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fitted him; and these he is as glad to wear, men's happiness. If the eyes of men could as he was to be disburdened of the other : be contained within their own bounds, and that there might be a perfect resemblance, not rove forth into comparisons, there could their bodies are suited as well as their hearts. | be no place for this vicious affection ; but, Now the beholders can say, There goes when they have once taken this lawless Jonathan's other self; if there be another scope to themselves, they lose the knowbody under those clothes, there is the same ledge of home, and care only to be emsoul. Now David hath cast off his russet ployed abroad in their own torment. coat, and his scrip, and is a shepherd no Never was Saul's breast so fit a lodging more; he is suddenly become both a cour for the evil spirit, as now that it is dressed tier and a captain, and a companion to the up with envy. It is as impossible that hell prince; yet himself is not changed with his should be free from devils, as a malicious babit, with his condition; yea, rather, as heart. Now doth the frantic king of Israel if his wisdom had reserved itself for his ex renew his old fits, and walks and talks disaltation, he so manageth a sudden great tractedly: he was mad with David, and aess, as that he winneth all hearts. Honour who but David must be called to allay his shows the man; and if there be any ble- madness? Such was David's wisdom, he mishes of imperfection, they will be seen could not but know the terms wherein he in the man that is unexpectedly lifted above stood with Saul; yet, in lieu of the harsh his fellows: he is out of the danger of folly, and discordant notes of his master's envy, whom a speedy advancement leaveth wise. he returns pleasing music unto him. He
Jonathan loved David, the soldiers ho can never be a good courtier, nor a good noured him, the court favoured him, the man, that hath not learned to repay, if not people applauded him; only Saul stomached injuries with thanks, yet evil with good. him, and therefore hated him, because he While there was a harp in David's hand, was so happy in all besides himself. It had there was a spear in Saul's, wherewith he been a shame for all Israel, if they had threatens death, as the recompense of that not magnified their champion. Saul's own sweet melody. He said, “ I will smite Daheart could not but tell him, that they did vid through to the wall. It is well for the owe the glory of that day, and the safety innocent, that wicked men cannot keep of himself and Israel, unto the sling of their own counsel. God fetcheth their David, who, in one man, slew all those thoughts out of their mouths, or their counthousands at a blow. It was enough for tenance, for a seasonable prevention, which the puissant king of Israel to follow the else might proceed to secret execution. It chase, and to kill them whom David had was time for David to withdraw himself ; put to flight ; yet he, that could lend his his obedience did not tie him to be the clothes and his armour to this exploit, can-mark of a furious master; he might ease not abide to part with the honour of it to Saul with his music, with his blood he him that had earned it so dearly. The might nut: twice, therefore, doth he avoid holy songs of David had not more quieted the presence, not the court, nor the service his spirits before, than now the thankful of Saul. song of the Israelitish women vexes him.' One would have thought rather, that One little ditty, of “ Saul hath slain his David should have been afraid of Saul, thousands, and David his ten thousands,” because the devil was so strong with him, sung unto the timbrels of Israel, fetched than that Saul should be afraid of David, again that evil spirit, which David's music because the Lord was with him; yet we had expelled. Saul needed not the torment find all the fear in Saul of David, none in of a worse spirit than envy. O the unrea- | David of Saul. Hatred and fear are ordisonableness of this wicked passion! The nary companions. David had wisdom and women gave Saul more, and David less, faith to dispel his fears ; Saul had nothing than he deserved; for Saul alone could but infidelity, and dejected, self-condemned, not kill a thousand, and David, in that one distempered thoughts, which must needs act of killing Goliah, slew in effect all the nourish them; yet Saul could not fear any Philistines that were slain that day: and hurt from David, whom he found so loyal yet, because they gave more to David than and serviceable: he fears only too much to himself, he that should have indited, good unto David ; and the envious fear is and begun that song of thankfulness, re- much more than the distrustful. Now pines, and grows now as mad with envy, | David's presence begins to be more disas he was before with grief. Truth and pleasing, than his music was sweet: despite justice are no protection against malice. itself had rather prefer him to a remote Envy is llind to all objects, save other dignity, than endure him a nearer atten. dant. This promotion increaseth David's comeliness and valour hath so won her honour and love; and his love and honour heart, that she now emulates the affection aggravate Saul's hatred and fear.
of her brother Jonathan. If she be the Saul's madness hath not bereaved him younger sister, yet she is more affectionate. of his craft; for, perceiving how great Da- Saul is glad of the news: his daughter vid was grown in the reputation of Israel, could never live to do him better service, he dares not offer any personal or direct than to be a new snare to his adversary. violence to him, but hires him into the She shall be therefore sacrificed to his envy; jaws of a supposed death, by no less price and her honest and sincere love shall be than his eldest daughter : " Behold my made a bait for her worthy and innocent eldest daughter Merab, her will I give thee husband : “ I will give him her, that she to wife; only be a valiant son to me, and may be a snare unto him, that the hand of fight the Lord's battles.” Could ever man the Philistines may be against him.” The speak more graciously, more holily? What purpose of any favour is more than the vacould be more graciously offered by a king lue of it. Even the greatest honours may than his eldest daughter? what care could be given with an intent of destruction. be more holy than of the Lord's battles? Many a man is raised up for a fall. So forYet never did Saul intend so much mis- ward is Saul in the match, that he sends chief to David, or so much unfaithfulness spokesmen to solicit David to that honour. to God, as when he spake thus. There is which he hopes will prove the highway to never so much danger of the falsehearted, death. The dowry is set : a hundred foreas when they make the fairest weather. skins of the Philistines ; not their heads, Saul's spear bade David be gone, but his but their foreskins, that this victory might plausible words invite him to danger. This be more ignominious : still thinking, Why honour was due to David before, upon the may not one David miscarry, as well as a compact of his victory; yet he, that twice | hundred Philistines? And what doth Saul's inquired into the reward of that enterprise envy all this while, but enhance David's before he undertook it, never demanded it zeal, and valour, and glory? That good after that achievement; neither had Saul | captain, little imagining that himself was the justice to offer it as a recompense of so the Philistine whom Saul maligned, superenoble an exploit, but as a snare to enviedrogates of his master, and brings two hunvictory. Charity suspects not: David con- dred for one, and returns home safe and strues that as an effect and argument of renowned. Neither can Saul now fly off for his master's love, which was no other but shame: there is no remedy, but David must a child of envy, but a plot of mischief; and be a son, where he was a rival; and Saul though he knew his own desert, and the jus-must feed upon his own heart, since he tice of his claim to Merab, yet he, in a sin cannot see David's. God's blessing graces cere humility, disparageth himself, his birth equally together with men's malice; neither and parentage, with a “ Who am I?” can they devise which way to make us more
As it was not the purpose of this mo- happy, than by wishing us evil. desty in David to reject, but to solicit the proffered favour of Saul, so was it not in the power of this bashful humiliation to turn CONTEMPLATION Vi. - Michal's wile. back the edge of so keen an envy. It helps not that David makes himself mean, while This advantage can Saul yet make of others magnify his worth: whatsoever the David's promotion, that as his adversary is colour was, Saul meant nothing to David raised higher, so he is drawn nearer to the but danger and death; and since all those opportunity of death. Now hath his envy battles will not effect that which he de-cast off all shame; and, since those crafty sired, himself will not effect that which he plots succeed not, he directly suborns mur. promised. If he cannot kill David, he will derers of his rival. There is none in all the disgrace him. David's honour was Saul's court that is not set on to be an executioner. disease: it was not likely, therefore, that Jonathan himself is solicited to embrue his Saul would add unto that honour whereof hand in the blood of his friend, of his bro. he was so sick already. Merab was given ther. Saul could not but see Jonathan's unto another; neither do I hear David clothes on David's back; he could not but complain of so manifest an injustice: he know the league of their love; yet, because knew, that the God whose battles he fought he knew withal how much the prosperity of had provided a due reward of his patience. | David would prejudice Jonathan, he hoped If Merab fail, God hath a Michal in store to have found him his son in malice. Those for him: she is in love with David ; his | that have the jaundice see all things yellow: those which are overgrown with malicious knows how to be sure of an unconscionpassions, think all men like themselves. able man. If either goodness or merit, or
I do not hear of any reply that Jonathan affinity, or reasons, or oatlis, could secure made to his father, when he gave him that a man, David had been safe ; now, if his bloody charge; but he waits for a fit time heels do no more befriend him than all to dissuade him from so cruel an injustice. these, he is a dead man. No sooner is he Wisdom had taught him to give way to gone, than messengers are sped after him. rage, and, in so hard an adventure, to crave It hath been seldom seen that wickedness aid of opportunity. If we be not careful wanted executioners : David's house is beto observe good moods when we deal with set with murderers, which watch at all his the passionate, we may exasperate, instead doors for the opportunity of blood. Who of reforming. Thus did Jonathan, who can but wonder to see how God hath fetched knowing how much better it is to be a good from the loins of Saul a remedy for the mafriend, than an ill son, had not only dis-lice of Saul's heart? His own children are closed that ill counsel, but, when he found the only means to cross him in the sin, and his father in the fields in a calmer temper, to preserve his guiltless adversary. Michal laboured to divert it. And so far doth the hath more than notice of the plot, and with seasonable and pithy oratory of Jonathan her subtle wit countermines her father, for prevail, that Saul is convinced of his wrong, the rescue of a husband; she taking the be. and swears, “ As God lives, David shall nefit of the night, lets David down through not die.” Indeed, how could it be other | a window : he is gone, and disappoints the wise, upon the plea of David's innocence ambushes of Saul. The messengers begin and well-deservings? How could Saul say, to be impatient of this delay, and now think he should die, whom he could accuse of it time to inquire after their prisoner: she nothing but faithfulness? why should he puts them off with the excuse of David's design him to death, which had given life sickness, so as now her husband had good to all Israel? Ofttimes wicked men's judg- leisure for his escape, and lays a statue in ments are forced to yield unto that truth his bed. Saul likes the news of any evil against which their affections maintain a befallen to David ; but, fearing he is not rebellion. Even the foulest hearts do some sick enough, sends to aid his disease. The times entertain good motions: likeas, on messengers return, and rushing into the the contrary, the holiest souls give way | house with their swords drawn, after some sometimes to the suggestions of evil. The harsh words to their imagined charge, sur. flashes of lightning may be discerned in the prise a sick statue lying with a pillow under darkest prisons. But if good thoughts look his head ; and now blush to see they have into a wicked heart, they stay not there; as spent all their threats upon a senseless those that like not their lodging, they are stock, and made themselves ridiculous, soon gone : hardly any thing distinguishes while they would be serviceable. betwixt good and evil, but continuance. But how shall Michal answer this mockThe light that shines into a holy heart is age unto her furious father? Hitherto she constant, like that of the sun, which keeps hath done like David's wife; now she bedue times, and varies not his course for any gins to be Saul's daughter : “ He said to of these sublunary occasions.
me, Let me go, or else I will kill thee." The Philistines' wars renew David's vic. She, whose wit had delivered her husband tories, and David's victory renews Saul's from the sword of her father, now turns envy, and Saul's envy renews the plots of the edge of her father's wrath from herself David's death. Vows and oaths are for- to her husband. His absence made her pregotten. That evil spirit which vexes Saul sume of his safety. If Michal had not been hath found so much favour with him, as of Saul's plot, he had never expostulated to win him to these bloody machinations with her in those terms: “Why bast thou against an innocent: his own hands shall let mine enemy escape ?" Neither had she first be employed in this execution; the framed that answer, “ He said, Let me spear, which hath twice before threatened go." I do not find any great store of re. death to David, shall now once again go ligion in Michal : for, both she had an upon that message. Wise David, that image in the house, and afterward mocked knew the danger of a hollow friend, and David for his devotion ; yet nature hath reconciled enemy, and that found more taught her to prefer a husband to a father : cause to mind Saul's earnest, than his own to elude a father, from whom she could not play, gives way by his nimbleness to that fly; to save a husband, who durst not but deadly weapon, and, resigning that stroke fly from her. The bonds of matrimonial love unto the wall, flies for his life. No man | are, and should be, stronger than those of nature. Those respects are mutual which countenanced against his sovereign, but the God appointed in the first institution of deliverer of Israel harboured in a sanctuary wedlock, that husband and wife should of prophets till his peace might be made. leave father and mother for each other's Even thither doth Saul send to appresake. Treason is ever odious ; but so much hend David. All his rage did not incense more in the marriage-bed, by how much him against Samuel as the abettor of his the obligations are deeper.
adversary: such an impression of reverence As she loved her husband better than had the person and calling of the prophet her father, so she loved herself better than left in the mind of Saul, that he cannot her husband : she saved her husband by a think of lifting up his hand against him. wile; and now she saves herself by a lie, The same God who did at the first put an and loses half the thank of her deliverance awe of man in the fiercest creatures, hath by an officious slander. Her act was good, stamped in the cruellest hearts a reverend but she wants courage to maintain it; and | respect to his own image in his ministers; therefore seeks to the weak shelter of un- so as even they that hate them, do yet hotruth. Those that do good offices, not out nour them. of conscience, but good nature or civility, Saul's messengers came to lay hold on if they meet an affront of danger, seldom David : God lays hold on them. No sooner come off cleanly, but are ready to catch at do they see a company of prophets busy in all excuses, though base, though injurious; these divine exercises, under the moderabecause their grounds are not strong enough tion of Samuel, than they are turned from to bear them out in suffering for that which executioners to prophets. It is good going they have well done.
up to Najoth, into the holy assemblies : Whither doth David fly, but to the sanc-who knows how we may be changed, betuary of Samuel ? He doth not (though he side our intentions ? Many a one hath come knew himself gracious with the soldiers) into God's house to carp, or scoff, or sleep, raise forces, or take some strong fort, and or gaze, that hath returned a convert. there stand upon his own defence, and at | The same heart, that was thus disquieted defiance with his king : but he gets him to with David's happy success, is now vexed the college of the prophets, as a man that with the holiness of his other servants. It would seek the peaceable protection of the angers him that God's Spirit could find no King of heaven, against the unjust fury of other time to seize upon his agents, than a king on earth : only the wing of God shall when he had sent them to kill; and now, hide him from that violence.
out of an indignation at this disappointGod intended to make David not a warment, himself will go, and be his own serrior and a king only, but a prophet too. rant; his guilty soul finds itself out of the As the field fitted him for the first, and the danger of being thus surprised; and behold, court for the second, so Najoth shall fit him Saul is no sooner come within the smell of for the third. Doubtless, such was David's the smoke of Najoth, than he also prophedelight in holy meditations, he never spent sies: the same spirit that, when he went his time so contentedly, as when he was first from Samuel, enabled him to prophesy, retired to that divine academy, and had so returns in the same effect, now that he was full freedom to enjoy God, and to satiate going his last unto Samuel. This was such himself with heavenly exercises. The only a grace as might well stand with rejection; doubt is, how Samuel can give harbour to an extraordinary gift of the Spirit, but not a man fled from the anger of his prince; sanctifying. Many men have had their wherein the very persons of both give abun-mouths opened to prophesy unto others, dant satisfaction; for both Samuel knew whose hearts have been deaf to God. But the counsel of God, and durst do nothing this, such as it was, was far from Saul's without it; and David was by Samuel | purpose, who, instead of expostulating with anointed from God. This unction was a mu. Samuel, falls down before him; and laying tual bond. Good reason had David to sue to aside his weapons and his robes, of a tyrant him which had poured the oil on his head, proves for the time a disciple. All hearts for the hiding of that head which he had are in the hands of their Maker : how easy anointed: and good reason had Samuel to is it for him that gave them their being, to hide him, whom God by his means had frame them to his own bent! Who can be chosen, from him whom God by his sen- | afraid of malice, that knows what hooks tence had rejected : besides that, the cause God hath in the nostrils of men and devils: deserved commiseration. Here was not a what charms he hath for the most serpenmalefactor running away from justice, but | tine hearts? an innocent avoiding murder ; not a traitor
king's son-in-law, brother to the prince both CONTEMPLATION VII. — DAVID AND in love and in marriage, show his head at AHIMELECH.
the court; nor any of those that bowed to
him dare stir a foot with him. Princes are Who can ever judge of the children by | as the sun, and great subjects are like to the parents, that knows Jonathan was the dials : if the sun shine not on the dial, no son of Saul! There was never a falser man will look at it. heart than Saul's : there was never a truer Even he that overcame the bear, the friend than Jonathan : neither the hope of lion, the giant, is overcome with fear. He a kingdom, nor the frowns of a father, nor that had cut off two hundred foreskins of the fear of death, can remove him from his the Philistines, had not circumcised his vowed amity. No son could be more offi- own heart of the weak passions that follow cious and dutiful to a good father; yet he distrust : now that he is hard driven, he lays down nature at the foot of grace, and, practises to help himself with an unwarfor the preservation of his innocent rival rantable shift. Who can look to pass this for the kingdom, crosses the bloody designs pilgrimage without infirmities, when David of his own parent. David needs no other dissembleth to Abimelech? A weak man's counsellor, no other advocate, no other in-| rules may be better than the best man's telligencer, than he. It is not in the power actions. God lets us see some blemishes of Saul's unnatural reproaches, or of his in his holiest servants, that we may neither spear, to make Jonathan any other than a be too highly conceited of flesh and blood, friend and patron of innocence. Even, nor too much dejected when we have been after all these difficulties, doth Jonathan miscarried into sin. Hitherto hath David shoot beyond David, that Saul may shoot gone upright; now he begins to halt with short of him. In vain are those profes- | the priest of God, and under pretence of sions of love, which are not answered with Saul's employment, draws that favour from action. He is no true friend, that, besides Ahimelech, which shall afterwards cost him talk, is not ready both to do and suffer. his head.
Saul is no whit the better for his pro What could Ahimelech have thought phesying: he no sooner rises up from before too dear for God's anointed, God's chamSamuel, than he pursues David Wicked | pion? It is not like but that, if David had men are rather the worse for those transi. sincerely opened himself to the priest as he tory good motions they have received. If had done to the prophet, Ahimelech would the swine be never so clean washed, she have seconded Samuel in some secret and will wallow again. That we have good safe succour of so unjust a distress, whereas thoughts, it is no thank to us; that we he is now, by a false colour, led to that answer them not, it is both our sin and kindness which shall be prejudicial to his judgment.
life. Extremities of evil are commonly inDavid hath learned not to trust these fits considerate ; either for that we have not of devotion, but flies from Samuel to Jona- leisure to our thoughts, or perhaps (so we than, from Jonathan to Ahimelech : when may be perplexed) not thoughts to our he was hunted from the prophet, he flies leisure. What would David have given afterto the priest, as one that knew justice and wards to have redeemed this oversight! compassion should dwell in those breasts Under this pretence, he craves a double which are consecrated unto God.
| favour of Ahimelech; the one of bread for The ark and the tabernacle were then his sustenance, the other of a sword for his separated; the ark was at Kirjath-jearim, | defence. There was no bread under the the tabernacle at Nob; God was present hands of the priest, but that which was with both. Whither should David flee for consecrated to God, and whereof none succour, but to the house of that God might taste but the devoted servants of the which had anointed him ?
altar; even that which was, with solemn Ahimelech was wont to see David at- dedication, set upon the holy tables before tended with the troops of Israel, or with the face of God; a sacramental bread prethe gallants of the court; it seems strange sented to God with incense, figuring that therefore to him, to see so great a peer and true bread that came down from heaven: champion of Israel come alone. These are yet even this bread might, in case of nethe alterations to which earthly greatnesscessity, become common, and be given by is subject. Not many days are passed, Ahimelech, and received by David and his since no man was honoured at court but followers. Our Saviour himself justifies Jonathan and David : now they are both the act of both. Ceremonies must give for the time in disgrace; now dare not the place to substance. God will have mercy