Abbildungen der Seite

ness, and acknowledge ourselves to be dealt with much better than we have de served. It is from such a godly sorroir only, that we are to expect any success to our prayers ; it is from this only, we can have any hope, that God will be

gracious unto us, and that our child, or our friend, may live.

2dly. We may learn from David's example, how we ought to behave under the still more trying circumstances of the acy tual loss of a beloved child, or any other person, who is very near and dear to us.

With regard to the particular case of David, it may be observed, that though the loss of children is a loss which is often born the hardest of any, yet, if rightly considered, there is no just reason why it should be so; because there are so many grounds of comfort to alleviate it: such as, that they are taken from the evil to comc, in a state of innocence: that if they had done well in the world, the pleasure we should have received from them would have been more than: balanced by


the thousand anxieties we should have felt for them ; but that if they had done ill, they would have brought down our grey hairs with sorrow to the grave: and above all, that God has provided for them so much better than ever we could have done. We may presume that David reasoned in this manner in the case before us: For we read, that as soon as he knew the child was dead, he arose from the earth, and washed and anointed himself, and changed his apparel, and came into the house of the Lord and worshipped: “ then so he came into his own house, and when “he required, they set bread before him, " and he did eat:" plainly shewing by all these signs, that he had now put an end to his grief, recovered his usual frame of mind, and fully resigned himself to God's holy will and pleasure. And in the same manner should we act in the like circumstances, drying up our tears, betaking ourselves to the duties of our respective stations, and submitting to the present dispensation of Providence with meekness and patience; knowing full well into whose hands we are fallen, and how much better he can judge what is good for us, than we can for ourselves. I own, this is such a happy composure of mind; as few persons are capable of attaining; indeed, none but those, who have a true greatness of soul, whose reason is superior to their passions, and above all, who have a strong and lively sense of religion upon their minds. Thus, we find the servants of David, concluding him to be like other common men, feared to tell him that the child was dead : “ For they said, Behold,


while the child was yet alive, we spake e unto him, and he would not hearken to

our voice :, how will he then, vex huim“self, if we tell him that the child is si

dead?”. But, though no man had ever a more tender affection for his children than Dayid had, yet, as no man likewise had a more fervent love of God, so his piety and submission to the will prevailed over all worldly ties and engagements, and he truly fulfilled thatevangelical precept, “ He

that loveth father or mother, son or

daughter, more ilian me, is not worthy “ of me.” And so we likewise, the greater hold the principles of religion have upon

[ocr errors]


our minds, the more chearfully shall we acquiesce under all God's dispensations, and the more ready shall we be to part with our dearest friends, whensoever he shall be pleased to call them to himself. ;

And we shall do this the more readily, if we reflect, thirdly, on the reason which Daxid gives, for 'ceasing to grieve any longer, when the child was actually dead: " Wherefore should I fast? Can I bring “ him back again ?" Or dare I presume to hope, that the Almighty will work a miracle for my sake? And, who is there amongst us that can pretend to expect a greater favour from God than he did ? Must we not see the vanity of all our repinings in such a case as this? That they will much sooner bring us down to the grave, than recall our friends out of it. However, it must be owned, that if no other reason could be given for our ceasing to grieve for our departed friends than this, that our grief cannot bring them back again, we might justly reply with Augustus, upon the same occasion, “ it * is for thạt very reason I grieve," For,



what can be a greater subject for our grief, than that we have for ever lost our friends, beyond all hopes or possibility of ever being blessed with the sight of them


[ocr errors]

We may therefore observe fourthly, That David immediately adds, “ I shall go to him, but he shall not return to

And this is one of those passages in the Old Testament, from which we may Teasonably infer, that the holy men of old believed in another life after this, though à future state of rewards and punishments was no sanction of the Mosaic Law, not clearly and expressly revealed in any of the writings of Moses. For David, by saying, “ I shall go to him,” must suppose that his child, though dead, did still subsist and live in his separate state, and that he himself should hereafter live with him in the same state. The very expresa sion “ I shall go to him,” imports this, and cannot with any sort of propriety be construed to signify only that David should, at his appointed time, be mingled with the same dust, and sink into the same


« ZurückWeiter »