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ever fixed upon God as his " hope and strength, a very present help in trouble;"* and that when persecuted, betrayed, and ungratefully treated, he was content to commit his cause unto God, to rest calmly and peacefully in the assurance that the integrity and uprightness of his heart was known to Him. It is in this spirit of calm and well-grounded faith that this twenty-seventh Psalm begins-" The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?" the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise up against me, in this will I be confident."

The thing which distinguishes David is his pre-eminent fear of God. We may observe, by the way, how striking a contrast the character of David is to the character of Saul, who was king of Israel before David. You remember what was read this morning in the first lesson about

* Psalm xlvi. 1.

Saul.* God sent him to fight against and utterly to destroy that idolatrous and guilty people, the Amalekites. Saul obeyed so far as to go and fight against the city, and to take it: but there his faith failed him; the people were eager to seize the spoils of the conquered city; the flocks and the herds, which constituted the chief wealth of the rich in those days, and which God had commanded to be destroyed; as though the possession of any part of the spoil of the idolatrous city would pollute the Israelites, and draw down a curse upon them. Saul feared the people more than God, and did not put himself forward to prevent the taking of these forbidden spoils; and what was the consequence? The prophet Samuel was sent to rebuke him, and to warn him that because he had rejected the commandments of the Lord, the Lord had rejected him from being king. And the end of these two men is a remarkable practical commentary upon the words of my text. Saul did not wait upon the Lord," but fol

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* 1 Sam. xv.

lowed his own foolish imaginations, and put no trust in anything but the arm of flesh; he was proud and self-conceited, and would not be guided by Samuel; he would have his own way, and the end was, that being worsted in battle, because "the Lord had departed" from him, he cast himself in despair upon his own sword and died.* David, on the other hand," tarried the Lord's leisure." Long after the time that Samuel had anointed him as the future king of Israel,† he wandered from one hiding-place to another, in want, and in danger of his life from the hatred with which Saul pursued him. Twice, when he had it in his own power to put an end to his troubles, and to place himself upon the throne of Israel, by taking the life of Saul, he refused to put forth his hand against the Lord's anointed," and chose to "wait on the Lord," and to bide his time for delivering him, rather than presume by his own unbidden act to work out a de

*

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See 1 Sam. xxviii. and xxxi.

+ 1 Sam. xvi. 13; xxiv. 6; xxvi. 11.

liverance for himself: in every action that he meditated, his practice was, first to inquire of the Lord,* and to be guided by the answer he received: thus he lived to see his enemies put down on all sides, his kingdom established, and his people prosperous, and "died in a good old age, full of days, riches, and honour."† Thus, my brethren, you see the Psalms

and the historical books of the Bible throw light upon each other. The Psalms show us the secret principle which guided David through all his life; whilst the history both of David and of Saul gives a lively picture of the consequences of living by faith, and of living without faith. Now, although times change, and kingdoms change, and they change who rule them, the will and the word of God knows no change; it is still the same, and those words by which David regulated his own conduct, and the conduct of his people, contain a rule which we may apply

* 1 Sam. xxiii. 2. 10; xxx. 8. 2 Sam. ii. 1 ; v. 19, 20, &c.

+ 2 Chron. xxix. 28.

equally to our own: "Wait on the Lord: be of good courage; and He shall strengthen thine heart; wait, I say, on the Lord."

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We, like David, have our difficulties, our trials, our seasons of doubt, and our peculiar temptations; the same principles which supported him, however, in his more public station, may be applied to the comfort and assistance of the poorest private individual; because David did not have recourse to political contrivances, or artful schemes, or dangerous plots for overturning governments, but simply "trusted in the name of the Lord, and stayed himself upon his God:"* had it been otherwise, we might indeed have admired his ingenious contrivances, and counted him wise in his generation, but we could not have copied his example as one who "waited patiently for the Lord," and presumed not to question the wisdom, or labour to divert the course, of his appointments.

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