So Bathsheba went to King Solomon to speak to him for Adonijah. The king stood up to greet her, bowed to her, and sat down on his throne. Then the king had a throne brought for his mother, who sat down at his right hand.
I. MAN WAS MADE IN THE IMAGE OF GOD. This is His essential characteristic. The more He reflects this image, the more truly manly He is. The religion of the Bible restores His manhood.
II. THERE IS NO FACULTY IN MAN WHICH DOES NOT FIND ITS COMPLEMENT AND ITS DEVELOPMENT IN GOD. His reason finds in God alone the truth which it seeks. His heart only finds an object adequate to its power of loving in the God who is Love. His conscience has for its ideal and its law the Divine holiness. "Be ye perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect" (Matthew 5:48). His will derives its power alone from God.
1. The Son of God was the Son of man, and realized the true idea of humanity in His holy life.
2. The religion of God honours and exalts man, even as falsehood and error degrade and debase him.
3. The Divine morality is in profound harmony with true human morality, that law which is written in the natural conscience. The petty religiousness which says, "Touch not, taste not, handle not" (Colossians 2:21), and creates all sorts of artificial duties, is not in accordance with true piety, the one great commandment of which - love to God and man - approves itself at once to the gospel and to the conscience.
4. Be a man means, finally, Do thy duty like a man. Be one of the violent who take the kingdom by force. Let us be careful not to effeminate our Christianity by a soft sentimentalism. Let us learn from the Son of God to be truly men "after God's own heart." - E. DE P.
Bathsheba therefore went unto King Solomon, to speak unto him for Adonijah.1 Kings 15:2). Maachah, the mother, may have been a good woman herself, in spite of her husband's evil ways; yet what volumes are expressed in that embalming of her name — and only hers — in connection with the wrong-doings of her son! Alas! the agonies of the wretched parent's heart, in this world and the next, concerning whose offspring the record must be made, "he did evil all his life; he did evil because of his mother's neglect to teach him better!" St. , and Gregory of Nazianzen, are striking examples, which cry aloud, "Christian mothers, pray on in faith!" , and , and were instances almost as remarkable. General Harrison, not long before taking his place at the head of the Government, visited his old home in Virginia, and turned his steps at once to his "mother's room," where, as he said, he had seen her daily reading her Bible, and where she had taught him to pray. Fame and glory became dim before him as the pleasant light burst forth from the scene of his earliest and best impressions. Where is the son so wayward and so cruel, who would not promptly answer, like Israel's king, when besought by her who had nursed him in helpless infancy, "Ask on, my mother, for I will not say thee nay"? "My mother asked me never to use tobacco," remarked Senator Thomas H. Benton, "and I have never touched it from that time to the present day. She asked me never to gamble, and I never have. She admonished me against hard drinking, and whatever usefulness I have attained in life, I owe to my compliance with her pious wishes." The Christian mother who thus loves her children may be sure of their sincerest affection in return. An old man, wasted with disease, was struggling feebly with death. His family and friends stood by, rendering every kind office which they could, but still there was one thing which he longed for, and which all their tenderest affections failed to supply. He rolled his head in agony, and faintly whispered, "I want mother!" She had been dead for fifty years! As a child, he had carried his little sorrows to his mother, and she had always proved his ready comforter, and now, after all this lapse of time, forgetful, for the moment, that wife and children and grandchildren were with him, he remembered no one but his mother! A noted infidel was once suddenly brought under religious influences, and cried aloud, in his agony, "God of my mother, have mercy on me!" When a lady once told Archbishop Sharpe that she would not trouble her children with instruction about religion until they had reached the years of discretion, the shrewd prelate answered, "If you do not teach them, the devil will!"
(J. N. Norton.)
I. THE EARLY YEARS OF A CHILD BELONG TO THE MOTHER. These are the years which give shape and colour to all the rest of life. And in these the natural guide and companion of the child is the mother. Her presence and her varied teachings are the most potent force brought to bear upon it in the fresh and dewy morning of its existence. As soon as the child begins to comprehend language and to ponder ideas it conveys, what priceless opportunities are the mother's for inspiring and leading it! It learns its words from her lips and pronounces them after her methods. A mispronunciation acquired in childhood often clings to one all his days. The child thinks its mother's thoughts as well as speaks her words. Its views of things are largely derived from her. She can teach the child to be observant of what is within him and without him, upon notice of which wisdom so largely depends. She can develop in it the habit of thought, which so enhances the power of thought. She can elevate its thinking. She can teach it to be affectionate, aspiring, loyal, and brave. In short, she can mould her child well-nigh as easily as the sculptor shapes his plastic clay into the statue of faultless beauty.
II. THE EXAMPLE AND THE TEACHINGS OF THE MOTHER ARE PERMANENT INFLUENCES. This from their very nature, not simply because she has the control of the years of youth. A mother's life is one of the regulating and animating forces of that of her children as long as they live. There is a sacredness in that example which time increases rather than lessens in the bosom of every right-minded child. Even those who are wayward admit its power, and it is always one of the most invincible agents in their restoration. The same is true of the precepts she has given him. Not merely do they start him in the course he takes, they remain with him as elemental factors of his being and his conduct. They were the warrant of his early actions, and he unconsciously makes appeal to them all his life. Charles Reade, the famous novelist, when near the end of his life, declared: "I owe the larger half of what I am to my mother." And John Ruskin, nobly eminent as he is, cannot be disloyal to the memory of her who gave him birth. He wrote in this strain: "My mother's influence in moulding my character was conspicuous. She forced me to learn daily long chapters of the Bible by heart. To that discipline and patient, accurate resolve I owe not only much of general power of taking pains, but the best part of my taste for literature." And this is the testimony of an author whose facile pen has traced some of the most superb and exquisite sentences to be found in our English speech.
III. AFFECTION FOR MOTHERS IS ENDURING. It is this, in large measure, which lends power to their example and instruction. Still, it is a force by itself beyond these, in all the life of the child. If there is no love on earth like a mother's love, it calls forth in response an affection that many waters cannot drown. And this affection is a purifying, uplifting, gladdening element in the life of one who shares it. It spurs him to labour and self-denial. It kindles patience, zeal, hope, courage. It elevates, and quickens all his nature by its silent yet persuasive influence. When he is tempted, that love nerves him for victory. When he is despondent it clothes him with fortitude. When he is weary he rests upon it. When he is lonely its sweet presence enlivens his soul. When he is strong he rejoices for her dear sake. When he is successful he exults because she will be happy. Said Lord Macaulay: "I am sure it is worth while being sick to be nursed by a mother." One of the most pathetic elements in the sensitive spirit of William Cowper was his affectionate regard for his mother, who died when he was in his sixth year. To a niece who sent him her picture he wrote: "Every creature that bears an affinity to my mother is dear to me... The world could not have furnished you with a present so acceptable to me as the picture which you have so kindly sent me. I kissed it and hung it where it is the last object that I see at night, and, of course, the first on which I open my eyes in the morning." Who can doubt the healthful charm of that beautiful portrait over the life of the son? A mother's face — what beauty in its outlines, what sweetness in its expression, what inspiration in its presence in the mind only! No wonder that Napoleon said the greatest need of France was "mothers." It does not appear strange that in the early centuries of our era Christian matrons should have been held in high esteem. The names of the mothers of not a few heroes of the Church are inseparably linked. with their own. Emmelia with Basil; Nonna, who died while praying, with Gregory Nazienzen; Anthusa, whose noble character led the heathen to exclaim: "Ah, what wonderful women there are among Christians!" with , the golden-mouthed; , who died in the arms of her son, with , the great theologian; Aletta, of whom an eloquent orator has recently said, "I cannot but feel that that saintly mother who died eight hundred years ago in Burgundy has modified the civilisation of the age in which we live — that she has left the touch of her hand immortal on your heart and mine!" with . And in modern times the mother of the Wesleys is called also "the mother of Methodism," such was her impress upon her sons. John Quincey Adams doubtless gave utterance to the sober truth when he said: "All I am, or ever have been, in this world, I owe, under God, to my mother." And there is no flower in all the field that owes as much to the sun aa multitudes in the lesser walks of life owe to their mothers. The glory of motherhood has been strikingly set forth by some one who said: "God could not be everywhere, and therefore He made mothers." Theirs is the post of honour in the world. They sit upon thrones most regal. Sceptres of unbounded empire are in their hands. O mothers, realise the proud eminence you have attained! Aim to meet well its immense responsibilities, its limitless possibilities. Your children are, in a large degree, at your own disposal. Charles Dickens did not err when he thought that it must be written somewhere that "the virtues of mothers should be visited, occasionally, upon their children as well as the sins of fathers."
(A. W. Hazen, D. D.)
The king rose up to meet her, and bowed himself unto her
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