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thousands that were of Manasseh. 21 And they helped David against the band of the rovers: for they were all mighty men of valour, and were captains in the


22 For at that time day by day there came to David to help him, until it was a great host, like the host of God. LECTURE 651. Of following Christ.

In the twenty seventh chapter of the first book of Samuel, we find the account of David's settling at Ziklag. The chief persons, and companies of men, who joined him whilst there, are enumerated in this passage. We have also here a list of those who "separated themselves unto David into the hold to the wilderness," that is to say, who joined him during the time he spent in En-gedi and the neighbourhood, previously to his settlement at Ziklag. It is remarkable that in the first mentioned company were some "of Saul's brethren of Benjamin." They were probably influenced by a lively sense of the injustice of Saul's conduct towards David. And their conduct may remind us, that considerations of right and wrong ought to outweigh, in their influence on our conduct, the ties of friendship and relationship. The circumstance that one who does wrong is near of kin to us, must not blind us to the true character of his doings, must not induce us to uphold him in doing wrong, or prevent us from assisting those who suffer by his wrong doing. Bound as we are to help our relatives, we are much more bound to do the will of Him who has commanded us, "Deliver the outcast and poor: save them from the hand of the ungodly." Ps. 82. 4.

We ought also to remark the words, with which David received those who came to him from Benjamin and from Judah, and the reply which they were led to make to him, He put it to them to say, whether they really were inclined to help him, or were come only to betray him; stating that in the one case his heart would be knit unto them, and in the other case leaving the matter in the hands of God to rebuke them. To which they replied by Amasai, "who was chief of the captains," saying, "Thine are we, David, and on thy side, thou son of Jesse: peace, peace be unto thee, and peace be to thine helpers; for thy God helpeth thee." We are told that when he spake these words, "the spirit came upon Amasai." That is to say, he was under a prophetic influence, he spake as he was moved by the Holy Ghost. We may be so much the more inclined to consider his words as an expression of that faithful allegiance, which all who are Israelites indeed feel towards Him who is their Lord and Saviour. Thine we are, Christ Jesus, and on thy side, Thou Son of David. Peace be unto Thee, and peace unto all who take thy part, all who avow themselves thy servants, and fulfil thy will. Ever may we be found in the number of thy followers! Ever may we be glad to suffer with Thee here, that we may be also glorified together!

Of them that came to David at Hebron.

23 And these are the numbers dred; and all their brethren were at their commandment.

of the bands that were ready
armed to the war, and came to
David to Hebron, to turn the
kingdom of Saul to him, accord-
ing to the word of the LORD.
24 The children of Judah that
bare shield and spear were six
thousand and eight hundred,
ready armed to the war.

25 Of the children of Simeon, mighty men of valour for the war, seven thousand and one hundred,

26 Of the children of Levi four thousand and six hundred. 27 And Jehoiada was the leader of the Aaronites, and with him were three thousand and seven hundred;

28 And Zadok, a young man mighty of valour, and of his father's house twenty and two captains.

29 And of the children of Benjamin, the kindred of Saul, three thousand; for hitherto the greatest part of them had kept the ward of the house of Saul.

30 And of the children of Ephraim twenty thousand and eight hundred, mighty men of valour, famous throughout the house of their fathers.

31 And of the half tribe of Manasseh eighteen thousand, which were expressed by name, to come and make David king. 32 And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do; the heads of them were two hun

33 Of Zebulun, such as went forth to battle, expert in war, with all instruments of war, fifty thousand, which could keep rank: they were not of double heart.

34 And of Naphtali a thousand captains, and with them with shield and spear thirty and seven thousand.

35 And of the Danites expert in war twenty and eight thousand and six hundred.

36 And of Asher, such as went forth to battle, expert in war, forty thousand.

37 And on the other side of Jordan, of the Reubenites, and the Gadites, and of the half tribe of Manasseh, with all manner of instruments of war for the battle, an hundred and twenty thousand.

38 All these men of war, that could keep rank, came with a perfect heart to Hebron, to make David king over all Israel: and all the rest also of Israel were of one heart to make David king. 39 And there they were with David three days, eating and drinking: for their brethren had prepared for them.

40 Moreover they that were nigh them, even unto Issachar and Zebulun and Naphtali, brought bread on asses, and on camels, and on mules, and on oxen, and meat, meal, cakes of figs, and bunches of raisins, and wine, and oil, and oxen, and sheep abundantly: for there was joy in Israel. LECTURE 652.

Of securing the blessings of civil liberty.

It is observed of these bands, which "came to David to Hebron, to turn the kingdom of Saul to him," that they did so

"according to the word of the Lord." They fulfilled God's will in doing so; and they had the warrant of God's word for what they did. Else it seems to be implied plainly, that the kingdom, after Saul's death, would have remained as a matter of course in his family. There is therefore no foundation here for the notion, that these warriors met together to choose a king for themselves, and to force the king of their choice on the rest of the nation. Nor can any of these events be made to countenance the opinion, that the government of nations is a matter of mere compact between rulers and their subjects; to be formed and to be dissolved at the pleasure of either. Certainly the whole history of the community of Israel is most opposite to this mischievous imagination. The Lord their God was their King. He was their King by right of creation. He was their King by right of redemption. He had brought them out of the land of Egypt out of the house of bondage. And when they desired to have a king to reign on earth amongst them, as the nations round about them had, the Lord reserved the appointment to Himself; and reserved also the right of revoking that appointment, if the king refused to reign subject unto Him. And where no such revocation took place, it appears to have been according to God's will, that the throne of the monarch should pass from father to son, in succession, as a matter of right, or of lawful inheritance.

An hereditary monarchy was thus established at this time, as the lawful form of government in Israel. And like our own hereditary monarchy, it was not designed to abridge, but to secure, the liberties of the people; by supplying that prompt and vigorous execution of wise and equal laws, by which true civil liberty is ensured. For liberty is not the licence to do wrong, but security in the enjoyment of what is right. It is the being able to serve God, and to partake of all the blessings which He gives us here, without molestation from the violent. It is to have our person and our property assured of protection; as against others by the authority of the magistrate, and as against the magistrate himself, if needful, by the authority of the law. And thence it is that we read of kings and people making covenant in Israel; see Ch. 11. 3. 2 Kings 23. 3; not that they agreed to rule and to be subject, as a matter of free choice; but that they jointly and publickly acknowledged themselves bound to rule and to be subject according to the Law. Under the Law which God had given them, and in the land which He bountifully bestowed on them, this people enjoyed for many hundreds of years as large a measure of real liberty, and of true national prosperity, as was ever realized on earth. Let us then remember, if we value these great earthly blessings, that the best method of obtaining them is this, not for each to follow after his own will, but to be subject one to another, and to the ordinances which are given unto us by God.



David bringeth again the ark of God.

1 And David consulted with the captains of thousands and hundreds, and with every lead


2 And David said unto all the congregation of Israel, If it seem good unto you, and that it be of the LORD our God, let us send abroad unto our brethren every where, that are left in all the land of Israel, and with them also to the priests and Levites which are in their cities and suburbs, that they may gather themselves unto us:

3 And let us bring again the ark of our God to us: for we enquired not at it in the days of Saul.

4 And all the congregation said that they would do so: for the thing was right in the eyes of all the people.

5 So David gathered all Israel together, from Shihor of Egypt even unto the entering of Hemath, to bring the ark of God from Kirjath-jearim.

6 And David went up, and all Israel, to Baalah, that is, to Kirjath-jearim, which belonged to Judah, to bring up thence the ark of God the LORD, that dwelleth between the cherubims, whose name is called on it.

house of Abinadab: and Uzza and Ahio drave the cart.

8 And David and all Israel played before God with all their might, and with singing, and with harps, and with psalteries, and with timbrels, and with cymbals, and with trumpets. 9 And when they came unto the threshing floor of Chidon, Uzza put forth his hand to hold the ark; for the oxen stumbled. 10 And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzza, and he smote him, because he put his hand to the ark: and there he died before God.

11 And David was displeased, because the LORD had made a breach upon Uzza: wherefore that place is called Perez-uzza to this day.

12 And David was afraid of God that day, saying, How shall I bring the ark of God home to me?

13 So David brought not the ark home to himself to the city of David, but carried it aside into the house of Obed-edom the Gittite.

14 And the ark of God remained with the family of Obededom in his house three months. And the LORD blessed the house of Obed-edom, and all that he had. LECTURE 653.

7 And they carried the ark of God in a new cart out of the

The duty of the state to the church.

If a settled government under magistrates duly authorized and laws wisely framed, be one chief source of national prosperity, another important help towards this object is here presented to our view, namely, an established national church. This was one of the first things about which David was solicitous, when he was himself seated on the throne. He consulted with all the principal persons in the state, and proposed to gather together all the

Israelites in the land, and especially all the priests and Levites; and with them to bring again the ark of God, into its proper place of honour and of use." How his design was frustrated for a while, and soon afterwards accomplished, is related here, as in the second book of Samuel, ch. 6. 2-12, with very little variation. The design as formed and executed, and even the very circumstance by which it was interrupted, furnish matter of seasonable reflexion, in times when it has been confidently stated by professed believers in God's word, that the rulers of the state ought by no means to take part in the upholding of the church.

Certainly neither the whole Law revealed by Moses, nor the institutions of the Jewish church or state, are binding on us as of divine authority. But admitting this, it is no less evident, that no principles which are therein sanctioned ought to be railed against by Christians as grossly wrong. If God has suffered us in the Gospel to choose many things for ourselves, where no choice was allowed under the Law, it is surely our wisdom to follow in our choice the traces marked out for our guidance, in that one most highly favoured community, for which God was pleased to reveal from heaven the constitution both of church and state. In many things our altered circumstances render it impracticable to adopt the rules and institutions, which were the best that could be framed for the Israelites, in their times and country. But in every thing we may learn much, by studying the principles of the Law. And in that Law no one principle is more clear than this, that it is the duty of the magistrate to exert all the power of the state in upholding the ordinances of the church. We say, to uphold its ordinances, not to interfere with them; for when the ark was to be brought again into its place, it might not be touched by any but consecrated hands. May the rulers of our state ever bear this great principle in mind! And whilst they leave to the rulers of our church their proper offices, may they ever feel that they have to answer unto God, for using the great authority which He has given them, in the maintenance of Christ's true religion against all error and ungodliness!

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