ST - 1882 - Sons of Samuel

                         T H E    S o n s    o f    s a m u e l                    

                                             Sign  of  the  Times   - -   February  2, 1882     

                                                                                                                                                     Related pages: 

   Samuel continued to judge Israel all the days of his life. For many years he made an annual circuit to Mizpeh, Gilgal, and Ramah, for the administration of justice; at other times performing the duties of his office at his home in Ramah. With unremitting zeal and devotion he labored for the welfare of his people, and the nation prospered under his wise control. But with advancing years it became necessary to share with others the burden of judicial care. Hence while he continued to judge the people at Ramah, he appointed his sons to act for him at Bethel and Beersheba. { ST February 2, 1882,  par. 1 }


  These young men had received faithful instructions from their father, both by precept and example. They were not ignorant of the warnings given to Eli, and the divine judgments visited upon him and his house. They were apparently men of sterling virtue and integrity, as well as of intellectual promise. It was with the full assent of the people that Samuel shared with his sons the responsibilities of office. But the characters of these young men were yet to be tested. Separated from their father’s influence, it would be seen whether they were true to the principles which he had taught them. The result showed that Samuel had been painfully deceived in his sons. Like many young men of today who have been blessed with good abilities, they perverted their God-given powers. The honor bestowed upon them rendered them proud and self-sufficient. They did not make the glory of God their aim, nor did they seek earnestly to him for strength and wisdom. Yielding to the power of temptation, they became avaricious, selfish, and unjust. God’s word declares that “they walked not in his ways, but turned aside after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted judgment.” { ST February 2, 1882,  par. 2 }


   In all this they were disregarding the will of their Divine Sovereign. The Lord had through Moses given special directions to his people that the rulers of Israel should judge righteously, deal justly with the widow and fatherless, and receive no bribes. It were well for the nations of the earth today, if these instructions were obeyed by the rulers and judges of the people. How important that all who are entrusted with the responsibility of government should be men who fear God, and labor unselfishly for the welfare of the human brotherhood. It is their work to judge with equity, maintaining the right of the stranger, relieving the oppressed, spurning every bribe to clear the guilty or punish the innocent. The well-being of society calls for men of moral integrity in legislative halls and courts of justice. Our churches are in need of those to minister in holy office who shall be men of honor, of piety, of purity; who shall be sanctified by the Spirit and by the word. { ST February 2, 1882,  par. 3 }


   A corrupting power stands in prominent places. How often are we painfully startled at the announcement that men of talent, men in positions of usefulness and honor, have betrayed their trust, and appropriated to themselves the public money, or worse still, the treasured pittance of the widow and fatherless. Had these men made the word of God their guide, they would not thus have fallen. That word contains plain, definite instruction, adapted to every possible complication of social and public interests. Every plan and purpose of life should be subjected to this unerring test. The word of inspiration is the wisdom of God applied to human affairs. However advantageous a certain course may appear to finite judgment, if denounced by that word it will be only evil in its results. { ST February 2, 1882,  par. 4 }


    It may be a difficult matter for men in high positions to pursue the path of undeviating integrity whether they shall receive praise or censure. Yet this is the only safe course. All the rewards which they might gain by selling their honor would be only as the breath from polluted lips, as dross to be consumed in the fire. Those who have moral courage to stand in opposition to the vices and errors of their fellow-men — it may be of those whom the world honor—will receive hatred, insult, and abusive falsehood. They may be thrust down from their high position, because they would not be bought or sold, because they could not be induced by bribes or threats to stain their hands with iniquity. Everything on earth may seem to conspire against them; but God has set his seal upon his own work. They may be regarded by their fellow-men as weak, unmanly, unfit to hold office; but how differently does the Most High regard them. Those who despise them are the really ignorant. While the storms of calumny and reviling may pursue the man of integrity through life, and beat upon his grave, God has the “well done” prepared for him. Folly and iniquity will at best yield only a life of unrest and discontent, and at its close a thorny dying pillow. And how many, as they view their course of action and its results, are led to end with their own hands their disgraceful career. And beyond all this waits the Judgment, and the final, irrevocable doom, Depart!  { ST February 2, 1882,  par. 5 }


   Samuel had labored earnestly to correct the erroneous customs introduced by the sons of Eli, and especially to counteract the spirit of greed and selfishness fostered by their course. The sons of the prophet should have employed their authority to carry forward the reforms instituted by their father. Instead of this, their own example greatly hindered the work of reform. Their promotion to office was the cause of their ruin. The love of gain controlled them. Bribes perverted their judgment, and smothered their protests against sin. How many, like these judges of Israel, enter upon their work with good purposes, but failing to make God’s word their guide, they are flattered by worldlings, weakened by prosperity, until their moral power as reformers is gone, their hands nerveless to set things in order. { ST February 2, 1882,  par. 6 }


  The Son of God has set an example for all his followers. They are not to court the praise of men, not to seek for themselves ease or wealth, but to emulate his life of purity and self-denial at whatever cost. While preserving the meekness of Christ, they are to wage war with iniquity, and to push the triumphs of the cross. Selfishness will not dwell in the Christian’s heart. He will not manifest a disregard for the rights of others. God’s law commands us to love our neighbor as ourselves, to suffer no evil to be instituted against him which we can hinder. But the rule which Christ has given extends still further. Said the world’s Redeemer, “Love one another, as I have loved you.” Nothing short of this can reach the standard of Christianity. { ST February 2, 1882,  par. 7 }


                         February  2, 1882  —  Among  the  Mountains                                                     


   The Health Retreat at St. Helena is situated upon a mountain side commanding an extensive view of the surrounding country. During my stay here, the sublime and beautiful scenery spread out before me, was a source of increasing interest and delight. In the valley are dwellings and cultivated lands. Beyond are the mountains, rising peak above peak until they seem to touch the blue ether of the heavens. There from age to age they have stood, like silent sentinels, directing our eyes upward, and telling us of the unchanging power and glory of the infinite God. His word of promise is more immutable than the everlasting hills. “The mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but his kindness shall not depart, neither shall the covenant of peace be removed from those that put their trust in him.” Oh that we could ever cast fear and anxiety from our hearts, and find secure, satisfying rest in Jesus! And we can do this, if we will look upward to God with constancy and faith, as the mountain heights forever look to the clouds and the sky. { ST February 2, 1882, Art. B, par. 1 }


     The morning sun pours its new glories upon these mountains of God, while in the valley, mists and clouds are rolling like the billows of the sea. In the distance they appear white as the drifted snow in the noonday sun. Soon they roll swiftly up the mountain steeps, until they reach the summit, and shut out from us the bright rays of the sun. A few moments, and all is clear again, and the sunlight rests on the bald mountain tops. There is enough to feast the imagination in the scenes of nature. Surely, no one who loves the sublime and the beautiful could be lonely among these grand old mountains. { ST February 2, 1882, Art. B, par. 2 }


   The mountain heights and rocky fastnesses have ever been the friendly refuge of God’s people when oppressed and hunted by their enemies. For hundreds of years the Waldenses worshiped God amid the mountain solitudes, and there defied the armies of kings and emperors. On their rocky heights, in sight of their enemies, they sang the praise of Him who made the hills; and no opposing power could silence their hymns of lofty cheer: { ST February 2, 1882, Art. B, par. 3 }


        “For the strength of the hills we bless thee,
        Our God, our fathers’ God!
        Thou hast made thy children mighty
        By the touch of the mountain sod.  { ST February 2, 1882, Art. B, par. 4 }
       “Thou hast fixed our ark of refuge
        Where the spoiler’s foot ne’er trod;
        For the strength of the hills we bless thee,
        Our God, our fathers’ God!” { ST February 2, 1882, Art. B, par. 5 }


   Among the blessings of the lot of Ephraim and Manasseh, Moses enumerated “the chief things of the ancient mountains, and the precious things of the lasting hills.” In his last prophetic words to the tribes of Israel, he dwelt with peculiar earnestness upon the precious things of the hills. While the chosen people were wandering in the desert, he encouraged them by describing their promised inheritance as a land of hills and valleys; a land that drinketh water of the rain of heaven; a land upon which the eyes of the Lord rest for good throughout the year. To those who have lived in a level country, there is something peculiarly inspiring in the sight of the mountains. And all who have dwelt amid their wild and romantic scenery must ever long for the high places of the earth. I have never enjoyed the privilege of gazing upon the hills of Palestine, but I can look upon the mountains of our own land, and behold the wisdom and love of the Creator. { ST February 2, 1882, Art. B, par. 6 }


   As I stood among the hills, I thought how centuries ago our Saviour came to the groves and mountains to worship God. The most costly and beautiful structure which man can devise is not to be compared with the solemn grandeur of these mountain sanctuaries. To such retreats Jesus often led his disciples. With the beautiful scenes of nature, he associated lessons of divine truth. Afar from the bustle and strife of the haunts of men, he strove to turn the hearts of rich and poor from the perishable treasures of earth to the unfading glories of the world to come. { ST February 2, 1882, Art. B, par. 7 }


    The hills and forests furnish a blessed retreat for those who, weary of the din and confusion of city life, desire to enjoy communion with nature. And the invigorating air and sunshine bring new life to the over-tasked and weary. In all my journeyings, east and west, north and south, I have seen no place which offered so many and so great advantages as are offered at St. Helena. Here the hills pour forth their treasures in streams and fountains of the purest water. The atmosphere is mild and balmy, the surrounding heights seeming to modify the temperature, shutting off storms and chilling currents. While in many parts of our country the trees are in winter stripped of their foliage, and the bare, skeleton-like frames speak of death and decay, the trees here are green throughout the year. The bright sunbeams, pouring their glory on the living verdure of the madrona, the manzanita, the fir, the pine, and the California laurel, delight the senses, and fill the heart with gratitude to God. { ST February 2, 1882, Art. B, par. 8 }


   Many have gladly availed themselves of the advantages for rest and recreation afforded by the mountain home at this place. We found here one family, eight in number, comprising three generations, mother, daughters, and granddaughters. For five months they have here enjoyed freedom from the claims of society and the restrictions of fashionable life. All were indisposed when they left Oakland, some suffering from continual colds, and others from general debility; but during their stay in the mountains they have greatly improved in health. In the city they thought it a task to walk even a short distance; but as they enjoyed the fresh, mountain air, the pure water, and the restful quiet of this home, they were soon able to climb the steep ascents, and daily to walk miles without inconvenience. { ST February 2, 1882, Art. B, par. 9 }


   I could but think of the large sums paid annually in doctors’ bills, or in the purchase of hurtful or poisonous drugs. If the means thus often worse than wasted could be spent in visiting such a resort as is afforded in this delightful place, how many might be benefited physically and mentally. Our people should purchase this establishment, and make of it a Hygienic Institute, as was the original intention of its founders. New buildings ought to be erected, and all needed facilities added to make it in all respects a first-class institution. It should be opened in the spring for the reception of patients. { ST February 2, 1882, Art. B, par. 10 }


  “The groves were God’s first temples;” and still he speaks to us in the fields, the forests, and the mountains, as verily as in the house of prayer. The prophets and poets of the Bible were keenly susceptible to the beauty of the leafy woods. The psalmist calls upon the trees to praise the Lord; and the prophet Isaiah declares that all the trees of the field shall clap their hands in that day when the word of the Lord shall have accomplished its work of salvation among men. { ST February 2, 1882, Art. B, par. 11 }


   When Israel marched out of Egypt, they made their first encampment under the shelter of green boughs at Succoth. And for more than fifteen hundred years the Hebrew nation by the command of God left their houses, and dwelt one whole week in tabernacles of green boughs, to commemorate the encampment of their fathers under the palm branches of Succoth. These seasons of sacred recreation were fraught with both physical and spiritual blessings to Israel. God’s people still need seasons of quiet and reflection—seasons in which the soul may undisturbed commune with its Maker. The great work which has been committed to our hands cannot be best carried forward in excitement and confusion. That calm deliberation so essential to sound judgment can often be best secured in some quiet retreat where the thoughtful mind and pure heart can be prompted by the still, small voice. These forest and mountain homes have great blessings for those who are wearied physically or mentally. Wisely has an American poet counseled: { ST February 2, 1882, Art. B, par. 12 }


           “If thou art worn and hard beset
           With trials that thou wouldst forget.
           Go to the fields and hills; no tears
           Dim the sweet look that Nature wears.”           { ST February 2, 1882, Art. B, par. 13 }


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         Continue to next issue:   February 9, 1882 — Among the Churches


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