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and though of a high character on the whole, must he be excluded from the priesthood, and banished to his own estate in the country. " And unto Abiathar the priest said the king, Get thee to Anathoth, unto thine own fields ; for thou art worthy of death : but I'will not at this time put thee to death, because thou barest the ark of the Lord God before David my Father, and because thou hast been afflicted in all wherein
afflicted. So Solomon thrust out Abiathar from being priest unto the Lord, that he might fulfil the word of the Lord which he spake concerning the house of Eli in Shiloh.”
After this we read no more of Eli's posterity. They sink into oblivion ; though, without doubt, all was fulfilled, to the very letter of the prophecies which went before on him and his. As his Sons had run to great excess, their posterity must, it seems, be pinched with poverty; and as they delighted to gratify a pampered appetite, their Children must another day beg for their mere sustenance : nay, at last, come and crouch even to the priest of the day, and do so, saying, “ Join me to somewhat about the priesthood, that I may eat a piece of bread.”
What a contrast, then, is there between Abraham and Eli! Yet is this not a contrast between an eminently good and a positively bad man. No, it is a contrast between à consistent or vigilant, and a negligent or over-indulgent Father of a family. Eli's sad and melancholy case is mainly intended to admonish a Parent of the dreadful consequences resulting from his love of ease,-his negligence and procrastination, or his trifling with obligations so sacred and so important to posterity.
It is granted, indeed, and with some alleviation to the feelings of the reader, it is noticed, that one soli. tary gleam of comfort is found towards the close of this narrative, but it serves chiefly to make the surrounding gloom more affecting and impressive. Yes, though Eli had been long most criminally indulgent to his Children, to his guilt and folly he was at last fully awakened, and for nine long years, at least, he lived to lament both. So, on the eventful day on which his Sons and himself died, his principal anxiety seems to have been about the ark of God.
- When he heard that it was taken by the enemy, his reflections on the dishonour to God and to religion, and the dreadful loss to his people, which his sins and negligence had occasioned, were more than he could support. Thus his death, under divine rebuke for his sins, has been a salutary warning to Parents even to the present day. Let it not, however, be overlooked, that, in the circumstances of it, Eli distinctly testified his supreme regard to the honour of God above all personal or relative considerations : and, notwithstanding all his faults, he died in the exercise of love to God and his ordinances, and even it should seem by occasion of this.
66 And it came to pass, when the messenger made mention of the ark of God, that he fell from off the seat backward by the side of the gate, and his neck broke, and he died : for he was an old man and heavy."
Still, however, after all that can be said as to Eli's personal piety or ultimate salvation, such is the contrast between the success which follows from a Pa.
rent's vigilance, and the dreadful ruin which ensues from his neglect of known duty.-Such the difference between the blessing and the curse of Almighty God resting on a Parent and his posterity! This striking contrast, therefore, I again repeat, will serve to shew the reader, that there is no respect of persons with God, and that he is determined to act on the same solemn principles with his own people as with those who do not, in any degree, acknowledge his authority.
Let every man, therefore, have a care lest he imagine, that in the scheme of salvation there is the most distant approach to any thing analogous to what is called favouritism among men: and let every
Parent especially learn, from the sad experience of Eli, that a man's personal interest in the divine favour will provè no security against the application of God's unalterable law, with regard to the connexion between Parents and Children. Never, for one moment, let any Parent imagine, that, in one instance, or in any age, the richness and peculiarity of the covenant of grace can be supposed to invade the established government of God over mankind : since it is actually the grand and only preparative to its universal recognition and establishment. When, therefore, Christian Parents are so judged in this world, it is that they may not be punished with the finally impenitent. “ I will be his Father and he shall be my Son," said the Almighty to David, in reference to Solomon; but he added immediately, “ if he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of with the stripes of the Children of men. And again
“ You only have I known of all the families of the
earth, and therefore will I punish you for all your iniquities."
In one word, obedience on the part of the Christian or the Christian Parent secures for him all the inestimable, the boundless blessings of God's everlasting covenant; while neglect of duty or disobe dience only renders the punishment more weighty and severe. Let him be who he may, and his official station ever so eminent, “ He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind,” and the evils which he brings on his dependants, are doubled to himself ! But the Christian trembles at the merciful forewarning of Heaven, and even in his own experience finds a monitor." For we know him that hath said, Vengeance is mine, and I will repay, saith the Lord ;and again; the Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” -“For I the Lord thy God am a jealous God ; visiting the iniquities of the Fathers upon the Children unto the third and fourth generations of them that hate me; and shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments.”
CAUSES OF FAILURE TRACED TO THEIR
The failure of Parents to be ascribed to a tendency of heart-dis
played in undue severity-over indulgence-a baneful inequality of treatment
or sinful partiality.
HITHERTO we have been endeavouring to illustrate the nature of the Constitution in a human family, by bringing the light of divine truth to bear upon it; and this mainly with a view to Parents feeling at once the solemn responsibility and high privileges of their situation. There is, however, a mighty difference between things as they ought to be, and things as they
“ The heavens are the Lord's,” and order has he there maintained. “ The earth he hath given to the children of men;" and if we desire to see the use which they have made of it, we need not travel over any of its kingdoms. Enter into the bosom of a single family, where “ the hearts of the Parents are not turned towards the Children," and, consequently, “ the hearts of the Children are not turned to the Parents,” and there we see in miniature a picture of any village, of any town or city, nay, of the earth at large, wherever Christianity does not prevail.
To return, therefore, to the Prophet Malachi : notwithstanding the admirable construction of the human