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the love of women. How are the mighty fallen, and the weapons of war perished o!”

Such is the history. Let us ponder the circumstances seriously, as they are recorded for our instruction in righteousness; let us mark the evil of bitter envy in Saul; the excellency of disinterested love in Jonathan; the sound wisdom and integrity of David; and, above all, the faithfulness of the Almighty to his faithful people.

Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivereth him out of them all. He keepeth all his bones, not one of them is broken. Evil shall slay the wicked; and they that hate the righteous shall be desolate. The Lord redeemeth the soul of his servants: and none of them that trust in him shall be desolate 1."

To Him, my brethren, let us all come in the name of Jesus Christ, to ask forgiveness of our sins that are past; for which of us may not see in the evil recorded in this narrative, too much to remind him of himself? and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness; for which of us may not see something also which is a picture of some root of bitterness still remaining ? “ From envy, hatred, and malice” especially, “good Lord, deliver us?." How miserably had Saul sold himself to a cruel taskmaster, when he had yielded himself to be the servant of his envy to obey it! How wretched did his life thenceforth become! What a load of self-condemnation lay upon him, and what poison rankled in him, what an inward conflict tore his soul to pieces, till the time came of his hopeless death! Create in us a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within us. Cast us not away from thy presence; and take not thy Holy Spirit from us :. Enable us to “ walk in love as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savour *." Through evil report and good report, let us, like David, hold fast our integrity, and strive to overcome evil with good; and under all circumstances, like Jonathan, let us

2 Sam. i. 19-27. 1 Ps. xxxiv. 19–22. 3 See Ps. li. 10, 11.

* Eph. v. 2.

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"give honour where honour is due 5,” and “make much of them that fear the Lord ® ;” and “look not every man on his own things but every man also on the things of others ?.” For let us not suppose, my brethren, that Jonathan was not a great gainer by his pious and disinterested conduct. He died, indeed, with his father on mount Gilboa, and left the kingdom and the cares of it to another; but “right dear in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints 8.” He entered into peace as certainly as he walked through life in uprightness. May we all “ die the death of the righteous,” and, not for the circumstances, which let us leave to God, but for the substance of it, let our “ last end be like his 9." But if so, we must walk by faith and set our affections on things above, and our faith must work by love ; for this alone is to put on Christ. “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity."

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5 Rom. xiii. 7.
7 Phil. ii. 4.
I Numb. xxiii. 10.

o Ps. xv. 4.

Ps. cxvi. 13. Prayer Book version. 1 Cor. xiii. 13.





1 SAMUEL xxv. 39.

And when David heard that Nabal was dead, he said, Blessed be

the Lord, that hath pleaded the cause of my reproach from the hand of Nabal, and hath kept his servant from evil: for the Lord hath returned the wickedness of Nabal

upon his own head.”

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UPON the default and disobedience of Saul, the first
king of Israel, it pleased Almighty God to nominate
David to be his successor. Saul was not to be imme-
diately deposed, nor was David authorized to take any
steps to possess himself of the throne before it should
be vacated by Saul's death. Nevertheless Samuel had
anointed David by God's orders; and this appears to
have been generally known throughout the country,
so that many looked up to David as their future
sovereign; and Saul, notwithstanding David's quiet
behaviour and loyalty to himself, regarded him as the
person who would prevent the succession of his own
family to their father's honours.
And the thought of this, added to the envy

which he had conceived in his mind, on account of the applause which David's valour and wisdom had obtained for him, led Saul to persecute David and to plot against him for his destruction. David fled, therefore, since he could not and would not resist the Lord's anointed.

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And when the events took place, which are referred to in the text, he was dwelling with a body of men who shared his fortunes in the wilderness of Paran.

In this part of the country there was also abiding at the time a man of much wealth, called Nabal. The name signifies, we are told afterwards, a fool; and it well befitted him that bore it, for “ folly was with him "," as the passage which I am about to discourse upon will testify; at the same time it shows the consequences of Nabal's foolish and wicked conduct. Besides this, however, we shall find the whole history very useful, not only for our caution in such a condition as Nabal was placed in, but also for guidance and consolation under other circumstances of trial and difficulty.

Nabal, it appears, was, in worldly respects, a very great man. He had, particularly, “three thousand sheep and a thousand goats ?;" and at the time we are speaking of, he was shearing his sheep and had made a great feast in his house on that occasion.

David, who was reduced to great necessity in the wilderness, heard of this, and he thought it a good opportunity for seeking some relief for himself and his band. He sent out ten young men therefore, saying, “Get you up to Carmel, and go to Nabal, and greet him in my name: and thus shall ye say to him that liveth in prosperity, Peace be both to thee, and peace be to thine house, and peace be unto all that thou hast. And now I have heard that thou hast shearers : now thy shepherds which were with us, we hurt them not, neither was there aught missing unto them, all the while they were in Carmel. Ask thy young men, and they will show thee. Wherefore let the young men find favour in thine eyes: for we come in a good day: give, I pray thee, whatsoever cometh to thine hand unto thy servants, and to thy son David 3.” Nothing could be more modest, friendly, and respectful, than this message was.

And there was abundant reason

1 1 Sam. xxv. 25.

2 Ver. 2.

3 Ver. 5-8.

why Nabal should have cheerfully and liberally complied with the request contained in it. He was rich, and could very well afford it. The petitioners came “in a good day,” when the sight of his own wealth and prosperity ought to have opened his heart to reflect with gratitude on God's goodness to himself, in causing his lot to have fallen on so fair a ground, and on his own responsibility, as a faithful steward of the Divine bounty, to succour the distresses of his less prosperous neighbour; all, moreover, which David's messengers were instructed to say concerning their master was strictly true, as Nabal's servants could have told him, and did in fact acknowledge. So that he was under great personal obligation to David and his men, being indeed indebted to them for the safeguard and security, in that wild country, of those very flocks and herds which he was now looking upon with the same sort of selfish satisfaction that occupied the mind of him mentioned in the parable, whose grounds had brought forth plentifully 4, and who therefore thought that he had much goods laid up for him for many years, and that he had nothing to do but to eat and drink and enjoy himself. Nabal knew, moreover, that David was, in his general character, a just and good man; and if this was not enough to have disposed him to kindness towards him, he could not have been ignorant of another thing which ought to have made him supply his wants with zeal. David was the Lord's anointed; the person by whom He had already wrought a great deliverance in Israel by his victory over Goliath and the consequent utter defeat of the Philistine army; and the man after God's own heart besides, whom He had declared his intention to set upon the throne in due

Nabal, therefore, had opportunity, if he would have considered it, to have received “a righteous man in the name of a righteous man,” and so to have obtained for himself “a righteous man's reward 5;" to have shown himself on God's side by his care for his chosen servant,



4 Luke xii. 16–21.

5 Matt. x. 41.

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