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me to do?"-So do not those who know their master's will and do it not."
WOULD we share the blessedness of believing Saul, we mult imitate his repentance ; so fhall we find mercy with God. “For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek ; for the same Lord over all, is rich unto all that call upor him."
And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the
Lord. And Nathan said unto David, The Lord also hath put away thy sin ; thou shalt not die. THE fin here referred to is that of David in the matter of Uriah. A strange and sad event-taken in all its circumstances and connections, it is without a parallel. But the circumstance most to be lamented, is that mentioned by the prophet, in the close of his message-"By this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme."
The justness of this remark, doubtless appear. ed at that day, in the triumph of finners and ex. ultations of scoffers; and the story brought down to us, “on whom the ends of the world are come, is still abused to keep vice in countenance.
“ Look to David, your man of religion ! Your man after God's own heart !" and witness his complicated crimes ! and his long continued security and unconcern under guilt, which cannot be
charged on us, who view religion as a dream !". So the infidel.
While people of another deseription, wound God's cause yet more deeply, by the argument which they draw from this fall of David ; namely, those who are allowedly vicious, yet call them, selves 6 of the household of faith-who are pure in their own eyes, though not cleanfed from their filthiness." These, when reproved, especial. ly if their piety is called in question, often recur to David for support--tell us, that “ though emi. nent for piety, he was guilty of greater fins than their's, and long continued in them that he remained impenitent till visited by Nathan, after the birth of his child by Bathsheba. If, say they, he could continue so long fecure and unconcern. ed, why not longer ? And why may not others fall into fins and continue in them for months and years after having received the grace of God, and after they are numbered among the saints ?"
This, we conceive, to be the most baleful conclusion which is drawn from this hiftory. And could it be made to appear that such was David's state, for so long a term, we fee no way to avoid the conclusion--see not but the idea which the scriptures give of religion as a holy principle, productive of a holy life, must be relinquished.
Such is the idea which the scriptures do give of religion---they teach, that it changeth the heart, and forms the new creature that " in this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the Devil; that whosoever doeth not righteousness is potof God; that by their fruits we are to know men." Thus speaks that holy book which we believe to be from God, and to shew us the way of salyation. But if the children of God are not made to differ from others, if they may live in allowed disregard of the law of God, like others, these distin&tions are idle and unworthy our regard. This matter demands our attention.
From the subject before us, the errors now mentioned draw their chief support.
We do not flatter ourselves that we can stop mouths of scoffers, or so clearly elucidate this dark part of the book of God, that it shall no more be abused to the purposes of depravity ; but believe that it may be made apparent that it hath been mistaken and perverted ; and thereby rendered the more mischievous. This will now be attempted.
Thar David remained unconcerned and devoid of repentance for the fins which he commit. ted in the matter of Uriah, till awakened to consid. eration by the ministry of Nathan, seems to have been taken for granted, and to have been the ground of these abuses. This may have been the common opinion. Whether it is founded in reality, we will now inquire.
Of those who argue from a supposition that this was the case, we ask evidence that it was so. That we have no express declaration that Nathan found him a penitent, we conceive to be all that can be alleged as evidence that he remained till that time impenitent. To which may be rejoin. ed, that we have no express declaration that Nathan found him impenitent. The fact is, both scripture and profane history are filent respecting the state of David's rnind from the commission of the fins, till he was vi Gted by the prophet. We are left therefore to judge of the matter on other grounds. And on what grounds can we form a more probable opin. ion than by considering the general character of the man—the nature and effe&ts of renewing grace—and the temper and conduct of the delinquent when he was reproved by the prophet? From a confideration of these we may derive the most probable solution of the question, or judge what was probably the state in which David was found by Nathan. IT may
proper to premise, 1. That good men, while in this state of im. perfection, should be surprized by temptation into fins, and even great and heineous fins, is neither new nor strange. Many instances occur in the history of the saints recorded in the scriptures. “ Aaron, the saint of the Lord," and Moles, whose general character was that of “a servant, faithful in all God's house," were both feduced into fins of such enormity that they were excluded the land of promise, in common with rebellious Ifrael. Among New Testament saints similar lapses are obfervable.' Even the apostles forsook the Savior, and fled when Judas led forth the hostile band to apprehend him ; and Peter, when under the influence of fear, with oaths and imprecations “ denied the Lord that bought him !"
The habitual temper of these good men could not be argued from these sudden acts. Neither is