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he delivered an affecting parable, but even this did not appear to awaken his mind, until the prophet said to him, in express terms, "Thou art the man." Then do we perceive the monarch humbled, then do we behold him on his knees before the throne of grace, sensible of his crime, and imploring forgiveness; then do we find him composing the fifty-first Psalm, which contains the deepest confession of sin which has ever yet been penned. But we need not rest here, we may go further; we may trace him thirty years, and he yet lived,lived to prove the sincerity of his penitence, by the fruits of true repentance, amendment of heart and life. If real penitence, followed by practical repentance, be not efficacious, then is the New Testament untrue; there pardon is freely offered to every offender, who will apply for it through the only method of salvation. But let us not suppose that David did not suffer temporal punishment in consequence of his sins. Most grievous were the calamities with which he was visited; the fruit of an illicit connexion died; the rebellion of Adonijah, and the revolt of Absalom, with the premature death of the latter, (which he laments in the most pathetic language,) were heavy trials; added to which, he suffered much from foreign enemies. These were some of the judgments of
the Almighty; but in the midst of judgment, he remembered mercy; and when, in consequence of his sincere penitence, and return to duty, his latter years were again illumined by the divine favour, he renewed the promises made to his fathers; and enabled him to look forward and predict the accomplishment of gospel times, and to describe, in glowing colours, the character and circumstances of the Redeemer of the world. And it is worthy of notice, that his very name is retained as peculiarly belonging to our Saviour. Hosea, speaking of the coming of the Messiah, declares that he will be of the seed of David: you never hear of Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob, (to whom the first promises were given,) in this view; but the name of David is always introduced. Though he was not suffered to build the temple, yet he was permitted to collect an ample supply of materials for that sacred purpose. In a good old age he was gathered to his fathers, charging his son Solomon, with his dying breath, to "walk in the way of the Lord, and to keep all his statutes and commandments."
Let each of us, my friends, endeavour to draw moral lessons from the character we have been contemplating. While we copy its graces, may we be enabled steadily to avoid its errors. Let us reflect, that though circum
stances may vary, the passions themselves have been, in all ages, the same. How great the distance between Britain and Jerusalem! How wide the difference between the language of an orientalist, and that of the inhabitant of a northern climate! How vast the distinction between the pure light of Christianity, and the obscurity of the Mosaic dispensation! And yet to whom are we indebted for the most elevated compendium of devotion? To the Jewish Monarch whose character we have been describing. Take away the Psalms of David, and you have robbed your Bible of the very essence of devotion. The New Testament doubtless affords the best materials for praise; but these materials have never yet been collected. Oh, may these thoughts strike our minds, and lead us to place a higher value upon the compositions of David; and while we grieve over the errors of his character, let us be thankful there is one character without a flaw! May it be our delight to study, and our desire to imitate, this glorious model! And may we improve in grace, and in knowledge, till we shall be prepared to enter that state, where imperfection will cease, where we shall associate only with the wise and good, and where God shall be "all in all." Amen.
CONDUCT OF CHRIST
PRIOR TO HIS
not that I must be about my Father's business? LUKE ii. 49.
PERHAPS there is no subject better calculated, both to excite and to gratify curiosity, than the commencement of any great event, or the early history of any distinguished character. What occasioned such an event? What circumstances led to such a revolution? What were the early presages of such a character? are questions which naturally arise in the mind. Such a wish must ever be entertained with respect to the subject selected for our
present meditation. When we behold the pure and spotless life, the beauty and sublimity of the discourses, the benevolence which uniformly marked the conduct, the miraculous powers, and the sacred redemption, of our Lord; the inquiry will eagerly be made, How did such a bright star arise in our hemisphere? What were the first rays it shot upon our earth? What was the dawn of such a glorious day? Very limited are the accounts which have been transmitted to us, respecting this period of our Saviour's history. The early chapters of the four Gospels contain accounts of his nativity, of the visit of the Magi, of Herod's cruelty, of the flight into Egypt, and his attendance with his parents in the temple; but none of these circumstances throw any light on the conduct of Christ himself; on the other hand, the calling of the twelve Apostles stands so immediately connected with his public ministry, which commenced when he was about thirty years of age, (the time appointed by the Levitical law for assuming the office of a teacher,) that it cannot be considered as applicable to the present subject, which is designed merely to investigate his conduct during the years of childhood and youth.
From the few documents which have been preserved, we may, I think, consider his cha