threats and ridicule this boy adhered to his promise to read the Bible and pray every day, with the result that when the ship returned fifty-six of the crew had become Christians through that boy's courage and example. Boys and girls can indeed do much in the kingdom of God.

III. THE BOY WITH WHOM GOD TALKED, 1 Sam. 3:1-21. We read (1 Sam. 2 : 26) that " the child Samuel grew on, and increased in favor both with Jehovah, and also with men, words closely followed by Luke in his account of the boyhood of our Lord (Luke 2 : 52). At length the time came for his promotion from priest to prophet.

1. The child Samuel ministered unto Jehovah. Josephus says he was twelve years old at this time, the age at which in later times a Jewish boy became a son of the Law,” the age of personal responsibility for conduct. It was at the age of twelve that "the child Jesus' first went to Jerusalem with his parents and had his profoundly significant experience in the temple (Luke 2 : 42-47). The word of Jehovah was precious (rare) in those days. Only two prophets are mentioned in Judges (Judg. 4:4; 6:8). It was a time when religion was at a low ebb, which helps to account for the conduct of Eli's

There was no frequent vision. Whatever revelations of himself God granted were made at long intervals, because so

Samuel and Eli.

From an old print. few were ready to receive them.

Illustration. “ There have been periods in all ages when religion was an empty form. Was not so at the time immediately preceding the Reformation ? When Luther visited Rome he found it to be the hot-bed of vice, and even the priests to be virtually unbelievers. The Pope himself was little better than the rank and file.” - Principal Rowlands.

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sons.

2. 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;

3. 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;

4. That the LORD called Samuel: and he answered, Here am I.

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, neither was the word of the LORD yet revealed unto him.

8. 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.

9. 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.

10. And the LORD came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak; for thy servant heareth.

11. 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.

2. At that time. On the memorable day when Samuel received one of these rare revelations of God's will. We have a touching picture of feeble age and vigorous youth. Eli and Samuel were lying on guard in the sanctuary. The time was near morning, for the lights, which had oil enough for only one night, had not gone out, but were burning dim. Eli had become blind, and Samuel slept near him, to aid him if he needed assistance. This blindness of Eli's helps to explain why the old man had to learn from others of the misdeeds of his sons.

4. Jehovah called Samuel. If the divine voice was audible, it was heard by the boy alone. And he said, Here am I. The common Hebrew response to a call ; literally, “ Behold me.'

5. And he ran unto Eli. It is beautiful to note the lad's eagerness to serve his aged master and teacher. That way lies all success.

7. Samuel did not yet know Jehovah. This does not mean, of course, that the boy did not know about Jehovah and worship him, but that hitherto he had had no direct communication from Jehovah such as this.

8. Eli perceived that Jehovah had called the child. The aged priest had had a long life of communion with God, and recognized with the third call the supernatural nature of the event ; but it must have seemed strange to him that the Almighty would give this special communication to one so young. “ As Samuel was prepared, so Samuel heard the voice ; and as you and I live as it were in the presence of God, does God come to speak to us.”' R. J. Campbell. What higher service can any man do to his fellows, old or young, than to help them to discern God's call and to obey it ?

What nobler conception of a teacher's work is there than that ?" Alexander Maclaren.

10. Jehovah came, and stood. This time the Lord was visible as well as audible. Speak ; for thy servant heareth. The answer which Eli put into the mouth of Samuel was a perfect wording of the lad's own spirit of ready and humble obedience.

"Speak to me, Christ, amid earth's sin and riot,

That I may hear

Thy Love's sweet pleading near,

Bringing my spirit quiet.' L. MacLean Watt. II. The doom which Jehovah announced to Samuel was one which might well cause the ears of any pious Israelite to tingle with horror and dismay. The Lord would carry out thoroughly, from the beginning to the end, the threat made con12. 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.

13. 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.

19. And Samuel grew, and the LORD was with him, and did let none of his words fall to the ground.

20. And all Israel from Dan even to Beer-sheba knew that Samuel was established to be a prophet of the LORD.

cerning Eli's house by the prophet of 1 Sam. 2 : 27–36. The outcome was to involve the defeat of Israel by the Philistines, the capture of the Ark, the ruin of the Tabernacle, the death of Eli and his sons. No sacrifices or offerings would prevail to avert these calamities. And all these horrors would come because Eli's sons brought a curse upon themselves, and Eli did not hold them back from their wickedness. “ Here was a terrible secret confided to an inexperienced child! The call had ended his childhood. Henceforth he was to know care, responsibility, anxious forethought.”

Deane. “Jehovah knew that if any one was to hear and communicate the message, a child-prophet like Samuel would be most agreeable to Eli. Hophni and Phinehas would not be likely to touch a child so immediately under Eli's care as Samuel ; but they might have no hesitation to put a man to death, if he dared bring the message to their father." - James Sime.

15. Samuel feared to show Eli the vision. He loved and honored the old man ; he could not pain him so terribly. But Eli must have had an uneasy conscience, while at the same time he had courage enough to hear God's message. At least he could take his own punishment, if he was too weak to punish his sons.

18. Samuel told him every whit. A true friend knows when rebuke is the best kindness. “ Faithful are the wounds of a friend.”

Illustration. I have known a malignant human being throw in the face of two poor broken-hearted parents the certain truth that their son had fallen into sin and shame, and been compelled to fly his native land, and I have thought that truth may sometimes be spoken in a way that shows the very spirit of the devil. But oh, how different it is if the truth be spoken in love, as St. Paul would have it !”. A. K. H. Boyd.

It is Jehovah : let him do what seemeth him good. “Eli, with all his faults, was still at heart faithful to God. He submits without a murmur to the divine sentence, leaving himself and all his house in the hands of God. But it is the passive resignation of a weak character. Though he submits himself patiently to the will of God, he would not rouse himself to do it.” Cambridge Bible. His words were

as much as to say, 'I cannot help it ; whatever the consequence may be, I am obliged to let matters take their course.' A most irrelevant, not to say impotent, speech for a man invested with supreme authority, and whom the arm of Omnipotence would have protected while he exercised it in the interest of righteousness.” Principal David Rowlands.

19. Samuel grew, and Jehovah was with him, as contrasted with the withdrawal of God from Eli and his house. This presence of Jehovah is expressly said to have strengthened the great heroes of Israel : Abraham (Gen. 21 : 22), Jacob (Gen. 28 : 15), Joseph (Gen. 39 : 2), Moses (Ex. 3 : 12), Joshua (Josh. 1 : 5), Gideon (Judg. 6 : 16), David (1 Sam. 16:18; 18: 14). Let none of his words fall to the ground. The fulfilment of all Samuel's prophecies was one evidence that God was with him. Another token of God's favor was the wide spread of Samuel's influence, from Dan in the extreme north of Palestine to Beer-sheba in the extreme south. A third proof of the divine approval was the continuance of the audible and visible manifestations of Jehovah which came to Samuel, who transmitted the words of the Lord to all Israel. No longer was the word of Jehovah rare ” or the vision of Jehovah “infrequent."

OUR CALLS FROM GOD. “We are not all called to be prophets, but we are called, in our varying ways, to minister to the Lord ; and we may learn from this story of Samuel how to recognize and answer our call.” Hastings. We are called at unlikely times, when we are least expecting it, often when we are

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alone and the world is still around us. We need to listen at all times for the voice of God.

"Not every soul may hear,
Yet to the listening ear

God's lips are ever near.
We may be called in many ways.

“ Whether God commands by a visible presence, or by a voice, or by our conscience, it matters not, so that we feel it to be a command.” - John Henry Newman.

Sometimes we are called through losses and sorrows. “ A great sorrow like any other possession is a great trust.”. Lady Dilke.

Often God speaks to us through the voices of true friends, through some noble book, through some earnest sermon. Very often he speaks to us as we are quietly reading our Bibles. Very often his Spirit works directly upon our spirits, with no intermediary. “Whenever you feel moved to do anything that is good, do it.” Spurgeon. That impulse is God's inner call. It is our life, our eternal happiness, to obey it.

"Still, as of old, thy precious word
Is by the nations dimly heard;
The hearts its holiness hath stirred

Are weak and few.
Wise men the secret dare not tell;
Still in thy temple slumbers well
Good Eli: 0, like Samuel,

Lord, here am I!

LESSON VI. -- May 9.

ELI AND HIS SONS. I Samuel 2: 12–17; 4:1-18.

(May Be Used with Temperance Applications.)

PRINT 1 Sam. 4:5-18.

GOLDEN TEXT. The wages of sin is death ; but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Rom. 6:23.

i Sam. 3:9.

Devotional Reading : Prov. 4:10-27.
Additional Material for Teachers : i Sam. 2 : 22–36; 3:10-14 ; 4:19-6 : 18.
Primary Topic : GoD CALLS THE Box SAMUEL.

Lesson Material : i Sam. 3:1-21.

Memory Verse : Speak, Jehovah, for thy servant heareth. Junior Topic : ELI AND His Sons.

Lesson Material : i Sam. 2 : 12-17 ; 4:5-18.

Memory Verse : Prov. 10:1. Intermediate and Senior Topic : SOWING AND REAPING. Topic for Young People and Adults : RESPONSIBILITIES OF PARENTS AND CHIL

Additional Material : Gen. 18:16-19 ; 1 Sam. 2 : 22-36 ; 3:10-14 ; 8:1

5; Eph. 6:1-4.

DREN.

THE TEACHER AND HIS CLASS. used last Sunday, make this a review

lesson. For the very youngest classes, to The Juniors, however, are old enough whose uses the story of the evil conduct to understand the lessons involved in of Eli's sons, of the battle, and of the the conduct of Hophni and Phinehas, death of Eli is unsuited, the Lesson and so of course are the Intermediates Committee has divided last Sunday's and Seniors. Bring out the great truth lesson into two parts, there studying the that whatsoever any one sows, either of dedication of Samuel and his work in bad or good, he is sure to reap. It is a the sanctuary, and here studying God's lesson in true temperance. call of Samuel. If the entire story was For the older classes the very fruitful

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