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obeyedst not the voice of the Lord, nor executedst liis fierce wrath upon Amalek, therefore hath the Lord done this thing unto thee this day.'

Had the true Samuel been permitted to appear, he, in answer to this complaint, would have told him at once what he should do. He would have told him to repent, to seek reconciliation with God, to recall David from banishment, and then that there would be “hope in Israel concerning him." But the object of Satan evidently was to drive him to despair and self-murder. With a view to this he represents his case as helpless and hopeless. He speaks not one word of advice, not one word of comfort; but every word is a dagger to the heart.--He taunts loin with his present distress. “If God has departed from thee, wherefore do you come to me? If he be your enemy, what can I do for thee? If he answer thee not, what answer can I give ?” It is but cold comfort Satan gives to sinners when he sees their day is past.-He reminds him of the anointing of David to the kingdom. This was to Saul a hateful topic, calculated to harrow up all the feelings of his soul. On this point Satan speaks with an air of piety, “ And the Lord hath done to him as he spake by me." How wonderful are the depths of Satan! how justly is he called the deceiver of mankind! All the efforts of Saul for years had been directed towards the prevention of David's reigning; for this he had even sold himself as it were to Satan, and now Satan taunts him for it. "And the Lord hath done to him as he spake by me: for the Lord hath rent the kingdom out of thine hand, and given it to thy neighbour, even to David.” He upbraids him with his disobedience to the Divine commands. Here is Satan a reprover of sin. Ah! what do they gain who hearken to his temptations? He himself becomes their accuser and insults them. He it was who prompted Saul to spare Amalek, and now he denounces God's vengeance on him for his sin.

" Because thou obeyedst not the voice of the Lord, nor executedst his fierce wrath upon Amalek, therefore hath the Lord done this thing unto thee this day.” No longer will Satan flatter than till he has destroyed.

But how divinely also does Satan speak. He had before spoken as pious Samuel; he now proceeds to speak as prophetic Samuel. How he became possessed of the spirit of prophecy, or whether he naturally knows future events, is difficult for us to determine. There can be no doubt that Satan, as the prince of the power of the air, has an enlarged acquaintance with the affairs of the world, and that, with the experience of some thousand years, he must have acquired a deep insight into the nature of men and things. He might therefore, from the consideration of the weakness of Saul's army as compared with that of the Philistines, from the consideration of Saul's timorousness now God had departed from him, and from the consideration of the effect which his annunciation would have on him-which effect would be to rob him of his remaining strength, courage, health, and peace-be able to foresee, and therefore to foretell, his approaching defeat and ruin. Certain it is that he does prophesy, and prophesy the truth, speaking in the name of the Lord, “Moreover, the Lord will also deliver Israel with thee into the hand of the Philistines; and to-morrow shalt thou and thy sons be with me: the Lord also shall deliver the host of Israel into the hands of the Philistines."

Satan here delivers a very awful prediction. He foretells that the army of Saul should be utterly routed ; that Saul himself and his sons should be slain; and that this should take place on the morrow. All this happened exactly as foretold. Though Satan was a liar from the beginning, and is the father of lies, yet he sometimes speaks truth. When he has deceived men


to their ruin, he then tells them there is no hope, it is too late. He thus speaks truth, and drives them to darkness and despair.

Such was the effect which the words of Satan had on Saul. - Then Saul fell straightway all along on the earth, and was sore afraid, because of the words of Samuel : and there was strength in him; for he had eaten no bread all the day, nor all the night.” Who would now envy Saul, or wish to be him to possess his diadem and throne? There he lies, weak, dismayed, terrified, almost the prey of death and hell. Woe to that man from whom God departs and leaves to the just consequences of sin!

There is one thing wonderful here the hardness of Saul's heart, the blindness of Saul's mind, the obstinacy of Saul's will. Why did he not apply himself to God by repentance and prayer, in hopes yet to obtain a reprieve, if not mercy ? Alas, his heart was so hard lie could not repent; his enmity against God so great he could not pray. Despair had taken so fast a hold on him that he could not hope, and therefore he rushed sullenly, but impetuously, on his own ruin. O the miserable state of those who go with their eyes open to hell!

Here is one lesson to be learned. Those who expect any good counsel or comfort, unless from God, and in the ways of his appointments, will find themselves wretchedly deceived at last. If you, my reader, wish for direction and comfort, do not go to the world, to charms and spells and sorceries, for it, but to God, a God in Christ Jesus. From Him all holy desires, all good thoughts, and all just works proceed. He is the God of all consolation, “the Father of lights, from whom cometh down every good gift and every perfect gift, and with whom is no variableness neither shadow of turning."

The subject will suggest a caution : that we depart not from the clear line of duty in minute particulars; for many fall from God by little and little. How necessary is it to regard the dictates of conscience. If that solemn monitor be slighted, and the Spirit of God be resisted, by a course of disobedience, we, as Saul was, may be given up to blindness and obduracy, None are ever thus abandoned of God, but those who have abused their privileges, stifled the voice of conscience, and hardened themselves by sin. Thus Saul acted, was left to himself, and perished. How pertinent here is the language of the Apostle : “ Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort

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