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until some sharp rebuke, or bitter punishment from God is sent in mercy to rouse us. We are often told in Holy Scripture that the LORD chastens those He loves; and we have an example of it in King David, the chosen man after God's own heart. The thing that David had done displeased the Lord greatly, and He sent His prophet Nathan to show him his sin, and call him to a better mind. So Nathan came
. to the king, and put before him a case of injustice that had happened in the kingdom. “There were two men in one city,” he said,
one rich, and the other poor. The rich man had exceeding many flocks and herds, but the poor man had nothing, save one little ewe lamb, which he had bought and nourished up; and it grew up together with him, and with his chil.
it did eat of his own meat, and drink of his own cup, and lay in his bosom, and was unto him as a daughter. And there came a traveller unto the rich man, and he spared to take of his own flock, and of his own herd to dress for the wayfaring man that was come unto him, but took the poor man's lamb, and dressed it for the man that was come unto him.'
David's anger was greatly kindled against the man that had done this, and he said to Na-'
than, “As the LORD liveth, the man that hath done this thing shall surely die, and he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.”
Then Nathan told him in solemn words, “Thou art the man;" and he laid in plain words before David all the wickedness of which he had been guilty. And now we see one reason why, even amid his sins, David was a man "after God's own heart.” It was because of his humility and hearty repentance. He did not when reproved by the prophet, begin like Saul, to justify himself, and try to make out that he had done no wrong. He said simply and from the bottom of his heart, “I have sinned against the Lord." And because of this hearty penitence and sorrow for sin, God gave him speedy pardon and absolution through His appointed minister ; and Nathan spoke the words of forgiveness, "The Lord also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die.” Still though his sin was forgiven, David was to suffer punishment in this world—and punishment in the very quarter where he had sinned.
“ Howbeit,” (Nathan went on to tell him,)“ because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that " is born to thee shall surely
Then Nathan departed, and David poured out his repentance and faith in the mercy and forgiveness of his LORD, in the fifty-first Psalm, which the Church has taken ever since as a model for penitence.
“Have mercy upon me, O God, after Thy great goodness, according to the multitude of Thy mercies do away mine offences. Wash me throughly from my wickedness, and cleanse me from my sin, for I acknowledge my faults, and my sin is ever before me; against Thee only have I sinned, and done this evil in Thy sight Turn Thy face from my sins, and put out all my misdeeds. Make me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from Thy presence, and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me; O give me the comfort of Thy help again.”
He Who never yet turned a deaf ear to the penitent's cry for pardon, surely did give “ the comfort of His help again,” to the mourning king, for by that help alone could he have met as he did the sorrow with which Gob visited him as He had said by Nathan. The child which Bathsheba had born to David was stricken
of the LORD, and became very sick, and David besought the Lord for it, he fasted, and lay all night upon the ground praying. When his servants went to try and persuade him to rise up and eat, the king would not, and so he continued apart in humiliation and prayer for a week. Then the child died.
David's servants feared to tell him that his son was dead; they said to one another, “Be. hold, while the child was yet alive, we spake unto him, and he would not hearken unto our voice; how will he then vex himself if we tell him that the child is dead ?”
When David saw them whispering together, he knew how it must be, and he asked simply, "Is the child dead ?” When they told David that the child was dead, he rose from the earth, washed and anointed himself, and changed his apparel, and went unto the Lord's house for his devotions.
Then he came home again, and asked for food and ate. The servants could not understand, and they asked why he acted $0 strangely, as it seemed to them. Then David answered, “While the child was yet
alive, I fasted and wept, for I said, Who can į tell whether God will be gracious to me, that
the child may live? But now that he is
dead, wherefore should I fast ? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me." Then in David's own words, the LORD “turned his heaviness into joy. He put off his sackcloth, and girded him with gladness.” (Ps. xxx.) In due course of time David and Bathsheba had another son, who grew up to be the great and wise King Solomon, who was permitted to build the temple of the LORD with such splendour and magnificence.
DAVID'S CHILDREN-ABSALOM'S REBELLION.
King David had a great deal of care and trouble in his own family. Two of his sons Amnon, the eldest, and Absalom, the third(who were not sons of the same mother,) quarrelled, because Amnon insulted Absalom's sister Tamar. For two years they did not speak; and at the end of that time Absalom caused Amnon to be murdered, and he himself fled, and stayed for three years in the land of Geshur. David was very sore troubled for both his sons; Absalom had been his favourite, and now as the king grew comforted for Amnon's