perhaps it may palliate, but certainly not excuse his indecision. It informs us that he heard all that his sons did unto all Israel,' and gives us a brief account of the very inadequate steps which he took to remove their wickedness. 'He said unto them, why do ye such things? for I hear of your evil doings by all this people. Nay, my sons, for it is no good report that I hear: ye make the Lord's people to transgress.' This mildness of parental reproof, however, had no effect to remove or decrease the evil. These disobedient sons 'hearkened not to the voice of their father,' and went on adding sin to sin. A prophet of the Lord was sent to warn Eli of the fatal consequences which his neglect of restraint would inevitably produce, yet heeded he not the warning.

At this period of the history of Eli, commences the interesting story of Samuel. From his birth he was dedicated to the service of the Lord by his mother, and at the tender age of three years he was taken to Shiloh, according to the tenor of the maternal vow. Here he was suffered to wait on the aged Eli, whose eyes had 'waxed dim.' It came to pass in the early stage of his ministration,

that on one occasion he was waked by a supernatural voice, calling him by name, and he answered, 'Here am I,' supposing that it had been Eli who had called him. He ran in haste to the couch of the aged priest, and found that it had not been he who called him. Scarcely, however, had he rested his head on the pillow again, than the same voice audibly pronounced his name, and quickly rising up, he went to Eli's couch and confidently said, 'Here am I, for thou didst call me.' Eli again remanded him to his rest, and a third time the same voice pronounced his name. Then Eli understood that the call was supernatural, and he directed Samuel how to receive the divine communication. The Lord opened to the mind of this infant prophet the disasters which were to befall the house of Eli, and the cause of which is distinctly stated, 'Because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not.'

The beautiful plate which has given occasion to these remarks, exhibits aged Eli in the robes of office, the infant Samuel in the act of communicating the will of the Lord, in the ruin of his house.

The whole relation has a word of caution to

those unhappy parents who, having in their early years indulged their children, find no method of restraint for their wickedness as they advance in life. Early parental neglect paves the way for the ruin of the child, and the bitter, though unavailing, repentance of the parents. A neglect of parental duties, or an injudicious manner of performing them, are among the most prevalent and threatening evils which are to be found among us. is perhaps nothing which threatens more evil to the cause of religion, and I may say, the prosperity of our country.' If parents would not experience the heart-breaking sorrow of Eli, in their old age, let them shun his example, and never have it said of them, that their 'sons made themselves vile, and they restrained them not.'




We take it for granted, that the reader is familiar with the interesting history of the individual here alluded to. In consequence of a famine in the land of Judah, Elimelech of Bethlehem, with his wife and sons, sought the plenty of the land of Moab. In this thing he most undoubtedly was criminal; for the famine was not so extreme but that others could endure it patiently; and by removing from the privileges and the ordinances of God's worship into a heathen land, he exposed his sons to the temptations necessarily connected with such a situation. And they appear to have fallen into


the snare; for, contrary to the express command of God, they took them wives of the Moabitish women.' From the history it is to be directly

implied that Naomi, the wife of Elimelech, was a woman of eminent faith and piety, and she appears to have taken singular pains to bring her daughtersin-law to a knowledge of the true religion. this respect she is worthy of special imitation; her success will be seen in the sequel.


The domestic

happiness in which they all appear to have lived, was broken up, however, by the death of Elimelech and his sons; and the widowed mother and her widowed daughters-in-law were left to mourn over the ruins of their earthly felicity. It was impossible that the pious Naomi could rest satisfied in a land of strangers and a land of heathen; and when the circumstances of the case permitted, she prepared to return to her beloved country. Orphah

and Ruth, the widows of her sons, had endeared themselves to Naomi by the uniform correctness and affection of their deportment; for in what she meant as her parting benediction, she recognizes their fidelity and kindness: "The Lord deal kindly,' says she, 'with you, as ye have dealt with the dead and with me.' But though she loved them, she would not exercise an unauthorized controul.


They had no natural ties in the land of

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