by Clarence E. Macartney

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"Samuel and Barnabas"
Parallel Lives of the Old and New Testament
Part 7 of 12
Clarence E. Macartney


When Saul asked the witch of Endor to bring up Samuel,
and the woman, evidently surprised at the apparition
of Samuel, cried out with a loud voice, Saul asked her
what she saw. The woman answered, "I see a god coming
up out of the earth." Then Saul, perceiving it was
Samuel, fell on his face on the ground. Samuel was
godlike even in his death. That is the way he
impresses us wherever we come upon him in the drama of
Israel's history. He was not only a godly, but a
godlike man. There is a majesty in his life which
makes him rise out of the mists of antiquity like a

Life is a book of three volumes. A great number never
get past the first volume. A still larger number never
go beyond the second volume. And to only a few is it
permitted to live and write the third and final
volume. In the life of Samuel no volume is wanting,
and each volume has its full quota of chapters. There
are not many men in the Bible whom we can follow from
the cradle to the grave. Some begin in youth and end
in middle life; or they appear in middle life, and
pass from the stage in old age. Even where we do
commence with a man at his birth and end with his
death and burial, there are long and meaningless
blanks in his biography. Samuel, on the contrary, is
an open book from beginning to end. We hear the
prayers which were uttered before he was born, and we
are amazed at the influence of his life after he is

Samuel did not stumble upon greatness. When it comes
to seers, prophets, and godlike men, we find that
there has been a preparation for their lives before
they were born. If Samuel was a godlike man, let us
not forget that scene in the House of the Lord, where
the sorrowing mother, kneeling in the silent temple,
entreated God for a child. Shaftesbury once said,
"Give me a generation of Christia ...

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