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quences. Present safety was ensured to the Israelites, and further stability to the throne; while David was taken into the family of Saul, with whose son Jonathan he soon contracted the friendship of a congenial mind.
The caprice, nevertheless, of the reigning monarch, his envious jealousy and tyrannical disposition, quickly made it requisite for David to escape from the palace, to wander in the most uncultivated parts of the country, and even to seek refuge in the territories of the Philistines. Saul's conduct towards him, in this period, of his history, was uncommonly treacherous and cruel; and the fugitive was repeatedly placed in situations which tried the strength of his moral and religious principles. In these circumstances, he behaved with a forbearance and generosity of which there are not many examples, and twice spared the life of his relentless persecutor, when he had him in his power.
On the death of Saul and of Jonathan, he ascended the throne, not, however, without a harassing opposition from the family and adherents of the deceased sovereign. Here again, as well as in the provision which he made for one of Jonathan's descendants, we see him giving proof of great moderation and goodness of spirit. It was evidently his aim to avoid the use of violence: he did not procure or maintain his sceptre by spilling innocent blood; and, though, for a large portion of his reign, he was engaged in wars with the surrounding nations, he was not eager to take up the sword, or unwilling to return it to its scabbard.
I shall not pass over his conduct towards Bathsheba and Uriah: this was a combination of two most aggravated offences, which no individual, except an Eastern monarch, could well have the power of committing. Nathan, by a most apposite and touching parable, roused David's conscience from its slumbers, and filled him with remorse and penitence: the appeal was, in every view, honourable to the prophet, whose courage and fidelity were fully equalled by the skill and eloquence of his reproof; and it was, at the same time, honourable to the king, who listened with an obedient ear to this wise reprover. Sacred History, uniformly impartial, has recorded the guilt of David, and his contrition: it has related, too, his heavy punishment. Disunion and wickedness prevailed among his children: a favourite son excited and headed a rebellion against him; driving the unhappy prince from his palace, but finally losing his own life in this unnatural attempt to gain pos
session of the crown. By these events David was deeply humbled and afflicted; yet his spirit and his language were those of perfect resignation; and never perhaps did his character shine forth with so bright a lustre.
Even his declining age was scarcely permitted to enjoy repose: his dying pillow was disturbed by the murmurs of sedition and the shouts of treason. He had destined So-, lomon to succeed him in the government; and, apprehending the evils of a disputed succession, had caused him to be anointed king during his life-time. Adonijah, however, another of his sons, became a competitor for the sceptre; gaining over to his interest some of the chief persons in the realm. Happily the revolt was soon quelled, and Solomon, to whom the expiring monarch confided the execu tion of some important designs, which he himself was not. permitted to accomplish, reigned over all Israel.
If we survey David as a man, we shall perceive that, with considerable talents for active life and public business, he united dispositions which, in the main, were just, be nevolent and pious, and a strength of moral and religious principle which had an almost uniform ascendancy over his deportment. No slight evidence of his devotional taste is furnished by the number of the compositions, still extant, in which he breathes the very soul of pious reverence, gratitude, resignation, trust, desire, hope, and joy; these he framed in different spots and circumstances; and, for variety, grandeur, elegance and impressiveness, they maintain, and will always maintain, a high place in the regard of every sincere and fervent worshiper of the true God. Nor would it be difficult to produce examples of the com passion to a prostrate foe, of the long-suffering amidst unprovoked injuries, and of the wise regulation of the pas sious, which David manifested.
As a sovereign, he would have been happier if the course of his reign had been less marked by turbulence; and more respectable, had circumstances enabled him to cultivate, like Solomon, the arts of peace. But, if the characters of princes are to be read in the condition and affections of their subjects, what should restrain us from bestowing on David's memory the praise of a beneficent and righteous king? With the exception of those whom treason drew over to the standard of Absalom, the hearts of the people were knit to David: he found the nation disunited, and he left it in a state of concord; he found it weak, depressed, and in danger of being totally overrun by
its enemies; and he left it strong, triumphant and secure," enjoying, without molestation, the regular administration of justice and exercise of religion.
The feelings of David were at once powerful and tender, and his kindness as a father could not be surpassed; though candour and impartiality require us to admit that it might have been more enlightened. He indulged Adonijah; he indulged Absalom; and each of them resisted: his authority and wishes, and traitorously aspired to his throne. But whose heart, if not that of a parent, in nearly the same circumstances with his, can conceive of his agony on hearing of the death of Absalom ? The shouts of victory are drowned in the loud exclamations of grief which refuses to be comforted; the triumphant warrior is forgotten in the deeply afflicted father.
It cannot, I think, be reasonably denied, that David was a prophet. The harp of this sweet singer of Israel occa sionally vibrates to a more than mortal touch; its notes rise in majesty as they utter the sound of those gladtidings of great joy, which had the ministry and the gospel of Jesus Christ for their subject."All things," says our Lord, "must be accomplished, which are written in THE PSALMS Concerning me." On reading this declara tion, can we harbour a doubt whether the Psalms contain predictions of the Messiah? Not that, like some professors of Christianity, we can discover him in nearly every verse of them: this is the other and a very injurious extreme. Still the son of Jesse has not been totally silent concerning the founder and the glories of the Christian dispensation." David, in spirit," under the special impulse of the Deity, "calls" our Saviour "Lord." The highly poetical genius which elevates and delights us by its descriptions of the wonders of creation, which melts our hearts by its elegiac strains over Saul and Jonathan, and which engages our sympathy with its possessor, when he is forced into dens and caves of the earth, and when he bewails his absence from the sanctuary of his God, this same lofty genius sometimes delineates evangelic scenes, and speaks in hallowed accents of far the most illustrious of the posterity of David.
In the judgment both of Jews and Christians, David was, on several accounts, one of the most memorable persons whom the world has, at any time, seen. of the friends of revelation, not less than many of its enemies, have been unjust in their estimate of him. I am
neither his blind admirer nor indiscriminately his accuser. History brings us acquainted with only a single human being who was perfect. David incurred the guilt of some heinous crimes yet of these he was self-convicted; and the bold transgressor soon became the lowly penitent. Nor should it be forgotten, that he lived in an age far less favoured than ours is with religious advantages. Our verdict respecting him should be formed on a consideration of the whole of his behaviour compared with his situation; and if we view his character with impartiality, he will neither be entirely acquitted nor absolutely condemned.
Most readers of the Bible infer, from the circumstance of David's being called "the man after God's own heart," that his conduct was in every respect approved by God: But the phrase has a different meaning, and denotes simply that David was selected, by the Deity, to be king of Israel, in the room of Saul. In this language there is no reference to the moral character of the son of Jesse. General expressions are limited by the occasions and the subjects of them; while, on the other hand, uncandid writers have availed themselves of popular misinterpretations of Scripture for the purpose of arraigning the truth of revealed religion.
Tables of Toleration.
[By a Correspondent: from Remarks on the Consumption of Public Wealth by the Clergy of every Christian Nation. P. 76, 4th ed.] The Intolerant Nations,
Where men are excluded from all or part of the civil or military offices of the state, unless they be of a particular
Spain. No man can fill any office, civil or military, unless he be a Roman Catholic.
Portugal. The same,
Italy. The same (except in the Austrian part). Denmark. No man can fill any office, civil or military, unless he be a Lutheran.
Sweden and Norway. The same.
It is to be lamented that such intolerant laws should exist; but it must be observed that the intolerance of the above nations is not oppressive to any of their subjects, as in each nation the people are all to a man members of the Established Religion.
England. No man enjoys all the rights and privileges of a citizen in England and Ireland unless he be of the Church of England. More than two-thirds of the people are suffering under this intolerance, being members of other sects. The Corporations and the Universities are shut against them, and the public offices of emolument nearly so. Besides these privations, in common with others, the hearers of the Roman Catholic Church, who are full one-fourth of the population, are excluded both Houses of Parliament. This is effected by means of an anathema or oath of abuse and condemnation which all the members take, by which they swear that those points of religion are heretical and damnable which are professed and venerated as sacred by 5,800,000 of the subjects of England, and by 160 millions of her allies, including two emperors and seven kings. Other intolerant nations are content with the candidate for office professing himself to be of the established religion; this gratuitous curse upon the religion of others is said to be without parallel. The intolerance of England is the greatest oppression now exhibited by Christianity. It oppresses two-thirds of the whole po pulation with considerable severity, in order to create a monopoly of riches and of learning for the other third; and upon one fourth of the population it exercises a double portion of oppression. The practical result of the latter is, the most abject helotism, attended with perpetual insurrection and expensive military establishments, and pregnant with future danger to the empire from the geographical position of the suffering parties.
The Tolerant Nations,
Where no man is excluded from civil or military employments on account of his sect or religion.
United States. All men of every sect are eligible to fill all employments, civil or military. France.
Wurtemburg. The same.