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express it by) Wberefore doth my Lord thus pursue after his servant ? For what have I done ? or what evil is in my hand ? Now therefore, I pray thee, let my lord the king hear the words of his fervant. If the Lord batb stirred thee up against me, let him accept an offering ; i. e. if God hath excited you against me, on the score of any guilt for which I deserve to die ; behold, here I am, ready to be facrificed in atonement for it : but if they be the children of men, cursed be they before the Lord; for they have driven me out this day from abiding in the inheritance of the Lord, saying, Go serve other gods * Now therefore let not my blood fall to the earth before the face of the Lord : for the king of Israel is come out to seek a flea, as when one doth bunt a partridge in the mountains.
This reasoning, this duty, this submisfion not only softened, but even humbled the haughty and obdurate heart of Saul ; humbled it, if not into a thorough penitent
* Driving a man among idolaters, was, in effect, forcing him to become an idolater ; and a man's forcing another to be so, was as criminal, as if he were himself an idolater. It is very remarkable, that David here laments no present loss, or exclusion from just right, other than that of being shut out from the divine ordinances, and forced among the worshippers of idols.
confession, yet, at least, into an open acknowledgment of guilt and folly : I have finned (says he): return, my fon David ; for I will no more do thee harm, because my foul was precious in thine eyes this day : behold, I have played the fool, and have erred exceedingly.
Upon which David desired, he would please to order one of his servants to come to him, and take back the king's spear ; and then added this solemn prayer and appeal to God: The Lord render to every man his righteousness, and his faithfulness : for the Lord delivered thee into my hand to day; but I would not stretch forth mine hand against the Lord's anointed. And behold, as thy life was much set by this day in mine eyes ; yo let my life be much set by in the eyes of the Lord, and let him deliver me out of all tribulation.
After which, Saul concluded with this kind and prophetick farewel : Blessed be thou, my son David: thou jhalt both do great things, and also falt still prevail.
So David went on his way, and Saul returned to his place.
CHAP. XX. Mr. Bayle's Objections to this part of
the Sacred History considered. T HE reader, who hath been conver
fant in some late fashionable writings, will not, I believe, be surprized to find this part of the Sacred History variously objected to ; nor will he, I hope, be displeased to see those objections confuted and caft down in their full strength.
In the first place, it is objected, That David was at too great a distance for this conversation, which is said to have followed after the taking away of Saul's spear ; for the text exprefly says, that when he began it, he stood upon the top of an hill, afar of
I ANSWER, If, That this expression, afar off, may admit of two very plain, and yet very different senses. Saul now stood on the top of one hill, and David on the top of another contiguous to it; the distance, then, from Saul to David, reckoning the descent of one hill and the ascent of the other, might really be considerable, especially in
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a country where the hills are high, steep, and precipitous, and both the descent and ascent winding and difficult, which is the case of Judea ; and yet the real distance in a right line between those summits very inconsiderable. And this I take to have been the case. David therefore might at the same time be near enough to Saul to hear, and to be heard by him; and yet, with regard to the distance and danger of a pursuit from him, really afar off.
I ANSWER, 2dly, That this conversation, as appears from the tenor of the relation, was held in the calm and filence of the morning : at which time it is almost incredible to say at what distance the human voice may be heard with clearness and distinction, especially in a clear, elastick air, such as that of Judea : and it is beyond all doubt, that men have often heard even the crowing of a cock at a much greater distance than is necessary to be supposed in this conference. And yet many of these sounds united are not equal to the force of one human voice exerted in all its articulate strength.
The intelligent reader will, I am sure, gladly save me the trouble of a fuller confutation.
The next objection is of more weight, as it comes from a man of allowed learning and parts, I mean Mr. Bayle. But, perhaps, it may lose some of its weight, when the reader shall please to consider, that it comes from a great broacher of paradoxes, an industrious dissenter from men of learning, and a known patron of all the errors that ever obtained in the world from its foundation ; a defender even of contrary and contradictory errors. However, let his reasons, not his authority, be weigh'd in this dispute.
His main objection is, That these accounts of Saul's danger, and David's generosity, in the cave, and in the camp, are in reality but two different relations of one and the same transaction. And his reasons for believing so are as follow :
ift, BECAUSE the Scriptures make no reflexions, in the second relation, upon this repeated ingratitude of Saul, in persecuting David, after he had before given him his life. And,
2dly, BECAUSE the speeches on the second occasion are pretty near the same with those on the first,