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DAVID AND THE MAN OF GOD.
2 SAMUEL VII. 17-27.
According to all these words, and according to all this vision, so
did Nathan speak unto David. Then went king David in, and sat before the Lord, and he said, Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house, that thou hast brought me hitherto ? And this was yet a small thing in thy sight, O Lord God; but thou hast spoken also of thy servant's house for a great while to come; and is this the manner of man, O Lord God? And what can David say more unto thee? for thou, Lord God, knowest thy servant. For thy word's sake, and according to thine own heart, hast thou done all these great things, to make thy servant know them. Wherefore thou art great, O Lord God: for there is none like thee, neither is there any God beside thee, according to all that we have heard with our ears. And what one nation in the earth is like thy people, even like Israel, whom God went to redeem for a people to himself, and to make him a name, and to do for you great things, and terri. ble, for thy land, before thy people, which thou redeemest to thee from Egypt, from the nations and their gods ? For thou hast confirmed to thyself thy people Israel to be a people unto thee for ever; and thou, Lord, art become their God. And now, O Lord God, the word that thou hast spoken concerning thy servant, and concerning his house, establish it for ever, and do as thou hast said. And let thy name be magnified for ever, saying, The Lord of Hosts is the God over Israel: and let the house of thy servant David be established before thee. For thou, O Lord of Hosts, God of Israel, hast revealed to thy servant, saying, I will build thee an house; therefore hath thy servant found in his heart to pray this prayer unto thee.
In our last discourse, we contemplated the most blessed and glorious hour in the life of the great leader of Israel, the prophet Moses. Let us now consider the moment
which most resembles the new-testament dispensation in the history of David. There is no doubt that in the part of Scripture we have read, the royal Psalmist stands at the highest and most glorious point, both of his spiritual and temporal life. He solemnizes the Tabor-hours of his earthly pilgrimage ; and whether we look forward or backward, we find no moment in the whole course of his existence equal to this. Let us now regard it more nearly, and contemplate David's joy in Christ; directing our attention to the occasion of it ;—to the circumstances attending it ;—and to the disclosure of it in his prayer.
I. The subject of this day's discourse is David, to whom the Scriptures give the most glorious title which mortal can receive—that of “the man after God's own heart.” And certainly the soul of David was beautiful, and his character deserving of love. Read his history-peruse his songs—and, in spite of the one black spot in his life, you must confess, that there is scarcely one of the ancient saints in whom the image of God shines forth more clearly and brightly than from this old-testament Cephas. How beautiful is his true and upright character, how glorious his courage, and how brilliant his wisdom ! how wonderfully touching his benevolence and magnanimity towards his bitterest enemies! and how unparalleled his condescension and humility!
His principal virtue, however, consists in his childlike faith. Jehovah," as an old author describes it,
was his fortress, his rock, and his strong tower. When all forsook him, he leaned the more firmly by
faith upon him, as though he had actually beheld him. Jehovah was his help in time of need, his light and consolation during the night, and his refuge in adversity. He prayed—believed—hoped, and tarried for him. Though he was sometimes surprised by Satan, and enticed into sin ; yet he speedily repented, and was received again into the gracious covenant of God. He never lagged behind, he never gave up his claim to divine mercy. He approached without sacrifice, but in humility and faith, and always regained the heart of Jehovah. Faith made him strong in his weakness, serene in the tempest, cheerful in adversity, unconquerable and at last victorious in times of oppression and distress; and, in short, it made him the man after God's own heart."
The chapter of to-day describes king David as being now in every point of view at the brightest and most glorious period of his life. He no longer wanders like a hunted deer amidst the lonely cliffs of the deserts of Arabia and Engedi. Saul sleeps in his grave at Jabesh ; and David sits upon his throne in royal purple, beloved and supported by the whole nation. After this hero, who never otherwise than at the command of 'God had girt on his sword, and summoned his warlike hosts,-after he had smote the Philistines, and other enemies of his people-annihilating their power at least for a time, and crushing their spirit for farther enterprise---profound peace reigned in the land, and the promises which had been made to the old patriarchs now found their first resting-point and fulfilment. Abraham's seed is like the stars of heaven in multitude, and
now possesses the land ; Judah is exalted, and couches himself like a lion; and a prince now rules the children of Israel, on whose head not only rests the garland of the victor and the royal crown, but the anointing oil of the Highest; in whose person is united the dignity of a divine prophet with the majesty of a king, and in whose hands Jehovah himself has placed the sceptre. Never did Israel stand at such a height of power
and glory as at present; and never was the type of the Israelitish hopes, and of the unparalleled and glorious future for which they tarried, more clearly distinguishable than in the condition and circumstances of the nation at this moment. All the following periods revert to this glorious point in Jewish history; and henceforth He that should come, and that was to govern the people of God and all the nations with a new sceptre, and to make Israel an eternal kingdom, is designated in the Psalms, and in the predictions of the prophets, as the Son of David-or as another David, of whose dominion there should be no end.
David, with his people, as far as outward circumstances are concerned, now stands at the summit of glory and happiness, and now experiences, in these days of peace and joy, the brightest moments of his spiritual existence. Nothing but deeds of mildness and love mark his path; and his temper and disposition evince an uninterrupted progress in devotion, and joy in his God. His heart burns with zeal for the glory of Jehovah, as though at each moment he were ready to make any sacrifice which the Lord might demand from him ; and indeed it is only a few days, or
at most weeks since, with holy enthasiasm, he danced with joy before the ark of God. When we behold David to-day, he is sitting alone in one of the royal chambers of his beautiful palace, which he had built upon Mount Zion, and for which Hiram, king of Tyre, had sent him the cedar-wood. He seems buried in thought. What then does he think of? Is his soul lost in the contemplation of the splendour which surrounds him ? Has the glory of his riches dazzled his mind? Is his memory wandering amidst images of his past victories and triumphs ; or with self-complacency is he viewing himself, lately a shepherd-boy, now surrounded by the insignia of royalty? No, my friends! he is occupied at present with something totally different. Unutterably beautiful yet child-like thoughts are passing through his bosom, and exciting emotions such as are seldom experienced in the atmosphere of a prince's throne. When he looks around on the splendid apartment is which he is sitting, the thought passes through ur, mind, " Thou, miserable sinner, dwellest in such a palace; whilst the Lord thy God has only a wandsver's tent for his holy tabernacle !" His heart svddenly becomes sad and mournful, and he feels as though he must, without delay, cast aside his splendour, and exchange his palace for the poorest hut in Jerusalem. He can no longer remain at rest; but his whole soul being occupied with this idea, he calls the prophet Nathan, makes known his project, and takes counsel with him how to put it in execution. “See now,” says the king, with a countenance in which there is a wonderful blending of joy