Page images

invigorating sense of the divine presence ? Is your heart indeed the temple of the Holy Spirit? Do you rely on this Guide and Comforter ? Christ promised this support to his disciples. Has your faith in the Savior realized the fulfilment of this promise in your own case? If so, like David, you have nothing to fear. If not, and continuing in that state, like the wretched Saul, you have just reason to dread the terrible displeasure of God; and to anticipate your final destruction.

The apprehensions of Saul were only aggravated by the course he had adopted with regard to David. Foiled in this way, a deeper plot must be laid to accomplish his object. Revenge and envy were at the bottom of it. The life of his victim could alone satisfy his thirst for blood. David must die, not indeed by the hand of the king, for he began to dread, probably, the ven. geance of his subjects upon so foul a deed, but, if possible, by the hands of the Philistines. He accosted David with professions of great regard. Having deferred the fulfilment of at least one part of the reward offered to the individual who should slay Goliath, Saul now would seem desirous of carrying it into effect. “Behold,” said he to David, "my elder daughter Merab, her will I give thee to wife : only be thou valiant for me, and fight the Lord's battles.”

In these engagements with the enemy, he hoped the time would not be far distant when some

one of them would deliver him from his fears by striking a deadly blow at so distinguished a combatant. David did not decline the honor, though, with his characteristic modesty, he expressed his diffidence in accepting it. "Who am I ?" was his reply, "and what is my life, or my father's family in Israel, that I should be son-in-law to the king ?”

But Saul did not fulfil the engagement. From some sudden caprice, or stroke of policy, of which we have no explanation, at the very time agreed upon for consummating the marriage, Saul

gave his daughter to Adriel the Meholathite.* May it not have been the case, also, that he thus intended to offer such an indignity to David in the view of all the people, as to provoke the latter to some rash, retaliatory speech or action that would render it justifiable to bring him to public punishment and disgrace. Whatever his object was, he was again disappointed. The discretion of him whom he sought to ruin was not to be baffled, and other devices must be atte:npted before Saul can hope to succeed.

He was told of the affection which his daughter Michal had for the youthful son of Jesse, and he aimed to make it subservient to his malicious purpose. He resolved to offer her to David in marriage on certain conditions, the

* Abel-meholah, the place here probably referred to, was beyond the Jordan in the tribe of Manasseh.


attempt to comply with which he was would, at length, effect his destruction; and he again proposed to him to become his son-in-law. "I will give him her,” said the king, " that she may be a snare to him, and that the hand of the Philistines

may be against him.” Still, he was fearful that having already practised such gross deceit in a similar case, it would now be difficult once more to beguile his intended victim. He re sorted, therefore, to the assistance of those who he thought would have an influence in the matter. In compliance with his directions, several of his attendants had private interviews with David, in which they endeavored, by all the arts in their power, to induce him to believe that he was a great favorite with Saul, and beloved by the people; and that both interest and duty conspired to make his becoming the son-in-law of the king an object worthy of his highest ambition.


David becomes the husband of Michal, Saul's daughter.

Jonathan pleads with Saul in behalf of David, and succeeds.

David was far from being eager to embrace the tempting offer which was made him. He preferred rather to decline it, yet in a way that should not give offence. Expecting, for such was the custom of the times, that a very large dowry, or purchase-money as it were, would be required of him for his wife, she being of the highest rank, he urged this as a reason why he should not aspire to the connection. Seemeth it to you,” he said, addressing those whom Saul had sent to converse with him,— " seemeth it to you a light thing to be a king's son-in-law, seeing that I am a poor man and lightly esteemed ?"

What he said was told the king, who ordered a message to be carried to David, that no particular dowry would be required of him, but only that he should furnish Saul incontestible evidence of having slain one hundred of the Philistines,secretly hoping that he would fall by their hands. He wished, he said, in this way to be avenged of his enemies, and doubtless felt that, among other considerations, he was making a strong appeal to the well-tried patriotism and courage of David.

It was hypocrisy of the basest and most malignant kind; murder the most foul, to be con. cealed beneath the guise of the warmest affection and confidence! God could not but have regarded it with the utmost indignation. For he is a God of truth, and abhors a lie and him who utters one. My young friend, be on your guard against deception and falsehood. The world of fashion and of business justifies both in what it would call necessary and innocent cases. You will be under the strongest temptations to yield to its influence. Its principles, in this respect, are at utter variance with those of the Gospel of Christ. Its example is insidious. Abstain from all appearance of evil. Lying lips are abomination to the Lord; but they that deal truly are his delight.

The message of Saul had its effect. As the time had not yet expired for the fulfilment of the condition which would make David the king's son-in-law, he resolved, if possible, to comply with it. Taking the men with him whom he commanded, he made an attack upon the Philistines, and slaying two hundred of them, (twice the number required) he immediately sent the most convincing proof of his achievement to the king. The latter did not dare, under these circumstances, again to violate his engagement. The youthful hero became the husband of Michal, who

« PreviousContinue »