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are reported of him concern the after administration of his son's kingdom, and the punishment of some of his mischievous subjects. Of all his words they are perhaps those which we the least care to remember. We must turn elsewhere than to the books of the Old or of the New Testament for deathbed scenes. One beautiful record of the first deacon of the Church, who prayed for his countrymen, “Lord lay not this sin to their charge,” is all that we have of martyrology in the Bible. Its warriors fight the good fight. We know that in some battle or other they finish their course. Where, or how, under what circumstances of humiliation or triumph, we are not told. If it pleased God that their lamp should shine out brightly at the last, that was well, for He was glorified in their strength. If it pleased Him that the light should sink and go out in its socket, that was well too; for he was glorified in their weakness. Not by momentary flashes does God bid us judge of our fellow-creatures; for He who reads the heart and sees the meaning and purpose of it, judges not of them by these. And never be it forgotten that at the death which has redeemed all other deaths and made them blessed, there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour, and that a cry came out of the darkness, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me ?”

If you would judge of David, of what he was, and what he looked for, let this psalm be your guide. “Give the king thy judgments, oh, God! and thy righteousness unto the king's son. He shall judge thy people with righteousness, and the poor with judgment. He shall save the children of the needy, and shall break in pieces the oppressor. He shall redeem their souls from deceit and violence, and precious shall their blood be in his sight. There shall be an hand

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ful of corn in the earth upon the top of the mountains; the fruit thereof shall shake like Lebanon; and they of the city shall flourish like grass of the earth. His name shall endure for ever, His name shall be continued as long as the sun, and men shall be blessed in him. All nations shall call him blessed. Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel, who only doeth wondrous things, and blessed be His glorious name for ever, and let the whole earth be filled with His glory. The prayers of David the son of Jesse are ended.”

And with that aspiration and hope, brethren, may our prayers be ended. May it be the business of our lives to testify, that there is a righteous kingdom established upon the earth, and that God has set it up, and that His Son, who has made himself one with all poor and suffering men, is at the head of it; and that it shall prevail over all oppression and violence; and that all nations shall be blessed by it. Let us grapple this faith to our inmost souls now, when men think and openly proclaim, that law and order are based not on the will and mind of a gracious God who cares for His creatures, but are to be the tools and servants of a grasping Mammon; now when we have proofs openly before our eyes, how that low, grovelling, godless conviction, leads at last to the trampling down of all law, to the setting up of the most hateful lawless tyranny. Let us not merely detest such outrages upon God's order, but scorn them as essentially weak, as predestined to destruction, however for a time He may permit them for the chastisement of the sins and idolatries of other nations, nay even if He should see fit to use them for the chastisement of our own. “Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him : fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in IV.] THE PASSING AWAY OF OPPRESSORS. 71 his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; fret not thyself in any wise to do evil. For evil-doers shall be cut off; but those that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the earth. For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be. But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.”




I KINGS, IV. 6—9. And Solomon said, Thou hast shewed unto thy servant

David, my father, great mercy, according as he walked before Thee in truth and in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart with Thee : and Thou hast kept for him this great kindness, that Thou hast given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day. And now O Lord my God, Thou hast made Thy servant king instead of David my father; and I am but a little child; I know not how to go out or come in. And Thy servant is in the midst of Thy people which Thou hast chosen, a great people that cannot be counted or numbered for multitude. Give therefore Thy servant an understanding heart to judge Thy people, that I may discern between good and

bad; for who is able to judge this Thy so great people?The seventy-second Psalm, part of which I read to you last Sunday, because it contains, if not the last words, yet the habitual wishes, the inmost heart of David, speaks of a son in whose days there should be abundance of peace, to whom should be given of the gold of Arabia, whose name should remain among the posterities. That these words were fulfilled in the peaceful and glorious reign of Solomon, most readers believe. That there are other words in that



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Psalm which speak of blessings far beyond any which came upon Israel or upon the earth then, or perhaps have come upon it since, they also believe. How are we to connect the different passages together; which may we assign to the immediate successor, which point to some distant, unrealised future ?

Though this enquiry concerns the sense and interpretation of all the Psalms, nay, the very nature of Prophecy itself, I propose to speak of it only as it bears upon the subject which comes under our notice this afternoon. There can be no doubt, I conceive, that the dream of transmitting his kingdom to a child of his own had often visited the mind of David. We should naturally conclude that he fixed upon the favourite Absalom as his successor. His rebellion was a sad mockery of that expectation. But it was not only a mockery. It was the severest part of that discipline, so regular and consistent, which taught David that the kingdom was not his, that another than he ruled it, that it was established in his hands not for his own sake, but for the sake of God's people Israel. It was as much a falsehood in the king to think of giving it away according to some choice or fancy of his own, as it was a falsehood in the people to desire a king who should merely lead their armies and make them like the other nations. But just as the self-willed and sensual longing which caused Samuel so much sorrow was the perversion of a divine instinct which in due time was to be satisfied, so did it prove in this case also. The desire to advance a beloved child had much of selfishness in it; the passion for founding a family though it was of nobler kind, clung too closely to the mere individual who cherished it. But the paternal impulse and the power of looking onwards into another age when the father

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