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WHEN the son of Jeffe, (in the calamities of his early life) wandered in the wilderness, an exile, a fugitive, his safety every hour endangered by the machinations of Saul, then peace and innocence were his companions. In the afflictions of his later days he feels the torture of a self-reproving conscience. His future pardon is promised, but not without his present suffering. In the heinous offence of Amnon, in the subfequent murder of the guilty prince, in the disfimulation by which that murder was effected, the unhappy father reads his own transgressions. The sting of forrow, as well as of death, is fin.
ought LORD him
Yet these are the beginnings of woe. Other chastisement is in store for the king. of Israel. He must experience the utmost extreme of earthly misery-he must meet with the blackest ingratitude from the object of his fond affection.
The tears of David for the irrecoverable loss of his first-born now fall no longer-he comforts himself concerning Amnon, and begins to feel a degree of impatience for the return of Abfalom: The long absence of that darling fon was more a punishment to the king than to the prince. Joab perceives the wishes of his lord, and artfully inclines him to their accomplishment. A woman of Tekoa personates a mourner, and, while she speaks of the loss of one child, and the danger of another, excites in David compassion for himself, and favour to his banished son. A parable taught him to repent—a parable teaches him to forgive.
Now Joab speeds to Geshur. The exiled prince shall return to Jerusalem ; but as yet he is not admitted into the presence of his father. David's excessive lenity had already occasioned him the bittereft sorrows-he now resolves to feign at least a severity of temper he can
“ Let him go to his own house, but let him not see my face.”
Two years is Abfalom thus excluded from all intercourse with his parent. At last his impatient spirit can bear this absence no longer. He sends for Joab, the solicitor of his return-he requests inftant death, or unconditional pardon from his father. Perhaps his heart was not yet corrupted-or perhaps even now the deep-laid stratagem was forming, which afterwards brought down ruin on his head. « Let me see the king's face, " and if there be iniquity in me, kill these public tokens of the royal displeasure.
me !" Either banishment or death seemed more tolerable to him, than
WHAT a torment shall it be to the wicked, to be excluded from the
pre· sence of God without hope of recovery! Absalom will not live, unless he beholds the face of that father, whom afterwards he most unnaturally sought to destroy. God is the Father of spirits, without whom there can be no life, no being. To be exiled from Him is eternal death, eternal misery. If in thy presence, O God, is the fulness of joy, in thine absence must be the fulness of anguish and horrour. O hide not thy face from us, but shew us the light of thy countenance, that we may live, and declare thy praise !
The impatience of Absalom pleads his cause with a fond parent-it seems to demonstrate, beyond all doubt, the ardour of his filial affection. Long had David been weary of his displeasure-at
length he receives his son into his favour, and seals his pardon with a kiss of tendernefs. Earthly parents know not how to retain everlasting anger towards their offspring-how much less shall the God of mercies be irreconcileably displeased with his children? how much less shall he suffer his indignation to burn like fire, which cannot be quenched? He will not alway be chiding, neither keepeth he
anger for ever. His wrath endureth but a moment-in his favour is life 'heaviness may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.
ABSALOM is now as much distinguished for greatness, as for beauty. Beauty and greatness excite his pride, and pride occasions his ruin. Ambitious spirits will not rest contented with moderate prosperity. Before two years are expired, Absalom frames a plot of most atrocious rebellion. None, but his own father, was his fuperior in Israel-none