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days.” The reason assigned by Abigail as the motive
In alluding to the persecution under which David was suffering, what admirable tact as well as piety does Abigail display in speaking of his persecutor. Not one railing word is uttered against him, his very name passed over, and the whole series of his aggravated offences against David summed up in this short and simple declaration—" Yet a man is risen to pursue thee and to seek thy soul.” And why this tenderness towards a false and treacherous tyrant? Because Abigail knew that “it was written, thou
shall not speak evil of the ruler of thy people,” and Saul, however stained with offences, was the anointed of the God of Judah, the king to whom David equally with herself owed allegiance, and the bands of whose divinely-constituted authority, no human power could unbind. A vulgar or irreligious mind would have sought to propitiate David, by heaping reproach upon the author of his calamities, but be to whom Abigail spake, was one who could well appreciate the delicacy and piety of this forbearance; and surely David must have felt his inmost soul braced to forbearance and long-suffering, wbile the beautiful image which Abigail made use of to express his continual safety, under the divine protection, took possession of his mind :—but the soul of my lord shall be bound in the bundle of life with the Lord thy God.' When is the precious gem in safety? When it is locked up in the casket. When are the words of inspiration in no danger of being lost or forgotten? When they are enfolded in the wellengraven scroll. But the casket may be broken, the scroll may be defaced : not so that precious jewel for which an hiding-place has been opened in the very centre of the Life of life.
Who does not perceive, in the beautiful figure which Abigail employs to express her confidence in the personal safety and ultimate deliverance of David an apt illustration of the spiritual security and final preservation of those whom the Lord of glory is pleased to designate bis “jewels ?” What warrant has the Christian to deem himself in safety, wben he knows that he has an enemy, ever seeking to destroy him, when shares without and tumults within threaten him with destruction every hour? It is not
that he has armour of proof wherewith to combat his spiritual enemy: it is not that a great cloud of witnesses are around him encouraging his efforts and espousing his cause. It is because the bosom of Almighty love has been opened to afford him a hiding-place : (John i. 18.) it is because his “ life is hid with Christ in God:” and when his harassed soul yields to despondency, and in the prospect of snares and dangers on every side give utterance to the timorous cry, “I shall one day perisb,” then does a sweet still voice speak words of comfort to him, “ because I live, ye shall live also they shall never perish, and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.”
And how shall the enemies of David be subdued before him? Shall he trust in his sword and bow, shall his own arm save? Not such is the conclusion to which Abigail arrives in predicting his ultimate deliverance; “the souls of thine enemies then shall he sling out as out of the middle of a sling.” Let not the servants of Jehovah be anxious to avenge themselves; a day is coming, in which he will “render unto every man according to his work :”in which he will shew himself a God of judgment, and it shall be but a feeble exercise of his power to rid himself of his adversaries. David was but a stripling, unable to bear the weight of a warrior's accoutrements when he slew the giant son of Anak with a sling and a stone. As easily, as unexpectedly, and by means as apparently inadequate shall all the “workers of iniquity” be brought to destruction, when He cometh to judge the earth. When the guilt of the antedeluvian world had reached its permitted maturity, it needed only a slight and single action of Deity to
bring down punishment on the ungodly. “He opened the windows of heaven,” and “ brought in a flood upon the world of the ungodly; ” and when the commissioned angel shall come down from heaven to swear by him that liveth for ever that time shall be no more, it will require but one blast of the breath of his displeasure to melt the ponderous elements, and scatter the wrecks of the burning earth, like sparks from a blazing scroll.
Abigail concludes her address to David with an appeal to his natural feelings, so beautiful and touching that to comment upon it seems to take from its force and tenderness. “ And it shall come to pass, when the Lord shall have done to my lord according to all the good that he hath spoken concerning thee, and shall have appointed thee ruler over Israel, that this shall be no grief unto thee, nor offence of heart unto my lord, either that thou hast shed blood causeless, or that my lord hath avenged himself: but when the Lord shall have dealt well with my lord, then remember thine handmaid:” remember the counsel I bave given thee, and see if thine own blessed experience does not testify that with the merciful, God will sbew himself merciful, and with the upright He will shew himself upright.
It was a master-stroke of wisdom on the part of Abigail to lead the mind of David on through the openings of futurity, and having placed him in progpective vision on the throne of Judah, to bid him look back upon the present hour in that calmness and alienation of heart with which men are wont to survey the buried past. As the full-grown man smiles at the baubles and gewgaws of infancy, so does the soul smile or sigh at the eagerness with which it
strove for its petty interests and fugitive possessions, when they have been swept away by another and a fuller tide in the stream of time. It is good in moments of irritation by some skilful device of wisdom to lead the fretted mind on to the contemplation of a period when the objects of its most vehement contest will be no more remembered than are the withered leaves of autumn when spring bas clothed anew the rifled forests, or, if remembered, only as the fructifying causes of imperishable verdure when, by the agency of the Almighty Renovator, tribulation shall have worked patience, and patience experience, and experience hope. Wisely did Abigail set before David the ultimity of his lofty destiny, as a motive to induce the exercise of vigorous self-denying moderation at the present hour; and shall not the high calling of the children of God be urged upon them, as reason enough to stay the strife of passion, to forbear the vengeful purpose, to bless, not curse their enemies, to render good for evil, and patiently to await the time when all grievances shall be fairly and finally adjusted, not in the blind measure of human justice, but in the perfect balance of eternal equity. Daughters of Christianity! imitate the conduct of Abigail: set before the heirs of immortality the crown that awaits them, the kingdom that is prepared for them: speak to them that they be not chased and angered by the scourges and temptations of the wilderness; but bid faith look onward to the promised inheritance, and plead like her, “ this shall be no grief unto you nor offence of heart, when the Lord shall have done all the good that he hath spoken concerning you, that when ye were reviled, ye reviled not again; when ye suffered, ye threatened not,