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'But the king took the two 9 Our lives are always in the hands sons of Rizpah the daughter of God. His is a sovereign right of Aiah, whom she bare unto
over them. He might take them Saul, Armoni and Mephi- them yesterday ; He may demand
awayto-day; He might have removed bosheth ; and the five sons of them to-morrow. Let us be ready! Michal the daughter of Saul, We know neither the day nor the whom she brought up for hour. Watch and pray ! Adriel the son of Barzillai the Meholathite : and he delivered them into the hands of the Gibeonites, and they hanged them in the hill before the LORD: and they fell all seven together, and were put to death in the days of harvest, in the first days, in the beginning of barley harvest. And Rizpah the daughter of Aiah took sackcloth, and spread it for her upon the rock, from the beginning of harvest until water dropped upon them out of heaven, and suffered neither the birds of the air to rest on them by day, nor the beasts of the field by night. And it was told David what Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, the concubine of Saul, had done.
12 By this act of pious respect to » And David went and took the memory of the dead, David gave the bones of Saul and the public evidence that he had no perbones of Jonathan his son
sonal enmity to the family of Saul. from the men of Jabesh-gilead, which had stolen them from the street of Beth-shan, where the Philistines had hanged them, when the Philistines had slain Saul in Gilboa: and he brought up from thence the bones of Saul and the bones of Jonathan his son; and they gathered the bones of them that were hanged. And the bones of Saul and Jonathan his son buried they in the country of Benjamin in Zelah, in the sepulchre of Kish his father : and they performed all that the king commanded. And after that God was intreated for the land. Moreover the Philistines had yet war again with Israel; and David went down, and his servants with him, and fought against the Philistines : and David waxed faint. And Ishbibenob, which was of the sons of the giant, the weight of whose spear weighed three hundred shekels of brass in weight, he being girded with a new sword, thought to have slain David. But Abishai the son of Zeruiah succoured him, and smote the Philistine, and killed him. Then the men of David sware unto him, saying, Thou shalt go no more out with us to battle, that thou quench not the light of Israel. And it came to pass after this, that there was again a battle with the Philistines at Gob: then Sibechai the Hushathite slew Saph, which was of the sons of the giant. And there was again a battle in Gob with the Philistines, where Elhanan the son of Jaare-oregim, a Beth-lehemite, slew the brother of Goliath the Gittite, the staff of whose spear was like a weaver's beam. And there was yet a battle in Gath, where was a man of great stature, that had on every hand six fingers, and on every foot six toes, four and twenty in number; and he also was born to the giant. And when he defied Israel, Jonathan the son of Shimeah the brother of David slew him. These four were born to the giant in Gath, and fell by the hand of David, and by the hand of his servants.
Good sovereigns are justly called "the light of Israel.” These make the law of God their daily study, and prayer to Him their daily delight. In all their high and arduous duties, they seek and are led by that Spirit of holiness and wisdom for which they pray. They adorn the doctrine of God their Saviour in all things. Their example gives strength to Christian faith, and confirms Christian hope. Well is it for us all, when the great ones of the earth reflect upon the extended influence of their example! They little think, perhaps, that many are encouraged to seek the ways of religion, still more are induced to keep therein, by seeing the rich and the mighty, the learned and the wise, worshipping at the throne of grace ; thence looking for guidance and direction, thence seeking unfailing riches and unfading honours, and taking as their guide the word of God-a light unto their feet, and a lantern unto their paths.
EVENING. 2 SAMUEL xxiv. * And again the anger of the
i God foreknew that this sin, as it Lord was kindled against Is- showed a distrust in Him, would rael, and he moved David bring its own deserved punishment;
evenas when Israel asked a king from against them to say, Go, among men, and Israelites flesh for number Israel and Judah. food. David's sin was the greater, for For the king said to Joab
in his pride he resisted the remon
strance of Joab and his captains. the captain of the host, which was with him, Go now through all the tribes of Israel, from Dan even to Beer-sheba, and number ye the people, that I may know the number of the people. And Joab said unto the king, Now the Lord thy God add unto the people, how many soever they be, an hundredfold, and that the eyes of my lord the king may see it: but why doth my lord the king delight in this thing ?' Notwithstanding the king's word prevailed against Joab and against the captains of the host. And Joab and the captains of the host went out from the presence of the king, to number the people of Israel. And they passed over Jordan, and pitched in Aroer, on the right side of the city that lieth in the midst of the river of Gad, and toward Jazer: then they came to Gilead, and to the land of Tahtim-hodshi; and they came to Dan-jaan, and about to Zidon, and came to the strong hold of Tyre, and to all the cities of the Hivites, and
of the Canaanites : and they went out to the south of Judah, eren to Beer-sheba. So when they had gone through all the land, they came to Jerusalem at the end of nine months and twenty days. And Joab gave up the sum of the number of the people unto the king : and there were in Israel eight hundred thousand valiant men that drew the sword ; and the men of Judah were five hundred thousand men. 'And David's
10 How surely conscience at last heart smote him after that he speaks, and a man's “ sin finds him
out !" Sin is folly as well as wickedhad numbered the people. Can any folly be greater than And David said unto the that of forfeiting eternity for time! LORD, I have sinned greatly Blessed change when conviction in that I have done : and
of sin is followed by change of heart
and of purpose. now, I beseech thee, O LORD, take away the iniquity of thy servant; for I have done very foolishly. For when David was up in the morning, the word of the LORD came unto the prophet Gad, David's seer, saying, Go and say unto David, Thus saith the LORD, I offer thee three things ; choose thee one of them, that I may do it unto thee. So Gad came to David, and told him, and said unto him, Shall seven years of famine come unto thee in thy land ? or wilt thou flee three months before thine enemies, while they pursue thee? or that there be three days' pestilence in thy land ? now advise, and see what answer I shall return to him that sent me.
And David said unto Gad, I am in a great strait : let us fall now into the hand of the Lord; for his mercies are great : and let me not fall into the hand of man. So the LORD sent a pestilence upon Israel from the morning even to the time appointed : and there died of the people from Dan even to Beer-sheba seventy thousand men. And when the angel stretched out his hand upon Jerusalem to destroy it, the Lord repented him of the evil, and said to the angel that destroyed the people, It is enough : stay now thine hand. And the angel of the LORD was by the threshingplace of Araunah the Jebusite. 17 And
17 How affecting is this wretchedDavid spake unto the LORD ness! His noble mind witnessing the when he saw the angel that sufferings of thousands, caused by his smote the people, and said,
sin, sinks with shame and horror.
Few feelings are more dreadful ! Lo, I have sinned, and I have
Let us each be warned, that our own done wickedly: but these individual sins may cause misery to sheep, what have they done? others as well as to ourselves. jet thine hand, I pray thee, be against me, and against my father's house. And Gad
18 On mount Moriah ; the scene of came that day to David, and the offering of Isaac in a former age,
said unto him, Go up, rear and the spot on which the temple an altar unto the Lord in the was afterwards built. threshingfloor of Araunah the Jebusite. And David, according to the saying of Gad, went up as the LORD commanded. And Araunah looked, and saw the king and his servants coming on toward him: and Araunah went out, and bowed himself before the king on his face upon the ground. And Araunah said, Wherefore is my lord the king come to his servant? And David said, To buy the threshingfloor of thee, to build an altar unto the Lord, that the plague may be stayed from the people. And Araunah said unto David, Let my lord the king take and offer up what seemeth good unto him : behold, here be oxen for burnt sacrifice, and threshing instruments and other instruments of the oxen for wood. All these things did Araunah, as a king, give unto the king. And Araunah said unto the king, The LORD thy God accept
24 Let our offering be that of our rrill: thee.
24 And the king said To obey is better than aught else, unto Araunah, Nay; but I through the all-perfect sacrifice of
the Lamb of God. will surely buy it of thee at a price : neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the LORD my God of that which doth cost me nothing. So David bought the threshingfloor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver. And David built
25 Blessed be God, who, when He there an altar unto the Lord, looks to his judgments, remembereth and offered burnt offerings mercy; and stays the plague of sin and peace offerings. So the and misery for his Son's sake. LORD was intreated for the land, and the plague was stayed from Israel.
The eighth Sunday after Trinity.
MORNING. 1 Kings xüi. And, behold, there came a 1 The sin of Jeroboam was twofold. man of God out of Judah by He himself invaded the ministerial the word of the LORD unto functions, by burning incense, which
was part of the priest's office; and, Beth-el : and Jeroboam stood
as we learn from verse 33, he “orby the altar to burn incense. dained priests out of undue tribes, to 2 And he cried against the offer unto God.” altar in the word of the LORD, 2 This was fulfilled 340 years afterand said, O altar, altar, thus wards, and B.c. 635 : the fulfilment
of so specific a prophecy must have saith the LORD; Behold, a
afforded to the Jews of that times child shall be born unto the the record of it affords to us nowhouse of David, Josiah by a most convincing evidence of the he offer the priests of the high places that burn incense upon thee, and men's bones shall 3 God deigned to warn Jeroboam. be burnt upon thee. • And When is it that the Lord is not he gave a sign the same day, gracious and longsuffering ! saying, This is the sign which the Lord hath spoken ; Behold, the altar shall be rent, and the ashes that are upon it shall be poured out. • And it came to pass, when king Jeroboam tributive justice ! The offending
truth of the word of God. name; and upon thee shall
+ What a striking instance of reheard the saying of the man hand rendered powerless! O God, of God, which had cried strengthen my faith in the same against the altar in Beth-el, thine almighty power, to stay the that he put forth his hand hands stretched out against thy ser
vants and against thine honour now! from the altar, saying, Lay hold on him. And his hand, which he put forth against him, dried up, so that he could not pull it in again to him. The altar also was rent, and the ashes poured out from the altar, according to the sign which the man of God had given by the word of the LORD. 6 And the
6 How placable always is a religious king answered and said unto spirit! How ready ever to overcome the man of God, Intreat now evil with good ! No hesitation in the face of the LORD thy the man of God to intercede for the God, and pray for me, that very being who had insulted his
office, and mocked his services. may be restored me again. And the man of God besought the LORD, and the king's hand was restored him again, and became as it was before. And the king said unto the man of God, Come home with me, and refresh thyself, and I will give thee a reward. And the man of God said unto the king, If thou wilt give me half thine house, I will not go in with thee, neither will I eat bread nor drink water in this place : for so was it charged me by the word of the Lord, saying, Eat no bread, nor drink water, nor turn again by the same way that thou camest. he went another way, and returned not by the way that he came to Beth-el. Now there dwelt an old prophet in Beth-el; and his sons came and told him all the works that the man of God had done that day in Beth-el: the words which he had spoken unto the king, them they told also to their father. And their father said unto them, What way went he? For his sons had seen what way the man of God went, which came from Judah. And he said unto his sons, Saddle me the ass. So they saddled him the ass : and he rode thereon, and went after the man of God, and found him sitting under an oak : and he said unto him, Art thou the man of God that camest