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understood this promise as relating ultimately to the MESSIAH, and, though many years were to pass away before our Saviour appeared on earth, he acknowledged him to be HIS LORD which proves that he had perfect faith in GOD.
As soon as David was settled on the throne, his great study was to shew forth the GLORY of GOD, and to promote the prosperity of Israel; for these purposes, he esta. blished public worship, restored the law of Moses, and made most excellent regulations in the government. He subdued all the idolatrous nations that professed enmity to the LORD JEHOVAH, and always imputed his success to GOD. During the whole of his reign, David governed his people with the utmost clemency and justice, and was beloved and honoured by them to the end of his life; and his history abounds with instances of his generosity, benevolence, mildness, and magnanimity. In respect to Uriah, David certainly was a great offender against the moral law, and by that law his life was forfeited; however, in consideration of his exemplary penitence and his general fidelity, it pleased God to pardon him; but that no one might be encouraged to suppose such wicked actions were excusable, David was condemned to suffer such afflictions as should deter others from committing the same crimes, and we may judge, from the consolations he received by the Holy Spirit, that his be haviour under these chastisements was such as became the man after God's own heart. As soon as the end for which the punishment was inflicted on him was answered he was once more restored to peace, and admitted to the holy Tabernacle: where he poured forth his soul in thankful acknowledgments of the goodness of the LORD, and promises of future obedience.
When David found his latter end approaching, he made known to his people that Solomon was appointed
to succeed him in the throne, caused him to be anointed in his life time, acquainted him with the covenant of the LORD, and exhorted him to observe the conditions of it.
Whilst we are endeavouring to obtain a just idea of the character of David, we must not omit to mention his collection of Psalms, a treasury of Divine instruction, of inestimable value, which, as long as the world lasts, must be held in the highest estimation by pious persons; for these divine hymns are so adapted to the common occasions of life, that every one, from the highest monarch to the meanest slave, may appropriate them to his use: they teach us not only how GOD must be worshipped, but furnish us also with the means of doing it in the most acceptable manner: the afflicted may pray, the sinner express contrition, and the happy rejoice before the LORD, in the very words of David; national calamities may be deplored, and national mercies acknowledged by these divine compositions: the harmonious concert may be sanctified by such heavenly strains, and the artless notes of the humblest christian, dignified by the poetry of the sweet singer of Israel. Many of the Psalms begin with prayer or praise, and end with assurances to the humble and penitent, that the LORD will preserve and protect all those who trust in Him. In such passages, we may clearly discern the marks of Divine inspiration; and they were certainly dictated by the holy Spirit, for the consolation, not only of David, but of every one else who will avail himself of this Divine bounty; and even the curses which David, in the character of king of Israel, denounced against the idolatrous nations may serve as admonitions to us, since they point out the crimes for which those sinners were destroyed: let us then examine our hearts by them, and if we find in them any inclination to commit such sins as are therein deprecated, VOL. III.
let us make haste to repent, lest the LORD cast us out also for rebellion against him: but we must be careful not to apply these curses to such as have injured us, for no christian can be in the same situation David was when he penned them; and besides, we have an express command, to love our enemies; to bless, and curse not.
From David's history we may learn, that a man after God's own heart, is one who makes the Divine will the general rule of his life; who has a fervent zeal for the honour of GOD, and a benevolent regard to the happiness of mankind; who is patient in adversity, humble in prosperity; who examines his own heart, to see if there is any way of wickedness in him; acknowledges his sins with shame and repentance, and avoids the repetition of them; who aspires after that perfection of goodness, which human nature in its present state cannot attain to: and who trusts to the infinite mercy of God for pardon, esteeming the divine favour as the highest blessing he can enjoy, and longing to be admitted to those blissful regions, where, freed from his present passions and temptations, he may render more acceptable service to the greatest and best of Beings.
The LORD vindicated his own honour by shewing displeasure against David for his crimes, and caused the history of this king to be written in the scriptures for the edification of the world; if we turn it into ridicule, we despise the admonitions of the LORD; and if we harden ourselves in sin, instead of amending our lives by David's example, and reproach God for calling him, the man after his own heart, we blaspheme his HOLY NAME; therefore let us never join in such profane conversation, as it will prove that we are neither well grounded in religion, nor acquainted with sacred history, and that we want to find pretences for continuing in wickedness.
SOLOMON REIGNETH—ADONIJAH PUT TO DEATH.
From 1 Kings, Chap. ii.
THEN sat Solomon upon the throne of David his father, and his kingdom was established greatly.
And Adonijah the son of Haggith came to Bath-sheba, the mother of Solomon, and she said, Comest thou peaceably? And he said, Peaceably.
He said moreover, I have something to say unto thee. And she said, Say on.
And he said, Thou knowest that the kingdom was mine, and that all Israel set their faces on me, that I should reign; howbeit the kingdom is turned about, and is become my brother's: for it was his from the LORD.
And now I ask one petition of thee, deny me not. And she said unto him, Say on.
And he said, Speak, I pray thee, unto Solomon the king (for he will not say thee nay) that he give me Abishag the Shunamite to wife.
Bath-sheba therefore went unto king Solomon, to speak unto him for Adonijah: and the king rose up to meet her, and bowed himself unto her, and sat down on his throne, and caused a seat to be set for the king's mother, and she sat on his right hand.
Then she said, I desire one small petition of thee, I pray thee say me not nay. And the king said unto her, Ask on, my mother, for I will not say thee nay.
And she said, Let Abishag the Shunamite be given to Adonijah thy brother to wife.
And king Solomon answered and said unto his mother, And why dost thou ask Abishag the Shunamite for H 2
Adonijah? ask for him the kingdom also; (for he is mine elder brother;) even for him, and for Abiathar the priest, and for Joab the son of Zeruiah.
Then king Solomon sware by the LORD, saying, God do so to me, and more also, if Adonijah have not spoken this word against his own life.
Now therefore, as the LORD liveth, which hath established me, and set me on the throne of David my father, and who hath made me an house, as he promised, Adonijah shall be put to death this day.
And king Solomon sent by the hand of Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and he fell upon him that he died.
And unto Abiathar the priest said the king, Get thee to Anathoth, unto thine own fields, for thou art worthy of death: but I will not at this time put thee to death, because thou barest the ark of the LORD GOD before David my father, and because thou hast been afflicted in all wherein my father was afflicted.
So Solomon thrust out Abiatar from being priest unto the LORD; that he might fulfil the word of the LORD, which he spake concerning the house of Eli in Shiloh.
Then tidings came to Joab, (for Joab had turned after Adonijah, though he turned not after Absalom) and Joab fled unto the tabernacle of the LORD, and caught hold on the horns of the altar.
And it was told king Solomon that Joab was fled unto the tabernacle of the LORD, and behold he is by the altar: then Solomon sent Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, saying, Go fall upon him.
And Benaiah came to the tabernacle of the LORD, and said unto him, Thus saith the king, Come forth. And he said, Nay, but I will die here. And Benaiah brought the king word again, saying, Thus said Joab, and thus he answered me.