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me to do ?"-So do not thofe "who know their mafter's will and do it not."
WOULD we share the bleffedness of believing Saul, we muft imitate his repentance; fo fhall we find mercy with God. "For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek ; for the fame Lord over all, is rich unto all that call upon him."*
2 SAMUEL xii. 13.
And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the Lord. And Nathan said unto David, The Lord also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die.
THE fin here referred to is that of David in the matter of Uriah. A ftrange and fad event-taken in all its circumftances and connections, it is without a parallel. But the circumftance moft to be lamented, is that mentioned by the prophet, in the clofe of his meffage-" By this deed thou haft given great occafion to the enemies of the Lord to blafpheme."
THE juftnefs of this remark, doubtless appeared at that day, in the triumph of finners and exultations of fcoffers; and the ftory brought down to us, "on whom the ends of the world are come," is ftill abused to keep vice in countenance.
"Look to David, your man of religion! Your man after God's own heart!" and witness his complicated crimes! and his long continued fecurity and unconcern under guilt, which cannot be
charged on us, who view religion as a dream !”— So the infidel.
WHILE people of another defeription, wound God's caufe yet more deeply, by the argument which they draw from this fall of David; namely, those who are allowedly vicious, yet call them. felves" of the household of faith-who are pure in their own eyes, though not cleanfed from their filthinefs." Thefe, when reproved, especially if their piety is called in queftion, often recur to David for support-tell us, that "though eminent for piety, he was guilty of greater fins than their's, and long continued in them-that he remained impenitent till visited by Nathan, after the birth of his child by Bathsheba. If, fay they, he could continue fo long fecure and unconcerned, why not longer? And why may not others fall into fins and continue in them for months and years after having received the grace of God, and after they are numbered among the faints ?"
THIS, we conceive, to be the most baleful conclufion which is drawn from this hiftory. And could it be made to appear that fuch was David's ftate, for fo long a term, we fee no way to avoid the conclufion-see not but the idea which the fcriptures give of religion as a holy principle, productive of a holy life, muft be relinquifhed.
SUCH is the idea which the fcriptures do give of religion-they teach, that it changeth the heart, and forms the new creature-that "in this the children of God are manifeft, and the children of the Devil; that whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God; that by their fruits we are to know men."
THUS fpeaks that holy book which we believe to be from God, and to fhew us the way of falyation. But if the children of God are not made to differ from others, if they may live in allowed difregard of the law of God, like others, these diftinctions are idle and unworthy our regard. This matter demands our attention.
FROM the fubject before us, the errors now mentioned draw their chief support.
We do not flatter ourselves that we can ftop mouths of fcoffers, or fo clearly elucidate this dark part of the book of God, that it shall no more be abused to the purposes of depravity; but believe that it may be made apparent that it hath been mistaken and perverted; and thereby rendered the more mifchievous. This will now be
THAT David remained unconcerned and devoid of repentance for the fins which he committed in the matter of Uriah, till awakened to confideration by the ministry of Nathan, seems to have been taken for granted, and to have been the ground of these abuses. This may have been the common opinion. Whether it is founded in reality, we will now inquire.
Or thofe who argue from a supposition that this was the cafe, we ask evidence that it was fo. That we have no exprefs declaration that Nathan found him a penitent, we conceive to be all that can be alleged as evidence that he remained till that time impenitent. To which may be rejoin. ed, that we have no express declaration that Nathan
found him impenitent. The fact is, both scripture and profane history are filent refpecting the ftate of David's mind from the commiffion of the fins, till he was visited by the prophet. We are left therefore to judge of the matter on other grounds. And on what grounds can we form a more probable opinion than by confidering the general character of the man—the nature and effects of renewing grace—and the temper and conduct of the delinquent when he was reproved by the prophet? From a confideration of these we may derive the most probable folution of the queftion, or judge what was probably the ftate in which David was found by Nathan.
It may be proper to premise,
I. THAT good men, while in this state of imperfection, fhould be furprized by temptation into fins, and even great and heineous fins, is neither new nor ftrange. Many inftances occur in the history of the faints recorded in the fcriptures. "Aaron, the faint of the Lord," and Mofes, whose general character was that of "a fervant, faithful in all God's houfe," were both feduced into fins of fuch enormity that they were excluded the land of promife, in common with rebellious Ifrael. Among New Teftament faints fimilar lapfes are obfervable. Even the apoftles forfook the Savior, and fled when Judas led forth the hoftile band to apprehend him; and Peter, when under the influence of fear, with oaths and imprecations " denied the Lord that bought him!"
THE habitual temper of these good men could not be argued from thefe fudden acts. Neither is