1 Samuel 17:58
"Whose son are you, young man?" asked Saul. "I am the son of your servant Jesse of Bethlehem," David replied.
Sermons
Heredity and CelebrityGreat Thoughts1 Samuel 17:58
Relation of Ancestry to CharacterJ. T. Davidson.1 Samuel 17:58
Spiritual IncongruitiesHenry Giles.1 Samuel 17:58
The Value of a Noble AncestryW. Hoyt, D. D.1 Samuel 17:58
Undeclared RoyaltyJ. Parker, D. D.1 Samuel 17:58
Your PedigreeT. De Witt Talmage.1 Samuel 17:58
Many of the battles which are waged on earth are not the Lord's. They are unnecessary and unrighteous. The end they seek and the means they adopt to attain it are evil. Other conflicts are only the Lord's in an inferior sense. Although not unnecessary, nor in themselves unrighteous, they are waged with secular aims and carnal weapons. But there is one which is the Lord's in the highest sense. It is a holy war; a conflict of the kingdom of light with the kingdom of darkness. Observe that -

1. The obligation is imposed by the Lord. "Fight the good fight of faith."

2. The adversaries are the adversaries of the Lord. "Principalities and powers," etc.

3. The soldiers are the people of the Lord. Those in whose hearts the principles of the kingdom of God are implanted - "righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost."

4. The Commander is the Anointed of the Lord. "The Captain of our salvation." "The Leader and Commander of the people."

5. The weapons are provided by the Lord. "Put on the whole armour of God" - "the armour of light."

6. The success is due to the Lord. He gives the strength which is needed: "teacheth our hands to war, and our fingers to fight," and "he will give you into our hands."

7. The end is the glory of the Lord. When it is over God will be "all in all." "Who is on the Lord's side?" - D.







Whose son art thou, young man?
I am not surprised that when this shepherd boy (ushered in and introduced by Abner, commander-in-chief) entered the Royal presence with the ghastly trophy, his fingers clutching the hair of Goliath's head, the king looked at him with admiring wonderment, and put the plain, straightforward question of my text, "Whose son art thou, young man?" It was natural that Saul should wish to know something of the antecedents of so brave a youth; doubtless, he wanted all the particulars about his age, the place of his birth, his upbringing, his occupation, and so forth; but he conceived that such signal valour must be hereditary and ancestral; so his first and main inquiry touched the parentage of the juvenile warrior, "Young man, who was your father?" Whatever views we may hold upon the subject of heredity, there cannot be a doubt as to the fact that qualities, moral, intellectual, and physical, are transmitted from father to son. Some families are noted for longevity; others for good looks; others for love of adventure. The aquiline nose runs in the line of the Buonapartes; the large lip in the House of Hapsburg; the bald head in the House of Hanover. In some instances there is a certain expression of countenance traceable to the third or fourth generation. I call on one of you at your lodging, and take up the portrait album on your table; and instantly say, as I point to a photograph there, though I never saw the original, "You don't need to tell me who that is; one can see at a glance that you are a chip of the old block." Mental qualities are transmitted too. In one case it is musical talent that descends; in another, the love of poetry; in a third, the gift of acquiring languages. And what is yet more to the point, moral tendencies, bad, good, and indifferent, are passed on from parent to child. Only last week I heard of a case in which a confirmed slave of alcohol actually said, "My father was a drunkard, and my grandfather was a drunkard before him; I shall be a drunkard too; we belong to a race of drunkards. I may as well accept my fate, it cannot be helped." On the other hand, noble and generous features of character appear sometimes to run in the blood. If there could be anything like a pious momentum coming from a long line of Christian progenitors, some of us ought to be godly indeed. St. Paul was not afraid of being misunderstood by Timothy when he wrote to him, "I thank God when I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice." And this suggests the truth, that on the mother's side, perhaps even more than the father's, this law of heredity seems to prevail. When David answered King Saul's question he made no mention of his mother, but there is nothing in that omission; for he quite understood the monarch's object, that he wished to know his family connection Could I be near you in the hour of strong temptation, when you are ready to belie all the holy memories of a pious home, I would whisper in your ear the question — till you would start back with loathing from the vice to which you were going to yield — "Whose son art thou, young man?"

I. My first word is to those of you WHO SAVE SPRUNG FROM A LOWLY PARENTAGE. If there is anything more utterly contemptible than for one who has risen a bit in the world to be ashamed of his humble origin, it is the conduct of him who ridicules his low-born brother. Sometimes we hear it remarked, with a sneer and a curl of the lip, concerning some young man who is doing well, and carrying all before him, "Oh, he has risen from the ranks!" Well, the more honour to him, if it is so; and the more shame upon the silly, contemptible snobbishness that could be guilty of such an utterance. It is in no spirit of cheap Radicalism that I say this. It is not a question either of patrician or plebeian sympathies at all. I will venture to say it is simple common sense. Blue blood, as it is called, is by no means the purest blood. I believe that some of you have far more reason to be proud of your pedigree than could you trace it to Tudor or Plantagenet.

II. My next word is upon the heavy responsibility that rests on you WHO HAVE BEEN BORN IN THE LINE OF A CHRISTIAN PARENTAGE. We shall not talk of rank now, but of character. You come out of a godly nest. Your father was a man of God, your mother a sincere believer. A long line of Christian inheritance is something to rejoice in. When a man can make out a genealogical tree of his own family, and point cub to me, that root, stem, branch, and twig were all holy, I say he has good cause to thank God, and esteem himself as belonging to the peerage of the skies. Well did William Cowper say —

"My boast is not that I deduce my birth

From loins enthroned, the rulers of the earth;

But higher far my proud pretensions rise —

The son of parents passed into the skies."Whose son art thou, young man? It is a frightful aggravation of a man's guilt when his whole life is a contradiction given to his father's counsels and his mother's prayers; when the child of a godly ancestry tramples on all the holy traditions and memories of the past, and determinedly breaks through the moral fences that had been set around him. Such persons generally make an awful rebound. The worst of men are apostates from the purest faith. Tell me what good influence a young man has resisted and defied, and I will give you the gauge of his depravity.

III. I am not afraid to put the question even to those of you WHO HAVE HAD NO SUCH ADVANTAGE. I thank God that I have seen many a clean bird come out of a foul nest. If ever a man might have been supposed to have had bad blood in his veins, it was Hezekiah, who was the son of one of the worst monarchs that ever reigned over Israel. He was cursed with a most polluted parental example. One might have said of that young man that he was born to vice. And yet he turned out a devout and holy man of God. Yes, Divine grace is stronger even than blood. History can supply many an instance, to the praise of Him who ofttimes finds the brightest diamonds in the darkest mines, and the richest pearls in the deepest seas.

IV. I feel that I cannot part with the text without giving it A PURELY SPIRITUAL MEANING, in respect of which there are but two paternities, and one or other of these each of you must own. Would to God that, as I address to you all the question, "Whose sons are ye, young men?" you could with one voice reply, "Behold, now are we the sons of God." "Ye are of your father, the devil," said Christ, with awful plainness of speech, to the unbelieving Jews; and let it never be forgotten that, unless we are the subjects of Divine adoption, we are all "the children of the wicked one." I tell you that, whether you realise it or not, you have, each of you, Royal blood in your veins. Your pedigree traces back to the King of kings. St. Luke goes right up to the fountain head when he finishes his genealogical table thus: "Which was the son of Enos, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the Son of God." Awake to the glorious fact, and claim your high inheritance! Amen.

(J. T. Davidson.)

The king saw, what you and I see, that this question of heredity is a mighty question. The longer I live the more I believe in blood — good blood, bad blood, pure blood, humble blood, honest blood, thieving blood, heroic blood, cowardly blood. The tendency may skip a generation or two, but it is sure to come out, as in a little child you sometimes see a similarity to a great grandfather whose picture hangs on the wall. That the physical and mental and moral qualities are inheritable is patent to anyone who keeps his eyes open. The similarity is so striking sometimes as to be amusing. Great families, regal or literary, are apt to have the characteristics all down through the generation, and what is more perceptible in such families may be seen on a smaller scale in all families. A thousand years have no power to obliterate the difference. Scottish blood means persistence, English blood means reverence for the ancient, Welsh blood means religiosity, Danish blood means fondness for the sea, Indian blood means roaming disposition, Celtic blood means fervidity, Roman blood means conquest. The Jewish facility for accumulation you may trace clear back to Abraham, of whom the Bible says "he was rich in silver and gold and cattle," and to Isaac and Jacob, who had the same characteristics. This law of heredity asserts itself without reference to social or political condition, for you sometimes find the ignoble in high place and the honourable in obscure place. A descendant of Edward I, a toll gatherer. A descendant of Edward II, a doorkeeper. A descendant of the Duke of Northumberland a trunk maker. Some of the mightiest families of England are extinct, while some of those most honoured in the peerage go back to an ancestry of hard knocks and rough exterior. This law of heredity is entirely independent of social or political conditions; for you find avarice and jealousy and sensuality and fraud having full swing in some families. The violent temper of Frederick William is an inheritance from Frederick the Great. It is not a theory founded by worldly philosophy, but by Divine authority. Do you not remember how the Bible speaks of a chosen generation, of the generation of the righteous, of the generation of vipers, of an untoward generation, of a stubborn generation, of the iniquity of the fathers visited upon the children unto the third and fourth generation? So that the text comes today with the force of a projectile hurled from mightiest catapult, "Whose son art thou, young man?" "Well," says someone, "that theory discharges me from all responsibility. Born of sanctified parents, we are bound to be good, and we cannot help ourselves. Born of unrighteous parentage, we are bound to be evil, and we cannot help ourselves." Two inaccuracies. As much as if you should say, "The centrifugal force in nature has a tendency to throw out everything to the periphery, and therefore everything will go out to the periphery." You know as well as I know that you can make the centripetal force overcome the centrifugal, and you can make the centrifugal overcome the centripetal. As when there is a mighty, tide of good in a family that may be overcome by determination to evil, as in the case of Aaron Burr, the libertine, who had for father President Burr, the consecrated; as in the case of Pierrepont, Edwards, the scourge of New York society seventy years ago, who had a Christian ancestry; while, on the other hand, some of the best men and woman of this day are those who have come of an ancestry of which it would not be courteous to speak in their presence. The practical and useful object of this sermon is to show to you that if you have come of a Christian ancestry, then you are solemnly bound to preserve and develop the glorious inheritance; or if you have come of a depraved ancestry, then it is your duty to brace yourself against the evil tendency. I want to arouse the most sacred memories of your heart while I make the impassioned interrogatory in regard to your pedigree: "Whose son are thou, thou young man?"

I. I ACCOST ALL THOSE WHO ARE DESCENDED OF A CHRISTIAN ANCESTRY. I do not ask if your parents were perfect. There are no perfect people now, and I do not suppose there were any perfect people then. You have a responsibility vast beyond all measurement. God will not let you off with just being as good as ordinary people when you had such extraordinary advantage. Ought not a flower planted in a hothouse be more healthy than a flower planted outside in the storm? Ought not a factory turned by the Housatonic do more work than a factory turned by a thin and shallow stream? Ought not you of great early opportunity be better than these who had cradle unblessed? Your Heavenly Father charges against you all the advantage of a pious ancestry — so many prayers, so much Christian example, so many kind entreaties — all these gracious influences, one tremendous aggregate, and He asks you for an account of it. Ought not you to be better than those who had no such advantage? Better have been a foundling picked up off the city commons than with such magnificent inheritance of consecration to turn out differently. Oh, the power of ancestral piety! Oh, the power of ancestral prayer!

II. I TURN FOR A MOMENT TO THOSE WHO HAD EVIL PARENTAGE, and I want to tell you that the highest thrones in heaven and the mightiest triumphs and the brightest crowns will be for those who had evil parentage, but who by the grace of God conquered — conquered. Find out what the family frailty is, and set body, mind, and soul in battle array. Conquer you will. I think the genealogical table was put in the first chapter of the New Testament not only to show our Lord's pedigree, but to show that a man may rise out of an ancestral line and beat back successfully all the influences of bad heredity. See in that genealogical table that good King Asa was born of vile King Abia. See in that genealogical table that Joseph and Mary and the most illustrious Being that ever touched our world, or ever will touch it, had in His ancestral line scandalous Rahab and Thamar, and Bathsheba. Perhaps the star of hope may point down to your manger. Perhaps you are to be the hero or the heroine that is to put down the brakes and stop that long line of genealogical tendencies, and switch it off on another track from that on which it has been running for a century. Estranged children from the homestead come back through the open gate of adoption. There is royal blood in our veins; there are crowns on our escutcheon. Our Father is King, our Brother is King; we may be kings and queens unto God forever. "Whose son art thou, thou young man?" Son of God! Heir of immortality! Take your inheritance!

(T. De Witt Talmage.)

Great Thoughts.
I confess I am rather interested in the whole subject of heredity. I have been at some pains to inform myself as to the calling or occupation of the fathers of many men who have risen to honourable distinction in the world; and, perhaps, you would like to have some of the results of that inquiry. I shall select a few at random taken from a very varied list. The distinguished astronomer Kepler was the son of an officer in the army; the poet Wordsworth and Sir Walter Scott, of attorneys; Chatterton, of a schoolmaster; Handel, of a surgeon; Thomas Hood and Samuel Johnson, of booksellers; Mozart, of a bookbinder; Blackstone, the eminent lawyer, of a silk mercer; the poet Pope, of a linen draper; Sir Isaac Newton, of a farmer; Thomas Arnold, of a tax collector; De Foe and Akenside, of butchers; Dr. Jeremy Taylor, of a hairdresser; the artist Turner, of a berber; Christopher Columbus, of a wool comber; the great astronomer Halley, of a soap boiler; Haydn, of a wheelwright; Luther, of a miner; Lord Eldon, the famous lawyer, of a collier; George Fox, of a weaver; Captain Cook, of an agricultural labourer; and last, but not least, John Bunyan, of a tinker.

(Great Thoughts.)

There is the prophecy of a holy ancestry. (2 Timothy 1:5.) Oliver Wendell Holmes remarks that most people think that any difficulty of a physical sort can be cured if a physician is called early enough. "Yes," Dr. Holmes replies, "but early enough would commonly be two hundred years in advance." There is the tremendous law of heredity, the awful sweep and reach of which science is just now beginning to throw some adequate light upon. But this law takes in its strong grasp not only features and damages and incitements which are physical; it pushes onward into coming generations characteristics which are mental and moral also. And if one be budded out of a religious ancestry, it is a vast boon and blessing. And to be steadily determined to he true to such ancestry, and to refuse to run athwart the strain of it, is a tremendous help and impetus in warring the good warfare.

(W. Hoyt, D. D.)

I am the son of thy servant Jesse, the Bethlehemite.
That is a very simple account for a man to give of himself, yet it answered the question which elicited it. Standing before the king, grasping the head of a man who made Israel quake, a nation looking at him, yet he speaks as if a stranger had accosted him in some peaceful retreat of the pasturage! David might have said, "Samuel came to my father's house in search of a king. He passed by my brethren one by one; I was seat for at length from the sheep fold, and Samuel anointed me king of Israel. Behold in this bleeding head the first sign and pledge of my kingly power!" Instead of speaking so, he merely said, with a child's beautiful simplicity, "I am the son of thy servant Jesse the Bethlehemite."

1. Learn that men may be anointed long before their power is officially and publicly declared. God may have put his secret into their heart long before he puts the diadem upon their brow. We do not know to whom we are speaking.

2. Learn that God's arrangements are not extemporaneous. The men who shall succeed to all good offices are known to Him from the beginning to the end. To us the prospect may be dark, but to God the whole course is clear; the successor is anointed, but, not yet declared.

3. In studying the period of David's history which is comprised between his anointing and the killing of Goliath, we shall discover some qualities in David which we may well imitate. Soon after his anointing, David became harp player to the king. This seems to be a descent. Are there not many apparent anti-climaxes in life? Is this a conspicuous example of them? "Play the harp! Why, I am king," David might have said. "Why should I waste my time in attempting to prolong the life of the man who is upon my throne? The sooner he dies, the sooner I shall reign; not one soothing note will I evoke from my harp!" Had David spoken so, he would have dropped from the high elevation which becomes the spirit of a king. Are we skilled in music? Let us help those who are sad. Have we this world's goods? Let us seek out the poor, that, they may bless us as the messengers of God. Have we power to say beautiful words? Let us speak to men who are weary of the common tumult which is around them. To help a man is the honour of true kingliness. After this engagement as harp player, David went home to pursue his usual avocations. How well he carried the burden of his prospects! We see no sign of impatience. He did not behave himself as a child who, having seen a toy, cries until it is put into his hands. David had the dignity of patience. He carried the Lord's secret, in a quiet heart. When David came to see his fighting brethren, by the express instructions of his father Jesse, he disclosed a feature in his character in true keeping with what we have seen. When he had become acquainted with the case, he at once looked at outward circumstances in their moral bearing. Other men, including Saul himself, were talking about, mere appearances. They did not see the case as it, really was. Their talk, in fact, was strongly atheistic. Now for another tone! David called Goliath, not a giant, not a soldier, but an uncircumcised Philistine, who had defied the armies of the living God! This is a moral tone. This is precisely the tone that was wanted in the talk of degenerate Israel! As used by David, the very word uncircumcised involved a moral challenge. This tone retrieves the honour of any controversy. It brings strength with it, and hope, and dignity. Oh, for one David in every controversy! Men lose themselves in petty details, they fight about straws, they see only the surface; David saw the spiritual bearing of all things, and redeemed a controversy from vulgarity and atheism by distinctly and lovingly pronouncing the name of God. The atheist counts the guns, the saint looks up to God; the atheist is terrified by the size of the staff, the saint is inspired by his faith in right and purity. Such a man cannot fail. David interpreted the past so as to qualify himself for the future. When Saul doubted his inability to cope with the Philistine, David recounted some of his recollections as a shepherd. The past should be our prophet. David confided in the unchangeableness of God. Forms of danger vary; but the delivering power remains the same. The great fight of life is a contention between the material and the spiritual. Goliath represents the material; he is towering in stature, vast in strength, terrible in aspect. David represents the spiritual: he is simple, trustful, reverent; the merely fleshly side of his power is reduced, to the lowest possible point, — he fights under the inspiration of great memories, in a deeply religious spirit, not for personal glory but for the glory of the living God. As a contest between strength and strength, the scene was simply ridiculous. Viewed materially, the Philistine was perfectly right when he disdained David, and scornfully laughed at the weapons which the stripling produced. Goliath showed a most justifiable contempt; as a materialist he could indeed have adopted no other tone. David made no boast of his weapons. He pronounced the name of God, and put his life in the keeping of the Most High. The application of the truths of this lesson is easy as a matter of inference, but hard as a matter of realisation. Some men save, others are saved. Such is the law of sovereignty. This law of sovereignty penetrates the whole scheme and fabric of life. David saved, Israel was saved; activity and passivity make up the sphere of this life. Without any attempt at fanciful spiritualising, we see in David the type of the one Saviour of the world, Jesus Christ, who bruised the serpent's head, and won for us the one victory through which we may have eternal life. "Crown Him Lord of all."

(J. Parker, D. D.)

I have tried to apprehend the character of David. David was a prophet, but I shall speak most of him as a man; and I desire most to call your attention to him in his actual and his merely human life. This it will be my effort, briefly to sketch, and, as I sketch it, to connect such reflections with the statements as arise naturally out of the incidents. The opening of David's public course glows with sublime ardour, and is full of heroism. He will go forward against presumptuous sell-confidence. He understood where the noblest strength lay, and nobly he used it. He showed, what the whole history of man exhibits — that faith in Divine protection, that devotion to conscience, that intellectual skill, that moral enthusiasm, can trample down resistance, however gigantic. What is muscle at any time against mind? What is passion against belief? What is frenzied anger against deliberative conviction? Reverence and Reason are the true conqueror of the earth. To them belong the victory, and to them belong dominion. David stands out, as a type of this great power. The monster fell dead before his missile, and he, the victor, has left, a record of our learning, to reveal to us, for everlasting ages, what is the potency of the gifted and the inspired mind. He may be placed as the deathless incarnation of what, trust and thought can accomplish against tyranny and force.

1. David was one of those great and original men, whom humanity at rare intervals produces. His mind was of that order which creates the age in which it lives, and that saves or destroys the nation which it rules. His character was that which Time, if it would, is not able to kill; that which History is forced to remember. It is the destiny of transcendent power, whether it be good or whether it be bad, to leave everlasting impression on the affairs of mankind. David was a man of power, various and exalted. Strong in intellect, and wise in experience; strong in will, end commanding in expression; strong in every attribute which compels obedience, he was accomplished also in the qualities that win it. Poetry, music, architecture, he loved with extreme desire; he advanced them with a noble zeal. In some points he resembled Bonaparte. Like Bonaparte, he arose from the people, and sat upon his throne by their will; like Bonaparte, his people adored him, and would endure to the last extremity of human nature for his interest. Like Bonaparte, he was a conqueror. His circumstances were created by the age, and not by himself. He had to meet and to subdue them as best be could. Like Bonaparte, he was a dictator. He had, to be sure, his great and mighty men, for he knew, by the glance of a look, the man who was born to control his associates; and as he knew the man, he selected him. Like Bonaparte, he was a legislator. He gave his people laws, and he established among them a settled and systematic administration. But he had a piety, and a faith, and a devotional sensibility, of which the mighty modern had not a single impulse. There is another modern, to whom David also bears, in some degree, a resemblance — Peter the Great, of Russia. David, as Peter, found only barbarism in the land; but, ere he died, it was exalted and civilised. The great king of Israel, as the great czar of Russia, was the patron of every art, and the friend of every genius who could raise his country into prosperity and dignity. He found his brethren dwelling in tents; he departed from among them living in palaces. He found them scattered tribes; he left them a collected and compacted nation. Under the guidance of his stupendous mind, the land was filled with plenty, the sea was covered with commerce, literature was encouraged, industry was successful, victory waited on arms, and wisdom prevailed in counsel. If we contrast David with Saul, David appears as superior as heaven is to earth. It is superiority, not of an improved succession, but of a new creation. Saul, like David, was exalted from common to kingly life. Saul, like David, was a man of battle, and a man of blood; and here the resemblance closes. To the end, Saul was only the savage warrior, a man of might and daring, a man of prowess and enthusiasm. This agrees fully with his personal qualities, and is in nowise opposed to his original condition. It is all that we might imagine, and our expectations are neither surpassed nor contradicted. Commanding in the qualities which make a man of war, David had, in more signal perfection, those which in a better period would have made a man of peace.

2. The history of David leaves one impression on the mind deeply and plainly; and that, is. that moral principle does not always correspond with devotional sensibility. I do not say that devotional sensibility is not a fine element in moral action; nay, I hold that,, without it, the highest beauty is wanting to character and to virtue. But still, devotional sensibility may be found in many persons, who are weak in right principles, and unstable in right purposes. How fervently could David pray, but bow feebly did David practise! Yet David was not really insincere. It is well and wisely written — "The heart is deceitful above all things; who can know it?" Much and strange contradiction there is in life, but less of positive hypocrisy than is imagined. David is a type of many kings and many men. The example, in this character which Scripture gives us, is ever and ever repeated in history; and it is as often corroborated in daily life. And, in our own experience, how changeful and uncertain are our characters? In an hour we passionately resolve, and in another as recklessly break our resolution. Instability and inconsistency there are in this, but sincerity there is in it also. The real philosophy of the matter is that the religious element, like the other elements of our nature, must be good or bad, as it is directed. By the religious clement I mean, in this connection, the faculty which connects us with the invisible and eternal world; and this, directed by ignorance and passion, may do, without remorse, deeds that have no name, but, influenced by knowledge and by benignity, raises a man, not simply to be a little lower than the angels, but to be their equal and their companion. But the merely devotional man is not necessarily a virtuous man; nay, he is not necessarily a benevolent man; he may fail in rectitude, or he may fail in humanity. Of this principle, the whole history of the Church gives sufficient evidence; for many a devout man has been dishonest, and many a devout man has been cruel. I do not join in the common cry which stigmatizes all such as hypocrites. I do not believe that the failings of those on whom the world charged inconsistency always sprang from deceit: I simply believe that they were men of partial development, and that, in the exaggerated expression of some faculties, others were disproportionately, and thence injuriously, weakened. Wickedness there is abundantly in the world, and so far there is, in the world, a universal subject and cause of grief. But, when sin unites with noble gifts, it is exceedingly sinful. Let me offer a few words — a few words on that, blood-guiltiness, for which some men, through David, assault the Bible. We are to judge David as we judge other men, by his times and by his circumstances. His age was one of rudeness and it was one of blood. It was a period when men got readily into conflict, and when conflict was associated with little that was forbearing or magnanimous. The barbarian instincts to contention were those which then were the most developed. Prowess was the great test of excellence. Might was the principle of right. The military hero was "the highest style of man." Shall we make that David's sin, which was David's fate? Was he not a warrior by the necessity of events, rather than by any personal contrivance? What else could his life have been, but that of warfare? By what means could he have avoided being, throughout his course, a warrior? David's career was splendid and successful. Was he happy? Was he even moderately happy? When David sat upon the throne of Israel did he never recall, in melancholy vision, the green pastures and the still waters, where his breast, was calm, and where his step was free. David was not a happy man. Despondency settled on his soul, and calamities, treading fast upon each other, haunted all his latter days. He is an example that no grandeur, no prosperity, no impunity from station, no glory of command, no flattery of obedience, can strip sin of its hatefulness or rob it of its sting; that God's eye is on the monarch as thy, beggar; that, in the depth of millions, their transgression can find them out; and that, in the stern truth of God's own sentence, it can shriek within their conscience the terrible rebuke of Divine condemnation. David, too, is an evidence, if evidence were wanted, that grandeur is a poor shelter against grief. When shame fell upon David's house, when hatred placed one child in deadly feud against another, the glare of royalty was a small matter in the sadness of nature. What was kingship to the English Charles, when, after arraignment before his own people, he clasped his children for the last time to his bosom, before his going to the block? What was kingship to the French Louis when he felt he must leave his helpless wife and orphans to the mercies of the mad avengers, who began in his own blood the retaliation for centuries of suffering, which was only to be accomplished in a wilderness of death? What was kingship to David when his own flesh were his enemies? I have spoken of David as I proposed, as one within the circle of our imperfect humanity, and I have spoken of him in the spirit of humanity. In this spirit I view in him an incarnation of its capacities, and an example of its weakness. In this spirit I cannot think of him otherwise than in solemn reverence and solemn sorrow. With this solemn sorrow and solemn reverence, I contemplate his mighty mind; with reverence I see its grandeur; with sorrow I behold its fall from that grandeur, to wilder itself in madness, or to lose itself in folly. I learn how strength may work for wretchedness, how privileges may turn to penalties. Looking upon David comprehensively, in his greatness, in his abasement, in his repentance, in his guilt, in his aspiration, in his affliction, I am reminded of his own words, suggested doubtless by his own experience — "Verily, every man at his best estate is altogether vanity!"

(Henry Giles.).

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