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to in the text. When Saul saw David go forth against the Philistine, he said unto Abner, the captain of his army, Whose son is this youth? And when Abner was unable to tell him, he bad him inquire whose son the stripling was. Abner went to seek David, and met him on his return from the slaughter of the Philistines, and he took him and brought him before Saul with the head of the Philistine in his hand. And Saul said to him, Whose son art thou, thou young man ? And David answered, I am the son of thy servant Jesse the Bethlehemite.
And here let us pause, and ask ourselves what lessons there are for us in this history; what we are concerned to learn from the early life of David? Surely the first, and also the last lesson of that life, is this-to have trust in God, to take Him for our strength, to lead our life by faith in the unseen but ever-present power of an all-good, all-watchful, all-sustaining God. I will love thee, O Lord, my strength! The Lord is my stony rock, and my defence: my Saviour, my might, in whom I will trust, my buckler, the horn also of my salvation, and my refuge! Blessed be the Lord my strength, who teacheth my hands to war and my fingers to fight!
Such words occur again and again in the book of Psalms, and they teach us plainly what was the
secret of David's success. They show us what lay at the root of his courage,-what made him strong in spirit, ready to risk life and limb for his father's sheep, or for the deliverance of his country. David, from quite a boy was used to hold communion with God. He was often in prayer; often in meditation; often musing upon the proofs he had of God's love, and goodness, and greatness in all things around him. In the starry heavens, in the green earth, in the fruitful trees, in the birds and beasts of the field, David saw marked everywhere the impression of God's hand. And he was led from seeing these to lift up his heart to God, and to place his trust in God, and to refer to God for all his wants.
When David said, I will love thee, O Lord, my strength! &c., such words were not in his mouth mere breath. They were the expression of his habitual feelings. He did love God, truly and with all his heart. He did trust in God. He did believe that God was the strength of his life; that all he had of any worth, bodily strength, or strength of mind, came to him from God.
And this living trust, this habit of referring all he had to God, and looking to God for all he wanted, made David what we see him in his early youth; what we see him in middle life, and quite to the end of his days-a man, who,
in spite of great momentary lapses, leading to terrible crimes, and followed by sharp punishment, was a religious man, in whose heart were God's ways, who, more clearly, perhaps, than any other man, realised the existence of a personal and everpresent God. Whither shall I go from thy Spirit : or whither shall I go from thy presence? Thou art about my bed, and about my path: and spiest out all my ways. If I climb up into heaven, thou art there: if I go down to hell, thou art there also. If I take the wings of the morning, and remain in the uttermost paths of the sea; even there also shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold
Yes, David, in the truest sense of the word, was a religious man; and what is, I fear, by no means common, a religious young man. He did not let half his life go by in forgetfulness of God, and then afterwards turn and seek Him. He sought God in his youth. When he was a
he already knew
stripling, a lad, a shepherd boy, God, and trusted in God, and loved Him exceedingly.
And because he did this, he was that brave and noble-hearted lad, full of thought for others, unselfish, and ready to do battle for the right, which we see him to have been.
The early search after God, the early habit of
prayer, the musing in the field upon the works
David's character and
of God's hands, told upon helped to shape it aright. the Lord strong in those qualities which are acceptable with God, and of God's bestowingstrong in patience, strong in faith and reliance upon the support of the Almighty. And this is recorded for our learning,- for your learning especially, who are young men.
Then take pattern, I exhort you, by David. Be strong, as he was strong in the Lord, and in
Use yourselves, as he did,
the power of His might!
to seek the Lord. Seek Him in prayer in your pri
vate homes, and
seek Him in prayer here, in His sacred courts. Think of Him-of the great God who loves you and cares for you, when you are at work in the field. Lift up your hearts to Him often, in all places and at all times. Realise His presence. Settle it in your hearts that God is always near you—that God always sees youthat God can and will uphold you, if you call upon Him for His aid!
Yes, my brethren, look at David-young David, as an example. Do not think that he is too far removed from you- too great, too unlike a common person, to be your pattern. David in later life rose indeed to a lofty eminence, and was made king over God's people. But David in his
youth, David as we see him in the Lesson for this day, was but a shepherd-boy,-a person of no note, little heard of beyond his father's fields. The great captain Abner could not answer the king's question as to his parentage,—As thy soul liveth, O king, I cannot tell! And when Saul himself asked him, Whose son art thou, thou young man? his answer is the modest answer of one who, as yet, was without any claim to distinction, who could only describe himself as his father's son. And David said, I am the son of thy servant Jesse the Beth-lehemite.
You need not, then, think that David is too great too far above you, for you to follow him. God sets him before you in the Bible as an example of what He would have you to be a young man after His own heart. That story of the fight with Goliath —that story of the fight with the lion and the bear, are capable, you must feel, of a spiritual application. You, in your young days, have foes to contend with, quite as terrible, but not so outwardly visible, as these. You have to struggle with the lusts, and passions, and evil tempers that war in your nature. You have besides a mighty enemy, watching always to do you mischief,-to take you captive, to kill your soul. Against these-against the flesh, against the world, against the devil, against your own