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to obey is better than sacrifice.-Thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord hath rejected thee from being king over Israel.
True religion consists in doing the will of God with sincerity of heart. We must renounce not only this or that sin, but all fin; and must obey not only this or that command, but all the commands of God, without exception or reserve. Then mall Į not be amamed, then shall I have confi. dence in thy favour and loving-kindness, when I have respect unto all thy com· mandments.-Saul was deeply affected with the denunciation of Samuel. The loss of the divine favour was attended with great perplexity and horror : there is no peace to the wicked, faith the scripture. In this unhappy fituation, he was advised to try the power of music, in order to divert his thoughts, and lull his mind to reft. For this purpose, David, a shepherd, the son of Jele, who was famous for playing skilfully upon the harp and singing hyinns, was recommended to hiin; and his music was so excellent, that it charmed the pasfions of the king, and in a great mealure removed his disorder.
The Philistines returned with recruited forces against Ifrael; and, when both
armies were encamped near each other, Goliah, a giant, day after day, challenged any of the Israelites to decide the war by a single combat: but he was of such a prodigious stature, that the soldiers of Saul were terrified at the fight of him, and shrunk hack from the encounter. Young David, however, who came in the mean time to visit his brothers in the cainp, as foon as he heard his insulting language, was moved with indignation, and resolved to fight the gigantic champion. For he trusted in the Almighty, by whose affift. ance he had formerly sain both a lion and a bear, which had assaulted his flocks; that He would also deliver into his hand this proud Philistine, who had reproached and dưfied the armies of the living God.
The Israelites stood in amazement, and trembled for the adventurous stripling, who went forward with only a sling in his hand, and a few pebble stones in his thepherd's bag.' Goliah, on the other hand, treated him with infolent disdain, and threatened to give his flem to the fowls of the air, and to the beasts of the field. But David, guided and supported by an invisible power, sang a stone, which penetrated the head of his adversary, so that he fell upon his face to the earth. At
the sight of which, the Ifraclites, exulto. ing with joy, attacked the army of the dismayed Philistines, and obtained a complete victory over them.
The admiration and applause expressed by all the people in honour of David, excited sentiments of envy and jealousy in the breast of Saul.-65 What a wretched temper it is, to be miserable upon those occasions, which ought to give pleasure and delight; and to hate others for those excellencies, which should recommend them to our love !-This malignant difposition, by degrees, so far prevailed over Saul, that he resolved to destroy David: but Jonathan, whoje foul was knit with the soul of David in friendship, informed him of his danger, and advised him to flee: from the anger of his father. David therefore retired from his dominions to Gath, a city of the Philistines; where, being discovered, and in danger of his life, he pretended to be mad. Having escaped by this artifice, he fled to Adullam, where inany of his relations and friends, and others of broken fortunes, and discontented minds, resorted to him. He could not find however any rest or dwelling-place; for Saul, as it were, hunted him upon the moun.
tains, and pursued him whithersoever he went. • It happened once, that Saul, being alone, entered into a cave, where David and some friends had concealed themselves. The companions of David pressed him to put an end to all his distresses, by the death of his unjust perfecutor; to which he mildly answered, God forbid that I Mould Aretch forth my hand against the Lord's anointed. B A good man will not take any unlawful advantage of his enemy; nor seek deliverance from danger by such methods as are inconsistent with the will of God. Love your enemies: do good to them that hate you: pray for them that perfecute you. When Saul was gone out of the cave, David called after him, and exportulated with him concerning the unreasonableness of his hatred against a man, who had never done him any injury; and who, having that day had it in his power to avenge himself, had yet spared his life. Saut was melted into tenderness with this undeserved generosity and goodness, and laying aside his anger, returned to Jerusalén in peace.
Near the place of David's residence lived Nabal, a man abounding in flocks and herds, but brutal and churlish in his tein
per. David, who by keeping his men under strict discipline, protected the cattle of this man from plunderers, sent messen. gers to him at the time of sheep-shearing, requesting some provisions. The selfith Nabal, however, not only refused, but treated the messengers rudely, and spoke reproachfully of David himself; who was fo offended with the ingratitude and inhumanity of the man, that he threatened to deftroy him and his family. But Abigail, the wife of Nabal, a woman of a beautiful person and gentle difpofition, carried a rich supply of provision to David; and with her presents and soft persuasive words, appeafed his indignation, and prevented the shedding of blood.--In a short time the Lord mote Nabal, that he died; and afterwards David invited Abigail to come to him, and he married her.
The anger and hatred of Saul soon revived: he ungratefully forgot the generofity of David in sparing his life in the cave, and marched against him with three thoufand men into the wildernefs of Ziph. There David had another opportunity of killing Saul, and pucting the crown upon his own head: for going to view the camp, he entered into the tent of Saul, while he was deeping: but his piety prevailed over his