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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

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 God 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 So strangely, as it seemed to them. Then David answered, “ While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept, for I said, Who can 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.


King David had a great deal of care and trouble in his own family. Two of his sonsAmnon, 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

loss, he mourned daily over Absalom, and his whole soul longed to go forth to him.

Joab saw what was in his master's heart, and determined to bring Absalom back. He went to work craftily, bringing a woman to the king, who asked pardon for a son of her's, who seemed to be in a similar case with Absalom. David heard her to the end; and then asked whether Joab had not told her what to say ? The woman confessed that he had. Then the king called Joab, and bade him go and bring back Absalom, but lest it should seem that his crime was treated too lightly, David desired that Absalom should dwell in his own house, and not come before his face. At the end of two years, (which must have been a great trial to David, who loved Absalom so fondly,) the young man grew impatient-he sent for Joab, to ask him to plead with the king that he would see his son-but Joab would not come. · Absalom sent a second time, and then, when Joab still did not come, caused his servants to set fire to Joab's barley field. This brought Joab, and he promised to do what Absalom wished. No doubt David was ready enough in his heart to forgive his handsome, vain, selfish son, and perhaps he thought that now out of

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