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FOURTH PERIOD.

WOMEN OF ISRAEL DURING THE CONTINUANCE

OF THE MONARCHY,

COMPRISING, WITH OTHER SKETCHES,

MICHAL, ABIGAIL, THE SHUNAMMITE,

AND HULDAH.

VOL. II.

FOURTH PERIOD.

CHAPTER I.

OF

THE

ESTABLISHMENT

Monarchy. — PATRIOTISM OF THE WOMEN OF ISRAEL.--Michal.

We are now come to an important change in the history of Israel; the first step to her downfall, and the first opening for the fearful flood of misery and crime which nationally and individually deluged Judea. We allude to the election of an earthly king, and the establishment of a temporal monarchy. In vain the prophet Samuel reasoned and implored, beseeching them to rest contented with the government already established; and in the deepest humility of spirit prayed unto the Lord. “ Hearken unto the voice of the people, in all that they say unto thee,” was the gracious answer, “ for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.” Awful words, and most awfully fulfilled! The infinite mercy of Israel's God would not reject His people, though they had rejected Him; but in the very gratification of their desire to have a king they received their chastisement; a chastisement not of a year's, or a century's continuance, but lasting through ages and ages of crime, misery, expulsion, persecution, and working against unhappy Israel even at this present day.

But the Eternal would not expose them to these terrible effects of their own choice without warning, and

by the mouth of Samuel He told them of all the evils they would experience under earthly kings, and that they would cry out in their distress unto the Lord, and then He would not hear them; but still they persisted in the very face of that prophetical word. God granted indeed their request.

The people with the wildest rejoicings received a king, and beheld a monarchy established; but the awful effects thence ensuing ought to convince us, that the granting our requests is not always the evidence of the Lord's love and approbation. Better, far better, to rest in Him, and submit to His will, however it may interfere with our own short-sighted wishes, than persist in their accomplishment, and so weary our Father in heaven with repinings and complaints, as to make Him grant that in anger, which in love He would refuse. We should, indeed, bring before Him all our wishes, through the blessed medium of prayer; but such prayers should ever be coupled with the entreaty for grace to meet His will, whatever it may be; to submit unmurmuringly to His decision; and still to realise His love, however He may ordain disappointment. To such prayers we are assured, through the promises of His Word, that He will deign to reply; but for the mere entreaty for the gratification of earthly wishes, the proneness to complain and repine at the faintest semblance of denial, o let us remember the misery hurled upon Israel by the granting their request for a king, and take warning. It is thus that, even in our history, the Word of God may instruct and guide us, and give us lessons for daily life and individual petitions from national examples.

The monarchy of Israel lasted for the period of four

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