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lusts and passions, you have to strive, and strive daily; and your only hope of striving with success, of conquering and not being conquered, must be to do as David did, -to go to the battle, not trusting in your own strength, but in the strength of God-strength that is never denied to earnestness in prayer.
Oh, believe me, it is a noble thing to beat down and crush one single bosom sin. Greatly as we admire David in the hour of his victoryoften as we turn to that picture in our Bible which represents him to us flushed with conquest, with the head of the Philistine in his hand !- there is a nobler sight, and one still more worthy of our admiration, which is sometimes to be seen in a Christian home; and that is, the sight of a youth, a stripling, a mere lad, who has brought his body into subjection, who is the master of his own nature, and who, God helping him, has wrestled with and overcome some secret sin !
Be it your ambition, my younger brethren, to gain such a victory as this-to fight the good fight of faith, and to keep yourselves unspotted from the world !
Think of the happiness it will bring to your parents to hear of, or to witness your success. The aged Jesse, no doubt, rejoiced greatly when they told him, in his tent at Bethlehem, how bravely his stripling son had behaved. But I question if his joy could be so great as the joy of that parent who, in the decline of days, hears of the good conduct of an absent child, -hears of a son who has gone out into service, that he is walking in the straight path; that he is strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus ; that his quiet, sober, orderly behaviour, has won for him the respect of his employer; and that he has a good report of all men.
Now try to give this joy, this unspeakable joy, to your parents ; try in youth to walk with God - to go in the path of His commandments. Flee youthful lusts ; but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart!
SIXTH SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY.
ST. LUKE, ii. 29. Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according
to thy word: for mine eyes have seen thy salvation !
Holy SCRIPTURE presents us with examples of life and godliness suited to every age and circumstance of man. For, not to dwell now upon the Example of all examples — the Lord Jesus Christ - we have in the Bible patterns of excellence to be our guide in every stage of our life; patterns for us in childhood, and in growing youth, and in manhood, and in extreme old age.
I have lately dwelt upon the character of Samuel, as an eminent example of holiness in child. In so doing I pointed out - speaking more especially to the young amongst you—how early Samuel was acquainted with God; how quick he was to catch God's voice, and to obey it. And I urged you to cherish in yourselves a like tenderness of conscience; to pray that you might be made as he was, of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord !
To-day, I am led by the lesson we have heard (2 Sam. xix.) to speak of another period of human life - even of old age. And this, chiefly as it is set forth in that very beautiful portrait of a good old man, Barzillai the Gileadite.
It is a subject which may seem to concern only a portion of our number, but it will, I trust, be found to have a reflected interest for us all. May God bless the consideration of it to our gocd !
And, first, look for a moment at the account we have of Barzillai.
The first notice of him is in 2 Sam. xvii. 27, where we find him mentioned with two others, Shobi and Machir, as doing an act of most opportune kindness to King David. David was an exile; he had been driven from his royal house by the rebellion of his son Absalom, and with a few faithful attendants had fled beyond Jordan into the wilderness.
And it came to pass, when David was come to Mahanaim, that Shobi the son of Nahash of Rabbah of the children of Ammon, and Machir the son of Ammiel of Lodebar, and Barzillai the Gileadite of Rogeliin, brought beds, and basins, and earthen vessels, and wheat, and barley, and flour, and parched corn, and beans, and lentiles, and parched pulse, and honey, and butter, and sheep, and cheese of kine, for David, and for the people that were with him, to eat: for they said, The people is hungry, and weary, and thirsty, in the wilderness.
That is the first notice we have of Barzillai; and how much it tells us of his character! He was a man with large possessions, and of a liberal heart—not a churl like Nabal, who grudged to impart any of his stores to David and his young men when they were in need; but of a man of a free and generous spirit, who stepped forward of his own mind to succour his king when in adversity. He provided David of sustenance while he lay at Mahanaim.
David did not forget his kindness; and when the tide turned in his favour, and his people of their ownselves invited him back to the royal city, and he was now on his way thither, at the ford of Jordan, he pressed the aged Barzillai, who had come down from Rogelim to pay his homage to the king, to accompany him back to Jerusalem: Come thou over with me, and I will feed thee in Jerusalem.
And notice the answer which Barzillai made