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contrary: the most truly religious men you will generally find the bravest. There is no book in the world which gives you such glorious examples of real courage as the Bible. Where shall we meet with finer soldiers than among the deliverers of Israel? Where shall we find a heart more brave than David's ? But from whence did he get his courage? Was it not his faith in God which made him so brave? Listen to his language. “Thou camest to me with a sword, and a spear, and a shield; but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of Hosts, the God of the armies of Israel.”
This was the language of one who in his boyhood delivered Israel so gloriously, and who afterwards became one of the greatest warriors and generals whom the world has ever seen.
But you will say, perhaps, I may never be a soldier, and, therefore, never want such courage as David had. But there is another kind of courage, my dear boy, besides that which is wanted so much in a field of battle. There is a holy courage and fearlessness in doing our duty to God and man, which we all need. In this sense we are all soldiers. We have all an evil world to fight against; and no small degree of holy courage is necessary, in order to bear calmly the sneers and ridicule, the scorn and displeasure, with which it too often attacks those who wish to serve God. There is many a person, my love, who would be, perhaps, the bravest of soldiers in the field of battle, and yet a very coward in bearing the world's laugh. Yet this is a courage which a Christian must acquire. Whatever the duties may be which cho has given you to do, you must learn w diwcharts
ings which God had given him. He became full of jealousy against David; he could not bear to see him so much beloved by the people, who could not forget his wonderful victory over Goliath, and were very grateful to him for it.
So great, indeed, was Saul's hatred against David, that he many times sought to kill him with great obstinacy and fury; and David led a very wretched life at that time, wandering about from place to place, to hide himself from Saul. And Saul not only tried to kill David, but his own son Jonathan; because Jonathan was David's friend, and used to try to save his life. At one time, too, this wicked man put eighty-five of the priests of the Lord to death, for giving David some food when he was almost starving with hunger.
Besides all this wickedness, Saul openly forsook God, and went to inquire what should become of him from wicked people who pretended to be able to tell things to come. At last God gave up this wicked prince to his enemies; for when the Philistines came again to fight against Israel, the men of Israel fled before them; Saul's three sons were slain; and this most wretched and miserable man, afraid of falling into the hands of the Philistines, took a sword and fell in the midst of the ruin and flight of his people.
In Saul's sad story we see what a dangerous thing it is to break any of God's commandments, and what a wretched and miserable thing it is to provoke God by our sins to leave us to ourselves, and to take from us the help and comfort of his Holy Spirit; without which we should never be able to please God, nor yet to be happy ourselves.
But let us look now to a brighter part of the story;
and had done him so many kindnesses ! Surely all who read this affecting story will feel, that true religion is a beautiful and excellent thing, teaching men to be obedient to those whom God has placed over them, to forgive their worst enemies, to be kind and affectionate, and faithful to their friends. Whatever there is truly good, or noble, or amiable, religion improves a hundred fold. If we have friends whom we love, religion will teach us to love them still better. In short, when God commands us to serve him, he is careful for our happiness, no less than for our duty : and if we wish really to enjoy ourselves even in this world, the very best thing we can do is to serve God in good earnest.
And now the time was come, when David, who had been so cruelly treated by Saul, was himself to be king of Israel. Many years had passed, since the prophet Samuel had anointed him from among his brethren. Samuel himself was dead; and many and great had been David's sufferings in that time. Often was he obliged to flee for his life because of Saul. He was driven from his own people, and obliged to seek refuge among his most bitter enemies, even those Philistines, whose champion he had slain.
Here so great was his danger, that he had been obliged to wander about in daily fear for his life, banished from his house, and seeking safety among the enemies of his country, or hiding himself in caves of the wilderness, until it pleased God, by the death of Saul, to deliver him from the hardships to which he had been so long exposed, and to bring him to the kingdom to which he had been chosen and set apart by God. It was during this season of sorrow, that David is