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me ?

description of the separation of the sisters, scious of the high honour which awaited when their mother entreats them to leave him, that when Samuel emphatically asks, her.

“Is not the desire of the people on thee, and

on thy father's house ?” he answers with And they lined up their voice and wept again : and Or pah kissed her mother-in-law; but Ruth clave unto perfect humility and simplicity of heart, And she said, Behold, thy sister-in-law is gone back

Am not I a Benjamite, or the smallest of the tribes of unto her people, and unto her gods : return thou aser Israel ? and my family the least of all the families of the thy sister-in-law.

tribe of Benjamin ? wherefore then speakest thou so to And Ruth said, Entrcat me not to leave thee, or to return from following aser thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy peo. | Yet, ple shall be my people, and thy God my God : Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried :

it was so, that when he had turned his back to the Lord do so to me, and more also, if aught but death

go from Samuel, God gave him another heart. part thee and me.

We have no reason to suppose an ambiIn speaking of poetry as it relates to the tious heart, but rather a heart enlarged with passions, and to the minor impulses, and finer sensibilities of human nature, as well and filled with the spirit of prophecy, and

a conception of the favour of the Almighty, as to the scenes and circumstances most

with all heavenward aspirations; so that, calculated for their developement, we have under a sense of the responsibility of sendno hesitation in pointing out the life and

ing forth as a king, an edict among his character of Saul, as one, abounding per- people, he built an altar unto the Lord, and haps more than any other in the Scriptures, I asked counsel of God before he went down with poetical interest. The book of Job is after the Philistines. Thus far we find him one of poetry itself, yet the character of the obedient as a man, and faithful as a covesublime sufferer does not afford the variety exhibited in that of Saul. Prostrate in the reign; for his heart was yet uncorrupted by dust of the earth, and still holding commu

the temptations which surround a throne: nion with the Deity, we behold him as an

but the power of leading and governing isolated being, struck out from the common

others, soon produced its natural and frelot, and set apart for a particular dispensa- quent consequence-a disposition to be tion, whose severity was sufficient to fill a

guided by his own inclination, and to resist more human heart with bitterness. But the all higher authority. Thus, when comexperience of Saul is that of a more ordi- manded to go and smite the Amalekites, nary man, with whom we can fully sympa: infant and suckling, ox and sheep, canel

and utterly to slay both men and women, thize, as we go along with him through and ass, he spared Agag and the best of those great national and social changes, by the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatwhich men of common mould are often placed before the world in a point of view lings, and of the lambs, and all that was

a so striking and important, as to entitle them good, and would not utterly destroy them; to the name of great. We recognize in the

thereby transgressing the great paramount

law, no less necessary for the right govking of Israel the same motives and feelings by which men in all ages have been influ- ernment of an infant mind, than for an enced; yet while we speak of him as a less infant world—the law of obedience. extraordinary character than Job, it is only

Then came the word of the Lord unto Samuel, saying, so far as the features of his character are It repenteth me that I have set up Saul to be king: for more intelligible and familiar to our obser

he is turned back from following me, and hath not per: vation and experience; for everything and he cried unto the Lord all night.

formed my commandments. And it grieved Samuel; recorded of him in his eventful history, And when Samuel rose up early to meet Saul in the bespeaks a mind imbued at the same time morning, it was told Samuel

, saying, Saul came up to

Carmel, and, behold, he set him up a place, and is gone with power and sensibility, and a soul capa- about, and passed on, and gone down to Gilgal. ble of the extremes both of good and evil. And Samuel came to Saul: and Snul snid unto him, We behold him first a simple youth-a

Blessed be thou of the Lord : I have performed the comchoice young man, and a goodly, so uncon- And Samuel said, What meaneth then this bleating of

mandment of the Lord.

fat of rams.

the sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen which strel chosen to come and charm away, with I hear And Saul said, They have brought them from the

the melody of his harp, the evil spirit from Amalekites : for the people spared the best of the sheep the mind of his predecessor in authority; and of the oxen, to sacrifice unto the Lord thy God; and and that Saul should arise relieved and rethe rest we have utterly destroyed. Then Samuel said unto Saul, Stay, and I will tell thee

freshed by the music of the instrument of his what the Lord hath said to me this wight. And he said | future torment. For it is not long before envy unto him, Say on.

enters into his heart, adding its envenomed And Samuel said, When thou wast little in thine own sight, wast thou not made the head of the tribes of Israel, stings to the anguish he is already enduring. and the Lord anointed thee king over Israel ?

He hears the song of the dancing women as And the Lord sent thee on a journey, and said, Go and they meet him with tabrets and with joy, utterly destroy the sinners of the Amalekites, and fight against them until they be consumed.

answering one another, and saying, that Wherefore then didst thou not obey the voice of the Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his Lord, but didst fly upon the spoil, and didst evil in the sight of the Lord ?

tens of thousands, and he asks, What can

David have more but the kingdom ? Yet After this reproof from Samuel, Saul again after this he promises him his daughter in endeavours to justify himself by proving that marriage, but quickly repenting him of the the reservation he had made was solely for purposed honour, bestows her upon another. the purpose of sacrificing to the Lord, when Again, hoping she may be a snare to him, the prophet emphatically asks,

he offers him his second daughter; and then

we are told that he saw and knew that the Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices

, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, Lord was with David, and that his daughter to obey is belter than sacrifice, and to hearken than the loved him. And Saul was yet the more

afraid of David ; and he became his enemy To Samuel, who seems hitherto to have continually: yet once more at the earnest stood in the capacity of an intercessor be- intercession of Jonathan, Saul consents to tween him and the Divine Majesty, Saul receive David again into his presence. now humbles himself, and entreats that he

And Jonathan called David, and Jonathan shewed him will pardon his sin, and turn again with him, all those things. And Jonathan brought David to Saul, that he may worship the Lord. And when and he was in his presence as in times past. still rejected, he humbles himself yet more, fought with the Philistines, and slew them with a great

And there was war again: and David went out and and prays (Oh! how naturally !) that at slaughter; and they fled from him. least the prophet will honor him before the And the evil spirit from the Lord was upon Saul, as he

sat in his house with his javelin in his hand: and David people, that the world may not witness his

played with his hand. degradation. And now Samuel yields, but And Saul sought to smite David even to the wall with we are told soon after that he came no more

the javelin; but he slipped away out of Saul's presence,

and he smote the javelin into the wall: and David fled, to see Saul until the day of his death; never

and escaped that night. theless he mourned for him, and the Lord repented that he had made Saul king over The struggle was now passed

The earIsrael.

ły tendency of the soul of the king to seek,

and to do good, was finally subdued, and he And the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord troubled himn.

went forth to pursue the chosen of the Lord,

as an open and avowed enemy; yet, enHow descriptive is this passage of this vouring to justify himself by proving that gradual falling away from Divine favour, David had first risen up against him, he apwhich sometimes darkens and weighs down peals to his servants, and fully conscious the soul, filling it with gloomy thoughts, and that his cause would not stand the test of sad forebodings, long before the melancholy impartial examination, he appeals to their change is perceptible in the outward charac-interest, and to their compassion, rather than ter. And how strikingly does it illustrate to their judgment. the hidden, and to us mysterious workings of the great plan of Providence, that the fu- Hear now, ye Benjamites; will the son of Jesse givo ture king of Israel, already secretly appointed every one of you flelds and vineyards, and make you all

caplains of thousands, and captains of hundreds; by Divine commission, should be the min- That all of you have conspired against me, and ther. me ?"

unto thee.

die ?

lo none that she weth mo that my son hath made a league put away all who had familiar spirits, and with the son of Jesse, and there is none of you that is

wizards, out of the land, he stoops to dissorry for me, or sheweth unto me that my son hath stirred up my servant against me, to lie in wait, as at guise himself, and to go at midnight to cast this day?

his forlorn hopes upon the enchantments of

the witch of Endor Filled with rancour and jealousy, heightened by the rising fame and influence of

And he said to the woman, I pray thee, divine unto me David, Saul pursues him to the wilderness by a familiar spirit, and bring up him, whom I shall name of Engedi, where we meet with a remark

And the woman said unto him, Behold, thou knowest able instance of forbearance on the part of a what Saul hath done, how he hath cut off those that have persecuted man. With the skirt of the familiar spirits, and the wizards, out of the land: where

fore then layest thou a stare for my life, to cause me to king's robe in his hand, David shows him that he had advanced so near his person And Saul sware to her by the Lord, saying, As the as to have been able with the same facility Lord liveth, there shall no punishment happen to thee

for this thing. to destroy his life, but that he spared him

Then said the woman, Whom shall I bring up unto from reverence for the Lord's anointed.

thee? And he said, Bring me up Sumuel. When, struck at once with a sense of his And when the woman saw Samuel, she cried with a

loud voice; and the woman spake to Saul, saying, Why own recent danger, with the honourable

hast thou deceived me? for thou art Saul. dealing of one whom he believed to be an

And the king said unto her, Be not afraid : for what enemy, with the sight of the man he had sawest thou? And the woman said unto Saul, I saw once loved-loved in the days when his gods ascending out of the earth

And he said unto her, What form is he of? And she heart was not as now, seared with the said, An old man cometh up; and he is covered with & worst of passions; and perhaps touched

mantle. And Saul perceived that it was Samuel, and he

stooped with his face to the ground, and bowed himself. more than all with the tones of the voice

And Samuel said to Saul, Why hast thou disquieted which in those happier days had been his me, to bring me up? And Sand answered, I am sore dis. music, Saul exclaims, Is this thy voice, my

tressed; for the Philistines make war against me, and

God is departed from me, and answereth me no more, son David ? and then he lifted up his voice

neither by prophets, nor by dreams: therefore I have and wept. After this burst of tenderness, called thee, that thou mayst make known unto me what

I shall do. his heart is opened to express the full sense

Then said Samuel, Wherefore then dost thou ask of he had of David's superiority, and the strong

me, seeing the Lord is doperted from thee, and is become feeling ever present to his mind, that he thine enemy? should one day be compelled to resign the

And the Lord hath done to him as he spake by me:

for the Lord hath rent the kingdom out of thine hand, reins of government into his hands.

and given it to thy neighbour, even to David :

Because thon obeyedst not the voice of the Lord, nor And he said to David, Thou art more righteong than executedst his fierce wrath upon Amalek, therefore bath 1: for thou hast rewarded me good, whereas I have re- the Lord done this thing unto thee this day. warded thee evil.

Moreover the Lord will also deliver Israel with thee And now, behold, I know well that thou shalt surely into the band of the Philistines : and to-morrow shalt be king, and that the kingdom of Israel shall be esta- thou and thy sons be with me: the Lord rlso shall de blished in thine hand.

liver the host of Issuel into the hand of the Philistines.

Then Saul rell straightway all along on the earth, and A second instance of a similar kind oc

was sore afraid, because of the words of Samuel : and

there was no strength in him ; for he had eaten no bread curs, in which Saul appears to be struck, all the day, nor all the night. though less forcibly, with the generosity of David, whom he still addresses as his son, How affecting is this picture of the abject and of whom he again prophesies, that he state of a fallen king-fallen not so much “shall do great things, and shall still pre- from earthly honour, as from the countevail.” But these transient ebullitions of

nance and protection of the King of kings. former feeling pass away before the gather- Even Saul, the envious persecutor of his ing influence of David, and Saul humbles unoffending successor, becomes an object of himself to seek consolation under his falling compassion, when he answers to the quesfortunes from the last miserable and barren tion of Samuel, “Why hast thou disquietel resource of the utterly destitute in soul.

Because I am sore distressed." Samuel is dead, and though the king had, And when it is said that “he stooped with from the impulse of his better judgment, his face to the ground," and finally “fell


straightway all along upon the earth," there And we see the same covenant binding

can scarcely be a stronger description of to-them together through all the changes of tal abandonment of soul under a deep sense their after life ; for Jonathan, who loved the of the overwhelming might of Omnipotence; simple minstrel boy that charmed away the as well as of a melancholy presage of the evil spirit from his father, not the envy entire uprooting of all that he had trusted of Saul when that minstrel became a man and gloried in. Yet scarcely trusted in, for of war, and multitudes were gathered behe had greatly feared the thing which was neath his banner. And David, persecuted about to come upon him, and which the aw- as he was by the father of his friend, never ful voice of the prophet risen from the dead once betrayed towards him or his, the bitterhad solemnly confirmed.

ness of an injured spirit, but followed him The doom of the king of Israel was now even to his death, with the reverence due to sealed. And when the Philistines arose and the Lord's anointed. It is then that he pours fought against Israel, and “followed hard forth, both for Saul and Jonal"an, that beauafter Saul and his sons, and the Philistines tiful and affecting lamentation, which no slew Jonathan, and Abinadab, and Melchi- language can exceed in poetry and pathos. shua, Saul's sons;"

The beauty of Israel is slain upon thy high places :

how are the mighty fallen! And the battle went sore against Saul, and the archers

Tell it not in Gath, publish it not in the streets of As. hit him; and he was sore wounded of the archers;

kelon; lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice, lest Then said Saul unto his armour-bearer, Draw thy

the daughters of the uncircumcised triumph. sword, and thrust me through therewith; lest these un.

Ye mountains of Gilboa, let there be no dew, neitber circumcised come and thrust me through, and nbuse me.

let there be rain, upon you, nor fields of offerings : for But his armour-beurer would not; for he was sore afraid.

there the shield of the mighty is vilely cast a way, the Therefore Saul took a sword, and sell upon it.

shield of Saul, as though he had not been anointed with Through the whole of this history, we From the blood of the slain, from the fat of the mighty, trace the same strong and natural develope

the bow of Jonathan turned not back, and the sword of

Saul returned not empty.. ment of feeling, which all our most talented

Saul and Jonathan were lovely and pleasant in their authors aspire to in their descriptions, and lives, and in death they were not divided : they were upon which they chiefly depend for the po

swifter than eagles, they were stronger than lions.

Ye daughters of Israel, weep over Saul, who clothed etical interest of what they describe. But you in scarlet, with other delights, who put on ornawhile in the character of Saul are forcibly ments of gold upon your apparel. portrayed the fatal workings of the passions

How are the mighty fallen in the midst of the battle!

O Jonathan, thou wast slain in thine high places. of envy, jealousy, and remorse, accompanied I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan : very with many of those delicate shades, which pleasant hast thou been unto me: thy love to me was

wonderful, passing the love of woman. denote the latest yearnings after good, and

How are the mighty fallen, and the weapons of war the earliest tendency to evil, the character perished ! of David is scarcely less poetical in its strength, and beauty, and consistency, va

There is an instance of maternal affec|

ried by a few instances of natural weakness, tion recorded in the 21st chapter of the same producing their own atonement in the humi- book, which in speaking of the strength of liation, the abasement, the agony of mind, and human passions ought not to be passed over the final welcome back to Divine love, by without notice. It is where David was comwhich they are succeeded.


manded to destroy the remnant of the house The attachment between David and Jona- of Saul, and seven sons of the late king than is perhaps the most beautiful and per- were delivered up into his hand, but he fect instance of true friendship which we spared Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan, have on record. As a shepherd, and a

because of the Lord's oath that was between prince, their first covenant is made.

David and Jonathan.

Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul. | And Jonathan stripped off the robe that was upon him, and gave it to David, and his garments, even to bis sword, and to his bow, and to his girdle.

But the king took the two sons of Rizpah, the daughter of Aiah, whom she bare unto Baul, Armoni and Mephi. bosheth ; and the five sons of Michal, the daughter of Saul, whom she brought up for Adriel, the son of Bar. zillai, the Meholathite;

And he delivered them into the hands of the Gibeon of ordinary discussion, in a sphere more ites, and they hanged them in the hill before the Lord : and they fell all seven together, and were put to death

exclusively appropriated to considerations in the days of harvest, in the first days, in the beginning of infinitely greater importance. of barley harvest.

Some further progress may however be And Rizpah, the daughter of Aiah, took sackcloth, and spread it for her upon the rock, from the beginning of justifiable in the course we hope we have harvest

, until water dropped upon them out of heaven, hitherto pursued without profaning what is and suffered neither the birds of the air to rest on them

pure, or violating what is sacred; and we by day, nor the beasts of the field by night.

consequently pause at that passage in the of all the instances, imaginary or real, book of Kings, in which the prophet Elijah handed down to us by fable or history, we is described as escaping from his enemies have not one of a more intense and devoted into the solitude of the wilderness, where, love than this. A solitary woman seated casting himself upon the ground, he exupon a rock, watching the wasting bodies claims, “It is enough ; now, O Lord, take of her two dead sons, day after day-night away my life, for I am not better than my after night-with no shelter but the open fathers." canopy of heaven-no repose but the sack- Such were the human feelings contending cloth spread upon the rock, an emblem of for the empire of his mind, that he was her own abasement-no hope but to see the almost weary of the service of his Divine last-the very last of all she loved-no con- Master, accompanied as it was with disapsolation but her constancy-no support but pointment, hatred, and persecution. How the magnitude of her own incommunicable simple, and yet how admirably adapted to grief. It was the beginning of harvest, and his peculiar state, are the means here adopted the feet of a busy multitude might come and to bring him again to a sense of the supergo beneath that solitary rock-the shout of intending care and love of his heavenly gladness—the acclamation of the joyous Father. reapers might be heard from the valleys

And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold, below; but there she sat in her loneliness

then an angel touched him, and said unto him, Arise and upon the dismal watch tower of death, eat. faithful to her silent and sacred trust, suffer the coals, and a cruse of water at his head. And he did

And he looked, and behold, there was a cake baken on ing neither the birds of the air to rest on

eat and drink, and laid him down again. them by day, nor the beasts of the field by And the angel of the Lord came again a second time, night.

and touched him, and said, Arise and eat; because the

journey is too great for thee. The whole life of the prophet Elijah, And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the especially his last appearance upon earth, strength of that meat forty days and forty nights anto is remarkable for an interest whose least

Horeb the mount of God.

And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there, recommendation is that of being highly po- and behold, the word of the Lord came unto him, Whai etical; for deeply as this subject has occu

dost thou here, Elijah ?

And he said, I have been very jealous for the Lord God pied the heart of the writer, it must be

of hosts : for the children of Israel have forsaken thy confessed that in pursuing it through the covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy proHoly Scriptures, and tracing its connexion phets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and with the revelation of those sacred truths they seek my life, to take it away.

And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount beupon which depend our hopes of eternity, fore the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a the consideration of poetry loses much of

great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in

pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not its importance by comparison, and the task in the wind : and after the wind an earthquake; but the of the writer becomes like that of one who Lord was not in the earthquake. culls with adventurous hand, the flowers

And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not

in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. that grow around the fountain of life. This

And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that be wrapped view of the subject would of itself be suffi- his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the encient to prevent any near approach to the tering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice

unto him, and said, What dost thou here, Elijah ? doctrinal parts of the Scriptures, whose strictly spiritual import, though still couched Where, through the wide range of modern in language both figurative and poetical in literature can we find a passage to be comthe extreme, places them above the reach pared with this, for the conciseness and sim

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