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of sins"--that this Jesus, once crucified for our sins, is now at the right hand of God as our Intercessor; for we read, “If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous, and He is the propitiation for our sins."
Do we desire to keep His sayings? Is it our shame that we have not, and our prayer that we may? To us then belongs the promise, “ Your life is hid with Christ in God.” Only let us go on diligently seeking it, and we shall soon find that we have life, grace, strength,
And let us for our soul's sake be persevering in seeking His grace, and watching against ourselves, for He will not always remain where He is. He will rise up; He will call around Him the countless hosts of His angelic retinue, and He will come again. He will come to judgment, and we know well what will guide Him in making His award. “The words that I have spoken, the same shall judge a man at the last day."
CONVICTION OF SIN.
2 SAMUEL xii. 7.
The history of the fall of David is very terrible and very mysterious.
It is very terrible to think that a saint of God should so fall—that one who had been so directly favoured and so highly honoured by God should sin so determinedly against God. What must David have remembered when he looked back on the chief passages of his by-gone years ? What was the one great event of his youth ? Evidently this. He was one day keeping his father's sheep in the neighbourhood of his own city Bethlehem, and a messenger came to him in all haste to tell him that he must leave the flock and come home instantly, as a great sacrifice was going on, and all Bethlehem was waiting for him. When he reached home there was his father Jesse, and his seven brethren all ranged in order according to their age, and there were all the elders of Bethlehem, and in the midst of all was a venerable man bowed down with age and sorrow, on whom all eyes were fixed in awe and reverence. This was the prophet Samuel. As the stripling gazes in astonishment at the scene the prophet of God comes forward at the bidding of an express admonition from Jehovah, salutes him, and takes him by the hand, and pours on his head the contents of a horn of oil; and this outward visible sign was not without its inward spiritual grace, for it is expressly said that “ The Spirit of the Lord came upon
David from that day forward.” All this was done in the midst of his brethren. There were many, no doubt, who understood what it all meant: that the sceptre of God's people was taken away from Benjamin, who had forfeited it in Saul; and not given to Ephraim, but given to Judah-in the person of a scion of its first family. It was all understood, but it must not be mentioned; for if it came to the ears of Saul the jealous tyrant would massacre all in Bethlehem. And David, doubtless, on whom the Spirit had there and then come down, knew what it all meant. It was the consciousness of this anointing abiding on him which emboldened him to meet singlehanded the Philistine, and to stake the fortunes of Israel on the single throw of a stone from his sling. It was doubtless the consciousness of this anointing, assuring him that God's purposes towards Israel through him (David) must eventually be fulfilled, that made him so very patient in waiting God's time—so unwilling to take any advantage of one whom he knew to have received the same gift with himself; for Saul was also anointed, and by the hand of the same prophet—so forward in confessing, both in his royal utterances on his throne, and in the Psalms he composed, that he owed all to God; and consequent upon all this was success after trials, victory after struggles, his throne firmly established, the borders of Israel extended on all sides, and above all, the gifts of poetry and sacred song so marvellous, that they eagerly sought the sweet sounds of his harp to drive away the moody melancholy of the monarch, and they chanted his Psalms of praise and thanksgiving in the very sanctuary of God itself.
All this David looked back upon-these were the memories with which his great soul was full--and yet, terrible to think, his own evil will, led by his own evil lust, cast the shadow of death on all this glorious past. How was it that one who had from so early a date the Spirit of God could fall so low? We know how it could be, at least we know in part, for we know that there must be not only the Spirit of God, but the nature of Christ, to make the difference between the Jewish saint and the Christian saint. David, though a saint of God in his day, could so fall because Christ was not yet incarnate, and so the nature of Christ could not be in him. St. Paul, a saint of Christ in the beginning of this our Gospel day, could not so fall because he not only had the Spirit, but eat the Flesh and drank the Blood of Christ. “He so eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drank His blood, that Christ dwelt in him, and he in Christ."
This in part explains how one who was a veritable saint of God in old times could so fall, and a veritable saint of God in new Gospel times could not so fall.
Let us see to it that we make the most of our far greater grace.
There is not a Christian in this place, who uses David's Psalms, who has not far greater helps to holiness and goodness, both from within and from without, than David had. “The darkness is past, and the true light now shineth ;" the shadows of the dim grey early dawn are gone, and the Sun of Righteousness pours around us His noonday beams; the figures of good things to come have given place to the good things themselves. “ The Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding that we may know Him that is true, and we are in Him that is true, even in His Son Jesus Christ."
We know then in part how David could so fall—but only in part. It is still terrible and mysterious; and another matter, the result of this fall, is equally terrible and mysterious, and that is the blindness of David's mind to his state before the prophet brought his sin home