2 Samuel 12:1
2 Samuel 12:1. - (JERUSALEM.)
And Jehovah sent Nathan to David. The sin Of David could not be hid. It was known to his servants (2 Samuel 11:4) and to Joab; it must have been surmised by many from his hasty marriage; and now it was fully manifest (2 Samuel 11:27). About a year had elapsed. "What a year for David to have spent! What a joyless, sunless, godless year! Were God's words still sweet to his taste? Were they still the rejoicing of his heart? or had he come to hate the threatening of the Law?" (J. Wright). At length Nathan (2 Samuel 7:3) came - an example of a faithful reprover (Psalm 141:5; Proverbs 27:6; 1 Samuel 1:13; 1 Samuel 2:22). Consider -

I. HIS DIVINE COMMISSION. He came, not because he was sent for by David, nor because he was prompted by natural reason or impulse (2 Samuel 7:3), but in obedience to the word of the Lord (ver. 7), and in fulfilment of his prophetic calling. "It was the true mission of the prophets, as champions of the oppressed in the courts of kings; it was the true prophetic spirit that spoke through Nathan's mouth" (Stanley).

1. Reproof should be administered only according to the will of God. It is not forevery one to assume the office of reprover (Psalm 50:16); nor to administer reproof to every one who may deserve it, especially when holding a position of authority. In this matter men are apt to run before they are sent. The duty is a relative one, and demands careful consideration before it is undertaken.

2. The will of God concerning the administration of reproof is indicated in various ways; such as the authority given to parents, magistrates, pastors, and teachers - "reprove, rebuke," etc. (2 Timothy 4:2; 5:1); the teachings of the Divine Word; the guidance of the Divine Spirit.

3. When the will of God is clearly made known, it should be humbly, readily, and diligently obeyed; both when it requires his servants to testify his favour (2 Samuel 7:4, 25) and his displeasure (2 Samuel 11:27).

II. HIS CONSUMMATE WISDOM. In nothing are wisdom and prudence more needed than in reproof. If given unwisely it is likely to excite opposition, produce equivocation, repel and harden. "A word fitly spoken," etc. (Proverbs 25:11, 12). It should be given:

1. At a proper time - when the proof of wrong doing admits of no denial, and the mind of the wrong doer is duly prepared. It is not probable that Nathan came immediately after he first heard of David's transgression. "His task was not to gain a confession, but only to facilitate it. He was appointed by God to await the time of the internal crisis of David" (Hengstenberg).

2. When the offender is alone (Matthew 18:15), and is likely to pay greater heed to it and to be less influenced by what others think. Sometimes, however, sinners must be "rebuked before all, that others also may fear" (1 Timothy 5:20).

3. In a maimer adapted to produce the most salutary effect; with harmless wisdom (Matthew 10:16) and holy and beneficent "guile" (2 Corinthians 12:16) displayed in;

(1) A respectful, courteous, and conciliatory bearing. To begin with rude reproaches is to ensure failure.

(2) An ingenious invention of a "form of speech" (2 Samuel 14:20) and illustration suitable to the case.

(3) A generous recognition of the better qualities in men. "David's goodness is not denied because of his sin, nor is David's sin denied because of his goodness."

(4) A clear statement of the truth, avoiding exaggeration and everything that may hinder its illuminating force.

(5) A strong appeal to the conscience, so as to quicken its action as a witness and judge.

(6) A dexterous application of admitted principles and expressed judgments and emotions.

(7) An effectual removal of the mists of self-deception, so as to enable the evil doer to see his actual character and conduct, and constrain him to reprove and condemn himself. The wisdom of the prophet in fulfilling his mission to the king was "inimitably admirable." "Observing that this direct road (the recommendation of self-knowledge) which led to it (the reformation of mankind) was guarded on all sides by self-love, and consequently very difficult to open access, public instructors soon found out that a different and more artful course was requisite. As they had not strength to remove this flattering passion which stood in their way and blocked up the passages to the heart, they endeavoured by stratagem to get beyond it, and, by a skilful address, if possible to deceive it. This gave rise to the only manner of conveying their instructions in parables, fables, and such sort of indirect applications; which, though they could not conquer this principle of self-love, yet often laid it asleep, or at least overreached it for a few moments, till a just judgment could be procured. The Prophet Nathan seems to have been a great master in this art of address" (Laurence Sterne).

III. HIS HOLY COURAGE. His mission was as perilous as it was painful; and might, if it failed, have cost him his life. But he feared not "the wrath of the king" (Proverbs 16:14; Proverbs 19:12; Hebrews 11:27). Such moral courage as he exhibited:

1. Is inspired by faith in God, whose face it beholds, and on whose might it relies.

2. Consists in the fearless fulfilment of duty, whatever consequences it may involve - the loss of friendship or other earthly good; the endurance of bonds, suffering, and death. "None of these things move me," etc. (Acts 20:24).

3. Appears in simple, bold, direct, and unreserved utterance of God's Word (Ezekiel 33:7). At the proper moment the prophet changed his style of address; gave it a particular application, "the very life of doctrine;" and, in the name of the supreme King and Judge, arraigned the offender, declared his guilt, and pronounced his sentence. "His example is especially to be noted by all whose office is to 'rebuke with all authority'" ('Speaker's Commentary').

IV. HIS BENEVOLEST AIM. He came not only to testify against sin, to maintain the authority of the Law, etc.; but also (in connection therewith) to benefit the sinner, by:

1. Leading him to repentance.

2. Assuring him of forgiveness.

3. Restoring him to righteousness, peace, and joy (ver. 13; Psalm 51:12). Reproofs of instruction are the way of life (Proverbs 6:23; Proverbs 13:18; Proverbs 17:10). Sympathy with the holy love of God toward sinners is an essential qualification of a faithful reprover of sin; and as it is God's mercy that employs agents and means for their restoration, so it is his grace alone that makes them effectual (John 16:8).

"And so wide arms
Hath goodness infinite, that it receives
All who turn to it."


(Dante.) D.







And the Lord sent Nathan unto David.
I. DAVID'S SIN. David, it appears, to avenge the outrage which bad been perpetrated on his ambassadors by Hanun, the king of the Ammonites, invaded that king's dominions, and, in two pitched battles, defeated both him and his allies with great slaughter. In the following year, as soon as the season permitted, David renewed the war, and followed up his successes still further by sending Joab, and all Israel with him, to lay siege to the royal city of Rabbah, the metropolis of Hanun's kingdom. Instead, however, of accompanying his army on this occasion, according to his usual custom, David unhappily "tarried still at Jerusalem;" and, whilst there, he appears to have given himself up to a life of sloth and sinful indulgence. "For it came to pass," says the sacred historian, "in an eveningtide, that David arose from off his bed," where, perhaps, he had been dozing away the afternoon in idleness, instead of spending it in some useful occupation, "and walked upon the roof of the king's house." From this elevated position, David saw a woman of great beauty washing herself. But instead of "turning away his eyes from beholding vanity," and thus acting the part of an honourable and a modest man, he allowed lust to gain an entrance into his heart, and at last to take full possession of it. Oh, such is the seductive influence, such the tyrannical nature of sin, that, let a man give it but the least encouragement, and it is sure to lead him on, step by step, almost imperceptibly, till at last it compels him, whether he wills or not, to do its bidding. Do you, then, take the advice of a friend, and have nothing to do with "the accursed thing." Leave it off, before it be meddled with. For now, mark the next step in his downward career. He sent and inquired after the woman. And although he was plainly told that she was already a married woman; the wife, too, of one of his own best and ablest generals, Uriah the Hittite, and who was actually, at that very moment, jeopardising his own life in the high places of the field to sustain the safety and honour of David's crown; yet such was the hold which sin had now taken of him that he persisted in sending for her, and at last, after a brief interview, persuades her to forsake the guide of her youth, and to forget the covenant of her God. Oh, who could have thought that David, the mall after God's own heart, would ever have been guilty of such a crime as this. Little did David think, when he was committing this shocking crime, that his sin would so soon find him out. But so it was; for scarcely had a few months rolled by before Bathsheba perceived that she could no longer conceal her disgrace, and consequently she sends to David, acquainting him with her situation, and in all probability, reminding him of his promise to protect her; for, according to the law of Moses, the adulterer and the adulteress were, both to be put to death. And now, what is to be done? The same evil spirit that prompted him to commit the crime soon suggests a plan for concealing it.

II. WHAT WERE THE MEANS WHICH GOD TOOK TO AWAKEN DAVID TO A SENSE OF HIS WICKEDNESS AND DANGER? Did He raise up enemies round about him to lay waste his country and destroy his people? or did He rain down fire and brimstone from heaven, as He once did upon the guilty cities of the plain, in order that He might sweep this wretched monarch from off the earth? Or did He send terrors to take hold of him, and the messengers ,of death to arrest him? No; He sent to him one of his own humble and faithful ministers, in order that he might reason the matter over with him, call his sin to remembrance, and convince him of his guilt. For nearly two full years David appears to have thought nothing more about Uriah. Perhaps he may have thought that, as he had since married the widow, he had made nil the reparation that was required of him. Or he may have supposed that as no other person beside himself was privy to the part which he had taken in Uriah's death, there was no use troubling himself further about the matter. If so, David was greatly mistaken. Yes, there was One Witness to the whole transaction, whom David seems to have lost sight of altogether.

III. WHAT EFFECT GOD'S MESSAGE PRODUCED ON DAVID. Did he fly into a rage with the man of God for thus faithfully discharging his duty? Did he exclaim, with an outburst of angry passion, "Hast thou found me, O mine enemy?" Or did be call to the governor of the city, and say unto him, "Take this fellow away, and put him in the prison, and feed him with bread of affliction and water of affliction?" Or did he, like his father Adam, try to shift the blame from himself, and lay it upon the woman? David was so horrified at the picture which Nathan had drawn of his own conduct, and so convinced of its truth, that he exclaimed without a moment's hesitation, "I have sinned against the Lord."

IV. WHAT LESSONS WE OURSELVES MAY GATHER UP FROM THE CONTEMPLATION OF THIS PAINFUL SUBJECT.

1. In the first place, then, we may learn that there is no sin beyond the reach of God's mercy.

2. And, lastly, let no notorious sinner be emboldened, from David's unhappy fall, to presume on God's mercy. Let such a one remember that David's sin was committed but once: he was no habitual transgressor.

(E. Harper, B. A.)

I. WHEN?

1. When he had fallen into grievous sin — such sin as, we might well suppose, if we did not know how "deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked" is the human heart, he would have been incapable of committing.

2. When he was blind, and insensible to his sin. And I think this is something more surprising than even the sin itself. It seems to prove more convincingly the deep depravity of our nature. It is the stamp of a lower humiliation.

II. WHEREFORE? What was the object of his mission?

1. What might have been expected? Why, surely, that it would be to declare the Divine displeasure — to announce God's sentence of condemnation against the royal transgressor — to warn him of approaching retribution — to tell him that he had sinned beyond the hope of mercy, and the possibility of restoration, and that there was nothing for him now but a prospect of changeless despair. Gracious and longsuffering as the Lord is, as He is always declared to be in His Word; much as He delights in messages of mercy to His creatures, there have not been wanting in the history of mankind instances of the other kind.

2. But no: it was not as a herald of vengeance that Nathan was sent to David, but as a reprover and convincer of sin, to bring him to repentance, by showing him the baseness of his conduct, the aggravation of his crimes, and the danger to which they had justly exposed him.

III. WITH WHAT RESULT?

I. 1 answer, first, with but a more startling illustration of the blinding power of sin. We might have thought that, with his ordinarily quick apprehension, David would have perceived at once the point and force of Nathan's parable. We should have looked for an immediate self-application of it, and the proper effect thereof; but in doing so, we should only have miscalculated the influence of sinful indulgence in blunting the faculty of moral perception, and deadening all the sensibilities of the soul.

2. The bringing him to a sincere acknowledgment of his offence. This only followed, however, Upon the prophet's faithful home-thrust — "Thou art the man!" 'This story concerns thee. It needs but to put in the name, and it is then a narration of thy own guilty and heartless conduct towards thy faithful servant Uriah. Thus hast thou sinned against thy unoffending neighbour. Oh! wicked king, there is no excuse for thee.' And then David saw himself as the prophet saw him; as, at that moment, God saw him.

3. The leading him to an experience of God's pardoning grace. For no sooner had David acknowledged his sin, taken to himself the blame of his guilty acts, and prostrated himself a weeping penitent at God's footstool, than the prophet was commissioned to absolve him from his offences by a declaration of the Divine forgiveness. "A God ready to pardon." That is one of the names given to the Lord in the Bible. Was there ever a completer illustration of it than is here supplied?

(C. Merry.)

I. THE PERIL OF SELF-INDULGENCE. The heart-rotted tree may stand long in the golden light and summer calm, and crowned with some garniture of green its true condition be unguessed. But let the stormy wind blow and beat upon it, and quickly it will fall. For many years David hail been "like a tree planted by the rivers of water than bringeth forth his fruit in his season." He had stood many a blast of temptation unroofed, the more deeply rooted. But self-indulgence, like a permitted rot, had slowly, insidiously, wrought ruin within him, and the strength of his soul became weakness and succumbed to sudden tempestuous temptation. There is ever a sad though secret preparation for such a fall as David's. There is an inner before an outer fall.

II. THE IMPERATIVE IMPORTANCE OF WATCHFULNESS. Surely, if any man could have dispensed with watchfulness David was the man. And. yet he — patriarch, prophet, saint — fell into the defiling pool of sensuality. We have watchful against us a malignant and pitiless enemy. He has no reverence for the silvered head; for the honour that has gathered to the hoar-haired believer. We need all — and the aged saint, too — to watch against him. We need well to know ourselves. Our physical and mental temperament may expose us to special dangers. Our very excellencies may become our snares. We must watch over them. We dare not glory in them.

III. THE DREADFUL CONNECTION OF SIN WITH SIN. If David had made a covenant with his eyes he had not looked. But he looked, and the look was sin. And that one sin opened the way for many. To lust he added craft, to craft treason, to treason murder. And this is David! "Lord, what is man?" No sin stands alone. Admit one, a whole brood presses urgent, irresistible upon its heels. It is the "little rift" that widens till the music of a holy life is mute. It is the "little pitted speck" that, rotting inwards, slowly spoils the fruit of useful character. Lie darkens into lies. The one theft into another. David's one sin into many.

IV. THE AWFUL POSSIBILITIES OF SELF-DECEPTION. For mouths, for a year, David went on unconscious of his guilt. How blinding is self-partiality! "It is really prodigious," as Bishop Butler says, "to see a man, before so remarkable for virtue and piety, going on deliberately from adultery to murder with the same cool contrivance, and, from what appears, with as little disturbance, as a man would endeavour to prevent the ill consequences of a mistake he had made in any common matter. That total insensibility of mind with respect to those horrid crimes, after the commission of them, manifestly shows that he did some way or other delude himself, and this could not be with respect to the crimes themselves, they were so manifestly of the grossest kind." Oh, the possibilities of self-deception! The liar may appear true, the dishonest honest, the vile pure. So for awhile; but not for long. The day of self-revelation is at hand. "There is nothing covered that shall not be revealed, neither hid that shall not be known."

V. THE BLESSEDNESS OF TRUE REPENTANCE. "The Lord sent Nathan unto David." By a touching apologue the wise prophet drew David to pass unconscious verdict upon himself.

VI. THE IRREVOCABLE CHARACTER OF A SINFUL DEED. David was forgiven. But he could not escape the bitter temporal fruit of his sin. To life's very end it was as gravel in his teeth, as acrid ashes in his mouth. A sinful deed may be pardoned; but it cannot be recalled, and on it will go its desolating way. No tears of David could wash away the guilty past. Dad deeds live when the doer is dead. This Sill of David has caused from age to age the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme. "Stand in awe and sin not." "The lust, when it hath conceived, beareth sin; and the sin, when it is full grown, bringeth forth death."

(G. T. Coster.)

I. THE OCCASION UPON WHICH THE MONARCH DISGRACED HIMSELF. II, THE UTTERANCE OF THE PARABLE. The touching beauty of this little apologue cannot be passed carelessly by. Its appeal forces its way to the most sensitive centres of our feeling. But the general shrewdness of its conception is heightened by the fact that it entered at once into the historic experience of this king. He knew what it was to be poor; he knew what it was to have and to love one little ewe-lamb. And when Nathan told him that the rich, mean neighbour had stolen and killed the creature which the poor man cherished in his bosom as a daughter his anger was at its height.

III. THE EXPLICATION OF HIS SKILFUL PARABLE WAS INSTANTANEOUS: "And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man." The king must have been startled beyond all power of self-control. How rapid was the transition of feeling through which he passed! One minute he was on his feet in all the flush of indignation at another's sin, fairly exulting in the proud sense of unutterable contempt at injustice so apparent and so unmitigated in its foul stroke. The next minute he perceived the countenance of Nathan changing towards him. Around came that long scornful finger, which had been pointing at an imaginary offender; and now in reply to the implied inquiry for that offender's name, its index slowly reached his own face, and then the sober words were spoken: "Thou art the man." Could his discomfiture have been more complete? Could Nathan's triumph of rebuke have been more successful?

IV. LESSONS OF PRESENT INSTRUCTION FROM THIS PARABLE. Sin levels the loftiest man to the lowest rank. Zeal for God lifts the lowliest man into a vantage unquestioned.

1. Observe, then, that in all cases conscience is the arbiter in the wrong, and must be the centre of aim in the reproof.

2. Observe, that absolute rectitude is the only standard to be admitted in all processes of rebuke.

3. In the third place, observe that tenderness is the dominant spirit in all truly Scriptural, or even successful, rebuke.

4. Observe, in the fourth place, that courageous fidelity is the measure of all Christian duty in administering rebuke. Are we up to this standard in helping each other? Has not the day of honest fraternal rebuke pretty much passed by? And are we not ourselves to blame for many of those detections to the common cause which make such sudden scandal? Another question, quite akin to this, is likewise suggested by this theme: What ought to be expected of every faithful ministry in a time like that we live in? Is there any sin so peculiarly delicate that the messenger of God is debarred from saying, "Thou art the man?"

(C. S. Robinson, D. D.)

The introduction to the parable must not be over. looked, for in it we are taught that the first step to repentance springs from the Divine favour. "The Lord sent Nathan." The man who has fallen into a pit and broken his limbs must have help from without. It is useless for him to talk of climbing out unaided, somebody must come and lift him out and place him again upon the spot from which he fell. The first step towards recovery must come from above him. In considering the parable itself, notice: —

I. THE ANALOGY AND CONTRAST WHICH IT SETS FORTH AS EXISTING BETWEEN DAVID AND URIAH.

1. The analogy.(1) The men in the parable were on an equality; in some respects they were fellow-men and fellow-citizens. "There were two men in one city." So David and Uriah, although one was a king and the other a subject, were on a level on the common ground of humanity, and were both subject to the laws, political, social, and religious, which had been given by God to the nation which regarded Jerusalem as the seat of government.(2) David was by birth a member of the highly-favoured nation to whom God had given laws, and Uriah, by choice, was a citizen of the city where dwelt David the king, who, more than any other man, was bound to obey the law of his nation and of his God.(3) There is analogy in their qualities. They were both courageous, valiant men. David had, from his youth, been noted for this characteristic; from his shepherd-day when he slew the lion and the bear, up to the present time his bravery had been unquestioned. Uriah the Hittite was a man of like spirit in this respect, and his very bravery had been used by his master to compass his death. It was well known to David that if Uriah was placed in the forefront of the battle he would hold his post or die.

2. The parable also sets forth the contrast in the two men — "the one rich and the other poor."(1) The king's position made it possible for him to indulge his unlawful desires without hindrance. The position of Uriah obliged him to submit to his master's will. This inequality aggravated David's crime.(2) The parable seems to hint at a further contrast. "The rich man had exceeding many flocks and herds: but the poor man had nothing save one little ewe lamb." David had many wives; the narrative implies that Uriah had but one. His love was therefore deeper, because purer, than that of David. His strong affection was an emotion to which the king was a comparative stranger, even as the rich man in the parable could not estimate, his poor neighbour's affection for his only lamb. For the lawless passion of David cannot be placed upon a level with the pure love of Uriah. The one is life and the other death. The river which keeps within its channel is a blessing to the country through which it flows; but the same river, when it bursts its banks and overflows the land, becomes a means of desolation and destruction. So it is with lawful affection and lawless passion.

II. THE EFFECT OF THE PARABLE AND ITS APPLICATION UPON DAVID.

1. It awakened strong emotion: "David's anger was greatly kindled against the man." (v. 5.) This effect was the result of looking at the crime from a distance.

2. It revealed great self-ignorance. The knowledge most indispensable in life is self-knowledge; a man who does not possess this is an ignorant man, whatever are his other requirements. Knowledge is said to be power, and the knowledge of oneself is the greatest power.

3. But the effect of the application of the parable is a remarkable illustration of the power of conscience. Some men do everything upon a large scale. Their emotions are deep, their sins are great, and so are their virtues. The captain of a vessel of large dimensions which carries a rich cargo, has a heavier weight of responsibility than he has who has only the charge of a small craft. If he pilot the vessel safely into harbour he has the more honour, but if she gets wrecked the disaster makes a deeper impression.

III. THE EFFECT OF DAVID'S CONFESSION UPON GOD. Confession of sin to a human friend against whom we have offended will often bring an assurance of forgiveness. The good parent makes it indispensable before the child is restored to its position and favour. So is it in the government of God. "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (John 1:9.)

1. The path of duty is the path that "leads not into temptation." If David had been at the head of his army at this time it is likely that he would have escaped this dark stain upon his life. A brook is kept pure while it is in motion, but if its waters were to be stopped from flowing they would become stagnant.

2. That tendencies to sin, though not on the surface, are yet latent in the depths of the heart. To the eye of a stranger a powder-vessel may look very trim and clean and safe, but the black powder is there in the hold, only needing a single spark to make its awful power felt.

3. Impurities in the springs of thought will be revealed in the streams of action.

4. Although sin is forgiven, some of its consequences must remain. "The Lord hath put away thy sin," but "the sword shall never depart from thine house."

5. The parable, and the fact that gave rise to it, lead us to observe —(1) That impartial reason is ever ready to condemn any flagrant iniquity. There is as discernible a difference between good and evil as between white and black, when nothing interposes to obstruct the sight, or misrepresent the object.(2) The prejudices of interest and lust may, and do hinder men from discerning, or at least distinguishing in practice between right and wrong, even in the plainest cases. Such was most apparently the case with David.(3) Although men do sometimes suffer themselves to commit gross sins, in open contradiction to their own inward light, yet all notorious iniquity stands condemned by the universal verdict of mankind.

(R. Moss, D. D.)

We see here —

I. THE MAN LEFT TO HIMSELF. Like other servants of God whose lives are recorded in the Scriptures, we find David in times of sin withdrawing from communion with God, loving his own way, hugging his pet sin. David estranged himself from his God, and he soon sinks lower and lower. Sinful weakness he had been shown before, but this is a mean, selfish crime. No one withdraws trust from God and prospers. As flowers live in and by the rays of the sun, so the graces of the soul need the favour of God. No agony of remorse is so keen as that of the child of God over sinful pleasures indulged. More helpless than a rudderless vessel in the Maelstrom is the Christian who abandons himself to serve sin even for a season.

1. David left to himself makes a sorry self indeed. A further evidence of increasing guilt is the manner of his treatment of the prisoners of war (v. 31.) It was cruel in the extreme, unnecessarily cruel. So unlike David. Ah! biting, goading him was that sense of sin which he could not shake off. Ill at ease, he cares not what suffering he causes. His temper unrestrained, any savage cruelty is possible. These excitements so eagerly sought only serve to show the unceasing demands conscience made upon him. Can any man venture to say David was happy? We are not left to conjecture. Psalm 51., written twelve months after his sin, reveals his inmost thoughts at this time (as also Psalm 32.), and this psalm was delivered to the chief musician for public use before the sacred history was written.

2. David is yet in his sin. How dulled his vision, or the parable had needed no explanatory application! How forcibly this fatal power of sin is brought home to us, and daily! Illustrations of this deceitfulness of sin abound. Judges pronounce sentence on poor fallen girls while indulging in the sin themselves! Workmen pronounce hard, biting sentences upon those who bring down prices by undue competition, yet go and take the situation offered by the foreign competitor without a thought of the inconsistency. Nothing blinds like self-love.

II. THE CURSE NATHAN UTTERS, AND CHASTISEMENT. Former gracious dealings are brought to mind. There was horsing which God withheld from David. He came to the kingdom when God saw wise, and with unsparing hand had God dealt out blessing. He had disregarded the responsibilities which his office brought and despised the commandment of the Lord!

1. The adaptation of the retribution to the offence is noticeable — a principle in the moral government of God of which there are many instances in Scripture. Jacob deceived his father, and his sons deceive him. He cheats his brother, and is cheated by his uncle Laban. This is remarkably seen in the after-days of David; and while the form of the chastisement appears arbitrary, it is not, for it comes by way of natural consequence of the sins itself.

2. "The babe dies." There was wise reason why it should. That David, whose parental love was strong, felt this blow keenly the history reveals. He watched the child die, knowing it would die, knowing it would die because of him.

(H. E. Stone.)

When Alexander, King of Macedon, and one of the few conquerors of the world, had his portrait taken, it is said, he sat with his face resting on his fingers, as though he were in a profound reverie, but really that he might hide from the observer's vision an unsightly sear. Our Bible always keeps the sitter's finger off the scars. It paints the full face with flawless detail — beauty and blotches, saintliness and scare, all, and in all. But, after all, is it not a true human instinct and a healthy canon of art that puts the finger on the scars of the face? Why perpetuate the: memorials of deformity? What need to recite the repulsive story of human wrongdoing? Is it not far saner, as our Emerson maintains, to sing the glories of the good, and sink the bad; to chant the praises of virtue, and cover vice with the mantle of concealment? Why should the artist dip his brush in undiluted ugliness, when so many pictures of finished beauty invite his skill? Surely it is no sign of force of intellect or kindliness of spirit to explore the warts on a lace radiant with beneficent expression! Besides, may you not multiply iniquity by exhibiting it, palliate wrong by disclosing its riotous growths in men of exceptional holiness, and weaken the yielding spirit in combat with temptation by supplying excuses for self-indulgent failure, and elastic resistance to desired defeat? All that depends first, upon the spirit in which the biographer conceives and carries out his design; and next, and mainly, upon the purpose which dominates every part of his painting. You may tell a man's faults for the mean end of gratifying a prurient and debased curiosity; or to palliate and excuse a biting sense of personal wrong-doing; or to compel a low and despairing view of human life; or to give food to a jaundiced and self-condemned egotism that cannot sit still in the presence of greatness, but must, perforce, pelt it with any discoverable stones, picked up with facile fingers out of any mud, by that envy which finds such hospitable entertainment in most of our minds. But the Hebrew historian's account of David's great sin is at once lifted far away, and beyond the touch of all such criticism, by the strenuous and insistent moral purpose of the writer, by his clear consciousness that he is narrating a part of the real, though sad, history of the Kingdom of God; and so forcing a series of foul and atrocious crimes into the ranks of the preachers of righteousness, the beneficent angels of warning and rebuke, hope and courage; the trumpet-tongued heralds of human repentance and Divine forgiveness, perfected and crowned by merciful renewal and enlargment of soul.(1) It has set in the irrefutable logic of facts the truth, that increasing and incredible mischiefs follow the violation of the laws of social purity, in monarch as well as subject, in the high-placed as well as the lowly, in the children of genius and of goodness as well as in the offspring of sensualists and vice.(2) It has proclaimed that woman is not a satanic bait for man's soul, but a minister to his purity and happiness, and that the saintliest men imperil their slowly built integrity, and fling into the depths of the sea the precious jewel of their character, if they fail to maintain an exalted conception of woman as woman, and to pay to her individual soul the homage of a genuine reverence and an inflexible justice.(3) In the lengthened tale of the consequences of this trespass, and the series of awful tragedies crowded into David's life from this fatal hour, it has revealed the essential falseness of the polygamous basis of family life, repeated the Divine decree that true marriage is of soul with soul, and not of flesh with flesh, and that disaster sooner or later must come to the home and the State of the people who fly in the face of that eternal rule.(4) It is also a pathetic and powerful enforcement of the law discovered in the dawn of the world's life; that it is "impossible to hush up a solitary lapse." Sin finds us out, if only by dragging other sins in its train. David adds lying to lust; treachery to lying; and murder to all, and at the last, is all but drowned in the swine's trough of sensualism and iniquity.(5) But the principal message of this chapter m the life of Israel's greatest hero is that David's great sin is met and mastered by God's greater grace. "Where sin abounded, grace much more abounds." But after the best is said that can be said for these fruitful issues, effected by the dews and rains and sunshine of redemption, from such sorry seed by a wonder-working God, still the sin itself is so bad, so heinous, so despicable and aggravated, that it will not bear telling with any sort of patience and ordinary self-control. It makes one's blood boil that a man such as he, so strong and self-disciplined in his youth, heroic and magnanimous in his manhood, fervid and original in his love and worship of the Eternal; wide in his culture, and clear in his vision — that he, David, the poet, the prophet, the patriot, the soldier-king, the saint, at fifty, or maybe at fifty-eight years of age, should slip back into such foul mire, and bedabble and bedraggle his soul through such diabolical vices! It fairly takes one's breath away! Why! he breaks nearly all the commands of God at once! He, a man and a father, forgets his duty to himself as a ruler, and permits the furious steeds of passion to ride rough-shod over all the sanctities of the home! He, a king, commits treason against a subject he is bound to protect! He, a soldier, once so sensitive that he would not touch the skirt of the king with his sword, pens a letter that takes the life of one of his most chivalrous comrades! He, the shepherd and leader of his people, lifted out of the sheepfold to the throne, to guide God's flock, plunges headlong into the lowest of villanies! Oh! "how are the mighty fallen!" "Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall." Undisturbed prosperity for a score years has relaxed the king's vigilance, shrivelled and shrunk his moral fibre, lulled his conscience to sleep, enervated his dedicated and disciplined will. "He has had no changes," and so has forgotten God and his vocation. Ease has made him effeminate. Luxury has generated idleness, for even now he is exposing himself to temptation by "tarrying at Jerusalem," when he should be at the "wars." Reiterated excuses for slight neglects of duty, and satisfaction with a withered ideal, have prepared for this awful catastrophe. It is not well for any of us to escape difficulty, combat, and criticism. We must not forget the perils of advancing years. Age has its dangers not less than youth. Necessity is a better servant to virtue than we usually imagine. Few of us can resist the seductions of ease and affluence, or conquer the fearful temptations born of having "nothing to do." A man should bear the yoke in his youth, and if he is wise he will not be in a hurry to put it off, but will die under its tightening grip. The true soldier aims to be faithful unto death. Age is no dispensation from watchfulness, and length of years no guarantee of safety. The oldest of us must watch and pray, lest we blunt the spiritual sensibility, become the prey of vulgar ambitions, and allow the cleansing fires of self-risking enthusiasms to die down and die out. If David falls after half-a-century's experience of God's mercy, who is safe? But sad as all this is — and we make no apology whatever for David's sin; he does not; Nathan does not; the most distressing and deadly feature of these revolting transgressions is not the plot to murder; the cold-blooded treachery; the gross lust; black and hideous as they are, but his callosity, his hardness of heart, his seeming supercilious consciousness of no sin. Think of it. For a whole year the guilty monarch lives on and on, face to face with the memorials of his sin; remorse mostly asleep; dull torpor occupying the contested throne of his heart: his bruised soul unrelieved by the throes of a genuine repentance and a full confession. Surely the heart is deceitful above all things, and capable of desperate wickedness, and inexpungable stolidity! Who call: know it! Its self-delusions are unsearchable, and its devious diabolical ways past finding out! But David's superficial apathy and coveted hardness cannot last, God will not let it. He will bring the evil to the light, and pierce the sinner's soul through and through with the two-edged sword of many sorrows, that He may east out the deadly iniquity. The king's secret crime leaks out. That much decried Minister of Justice, "Gossip," passes along the bazaars, and on to the palace, and to the schools of the seers, until it startles and shocks the soul of the young prophet of God, Nathan. He cannot rest, The bitter tidings till hint with sorrow. The burden of the Lord is upon him. God's anointed must be rebuked, and his fearful doom declared. There can be no paltering with evil because it is done by a king, no truckling to wrongdoing because he who commits it has the power of life and death, no veiling a monstrous iniquity from sight because it is committed by one of exalted place and of exalted character. God and His prophets are no respectors of persons. They witness for stern justice and for rigid and inflexible law; and the higher the rank of the sinner the more urgent the swift exposure of his sin. Strange brain-book this of ours! It seems as though we wrote a page in our life, and then the wind of circumstance rose high and blew it over, and hid it from our sight, never again to be read by us or ours; but God comes by His prophet, His Nathan, His "gift" of Revelation, and His strong fingers open the sealed leaves and turn them back, and the blotted register is held before our startled eyes, and we are compelled to look Straight on what we have written, until it seems as though the flashing light of God would burn it into our souls, and make us feel the horrible meanness and bald baseness of our low lives. That penitence was no cheap and easy lip-cry, "God be merciful to me a sinner." It was the agony of all inexorably tortured soul; incensed against himself as one who had nourished a serpent in his heart, only that it might discharge its full venom upon him. Bitterly he cries and sobs out his grief, writhes and groans under the intolerable pressure of his sin, reels and staggers from the successive shocks of his anguish, his very bones wasting away amidst his moaning, his life-juices drying up through the burning fevers of ms soul, his days wretched, his nights sleepless, his prayer one moan; O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this sill and death. God creates such penitence for sin by Revelation. Sin does not of itself generate repentance. It warps the judgment, hardens the heart, distorts the vision, shrivels the will, slays the man. It is not in sin to cure itself. Nor will penalties redeem and restore. Punishments do not of themselves beget soul-agony for sin as sin — for sins of the thought and the imagination, the will and the affections. George Eliot says in "Daniel Deronda": "Lives are enlarged in different ways. I daresay some would never get their, eyes opened if it were not for a violent shock from the consequences of their own actions." Thank God that does happen sometimes, but human story tells us they are extremely few who are chastened and enriched merely by suffering the penalties of their own wrongdoing. Such issues beget despair, and lead a Judas to suicide; but alone, they rarely, if ever, lead to life. They may accumulate self-reproach, discover the blundering stupidity of all sin, sour and embitter the temper, and crush and grind the man to powder; but it is God in His prophets Who begets a divinely cleansing repentance, a fierce and pure hatred of wrong as wrong, and a renewed dedication to goodness and righteousness. It always takes a gospel to make a penitent. "God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing unto men their trespasses." The vision of Divine love breaks the hardest heart. The infinite pathos of the Cross touches the spirit with softer power for contrition and for comfort than the song of the angels at Bethlehem. God quickens and enlarges a thorough repentance with His free and instant forgiveness, and crowns it with swift peace, soul enlargement, and hallowed progress. "A broken and a contrite spirit" is His most coveted home, and the souls of the penitent have been His chosen dwelling-place in all generations. "There is icy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth;" then how glad and full and deep the delight, when the heart of a David sobs with grief over his sin; the long estrangement from God is ended, and the right spirit is once more supreme! "The Lord hath also put away thy sin." But note, although God forgives the sin, He does not remit the penalty. He cannot. Infinite in power and resistless in will, He does not He cannot cut off, at once and for ever, the issues of David's iniquities. Wrong has an indestructible vitality, and a prodigious reproductiveness independently of him who did it. Most appalling is this tragic feature of our mysterious life! Never is that penalty lifted wholly out, of David's career. It dogs him to the very end. It is there in the death of Bathsheba's child. It is there in the thickening plots of the palace; in the crime of Ammon; in the revolt of Absalom; and in the wickedness of his children. It is there ill the air of the court laden with his infecting impurity; there in the "whips" to scourge him, made of the knotted cords of his "pleasant vices." But forgiveness is not all David seeks; nor is it all he obtains. The greater grace of God triumphs over the great sin of David in making it contributive to his spiritual enlargement, the clearing and expansion of his conceptions of sin, of responsibility, of personality, of God, and of holiness. He recovers his original attitude of sincerity and simplicity, of uprightness of purpose, and of straight and steadfast vision; and from his own failure gains the clearest expressions of personal and individual sin the Bible contains. His sin accentuates his sense of personality in God and in self. "Against Thee, Thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Thy sight." Let us adore the grace of God that carries on the upbuilding of men, not alone by shepherds' tasks and patriots' perils, courtiers' duties and singers' psalms, but also, and surprisingly by the ministry of sin, converting failures in human purpose and foibles in human lives, into goads and beacons, and transmuting even the victories of low animalism and blinding sense into whips and thongs driving the offending Adam out of the swine's field and into the pastures of the flock of God. The fact is as undeniable as it is glorious. Speaking to M. de Lesseps on the occasion of his admission to the Academy, M. Renan said: "You have that supreme gift that, like faith, works miracles. And the reason of your ascendancy is this — that men see in you a heart that sympathises with all that is human, and a veritable passion for ameliorating the lot of all mankind. They find in you that pity for the multitude which is the mainspring in all men of great practical talent... You are a master of the supreme art which consists in knowing how to do good with evil, and get the great out of the little." And is it not also one of the chief problems of science to convert the waste products of the world into the service of mankind? Has not chemistry, within the last thirty years, coaxed a whole world of beautiful colours out of the refuse of coal-tar? But in all this, man is only the imitator of Him Who makes the wrath of men to praise Him. "He sayeth to the uttermost." Limit, there is none to His forgiveness. Barrier does not exist to His conquering grace. David is the Saul of Tarsus of the Hebrew Church. It is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that turn to Him with a broken and contrite heart, showing mercy to the penitent, be they never so guilty; and saving David, that in him as chief, God might show forth His long-suffering for an ensample to them that should hereafter believe on Him to eternal life. Let no man despair.

(J. Clifford.)

Self-examination may be called an arraignment of ourselves at our own bar, according to that word of our Eucharist Service: "Judge, therefore, yourselves, brethren, that ye be not judged of the Lord." It is easy — fatally easy — with self-examination as with prayer, to allow the exercise to be drawn down from its high moral and spiritual aim to the level of a form. But while we continue it, let us strive to throw reality and life into it by regarding the great duty on a large, comprehensive, and spiritual scale. Consider, first, the necessity for all of us, in respect both of our sins and of our good works, of an exercise of like self-examination. This necessity arises from the fact, so distinctly stated in Scripture, that "the heart is deceitful above all things," and that "he that trusteth in his own heart" — in its dictates respecting himself and his own spiritual condition — "is a fool." It has pleased God to illustrate this cardinal truth by two grand examples, one in the Old and one in the New Testament. It must have been by trust in the subtle evasions and plausible shifts of his own heart that David, after committing two of the worst crimes of which our nature is capable, so long contrived to keep his conscience quiet, but at length was convicted of the desperate folly of severely condemning in another man the very faults which, in an infinitely aggravated form, he had been palliating and excusing in himself. And it was by trusting in the assurances which his heart gave him of his own strong attachment to his Master, that St. Peter, secure of himself, was betrayed into the weakness and folly of denying Christ. May we say that, while all characters are liable to the snare of self-deception, those are more particularly exposed to it who, like St. Peter and David, are persons of keen sensibilities, warm temperaments, quick affections? But bow shall we bring home to ourselves the dangerousness of trusting, without due examination, to the verdict of our own hearts? We will do so by supposing a parallel ease ins matter, where we are all peculiarly apt to be cautious and suspicious — the goods of this world. Suppose, then, that the chief agent in some great speculation is a man wire, though most untrustworthy, has all the art of conciliating trust. Suppose him to be fluent, fair-spoken, prepossessing in manners and appearance, and to be especially plausible in glossing over a financial difficulty. Advance one more step in the hypothesis, and suppose him to be a private friend of many of those who are embarked with him in the same speculation; allied to some of them by marriage, and, more or less, in habits of intimacy with all. If such a person is at the head of affairs, and entrusted with the administration of the funds contributed by all, it is evident that he might impose upon the contributors to almost any extent. Now the peril of such trust in worldly matters supplies a very fair image of the peril of a still more foolish and groundless trust in spiritual things. Our hearts are notoriously most untrustworthy informants ill any case where we are ourselves interested. It is not only Scripture which assevers this. We confess it. ourselves, and re-echo the verdict of Scripture, when we say of any slight matter, with which we happen to be mixed up, "I am an interested party, and therefore I had better not be a judge." What frightful arrears may we be running up, unawares to ourselves, if we do not sharply check and suspiciously watch this heart, who administers for us the account between us and God! The first step in real self-examination is to be fully aware of the deceitfulness of the heart, and to pray against it, watch against it, and use every possible method of counteracting it. But what means can we use? We offer a few practical suggestions in answer to this question.

1. As regards, our acknowledged sins. We must remember that their hatefulness, and aggravations, if they were publicly confessed, might very probably be recognised by every one but ourselves, the perpetrators. There are certain loathsome diseases, which are offensive and repulsive in the highest degree to every one but the patient. And there is a close analogy between the spiritual frame of man and his natural; if the moral disease be your own — rooted in your character, clinging to your own heart, it never can affect you with the same disgust as if it were another man's.

2. But the probe of self-examination needs to be applied to the better, as well as to the worse parts of our conduct. The natural heart is an adept in flatteries, not only suggesting excuses for the evil, but also heightening the colours of the good which, by God's grace, is in us. Where conduct stands the test of self-examination, the motives of it should be called in question. We must do in regard of ourselves what we may never do in regard of others — suspect that an unsound motive may underlie a fair conduct. Certain proprieties and regularities of behaviour, whether devotional or moral, are secured by deference to the prevailing opinions and habits of society, as is shown sometimes by the fact that, when we are in foreign parts, and no longer under this restraint, those proprieties and regularities are not so carefully maintained. Many good actions are done, more or less, because they are in keeping with a man's position, conciliate credit to him, gain him the praise of others. Works of usefulness and social (and even religious) improvement may be undertaken, more or less, from that activity of mind which is inherent in some characters, because naturally we cannot bear to be standing still, and are constitutionally unfitted for a studious, contemplative life. To have probed their own wounds, and pored over their own inflamed and envenomed frames, would have availed the poisoned Israelites nothing, unless, after such a survey of their misery, they had lifted their eyes to the brazen serpent. "Look unto Him," therefore, "and be ye healed."

(E. M. Goulburn, D. D.)

I. THE PARABLE AS BASED UPON FACT. There were two men in one city; the one rich, and the other poor. The rich man had many flocks and herds: the poor man had one ewe lamb. And the rich man, in a case of emergency, instead of taking a lamb out of his own flock, killed the one ewe lamb of the poor man. If that never occurred we must know it. Did it ever occur? It is the thing that is occurring every day. It is the infinite danger of wealth that it becomes oppressive, cruel, thoughtless, selfish. There is a sanctified wealth; there is a gracious social position; there is a condescending royalty. But why should it be remarked that such should be the case? Simply because of the almost innate tendency of men to use wealth with cruelty and selfishness. The poor man feels the cold wind first. The destruction of the poor man is his poverty. Wealth when it oppresses carries with it its own condemnation. Wealth when it is used as a means of succouring men, helping the true and the good is doing the work of God. But we are dealing with something below all that we now know as personal facts — namely, with principles, mysteries, with that whole region, almost undiscovered, of motive, passion, impulse that never can be explained adequately in words. On the other hand, a man is not necessarily a virtuous citizen because he has only one ewe lamb. Let us be impartial.

II. THE PARABLE AS A METHOD OF TEACHING. The parable was a favourite educational instrument in Eastern nations. There were many parable-makers in Oriental lands. But where are the parables equal to those which are to be found in the Bible? Balaam had a parable, Jotham had a parable; Nathan has a parable, and others in the Old Testament now and again come very near to the line of parable, but in proportion as we discover the parable to be beautiful and true we see in it the Spirit of the living God — the Eternal Force — the Divine Quantity. But when we come to the teaching of Jesus Christ all the other parables fall off into dim perspective; and after he laid down that instrument was it ever taken up again? Jesus Christ often fetched a compass — and he fetched it by such a sweep, by such a reach of mind, that the men upon whom his attention was fastened little suspected, until after the completion of the parable, that they were the objects of his judgment and condemnation. This is masterly preaching — to be personal without the individuals knowing that we are such; to get up a whole statement, coloured in every hue of heaven, sharp with all the pungency of criticism, and for men afterwards to wake up to the fact that the preacher was meaning none other than themselves. What applies to Christ's parables, and to all others of the same quality, applies to the whole revelation of God.

III. THE PARABLE AS A PRACTICAL REVELATION OF GOD'S JUSTICE. We have seen that the thing which David did "displeased the Lord." Does God treat the sin lightly? He says: "The sword shall never depart from thine house;" across every bright summer that shines upon thee there shall be a great bar of blackness; when the birds sing to thee thou shalt be constrained to punctuate their songs with memories of remorse; when thou dost lift the flagon to thy lips the wine shall leave behind it a poisonous taste; when thou liest down a thorn shall puncture thee: thou shalt never escape from this deed of wickedness. Whilst, therefore, the mocker is eager to quote as against the Bible the sin of David, if he be a just man as well as a jiber he ought to quote the judgment pronounced by God, and to see how true is the doctrine of eternal torment even in relation to this life. This parable, too, shows us man's responsibility. David is not allowed to escape on the ground of being overtaken in a fault. Kings ought to be their own subjects. The greater the man, the greater should be the saint. The greater the opportunities we have had of education and culture of every kind, the severer should be public criticism upon our lapses and iniquities, To whom much has been given, from him shall much be expected. He who knoweth his Lord's will and doeth it not shall be beaten with many stripes.

(J. Parker, D,D.)

Nathan here presents the image of a prophet in its noblest and most attractive form. Boldness, tenderness, inventiveness, and tact were combined in such admirable proportions that a prophet's functions, if always discharged in a similar manner with equal discretion, would have been acknowledged by all to be purely beneficent. In his; interposition there is a kind of ideal moral beauty. In the schools of the prophets he doubtless held the place which St. afterwards held in the minds of priests for the exclusion of the Emperor from the church of Milan after the massacre of Thessalonica.

(W. Smith, D. D.)

Krummacher tells us how the wise Nathan learned the benefit of parables. He sought to instruct men by putting on coarse garments, and using harsh words; but men ran from him and left him vexed and alone. After a miserable night he was led by the spirit of God to a pomegranate tree, bearing flowers and fruit at the same time. He contemplated it, and saw the fruit concealed among the leaves. Then the word of the Lord came from the pomegranate tree, saying: Behold, Nathan! thus nature promises the delicious fruits by the simple flower, and offers it from the shade of the leaves concealing her hand." Nathan was cheered, and henceforth taught by parables, winning many to the ways of truth.

Sunday Companion.
Leech, the, celebrated artist and caricaturist, is said to have had an effective method of reprimanding his children. If their faces were distorted with anger, or a rebellious temper, or a sullen mood, he took out his sketch-book, transferred their lineaments to paper, and showed them, to their own confusion, how ugly naughtiness was.

(Sunday Companion.)

Great is the benefit of conference and private admonition. Luther was much helped this way by Staupicius; Galeacius by Peter Martyr, Junius by a countryman of his not far from Florence; Senarclaeus by John Diazius; Latimer by blessed St. Bilney, as he styleth him; Dr. Taylor by that angel of God, John Bradford, who counted that hour lost wherein he had not done some good with his hand, pen, or tongue. Private admonition, saith one, is the pastor's privy purse, as princes have theirs, besides their public disbursements. It repented good Mr. Hiron, and troubled him on his deathbed, that he had been so backward to it, and barren of it.

(J. Trapp.)

Delivering publicly a charge to a newly-ordained minister, Robert Hall said to him: "Be not afraid of devoting whole sermons to particular parts of moral conduct and religious duty. It is impossible to give right views of them unless you dissect characters, and describe particular virtues and vices. The works of the flesh and the fruits of the Spirit must be distinctly pointed out. To preach against sin in general without descending to particulars may lead many to complain of the evil in their hearts, while at the same time they are awfully inattentive to the evil of their conduct." How wise is this! We need to be specific as to home-sins, business-sins, social-sins, church-sins, pew-sins, and pulpit-sins; for to lay bare definite evil is half-way towards its removing. No preaching was ever more pointed and personal and practical than that of our Lord Jesus Christ, and those who heard Him knew He meant themselves if no other.

(H. O. Mackey.)

It is told us of Henry Martyn that lie was a man with a wonderful power of telling men of their faults, and bringing them to a right mind, and yet never offending them. Someone said to him: "How do you manage to tell them their faults without offending them?" He replied, "I never go to another to tell him his fault, until I have been down on my knees before God, and seen that, but for His present grace, I should be in the same fault myself." That is the spirit of meekness. Yes, blessed are the meek who will get down, just as Henry Martyn did; he got down on to his knees, and that is the best way to get to tim ground, and then from that level lie spoke to the one who was in fault. When he got up he lifted his brother with him.

(H. Brooke, M. A.)

Robert Wodrow tells a story of a certain merchant who "came from London to St. Andrew's in Fife, where he heard first the great and worthy Mr. Blair preach, next he heard the great Rutherford preach, and afterward Mr. Dickson. When lie came back to London his friends asked him what news he had from Scotland. He answered, he had very great and good news to tell them. They wondered much what they could be, for tie was before that time a man altogether a stranger to true religion. He told them he heard one Mr. Blair preach at St. Andrew's; and describing his features and the stature of his body, he said, "That man showed me the majesty of God" — which was Mr. Robert Blair's peculiar talent. "Then," added he, "I afterwards heard a little fair man preach" — Mr. Rutherford — "and that man showed me the loveliness of Christ. Then I came and heard at Irvine a well-favoured, proper old man, with a long beard" — which was the famous Mr. Dickson — "and that man showed me all my heart;" for he was most famed of any man of his time to speak to cases of conscience.

(Alexander Smellie.)

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