Spiritual legacies

Hannah said, “Oh, my lord! As [surely as] your soul lives, my lord, I am the woman who stood beside you here, praying to the Lord.  For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my request which I asked of Him.  Therefore I have also dedicated him to the Lord; as long as he lives he is dedicated to the Lord.” And they worshiped the Lord there. – 1 Samuel 1:26-28

There are numerous intimations in Scripture that in the bequest of spiritual legacies the law of heritage works with peculiar constancy and vigour. “The promise is unto you and to your children.” And that occurs as a frequent and favourite thought, “I will establish my covenant with Isaac for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him.” And this principle is wrought into the structure of the whole Jewish record. It is as though God held parent and child in one individual compact of grace, parental faith throwing itself forward upon the child, and working in and for the child vicariously; the faith of the parent becoming in time the child’s faith, just as by a physical law the features of the father and mother reappear in time in the child’s face, in growing distinctness. Of Elkanah, Samuel’s father, little notice is taken. A single remark of his indicates the mutual loyalty and confidences of husband and wife, and along the course of the first chapter is shown his faithful observance of religious obligations. But Samuel was preeminently his mother’s boy, as boys are apt to be. It was his mother that prayed for him; his mother that took him to Shiloh with the bullocks, the flour, and the wine; his mother that offered him in consecration. Appreciating the quality of the parentage, then, we have laid for us a basis of just expectancy touching the quality of the offspring. We must just mention Samuel’s early connection with the church and the sanctuary. I suppose that this, too, had its strengthening and educating effect. It was just in the midst of the sanctuary that the Lord’s presence became manifest in him, and that the Divine voice shouted clearly and intelligibly in his ears. We may gather from the fact that there is great virtue in early and affectionate association with the church, and in earnest participation in things that concern the church. But great as is the supplementary service which the church can render the child, the home is at once his physical birthplace and his proper spiritual birth place. It is a Spanish proverb that an ounce of mother is worth a pound of clergy. The home is the first church, the hearthstone the first altar, and the father and mother the first priests. And so the more home there is in the home, the more readily and completely does it fulfil its offices as a child church. And the home, for the same reason, is the child’s proper Sunday school. It is not quite evident how Christian parents can ever farm out their children to the spiritual nurture of strangers. (C. H. Parkhurst, D. D.)


Sermon Series: A Lasting Legacy



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