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“For thou hast been my defence and refuge in the day of

trouble. “Unto thee, O my strength! will I sing; “For God is my defence, and the God of my mercy.”

God is my defence. Happy is he who can cherish this trust in the Almighty amid the trials and dangers of life. If we are under the divine protection, what have we to fear! Nothing then can injure us. The adversary of souls may assail us; wicked men may be allowed to inflict temporal evils upon us, possibly even death itself; but the immortal spirit remains secure; fellowship with God and the Savior, -- with saints on earth now, and with the redeemed in heaven hereafter,-is unharmed; and a peace which passeth understanding reigns within the breast.

God is my defence. Be that the deeply felt, and constantly cherished sentiment of thy breast, my young friend, and all will be well with thee.

CHAPTER VIII.

Jonathan comforts David. They renew their covenant of

friendship. Jonathan's plan to ascertain how Saul feels towards David.

On meeting Jonathan, David informed him of the perils through which he had passed, and of the implacable hatred that Saul entertained towards him. " What have I done?” he exclaimed; " what is mine iniquity ? and what is my sin before thy father, that he seeketh my life ?”

Jonathan endeavored to allay the fears of his friend. "God forbid," said he; " thou shalt not die: behold, my father will do nothing either great or small, but that he will show it me: and why should my father hide this thing from me? it is not so.”

He probably attributed the conduct of Saul to the influence of his sudden paroxysms of anger, rather than to any settled malice in his breast. He could not believe that he harbored a fixed design upon the life of David; especially when he called to mind the promise which his father had made him, with the solemnity of an oath, that it should be secure.

But David knew that Jonathan was mistaken in this respect, and that it was necessary he should be undeceived. For nothing but a deep conviction of the critical emergency of the case, he was satisfied, would lead Jonathan to pursue those measures which were essential to his safety. With great earnestness, therefore, and an accompanying appeal to heaven for the truth of his declarations, he thus addressed him ; " Thy father certainly knoweth that I have found grace in thine eyes; and he saith, Let not Jonathan know this, lest he be grieved: but truly as the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, there is but a step between me and death."

Jonathan believed his friend. He perceived his perilous condition, and was ready to assist him to the extent of his power. " Whatever thy soul desireth,” said he, "I will even do it for thee.”

David had formed his plan of procedure. It was a wise one. He was looking forward to the course which it would probably be necessary for him to adopt in resisting the settled purpose of Saul to take his life, and wished to let Jonathan see that it would be the result of nothing but a stern necessity growing out of this purpose. He

sure that no change would take place in Saul's feelings towards him, and was desirous of affording Jonathan additional proof of this.

The morrow would be the new moon; a day when the usual sacrifice would be offered up, and the feast following it be attended by the king, his

was

family, and those who were more immediately about his person. On such occasions David, as one of his principal officers, had been in the habit of occupying a conspicuous place. But now he proposed to be absent, and on the evening of the third day to conceal himself in a neighboring field, there to wait, and learn from Jonathan the result of the experiment. In the meanwhile, he would visit Bethlehem, to celebrate with his father and family the yearly sacrifice which it was their custom to offer

up

before the Lord. If Saul missed David, and inquired for him on either of the days of the feast, Jonathan was to assign his performance of the religious duty at Bethlehem as the reason of his absence. Should the king say, "it is well," this was to be an indication that the danger which threatened David had, at least for the present, passed away. On the contrary, should the rage of the king be excited, it would afford a convincing proof that his murderous design was still pressing forward to its execution. To this he added, " Therefore thou shalt deal kindly with thy servant; for thou hast brought thy servant into a covenant of the Lord with thee : notwithstanding, if there be in me iniquity, slay me thyself; for why shouldst thou bring me to thy father?"

Jonathan, in reply, begged David to banish al. these apprehensions, and not to think, for a moment, that his friend could suspect him of any crime deserving of such a fate, or that he had the least design of betraying him to Saul; adding, "for if I knew certainly that evil were determined by my father to come upon thee, then would I not tell thee?"

David was satisfied. He had put Jonathan to a severe test, and found that his friendship re. mained unshaken. He perceived that he was ready to adopt the proposed plan. But in what way should the result be communicated to David. "Who shall tell me?" said he, or what if thy father answer thee roughly ?"

Come, and let us go out into the field,” was the reply of Jonathan, who had already conceived his plan of operation, and wished to be more sure of not being overheard or interrupted, while he disclosed it to his friend. They went; and Jonathan, after appealing to the Lord God of Israel as a witness of the sincerity of his professions, assured David that he would let him know the state of Saul's feelings towards him. 'Behold, if these be good toward David, and I then send not unto thee, and show it thee, the Lord do so and much more to Jonathan : but if it please my father to do thee evil, then I will show it thee, and send thee away, that thou mayest go in peace: and the Lord be with thee, as he hath been with my father.”

It is manifest from this, that Jonathan was

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