1 Samuel 10:22
Therefore they inquired of the LORD further, if the man should yet come thither. And the LORD answered…
When , the Arian Bishop of Milan, had expired, there was much excitement among the Christians in that City. Both Catholics and Arians had assembled in the principal church for the purpose of electing a new bishop, and each party was eager that some priest who held the same views as itself should be appointed to the vacant see. When the words of the governor had ceased to reverberate through the lofty arches of the church, the clear voice of a little child broke the silence which succeeded, repeating the words "Ambrose Bishop — Ambrose Bishop." At once the cry was caught up by that vast assemblage. In vain did protest that he was only a Catechumen, that he had not even been baptised; in vain did he urge that the sacred office of a bishop was one utterly foreign to his previous thoughts and studies (for he had been educated as a lawyer); the people would take no denial; and so, at last, he fled from their presence, in order to escape consecration to the Bishopric of Milan. This is no solitary instance. We read in the history of the Christian Church of many similar shrinkings from responsibility on the part of those who were elected to high office in that church; of many who, when called to assume the care of some diocese, or even the sacred office of the priesthood, endeavoured, like Saul the Benjamite, to go and hide themselves among the stuff. Now what was the cause of this strange behaviour: what was the cause of that flight of S. Ambrose, when elected to the Bishopric of Milan? Was it not a sort of nervous fear: was it not what may be called shamefacedness, or as it is better rendered in the revised version of the New Testament "shamefastness"? We can see countless instances of its disastrous effects in the Christian Church of the present day. But let us not be too ready to condemn our timid brethren. S. Ambrose became a mighty pillar of the Church: Saul, for many years, made an excellent king, and proved himself a courageous warrior after he had been drawn forth from his inglorious retreat. It is a hard thing to lead a holy life in a world given to unrighteousness. Our Lord told His disciples that the world would hate them and persecute them, just as it had hated and persecuted Him. It is the public declaration of our loyalty to Christ which forms the difficulty with most of us. And so this shamefastness leads men to live two lives — one in the Church and one in the family circle: another in the office or in the club. If we investigate the causes of this lack of helpers, what do we find? We find hundreds of young men and women attending our churches: many of them regular communicants — all at least making some outward profession of Christianity — all at least hoping to be saved through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. You implore them to labour in some one of those many fields which lie fallow for want of a sower, and they respond but too frequently with that parrot cry that "charity begins at home." They are asked to join some society, to teach in some Sunday School; the call of God comes to them in a hundred different ways to come forth boldly and testify in His name; but, alas, when they are thus summoned, they flee like Saul the son of Kish, and hide themselves among the stuff and baggage of such excuses as they can drag together to conceal their lack of courage. We read day after day in the public journals, that, as each regiment embarks for service at the seat of war, not a man is found wanting when the muster roll is called — none of the soldiers of our Queen are evading the call of duty — none are hiding themselves among the stuff. And shall we, the soldiers of Christ, suffer such a reproach to be cast at us, shall we suffer it to be said that our Christianity is pure selfishness, that all we care for is to save our souls; and that we care not to come forward and make public avowal, to take up this or that public duty which Christ calls upon us to perform for the love which we profess to bear Him?
Parallel VersesKJV: Therefore they inquired of the LORD further, if the man should yet come thither. And the LORD answered, Behold, he hath hid himself among the stuff.