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" David said unto the Lord, I have "! sinned greatly in that I havę “ done : and now I beseech theę, “ O Lord, take away the iniquity
of thy servant; for I have done
very foolishly.” And then, when he heard the tremendous message from God, by the mouth of his prophet, how piously does he resign himself to the divine will! " And
David said unto Gad, I am in a
great strait : Let us fall now into " the hand of the Lord (for his mer“cies are great) and let me not fall “ into the hand of man.” And, lastly when he saw the havock, which the pestilence had made amongst his people, how tender and affectionate is his exclamation to God ! Lo, " I have finned, and I have done wickedly ; but these sheep, what
$. have they done? Let thing hand, " I pray thee, be against mę, and " against my father's house.”
So that if David was, on the one hand, a deplorable instance of vanity, and human frailty ; so was he, on the other hand, a splendid example of integrity of heart; of sincere piety; and of ķingly affection.
But no comment or paraphrase can do justice to this passage of scripture; for which reason I have only selected the words of the text for our present meditation, and that on account of the strength and beauty of expression; for they emphatically declare
ist, The great mercy of God, in these words, " Let us fall now into
"! the hand of the Lord (for his mer"! cies are great); and
2. The cruelty of man, in these words, " and let me not fall into the “hand of man.
As if he had thus expressed himself in modern language : “ In what " difficulties hath my folly involved ” me! Three things are proposed to
my choice, either of which I know " must be extremely pernicious to
my people ; and yet, one of them " I must choose. Shall seven years " of famine devour the strength of
my people? Then the whole na" tion must suffer! Shall we basely • turn our backs, and be pursued
three months by our enemies? Not a man of us would be spared!
* Must I then choose the plague, " which levels thousands at a blow? 's Dreadful disease! But still, thou bo
art the executioner of heaven! - And heaven, we know, is gra
cious, and admits of a pardon !---“ But man, cruel man, is eternally
vindictive; his thirst for blood in"satiable; nor is he ever to be pa
cified, but with the total deftruc• tion of his enemy.”
These sentiments of David, at the same time that they place the goodness of God in the most amiable light, cast a dark shade upon man: the justness of which, in both respects, I shall endeavour to vindicate by a comparison betwixt the behaviour of God in this case, and what we may reasonably suppose,
from the general tenor of our acă tions, would have been the behavi. our of man, in the like circumstan
From whence the wisdom of David's choice, which was justified by the event, will appear more con. spicuous.
And here the first thing to be observed, is, first, That all offences against God, as he is infinite in his nature, and in his goodness to mankind, deserve an infinite degree of punishment; so that it must be a great mercy whenever he takes off his afflictions, and that he does not put an end to our being.
Whereas the offence of one man against another can bear no proportion to such infinite guilt. We are