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saw the court ; and now his brethren serve Saul in his stead. Forty days together had the Philistines and Israelites faced each other, nothing but a valley was betwixt them. Both stand
defence and advantage; if they had not meant to fight, they had never drawn so near; and if they had been eager to fight, a valley could not have parted them. David hath now lain long enough close amongst his flock in the field of Bethlehem; God sees a time to send him to the pitched field of Israel. Good old Jesse, that was doubtless joyful to think that he had afforded three sons to the wars of his king, is no less careful of their welfare and provision; and who, amongst all the rest of his seven sons, shall be picked out for this service, but his youngest son David, whose former and almost worn out acquaintance in the court and employment under Saul, seemed to fit him best for this employment. Early in the morning is David upon
his way ; yet not so early as to leave his flock
unproIf his father's commands dismiss him, yet will he stay till he have trusted his sheep with a careful keeper. Ere David's speed can bring him to the valley of Elah, both the armies are on foot ready to join. He takes not this excuse to stay without, as a man daunted with the horrors of war; but leaving his present with his servant, he thrusts himself into the thickest of the host, and salutes his brethren which were now thinking of nothing but killing or dying, when the proud champion of the Philistines comes stalking forth before all the troops, and renews his insolent challenge against Israel. David sees the man and hears his defiance, and looks about him to see what answer would be given; and when he espies nothing but pale faces and backs turned; he wonders, not so much that one man should dare all Israel, as that all Israel should run from one man. Even when they fly from Goliath, they talk of the reward that should be given to that encounter and victory which they dare not undertake ; so those which have not grace to believe, yet can say, “ There is glory laid up for the faithful."
Ever since his anointing was David possessed with God's spirit, and thereby filled both with courage and wisdom : the more strange doth it seem to him, that all Israel should be thus dastardly; ready to undertake the quarrel, because no man else dare do it. His eyes sparkled with holy anger, and his heart rose up to his mouth when he heard this proud challenger; “ Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should revile the host of the living God ?” It was for his brethren's sake, that David came thither; and yet his very journey is cast upon him by them, for a reproach; " Wherefore camest thou down hither ?” and when their bitterness can meet with nothing else to shame him, his sheep are cast in his teeth: “ Is it for thee, an idle proud boy, to be meddling with our martial matters? Doth not yonder champion look as if he were a fit match for thee? What makest thou of thyself, or what dost thou think of us? I wis it were fitter for thee to be looking to thy sheep than looking to Goliath : the wilderness would become thee better than the field; wherein art thou equal to any man thou seest, but in arro
gance and presumption ? The pastures of Bethlehem could not hold thee, but thou thoughtest it a goodly matter to see the wars; I know thee, as if I were in thy bosom; this was thy thought, “There is no glory to be got among fleeces, I will go seek it in arms ; now are my brethren winning honour in the troops of Israel, while I am basely tending on sheep; why should not I be as forward as the best of them ?' This vanity would make thee straight of a shepherd, a soldier, a champion : get thee home, foolish stripling, to thy hook and thy harp: let swords and spears alone to those that know how to use them.”
David's first victory is of himself; next, of his brother; he overcomes himself, in a patient forbearance of his brother; he overcomes the malicious rage
of his brother with the mildness of his
There now lieth the great defier of Israel, grovelling and grinning in death: and is not suffered to deal one blow for his life: and bites the unwelcome earth for indignation that he dies by the hand of a shepherd.
THE PLEASURE OF STUDY AND CON
I Can wonder at nothing more than how a man can be idle ; but of all others, a scholar; in so
* From his Epistle to Mr. Milward. A discourse of the pleasure of study and contemplation, with the varieties of scholarlike employments, not without incitation of others thereunto ; and a censure of their neglect.
many improvements of reason, in such sweetness of knowledge, in such variety of studies, in such importunity of thoughts : other artizans do but practise, we still learn ; others run still in the same gyre to weariness, to satiety; our choice is infinite ; other labours require recreations ; our very labour recreates our sports; we can never want either somewhat to do, or somewhat that we would do. How numberless are the volumes which men have written of arts, of tongues ! How endless is that volume which God hath written of the world! wherein every creature is a letter; every day a new page. Who can be weary of either of these? To find wit in poetry; in philosophy, profoundness; in mathematics, acuteness ; in history, wonder of events ; in oratory, sweet eloquence; in divinity, supernatural light, and holy devotion; as so many rich metals in their proper mines; whom would it not ravish with delight? After all these,
open our eyes, we cannot look beside a lesson, in this universal book of our Maker, worth our study, worth taking out. What creature hath not his miracle ? what event doth not challenge his observation ? And, if, weary of foreign employment, we list to look home into ourselves, there we find a more private world of thoughts which set us on work anew, more busily and not less profitably: now our silence is vocal, our solitariness popular; and we are shut up, to do good unto many; if once we be cloyed with our own company, the door of conference is open ; here interchange of discourse (besides pleasure) benefits
us; and he is a weak companion from whom we return not wiser. I could envy, if I could believe that anchoret, who, secluded from the world, and pent up in his voluntary prison walls, denied that he thought the day long, whiles yet he wanted learning to vary his thoughts. Not to be cloyed with the same conceit is difficult, above human strength; but to a man so furnished with all sorts of knowledge, that according to his dispositions he can change his studies, I should wonder that ever the sun should seem to pass slowly. How many busy tongues chase away good hours in pleasant chat, and complain of the haste of night! What ingenious mind can be sooner weary of talking with learned authors, the most harmless and sweetest companions ? What a heaven lives a scholar in, that at once in one close room can daily converse with all the glorious martyrs and fathers ? that can single out at pleasure, either sententious Tertullian, or grave Cyprian, or resolute Hierome, or flowing Chrysostome, or divine Ambrose, or devout Bernard, or, (who alone is all these) heavenly Augustine, and talk with them and hear their wise and holy counsels, verdicts, resolutions ; yea, (to rise higher) with courtly Esay, with learned Paul, with all their fellow-prophets, apostles; yet more,
like another Moses, with God himself, in them both? Let the world contemn us; while we have these delights we cannot envy them; we cannot wish ourselves other than we are. Besides, the
to all other contentments is troublesome; the only recompense is in the end. To delve in the mines,