« FöregåendeFortsätt »
music was to calm passions : both together | his weapons answerable to his strength; gave ease to Saul; and God gave this effect his pride exceeded all: because he saw his to both, because he would have Saul train head higher, his arms stronger, his sword up his successor. This sacred music did and spear bigger, his shield heavier than not more dispel Satan, than wanton music any Israelite's, he defies the whole host; invites him, and more cheers him than us. / and, walking between the two armies, He plays and dances at a filthy song; he braves all Israel with a challenge: “Why sings at an obscene dance. Our sin is his are ye come out to set your battle in array? best pastime; whereas psalms and hymns, Am not I a Philistine, and you servants to and spiritual songs, are torment unto the Saul? Choose you a man for you, and let tempter, and music to the angels in heaven, him come down to me. Give me a man, that whose trade is to sing Hallelujahs in the we may fight together." Carnal hearts are choir of glory.
carried away with presumption of their own abilities, and, not finding matches to them.
selves in outward appearance, insult over CONTEMPLATION IV.- DAVID AND GOLIAH. the impotency of inferiors, and as those
that can see no invisible opposition, proAFTER the news of the Philistines' army, mise themselves certainty of success. In. I hear no more mention of Saul's frenzy: solence and self-confidence argue the heart whether the noise of war diverted those to be nothing but a lump of proud flesh. thoughtful passions, or whether God, for The first challenge of a duel, that ever his people's sake, took off that evil spirit, we find, came out of the mouth of an unlest Israel might miscarry under a frantic | circumcised Philistine; yet was that in open governor. Now David hath leisure to re war, and tended to the saving of many lives, turn to Bethlehem : the glory of the court by adventuring one or two; and whosoever cannot transport him to ambitious vanity ; | imitateth, nay, surpasseth him in challenge he had rather be his father's shepherd than to private duels, in the attempt partaketh Saul's armour-bearer. All the magnificence of his uncircumcision, though he should and state which he saw could not put his overcome, and of his manner of punishmouth out of the taste of retired simplicity; ment, if in such private combats he cast yea, rather, he loves his hook the better, away his life. For of all such desperate since he saw the court; and now his bre-prodigals we may say, that their heads are thren serve Saul in his stead. A good cut off by their own sword, if not by their heart hath learned to frame itself unto all own hand. We cannot challenge men, and conditions, and can change estates without not challenge God, who justly challengeth change of disposition, rising and falling ac- to himself both to take vengeance and to cording to occasion. The worldly mind can give success. The more Goliah challenges, rise easily, but, when it is once up, knows and is unanswered, the more he is puffed not how to descend either with patience or up in the pride of his own power. And is safety.
there none of all Israel that will answer Forty days together had the Philistines this champion otherwise than with his and the Israelites faced each other: they heels? Where is the courage of him that pitched on two hills, one in sight of the that was higher than all Israel from the other; nothing but a valley was betwixt shoulders upward ? The time was, when them. Both stand upon defence and ad. Nahash the Ammonite had made that ty. vantage: if they had not meant to fight, rannous demand of the right eyes of the they had never drawn so near; and if they Gileadites, that Saul could say, unasked, had been eager to fight, a valley could not “ What aileth the people to weep?" and have parted them. Actions of hazard re. could hew his oxen in pieces to raise the quire deliberation; not fury, but discretion, spirits of Israel; and now he stands still, must be the guide of war.
and sees the host turn their back, and never So had Joshua destroyed the giantly so much as asks, What aileth the people to Anakims out of the land of Israel, that yet flee? The time was, when Saul slew forty some were left in Azzah, Gath, and Ash. thousand Philistines in one day, and perhaps dod; both to show Israel what adversaries Goliah was in that discomfiture; and now their forefathers found in Canaan, and one Philistine is suffered by him to brave all whom they mastered; as also, that God Israel forty days. Whence is this difference? might win glory to himself by these sub- The Spirit of God, the spirit of fortitude, sequent executions. Of that race was Go. was now departed from him. Saul was not liah, whose heart was as high as his head : | more above himself when God was with kuis strength was answerable to his stature; i him, than he is below others now that he
is left of God. Valour is not merely of they dare not undertake ; so those, who nature; nature is ever like itself: by this have not grace to believe, can yet say, rule, he that is once valiant should never there is glory laid up for the faithful. turn coward. But now we see the greatest Ever since his anointing, was David posspirits inconstant, and those, which have sessed of God's Spirit, and thereby filled given good proofs of magnanimity at other both with courage and wisdom : the more times, have bewrayed white livers unto strange doth it seem to him, that all Israel their own reproach. He, that is the God should be thus dastardly. Those that are of hosts, gives and takes away men's hearts themselves eminent in any grace, cannot at his pleasure. Neither is it otherwise in but wonder at the miserable defects of our spiritual combats : sometimes the same others; and the more shame they see in soul dare challenge all the powers of dark-others' imperfections, the more is their zeal ness, which other times gives ground to a in avoiding those errors in themselves. temptation. We have no strength but what | While base hearts are moved by exis given us; and if the Author of all good ample, the want of example is encourage. gifts remit his hand for our humiliation, ment enough for an heroical mind; there. either we fight not, or are foiled.
fore is David ready to undertake the quarrel, David hath now lain long enough close because no man else dare do it. His eyes among his flock in the fields of Bethlehem; sparkled with holy anger, and his heart God sees a time to send him to the pitched rose up to his mouth, when he heard this field of Israel. Good old Jesse, that was proud challenge : “ Who is this uncircumdoubtless joyful to think that he had af- cised Philistine, that he should revile the forded three sons to the wars of his king, host of the living God ?" Even so, O Sa. is no less careful of their welfare and pro. viour, when all the generations of men run vision; and who, amongst all the rest of away affrighted from the powers of death his seven sons, shall be picked out for this and darkness, thou alone hast undertaken, service, but his youngest son David, whose and confounded them! former and almost worn-out acquaintance Who should offer to daunt the holy in court, and employınent under Saul, courage of David, but his own brethren? seemed to fit him best for this errand ? | The envious heart of Eliab construes this Early in the morning is David upon his forwardness as his own disgrace. Shall I, way, yet not so early as to leave his flock thinks he, be put down by this puisne ? unprovided. If his father's command dis shall my father's youngest son dare to miss him, yet will he stay till he have attempt that, which my stomach will not trusted his sheep with a careful keeper. serve me to adventure ? Now, therefore, We cannot be faithful shepherds if our he rates David for his presumption ; and spiritual charge be less dear unto us; if, instead of answering to the recompense of when necessity calls us from our flocks, the victory which others were ready to give, we depute not those who are vigilant and he recompenseth the very inquiry of David conscionable.
with a check. It was for his brethren's sake Ere David's speed can bring him to the that David came thither; and yet his very valley of Elah, both the armies are on foot journey is cast upon him, by them, for a ready to join : he takes not this excuse to reproach: “ Wherefore camest thou down stay without, as a man daunted with the hither ?" and, when their bitterness can horror of war; but, leaving his present meet with nothing else to shame him, his with his servant, he thrusts himself into sheep are cast in his teeth. Is it for thee, the thickest of the host, and salutes his an idle proud boy, to be meddling with our brethren, who were now thinking of kill. martial matters? Dth not yonder chaming or dying. When the proud champion pion look as if he were a fit match for thee? of the Philistines comes stalking forth be- | What makest thou of thyself? or what dost fore all the troops, and renews this in- thou think of us? I think it were fitter solent challenge against Israel, David sees for thee to be looking to thy sheep, than the man, and hears his defiance, and looks looking at Goliah. The wilderness would about him, to see what answer would be become thee better than the field. Where. given: and when he spies nothing but pale in art thou equal to any man thou seest, faces, and backs turned, he wonders, not but in arrogancy and presumption? The so much that one man should dare all pastures of Bethlehem could not hold thee; Israel, as that all Israel should run from but thou thoughtest it a goodly matter to one man. Even when they fly from Go see the wars. I know thee, as if I were in liah, they talk of the reward that should be thy bosom : this was thy thought, There is given to that encounter and victory, which | no glory to be got among fleeces, I will go seek it in arms: now are my brethren win- ruddy David is so far below his thoughts, ning honour in the troops of Israel, while that he receives rather contempt than I am basely tending on sheep; why should thanks. His words were stout; his person not I be as forward as the best of them ? | was weak. Saul doth not more like his This vanity would make thee straight of a resolution, than distrust his ability: “ Thou shepherd a soldier, and of a soldier a cham art not able to go against this Philistine, to pion. Get thee home, foolish stripling, to fight with him ; for thou art a boy, and he ihv hook and thy harp; let swords and spears is a man of war from his youth.” Even alone to those that know how to use them. Saul seconds Eliab in the conceit of this
It is quarrel enough, amongst many, to disparity; and if Eliab spake out of envy, a good action, that it is not their own. Saul speaks out of judgment : both judge, There is no enemy so ready, or so spiteful, as they were judged of, by the stature. All as the domestical. The latred of brethren this cannot weaken that heart, which re. is so much more, as their blood is nearer. ceives his strength from faith. David's 'The malice of strangers is simple, but of a greatest conflict is with his friends; the brother is mixt with envy. The more un- overcoming of their dissuasions, that he natural any quality is, the more extreme it might fight, was more work than to over. is : a cold wind from the south is intole- come his enemy in fighting. He must first rable. David's first victory is of himself, justify his strength to Saul, ere he may next of his brother. He overcomes him. prove it upon Goliah. Valour is never made self, in a patient forbearance of his brother; / good but by trial. He pleads the trial of he overcomes the malicious rage of his his puissance upon the bear and the lion, brother, with the mildness of his answer. | that he may have leave to prove it upon If David had wanted spirit, he had not been a worst beast than they : “ Thy servant troubled with the insultation of a Philis- slew both the lion and the bear, therefore tine. If he had a spirit to match Goliah, this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as how doth he so calmly receive the affront one of them.” Experience of good suc. of a brother ? " What have I now done?cess is no small comfort to the heart; this is there not a cause ?" That which would gives possibility and hope, but no certainty. have stirred the choler of another, allayeth Two things there were on which David his. It was a brother that wronged him, built his confidence : on Goliah's sin, and and that his eldest. Neither was it time God's deliverance: “Seeing he hath railed to quarrel with a brother, while the Philis- on the host of the living God : the Lord, tines' swords were drawn, and Goliah was that delivered me out of the paws of the challenging. Othat these two motives lion and the bear, he will deliver me out could induce us to peace! If we have in- of the hand of this Philistine.” Well did jury in our person, in our cause, it is from David know, that if this Philistine's skin brethren, and the Philistines look on :I had been as hard as the brass of his shield, am deceived, if this conquest were less / bis sin would make it penetrable by every glorious than the following; he is fit to be stroke. After all brags of manhood, he is God's champion, that hath learned to be impotent that hath provoked God. While victor of himself,
others labour for outward fortification, happy It is not this sprinkling of cold water that and safe were we, if we could labour for incan quench the fire of David's zeal, but still nocence. He that hath found God present his courage sends up flames of desire ; still in one extremity, may trust him in the next. he goes on to inquire, and to proffer. He, Every sensible favour of the Almighty inwhom the regard of others' envy can dis vites both his gifts and our trust. may, shall never do aught worthy of envy. Resolution, thus grounded, makes even Never man undertook any exploit of worth, Saul himself confident: David shall have and received not some discouragement in both his leave and his blessing. If David the way. This courageous motion of Da- | came to Saul as a shepherd, he shall go vid was not more scorned by his brother, toward Goliah as a warrior. The attire of than by the other Israelites applauded. the king is not too rich for him that shall The rumour flies to the ears of the king, fight for his king and country. Little did that there is a young man desirous to em Saul think, that his helmet was now on that counter the giant. David is brought forth. head, which should once wear his crown. Saul, when he heard of a champion that Now, that David was arrayed in the war. durst go into the lists with Goliah, looked like habit of a king, and girded with his for one as much higher than himself, as he sword, he looked upon himself, and thought was taller than the rest : he expected some this outside glorious : but when he offered stern face, and brawny arm; young and to walk, and found that the attire was not
so strong as unwieldy, and that it might be l he been at first resolved upon the sling and more for show than use, he lays down these stone, he had saved the labour of girding accoutrements of honour, and, as caring his sword. It seems while they were ad. rather to be a homely victor, than a glorious dressing him to the combat, he made acspoil, he craves pardon to go in no clothes count of hand blows; now he is purposed but his own : he takes his staff instead of rather to send, than bring death to his ad. the spear, his shepherd's scrip instead of versary: in either, or both, he durst trust his brigandine, and instead of his sword he God with the success, and beforehand takes his sling, and instead of darts and through the conflict) saw the victory: it javelins, he takes five smooth stones out is sufficient, that we know the issue of our of the brook. Let Saul's coat be never so fight. If our weapons and wards vary, acrich, and his armour never so strong, what cording to the occasion given by God, that is David the better, if they fit him not? It is nothing to the event: sure we are, that is not to be inquired, how excellent any | if we resist, we shall overcome ; and if we thing is, but how proper. Those things overcome, we shall be crowned. which are helps to some, may be encum- When David appeared in the lists to so brances to others. An unmeet good may unequal an adversary, as many eyes were be as inconvenient as an accustomed evil. upon him, so in those eyes diverse affecIf we could wish another man's honour, tions. The Israelites looked upon him when we feel the weight of his cares we with pity and fear, and each man thought, should be glad to be in our own coat. | Alas! why is this comely stripling suffered
Those that depend upon the strength of to cast away himself upon such a monsfaith, though they neglect not means, vetter? why will they let him go unarmed to they are not curious in the proportion of such an affray? Why will Saul bazard outward means to the effect desired. - the honour of Israel on so unlikely a head ? Where the heart is armed with an assured | The Philistines, especially their great chamconfidence, a sling and a stone are weapons pion, looked upon him with scorn, disdainenough; to the unbelieving, no helps are ing so base a combatant: “ Am I a dog, sufficient. Goliah, though he were pre- that thou comest to me with staves ?" sumptuous enough, yet had one shield | What could be said more fitly? Hadst, carried before him; another he carried on thou been any other than a dog, O Goliah, his shoulder: neither will his sword alone thou hadst never opened thy foul mouth content him, but he takes his spear too. to bark against the host of God, and the David's armour is his plain shepherd's God of hosts. If David had thought thee russet, and the brook yields him his artil- any other than a very dog, he had never lery; and he knows there is more safety come to thee with a staff and a stone. in his cloth, than in the other's brass ; and The last words that ever the Philistine more danger in his pebbles, than in the shall speak, are curses and brags : “ Come other's spear. Faith gives both heart and to me, and I will give thy flesh unto the arms. The inward munition is so much fowls of the heaven, and the beasts of the more noble, because it is of proof for both field.” Seldom ever was there a good end soul and body: if we be furnished with of ostentation. Presumption is at once the this, how boldly shall we meet with the presage and cause of ruin. He is a weak powers of darkness, and go away more than adversary that can be killed with words. conquerors!
That man which could not fear the giant's Neither did the quality of David's wea- hand, cannot fear his tongue. If words pons bewray more confidence than the shall first encounter, the Philistine receives lumber. If he will put his life and victory the first foil, and shall first let in death upon the stones of the brook, why doth he unto his ear, ere it enter into his forehead. not fill his scrip full of them ? why will “ Thou comest to me with a sword, and a he content himself with five? Had he been spear, and a shield; but I come to thee in furnished with store, the advantage of his the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of nimbleness might have given him hope, if the host of Israel, whom thou hast railed one fail, that yet another might speed; upon. This day shall the Lord close thee but now this paucity puts the despatch to in my hand, and I shall smite thee, and a sudden hazard, and he hath but five | take thine head from thee." Here is anstones-cast either to death or victory: still other style, not of a boaster, but of a pro. the fewer helps, the stronger faith. David phet. Now shall Goliah know whence to had an instinct from God that he should expect his bane, even from the hands of a overcome; he had not a particular direc- revenging God, that shall smite him by tion how he should overcome. For had' David, and now shall learn, too late, what
it is to ineddle with an enemy that goes own weapon; that whereby he meant deunder the invisible protection of the Al | struction to thee and us, vanquished him mighty. No sooner hath David spoken, through thy mighty power, and raised the than his foot and hand second his tongue; | to that glorious triumph and super-exalta. he runs to fight with the Philistine. It is tion wherein thou art, wherein we shall be a cold courage that stands only upon de- / with thee. fence : as a man that saw no cause of fear, and was full of the ambition of victory, he flies upon that monster, and, with a stone CONTEMPLATION V. - JONATHAN'S LOVE, out of his bag, smites him in the forehead.
AND SAUL'S ENVY. There was no part of Goliah that was capable of that danger, but the face, and that Besides the discomfiture of the Philis. piece of the face ; the rest was defended tines, David's victory had a double issue: with a brazen wall, which a weak sling Jonathan's love, and Saul's envy, which would have tried to batter in vain. What God so mixed, that the one was a remedy could Goliah fear, to see an adversary come of the other. A good son makes amends to him without edge or point! And, be- for a wayward father. How precious was hold, that one part hath God found out that stone that killed such an enemy as for the entrance of death. He, that could Goliah, and purchased such a friend as have caused the stone to pass through the Jonathan ! All Saul's courtiers looked upon shield and breast-plate of Goliah, rather | David: none so affected him, none did directs the stone to that part whose naked-match him but Jonathan; that true corness gave advantage. Where there is power respondence, that was both in their faith or possibility of nature, God uses not to and valour, hath knit their hearts. If Da. work miracles, but chooses the way that / vid did set upon a bear, a lion, a giant; Jolies most open to his purposes.
nathan had set upon a whole host, and The vast forehead was a fair mark; but prevailed: the same spirit animated both; how easily might the sling have missed it, the same faith incited both; the same hand if there bad not been another hand in this prospered both. All Israel was not worth cast besides David's! He that guided this pair of friends, so zealously confident, David into this field, and raised his courage so happily victorious. Similitude of dispoto this combat, guides the stone to his end, /sitions and estates ties the fastest knots of and lodges it in that seat of impudence. | affection A wise soul hath piercing eyes, There now lieth the great defier of Israel, and hath quickly discerned the likeness of grovelling and grinning in death, and is not itself in another; as we do no sooner look suffered to deal one blow for his life, and into the glass of water, but face answers to bites the unwelcome earth, for indignation | face, and, where it sees a perfect resem. that he dies by the hand of a shepherd ! blance of itself, cannot choose but love it Earth and hell share him betwixt them. with the same affection that it reflects upon Such is the end of insolence and presump itself. tion. O God, what is flesh and blood to No man saw David that day, which had thee, who canst make a little pebble-stone so much cause to disaffect him ; none in stronger than a giant, and, when thou wilt, | Israel should be a loser by David's success, by the weakest means, canst strew thine but Jonathan. Saul was sure enough setenemies in the dust! Where now are the tled for his time : only his successor should two shields of Goliah, that they did not forego all that which David should gain ; bear off this stroke of death? or wherefore so as none but David stands in Jonathan's serves that weaver's beam, but to strike light; and yet all this cannot abate one jot the earth in falling? or that sword, but to or dram of his love. Where God uniteth behead his master? What needed David hearts, carnal respects are too weak to dis. load himself with an unnecessary weapon! sever them, since that, which breaks off one sword can serve both Goliah and him. affection, must needs be stronger than that If Goliah had a man to bear his shield, which conjoineth it. David had Goliah to bear his sword, where- Jonathan doth not desire to smother his with that proud blasphemous head is se- love by concealment, but professes it in his vered from his shoulders. Nothing more carriage and actions; he puts off the robe honours God, than the turning of wicked that was upon him, and all his garments, men's forces against themselves. There even to his sword, and bow and girdle, and are none of his enemies but carry with gives them unto his new friend. It was them their own destruction. Thus didst perhaps not without a mystery, that Saul's thou, O son of David, foil Satan with his clothes fitted not David, but Jonathan's