Abbildungen der Seite

was fo likely as himfelf, in all human probability, to succeed his father. If his turbulent mind could have been restrained for a few years, he might have expected that by succession, which now he fought by force. An aspiring heart is always impatient, and holds time itself as an enemy-thrusts itself importunately betwixt the hope, and the enjoyment. Full of labour and travail, it has no intermission of its uneasiness, till it hath brought forth its abortive progeny. Othat our affections were as eager for spiritual and heavenly exaltation ! O that our souls were equally ambitious to feel the weight of that crown of glory!

OUTWARD pomp, unaccustomed shews of magnificence, are wont to affect the light minds of the vulgar. Abfalom, therefore, to the incomparable graces of his person, adds the unusual state of more than royal dignity. His chariots


rattle, and his horses trample proudly in the streets. Fifty foot-men run before their glittering master. Jerusalem refounds with the praises of this glorious prince and all are dazzled with his continual display of grandeur. The generous David suspects no danger from this studied oftentation. His partial love considers all this splendour as expressive of joy and thankfulness--as, designed to do honour to their reconciliation-as not unbecoming the age, the rank, the beauty, the virtues of Abfalom.

HAVING thus engaged the eyes and tongues of the people, the insidious prince lays snares for their hearts. He rises early, and stands beside the way

of gate. Ambition is ever vigilant and industrious--the condescension of Absalom is equal to his greatness. How gloriously doth the prince of Israel neglect himself, and prefer the care of jusVOL.II.




[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

tice to his own gratifications ! His ear is open to all who petition, all who complain—there is no cause which he fatters not. “ See, thy matters are good « and right, and there is none deputed “ by the king to hear thee.” What infinuations could be more powerful ? What music is so sweet in the ear of the unstable rnultitude, as to hear themselves commended, their

governors censured ? Every man says, « How

gracious a prince is Absalom! What

a just and careful ruler would Absalom “ be? How happy were we, if we

might be judged by Absalom? These qualities which singly exalt a charac

ter, conspire in his : beauty of person, “ magnificence of state, gracious affabi“ lity, unwearied diligence, humility in “ the midst of grandeur, the tenderest

pity, the most ardent love of justice, as the most anxious care for the general welfare !”


Thus the hearts of the people are not won, but stolen by a false traitor from their lawful fovereign. Nothing was wanting but a cloak of religion to complete the treachery of that ungracious son, whose words were peaceable, while war was in his heart. How easily is this also assumed! Abfalom has a holy vow in Hebron. The devout man made it long since in Syria, and now hastens to perform it.

« If the Lord shall bring “ me back again to Jerusalem, then will “ I serve the Lord.” Hypocrites scruple not to profane the name and the worship of God himself in the accomplishment of their sacrilegious purpose.

How glad is the good old king, that he is blessed with so pious a son! How does he, at Absalom's departure, implore the favour of heaven on his designs ! The clouds of rebellion have long been gathering--at last they burst, in all their fury, over the astonished father.

E 2


With an heavy heart, his head covered, dissolved in tears, clothed in fackcloth, David retires from Jerusalem. Never did any forrow, but that of his sacred and innocent Descendant, approach to his forrow. How could he but weep, when the barbarous insurrection of a too dearly beloved child drove him from his house, from his throne, from the ark of his God? Shimei follows him with curses-Ahithophel, his once faithful counsellor, forsakes, and betrays him--Abfalom, inyested with the royal purple, pursues his life with implacable hatred—and the moment is come, when the issue of a battle must decide, whether David perish in his own person, or in that of his son.

“ I SAID, LORD, be merciful unto “ me-heal my soul—for I have sinned “ against thee. All mine enemies whis“ per together against me—against me do “ they imagine thisevil. Let the sentence


« ZurückWeiter »