Page images

Has he not said, “Thou shalt feed my people Israel, and thou shalt be lord over them?'"

• Whilst yet Abiathar spoke, one of the scouts, who had been despatched by David, swiftly came running from one of the points of reconnoissance, and shouted, “ Rejoice, rejoice! the enemy is already taken! He is within our grasp ! Saul is at hand! Quick, and you will succeed! His host has wound round yonder rock, and he only, himself, remains behind. I saw him enter the cave there to the north. Haste, and we shall take him!” All with one accord exclaimed, * This is the day which we have so long looked for. Seize sword and spear, javelin and shield ! for this is the day on which the promise of the Lord will be accomplished, who said, “ Behold, I will surrender thy eirmy into thy power.' With anger flashing from their nostrils, they all prepared to rise and to assail him.

* David arose from his seat, leaning on his sword, his eyes beaming mildness, benevolence, and charity. So dilates the heart of the virtuous man, when an opportunity offers of extending mercy, and of conquering his passions! Advancing to his warriors, and looking round, he thus addressed them : * Stay, my friends! stay ve who seek my welfare! stay and listen to me." They stopped, and he continued : “ Ye have ever been trusty men to me. Ye have never, in any one instance, or upon any occasion, swerved from my word. Ye have paid implicit attention to all my commands ; for that the Lord will reward you. Do yé, therefore, also now listen. to my request : Let each warrior deliver to me his sword, and sit ye down. It is not for you to seek revenge on Saul. That vengeance is due to me alone. He is mine enemy, and seeks to destroy my life." On hearing this request, they all, with one impulsë, delivered their weapons, and sat down. David then turned towards the north, and beheld where Saul was entering the cave alone. David followed unseen, although he saw Saul and heard him angrily muttering to himself, “O that my people could but find this David! I would give his carcase to the birds of the air, and to the beasts of the field! Where can he be gone, and where is his hiding place? Did they not tell me that he had taken up his abode here in this wilderness ? O that I could but find him!”

•Where is the man who has got his enemy within his grasp, —that enemy who has repaid him evil for good, who has driven him from his paternal roof, who pursues him in order, without any just reason, to deprive him of life,—where is that man who would not retaliate, grasp his enemy by the throat, hurl him to the ground, and rejoice to see him weltering in his blood, and the dogs feasting on his vitals ? Such are the urgent dictates of vengeance. But David slowly approached the implacable Saul. Vengeance was within the length of his sword. One thrust and it is done? The opportunity might never again present itself! But humanity remained triumphant, and David raised his sword, and cut off the skirt of Saul's robe !" !

We conclude this dewish allegory with the judicious remarks of Mr. Scott, in his Commentary. “ David's men urged very plausibly, that God had brought his enemy into his power, in order to fulfil his promises to him: yet they were greatly mistaken; as in reality the Lord intended to give David an opportunity of exercising faith, patience, and generous kindness; of showing the tendency and efficacy of his religious principles, the tenderness of his conscience, and the stedfastness of his loyalty; for the confutation of his accusers, a rebuke to Saul, and an example to all who read it. David had a promise of the kingdom, but no command to slay the reigning king, or promise that God would deliver Saul into his hand. Saul had been anointed by God's command, as well as made king over Israel in his Providence : he had indeed been rejected; and David had been greatly injured, but he was not his own avenger. David's peculiar circumstances constrained him to defend himself, but not to slay Saul; whom he looked upon as his sovereign, and the Lord's anointed, and not as his rival and persecutor. He was satisfied with performing his present duty; he left his protection and future advancement to God; and he deemed it an atrocious offence to stretch forth his hand,' to hurt even so wicked a prince as Saul, and in defence of his own life. Nay, when he had privily cut off the skirt of Saul's robe, as a demonstration of what he could have done, his heart smote him, lest in this action he had failed of due respect to the Lord's anointed! Neither would he allow his men to injure

him; though they seem to have been so impatient for security and preferment, that he had much difficulty in restraining and appeasing them. It is always safe to deny the suggestions of revenge, covetousness, ambition, impatience, or other selfish principles : it savours more of piety, to interpret a providential dispensation as a trial of faith and patience, and an exercise of self-denial, than to consider it as a license for self-indulgence : and a tender conscience will be peculiarly afraid of specious temptations, and induce a man to abstain from all appearance of evil. Under the deepest injuries we are not allowed, and ought not to be inclined, to avenge ourselves. The noblest of all victories consists in overcoming evil with good.”

S. X.



A TRUE NARRATIVE. “ What are you doing, Charlotte ? You seem very busy and very happy, this evening?” said a lady to a little girl who was employed by her. “I am sewing the 'covers on some of our Sunday-school books, ma'am; they have been torn by being used so much ; and I told teacher, if she would let me have them, I would sew on fresh covers—and so I brought them here, ma'am ; and, as I have done my work, I thought you would not be angry if I employed myself in this way.”

"O no, Charlotte ; I am glad to sec you so industrious ; and when you have done, come and tell me what you do in Sunday-schools, for I have often heard of them, and should like to know all about them." Charlotte now worked with greater diligence, because her mistress spoke so kindly, and because she wished to tell her all about the Sunday-school. The books were soon finished, and then Charlotte explained what was the practice in Sunday-schools: how the children were assembled twice every Sabbath, and taught to read the Bible; and that the teachers explained, that even little children had sinful hearts, and that for their sins they would

die for ever, if Jesus Christ had not come into the world to save sinners; but that " whosoever believeth in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.” “ This is all very kind and true, and you ought to love your teachers very much, Charlotte ; but who pays them for taking so much trouble ?” “O ma'am, they are not paid at all; they do it because they love God; and that makes us love them all the more." "But who pays for the Bibles, and books, and tracts, which they give you ?” “ The teachers do, ma'am; but sometimes kind friends send money to the superintendent." “ Well, then," said her mistress, “I am so much pleased with what you have told me, that as soon as Mr. H. comes home, I will ask him to send some money by you next Sunday.” Mr. H. loved his wife, and cheerfully gave an order for £10; and need we say, Charlotte's heart beat with joy as she carried that treasure, and that her eyes glistened when she gave it to the superintendent, and said, " If you please, sir, my mistress has sent you this order for £10, to buy books for the Sunday-school.” The kind-hearted man looked at the order, and said, “Your mistress is very good, and we should all feel greatly obliged to her ; but, my dear little girl, it is not for us, it says, “Pay the Ragged-school, £10;' so you must thank your mistress, * and say I will give it to the master of that school." Poor Charlotte's heart was now so sad, she could have cried_at her disappointment.

On Monday morning, Mrs. H. saw Charlotte looking very downcast, and inquired the reason. Charlotte said, “ If you please, ma’am, you gave me an order from master for £10 for the Sunday-school, and our superintendent told me to thank you for it, but it was written for the Ragged-school." And here the poor child burst into tears. “Never mind, my dear,” said Mrs. H. “Leave off crying, and perhaps Mr. H. will give you the same sum for the Sunday-school." Charlotte said she did not cry because she was jealous of the Ragged-school, for that wanted money more than her own school; but it was her disappointment that made her weep. The next week an order for £10 was sent, rightly directed, to the superintendent. Charlotte's mistress used to ask every Monday what had been taught on the Sabbath, and God was pleased to bless what Charlotte related. Soon afterwards, Mrs. H. was taken ill, and Charlotte was often asked by her mistress to read to her, and was in constant attendance upon her till she died. Before her death, which was a very happy one, she called her husband to her bedside, and told him that she owed her conversion to the teachings of Charlotte, and wished him, as her dying gift of love, to send £100 to the Ragged-school, about which Charlotte had often told her mistress. Mr. H. instantly gave the promise, and soon afterwards sent the money; but this was not all: he had loved his wife most dearly, and often thought what she would wish him to do. When she had been dead twelve months, he gave another £100 to the school, and promised to give yearly rewards of money to those who kept their places after they have left the Raggedschool. But his work of love was not yet done: he went again to the master of the school, and said, “I am not satisfied; I want to do something more; tell me what you require ?" The master explained that their rooms were not large enough, and that they should be thankful for a subscription to help to build a new school. Mr. H. went home, wrote to his surveyor to find out a piece of land in the neighbourhood, fit for the purpose, and buy it: he then drew a plan of the Ragged-school, and ordered a builder to erect it; and wished that the teachers should always regard it as a tribute of affection to the memory of a much-loved wife, who had gone to Jesus through the teachings of Charlotte. Little did that Sunday-school girl think that there was any connection between her act of sewing the old covers on her books and the building of a Ragged-school. But God, who maketh all things to praise him, blessed Charlotte in her work of love, and made her the instrument of building a large and handsome school, where thousands of poor children will be taught the way to glory. How happy must Charlotte be each time she passes that school! and, if she continues to fear and love God, what a beautiful crown will be placed on her head, when she leaves this worla and joins her mistress among the angels in heaven! Dear children, often think of Charlotte ; and whatsoever your hand findeth to do, do it with all your might. Show how

« PreviousContinue »