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ADVERTISEMENT.

GABRIEL DUMONT, author of the following essay, was born at Crest, in Dauphiny, August 19th, 1680, and died at Rotterdam, January 1st, 1748. He was a refugee for religion, pastor of the Waloon church at Rotterdam, and professor of Oriental languages and Ecclesiastical history. He published nothing himself during his life; but, after his decease, Mr. Superville, his colleague, published, with a short preface, one volume of his sermons, containing twelve discourses, the most plain, artless, and edifying that I have ever had the happiness of reading; not so disputatious as those of Amyraut, not so grave as those of Superville, not so stiff as those of Torne and Bourdaloue, not so far-fetched and studied as those of Massillon, nor so charged with colouring as those of Saurin: but placid, ingenious, gentle, natural, and full of evidence and pathos: just as “wisdom from above" should be, "pure, peaceable, mild—full of mercy and good fruits-sown in peace to make peace," James iii. 17, 18. The public owe this volume to Mademoiselle de Heuqueville, the pious patroness and friend of the author, who had, as it were, extorted them from him before his death.

Mr. Saurin, who published this essay in his dissertations on the Bible, says, “I follow our version, and the general sense of interpreters. A learned man (Mr. Dumont,) has investigated the subject at large, and, if he does not furnish us with demonstrations in favour of the system he proposes, yet his conjectures are so full of erudition, and so very probable, that we cannot help admiring them, while we feel an inclination to dispute them."

For my part, I own, if I may venture a conjecture, I think Mr. Dumont has placed his opinion in a light both beautiful, and, in a very high degree, probable. To sum up his meaning, he would read the

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passage thus:

1 SAMUEL, chap. xxi. Ver. 10. And David fled that day for fear of Saul, and went to Achish, the king of Gath.

11. And the servants of Achish said unto him, Is not this David the king of the land? did they not sing one to another of him in dances, saying, Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands?

12. And David was struck to the heart with these words, and was sore afraid of Achish, king of Gath.

13. And he changed countenance before them, and fell convulsed into their hands, and he hurt and marked himself against the posts of the gate, and he frothed on his beard.

14. Then said Achish unto his servants, Lo, you see the man is epileptic: wherefore then have you brought him unto me?

15. Have I need of epileptics, that ye have brought this man to fall into convulsions in my presence? Shall this fellow come into my house?

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PASTOR OF THE FRENCH CHURCH AT ROTTERDAM, AND PROFESSOR OF THE ORIENTAL

LANGUAGES, AND ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY

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AN ESSAY

ON

THE CONDUCT OF DAVID AT THE COURT OF ACHISH,

KING OF GATH.

Sia,

man give all that he has for life? Have we I way venture to call the letter I have the not a right to do every thing except sin to honour to write you, “An apology for the con- avoid death? Blame, and welcome, the cruel duct of David at the court of king Achish,” policy of Dionysius of Sicily,* who sometimes for my design is to prove three things: First, spread a report that he was sick, and somothat if David had counterfeited madness on the times that he had been assassinated by his solo occasion mentioned in the twenty-first chapter diers, with a design to discover, by the unof the first book of Samuel, he would not have guarded conversation of his subjects, how they committed any sin. Secondly, that David did stood affected to his government, that he might not feign himself mad, as is generally sup- have a pretence for proscribing such as were posed. And thirdly, that this heir apparent ill affected to his despotism. Censure, if you to the crown of Israel, had not, at the court of please, the king of Ithaca, and the astronoiner Gath, the least degree of madness, either real Metont for pretending to have lost their senses, or feigned.

the first for the sake of his continuing with his I. If you were a man who decided a point dear Penelope, and the last to avoid accomof morality by human authority, I might als panying the Athenians in an expedition against lege, in favour of this first article, the follow-Sicily. Pity, if you will, the two monks Siing distich of Cato:

meon and Thomas, who affected to play the Insipiens esto, cum tempus postulat, aut res; fool, lest the extraordinary holiness of their

Stostitiam simulare loco, prudentia summa est.* lives should not be perceived. I freely give Independently of this author, of whom we hard- up these tyrants and hypocrites to the most sely know either the true name, the religion, the vere criticism; and I am inclined to be of the country, or the age, every body will allow that opinion of Cicero, who calls the finesse of there is a good deal of wisdom required to Ulysses, non honestum consilium, a disingenuplay the fool properly, Madness is no sin, it ous conduct. Form, if you think proper, the is a disease of the mind, or rather of the brain. same opinion of the stratagem of the famous David, it is to be observed, during his pre- St. Ephraim,ll who, understanding that he was tended madness, said nothing criminal. He chosen bishop, and that they were going to did a few apparent acts of a person insane. force him to be ordained, ran into a public Why might he not be allowed to free himself place, walked irregularly, let fall bis robe, from imminent danger by this prudent dissimu- went eating along the streets, and did so many lation? To treat of this question fully and ac- actions of this kind, that every body thought curately, it would be necessary to go to the he had lost his senses. He watched his opporbottom of the subject, and examine the grounds tunity, fled and concealed himself, and conand principles of the obligations men are un- tinued to do thus till they had nominated der to speak and act sincerely to one another. another bishop. I will not pretend to say, It might not be improper to investigate this whether this proceeded from his contempt of matter by inquiring, whether, in this recipro- vain glory, as Sozoment pretends, or from his cal engagement, there be any difference be great love of retirement, for he was touxies tween deceiving by words known and agreed us wyev sp&pt*. For my part, I make no scruon between mankind, and misleading, by ac- ple to say of this artifice, as well as of the tions, the natural signs of the sentiments of trick he played Apollinarls, ** non honestum our hearts. Particularly, it should be examin- consilium. But you, sir, who are such a good ed, whether there be no cases in which this citizen, will you condemn the wise Solontt kind of contract is in a sort suspended, and for counterfeiting distraction, in order to divert whether David were not in one of these cases, his fellow-citizens of Athens from their resoluin which he was not obliged so to act, as to tion to abandon Salamin, his country, to the convey to king Achish his true and real senti- inhabitants of Megara: You, sir, who are no ments. But as I know, sir, you have examined this subject in the case of Samuel, I will confine myself to two arguments, supported by

* Polyænus Stratag. I. v. cap. 2. S. 15, 16.

Ælian variar. historiar. lib. ziii. cap. 12. a few facts, relative to the conduct attributed Evagrius. Hist. Eccles. lib. iv. cap. 34. to David in order to justify him.

Cic. de officiis. lib. iii. cap. 26.

Sozomen Hist. Ecel. lib. iii. cap. 16. First, his life was in danger; and will not a

** Greg. de Nyssen Paneg. de S. Ephr. * Disticha de moribus, lib. ii. Dist. 18.

# Diogenes Laert. lib. i. in Solone. VOL. II.-17

I Soz. ibid.

1

enemy to prudence, will you disapprove the like a man disordered in his senses. Sebagopinion given of Lucius Junius Brutus,* tian Schmidt,* a celebrated Lutheran divine, Brutus erat stulti sapiens imitator.

proposed as a kind of problem, whether Pro

vidence might not permit David to be terriHe affected to be stupid, lest he should become fied into a momentary delirium, in order to suspected by Tarquin the proud, who had put effect his deliverance. Mr. John Christian to death his father and his eldest brother, for Ortlob, a learned man of Leipsicf published a the sake of seizing their great wealth. It dissertation, in 1706, on the delirium of David should seem, that on supposition David acted before king Achish, in which he shows, that a part when he was in danger of his life, in a the whole of the sacred text in Samuel natuplace where he had fled for refuge, it would be rally leads us to judge that David was so a sufficient justification of his character to say, struck with the fear of sudden death, that for that he thought he might innocently make use a few moments his understanding was absent. of such a stratagem.

As this thesis is little known in this country, 2. If the danger of losing his life be not suf- and as it is curious in itself, you will not be ficient, let it be observed farther, that the de- displeased, sir, if I give you here a sketch of ception was directed to the Philistines, with what he says. whom the Israelites were then at war. This 1. Mr. Ortlob shows, that dissimulation was is a second argument to justify the conduct of impracticable in David's condition. Either David. When was it ever unlawful to use he affected to play the fool the moment he stratagems in war? Did not God, himself, was seized by the servants of the king, or order the Israelites to “lie in ambush” and only while he was in the presence of Achish. “ to flee" before the inhabitants of Ai, in order The text is contrary to the first, for it express"to draw them from the city?" Is there any ly assures us that this madness of David was less evil in affecting cowardice than there is in consequence of the conversation that passed in pretending to be deprived of reason? Where between Achish and his officers in the preis the general, who would not be glad to take sence of David. The second supposition is cities at the same price as Callicratidas of Cy- not at all likely, for it would have been very renet took the fort of Magnesia, by introduc- imprudent for him to begin to act his part in ing four soldiers, who pretended to be sick? the presence of Achish; his officers would You have observed, sir, in Buchanan's excel- have discovered the artifice, and would have lent history of Scotland, I the manner in which informed their master: beside, it is inconking Duncan defeated the army of Swen king ceivable that David should continue from his of Norway, who was besieging him in Perth. being first taken to that moment as mute as a He sent the besiegers a great quantity of wine fish, in order to conceal a design which reand beer, in which some herbs of noxious quired a state of mind more tranquil than that qualities had been infused, and while this so- of David could be, in a danger so imminent. porific was taking effect, he went into the 2. Next, Mr. Ortlob proceeds to prove, camp, and put the whole army to the sword, that David' had a true and natural alienation except the prince of Norway, and ten soldiers, of mind. who had suspected the present made them by The first proof is, his fear of danger. Dathe enemy, and had not tasted the beverage. vid, says the twelfth verse,“ laid up the words The herb is supposed to be the solanum or in his heart, and was sore afraid of Achish the strychnos of Pliny,s the night shade, which in king of Gath.” The terror that seized his a certain quantity stupifies, in a greater quan- soul affected the organs of his body, and distity distracts, and if more than two drachms, concerted the fibres of his brain. There are causes death. For these two reasons, then, many examples of persons affected in like I conclude that my first proposition is suffi- manner with sudden fear. Our learned auciently clear. I said, if David had counter- thor relates the case of a girl of ten years of feited madness, and played the fool, he would age, who was so terrified with thunder and not have committed any sin: first, because lightning in a furious tempest, that she was his life was in danger: and secondly, be seized with violent convulsions in her left cause the Philistines were at war with his arm and her left leg. Though she did not country.

lose her senses, yet she was constrained to II. If any continue obstinately to maintain flee on the other foot along the wainscot of that the dissimulation of David was criminal, the chamber, and the company could not stop and opposite to sincerity and good faith, Í her. have another string to my bow, to defend this The next proof is taken from the expressions illustrious refugee. I affirm that David did of the inspired writer, which simply and litonot play the fool, and act a part; but that, be- rally explained, signify a real madness. ing seized with extreme fear at hearing the

“David changed his behaviour.” It is in conversation of the ministers of state, in the the Hebrew, his taste, that is his reason, for court of king Achish, he fell under a real ab- reason is, in man, what taste is in regard to sence of mind, and behaved, in a few instances, aliments.

“ And he became mad." The Hebrew verb * Dion. Halicarn. Antiquitat. Roman. lib. 4.

halal, in the conjugation hithpael, as it is here, † Polyanus Stratag. lib. ii. cap. 27, S. I.

Buchanani Hist. Scotica.-Rem. This tale is not always signifies in Scripture real, and not credited by some historians, and indeed it appears highly improbable in itself. Mr. Guthrie calls it an * D. Sebast. Schmidius in 1 Sam. xi. infamous and improbable story.--Hist. of Scot. Vol. I. | Davidis delirium coram Achis. Lipsiæ, 1706, 4. p.

24. Plin. Hist. Nat. lib. xxi. cap. 31.-Salmas ad Solin. 1 Ephemer. Med. Phys. Germ. Academiæ, curioso p. 1086.

rum, An. 8. Observ, 71.

p. 234,

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feigned madness; and there is nothing in the , and the real signification of Hebrew words and text which obliges us to depart from a sense idioms. I am fully persuaded we ought to that perfectly agrees with the simplicity of prefer these versions in the present case. the history. The French and English versions David, said the sacred historian, changed his render it, he feigned himself mad; but they are behaviour, or his taste. The Septuagint reads wrong, for the original says nothing about it *10**CE TOT POUW Fov, avtov, and the Vulgate, feigning.

immutavit os suum, he changed countenance. I “He scrabbled on the doors of the gate." think this translation is better than that of Mr. Cornelius a Lapide thinks he wrote the letter Ortlob, his reason was changed: because it is tau to form the figure of the cross. Rabbi added, before them, or in their sight, and in the Schabtai, in a German book entitled Esrim thirty-fourth psalm, before Abimelech, or in his Vearba, * was better informed, and he says presence. It is well known, that the counteDavid wrote on the gates of the palace, " The nance of a person taken with an epilepsy is king owes me a hundred thousand guilders, I suddenly changed. But should we retain the and his kingdom, fifty thousand.” Mr. Ortlob, , word reason, we might with equal justice say, learned as he is, does not know so much as the that the reason, or the taste is changed in an Rabbi and the Jesuit. He contents himself epileptic fit, because for a few moments reason with observing, that David, all taken up with is absent. his delirium, and having no instrument in his 2. Our version adds, he feigned himself mad hand to write, scratched the gate with his in their hands. The Septuagint seems to me fingers, like people in a malignant fever. He to have rendered the words much better, observes also, that the indecent manner in **EXCIASTO IN TR$ 266TIV AUTON. He struggled or which David'" let his spittle fall down upon tossed himself in their hands. (For I think the his beard,” is a natural and usual consequence preceding words in this version," in that day of a delirium.

he feigned,” is one of those interpolations, His third proof is taken from the connexion which passed from the margin to the text; of the whole history, which supposes and indi- and that the words, και ετυμπανιζεν επι ταις ουραις cates real madness. “David changed his be- 745 Todows, are of some other version, and have haviour:” the sacred author explains first in got into the text as the former.) The Hewhat this change consisted, it was in becoming brew word halal is a general term, which sigmad in the presence of the king and his officers; nifies to agitate one's self, to shake, either by and he adds two actions of madness, the one twinkling like the stars, or by applauding like scratching and writing on the gates with his some one, or by boasting of any thing of our fingers, and the other drivelling on his beard. own, which the Latins call jactare, jactare se:

The last proof our author takes from the or by moving ourselves involuntarily, as a consequences. Achish gives David his life and paralytic man does, or a madman, or a person liberty, as a man beneath his resentment. He in convulsions, or one in excessive joy. The was angry with those who brought a madman Septuagint could not translate the word here to him. David, on his side, escaped the better than by 5**${p:52:1, because 72pzoopos danger, recovered his spirits, and became him- among the Greeks* is put for a distracted perself. There is no reason to question whether son, a demoniac, and because a body irreguhe observed the precept given by himself in larly and involuntarily agitated is said = apreosthe thirty-fourth Psalm, which he composed, coord. Aristotlet uses it in the same sense. as well as the fifty-sixth, to praise God for his Having said that there seems something in the deliverance,“ keep thy lips from speaking soul of an intemperate man beside reason, and guile," ver. 13.

opposite to it, he adds, he is like a paralytic My second proposition was, that David did body, the patient aims to move the right hand not feign himself mad, as is usually supposed; or the right foot, and the left hand and the left and Mr. Ortlob, in this treatise, has justified foot move TOURZYTHON 45 T* apietiex apreipstao, David from the charge of every kind of dis- The only difference is, we perceive irregular simulation, and so far it gives me pleasure to motions of the body, whereas those of the soul follow him; for this is an opinion more tole- are invisible. The Vulgate translates in a rable than the former, but I must beg leave to manner more favourable still to my opinion, dissent from this learned writer, and to state et collabebatur inter manus eorum, he fell into in the next place my own opinion, for I do not their hands. The term collabi, as well as cathink, as Mr. Ortlob does, that David had dere, and corruere, are applied to the epilepsy, any degree of madness.

which the Hebrews, like us, called the falling III. I think the whole passage ought to be sickness. All these Latin words may be seen understood of an epilepsy, a convulsion of the in this sense in the first apology of Apuleius. whole body, with a loss of sense for the time. He addresses himself to Åmilianus, his adverJudge, sir, of the reasons on which I ground sary, to justify himself from the accusation of this third proposition.

having bewitched one Thallus, who was fallen 1. My first reason is taken from the original | extremely ill with an epilepsy. Imo si verum terms, which perfectly agree with an epilepsy. velis, Æmiliane, tu potius caducus qui jam tot This is not easy to discover in our modern calumniis, cecidisti, neque enim gravius est versions; but it is very plain in the Septuagint, corpore quam corde collabi, pede potius quam and in the old Latin version, which our inter- mente corruere, in cubiculo despui, quam in preters often very injudiciously despise. The isto splendidissimo cætu detestari. authors of both these versions were in a better condition than we are, to understand the force

a

* Plavorinus in voce Tapecope,
| Aristot. Ethicor. ad Nichomacum, lib. 1. cap. 13.
Apuleius Apol, pro se ipso prima.

* Printed in 1703.

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