Again the mother prays; this time not in sorrow, but from a heart filled with thanksgiving. She feels no regret because of her vow. Her child became a great blessing to many people, and the Lord gave her other sons and daughters to cheer her heart.
By reading the story we find that “the child Samuel grew and was in favor both with the Lord and also with men.” Why was this? In answer to his devoted mother’s prayer, the Holy Spirit hovered over that child, shielding him from the cruel darts and arrows of the enemy. He had been taught the ways of the Lord from his cradle and his life was fully consecrated to God.
A different scene comes before me now—a scene that brings a shudder. Upon a ship sailing along the shores of France were a man and his wife on their way to join a band of villainous people in India. Being on a secret mission, they traveled slowly and carefully. It was a tedious and dangerous journey. One stormy day, on the Bay of Biscay, a child was born to them.
No loving welcome from the lips of a prayerful parent awaited this poor little innocent child; instead, curses were his portion, and, by the order of his mother, he was cast aside in a pile of rubbish to die. By chance the father passed that way and, finding his child’s poor little perishing form, picked it up, took it to his wife, and commanded her to see that it was cared for.
As the child grew and developed in this atmosphere of sin and degradation, is it strange that he partook of his parents’ nature and developed even worse habits than they? Unless the proper home influence is thrown around a child, he can not help suffering from the inherited sins of his parents.
When this child became a man, he knew nothing of virtue and honesty. His life was enveloped in a shroud of darkest crimes. Leaving India, he went to Europe and from there sailed to America. Each year found him better acquainted with court proceedings and prison walls. It was a common thing for him to break into a man’s house and steal every valuable that he could find.
I recently met this man and heard from his own lips the dark story of his life. As he was relating an account of a desperate burglary, I asked him what he would have done if the man of the house had awakened. “Please do not ask me.” he answered. “I was always armed, and a man’s life was no more to me than a dog’s. There are scenes that I can not, I dare not, recall, for I am a changed man now.”
Thank God, he is a changed man. He had not been too vile for God to find. Jesus had cleansed his heart from all desire to do evil. Having confessed his crimes and given himself up to be punished, he had been sent to prison, but because of good behavior had been soon pardoned. He is now spending his life among the lower class, whom he understands so well and pities so much, trying to show them the way of salvation.