« AnteriorContinuar »
foon warned him of his danger, and caus tioned him to hide himself for that night in a secret place which they had agreed upon ; assuring him, that he would the next day take an occasion of communing with his father about him, near the place of his concealment *, and acquaint him with the issue of the conference. They met accordingly, and Jonathan's friendship displayed itself in all its glory.
THERE is something so powerful in the cordial, candid, seasonable, and affectionate intercession of a true friend, as can hardly be resisted; as can hardly fail to work its way into the most obdurate breast,
When Saul communicated his design to his servants and his son, Jonathan received it in a prudential and well-judged silence ; he would not openly oppose his father's
* Doubtless Jonathan chose this as the place of conference with Saul, that, if his intercession 1hould prove incffećtual, and Saul's anger should break out into loud threats, as probably it would, David might be warned of his danger ; or, if Saul should prove inexorable, and yer keep his passion within bounds, Jonathan himfeif might by some complaint, or some lignal agreed on, give his friend fome indication of his ill success; which, possibly, he might otherwise find no opportunity of communicating to him with that dispatch which his danger might require.
purposes, neither would he irritate him (now, probably, in a passion) by an untimely opposition ; he waited with the patience of a wise physician, to administer his medicine when the patient was in best temper to receive it : he watched his time, and the next day, in the cool of the morning, drew his father into a retired and secret conference ; and then it was, that he urged his intercession with so much fidelity and address, added to a dutiful zeal, and most becoming concern for his father's honour, that Saul's heart was softened, and his resentments cor quered. Hear the intercession in his own words : the text tells us, first, in the general, that he spake good of his friend; and then added, Let not the king fin against his servant, against David; because he hath not finned against thee, and because his works have been to thee-ward very good; for he did put his life in his hand, and New the Philistine, and the Lord wrought a great salvation for all Ifrael: thou sawest it, and didst rejoice. Wherefore then wilt thou fin against innocent blood, to pay David without a cause ?
The intelligent reader will, I am persuaded, find, in all the seeming simplicity
of this plain and short intercession, all the strength of reasoning, and all the skill and delicacy of address, that could possibly be crouded into fo few words. He had much more to say in David's favour ; but he well knew, that to enumerate his merits, would be to inflame his father's en mity; and therefore, tho' he mentioned David's merits in general, he insisted only upon that single point in which Saul himfelf had some merit, and much complacence; and he well knew, that the bare remem- . brance of it would bring back to his father's mind the greatness and the generosity of the prize proposed, which excited David's valour, and the felicity and glory of the event, in which Saul himfelf had so great a share.
Thus he judged ; and how rightly he did fo, the event sufficiently informs us : And Saul (saith the text) bearkened unto the voice of Yonathan : and Saul sware, As the Lord liveth, be shall not be sain.
The generous reader will easily judge with what a flow of joy Jonathan received this assurance, and how eagerly he communicated it to his friend ; how gladly he brought him back, introduced him to his father, and, in all appearance, reinstated him in his former favour.
However, this gleam of fun-lhine lasted not long. A new war broke out with the Philistines : David again commanded in it, and was again successful. A decisive battle was fought : the enemy was defeated with a great slaughter, and utterly put to flight; and David returned to court victorious and safe ; and with him Saul's envy, and its attendant spirit.
David had now too much merit, and too many virtues, to be borne any longer ; and he must die, for the same reason that, Seneca tells us, Græcinus Julius did, because he was a better man than it was expedient for the tyrant that he should be *. His kingdom, he knew, was given away to a better man : And who fo eminently a better man than himself, as David! And now, when the evil spirit from the Lord came upon Saul, he had recourse to his usual remedy ; David played, but it was to the deaf adder, which refused to hear the voice of the charmer.
How sad and shocking a scene was this ! David labouring with all his study and skill to relieve Saul's anguish ; and Saul, in the same instant, meditating his destruction !
* Sen. de Benef. lib. 2. c.21.
sitting fitting fullen, and determined, with his javelin in his hand, watching his opportunity, and waiting, perhaps, until the power of musick had so far calmed his spirits as to steady his hand, he darted his spear at David with all his might, and with such force, that, he happily declining it, it pierced and stuck into the wall : and David fled.
The reflecting reader cannot fail to observe and to adore the Providence by which David was once more so fignally protected and delivered. Nor can he well avoid revolving in his mind, that very late and folemn oath by which Saul obliged himself to abstain from David's destruction ; an obligation now facrificed to the gratification of that evil spirit that reigned within him.
How others have observed, I cannot say; but I believe it will generally be found true, that whenever we meet with any account of a murderous, a treacherous, a perjured prince, we may expect to be soon informed of some signal judgments and chastisements from God upon him. And give me leave to add, that, in the little circle of my own observation, I have very seldom (if ever ) been disappointed.