Pro puero isto supplicabam; præstititque mihi Jehovah petitionemm meam, quam petebam ab eo. Quemobrem ego quoque precario datum sisto eum Jehovæ ominbus diebus quibus fuerit, ipse rogatus percario est Jehovæe &c.
For this child I prayed; and the Lord hath given me my petition. Therefore also I have lent him to the Lord; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the Lord etc.
They be the words of Hannah, the mother of the prophet Samuel, uttered by her, when she offered him unto God, being weaned in the Tabernacle; but applyed by Prosper to the Virgin Mary, offering up Christ to God the Father in the Temple, Luke the second chapter. It is certain, That not only that the Prophecie which Malachi uttered touching the comming of the Lord of Hosts into his Temple in his own person, Malachie the third chapter and the first verse, must be fulfilled: but that also of Daniel, That being come, he should also be offered up to God, signified by the vision which the Prophet had of one like the Sonne of Man, who was brought to the ancient of dayes, that was to God his Father, Daniel the seventh chapter and the thirteenth: Which thing was truly performed on the day of the Virgins Purification. For as the day of Christs nativity, is a memoriall given to us by God; so the Feast of the Purification is a memorial of Christ given to God by us.
Oblations were of two sorts, Number the twenty-eighth chapter and the fourth verse agnus matutinus, and agnus vespertinus; the representation of Christ in the Temple by his Parents, was the morning Lamb; and the offering up of himself as a sacrifice in his passion, was the evening Lamb. In his oblation he was the author and beginning of our faith; in his passion, the finisher and the accomplishment of our faith Hebrews the twelfth chapter. For the application of this Scripture that it may not seem strange, but lawfull and warrantable, both by Scripture and practice of Christs Church, we are to know that it is lawfull and usual, to compare things spirituall not only with things natural, as with seed, Matthew the thirteenth chapter; with things artificial, as husbandry and building, the first epistle to the Corinthians and the third chapter; with moral and oeconomical, as when God is compared to a householder, Matthew the twentieth chapter, but things spiritual, with spiritual Scripture, with Scripture, and one story with another; to apply that which is spoken of one member of Christs church, Zechariah the fourth chapter and the twelfth verse, to another member of the same body, Apocalyps the eleventh chapter and the fourth verse, and not only so, but it is usual to apply that to Christ the head, which is affirmed of the body; as where it is said of the Congregation of the Jews, Hosea the eleventh chapter, I called my sonne out of Egypt, the same is applyed to Christ the head of that body. [565/566] Matthew the second chapter, Out of Egypt have I called my sonne; because as Christ the head, was truly the sonne of God, so he makes all members of his mystical body to be sonnes. So that which God spake to a part of the body, the second book of Samuel the seventh chapter, I will be his Father, is by the Apostle applyed to Christ, the head of that body, Hebrews the first chapter and the fift[h] verse. And so is this speech from Hanna, in offering her sonne to God, applyed by the ancient Church to the oblation of Christ in the Temple, as those were of the Prophet, Lamentations the first chapter and twelfth verse, to the sacrifice of his passion. So this application is warrantable, For if Hannah did offer up to God the Samuel her sonne, much more ought the Virgin to offer up Christ in token of thankfulnesse, who is greater than Salomon, Matthew the twelfth chapter. This composition is fit, and hath congruity both in respect of the mothers, their songs being compared together 1Sam. 2, Luke 1, which in effect are all one, and for the persons of the children, for they were both Nazarites, verse eleven Luke the second chapter, He shall be called a Nazarite. Secondly, Though there have been some that were both Prophet and Priest, or King and Prophet; yet all three, and Priest, Prophet and Prince did not concurre in any but in Samuel, who therefore was a representation of Christ, anointed by God, Priest, Prophet and King. Thirdly, Samuels love to his enemies, for whom he ceased not to pray, the first book of Samuel and the twelfth chapter, expresseth Christs love, who prayed for his persecutors, Luke the twenty third chapter, father forgive them; which love Christ also showed, in that when we were enemies he reconciled us to God, Romans the fift[h] chapter. In respect of which resemblance, Bernard saith, Fortior est compositio quam positio.
In those words we have to consider two donations; First, Gods giving to Hannah, verse: the twenty seventh; Secondly, Hannahs giving back again to God, verse the twenty eighth. As the first donation begins with prayer, and with gift; so the latter begins gift, and end with prayer. And it is agreeable to reason, that the child which came by intercession, should end with intercession.
Concerning which donations we are to note joyntly, First, That we can give nothing to God, but we must first receive it from him; As Hannah could not offer her child to the Lord, unless she first had received him from the Lord: For so saith King David, the first book of Chronicles, the twenty ninth chapter, and the fourteenth verse, Quæ de manu tua accepimus, damus tibi. Secondly, When we have received any blessing from God, then we must give to him as we are exhorted, Psalm the seventy sixt[h] and the eleventh verse, and Psalm the ninety sixt[h] & the eighth verse, Bring presents and joy into his Courts.
Of those that are to be given, some are laid upon us of necessity, As the tenth of the fruits of the ground, which the Lord challengeth to himself, Leviticus the twentieth seventh chapter and the thirtieth verse, and hath set over to the Levites, that it should be given to them [567/567] Numbers the eighteenth chapter. Then there are oblations, or free-willing offerings, such voluntary gifts as the people gave of their own accord; for howsoever they were bound to offer their first born, yet they might redeem the life of them, Exodus the thirtieth chapter.
To speak severally of them, Gods donation hath two parts, Hannahs Prayer and Gods Gift. In Prayer we are to observe two things, the sense of Want, and the desire of the Heart: For it is the supply of want which makes her break forth into prayer; for Petitio est soboles indigentiæ. Wherefore howsoever the want of so great a blessing as is the bearing of a child, did move Hannah to break forth into this desire of Prayer: Yet it is most certain, that the Virgin Mary more needed a Saviour, for which she confessed her spirit rejoyced, than Hannah needed a sonne: And as her need was greater, so her prayer was stronger than Hannahs prayer: for Hannah prayed alone; but as for Maries prayer, it was accompanied with the desire and prayer of all Creatures, as both the Prophets and Apostles doe shew; Heaven and earth was reconciled to God, Ephesians the first chapter, and Colossians the first chapter and the third verse: Therefore they did greatly desire Christs comming: And therefore when there was hope of his coming: they are exhorted to be glad, Rejoyce ye heavens, shout ye lower parts of the earth, Isaiah the fourty fourth chapter and twenty third verse: and the Apostle saith, that the Creatures doe groan, waiting for the redemption, Romans the eighth chapter, much more shall mankinde desire his comming; and therefore the Prophet saith, desideratus est cunctis gentibus, Haggai the second chapter. As all Nations did ignorantly worship the unknown God, Acts the seventeenth chapter, so they had an ignorant desire of his comming, but especially the Saints of God have not only desired in heart, but prayed for this gift, as Jacob, Genesis the fourty ninth chapter, I have waited for thy salvation: Psalm the fourteenth and the seventeenth verse: O that Salvation were given to Israel out of Sion: Isaiah the sixty fourth chapter and the first verse: Utinam dirumpat coelos & descendat; such a desire had this Virgin for the comming of her Saviour, as she expressed in her song, when she confesseth he hath filled the hungry. Simeon waited for the consolation of Israel, so did Hannah the prophetisse, Luke the second chapter. So that whether we respect the Prayer or Desire of Prayer, we see that Marys prayer is greater than Hannahs. If we respect the effect of the Virgins prayer, we shall see it more fully performed in her than in the other.
Prayer is compared to a Key, wherewith, as Elias opened the Heavens, when they were shut up, Luke the fourth chapter and the twenty fift[h] verse. So when God shuts up the womb of women, Genesis the twentieth chapter and the eighteenth verse, that they become barren, then prayer is the key that opens them: By this key was the womb of Hannah opened, and she brought forth Samuel. But if we consider that by this key God opened the womb of a Virgin, that she conceived and bear a Sonne, that is a greater wonder, and a matter more [567/568] highly to be extolled; but so did he open the womb of the blessed Virgin. Elias opened the Heavens when they were shut, and obtained rain for the earth: But the Virgins key of prayer, accompanyed with the prayers of all Gods people in all ages, opened the Heaven of Heavens, so as they dropped down righteousnesse, Isaiah the fourty fift[h] chapter and the eighth verse, Even the Sonne of Man that came down from Heaven, John the third chapter; that is Jesus Christ, who is our righteousnesse our sanctification, the first epistle to the Corinthians the first chapter and the thirtieth verse. The effect of Hannahs prayer is Dominus dedit, which is the inscription of all things we possesse, as King David confesseth, O Lord, all this aboundance is of thine hand, the first book of the Chronicles the twenty ninth chapter. But this inscription is peculiarly given to children and the fruit of the womb, Psalm the hundred twenty seventh, which indeed are an inheritance and gift that commeth of the Lord for he saith, Scribe virum istum sterilem, Jeremiah the twenty second chapter and the thirtieth verse: So he punished Michal which despised David so that she had no child to the day of her death, the second book of Samuel the sixt[h] chapter and the twenty third verse: But if he blesse this working, and so make them fruitfull, then is it a blessing and gift to be acknowledged with all thankfulnesse; especially when the children are as arrows and darts in the hand of Gyant, that is spiritual, in Church or Commonwealth, Psalm the hundred twenty seventh; for such a child was Samuel, therefore Hannah confesseth it thankfully. But if we come to the composition, we shall finde that Christs gift to us by God, is a farre greater gift, if we consider that Salus data est nobis, Isaiah the ninth chapter; that God hath manifested his love to the world, by giving a sonne to us, John the third chapter and the sixteenth verse: He is Donum Dei, John the fourth chapter; which if we could receive, we should perceive how farre he exceeds Samuel: but he is ______] the second epistle to the Corinthians the ninth chapter and the fifteenth verse, God's unpeakable gift. We must not talk of any other gifts; for he is the great gift of God to us; and that gift which we must offer to God for our sinnes; without whom it is vain to bring burnt offerings and sacrifices; for he only putteth away iniquitie, Isaiah the fourty third chapter: And God having given us such a gift, how will he not with him give us all other things, Romans the eighth chapter. Samuel was a great gift to Hannah, for he proved spiritual in the People of God, as a dart in the hand of a mighty man, but yet he was but a type of Christ, who is the greatest gift that ever God bestowed upon mankinde.
The second Donation is on our part to God. In mans judgment, if God gives us such a gift, we are best to keep it: but this gift is given us not to be kept, but to be layed out and bestowed for our use; Datus est nobis, ut detur à nobis. And this is done in the latter verse.
In which we have to consider, first the Gift: Secondly, the Limitations. First for the time, As long as he lived: secondly, the end To serve God. [568/569] If we ask why Hannah and the Virgin doe give to God: the reason is, because God being offended, must be appeased; and nothing doth more serve to appease wrath than a gift, Proverbs the twenty first chapter and the fourteenth verse; therefore Jacob sent a present to Esau, Genesis the thirty third chapter: Ut cum displiceret moribus placeret muneribus: As this kinde of satisfaction; hath place in all offences; so chiefly when offence is made per ablationem; we have taken away and robbed God, Philippians the second chapter, of the faith and obedience we owe to him. Therefore, as we have offended per ablationem; so must we satisfie per oblationem; as Jacob having robbed Esau of his birthright, by taking his blessing from him, doth satisfie and appease his wrath by offering to him; that is the ground and reason of a gift. But if we will appease by a gift there must be an equality; we may not offer a thing under the value of the thing which was taken away; that is the reason why all the sacrifices of the Law could not appease God, as the Apostle sheweth, It is impossible that the Blood of Bulls and Goats should take away sinnes, Hebrews the tenth chapter and Psalm the fourtieth; therefore the Prophet saith, wherewith shall I come and appear before God: shall I bring Rams and Sheep or Rivers of Oyle? Shall I give my first borne? Michah the sixt[h] chapter. But all that will not satisfy God, for that we have taken from him. The value of our obedience to God is such as cannot appease and satisfie his Majestie, being offended, The soul is more pretious than all the world; and no sufficient ranson can be given by man for it, Matthew the sixteenth chapter: But if we can offer to God, a thing of equall price to the obedience which we owe to God, then no doubt but he will be appeased, especially if we offer a thing of higher rate: But Christ is of greater value than all that we can take from God; for howsoever the sinne be great, in that we that are but men, should sinne against God who is infinite: yet if we look to Christs person, who hath satisfied for us, it is of such dignity as doth worthily serve for a ransom for the sinnes of all the world. And for our concupisence, the love of Christ hath made a sufficient satisfaction for it which love is such as the Apostle calleth it ¢g£phj, So that now we may sing both Mercie and Judgment, Psalm the hundred and first, of ourselves we are to rely upon God's mercy in Christ: But in as much as Christ in our persons hath so fully satisfied for us, we may be bold to tell his Justice now, That his righteousnesse is made ours, and we are made the righteousness of God in him, the second epistle to the Corinthians the fift[h] chapter.
The limitation for the time is, all the days of his life. To make him a Nazarite was not enough, for that continues but for certain dayes, Numbers the sixt[h] chapter: But Hannah gives her sonne to the Lord, all his life, that is for ever. Such a Nazarite was Sampson, not for a few dayes but from the day of his birth to the day of his death, Judges the thirteenth chapter and the seventh verse. And besides these two we finde none that continued Nazarites so long. But if we come to the composition, we shall finde, that whereas before Christ many were made [569/570] Nazarites and Priests to serve the Lord, because they were not suffered to indure by reason of death. For Samuel, though he lived fourscore years, which age no man scarce exceedeth, Psalme the ninetieth. He whom the blessed Virgin offered to be a Nazarite, was such a one as endureth for ever, and whose office cannot be intercepted by death Hebrews the seventh chapter and the twenty third verse: As he is such a King as of whose Kingdome there is no end, Luke the first chapter and the thirty fift[h] verse; so he hath an everlasting Priesthood, The Lord hath appointed him to be a Priest for ever. Psalm one hundred and ten, to make reconciliation between God and Men; so hath he obtained for us eternal redemption, Hebrews the ninth chapter and the twelfth verse; And is become the author of eternal salvation, Hebrews the fift[h] chapter and the ninth verse: So that the limitation which Hannah speaks of, stands more firm in Christ than in Samuel.
The second limitation is for the end, signified in these words, And he shall serve, or worship the Lord: For it stands with good reason, that as intercession was the beginning, so it should be the end; for as the Priest Eli, said in the first book of Samuel and the second chapter, If man offend against God, who will be his dayes man and come between God and him: There is none to undertake this matter, but he that is appointed to be the only mediation between God and man, the first epistle to Timothie the second chapter and the fift[h] verse, that is Jesus Christ, who, as he is God and Man, so is God blessed for ever Romans the ninth chapter; For a Mediator is not of one, Galatians the third chapter, but of two parties that are at variance, and the mediator is to stand between them both. Now there is great disagreement between God and man, by reason of sinne, which hath made a separation. And therefore we are to inquire, who shall be the mediator. It is certain Samuel, while he lived, stood between God and the people, as a Mediator, to appease him by sacrifice: But his mediatorship is come to an end; Therefore wee must look for a more perfect Mediator, such a one as Samuel himself needed. Now the Mediator that stands between God and us, is not Samuel the Priest, but Christ, the sonne of the Virgin, who to appease the wrath of God his Father, offered up himself as a lambe, Isaiah the fifty third chapter, to be a sacrifice for us. Secondly, Because we need a mediator to stand between us and Sathan, he also doth perform this, and deliver us out of the jawes of that roaring lion, Wherefore as before he was a lambe, as appeasing God, as Samuel did, so here like Sampson he delivers us, like that Lyon of the tribe of Judah, which Jacob foretold Genesis the fourty ninth chapter, and hath shewed himself, in the fift[h] chapter of the Revelations as before he was a Priest, so here he shewes himself in the twelfth chapter to Hebrews. Thirdly, he was to be our Intercessor, in respect of judgement. It is with us, as it falls out between the Judges and the Clyent; and therefore Christ is called an Advocate, in the first epistle of John the second chapter and the second verse. The law hath two parts, Punishment and Reward: We by our sinnes [570/571] have made ourselves guilty of the punishment and of the curse that is threatned against them that continue not in all things, Galatians the third chapter; But he stands as a Mediator between the punishment and us, and hath shed his blood as a ransome for our sinnes, the first epistle to Timothie the second chapter; and so hath cancelled the hand writing that was against us, and taken away the malediction that was due to us, Colossians the second chapter; and for the reward which we should have deserved fac hoc & vives; howsoever we have debarred our selves from it, yet he is [Greek] Ephesians the first chapter, and hath bought and purchased life for us: He is a Mediator, and Intercessor on our parts to God propter excessum peccati, & defectum meriti; by his innocencie and righteousnesse he hath purchased that for us, which we could not deseve for our sinnes.
This to be an Intercessor, which intercession is performed in all Religions, by Prayer and Oblation, By prayer Christ is our Intercessor; For he sits at the right hand of God, and makes intercession for us. Romans the eighth chapter; not for the godly only, but for his enemies, Father forgive them, Luke the twenty third chapter, as it was fortold of him He shall pray for the trangressors, Isaiah the fifty third chapter; And he prayed not only for the forgivenesse of sinnes, but for the turning away of punishments due to sinne, which was the cause that he offered up supplications to God with strong cries, Hebrews the fift[h] chapter and the seventh verse: He prayed that the holy Ghost might be given to his Disciples, John the fourteenth chapter: I will pray the Father that the holy Ghost being given, Sathan might not sift them to turn them from the faith, Luke the twenty-second cahpter. Lastly, That we may be partakers of glory with him, John the seventeenth chapter, and be where he is. As he prayeth for us, so he makes good and supplieth the imperfections of our prayers, and makes them acceptable to God, Canticles the eighth chapter, Fac me audire vocem tuam, that is, I will take upon me to obtain for you, that which you cannot.
Secondly, for Oblation, As Samuel did not only pray to God for the People, but did himselfe take a sucking Lamb, and offer it up to God for the People, the first book of Samuel the seventh chapter. So Christ as our Intercessor to God, not only by prayer, but by oblation, was an oblation offered in the morning, when he was presented to God his Father, that he would for us yeeld obedience to the Law; and in his death was an evening oblation; he was not only the eare and first fruit of the corne, but became the vine in his death, by shedding his blood: And as he not only prayeth, but giveth virtue to our oblations, as the Prophet foretold, That when he should come into his Temple, the offerings of the people should be acceptable, Malachie the second chapter and the fourth verse. Our prayers and oblations are full of imperfections: And whereas God appointed that the woman that was to be purified, should offer to God a young Lamb without spot, or a pair of Doves, Leviticus the twelfth chapter, to teach us, that though he cannot offer up [571/572] himself to God tanquam agnum immaculatum, yet tanqaum columbam gementem, if not innocencie of life, yet repentance and sorrow for sinnes. But because we cannot present either a Lamb or a Dove, neither innocencie of life, nor true sorrow for sinnes; therefore Christs oblation doth supply the defect of our imperfections: We cannot offer up such tears for sin as we ought, therefore the strong cries and tears, which he offered Hebrews the fourth chapter and the seventh verse, stand between God and us: Because the agonie and grief of our heart is cold and dead; therefore the agonie that he indured, when he sweat water and blood is a suppliant, Luke the twenty second chapter. So he is both an oblation for us, and supplyeth the imperfections of our oblations. He having offered up himself to God as a Lamb immaculate and without spot, the first epistle of Peter the first chapter and the nineteenth verse, hath appeased the wrath of God his Father, and procured his favour for us, and keeps away the malice and rage of Satan from us.