Providence sometimes seems to run counter to what is most desirable, in withholding gifts where they would be devoutly valued and wisely used. Humanly speaking, Hannah was the most fit person to be blessed with offspring to be nurtured. The course of nature which finds expression in family life is of God. Though the free element of human action plays a part, yet God is supreme. Providence is over the home of the pious. Poverty and riches, new life and bereavement, are of the Lord. Looked at in its early stages, and tested by our range of vision, the course of Providence is often the reverse of what makes for the joy of the home and the good of the world. Often the illiberal spirit holds wealth, while the loving heart has only good wishes. Many a good, Christlike heart laments that it has not the means of clothing the poor, and sending forth messengers of the cross. Men of very slender abilities and lowly position, but of intense enthusiasm for Christ, may wonder why they have not been endowed with the intellectual and social qualities which would enable them to stem the tide of scepticism, and gain over to Christianity persons now inaccessible to them.
R. Payne Smith