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And why was it, my brethren, that David was so uniformly successful? Because in the name of the Lord he lifted up his banner, and Jehovah, God of hosts, fought for him." Would we desire success in the conflict in which we are engaged? Let us imitate his example, and secure the friendship of the Almighty; then“ no weapon formed against us shall prosper;" then “ one of us shall chase a thousand, and ten put ten thousand to flight.” Let us with faith look up to the Disposer of events, and say, “ Through God we shall do valiantly; for it is he that shall tread down our enemies."

Yes! though fervour of devotion is too rarely combined with military prowess, yet David was still more illustrious by his piety than by his warlike achievements. These perpetual combats never made him forget his duties. These successive victories never elated his heart with pride, nor made him neglect the Author of his prosperity. Of this we have abundant proofs in many of his psalms, which are monuments of gratitude for these victories.

It was also in the midst of these conquests that he formed the design of bringing the ark to Jerusalem. It had long lain in obscurity and neglect at Kirjathjearim. David prepared to carry this august symbol of the divine presence, with pomp and solemnity, to the holy city. He and the chosen men of his

army attended with demonstrations of reverence and joy. But the sacred ceremony was soon suspended, and a gloom cast upon the assembly. God had expressly declared that the ark should be carried from place to place only upon the shoulders of the sons of Kohath; and none but the priests were permitted to touch it. The first of these laws was violated by the

manner of the transportation of the ark; the second by Uzzah, when, through presumption or unbelief, he put forth his hand to save it from falling. He expiated his crime by a sudden death.

Ah! how forcibly does this circumstance admonish us to conform to the whole divine will, and warn us against daring to trifle with the smallest commands of God!

David was filled with apprehension. He cried, 4 How shall the ark of the Lord come unto me?" He experienced nearly the same emotions as did Peter, when, on the display of the Saviour's miraculous power, he fell down at his feet, and exclaimed,

Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.” But Obededom, a pious Levite, had more correct sentiments. He was not afraid to receive the ark into his house, provided he did it with holy and reverential dispositions of soul. Experience proved the correctness of his opinion, for the ark brought with it the benedictions of God.

David, observing this, renewed his design of transporting it to Jerusalem. But he now acted with more circumspection. He strictly observed the requisitions of the law; he prepared psalms of praise and thanksgiving to the God of Israel; he commenced with acts of holy worship; laying aside his royal robes, and dressed in a simple ephod, he testified, in every manner, the fervour of his zeal, his love, and his joy. When the ark of God was fixed in its place, new oblations were made; and as the prophet as well as prince of his people, he made intercession for his subjects, and pronounced benedictions upon them. He on this occasion also

regulated the divine worship for the future, and made provision for the public ordinances of religion, both

at Jerusalem and Gibeon, where the ancient tabernacle still stood. Happy those, who thus delight, with David, in the worship and ordinances of God!

After these public exercises, David, says the historian, “ returned to bless his house;" to advise, instruct, pray with and for his family. David, then, had his domestic altar; and, amidst all the cares of royalty, still found leisure for family worship. Does not his example reprove many, who, while they acknowledge the propriety of this duty, plead want of time as an excuse for the neglect of it?

The most holy actions may be misrepresented. Michal, the wife of David, instead of participating in his joy, reproached him with acting inconsistently with the royal dignity, and with degrading himself in the eyes of his subjects. David, however, was unmoved by these reproaches, and declared, that if to be zealous for God were to be vile, he would be yet

more vile.

But while he rejoiced in having the ark of the covenant so near his palace, he was dissatisfied that no proper house was built for God, and therefore formed the design of erecting a magnificent temple. Though the design was pious, yet it was prohibited by God, who informed him by his prophet that it was not rejected in displeasure, that other services were required of him, and that the temple should be reared by his son and successor. The most gracious promises were added, and his faith directed to that exalted Personage with whom the everlasting covenant is established, who was to sit upon the throne of David, and of whose kingdom there should be no end. David submits without murmuring to the frustration of his pious design, and is not displeased that another should be called, instead of him, to this

honourable work; but overwhelmed with the kindness that God had displayed, and the promises he had made to him, cries out, “Who am I, O Lord

, God, and what is my house, that thou hast brought me hitherto ?”

With this delightful union of fervour, of gratitude, and of humility, let us recollect the past mercies of our Father, and reflect on his promises for the future,

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In the two lectures which have been delivered to you on the life of David, we have seen much to admire and to imitate. We beheld with delight his ardent piety, his warm devotion, and his heroic coulrage. But, Lord, what is man when left to himself, and unsupported by divine grace! This king of Israel is next presented to us indulging in the blackest crimes. Willingly would I omit this part of his life, but it is written for our instruction; and humbling as it is, it will teach us many useful lessons. Besides, it is necessary to guard against the abuse of this history, which has so often been employed by the wicked to harden themselves in iniquity, to strengthen their objections against religion, and to quiet their consciences while living in sin.

After so many splendid victories achieved by David, after such frequent triumphs over his enemies, nothing remained but the subjugation of those passions that are excited by prosperity and wealth: but these were enemies more difficult to subdue tllan the Philistines and the other powerful nations whom this valiant warrior had vanquished. “ He that ruleth his spirit is stronger than he that taketh a city,” is the declaration of the wise man; it is confirmed by David, who, invincible by the arms of so many enemies who had conspired against his crown and his life, yielded to the seductions of criminal pleasure, and was led by it from crime to crime.

“With what unwillingness, with what fear,” says Bishop Hall, “ do I look upon his miscarriage! O, holy prophet, who can promise himself always to stand when he sees thee fallen and maimed with the fall! Who can assure himself of an immunity from the greatest sins, when he sees thee offending so heinously! Let profane eyes behold thee as a pattern, as an excuse for sinning: I shall never look upon thee but through tears, as a woful spectacle of human infirmity.”

David was smitten with the charms of Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah, a brave and generous soldier, who was at that time fighting the battles of his country, and engaged at the siege of Rabbah. Contrary to the laws of God, to every sentiment of honour, and every dictate of generosity, he led her to violate her nuptial engagements. Disappointed in his shameful

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VOL. II.

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