Abbildungen der Seite

once called and anointed by God, the pride and hope of Israel, the terrour of their enemies, the conqueror of Ammon, Amalek, and Philiftia, receives his last blow at his own impassioned request, from a wayfaring stranger. “ Knowest thou not this of old, since man was placed upon earth, that the triumphing of the wicked is short, and the joy of the hypocrite is but for a moment ? Though his excellency mount up to the heavens, and his head reach unto the clouds, yet he shall fly away as a dream, and shall not be found he shall be chased away as a vision of the night. The eye also which saw him shall see him no more, neither shall his place any more behold him. He shall flee from the iron weapon, and the bow of steel shall strike him through. It is drawn, and cometh out of his body, yea, the glittering sword paffeth through his heart. Terrours are upon him. The heavens shall reveal

his iniquity, and the earth shall rise up against him. This is the portion of a wicked man from God, and the heritage appointed hiin by the Almighty.

Common rumour had already fixed on David as the anointed heir to the kingdom of Israel-to be the first bearer of news so grateful as the death of Saul to lay the ensigns of royalty at the feet of his succefforto be entitled to the reward, not merely of a messenger of glad tidings, but of one whose hand, in destroying a tyrant, had done good service to the state—what splendid prospects for an Amalekite! “ I am the man, to « whom David owes his kingdom-I « am the author of his deliverance and " of his happiness.” A mind wherein self-love rules with absolute dominion, is unable to comprehend the emotions of a generous heart.

How was this alien disappointed of his hopes, when he finds his tidings the


occasion of fasting, and weeping, and mourning! when that voice, half ftified with tears, calls him to account for murder, instead of acknowleging his merits ! Doubtless the stranger pleaded for himfelf with fair and plausible arguments. “ Alas, Saul was already fallen upon « his own spear it was mercy to shor

ten his sufferings-his importunate

prayers moved me to haften his ap" proach to the gates of death. Had I « stricken him as an enemy,

I had

per“ haps deserved thy cenfure but the « blow was that of a friend. Why am I “ regarded with horrour for obeying the « voice of a king? for perfecting what « himself had begun, but could not fi

nish? If neither his own wound, nor “ mine, had dispatched him, the Phi“ listines were at hand, ready to do that “ with insult, which I did in favour. “ Had not my arm anticipated theirs, < where had been the crown of Israel,

“ which " which I have presented to thee? I “could have delivered it to Achish,

king of the Philistines, and have « been rewarded with honour. Let me “ not die for an act well meant to thee, “ however unkindly misinterpreted !" But all these excuses avail not to his deli“ Thy blood be

thine own head--for thy mouth hath testi"fied against thee, saying, I have slain " the Lord's anointed. Every drop of royal blood is sacred, and he who sheds it is accursed of God and man. Of how different a spirit from this of David, are those men, who suborn the death of princes, and justify the atrocious act, and celebrate and canonize their murderers! “O my soul, come not thou into their secret-into their assembly, mine honour, be not thou united !”





WITH what terrour and amazement, O God, do we contemplate the transgression of thine anointed servant? What an universal example doth his sin, and his repentance afford to mankind ? What an awful, instructive lesson, that we should never be led astray by presumption, or despair ? Both are excluded, by the crime, and by the contrition of David. When we see so great a faint thus fallen, thus risen, we cannot but be sensible of our own infirmities, and the transcendent mercy of our God.

Now the king of Israel is in undirturbed possession of his dear-bought


« ZurückWeiter »