THIS work is based on a series of discourses delivered about twenty years ago, which the Author has been repeatedly urged to publish. Something has been done to connect the subjects of the discourses, so as to make the explanations more continuous. In other respects the matter is substantially the same; and there is little difference in the form, except that chapters with titles have been substituted for sermons with texts. The introductory remarks render any further observations here necessary.

LONDON, 1879.




INTRODUCTORY.                                                        PAGE
ISRAEL DESIRES A KING (I Samuel viii.)        3




DEFEATS THE AMMONITES (I Samuel xi.)       36

(I Samuel xii.)       45

(I Samuel xiii.)       50

ROUT OF THE PHILISTINE HOST (I Samuel xiv.)       61

SAUL SENT TO DESTROY AMALEK (I Samuel xv.)       71





(I Samuel xix.)       118

DAVID'S FLIGHT AND JONATHAN'S AID (I Samuel xx.)       127


SWORD OF GOLIATH (I Samuel xxi.)       134

THE PRIESTS (I Samuel xxii.)       142

INTERVIEW WITH JONATHAN (I Samuel xxiii.)       148

(I Samuel xxiv.)       155

AVERTED BY ABIGAIL'S PRUDENCE (I Samuel xxv.)       162


       Samuel xxvi.)       170


SAUL AND THE WITH OF ENDOR (I Samuel xxviii.)       182

DAVID RECOVERS ALL (I Samuel xxix, xxx.)       190


       BOOK II.



DEATH OF SAUL (2 Samuel i. 1-16)       218

i. 17-27)       222

(2 Samuel ii.)       233

THE DEATH OF ABNER (2 Samuel iii.)       241

THE DEATH OF ISH-BOSHETH (2 Samuel iv.)       250

JERUSALEM (2 Samuel v. 1-5)       253

DAVID TAKES THE STRONGHOLD OF ZION (2 Samuel v. 610)       256


ARK OF THE LORD TO DWELL IN (2 Samuel vii.)       271


DAVID CHERISHES JONATHAN'S SON (2 Samuel ix.)       283

AMMONITES (2 Samuel x.)       290

DAVID'S GREAT SIN (2 Samuel xi.)       298

DAVID'S MESSAGE AND NATHAN'S PARABLE (2 Samuel xii.)       306

ANMON AND TAMAR (2 Samuel xiii.)       311

(2 Samuel xiv.)       319

THE REBELLION OF ABSALOM (2 Samuel xv. 1-9)       323

DAVID'S FLIGHT (2 Samuel xv. 10)       331

THE DEFEAT AND DEATH OF ABSALOM (2 Samuel xviii.)       338

DAVID'S RETURN TO JERUSALEM (2 Samuel xix.)       346

THE REVOLT OF ISRAEL UNDER SHEBA (2 Samuel xx.)       353

GIBEONITES (2 Samuel xxi.)       359

DAVID'S SONG OF THANKSGIVING (2 Samuel xxii.)       365

THE LAST WORDS OF DAVID (2 Samuel xxiii. 1-6)       375

WELL OF BETHLEHEM (2 Samuel xxiii. 8-29)       381


(2 Samuel xxiv. 1-15)       388

(2 Samuel xxiv. 16-25)       394


ADONIJAH'S REBELLION (1 Kings i. 5-31)       405

       BOOK III.


SOLOMON ANOINTED KING (1 Kings i. 32-40)       413

(1 Kings ii. 5-10)       419

SOLOMON'S CHOICE (1 Kings iii. 1-14)       429

SOLOMON'S FIRST AND WISE JUDGMENT (1 Kings iii. 27)       435

(2 Kings iv. 21)       442


DIVISIONS (1 Kings vi.)                                                               452

SOLOMON'S HOUSES (1 Kings vii. 1-12)       458

viii. 13-51)       464

(1 Kings viii.)       471

APPEARANCE TO HIM (1 Kings viii. 62-66)       478

CABUL (1 Kings ix. 10-14)       484


SOLOMON'S FAME: THE QUEEN OF SHEBA'S VISIT (1 Kings x. 1-10)       494

SOLOMON'S THRONE (1 Kings x. 18)       504

SOLOMON'S NAVY (1 Kings ix. 26-28; x. 11-22)       509

SOLOMON'S ARMY (1 Kings x.)       515

SOLOMON'S IDOLATRY (1 Kings xi. 29-32)       520

SOLOMON'S ADVERSARIES (1 Kings xi. 14-27)       530

THE DEATH AND BURIAL OF SOLOMON (1 Kings xi. 42, 43)       534

THE PREDICTED REVOLT OF THE TEN TRIBES (1 Kings xi. 29-35)       541












I Samuel viii.

I HAVE long desired, I have for some time intended, and I am now to attempt to explain that portion of the Israelitish history comprehended between the beginning of the reign of Saul and the end of the reign of Solomon.

I am well aware of the arduous, I had almost said hazardous, nature of this undertaking. Were my task limited to an elucidation of the historical sense, and a practical application of the historical circumstances, there might be little cause for apprehension. But without undervaluing this kind of instruction, pet as a minister of the internal Word my principal aim must be far higher than to supply it. Knowing, and addressing myself to those who know, that the Word contains a spiritual meaning within, and distinct from that of the letter, my primary aim must be to unfold and apply it. It is in attempting this that I have some just cause for anxiety. The Scriptures in their literal sense have received so much attention from learned expositors and pious commentators, that any one who has to deal with that sense only can derive great assistance from the labours of others. Not nearly so much so he who undertakes the exposition of this part of the Word according to its spiritual sense. In the works of our great expositor we have, besides a minute explanation of the first two books of the Old Testament and the last book of the New, many other passages of the Word incidentally elucidated. But of these, few comparatively belong to the historical books of the Old Testament, while, unlike the Prophets and Psalms, they have received from his matchless pen no summary exposition. True, we possess a key to the heavenly mysteries of the Word in the Science of Correspondence. This enables us to see the cloud of the letter radiant with the glory of the sun that shines in splendour behind it; while the explanations we possess of particular passages that lie scattered throughout these immortal works, like the sun's rays streaming through the opening clouds, connect with lines of light the heavens and the earth, and while they light up with peculiar brightness the favoured spots on which they fall, throw light at the same time on parts that lie beyond their direct influence.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 5 But with all these advantages it is not without some degree of hesitation that I approach the present momentous and important subject. Any one who has read but a small portion of the works to which I have referred, must be satisfied how much more is required than a mere knowledge of correspondence to enable one to unfold any part of the Divine Word; and how comparatively imperfect must be the results of the application of this science by any one possessing but an ordinary share of that enlightenment under which they were so evidently written.

I offer these remarks, not for the purpose of magnifying the difficulties of the subject, or of enhancing the value of the labour bestowed upon it, but with the view of showing you how much reason you have to be moderate in your expectations and charitable in your judgments.

Besides these reflections which apply to us as speaker and hearers--and I may now add, as writer and readers--there are others that apply alike to us both. It becomes us all without distinction to approach the subject in a devout and reverent spirit. The place on which we stand is holy ground, and we require to tread it with holy fear and profound humility. In our eagerness to see this great sight we may turn aside too hastily from our ordinary thoughts and temporal interests, forgetful of the danger of coming into the more immediate presence of the Divine glory without first putting the shoes from off our feet, by removing from our minds the artificial covering which it assumes from sense and the world. Spiritual truth cannot be seen except in spiritual light, nor can its power be felt except under the influence of spiritual love. For these, therefore, we ought to look and pray.

Before entering on an examination of the particular events of this history, it may be useful to view it in its relation to other portions of the historical Word with which it is connected, in order to ascertain the place it occupies in the typical history of which it forms a part, and to glance at its general scope and meaning.

The Sacred Record presents the representative people as living under several different forms of government. We find them ruled successively by patriarchs, priests, judges, and kings. Under a political view, these may he understood to mark the natural stages of their national development. Regarded in an ecclesiastical light, the succession of these different forms of government describes the decline of the Israelitish Church from a simpler and purer to a more artificial and imperfect state. As commonly expressed, the children of Israel, originally a theocracy, became less and less under the immediate government of the Divine Ruler.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 6 Under the patriarchal and priestly government the Israelites represented that state of the Church when it yields a willing submission to the mild and gentle sway of Divine love and justice; while under the judicial and regal government they represented the state of the Church when it gives a constrained obedience to the authoritative laws of Divine truth and judgment. Such is the internal historical sense of this aspect of the Israelitish history.

In its spiritual sense, which is a history of the spiritual life of the individual man, these successive changes in the government of Israel describe man's descent from higher to lower states. During the age of infancy and childhood the human being is ruled by love, but as these states recede before the strengthening passions and increasing reason, the mind comes more under the government of truth. There is thus in the earlier period of human life a descent resembling that which takes place in a declining church. In the individual case, however, these changes of state do not of necessity run through a course of moral or spiritual exhaustion. On the contrary, provision is made during the mind's descent for its re-ascent with increased intellectual power and means for its elevation.

It is thus of the mercy and wisdom of the Divine Providence that when the sweet influences of love become insufficient of themselves to rule, truth should assume the reins and curb the headstrong passions. If this were not the case, both the Church and the human being would fall into irremediable disorder, which would end in total and irretrievable ruin.

In the history of Israel we find the dearest traces of the representative circumstances of the subject of which we are now speaking. The immediate occasion of the Israelites asking a king was the ill conduct of Samuel's sons. Samuel himself had been raised up to stand in the breach that had been made by the corrupt house of Eli, whose sons had indulged in a course of such gross and unrestrained licentiousness that men abhorred the offering of the Lord. The sons of Samuel the judge had come to be too much like the sons of Eli the priest. They "turned aside after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted judgment." Thus we find that the priests had lost their influence and the judges had lost their power. No longer able to preserve order in the commonwealth of Israel, a king had become necessary for the preservation of the national existence, as well as for continuing the representative character which it had been chosen to sustain. Still, it was the substitution of a lower for a higher power.

When "all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel at Ramah, and said, Now make us a king to judge us like all the nations, it displeased Samuel, and he prayed unto the Lord: and the Lord said, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee, for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them."



It is the Lord's desire that His Church and His children should live and act under the government of His love, to which His truth is subordinate and instrumental. This is the perfection of order. Into this order man was created. Into this order man is still providentially initiated in his infancy and childhood. The capacity of loving God above all things and his neighbour as himself is the condition proper to that being who was created in the image and likeness of his Maker. God is Love; and Divine Love desires to reproduce itself in the hearts and lives of its created recipients. When man first departed from the law of love, it was because he would not have a God of love to reign over him. And when man desired to be ruled by the law of truth rather than by the law of love, the Lord granted him his desire, but He granted it as a thing He permitted rather than willed, and as a temporary rather than as a permanent condition; for truth is given that it may lead to goodness, and thus to lore, whose servant and minister it is.

It was to mark the disinclination of the Divine mind to this degradation of state in the Church and in the human mind that the Lord protested while He granted, and, as stated in another place, that He gave the people a king in His anger, and took him away in His wrath. Of course there is no anger in God. Wherever this passion is ascribed to the Divine Being it is for the purpose of expressing a state of the human mind in contrariety to the Divine mind. When God's love is quenched in the human mind, anger is kindled in its stead; and this is called the anger of God, because God's love, which still flows into the mind, is turned into its opposite; for "an opposite has birth from the cessation of the existence in some one thing, and the rising up of another at the same time with a tendency contrary to that which the former existence had, acting as a wheel against a wheel, or a stream against a stream."

Well might the change we are considering be condemned and protested against by the Most High. The grounds of that protest, as they related to the condition of the people themselves, were rehearsed to them by Samuel. They were told that the king whom they desired would take their sons, and appoint them for himself for his chariots, and to be his horsemen; that he would take their daughters to be confectioners, and cooks, and bakers; that he would take their fields, and vineyards, and oliveyards, and give them to his servants, and the tenth of their seed, their vineyards, and their sheep; in one word, that he would appropriate to his own use whatever they possessed. We know that whatever principle rules in the human mind, and thence in the Church and in the world, it makes all things subservient to itself. The kingly rule in Israel was a type of the rule of intellect rather than of affection. And whenever religion becomes a matter chiefly of the intellect, the goods and truths of the Word are employed to advance the glory of man more than the glory of God.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 8 As the sons of Israel were to be taken by the king for charioteers and horsemen, to fight the king's battles and adorn his pageants, so the truths they represented are used by the intellectual man to aid him in his intellectual conflicts and exalt his intellectual displays. As their daughters were to be taken for confectioners and cooks, so the affections of good which they represented are made to minister to the appetites and passions by affording them gratification suited to their sensual desires. As the men-servants and maid-servants were to be taken to do the king's work, so the truths and affections of science are employed to confirm whatever the mind adopts as a principle and desires to uphold. When this is the state of the Church and of man, even the remains of goodness and truth are appropriated by and mad subservient to intellectual supremacy, which is the same as charity being made subordinate to faith, and which is meant by the king taking the tenth of their seed, their vineyards, and their flocks. Nay, all the celestial and spiritual things of the Word, general as well as particular, are brought into a state of servitude, for all Israel were to become the king's servants.

But that of which we are now speaking is a state of comparative, not absolute, disorder. Absolute disorder is disorganization. That which was now granted to Israel is a less instead of a more perfect order, an order which is established under the law of truth, which is comparative bondage, instead of that which exists under the law of love, which is perfect freedom. The law of truth, and the organization resulting from it, though not absolutely the best, may yet be the best under the circumstances. This fact is of the utmost importance, and may be applied in every department of human affairs, public and private. There is a perfect law, and a perfect order which is the result of obedience to it; and we ought to place that law before us, and constantly strive to reach it. But while we ought to aspire after the highest ideal of personal and public excellence, we must not imagine that everything short of its attainment is a failure. Were the law of love the ruling principle among the nations and families of the earth, the condition of mankind would be widely different from what it is. There would be peace on earth, goodwill amongst men. The means and energy now spent in preventing evil would be expended in doing good. But who, except the most ignorant and anatical, would imagine that crime would cease with the abolition of a criminal code, or ambition expire with the disbanding of standing armies! These and other means of protection and preservation from each other are indeed evidences of the degenerate state of the human race. But what would the human race, in its present state, be without them? Crime and anarchy and conquest would reign; but their reign would be of short duration, for society would soon be dissolved, and the human race would perish.



Since, then, the law of love cannot find its place in the hearts of men, it is a blessing, though a lesser one, that they can be brought under the law of truth.

We see, therefore, both the wisdom and the goodness of God in the answer which He gave to Samuel, when that eminent prophet was disposed to deny the people their request that he would make them a king like the nations. A king had indeed become a necessity to Israel. The priest had failed, the judge had lost his power. Every man did that which was right in his own eyes; and what appeared to every one to be right was in many cases wrong. Their enemies, toot had acquired considerable dominion over them. Nothing could save them but a new and more powerful governor. It was a perception of this need that led the people to answer Samuel's protestation with the declaration, "Nay; but we will have a king over us; that we also may be like all the nations; and that our king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles."

But the Divine command to Samuel to acquiesce in the people's desire was not only to prevent their further degradation, but to provide the means of their elevation; and there can be no doubt that during the reign of the first three kings at least the Israelites made great and rapid advancement in all that concerned them as a people, and made them a wealthy, powerful, and united nation.

The spiritual meaning of their history during this period describes a state of spiritual advancement in the religious life of those who are Israelites indeed. The beginning of the kingdom of Israel may be considered as representing the beginning of that upward progression by which the kingdom of God is begun in the human mind; and the history of the first three kings describes its advancement from natural to spiritual, from spiritual to celestial. The natural, the spiritual, and the celestial are represented by Saul, David, and Solomon. It will be our principal aim to unfold the sacred history as it applies to these several states and stages of the regenerate life.

But there is another and still higher subject to which the history of the first three kings of Israel relates, and which demands our earnest attention. The Holy Word, which, in its interior sense, treats of the regeneration of man, in its inmost sense treats of the glorification of the Lord; for the Lord made His humanity Divine by a process analogous to that by which He makes man spiritual. This Divine subject, although too exalted for us to dwell upon continuously, has yet so important a relation to that of the regeneration of our own souls that it is profitable to see their connection.



There can be no doubt that the first three kings of Israel were types, two of them at least eminent types, of the Lord Jesus Christ in His regal character; and that their history is, in its inmost sense, a history of the Lord's inner life and experience when manifested in our nature upon earth, and while He was engaged in glorifying His humanity and effecting the work of human redemption.

We are instructed in the writings of the Church, that, in the progress of His glorification, the Lord first made His humanity truth Divine, then Divine truth, and lastly Divine good (A. C.7014). We can easily see that, in these three general stages of His progressive glorification, the Lord was represented by the first three kings of Israel. Saul represented Him as truth Divine, David as Divine truth, and Solomon as Divine good. To express it still more accurately and fully,--the history of the reign of Saul, of David, and of Solomon, is a typical history of the Lord's inner life and experience while He was making His humanity truth Divine, Divine truth, and Divine good.

As the reign of Saul is first to be considered, and as the history of Saul's reign is interwoven with the early history of David, even as the anointed king of Israel, it is desirable we should see clearly the difference between truth Divine, which Saul represented, and Divine truth, which was represented by David. Truth Divine, as distinguished from Divine truth, is truth such as it is in heaven, as distinguished from truth such as it is above heaven. Truth divine is Divine truth finited, by being received and apprehended by finite minds, as those of the angels are; Divine truth transcends all finite apprehension. Truth Divine is sometimes in the Writings called truth front the Divine, as distinguished from truth which is in itself Divine. I do not say which is in the Divine; for I conceive that Divine truth, in its most comprehensive sense, includes all truth which is in itself Divine, not only as it is in the Lord Himself, but as it is in all the spheres and degrees that intervene between the infinite mind and the highest finite minds, by which infinite Divine truth is made fit for entering into the minds of angels and men.

Truth Divine, or Divine truth in heaven, constituted the Lord's humanity before the Incarnation. When the Lord's Divine truth flowed into the minds of the angels it took a human form in their will and understanding. It was through this humanity that the Lord acted upon the human race before the time of His Advent. Therefore whenever the Lord appeared to men on earth it was in the person of an angel. But as His angelic humanity became in course of time, by mankind receding from heaven, inefficient as a medium through which the Lord's love and truth could flow down into the minds of men, the Lord came into the world, and assumed humanity in the womb of the Virgin. He thereby made His humanity a separate essence, raising it by glorification into union with His own infinite and eternal Divinity.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 11 Thus the Lord provided a medium of salvation above and besides that which existed in heaven, and became Himself, as to His glorified humanity, the Mediator between God and man Love and light from God still come to men through heaven; but besides this mediate influx there is now immediate influx from the humanity of the Lord Himself, by which the human mind can be interiorly affected and enlightened, and therefore interiorly regenerated.

In a special sense, Saul, as representing truth Divine, represented the humanity of the Lord in heaven before the Incarnation, and David, as representing Divine truth, represented the humanity of the Lord after His manifestation in the flesh. Yet since the Lord made His humanity truth Divine before He made it Divine truth; or, what is the same, since the Lord regenerated His humanity before He glorified it (A. C. 3138); Saul represented the Lord's humanity while it was being regenerated, as David represented the Lord's humanity while it was being glorified. The Lord regenerated His humanity when He made it truth Divine, or truth such as it is in heaven; and He glorified His humanity when He made it Divine truth such as is above heaven, yea, far above all heavens, when He entered into the light that no man can approach unto.

Such are the spiritual and Divine subjects treated of in the history of the first three kings of Israel, which it will be my endeavour, with Divine assistance: to trace in the inspired record of their successive reigns.



1 Samuel ix. 1-14.

THE Divine Being having consented to the request of the people to have a king, His Providence led to the selection of one who, His wisdom saw, was best suited to the people and the times, and, in a higher sense, to the representative character he was to sustain.

Saul, the son of Kish, a Benjamite, was sent by his father in quest of his asses, which were lost. When, after a long and diligent but unsuccessful search, Saul proposed to return, his servant advised him to consult the prophet. Meanwhile Samuel was divinely informed of Saul's coming, and was instructed what to do. The result was that Samuel anointed Saul to be captain over the Lord's inheritance.



The narrative is singularly interesting, as showing the manner means, direct and indirect, natural and supernatural, by which Providence effects its purposes. But it is instructive as well as interesting, as teaching us the ways of God, in so ordering the outward events of Bible history as to be typical of divine and spiritual things. In this light we propose to consider the narrative before us.

The first particular we notice is that the first king of Israel was taken from the tribe of Benjamin, as the second was from the tribe of Judah, the descendants of the last and the first of the sons of Israel, not in the order of birth but of rank, as expressed, for example, in the sealing of the twelve tribes in the Book of Revelation (vii. 3-8), these representing the last and the first of the principles that constitute the kingdom of God, and, in the highest sense, that were assumed and glorified in the humanity of the Lord. The first and the last include in their representation all that come between. Judah and Benjamin thus include the whole of the twelve tribes of Israel, which represented all the principles of goodness and truth that constitute the Church. These the Lord assumed and glorified in the world; for the principles of goodness and truth constitute humanity. Man is not human from his shape, but from those qualities that make him a moral image of his Maker. When the Lord became incarnate human nature had lost the moral image of God. But the principles that constituted humanity, though perverted, were not utterly destroyed; and the Lord assumed the perverted forms of humanity, and by glorification restored them to their true order, and ultimately made them Divine. By incarnation the Lord became man in ultimates, but the ultimate humanity which He assumed and glorified includes all that was represented by David and Solomon as well as by Saul, and by Judah as well as by Benjamin. It was from the tribe of Benjamin that the first king of Israel was chosen, to teach us that the foundation of the Lord's kingdom is to be laid in the lowest degree of goodness and truth, and is to ascend gradually and successively till it reaches the highest.

But the Divine history does not at once introduce Saul to our notice, but first makes us acquainted with Kish, his father, as it afterwards does with David, of whom we first hear through his father Jesse. There was in ancient times a natural reason for knowing the son through the father; but there is a spiritual reason also. Father and son in Scripture signify goodness and truth. Other related pairs have the same meaning, but in a different connection. A father means good from which truth is derived, and a son means truth derived from good. This is the meaning of Father and Son in relation to the Lord Himself. The Father is the Divine goodness, the Son is the Divine truth; for truth comes from goodness as a son from a father. In no other sense than this are a Divine Father and a Divine Son possible.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 13 The father of Saul is first introduced to us for the purpose of instructing us respecting us respecting the nature of the good from which the truth represented by Saul was derived. It is not always easy to see in the natural meaning of a name the spiritual meaning of him who bears it; but the description of the typical man is always a sufficient guide. Kish was a mighty man of power. The word rendered power sometimes means wealth, which seems suitable here. But even when two words signifying power come together, one means the power of good, and the other the power of truth. Neither of them has any power by itself, but in union with the other; for good has no power but by truth, and truth has no power but from good. Yet the distinction is not lost. There are two kinds of power, power of will and power of intellect; but the will can do nothing without the intellect, and the intellect can do nothing without the will. There is this possibility however: the will may be stronger than the intellect, and the intellect may be stronger than the will; and in either case the result is imperfection of character. When the will is stronger than the intellect, there is defect of judgment; when the intellect is stronger than the will, there is defect of conscientiousness. The balance of the two and their united action make the perfect man. This balance and union seem to be expressed in Kish being a mighty man of power.

But not only is Kish himself introduced into the narrative, but his progenitors to the fourth generation are brought before us. And these four prior generations point to the same balance and union which are expressed in the description of Kish himself; because four, like two, signifies conjunction. The names of these men might afford a basis for their spiritual meaning if we had time and space to devote to the inquiry. There is one at least so evidently significative that we cannot pass it over. The father of Kish was named Abiel. This name is compounded of two words, Abi, father, and El, God. The principle of good, we have seen, is meant by father, and the principle of truth is meant by the Divine name El. There are two general names by which the Divine Being is spoken of in the Old Testament--Jehovah and Elohim. Jehovah is the name so familiar to us in our English Bible as LORD, and Elohim is that which is still more familiar to us as God; and these two sacred names are expressive of the two essentials of the Divine nature, love and wisdom, or goodness and truth. El is a contraction of the name Elohim, and when it forms a part, as it frequently does, of the proper names of men or angels, it is understood to mean power, so that Abiel signifies a powerful father; but as it literally is made up of the two words father and God, in the spiritual sense it is expressive, as we have seen, of good and truth combined, and of the power of good by truth. Such, then, was the "root" of Saul, the first king of Israel. And the son of Kish, all unconscious as yet of the dignity that awaits him, is now placed before us.



Saul is described as "a choice young man, and a goodly; and there was not among the children of Israel a goodlier person than he: from the shoulders and upward he was higher than any of the people." Choice and goodly would have been better fair and good; in which predications we see again the true and the good combined. Among the sons of Israel there was none so goodly as he. Of all the truths of heaven and the Church, there was none equal in goodness to that which was to become by assumption and glorification the regal principle of the Lord. But Saul was not only fair and good: he was tall: from his shoulders upward he was higher than any of the people. The same Scripture term that means of great stature means also high-minded, and this is frequently its spiritual meaning also; but this cannot be included in its meaning here. Saul afterwards, indeed, became high-minded; but he is credited with having been, at the time he was appointed king, little in his own sight (xv. 17). His great stature must therefore represent that which in the true sense is spiritually expressed by height, a high degree of goodness and truth according to the degrees which, in the Writings, are called degrees of altitude, those which do not increase or diminish by imperceptible gradations, but which pass into and are distinguished from each other by distinct lines of demarcation, as thought passes into speech, and will into action. Such are the degrees by which the whole heaven is distinguished into three particular heavens. These three heavens are not separate, but they are distinct. They have each a character distinct from, but in harmony with, the whole; yet each within itself consists of degrees that pass into each other by imperceptible gradations. We see something like this in the rainbow, where there are several distinct colours, and yet the celestial are consists of an infinite number and variety of hues, which shade off by continuous, and pass into distinct degrees; so that we have there every different colour and every different shade of each. If we consider Saul as representing the Divine truth in heaven, which constituted the Lord's humanity before He came into the world, we may, I think, see an exalted meaning in this circumstance respecting Saul's stature. The Lord's Divine truth as it flowed into the intellect of the angels assumed a human form. In their minds it was finited, and there existed according to their finite and imperfect conception of its meaning. This was the truth Divine in heaven which the Lord in descending through heaven assumed, and which He made Divine truth, and finally Divine good, by glorification in the world. But before the Lord came into the world there were not three distinct heavens as there are now. Then only one heaven, which is now the highest, existed actually. This was formed from those who constituted heavens the Adamic Church. The other heavens, indeed, although they did not exist actually, existed potentially.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 15 Those who could be raised into heaven after the fall of the Most Ancient Church, of whom the highest or celestial heaven, then the only one, consisted, formed the external of that heaven. These formed the nucleus of the second or spiritual heaven. But those of whom this heaven, as well as the first or lowest heaven, were subsequently to consist, existed and were accumulating in the world of spirits; but not until the Lord had assumed and glorified humanity in the world could the spiritual who formed the external of the celestial heaven, and the spiritual in the world of spirits, be formed into a distinct kingdom. I am here anticipating a subject that will engage our attention when we come to the division of the Israelitish kingdom into the two kingdoms of Judah and Israel, by the revolt of the ten tribes under Jeroboam, which I think it interesting and useful to include in our explanation. Something on the subject is necessary to be premised as an introduction to the study of Saul's stature. Saul, it seems to me, represented truth Divine, or the Lord's humanity as existing in the heaven actually formed, while the "sons of Israel" or "the people" represented those in the spiritual world, who as yet formed no part of the heaven then actually existing; for the Lord came to save the spiritual, as well those in the spiritual as in the natural world.

Heaven, regarded as a whole, forms the Grand Man, the most perfect image of the Divine Man. Of this man the highest heaven forms the head, the second the body, and the lowest the extremities. Before the formation and actual existence of the lower heavens this Grand Man did exist in the same fulness as after that great event. Yet heaven is not to be thought of as being then as a head without a body. The lower heavens existed, as I have said, potentially though not actually. Besides, every particular heaven is in the human form, as is indeed every particular society as well as every particular angel: for heaven is an image of the Lord in the whole and in every part; the difference being that the image is the more perfect the more numerous and diversified the parts that constitute it. As the formation and growth of heaven have been necessarily similar to, and contemporaneous with, the beginning and progress of the human race, and both have been like those of the individual man, some idea of the general subject may be acquired by studying the particular. In the formation of the human being, as an embryo and a ftus, the central and higher parts are formed first, and the surrounding and lower parts are gradually formed later. Yet all the parts are there from the beginning, but lie undeveloped till the formative power brings them from potential into actual existence. Saul, from the shoulders upward higher than any of the people, presents an image of heaven, which formed the Lord's humanity before He came into the world, as it stood above all those who were yet in the middle state, and who waited for deliverance by the incarnate God. as the people looked for deliverance by the king whom they desired.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 16 The shoulders, too, are the emblems of power, and the head of wisdom; so that the terms in which Saul's extraordinary and unequalled height is expressed are designed to instruct us that although the Lord assumed our common nature, He transcended all men in power and wisdom, even when His humanity was as yet but truth Divine, such as it was among the angels, for among men even such truth had ceased to exist.

Having considered the lineage and character of Saul, so far at least as respects his personal appearance, which had then much to do with a man's fitness for the office of a king, we now turn our attention to the circumstances by which he was led to the goal which Providence designed he should reach.

"The asses of Kish, Saul's father, were lost: and Kish said to Saul his son, Take now one of the servants with thee, and arise, go seek the asses." Saul when seeking the asses found a kingdom. Another particular we may here remark in again comparing Saul with David. Saul was called to the throne of Israel when in search of his father's asses; David was called to the throne when keeping his father's sheep. This marks an important difference between the representative character of the two men, as called to the same regal function. According to Scripture analogy, the ass is an emblem of that which belongs to natural thought, while the sheep is an emblem of that which belongs to spiritual affection. The ass, which with us is degraded and contemned, was with Orientals in ancient times honoured and esteemed. Among the Israelites the sons of judges rode upon asses, and the sons of kings upon mules; and the Lord Jesus made His last triumphal entry into Jerusalem riding upon an ass, and upon a colt, the foal of an ass. In that act, which had even been the subject of prophecy, He represented that in His humanity things natural were now brought into entire subordination and obedience to things rational, spiritual, celestial, and divine. In the case of Saul the asses were lost; and that which was spiritually represented by them was lost, till it was found by our Lord when He came into the world to save that which was lost, and the recovery of which was represented by the finding of the ass and its colt on which He rode. For He sent two of His disciples to a village where they were to find the ass and its colt tied, and which they were to obtain by merely telling the owner that the Lord had need of them. Generally, the lost are represented by the sheep, for which the shepherd seeks till he finds it. But when we know that the lost mean not only lost persons but lost principles, we can see a propriety in these being spoken under the symbols of different animals, as the emblems of different principles or qualities.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 17 For persons are lost by their losing the graces and virtues which can save them. The Lord saves His people by restoring to them that which they have lost. When He brings back to them the knowledge and faith represented by the ass and her colt, and the charity represented by the sheep, He saves them, by restoring to them the graces and virtues in which is salvation. "That which was lost," which the Son of Man came to save (Matt. xviii. 11), is neuter, so that literally it refers not to persons, but to things. The saving of persons is indeed the end, but the restoring of saving qualities is the means, and the indispensable means, of their salvation.

In his search for his father's asses Saul passed through Mount Ephraim, and through the land of Shalisha, and through the land of Shalim, and through the land of the Benjamites, and found them not. The search was made in the three contiguous provinces of Ephraim, Dan, and Benjamin. The tribes of Israel represented all the principles of goodness and truth that constitute the Church. The three tribes, over whose land Saul's search extended, all belong to the intellectual class, having relation to truth rather than to good. Judah, which represented the highest principle of good, though contiguous to Benjamin, was not visited. The three particular places, two of which Saul passed through, are, rather singularly, not mentioned in any other part of the Bible. The first and last were in the land of Ephraim, the other was in the land of Dan. Shalim means a place of foxes, Shalisha expresses its triangular shape, and Zuph signifies sweet, honey as dropping from the comb. Shalim is the natural will, Shalisha the natural understanding, and Zuph natural delight, or what the natural man would call good, and truth, and the pleasantness resulting from them. But the asses are not found there. There is nothing of a saving quality in anything merely natural.

It is not said that Saul passed through Zuph, but that when he came to it he said to his servant, "Come, and let us return; lest my father leave caring for the asses, and take thought for us." He had now, however, been led providentially to the city of the prophet; and the servant proposed they should go and inquire of him as to the way they should go. Where natural delight terminates spiritual delight begins. When our best natural efforts to recover that which is lost prove unsuccessful, we are in a state of mind to turn our thoughts and direct our efforts into a new and higher channel. When the natural fails we are better prepared to turn to the supernatural. When our own intelligence and prudence are found to leave our desires unsatisfied and our object unattained, we are more ready to place our reliance on the wisdom and providence of God; and only need some friendly voice, either from within or from without, to direct us to the true Source of our help and happiness.



But we must remember that those only are likely to obey that voice who, while they are pursuing and seeking a worthy object, such as the knowledge of the truth, by the seemingly unaided efforts of their own understanding, have yet been secretly influenced and guided by the Lord. All whose motives are good are acting under Divine influence; and they will sooner or later be brought to the city of the seer, who will reveal to them how they have been divinely led, and led to a higher good than they themselves have been pursuing, or even could have conceived as their portion.

The servant's description of Samuel is that of a true prophet, and applies eminently to the One whom every true prophet represented. "There is in this city a man of God, and he is an honourable man: all that he saith cometh surely to pass." He is a man of God who is a man of truth, and he is an honourable man who is a mall of love. These two united make the true prophet, or the seer, as a prophet was first and at the time called. A seer is one who foresees and provides; prophet is one who foretells and teaches. Foreseeing and providing come before and are within foretelling and teaching; as the internal comes before and is within the external. Such a one is, above all, THE PROPHET; and he can show us our way that we should go.

When the servant proposed going to the seer, Saul said, "But, behold . . . what shall we bring the man? for the bread is spent in our vessels, and there is hot a present to bring to the man of God: what have we?" The gifts with which prophets were propitiated were symbols of the gifts which God requires of those who come to seek His favour and obtain His blessing. They are their good affections and true thoughts. These are to be devoted and offered to God, for they are the channels through which His gifts descend to them. The first and best of these gifts were represented by bread, and by the meat-offerings which were placed on the altar. Bread was one of the gifts which David presented to Saul when first introduced to him (1 Sam. xvi. 19). But in times of travail this bread of life is often spent in our vessel; and when we would come into the Divine Presence we feel or fear we have nothing to offer. This consciousness of poverty is itself a virtue, for blessed are the poor in spirit. If there is nothing to offer there can be at least no claim of merit. But in the present case there is not absolute destitution. The servant has the fourth part of a shekel of silver. If the good is spent, there are still some remains of truth. A shekel was twenty gerahs (Exod. xxx. 13); half a shekel was given by every Israelite when the people were numbered, as a sign that none but those who have the ten gerahs of remains can be numbered with the spiritual Israel of the Lord. Five as well as ten is the symbol of remains, but in a less degree.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 19 If one have the five gerahs or the quarter shekel, even this will be the means of obtaining admission to the house of the seer.

When Saul and his servant "went unto the city where the man of God was, as they went up the hill to the city, they found young maidens going to draw water, and he said unto them, Is the seer here? And they answered them, and said, He is: behold, he is before you: make haste now, for he came to-day to the city; for there is a sacrifice of the people to-day in the high place. As soon as ye go up to the city ye Shall straightway find him, before be go up to the high place to eat; for the people will not eat until he come, because he doth bless the sacrifice, and afterwards they eat that be bidden. Now therefore get you up, for about this time ye shall find him." In this charming picture we get a lifelike View of the simple manners of the time, and of the character of those social sacrificial feasts that we read oft but never see described, in the Levitical law. The spiritual meaning is not less interesting, and is much more instructive. Those young maidens are the affections of truth going with joy to draw water out of the wells of salvation (Isa. xii. 3). These wells, or rather fountains, are in the Holy Word, whence those who have a pure and single love of truth draw living water for the uses of spiritual life. In this divinely-ordered history these young maidens are a part of the provided means for securing the appointed end. To them the inquiry is rightly addressed whether the seer is here; and from them the information rightly comes that he is, with particular directions where and when he may be found. First the inquirers are exhorted to make haste; for haste is an effort, and therefore a sign of eager desire, which lies at the foundation of all true progress and of ultimate success. The reasons for haste are, that the seer is before them, and that he may be found before he goes up to the high place to eat. The occasion of the seer's visit was the celebration of a sacrifice of the people. These social feasts were representative of the conjunction of the people with the Lord and with each other. They thus represented the spiritual feasts of love and charity--love to the Lord and charity to the neighbour. And this was a fitting occasion for the reception and inauguration of the new king, who was to be a representative of the Lord as a ruler of His people, but who was required to rule by truth from love. He therefore ought to have a part in the feast; and as he was to be a guest of the seer, as one of them that be bidden, it was requisite that he should see him before the feast began, that the prophet, and the future king, and the people, might unite in celebrating this great religious symbol of worship and unity. The high place where the sacrifice was to be made, before it had been profaned and had acquired a profane meaning by idolatrous worship, was symbolic of the exalted views and feelings from which the Divine Being, who was also called the Highest, and who dwelt in the high and holy place, was to be worshipped.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 20 To this Saul was to go up by the direction of the prophet, whom he was exhorted to meet, and whom he met in the city; that he might, under the guidance of the seer, ascend from the doctrine to the love of goodness and truth.



1 Samuel ix. 15-27.

WHEN Saul and his servant were come into the city Samuel was coming out. They were personally unknown to each other, but the seer, who had previously been divinely warned of Saul's coming, now received the intimation that the man before him was he whom he was to anoint captain over the Lord's people, to save them out of the hand of the Philistines, because their cry had come up to Him. We now for the first time learn the special reason on which the Divine Being acted in granting Israel a king. It was not merely to please His people, but to save them from their enemies. Those enemies were such as required a king to oppose them. The nations of Canaan represented the different evil and false principles against which the Church has to contend. The Philistines, those powerful and determined foes of Israel, represented one of the most formidable and persistent of the false principles that the Church in all ages has suffered from and has had to war against, but which she has often shamefully yielded to. They represented the false principle or persuasion, that men can be saved by knowing and believing without loving and doing, which may be briefly expressed as salvation by faith alone. Considered as it is in its own nature, faith alone is a false persuasion grounded in evil, for it originates in it as well as leads to it. The opposite of that falsity is truth grounded in goodness, and this was represented by a king. The Philistines had troubled Israel under the Judges; and even Samson, the greatest of her heroes, had not only failed to subdue them, but had been bound and blinded by them, and compelled to grind in their prison, and make sport for the multitude; thus symbolizing how the votaries of faith alone bind the truth that should make men free, and put out the eyes of the understanding that should be their guide, and make it grind at their intellectual mill by making it reason in favour of error, and compel it to make sport for the gratification of their corrupt affections. But Samson was single-handed.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 21 Saul was to be captain over the Lord's people, and lead them out to battle. And that which made him a king made Israel a kingdom; so that the people with their leader became, representatively, the opposite of that which was represented by the Philistines and their sovereign.

When Saul, in whom the prophet now beheld the future king of Israel, "drew near to Samuel in the gate, he said, Tell me, I pray thee, where the seer's house is." Unlike Samuel, the son of Kish had received no revelation, so that he knew not whom he was addressing. In spiritual things the higher knows the lower when the lower knows not the higher; for influx enters the inner man and passes thence into the outer man. This, at least, is the case when the gate of the rational mind, by which the spiritual mind communicates with the natural, and the natural with the spiritual, is open, and when the spiritual is looking outward and the natural is looking inward, and when they are approaching each other, and finally meet in this middle region, as Saul and Samuel met in the gate. When the natural thus desires to obtain access to the spiritual, and especially to know the good in which internal truth resides, as Saul wished to know where the house of the prophet was, then the internal man reveals himself. To Saul's question Samuel answered, "I am the seer." Having communicated this simple fact respecting himself, and directed Saul to go up before him unto the high place, for he must eat with him that day, he amazed his visitor by announcing to him that on the morrow he would tell him all that was in his heart, that the asses which were lost three days ago were found, and that he it was on whom was the desire of Israel, and on all his father's house. This miraculous knowledge is the symbol of a spiritual truth. The spiritual mind knows all that pertains to the natural. "What man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him?" The fulness of time and of state, of which three days are the common symbol, sees that restored which was lost; and truth Divine, with all the good belonging to it, becomes the desire of the common principles of the mind, as their ruling power.

With becoming modesty, expressive of humility, Saul deprecates the honour so unexpectedly thrust upon him. "Am not I a Benjamite, of the smallest of the tribes of Israel? and my family the least of all the families of the tribe of Benjamin? wherefore speakest thou so to me?" The circumstances which made Saul think himself the least worthy of the high station assigned him, were the very circumstances which made him the subject of the Divine choice. "God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things that are mighty; that no flesh should glory in His presence." It is not to magnify His own power, and prevent men from robbing Him of His glory, that the Lord thus acts; it is because self-sufficiency impedes the Divine operation, and defeats the best efforts of men in the cause of truth and righteousness.



There is perhaps something of the Oriental style in Saul's description of his tribe and family, a style which is well adapted to express the sense of one's own nothingness, or the utter abnegation of the selfhood, which all ought to feel, and the language of which forms so perfect a basis for the spiritual sense. It is possible that after the terrible slaughter of the Benjamites in the time of the Judges their tribe was now the smallest, though it was not so in the time of Joshua; but the description of Kish as a mighty man of power did not seem to indicate that his was actually the least of all the families of Benjamin.

Samuel now took Saul and his servant and brought them into the parlour, and made them sit in the chiefest place among them that were bidden, which were about thirty persons. The room into which they were brought had no doubt more of a sacred character than the homely name given to it would seem to imply. This is the only instance in which the word is translated parlour, but it appears repeatedly in our version as a chamber, and especially a chamber of the temple. One of the chambers of the mystic temple was for the priests, the keepers of the charge of the house, and one was for the priests, the keepers of the charge of the altar (Ezek. xl. 45, 46); and we learn from Nehemiah that in one chamber they laid the offerings which the Law required the people to bring for the priests, the Levites, and the singers (xiii. 5). The chamber into which Saul was brought was in the high place, where sacrifices were offered as well as eaten; it therefore was a holy place, where he was to sit down with holy men, to partake of a holy feast. There is such a chamber now as there was then, into which none enter but divinely-bidden guests, where none but sacrificial feasts are eaten, and only holy intercourse takes place. That chamber is in the inner man, into which evil never penetrates, but where holy affections and thoughts, which the Lord has introduced, combine to exalt His name and rejoice in His bounty. Into this we consciously enter when raised above the cares of the world. And in the case here represented, that truth which is to rule over the common affections and thoughts is set in the chiefest place, even among the principles of the inner man. Those among whom Saul occupied the chief place were about thirty persons. This, like all numbers in the Word, was symbolic. Thirty is a highly significant number. It includes in its meaning the beginning of a new state and the nature of the state begun--fulness of remains with conflict. The Levites were thirty years of age when they entered on the work of their ministry, which is also called a warfare; David was thirty years old when he began to reign; and the Lord Himself began to be about thirty years of age when He entered on His public ministry. In all these cases there was preparation before and conflict after.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 23 In Saul's case the number was not of years, but of persons. These persons are new affections and thoughts, and the acquisition of these is truly the entering on a new state, too surely to be followed by conflict. At present, however, all was to Saul new and elevating. Samuel, forewarned of the guest he was to entertain, had caused a shoulder to be reserved for him, and he now asked the cook to set it before him; and Saul did eat with Samuel that day. It was the custom in those times to mark a distinguished guest both by the quantity and quality of the meat that was set before him. When Joseph entertained his brethren, Benjamin's mess was five times as much as any of theirs. The shoulder which had been set aside for Saul was a distinguished portion. By the Levitical law the shoulder was that part of the wave-offering which was given to Aaron and his sons, as the breast was given to Moses (Exod. xxix. 26, 27), because the shoulder signified love, and the breast charity. In the case of Saul the setting before him of that priestly portion had, besides, a special symbolism; it was an expressive sign that the government of Israel was now about to pass from the priest to the king. The idea of government is also included in the meaning of the shoulder, for it includes the idea of power, which is evident from the well-known passage relating to the Lord Himself, "The government shall be upon His shoulder." Samuel, when Saul did eat with him that day, must have recognised in the circumstance the transfer of his own authority to his guest. Samuel was a prophet and a judge, and he was now at least officiating as a priest, which some assert he actually was. If we accept Chronicles as an historical record he belonged at any rate to the tribe of Levi (I Chron. vi. 16, 28), though not to the priestly caste.

When the festival was concluded Samuel and Saul came down from the high place unto the city. Every actual elevation of the mind to God is followed by a coming down to the affairs of men. From the high place to the city is not less necessary than from the city to the high place. We worship God that we may be strengthened to do our duty to men. It is thus we truly serve God. "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these, ye have done it unto Me." But although Samuel and Saul had come down from the chamber in the high place to the house in the city, they went up to the top of the house, and there communed on the all-important matters relating to the kingdom which was now about to be commenced. They not only communed on high subjects, but they spoke of them from high or interior states of mind. Exalted motives and exalted views were only suitable in men who discoursed on so high a topic as that which concerned the welfare of a people, elected by the grace of God to preserve the knowledge of His name and the purity of His worship amidst nations sunk into the grossest idolatry and practising the impurest rites.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 24 Samuel no doubt fulfilled his promise by telling Saul all that was in his heart; and while he let in the light of truth upon his mind, to show him what manner of man he was, he, we may be sure, counselled him how to govern so great a people, to govern in the strength and for the glory of Him who was their true King and supreme Ruler. And such is the case with the least of us when the Divine Prophet, either by His Word or His Spirit, communes with us respecting our own secret thoughts, and instructs us concerning the government of His kingdom in our own hearts and minds.

So closed the eventful day. On the morrow "they arose early: and it came to pass, about the spring of the day, that Samuel called Saul to the top of the house, saying, Up, that I may send thee away. And Saul arose, and they went out both of them, he and Samuel, abroad." If, as competent critics assert, the word here translated "arose in the morning" originally meant to place a load on the shoulders, to load an animal preparatory to a journey, it may well be said of Saul that he arose on the morning of this new day with the burden of a kingdom upon his shoulder. It is when we first awake in the morning after the day of a great change that a sense of our altered circumstances comes most forcibly upon us. But Saul was not only to revive a former impression; he was to receive a new one. Yesterday he knew himself as the chosen, to-day he is to know himself as the anointed, of the Lord. Inauguration into his high office is to make him for the time at least a new man. This new day is truly the beginning of a new state. All that is related of the day indicates this. Samuel and Saul arose early, while it was yet dark it would seem; for about the spring of the day, or early dawn, Samuel called Saul to the top of the house, saying, up, that I may send thee away. Early morning and dawn mean the beginning of a new state, but they express besides something of its nature. Nor do they symbolize that state only when Divine light breaks in anew upon the mind, but the inward tranquillity and peace which the dawn usually brings with it. In the supreme sense the dawn signifies the Lord Himself, the Sun of Righteousness. He is said to rise early, and send His servants the prophets; and His coming is always connected with the morning, and is compared to the dawn. In a lower and general sense the dawn is the commencement of a new church; in a particular sense the dawn is regeneration, for when any one is made new the Lord's kingdom arises in him, and he becomes a church; in the singular sense it is the dawn as often as the good of love and of faith is operative in him, for in this is the Lord's coming. It was when the dawn had ended His successful wrestling with the angel that Jacob's name was changed to Israel; as it is when the Christian disciple overcomes in temptation: he passes out of a natural into a spiritual state.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 25 At the dawn Samuel called Saul to the top of the house, again representing elevation of mind; but this time it is not to commune with him, but to send him away, to speed him on his journey to his father's house, with the seal of his appointment to the regal office. They then went forth abroad. To go forth abroad is to proceed from internal to external things, or to carry inward principles into outward acts. "As they were going down to the end of the city, Samuel said to Saul, Bid the servant pass on before us, (and he passed on,) but stand thou still a while, that I may show thee the word of God." Saul first met Samuel at the gate of the city, and Samuel was to dismiss Saul at its termination. But how different the circumstances! how much had taken place between his entrance and his departure! So the circle of life returns into itself; but how great the difference of state between its beginning and its end! It was when they were approaching the end of the city that Samuel desired Saul to stand still that he might show him the word of God. Like the command to the Israelites, "Stand still, and see the salvation of God," and the exhortation, "Be still, and know that I am God," this is a command to cease from all activity originating in self, and place entire reliance upon God. The meaning is expressed by the Lord Himself where He says to the people, "In quietness and confidence shall be your strength;" and where the prophet says of them, "Their strength is to sit still" (Isa. xxx. 7, 15). But sitting has relation to a state of the will and of love, and standing to a state of the understanding and of faith; it is this stillness, therefore, that Samuel requires of Saul. It is this standing still from the activity of our own intellectual selfhood that enables us to receive the word of God in faith; for true faith is trust in God, as able to do for us more and better for us than we can do for ourselves. It is this also which prepares us for the sanctification which the anointing of Saul by the prophet represented; for it was to anoint him as the king of Israel that he required him to stand still. This subject is treated of in the next chapter.



1 Samuel x.

WHEN Saul stood still, "then Samuel took a vial of oil, and poured it upon his head, and kissed him, and said, Is it not because the Lord hath anointed thee to be captain over His inheritance?"


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 26 As a ceremonial, anointing was a sign of the inauguration of a person into a particular office, or the dedication of a thing to a particular purpose. Not only were priests and kings anointed, but even the particular instruments of their service--the vessels of the temple and the instruments of war. This general unction was designed to teach us an important truth. Oil is in Scripture the symbol of love. A very striking and obvious illustration of this meaning of oil is afforded in the parable of the Ten Virgins, when they went out to meet the bridegroom. The five wise virgins took oil in their vessels with their lamps; but the foolish took their lamps, indeed, but they took no oil; so that when, at midnight, the cry arose, "Behold the bridegroom cometh, go ye out to meet him," the wise, whose lamps were burning, went in with him to the marriage, while the foolish, whose lamps were gone out, being unable to follow, were shut out. Love is the life of faith, as oil is of the flame; but when there is no love there is not even faith; for the light of the foolish virgins had gone out, and they were left with the empty lamp of mere knowledge. Anointing in the Israelitish Church represented that persons enter actually into a holy state, and are devoted to a holy use, when they receive into their hearts the love of God and act under its influence.

But all the anointings that took place in the shadowy dispensation of the Jews, especially of priests and kings, were representative of the anointing of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, as the Priest and King, of whom all their priests and kings were types. As a typical act this ceremonial had, in reference to our Lord, the highest and the holiest significance; and it gave Him the title of the Messiah and the Christ, which signify the Anointed. In His case, however, anointing was a purely Divine act. He was anointed with the oil of Divine love. The Lord was manifested in the world as Divine truth; He was the Word made flesh. Divine truth was the Son; Divine love was the Father. The glorification of the Lord, by which He became the Anointed, consisted in His uniting Divine love with Divine truth in His humanity, so that His humanity became the infinite form of Divine love and Divine wisdom; and He, in His own Divine Person, became, and now is, both Father and Son; all the fulness of the Godhead dwelling bodily in Him.

The Lord's glorification is the pattern or archetype of human regeneration. As He made His humanity Divine by uniting Divine love and Divine truth in Himself, He makes His disciples spiritual by conjoining love and truth in their minds and lives. Truth they acquire from revelation, thus from without; love they can only acquire by inspiration, thus from within, or from above. It is love that makes us the children of God. Truth is indeed necessary, because without truth we could not know what love is, nor who and what we ought to love;


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 27 but truth must be anointed and sanctified with the holy oil of love before it can become holy in the mind of him who has acquired it, or be employed in the actual performance of holy uses. In the inauguration of one who was to be the ruler of the Lord's heritage, the ceremonial of anointing was the more necessary, because it was expressive of the law of Divine order, that the truth which governs in the Church and in the minds of its members must be grounded in love. The first reception of love in truth is the actual commencement of spiritual life in the soul, for love is life; it is that which enkindles in our hearts a real desire to do the Lord's will, and affects it with true joy and delight in doing it. When truth, which we have acquired from the written Word, has become joined to love, which we have received from the glorified incarnate Word, then is fulfilled that prophetic saying of the inspired Psalmist, "Truth shall spring out of the earth; and righteousness shall look down from heaven;" and that declaration is also realized, "Mercy and truth are met together: righteousness and peace have kissed each other" (Ps. lxxxv. 10, 11). The kiss, which is the Scripture symbol of conjunction by love, and in the best sense the conjunction of truth and love, is that which Samuel bestowed upon Saul when he had poured the vial of oil upon his head: for Samuel, as the anointing priest, and Saul, as the anointed king, now represented, more perfectly than before, the two kindred principles of love and truth, of charity and faith. Had this union ever afterwards continued and increased, both the king and the kingdom would have been more prosperous and happy, and the aged prophet would have escaped much bitterness of spirit. Yet those unhappy changes that passed over the spirit and disfigured the reign of Saul, are but too faithful symbols of vicissitudes in the Christian life, and even of trials and temptations of the Lord Himself as truth Divine, thus as the Son of Man during that early experience, when His visage was so marred more than any man, when He had no form nor comeliness, and there was no beauty that we should desire Him. But it is carefully to be observed that, while the typical characters who represented the Lord committed sins, and in some instances grievous sins, their sins only represented His temptations, not temptations to commit the sins themselves which they committed, but the evils too deep to be seen by the human eye, and even too mysterious to be comprehended by the finite mind, in which the sins of men originate. The Lord's temptations had therefore a depth and intensity of which we can have no adequate conception.

Before Samuel had sent away Saul he told him of three signs that were to follow in confirmation of the Lord's having chosen and anointed him to be captain over His inheritance.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 28 These are still among the signs that follow them that believe, and to these we must now turn our attention.

When Saul was departed he was to find two men by Rachel's sepulchre, who should tell him that the asses which he sought were found. This was appropriate in the case of Saul, but it is as significant in relation to those whom Saul represented. Rachel was the mother of Benjamin, the father of the tribe to which Saul belonged. She was the first and best beloved, though not the first obtained, of Jacob's two wives. She represented the spiritual affection of truth, Leah her elder sister representing the natural affection. Rachel died in giving birth to Benjamin while Jacob was journeying from Padanaram to Canaan. Bethlehem-Ephratah, the scene of this affecting and significant event, is distinguished in sacred prophecy and history as the birthplace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Sovereign and Saviour of the world. And on the massacre of the innocents by Herod, in the hope of destroying Him who was said to be born King of the Jews, Rachel is represented as weeping for her children, and refusing to be comforted, because they were not, the prophet thus describing the despairing grief of the Church over its innocence destroyed, except in Him and by whom it was to be restored. The death and burial of Rachel at the birthplace of Benjamin did not represent the extinction and rejection of that affection of which she was the type, but its resurrection into newness of life. For as, when the body dies and is buried, the soul enters on a new and higher state of existence, death and burial signify resurrection; and spiritual resurrection is regeneration, which is entrance into life. Saul's first sign occurring at Rachel's sepulchre is a sign to us that regeneration enters on its first stage of development, when the spiritual affection of truth first puts off the old man and puts on the new. This state is further described by this first sign taking place when Saul came to Rachel's sepulchre on the border of Benjamin at Zelzah. The land of Benjamin, like Benjamin himself, represented the good of truth, or truth in act; for when man in the progress of vital religion enters practically on the life of truth from love, he enters into the new or heavenly state. Of Zelzah we know nothing besides its situation but the name. Its verbal meaning, a shade from the heat of the sun, shows it to be expressive of a state continuous with that, the commencement of which was represented by the dawn of the day, when Samuel called Saul to the housetop to send him away, but a state rather of love than of light, or one in which good has been added to truth. The sign itself which was here given him was a double proof of Samuel's character as a seer; but it is expressive of a spiritual truth relating to the stage of spiritual progress now represented. Saul was to find two men who should say to him, "The asses which thou wentest to seek are found:


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 29 and, lo, thy father hath left the care of the asses, and sorroweth for you, saying, What shall I do for my son?" Saul's searching for asses and finding a kingdom presents a striking natural antithesis; but the former announcement, that what he had lost was found, is the point we are to observe, and in connection with it the father's sorrowing for his son. We have already said that in the highest sense Saul's search for the lost asses represents the Lord's coming to seek that which was lost; and in seeking for the lost He also found a kingdom. Yet Saul himself did not recover the asses; so that the analogy between his seeking and the Saviour's may seem not to hold good, nor are we told by whom they were restored, and this is a matter of important significance. There is a profound as well as a superficial correspondence between the type and the antitype in the Holy Word. There is an internal and invisible as well as an external and visible finding. The faithful were internally restored and conjoined to the Father before they were fully and finally redeemed by the Son. The Lord glorified His humanity in the same order in which He regenerates man. His internal man was, therefore, glorified before His external. These were distinct or discreted acts. Reference is made to them in the Father's answer to the Son's prayer, "Father, glorify Thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again" (John xii. 28). Simultaneous with the internal glorification of the Lord's humanity was the internal redemption of the human race, and of the angelic heaven, and more immediately of the faithful in the middle state, who were thereby internally conjoined to the Father, or to the Lord's internal man; for the Father dwelt within Him. Jesus therefore speaks of His people being already in His Father's possession and in His own before the work of redemption was accomplished. "I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand. My Father, which gave them Me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of My Father's hand. I and My Father are one" (John x. 28-30). This oneness of the Father and the Son was as yet only internal. Like Kish and Saul at this juncture, they were internally united, but externally apart. The complete union of the Father and the Son, or the Divinity and Humanity, was yet to be effected by direful temptations, the last of which was the passion of the cross; and it was in these that the Father sorrowed for His Son. Jesus was a Man of Sorrows. We do not read of the Father sorrowing; nay, we do not read of the Son of God sorrowing, but only of the Son of Man. Only Patripassians supposed the Divinity to suffer. Such images only express representatively the sympathy of the Divinity with the Humanity, or of the Father with the Son in His sufferings.



In reference to the regeneration of man, the asses signify the lowest truths, which belong to the memory, while Saul represents the higher truth, that belongs to the understanding. The wandering of the asses from the fields of Kish is expressive of the separation of these lowest truths from connection with the good to which they belong, of which Saul's father is the type; and the finding of the asses is expressive of their restoration and reunion with the good to which they belong and are serviceable.

The second sign given to Saul was that he should meet three men going up to Bethel, one carrying three kids, another three leaves, and a third a bottle of wine; and after being saluted, he was to receive two leaves of their hands. These three men going up to Bethel describe the progression of the regenerating man as to will, understanding, and life from truth to the good of truth. The men were no doubt going up to worship at Bethel, where was the ark of God, and, it is supposed, the tabernacle also; and the kids, the bread, and the wine were their offering, the kids signifying faith in which is innocence, bread spiritual good, and wine spiritual truth. Saul was to receive from them two leaves; which, though not precisely similar to David receiving the shewbread from the priest in the tabernacle, was yet something of the same nature and representation; for this was bread intended for the temple service, and was therefore in a measure sacred, as being Corban, devoted to God. The gift of this sacred, though not sanctified bread, which Saul received at the hand of these worshippers, was a sign of his being recognised as possessing something of the priestly character, and exercising something of the priestly function, and of being sustained by the sacred bread which was designed for the priest. In respect to the regenerate man, this bread is the spiritual good, the good of charity and the good of love, which supports the life of love in the heart.

The third sign was that of the company of prophets which Saul was to meet after coming to the hill of God, where there was a garrison of the Philistines. What hill this was is not accurately determined; but its name implies, in the spiritual sense, a state of mind in which the love of truth, which is meant by the hill of God, is the ruling principle, but which has not yet overcome and removed the opposite false principle, meant by the garrison of the Philistines. Saul is here brought into the presence of one of the evils for the conquest of which the regal office was permitted in Israel. And the Christian is instructed or reminded, that the love of truth in the inner man is opposed, either tacitly or openly, by the love of falsity in the outer man, in other words, that faith in God is opposed by faith in self, which is the essential ,around of faith alone.

The company of the prophets which Saul met, after seeing this memento of the enslaved condition of his country, was the opposite of the garrison of the Philistines;


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 31 for prophets were the types of the genuine truths of religion, truths that teach the faith of charity and lead to a life of goodness. And whereas the previous company were going up to Bethel, these were coming down from the high place, where they had no doubt been engaged in the worship of God, whose praises had been sounded on the wind and string instruments which they carried with them, and which represented what the sweet sounds they gave out were designed to express--the affections of goodness and truth, of love and faith. Ascent and descent are expressive of that alternation of state, and of the progression which it effects, which goes on in the minds of those who have earnestly entered on and are consistently pursuing the regenerate life, and which is so strikingly described in the dream of Jacob on the spot to which, from that circumstance, he gave the name of Bethel--the House of God. And well did it deserve that name, for there he beheld the mystic ladder which, resting on earth, reached up to heaven, and on which the angels of God were seen ascending and descending, connecting man with God, and God with man. In every human mind that is sincerely directed heavenward there is such an ascent and descent. The affections and thoughts are directed upwards to God in adoration and prayer, and descend again sanctified and invigorated for the performance of the duties of life. When the company of prophets, coming down from the high place, prophesied, and thus exercised their function and discharged their peculiar duty, the Spirit of the Lord came upon Saul, and he prophesied among them. The prophetic gift did not consist exclusively, or even principally, in the ability to predict future events. It made those who enjoyed it seers and revelators, and raised them into an ecstatic condition, in which they spoke and acted above the sphere of ordinary life. Whatever else may have been included in the prophetic gift, Saul acquired it when he was met by a company of the prophets; the Spirit of the Lord came upon him, and he prophesied among them. But what is the Spirit and gift of prophecy in relation to others! It is the Spirit of truth which God gives to those to whom He has given another heart. When the will is made new the understanding is enlightened to see new and higher truths. These are not merely intellectual truths, but are truths of the heart, because they regard good as an end. They raise the mind which receives them above the ordinary condition of knowing and believing, into that of seeing and loving the truth, and so far realize the devout wish of Moses, "Would God that all the Lord's people were prophets, and that the Lord would put His Spirit upon them!" (Num. xi. 29.) So great is the change of state, and in some cases so obvious is the improvement of character, which the reception of the Spirit of truth produces, that those who knew such a one before time, when they see him prophesying among the prophets, say one to another, "What is this that has come to the son of Kish?


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 32 Is Saul also among the prophets!" But such a one is no longer, as a prophet, the son of Kish. It was therefore well answered by one of the same place, "But who is their father?" Spiritually such a one is a son of God. "He is born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God" (John i. 13). God is his Father. And that which became a proverb is a proverb still: "Is Saul also among the prophets?" It is like the question of Nathanael respecting Jesus, "Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?" We are all too apt to think that a prophet must come of the prophetic line; that a great man must come of a distinguished family or belong to an important place. Yet we are constantly taught in Bible history and in Bible doctrine, that Divine Providence chooseth the lowly, and accomplishes great works by seemingly inadequate means.

When Saul had made an end of prophesying he came to the high place from which the prophets had come down. Thus he ended his eventful progress by ascending to the high place, as the symbol of a high state, to worship the Lord, who had led him to greatness as the means of usefulness.

On Saul's return we do not hear of his father, but of his uncle, inquiring of him respecting his eventful journey, and what Samuel had said to him; and Saul answered that Samuel had told him plainly the asses were found, but of the matter of the kingdom he said nothing. An uncle represents good of the same kind as that represented by a father, but connected with the truth, represented by a son, not by relationship, but by affinity, and therefore can enter into the scientifics or knowledges of that truth, but not into its governing power.

Samuel, having anointed Saul, called the people: together unto the Lord to Mizpeh. This is not the place where Laban and Jacob entered into a covenant not to pass over to one another, and which was therefore named Mizpah, a watch-tower; for Laban said, "The Lord watch between me and thee when we are absent one from another." That Mizpah was in Gilead, on the other side Jordan; this was in the land of Benjamin. Yet the two places, having the same name, must have the same general signification. Mizpah spiritually means the presence of the Lord's Divine natural represented by Jacob, in the Gentile good represented by Laban. But here, instead of Jacob and Laban, we have Samuel and Saul. Samuel, as a prophet and judge, represented the Lord as the Word; and Saul, as king, represented truth from the Lord as the Word. To express it otherwise, Samuel represented Divine truth, and Saul represented truth Divine. Here, then, Mizpeh signifies the presence of the Lord's Divine spiritual in the Divine natural principle of His humanity, thus the presence of Divine truth in truth Divine.



When the people were assembled together, Samuel does not tell them that the Lord had appointed one whom he had already anointed as their king, and that he had assembled the tribes for the purpose of announcing what to them must have been good tidings. Without saying anything to them of the already divinely-appointed sovereign, he proceeds to choose a king from among the tribes by lot, confident that of the many ten thousands of Israel it would fall upon the right person. The lot was acknowledged among the Israelites as a direct appeal to the Deity, so that the decision should rest with the Lord Himself. "Now therefore," said Samuel, "present yourselves before the Lord by your tribes, and by your thousands." The principles of the Church, which the people represented, were to be arranged under the two great divisions of the principles of truth and of goodness, which are meant by tribes and thousands. Of these a successive subdivision is to be made, until the lot falls upon the man whom the Lord shall thus mark as the object of His choice. "When Samuel had caused all the tribes of Israel to come near, the tribe of Benjamin was taken; and when he had caused the tribe of Benjamin to come near by their families, the family of Matri was taken, and Saul the son of Kish was taken." Here we have evidently a further division into general, particular, and singular. The general principle which the tribe of Benjamin represented is, as we have seen, the ultimate form or state of truth, which is truth in act. The particular truths arranged under one head, and growing out of one good as their parent stem, are meant by the family of Matri, and the one singular or single truth, in which all the others are ultimated, and by which they are represented, is meant by Saul. This, then, is the truth Divine in heaven which is to be manifested upon earth, but which is to pass through so many changes, and these changes to be effected through so much suffering, before it can be perfected, and become the perfect Ruler of a kingdom established in righteousness.

But there is another mysterious circumstance connected with the newly-chosen king. When the lot fell upon Saul the son of Kish, they sought him, but he could not be found. "Therefore they inquired of the Lord further, if the man should yet come thither. And the Lord answered, Behold, he hath hid himself among the stuff. And they ran and fetched him hence." Saul's hiding himself bespeaks a becoming modesty on his part, but the circumstance contains a deeper meaning and a more instructive lesson. The truth which Saul represented could not be found by the Church, which was represented by the people. It had hid itself among scientifics. What is here rendered "stuff" would be more correctly translated vessels; and vessels are the expressive symbols of scientifics, which are the receptacles of truth. At the time when the Lord came into the world the truth could not be found, even by those who sought it.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 34 It lay concealed among scientifics, that is, among religious scientifics, and only by inquiring of God, and by Divine guidance, could the truth be found. This same circumstance is taught in another fact in the history of the representative people. When Abraham offered up his son Isaac, and his hand, when raised to slay the intended victim, was arrested by a voice from heaven, he looked and saw behind him a ram caught in a thicket by the horns, and he offered him up instead of his son Isaac. The ram caught in the thicket has the same general meaning as Saul hid among the vessels. The ram is the symbol of truth, and the thicket in which he was caught by his horns is the symbol of scientifics, in which the truth was entangled and held captive until delivered by the Lord. In the internal historical sense, in which the events connected with the work of redemption are treated of, the ram represents the spiritual, who were in captivity in the middle state until the Lord delivered them after He had glorified His humanity, represented by the potential sacrifice of Isaac; but that which in the historical sense relates to persons, in the spiritual sense relates to principles; in fact, it was because the spiritual principle in the minds of the spiritual was entangled in scientifics that they themselves were held captive, but still were prisoners of hope, whom the Lord delivered.

Brought forth from his hiding place, Saul stands among the people, towering above them all; and when Samuel says to all the people, "See ye him whom the Lord hath chosen, that there is none like him among all the people?" all the people shouted, and said, "God save the king!" "Live the king" is the correct and more significant form of acclamation, this being expressive of a wish that the truth may have in it the love from which it lives; for love is life, and only that truth lives, and secures life to those who in faith receive it, which is animated by love.

The two elections of Saul, one by direct appointment and the other by lot, thus by the Lord, evidently represent a double election--that of the internal and that of the external man. This was not, however, the final settlement of the king and the kingdom. Another is recorded in the next chapter.

When the king had been accepted by acclamation, Samuel told the people the manner of the kingdom, and wrote it in a book, and laid it up before the Lord.

When the Divine Wisdom, to which all the future is present, saw that the children of Israel would desire a king, instructions were given in the law of Moses as to the manner of the king they should choose: "When thou art come unto the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, and shalt possess it, and live therein, and shalt say, I will set a king over me, like as the nations that are about me: thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee whom the Lord thy God shalt choose:


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 35 one from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee: thou mayest not set a stranger over thee, who is not thy brother" (Deut. xvii. 14, 15). When the state of the Church is such that truth, and not love, has the supreme control, it is above all things necessary that the truth which rules should be genuine and not spurious, and that it should be derived from the Word and not from any foreign source. It is further necessary that this truth should have relation to goodness, in order that the faith of the Church should be derived from charity. This is what is taught in the command to take their king from among their brethren, a brother signifying the grace of charity, for charity is the bond of brotherhood.

It was further commanded that the king should not multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt, to the end that he should multiply horses.... Neither should he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away: neither should he greatly multiply to himself gold and silver (Deut. xvii. 17). This teaches that truth should not be corrupted by reasonings and scientifics, meant by the horses of Egypt, nor by natural affections, meant by wives, nor by the knowledges of natural things, meant by gold and silver. Truth itself resides in the spiritual mind, but science, and the affections and knowledges connected with it, belong to the natural mind, which mind itself is Egypt. It was therefore commanded that the king should not cause the people to return to Egypt, to the end that he should multiply horses; for that would represent a return of the mind to the state from which it has been delivered, a state in which the spiritual was in subjection to the natural, and thus truth to science. This state is well described by the Apostle where he says to the Galatians, "But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage!" (Gal. iv. 9.)

Besides telling the people the manner of the kingdom, Samuel wrote it in a book and laid it up before the Lord in the tabernacle, where the Lord's presence was. The regenerate mind is a tabernacle and temple of the living God, and the manner of the kingdom--the principles of the Lord's kingdom, are written and placed therein, when they are inscribed in the heart, and thus placed in the Divine presence. Although the writing of these laws was no doubt a future act, yet there is a spiritual connection between the recorded events; for when the laws of the kingdom are inscribed on the inner man, all the truths which form the kingdom go forth and enter each into its own good; as Samuel, after the election and acceptance of the king, sent the people away, every man to his house. It is especially mentioned that Saul also went home to Gibeah. There were two places of this name, one in the land of Judah, and this in the land of Benjamin.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 36 That in Judah is famous as the place where the ark so long remained, and from which it started on its upward progress to Jerusalem in the time of David. As the progress of the ark represented the progression of the Church in man from its ultimate to its inmost, as from one heaven into another, even to the highest, Gibeah, from which the progress of the ark commenced, signifies the ultimate of the Church, which is its natural principle. Gibeah, we may infer, has a similar meaning here; only, there it is the lowest from which an ascending state begins, here it is the lowest in which a descending state closes. This meaning is also in unison with all that is related of Saul, as representing truth in the ultimate degree. Gibeah literally signifies a hill, and is so rendered in several instances, as in the 10th verse of this chapter; and as a hill signifies good, ultimate good is that which is the home of ultimate truth, which Saul represented. When Saul went to Gibeah there went with him a band of men, whose hearts God had touched. This does not express the force of the original. The term rendered men means mighty men, and is so rendered in other instances, as mighty men of valour, mighty men of wealth. Here it would seem to mean valiant rather than wealthy men. Such would be the more needful and suitable companions in the present circumstances. The band, therefore, who accompanied Saul to his house in Gibeah, when every man was sent to his home, are those who are zealous for the truth, and ready to fight for it against opposing falsities; and who engage in the warfare of the spiritual life strong, not only in the belief but in the love of truth, whose faith is not only of the intellect but of the heart, which God has touched with the fire of His love. In the abstract sense these men denote truths themselves, which were added to the truth which now began to reign in the Church and in the minds of the faithful.

But when truth begins to act powerfully in the mind, one of its effects is to excite the evils that naturally belong to it. So we find that while this band adhered to Saul, the sons of Belial said, "How shall this man save us? And they despised him, and brought him no presents." The Lord's representative was, in this respect, like the Lord Himself when in the world. His disciples, whose hearts God had touched, followed Him, while the Jews, and especially the priesthood, said, Can this Man save us! And they despised Him, and brought Him no presents. But the Lord, like Saul, "held His peace;" or, as rightly expressed, was as though He were deaf. For Jehovah has said by the prophet, "Who is blind, but My servant! or deaf, as My messenger that I sent! . . . Seeing many things, but Thou observest not; opening the ears, but He heareth not" (Isa. xlii. 19, 20). The Lord's ear was open to the cry of His children, but closed against their imprecations. "If Thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand? But there is forgiveness with Thee, that Thou mayest be feared" (Ps. cxxx. 3, 4).


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 37 A highly fitting conclusion this of the account of the election of the first king of Israel, the first representative of the Lord, as a king who was to rule by truth and righteousness in the hearts of his people.



1 Samuel xi.

THE regal power having been set up in Israel for the purpose of delivering the people from their surrounding and powerful enemies, it was not long before an occasion arose to call forth the energies of their newly-elected king. The town of Jabesh-gilead had been invested by Nahash, king of the Ammonites, and, to save their lives, the inhabitants had agreed to the ignominious condition imposed upon them, of having their right eyes thrust out; and this was to be regarded not only as a mark of their own submission, but as a reproach upon all Israel--as a sign that the whole power of the Israelitish nation was unable to prevent the indignity threatened to the inhabitants of the invested city. On this ground, we may suppose, the request was made and granted, that seven days should be allowed for the besieged to send messengers into all the coasts of Israel to ask for help. The enfeebled and disorganized state of the Israelitish people, as a matter well known to their enemies, is strikingly evinced by the fact of Nahash granting what he evidently had the power to refuse, and which he no doubt believed he could grant with perfect safety.

When the messengers came to Gibeah of Saul, the people heard the tidings with the grief of despair; they lifted up their voices and wept. The condition and conduct of Saul on this occasion, considered only as ordinary history, is equal to the finest parts of classic story. Anointed by the hand of the prophet-priest, and himself raised by inspiration to the dignity of a prophet, Saul had returned to his former occupation, and appears now returning from the field after the herd. On learning the cause of their lamentation, the Spirit of God comes upon him, and, by means of a dreaded sign, he collects a large army, and effects the deliverance of the beleaguered city.

The circumstances of the history thus set before us are chiefly interesting to us as describing, in a representative manner, one of the many states of the Christian life and experience, for the sake of which the Word was written.



In one aspect life is a warfare. The flesh lusteth against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh. This contrariety gives rise to frequent conflict, and necessitates constant watchfulness to prevent the evils of our nature from obtaining dominion over us and reducing us to a state of servitude. These evils are various, numerous, and powerful. They were represented by the nations and peoples hostile to the children of Israel. Each of them represented some distinct evil, more or less directly opposed to the good which springs from love to God and charity to man. One of those evils was represented by the Ammonites, the nature of which we must now consider.

Moab and Ammon were the two sons of Lot by his daughters. They and their descendants are mentioned in Scripture both in a good and in a bad sense. In a good sense Moab and Ammon signify those who are in natural goodness and truth; in a bad sense they signify those who pervert and profane goodness and truth. When the Israelites in their pilgrimage came to where the children of Lot dwelt, they were commanded not to distress, or fight against, or seize the land of the Moabites and the children of Ammon, for the Lord had given if to them for a possession; and the reason assigned for leaving them undisturbed is, that they had destroyed the giants, and now dwelt in their land. When goodness and truth, however external, remove evil and falsity, and take their place, the Lord does not disturb or disinherit them. But natural goodness and truth are liable, on the other hand, to turn against and oppose spiritual goodness and truth. We see this clearly enough exemplified by the Moabites and Ammonites of the present day. People who are good and true in the natural degree, and who abhor and shun what is grossly evil and false, may yet be opposed to everything spiritual. Yet while they live peaceably they should be left in peace, that is to say, free from hostile opposition; even although their goodness and truth may, like the children of Lot by his daughters, have been begotten by an intoxicated intellect acting under the influence and through the medium of spurious affections. When, however, they actively oppose, and especially when they pervert and profane what is spiritual, they are to be resisted, and they come under the curse at times pronounced against them in Moses and the prophets. Those who profane goodness are spiritual Moabites, and those who profane truth are spiritual Ammonites. When we apply the subject to our own minds, the Ammonites represent the truths themselves which are profaned, and, consequently, the false persuasions and sinful practices which arise from that profanation. But what are we to understand by the profanation of truth, and the false persuasions and sinful practices that spring from it? To profane truth is to pervert its meaning and falsify its teaching, so as to make it appear to favour evil. Truth is nothing but the teacher and minister of goodness.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 39 Without reference to goodness truth is but an empty name; it is expressive of no quality, and is directed to no useful end. But truth can hardly be considered, and is seldom found, without relation to some subject or object. If it has not relation to goodness, it will generally be found to have relation to evil. But it acquires this relation by being perverted. And yet it may, in its perverted state, be most highly honoured. For instance, it is a truth that of himself man is only evil, and can do nothing that is truly good. But this truth is perverted when it is maintained that, therefore, what are called good works contribute nothing to salvation; so that a man must trust for salvation to the merit of Christ. This truth is still further profaned when it is held that, being entirely corrupt, man can do nothing but evil, therefore that evil does not condemn those who are justified through faith. True it is that man of himself can do nothing that is good, but it is equally true that he can do all things by Christ strengthening him.

Besides the doctrinal forms which perverted truth has assumed, and which have gradually risen out of the evils of the human heart, in their desire and effort to free themselves from the restraints which truth has laid upon them, there are other shapes which it spontaneously takes in the ordinary operations of the mind in everyday life. Every attentive observer of human nature must have seen that there are two very different classes of men in society. There are those who are continually striving to bring their practice up to their principles, who have conscientiously adopted what they believe to be the truth, and honestly strive to realize it in their lives; while those who belong to the second class are they who know or profess right principles, but who are continually trying to justify themselves for departing from them in practice on the plea of custom or necessity.

In considering the Ammonitish character in connection with the present subject, which allows us to apply it to the individual mind, it is not necessary to assume its actual existence among those who are the true Israel of God. Those who have really entered on the regenerate life cannot be supposed to act as profaners of truth, but they can be, and no doubt sometimes are, tempted to commit this great sin. The evils that are actually committed by some exist potentially in all, and are only prevented from coming forth into the life, either by prudential consideration on the one hand or by the controlling and corrective power of truth on the other. In the progress of the regenerate life, the evils of our nature are excited by the influence of evil spirits acting from within in connection with inducements acting from without. It is possible for Christians to suffer temptations from which others may be exempt;


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 40 since the perfection of the Christian life requires not only that evils should not be committed, but that the very inclination to commit them should be overcome. This is one of the reasons that evil is so prominent a subject of the Scriptures, and that so much more is said as to the necessity of shunning evil than the duty of doing good, it being still more important that evil should not be committed than that good should be done. Good may be done without evil being eradicated from the heart; but the eradication of evil is sure to result in the doing of good. The good that is done before evil is removed is only outward good, but that which follows the removal of evil is inward, and therefore saving.

To view the history in its particular sense. A temptation to profane the truth being described representatively by the attempt of Nahash the Ammonite to take Jabesh-gilead, the place, the people, and the circumstances all tend to throw light on the subject, and to instruct us respecting the consequences of yielding to the assault; for it is Israel that is tempted, and Nahash that tempts.

Gilead was on the other side Jordan, and was in that part of the land that was given as an inheritance to the half tribe of Manasseh. For when the Israelites came to the promised land, two tribes and a half were permitted to take their inheritance on the other side of the river, on account of the rich pasturage it afforded for their cattle; but there was this peculiarity with respect to Manasseh, that one half the tribe took their lot in Canaan, while the other half remained in Gilead. By this arrangement the tribes in Canaan itself represented the principles of the Church in the inner man, and the tribes out of Canaan represented the principles of the Church in the outer man; while Manasseh represented the conjoining medium between them. Manasseh and Ephraim, the two sons of Joseph, represented spiritual goodness and truth, or charity and faith. But the half tribes of Manasseh outside of Canaan represented goodness or charity in the natural mind. The men of Jabesh-gilead belonged therefore to the tribe of Manasseh, and represented mutual love or charity in the external man or natural mind. But they were in a city, which signifies doctrine; so that labesh-gilead represented the doctrine of mutual love or charity. Doctrine is a defence for the principles it contains, as a city is for its inhabitants. Jabesh signifies, and was so called from the heat of the sun upon it, because it lay upon a mountain. Before the present instance, this city and its inhabitants are mentioned only once; and that serves to explain the cause and nature of the danger, spiritually considered, to which they were now exposed. They are mentioned in connection with one of the most singular transactions of that most singular book--the Book of Judges.



A Levite passing the night, on his homeward journey, in one of the cities of Benjamin, some of its inhabitants, sons of Belial, abused his concubine so shamefully that she died. The Levite divided the body into twelve pieces, and sent them through all the coasts of Israel. The people rose as one man to avenge so dreadful a crime; and so terrible was the revenge, that they not only destroyed the greater part of the tribe of Benjamin, but they vowed that they would not again give any of them his daughter unto Benjamin to wife. But the people soon relented, and began to lament that a tribe should be cut off from Israel. The few remaining Benjamites had taken refuge in a rocky fastness of the desert; but as their vow did not permit the other tribes to give them wives, the extinction of the tribe seemed inevitable. In this dilemma inquiry was made, which one of the tribes had not come up to Mizpeh and appeared before the Lord when the vow was made; and it was found that none of the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead were there. Twelve thousand men were sent against Jabesh, who slew the entire population, except four hundred virgins, whom they saved as wives for the Benjamites.

It is easy to see that the dreadful outrage of the wicked Benjamites on the wife of the Levite involved the crime of profanation. The men of Jabesh-gilead, by not joining the rest of the tribes to avenge this enormity, virtually consented to it, and thus became partakers of the crime of those who had committed it. All, therefore, were destroyed, with the exception of the four hundred virgins, representing that only those affections which had not been united to and defiled by the falsities of so great an evil could be preserved and united to truths. The Benjamites, who had committed the crime, and the men of Jabesh, who had consented to it, were, with a few exceptions, both destroyed, and the remnants of the males of one tribe, and the remnants of the females of another, were united to preserve and build up a tribe anew. Thus is it also sometimes spiritually. Departure from the principles and path of religion may be so serious as to almost exterminate all perception of truth and affection of goodness; but by the Lords providence a remnant of both may be saved, that when repentance and amendment take place, the remains of what is good and true may be brought together and united to form the commencement of a new state of life.

Profanation being the subject treated of in the war of Nahash against the men of Jabesh, their previous crime may be supposed to have contributed to bring upon them the present assault, or may show, if not in their actual, at least in their representative character, the ground of such an attack. The people, it is true, were not the same, but their representative character was not necessarily changed. In the present case we see in the men of Jabesh a disposition to yield to Nahash; for they offer to serve the Ammonites, and are only deterred by the hard conditions imposed upon them.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 42 We now come to inquire what those conditions signify.

We can easily account for those conditions on natural grounds. Putting out the right eye, like cutting off the thumbs and great toes, according to the barbarous custom of the times, was for the purpose of rendering them unfit for war. This natural reason is not inconsistent with the spiritual sense.

The eyes of the body correspond to the understanding of the mind, the right eye to the understanding of good, the left eye to the understanding of truth. This signification of the eyes, and of the right eye in particular, is clear from the manner of Divine speech, as we find it in the New Testament, "The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness." The mind is the spiritual body, and all that is said of the material is true of the spiritual. When the eye is evil, the evil eye, or the evil that is in the eye, must be removed, that the body itself may be preserved. "If thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell." This plucking out of the right eye in obedience to the will of God is the opposite of the thrusting out of the right eye in obedience to the will of man, as the enemy of God. One denotes the removal from the understanding of the evil which prevents the perception of goodness, the other involves the destruction of the faculty itself by which goodness is perceived. This is the consequence of profaning the truth. It deprives the mind of the power of perceiving goodness; it puts out the right eye; and this is for a reproach upon all Israel, for when the understanding of goodness is destroyed the whole mind is full of darkness. Errors in matters of faith obscure the understanding, but do not necessarily corrupt the heart. Such errors are motes in the eye, which indeed prevent it from seeing clearly, but are not like the beam that perverts the vision. Nor are they like the thrusting out of the right eye, which disables us, as soldiers of the Lord, who should follow Him, as the Captain of our salvation, in warring against the enemies of our souls, the evils of our own hearts.

Such is the evil represented by that which first brought Saul into action as the captain of the Lord's people. When he heard of the straits of the men of Tabesh, and the condition to which they had been compelled to submit, the Spirit of God came upon him, and his anger was greatly kindled. Truth, animated with the spirit of truth, inspired him with zeal, which is anger as a generous sentiment. Virtuous anger is zeal. It is an unselfish indignation against wrong, and an ardent desire to vindicate innocence against injury. Zeal differs from anger in this:


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 43 zeal has love within it; anger has evil within it. They are similar in their outward appearance, but are entirely different in their inward state. From this similarity of appearance between anger and zeal, anger is ascribed to God in the letter of Scripture, because the literal sense of Scripture is written according to appearances, the real truth, as contained in the spiritual sense, being, that the Lord is a zealous but not an angry God. But to effect deliverance the Spirit of truth and its zeal must be propagated and spread through all the affections and thoughts of the mind till they come into act. Saul, therefore, proceeded to arouse all Israel to go at once to the rescue of their distressed brethren. He took a yoke of oxen, and cut them in pieces, and sent them throughout all the coasts of Israel, threatening a similar treatment to the oxen of those who refused to come up to succour the inhabitants of Jabesh. Thus are we instructed that all, especially those who are under the yoke, must obey the call, and fight against evil and falsehood under the banner of divine truth, and that to those who refuse to obey its commands the truth is a sword that will cut them asunder, that will divide and dissipate all the affections and perceptions of the natural mind. But the call was universally responded to. The fear of the Lord fell upon the people, and they came out as one man. It was not the fear of Saul, or the dread of his significant threat, but the dread of Jehovah, that Divine name which is expressive of Divine love; so that they obeyed from love, for this is holy fear.

When numbered in Bezek the men of Israel were three hundred thousand, and the men of Judah thirty thousand. Bezek was one of the cities of Judah, which he took from the Canaanitish king, Adoni-Bezek, whose thumbs and great toes he cut off, which the king acknowledged as a just retribution for having done the same to seventy kings who gathered their meat under his table. These cruel mutilations are symbols of the privation of power which evil brings upon those who commit it; the law of retaliation, though in their case unconsciously inflicted, being the result of the eternal law which prevails alike in heaven and in hell, that as we do to others, so shall it be done to us. In that place, memorable for the infliction, upon an enemy of Judah, of a punishment similar in its nature and meaning to that which an enemy of Manasseh threatened to inflict upon them, the tribes assembled and were numbered. It is the first time that Judah and Israel are mentioned together as including all the tribes; two names under which they are frequently mentioned afterwards, as representative of the two universal principles of goodness and truth, or love and faith, which constitute the Church and kingdom of the Lord. The numbering of the people, when done in conformity with the Divine will and wisdom, represented the arrangement of the principles of the Church according to just order, and in due subordination, so that they may act in harmony and unity under one head, and that head the Lord Himself.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 44 The numbers themselves are expressive of the combined qualities of the principles, or of the graces and virtues, of which the Church or religion consists; for the thousands refer to goodness, and three to truth: the general principle of order amongst them being according to the laws of truth, is further indicated by these being divided into three companies, which also refers to that trine of will, understanding, and action, or of love, faith, and works, in which the principles of the Church are in their fulness and power.

The messengers who had come to seek for help were now dismissed with the tidings that on the morrow by the time the sun be hot the men of Jabesh should have help; tidings which gladdened their hearts, and enabled them to announce to their enemies that on the morrow they would come out to them. That was, we conclude, the last of the seven days, and the answer was no doubt intended to lead the Ammonites to believe that all their hopes of succour had been disappointed. But the morrow brought a new state of things. In the morning watch Saul led his three companies into the midst of the host, and they slew the Ammonites until the heat of the day, and they which remained were scattered, so that two of them were not left together. The morning watch was the dawn of a new state, a state of deliverance out of temptation. It was a state of light advancing to a state of love--from the morning watch unto the heat of the day, which saw the Ammonites so completely scattered that two of them were not found together: the dispersion that followed the slaughter was so complete that no evil and falsity were left together. As good and truth constitute the strength of the righteous, evil and falsity constitute the power of the wicked; and when their connection is severed their power is gone.

When the battle was ended, and Saul's character as a leader was established, the people, flushed with victory, demanded of Samuel that the men who had spoken slightingly of Saul as a saviour of Israel should be brought out and slain. But Saul with true nobility of soul said, "There shall not a man be put to death this day: for to-day the Lord hath wrought salvation in Israel." It is singular, but it nevertheless is true, that overcoming in one temptation sometimes leads to another. So far as we think we have overcome a temptation by our own strength, we fall into the temptation to ascribe to ourselves the merit of our deliverance; and so far as we claim merit to ourselves we deny it to others. Saul's words correct this double evil. He ascribes the salvation of Israel that day to the Lord, and declares that after so signal a manifestation of the saving power of the Most High not a man should be put to death.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 45 Not death but life marks the state of no doubt intended to lead the true spiritual triumph. Thus are the suggestions of the lower thoughts of the mind reproved and corrected by the higher, by referring all power, and therefore all merit, to the infinite Source of good. "Then said Samuel to the people, Come, and let us go to Gilgal, and renew the kingdom there. And all the people went to Gilgal; and there they made Saul king before the Lord in Gilgal." This was the third time that Saul was made king. It was the renewal and confirmation of his appointment by the anointing of Samuel and the lot among the tribes. There must be something significant in this in reference to Saul's representative character. On the two previous occasions Saul was appointed without any direct choice or act of the people themselves. They no doubt recognised the Divine appointment in the lot; but this was to be a voluntary and deliberate act of their own. So with the Lord's people spiritually. They can see the truth, and acknowledge that it is from the Lord, as it comes to them through the Word and is witnessed by the law and the testimony; but not until it has the testimony of their own experience, especially in enabling them to overcome evil and obtain deliverance from it, do they themselves confirm it and establish its reign in their own hearts and lives. The place where the renewal of the kingdom took place is not without its significance in this confirmatory act. Gilgal is remarkable for two very important and significant acts in the history of the Israelites. It was in Gilgal that Joshua set up the twelve stones that he took out of the midst of Jordan, where the priests' feet had stood while the ark of the covenant and the people passed over; and it was here that the whole of the men of Israel were circumcised after they had thus entered the Holy Land. It was in reference to this occasion that it received its name. "For the Lord said unto Joshua, This day have I rolled away the reproach of Egypt from off you. Wherefore the name of the place is called Gilgal unto this day." This was truly the beginning of the new life, the life of the spiritual Canaan as distinguished from that of the natural Egypt. Gilgal thence signified the doctrine of natural truth, serving for introduction into the Church. But that which is first in the order of the regenerate life becomes the last; for, as we have had occasion to remark, the spiritual life, and the particular states in it, begin and end in ultimates. The quality of the first and of the last state is indeed different. The mind returns to its first state invested with knowledge and experience, and finds in its first truth the confirmation of its subsequent acquirements. The renewal of the kingdom in Gilgal is thus representative of the confirmation of Divine truth in the regenerate mind, by which it is made, actually, because practically, the governing principle in the thoughts and the Lord when they had made Saul king, and the mutual rejoicing affections.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 46 The sacrifices and peace-offerings which they sacrificed to between the king and the people, tell us of the conjunction which is effected with the Lord when order is established in the kingdom of the regenerate mind, and its principles, the ruling and the governed, exist in harmonious relation to each other, and rejoice together.



1 Samuel xii.

SAUL being firmly established in the regal office, the function of Samuel as judge has ceased. He now, therefore, delivers what might be called his valedictory address to the people. He speaks to them respecting the manner in which, during his long term of office, he had discharged its duties; and he Vindicates his integrity with the entire consent of the whole of the assembled tribes of Israel. "Behold," he says, "I have hearkened unto your voice in all that ye said unto me, and have made a king over you. And now, behold, the king walketh before you: and I am old and gray-headed; and, behold, my sons are with you: and I have walked before you from my childhood unto this day. Behold, here I am: witness against me before the Lord, and before His anointed: whose ox have I taken? or whose ass have I taken? or whom have I defrauded? whom have I oppressed? or of whose hand have I received any bribe to blind mine eyes therewith? and I will restore it you." To this direct and solemn appeal the people responded, "Thou hast not defrauded us, nor oppressed us, neither hast thou taken ought of any man's hand. And he said unto them, The Lord is witness against you, and His anointed is witness this day, that ye have not found aught in my hand. And they answered, He is witness."

Samuel is one of the most remarkable of the public characters mentioned in sacred history, and one of the most eminent of the instruments raised up by the Lord for reformatory purposes in evil times. At the time of his appearance in Israel the nation was demoralized and the priesthood was licentious. The judicial office, which had become corrupt, he restored to integrity, and the offering of the Lord, which had come to be abhorred, he made to be honoured: he brought the people back from a degrading and impure idolatry to the worship of the true God; and by public sacrifice and prayer, without the use of carnal weapons, of which indeed their enemies had deprived them, he obtained for Israel deliverance from what might have been the beginning of an exterminating war.



The history of Samuel is no less remarkable for its typical than for its actual character and deeds. Elkanah, the father of Samuel, had two wives. Like the two wives of Jacob, one was fruitful, and the other and best beloved was barren. The same truth is represented by both. In the early stage of the regenerate life the natural affection is fruitful, but the spiritual affection is barren. That which is natural is first, and afterwards that which is spiritual: but the spiritual affection, though barren, has an ardent desire to bear, and this desire is in due time blessed with children. Samuel was the answer to Hannah's prayers, and her devotion of the child to the Lord was the fulfilment of the vow she made in asking for a son. Samuel was a second Joseph to the children of Israel, and, like the son of Rachel, while he saved the house of Israel, he was an eminent type of the Saviour. His personal history and character bear some considerable resemblance to those of the Lord Himself. His early life is associated with the temple; and one part of his mission was to expel the mercenary dealers from its sacred precincts. From the age of twelve, when, according to Josephus, he delivered the Divine message to Eli, we hear nothing more of Samuel till, in mature manhood, he appears as a prophet before the children of Israel; and thenceforth his life is one of singular purity and usefulness. Like the truth which he represented, and which the Lord Himself was, his labours were profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. As he appears now and henceforward, he represents the Lord rather as to good than as to truth; for he exercises the sacerdotal function, the regal being now separated from it and transferred to Saul. Yet it is as to his character of judge, as well as to that of the priest and prophet, that he now addresses himself to the people. The demands which he makes of them, when understood as relating to the spiritual life of the Lord's people and the spiritual conduct of ecclesiastical rulers, are very significant. There are spiritual goods and rights and privileges which belong to the people, the loss of which is a still greater misfortune to them than the loss of their temporal possessions. They may be deprived of the power of acquiring or possessing the knowledge of what is good and true, which is to take from them their ox and their ass, those being as necessary for cultivating and enriching the mind as these are for cultivating the field and filling the barns; they may be defrauded of the fruits of their restricted labour by being persuaded that works do not save them, except when their wealth is bestowed for pious uses; they may be oppressed by being denied the right of willing and thinking for themselves in matters of faith and practice;


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 48 and they may be induced to give a bribe by being led to believe that by doing some extraordinary act of piety or charity the Divine Judge may be induced to suspend or reverse His eternal law of justice, and admit them into heaven as if they had fulfilled its requirements.

Justified in the sight of all Israel, Samuel now calls upon the people to stand still that he may reason with them before the Lord of all the mighty acts of the Lord which he had done to them and their fathers. He then briefly recounts the deliverances which they had experienced from Egypt, and, in Canaan, from Sisera, the Philistines, and Moab. The oppressions they suffered from these represent, generally, the different kinds of temptation which the members of the Church undergo, which arise from false science, which is Egypt; from external evil, which is the king of Canaan, whose armies Sisera led; from false faith, which is Philistia; and from the evil of perverted good, which is Moab. The subjection of Israel to the nations in the land of Canaan was the result of their forgetting the Lord their God, and their deliverance was the result of their turning to Him again. Besides Moses and Aaron, by whose hand the Lord delivered them out of Egypt, Jerubbaal, and Bedan, and Jephthah, and Samuel are named as the instruments of their deliverance out of the hand of their Canaanitish enemies. These were the most eminent of their deliverers, though not answering exactly to the deliverances previously mentioned, but named for the purpose of giving a general idea of the right principles by which the members of the Church are delivered from a wrong faith and practice. From Moses, the lawgiver, to Samuel, the judge, we see a series beginning with the truth that teaches, and ending with the truth that judges. Between these we have Aaron, the priest; Jerubbaal, the conqueror of the Midianites; Bedan, whose name does not occur in Judges or elsewhere; and Jephthah, who subdued the Ammonites. Here we have the good of truth from which true worship springs, which is Aaron; the truth of good by which the worship of selfish and worldly love is overcome, represented by Jerubbaal, a name which Gideon received for throwing down the altar of Baal; the good which is acquired by that truth, which is Redan, a name which signifies fat or robust; and the truth of love that overcomes truth profaned, which is Jephthah. This last is a principle distinguished by devoting to the Lord the pure affections of the heart, as Jephthah devoted his virgin daughter, who willingly gave herself to God for having given her father vengeance on his enemies, those enemies being the opposite of what he represented, since they corrupted their affections by devoting them to false gods.

But notwithstanding these deliverances, when Israel saw Nahash the king of the children of Ammon come against them, they said to Samuel, "Nay, but a king shall reign over us," when the Lord was their King.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 49 The king whom they had desired, and whom the Lord had set over them, was now before them; and Samuel solemnly warns both king and people that if they fear the Lord and serve Him they will continue to follow Him, but if they do not obey the voice of the Lord, but rebel against His commandment, the hand of the Lord will be against both them and their king. The Lord accommodates His dealings even to our infirmities, ruling us by a lower good when we refuse to be governed by a higher; but there is one condition of protection and blessing that never changes under any kind or form of government: men must fear the Lord and keep His commandments.

Besides his solemn warning, Samuel gives the people a sign from heaven: "Is it not wheat harvest to-day? I will call unto the Lord, and He shall send thunder and rain, that ye may perceive and see that your wickedness is great, which ye have done in the sight of the Lord, in asking you a king. So Samuel called unto the Lord; and the Lord sent thunder and rain that day." Is there any connection between the subject of Samuel's oft-repeated reproof and "this great thing" which the Lord did in answer to his prayer? or is it only to be regarded as an awe-inspiring sign of Divine displeasure? To the Israelites themselves it would have no higher significance than this; but as all things that happened unto that representative people were ensamples, and are written for our admonition, this Divine manifestation has a meaning and a lesson for us. Harvest, as the ingathering of the fruits of the earth, is an expressive symbol of the ingathering of the fruits of a good life, when the seeds of truth, sown in the good ground of an honest heart, have produced their sixty and an hundred fold. But harvest is also a symbol of judgment; because there is a harvest-time for the evil as well as for the good, since as a man sows so also shall he reap, whether it be good or evil; and because judgment, like harvest, is a time when the righteous and the wicked are separated, like the wheat and the tares. But harvest is a time for individual as well as general judgment, that is, for the separation of good and evil in the mind itself, and this separation takes place not once only at the end of life, but as often as there is spiritual decision in the mind and life between good and evil, which especially takes place after a state of temptation. Such a state, we have seen, is represented by the conflict between the children of Israel and the children of Ammon. The day in which spiritual Israel overcomes and scatters these hateful enemies is the day of wheat harvest. Wheat in the spiritual sense is the good of love and charity, and the day of wheat harvest is a state of love and charity. The state which is here represented is like that described in the Psalms: "O that My people had hearkened unto Me, and Israel had walked in My ways!


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 50 I should soon have subdued their enemies, and turned My hand against their adversaries. . . . He should have fed them also with the finest of the wheat" (lxxxi. 13, 14, 16). But in the case we are now considering, Israel had not altogether hearkened unto the Lord and walked in His ways. They had chosen a king when the Lord was their King. They had chosen to be ruled by truth rather than by love. The Lord gives the victory to those who fight from truth as well as to those who fight from love; but conquest from truth goes less deeply to the root of evil than conquest from love. This is the wickedness of which Samuel accuses the tribes of Israel, and to impress them with a sense of which he called unto the Lord to send them thunder and rain on the day of wheat harvest. It appears from Solomon that rain in harvest was regarded as a precious gift: "As snow in summer, and as rain in harvest, so honour is not seemly for a fool" (Prov. xxvi. 1). The fool of Scripture is not a weak but a wicked person. The thunder and rain which Samuel called down from heaven were good and precious in themselves, but they were unseasonable. They did not harmonize with their state; they brought their sin to their remembrance, and told them of the state from which they had fallen. Thunder is called the voice of God; of the King's Son, who is the Lord as Divine truth, it is said, "He shall come down like rain upon the mown grass" (Ps. lxxii. 6); and it is promised that if we follow on to know the Lord, He shall come unto us as the rain, "as the latter and the former rain upon the earth" (Hos. vi. 3). The love and truth of God, of which thunder and rain are the symbols, when they come to those who have sinned against them, excite fear, as the people greatly feared the Lord and Samuel; yet it does not follow that this is mere slavish fear, for there is a fear in which there is love: this is holy fear. When celestial love and truth are suddenly manifested to us in our spiritual state, though it be in the maturity and fruitfulness of that state, as the thunder and rain came to Israel on the day of wheat harvest, they cannot fail to inspire fear, or reverence, which is the mixture of love and fear, because they give us a perception of our moral distance from God; as Peter, when the miraculous draught of fishes suddenly gave him a perception of the exalted character of Jesus and a deep sense of his own imperfection, exclaimed, "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord." Happy will it be for us if such an impression upon our heart and mind leads us to trust more perfectly in the Lord, and to aspire more ardently after a higher state. And this we are taught to do in the conduct of Israel, who intreated Samuel, saying, "Pray for thy servants unto the Lord thy God, that we die not: for we have added unto all our sins this evil, to ask us a king." Often as this sin had been laid to their charge by Samuel, this is the first time the people have confessed it.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 51 His object in repeating it is now, therefore, accomplished. Samuel has been saying to Israel, as John said to the Ephesian Church, "Remember from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works;" and repentance has now followed remembrance, and the prophet is intreated to pray unto the Lord that they die not. From being the accuser of the people, Samuel now becomes their comforter. "Fear not: ye have done all this wickedness: yet turn not aside from following the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart. . . . For the Lord will not forsake His people for His great name's sake: because it hath pleased the Lord to make you His people. Moreover, as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you." While he comforts and encourages the people, and promises to pray for them, Samuel adds, "But I will teach you the good and the right way. Only fear the Lord, and serve Him in truth with all your heart: for consider how great things He hath done for you. But if ye shall still do wickedly, ye shall be consumed, both ye and your king." These are the sayings of a true prophet, who seeks to convince of sin that he may lead to repentance, and while he gives the promise of Divine favour to the penitent, makes them the subjects of his prayers and of his teaching. All this is highly consistent with Samuel's character as a representative of the Messiah. The Lord reproved and comforted and prayed for and taught His disciples; and He still does all this by His Spirit and His Word, and remotely through those who sustain the true prophetic character in the Church and to themselves.



1 Samuel xiii.

SAUL had delivered the men of Jabesh from the Ammonites, and he has now to encounter another and still more formidable enemy. The children of Ammon warred against one of the tribes of Israel, but the Philistines held the whole of the tribes in subjection. Saul's hand is now to be turned against their powerful foes with the view of freeing his people from their oppression. Before we enter on the particulars of the history it is necessary to know the representative character of the enemies with whom Saul has now to contend.

"The Philistines represented faith separate from love. Hence they are called the uncircumcised; for this signifies to be without spiritual love, and to be solely in natural love, with which nothing of religion, much less of the Church, can be conjoined.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 52 For everything of religion and of the Church has respect to the Divine Being, to heaven, and to spiritual life; and these cannot be conjoined with any other than spiritual love; for natural love separated from spiritual love is the self-hood of man, which, viewed in itself, is nothing but evil. All the wars which the sons of Israel waged against the Philistines represented combats of the spiritual man with the natural, and thence also combats of truth conjoined with good with truth separated from good, which in itself is not truth but falsity. For truth separated from good is falsified in the idea of thought concerning it, because there is not anything spiritual in the thought to give it illustration. This is the reason why those who are in faith separated from charity have not any truth, except as to mere speech or preaching from the Word; for the idea of the truth perishes immediately, as soon as they exercise their thoughts concerning it. Inasmuch as this kind of religion in the churches pertains to all who love to live a natural life, therefore the Philistines were not subjugated like the other nations of Canaan, and hence so many battles took place with them. For all the historical circumstances of the Word are representative of such things as belong to the Church; and all the nations of Canaan represented things heretical confirming falsities of the faith or evils of the love; and the sons of Israel represented the truths of faith and goods of love, consequently the Church. Hence it was that as often as the sons of Israel departed from the worship of Jehovah to the worship of other gods, they were delivered up to their enemies, or were conquered by them. Thus they were delivered up to the Philistines, and served them eighteen, and afterwards forty years (Judges x. xiii.), which represented their receding from worship from the good of love and the truth of faith to that which is from evil of the love and falsities of faith. In like manner it is related in 1 Samuel (iv. xiii. xxviii. xxix. xxxi.) that they were conquered and straitened by the Philistines. But when the sons of Israel returned to the worship of Jehovah, which was worship from the goods of love and truths of faith, then they conquered the Philistines, as recorded in many places in the Books of Samuel, and in Kings."

"Saul reigned one year; and when he had reigned two years over Israel, Saul chose him three thousand men of Israel; whereof two thousand were with Saul in Michmash and in mount Beth-el, and a thousand were with Jonathan in Gibeah of Benjamin: and the rest of the people he sent every man to his tent." Saul, the son of a year in his reigning, is the truth of good, and his two years' reign over Israel is the union of good and truth. This refers of course to the particular state which is now treated of, as that which follows the conquest of the Ammonitish principle; for progress in the spiritual life consists in passing through a succession of particular states;


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 53 and no state is complete, or can be a point of departure for another and better, unless there is a conjunction of the good and the true. The connection of this particular state is further indicated by Saul's choosing three thousand men, and sending the rest of the people every man to his tent, which is expressive of the arrangement of all the common principles of the mind in their true order, those of a more interior nature in immediate subordination to the governing principle, and the more exterior entering into the ordinary uses and duties of life. But there is a new agent introduced here, and a distinction connected with him. We now first become acquainted with Jonathan, the heroic son of Saul, and the devoted friend of David. Two of the three thousand chosen men were with Saul in Michmash and in Mount Beth-el, and one thousand were with Jonathan in Gibeah of Benjamin. Although this is not the place where Jonathan's character as the mediator between Saul and David comes before us, yet, as it is of importance to understand the representative character of one who is so interesting a figure, and plays so important a part, in the singular drama of Saul's future reign, we may here inquire what principle he represents.

We have already remarked that, in the highest typical sense, Saul represented truth Divine, and David represented Divine truth, and Solomon Divine good; and that Saul's reign represented the Lord's life in the world while He was making His humanity truth Divine, that David's reign represented the Lord's life while He was making His humanity Divine truth, and that Solomon's reign represented the Lord's life while He was making His humanity Divine good. Thus the Lord made His humanity, successively, Divine natural, Divine spiritual, and Divine celestial. Regarding the Lord as the Word, these answer to the natural, the spiritual, and celestial senses of the Word. Truth Divine, then, with reference to us, is truth such as it is in the natural or literal sense of the Word. But the letter of the Word consists of truths of two kinds; it consists of apparent truths and of real truths, that is, the literal sense of the Word in some parts describes and represents divine and spiritual things as they appear to men in external states to be, and in other parts it describes and speaks of them as they really are. Now when the Lord made His humanity truth Divine He first made it apparent truth, and then made it real truth. He, like every human being, was first introduced into the apparent truths of the letter of the Word, and then passed through its apparent into its real truths. Not until He had acquired and appropriated the real truths of the letter of the Word, and thus made His humanity Divine natural truth, could He enter into the spiritual sense of the Word and make His humanity Divine spiritual truth.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 54 We are instructed in the writings of the Church that none can be introduced into the spiritual sense of the Word but those who are in genuine truth; neither could the Lord, who glorified His humanity by a process similar to that by which He regenerates man.

While Saul represented truth Divine, or truth such as it is in the letter of the Word, he represented its apparent truths rather than its real truths. The real or genuine truths of the letter of the Word were represented by Jonathan. When we see this distinction in the representative character of Saul and his son, how spiritually characteristic do the lives of these two men appear, especially in relation to David! Consider David as representing the spiritual principle in man and the spiritual sense of the Word. Saul's enmity to David shows the enmity of the natural to the spiritual in man, and the seeming contrariety of the letter of the Word to its spirit, a contrariety which is only in the apparent truths of the letter, for these constitute the letter which killeth, as opposed to the spirit which giveth life. Consider Jonathan, on the contrary, as representing the natural mind of man in its orderly state, and the letter of the Word as to its real or genuine truths, and how characteristic of this is his life in relation to his father and David! From the first his soul is knit to that David. He never swerves in his friendship. Saul's wrath is kindled against David as a rival to him in his throne. Jonathan becomes aware that David is destined to be king of Israel, but this strikes no jarring cord in his soul, and makes no diminution of his affectionate attachment to him.

At the same time he acts as a wise and devoted son to his unreasonable and capricious father. He especially labours to turn away his jealousy of David, and his deadly wrath against one whom he was bound by the law of gratitude and affinity to love. As the constant peacemaker between Saul and David, he is the true representative of the genuine truth of the Word, which stands between the apparent truths of its literal sense and the pure truths of its spiritual sense, and which it strives to reconcile, not by bringing the spirit into conformity with the letter, but by bringing the letter into conformity and harmony with the spirit.

Such being the general representative character of Jonathan, we may see more clearly the meaning of his life in its connection with the lives of Saul and David. We may perceive his representative character, especially as compared with that of Saul, in his signal successes against the Philistines. For faith alone, though it may find some countenance in the apparent truths of the Word, is in direct opposition to its genuine truths. Jonathan's first warlike act is to smite the garrison of the Philistines that was in Geba. This is the hill and the garrison mentioned in the tenth chapter, to which Saul came on his return home, after he had been anointed king.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 55 Here the Philistines had a military station in a Levitical city, upon a hill, in the centre of the land, no doubt to overawe the people, like the falsity they represented when it finds a place in the higher affections of men, where it taints the purity of their worship, and whence it exerts a controlling influence over the whole mind. The first attack on the Philistines during Saul's reign was directed against this central garrison, and it was made by Jonathan. This must have been an important victory, for it roused and brought into action the whole force of the two hostile kingdoms. "The Philistines heard of it; and Saul blew the trumpet throughout all the land, saying, Let the Hebrews hear." When the people were gathered together unto Saul in Gilgal, "the Philistines gathered themselves together to fight with Israel, thirty thousand chariots, and six thousand horsemen, and people as the sand upon the seashore for multitude." The Philistines seem to have greatly outnumbered the Israelites, and to have been immeasurably better prepared for war. But the description of the Philistines tells the quality of the principle they represented as well as the power. Like the great army described in the ninth chapter of Revelation, this army of the Philistines represents the principle of faith alone, their chariots its doctrinals, their horsemen its reasonings, their multitude as the sand on the seashore, its endless array of confirming scientifics. In Gilgal, where the people had been circumcised to roll away the reproach of Egypt, they were now gathered unto Saul to roll away the reproach of the uncircumcised Philistines. They had been delivered from the bondage of science alone, but had since come under the yoke of faith alone, a principle not less congenial to the natural man, therefore not less hostile and formidable to the spiritual. The Philistines Pitched in Michmash, east from Beth-aven, Michmash meaning treasure, and Beth-aven the house of vanity or of idols. The treasure of the natural man is knowledge, his idols are the love of self and of the world. These are the vanities to which his soul is devoted, and to which all his mental possessions and energies are directed. Where the treasure is, there shall the heart be also.

No wonder that, in their present state and condition, the men of Israel should dread an encounter with this powerful host, and that "when they saw they were in a strait, (for the people were distressed,) the people did hide themselves in caves, and in thickets, and in rocks, and in high places, and in pits. And some of the Hebrews went over Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead: as for Saul, he was yet in Gilgal, and all the people followed him trembling." Their abject fear showed, indeed, how far they had departed from faith in the living God. They had forgotten the promise, that the Lord would fight for them and subdue their enemies under them. But this promise was conditional: "If ye walk in My statutes, and keep My commandments to do them, five of you shall chase an hundred, and an hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight."


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 56 But in this Israel was an ensample to us. So far as we forsake the Lord, and keep not His commandments, we lose the power that would defend and uphold us, and quail before the enemies which our unfaithfulness has made so formidable to us. Let us look at this subject as a matter of individual experience.

When false principles, which have acquired some ascendancy over us, show themselves in their power, the truths that are gathered to oppose them shrink from the conflict, and hide themselves in our obscure and confused and false thoughts, and in our selfish and worldly affections, and even seek refuge in the extreme parts of the natural will and understanding. As representative of Christian experience in the progress of the regenerate life, this, like all similar trials and conflicts, is, descriptive of a temptation, which is an inward straitness and distress, and ultimately of conflict. In these states of mind the evils and falsities that are excited and made active appear as if they were too many and too powerful to be overcome. This does not of necessity imply an evil state of mind. The best men have the severest temptations, and none can be really good without having passed through them. There is no real good but that which has overcome evil. Our Lord, who passed through all human experience, suffered the direst temptations, and in the bitterness of His soul prayed that the cup might pass from Him. Saul in Gilgal, with his distressed and trembling people, is in this state of trial. In this great emergency what is he to do? The host of the Philistines is before him, but Israel is utterly helpless. In their distress the Israelites had one unfailing resource--to call upon their God. But in matters of national interest and of great importance it was necessary to consult the Lord by Urim and Thummim, or to approach Him by sacrifice, and this required one who was entitled to exercise the function of a priest. Samuel had previously made an appointment to meet Saul in Gilgal, to offer burnt-offerings, and to sacrifice sacrifices of peace-offerings, but he had required him to wait seven days. It must have been an anxious time for Saul, yet he remained faithful to the engagement he had made. But when he had tarried seven days, and Samuel came not to Gilgal, and the people were scattered from him, Saul must have been in deep distress, and his must have represented a severe temptation indeed. But in temptation, as in prayer, there is nothing more needful than trust. If the Divine promise seems to fail, and the answer to our prayer does not immediately come, we must not conclude that the Lord has forgotten to be gracious. We must wait patiently for Him, and fret not ourselves in anywise to do evil. Saul forgot to act upon this principle. He called to his attendants to bring him a burnt-offering and a peace-offering, and he at once assumed the office of the priest. No sooner had he offered the burnt-offering than Samuel came. Saul went out to meet him and salute him, but Samuel, aware of the sin he had committed, asked him what he had done.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 57 The reasons he assigned, that the people were scattered from him, that he feared the Philistines would come down upon him, and not having made supplication to the Lord, that he therefore forced himself, and offered a burnt-offering, did not satisfy Samuel. He said unto him, "Thou hast done foolishly: thou hast not kept the commandment of the Lord thy God, which He commanded thee; for now would the Lord have established thy kingdom upon Israel for ever. But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the Lord hath sought Him a man after His own heart, and the Lord hath commanded him to be captain over His people, because thou hast not kept that which the Lord commanded thee."

It is impossible to conceive otherwise than these circumstances were of Divine arrangement; and it is almost as impossible to conceive otherwise than that they have a Divine meaning deeper than the history itself reveals. Samuel's delay was no doubt intentional; he knew what Saul would do; and he was prepared not only to pronounce Saul's forfeiture of the throne of Israel, but to intimate to him that another had already been chosen to take his place. Under the Jewish economy the usurpation of the priest's office was a serious crime; because it represented a great profanation, that of exercising the priestly office without possessing the priestly character; and also that of the natural man usurping the function of the spiritual, and the spiritual of the celestial, which is to appear at the marriage without a wedding garment. The result of this is like that which would follow from an angel of his own will ascending into the heaven next above that to which he belongs, which would for the time quench the flame of his own life without enkindling another.

But this mysterious circumstance must be designed to teach us some still higher lesson, both in relation to the glorification of the Lord and the regeneration of man. We see in it the judgment and operation of truth Divine, which Saul represented, and its rejection as a ruling principle to make way for the government of Divine truth, which was represented by David. But the first cause of its rejection is the unlawful act of Saul offering sacrifice, instead of waiting for Samuel to perform the sacred rite. In that marvellously beautiful exposition of the history of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as descriptive of the Lord's glorification, we find what seems to me the reason of the serious consequences of Saul's act. "In the course of man's instruction there is a progression from scientifics to rational truths, next to intellectual truths, and lastly to celestial truths. If this progression be made from scientifics and rational truths to celestial truths without the mediation of intellectual truths, the celestial principle is violated;


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 58 for there can be no connection of rational truths, which are derived from scientifics, with celestial truths, except by intellectual truths, which are the mediums of such connection." If the cases are not identical, they are at least parallel. Saul's error was his seeking conjunction with the Lord without the proper medium. The error it represented was that of a lower principle seeking conjunction with a higher without the conjoining medium. This violates the higher and injures or destroys the lower. It is as if faith should seek to pass at once into love without the mediation of charity; for how can one love God, whom he hath not seen, if he love not his neighbour, whom he hath seen? Looking at the subject in that exalted sense in which it refers to the Lord, we are to understand Saul's error in accordance with the principle formerly stated, that the evil acts of those who were types of the Lord represented not His acts but His temptations. Speaking of the Lord's progression as similar to that of man, our author, treating of the first rational principle, signified by Ishmael, whose birth led Hagar, who represented the affection of science, to despise Sarah her mistress, who represented intellectual truth, says, "With the Lord when His rational principle was first conceived there were appearances of truths which were not truths in themselves. Hence His rational principle at His first conception lightly esteemed intellectual truth; but so far as the rational principle became Divine, the clouds of appearances were successively dispersed, and intellectual truths were displayed to Him in their own light, which was represented by Ishmael being expelled the house when Isaac grew up. The Lord Himself did not despise intellectual truth, but He perceived and saw that His first rational principle would be of such a nature that it would lightly esteem intellectual truth; wherefore He reproved it." Now we are to reflect that both Saul and Samuel represented the Lord, but in regard to two distinct parts and states of His humanity. Samuel's reproof of Saul is therefore to be understood as a higher principle in the Lord's humanity reproving a lower. Samuel in a general sense represented the Lord as the Word. The Lord was the Word, or essential Divine truth. But in His humanity the Lord's essential truth was surrounded by truths of all degrees, angelic and human, even to the lowest appearances of truth. Samuel, as a prophet, represented intellectual truth, which belongs to the inner man, while Saul represented the appearances of truth, that belong to the outer man. "The Lord thought from a principle of intellectual truth, which, being above the rational, was capable of perceiving and seeing from an interior principle what was the character of the rational. That the Lord had this power may appear from this, that an interior principle can perceive what exists in an exterior, or what is the same, a higher principle can perceive what exists in a lower, but not reversely.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 59 Even those who have conscience are capable of this, and frequently practise it; for when anything contrary to conscience flows into the thought or into the tendency of the will, they not only apperceive it, but also reprove it as criminal, nay, they suffer pain at the thought of being such as are capable of feeling such incitement." Thus it was that Samuel not only reproved Saul, but grieved over him. And thus it is that when, through the appearances of truth, we ourselves are led into temptation--for the devil still tempts us through the apparent truths of Scripture--or even into an evil act, we have an interior power which enables us to see and reprove the outward evil, and to grieve over our frailties and failings, and even to see that the government of the mind must be removed and placed on another shoulder. The time, or the state, for the actual transfer of the government has not yet come; and there are many instructive circumstances that are to come under our consideration before this takes place. Some of these are related in the present chapter.

"Samuel arose, and gat him up to Gibeah of Benjamin: and Saul numbered the people that were present with him, about six hundred men." Higher always act upon lower principles, but their influence is not always felt or perceived. The fact is, the higher does not act through the lower as a passive subject, but the lower, as a re-agent, acts as of itself from the higher. If the lower always perceived the presence of the higher, and its own dependence upon it for its life and the power of acting, it would cease to be free. Only, then, on occasions is this truth brought home perceptibly to the mind. Samuel came to Saul when his presence was needed, and he now departs. He goes up from the city on the plain to the Levitical city on the hill, and no doubt to pray for him whose conduct he had reproved, and whose condition he lamented. Saul numbers the people that are with him, and of all who had been gathered together after Saul there are now only about six hundred men, a number indicative of the strait into which Israel had come, for six is expressive of labour and sorrow. But Saul, and Jonathan his son, and the people that are with them, abide in Gibeah of Benjamin, while the Philistines encamp in Michmash. They have therefore returned to the place and state in which they were before calling Israel together. While they abide there "the spoilers came out of the camp of the Philistines in three companies." The names of the places to which they turned would seem to indicate that, with one exception, they were places of savage wildness; Shual being a home of foxes, Beth-horon a place of deep caverns, and Zeboim a place of hynas; the exception is Ophrah, which means a fawn. Israel, indeed, seems like a fawn, timorous, defenceless, as we shall see, fleeing in terror before her pursuers; these wild places to which the companies of the spoilers now turn being no doubt the caves, and the thickets, and the rocks, and the high places, and the pits, to which the great body of the people had fled from the Philistines, and to whom they would now become an easy prey.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 60 So with us when our fear of the enemy is stronger than our love of God; and the very things to which we flee for our preservation become means of our destruction.

A remarkable state of things is now revealed, which accounts, humanly speaking, for the defenceless and disquieted state of the Israelites. So completely had their powerful enemy obtained the ascendancy over them, that "there was no smith found throughout all the land of Israel; for the Philistines said, Lest the Hebrews make them swords or spears: but all the Israelites went down to the Philistines, to sharpen every man his share, and his coulter, and his axe, and his mattock. Yet they had a file for the mattocks, and for the coulters, and for the forks, and for the axes, and to sharpen the goads. So it came to pass, in the day of battle, that there was neither sword nor spear found in the hand of any of the people that were with Saul and Jonathan: but with Saul, and with Jonathan his son, was there found." The policy of the Philistines, which was followed by Nebuchadnezzar. when he carried the children of Judah into captivity (2 Kings xxiv.14; Jer. xxix. 2), was not uncommon among the nations of antiquity under similar circumstances, and is easily accounted for. Nor is it difficult to understand the corresponding policy of the spiritual Philistines and Babylonians under corresponding circumstances. They naturally wish to deprive those whom they have brought under subjection of the means of defence, and in doing so scruple not to deprive them of the power of providing the means of life. Weapons of war and implements of husbandry correspond to doctrines; for these we employ as instruments both of defence and cultivation. But doctrines may be true or false, and are so according as they are formed in agreement with the will and wisdom of God, or with the will and wisdom of man. The smith who makes the implement is, abstractly, the intelligence by which doctrine is formed; and this intelligence may either be derived from self or from the Lord. Self-intelligence is evidently meant by the smith with the tongs, who both works in the coals, and fashions a god with hammers (Isa. xliv. 12), and by him that smites the anvil, who is encouraged by him that smoothes with the hammer, saying, It is ready for the sodering (Isa. xli. 7). The most perfect instance, perhaps, of heaven-derived intelligence presented under this symbolism is one that has only a spiritual meaning. Tubal-cain, who was an instructor of every artificer in brass and iron (Gen. iv. 22), is the name of those in the primeval Church who, from true intelligence, instructed others in the knowledge of natural good and truth, which brass and iron signify.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 61 The spiritual idea, then, contained in the natural fact that there was no smith throughout all the land of Israel, lest the Hebrews should make them swords or spears, and that all the Israelites went down to the Philistines to sharpen every man his share, and his coulter, and his axe, and his mattock, is, that when faith alone prevails, the men of the Church are deprived of all true intelligence, and therefore of all sound doctrine, that they are consequently without the means of combating evil and error, and that the cultivation of what is good and true is controlled and directed by a principle that has no relation to life, which is the end of all true and vital religion. Yet, according to our version, the Israelites were not entirely dependent on the Philistines; they had a file for the mattocks, and for the coulters, and for the forks, and for the axes, and to sharpen the goads. This is a confessedly difficult text. It does not appear to refer to anything that the Israelites possessed or did for themselves independently of the Philistines. The words "yet they had" are no part of the text; and the word "file" is not regarded as a good translation. The root of the Hebrew word rendered "file" seems to mean to blunt, to notch, to found, to hammer. One critic suggests that agricultural implements might be hammered sharp. But whatever the means, the sharpening of the instruments is understood to have been done by the Philistines, or by Hebrew smiths whom they had in their service or under their control. The idea seems to be that the Israelites were not allowed to sharpen any of their tools, that they might not be able to make any swords. They were not therefore allowed to beat their ploughshares into swords, and their pruning-hooks into spears (Joel iii. 10), nor to realize the state connected with the Divine purpose, "I came not to send peace on earth, but a sword."

The state which is thus described is such as takes place at the end of the Church, which, indeed, is here represented, since Saul is a type of the Lord at His coming. The end of the Church takes place when love waxes cold and faith is no longer found in the earth, that is, in the Church; but when true love dies out and true faith fails, a false love and a spurious faith take their place, and this was represented by the subjection of Israel to the Philistines and of Judah to Babylon.

The first of these states is represented by the state of Israel as related in the passage before us. The people in the day of battle are without sword or spear. They are not able to defend themselves against the chariots and the horsemen, or the doctrines and the reasonings of the enemies of the Church; for those enemies have deprived them of the power of resisting, much more of overcoming, the principles which have come to prevail. But although neither sword nor spear is found in the hand of any of the people, yet with Saul and with Jonathan is there found. We shall see, in the next chapter, what marvelous power is in those single weapons in the hands of these kingly men, the representatives of Him of whom it is said, "Gird Thy sword upon Thy thigh, O Most Mighty, with Thy glory and Thy majesty.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 62 And in Thy glory ride prosperously, because of truth, and meekness, and righteousness; and Thy right hand shall teach Thee terrible things. Thine arrows are sharp in the heart of the King's enemies, whereby the people fall under Thee." And by whom it is also said, "I have trodden the winepress alone, and of the people there was none with Me."



1 Samuel xiv.

WE have hitherto been led on to a rather minute examination of the history of Saul; and yet the explanation is but meagre compared with what the inspired record contains; and it must appear to some, at least, rather obscure, and perhaps arbitrary, for want of confirming passages of Scripture and explanatory observations. To enter as minutely into the whole of the history of the first three kings would require several volumes; we must therefore limit ourselves, except in special cases, to a more general view of the subject.

In this chapter we have an account of a remarkable overthrow of the Philistines by altogether inadequate means.

Saul, with his six hundred unarmed men, tarried in the uttermost parts of Gibeah under a pomegranate-tree, which was in Migron, the garrison or camp of the Philistines having come out to the passage of Michmash. The shadow of this tree is a very suitable place for Saul to tarry under; for pomegranates signify the scientifics of good and truth, which are doctrinals from the Word in the memory, which is in the external or natural man. A passage in Isaiah, in reference to the Assyrians, reflects its light upon this, to show that it has a spiritual meaning: "He is come to Aiath, he is passed to Migron; at Michmash he has laid up his carriages: they are gone over the passage: they have taken up their lodgings at Geba; Ramah is afraid; Gibeah of Saul is fled" (x. 28, 29). And as if to connect, or rather identify, it with the case before us, the next chapter begins, "And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots."

But although Saul remained inactive at Migron, there was one who was bent upon a great enterprise, by which he hoped to strike terror into the hearts of the Philistines, and to restore confidence to Israel. Jonathan, with his armour-bearer, secretly left his father and the people who were with him, for the purpose of surprising the camp of the Philistines, in the hope of spreading consternation among the enemy and overcoming them.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 63 "It may be," he said, "that the Lord will work for us: for there is no restraint to the Lord to save by many or by few." The Lord had shown His people that He chose to work at times, and these times of great emergency, by few rather than by many; not only to teach them that He it is who gives the victory, but that the success of the instruments He employs depends more on their quality than their numbers. One genuine or real truth may have more power than many apparent truths. Indeed, apparent truth is that over and by which error exercises power; and real truth is that by which its power is broken. This was representatively exemplified on the present occasion by Jonathan's defeat of the army, and by David's subsequent victory over the champion of the Philistines.

Jonathan's bold plan, which he carried out with such complete success, was to pass over to the garrison of the Philistines, and attack them single-handed, at least with the assistance of his armour-bearer. Between the passages by which he sought to go over there was a sharp rock on the one side and a sharp rock on the other side; and the name of the one was Bozez, and the name of the other Seneh. The forefront of the one was situate northward over against Michmash, and the other southward over against Gibeah. The Philistines had no doubt selected Michmash as a secure position, and the passes which lay between it and Gibeah are minutely described to show that entrance into the place by that way was beset with difficulties. The names of the two rocks, like some other Hebrew names, are difficult of exact ascertainment. According to the best authorities, Bozez means to shine or gleam; and Seneh seems to mean a thorn. Dr. Robinson believes he identified these two rocks at the entrance to this pass. But there are difficulties to be encountered in the spiritual warfare which these rocky passes represented; falsities which beset our path on the right hand and on the left, southward and northward, are falsities opposed to charity and falsities opposed to faith. Yet those who are in charity and in the true faith, as formed from the genuine truths of the Word, and have trust in the Lord, to whom there is no restraint to save by many truths or by few, will confidently attack evil and error even in their stronghold, though that may be in their owe hearts and understandings. For the spiritual warfare is internal--a war of the flesh against the spirit, and of the spirit against the flesh. The flesh is another name for man's selfhood, in which dwelleth no good thing. But the selfhood consists of two distinct parts: there is a voluntary and an intellectual part, or a voluntary and an intellectual selfhood, and, if we may use the language of Scripture in its opposite sense, these two make one flesh.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 64 But the new nature, which is meant by spirit, also consists of two parts, the voluntary and the intellectual, and these two make one spirit, or one spiritual man. These two are representatively described as standing in various relations to each other, according to the nature of the connection or union existing between them, or the use in which they are unitedly engaged. They may be as husband and wife, brother and sister, master and servant, warrior and armour-bearer. Jonathan and the young man that bore his arms are to each other as will and understanding, and therefore as the internal and the external. Jonathan says to the young man, "Let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised;" and the youth answers, "Do all that is in thine heart: turn thee; behold, I am with thee according to thy heart." There is perfect accord, then, between the heart and the mind, between the inner and the outer man.

In proceeding on their perilous enterprise Jonathan instructed the young man how they were to act. "We will pass over unto these men, and we will discover ourselves unto them. If they say thus unto us, Tarry till we come to you; then we will stand still in our place, and will not go up unto them. But if they say thus, Come up unto us; then we will go up: for the Lord hath delivered them into our hand." The difference between going up to the enemy and waiting for the enemy to come down is as great in the spiritual warfare as it is in the natural. For the good and true to remain passive while the evil and the false are active is a certain sign of defeat: as the opposite conditions are as certain a sign of success. But the conditions in this case were to be made by the enemy himself. The alternative of the Philistine guard was to be taken as an indication of their confidence or fear. The result answered Jonathan's expectations, and showed his sagacity in judging. When he and his companion discovered themselves to the garrison, the Philistines said, "Behold, the Hebrews come out of the holes where they had hid themselves." Their invitation to Jonathan to come up clearly shows that they feared to come down to attack the assailants whom their cowardice had multiplied into a host. In answer to their call Jonathan climbed up upon his hands and upon his feet, and his armour-bearer after him. This mode of progression shows the steepness of the ascent; but it teaches another and higher lesson: for the hands and the feet are symbols of power, both of the spiritual and of the natural mind; and the power of these combined overcomes great obstacles, and rises to the height of great achievements. So the Philistines "fell before Jonathan; and his armour-bearer slew after him. And the first slaughter was about twenty men, within as it were an half-acre of land, which a yoke of oxen might plow." In the spiritual sense numbers are expressive of quality. In relation to the good, twenty signifies a holy state resulting from the remains of goodness and truth Stored up in the interior of the mind;


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 65 and in relation to the evil, it means an unholy state resulting from the destruction of remains. Remains are states formed in the mind in early life; and these are either confirmed or rejected when the young arrive at a state of rationality, which they do about their twentieth year. But remains are destroyed, not only by unbelief, but by belief that covers a life of selfish and worldly-mindedness--by practical faith alone, whether the theoretical faith be true or false. Those who are in this state cannot stand in the judgment, whether that judgment be at the end of life or during its continuance; for judgment takes place whenever the truth is brought to bear upon the state of the inner life. Jonathan's first slaughter spiritually means, not first in time, but first in importance, the beginning, of which all that follows is the sequence; just as this first slaughter created that panic in the host, which led first to their mutual destruction, and then to their final overthrow by the Israelites. This state is further indicated by the twenty men having fallen within as it were an half-acre of land, which a yoke of oxen might plough. The land is a symbol of the mind itself, and half an acre is expressive of its quality. Generally, the half of a number has the same meaning as double the number; one reason, in the opposite sense, being, that those who divide goodness and truth unite evil and falsity. Those who practically divide faith and charity practically unite unbelief and uncharitableness. But the extent of the land is more specially described by its being what a yoke of oxen could plough. This mode of measurement, common in ancient times, has a spiritual meaning in the inspired writings; and that meaning arises from the symbolic meaning of oxen and a yoke. Oxen are types of the natural affections, the control of which is meant by their being brought under and accustomed to the yoke. Being under the yoke is a very common figure in Scripture for being under subjection either to a friendly or a hostile power. Of the Lord it is prophetically said, "Thou hast broken the yoke of his burden" (Isa. ix. 4). And when He did come. He spoke of the blessed change in the condition of His redeemed, when He said, "Come unto Me, all ye that are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls" (Matt. xi. 28, 29). The idea, it is true, in the case before us, is not that of bearing the yoke, but of the number of oxen yoked together in ploughing the land, and the portion of land a yoke was able to plough in a day; yet the idea of the yoke lies at the foundation of its meaning. We find a yoke of oxen also spoken of both in a good and in a bad sense in the Word. Elisha the son of Shaphat was ploughing with twelve yoke of oxen, and he with the twelfth, when Elijah cast his mantle upon him (1 Kings xix. 19), as a sign, which he understood and obeyed, that he was to assume the prophetic office, and labour in a nobler field of usefulness, by the exercise of higher than natural affections.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 66 On the other hand, our Lord, in a parable in which He mentions the excuses of some who mere bidden to a supper, speaks of one who said, "I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused" (Luke xiv. 19); where the five yoke of oxen signify all those natural affections which lead away from heaven. Those whom Jonathan slaughtered within half an acre, a yoke, represented those who divide charity and faith, or good and truth, and as a consequence unite evil and falsity, and allow their natural affections to lead them away from heaven; and who are deep in guilt, because they have voluntarily put their neck under the yoke of sin. Abstractly considered, they represent the leading principles of faith alone, the proved fallaciousness of which shows the whole system, which seemed harmonious and united, to be made up of conflicting elements, ready to come into collision and work mutual destruction, when the power of truth is directed against them. This is described by the great trembling throughout all the host, and by every man's sword being against his fellow. Another instance of panic and mutual slaughter, under somewhat similar circumstances, is related in the Book of Judges. When the three hundred chosen out of many thousands caused a panic in the unnumbered host of the Midianites, "all the host ran, and cried, and fled: and the Lord set every man's sword against his fellow, even throughout all the host."

These effects of Jonathan's prowess attracted the attention of the Israelites. "The watchmen of Saul in Gibeah of Benjamin looked; and, behold, the multitude melted away, and they went on beating down one another." Spiritual watchmen are those who observe the states of the Church and their changes; but as it is the truths relating to these states and their changes which enable the mind to perceive them, the truths themselves are the watchmen, which observe, and communicate the intelligence to the mind. There is a connection between the truths of all the different kinds and degrees which exist in the mind, the higher through the intermediate communicating with the lower; but the higher enters into the lower and perceives all that belongs to it, though the lower does not enter into and perceive the higher until it reveals itself. Saul concluded from the effect that the cause must be sought among themselves. He therefore said to the people that were with him, "Number now, and see who is gone from us. And when they had numbered, behold, Jonathan and his armour-bearer were not there. And Saul said unto Ahiah, Bring hither the ark of God. For the ark of God was at that time with the children of Israel." When truths are brought into orderly arrangement, it is perceived what truths are gone forth; and through the affection of good counsel is asked of the Lord as to what is to be done.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 67 In asking counsel of the Lord through the priest Saul availed himself of a privilege which had been granted to Joshua, when he became the leader of Israel. "And he shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall ask counsel for him after the judgment of Urim before the Lord: at his word shall they go out, and at his word they shall come in, both he, and all the children of Israel with him, even all the congregation" (Num. xxvii. 21). But Saul does not. seem to have proceeded so far as to obtain the Divine direction. For "it came to pass, while Saul talked unto the priest, that the noise that was in the host of the Philistines went on and increased: and Saul said unto the priest, withdraw thine hand." It does not appear that Saul ever during his reign received an answer to his inquisitions through the priestly mediators. Why was this? Because truth Divine in the Lord's Humanity did not form a true and permanent basis for Divine Truth. By glorification He put off all that was finite, therefore all the appearances of truth, into which He was initiated in His childhood. The same is true, in a finite measure, of the regenerate man. Not apparent but genuine truth is in his mind the true and permanent basis of spiritual truth. It was for this reason that almost everything that Saul did was imperfect. In the present case, Saul did not wait for an answer. He "and all the people that were with him assembled themselves, or were called together, and they came to the battle: and, behold, every man's sword was against his fellow, and there was a very great discomfiture. Moreover the Hebrews that were with the Philistines before that time, which went up with them into the camp from the country round about, even they also turned to be with the Israelites that were with Saul and Jonathan. Likewise all the men of Israel which had hid themselves in mount Ephraim, when they heard that the Philistines fled, even they also followed hard after them in the battle." It appears, therefore, that while the defeat of the garrison produced a panic that spread itself through the whole army of the Philistines, Jonathan's victory aroused into activity and inspired with new courage the whole body of the Israelites. And so it is, that what propagates fear and division and mutual conflict through the ranks of the evil and the false, produces courage and union and mutual aid through the scattered bands of the good and the true. Thus in the day of trial, when the power of evil seems as if it would prevail over the power of good, the Lord of His good Providence, unexpectedly and unseen, opens, even in the darkest hour, a way of deliverance and a door of hope; and if we are but faithful and work together with Him, He will do for us spiritually what He did for Israel naturally. "So the Lord saved Israel that day: and the battle passed over unto Beth-aven." Faith in the Lord and co-operation with Him in resisting evil is the state in which He saves us from our sins, and the battle passes over to Beth-aven when a fruitless faith is pursued to its own proper result, which is vanity.



In connection with this battle a very simple incident occurred, but one which acquired importance from its threatening to end the glories of the day in the immolation of him through whom the Lord had wrought the great deliverance.

Saul had adjured the people, saying, "Cursed be the man that eateth any food until the morning, that I may be avenged on mine enemies." The people abstained from eating; but Jonathan, who heard not his father when the charge was given, tasted a little honey, and would have been put to death but for the determined opposition of the people. There are, however, particulars which it will be instructive to consider.

The imprecation of Saul has a formal resemblance to that uttered by Joshua. "Cursed be the man before the Lord, that riseth up and buildeth Jericho" (Josh. Vi. 26). Such an oath, as the adjuration is here called, was solemn and binding, whether or not it was wise in itself and whatever the result might be, of which we have an instance in Jephthah's vow. (Judges xi.) Saul's purpose was to allow no interruption to the progress of the battle. But the spiritual meaning that lies under the natural sense is, that no good is to be appropriated until evil is subdued, and the spiritual combatant enters on a new state. In pursuing their enemies "all they of the land came to a wood," or entered into an obscure state, such as belongs to the natural mind; but there was honey upon the ground; for such a state has its own natural delight and pleasantness. "When the people were come into the wood, behold, the honey dropped; but no man put his hand to his mouth: for the people feared the oath." They loved the honey, but they feared the oath, and exercised true self-denial, which is to deny ourselves of what we love. But Jonathan, who knew not of the oath, put forth the end of the rod that was in his hand, and dipped it in a honeycomb, and put it to his mouth; and his eyes were enlightened. There is something remarkable in this circumstance. It appears from the sequel that although Jonathan transgressed unconsciously, he was yet held to be guilty; just as those who sinned through ignorance were guilty under the law, and were required to make a sin-offering before they could be forgiven. For evil brought into act, even when done in ignorance of its sinful nature, helps to form an evil habit, which strengthens the inclination from which the act proceeds; and when it becomes known it requires to be expiated by the sacrifice of confession and amendment of life. Jonathan had sinned his eyes were enlightened. His eyes were enlightened when he tasted the honey, because honey corresponds to natural good and its delight, and this good gives intelligence and enlightens, whence he knew that he had done evil.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 69 The eyes of Adam and Eve were opened by eating the forbidden fruit, by which also they acquired the knowledge of good and evil. But a more analogous case is that of Isaiah's prophecy respecting the second Adam: "Butter and honey shall He eat, that He may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good" (ii. 15). By the first Adam appropriating sensual science came the knowledge of good and evil; by the second Adam appropriating celestial good with its corresponding natural delight came the power of refusing evil and choosing good. But Jonathan's eyes were enlightened to see that Saul's adjuration was unwise. When told by one of the people of the king's charge, Jonathan said, "My father hath troubled the land: see, I pray you, how mine eyes have been enlightened, because I tasted a little of this honey. How much more, if haply the people had eaten freely to day of the spoil of their enemies which they found? for had there not been now a much greater slaughter among the Philistines?" Saul had subjected the people to a severe trial, which they had so far faithfully if not patiently endured. But if a little honey had done so much for one, what would not a free enjoyment of the spoil of their enemies have done for the whole body of the people? Eating the spoil of enemies, when that was lawful, represented the appropriation by the good of that which is good in itself, the good thus turning to a good use that which the evil had employed for an evil use. Yet notwithstanding that the people were faint, "they smote the Philistines that day from Michmash to Aijalon." Aijalon was in the tribe of Dan, one of the two tribes between whom the land of the Philistines was divided. Simeon, the other tribe, represented faith in the will, and Dan represented good works; so that these appropriately supplanted those who represented intellectual faith without works, Aijalon was also famous as the place over whose valley Joshua commanded the moon to stand still, while he fought the five kings of the Amorites; the moon symbolizing faith, as the sun, which stood over Gibeon, symbolized love (Josh. x. 12). The Philistines are spiritually smitten from Michmash to Aijalon, when the conflict with a faultless faith proceeds from knowledge to the good of life.

When they had thus far overcome the Philistines "the people were very faint, or weary, and the people flew upon the spoil, and took sheep, and oxen, and calves, and slew them on the ground: and the people did eat with the blood." Physical weariness after combat is expressive of mental weariness after temptation, which is a sense neither of labour nor of rest, but of a state between. The use of temptation is to free the mind from what is evil and false, and confirm it in what is good and true. But after temptation there is a state of fluctuation, in which the impression of the evil and the false is not entirely effaced, and that of the good and the true is not wholly confirmed;


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 70 so that there is a sort of mixture of both, and an alternate activity of one and the other. This state is described by fleeing on the spoil and eating with the blood. When it was told Saul that the people were committing this sin, he ordered them to bring him every man his ox, and his sheep, and slay them there and eat, which they did. So, when the mind perceives clearly the evil of that mixed and, therefore, to some extent profane state, a separation is effected. And when this is completed, and good and truth are confirmed, the cause of self-reproach is rolled away, and the mind is able to serve the Lord with singleness and fervour; as Saul now built an altar unto the Lord: the same was the first altar that he built unto the Lord. The heart itself becomes an altar, when evil is subdued and good is confirmed. If we consider this incident in Saul's history in its highest sense as referring to the Lord, we may see in it a Divine truth relating to the Lord's glorification. The altar in the Jewish Church was a symbol of the Lord Himself: for His Humanity is the altar on which our offerings are laid and which sanctifies the gift. Altars existed before the tabernacle and the temple; in fact the tabernacle and the temple were built in order to provide a place for the altar, that is to say, for the worship of God, which consisted chiefly in burnt-offering and sacrifices, which were offered upon the altar. The building of the first altar was the laying of the first foundation of the tabernacle and the temple, these being, so to speak, built around the altar, as a covering and habitation for it. The first altar we read of is that which was built by Noah, whose history describes the beginning of the spiritual Church, after the celestial had come to an end by a deluge of falsities, which swept away every living principle except a remnant, which was saved to form the commencement of a new Church. Appropriately is the beginning of the worship of this Church described by the building of an altar; for the Lord came to save the spiritual; which He effected by assuming and glorifying human nature, so as to provide a Medium of communication and conjunction between His otherwise unapproachable Divinity and the fallen human race. His Humanity was the medium of approach to His Divinity, as the altar of worship was the consecrated medium of approach to God. Abraham, the father of the representative Church, also built an altar, on which he was to offer Isaac; where the Lord appears not only as the altar but as the sacrifice--for the altar, though a principal, was not the only, representative of the Lord's Humanity. Abraham, we have seen, was the representative of the Lord in the first stage of His descent from celestial to natural, and Saul was the representative of the Lord in the first stage of His ascent from natural to celestial. Therefore the first king, like the first patriarch, built an altar; and this first altar which Saul built was representative of the first foundation of that glorifying process, the completion of which was represented by the completion of the temple of Solomon.



After having fought and pursued the Philistines till the evening, Saul proposed to go down after the Philistines by night, and spoil them until the morning light, and not leave a man of them; to which the people consented. "Then said the priest, Let us draw near hither unto God." But when Saul asked counsel of God he received no answer that day. Knowing there was something wrong, he called together the chief of the people, to know wherein this sin had been, swearing by the living God that though it should be in his son Jonathan he should surely die. As no one among all the people answered him, Saul put all Israel on one side, and himself and Jonathan on the other. Having prayed the Lord to give a perfect lot, the people escaped, and Saul and Jonathan were taken; and in the second lot Jonathan was taken. Charged by his father, Jonathan said, "I did but taste a little honey with the end of the rod that was in mine hand, and, lo, I must die." On Saul saying that he must surely die, the people said, "Shall Jonathan die, who hath wrought this great salvation in Israel? God forbid: as the Lord liveth, there shall not one hair of his head fall to the ground; for he hath wrought with God this day. So the people rescued Jonathan, that he died not."

The singular fact, which occurs several times in the history of the Israelites, that the transgression of one, even though it be, as in this instance, the unconscious infraction of a law, should close heaven against them all, and sometimes open hell, so as to bring upon them terrible calamities, has yet a most instructive meaning, and teaches a most important lesson. The meaning and lesson may be expressed in the words of the apostle, "Whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one, is guilty of all" (James ii. 10). The laws of God have such a connection that one cannot be broken without causing an infraction of the whole. If one link of the golden chain that connects heaven and earth, and God and man, is broken, the connection between them is severed. If the inner and the outer man are out of harmony with each other, unity and united action between them is for the time suspended. If the mind is thus divided prayer remains unanswered, and the enemy remains unsubdued. Yet, as another apostle teaches, "there is a sin unto death, and there is a sin not unto death" (1 John v. 16, 17). Surely the trespass of Jonathan was a sill not unto death. It was a transgression of the letter but not of the spirit; and though the letter may condemn such sins, as Saul condemned Jonathan, yet the general testimony as well as the spirit of the law pronounces an acquittal, as the whole body of the people appealed, with a God forbid, against the judgment.



Saul now went up from following the Philistines, and the Philistines went to their own place, to intimate that when the state of conflict is ended there is a recession of the conflicting principles, when there is not a complete conquest of one or the other. The conquest of the Philistines, or indeed of any other of the nations hostile to Israel, was not to be effected by Saul. Yet "Saul from this time took the kingdom of Israel, and fought against all his enemies on every side, against Moab, and against the children of Ammon, and against Edom, and against the kings of Zobah, and against the Philistines: and whithersoever he turned himself, he vexed them." Truth Divine, when it takes the government, actively opposes evils and falsities of every kind; and although it does not subdue it vexes them, and this restrains them and loosens their hold, so that they may be the more easily shaken off, or entirely subdued, when the power to effect this is acquired. The Amalekites and the Philistines were, however, the chief objects of his opposition, the Amalekites representing falsity grounded in interior evil, and the Philistines representing falsity from exterior evil, which is the practical form of faith alone. This principle is more directly opposed to, and must therefore be opposed by, truth grounded in good, which every king of Israel represented; and so there was sore war against the Philistines all the days of Saul; and this war both necessitates and leads to the acquirement of new truths that maintain charity and works against mere faith, as Saul, when he saw any strong man, or any valiant man, took him unto him. Between the first and last of these statements the sacred writer gives an account of Saul's family. His sons and daughters are the affections of truth and good produced by a right faith in union with true charity, represented by Saul and his wife, Ahinoam, a name which means the brother of grace. The name of the captain of his host was Abner, the son of Ner, Saul's uncle. Of Abner, father of light, me shall have something more to sap when we come to treat of his treacherous murder by Joab (2 Sam. iii. 27). As hosts, or armies, signify the truths of the Church combating against falsities, the captain of the host signifies the principal truth by which they are ordinated and directed.



1 Samuel xv.

NEXT to the blessing of possessing the Scriptures of the New Testament is that of being able rightly to interpret those of the Old;


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 73 and next to the privilege of living under the Christian dispensation is that of being able to know the true nature of those which have been before it. By not accurately distinguishing between the nature of the Jewish and Christian dispensations, and the character of the Scriptures that belong to them, Christianity has, to a certain extent, imbibed the spirit and adopted the practice of Judaism. Assuming that the Israelites were the chosen and favoured people of God, what they did under the sanction of Divine authority is considered by some to have been agreeable to the Divine will, and may therefore be imitated with the Divine approbation. Others again have supposed that the Jewish Scriptures ceased with the Jewish dispensation, and have, therefore, no real authority with or value for Christians. The light which we now enjoy enables us to see that there is a great distinction and yet a perfect harmony between the Old and the New. The Jewish and Christian Scriptures are widely different in their outward literal form, but entirely at one in their inward spiritual essence. The two dispensations were dissimilar, but they are analogous. The Jewish Church was the type of which the Christian is the antitype. What was natural to the Jews is spiritual to Christians. Egypt was their world, the desert their cross, Canaan their heaven; prosperity was their happiness, and length of days their immortality. Their enemies were those who stood in the way of their temporal acquisitions, and their wars and their weapons were carnal. Translated into spiritual language, their history is a delineation of Christian experience. In this way we must read it, if we would see it to be Divinely conducted and spiritually instructive. The war of extermination waged against the seven nations of Canaan had no doubt a deep moral cause. For when nations become thoroughly corrupt, it is necessary for the welfare and even for the preservation of the race that they should be removed from the earth. But the history of the Jewish wars is only spiritually instructive when the nations with which they warred are regarded as representing the evil and false principles of our own corrupt selfhood, as opposed to the spiritual principles of goodness and truth, which constitute our new nature. Each of these nations represented some particular evil or false principle. Those which were represented by the Ammonites and the Philistines we have already considered. We now come to speak of another, one of a deeply malignant character.

Amalek was a fierce nation inhabiting a country on the borders of Canaan. They were the first to assail Israel after the passage of the Red Sea. On that occasion they did not attack the Israelites openly, but, watching their opportunity, assailed them when they were dispirited and feeble, after having suffered from extreme thirst. Yet we are to remember that the Israelites, when they sinned, were punished by a nation whose character corresponded to the evil from which they transgressed.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 74 When suffering from thirst, they had murmured almost to the denial of the Divine presence among them. There was, therefore, a representative affinity between murmuring Israel and avenging Amalek. As one of the few instances of particular explanation, by our great expositor, of the history of the three kings, is on the subject of the Amalekites, it may be usefully introduced here. "It may be expedient to show what sort of persons are in falsity grounded in interior evil which Amalek represents. Interior evil is that which lies inwardly concealed in man, stored up in his will, and hence in his thoughts, without any trace of it appearing outwardly, as in the actions, the speech, and the countenance. Those who are in such evil endeavour by every method and art to conceal and hide it under the appearance of honesty, justice, and neighbourly love; and still they think only of doing evil, and as far as they can they do it by means of others, taking care not to let it appear to be from themselves: they also disguise the evil itself, so that it may seem not to be evil. The great delight of their life is to devise such schemes, and to attempt them secretly. This is called interior evil. Those who are in this evil are called genii, and in the other life are entirely separate from those who are in exterior evil, and are called spirits. The evil genii have their hell behind man, that is, at his back, and are there in various caverns; but evil spirits have their hell before man, and also at his sides. Those genii in the grand man belong to the province of the cerebellum, and also to that part of the spinal marrow which sends out fibres and nerves to the involuntary parts. It may further be remarked that the falsity derived from this evil is not like the falsity derived from the evil of evil spirits, for in itself it is evil. Those who are in this evil do not assault the truths but the goods of faith; for they act by depraved affections, by which they pervert good thoughts, and this in an almost incomprehensible manner. Being of such a character, their hells are entirely separate from those of evil spirits, so much so that they have hardly any communication, and this with a view to their separation from the men of the spiritual Church; for if they were to flow in from their hells, the man of that Church would be utterly ruined, for they would act most secretly upon his conscience, and would pervert it by exciting depraved affections. These infernal genii never assault a man openly, or when he is able to resist them, but when he appears to be on the Feint of yielding they suddenly present themselves, and force him to fall absolutely. This is represented by Amalek invading; and afterwards, when the children of Israel opposed themselves to the Lord, and were afraid of the nations of Canaan, 'then also came down Amalek with the Canaanite from the mountain, and smote the children of Israel unto Hormah' (Num. xiv. 45).


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 75 From all this may be manifest the character of those who are represented by Amalek, and why the judgment upon Amalek from the Lord was that there should be war with them perpetually, and that their memory should be blotted out from under heaven." This was the enemy that assailed Israel at Rephidem, when tempted to deny the presence and providential care of God. Such a temptation can only arise out of that state of the human heart which, when openly manifested, denies the Divine government in the world and in human affairs. This evil is the root of unbelief. We all have this root within us. Although we may shudder at the idea of denying God to be the Ruler of heaven and earth, we may feel and act so as to show that me have no true reliance on Divine Providence, which is the Divine government. This is the form which the evil takes among professing Christians. It is more insidious and more deceptive than a suggestion to make an open denial of God, It is a false principle grounded in interior evil, which Amalek represented. Such was the nature of the temptation which that of Israel at Rephidem typified. After the Amalelrites had assailed Israel on that occasion, they were defeated by Joshua. It was then that the Divine judgment went forth against them: "I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven. The Lord hath sworn that He will have war with Amalek from generation to generation." This sentence Saul was now commissioned to execute. Samuel first reminds him that he is the Lord's anointed, and therefore ought to obey the voice of the Lord. Then he proceeds: "Thus saith the Lord of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt. Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass." No immediate cause is here assigned for the issue of this terrible edict against the Amalekites; it is for a crime committed four hundred years before, still kept in the Divine remembrance. What are we to understand by the Divine remembrance? He with whom the past and the future are present does not call things to mind. Such expressions are to he understood of the Divine in relation to the states of men. The Lord remembers when His truth is brought to our remembrance. The Lord, when on earth, promised the Holy Spirit, which was to bring all things to their remembrance whatsoever He had said unto them. But this promise meant, not only the recollection of past words but the reproduction of former states. The spiritual memory is not the memory of facts but of principles. That only is inscribed on the inner memory which has been received into the inner life; and spiritual remembrance is no other than the reproduction of previously acquired principles, with the effort to bring them forth from the inward into the outward life.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 76 Such an act and effort are to be understood by the Lord remembering what Amalek had done in the desert. The Amalekites had repeatedly assailed Israel and had repeatedly been defeated; but now the command was utterly to destroy them. This destruction was now to be attempted because the instrument for effecting it had been provided. A king represented truth derived from goodness, and this is the opposite of falsity derived from evil. No principle can be completely overcome but by its opposite. It is the presence of good and truth that brings their opposites to remembrance; for it is then that the opposite evil and falsity are excited by temptation, and the conflict takes place which should utterly destroy them. It is true that Saul did not fully execute his commission. This was to represent that truth Divine was not equal to this great enterprise. The Divine command, which represented the Divine will, was, however, partially fulfilled; and although Saul lost his crown on account of his shortcoming, what he did accomplish no doubt rendered the complete overthrow of the Amalekites more easy and certain under the reign and by the power of David. The particulars of Saul's conduct demand our attention.

When Saul received the message of the Lord through Samuel, he gathered the people together and numbered them in Telaim, two hundred thousand footmen, and tell thousand men of Judah. The principles of truth and goodness, brought together, and arranged according to the laws of Divine order, are the men of Israel and Judah gathered and numbered in Telaim. Telaim is mentioned only twice, here and in Isaiah xl. 11. Its meaning, taken in its connection there, will give us a good idea of its spiritual signification here. The word itself signifies young lambs. It occurs in that beautiful prophecy respecting the Lord's Advent: "O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God! Behold, the Lord God will come with strong hand, and His arm shall rule for Him: behold, His reward is with Him, and His work before Him. He shall feed His flock like a shepherd; He shall gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young" (Isa. xl. 9). Jehovah comes with strength, and His arm, which is His Humanity. rules for Him; and yet, while He comes as a strong man, to rule even in the midst of His enemies (Ps. cx. 2), He comes also as a shepherd, to gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom. So should those who go forth in the spiritual warfare. While they endeavour to scatter the wolves, they should be careful to gather the lambs. In the particular sense, the Christian should engage in conflict armed with the power of truth and influenced by the spirit of love.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 77 He should gather and number his forces in Telaim. As Telaim was in the land of Judah, it is symbolic of the innocence of wisdom.

When Saul with his army came to the valley where was a city of the Amalekites, he first gave warning to the Kenites, who were with them, to depart, that they might not be involved in the ruin which was threatened to the ancient enemy of Israel. The reason assigned for Saul's desire to spare them was that the Kenites had shown kindness to Israel when they came up out of Egypt. The Kenites are understood to be the same as the Midianites, of whom Jethro, the father-in-law of Moses, was the priest (Judges i. 16), and who came to meet Moses in the wilderness (Exod. xviii. 1). As the Amalekites were the first of the nations to assail Israel after they entered the desert, the Kenites were the first to befriend them, and we find their coming mentioned immediately after the conflict with Amalek. Yet these two peoples are now found together; and but for the friendly warning of Saul, the Kenites would no doubt have shared in the destruction that overtook Amalek. A similar combination is mentioned in the Book of Judges in the time of Gideon. "The Midianites and the Amalekites and all the children of the east lay along in the valley like grasshoppers for multitude" (vii. 12). On that memorable occasion, this mighty host was overthrown by the three hundred that, when brought To a stream, lapped the water like a dog, affording an illustration of the fact that evil is overcome by appositions as well as by opposition, for the name Amalek means to lick up like a dog. The Kenites, considering them as the Midianites, represented those who have good natural dispositions, but do not concern themselves about truth. Why, then, should they be found among those who represent such as have a keen but perverted understanding? Because those who are in a state of simple goodness are most ready to yield to the ingenious reasonings and winning persuasions of the designing. They are capable of being led by the evil more easily than by the good; for the evil have the wisdom of the serpent without the harmlessness of the dove, and are unscrupulous in its use, while the good try not to persuade but to convince. But considering these two peoples as representing corresponding principles in the minds of those who are being regenerated; the Lord provides that in all possible cases where they are together they should not be mixed, so that in the day of conflict the good may not perish with the evil, and therefore the mind is instructed to distinguish and separate them. When the Kenites departed Saul fell upon the Amalekites, and smote them "from Havilah until thou comest to Shur, that is over against Egypt." The wilderness of Shur is memorable as the scene of Hagar's trial, when she fled from the face of her mistress; and the land now inhabited by the Amalekites is mentioned in Genesis (xxv. 18) as that which her son Ishmael and his tribe possessed:


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 78 "They dwelt from Havilah unto Shur, as thou comest to Assyria." The situation of this country, in respect to Egypt and Assyria, marks its representative character as that which lies between science and reason. In the writings, science, knowledge, and reason form a graduated series. Science is of the memory, knowledge is of the thought, reason is of the understanding. That which lies between, science and reason is knowledge; or, what is the same, that which lies between the memory and the understanding is thought. Havilah and, Shur have a similar meaning to Egypt and Assyria, but only more limited, as what is particular in respect to what is general. To smite the Amalekites from Havilah to Shur is to execute the judgment of Divine Truth upon falsity grounded in interior evil, and to pursue it from its basis in the memory as science up to its seat in the understanding as reason.

But although the overthrow of Amalek was, in a general sense, complete, the Divine purpose remained unaccomplished. "Saul and the people spared Agag the king, and the best of the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them: but every thing that was vile and refuse, that they destroyed utterly." In sparing some when he should have destroyed all, Saul was no doubt guilty of disobedience. Yet the sin, does not seem so great as to have drawn down upon him so severe a punishment. Of course if we admit that sin does not necessarily consist in the nature of the act but in the transgression of the command, the sin is the same whatever the act may be. But this principle is not, we think, a sound one. It may be supported by the mere letter of the Word; as, for instance, by Adam eating the forbidden fruit, where there appears to be nothing evil but the act of disobedience. But all instances of this kind show that there is a deeper meaning than that which the letter expresses. The Divine Justice is too pure to make an act sinful which is not in its nature hurtful. Saul's sin would not have been so severely censured and so heavily punished if it had not involved and represented a spiritual act that entails eternal consequences. The saving of Agag alive, and the sparing of the best of the flock and of the herd, which shared not in the guilt or moral corruption of their owners, had nothing of the character of evil in, itself, unless it may have proceeded from covetousness; and their destruction would never have been commanded but for the purpose of conveying a spiritual truth and teaching a spiritual lesson to the: members of the Church in all future ages. What truth is contained in the command to Saul to slay utterly, and what lesson it was designed to teach, we shall see as we proceed. Meantime we must consider the result of Saul's disobedience.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 79 "Then came the word of the Lord unto Samuel, saying, It repenteth Me that I have set up Saul to be king: for he is turned back from following Me, and hath not performed My commandments." What are we to understand by the Lord repenting, and repenting that He had made Saul king? Human repentance implies either a change of opinion or a change of purpose--of the understanding or of the will. This last, not excluding the first, is the Scripture state of repentance towards God. These changes are incident only to imperfect and sinful beings, and are not, therefore, possible with God. This Samuel declares plainly when assuring Saul that the Lord had rent the kingdom from him, and given it to another better than he. "The Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent: for He is not a man, that He should repent." He who sees the end from the beginning can make no mistakes, and can, therefore, have no cause for repentance. But although God cannot repent, repentance, attributed to Him in Scripture, is not without a meaning. When God is said to repent of the evil that He has threatened, repentance signifies mercy. When He is said to repent of what He has done, as of having made man, and of having made Saul king, there is something besides mercy included in its meaning. In the inmost or celestial sense the whole Word treats of the Lord as the incarnate God. This, we have seen, is the subject of the history of Saul, who represents the Lord as truth Divine, before His Humanity was made Divine Truth. Jehovah could not repent that He had assumed humanity subject to the common infirmities of our fallen nature, yet there was something in His early state and experience which gave rise to something analogous to human repentance. The Lord, as man, did not, like ordinary men, pass from a state of sin to a state of righteousness, and had never therefore to do the work of repentance. But there were other human states and changes of state which He passed through which were attended with a state analogous to repentance. Indeed the Lord, in the process of His glorification, passed through states analogous to all those through which ordinary men pass in the course of their regeneration. Man undergoes changes of state both natural and spiritual. He passes through the several states of infancy and childhood and youth and manhood; but he goes through still greater changes in passing from natural to spiritual, and from spiritual to celestial states of life. Our Lord also grew in wisdom and in stature and in favour with God and man. He grew physically and mentally; and from being a Divine natural became a Divine spiritual and a Divine celestial man. When an ordinary man, in the progress of his natural and spiritual life, passes from a lower into a higher state, he sees the imperfection of the state from which he has risen, and the comparatively superficial nature of the trials or temptations he had experienced while he was in it.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 80 In the earlier states of the regenerate life temptation does not reach the lower depths of evil, because its lower depths are neither known nor felt, nor is the true character of the excited evil understood. The knowledge of evil is then general but not particular, and therefore the opposition to it is general. The people are slain, but Agag the ruler is saved alive, and the best of everything is preserved. Our Lord, in passing through corresponding states, had corresponding experiences. This was shadowed forth in the conduct of those who were types of Him; and Saul was one of those types. Their sins, as I have said, represented His temptations. Unlike any other man, the Lord never failed in His conflicts with evil and the powers of evil; but His temptations did not, in His earlier life, always go to the greatest depths of the evil which assailed Him. This is clearly set before us in the writings, where the analogy between the Lord's glorification and man's regeneration is treated of: "Every man first of all supports spiritual combat by the goods and truths he has acquired by knowledges, and from them and by them he judges respecting evils and falsities. Every man, also, when he first begins to engage in spiritual combats imagines those goods and truths by which he supports the combat to be his own, that is, he attributes them to himself; and he at the same time attributes to himself the power by which he resists. Before man is regenerated it is impossible for him to know, so as to be able to say he knows, acknowledges, and believes it, that nothing good and true is from himself, but that all goodness and truth is from the Lord. Nor does he know that he is not able to resist anything evil and false by his own power for he does not know that evil spirits excite and infuse evils and falsities, still less that by evil spirits he has communication with hell, and that hell with all its weight presses upon him, as the sea does upon every part of a dyke raised to oppose its waves, a pressure which it is utterly unable by its own strength to resist. But as nevertheless, before regeneration, he cannot help imagining that he fights by his own strength, he is permitted to imagine so, but afterwards he is more enlightened. When man is in such a state as to suppose that goodness and truth are from himself, and that the power of resisting is his own, then the goods and truths by which he fights against evils and falsities are not really good and true, although they appear to be so; for his selfhood is in them and he takes merit to himself in the victory, and boasts as if he had conquered the evil and falsity, when yet it is the Lord alone who fights and conquers. That this is the truth of the case can only be known by those who are regenerated by temptations. As the Lord in His earliest childhood was introduced into the most grievous combats against evils and falsities, He could not do otherwise than entertain this same imagination, as well because it was according to Divine order that His human essence should be introduced by continual combats and victories to his Divine essence, and be united thereto, as because the goods and truths by which He fought against evils and falsities belonged to the external man;


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 81 and as these goods and truths were thus not altogether Divine, therefore they are called apparent goods and truths. His Divine essence thus introduced the human essence to conquer by its own power. In a word, in His first combats the goods and truths from which the Lord fought were tainted with somewhat hereditary from the mother, and so far as they were tainted they were not Divine, but by degrees as He conquered evil and falsity they were perfected and made Divine." Now apparent truths and goods are goods and truths Divine, but not Divine goods and truths--they are from the Divine, but not in themselves Divine. They are such as exist in the minds of angels and men, and are finited by being received in finite faculties. Such were the goods and truths by which our Lord carried on His early conflicts with the powers of darkness, and by which He made His Humanity truth Divine, as Preparatory to His making it Divine Truth. These finited and therefore apparent goods and truths, tainted with somewhat hereditary from the mother, being represented by Saul, we can see the marvellous truthfulness of Saul's checkered history, as typical of the early history of our Lord's inner life and experience. We can see that our Lord's early conflicts with the powers of darkness were less interior, and His victories over them less complete, than when He had put off more of the imperfections He inherited from His human mother, and put on more of the infinite perfections He inherited from His Divine Father. We can see why in Saul's conflict with the Amalekites the people were slain but the king was saved alive, and why everything that was vile and refuse was destroyed utterly, while the best of the docks and herds were spared. The general principles of evil and falsity were like the people, destroyed, but the ruling principle, like the king, was not yet overcome. The temptation and victory did not go to the root of the evil, although, as we shall see, this did not finally escape. Whatever was apparently evil and false in the external man was, like the things vile and refuse, destroyed utterly, but what appeared to be good and true was preserved. We can see further why it repented the Lord that He had made Saul king, even when considered in reference to him whom Saul represented. Repentance does not in any case mean a change in the Divine mind, but it means in every case a want of harmony between the Divine and the human mind. Here, therefore, it expresses a want of harmony between the Lord's Divine and human nature; between the absolutely and the apparently good and true in the Lord, who, as yet, was God and man, but not yet God-man.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 82 The Divine Being repenting that He had made Saul king, does not mean that it had been better the Lord had not assumed a frail humanity, so that its imperfections should be manifested in His early conflicts with the powers of evil, but that these imperfections were irreconcilable with the Divine perfections, and must be removed; or, as we have elsewhere expressed it, that truth Divine could not be a permanently but only a temporarily ruling principle in the Lord's Humanity. Yet the selfhood of the maternal humanity, like that of every ordinary human being, only began to manifest itself in the Child Jesus when He began to show the active workings of hereditary evil, that slumbers in the infant breast of every child of Adam, until it is awakened by exciting agencies in the progress of mental development. Hence the seeming inconsistency of the Lord choosing Saul and afterwards repenting of the choice. As it was not till Saul began to manifest evil qualities which he did not seem at first to possess, the Lord repented He had made him king; so it was not till hereditary evil began to unfold itself in the maternal humanity of the Lord that the contrariety between the Divine and the human began to manifest itself, the perception of the active existence of which is expressed by the Divine Being repenting.

When the word of the Lord came to Samuel, saying, "It repenteth Me that I have made Saul king, it grieved Samuel, and he cried unto the Lord all night." In the extract we have given from the writings respecting the Lord's early states and experiences, one of the reasons assigned for His imagining that the goods and truths by which He maintained His combat against evil and falsity, and the power by which He maintained it, were His own, was, that the goods and truths by which He fought were of the external man. A Divine dictate now comes to the internal man, giving a perception of this condition of the external; and the result is internal grief, and an ardent desire to come into closer union with the Divine itself. We read in the Gospel that the Lord went into a mountain and continued all night in prayer to God. Such dark states of mental tribulation experienced by the Son of Man were faintly shadowed by the grief and the night-long cry of Samuel; and for corresponding reasons, which our Lord Himself expressed when He said, "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." But this internal dictate, strengthened by earnest prayer, is to be brought down into the external. Samuel therefore rises early to meet Saul in the morning, that in the dawn of a new state the truth which has been imparted to the inner man may be brought down into the outer man also. "It was told Samuel, saying, Saul came to Carmel, and, behold, he set him up a place, and is gone about, and passed on, and gone down to Gilgal." This is not the Carmel so celebrated in Scripture for its fruitfulness and beauty, from which it derived its name;


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 83 but we may infer that, as a city, it had, relatively to mount Carmel, the same meaning that a principle in the understanding has to the same principle in the will; and therefore means the doctrine of internal good and truth. It was in Carmel that Saul set up a place, which is understood to have been a memorial of his victory over the Amalekites; as the pillar which Absalom set to keep his name in remembrance was called Absalom's Place (2 Sam. xviii. 18); and which favours the idea of a state, which Saul's state was as well as represented--something of self-glorying in victory. But Saul had gone about and gone down to Gilgal, and thither Samuel followed him to "roll away" the reproach of Amalek.

Having thus far considered the narrative in its inmost sense, as relating to the Lord Himself in His Humanity, it may be desirable, in pursuing the subject of it, to view it more in its inner sense, as relating to ourselves, as the subjects of that regeneration which is the image of His glorification, and for the sake of which He assumed our frail and fallen nature, and did and suffered all that humanity could do and suffer, that He might bring us, by doing and suffering, to participate in the glory into which He entered. Profoundly instructive and impressive it is to see something of the inmost sense of the Word, and of the Lord's great and merciful work in the flesh, as the origin and archetype of our own; but it is too high for us to dwell long or exclusively upon it with advantage. It is generally sufficient, and even more profitable, to view the Lord's glorification as reflected in the mirror of human regeneration.

When Samuel came to Saul, Saul said unto him, "Blessed be thou of the Lord: I have performed the commandment of the Lord. And Samuel said, What meaneth then this bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear? And Saul said, They have brought them from the Amalekites: for the people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen, to sacrifice unto the Lord thy God; and the rest we have utterly destroyed." Saul, as appears from his subsequent confession, was aware that he had not, in this, wholly followed the Lord, and yet he combines with his holy salutation of Samuel the voluntary assurance that he had obeyed the Lord's commandment; and when the prophet demanded of him, "What then meaneth the bleating of the sheep and lowing of the oxen?" how ingeniously does he put the case for himself: "They have brought them from the Amalekites; the rest we have utterly destroyed"! As the natural man is eager to obtain reward, so is he anxious to escape blame; and just so far as he claims merit for the good, he refuses to take blame for the evil. Yet there is a spiritual truth expressed in this. In the early states of the regenerate life the natural mind knows and yet does not know the truth in regard to merit and blame. It knows theoretically but not practically.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 84 One of the earliest and easiest of our religious lessons is, that, as God is the Author of all good, we can claim no merit for goodness; and that as we do evil from freedom, we can have no excuse for sin; and yet we may feel proud of our virtues and not be ashamed of our vices. There is an important and most practical doctrine of the Church on this subject. If we believed that all good is from heaven and all evil is from hell, we would neither appropriate the merit of good nor the guilt of evil. It is by regarding good as our own that we claim the merit of it, and it is by regarding evil as our own that we try to excuse or justify it; and thus refuse to take the demerit which belongs to it. Saul represents one whose natural mind is still in this state. But when light from the Lord enters through the spiritual mind, this state is seen, and a perception of it comes to the natural mind itself. When Saul had offered his explanation, Samuel said to him, "Stay, and I will tell thee what the Lord hath said to me this night. And he said unto him, Say on. And Samuel said, When thou wast little in thine own sight, wast thou not made the head of the tribes of Israel, and the Lord anointed thee king over Israel?" The true condition of the mind in the earlier stages of the regenerate life is for the will to be under the direction and control of the understanding, which is meant by Saul being little in his own sight. He then reminds Saul of the commission he had received respecting the Amalekites, and tells him how imperfectly he had discharged it; but Saul still maintains that he had obeyed the voice of the Lord, and had gone the way which the Lord had sent him, and had brought Agag the king of Amalek, and had utterly destroyed the Amalekites: but the people had taken of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the chief of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice unto the Lord in Gilgal. It was then that Samuel uttered that memorable saying, "Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt-offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord! Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams." Worship is one of the duties we owe to God; but it is only a means to an end: and the end of all Divine worship is that we may be strengthened to do the Divine will. God requires mercy and not sacrifice, and the knowledge of God more than burnt-offering. The ceremonial law was given for the sake of the moral law; and the institutions of worship are, still more under the New Testament dispensations than those of the old, aids to the performance of the duties of the moral law. It is well to serve the Lord in worship, but to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.

But if worship, in its pure and holy state, is secondary and auxiliary to a pure and holy life, what can be said of that worship which is founded upon a violation of the Divine commandments? Is not worship sometimes offered to God as a substitute for obedience to His will? When penitence is in the heart prayer will be upon the lips;


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 85 for from the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. But even then the offering itself must be pure. The sacrifices under the law were required to be without spot or blemish. For the animals offered on the altar represented the good affections of the human mind; and these should be offered to God unspotted by the world and the flesh. The sheep and oxen of the Amalekites could not represent pure and innocent affections. In themselves they might be free from ceremonial blemish, but they were tainted by the moral corruptions of their owners. They had been devoted to destruction: how could they be offered in sacrifice? The old man with his lusts is to be crucified; the new man with his affections is to be sacrificed. These are the two great aims of the spiritual warfare and the ultimate condition of the spiritual life. They were those of the Lord Himself. It was when He was crucified as to the old man, or the frail humanity He inherited from Mary, that He offered Himself up a living sacrifice as to the new man, or the humanity He derived from the Divinity. This complete glorification of the Lord, and the corresponding complete regeneration of man, could not be represented in this act, and did not indeed belong to the reign of Saul. Therefore Samuel announces to him, that as he had rejected the word of the Lord, the Lord had rejected him from being king. This was not the first but the second: time that the prophet had declared to him the forfeiture of his kingdom. And it is worthy of remark that in the first instance it was for assuming the function of the priesthood in himself offering a sacrifice, when he should have waited for Samuel to perform that sacred duty; while on the present occasion it was for proposing to offer a sacrifice which could not be accepted, but would in its nature be abomination to the Lord. When his dethronement was announced to him, Saul relented. "Saul said unto Samuel, I have sinned: for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord, and thy words: because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice." This is the second time that the will of the king has been overruled by the voice of the people. In rescuing Jonathan from the consequences of the rash vow of Saul the people were right; in taking of the spoil which Saul was commanded to destroy the people were wrong. In both we have a representative of that state of mind when its lower principles rule the higher, as when the passions rule the intellect, and desire overcomes the sense of duty. In the present instance we see the result in Saul sparing the king and the flocks. The highest and the lowest, or the primary and the ultimate principles of things are the most important; and when these are spared of that which should be destroyed utterly, the work of extermination, however sweeping, is greatly incomplete. When Saul confessed his sin, he prayed Samuel to pardon it, and to turn again with him that he might worship the Lord. "And Samuel said unto Saul, I will not return with thee:


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 86 for thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord hath rejected thee from being king over Israel. And as Samuel turned about to go away, he laid hold upon the skirt of his mantle, and it rent. And Samuel said unto him, The Lord hath rent the kingdom of Israel from thee this day, and hath given it to a neighbour of thine that is better than thou." Had Saul rended his heart when he rent the mantle of Samuel, his sin might have been forgiven and the kingdom of Israel might have been secured to him; but it is evident from the sequel that his repentance was not deep, and that a sense of shame was as great as his sense of guilt. Again he confessed, "I have sinned;" but now he asks not for pardon from God, but for honour before men. "Honour me now, I pray thee, before the elders of my people, and before Israel, and turn again with me, that I may worship the Lord thy God. So Samuel turned again after Saul; and Saul worshipped the Lord." In all this we see the external character of the truth which Saul represented, whether we consider the subject in relation to the Lord in the progress of His glorification, or to man in the progress of his regeneration. Of Samuel we have here an instance of that which in relation to the Lord is called repentance. He first refuses to return with Saul, and then complies with his repeated entreaty. It is a sign of mercy; but this was the result of a second prayer, which indicates that a change of state in the human mind produces an apparent change of purpose in the Divine mind. The real truth is, that the Lord is mercy itself; but His mercy cannot be operative in man until man is in a state to receive it. It was now, therefore, that an important act was done, which but for Samuel's turning again with Saul, would have been left undone. "Then said Samuel, Bring ye hither to me Agag the king of the Amalekites. And Agag came unto him delicately. And Agag said, Surely the bitterness of death is past. And Samuel said, As thy sword hath made women childless, so shall thy mother be childless among women. And Samuel hewed Agag in pieces before the Lord." As Agag represented the internal of that of which the Amalekites were the types, of falsity grounded in interior evil; and Samuel represented the internal of that which Saul and the Israelites were the types, which was truth grounded in interior good; therefore Samuel slew Agag, to teach us that an evil or false principle can only be destroyed by its opposite good or truth. A true king of Israel would indeed have represented the opposite of a king of the Amalekites, for he would have represented the external in which was the internal; but it is evident that Saul did not; and from this circumstance he saved Agag alive.

And all this may be acted over again after another manner. May not the Christian disciple, who has received the command to forsake all, yet desire to retain a part, and endeavour to serve God and Mammon?


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 87 May he not do what many have done, seek to propitiate the Deity by giving Him a portion of his unrighteous gains? And seeking by his worship and service to reconcile God to himself, rather than to reconcile himself to God, may he not thus ask to be absolved from the guilt, rather than purified from the stain of sin? In addition to all this, and as a necessary result of it, he will seek the praise of men more than the praise of God. All this may be drawn from the narrative regarded in its literal sense. But in the interior or spiritual sense, which resides within that of the letter, we may trace in the particulars of the history the state and operations of the mind within itself in times of spiritual conflict. How insidious are the evils of our own hearts which we are commanded utterly to destroy! These are the men and women, infant and suckling, sheep and oxen, camel and ass: the men and women, infant and suckling, are the thoughts and affections of the inner man; and the sheep and oxen, camel and ass, are the corresponding affections and thoughts, knowledge and science, of the outer man. A seemingly still more unnatural and terrible duty is imposed on the Christian disciple in the Gospel, in the demand which is made upon him to hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and his own life also, or he cannot be the Lord's follower. The spiritual duty imposed upon us both by the law and the Gospel is that of crucifying the old man with his affections and lusts, that the new man may live. But how arduous is this duty! what is more difficult than to lay down the very life with all that makes life enjoyable? yet the life that is to be surrendered, the life of our corrupt selfhood, is opposed to the true life which we receive by regeneration, and which alone can secure to us either present or future happiness. No wonder we should be in danger of yielding to the influences and suggestions of our own natural will and understanding, to stop short of utter extermination, and save a remnant of our congenial, and perhaps cherished, natural loves and delights. How faithful a type is Saul of the natural mind rendered feeble and vacillating by the influence of its lower affections and thoughts, suggesting views of expediency or self-interest, as Saul was by the people! But the spiritual mind, the inner man, like Samuel, sees from a higher elevation, and is able to remain uninfluenced, unless it be sorrowfully, by the feeble character and vacillating conduct of the natural mind below. The outer man may fall short or yield, but the inner man remains in his integrity. And through the inner man the Lord speaks to the outer man, disclosing to him his frailties and failures and their unhappy consequences. The real nature and operation of the mind we may know by our experience. It is one of the characters by which the human is distinguished from the merely animal nature.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 88 Animals cannot look into their own minds, because the animal mind, whatever power it may possess, has no reflex action; but man can look into and judge of the state and operations of his own mind. In the relation before us we, therefore, see outwardly represented that Divinity-created constitution of our nature which enables us to reflect upon ourselves, and to know, that we may judge and control, the lower propensities and imaginations of our own minds.

In compliance with Saul's entreaty Samuel turned again with him to worship; but the offering could not have been taken from the spoil of the Amalekites, but must have been supplied from the flocks of Israel, as representing the true affections to be offered in worship. Then, when the inner and outer man are so far united, that which had been left undone or incomplete can be done or completed. It was after they had worshipped together that Samuel commanded Agag the king of the Amalekites to be brought forth. "And Agag came unto him delicately, and said, Surely the bitterness of death is past. And Samuel said, As thy sword hath made women childless, so shall thy mother be childless among women. And Samuel hewed Agag in pieces before the Lord in Gilgal." Our expositor remarks that "in these words of Samuel to Agag lie deeply concealed the cause of the Divine imprecation upon Amalek, that the Lord should have war with him for ever, and his name should be blotted out from under heaven. Agag going delicately signifies external allurements which the malignant spirits whom the Amalekites represented practise before others. Samuel's words, 'thy sword hath made women childless,' signifies that their falsities do violence to the good affections; 'thy mother shall be made childless among women,' signifies that among them there would prevail evil affections derived from the will and not from the intellect; and Samuel's hewing him in pieces before the Lord, signifies that they were separated from those who are in the falsity of evil derived from the intellect; thus genii are separated from spirits, as formerly stated." It is easy to see the application to persons in this world. But it is above all things necessary to search and try whether, and how far, it applies to ourselves. And knowing that the principle of interior evil, however it may be concealed from men, is against the throne of God, and that the Lord must have perpetual war against it, we should war against it also until it is consumed. As we learn from the history of Israel, the evil is too deeply seated to be effectually overcome in one conflict; though subdued it will rise up again and again. But every earnest effort to subdue it will weaken its power, and prepare for its name or nature being finally blotted out from under the heaven of the regenerated mind.

Samuel and Saul now parted never to meet in the flesh again. Each went to his own birthplace and his own home;


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 89 the truth which each represented thus retiring into the interior of the spiritual and natural mind to which they respectively belonged. But although all outward intercourse between them ceased, sympathetic connection was not entirely broken off. Samuel mourned for Saul. The thought and affection of the inward man mourn over the frailties and short-comings of the outward man. That may not restore the object of his sorrowing to the state, the loss of which he mourns. Notwithstanding Samuel's mourning, the Lord still repents that He had made Saul king. The truth Divine in the maternal humanity, which Saul represented, is at variance with the good of the Divine love, which cannot find in it a permanent dwelling-place, and a perfect medium of manifestation in overcoming hell and ordinating heaven, and establishing a spiritual Church on earth. Such a permanent dwelling-place and medium are to be found in another and higher principle, which the Lord Himself is to provide; the inauguration of which forms the subject of the next chapter.



1 Samuel xvi.

SIXTEEN years had passed away since Saul and Samuel parted; when a message came from the Lord to the prophet, saying, "How long wilt thou mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? fill thine horn with oil, and go, I will send thee to Jesse the Bethlehemite: for I have provided me a king among his sons." We have already pointed out the distinction between the representative character of Saul and David, one representing truth Divine, the other Divine Truth. Truth Divine, we have seen, is truth which is Divine in its origin, but finite in its recipient; but Divine Truth is Truth that is Divine both in its origin and in its recipient. We have further seen that the history of Saul is, in the inmost sense of the Word, descriptive of the process by which the Lord made His Humanity truth Divine, while the history of David describes the process by which the Lord made His Humanity Divine truth. Our attention is now to be drawn to the singular circumstance of there being at the same time two kings of Israel. Saul, though rejected as king, was still permitted to reign for a considerable period after David had been anointed in his place. This gives rise to some of the remarkable and touching incidents in that part of the history which now commences and continues till the death of Saul.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 90 Many of the particulars related respecting Saul and David are exceedingly interesting as presenting strikingly true and instructive views of human nature. But they are still more interesting and instructive as representative descriptions of the states and experience of those who are passing through a certain stage of the regenerate life, and of the Lord Himself in a corresponding stage of the glorification of His Humanity. While they both held the regal office, Saul was king actually, and David was king potentially. During most of the time that this continued, Saul was the enemy and persecutor of David, while David was the friend and preserver of Saul. And even when his enemy had fallen, the event which placed David actually upon the throne drew from him a lamentation over-flowing with the tenderest affection and the noblest sentiments.

The reason of David's being chosen and anointed king during the reign of Saul, and of there being thus at the same time two kings of Israel, will be seen by considering the Divine economy of man's regeneration, especially in that stage of its progress to which the history of Saul in his connection with David relates. "During the process of man's regeneration, he is kept by the Lord in a kind of mediatory good, which serves for introducing genuine goods and truths, but after these goods and truths are introduced it is separated from them. Every one who has any knowledge of regeneration can comprehend that the new man is altogether other and different from the old; for he is in the affection of spiritual and celestial things, which constitute his delights and blessednesses; whereas the old man is in the affection of worldly and terrestrial things, which constitutes his delights and satisfactions. Thus the new man has respect to ends in heaven, but the old man to ends in the world. Hence it may be manifest that the new man is altogether other than and different from the old. In order that man may be led from the state of the old man into the state of the new, the concupiscences of the world must be put off, and the affections of heaven must be put on. This is effected by numberless means, which are known to the Lord alone, and of which some are known also to the angels from the Lord, but few, if any, to men. Nevertheless all and each of these means are manifested in the internal sense of the Word. While, therefore, man from the old is being made into the new man, that is, while he is being regenerated, this is not, as some suppose, effected in a moment, but by a process of several years' continuance, nay, of a man's whole life, even to its latest period; for his concupiscences are to be extirpated and heavenly affections are to be insinuated, and he is to be gifted with a life he had not before, and of which he previously had hardly any notion. Since, therefore, the states of his life are to be so much changed, he must needs be kept for a considerable time in a kind of middle good, or in a good which partakes both of the affections of the world and of the affections of heaven, and unless he be kept in this middle good, he in no wise admits heavenly goods and truths.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 91 Man, however, is kept in this middle good no longer than until it has served the above use; and when this is ended, it is separated. That there is a middle good, and that when it has served its use it is separated, may be illustrated by the changes of state which every one undergoes from infancy to old age. It is known that the states of man in infancy, in boyhood, in youth, in manhood, and in old age are different and distinct from each other. It is also known that man puts off the state of infancy with its play-things when he passes into the state of boyhood, and that he puts off the state of boyhood when he passes into the state of youth, and this again when he passes into manhood, and lastly this when he passes into the state of old age. Now if he weighs the matter well, he may know that each age has its delights, and that by these delights he is successively introduced to the subsequent age, and that these delights are serviceable in bringing him thither, and at length to the delight of intelligence and wisdom in old age. Hence it is manifest that former things are always left when a new state is put on. This comparison, however, can only show that delights are means, and that these are left when man enters into a subsequent state, whereas during man's regeneration his state becomes altogether other than and different from the foregoing, and he is led into, not in a natural but a supernatural manner by the Lord; nor does any one arrive at that state except by the means of regeneration which are provided by the Lord alone, thus by the middle good of which we have been speaking."

This long extract, though it relates to a specifically different subject, sheds a clear light on that which is treated of in the internal sense of the present history The contemporaneous existence in the mind of natural and spiritual affections and perceptions of truth, and the opposition of the lower to the higher, is represented, with a difference according to the subject, in various parts of the Word. It was represented by the two sons of Isaac, Jacob and Esau, by the two wives of Jacob, Leah and Rachel, and by the two sons of Joseph, Ephraim and Manasseh; and is represented by the two kings of Israel, Saul and David. These two kings together in Israel represented, then, that condition of the regenerate man when the spiritual mind has been opened to the reception of Divine truth, but has not yet acquired dominion over the natural mind, and removed from it the apparent truths and their delights which belong to the natural mind. Saul's conduct towards David describes that of the natural towards the spiritual man. Saul first regarded David with favour, when he overcame Saul's foe, but when he knew that he had been anointed king he became his enemy. The natural agrees with the spiritual while they are in concurrent action;


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 92 but the natural conflicts with the spiritual whenever its dominion is threatened. Saul's hatred and persecution of David represents the repugnance and resistance of the natural man to the rule of the spiritual; for all the hatred of Saul to David, and his schemes to destroy him, arose from the knowledge that he had been anointed and was designed to be king. The anointing of David forms the first and principal subject of the present chapter.

Samuel is commanded to go unto Jesse the Bethlehemite, and anoint one of his sons, whom the Lord had provided to be king in the place of Saul. Samuel, who had mourned for the disobedient king, now expresses his fear that Saul, if he hear it, will kill him, on which he is desired to take a heifer with him, and say he is come to offer a sacrifice. Although, in the literal sense, this sacrifice seems as if it were intended to disarm suspicion, yet, in the spiritual sense, that which the heifer and the sacrifice represented are necessary for the preservation of the principle of which Samuel was the type. The heifer signifies the good of innocence and charity in the natural mind; and its sacrifice represented conjunction by that good with the Lord, and hence the preservation of internal truth. It was also a means of preparing for conjunction with the Lord the spiritual good and the truths proceeding from it, which were represented by Jesse and his sons, who were sanctified and called to the sacrifice. When the sons of Jesse were introduced one by one to Samuel, beginning at the eldest, all were rejected, till they came to the youngest, the first being last and the last first. When Samuel beheld the eldest, pleased with his person, the prophet was eager to anoint him; but he was checked by the Divine words, "Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, literally the eyes, but the Lord looketh on the heart."


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 93 The next two sons were made to pass before him, then the others to seven, but Samuel was able to say that the Lord had not chosen them. Inquiring if these were all his children, Jesse told him there was yet the youngest, who was keeping the sheep. "And Samuel said unto Jesse, Send and fetch him: for we will not sit down till he come hither. And he sent, and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and withal of a beautiful countenance, and goodly to look to. And the Lord said, Arise, anoint him: for this is he." The seven sons of Jesse that were made to pass before Samuel were refused, because, although they represented holy truths, they did not represent the Divine truth itself in all fulness and holiness in the person of the Messiah, which the second king of Israel was to typify. The ground of their rejection is expressed in the Lord's words to Samuel when he would have anointed Eliab, the eldest, because he was high of stature: "Man looketh on the eyes"--men judge by the intellect; "but the Lord looketh on the heart"--the Lord judges by the will. This was the ground of the Divine choice in the case of David. He was ruddy, for ruddiness or red is emblematical of love; he was intellectual, which is expressed by his being fair of eyes, called beautiful of countenance; and these were combined in outward goodness, which is meant by his being goodly or good to look to. We mean that these were outward qualities in him that represented inward qualities in the Lord, whom he represented. He was not indeed destitute of these qualities himself, although, like many of the dispensation to which he belonged, he held them lightly. His representative character is further expressed in his name, which means beloved. Truth is the beloved of goodness, but only when goodness is in it as its life and essence. This was the truth which David represented; and this is the Truth which the Lord was. He was the Word; in Him was Life. He was the infinite and eternal Truth, in whom was the infinite and eternal Love. Such was the Word which was made flesh, the Messiah, the Anointed. We have already, in speaking of Saul, mentioned the difference between him and David, in Saul being in search of his father's asses when he was led to Samuel, who anointed him king, and David being brought from the sheepfold to receive the sacred unction. There are other differences. Saul was born in Gibeah, and anointed in a nameless city; while David was born and anointed in Bethlehem, the birthplace of our Lord Himself, and where the youngest son of Jacob and Rachel, the father of the Benjamites, was born. When Saul was anointed it was with a vial of oil; when David was anointed it was with a horn of oil; because the horn, besides being a vessel full of oil, and thus representing truth filled with love, was also an emblem of power; and all power is in truth derived from goodness. Saul was anointed alone; David was anointed in the midst of his brethren. Brethren signify the good charity, and in the midst is in the inmost. When the Lord, in answer to His disciples' question, who was the greatest in the kingdom of heaven, set a little child in the midst of them, and said, He that is converted and becomes as this little child, the same shall be greatest in the kingdom of heaven, He intended to instruct us that the central quality of greatness is innocence. The Lord condescended to call those same disciples brethren, but He was careful to instruct them that only those who did the will of His Father in heaven were His mother, and sister, and brother.

When Samuel had poured upon the head of David the holy oil, the sacred symbol of love to God, the Spirit of the Loud came upon him from that day forward. The Spirit of the Lord which was given to men under the law, and the Holy Spirit under the Gospel, was not necessarily a regenerating spirit.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 94 It did not always produce graces in the heart, but was a supernatural influence adjoined to those who were invested with a sacred office. But although the Spirit that came upon kings and priests, and which they received on their formal appointment to their high office, was not a regenerating spirit, it represented the spirit of regeneration, when inwardly received by those who are made unto our God kings and priests, and who shall reign with Him for ever and ever.

But when the Spirit of the Lord entered into David, the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord troubled him. So far as Saul represents one who has departed from the Lord, we have in this simple statement a description of the spiritual condition into which he comes. The spirit of good leaves those who forsake the paths of righteousness; and when the spirit of good leaves them, the spirit of evil enters into them. The evil spirit that entered into Saul is said to have come from the Lord. This is according to the appearance that God is the Author of all things good and evil. In a certain sense it is true. Nothing exists but what has its first origin in God. But God did not create evil as evil, but as good. Every evil that exists is some good perverted. Evil spirits were created good; they have made themselves evil. But the evil spirit that troubled Saul is said to have been from God. This an apparent truth, and yet in a certain sense it is really true. The Lord has the keys of hell, and it is under His control. He does not send evil spirits, but He permits them to come, so far as their coming is necessary for the exercise of human freedom, and they can be made conducive to a useful purpose. In their present state men could not exist without connection with evil spirits, nor can they be regenerated without their agency. Evil cannot be removed unless it is seen and felt, and it cannot be seen and felt unless it be excited, and it cannot be excited without the agency of evil spirits. This is the use of their presence with the good. The evil do not thus profit by their presence. But as the evil draw evil spirits into connection with themselves, the Lord's providence is this, that the Lord permits a lesser evil to prevent a greater, and therefore permits evil spirits of a less malignant character, to prevent the presence of others who would of themselves take entire possession of men, and enslave them beyond redemption.

While the Lord permits evil spirits to be present with men, He provides good spirits and angels to be attendant on them, to moderate the influence and counteract the effects of the evil angels, and, as far as possible, to turn their evil into good, by inspiring a hatred of evil human will;


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 95 the overruling power of attendant evil spirits: and a love of goodness. These good spirits and angels are like David with his harp; they awaken and strengthen the good affections and repress and weaken the evil affections, and, so far as this is done, drive away the evil spirits who excite and inflame them.

It was to his musical gift, and the cunning of his right hand which gave it expression on the harp, that David owed his first introduction to Saul. Saul's servants entreated their lord to let them seek out a cunning player on the harp, that he might play with his hand when the evil spirit was upon him, and make him well. Saul consented; and one of his servants having commended a son of Jesse, as a cunning player, and a mighty valiant man, and prudent in matters, and a comely person, whom the Lord was with, "Saul sent messengers unto Jesse, and said, Send me David thy son, which is with the sheep." When Jesse sent his son with gifts to the king, "David came to Saul, and stood before him: and he loved him greatly; and he became his armour-bearer. And Saul sent to Jesse, saying, Let David, I pray thee, stand before me; for he hath found favour in my sight. And it came to pass when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and the evil spirit departed from him." There is something of the romance of history in David's first connection with Saul. But that seemingly fortuitous concourse of circumstances by which interesting but otherwise unlikely events are brought about, is but a faint image of the combinations by which Divine Providence works out its eternal ends, making all agencies and all things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are called according to His purpose. The servants of Saul are the mediatory truths and goods which, by their connection with both the spiritual and the natural in man, bring them together, that the higher may correct the disorders of the lower; while the bread and the wine and the kid, that David brought from Jesse as a present to Saul, are the good and truth and innocence by which the spiritual man seeks to propitiate the natural. The favour of Saul was obtained. David stood before him, and he greatly loved him; and he became his armour-bearer. Thus is described the state of the natural man when the spiritual is an object of right thought and warm affection, and becomes invested with the doctrinal truths, which are the weapons of warfare the natural man is to use against his enemies, but which, in his evil moods, he may, like Saul, use against his friends. But the chief occupation of David, in which he performed at this time the greatest service to Saul, was that which enabled him to exorcise the evil spirit. What this evil spirit was, that could be overcome and driven away by the influence of music, has been a subject of speculation. The nature of the Israelitish dispensation explains this. All effects were then produced by correspondence.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 96 There is no reason to doubt that Saul's case was of the same nature as those recorded in the New Testament, where we read of evil spirits possessing and ruling over men, both as to mind and body; and that David exorcised the evil spirit of Saul, as the Lord cast the evil spirits out of those who were possessed. The means by which David quieted the spirit of Saul had this power, as we shall see, from correspondence. Saul's case differed from that of the possessed when our Lord was in the world in this respect, that he had a succession of attacks and deliverances. Yet our Lord instructs us that the evil spirit, when he has gone out of a man, may return with seven other spirits more wicked than himself. If we may judge from Saul's acts, the evil spirit acquired more and more influence over him as time went on. These alternations of possession and deliverance, like the alternations of sinning and repenting, harden the heart, and render the conscience more and more callous, till it is seared as with a red-hot iron. The evil that alternates with good is of a more malignant character than that which exists where good has never been. It draws men down into greater depths of iniquity and intenser suffering, until they end, like Saul, in defeat and self-destruction.

But to consider this part of the history as representing, not the actual commission of evil, but only the temptation to commit it, the Spirit of the Lord recedes into the inner man, and the evil spirit enters into and excites the concupiscences of the outer man, or natural mind. The acts into which Saul was seduced by the demon that possessed him, are fit representatives of the evils to which the natural man is inclined, and through which the Christian disciple is tempted by evil spirits. Hut in the function of David, in ministering to the diseased mind of Saul, we see the means by which such temptations can be overcome and such sins avoided. When our minds are troubled with thoughts of evil and not of good, and our spirits are oppressed with care and sorrow, arising, it may be, partly from natural and partly from spiritual causes, the music that descends from the spiritual affections, through which Heaven pours its melody of celestial love and peace, dissipates the gloom, calms the troubled spirit, and restores the mind to tranquillity and gladness. The natural mind, prone to the earth, and acted upon by its ends and influences, is subject to the changes of state which are imaged by those of the outer world. The natural mind, like the natural world, has its day and night, cold and heat, summer and winter; its lights and shadows, its storms and calms. In its dark and troubled states it becomes the sport of evil spirits, who find in these states their congenial element. Whenever we are under the influence of evil, whether it agitates our own minds only or threatens to burst forth in acts of hostility to others, the remedy is to be found in letting the sweet influence of the angels, who are ever present in our inner man, ready to descend into the outer man, and sweep the cords of our better thoughts and affections, and bring forth from them the subduing, soothing, and inspiriting strains, whose origin is in the soul itself that has been attuned to the harmony arising from the union of love and faith, as they breathe in the atmosphere of the heaven of angels, and of that heaven which exists in the inmost of every regenerate mind.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 97 Besides these ministering spirits whom the Lord provides, He gives us of His own Spirit. The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth, is poured out upon all flesh. It is like the sunshine and the rain of heaven; it descends upon the evil and the good, the just and the unjust. All that is required of us is to open our hearts and minds to receive its light and influence. We may refuse it, we may close our hearts against it, and yield ourselves up to the undisputed rule of the evil spirit. God does not force us, because force is inconsistent with the freedom with which He has endowed us. But He desires and entreats us to receive His free Spirit, that it may cast out the evil spirit, which is the spirit of bondage, because it is the spirit of doubt, of discontent, of pride, of hatred, of malice, of whatever is of the devil, and enable us to sit down in a sound mind, and with a believing and loving heart.

But the evil spirit is not entirely dispossessed at once. After he has departed, he will return again and again. Of our Lord Himself it is recorded, that when, in the wilderness, the devil had ended all his temptations, he departed from Him for a season. in this respect the disciple is not above his Master. And what must we do when the evil spirit returns! We may learn from what David did. "It came to pass when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and the evil spirit departed." In every time of trouble, or rather terror, which means temptation, we must turn to the Lord, who will speak peace to the soul. "He is the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star." And whoever looks to Him in times of darkness and distress, will find Him as the day-star arise in his heart. And those angelic spirits, who are all ministers of grace, will inspire the heart with that tranquillizing love, of which they are the recipients, and the mediums of conveying to their yet labouring brethren upon earth. They sympathize with us in all our states, both of sorrow and joy. There is joy in heaven over every sinner that repenteth; and at the new birth of every human soul the morning stars sing together and the sons of God shout for joy.

Every particular trouble that afflicts the mind has its ground in adapted to it by the law of opposites. The temptation represented some particular principle of evil or error, and the remedy must be by the terror of Saul is one that arises from the "evil spirit" of the affection of what is false;


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 98 and the means by which this spirit is exorcised is the affection of truth. Of this affection David's harp is the symbol. Of the various musical instruments mentioned in the Word, wind instruments signify affections of goodness, and stringed instruments affections of truth. The harp is the most common Scripture symbol of this affection, and is represented as being used in heaven as well as upon earth. When the Lord is worshipped by the angels of the spiritual heaven, or from the spiritual affection of truth, that worship is representatively exhibited in the spiritual world as praising Him upon the harp. As such worship brings us into closer connection with the Lord and heaven, it draws us away from evil spirits and out of the sphere of the kingdom of darkness. Eminently the Word itself is the harp, and its truths are the harp-strings from which the Divine hand brings forth the sounds that charm away the evil spirit that exerts its hateful power over the mind. And they do this whenever they find a responsive feeling in the affections of the human mind. The truths of the Word have power only when they are objects of mental perception and affection; and can only, therefore, support us in temptation and deliver us from evil when they are sincerely believed and loved.

In every one who is passing through the regenerate life there are, in a certain stage of his progress, a Saul and a David, one troubled with an evil spirit, and the other able, by the harmony of united truth and goodness, to dislodge the evil spirit. The outer man is corrupt and too ready to yield to evil influences. But when the inner man in such a state as that Divine and heavenly influences can descend through the affections into the mind below, the evil can be successfully opposed and finally cast out. In the progress of the Christian life this will be our experience. The evil spirit will come upon us. When we feel its influence, let us turn to Him who alone can deliver us; He who has tuned the whole universe to harmony, is able to remove the discord which sin has introduced into the human mind, and restore it to the harmony which, in common with the other parts of creation, it originally enjoyed.



1 Samuel xvii.

ONE leading object of the Word of God is to teach us that great things can be accomplished by small and seemingly inadequate means.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 99 In the Old Testament it is a promise to the righteous that one shall chase a thousand, and two shall put ten thousand to flight (Deut. xxx. 10), which was literally fulfilled in some of Israel's extraordinary deliverances; and in the New Testament it is said, that God hath chosen the foolish things of this world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of this world to confound the things that are mighty (1 Cor. i. 27). The lesson which this teaching inculcates is an all-important one, that all power belongeth unto God, and that while to Him all things are possible, all things are likewise possible to him that believes. This truth is strikingly exemplified in the defeat of Goliath, the gigantic and panoplied champion of the Philistines, by the youthful and unarmed shepherd of Bethlehem; and which resulted in the overthrow of the whole Philistine army, and the deliverance of the Israelitish people from the galling yoke of these powerful enemies.

But these are more to us than historical facts, extraordinary and interesting as they are, and instructive as evidences of the intervention of a higher than human power on behalf of the chosen nation. The narrative acquires a truly spiritual character and conveys a great practical lesson, when the conflict and victory it relates are seen to represent states of the Church in the course of her history, and of the human mind in the progress of its regeneration. In the Church and in the minds of her members are we to look for the armies of Israel and of Philistia, and for the champion of the Philistines, clothed in his mailed panoply, defying the armies of the living God, and for David, with his shepherd's staff and his sling and his stones, as the seemingly incapable instrument of effecting the deliverance of his people. The army of Israel represents the Church as consisting, not only of the numerous members who unitedly form the body of the faithful, but of the numerous principles which unitedly form the faith itself, by virtue of which the Church, either individually or collectively, exists. When the Israelites are called the armies of the living God, they represent the principles of goodness and truth which constitute the Church, as derived from and connected with Him who is goodness itself and truth itself, and as they are disposed in true order by Him who is order itself. And when this arrangement includes the militant idea which an army suggests, we are to consider the armies of the living God as opposed to a combination of principle opposite and hostile to those of the true Church. The Philistines, we have seen, represent in a general sense the persuasion, and the desire in which it originates, that happiness may be attained by an easier and shorter way than purity of heart and holiness of life, by seeming rather than being, by thinking and believing rather than doing. In religion this takes the form of the doctrine of salvation by faith without the deeds of the moral law; and, when carried to its legitimate consequence, it becomes in practice the form of godliness without the power thereof.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 100 This, though found within the Church, is one of its greatest enemies, because it is entirely opposed to vital religion, without which the Church is but a form and a name. But the Philistine principle, as we have had occasion to remark, is not necessarily limited to those who hold the doctrinal opinion, nor is it always acted out by them. Whoever holds it practically holds it actually, whatever his creed may be. The inclination to it is inherent in us all, and the temptation to yield to it is one from which none are exempt. It is an enemy which it is difficult fully and finally to conquer. It returns upon us again and again, and it requires all our watchfulness and courage to prevent it from obtaining complete dominion over us. Those who hold the doctrine both intellectually and morally are themselves Philistines, and are opposed to the armies of the living God. One feature which this condition of mind is exceedingly liable to present is intellectual pride. This arises from the fact that great dialectical skill and training are required to reconcile the doctrine with the teaching of the Word, which insists so much on the necessity of love and charity, and so emphatically declares that every one shall be judged according to his works. The whole theology of one branch of the Church is founded upon a single passage in the writings of St. Paul, misunderstood--that we are justified by faith without the deeds of the law; and this underlies the whole of its systematic teaching. This doctrine is grafted on the idea that Jesus Christ fulfilled the law and died for the breach of it in our stead, so that we are saved by faith in His vicarious life and death. The false theological science by which this is supported is that kind of knowledge which puffeth up; for whatever is of man tends to self-exaltation, however unconscious one may be of the nature of his own belief and of the means by which he upholds it. This intellectual pride is the Goliath, the champion of the Philistines, that defies the armies of the living God, and that challenges them to produce a man that can fight with him. And the armour with which he was covered, and the weapons with which he was armed, are the arguments by which the false principle defends itself, and which it employs to overcome the arguments that are opposed to it.

The existence of giants is one of the interesting particulars of sacred history. An indication of their origin and character is afforded in the fact that their first existence is mentioned at a period when mankind had come into a state of great spiritual corruption, which was immediately before the Flood; and that they are never spoken of except as the enemies of God and His people. All the Churches that existed before the Lord's coming were representative. Their inward state was manifested, not only, as with us, in its moral effects, but in its physical representatives. Among these was lofty stature, as the fitting representative of intellectual pride;


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 101 while the terror which these giants inspired in the minds of others, as fitly represented the power which a pretentious intelligence exercises over those who are unable clearly to discern between the proper function of the intellect, which is to understand and confirm truth, and its perverted use, which is to frame congenial errors and give them the appearance of being true. Within the Church erroneous doctrines on religious subjects are based upon and confirmed by the literal sense of the Word; and it is in consequence of this that they have so great an influence on religious minds, the authority due to the Scriptures being naturally ascribed to that which is supposed to be derived from them. But how is it that the Scriptures of truth should afford the means of framing and confirming error? The literal sense of the Word consists, to a great extent, of apparent truths, in which theological errors, which originate in the human mind, find their chief support. When the apparent truths of Scripture are made the foundation and test of religious doctrine, they invalidate the real truths of the Word, from which all doctrine should be drawn and by which it should be established; and human wisdom is never at a loss to confirm by reasons what it claims to rest upon authority. Those reasons are the armour and weapons, by which the giant prepared himself for the conflict with any champion whom the army of Israel could provide. The minute description of his armour is no doubt intended to convey an idea of the character of instruments of spiritual warfare which the enemies of the Church employ in their assaults upon her principles. The meaning of the several parts of Goliath's armour, which is the most complete suit mentioned in the Bible, may be gathered from the description of Christ's armour by Isaiah, and of the Christian's armour by St. Paul. Speaking of our Lord, the prophet says, "He put on righteousness as a breastplate, and an helmet of salvation upon His head; and He put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloke" (lix. 17); and the Apostle exhorts the Christian disciples "to put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shed with the preparation of the Gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God" (Eph. vi. 11-17); and in another place he says, "Let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation" (1 Thes. v. 8).


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 102 The Lord came on earth as a Man of war as well as the Prince of peace; for He had to conquer the powers of darkness before He could give peace to His people. What is the armour which the Infinite put on when He assumed human nature! The head, the breast, and the feet of the Lord, which are spoken of in the Word, are His Divine celestial, Divine spiritual, and Divine natural; or, His Divine love and wisdom as accommodated to the angels of the three heavens, and to those on earth who are in communion with them. The helmet of salvation which He put on is the Truth by which He defended the celestial, and the righteousness which He put on as a breastplate is the Truth by which He defended the spiritual. No armour for the lower part of the body is mentioned, because truth natural in the Lord's Humanity lay open to the assaults of the enemy; therefore in the first production of His becoming the seed of the woman, where His conflict with the tempter is spoken of, it is said that whilst the Redeemer should bruise the serpent's head, the serpent should bruise His heel: and David, in describing the Lord's sufferings, makes Him say, "They pierced My hands and My feet." Truth natural, such as it was in the Lord's maternal humanity, and such as it is in the letter of the Word, is truth clothed with appearances, which can be pierced and wounded by false and sinister interpretations, and of which vengeance and zeal are predicated. What, then, is the Christian's armour? It must be analogous to that of the Captain of his salvation. His helmet is the truth that defends the highest of his Christian graces, which is love to the Lord; and his breastplate is the truth that defends that grace which is like unto it, which is love to the neighbour. Faith is the shield that affords general protection to the Christian virtues from all the assaults that evil can direct against them; and the Word of God, which is the sword of the Spirit, is the weapon by which he overcomes all that opposes itself to the truth and righteousness of the Gospel of Christ.

We may now have some clear idea of the symbolic character of the several pieces of the armour of the gigantic champion of the Philistines. For the means by which the cause of error is maintained, though different in essence, are similar in form to those by which the cause of truth is upheld. Every error claims to be the truth, and draws its weapons of offence and defence from the same armoury which supplies weapons for defending and maintaining the truth. The Scriptures are the common source of all religious evidences, but heresy misinterprets and perverts its true teaching, and thus falsifies its truths, so far as its principles require it. "The warfare of those who are in error is not therefore against the Word itself, for this they call holy and Divine, but it is against the real truths of the Word;


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 103 for they confirm their falsities from the Word understood as to the letter only, which in some parts is so expressed that it may be interpreted to confirm the most heretical opinions, because in that sense it is according to the apprehension of the young and the simple, who for the most part are sensual, and receive such things as appear before the eyes. The Word in the letter being such, those who are in falsities from evil of life confirm their falsities from the Word, and so falsify the Word. The Word is thus falsified by those who separate faith from charity, as, for example, whenever doing or deeds and works are mentioned, they explain all such passages, of which there are thousands, as if nothing of deeds or works were meant." The helmet, the coat of mail, and the greaves of the giant are the falsities framed or fabricated from the apparent truths of the Word, to resist and invalidate the teaching of its real truths respecting love to the Lord, charity to the neighbour, and good works, these being meant by his armour for the head, the breast, and the legs and feet. The shield is the general means of defence of the false faith, the opposite of and defence against the true. Besides this defensive armour, Goliath had a spear, a javelin, and a sword. The second of these instruments is called a target, but, singularly, in other passages where the word occurs, it is translated spear or lance (as in Josh. viii. 18, 26; Jer. 1. 42). The weapon is understood to have been a heavy javelin. Thus the spear, the javelin, and the sword were three offensive weapons, answering to the three parts of the defensive armour, the helmet, the breastplate, and the greaves. The defensive armour was of brass, and the offensive was no doubt, as the spear-head is said to have been, of iron. Brass and iron correspond to natural good and truth, and in the opposite sense, as they must be taken here, of natural evil and falsity. One other particular is mentioned respecting the spear, that its staff was like a weaver's beam. Literally, this gives an idea of its immense size, but, spiritually, it expresses the nature of that which it represents. "A weaver signifies the celestial principle, or that which relates to the will, because the will flows into the understanding and fashions it, insomuch that the things which are in the understanding are woven out of the will." Wood and iron, which formed the staff and head of the spear, in the genuine sense correspond to good and truth, and therefore in the opposite sense to evil and falsity. The falsity in the understanding which is fashioned and formed out of evil in the will is the head of Goliath's spear, the staff of which was like a weaver's beam. One other particular given respecting the several parts of the armour of the giant is their weight. And as we are here to deal with numbers, we may take into the account the stature of the giant. His stature was six cubits and a span; his coat of mail weighed five thousand shekels, and the head of his spear six hundred shekels.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 104 Weight and stature correspond to the state of a thing as to good or evil, and the number by which the weight or stature is expressed signifies the quality of that state. Six is a number expressive of combat, chiefly because, in relation to the regenerate, the six days of labour which precede the Sabbath, signify all the states of labour and conflict through which the Christian has to pass before he enters into a state of rest. As the regenerate fight against evil and falsity, the unregenerate fight against goodness and truth. This is the combat, therefore, which is expressed by the six cubits stature of the giant and the six hundred shekels weight of his spear-head. But the height of the giant was six cubits and a span. The cubit is a measure based upon the length of the forearm, and the span upon the length of the hand. The height of the champion is thus expressive of the pride which says, Mine own arm and my own right hand shall gain me the victory. The weight of the coat of mail was five thousand shekels. Five, as consisting of two and three, is expressive of the union of goodness and truth, which these numbers signify; but as things are here to be taken in their opposite sense, the union of evil and falsity is to be understood. A hundred and a thousand do not alter the meaning of the simple numbers, but only exalt them. How great, then, must be the combined power of the evil and false, which opposes itself to the principle of charity, as one of the partners of faith in the heavenly marriage of goodness and truth, that not only secures but constitutes salvation!

Such, then, as presented in its most distinct and complete representative form, is the gigantic heresy, or rather principle, of Faith alone as the ground and hope of salvation. We wish to be understood as speaking of the principle, not merely of the doctrine. The doctrine is both the effect and the cause of evil; but only those who are in the principle are really of the army of the uncircumised, or are represented by its champion.

The challenge which the giant daily uttered in the hearing of the Israelitish army, to give him a man that they might fight together found no response. Saul, whose great height emulated that of the giant, and who was not deficient either in bravery or skill, perhaps partly regarded the champion as not entitled by rank to be met in single combat by a king. Certain it is that when Saul and all Israel heard the defiant words of the Philistine, they were dismayed, and greatly afraid. The fear of man is present so far as the fear of God is absent. Both the people and the king were to some extent in this condition. But the time of the people's deliverance was not yet come, for he by whom they were to be delivered was not yet made manifest to Israel. But that time is now at hand. David, the anointed but yet uncrowned king of Israel, is about to appear, to accept the challenge and be the conqueror of their otherwise unconquerable enemy.



There follows now a long account, not unattended with difficulties, of David's coming to the Israelitish camp, having been sent by his father with provisions for his three eldest brothers, who had followed Saul to the battle. Seeing the men of Israel flee in terror from the champion, when he uttered his usual challenge, and hearing that "the man who killeth him, the king will enrich him with great riches, and will give him his daughter in marriage, and make his father's house free in Israel," David expresses his contempt for the great boaster, "for who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?" These words are rehearsed to Saul, who sends for David. And he from the sheepfold at once says to the king, "Let no man's heart fail because of him; thy servant will go and fight with this Philistine." Saul might well have his fears, and represent to David the unequal match in which he proposed to engage. "Thou art not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him: for thou art but a youth, and he a mall of war from his youth." But David's experience as a shepherd inspired him with just confidence in his ability to cope with the man of war. "Thy servant kept his father's sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock: and I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him. Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God." David's occupation, his experience, and his confidence in his own power, were representative of those of David's Lord. He kept His Father's sheep. The sheep were indeed His own, but His Father gave them Him; and no man was able to pluck them out of His hand" (John x. 28, 29). David's conflict with the lion and the bear, and his rescue of the lamb, represented the Lord's conflicts with the powers of darkness, and the deliverance of the human race from their devouring jaws; for is not the devil described as a roaring lion, walking about, seeking whom he may devour? The lion and the bear are symbols of the devil and Satan, by whom our Lord was tempted in the wilderness, when, it is said, He was with the wild beasts (Mark i. 13). There is something peculiar in David's account of his encounter with the wild beasts, which he slew. It would seem as if they had both attacked his flock at once, and then he says he slew Aim. The rescue of the lamb, alive as we infer, out of the mouth of the lion and the bear, is also extraordinary; while his catching him by the beard, and smiting and slaying him, is worthy of Samson. No doubt the particulars relate to one of them, or to each of them singly; but it may be concluded that the appearance is that of one encounter, to make it a more exact representative of the Lord's temptation at the same time by the devil and Satan, which are but different names for the whole powers of hell, but being, like the lion and the bear, expressive of the powers of evil and of falsity.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 106 The rescue of the lamb alive was also required to make it the type of the deliverance from death of those whom Satan had made captive, and desired to rend in pieces and devour.

Great as the strength must have been to seize and slay two such powerful beasts of prey, the unarmed shepherd does not claim the merit of his victory. "David said moreover, The Lord that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, He will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine." This was the ground of his confidence. The Lord said, "I can of Mine own self do nothing" (John v. 30), "but the Father that dwelleth in Me, He doeth the works" (xiv. 10). The Lord's confidence was in the constant presence in Him of the Father; so that He could say, "I and the Father are one" (x. 30). The Divine in the human was the source of His power and of His victories.

Saul, satisfied with these proofs of David's courage and prowess, not the less that he relied on God for strength, said unto him, "Go, and the Lord be with you." But the king was not disposed to allow his youthful champion to encounter the giant, as he had encountered the lion and the bear, unarmed. "Saul armed David with his armour, and he put an helmet of brass upon his head; and he also armed him with a coat of mail. And David girded his sword upon his armour." But Saul's armour did not suit David. "He assayed to go; for he had not proved it. And David said unto Saul, I cannot go with these; for I have not proved them. And David put them off." This is one of those Scripture incidents which, though not supposed to have a spiritual meaning, are used in a figurative sense. The spiritual sense is not accidental but inherent, and is the teaching, as it is of the inspiration, of the Spirit itself. We may first consider it with reference to Saul and David in their highest representative character. Divine truth could not go into the battle with the armour of truth Divine. As truth Divine, the Lord fought against the enemies of the Church and of heaven with the apparent truths of the Word; as Divine truth He fought against them with the real or genuine truths of the Word. He even led His disciples at times by apparent truth, as when He promised them that, in the regeneration, they should sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. The armour of Saul represented the apparent truths of the Word, but in their pure and simple state, as opposed to the same truths in their corrupted and perverted state, as represented by the armour of Goliath. This armour would have been suitable on the person of Saul, but it was not suitable on the person of David. David had, indeed, put on the armour of Saul, or rather Saul had put his armour upon David, and David himself put it off.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 107 All that was imperfect, even the appearances of truth, came to him from without, but he put it off by his own will and power from within. David, however, did not go with Saul's armour, but put it off, because he had not proved them. The Lord, as Divine truth, had not proved apparent truth as armour to be trusted in the day of battle; but it was because He saw that no proving would make it a fit instrument for Him in those conflicts in which, as truth Divine, He could not have conquered. Saul, with all his armour, did not venture to engage with the Philistines; and David, who had undertaken to meet their champion, would not fight with him in Saul's armour, but chose instruments less warlike, but, in his hands, more effective. "He took his staff in his hand, and chose him five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in a shepherd's bag, even in a scrip, and his sling in his hand." How simple his equipment for engaging in a conflict with such an opponent, and on the result of which hangs so great an issue! But his means, he knew, were sufficient for the end. So knew the Lord, in His conflicts with a far more powerful enemy, and on the issues of which depended, not the freedom or servitude of Israel, but of the whole human race. And so knows, or at least confides, the Christian, when he has to encounter the foes that would bring him again into bondage to error or sin, from which the truth has made him free. The shepherd's staff is that of which David afterwards sung, "The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want. Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me." He leans on and confides in the power of the Divinity and not in his own--on the Lord's goodness and wisdom, not on his will and prudence. But David had to provide himself with the means of active resistance; and he chose five smooth stones out of the brook. The word here translated brook sometimes means a valley, as the bed of a stream; but as a brook is its primitive meaning, we may take this as the basis of the spiritual sense, supposing there be any uncertainty as to whether David took his stones from the mountain torrent or its dry bed. Those which David chose were at least the water-worn stones of the brook. These smooth stones out of the brook represented plain truths out of the Holy Word. Brooks, streams, and rivers--like fountains and wells, pools, lakes, and seas--are symbols of the Holy Word, not only as revealed in a book, but as received in the mind. There the distinction exists between running, sometimes called living water, which signifies truth in the understanding and the life, and standing water, which signifies truth in the memory. The brook out of which David chose his five smooth stones is the Word, as the origin of an intelligent and living faith, and therefore opposed to a traditional and dead faith.

There are some particulars respecting these stones that deserve attention.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 108 They were smooth stones. An intelligent and practical faith does for truths, even for those that are to be employed in defence of the faith, what the waters of the brook do for the stones over which they run--it takes off their angles and asperities, and makes them round and smooth, imparting to truth the form and quality of goodness. The stones were five in number, to indicate that such truths unite in themselves the qualities of goodness and truth. They were chosen, to teach us that truths are to be discriminated and selected, so as to be suitable for the use to which they are to be applied. They were put into a shepherd's bag, or a scrip, to indicate to us that truths must be laid up into doctrine until they are required for the uses of life.

There is something remarkable in our Lord's teaching respecting the scrip. When He sent forth His disciples on the peaceful mission of preaching the Gospel, He told them to take no scrip; but when, on the night of the passover, He warned them of the approaching conflict with the powers of the world, He says to them, "He that hath a purse let him take it, and likewise his scrip; and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one." The scrip is thus associated with a state of warfare; and in David's conflict with Goliath it must signify the doctrinal form which is suited to accompany and contain truths destructive of falsities and evils. But David had, as he required, an instrument for projecting the stones he had chosen out of the brook. A sling has the same meaning as a bow; and a bow signifies doctrine combating, as a quiver, like a scrip, signifies doctrine containing. Doctrine has two main uses. It gathers up and combines the various truths relating to one subject that lie scattered throughout the Scriptures. Doctrine for this use is the scrip into which the stones are gathered, the quiver in which the arrows are placed. But doctrine has a further use; it gives direction and force to truths when they are to be employed in combating error and evil; and then it is the sling and the bow.

Thus armed, David goes forth to the conflict. He drew near to the Philistine, and the Philistine came and drew near to David. And the Philistine said unto David, "Am I a dog, that thou comest to me with staves?" Sometimes men in asserting their dignity describe their own character, and this the Philistine does, for the uncircumcised represent the sensual, and this is the Scripture meaning of a dog. The Philistine displays his representative character further by cursing David by his gods, which is to blaspheme the truth from the falsity to which the heart and mind are devoted. He also utters the seemingly reasonable but falsified boast, "Come to me, and I will give thy flesh unto the fowls of the air, and to the beasts of the field;" which is an expressed intention of giving the good of truth to be torn and devoured by the thoughts and lusts of the carnal mind.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 109 David's answer to the gigantic boaster is one of noble simplicity, but of unreserved trust in God, to whom he ascribes the glory of the confidently expected victory. "Thou comest to me," says the shepherd youth, "with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied. This day will the Lord deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. And all this assembly shall know that the Lord saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the Lord's, and He will give you into our hands." This was not the language of confidence merely, but of prophecy. No one could speak in this manner but to whom it had been revealed. It reminds us of the Lord's saying to Peter, "Flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but My Father which is in heaven." It was also prophetic in a higher sense; for David speaks as a worthy type of the coming Redeemer, whose name was the Lord of hosts. We shall see the meaning of David's language in the event itself.

When the Philistine arose and came and drew nigh to meet David, David hasted and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine. "And David put his hand in his bag, and took thence a stone, and slung it, and smote the Philistine in his forehead, that the stone sank into his forehead; and he fell upon his face to the earth." The result of this stroke is extraordinary, but it is not, we believe, incredible. At the same time we must not forget that such feats of strength and skill, in that representative dispensation, had both a supernatural cause and a supernatural meaning. The spiritual world, which is the world of causes, is also the world whence comes the light which reveals those causes. In the light of the spiritual sense of the Word we are enabled to see that David's easy victory by such simple means represented the Christian's victory over opposing error and evil. However formidable in itself, and rendered seemingly invulnerable by reasonings and perversions of Scripture, the plain and simple truths of the Word, applied by pure doctrine, can overcome them. To the complexity of error nothing can be so successfully opposed as the simplicity of truth. The essential principles of religion are so plainly revealed in the Scriptures that the simplest mind can understand them; and if the Christian disciple can only rest in the conviction that the battle is the Lord's, and that error can only be overcome by Divine truth, as revealed in God's Word. We could find as many essential truths opposed to the error of faith alone as there were stones in the scrip of David, any one of which would be sufficient to condemn it.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 110 "Love the Lord above all things; love thy neighbour as thyself; he that f hath My commandments and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me; if thou wouldst enter into life keep the commandments; for we must all appear before the judgment-seat of Christ, to receive every one according to the deeds done in the body, whether they be good or whether they be evil." Any one of these truths is capable of penetrating the head and front of its opposite and opposing error. The forehead corresponds to the highest and inmost of the mind, and therefore to any truth or error in its first principles. The beast in the vision of St. John, which symbolized the same false persuasion that the Philistine represented, caused his followers to receive his mark in their right hand and in their forehead (Rev. xiii. 16); that is, inwardly in their minds, and outwardly in their lives. The forehead of the giant is, therefore, the interior of the falsity he represented, and to cause the stone to sink into his forehead, is to cause the truth to penetrate into the inmost of falsity, and destroy its dominion over us. And we do this in ourselves when we apply the truths of the Lord's Word, not only to the words and actions of our lives, but to the thoughts and intentions of our hearts.

But David's triumph was not yet complete. When he had slain the giant, he ran and stood upon him, as a mark of subjugation, like placing the foot upon the neck of an enemy. And he took the giant's sword, and cut off his head. His turning the giant's sword against himself exemplified the Lord's words, "He that takes the sword shall perish by the sword." It is a spiritual law, invariable in its operation, that he who takes the sword of falsity to fight against the truth, shall perish by it. Though not more certain, yet more terrible is the death, when the falsity is a direct perversion of the truth. The literal sense of the Word is a sword that turns every way to guard the way of the tree of life; and any doctrinal error that is founded upon the appearances of truth in the letter, and held in simplicity and sincerity, does not of necessity destroy spiritual life; but when elaborate reasonings are employed to confirm error and invalidate the truth, because error favours evil and truth condemns it, then those who maintain the unholy conflict shall be as the wicked who have drawn out the sword, and "their sword shall enter into their own heart" (Ps. xxxvii. 15).

David's victory over Goliath had its natural effect upon the two hostile armies, who had been spectators of the unequal contest. "When the Philistines saw their champion was dead, they fled. And the men of Israel and of Judah arose, and shouted, and pursued the Philistines." The Israelites chased the Philistines to the gates of Ekron; and the wounded of the Philistines fell down by the way of Shaaraim, even unto Gath, and unto Ekron. Shaaraim was a city of Judah, and means two gates; Gath was the birthplace of Goliath, and means a wine-press;


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 111 and Ekron was the chief city of one of the Philistine gods, and means uprooting. From all these particulars we learn that when the leading principle fails or succeeds, the common principles give way or acquire new vigour. In this instance truth and good are elevated in the thoughts and affections, and go forth in words and deeds, which result in the expulsion of falsity and evil from the interior which they had invaded, and forced back to the uttermost part of the exterior which they still possessed, and where their idol gods still maintained their dominion; for Ekron had been given by lot to Judah (Josh. xv. ii, 46), although the Philistines still held it, representing a state in which evil is not yet removed from the external man, though destined to be uprooted even there, by means of passing through the gates of knowledge and the wine-press of temptation. It is in the way to these that the evils and falsities, which the avenging sword of truth has disabled, fall down powerless to oppose the progress of righteousness.

While the army of Israel was pursuing the panic-stricken hosts of Philistia, David was on his way to Jerusalem with the head of Goliath. It has been asked why David should take his trophy to a city of which the Jebusites still held possession. David was to be the conqueror of Jerusalem; and it may well be that he should carry the head of the champion of the arch-enemy of Israel to the city which was to be the capital of the kingdom over which he was to rule. The armour of the giant he put in his tent. The armour of Goliath represented things in themselves good and true, because obtained from the armoury of the Word, but perverted by being applied to an evil use. When these become the spoil of the good they return to their original state of being true, because they are to be used for the defence of good and not of evil; they can therefore be laid up in the mind, as David put the armour of which he had stripped Goliath in his tent.

Saul, who had seen David go forth against the Philistine, was anxious to know, and sent Abner the captain of his host to inquire, whose son the stripling was. "As David was returning from the slaughter of the Philistine, Abner took him, and brought him before Saul with the head of the Philistine in his hand. And Saul said to him, Whose son art thou, young man? And David answered, I am the son of thy servant Jesse, the Bethlehemite." It is considered difficult to understand how David, who had been Saul's armour-bearer, and had been accustomed to play before him on his harp, should now be entirely unknown to him. It has, therefore, been proposed to omit or transpose a part of the chapter. As there is no critical ground for objecting to any part of the narrative but its seeming inconsistency, there can be no sufficient reason for rejecting a part of Holy Writ; but there may be other and higher reasons for retaining it.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 112 There may be a spiritual cause why David should now seemingly for the first time become known to Saul. David was now a new man. He was no longer the armour-bearer of the king, but the hero of a great conflict. He had slain the terrible warrior and scattered the hosts of the enemy; and he came into Saul's presence with the head of the giant in his hand as a sign of his irresistible power, which was soon to shake the heart of the king himself.



1 Samuel xviii.

WITH the exception of Joseph's love for his brethren, there is nothing of the same character in the Old Testament so pure and noble as Jonathan's love for David. In their case, differently from that of Joseph and his brethren, the love was mutual. Drawn to each other by an essential similarity of character, brought out by the accomplishment of a great national deliverance dear to them both, their souls were knit together in the closest and most enduring friendship. If there is a greater resemblance to Joseph in one of these devoted friends than the other, it is in Jonathan, whose warm and generous love involved one of the noblest acts of self-abnegation which mortal man can perform, and of which history records not a more disinterested instance. It was on David's return from the field, where he had defeated Goliath, and where in consequence the whole Philistine army had been overthrown, that the patriotic soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and that the expectant heir to the throne of Israel "stripped himself of the robe that was upon him, and his garments, even to his sword, and to his bow, and to his girdle, and put them upon David," transferring by this significant act his prospective regal authority and power to one who had shown himself so able to vindicate the honour of Israel, and maintain the cause of the Lord.

While the history before us supplies this singularly beautiful instance of lofty patriotism and disinterested friendship, it furnishes likewise, as if to exalt them by contrast, a no less striking instance of base ingratitude and deep malignity. Saul, whose honour David had vindicated and whose kingdom he had possibly saved, though he showed at the moment a becoming favour for the youthful warrior, by whose pious bravery it had mainly been effected, yet, after the first generous impulse, he became, except during brief gleams of remorse, his bitter and implacable enemy.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 113 In their triumphal return from the battle-field, where so great and unexpected a victory had been wrought for Israel, the women sang, "Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands;" which evoked in the heart of the king the spirit of jealousy and envy, "and he eyed David from that day forward." From that day, too, the harp of David seems to have lost its power to charm away the evil spirit from the mind of Saul, who henceforward became so infuriated against the innocent object of his hate, that he endeavoured, while David was giving out his sweet sounds, to strike him with a javelin to the wall. Everything that Saul now did to David, even the favours he bestowed upon him, were meant for his destruction. He charged his son and his servants to kill him; and when Jonathan strove to remove his father's unjust suspicion and disarm his fierce wrath against his friend, he himself incurred his hot displeasure, and was subjected to the same abuse and assault. Under all these trying circumstances Jonathan's love for David remained unshaken; and after providing, on several occasions, for David's safety, the two friends bade each other a tender and final farewell.

In drawing attention to these features of the narrative, it may seem that I retain the mind too long and engage it too deeply in the literal sense. It is possible, however, to pass over the simple sense of the letter too lightly, as it is to dwell on it too exclusively. It is true that the moral instruction of the Old Testament Scriptures does not always appear on the surface, and that some of the acts that are recorded with commendation or without reproof it would be dangerous to follow as examples. But where the literal sense delineates character or records acts that are calculated to make virtue beautiful and vice hideous, it is but right, as it is useful, that we should give ourselves unreservedly to its study, that by admiring, we may be led to imitate, what is lovely and of good report, and by detesting, we may be led to avoid, what is base and dishonourable. Besides, the literal sense of the Word is designed for the young and the simple, whose thoughts and feelings are to a considerable extent limited to the sphere of the senses, and to the imagination, which is in immediate connection with them. And the capacities and wants of these, as well as those of their more advanced fellow readers and students of the Bible, require to be ministered to.

From the very different character and conduct of Saul and his son Jonathan much useful instruction may be derived. Their personal interests in the kingdom were the same; yet how different were their ideas and conduct in relation to it! Both of them had no doubt learned that David had been anointed king; and as pious and obedient Israelites they should have submitted humbly, if not cheerfully, to the will of Him whose kingdom Israel really was, and who had the right to give it to whom He pleased.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 114 Jonathan did so, not only from piety to God but from friendship to David, while Saul's personal and paternal feelings revolted against the claims of both. From the conduct of Jonathan we may learn the highly important lesson, that we should subordinate our personal feelings to the will of God and our private interests to the public good, and be ready to recognise excellences in others without any self-consideration; while from the conduct of Saul we should be warned against the vices of ingratitude, envy, and jealousy. This much may we learn from the history in its plain literal sense. The spiritual sense teaches a still higher lesson.

By the light shed upon the historical circumstances of the Scriptures by the internal sense, we are enabled to see in this narrative a Divine and spiritual meaning.

The first three kings of Israel represent, we have seen, the Lord while making His humanity truth Divine, Divine truth, and Divine good. Saul represented the Lord while making his humanity truth Divine, or truth from the Divine, as it comes down to finite apprehension, as it is in heaven among the angels and in the world among men. Strictly speaking, there is no absolute truth but in the Divine Being. Pure truth transcends the apprehension of the highest intelligences, because it is infinite, and between infinite and finite there is no proportion, there is only correspondence. In the Word, therefore, there are the three finite degrees of truth, the natural, the spiritual, and the celestial, and within and above these there is a truth purely Divine. But although there is no absolute or pure truth with finite beings, there is with them truth relatively real and apparent. In heaven there are appearances of truth, but these are what may be called real appearances, being the forms which real truths assume when they present themselves as objects of sense; but as they only exist in connection with the states that produce them, they are understood, and never mistaken for the realities which they represent. On earth it is different. Apparent truths do not here proceed from and exist in connection with the real truth relating to the same subject in the minds of men; and therefore they are constant, and are the same to one as they are to another. The appearance that the sun rises and sets is constant and common to all men, to those who know and to those who do not know the real truth. It is from this condition of things on earth that the literal or natural sense of the Word contains so many apparent truths. For if even natural truths clothe themselves in appearances, how much more spiritual truths, when they come down into the natural world, and present themselves to the natural minds of men.

Saul and Jonathan, we consider, represent the apparent and the real truths of the Word, as they exist in the literal sense. According to this view we can see the reason why David refused to go into the battle with the armour of Saul, but did not refuse to put on and wear the robe and the weapons of Jonathan after the battle was won.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 115 David represented Divine truth, such as it is above the heavens. And the Lord, as Divine truth, did not put on and fight from the apparent truths of the Word; or rather, He did as David did with the armour of Saul, He put it on, and assayed to go, bat put it off again, and took His own simple weapons, on which man had not lifted his tool and shaped by his own intelligence But although the Lord did not put on and fight from the apparent truths of the Word, He put on its real truths when the conflict was over and the battle won, and exalted and glorified them by union with Himself, as Divine truth. In this light also we can see the cause and meaning of the almost constant and growing opposition of Saul to David; for the more the Lord was perfected, and the more His humanity was made Divine truth, the greater the difference between Divine truth and truth Divine became manifested, and this divergence continued and increased until the apparent was entirely removed. But we must turn our attention from this exalted view of the subject to that lower and corresponding one which relates to ourselves.

Keeping in view the principle of interpretation which brings the whole history within the scope of individual experience, Saul, David, and Solomon represent Divine truth as it exists successively in the minds of those who are progressing in the regenerate life, or as they successively advance in the affection and perception of the Lord's truth from natural to spiritual, and from spiritual to celestial. The history of the reign of Saul represents the regeneration of the natural mind, or degree of the mind. Thus Saul may be regarded as representing the natural mind itself, as he personally showed much of the character of the natural man. But Saul in relation to Jonathan represented the natural mind in its first state in relation to the natural mind in its second state, or, what amounts to the same, apparent truth in relation to real or genuine truth in the natural mind.

In the progress of regeneration the human mind is being continually perfected, and this perfecting process is effected by successive steps as well as by imperceptible gradations, a more perfect principle or state being produced by means of one less perfect. The natural mind in its first state regards spiritual things from affections and thoughts which partake more of self and the world than of the Lord and heaven, more of fear than of love; and not until the birth of the new and higher motive does the kingdom of righteousness begin to be established in its true order in the mind. The natural mind in its first state may be regarded as being imaged by Saul, and in its second state by Jonathan. The natural mind in its first state, while ruled by the appearances of truth, is fitly represented by Saul; in its second state, when it comes under the direction of genuine truth, it is fitly represented by Jonathan.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 116 The natural mind in its first state is at enmity with the spiritual, as Saul was with David; in its second state it is in harmony and unity with it, as Jonathan was with David. When the successive states of the mind are thus understood, the circumstances of this part of the history of the kings will be clearly seen and may be usefully applied.

Jonathan's soul was knit to the soul of David as soon as the youth had made an end of speaking unto Saul, when he appeared in the monarch's presence with the head of Goliath in his hand. The conquest of that delusive persuasion, that heaven and happiness can be secured by the name and form without the reality and power of godliness, is that which knits the soul of the natural to that of the spiritual, and unites them by an indissoluble bond. "He that hath My commandments and doeth them, he it is that loveth Me: and he that loveth Me, shall be loved; of My Father, and we will come and make Our abode with him." "Love is the fulfilling of the law." Faith without loving and doing is faith without life; for faith without works is dead. The heaven to which such faith looks forward is a place of rest, not from labour but from work. Such a life would be insipid and wearisome. It would neither be useful nor happy. The rest into which the righteous enter after death is the peace which is obtained by victory over the errors and evils of their natural thoughts and inclinations. But a state of spiritual rest may be, to some extent at least, secured and enjoyed even in this life. And indeed there may be inward peace while there is outward trial; just as our Lord, when He bestowed peace upon His disciples, warned them that in this world they should have tribulation. There is inward peace when the soul of the natural mind is knit to the soul of the spiritual, when there is an internal agreement between them, even before the outward evils of the natural mind are removed, the presence and activity of which cannot but cause tribulation. It is love with its works that brings the natural into harmony with the spiritual; and the first and most necessary work which is required for this end is the conquest of the evils and falsities which produce enmity and separation between them.

When the soul of Jonathan had been knit to the soul of David, and the heir of Saul had invested the future king of Israel with the insignia of his regal status, they entered into a covenant with each other, thus bringing into a practical result the love and union that inwardly existed between them. This covenanted friendship must have been sweet and comforting to the soul of David during the time of the bitter and disheartening treatment he experienced at the hand of Saul. So with the Christian. It is the covenanted union that exists interiorly between the inward and outward man that enables him at the time to bear, and afterwards to rejoice in, spiritual persecution.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 117 Nay, it is this inward state that prepares him for undergoing persecution; for spiritual trials are incident to those only who delight in the law of God after the inward man, but have another law in their members warring against the law of the mind. This other law soon began to act in the case of David. The exaltation of the law of God in the affections of the inward man, which are the women answering one another in their song in praise of David more than of Saul, awakens in the outer man feelings of wrath and displeasure, and the fear of losing the supremacy which the natural man still claims as his own and is unwilling to lose: "What can he have more than the kingdom?" This state of the will enters into the thoughts, which are constantly directed to this source of danger, as Saul eyed David from that day and forward. Another and worse state follows; as on the morrow the evil spirit from God came upon Saul. When we give way to bad feelings, evil spirits enter into us and rule over us. They secretly excite the evils of the will and suggest false thoughts in the understanding. The falsities they insinuate are intended to have the appearance of truth, and are indeed truths falsified. Satan tempted the Lord through the truths of His own Word. It is always so. We are tempted through the appearances of truth. These are bent out of their right course, so as to give a seeming sanction to the indulgence of congenial evil--so, in fact, as to make evil appear as good. The evil spirit that entered into Saul caused him to prophesy. It seems singular that an evil spirit should confer the prophetic gift. We find indeed that Balaam, though a soothsayer, had the gift of prophecy, but could not prophesy more or other than the Lord permitted. Prophets were teachers as well as predictors of events. As false prophets could utter true prophecies, so can false teachers teach true doctrine. Whatever was the nature and subject of Saul's prophesying, the fact itself is not inconsistent with his being possessed by an evil spirit. An enlightened, or at least an instructed understanding may be connected with an impure heart, so that a man may utter true sayings while meditating dark deeds. This possibility is permitted for wise purposes. The normal state of man is to speak as he thinks and act as he wills. This was his original state. But when the heart became depraved, it was necessary to emancipate the understanding from the absolute control of the will, so as to enable a man to look into his own heart, and see its state, and control its unruly motions. Yet this very gift may be abused, for a man may now employ his thoughts to conceal his intentions, or to carry them out with greater ingenuity. Saul could therefore prophesy in the midst of his house, while he meditated smiting David to the wall with his javelin, and which he attempted even while David played with his hand as at other times, to drive away by his sweet strains the evil spirit with which Saul was possessed.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 118 David avoided out of his presence twice, to mark the immunity from harm that results from the combined power of a good heart with a true understanding.

From being an object of hate David now became to Saul an object of fear, "because the Lord was with him, and was departed from Saul." This is not the fear that precedes love, but the fear that supplants it; that which occupies the centre of the mind, while love is removed to the outside. Therefore Saul removed David from him, and made him his captain over a thousand. This was not intended although it proved to be a means of increasing David's power and his favour with the people, while it represented the growing influence and power of the spiritual over the natural in the regenerate mind. For the state here represented is that in which the spiritual is subject to the natural, but in which the natural by its own acts undermines its own power. It is true of the mind as well as of the world, "The wrath of man shall praise Thee, and the remainder of wrath shalt Thou restrain" (Ps. lxxvi. 10). The opposition of the human to the Divine, and of the natural to the spiritual, tends to strengthen and exalt them. David could not but prosper, for the Lord was with him, because he behaved himself wisely in all his ways, and all Israel and Judah loved him because he went out and came in before them. When the highest and the lowest are with us who can be against us! If the inward man behave wisely in all things, and act consistently in all states of life from beginning to end, there can no evil befall him, but good must be in and around him. As David became more an object of love with the people, he became more an object of fear with Saul. Another scheme was now, therefore, formed for his destruction. Saul proposed to give David his eldest daughter in marriage, but he made the gift conditional on his fighting the Lord's battles; for he said, "Let not mine hand be upon him, but let the hand of the Philistines be upon him." Saul had two daughters, and they remind us of the two daughters of Laban, Leah and Rachel. Unlike Jacob, David did not marry both the sisters. The eldest, who had been promised to David, was, for no assigned reason, given to another; but the youngest, who loved David, was offered to him on condition of his giving Saul as a dowry a hundred foreskins of the Philistines. Michal, like Rachel, represented an internal affection for truth: we can hardly call it spiritual, in the sense that the affection was which Rachel represented; for Michal partook too much of the character of Saul. That which she represented was rather an inner natural affection. Nor is it said that David loved Michal, but only that Michal loved David; so that there was not the mutual affection between them that there was between Jacob and his beloved Rachel. Yet David did not slight the idea of being the king's son-in-law, but joyfully agreed to the condition on which he was to win Michal as his bride.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 119 When David had escaped safely out of the snare that Saul had laid for him, and had slain twice the number of Philistines demanded of him, Saul gave him Michal his daughter to wife. Saul had hoped to rid himself of David, but now he was more securely fixed than ever in his position in the kingdom, and still nearer to the throne. What must have been his feelings when the two hundred foreskins of the Philistines were given to him in full tale! They might have taught him, what they represented, that he himself was uncircumcised in heart; while David had obeyed by anticipation the command that was afterwards given, and which had always been included in the law of ordinances, "Circumcise yourselves to the Lord, and take away the foreskins of your hearts" (Jer. iv. 5). Such was evidently the opposite states of the two parties to this singular covenant; and such is its lesson to us. No wonder "Saul saw and knew that the Lord was with David;" but it does seem wonderful that, knowing this, and knowing that his own daughter loved him, Saul should yet be more afraid of David, and should become David's enemy continually. But such is the carnal mind which Saul represented. "The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be." This mind is not and cannot be changed and made spiritual, but must be put off, and not by the natural process of decay, but by strife and violence.



1 Samuel xix.

FOILED in his attempts to slay David with his own hand, and in his device to make him fall by the hand of the Philistines, "Saul spake to Jonathan his son, and to all his servants, that they should kill David." Singular request to make of so large a number, and one that, with other circumstances, bespeaks a mind that has lost its balance. Indeed, as Saul represented the natural man, he represented him as he was at the time of the Lord's advent, when the state of man was such that many were possessed with evil spirits, some of whom were lunatic and sore vexed. Saul shows evident symptoms in his future conduct of an unsound mind. One of the signs of mental aberration, in the earlier stages of the malady, is the capacity of being for the moment convinced by reasons, but almost immediately after relapsing into the former delusion.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 120 Several instances of this occur in Saul's future history, one in the present chapter. But, considering Saul and Jonathan as representing the natural man in his two different states, one in which he judges outwardly according to the appearance, and the other in which he judges inwardly according to the reality, we see something besides the signs and operations of an unsound mind.

Judged according to the appearance, the spiritual seems opposed to the natural. Even worldly men think that religion is opposed to their best interests, although the very opposite is the truth. Jonathan's judgment respecting David was righteous judgment, because it was the judgment of real truth. "Jonathan spake good of David unto Saul his father, and said unto him, Let not the king sin against his servant, against David; because he hath not sinned against thee, and because his works have been to thee-ward very good: for he did put his life in his hand, and slew the Philistine, and the Lord wrought a great salvation for all Israel: thou sawest it, and didst rejoice: wherefore then wilt thou sin against innocent blood, to slay David without a cause?" This eloquent appeal, founded upon a truth eloquently powerful, could hardly fail to reach the king's understanding as well as his heart. "Saul hearkened unto the voice of Jonathan: and Saul sware, As the Lord liveth, he shall not be slain." Jonathan had told David that his father sought to kill him, and had counselled him to hide himself in a secret place until the morning, when he would tell him the result of his communing with the king. So in times of danger the spiritual principle hides itself in a secret place, by retiring into the interior of the mind, beyond the scope of external observation. When the morning of a new state came, Jonathan was able to tell David of the favourable result of his mediation, and to bring David to Saul; and he was in his presence as in times past. Thus by the influence of the middle principle are the spiritual and the natural reconciled, or rather, the natural is reconciled to the spiritual. In the present instance this reconciliation was but of short duration. "There was war again: and David went out, and fought with the Philistines, and slew them with a great slaughter; and they fled from him." What, to our seeming, Should have confirmed Saul in his good resolution, served but to revive all his former animosity. Again "the evil spirit from the Lord was upon Saul, as he sat in his house with his javelin in his hand: and David played with his hand. And Saul sought to smite David even to the wall with the javelin; but he slipped away out of Saul's presence, and he smote the javelin into the wall: and David fled, and escaped that night." Saul had attempted twice before to smite David the wall, and twice had David avoided out of his presence. This seems a more determined effort, for the javelin, though it misses David, goes into the wall; and David flees and escapes that night never again to sweep the chords of his lyre in Saul's presence.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 121 To smite to the wall was not only to kill but to degrade. Spiritually it has a corresponding meaning; for a wall is the external of that which the house itself signifies. As this was the house of Saul, who himself represented the natural man, it signifies the natural mind; and to smite David to the wall would be to transfix the spiritual to the external of the natural, which would be not only to deprive the spiritual of life, but to deprive the natural itself of the power of being reformed and regenerated. It would have represented the sin of profanation, which consists in so immersing the spiritual in the unpurified natural, and so connecting the holy with the unholy, that the very capacity of restoration is destroyed. The representation of this was not permitted. David, when he had, for the third time, evaded the deadly attempt of Saul upon his life, fled and escaped. But although David escaped, his safety was not secured. When David escaped the javelin of Saul, and fled in that night, Saul sent messengers unto David's house, to watch him, and to slay him in the morning. In this emergency Michal does for him by her womanly stratagem what Jonathan had done for him by his manly wisdom; she saves her husband's life, although she does not conciliate her father. Strange condition this in the regal household! Is it not a fit type of that of which our Lord speaks? "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household" (Matt. x. 34-36). The Lord was the innocent cause of this division, as David was of the division in Saul's household. And in the Lord's case, as in that of David, it was the old man that hated and opposed Him, and the new man that loved and befriended Him. In David's case there was also an anticipated exemplification of the Lord's concluding words, "He that loveth father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me" (ver. 37). Jonathan and Michal did not love Saul less, but they loved David more; and their greater love was founded in justice. It was Saul's own conduct that made his children his seeming foes.

When David fled from the presence of Saul, he went to his own home, and no doubt told Michal of this new outburst of the kings fury, and of the narrow escape he had made with his life. Seeing the messengers who had been sent to watch the fugitive, and divining their purpose, "Michal, David's wife, told him, saying, If thou save not thy life to-night, to-morrow thou shalt be slain." Thus it is, when, in the night of trial and temptation, which is the hour of the world and the power of darkness, the principle of spiritual truth is assaulted, it retires into its own habitation in the interior of the mind, where it dwells with the principle of good with which it was first united in the heavenly marriage.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 122 From that good, or that affection, which is derived from the natural mind, the spiritual mind is able to look into the natural, and not only see the danger arising from its enmity, but the way of escape from its machinations. "So Michal let David down through a window: and he went, and fled, and escaped." A window is to a house what the eye is to the body and the understanding to the mind, it admits light, which makes objects both within and without visible. "The light of the body is the eye: if thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light; but if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness." Thus our Lord by correspondence describes the understanding, which is the eye of the mind. But the Scriptures afford instances of the window itself having this meaning. When Jeremiah (ix. 21) says, "Death is come up into our windows, and is entered into our palaces, to cut off the children from without, and the young men from the streets," he describes, by analogy, the entrance of evil through the understanding into the will, and the destruction of all innocence and intelligence. When the spies went to view the land of Canaan, and the king of Jericho sent to Rahab, in whose house they lodged, to deliver them up to him, Rahab let them down by a cord through the window; and in the window she bound a scarlet thread, which was a sign by which, when the Israelites took Jericho, they recognised the house, and were able to save her and her household. In this instance, too, the window was a symbol of understanding and intelligence, by which the designs of the wicked are frustrated, and good escapes the power of evil; while the scarlet thread placed in the window, when Israel entered and took Jericho, was a symbolic sign that when there is charity in the understanding, or goodness in truth, or love in faith, there is protection and deliverance in times of judgment.

But there was something more to be done to provide for David's safety. His wife saw that if Saul's messengers knew that David had escaped they would pursue him. Therefore "Michal took an image, and laid it in the bed, and put a pillow of goats' hair for his bolster, and covered it with a cloth. And when Saul sent messengers to take David, she said, He is sick." The image which Michal employed as a means of deceiving the messengers of Saul seems to have been a sort of household god, possibly in the human shape. The teraphim, the untranslated word by which they are sometimes called, are the "images" which Rachel stole from Laban, when Jacob quitted the house of his father-in-law, who called them his "gods" (Gen. xxxi. 19, 30); and they were in the house of Micah's gods, which the Levite stole away (Judges xvii. 5, xviii. 20). In these instances, as in the case of Michal's image, nothing is said to indicate the kind of homage that was rendered them, but in some other parts of the Word they are spoken of as objects of superstitious reverence.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 123 Ezekiel says, "The king of Babylon stood at the parting of the way, at the head of the two ways, to use divination: he made his arrows bright, he consulted with teraphim, he looked in the liver" (xxi. 21); and Zechariah says, "The teraphim have spoken vanity, and diviners have seen a lie, and have told false dreams" (x. 2). In a corrupt state of the Jewish Church they are mentioned as forming part of the abominations which existed under the wicked reign of Manasseh--the workers with familiar spirits, and the wizards, and the teraphim, and the idols, which Josiah put away (2 Kings xxiii. 24). According to Swedenborg, "teraphim were idols, which were applied to or consulted when they inquired of God; and because the answers which they received were to them truths Divine, therefore truths are signified by them, as in Hosea, 'The children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without a teraphim' (iii. 4). An ephod and a teraphim denote truths Divine, which they received by answers, for when they inquired of God they put on an ephod." As the teraphim, when mentioned without reproach, were used chiefly by those in a simple state, as Laban and Micah were, it would appear that they represented apparent truths, such as are contained in the letter of the Word, which is Divine truth adapted to the apprehension of the simple, but which is liable to become perverted, as we find the use of the teraphim came to be, in a more advanced state of intelligence. Indeed, when our author uses the phrase "truth Divine," he means, as we have seen, apparent truth, as distinguished from real and absolute truth, which he calls Divine truth.

What, then, are we to understand by Michal putting the teraphim in the bed where David had been, and covering it with a cloth, and putting under its head a pillow of goats' hair! When Divine truth itself, which David represented, is providentially removed from the sight of those who seek to destroy it, apparent truth is made to take its place. And this is effected by the agency of the Church herself, which, in the inmost sense, Michal represented. When men can no longer receive the real truths of the Word, these are wisely and mercifully hid from their eyes, and its apparent truths are all that they are permitted to see, because these are all that they are able to receive. If men in their natural state were permitted to see spiritual truths, they would profane and destroy them, as Saul by his messengers sought to kill David; therefore the Lord hides those things from the wise and prudent, and reveals them unto babes. When the men of the Church are in evil, His permissive providence even allows them to fall into false persuasions; for it is less hurtful to believe a lie than it is to hold the truth in unrighteousness.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 124 To represent this, Michal told the messengers whom Saul sent to kill David that he was sick; and when Saul himself accused her of having deceived him, and sent away his enemy, she answered, "He said unto me, Let me go; why should I kill thee?" It must not be understood that Michal's untruths were divinely ordered, or we might say inspired, so as that they might convey a spiritual idea. They were her own voluntary utterances; but as written by the inspired penman, and woven into the sacred history, which Divine Wisdom made the continent of heavenly and Divine truths, they acquired a new and different character. It is also to be remarked that statements of this kind, which occur in many parts of the Old Testament, were not considered as violations of truth or of conscience in that age and under that dispensation. There is, besides, in all times, a wide distinction to be made between a malicious lie and a benevolent untruth--between a lie that is told to cause mischief, and one that is told to prevent it. It is contended, indeed, by some that no deviation from the truth is allowable under any circumstances; but this is a position which the cause of truth does not require us absolutely to maintain. When all mischievous lying and interested deception, which is practical falsehood, are banished from the earth, Truth will utter no complaint and pronounce no condemnatory judgment.

To return from this digression; there are some particulars respecting Michal's teraphim that require to be noticed.

When in the minds of men apparent truths take the place of genuine truths, those apparent truths of the Word, which are but the images of its genuine truths, and in themselves have no more life, find their way into the doctrine of the Church. This is representatively described by Michal laying the teraphim in the bed in the place of David; for in the Word a bed is the symbol of doctrine. As the body reposes on a bed, so does the mind on its doctrine. David himself in the Psalms speaks of the wicked devising mischief on his bed (xxxvi. 4), which he does when he devises false principles of doctrine; and he exhorts the righteous to commune with their own heart upon their bed, and be still (iv. 4), which they do when they examine their own heart by the standard of true doctrine, and still it by its teachings. Our Lord, sometimes, when He cured the sick, commanded them to take up their bed and walk; which teaches us, though it might not be so understood; by them, that the doctrine which has supported us in sickness should be lived up to in health, whether that sickness has been of the body or the mind. It is not what we feel and think in sickness, but what we will and do in health that determines our state. Therefore our Lord said that at His second coming, which is a coming to judgment, two should be in one bed, one of whom should be taken and the other left


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 125 one saved and the other lost; for those who are in doctrine without being in the life of doctrine are lost, while those who live according to doctrine are saved. And although at the end of the Church there may be no pure doctrine, if that which the Church teaches is sincerely believed and accompanied by a good life, it is sufficient for salvation. When the doctrine of the Church contains apparent instead of genuine truths, the teraphim are in the bed where David once had been; and this is a necessity and a mercy, to prevent the destruction of genuine truth, and thus to save men from the condemnation which results from sinning against the light.

But Michal not only put an image in the bed, in the place of David, but she put a pillow of goats' hair under its head, and covered it with a cloth. In the Word goats, the hair of which is here to be understood, represent what has relation to faith, as sheep represent what has relation to charity. It is for this reason that the true members of the Church are called sheep, because they have charity as well as faith, while the false members of the Church are called goats, because they have faith without charity. The goat that contended with the ram, in the vision of Daniel (viii.), and the goats that are placed on the left hand of the Judge at the great judgment-day, are those who had made a profession of faith, but had not the charity which it requires--who had said, Lord, Lord, but did not the things which He says; and the sheep that are placed on His right are those who had exercised the charity which is the end and life of faith. But goats have also a good meaning, since true faith includes charity, as true charity includes faith. Goats as well as sheep were accepted in sacrifice (Lev. i. 10), and goats' hair as well as rams' skins were employed in the furniture of the tabernacle (Exod. xxv. 4, 5). It is when faith comes to be regarded as the only justifying and saving grace that it ceases to be true faith. The pillow of goats' hair is under the head of the teraphim when faith, or salvation by faith, is held to be the principal tenet of Church doctrine. All religious errors, as drawn from the Scriptures, are derived from their apparent truths, and faith is that by which they are supported. But the image was covered with a cloth as well as supported by a pillow under its head. Cloth, when used as a garment for the body or a covering for a bed, is a symbol of the truth by which good is covered and protected. "The bed is shorter than that a man can stretch himself upon it, and the covering narrower than that he can wrap himself in it" (Isa. xxviii. 10). Thus does the prophet lament the state of religion, when the creed of the Church is so contracted as to prevent the full stretch of the powers of the mind, and its evidences are so narrow that they cannot satisfy its reasonable demands. In the strictly spiritual sense, length and breadth have reference to goodness and truth;


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 126 so that the bed is too short and the covering too narrow when the doctrine of the Church neither satisfies the requirements of the will for goodness nor of the understanding for truth, but cramps the power of both. The cloth with which Michal covered her image is the confirming truth from the letter of the Word, which is employed to help to give to apparent truth the appearance of the real.

David, when he fled and escaped, came to Samuel to Ramah, and told him all that Saul had done to him. Samuel was David's spiritual father. He had anointed him to be king of Israel instead of Saul; and what so natural, in the extremity of his distress, as to come to one to whom he could tell all his sorrows, and who was so well able to give him counsel and encouragement? He might expect also, when even his own home afforded him no security, that the sanctity of the prophet's character would throw a shield of protection around him. But Saul had no respect for the sacredness of the sanctuary to which David had fled for safety. When it was told Saul that David was at Naioth, he sent messengers to take him. But the holy place was not to be invaded, nor its sacredness desecrated by tearing an innocent victim of persecution from the horns of the altar. But Saul's purpose was defeated in a way which the king could not have expected, nor even perhaps imagined, but one entirely consistent with the circumstances of the case. The messengers were not resisted as enemies, but were for the moment converted into friends. "When they saw the company of the prophets prophesying, and Samuel standing as appointed over them, the Spirit of God was upon the messengers of Saul, and they also prophesied." When it was told Saul, he sent other messengers; and when these prophesied likewise, he sent messengers the third time, who also became obedient to the same Divine influence. Saul, however, as if nothing either human or Divine should stand between him and the object of his wrath, now went himself "to Ramah, and came to a great well that is in Sechu: and he asked and said, Where are Samuel and David? And one said, Behold, they be at Naioth in Ramah." Sechu and Naioth are never mentioned except in this part of the Word; and nothing is known of them but the names, the meaning of which gives some idea of their symbolic character. Sechu, which means a watch-tower, has relation to truth; and Naioth, which means habitations, has relation to goodness. In such persecutions as this, the soul is more secure in the habitations of goodness than in the watch-tower of truth. The great well, also, to which Saul came, and where he inquired for Samuel and David, is peculiar to this place. There are two words in the Old Testament which generally appear in our Bibles as a well. One means a place where the water is supplied from within;


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 127 the other a place where the water is collected from without; thus, one means a well, the other a cistern or reservoir. The well to which Saul came, and where he inquired for the objects of his search, was of this kind. The truth that springs up in the mind itself has its receptacle in the understanding; that which is collected from without has its receptacle in the memory. The truth which belongs to those whom Saul now represented, is of the memory only; and however great or capacious that receptacle may be, and however filled with the knowledge of Divine and spiritual things, there may be no real love of truth and goodness, but, on the contrary, hatred of them and opposition to them; and, indeed, the term great, which, in its genuine sense, is expressive of goodness, in its opposite sense is expressive of evil.

As directed, Saul goes to Naioth, but the fate of his messengers is also his. "The Spirit of God was upon him, and he went on, and prophesied, until he came to Naioth in Ramah. And he stripped off his clothes also, and prophesied before Samuel in like manner, and lay down naked all that day and all that night. Wherefore they say, Is Saul also among the prophets!" This singular effect upon Saul and his messengers, of coming within the holy sphere of the man of God, is not unlike that which some, with the same hostile intent, felt when they came within the holy sphere of the God-man. When the Pharisees and chief priests sent officers to take Jesus, and these messengers returned, and were asked, "Why have ye not brought Him?" they answered, "Never man spake like this man" (John vii. 45, 46). On the occasion, too, when the people themselves were divided in opinion respecting Jesus, some, who accused Him of having a devil and of being a false prophet, would have taken Him, but no man laid hands on Him, for His hour was not yet come (verses 30, 44). And on the night that Judas went with the officers of the chief priests to take Jesus, a more positive result was produced. When, on being asked if He was Jesus of Nazareth, the Lord answered, I am, they went backward and fell to the ground (John xviii. 6). Similar effects follow in the other world, when evil spirits, with even the deadliest feelings, come within the sphere of the angels; they are paralyzed and often tormented by the contrariety of the sphere of heaven to that of hell. But there is another and still higher view of the subject than this.

There were two states which our Lord passed through in the world, states of humiliation and states of glorification, and these states alternated with each other. His states of humiliation were states of temptation; His states of glorification were states of victory over the tempter. Every temptation which the Lord endured was followed by victory, for in every temptation He was more than conqueror. These temptations of our Lord, which, like those of men, consisted of three different kinds or distinct degrees of temptation, are described, representatively, by His three temptations in the wilderness, where He was led up of the Spirit to be tempted of the devil.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 128 Three times Saul sent messengers to take David, and three times they were overcome, and turned into unwilling subjects and witnesses of the power that conquered them.

Jesus in His sore trials sought shelter from the persecution of His great enemy with the Divine in heaven among the angels, as David sought a refuge from the persecution of Saul with Samuel in Naioth among the company of the prophets. There he was safe; for although the tempting power exalted itself to heaven, as Saul and his emissaries thrust themselves into the presence of Samuel and the company of the prophets, there their power ceased, and they themselves became the involuntary subjects of its influence. They were like Balaam, who went to curse and was compelled altogether to bless. Our author tells us that evil men and evil spirits can be elevated into the light of heaven, so as to be able to see truth like the angels themselves, and even to will in agreement with it; but that they cannot long maintain that state, but relapse into their own natural condition. Saul seems to have been more completely in this state than his emissaries. "he stripped off his clothes, and lay down naked all that day and all that night." The clothing of the mind consists of its intellectual ideas, whether they be true or false; and when these are stripped off, the mind appears in its nakedness; and the natural selfhood, when stripped of its decent coverings, is seen to be also like Saul, in his nakedness, fallen and lying prostrate on the ground, earthly, sensual, devilish.



1 Samuel xx.

THE subject of this chapter is painfully interesting and deeply affecting. As a part of inspiration, given for correction and instruction in righteousness, it is not less edifying. But our limits will compel us to make our observations more general than we could wish. We have, besides, already treated of the friendship between David and Jonathan, of which we have here so beautiful a manifestation.

The history tells us nothing more of Saul on his visit to Samuel, but leaves him in his prophetic madness lying naked upon the ground. His presence and prophesying do not, however, seem to have reassured David, "who fled from Naioth in Ramah, and came and said before Jonathan, What have I done? what is mine iniquity?


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 129 and what is my sin before thy father, that he seeketh my life?" Such was now David's distress, and his despair of finding any way of escape from Saul's wrath, that he declared to Jonathan, "Truly as the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, there is but a step between me and death." David's bitterness of spirit was but a faint image of that of David's Lord, when He said, "My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death" (Matt. xxvi. 38). It is very expressive also of a state of mind which is produced by ail severe spiritual trial. "Temptations are attended with devastations and desolations, and also with despairings, and with consequent feelings of grief and indignation." These trials and temptations, in which the evils of his nature are excited by the agency of evil spirits, give the Christian a view of the state of his own natural mind, as the seat of hereditary depravity and acquired evil, which is sufficient to produce all those feelings. It is through these evils that the temptations come; and temptation is permitted, that these evils, by being excited, may be seen, and being seen, may be condemned, and being condemned, may be removed. It is the inner man that sees and abhors them. For the state which is here represented is that described by the Apostle, in which the Christian delights in the law of God after the inward man, but sees another law in his members warring against the law of his mind, and bringing him into captivity to the law of sin which is in his members (Rom. vii. 22, 23). In regard to the Lord, He not only delighted in the law of God after the inward man; His inward man was the law itself; and the law in His members that warred against the law of His mind, was the natural mind which He, in common with His creatures, inherited from His human parent. It was in consequence of inheriting our common nature that He was in all points tempted as we are, but with this all-important difference, that in Him temptation was without sin. In the Lord evil tendencies never become evil acts; they had no active existence but as temptations. In those who are being regenerated evils are not only felt as desires, but come forth as sins. So true is it that no man liveth and sinneth not, and that in temptation no mere man comes up to the full measure of the stature of Christ, since, in all his doings and sufferings, if he does not actually sin, he comes short of the glory of God. David was able to say, "What have I done? what is mine iniquity? what is my sin before thy father?" Jesus was able to say, "Which of you convinceth Me of sin?" His sinlessness was different from David's, it was absolute and invariable. Yet David's innocence, under the present harassment and provocation, was a not unworthy shadow of the coming substance.

It would appear that while under the protection of Samuel, David, though harassed by Saul, was in no real danger of his life, since Saul and his messengers, when they came within the sphere of the prophet, were for the moment changed into other men.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 130 It may therefore seem singular that David should leave his place of safety, and return with the intention of taking his usual place at Saul's table. "Behold," he says to Jonathan, "to-morrow is the new moon, and I should not fail to sit with the king at meat." Yet fearing a repetition of Saul's violence, David expressed a wish to remain in the field until the third day at even, and engaged Jonathan to excuse his absence to his father on the plea that he had earnestly asked leave to go to Bethlehem, his city, for there was a yearly sacrifice there for all the family. The new moon was the occasion of an appointed festival in the Israelitish Church (Num. x. 10), because it represented the beginning of a new state, especially a state of faith, which the moon symbolizes; and, therefore, over their sacrifices and burnt-offerings they were to blow the silver trumpets, made of a whole piece (ver. 2), to represent the unity of faith as the means of expressing the affection of charity. But this new moon was no time of rejoicing for David. The silver trumpet did not speak to him of faith and love, but of unfaithfulness and hatred. Evil had changed its peaceful and jubilant note into a sound of war and alarm. The new moon served the purpose, however, of David excusing himself for being absent from Saul's table on this festive occasion.

Saul missed David on the first day, but accounted to himself for his absence by supposing he was prevented from appearing by some legal uncleanness. When he did not appear the second day, Saul said to Jonathan, "Wherefore cometh not the son of Jesse to meat, neither yesterday, nor to-day?" Jonathan gave the concerted answer. Saul was not to be deceived by this pretence. His pent-up rage vented itself in a form most offensive to an Israelitish son, by making a reproachful allusion to his mother. He revealed at the same time the real cause of his determined attempts torid himself of David. "For," he said, "as long as the son of Jesse liveth upon the ground, thou shalt not be established, nor thy kingdom. Wherefore now send and fetch him unto me, for he shall surely die." On Jonathan's advocating the cause of his friend, Saul cast at his son a javelin, which had no doubt been intended for the son of Jesse. "So Jonathan arose from the table in fierce anger, and did eat no meat the second day of the month."

As Saul's enmity to David represents the enmity of the natural man to the spiritual, and his assaults upon him represent the temptation-conflicts that arise from that enmity, we may learn from these particulars something relating to our Christian life and experience, and even to the life and experience of Him who is "the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 131 For consider Him that endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds" (Heb. xii. 2, 3). We have the encouragement and warning of another witness, who tells us that "when man is in temptation his internal spiritual man is under the Lord's rule by means of angels, but his external or natural man is under the rule of infernal spirits; and the contest between them is perceived in man as temptation. Resistance arises from the natural man."

If David left a place of safety to return to the scene of danger, it was because it was the sphere of duty. Our Lord withdrew Himself from those who sought His life, but returned again to the scene of strife, because it was His Sphere of usefulness. So the Christian flees from manifest danger and seeks refuge in the sanctuary of his God amid the angels of His presence, but comes forth again in obedience to the call of duty.

The first thing that David did when he returned was to ask through Jonathan what he had done to justify his father in seeking his life. In this and in what is further related in this chapter respecting Jonathan's kind office, in coming between David and Saul, we may see the exemplification of another truth relating to the Lord and to man.

Jonathan, seeking to cheer his friend and to assuage the wrath of his father, is true to his character as a medium, whose use it is to reconcile things that are discordant, especially the inward and the outward man, and of the twain to make one new man.

The principle of mediation enters, as we have had occasion to show, into the whole economy of religion, and indeed into the economy of the entire universe, natural and spiritual. As nothing can act through a vacuum, universal attraction requires a universal medium. This is supplied by the ethereal fluid which extends through all space, and "penetrates the earth and the water, preserving the terraqueous globe in its present harmony and impelling it in its rotations." The sun could not convey its light and heat to the earth without the medium of the atmosphere. The same law rules in the spiritual world. Things that are distinct are connected, things that are discordant are reconciled, through mediums. This prevails in all things from the lowest to the highest, until we come by the supremest of all, the Lord's Humanity, which is the reconciling and uniting medium between God and man. And not only so, but it was the Father's will "that in the dispensation of the fulness of times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth" (Eph. i. 10); and "to reconcile all things unto Himself, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven" (Col. i. 20). With respect to the present case, there are mediums for connecting and reconciling the internal and the external man. "The internal cannot have communication with the external without a medium.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 132 The interior or rational man is intermediate between the internal and external, and enables the internal to flow into the external: without it, there could be no communication between them." In the work of regeneration, which is the reconciling of the internal and the external man, and of what is spiritual and what is natural in man, there are also mediums. "During the process of regeneration man is kept by the Lord in a kind of mediatory good, which serves for introducing genuine goods and truths. Every one who has any knowledge of regeneration and of the new man can comprehend that the new man is altogether different from the old, for he is in the affection of spiritual and celestial things, which constitute his delight and blessedness, whereas the old man is in the affection of worldly and earthly things, these constituting his delights and satisfactions. Thus the new man has respect to heavenly ends, but the old man to worldly ends. Hence it is manifest that the new man is altogether other and different from the old. In order that man may be led from the state of the old man into the state of the new, worldly lusts must be put off and heavenly affections must be put on. This is effected by innumerable means, which are known to the Lord alone, and of which some are known to the angels from the Lord, but few if any to men. Nevertheless all these are manifested in the internal sense of the Word. While, therefore, man from the old man is being made into the new, or while he is being regenerated, this is not effected in a moment, as some suppose, but by a process of several years, nay, of a man's whole life, even to the last period; for his lusts are to be extirpated, and heavenly affections are to be insinuated, and he is to be gifted with a life which he had not before, and of which he had scarcely any notion. Since, therefore, the states of his life are to be so much changed, he must be kept for a considerable time in a sort of middle good, that is, in a good which partakes both of the affections of the world and of heaven."

In Saul's attempt to slay Jonathan we have a figure of the resistance of the natural man to the influence of the spiritual, as operating through the medium of that real truth which is ever striving to remove the enmity of the natural against the spiritual, by removing the unworthy ends by which it is actuated, and the fallacies by which they are supported. But so long as natural ends prevail and seek to have the dominion, so long will the false principle, like the javelin of Saul, be ready to be cast at the truth in whatever form or through whatever channel it comes. Jonathan's fierce anger is but a mode of representatively expressing the entire disagreement existing between the natural and the spiritual, and the apparent and the real in man; as anger, when predicated of God, is expressive of the disagreement between the Divine and the human mind.

But Jonathan, when he went out in anger from the presence of Saul, came in love to the hiding-place of David.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 133 By agreement between the two friends David hid himself till Jonathan should ascertain Saul's temper towards him. When Jonathan came to the place where David had concealed himself he shot three arrows; and by a preconcerted direction to his attendant, David was made aware that his safety was in flight. Truths from the armoury of the Word of God, of which these winged messengers were the symbols, instruct the mind respecting the condition of things, and give either encouragement or warning as the circumstances admit or require.

But the shooting of the arrows. David was to come to the place where he hid himself when the business was in hand, and remain by the stone Ezel. "And I will," said Jonathan, "shoot three arrows on the side thereof, as though I shot at a mark. And, behold, I will send a lad, saying, Go, find out the arrows. If I expressly say unto the lad, Behold, the arrows are on this side of thee, take them; then come thou: for there is peace to thee, and no hurt; as the Lord liveth. But if I say thus unto the young man, Behold, the arrows are beyond thee; go thy way: for the Lord hath sent thee away." This hiding to escape a threatened danger is that which is spoken of by David himself. "In the shadow of Thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast" (Ps. lvii. 1); and of which Isaiah speaks when he says, "Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast" (xxvi. 20). The Lord is our refuge in time of trouble; but to make Him our refuge we must raise our thoughts and affections upward, or what is the same, turn them inward; for unless the Lord dwells in the heaven within us, it will avail us little to look up to the heaven without us. The interiors of the mind are the inner chambers where the spiritual life may be preserved in safety until the indignation of the natural man be overpast. The Word also is a place of safety, because the Lord is present with us and in us by His Word. It is the stone Ezel, by which we must remain in our time of trouble. It is also, as it were, the touchstone by which our state and fate are determined. If Jonathan shot within the mark of the stone, it was to be a sign of safety; if beyond, it was to be a sign of danger. Within is the spirit of the Word, beyond or without is the letter; and the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life (2 Cor. iii. 6). The Word, also, like the stone Ezel, as its name imports, shows us the way; and even if it be but the way of departure, it is at least the way out of danger and of escape from evil.

When Jonathan's attendant had gathered up the arrows and gone away into the town, "David arose out of a place toward the south, and fell on his face to the ground, and bowed himself three times: and they kissed one another, and wept with one another, until David exceeded." To rise toward the south is to rise into a state of spiritual light and intelligence; to fall with the face to the earth and bow three times is to be in a state of profound humiliation;


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 134 and to kiss one another is to be united in love; while to weep over their common troubles and on account of their enforced outward separation, is expressive of grief at the discordance existing between the natural and the spiritual man, and at the consequent enforced separation of goodness and truth, the concord and union of which constitute heaven and happiness. This severance lies at the foundation of all grief; it is this which opens the fountain of tears in all eyes. The fact that we weep from excess of joy as well as of sorrow does not invalidate this truth. The feeling that produces tears is connected with that of separation; and the intense joy that wells up from the heart through the eyes is only the opening of a fountain that a settled sorrow may have long sealed up. Jesus wept; and His tears expressed both grief and love, sorrow and joy. He wept over the doomed city of Jerusalem and at the grave of Lazarus. His tears at the grave of Lazarus must have been expressive of joy as well as of sympathizing sorrow; for He knew, though the weeping sisters of Lazarus knew not, that He was about to raise him from the dead. And when we consider that the resurrection of Lazarus was a type of the Lord's raising up a Church among the Gentiles, we must regard this as a part of the joy that was set before Him.

To look at the subject in relation to ourselves. David himself exhorts us to kiss the Son lest He be angry, and we perish from the way (Ps. ii. 12)--to seek conjunction with the Lord by love. The Lord sympathizes with us in all our sufferings. He weeps over us while we are yet in our sins; He weeps in us when we shed the tears of repentance; and He weeps with us when we weep for joy. This feeling o: sympathy between the Saviour and the saved arises from His being "touched with a feeling of our infirmities," because He "was in all points tempted like as we are" (Heb. iv. 15). But in all the Lord's weeping in us and with us, He, like David with Jonathan, will ever "exceed" in all the tenderest affections that can be excited in our hearts. It is from Him that our godly sorrow and our heavenly joy come; and He who supplies all must exceed in all that He supplies. But the Lord gives us not only sympathy but aid: "For in that He Himself hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succour them that are tempted" (Heb. ii. 18).

Before these two tender friends parted, Jonathan reminded David of the covenant to which both of them had sworn in the name of the Lord, and which was between them and their seed for ever.

The Christian's covenant with the Lord extends to all states of love and faith which are successively begotten in the heart and understanding and born in the life, of which, in the regenerate, there is no end.





1 Samuel xxi.

To his inward trust in the Lord the Christian unites the outward means of resistance. David, while he trusted in the Lord, had the sword of Goliath, which, had occasion required, he would have turned against his enemies, those very enemies whom that sword had defended. He was now in the giant's own city, to whose king he had fled, to seek shelter from the wrath of Saul, the king- of his native land, from which he had been driven by a cruel persecution.

The history of David, viewed as a history of Him whom he represented, even David's Lord, presents to the mind some idea of the persecutions and sufferings He endured, and of the glory into which He entered, when He had overcome and risen purified above them. The Christian disciple, to whom the Lord has said, and to whom He still says, "In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world," may see too in this history the path which leads to purity and bliss. That path is not indeed all darkness and suffering. If such were the case the spirit would fail, and the prize would be lost. In the spiritual as in the natural life there is, as a general rule, more of peacefulness and light than of tribulation and darkness. And there is always this additional consolation to the spiritually-minded man, that when he does suffer, he does not all suffer. As, when the tempest is raging below, lashing the sea into fury and agitating the forest with terrific violence, perfect tranquillity reigns in the upper heaven; and as, when dense clouds darken the earth and pour out their inundating floods upon it, the sun shines in all his majesty and glory above them--so when the earthly region of the regenerating mind is dark and tempestuous, there is sunshine and peace in the upper and inner region, which, though it may be concealed, can never be invaded, by the evils that disturb and the falsities that obscure the natural mind below. Even in these natural and grateful vicissitudes of state, which are provided to refresh the mind by the alternations of activity and repose, both intellectual and moral, the inner mind knows less of change both in extent and duration than that which is without; just as the mountain enjoys the sunshine long after the shadows of evening have fallen upon the vale below, and receives it long before it gladdens the earth where are the ordinary dwellings of men.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 136 And the higher the mountain rises, the more it possesses of evenness of temperature and continuance of light.

Although, therefore, in this world we must have tribulation, and in both worlds change, yet the higher we rise in the life of heaven, the less does the tribulation inwardly disturb us, or the change inwardly affect us; the nearer we are to Him who is without variableness or shadow of turning, who is the same yesterday and for ever, the more we enter into the tranquillity of settled peace and the unclouded light of eternal sunshine.

Yet in the world of time, the labour of the upward task is still before us. All may have conquered, but none have as yet overcome the last enemy. Tribulation ends only with the present life; and that which continues through life, that from which the present existence is never exempt, and from which no moment of it is entirely secure, demands and deserves our attention, as the frequent occurrence of the subject in the language and symbolism of the Scriptures abundantly show.

The present part of the history, however, does not so much relate to the subject of tribulation itself as to the relief which the troubled soul finds on the way, when driven by the violence of inward persecution to seek refuge for a time in a state which is useful only when it is temporary, or in principles which are useful only when they are auxiliary.

We have instances of this kind in the Sacred Scriptures. One is in the case of Elijah the Tishbite. When in consequence of the sins of Ahab the heavens were shut up for three years and six months, and drought and famine were in the land, the prophet was commanded to go to the banks of the Jordan, where he drank of the brook Cherith and was fed by the ravens; and when the brook dried up, he was sent to a widow of Zarephath, who sustained him with bread made of the meal which he himself miraculously supplied. On another occasion, when he fled from the face of Jezebel, and, weary of his life, he laid himself down under a juniper-tree, and slept in the wilderness, he was awakened by an angel who said to him, "Arise and eat And he looked, and, behold, there was a cake baken on the coals, and a cruse of water at his head." Besides these and other instances of the same character there is one still more striking and important. The Lord Jesus Himself, when an infant, to escape the rage of Herod, and be preserved in the massacre of the innocents, was by Divine command carried down into Egypt, where He remained till the danger was passed.

In the teaching of the Lord, the same mode of proceeding is recommended to His disciples, "When they persecute you in one city, flee into another."



These things are written for our direction and comfort. They instruct us what we ought to do and how we are to be provided for, in states of trial or in times of danger.

The case of Elijah teaches us how the faithful are to act, and how they shall be succoured, when the heaven of the inner man is shut up and the gentle showers of spiritual truth no longer descend, and the streams of spiritual intelligence no longer few; and the mind languishes under that most terrible calamity, a famine, not of bread and water, but of the hearing--the inward, peaceful, and obedient hearing of the Word of God.

For what is it that shuts up the windows of heaven, so that the blessing is not poured out upon us from on high, and our minds are turned into deserts? Is it not the evil of looking outward to the world for our blessings, instead of looking for them upward to heaven? to natural rather than to spiritual, to temporal rather than to eternal things? What is evil in its root but reliance upon self and what is good in its root but trust in the Lord? "Trust in the Lord, and do good; and verily thou shalt be fed." And where does the Lord send us to learn this trust? "Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls?" God not only feeds the ravens, but He sends the raven to feed the prophet, and instructs him to be our teacher.

It might seem that when man takes the double security of providing both for his present desires and for his future wants, he might have more perfect contentment than the birds of heaven, that take no thought for the morrow, and therefore do not gather into storehouse or barn. The raven feeds us when we learn from him to take no anxious or distrustful thought for the morrow, especially when, in a spiritual manner and in spiritual things, we lay not our treasures up in the earthly storehouse of the outward memory, and say to our souls, "Thou hast much goods laid up for many years, take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry;" but when, through the loving affections of the inner man, we daily receive from the Lord out of heaven the true bread, which is His flesh, and which He gives for the life of the soul that hungers after righteousness.

In those instances in which safety and sustenance were sought in times of hunger and scarcity, the place and the supply were generally inferior to those from which the sufferer was driven. Philistia and Egypt were not unfrequently the places of sojourn. Abraham and Isaac sojourned in the land of the Philistines, Jacob sojourned in Egypt, and the whole of his house went down there to be nourished by Joseph, when the famine was sore in the land of Canaan;


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 138 and there the infant Saviour was preserved. The reason of this is to be found in the representative character of these places, Philistia when friendly being the type of intelligence, and Egypt of knowledge; and the going down there represented initiation into knowledge and intelligence, as the means of improvement in the life of religion.

David, when he fled from the face of Saul, was on his way to Achish, king of Gath, the very city of the Philistines to which Goliath had belonged. He did not indeed remain long there, but passed into the land of Judah, where he found a place of security in the cave of Adullam. It was on his way to Achish that he obtained from Ahimelech the priest bread out of the sanctuary and the sword of Goliath.

This circumstance derives additional interest from the reference which our Lord makes to it on the occasion of the Jews accusing His disciples of breaking the Sabbath, because on that day they had plucked the ears of corn and had eaten of them. "Have ye not read," said our Lord, "what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him; how he entered into the house of God, and did eat the showbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them that were with him, but only for the priests?" The Lord further vindicated His disciples, and Himself as their Master, by declaring to the Pharisees that "the Son of man is Lord even of the Sabbath-day" (Matt. xii.). If Jesus, by allowing His disciples on that day to pluck and eat the ears of corn, showed that He was Lord of the Sabbath; David's act of eating the showbread was intended to represent that He was Lord also of the Temple; for in the highest sense David represented the Lord, and those that were with him represented His disciples. The Temple was the holiest place, the Sabbath was the holiest day; and both were types of Him as the Holy One. The Temple itself was not indeed built in David's time, but the Tabernacle then existed; and both were the house of God, and both had a holy signification, as had every place where the Lord was duly worshipped. But not only did the Temple and the Sabbath represent Him; the sacred bread of the Temple and the corn of the field pointed to him as the bread of eternal life. The Lord in His own person was Priest as well as King; and He promises to make His disciples priests and kings also. He is the Priest as the dispenser of love, and His disciples are priests as the recipients of His love; He is the King as the dispenser of truth, and His disciples are kings as the recipient of His truth.

When David and them that were with him did eat of the showbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, but for the priests only, he showed beforehand that Jesus should enter into the holy place, and introduce His disciples into the holy things of the Church, and give them to eat of the holy principle of spiritual goodness, by which the soul is spiritually nourished.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 139 This holy good is especially precious in the state of the spiritual life which David's present condition represented. He was fleeing from the face of his enemy, and going to seek protection in another country than his own; and like the prophet Elijah, he was to go in the strength of that meat to the place of safety. The meat which is in such states received is that which is from God, and which nourishes the inward man during times of labour and trial. The Lord Himself was sustained by this food, and He indeed above all others. To this food He alluded when He said to His disciples, "I have meat to eat which ye know not of." That meat was the Divine Good, which He inwardly received from the Father, that dwelt within Him, and of which no man knew. This was truly the hallowed bread, which it was not lawful or possible for any but Himself to eat, and which none but Himself could receive in its Divine fulness, holiness, and power.

Those who were with David received of the hallowed bread as well as himself. The followers of the Lord receive indeed of the bread that is sanctified; but they receive it in a different measure and degree. It was to give His disciples this bread that He Himself received it: and it is through Him only that they can receive it also. Our Lord said, "No one knoweth the Father but the Son;" but He added these all-important words, "and he to whom the Son will reveal Him." This is the mystery of godliness--God manifest in the flesh-"No man hath seen the Father at any time; ye have neither heard the voice of the Father at any time nor seen His shape." Had not the Son brought Him forth to view, the Father would have remained for ever unseen, unheard, and unknown. How full of significance and of consolation and blessing are the Lord's words to Philip, "He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father, and from henceforth ye have known Him and have seen Him!" The incomprehensible Divinity brought to our apprehension by the Humanity is the glory of the Incarnation. And the divinity is brought to us, so as to be with us in all our Christian experience, because that Humanity passed through all human experience. The Lord hungered and thirsted, not for the bread that perisheth nor for the water that fails, but for the hallowed bread that feeds the soul and for that living water that flows from Him as its eternal and infinite Fountain. And it is because He hungered and thirsted for, and ate and drank of this bread and water, that He now ministers to the spiritual wants of His children. He has in the proper sense a feeling of our infirmatives. "Have ye not read how David did eat of the showbread, and them that were with him?"

How consolatory is it that this bread is given us in states of affliction. During the travail of the soul it is satisfied with the food of the sanctuary;


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 140 it is inwardly sustained by the bread of life, when the ordinary means of support fail, and in the strength of that meat we go on during our forty days' journey.

But David inquired of Ahimelech if there were not under his hand spear or sword. The spiritual, like the natural life, requires defence as well as sustenance, and the means of its defence are signified by arms of war. The particular inquiry which this narrative suggests is the meaning of his receiving the sword of Goliath.

In treating on a former occasion of the single combat between David and Goliath, we spoke of the meaning of the sword of the giant, with which his youthful conqueror cut off his enemy's head. Armour, offensive and defensive, symbolizes the truths, in their pure or perverted state, by which principles are maintained and defended. The weapons that the evil employ against the good are not absolute falsities, for these have no power against them, but are truths falsely interpreted and applied; and these have power against the good, so far as the good can be deceived by the fallacy that they are the true teaching of the Scriptures. The sword of Goliath represented the truths of the Word perverted, so as to give a seeming support to the false principle that salvation may be obtained by faith, whatever the life may be. When this sword was taken from Goliath, and made the instrument of his own destruction, it represented, in the hand of David, truth restored to its true author, and employed in destroying the evils which, in the hand of the giant, it had been the means of supporting. As laid up in the sanctuary, it represented the truth that is consecrated to the service of God. When this sword was given by Ahimelech the priest to David, who was now anointed as king, it represented truth from the Lord's divinity, received into His humanity, as the instrumental means of subduing the powers of darkness, and accomplishing the work of human redemption. In harmony with this meaning, considered in reference to the Christian, the sword thus given out of the sanctuary is truth derived from good, coming into the life, where it is in its fulness and its power. When told by Ahimelech that the only sword he had was that of Goliath, David said, "There is none like that, give it me." To this instrument of war he gave a preference above all others, teaching us that the truth which is delivered from the perversion of evil is capable of being more serviceable than any other, since it can be turned more effectually against the power of the enemy, which is self-love or the love of the world.

In the history before us, then, we are instructed that if in our spiritual straits and distresses we betake ourselves to the sanctuary, we shall receive that relief which our necessities require. The bread that sustains and the sword that defends are there laid up for those who are entitled and able to receive them.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 141 When we are driven by severe internal trials into the land of the stranger, when we mourn our removal from those inward states of confidence and joy which bespeak the presence of the light and love of God in the mind, it is consolatory and hopeful to carry with us those spiritual gifts that will preserve our souls alive, and bring us again to our home in peace.

Let us pray and labour to be endued with patience and perseverance, and be led to a right and truthful use of the means which a bountiful Providence bestows upon us. Times of adversity are seasons of improvement. They prepare us, when rightly employed, for using with advantage seasons of prosperity. This is the end for which they are permitted. The Lord desires to bestow upon His suffering ones the blessings of His kingdom, peace and rest, by leading them through tribulation. Let them be of good courage and He will strengthen their heart.

But the land of the stranger to which David now fled was like to be as dangerous, and proved as inhospitable, as that of his own kindred and people from which he had been driven.

When David had obtained the showbread and the sword of Goliath, he "arose, and fled that day for fear of Saul, and went to Achish the king of Gath." Arrived there, his fears were awakened by the words of the servants of Achish, "Is not this 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?" Fearing Achish, he feigned himself mad, and scrabbled on the doors, and let his spittle fall upon his beard. So well did he act his part, that he became the object of the king's contempt and aversion, which enabled him to escape this new peril. The appearance of madness which David so successfully assumed, was like those appearances we read of in Scripture, which are produced by the mental states of those who see them. What David feigned to be, the apostle appeared to be. "We commend not ourselves again unto you, but give you occasion to glory on our behalf, that ye may have somewhat to answer them which glory in appearance, and not in heart. For whether we be beside ourselves, it is to God: or whether we be sober, it is for your cause" (2 Cor. v. 12, 13). "The preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God" (1 Cor. i. 18). "The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned" (ii. 14). How did our Lord Himself appear to the spiritual Philistines, the uncircumcised in heart, of His day? They said, "He hath a devil, and is mad; why hear ye Him?" (John x. 20.) And what say natural men of the Scriptures of truth? Do they not consider them to be the scrabbling of the foolish or the designing? When Jesus stooped down and wrote upon the ground, as a mark of His condemnation of the hypocritical accusers of the sinning woman;


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 142 when He spat upon the ground, and made clay of the spittle, to anoint the eyes of the blind, He gave the true sense and use of the truth, which, to the unbelieving, appears only as scrabbling upon the doors, and as spittle upon the beard. But there is another side of this subject, which will be considered when we come to treat of David's second visit to Achish and his favourable reception by him, when he finds a refuge from the enmity of Saul with Saul's last and conquering enemy. Meanwhile the anointed of the Lord, and the potential king of the land, is hunted like a partridge upon the mountains, with no covert in which to find shelter and repose.

It would appear from the superscription of the 56th Psalm, which was composed in reference to this part of David's experience, if not at the very time he was passing through it, that his danger was even greater than the narrative would lead us to suppose. The psalm is there said to relate to David, when the Philistines took him in Gath. If the expression does not mean that the Philistines actually seized David, it at least implies that they held him as securely as if he had been their personal captive. The psalm itself describes a state of persecution and distress. But as the captivity, peril, and distress of David on this occasion typified those of the Christian, and even those of the Lord Himself, in a corresponding state of trial, the words of the Psalmist may be taken up by every spiritual sufferer. In the "summary exposition" we are told that this psalm treats of the Lord's temptations, in which He put His trust in the Father; therefore it treats of the Christian's temptations, in which he puts his trust in the Lord. The malace of the tempting spirits is described by the people gathering themselves together, hiding themselves, and marking his steps, when they wait for his soul. This gives us an idea of the combined, hidden, watchful enmity of the spirits of evil, when they wait for the soul, that they make it their prey. But the language of the Psalmist should be that of the Christian. Prayer for the Divine mercy gives confidence in the Divine protection. "Be merciful unto me, O God, for man would swallow me up. What time I am afraid I will trust in Thee. In God I will praise His word, in God have J. put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me." The efficacy of trustful prayer is exemplified in David's experience. "When I cry unto Thee then shall mine enemies turn back; this I know; for God is for me." This trust, when it is earnest and persistent, is sure to be turned into triumph. "Thy vows are upon me, O God, I will render praise unto Thee. For Thou hast delivered my soul from death; Thou wilt deliver my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of the living." It is singularly appropriate that so much should be said about his steps and his feet, and of these beinging.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 143 The Philistines representing those who are in faith alone, a temptation of the kind which their assaults describe is one that marks the steps, to draw one away from the practice of the law of life. And therefore one who is tempted to yield to the seductive influence or the specious reasonings of faith without works, which is the doctrine of devils, who believe and tremble, will especially mingle with his thankfulness for the past deliverance of his soul from this death, the trust that the Lord will deliver his feet from falling, that he may walk before God in the light of the living.



1 Samuel xxii.

DRIVEN from the abodes of men, David now betakes himself, for shelter and concealment, to a wild and solitary cavern, which has become famous as the cave of Adullam. This was situated in the land of Judah, near a city of the same name; so that David was now in the dwelling-place of his own tribe and family. Adullam must have been a capacious hold, when it could afford shelter for four hundred men. Adullam may be regarded as the cave, not of despair, but of desperation. If the instincts of animals have their analogies in the tempers of men, as no doubt they have, David, pursued to the death by his enemies, is now, like the hunted stag at bay, ready to turn upon his pursuers. His pursuers do not, however, immediately follow him to his wild retreat; but from this time he begins to assume a defensive and an offensive attitude. On the other hand, his brethren and all his father's house went down to him. "And every one that was in distress, and every one that was in debt, and every one that was discontented, gathered themselves unto him; and he became a captain over them." What reason his family had for joining David and sharing his fortunes, or misfortunes, we do not learn, hut we may see the spiritual lesson which the circumstance contains. When, in the progress of the regenerate life, the spiritual principle has so far passed through the furnace of affliction as to have become purified, though not yet seven times, it acquires new lustre and power, and becomes therefore of greater value, and is more highly esteemed. When the spiritual affection acquires purity by abstinence from sensual indulgence, and strength by eating the bread of the sanctuary and arming itself with the sword of truth, it draws around it and subordinates to it all the natural affections, which then become, like David's adherents, instruments of power.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 144 David's brethren and his father's house are the natural affections that bear the nearest relationship to the spiritual. The motley crowd of distressed, bankrupt, and discontented Israelites that flocked to him have rather a suspicious appearance. And yet they may have had but too good ground for their distress and poverty and discontent. Saul's temper and the self-indicted harassment in which he lived, afford too much reason for the suspicion that his government was neither wise nor just, and that distress and poverty and discontent had naturally sprung up under it. It is not surprising, therefore, that some of these sufferers should have gone to David in the cave, the very name of which seems to promise the redress of their wrongs and grievances, for Adullam means the justice of the people. They had also in all probability become aware of his having been anointed king, and convinced that he would occupy the throne. They might thus look upon him as their real though not yet actual sovereign, and follow him accordingly. Spiritually understood, these disaffected ones that gathered themselves unto David, are the natural thoughts and affections that have become distressed, impoverished, and discontented under the rule of merely natural ends and in the pursuit of merely natural objects, and who desire to place themselves under the government of spiritual ends and engage in the pursuit of spiritual objects. These states and the change from the rule of the natural to that of the spiritual mind extends to the whole man; for distress is a state of the will, poverty is a state of the understanding, and discontent is a state of the life. That David became a captain over those who gathered themselves unto him does not necessarily imply that he was not also regarded as their king; for Saul was anointed "captain" over the Lord's inheritance. It implies, however, that they acknowledged him as their leader, and were willing to fight under his banner. The ultimate object of conflict is the conjunction of goodness and truth, and the consequent union of the natural and the spiritual in man. This state is not yet complete. David's followers are as yet only about four hundred men. They have not reached that number which is expressive of completeness and conjunction.

David's precarious condition induced him to seek a safer and better asylum for his parents than his gloomy and comfortless cave afforded them. He "went thence to Mizpeh of Moab: and he said unto the king of Moab, Let my father and mother, I pray thee, come forth, and be with you, till I know what God will do for me. And he brought them before the king of Moab: and they dwelt with him all the while that David was in the hold." We are not told what personal connection or intimacy existed between David and the king of Moab; but there was a blood-relationship between them, which made David's assignment of his father and mother to the king's care an appropriate and significant act.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 145 The Moabites and the Israelites were the descendants of the two brothers, Abraham and Lot, although the blood of the Moabites was vitiated by Moab being the fruit of an incestuous connection between Lot and his eldest daughter. Yet the two streams, after flowing apart for eight hundred years, again united in Obed, the father of Jesse, the father of David; for Obed was the son of Ruth, a Moabitess. Singularly, Boat, the husband of Ruth and father of Obed, was a descendant of Judah by his daughter-in-law, Tamar. Both of these, with other impure streams, ultimately met in the Messiah, that in His veins might flow the blood of all men, even the most impure, so that in and by Him all its impurities might be purged out, and humanity made perfect, and the origin and pattern of all human perfection. Moab, we have seen, (p. 37), represented those who are principled in natural goodness; and the truth of this good, when favourably disposed, may afford succour and protection to interior goodness and truth, as the king of Moab did to the father and mother of David all the time he was in the hold. This is the last we hear of the father and mother of David. According to Jewish tradition, the king of Moab destroyed them, but the Scriptures are silent, and there is nothing to indicate that such was their fate.

A vengeful act of Saul, strongly contrasting with the hospitable conduct of the king of Moab, is recorded in the subsequent part of this chapter. The prophet Gad had told David not to abide in the hold, but to get him into the land of Judah. David did not pass at once from the obscurity and confinement of the cave into the light and freedom of the open country, but came into the forest of Hareth; he passed from a more to a less obscure state, one in which there was more of life and therefore of hope.

Saul, who had lost sight of David, now heard that he was discovered. Sitting under a great tree in Gibeah, he upbraided his servants, who stood around, with conspiring against him, none of them showing him that his son had made a league with the son of Jesse, who stirred up his servant against him, to lie in wait as at that day. Then Doeg the Edomite, who, as recorded in chapter xxi., was present when Ahimelech the priest gave David the hallowed bread and the sword of Goliath, related this to Saul. The king sent for Ahimelech, and not only for him, but for all his father's house, and for the priests that were in Nob: and they came all of them to the king. In answer to Saul, who accused him of conspiracy, the priest urged the claim of David to his aid, as the most faithful of the king's servants, his son-in-law, ready to go at his bidding, and honourable in his house; he pleaded also his own ignorance of the real circumstances under which his aid was required. Saul did not want reasons, and was in no mood to listen to the claims of justice.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 146 He thirsted for vengeance. He called to his footmen that stood about him to turn and slay the priests of the Lord; and when they refused, he ordered Doeg, who "fell upon the priests, and slew on that day fourscore and five persons that did wear a linen ephod And Nob, the city of the priests, smote he with the edge of the sword, both men and women, children and sucklings, and oxen, and asses; and sheep, with the edge of the sword."

This terrible and indiscriminate slaughter, so much like some others recorded in the Bible, affords painful evidence of the merciless spirit of the times as well as of the cruel temper of Saul. Yet there is this mysterious circumstance connected with it, that the destruction of the priests was the carrying out of a sentence that had been pronounced upon the house of Eli, that the Lord would cut off his arm, and the arm of his father's house, that there should not be an old man in his house, but all the increase of his house should die in the flower of their age (1 Sam. ii. 31-33). Our remarks on the Divine judgment upon the Amalekites, which Saul was sent to execute, will apply to the present case. When there are evils in a family or a race that cannot be eradicated, it is of the Divine Providence, because it is in the very nature of things, that they should become extinct. The only difference between the cases recorded in the Bible and those we find in history is, that the Bible shows us the hand of God, and history leaves us to discover it; the Bible reveals the connection between the cause and the effect, and history leaves us to trace it. Some of the causes assigned in Scripture for the destruction of families and nations will appear to the mere historian as inadequate and even arbitrary, having not so much a moral as a religious ground. There is a sufficient reason for this. All moral conditions have their roots in spiritual states; for the spiritual in man forms the inmost and enduring part of his nature: this is eternal, all other is temporary. His spiritual state and his resulting eternal condition are, therefore, the principal, and indeed the only, objects of the Divine care. In the case of Eli, religious laxity resulted in great moral corruption. His sons made themselves vile and he restrained them not.

But is there any connection between the death of these persons and Saul's ostensible reason for slaying them?

If we take the merely literal sense of the history of this transaction, it presents a humiliating view of human nature. David obtained aid from the high priest, by representing himself as engaged in Saul's business. Saul slew the priest for succouring David, although the priest, in succouring David, thought he was serving Saul. The priest seems the only innocent one of the three, and yet the only sufferer. There is no doubt a moral lesson to be derived from this. It shows the terrible result of deceit on the one hand and of unscrupulous selfishness on the other.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 147 But the facts must teach some lesson still higher than this, though not inconsistent with it.

A key to the spiritual meaning of the circumstances we are now considering seems to be supplied by the 52nd Psalm, which David wrote "when Doeg the Edomite came and told Saul, and said unto him, David is come to the house of Ahimelech." There is a different opinion as to whether the psalm itself refers to Doeg or to Saul. It is true that the simple narrative does not furnish just ground for concluding that Doeg was inspired by hatred of David and used deceit and lying to cause him mischief; but there may have been particulars known but not recorded which would justify David in ascribing these faults to him; and we know that when all the other attendants of the king shrank from perpetrating so sacrilegious a crime as slaying the priests of the Lord, even at the king's bidding, Doeg at once obeyed Saul's command, and performed the dreadful act, and afterwards carried the carnage into the city of the priests itself, leaving nothing that breathed. It appears to me, therefore, that the psalm refers to Doeg, and that he is considered as the real author of the mischief.

Now Doeg was an Edomite. Edom is mentioned in Scripture both in a good and in a bad sense, a circumstance that applies to many other persons and to most things in the Word, because in the Church, what is good and true, in the course of time, by various adulterations, degenerates into what is evil and false. In a good sense Edom signifies the good of the natural mind, to which the doctrinals of truth are adjoined; the opposite of which is self-love, to which false principles are adjoined. We cannot doubt that Doeg the Edomite here sustains this representative character. The chief of Saul's herdsmen, he was a wolf in sheep's clothing, and readily turned against and greedily devoured the shepherds of the Lord's flock. True he did this at Saul's bidding, but it was he who supplied Saul with an excuse for his conduct. Whether intentionally or not, he was the means of embittering Saul's hatred of David and inflaming him with wrath against the whole priesthood. Doeg therefore is the evil of self-love which, by falsity, stirs up and increases the inherent enmity of the natural against the spiritual, and induces it to seek the destruction of internal good by which internal truth has been strengthened. For although the slaughter of the priests may have been a judgment upon the house of Eli, yet the priestly function itself is holy, even although the persons who exercise it may be tainted with impurity, and Saul's crime was no less, although in committing it he unknowingly performed an act of retribution.

But the priesthood, though visited with this exterminating slaughter, was not entirely destroyed. One of the sons of Ahimelech, named Abiathar, escaped, and fled after David.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 148 This is one of several instances recorded in the Word, of the attempt to make a complete destruction being defeated by the escape of one. When Abimelech slew his brethren, the sons of Jerubbaal, being seventy persons, upon one stone, Jotham the youngest was left, for he hid himself (Judges ix. 5). When Athaliah, the mother of Ahaziah, saw that her son was dead, she arose and destroyed all the seed royal. But Jehosheba, the daughter of king Joram, sister of Ahaziah, took Joash the son of Ahaziah, and stole him from among the king's sons which were slain, and hid him in the bed-chamber of Athaliah, so that he was not slain (2 Kings xi. 1, 2). These, with the present instance, were but types of the far more momentous escape of the child Jesus from the slaughter of the innocents. When man desires to make a complete end, God preserves a seed alive. "Except the Lord of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah" (Isa. i. 9). True indeed is this in the case of the infant Saviour; but it is true also of the Church in the world and in the human mind. Whatever destruction of the principles of life--spiritual and eternal--may be effected by the will of man, the Lord in His mercy preserves a remnant, otherwise salvation would be impossible. When man destroys these principles in his natural mind, the Lord preserves a remnant in his spiritual mind, drawing it inwards, where it may be in safety from the power of the destroyer. So David said to Abiathar, "Abide with me, fear not: for he that seeketh my life seeketh thy life: but with me thou shalt be in safeguard." David regarded himself as having occasioned the death of all these persons. The spiritual occasions the deadly activities of the natural, in the same sense that the Spirit is said to have occasioned the sufferings of Jesus, when He was led up of the Spirit to be tempted of the devil (Matt. iv. 11). The occasion is with the spiritual, the cause is in the natural. The spirit leads up, and the flesh draws down; hence the conflict. The victory, as in the Lord's death, may seem to be on Satan's side, but the resurrection proves the triumph to be on the part of the sufferer. So says the Psalmist in reference to the present case: "Thou lovest all devouring words, O thou deceitful tongue. God shall likewise destroy thee for ever, He shall take thee away, and pluck thee out of thy dwelling-place, and root thee out of the land of the living. But I am like a green olive-tree in the house of God: I trust in the mercy of God for ever and ever. I will praise Thee for ever, because Thou hast done it; and I will wait on Thy name; for it is good before Thy saints" (Ps. iii.).





1 Samuel xxiii.

I HAVE remarked that the cave of Adullam seems to have been David's extremity; since his life henceforward is no longer one of mere endurance, but of occasional vigorous and brilliant activity, even with regard to Saul himself.

Soon after Saul's slaughter of the priests, in revenge for Ahimelech having succoured David in his flight, "they told David, saying, Behold, the Philistines fight against Keilah, and they rob the threshing-floors." Keilah, we learn from Joshua (xv. 44), was one of the towns that fell to the lot of Judah, and is supposed to have been not far from the cave of Adullam. It may be considered natural, therefore, that the news of this attack should reach David before it could be conveyed to Saul; and as the Philistines were evidently gaining the advantage, since they were carrying off the produce of the harvest, there was no time to lose in coming to the rescue. Another reason for this implied appeal to David for his assistance would be, that the men of Keilah were also men of Judah, and had, therefore, a nearer claim upon him for sympathy and aid than if they had belonged to any other tribe than his own. But there are other and higher reasons for David taking up the cause of the inhabitants of Keilah. Saul's operations against the enemies of Israel have been carried on in places other than the land Of Judah. There was thus a spiritual reason why those who belonged to the highest of the tribes should be delivered by him who had been chosen from that tribe to occupy the highest place in the kingdom, and who even now represented a higher principle and power than the reigning king. The affections and thoughts of the inner man can only be delivered from the assaults of the enemy, whether that enemy be evil or falsity, by the power of internal goodness or truth. We cannot see our inward spiritual thoughts and affections but by inward spiritual light, nor can we, without that light, see the opposite principles that oppose them, and that would bring them into captivity, and rob them of the fruit of their labour and the means of life. The spiritual can also see into the natural and act upon it, but the natural cannot into the spiritual, and cannot therefore bring the aid which its state and necessities may require.



When David learned the condition to which the men of Keilah were reduced, he was but little able, with the force at his command, to render them effectual assistance. However much he may have been disposed to go to their help, he may well have been doubtful of the issue. But he knew there was a higher Power, and to Him he left the decision. "David inquired of the Lord, saying, Shall I go and smite these Philistines? And the Lord said unto David, Go and smite the Philistines, and save Keilah." With this Divine commission there would seem to have been no cause for hesitation. But "David's men said unto him, Behold, we be afraid here in Judah: how much more then if we come to Keilah against the armies of the Philistines Then David inquired of the Lord yet again. And the Lord answered him and said, Arise, go down to Keilah; for I will deliver the Philistines into thine hand." This fear of the Philistines by David's men is but a type of our feelings under corresponding circumstances; and is that state expressed by the Lord, where He says, "The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak" (Matt. xxvi. 41). Our lower affections, influenced by natural considerations, often refuse to follow where our higher affection would lead, even when fortified with the direct teaching of the Divine Word. When this is the case we need not yield, and abandon the object we have in view; we have only to look to the Lord for encouragement. When David inquired of the Lord the second time, and received the command to "arise and go down to Keilah," with the assurance that the Lord would deliver the Philistines into his hand, his men no longer refused to follow him. It is a Divine promise that importunity will succeed where asking fails. There is a virtue in repetition. It strengthens the purpose, and brings resisting thoughts and feelings into submission to it and co-operation with it. There is a power in that which is done twice. When interpreting Pharaoh's dream, Joseph said, "For that the dream was doubled unto Pharaoh twice; it is because the thing is established by God, and God will shortly bring it to pass." And David himself says, "God hath spoken once; twice have I heard this; that power belongeth unto God" (Ps. lxii. 11). Truth must be confirmed, not only in the inner man, but in the outer man also; and this we see plainly enough in the result of David's inquiries of the Lord: the first confirmed himself, the second confirmed his people. The second command to "arise" is one which, in respect to the natural man, is needed in the circumstances; the elevation of the mind above natural considerations being necessary to remove fear and inspire courage.

The result justified the confidence which David and his men placed in the Divine assurance of victory over the dreaded hosts of the Philistines. They went down "to Keilah, and fought with the Philistines, and brought away their cattle, and smote them with a great slaughter. So David saved the inhabitants of Keilah."


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 151 Keilah, as its name imports, was a fortified town, and a strong force was required to subdue it. Yet David with his six hundred men overcame the host of the Philistines, to teach us how great things can be effected with small means, when the heart is right towards God. The victors were also enriched with the spoil of their enemies, which teaches us further, that when evil is overcome the mind is enriched with good. The salvation of the inhabitants of Keilah was the end for the accomplishment of which this enterprise of David was entered on, and this, so far as David was concerned, was complete. As regarded the inhabitants themselves, the result was far from being satisfactory. They had obtained deliverance, but had not learned gratitude. We shall see as we proceed how ill they rewarded David for the services he had rendered them.

We are now told that when Abiathar the son of Ahimelech fled to David to Keilah, he came with an ephod in his hand. At the conclusion of the previous chapter we read of this priest, the only one of his house that escaped Doeg's sword, coming to David, who received him, and promised him protection; but he is no doubt introduced here to instruct us representatively that spiritual conquest, and deliverance from that falsity which places all reliance for salvation on faith alone, brings to us the principle of love and goodness, of which the priest is representative. But Abiathar comes with an ephod in his hand. And as this is a principal point in the narrative, and also in its spiritual meaning, we may here consider what the ephod signifies.

The ephod was the outermost of the priestly garments, over which was the breastplate, containing the twelve precious stones answering to the twelve tribes of Israel. The priest representing good, his garments represented truths by which good is clothed, or with which it clothes itself. The ephod being the outermost of the priest's official garments, represented outermost truths, in which interior truths terminate, and in which they are contained. On this account the ephod was more holy than the other garments. "What is most external is holier than what is internal, because, containing all interior things in their order, it keeps them together in form and connection, insomuch that if the external were removed, internal things would be dissipated. This may be exemplified in willing, thinking, and doing. To will is the first, to think is the second, and to do is the last. So far as what a person does contains what he thinks and what he wills, so far these interior things are kept together in form and connection." It is from this fact that so much is said in Scripture of men being judged according to their works; which has been a stumbling-block to those who believe in salvation by faith without works; and which has driven them to the strange expedient of attempting to reconcile two seemingly opposite statements of the Bible, by saying, that men are justified by their faith and judged by their works.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 152 The truth is, that when a man is judged according to his works, he is judged according to his will and thought, of which his works are but the embodied form.

Such being the spiritual meaning of an ephod, it was appropriate that the priest should come to David, after the defeat of the Philistines, with an ephod in his hand, containing in its symbolism the idea of good works, as expressing the character of him who had overcome those who represented faith without works, who had robbed the threshing-floors of those who had gathered in the fruit of their labour--of their own good works.

But David does not long enjoy the peaceful fruits of the victory he has won. Saul hears of his exploit, and boasts that God has now delivered him into his hand, for he is shut in, by entering into a town with gates and bars. He therefore calls all the people together to war, to go down to Keilah, to besiege David and his men. David, knowing that Saul secretly practised mischief against him, and hearing of Saul's intention to come to Keilah, and storm the city for his sake, tells Abiathar the priest to bring hither the ephod. He inquires of the Lord if Saul will come down, and if the men of Keilah will deliver him up; and the Lord answers him, "He will come down;" and "They will deliver thee up." It is not surprising that Saul should pursue David, but that those whom David had saved from so formidable an enemy should deliver him into Saul's hand, may well excite our astonishment And yet, what Omniscience declared they would do is not inconsistent with what we know of frail human nature. The first law of nature is said to be self-preservation; and under the influence of this law our greatest benefactors may be immolated, and offered on the altar of our own self-devotion. In delivering up David to the power of Saul, the men of Keilah would not have shown more selfish fear or base ingratitude than the disciples of the Lord actually displayed when, on His being seized by the emissaries of the chief priests, they all forsook Him and fled; and, not to speak of the one who betrayed Him, when he who had sworn to die with Him rather than deny Him, thrice deliberately declared that he knew Him not. The integrity of the men of Keilah was not put to the test; so that we cannot say whether their sin, had they committed it, would, like Peter's, have led to a state of deep repentance and profound humiliation. This, at least, we may learn from what they would have done, had they been tried, that there are frailties in our fallen nature and inclinations in our corrupt hearts that a wise and merciful Providence keeps from temptation, in which Omniscience sees we would fall. Although we cannot, even consistently with our own welfare, be preserved from all trials and temptations, there are many that we escape through the mercy of God, any one of which His wisdom foresees would prove our ruin.



When the Divine answers came to David's prayers, he and his men arose and departed out of Keilah, and went whithersoever they could go. And it was told Saul that David was escaped from Keilah; and he forbare to go forth. Thus the Divine interposition saved not only the men of Keilah but Saul himself from committing a great crime. David also was preserved, though now again a fugitive, knowing not, seemingly, where to go. Going whithersoever they could, David and his men make their way to the wilderness. While David abode in the wilderness in strongholds, and remained in a mountain in the wilderness of Ziph, Saul sought him every day, but God delivered him not into his hand. It was when Saul was hunting David like a partridge upon the mountains, that Jonathan went to David into the wood, and strengthened his hands in God. Unwavering in his friendship, the son of Saul comes to comfort the son of Jesse in his af8iction. He does not try to soothe and cheer him with words of human sympathy and hope, but seeks to strengthen him by expressing his own deep conviction of David's safety from harm and his high destiny. "Fear not: for the hand of Saul my father shall not find thee; and thou shalt be king over Israel, and I shall be next unto thee; and that also Saul my father knoweth." Although Jonathan has been hitherto convinced that David would be king of Israel, he has never till now so plainly expressed it, nor has he till now spoken of himself as occupying the second place in the kingdom. There may seem to be in this some surviving ambition in the mind of Jonathan. But it may be assumed that this was part of the covenant which had previously been or which was now made between the two friends. However this may have been, Jonathan utters a spiritual truth, since that principle which he represented is next in the Lord's kingdom to that which was represented by David. The genuine truths of the letter of the Word are next to the pure truths of the spirit of the Word; and all things acquired by them hold the same relative place in the minds of those who are true members of the Lord's Church and true subjects of His kingdom. This was the last meeting of David and Jonathan. It does not appear from the description to have been so tender as that which took place between them when Saul had attempted the life of both; but the covenant which they now made before the Lord was the solemn and final ratification of the intimate and indissoluble union which had grown up between them, and a sign of that which their union represented. David abode in the wood, and Jonathan went to his house; David still dwelling under the shadow of the calamity which daily threatened him; Jonathan retiring into the quietness of domestic life. Yet one is to emerge from the dark shadow into light and prosperity; of the other we hear no more till we learn of him perishing, but in the cause of his country and of his father's house, on mount Gilboa.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 154 Such are the ways of Providence in the affairs of our spiritual life, as reflected in the events and issues of our temporal life, as faithfully represented in the inspired record by the experience of its representative men.

But David is not allowed to remain long in the obscurity of the retreat he had found in the wood in the wilderness of Ziph. The Ziphites came to Saul to Gibeah, saying, "Doth not David hide himself with us in strong holds in the wood, in the hill of Hachilah, which is on the south of Jeshimon?" The city of Ziph, from which the wilderness had its name, was one of ten cities in the mountains that fell to the lot of Judah. The Ziphites were still more ill-disposed to David than the men of Keilah; they were not only ready but anxious to betray him into the hand of Saul. They said, "Now therefore, O king, come down according to all the desire of thy soul to come down; and our part shall be to deliver him into the king's hand." Saul blessed the Ziphites for having compassion on him, and desired that they should ascertain with certainty where David's haunts were, and return to him, when he would go with them, and, if David were in the land, he would search him out throughout all the ten thousands of Judah. The men went before Saul to Ziph, but David and his men were in the wilderness of Maon. Saul and his men went to seek him; and when they told David, he went down into a rock, and abode in the wilderness of Maon. The strongholds in which David hid himself were the caves of the mountain, in which he sought shelter and concealment; and Hachilah was indeed to him, as its name implies, a dark mountain, where his feet were liable to stumble; and while he looked for light, he was in danger of having it turned into the shadow of death (Jer. Xiii. 16). Fleeing from desert to desert, from one state of temptation and desolation to another, in order to escape the vigilance of one enemy and the vengeance of another, David must have been in a state of deep distress. He has indeed left a record of his state of mind on this occasion. The 54th Psalm, as the title informs us, was composed during, or in reference to, this time of adversity. It is "a Psalm of David, when the Ziphites came and said to Saul, Doth not David hide himself with us?" In the agony of his soul David cries, "Save me, O God, by Thy name, and judge me by Thy strength. Hear my prayer, O God; give ear to the words of my mouth. For strangers are risen up against me, and oppressors seek after my soul: they have not set God before them. Behold, God is mine helper: the Lord is with them that uphold my soul. He shall reward evil unto mine enemies: cut them off in Thy truth. I will freely sacrifice unto Thee: I will praise Thy name, O Lord; for it is good. For He hath delivered me out of all trouble: and mine eye hath seen His desire upon mine enemies." In its inmost sense this psalm is a prayer addressed by the Lord to the Father, that He would aid Him against those who desired to destroy Him.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 155 And if the psalm relates to the Lord, so must the history. David's afflictions are therefore typical of the afflictions of Him whom David represented. In its secondary sense it is, of course, like the history itself, descriptive of Christian persecution, and its happy result. "Blessed are they that are persecuted for righteousness' sake; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." This is inward spiritual persecution, which removes our evil, draws out and confirms our goodness, and gives us a deep sense of the Divine mercy in delivering us out of all our trouble. Our trouble may be severe, our persecutors may be strong and many, but if we trust in the Lord, He will deliver us, however hopeless our case may seem to be. When David fled to the wilderness of Maon, expecting perhaps to find there, as its name expresses, a habitation or refuge, where he would be in safety from the persecution of Saul, he found himself in such perilous circumstances, that, but for an unexpected event that drew away his pursuer, he must apparently have been destroyed. "Saul pursued David in the wilderness of Maon. And Saul went on this side of the mountain, and David and his men on that side of the mountain: and David made haste to get away for fear of Saul; for Saul and his men compassed David and his men round about to take them." In these perilous circumstances, "there came a messenger unto Saul, saying, Haste thee, and come; for the Philistines have invaded the land. Wherefore Saul returned from pursuing after David, and went against the Philistines." In the providence of God one evil is sometimes permitted for the purpose of counteracting another, or of mitigating its effects. One evil cannot indeed remove another--Satan cannot cast out Satan--but it may draw the mind away, and direct it into another channel, so that it may pursue, for the time at least, another and higher or less unworthy object. Thus, the love of the world may draw men away from or moderate the love of self; and the cultivation of refined tastes may draw them away from indulging the grosser appetites and passions; nay, the love of reputation may draw men from vice to virtue. But, however much these may alter the course and conduct of life, they do not essentially change the character: this can only be effected by a change of principles. Saul did not cease to hate David because he turned from him in pursuit of another enemy. But Saul's choice of this new alternative, if it did not change Saul's disposition, altered David's condition. Wherefore he called the rock Sela-hammahlekoth, that is, the rock of divisions. The rock, or rocky fastness, in which David found shelter was the emblem of the Rock of Ages, the Divine truth, which is the Christian's security in times of persecution; and it becomes a rock of divisions when the trial or temptation is ended, and a division and separation are effected between the evil and the good.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 156 When relieved of Saul's presence, David went up from thence, and dwelt in strongholds in Engedi. But this and David's experience there form the subject of the next chapter.



1 Samuel xxiv.

HITHERTO we have seen David only as a fugitive fleeing before Saul, and we can have no doubt what his fate would have been, had he fallen into the hands of his merciless pursuer. We are now to see some of the circumstances connected with them reversed. David is still a fugitive, fleeing and hiding from his adversary, but Saul is providentially brought completely within David's power; and we shall see how differently he acts towards the king from the manner in which the king, if the case had been reversed, would have acted towards him.

No sooner had Saul left following the Philistines than he returned to renew with undiminished ardour his pursuit of David. Learning that the object of his search was now in the wilderness of Engedi, "he took three thousand chosen men out of all Israel, and went to seek David and his men upon the rocks of the wild goats. And he came to the sheepcotes by the way where was a cave; and Saul went in to cover his feet: and David and his men remained in the sides of the cave." David's men urged him to kill his enemy, whom God had delivered into his hand; but David only cut off the skirt of Saul's robe, and his heart smote him for doing even that, which seemed to him an impious deed. When Saul went out of the cave David followed him, and cried after him. Saul looked back; and David, addressing him, said, "Behold, this day thine eyes have seen how that the Lord had delivered thee to day into mine hand in the cave: and some bade me kill thee: but mine eye spared thee; and I said, I will not put forth mine hand against my lord; for he is the Lord's anointed. Moreover, my father, see, yea, see the skirt of thy robe in my hand: for in that I cut off the skirt of thy robe, and killed thee not, know thou and see that there is neither evil nor transgression in mine hand; and I have not sinned against thee; yet thou huntest my soul to take it." Saul would have been worse than wicked if he had not been melted and disarmed by this practical appeal to the better instincts of his nature. He made the fullest acknowledgment of David being more righteous than himself.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 157 Recognising the fact, which he had so laboured to prevent, that David would surely be king, and that the kingdom of Israel would be established in his hand, he only asks David to swear unto him by the Lord that he will not cut off Saul's seed after him, nor destroy his name out of his father's house.

In the conduct of David towards Saul there is something so noble and generous, that it cannot fail to command our admiration. His sentiments are not, however, those of the natural disposition merely. They are inspired by piety to God, and are extended to Saul, not as a frail and erring human being, but as the anointed of the Lord.

There is a wide difference between the manifested character of many men when they act under the immediate influence of religious feeling, and when they act from the promptings of their own frail nature. Few men, perhaps, have exhibited more strikingly these two opposite characters than David, in whose history we find strongly marked instances of generosity and vindictiveness, mercy and cruelty, chastity and impurity.

No man is entirely exempt, in the sight of God and His angels, from the same charge, because no man is entirely free from the infirmities of sinful flesh.

There is, however, a wide difference, both in nature and degree, between the truly spiritual and the merely pious man.

Piety, as distinguished from spirituality, is a feeling of reverence for what is pure and holy, as distinguished from a state of actual purity and holiness. Those who are pious without being spiritual--who have reverence without holiness--are for the most part very susceptible of tender emotions; hut these being excited from without, are impressions rather than states, and may last only so long as the outward producing cause is present. Acting from feelings excited by external circumstances, rather than inspired and regulated by inward principles, such persons are capable of emotions and actions widely different and even opposite in their character. Their corrupt nature, not having been subdued by religious self-denial, is likely to come forth in all its malignity when a sufficiently powerful appeal is made to the passions.

Whenever the life of man is marked by strikingly opposite or even widely different characteristics, there is reason to fear that spirituality has been too little cultivated, however piety may have been cherished. Those who are spiritually minded are not, indeed, exempt from all the feelings and actions that originate in human infirmity. They will, however, be so in the degree that the spiritual in them has obtained the dominion over the natural. Those who are born again receive a new nature; and it is impossible for any who have thus become new creatures, deliberately to commit deeds that are characteristic of the old man, of the world and the flesh.



Yet David committed such deeds; and David is said to have been a man after God's own heart. It is against the conclusion sometimes drawn from the combined testimony of these two facts that we require to be guarded. That conclusion is, that evil does not condemn him whom God has justified--that a man may be an eminent saint and yet fall into grievous sins.

In regard to David and the characters of the Old Testament, as compared with those of the New, we are to reflect on the entirely different characters of the two dispensations. The one was the shadow and the type, the other was the substance and the reality, of a true Church. The eminent men of the Jewish Church were not necessarily more than the types of saints--the eminent men of the Christian Church were saints in reality. David was a man after God's own heart in a Jewish, not in a Christian sense--in his official and representative rather than in his personal and spiritual character. The Apostle John was the beloved of Jesus, not only representatively but actually, because he had the love of Jesus eminently in him.

We could not imagine any one of David's stamp being an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ. Yet David himself is not to be judged by a Christian but by a Jewish standard. So Christians are not to be judged by a Jewish but by a Christian standard: and except their righteousness exceed the righteousness, not only of the straitest sect, but even of some of the most eminent men, of the Jewish religion, they cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

While it is necessary for us to be guarded against casting the mantle of David's piety over some of his actions, we are nevertheless to honour him for the good and generous deeds he performed; and not least for those noble instances of clemency and forbearance which he manifested towards Saul, when he could have rid himself at once of a malevolent enemy and a powerful rival. From such actions as these we may learn some of the highest lessons of Christian virtue; for what is more forcibly inculcated by our Lord than love towards our enemies, and forgiveness to those who sin against us? "Bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust." An enlightened Christian charity may act in some cases and in some respects differently from the manner in which love to the neighbour acted under the Jewish dispensation; but the charity we exercise should not be less, but ought to be still more, tender and forgiving. If under a dispensation in which men were allowed to hate their enemies, such instances of love as this of David were exhibited, how much more should we be disposed to forgive men their trespasses;


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 159 knowing also that unless we forgive men their trespasses neither will our heavenly Father forgive us.

The history before us shows also the effect which the practice of love and forbearance may have on those to whom they are manifested. Saul, notwithstanding the unreasonable and unnatural cruelty of his disposition and conduct towards David, was yet overcome with tenderness at the discovery of his clemency. When David held up the skirt of Saul's robe, and told him how he might, and, had he yielded to persuasion, would have cut off his life instead, the hard heart of the king was melted into tenderness, and he was penetrated with a sense of shame. "He lifted up his voice, and wept. And he said to David, Thou art more righteous than I: for thou hast rewarded me good, whereas I have rewarded thee evil." He desired that the Lord might reward David good for what he had done unto him; and bowed in submission to the Divine decree that David should be king of Israel. This better frame of mind was indeed of but short duration. And in this case we find a striking exemplification of the truth we have already alluded to, that when our better feelings are active only when they are excited from without, the impression lasts no longer than the presence of the cause that produced them. Saul soon returned to his former frame of mind; and so will every repentant relapse into his former condition, or into one still worse, if he has no inward principle to sustain and guide him. But it is now time to pass on to the contemplation of the spiritual meaning of the circumstance on which we are now engaged.

As representative of the state of the kingdom of Israel, as itself representing the state of the Israelitish Church, the cutting off of the skirt of Saul's robe by David, and his retaining it in his hand, represented the transfer of the kingdom from Saul to David; Saul himself recognised this symbolical meaning in the fact. "Now, behold, I know," said the humbled monarch, "that thou shalt surely be king, and that the kingdom of Israel shall be established in thine hand."

Looking at the circumstances before us in a higher sense, as relating to the kingdom of the Lord in ourselves, and regarding Saul and David as representing the natural and the spiritual mind, the particulars related will be found to describe some state of experience, and to contain some lesson of Christian instruction.

Regarding David as representing the inner man or spiritual mind, and Saul as representing the outer man or natural mind, the present circumstance presents another striking and beautiful illustration of the truth, which we have had occasion more than once to state, that the natural mind in its yet unregenerated state is at enmity with the spiritual, while the spiritual, on the other hand, has no enmity against the natural, but is in the constant desire of reconciling and uniting it to itself.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 160 This is evident from the general temper and conduct of David and Saul to each other, but it is described in particular in the act and in the words of David.

As the wilderness is the symbol of temptation, the character of the temptation is indicated by the wilderness which represents it. What is represented by the wilderness of Engedi may be known from the spiritual meaning of Engedi itself, which occurs in a part of the Scriptures which has an obviously spiritual meaning. In the 47th of Ezekiel Engedi is mentioned in connection with the new or mystical temple, and as sharing largely in the blessings diffused by the river of the water of life issuing from under the threshold of the temple eastward. Of these waters it is said at the 8th verse: "These waters go down into the desert, and go into the sea, whose waters shall be healed. And it shall come to pass, that every thing that liveth, which moveth, whithersoever the rivers shall come, shall live: and there shall be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters shall come thither. . . . And it shall come to pass, that the fishers shall stand upon it from Engedi even unto En-eglaim; they shall be a place to spread forth nets; their fish shall be according to their kinds, as the fish of the great sea, exceeding many. But the miry places thereof and the marishes thereof shall not be healed; they shall be given to salt."

That to which the living waters flowed was the desert of Judea, that into which it flowed was the Dead Sea. This desert was that in which, under the name of the wilderness of Judea, John the Baptist appeared, and first preached the Gospel of glad tidings to the world; and in that instance the vision of the living waters may be considered to have received an external representative fulfilment. But spiritually understood, the desert and the sea, restored to life and fruitfulness by the river of living waters, are expressive emblems of the will and understanding of the natural mind, in themselves desert and dead, restored by the reception of Divine truth to life and fruitfulness.

This great desert of Judea was the wilderness of Engedi, and in it, near the banks of the Dead Sea, stood the town of Engedi, En-eglaim occupying a site on the other side of Jordan, in the land of Moab, inhabited by the tribe of Reuben. The two places thus connected the inheritance of the tribes in Canaan with that of the tribes beyond the river Jordan. So abundant are the fish in the healed waters of the Dead Sea, that fishers occupy its banks from Engedi to En-eglaim: the fish denoting living truths, and fishing the acquirement of such truths for the purposes of the spiritual life, the fishers denoting the rational faculty itself by which truth is sought and acquired.

From Engedi to En-eglaim is from the inmost to the outermost of the natural mind; which is in some measure evident from the names themselves;


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 161 for Engedi means the fountain of the kid, and En-eglaim the fountain of the two calves, both signifying the good of innocence in the external man, the kid that which is interior, the calf that which is exterior.

The wilderness of Engedi, into which the living waters of the sanctuary flowed, is thus a symbol of the natural mind in its yet unregenerate state, but of that mind considered in its relation to the highest affection of the spiritual mind, represented by Judah, rendered still more specific by being here called, not the wilderness of Judah, but of Engedi.

A temptation represented by the wilderness of Engedi is, therefore, one that assaults the innocence that resides in the interior of the natural mind--that innocence which is stored up therein by the providence of the Lord during infancy and childhood, and to which additions have been made in the course of the regenerate life, while acting from disinterested love and charity. For whenever we act from an affection of love to God and the neighbour, with a childlike forgetfulness of self, the divinely treasured-up innocence of our early life is increased and exalted. But no state is improved and confirmed without trial. The pure silver is not separated from the dress of our corrupt nature without passing through some fiery ordeals; and such trials are represented by those which David so often endured and was now subjected to.

The cave in which David and Saul were brought into such close connection with each other, and where David was tempted, so far as the persuasion of his followers and every consideration of self-interest and feeling of self-love could tempt him, to destroy Saul, is a fit symbol of that obscure state into which the mind is so often brought during times of trial. How blessed when, amidst the gloom which temporal or spiritual affliction casts over the mind, there is a principle in the soul that remains faithful to the law of mercy and truth, however great the temptation may be to violate it.

Saul, though personally corrupt, was still the Lord's anointed. He was the representative of truth Divine, not to be destroyed by Divine truth, but to be sifted by Satan, who may burn the chaff, but has no power to destroy the wheat. It is not the purpose of the Lord's saving operation in the human mind that any principle which has good in it should be destroyed, but that the good should be separated from the evil, and preserved. The contest between the inner and the outer man is to determine which shall have dominion; and it is the Divine purpose that this contest, which originates with the natural or outer man, shall end in the establishment of the dominion of the inner man, for this is the order of heavenly government.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 162 The natural mind, prone to the earth, cannot be raised at once above its own hereditary and even acquired condition, and brought willingly to acquiesce in the supremacy of that principle to which it was intended to be subordinate and subservient. But even when the natural man is still rebellious and unwilling to yield submission to the rule of the spiritual, there may be partial, if there is not entire, control acquired over him. If the spiritual man cannot bring the whole of the natural man under his power, he may at least lay hold on his mantle, or retain the skirt of it in his hand. When the afflicted woman but touched the skirt of the Lord's garment, she was made whole of her disease. And this miracle was performed to teach us that whosoever lays hold of the Word of eternal truth and life, even of its lowest truths, will obtain the virtue that flows from the Lord's saving love and wisdom. So David, by taking and retaining the skirt of Saul's mantle, represented that he who lays hold of the ultimate of truth of the natural mind, has obtained the power which will enable him finally to acquire dominion over and possession of the whole. One great object of spiritual trial, besides confirming the inner man in the love of goodness and the faith of truth, is to bring the outer man to see and acknowledge the rightful claim and inevitable destiny of the inner man to be king, and to have the kingdom established in his hand. This has been effected, for the time at least, in the case of Saul, or of him whom Saul represented. But this transfer of power is not to be effected at once, nor even acquiesced in by one peaceful conquest of the spiritual mind over the natural. Our Lord was engaged: in spiritual conflict to the end of His life. His state of destitution was like that of David. "The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man hath not where to lay His head." Like David with Saul, He returned good for evil to His persecutors; and when pressed by His disciples to bring down fire from heaven to consume His enemies, He, like David, when advised to slay Saul, told them they knew not what manner of spirit they were of. If David, in his merciful conduct to Saul, was a faithful type of the Lord Jesus, so was he also of what the Lord's disciple should be.

There is a distinction, however, to be made between Saul as David's enemy, and those who were the enemies both of David and of Saul, those who cared not for the transfer of the kingdom from Saul to David, but desired its destruction. These are the enemies of all true order; and, like the nations who invaded the land of Israel, and like the mercenary dealers who desecrated the temple, they are to be driven out. The natural mind itself, however, like Lot when made captive by the kings, must be preserved and delivered from captivity, and restored to a state of freedom (Gen. xiv.). And even when there is a difference between the thoughts and affections of the natural mind and the spiritual, as there was a contention between the herdsmen of Abram and the herdsmen of Lot; our language should be that of Abram on the occasion, "Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdsmen and thy herdsmen; for we he brethren."





1 Samuel xxv.

SAMUEL died, and he received the tribute due to a great prophet, for all the Israelites were gathered together and lamented him, and buried him in his house in Ramah, his own native town. Natural death and burial are, to the righteous, spiritual life and resurrection; and Samuel's death at this time may indicate not only life and immortality to himself, but the beginning of a new and higher life to the kingdom, and greater stability to the throne and the altar, which he had been he means of doing so much to establish.

We can hardly suppose that David would venture to appear among the assembled Israelites when they mourned for Samuel; but it is stated immediately after, that he arose, and went down to the wilderness of Paran. Paran was out of the land of Canaan. The wilderness of Paran was the home of Ishmael (Gen. xxi. 21), one of the resting places of the Israelites in their journey (Num. x. 2), and the place from which the men were sent to spy the land (xiii. 3). The meaning of the wilderness may be known from the meaning of the mount, as spoken of by Moses and by Habakkuk. Moses says, "The Lord came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them; He shined forth from mount Paran, and He came with ten thousands of saints: from His right hand went forth a fiery law for them" (Deut. xxxiii. 2); and Habakkuk says, "God came from Teman, and the Holy One from mount Paran. His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of His praise" (iii. 3). Seir and Teman have relation to celestial love, and mount Paran to spiritual love. The wilderness of Paran, considered as a place of refuge in states of trial, signifies temptation in regard to spiritual love; as a dwelling-place, it means the life of the spiritual man as to good. Paran itself spiritually means illumination from the Lord's Divine humanity. Regarding David as a type of the Lord, his going down to the wilderness of Paran describes the Lord's humbling Himself, to endure, for our sakes, some of the deepest of the temptations by which He made His humanity Divine, so that His glory might cover the heavens and the earth be full of His praise, and from the right hand of His power might go forth the fiery law of His love.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 164 For it is to the Lord Jesus that the words of Moses and Habakkuk relate. And for what was it that the Lord came from mount Paran, with the ten thousands of His saints, but that He first went down to the wilderness of Paran, as He here does in the person of His representative, with the small band of His humble followers "Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom." "Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into His glory?"

We have entered thus minutely into this particular, principally because of its connection with what now follows.

The sacred writer relates that "there was a man in Maon whose possessions were in Carmel; and the man was very great, and he had three thousand sheep, and a thousand goats: and he was shearing his sheep in Carmel. Now the name of the man was Nabal; and the name of his wife was Abigail: and she was a woman of good understanding, and of a beautiful countenance: but the man was churlish and evil in his doings; and he was of the house of Caleb." The inspired historian goes on to relate that David, hearing that Nabal was shearing his sheep in Carmel, sent ten of his young men to him, saying, "Give, I pray thee, whatsoever cometh to thine hand unto thy servants, and to thy son David." This was asked on the ground that David and his men had been guardians of his possessions and protectors of his shepherds. The respectful request Nabal insultingly refused. On receiving his answer, David, with four hundred men, went up with hostile intent to go to Carmel. But Abigail learning how matters stood, went, with abundance of provisions, to meet the insulted and incensed leader of this determined band. The result was that David was propitiated, and Abigail was sent away in peace. On her return she found Nabal holding a feast like the feast of a king, and she was prudently silent; but in the morning she told him, when his heart became as a stone, and in ten days the Lord smote him that he died. When David heard of the death of Nabal, he sent and communed with Abigail, and she became his wife.

This is the meagre outline of a narrative which occupies the whole of a long chapter. No explanation of it appears in our author's published writings; but in what may be regarded as his first essay as an expositor, in a commentary which he laid aside to write his first and greatest work, "Arcana Coelestia," he enters minutely into the subject, and explains it according to what he himself has called the internal historical sense, so far as he then perceived it.

The Messiah is represented by David; the Jewish people by Nabal the representative Church, which, according to order, was instituted very much like the ancient Church, by Abigail, whom afterwards the Messiah, understood by David, married, and delivered from those who are signified by Nabal.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 165 It may be necessary here to say that, while dispensations change, the Church remains ever the same. The Church itself consists of the immutable principles of love to God and charity to men; but these have a different quality according to the truth to which they are united or adjoined. The Church, as it has existed under its several dispensations, is like a woman who has been married successively to several husbands. The womanly character of her love remains essentially the same in all her unions, but it is modified in each according to the wisdom of the husband. Love to God and man were different, because they were differently understood, under the Israelitish dispensation from what they had been under the ancient, and from what they became under the Christian dispensation. Yet the Israelitish dispensation, as it existed according to Divine order, although a lower, was not distorted, form of the ancient Church. It could not have been a representative Church, nor even the representative of a Church, if its institutions had not been according to Divine order. The dispensation, however, degenerated, and when the Lord came into the world the Jewish people had become as Nabal; they reviled and refused to admit the claims of Him whom David represented, although He had been the Shepherd of their shepherds and Guardian of their flocks.

Nabal is described as very great, having three thousand sheep and a thousand goats. The Jewish people, to whom the representative Church, as a wife, was adjoined, were great and rich in spiritual things, compared with the nations around them. Yet the charity and faith which they possessed in abundance, and which are meant by Nabal's thousands of sheep and goats, were rather of the letter than of the spirit. The character of the people, in regard to their possessions, may be indicated by what is added to the description of Nabal's wealth, that he was shearing his sheep in Carmel. For although sheep-shearing has its favourable meaning, it has also its unfavourable side, since there are shepherds who care more for the fleece than for the flock. These are the evil shepherds, against whom a woe is pronounced, because they eat the fat and clothe themselves with the wool (Ezek. xxxiv. 2). Nor does this apply to those only, who are usually meant by pastors; but is to be understood of all whose care for religion is not for its own sake, but for the sake of honour and gain.

Nabal was shearing his sheep in Carmel. This is not the Carmel so celebrated in Scripture for its richness and beauty, and which, from its vineyards, signifies the spiritual Church; but seems to have been a place rich in pasture, and has therefore a lower though similar meaning. Yet although Nabal was shearing his sheep in Carmel, that was not his native place. He is indeed called a Carmelite (xxx. 5; 2 Sam. ii. 2) from his residing in Carmel, but he is described as a man of Maon, whose possessions were in Carmel, and which he may have acquired through Abigail, who was in all probability a native Carmelitess, as she is called (xxvii. 5).


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 166 The Jewish people, to whom the representative Church was adjoined, were like the man of Maon united to a woman of Carmel; and the affections of charity and the perceptions of faith which they possessed, and which were represented by Nabal's flocks, took their character from Carmel, in whose pastures Nabal fed his flocks, rather than from the wilderness of Maon, where his native town was, thus from Abigail rather than from Nabal. The Jews were rather the custodians than the possessors of the spiritual principles of the Church, which they preserved in representatives till the coming of the Lord, who removed the veil and brought all hidden things to light.

Abigail is described as a woman of good understanding and of a beautiful countenance, but Nabal as churlish and evil in his doings. The Church described by Abigail, like the primitive, was of good understanding, which consisted in understanding what was represented by types and other things of a like nature; and was of a beautiful countenance, beauty in the interior sense denoting goodness and in the inmost sense holiness. The churlishness and evil-doing of her husband describes the disposition and character of the Jewish people, to whom the Church represented by Abigail was as a wife.

David sending to Nabal with a salutation of peace, and asking that the young men may find favour in his eyes, and receive of his hand some beneficence for themselves and for his son David, represents what the Lord Himself describes in His parables, the lord sending his servants to receive from the husbandmen of the fruits of the vineyard. But the Jewish people treated the Lord's servants as Nabal treated David's young men. As Nabal refused to acknowledge David, and reviled him, so the people refused to acknowledge the Messiah, and inveighed against Him continuously, just as the husbandmen of the parable shamefully treated their lord's servants, and not only sent them away empty, but killed the son, who was the heir, when he at last came to them, as they had killed some of his servants, that the inheritance might be their own.

David's going up with his armed men with the intention of slaying Nabal and his household, is also expressed in the same parable by what the Lord's hearers said, in answer to His question, "When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen? They say unto Him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, who shall render him the fruits in their seasons."


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 167 This, however, was what the Jews deserved at the Lord's hand, not what He inflicted upon them. The vineyard was indeed taken from them, and given to others, but the Jews destroyed themselves as did Nabal, and as did afterwards Judas, by both of whom the Jews were represented.

In the crisis which affairs had now reached by Nabal's churlish conduct, a young man told Abigail how David had sent messengers out of the wilderness, and his master had railed on them, although the men had been very good unto Nabal's shepherds, and they were not hurt, neither missed anything, as long as they were conversant with them, when in the fields; and the young man entreated his mistress to consider what she would do, for evil was determined against the master and his household. In this is narrated, respecting the Jewish Church, that she had been preserved by the Messiah, that she had not suffered dishonour, and had been often delivered from her enemies; that she missed or wanted nothing during all the time He dwelt with them, for He dwelt with them when they called upon the Lord, that is, when they were in the field, and when they fed their flocks. Wherefore the Church, as the wife, is admonished by her pastors and others that evil is determined. But Nabal is a son of Belial.

Abigail, when warned by the servant, "made haste, and took two hundred leaves, and two bottles of wine, and five sheep ready dressed, and five measures of parched corn, and an hundred clusters of raisins, and two hundred cakes of figs, and laid them on asses." That is, the Church, represented by Abigail, with the eager earnestness signified by haste, took spiritual good and truth, meant by bread and wine; and rational good and truth, meant by the dressed sheep and the raisins; and natural good, meant by figs, and disposed them in the scientifics or knowledges of good and truth, meant by asses. Abigail, having sent on her servants before her, went forth to meet David, "and it was so, as she rode on the ass, that she came down by the covert of the hill, and, behold, David and his men came down against her; and she met them. And when Abigail saw David, she lighted off the ass, and fell before David on her face, and bowed herself to the ground, and fell at his feet." This Oriental mode of salutation is very expressive of that profound humiliation and self-abasement which the Church owes to the Lord, and which Abigail's prostration represents. The wife of Nabal, by her address to David, shows herself to be a woman of good understanding. "Upon me, my lord," she exclaims, "upon me let this iniquity be," and she proceeds to plead her cause with words of more than human eloquence; for the words Abigail now speaks, she speaks, our author says, by the Spirit of the Lord, for they contain within them things Divine. First she throws herself at his feet, which expresses adoration. She confesses iniquity in herself, saying, "Upon me let this iniquity be." She describes the people by her husband, calling him foolish, as his name imports;


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 168 like the people, he was foolish, nay, might be considered insane; so that to punish the foolish for their insanity would be contrary to justice. She implores only for grace. Abigail pleads that she had not seen David's young men, when they came to and were repelled by her husband, which signifies the representative Church, which was pure like the primitive. So the Church brings gifts, which are spiritual things, such as burnt-offerings and sacrifices, meat-offerings and drink-offerings, sin-offerings and peace-offerings, which constituted the externals of worship in the representative Church, and which were expressed by the gifts now offered by Abigail to David--by the Church to the Messiah.

Abigail prays David to forgive the trespass of his handmaid; for the Lord would certainly make him a sure house: because he fighteth the battles of the Lord, and evil had not been found in him all his days. This is truly descriptive of the Messiah, and of Him only. He it is who forgives sin, by removing it; for He fought the battles of the Lord in His conflicts with the powers of darkness, and His victories over them; and which He still does in opposing and overcoming the evils of the human heart, wherein, as well as in His general Church, the Lord makes for Him a sure house, because they are built on the foundation of truth and righteousness. He and He alone it is in whom evil hath not been found all His days; for He alone of all men lived without sin.

"Yet a man," she says, "has risen to pursue thee, and to seek thy soul." Saul is here distinguished from the enemies of the Lord against whom David fought; for although Saul fought against David, David did not fight against him. Nay, while both fought the battles of the Lord, David had to endure this separate and internal conflict. This, we have seen, and will have occasion further to show, is entirely consistent with the view of the antagonism of the letter to the spirit, or rather of the apparent truths of the letter, through which temptations come, to the spirit, against which they are directed; whereas the "enemies" are the evil spirits themselves that tempt, like that by which Saul was possessed. "But," Abigail continues, "the soul of my lord shall be bound in the bundle of life with the Lord thy God; and the souls of thine enemies, them shall he sling out, as out of the middle of a sling. And it shall come to pass, when the Lord shall have done to my lord according to all the good that He hath spoken concerning thee, and shall have appointed thee ruler over Israel; that this shall be no grief unto thee, nor offence of heart unto my lord, either that thou hast shed blood causeless, or that my lord hath avenged himself: but when the Lord shall have dealt well with my lord, then remember thine handmaid." This, according to our author, clearly treats of the life after death, and the last judgment.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 169 The souls of the righteous shall be bound up in the bundle of life with the Lord God, and the wicked, who are meant by His enemies, shall be cast out, as from the middle of a sling; and Jehovah, when He shall have done or accomplished all the good that He hath spoken concerning Him, shall He make ruler over Israel. The supplication of Abigail for the house of Nabal, like that of Abraham for the inhabitants of Sodom, is a prayer of the Church for her people, her children, that in the judgment the innocent may not perish with the guilty. Abigail's final petition, "when the Lord shall have dealt well with my lord, then remember thine hand-maid," is, spiritually, a prayer that the sin of the people may not bring ruin upon the Church which has been united or adjoined to them--that though the dispensation should perish, the Church may remain.

David listens to Abigail's prayer. He blesses the Lord God of Israel for having sent her to meet him, and blesses her for having, by her blessed advice, kept him from shedding blood, and avenging himself with his own hand, since, except she had come, he would, by the morning light, have left no male alive. He receives the present she had brought him, and desires her to go up in peace to her house. Thus it repented him; for he had hearkened to her voice, and accepted her person. This, understood of the Lord and His Church, presents the subject of the relation that exists between them, and of the influence they have upon each other, as we find it represented in Scripture. According to the letter of the Word, the Lord is determined to take vengeance on the people for their sins, but by the penitence and entreaty, either of themselves or of one who takes their place, He is turned from the fierceness of His anger to clemency and mercy. Yet we know there is no anger in God, no shadow of turning from His infinite love and mercy. Still the appearance of God's anger against sinners, and His taking vengeance on them for their sins, expresses a terrible reality. It expresses nothing less than the absolute opposition and irreconcilable hostility between holiness and sinfulness--holiness in God and sinfulness in man; while the seeming ease with which the Lord is propitiated, and His vengeance gives place to mercy, expresses the encouraging truth, that penitence never fails to remove hostility and effect reconciliation, since it removes sin, which is the only cause of hostile separation. David had threatened that by the morning light he would have left none of Nabal's household alive. The morning is a time for judgment. "O house of David, thus saith the Lord; Execute judgment in the morning, and deliver him that is spoiled out of the hand of the oppressor, lest My fury go out like fire, and burn that none can quench it, because of the evil of your doings" (Jer. xxi. 12).


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 170 Yet David's vengeance was to have been executed before the morning light, so that the dawn of a new day would have found his house desolate. In accordance with the view, that the subject of this chapter is the end of the Jewish and the beginning of the Christian dispensation, the words of David imply that, but for the interposition of the representative Church amongst them, the Jewish people would have been unable to endure the Lord's presence among them, even when veiled in humanity. Had not John the Baptist, by preaching and baptizing, prepared the way of the Lord, His presence would have smitten the earth with a curse, the Church would have perished with the dispensation, and the morning light would have shone on impenetrable darkness and gloom.

But that which David was dissuaded from doing to the whole house of Nabal, the foolish mall did to himself. On Abigail's return she found her husband feasting, and Nabal's heart was merry within him, for he was very drunken. Spiritually understood, this feast, which was like that of a king, is the profanation of goodness and truth, which is meant by eating and drinking to excess. So we find the consummation of the age described. The days of the Son of Man, when He was to come to judgment, were to be like the days of Noah, when they did eat and drink, until the Flood came; and like the days of Lot, when they also ate and drank, and fire and brimstone were rained from heaven, and destroyed them all, except the remnant that, in both cases, were saved. When Abigail told Nabal, his heart died within him, and he became as a stone. And it came to pass about ten days after, that the Lord smote Nabal, that he died. The heart dies when all love, which is the life of the will, is extinguished; and man himself becomes a stone--not merely as a stone--when nothing remains of religion but a hard and lifeless faith. Nabal becoming a stone, like Lot's wife becoming a pillar of salt, is representative, not only of the extinction of the life of truth, which is charity, but the perversion of the truth itself

When David heard of Nabal's death, he sent and communed with Abigail, to take her to him to wife. The description of Abigail's coming to David, with her five damsels, like the five wise virgins that went in with the bridegroom to the marriage, is a spiritual description of the marriage of the Lord with the Church, her five damsels representing the spiritual affections and graces which belong to the Church, and are attendant upon her. Thus the Church which had been joined to the Jewish people, became, at the end of the Jewish dispensation, in the true sense the Lord's bride and wife, for He having become Man, was in the full sense the bridegroom and husband of His Church. But by the Incarnation, the Lord not only united to Himself the Church as it existed among the Jews, but also as it existed among the Gentiles.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 171 This Church was represented by Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, whom also David took to wife; and Abigail and Ahinoam were both of them his wives. "But Saul had given Michal his daughter, David's wife, to Phalti, the son of Laish, which was of Gallim." We have already seen that Michal, the daughter of Saul, represented a natural affection, and we shall have further opportunities of seeing this exemplified. Saul intended her to be a snare to David; and when she no longer served that purpose, she was given to another. According to the custom of the times, when women were considered the property of their parents, and might be disposed of at their pleasure, Michal, like Samson's wife, was given to another man, without the consent of her husband, or even without consulting him. Saul may have had the same seeming justification that the parents of Samson's wife pleaded. Michal did not share David's fortunes during his fugitive life; and Saul may have considered that he was justified in annulling David's claim to her as his wife. From a higher point of view, the history of Michal shows her to have represented the Church more as the daughter of Saul than as the spouse of David, partaking more of the merely human than of the purely Divine element, more of the affection of truth Divine than of Divine truth, yet capable of being joined now to one and now to the other; like Adonis living alternately in the upper and in the lower world, and serving in some measure to connect them with each other. Michal is now away from David and joined to Phalti, who, we shall see, has to render her up to David again.



1 Samuel xxvi.

THE subject of the present chapter is so similar in its character to that which formed the subject of a previous one, that we have to some extent anticipated the lesson which it must be our main object to deduce from it. Had its moral tone been different we might have passed it over, not as being less Divine and instructive, but as being less necessary for our instruction, after dwelling on an incident the leading features of which are the same. Those parts of the sacred history which present more of the dark side of human nature are not less necessary to show us what human nature really is, than are those which exhibit its bright side to show us what it is capable of becoming. But it is pleasant, and may be made profitable, to linger at those brighter and fresher spots which we meet with in our progress through the historical Word, as it is at those we meet with in our progress through the historical world.



Much as we meet with in the Scriptures, in their simple literal sense, that is painfully indicative of the degraded state of human nature, and which may well convince us of the truth of the Scripture declaration, that the heart of man is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, there are yet some things that no less pleasingly exhibit the nobility of human nature, and its capability of being restored by regeneration, which is a new creation, to the image and likeness of God.

Natural men have, it is true, exhibited beautiful traits of humanity, in times of war and in moments of triumph, as well as in seasons of peace and periods of humiliation. All these reveal the divinity of man's origin, and the presence of God in the minds and affairs of men, even when He is in heart unacknowledged. The good of the natural and even of the wicked man is from the same origin as that of the spiritual and righteous. There is none good but one, that is God. Good in the creature is from the Creator, and is the Creator's in him. The fragrant scent and blushing beauty of the rose are not more truly dependent on the influence of the sun of this world, than are all kind feelings and beautiful thoughts on the Sun of heaven; they all have their beginning in Him who causes His sun to rise alike on the evil and on the good. There is, nevertheless, a wide difference between the spiritual and the natural man. On one point it is this. The spiritual man traces all that he possesses of the good and the beautiful to Him who gives it, and returns it in grateful acknowledgment to its bountiful Giver, connecting himself by means of the gift with Him who bestows it. The natural man regards himself as the author of whatever good he possesses or performs, and, by claiming the merit which is due to God, cuts himself off from that conjunction which is effected by reciprocation. The natural man, with all his excellences, remains natural, because he looks not and desires not above nature. His virtues are full of himself, and are therefore inwardly tainted with his natural corruptions. The virtues of the spiritual man are spiritual, because the Spirit of the Lord is in them, and that which gives them an eternal end gives them an eternal existence.

While, therefore, we contemplate those manifestations of the good and the beautiful in human conduct, of which we find such fine examples in the Sacred Scriptures, we should ascribe them to that Being in whom all that is good originates, and regard them as the shadow of His wings, falling upon this world of ours, to relieve the lurid light which the fire of unhallowed passion sheds upon it. And as the Gospel requires us to be perfect even as our Father in heaven is perfect, all that in the human character which reflects anything of the Divine, we should seek to realize in our own, that we may be assimilated to the likeness of Him in whom all perfection dwells.



The beautiful incident which we are now to consider differs in a few particulars from that which engaged our attention in the twenty-fourth chapter. It was after David had left the wilderness of Paran, and had taken up his abode in the wilderness of Ziph, that Saul, again thirsting for his blood, set out with three thousand of his men in search of him. The wilderness of Ziph is in the territory of the tribe of Judah, and Hachilah is at no great distance from Engedi, where the previous encounter of David with Saul, so similar in its character to the present, took place. The desert still points to a state of temptation, and Hachilah, the "dark" or "dusky," indicates, as some other particulars to which we shall have occasion to advert, a state of temptation having more immediate relation to the understanding than to the will. And wherever indeed two circumstances, and even two expressions, occur in the Word, similar to each other, one relates to the will and the other to the understanding, as the two faculties of the mind in which the principles of love and faith have their abode, and which are to be distinctly perfected by regeneration. It was in the dark hill of Hachilah that Saul pitched when in pursuit of David; and here the singularly interesting circumstances took place, which so strongly mark the conduct of David as generous and forbearing. When David, who abode in the wilderness, heard that Saul had come indeed, he arose and came to the place where Saul had pitched. Without some Divine impulse to prompt or Divine voice to direct him, it is difficult to account for David's venturing into the midst of the camp, where the sacred person of the king was surrounded by three thousand men, and no doubt usually guarded by his immediate attendants. He found them indeed asleep; but this was not the ordinary condition of the camp, but was produced supernaturally, "because a deep sleep from the Lord was fallen upon them." The same supernatural agency must have acted upon David, to lead him into the midst of his enemies. Nor can we reasonably doubt that a Divine influence caused him to act that noble part, by which he again disarmed the wrath and won the admiration of his cruel persecutor.

So is it with the Christian. In times of danger the Lord provides for the safety of those who trust in Him. David himself has uttered the language of the Christian in these times of tribulation: "Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident." And this confidence, in circumstances corresponding to the present, may be expressed in other words of the same inspired writer: "The stout-hearted are spoiled, they have slept their sleep: and none of the men of might have found their hands.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 174 At Thy rebuke, O God of Jacob, both the chariot and horse are cast into a dead sleep." What then is this sleep into which the Lord casts the enemies of His people, the persecutors of the souls of the innocent--of those very enemies and persecutors that are to be found in our own bosoms? For in our own hearts is the war of the flesh against the spirit, the world against heaven, and self against God, in which all our conflicts of a spiritual kind consist. Briefly, spiritual war is the opposition of the natural mind against the spiritual. It is the natural mind that is laid asleep; and during the state which is represented by sleep the spiritual mind descends into it and performs its beneficent work, which that of David in the camp of Saul represented. The particular condition of the mind here and in similar instances meant by sleep, is that state in which the appetites and passions of the natural mind are brought into a state of quiescence. When sickness or misfortune fall upon men, while they are yet in a comparatively natural state, their minds are subdued, their eagerness in pursuit of the world and their desires for the advancement of self are moderated; and some would then freely give up all they possess or had desired in exchange for their soul.

A still deeper sleep may fall upon the natural mind without these natural agencies. The fear of death and judgment has a still greater influence on minds in a certain religious condition--a condition in which there is more dread of hell than love of heaven--in which the conscience accuses rather than excuses. When the Scriptures talk of judgment, how many like Felix tremble; and their rebellious motions are quelled for the moment within them. The natural appetites and passions are cast into a sleep still more profound when, not merely a dread of punishment, but a conviction and sense of sin are impressed upon the mind. The sleep of passion produced by any of these causes is from the Lord; for it is His Providence and His Spirit that bring men into this state. The effects produced may in some cases be but temporary; like Saul, the mind may return to its former state; but even when contrition is temporary, it is not entirely useless. Even with those who are being regenerated, there are alternations of state. Theirs is not a life of sinning and repenting; but they have their times of disturbance and tranquillity, of sleep and wakefulness, of joy and sorrow. Those who are spiritually minded have indeed states and experiences peculiar to themselves, states in which these apparently, and in some sense really opposite conditions of life exist at the same time. They may be subject to outward tribulation while they enjoy inward peace, they may be in outward obscurity while they have inward light, and their sensuous nature may be cast into a deep sleep while their spiritual is in a state of complete wakefulness.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 175 In relation to the regenerating man, who is still in the wilderness, this state is represented by the scene which the present part of the history presents to our minds. Saul and all his host are buried in profound slumber, while David and his companion penetrate into the very midst of the camp, and take away from the pillow of the king his spear and his cruse of water.

And when the rebellious passions of our natural man are quelled into rest, when a deep sleep from the Lord, by any of His providential acts or spiritual operations, has fallen upon them, and our spiritual man is awake, and has ascertained the condition of the mind below, then is the time to go down, and pass through, and enter into the very inmost of the natural thoughts and affections, to examine, that we may discover their real state, with the view of depriving them of their power to injure our spiritual life, or of bringing them into harmony with it. Do we thus improve our opportunities? When the outward joyfulness of life is taken away, when the animal spirits are depressed, or when any more spiritual cause produces deep slumber in the propensities of the natural mind, do we, in the dark silence, enter faithfully if not fearlessly into self-examination? This is our duty, and if faithfully and judiciously performed, it will result in important advantage to our souls. Saul's wrath was, for the moment at least, turned away by the courageous but wise and merciful conduct of David, which thus proved the means of his present preservation, and no doubt had some share in making this the last attempt that Saul made upon his life. As on the former occasion, David was exhorted to kill Saul, and rid himself at once of his enemy; but David still retained his veneration for Saul as the Lord's anointed. As on the previous occasion, too, he did what was necessary to show that he had the power if disposed to use it. He took away from the king's bolster the spear and the cruse of water: two of the most necessary means for the defence and support of his life. And when he had awakened the king, he showed him these as evidences of his power and mercy.

And what does this teach us in regard to ourselves? It instructs us that when the duty of self-examination is faithfully performed, it will result in transferring all the power of the natural man to the spiritual, and in convincing the natural man himself that his life and the means of it belong to the spiritual. This act of David, like that of cutting off the skirt of Saul's robe, may be considered prophetic of his future possession of the kingly power; and such is every corresponding act of the mind. The spiritual mind acquires dominion over the natural gradually and by successive acts; but it is not till it has made its last conquest that the kingdom or government is entirely its own. Every act, however, makes its power felt and acknowledged, and brings some degree of submission, and prepares the way for a more unreserved, and finally for a full surrender.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 176 The cruse of water and the spear are symbols of truth as the means of support and defence, though sometimes turned by the natural man into means for his own support, independently of the spiritual, and for offence and defence against him. The true state of the case is, that all which the natural mind has of truth or of good belongs to the spiritual; and it is not till this is seen and acknowledged, and until it is carried into practice, that there is a state of true harmony and union between the two conflicting parts of our nature, and the inner and outer man become truly one.

Until this is effected, we must expect tribulation, and we must or should be prepared to meet our trials, whatever they may be, with faithfulness, but with reverence and temperance. Let us not suppose that trials are only to be recognised in great calamities. Every day brings its trials, for every day brings some trial of our temper, our patience, our charity, our forbearance, our endurance. And our principles are tested and may be manifested in these as well, though not perhaps so much, as in matters of more seeming importance. There is nothing so small in the conduct of our minds and lives as to be unimportant; and it may be well for us to remember that he who is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much. He who is faithful in the duties of a day is most likely to be faithful in the duties of a whole life; and he who attends to the least of his thoughts and actions will be likely to attend to the greatest.

Whether, therefore, our trials and temptations be great or small, let us be faithful and trustful; and the end will be peace.



1 Samuel xxvii.

THE conclusion of the previous chapter might lead us to expect that David's sorrows were now ended. Saul had asked him to return, and vowed he would do him no more harm. He had blessed him as his son, and seemed willing to recognise him as his heir. Yet the present chapter begins with the old plaint, as if no reconciliation had taken place: "I shall now perish one day by the hand of Saul." How soon the king had lost his good impressions and forgotten his solemn promise, and relapsed into his previous state of enmity, does not appear; but a considerable interval of time separates the events recorded in these two chapters. But, however short or long the interval may have been, the lesson which Saul's conduct teaches us is equally impressive. No time should have effaced the sense of obligation to David which Saul at the moment must have felt.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 177 The fact shows us that impressions may be powerful and yet superficial, and feelings intense and yet evanescent. The resolutions, therefore, that are formed under the influence of strong emotions, may be like the early dew that passeth away; or like the seeds that "fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprang up, because they had no deepness of earth: and when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away." Convictions and sentiments that are not rooted in the good ground of an honest heart, seldom continue to live when the sun of our self-love is up. The shallow soil of natural feeling may give a rapid growth to the seeds of truth and virtue, but they as rapidly die away. Of this Saul was a singularly striking example.

Knowing that the evil spirit was again upon Saul, inviting him to the frenzied pursuit of his innocent victim, David said in his heart, "There is nothing better for me than that I should speedily escape into the land of the Philistines; and Saul shall despair of me, to seek me any more in any coast of Israel: so shall I escape out of his hand." David had already on a former occasion sought an asylum in the land of the Philistines, and with Achish the king of Gath. He then found that he had fled from one danger to fall into another; now he was favourably received, and the city of Ziklag was given him; wherefore Ziklag pertaineth unto the kings of Judah unto this day. In his first flight to Philistia he was alone; now he had six hundred men, consisting chiefly of those who had joined him in the cave of Adullam, to which he had escaped when the servants of Achish aroused the suspicions of the monarch respecting him.

Philistia was the first and the last place of David's flight from Saul. We have seen that Philistia, like Egypt, is a stage in the journey of the faithful, in their progress through the chequered experience of the regenerate life. It is, however, one that belongs to a higher state or to a more advanced stage of the new life than Egypt, to the celestial and spiritual, but not to the natural. Abraham and Isaac, we have seen, sojourned in Philistia; but the children of Israel, when they went up out of Egypt, were not permitted to pass through the land of the Philistines, though it was near, lest, seeing war, they might turn back. Not to the natural but to the spiritual stage of the new life does the experience represented by Philistia belong. It is a trial not of science but of faith, not of knowledge but of conviction, not of the letter but of the spirit. It was for this reason a place of David's sojourn, for he eminently represented the spiritual man. Yet it was to him a place of trial as well as of retreat. It is to some of the circumstances connected with David's second sojourn here that we have now to direct our attention.



One important effect of David's flight to Gath was that Saul sought no more again for him. Saul's persecution of David was now ended, although there is no reason to believe that his persecuting spirit had died out. One of the purposes for which the regal office had been instituted was the deliverance of Israel from the oppression of the Philistines. Had Saul opposed the great enemy of his people with the constancy and activity he displayed in pursuing him whom he regarded as his rival for the throne, especially had he availed himself of the services of the conqueror of Goliath, he might have freed his people from the oppression under which they groaned. Instead of this he threw his best friend into the arms of his worst enemy; and he who might have been the conqueror of the Philistines was soon to be conquered by them. The Philistines had saved David, by making an inroad into the land, and drawing Saul away from pursuing him; and they were now to afford him protection from all further pursuit. In doing this the Philistines were unconsciously preserving and increasing a power which was to undermine and finally overturn their own. Such are the ways in which Providence works out its own beneficent ends. The power of the natural and even of the natural-rational man would never be overcome by the power of the spiritual, were it not that the wrath of man can be made to work to the praise of God, and the remainder of wrath can be restrained. We have remarked that the conflicting passions tend to restrain each other. But this effects no true reformation. There must be a higher power that can restrain and subdue them all, and bring them into submission and subordination to itself. The supremacy of this power is effected by numerous Divine means, not only various but diverse, by permissions as well as by provisions. The Lord bends prejudices when they cannot be broken, restrains men by fear when they cannot be led by love, and makes even their self-love instrumental in leading them to the love of God. In our first religious impulse there is more fear of hell than love of heaven. There is love within the fear; but the love without the fear would be unable to impel us to forsake the broad road which leads to destruction, and enter the narrow way which leads to life. In our first faith there is self-confidence, like that which led Peter to say, "Though I should die with Thee, yet will I not deny Thee;" yet without this self-confidence our early faith would not have even the courage of intended martyrdom. In our first righteousness there is a feeling of merit, yet without this merit there would be no righteousness. There is thus a large ingredient of self in our early religion. And our Lord appeals to this element, as when He held out to those who followed Him, that they should sit upon thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. The Lord condescends to lead us by a lower motive till a higher be developed.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 179 For if we have any sincere religion, a higher motive is within the lower, as the butterfly is within he caterpillar; so that when the lower dies the higher comes forth into life. Within our early fear there is love, within our self-confidence there is trust, within our merit there is disinterestedness. By trial and tribulation, as well as by patience and perseverance, the kingdom of God is gradually established within us, and we ourselves become kings and priests unto God and the Father, which we are when the Lord's truth rules in our understandings and His love rules in our hearts.

David in Philistia is in this way preparing himself for ruling the kingdom of Israel, whose anointed king he already is. And in this he was the type of Him who was made perfect through suffering, and who, though the anointed, the holy thing, the Son of God, from His birth, or rather from His being conceived in the womb, had nevertheless to pass through a life of suffering as well as of holiness, before He ascended to His throne, and became the Ruler of His kingdom in heaven and on earth. And so of the disciple who follows His Lord.

When David appeared before Achish, he desired that the king would give him a place elsewhere than in the regal city; and Achish gave him Ziklag; wherefore Ziklag belongeth unto the kings of Judah unto this day. There is something interesting about the history of this town. It was one of the cities that fell to the lot of Judah (Josh. xv. 31); but as Judah's lot was too large for him, the children of Simeon received their inheritance within the inheritance of the children of Judah (xix. 1-9); and Ziklag passed over from Judah to Simeon (ver. 5). These two tribes were to each other as will and understanding; and the understanding of the celestial man is derived from and is within the will, as the inheritance of the children of Simeon was taken from and was within the inheritance of the children of Judah. The will of the spiritual man is formed in the understanding; the understanding of the celestial man is formed in the will. The spiritual man wills as he understands, the celestial man understands as he wills. The will and understanding of the celestial man are so completely united that they form, in a supereminent degree, one mind.

At the time to which the history relates Ziklag was subject to the Philistines, as the true to the false, but was assigned as a place of residence to David, when it passed into, and ever afterwards remained in, the hands of its true owners, the tribe and the kings of Judah.

From this "overflowing of a fountain," the emblem of living truth and beauty, David made two severe assaults upon some of the enemies of his people. He "and his men went up, and invaded the Geshurites, and the Gezrites, and the Amalekites: for those nations were of old the inhabitants of the land, as thou goest to Shur, even unto the land of Egypt." It is not difficult to see the meaning of these nations, situated as they were on the borders of Philistia, and on the way to Shur and Egypt.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 180 The wilderness of Shur was the scene of the first temptation of the children of Israel, after leaving Egypt, when they thirsted for water (Exod. xv. 22), and Amalek was the first enemy that assailed them, when they were suffering from their second temptation in the wilderness of Sin (xvii. 8). The Amalekites, we have seen, represented falsity grounded in interior evil; and the two nations here associated with them represent confirming reasonings and science. But it is of the circumstances connected with David's invasion of these nations that I desire chiefly to speak. It is said that he left neither man nor woman alive, and that his object in utterly destroying the people was to prevent tidings being brought to Gath, where his doings might have caused censure and excited alarm. And when David was asked by the king where he had made a road that day, he said, "Against the south of Judah, and against the south of the Jerahmeelites, and against the south of the Kenites. And Achish believed David, saying, He hath made his people Israel utterly to abhor him; therefore he shall be my servant for ever." This double crime, as it must be regarded if judged by the standard of Christian morality, of exterminating to conceal and lying to deceive, does not seem to have been considered in those times and under that dispensation as any cause of reproach. Yet as David is a type of the spiritual man, and even as the Lord Himself as Divine truth, in what light are we to view these as representative acts? Had David been among his own people, his invasion of those nations would have been regarded as a meritorious act; and the greater the slaughter and the richer the spoil, the more would it have redounded to his honour. But David was now living among the enemies of his people, and he must appear to them to be his people's enemy. Yet this could he only an appearance. David, wherever he might be, as now driven by a cruel necessity to seek shelter in an enemy's territory, could not be unmindful of or unfaithful to the country over which he knew he was destined to rule. Besides, the land in which he now dwelt, by Divine decree belonged to the children of Israel, having been promised to Abraham and Isaac as part of the inheritance of their descendants (Gen. xiii. 15, xxvi. 3). It, however, remained unpossessed in the days of Joshua (Josh. xiii. 3); and the Philistines were among the nations that were left to prove Israel, and to teach them war (Judges iii. 1-3). The Israelites dwelt among the unconquered nations (ver. 5); so that David and his men were not altogether strangers in the land of the Philistines. There was this great difference between them and their brethren. The Israelites who dwelt among the nations took their daughters to be their wives, and gave their daughters to their sons, and served their gods; which brought calamities upon them (vers. 6-9). David and his men were not guilty of these evils. They kept themselves separate from the Philistines among whom they dwelt;


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 181 and instead of making league with their enemies and worshipping their gods, they made their presence in Philistia the opportunity and the means of executing the Divine judgment upon some of the proscribed nations, whom they could not otherwise have subdued. But the Philistines must not know that David employed the security which their hospitality afforded him in using against their neighbours the sword that might soon be turned against themselves; they must, on the contrary, believe that nor their friends but their foes were the objects of his attack. There must be something in the nature of that faith which the Philistines represented which leads them to draw a corresponding conclusion from the doing and teaching of the Divine truth which David represented.

Faith alone, when adopted in principle and followed in practice, not only blunts the mind's perception, but perverts all its views, of the teaching and operation of Divine truth. It calls evil good, and good evil; it puts darkness for light, and light for darkness; it puts bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter (Isa. v. 20). According to this principle, Divine truth does not war against evil but against good. This seems a hard saying. But the principle involves it, and if carried out to its legitimate consequences takes that outward shape. It does so in this way.

Those who hold the doctrine of salvation by faith alone, do so on the ground that works are meritorious, and therefore can contribute nothing to salvation; and when it is believed that good works do not justify, it is not difficult to believe that evil works do not condemn. Few, indeed, in the present day openly avow this as their belief; but the doctrine includes it, and its tendency is to produce it. Many who believe that faith alone saves are yet exemplary in the fulfilment of the law. Such do not come under the denomination of spiritual Philistines. The spiritual Philistine is one who believes, and who acts on the belief, that good does not justify and that evil does not condemn. We see this tendency in its effects on the intellectual efforts of the theological writers who maintain it. In reading the Scriptures they eagerly seize on everything that is said in favour of faith, and seem as if they were unable to see what is said in favour of charity and good works; and if any adverse passage demands attention, they feel themselves constrained to evade the force of its teaching. The statement of Paul, that "a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law" (Rom. iii. 28), is taken as the sum of Christian doctrine on the subject; while James, in declaring that "by works a man is justified, and hot by faith only" (ii. 24), is accused of Judaizing; and it is well known that Luther pronounced the excellent apostolic letter in which the declaration appears to be an epistle of straw. The two assertions, the one of Paul and the other of James, are in perfect harmony when the subject and object of the two writers are understood.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 182 But this way of reading the Scriptures is an exemplification of the faith of Achish, that the road which David made was not against the Geshurites, and the Gezrites, and the Amalekites, but against the south of Judah, and against the south of the Jerahmeelites, and against the south of the Kenites. Achish, indeed, believed this because David told him. David deceived Achish. But can the Lord, or His Word, deceive men? The Scriptures say so. Jeremiah says, "O Lord, Thou hast deceived me, and I was deceived" (xx. 7); the Lord says by Ezekiel, "If the prophet be deceived when he hath spoken a thing, I the Lord have deceived that prophet" (xiv. 9); and the Lord employed a lying spirit to deceive Ahab (1 Kings xxii. 20-23). These are apparent truths. The Lord does not deceive men by the teaching of His Word, but men deceive themselves by giving His Word a false interpretation; saying to the prophets, "Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits" (Isa. xxx. 10). The disposition to be deceived is the ground of all religious deception. The Word of the Lord is truth (John xvii. 17); but men change the truth of God into a lie (Rom. i. 25). What David told Achish was, according to both its natural and its spiritual meaning, the opposite of what he did; the places and peoples have also an opposite signification. Amalek is falsity grounded in interior evil, and the south of Judah is truth grounded in interior goodness. The Gezrites are falsity from reasonings, and the Jerahmeelites are truth from intelligence; and the Geshurites are falsity from science, and the south of the Kenites is truth grounded in natural goodness. Thus the three have reference to celestial, spiritual, and natural truth and their opposites. The destruction of every man and woman, terrible as it must be regarded as an historical fact, was the carrying out of the Divine judgment pronounced against the nations, and was the type of the extinction of every thought and affection opposed to the supremacy of Divine truth and goodness, which constitute the kingdom of God.

"Achish believed David, saying, He hath made his people Israel utterly to abhor him; therefore he shall be my servant for ever." David's people Israel are those who acknowledge the Lord's Divine truth as their master, the Philistines are those who desire to make it their servant. All truth leads to goodness, and all religion has relation to life; and only when we follow its teaching are we its subjects and servants. But if we believe that truth leads us to trust in another's goodness, and that all religion has relation to faith, we subvert the right order of things, and make truth subject and servant to us, because subservient to our own views and aims.





1 Samuel xxviii.

FEW portions of the Old Testament history present more points of curious interest, or more lessons of solemn admonition, than the account of Saul's interview with the witch of Ender.

The nature and extent of the supernatural power which the woman possessed, or was supposed to possess, the reality, appearance, or illusion of her bringing up Samuel, are points which have often been discussed, and on which a variety of opinions have been expressed and still continue to exist.

Apart from critical opinions, the relation itself, in its simple historical aspect, presents, in the character and conduct of Saul, a fearful picture of the condition of a mind desirous to serve God and Mammon. Saul had neglected the Divine command which had been given him to execute, yet in his need he seeks Divine direction; he had contemned the counsel of Samuel while living, but desires to have recourse to him for advice when dead; he had endeavoured to expel the witches out of the land, and now he wishes to avail himself of the unlawful power he had attempted to destroy.

His conduct shows how much the mind may be under the influence of superstition when it has no true regard for religion; and how inconsistently men are liable to act when they have no settled principles of religion to guide them.

In regard to the questions themselves--whether the woman to whom Saul applied had, or only pretended to have, the power of calling up the dead; and, admitting that she had, whether he who tame up was Samuel himself, or another who personated the prophet, there is little in mere reasoning that can lead us to a satisfactory conclusion. If we believe the Scriptures we must admit that there is nothing contrary to their testimony in the belief, that the living can have sensible intercourse with the dead. The Word itself affords abundant testimony of the fact. Nor is there anything extremely marvellous in this when it is known, as we now know, that the men who have departed this life are as truly men as when they lived in the body, and that the spiritual world, which is the habitation of souls, is as near to the natural world, which is the habitation of men, and is as intimately connected with it, as the soul is with the body. It is true that men cannot see spirits with their bodily eyes nor hear them with their bodily ears;


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 184 but there can be no reason to doubt that men may be brought, even while they live in the natural world, into such a state as enables them to see and hear spirits with the organs of their own spiritual body. There are spiritual as well as natural senses. Human souls and the world they were created to inhabit, are at least as real and substantial as the material body and the material world. And when Divine wisdom sees good to grant or permit it, spiritual objects can be presented to and be cognised by the spiritual senses, without the intervention of the material body. In all the instances recorded in the Scriptures of angels and spirits being seen, and touched, and conversed with by men, not the material but the spiritual senses were affected. Angels did not for the time put on a material body, but men for the time were brought into a spiritual state.

Admitting the possibility of spiritual intercourse, it may indeed appear inconsistent to suppose that the power to produce it should be capable of being exercised by the will of man, especially by that of any one who is acting in contrariety to the laws of Divine order, as we must suppose the witch of Ender to have been doing. On the same principle we might refuse to admit the power of working miracles said to have been exercised by the magicians of Egypt, unless we believe them, as some do, to have been deceptions. In all such cases we may use the words of our Lord to Pilate, when he asked Him if He knew not that he had power to crucify and power to release Him. "Thou couldest have no power at all against Me," said our Lord, "except it were given thee from above." Wherever such power is exercised it is by Divine permission. And God permits such things, not as one who desires them, but as one whose boundless love and everlasting wisdom work in a sphere above the will and wisdom of man, and for an infinite and eternal end; and because evil cannot be prevented without destroying the freedom of the human will, which God Himself has granted, and which He cannot therefore violate. The power itself, absolutely considered, is Divine; and that which is exerted in magical miracles, or in any unlawful spiritual prodigy, is stolen from heaven, but has passed through channels and is applied to purposes which pervert it.

There is nothing, therefore, inconsistent with the testimony of Scripture, nor consequently with the laws of spiritual intercourse, in the woman of Ender being able to bring Saul into open communication with the spiritual world, or with one of its inhabitants. But the question still remains to be determined, whether that one with whom he was brought into communication was the spirit of Samuel, or one who personated the prophet.

In the writings of the New Church, published by Swedenborg himself, there is, rather singularly, nothing relating to the case of the witch of Ender.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 185 But in that fragmentary work, already mentioned in Chapter XVIII., and published since the death of the author, the subject is treated of, so far at least as relates to this point, and to another which is included in the relation.

The author says: "It is well to be observed that Samuel was not raised up from the dead by the witch. That was only a fallacy: it was another. One was raised up who represented Samuel. For when permission is given to evil spirits or their leaders, they can cleverly represent whatever person or character they will, provided that person has been seen and known by the individual, and they can do this with such an amount of skill, that every accent of the voice, every peculiarity, is supplied. Of this I have had experience two or three times by the agency of certain spirits, who set before me people I had known during their lifetime, with whom I held long conversations, and who were like their former selves when in life. Still, however, on all these occasions, I questioned whether they were the same, and expressed my doubts to the spirits. Such power have they to personate whom they will, be he but known to the observer. Nothing could be more manifest to me that he was not Samuel, but an evil spirit who represented him. That it was not Samuel is sufficiently clear, because the woman produced the appearance, and because it is said at ver. 13 that gods ascended."

In regard to the prediction of Israel's defeat and the death of Saul and his sons, these remarks occur: "To evil spirits it is also given to declare things that are future, but this is from the Lord, and it is given through good spirits, to whom it is given in such cases to turn away the speech of the evil spirits. In innumerable instances I have observed evil spirits speak as if they predicted events, etc.       No one can know the future but Jehovah God only."

However interesting these particulars may be, and they are all we have of a direct nature to guide us to any satisfactory views of the origin and nature of the spiritual phenomena which this singular history records, the spiritual meaning and practical use circumstances are those which chiefly concern us.

Saul may be considered last in his representative character, presenting us with a view of the state and experience of the natural mind in a state of deep spiritual distress, or of the natural man labouring under the effects of conflicting passions. The Philistines, we learn, had again invaded the land, and Saul had gathered all Israel together to meet them. But the confidence that ensured victory was gone. Saul was afraid, and his heart greatly trembled. One of the leading truths which Israel, and their leaders especially, had been instructed believe and trust in was, that the Lord could save by many or few. That truth Saul had ceased to regard, so far at least as was requisite for his support in the hour of trial.



No doubt spiritual trials, one of which that of Saul represented, are attended with a feeling of distrust in the all-sufficiency of the providence of God. Whenever this is the case, it arises from a deficiency of our faith and love. It is love and faith that inspire confidence; for the Lord supports us through the principles derived from himself that are within us. He cannot dwell in anything in us but that which is His own; and just in proportion as we have formed our inner life by the principles of His kingdom, which are love and truth, is He able to inspire our hearts with trust in Him, and to dissipate our unworthy fears. This fear, and the distrust from which it springs, may not he felt in the ordinary circumstances of life, although they may be secretly exercising an influence over us, which a strict spiritual analysis of our thoughts and feelings, words and actions, might enable us to discover. It is when some unusual demand is made upon us that we become truly sensible of their existence. When some of our spiritual enemies come against us, we are liable to fear lest we be overcome. And when we reflect that these enemies are those of our own hearts, we can easily see the ground of our apprehensions. So long as these evils of the heart, or falsities of the understanding, find nothing to call them forth into sensible activity, the mind may be calm and the life happy. It is when something out of the ordinary course of experience excites them into action that the time of trial comes, and fear and trembling arise. But the Divine purpose In these permissions is to make us sensible of our real state, and effect some improvement in it. For our real state, essentially considered, is not what it seems in ordinary circumstances to be, but what it is in extraordinary conditions and great emergencies.

In all states of trouble or uncertainty the people of God have in Him a source of unfailing comfort and of unerring counsel. When about to engage in any great undertaking, especially when about to enter into the conflict of battle, the leaders of Israel asked counsel of time lying under the guilt of unexpiated sin, that they received or did the Lord. It depended on whether they or the people were at the an answer was withheld because Jonathan had tasted a little honey, though he was at the time unaware of the command that his father had issued, to taste no food till Israel had avenged themselves on their enemies. And this teaches that all evil, whenever it is brought not receive an answer. In the 14th chapter of this book we find that into act, even although it be a sin of ignorance, intercepts the Divine influence. However wide the difference may be between unintentional and intentional evil, the one has an injurious effect as well as the other, though very different in degree. The reason of this is obvious. Outward evil comes forth from the inward evil of our hereditary nature; and it comes forth spontaneously, even before the nature of evil is known.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 187 As formerly remarked, in speaking of Jonathan's error, evil that repeatedly comes forth into act becomes a habit of the life; and an evil habit strengthens the inclination which produces it. Hence the importance of forming virtuous and orderly habits as well as acquiring right principles; and this should be especially attended to in the education of the young. It is because actual evil, or evil in act, even when committed unintentionally, has an injurious effect on him who commits it, that under the Jewish dispensation sacrifices were instituted and were required to be offered for sins of ignorance as well as for sins of intention; for by this was represented that actual evil, however venial, must be removed by practical repentance before there can be communion with God. If even the sin of Jonathan prevented the reception of an answer from heaven, how much more that of Saul; how much more sins of purpose than sins of error.

Saul in his distress, in beholding the army of the Philistines, inquired of the Lord; but the Lord answered him not, neither by dreams, nor by vision, nor by prophets. These were all mediums through which communication from God was given. That which was given in sleep through dreams was that which flowed into the mind from the Spirit of the Lord, that which was given by vision was that which came through the truths of the Word, and that which was given by prophets was that which was derived from doctrinal teaching. In the case of Saul, these were withheld from him in accordance with a law of the representative Church to which he belonged; but as a matter of spiritual experience, these channels of spiritual communication are closed against us by sin against God. "Your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear" (Isa. lix. 2). "When ye spread forth your hands, I will hide Mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood" (Isa. i. 15) How dreadful the state when all light and comfort from heaven is shut out, and when the outward means of direction give no counsel! When these fail, what is to be done? The legitimate course is pointed out by that very Word which seems to refuse, and perhaps does refuse, to give the answer required--for the Lord and His Word refuse to give a response when the inquiry or the inquirer is wrong. That Word says, "Put away the evil of your doings from before Mine eyes; cease to do evil; learn to do well. Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool" (i. 16, 18). When we fail to receive what we desire and ask for, we should know that the cause is in ourselves; and reason itself may teach us, that it is our wisdom and duty to remove it by confession, supplication, repentance, and well-doing.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 188 But how liable are we to look out of ourselves for the obstacles to the attainment of even our wisest and best wishes, and for the means of acquiring what we desire! And the same false mode of judging may lead us to commit a still greater evil. It may lead us to seek, by forbidden means and through an impure channel, what we shut out from ourselves by neglecting the orderly means and avenues of Divine appointment.

Saul, instead of humbling himself before God in the dust of sincere contrition, sought what he wished through a medium which the Divine law and his own act had condemned. The Divine law declared, "There shall not be found among you any one that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer; for all that do these things are an abomination unto the Lord. Thou shalt be perfect with the Lord thy God." Whether in obedience to the law, or to gratify a disposition of his own, Saul had put away those that had familiar spirits and the wizards out of the land. And yet to one of these he now has recourse. In this we sometimes imitate Saul. We lean in our hearts to what we condemn in our judgment, and do ourselves what we blame others for doing. One of the great lessons we have to learn is, to be faithful to our own souls, for this is involved in being faithful to God. It is our duty to be perfect or sincere with the Lord. our God, and to approach Him as the Fountain of all goodness, the living God and the Author of all life, and to seek His face through His Word and the doctrines of His truth, and by doing His will. "And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead? To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them."

In the spiritual sense, those illegitimate channels of supernatural knowledge represented the persuasions of truth and goodness by which the evil heart seeks to attain its own selfish and worldly objects. Those workers against the Divine will, which all necromancers were, represented the various means originating in the corrupt selfhood of man, by which he endeavours to do for himself what it is in the power and the province of God only to do. No doubt these means and efforts are, as far as possible, overruled for good. Such was the case with Balaam, when employed by Balak to curse Israel. He was constrained altogether to bless them. Yet he was a soothsayer, and an enemy to the people of Israel; and was slain among the Midianites when fighting against them (Num. xxxi. 8). Such also was the case in the present instance. Saul forced himself into the circle of the forbidden power, but received an answer very different from that which he desired.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 189 Even through that impure channel the heavy tidings came to him that the Lord would deliver Israel into the hand of the Philistines, and that he and his two sons should fall in the battle.

This, no doubt, in reference to individuals such as Saul was, represents a fall in temptation, and the extinction of the life of truth, with its affections and thoughts. Considered as referring to those who are progressing in the spiritual life, the death of what remains of the old man is represented, by which death the new man, represented by David, truly lives, and is exalted and invested with new power. To these general views and the reflections which they suggest a few remarks of a more particular kind may be added.

The witches of Scripture, understood in its spiritual sense, are those who conjoin the falsities of the evil of self-love to the truths of faith; so that witchcraft involves the sin of profanation. When Saul forsook the Divine oracles to consult the witch of Ender, and turned from faith in the living God to faith in a necromancer--an oracle of the dead--he mixed the sacred with the profane, and brought ruin upon himself.

The witch whom Saul consulted was not to know who he was; so he disguised himself, and put on other raiment, and went, and two men with him, and they came to the woman by night. How forcibly does this represent the state and doings of those who turn aside from the holy to the profane! They disguise themselves, they change the garments of truth for the raiment of falsity, and with the consent of the will and the understanding, they leave the light of day for the darkness of night, to inquire of the familiar spirit of the "imagination of the thoughts of his heart, which is only evil continually," respecting that which should be asked of God, and which he never refuses to grant if asked in faith. But however determined such a one may be to obtain what he desires through an unhallowed medium, the thought will arise, that he is doing what he himself had once condemned as sinful, and tried to suppress; as the witch reminds her secret visitor of what Saul had done, how he had cut off those that have familiar spirits, and the wizards, out of the land. When, however, the mind is greatly inclined to do wrong, seldom do such thoughts turn it away from its purpose. It is easily assured that nothing evil shall happen to it for this thing. But when its desire is gratified, what is the result! When, in obedience to the command of the king, the woman brought up Samuel, she cried with a loud voice, and she said, "Why hast thou deceived me? for thou art Saul." Why should the apparition have alarmed her or convinced her of her visitor being Saul! It is difficult to imagine. But is there not a spiritual reason? Samuel the prophet represented the Word and the truth it teaches, and the truth of the Word reveals the best concealed secrets of the human heart. "Elisha, the prophet that is in Israel, telleth the king of Israel the words that thou speakest in thy bedchamber" (2 Kings vi. 12).


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 190 But those fears are allayed. The mind is bent on its object. Saul asks what the woman has seen. It appears from this that Saul had not yet seen the apparition himself. This is quite consistent with the fact that a spirit cannot be seen by the natural eye, and that the opening of the spiritual sight is an act of Divine power, so that of several different persons one may see spiritual objects and the others not. When the Lord is pleased to unveil the eyes of the soul, the present spirit comes into view. It would appear that it was some time before Saul received this open vision. For he asked the woman, What form is he of? When the woman said, "An old man cometh up, and he is covered with a mantle; Saul perceived that it was Samuel; and he stooped with his face to the ground, and bowed himself." Samuel now demanded of Saul why he had disquieted him to bring him up. When Saul told the spirit of the prophet of his distress, and of the Lord having departed from him, and of His answering him no more, neither by prophets nor by dreams, so that he had come to ask Samuel what he should do, he received the answer, "Wherefore then dost thou ask of me, seeing the Lord is departed from thee, and is become thine enemy?" How can truth aid him from whom good has departed? Good departs only from those who have departed from goodness, and when this is the case, truth is only heard giving utterance to judgment. And the judgment of truth alone is judgment without mercy; for he who in his own acts has removed mercy from judgment, shall be judged without mercy. That by which we judge is that by which we are judged. "Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again." Saul has to listen to the judgment of that truth which he himself had robbed of its goodness. It reminds him that by disobedience he had forfeited the kingdom, which had been given to another, and tells him of the disastrous issue of the impending battle: "To-morrow shalt thou and thy sons be with me: the Lord also shall deliver the host of Israel into the hand of the Philistines."

No wonder that on hearing this dread intelligence "Saul fell straightway all along on the earth, and was sore afraid, because of the words of Samuel: and there was no strength in him; for he had eaten no bread all the day, nor all the night." This does not seem to have been the voluntary prostration of penitence, but the involuntary prostration of despair. There was, besides, no strength in him. He had fasted, but not, it is to be feared, in the way the Lord has chosen"to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke" (Isa. lviii. 6). The woman now came to Saul and urged him to take a morsel of bread. He refused; but "his servants, together with the woman, compelled him;


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 191 and he hearkened unto their voice. So he arose from the earth, and sat upon the bed." This was not the bed of true doctrine. It was that of the pythoness. And so must we regard the fatted calf that she prepared for him, not as holy, but as abominable flesh (Hag. ii. 12; Ezek. iv. 14); sacrificed not to God, but to demons. The witch herself, in doing this act of kindness to Saul, need not be regarded in an unfavourable light. The king's sad state called forth her better feelings. The wizard was, for the time at least, lost in the woman. As forming part of a history that is representative, her act has a different character, and is recorded to teach us a different lesson. When we give ourselves up to the evil agencies we employ, we must come to the condition of being compelled to draw our strength from the means that they supply.

How solemn is the lesson we may learn from this part of the history of Saul! When the heart is turned away from God, the mind is bereft of all true comfort and deprived of all right direction. This is most felt and exhibited in times of danger and perplexity. It should, therefore, while the evil day is yet future, be our endeavour faithfully to obey the voice of the Lord, relying on His providential care, and the day of trial and conflict, come when it may, will find us prepared for the demands that may be made on our power of action or endurance.




1 Samuel xxix. xxx.

THE cloud that has hung over Saul, and darkened his mind and his prospects, now rapidly becomes more dense and threatening. The Philistines, who had been collecting their forces in Shunem, now gather together all their armies in Aphek; and the Israelites pitch by a fountain which is in Jezreel. Had Saul been wise enough to retain David in his service, he would have had a tower of strength in him whom his enemies feared and his subjects loved; and we can hardly suppose that the king did not now secretly lament the folly, at least, of his own suicidal conduct. But he had not only deprived himself of David's powerful assistance, he had thrown him into the arms of the very enemy who had made war against him, the dread of whose hosts had driven him, when heaven was shut against him, to knock at the gate of Sheol, and ask counsel of the dead.

The Philistine armies set out on their march to Jezreel, where the Israelites were encamped;


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 192 "and the lords of the Philistines passed on by hundreds, and by thousands: but David and his men passed on in the rereward with Achish." David would thus appear to have joined his forces to those of the enemy, to war against his country. Whether he would have fought in the enemy's ranks cannot perhaps be determined. The trial was prevented by the Philistines themselves; and it is not improbable that, had he actually engaged in the conflict, the result would have verified the suspicion of the Philistine nobles, which they urged upon Achish, as the ground of their demand that David should return to Ziklag, "lest in the battle he be an adversary to us: for wherewith should he reconcile himself unto his master? should it not be with the heads of these men?" And that they believed he would be a formidable adversary is evident from their repeating the triumphal song of the women, when David was returning from the slaughter of Goliath, "Saul slew his thousands, and David his ten thousands." David must either have been in bitter earnest or have cleverly dissembled; for when Achish, reluctantly yielding to the remonstrance of his nobles, urged David's return, "David said unto Achish, But what have I done! and what hast thou found in thy servant so long as I have been with thee unto this day, that I may not go fight against the enemies of my lord the king?" The king's confidence in David seems to have remained unshaken. "I know," he says, "that thou art good in my sight, as an angel of God: notwithstanding the princes of the Philistines have said, He shall not go up with us to the battle. Wherefore now rise up early in the morning with thy master's servants that are come with thee: and as soon as ye be up early in the morning, and have light, depart. So David and his men rose up early to depart in the morning, to return into the land of the Philistines. And the Philistines went up to Jezreel." David's answer is consistent with either supposition. But there is no reason to believe that he who so completely deceived Achish on a former occasion would of necessity be faithful to him now.

These personal considerations are interesting to us chiefly for the lessons we may derive from them, not merely by moral reflection, but by spiritual interpretation. If David is a type of the spiritual man, and even of the Lord Himself as Divine truth, that must hold good in this instance, as well as in others in which he manifests true nobleness of character; always understanding that the acts of representative men do but show forth tenderness in those they represent. There are, besides, different aspects and appearances of character, answering to the states of those towards whom representative men act. The Lord appears to every man according to his state. "With the pure Thou wilt show Thyself pure; and with the froward Thou wilt show Thyself forward" (Ps. xviii. 26).


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 193 These words were uttered by the Psalmist in reference to the circumstances of the present history. "David spake unto the Lord the words of this song in the day that the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul." The psalm, in its inmost sense, is prophetic of the Lord, whose experience was typified by that of David. So must the history be.

We have seen that David's raid against the Amalekites was represented to Achish as having been an attack upon Judah; and that this false representation symbolized the false conception which those who are in the doctrine of faith alone form of the teaching of Divine truth, that it is hostile to what they call self-righteousness, but not to what is rightly called self-love. David's position now is different in one respect from what it was then. On that occasion he was believed to have fought of his own accord and with his own men against Israel; on this occasion he is to fight, not only against Israel, but with Philistia. The cases are different. The weakening of an enemy or an opponent may strengthen our own position, but only when it is done by ourselves, or by others in concert with us. One may be a foe to our enemy, and yet not a friend to us. David might have been supposed desirous to inflict injury on his own people, and yet be unwilling to assist another nation to conquer them. The lords of the Philistines were not only of this opinion, but believed he intended to turn against them in the day of battle. Achish seems to have still regarded David as his friend, and as honestly disposed to fight with him against his enemies, and thus against Saul, who was the enemy of David. The circumstances here recorded respecting David and the lords of the Philistines again remind us of those related of Abraham and Isaac with respect to the Philistines among whom they dwelt. We have seen that these patriarchs deceived king Abimelech, by each representing that his wife was his sister. Yet we know that this has a high and holy signification, which is this, that rational truth is permitted to those who are not capable of receiving Divine truth. Rational truth is related to good as a sister to a brother; Divine truth is related to good as a wife to a husband.

But the circumstance now related of David resembles that which happened to Abraham and Isaac when the Philistines discovered that Sarah and Rebecca were the wives of Abraham and Isaac. They were dismissed; and in the case of Isaac, at least, for a reason similar to that which led the lords of the Philistines to demand the dismissal of David. "Abimelech said unto Isaac, Go from us; for thou art much mightier than we" (Gen. xxvi. 16). In the case of the patriarchs there was the discovery, in David's case there was only the suspicion, of deceit; but that suspicion amounted to and had the effect of certainty.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 194 When, in intellectual warfare, men suspect or believe that a truth on which they have relied for support is likely, not only to fail them but to turn against them in the hour of conflict, if they are wise in their generation they will reject it. In dialectics a bad argument turns against him who employs it. In religious polemics men are driven, in extreme cases, to deny the genuineness of a text, or the authenticity of a history, if they certainly know or strongly suspect it will prove false to their cause. Those who believe in the mere humanity of Jesus deny the genuineness of that part of the New Testament which gives an account of His miraculous conception. Some deny the genuineness of the Lord's miracles, some the fact of His resurrection. But it is characteristic of those whom the Philistines, even in their best state, represented, that they receive not the real but the apparent truths of the Word. They must see God, if not altogether such an one as themselves, yet as having some considerable resemblance to them in character. Indeed many of the false ideas men form of the Divine character, and of His dealings with His creatures, are to a great extent a reflection of their own character and, of their dealings with each other.

When David and his men returned to Ziklag on the third day they found that "the Amalekites had invaded the south, and Ziklag, and smitten Ziklag, and burned it with fire; and had taken the women captives, that were therein: they slew not any, either great or small, but carried them away, and went on their way." Here was a calamity that David had brought upon himself and all his company, by following the Philistine army. It represents one of those trials that come upon us when our attention and our energies are turned to some new enterprise, and we leave some important interest unprotected. The Amalekites, true to their character, had invaded the south and attacked Ziklag, when they knew that their defenders were gone, and they could make an easy conquest. Falsity grounded in interior evil is ready to rush in when truth grounded in interior goodness recedes from the light, as David departed from the south when he went to join Achish and when he followed the Philistine army. And, indeed, the condition of the mind, when truth comes down from the perceptive to the reasoning faculty, is favourable to the insinuation of those false suggestions that try our inward faith, which is that of the heart rather than that of the understanding; and which, for the time, deprives the perceptions of truth of the affections of goodness, as the Amalekites made captives the wives and sons and daughters of David and his men. When the affections are held captive, which they are in temptation, which is spiritual captivity, all the delight of life is taken away; as "David and the people that were with him lifted up their voice and wept, until they had no more power to weep." But "David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters."


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 195 The people in the wilderness threatened to stone Moses, when they thirsted, and there was no water for them to drink (Exod. xvii. 4). In states of severe trial the mind, in bitterness of spirit, is brought, in extreme cases, to the verge of desperation, in which it is tempted to extinguish in itself all the truth of faith and all faith in the truth. This is the threat of the people to stone Moses, and also that of the people to stone David. This threatened violence led David, as it had led Moses, to seek strength where only it can be found. "David encouraged himself in the Lord his God." Truth draws its strength from love; and the true effect, as it is the real purpose of trial, is to strengthen the bond of union between truth and love, first in the inner, next in the outer man.

But the inner man seeks the direction of wisdom as well as the strength of love. David called on Ahimelech the priest to bring the ephod; "and he inquired at the Lord, saying, Shall I pursue after this troop? shall I overtake them? And He answered him, Pursue: for thou shalt surely overtake them, and without fail recover all." This Divine answer inspired David's despairing followers with hope. "So David went, he and the six hundred men that were with him, and came to the brook Besor, where those that were left behind stayed. But David pursued, he and four hundred men: for two hundred abode behind, which were so faint that they could not go over the brook Besor." It would be straining resemblances to compare David's expedition to that of Gideon against the Midianites, and Amalekites, and children of the east, recorded in Judges (vii.); but there are two particulars that have some similarity to it. It may be reasonably supposed that six hundred men were not too many to attack a host that had invaded the south and Ziklag, and had taken great spoil out of the land of the Philistines, and out of the land of Judah; yet the number is reduced to four hundred. Two hundred remained behind, indeed, because they were so faint that they were not able to pass over the brook; but the four hundred were no doubt more suitable for the work than the six hundred. The number four, like two, is expressive of the conjunction of goodness and truth; and the purpose of the present expedition, spiritually interpreted, is to restore that conjunction. For the Amalekites had carried away the wives of David and his men; thus representing the severance of the spiritual marriage, which it was the chief purpose of David and his men representatively to restore. It is not said, as it was of Gideon's army, that David's men were too many, or that the number was ultimately reduced by the manner in which the men drank of the water. David's men were faint, not, like some of Gideon's men, faint-hearted; they were weary, no doubt with their previous toil; they were willing but not able;


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 196 their progress was arrested by the brook, which they were not able to pass over. Brooks and rivers are emblematical of truth; but passing through them is a symbol of passing through trial and temptation. This was represented by the Israelites passing through the Jordan. And the Lord promises to the redeemed, "When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee" (Isa. xliii. 2). Those of David's men who had not sufficient strength to cross the brook, were those who had goodness, but not truth corresponding to it, and were unable to pass through the trial that was before them. Goodness alone and truth alone are equally powerless. Truth has all its power from goodness, and goodness ever uses all its power by truth. Yet those who have goodness without truth, though unable, in that state, to pass through some of the trials and engage in some of the conflicts of the spiritual life, are privileged to share in the spoil which others acquire; which we shall see exemplified in the case of David's men and others, who went not with him against the Amalekites.

When the Israelites were in pursuit of the enemy, "they found an Egyptian in the field, and brought him to David." Servant to an Amalekite, his master had left him when he fell sick, and he had eaten and drunk nothing for three days and nights. When he received nourishment, his spirit came again; and, besides telling where the Amalekites had been, he engaged to conduct David to where they now were. Science, which serves the evil, can also serve the good. Knowledge is an instrument that can be employed in the service both of error and of truth. Without knowledge there can be neither truth nor error; for that of which nothing is known can neither be affirmed nor denied. Knowledges are of facts; truth or error is the conclusion we draw from them, or the principle they serve to confirm. Science helps the believer to confirm the truths of revealed religion, and the unbeliever to deny them. Science is a receptacle that may be filled with what is true and good or with what is false and evil, as the young Egyptian could be nourished either by an Amalekite or by an Israelite. It may also be sickly or healthy, and may be abandoned by a master whom it is no longer able to serve. Science becomes sick to the evil when they become weary of science, which they do when, having served its end, they despise and reject it as a means. When men become openly wicked, they no longer try to make others believe they are righteous. When a scientific is emptied of falsity and evil, and is filled with goodness and truth, spiritual and natural, as the Egyptian after three days' fasting, was fed with bread and water, figs and raisins; and is devoted to the service of truth, and thus secured against destruction and profanation, as David sware by God to the young man that he would neither kill him nor deliver him to his master;


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 197 then may it become instrumental in guiding the mind to the discovery of the falsity of evil which it desires to overtake and overcome.

Led by the Egyptian, David came upon the Amalekites, who "were spread abroad upon all the earth, eating and drinking, and dancing, because of all the great spoil that they had taken out of the land of the Philistines, and out of the land of Judah." The whole natural mind given up to sensual pleasure, and the higher faculties spoiled of their possessions to feast and gratify the lower appetites, the camp of Amalek presents a true image of the carnal mind and of the carnal man. But like the natural man when he abandons himself to sensual enjoyment, the Amalekites had thought themselves secure and had neglected to watch, and at an hour that they thought not the judgment of truth had come upon them. Like all judgment, this came upon the Amalekites in the night; for "David smote them from the twilight even unto the evening of the next day: and there escaped not a man of them, save four hundred young men, which rode upon camels, and fled." The twilight is the dawn of a new state, when spiritual light is let in upon the mind, to reveal its character, and bring it under the operation of the Divine truth that judges, the completeness of the judgment being indicated by the continuance of the slaughter, from the twilight of one day to the evening of another. The four hundred young men that escaped may give us some idea of the entire number of the host. But the singular circumstance of these alone escaping, and their fleeing upon camels, has a meaning more than historical. The four hundred young men of the Amalekites are those who are not confirmed in the principles which Amalek represented, but have some general knowledge of, and some affection for, what is good and true, their knowledges being symbolized by the camels. It is a no less singular circumstance that the Divine promise that David would recover all should be so literally fulfilled: for "David recovered all that the Amalekites had carried away: and David rescued his two wives. And there was nothing lacking to them, neither small nor great, neither sons nor daughters, neither spoil, nor any thing that they had taken to them: David recovered all." This, both in fact and meaning, is like the complete recovery by Abram of all that the rebel kings had carried away. "And he brought back all the goods, and also brought again his brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people" (Gen. xiv. 16). In Abram's case, too, the Amalekites were concerned: for Chedorlaomer and his confederate kings smote, besides others, all the country of the Amalekites. Complete liberation from the dominion, or attempted dominion, of the natural man over the spiritual, was represented by David's, as by Abram's recovery of all that had been carried away, both captives and spoil.



On his return with the spoils of victory, consisting, besides what he recovered, of all the flocks and herds of his enemies, David met the two hundred men who had been left behind. Those who had gone with him objected to these receiving any part of the spoil, except every man his wife and children. But David decided that they should not do so with that which the Lord had given into their hand, but "as his part is that goeth down to the battle, so shall his part be that tarrieth by the stuff: they shall part alike. And it was so from that day forward, that he made it a statute and an ordinance for Israel unto this day." We have seen that the men who stayed behind, being too weary to pass through the brook, represented those who, though principled in good, are not yet possessed of truth sufficient to enable them to engage, with a reasonable prospect of success, in the active conflicts of the spiritual life. Truth, we have also seen, has no power but from good, and good has no power but by truth. There is no direct conflict between good and evil. Good fights by truth, evil by falsity. And as every evil defends itself by its own particular falsity, so does every good defend itself by its own particular truth. He only is able to right against an evil who has the truth as well as the good that is opposed to it. But he that goeth not down to the battle can tarry by the stuff. This "stuff" was no doubt the baggage, the impedimenta, of David's little army. But we have seen, in speaking of the stuff among which Saul hid himself (x. 22), that it literally means vessels. And vessels, we have also seen, signify scientifics or knowledges, which are not truths, but the vessels that receive and contain them. Truths that we know are knowledges; knowledges that we understand are truths. Knowledge comes before understanding. We must know a truth before we can understand it, and we must understand a truth before we can rightly use it. Those only who understand a truth can enter into conflict with its opposite falsity. But those who only know a truth, though they cannot fight, can guard and keep that which supplies others, and which some day will supply themselves, with the means of vindicating truth against falsity, and thus good against evil. And the ordinance for spiritual Israel is, that all who are actuated by the same good end, and combine their efforts, though in different ways, to attain it, shall share alike in the spoil with the more active, who directly acquire it. A wife who tarries by the stuff at home shares alike with her husband in the spoil he acquires by his more active duties in the world. So those who perform more of the woman's part in the business of the spiritual life, by watching while others toil, share equally with them in the results. In the Church of God there is diversity of gifts but the same Spirit; and all who are influenced by the same spirit of love, whatever their several gifts may be, share alike in the benefits of a general acquisition.



In the "Adversaria" this equal division of the spoil is said to teach the same truth as the parable of the labourers in the vineyard; those who wrought one hour being made equal to those who had borne the burden and heat of the day. In the Writings themselves the different hours at which the labourers were hired are explained to mean different states of life. Those hired at the third, the sixth, and the ninth hour signify those who are in states of truth; and those hired at the eleventh hour signify those who are in a state of good though not yet of truth, but who are in a receptive state, such as well-disposed young people, whose faculty of understanding is not yet matured. These last are they who tarry by the stuff. They know but do not yet understand the truth, and therefore do not go down to the battle.

Besides giving equal shares to his men, when he came to Ziklag David sent a present--a blessing--of the spoil of the enemies of the Lord to the elders of various cities, chiefly in Judah, and to all the places where David and his men were wont to haunt. It is said of Him whom David represented, that He spoiled principalities and powers Col. n. 15); and that He shall divide the spoil with the strong (Isa. liii. 12). Wherever the Redeemer has been received in His humiliation, there will His blessing descend in His exaltation. In the spoil He acquired by His victory over the powers of darkness and the glorification of His humanity, all the faithful share. This is emphatically "David's spoil." In delivering those whom the Amalekites had made captive, David representatively performed that Divine deliverance which he himself prophetically celebrated. "Thou hast ascended on high, Thou hast led captivity captive: Thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the Lord God might dwell among them" (Ps. lxviii. 18).



1 Samuel xxxi.

THE sacred writer, as the historian of the kingdom of Israel, gives a prominent place to whatever relates to its rulers and people, and only introduces the nations around them, as their history is connected with the main subject of his narrative. The kingdom of God, or the government of the Divine love and wisdom in the minds and affairs of men, is the grand theme of the inspired record; other principles and forces being introduced only as they aid or hinder its prosperity. As it is in the Word, so should it be in us. The Lord's kingdom should be the primary object of our attention and esteem, and all other things regarded only as they affect its stability and progress.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 200 With two short statements, that the Philistines and the Israelites had gathered their armies together for war, we have two long narratives, one of Saul with the witch of Ender, and the other of David with Achish and against Amalek. After these brief statements of preparation for war, we read, "Now the Philistines fought against Israel: and the men of Israel fled from before the Philistines, and fell down slain in mount Gilboa." Brief but pregnant announcement! War and defeat recorded in one short sentence. Yet this was no ordinary conflict either in itself or in its consequences. It did not, indeed, involve the fate of the kingdom of Israel, but it decided the fate of its first king. It disclosed, at the same time, the state and condition both of the king and the people in their relation to the Lord. The war itself might be no cause of reproach to Israel, but defeat was a sign of their moral degradation. No numerical inferiority could have made it necessary for the men of Israel to flee before the Philistines. If Saul had trusted in the strength of Israel, no power of the enemy could have overcome him. But he had sought unto them that have familiar spirits; and now he saw the result of his moral weakness and practical infidelity. So is it when men substitute superstition for religion, or seek "for the living to the dead." When they have no living faith in God, they are punished by those who are in dead faith. Unfaithful Israel flee before the faith alone Philistines. "Evil shall slay the wicked." But evil and unfaithfulness may seem only to be in Saul. Why should the people suffer on account of his sin! Children suffer for the sins of their parents, subjects for the errors of their rulers, soldiers for the incompetence of their generals. Yet the Israelitish people themselves were not blameless. They participated in Saul's persecution of David, whom they must have known as a national benefactor, and whose powerful aid some of them had received in their utmost need. The men of Keilah, whom he had so valiantly aided, were willing to betray him into the hand of Saul; and the Zephites both counselled and guided Saul in his pursuit of David. As they had joined Saul in his crime, they not unnaturally or unjustly shared in his punishment. But besides the operation of natural and moral law, there was, in the case of Israel, the operation of a spiritual law, by which the principal and the instrumental act and suffer together. This is the law which governs our mental and spiritual life. When we err in first principles, every subsequent step leads us farther away from the right path, and from the true goal. When our ends are evil, our means are deceits, and our actions sins. The ruling love enters into all the lower affections, and gives them a character and determination agreeable to its own nature; it even overrules those whose character is inherently different from its own.



In accordance with this principle the main object of the history is to tell us of the fate of Saul. When the men of Israel fled before the Philistines, their pursuers aimed at something besides and higher than merely beating down the panic-stricken army. "The Philistines followed hard upon Saul and upon his sons; and the Philistines slew Jonathan, and Abinadab, and Melchi-shua, Saul's sons. And the battle went sore against Saul, and the archers hit him; and he was sore wounded of the archers. Then said Saul unto his armour-bearer, Draw thy sword, and thrust me through therewith; lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me through, and abuse me. But his armour-bearer would not; for he was sore afraid. Therefore Saul took a sword, and fell upon it. And when his armour-bearer saw that Saul was dead, he fell likewise upon his sword, and died with him. So Saul died, and his three sons, and his armour-bearer, and all his men, that same day together." No catastrophe so great as this had ever happened to Israel, no ruin of theirs was ever so complete. The nearest approach to it, and one which much resembles it, was that in which the ark of God was taken, and the two sons of Eli were slain, and Eli himself was killed by falling from his seat on receiving the news. But on that occasion the army, though defeated, was not annihilated. The two cases present other parallels. The sin of Eli was the cause of the one catastrophe, as the sin of Saul was of the other. And in each case a successor was divinely appointed in the lifetime of the legitimate but unworthy ruler, and was partly nurtured by the ruler himself. Samuel was to Eli what David was to Saul. Both circumstances teach the same general lesson, differing only as the representative character of the judge differs from that of the king.

In considering the subject for the purpose of learning its spiritual meaning and practical lessons, we need not dwell at any length on this catastrophe in relation to Saul himself. There may be something to admire in the desperate courage of the king, in engaging in this, which he no doubt believed would be his last and fatal conflict with the enemies of his God, his people, and himself. And this is all that can be said in favour of the king in this encounter with the Philistines. Saul was not wanting in courage, but in fidelity. To be faithful is more difficult, as it is more important, than to be courageous. Self-love or self-interest is sufficient to inspire courage where it does not naturally exist; fidelity often requires the surrender of both. Faithfulness to our duties and obligations sometimes demands the denial of even our best natural affections. Saul, in the early part of his reign at least, when he still was little in his own sight, showed himself capable of noble actions; and even in sparing Agag he may have been actuated by a generous impulse, but it was against the voice of God and reason.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 202 In his conduct towards David he manifested the character of the natural man, whose favour and dislike are not grounded in principle but in caprice, and whose tenderness and security are measured to others, not according to what they are in themselves, but according to what they are in relation to him. "If ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans so?" Judged by the standard of religious morality, his conduct during the later part of his reign indicates a character almost diabolical. The nature of self-love, as the parent of all cruel and degrading passions, is fearfully exhibited in his conduct towards David; and his character is rendered more odious by its contrast with David's conduct towards him, of which we know not a nobler instance of patient endurance and magnanimous forbearance and forgiveness. But Saul, as we have formerly hinted, is not to be judged by the ordinary standard. We cannot regard him as of a perfectly sound mind. He was the subject of spiritual possession, not perhaps always, but during much of his official career. Yet under this view, his conduct affords us a most impressive lesson. It exhibits, more perfectly than could otherwise have been done, the intrinsic character of the natural man, and of the natural mind in every man. In Saul's experience, too, we see the misery and wretchedness which sin brings with it. And in his end we behold the consequence of forsaking God, and seeking what our diseased imagination desires to know by personal intercourse with departed spirits.

But while it is profitable for us to reflect on Saul's personal conduct, it is far more agreeable and still more useful to consider his representative character, in the present case in reference to the last conflict and the closing scene of his life.

Nay, it shows what was the quality of the natural mind which the Lord in His marvellous condescension assumed from His fallen mother. Saul's character thus holds up to us a mirror in which we may see our own reflected, supposing we were to become subject to the same spiritual influence.

In considering the spiritual lesson which these events and circumstances teach, it is the representative character of the man and his doings that we are chiefly, and in some respects exclusively, to regard. The function itself with which he was invested was holy, and representatively Divine and spiritual. The function is adjoined to the person, but is not identified with him. Saul could, therefore, as the Lord's anointed, represent the regenerate man, and even the Lord in the flesh, and yet have nothing in his personal character answering to either. David clearly made this distinction in regard to him. As his persecutor, David held him guilty of sin; as the Lord's anointed, he held his person sacred. The Philistines and others who opposed Saul fought against him, and he fought against them, not in his private but in his official character, as the king whose kingdom they wished to subdue, and which he wished to defend.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 203 Their wars, therefore represented spiritual wars, wars for and against the Lord and His Kingdom. Yet the spiritual wars which those waged against the king of Israel represented are not to be understood as waged against the Lord personally. Personal warfare could only be carried on against the Him once. Only when manifested in the flesh could the Lord be assaulted in person; and even then chiefly by the enemies of Himself and His kingdom, the spirits of darkness, called the devil and Satan. In all these conflicts the Lord was conqueror. How then could any of His conflicts be represented by those in which, like this last battle of Saul with the philistines, Israel was defeated and Saul himself was slain, or slew himself? In temptation--conflicts there always is an appearance of defeat on the part of those who conquer. Our Lord's last and severest temptation, the Passion of the Cross, presented this appearance. His death seemed to the spirits of darkness as the triumph of their power: they had overcome Him at last. But when on the resurrection morning He burst the bands of death, and rose in a glorified humanity having all power, their seeming victory was turned into overwhelming defeat, and they themselves were thrust down, to be held in everlasting subjection. Although visible in this one instance, all temptations have the same appearance and the same reality. The extremity of every temptation is attended with despair. And what is despair to the tempted, is triumph and seeming victory to the tempter. Every temptation is also attended by a death and a resurrection. Something of the old man dies, and something of the new man lives. The death of the old man is effected by evil spirits, and this is their seeming victory; and the resurrection of the new man is effected by angels, or by the Lord through angels, and this is their actual defeat. Evil spirits are thus the permitted agents of effecting the death of the old man, both generally as to his ruling love, and particularly as to his affections and lusts; they are also the dead that bury their dead, while the new man obeys the Divine command, "Follow thou Me."

The death of Saul, therefore, and of his sons, and the defeat of the armies of Israel, do not, either when understood as referring to the glorification of the Lord or to the regeneration of man, mean the defeat and death of the spirit but of the flesh, or in reference to us, to what the apostle calls the putting off the sins of the flesh, dying with Christ that we may live with Him.

There is one particular relating to Saul's death that may seem to break through this analogy. Saul did not allow himself to be slain by the enemy; he took his own life. Yet in this he may, with all reverence, be considered to have represented the Lord, in regard to a truth which He declared respecting His own death.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 204 He said, "I lay down My life for the sheep. No man taketh it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of My Father" (John x. 15, 18). As "the Word in its inmost sense treats solely of the Lord, and in that sense are described all the states of the glorification of His humanity, or of its Union with the Divinity; and likewise all the states involved in the subjugation of the hells, and in reducing to order all things therein, as well as all things in the heavens;" it is evident that not only the annihilation of the Israelitish army, and the death of Saul's sons, but the death of Saul himself, must in the inmost sense have reference to the Lord in His conflicts with the powers of darkness and His victories over them, and to the glorification of His humanity. There is something similar to the flight of Saul's army and the death of Saul himself in the history of the Lord's life, immediately before His last great trial. When Jesus was seized by the officers of the chief priests, all His disciples forsook Him and fled. That flight of the Lord's little flock was far more momentous than the flight of Saul's great army; and the evil angels who were then exerting all their power to prevent their own subjugation, no doubt rejoiced at their own success. When on that memorable occasion the Lord's disciples fled, the Lord Himself sought no way of escape, and offered no resistance, but yielded Himself up into the hands of His enemies. If He who could have saved His life yet voluntarily laid it down by giving Himself to what He knew was certain death, was not this self-immolation? And might it not be typified, in the history of a representative people, by the last act of one who, however imperfect as a man, was yet, as the Lord's anointed, a type of the Anointed One, the Messiah?

We are to remember, too, that it was truth Divine in the Lord's humanity that was tempted and that died. It is truth Divine that is meant by the Son of Man. This is Divine truth finited and accommodated to the apprehension of angels and men, truth clothed with the appearances that bring it down to their states of thinking and even of feeling respecting things spiritual and Divine. Therefore, wherever, in the New Testament, the Lord speaks of His personal sufferings and death, He always speaks of Himself as the Son of Man, not as the Son of God. By this name the Lord also speaks of Himself as the Word. And now, when the Lord cannot be tempted and put to death personally, all that was done to Him and suffered by Him in the days of His flesh, can only be done to and suffered by Him in His Word, the Scriptures of truth, and in His Church and people. There is also a correspondence between the Lord as the Eternal Word, clothed in human nature, and the Lord as the Revealed Word, clothed in human language.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 205 The human nature which the Lord assumed had all man's hereditary imperfections; and the language which the Revealed Word assumed in coming down to men, expresses the truth according to fallen man's power of apprehension. It is possible, therefore, for Christians to treat the Lord's Word as the Jews treated the Lord Himself. Christians can deny and oppose the truth, as the Jews denied and opposed the Lord; they can even destroy the truth, as the Jews destroyed the Lord; for they can crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put Him to an open shame (Heb. vi. 6). On this ground it is, that wherever in the Scriptures we read of the treatment which the Lord received, either in those who represented Him, as recorded in the Old Testament, or in His own person, as recorded in the New, we are to understand it as being descriptive of the treatment which the Word receives at the hands of those who are opposed to the principles of goodness and truth which it teaches, and are in the evil and false principles which it condemns.

This correspondence extends still further. Whatever relates to the Lord and His Word relates also to the Church; for the Church is the Lord's mystical body, the image of His own glorious body, and is formed from and upheld by the truths of His Word. But the Church is not to be regarded only as consisting of the general body of the faithful. It consists essentially of the principles of goodness and truth, which the faithful individually believe as well as collectively acknowledge. Thus the chain of analogy and connection descends from the Lord, through His Word, to His Church, both in heaven and on earth, thus from the Lord to the least of His disciples. What relates to one, therefore, relates to all, differing in regard to each according to the place it occupies in the descending scale, from its first cause to its last effect.

The literal sense of the Word consists, to a great extent, of appearances of truth, such as belong to the natural world. And these appearances have within themselves the means of their own correction. Apparent truths can be proved to be appearances by their own inherent contrariety to real truth, both in the works and in the Word of God, when the real truth has, in any instance, been discovered or revealed. The apparent truths of the Word have indeed a spiritual sense; but this spiritual sense is the soul or life which they contain, and which survives the sense of the letter, when this has perished. Let us be careful, however, to note that this is not to be understood of the whole letter of Scripture, but of its apparent truths only. For the literal sense of Scripture consists of real as well as of apparent truths. Real truths are true both in the letter and in the spirit, and are therefore immutable and eternal; apparent truths are true in the spirit but not in the letter, and are therefore mutable and transitory. It is true both in the letter and in the spirit, that the Lord is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 206 It is true in the spirit but not in the letter, that the Lord is angry with the wicked every day. The spirit in this instance is opposite to the letter; for the spiritual sense is, that the mercy of the Lord is extended even to the wicked, in every state of their life, although, from their state of contrariety to the Lord's nature, His love appears to them as anger and even as hatred. The literal sense must therefore die that the spiritual may live. Indeed, when the spiritual sense, which is the only real truth which the words contain, is discovered or revealed, the literal dies as it were by its own hand. The sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God in its genuine and spiritual sense, is that on which apparent truth falls. This is the case generally and particularly, in the whole Word and in every part. When the genuine and spiritual sense of any portion of Scripture becomes known its apparent truth perishes not naturally but by violence. Apparent truths, indeed, still remain in Scripture, as they remain in nature, but they are no longer regarded as real truths: they are not made the foundation of doctrine or the guide of life. Moreover, the Philistines cannot abuse them, at least to the destruction of the faith of others. They may seize the lifeless body and subject it to indignity, but the spirit they cannot insult and abuse.

This general view of the subject will enable us to enter more readily into the particulars of the history, which we will now consider.

When the men of Israel fled before the Philistines, they fell down slain in mount Gilboa. Gilboa means, and was, a fountain. It was near the valley of Jezreel, and gave its name to the town where the Israelitish army assembled, and to the mount where the men of Israel fell down wounded, where Saul's sons were slain, and where Saul himself died by his own hand. Emblematic of spiritual love, which is spiritual and eternal life, mount Gilboa becomes, for the time at least, emblematic of natural love, which, when it rules, is spiritual and eternal death. As the best things become by perversion the worst; so things that have the best, come by the law of opposites to have the worst, signification. Zion was commanded to get up into a high mountain to proclaim the coming of the Saviour (Isa. xl. 9); and when He came, the devil took Him up into a high mountain to tempt Him (Luke iv. 5). The law was promulgated on mount Sinai, and was desecrated on mount Calvary. In these instances a mountain is emblematic of the holy principle of love to God, and of the unholy principle of the love of self. So we find in other parts of the Word. "Our persecutors are swifter than the eagles of the heaven: they pursued us upon the mountains" (Lam. iv. 19). "I will lay thy flesh upon the mountains, and fill the valleys with thy height" (Ezek. xxxii. 5). "Thy people is scattered upon the mountains, and no man gathereth them" (Nahum iii. 18).


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 207 When, as represented in the history before us, the truths of the Church flee before the errors of the world, or when true views and principles of religion recede before those which are false, the termination is in that which has relation to life; the true terminates in good, the false in evil.

When the Philistines had put the Israelitish army to flight, they pursued Saul and his sons, and soon overtook them. The three sons they slew, and Saul would have perished by the sword of the Philistines had he not fallen upon his own. In Saul, his sons, and the men of Israel we have represented the three component parts of every whole; the ruling principle itself, the leading principles by which it governs, and the common principles which are governed. The common principles form the basis on which the higher rest, and by which they are supported; and when these give way, all the others perish. In regard to the Word, the common truths of the letter form the basis of all its highest truths, and in them Divine truth is in its fulness and power. In regard to the Church, its common principles of life and worship form the basis of its higher principles of faith and love. In regard to man, his words and actions form the basis of his thoughts and affections. In all these that which is the basis is also the support of the higher principles; and when that gives way the others must fall. The men of Israel flee, Saul's sons are slain, and Saul himself perishes. Thus we see the force and significance of the inspired record, which expresses at once a literal fact and a spiritual truth. "So Saul died, and his three sons, and his armour-bearer, and all his men, that same day together. The battle went sore against Saul, and the archers hit him; and he was sore wounded of the archers." This is with one important difference like Jacob's prophetic blessing on his son Joseph. "The archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him: but his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob; (from thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel)" (Gen. xlix. 23, 24). This is prophetic, as that respecting Saul was representative, of the Lord; but Joseph represented the spiritual, as Saul represented the natural part of the Lord's humanity. So of the regenerate man. The archers who shot at Joseph denote those who are opposed to the members of the spiritual Church; for an archer denotes the spiritual man; a bow signifies doctrine, and arrows the things that belong to doctrine, thus the truths of doctrine with those who are in truths, and the falsities of doctrine with those who are in falsities. Both Joseph and Saul were shot at and sorely grieved by the archers. But there is this difference between them: Joseph's bow abode in his strength, for his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob; but Saul's bow abode not in his strength, for his hands were not strengthened by the hands of the mighty One of Jacob.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 208 Not from him, therefore, but from David, came the shepherd, the stone of Israel. Nor from the Lord's pre-incarnate humanity in heaven but from His incarnate humanity on earth. Not from truth Divine but from Divine truth, came the shepherd of the sheep and the foundation and chief corner-stone of the temple. The maternal and finite were put off, and the paternal or infinite was put on.

There is one mentioned among the distinguished victims of this disastrous battle who must not be left unnoticed. Saul's armour-bearer refuses to thrust his master through, but follow his example, and dies with him. The armour-bearer is to the warrior what a servant is to his master or a minister to his lord. The only peculiarity in his case is, that he serves and ministers in respect to the implements of war. The armour-bearer is, therefore, related to his master as truth is related to goodness, or as the external is related to the internal. Truth serves goodness, and the external serves and ministers to the internal. As Saul represents the natural mind, he and his armour-bearer answer to the internal and the external of that mind. The internal of the natural mind is the seat of our motives, the external is the seat of our means; the one is principal, the other is instrumental. When the internal and the external are in perfect accord they act as one. When they are not, the external does not always or at once obey the behests of the internal. Saul's armour-bearer did not obey the command of his lord to thrust him through. And the reason given is, that he was sore afraid, not for his master but for himself. But when Saul had fallen upon his sword, his armour-bearer also fell upon his sword, and died with him. When the internal falls, the external falls also; when the internal dies, the external dies with it.

The issue of the battle had another disastrous effect. "When the men of Israel that were on the other side of the valley, and they that were on the other side Jordan, saw that the men of Israel fled, and that Saul and his sons were dead, they forsook the cities, and fled; and the Philistines came and dwelt in them." The inhabited cities of Israel represented doctrines of the Church filled with living truths. These cities, forsaken by the men of Israel, and inhabited by the Philistines, represented doctrines of the Church emptied of their truths, and occupied by falsities. If it be asked what this means, we may answer by a few examples. The doctrine of the Trinity is occupied by truths when it teaches that in God there are three Divine Essentials; it is filled with falsities when it teaches that in God there are three Divine Persons.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 209 The doctrine of the Atonement contains truths when it teaches that God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself; it contains falsities when it teaches that the Son of God was in Christ reconciling God the Father to the world. The doctrine of the Resurrection is occupied by truths when it teaches that man rises in a spiritual body at the end of his life; it is possessed by falsities when it teaches that he is to rise in a natural body at the end of the world. The doctrine of Faith contains the truth when it teaches that the faith of love saves; it is possessed by falsities when it teaches that faith alone saves. Thus it is that the doctrines of the Church may in name remain while their essential nature is entirely changed. And thus it is that the Philistines come and dwell in the cities from which the men of Israel have fled.

What Saul feared the Philistines would do to him if he should fall into their hands they did to him after he was dead. "On the morrow [after the battle], when the Philistines came to strip the slain, they found Saul and his three sons fallen in mount Gilboa. And they cut off his head, and stripped off his armour, and sent into the land of the Philistines round about, to publish it in the house of their idols, and among the people. And they put his armour in the house of Ashtaroth: and they fastened his body to the wall of Beth-shan." The indignities which they offered to the body of Saul--decapitation and a kind of crucifixion--are expressive of indignities offered to the truth by the spiritual Philistines, whether they be among the Jews or among the Christians, and whether offered to the Lord as the Truth in person or to His Word as the Truth revealed. They cut off the head of the Lord's anointed, when they destroy the connection between the internal and external of His Word, which is the result of having destroyed the connection of the internal with the external of religion in themselves; they strip off his armour, when they divest the Word of the truth which is for the defence of goodness against the assaults of evil; and they publish it in the house of their idols and among the people, when the triumph of the false principle over the true enters into all their worship and life.       

The Philistines putting Saul's armour in the house of Ashtaroth is very significant. There is good reason to believe that the idol goddess Ashtaroth represented the moon. In Scripture the moon is an emblem of faith, and in regard to the Philistines, of faith alone, the idolatry of which was represented by the worship of Ashtaroth. Saul's armour is placed in the house of Ashtaroth, when truths that should defend goodness are devoted to a faith that claims the power to save without goodness, and which the impure rites of the worship of Ashtaroth too plainly represented.

Beth-shan, to the wall of which the Philistines fastened the body of Saul, was part of the inheritance of Manasseh, but the men of that tribe were unable to drive out the Canaanites, whom, however, when their strength increased, they made tributary (Josh. xvii. 11-13; Judges i. 27). Beth-shan signifies a house of rest. The faithful find their house of rest in the good they have acquired by obedience to the truth; but the unfaithful find their house of rest in the evil, which they call good, into which they have settled by making the truth obedient to them.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 210 The body of Saul is fastened to the wall of Beth-shan, when the good, which has been stripped of its truth and deprived of its power, is exposed, for derisive mockery, on what, as a city of Manasseh, would have represented truth defending goodness, but as a city of the Philistines, represents falsity defending evil, if not in life at least in doctrine. There are two kinds of Solilidians. Both teach that good does not justify, but only one teaches that evil does not condemn. This is the secret if not the open belief of those who are in evil, and if it does not manifest itself in this life it will in the life to come. There also the truth will be seen by those who desire to see it. "When you come out of natural light into spiritual light, as you will alter death, inquire what faith is and what charity is; and you will clearly see that faith is charity in form, therefore that charity is the all of faith, consequently that it is the soul, life, and essence of faith, just as affection is of thought, and as sound is of speech; and if you desire it, you will see the formation of faith from charity, like the formation of speech from sound, because they correspond."

But though fastened to the wall of Beth-shan, the body of Saul was not allowed to remain there. "When the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead heard of that which the Philistines had done to Saul; all the valiant men arose, and went all night, and took the body of Saul and the bodies of his sons from the wall of Beth-shan, and came to Jabesh, and burnt them there. And they took their bones, and buried them under a tree at Jabesh, and fasted seven days." Jabesh-gilead was the place where Saul first displayed his martial courage and kingly power, when that city was besieged by the Ammonites; and it is highly appropriate that the men of Jabesh, for whom Saul had wrought so signal a deliverance, should rescue his mangled body and those of his sons from the wall of their enemies, and give them, what was so much esteemed in those times, an honourable burial with befitting obsequies. There is another fact which makes this act of the men of Jabesh appropriate and significant. Jabesh belonged to the half-tribe of Manasseh on the other side Jordan, as Beth-shan belonged to the half-tribe of Manasseh on this side Jordan, thus signifying the external and the internal of the same principle of spiritual goodness, which the tribe that sprung from the eldest son of Joseph represented. The truth which was desecrated by the Philistines in the one city was restored by the men of Jabesh in the other. The men of Jabesh acted very differently towards Saul to what the men of Keilah did towards David; no doubt for the spiritual reason that David's trials were still in progress, but Saul's trials were now ended. To complete the representative history of the first king of Israel, it was necessary that he should be buried; for burial signifies resurrection.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 211 And by whose instrumentality could his burial be more appropriately effected than by the men of Jabesh-gilead? and where could his ashes find a more suitable resting-place than in Jabesh-gilead itself? The noble act of the valiant men of Jabesh exemplifies the Divine law of life that no good deed sincerely performed is ever lost, and that the first-implanted good is realized as the last. Between Saul's first kingly act of heroism to the men of Jabesh, and their last act of heroism to him, many dark days and nights have intervened. But regarding Saul in his typical character, and his persecution of David as representative of the enmity of the natural mind against the spiritual, we can see that when the natural dies and is put off, it becomes like a seed sown in the ground, from which a new tree springs forth. "Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit." But there are some, as the apostle says, who "I shall be saved; yet so as by fire" (I Cor. iii. 15). The Lord says by Zechariah, in a prophecy of the Incarnation, "Two parts therein shall be cut off and die. . . . And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried" (xiii. 8, 9). And Malachi says that "the Lord is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' sope: and He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver" (iii. 2, 3). The burning of the bodies of Saul and his sons indicates this kind of purification. It does not appear that cremation was a Jewish custom. And even if it be supposed that there might be special reasons for burning in this case, the spiritual meaning of the act is no less clear, as well as highly instructive. Nor is it to be understood of the regenerate only, but also of Him who passed through all the fiery ordeals of human experience.

When the men of Jabesh had burned the bodies, they buried the bones under a tree and tasted seven days. Two acts of this kind are mentioned in the Old Testament. When Deborah, Rebekah's nurse, died, they buried her under an oak-tree, which was called the oak of weeping (Gen. xxxv. 8); and when Joseph went up to bury his father, they made a mourning for him seven days (1. 10). In the apparently simple incidents of Deborah's death and burial an important truth relating to the Lord and to the regenerate man are contained. Deborah, the nurse, signifies that which the Lord received from His mother and by which He was nourished from infancy; this was the hereditary nature, in itself frail and evil, against which the Lord fought, and which He expelled, so that at length He ceased to be the son of Mary. The rejection of hereditary evil out of the natural mind entirely and for ever is meant by Deborah being buried under an oak. Such is the meaning, generally, of the bones of Saul and his sons being buried under a tree in Jabesh.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 212 But why, it may be thought, should burial signify both rejection and resurrection? Because the rejection of the old implies the resurrection of the new. This was the case with the Lord Himself. He laid down the life of His human mother that He might take up the life of His Divine Father.

"For when the son of Mary died the Son of God arose."

The seven days' fast which the men of Jabesh observed, when they buried the bones of Saul, while expressive of their own grief on account of the loss of their king, is expressive also of mourning over the defeat or the loss of truth and goodness, which is one of the meanings of fasting. There is sometimes resemblance where there is no correspondence; but may there not be both a resemblance and a correspondence between the case of Saul, as the Lord's anointed, and that of the Lord Himself? Both were crucified by their enemies and buried by their friends. The disciples of the one and the subjects of the other mourned and wept over their loss; and both sorrowed over the blighted hope that it was he who should have redeemed Israel. He on whom had been "all the desire of Israel," to lead out their armies, and fight their battles, and deliver them from the oppression of the Philistines, had been conquered by the very power he should have broken. Saul and his sons and his army were no more. The panic-stricken Israelites on both sides of the Jordan were fleeing from their cities, which their pursuing enemies entered and occupied. Philistia was jubilant. Her gods, to whom her sons offered the most precious trophies of their victory, were held to have triumphed over Jehovah. To despairing Israel all seemed to be lost. A brighter day is soon to dawn upon them. But for the time fasting is the most suitable expression of their state. So with spiritual Israel, "The days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those days."













Sauls reign is ended. David's, reign has not yet actually commenced. Although David had long been the anointed king of Israel, his reign is commonly considered not to have begun till he came to Hebron, and was anointed king over the house of Judah. The monarchy in Israel had not yet become hereditary; and the saying that the king never dies, had not become a maxim of state. The intervening period between Saul's death and David's assuming the reins of government would be called an interregnum. But as our object does not require constitutional accuracy or formal precision, it will be no serious violation of historic propriety to follow up the end of the reign of Saul with the beginning of the reign of David. This will better suit the spiritual requirements of the history. The Divine government knows no interruption. It may pass through a succession of forms and degrees; but all these are connected with each other either by continuity or contiguity. The government of truth Divine is not separate, although it is distinct, from that of Divine truth. As successive states of the Divine government in the human mind, during the progress of the regenerate life, the higher is evolved from the lower by the orderly process of development, which is the progressive advancement of a being from his lowest to his highest condition of existence. What is evolved must exist in embryo in that from which it is produced. Divine truth exists in embryo in truth Divine, and Divine good in Divine truth. It is as a seed sown in the earth, which "first puts forth the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear" (Mark iv. 28). It is not to be supposed that this seed is in man by nature. The human mind consists indeed of three degrees, answering to the three heavens, the natural, the spiritual, and the celestial. These exist in embryo in every human being; and they are successively opened and perfected in those who are regenerated to the highest attainable state. The opening and perfecting of the first, or natural degree is described by the reign of Saul; the second or spiritual by the reign of David; the third or celestial by the reign of Solomon. But these degrees are opened and perfected by means of seeds of truth that are sown in the mind. For these seeds, descending as they do from the Lord through all the heavens, have in themselves, besides the Divine truth, all the degrees of truth that exist in heaven; and it is by the opening and perfecting of these in the mind that the mind itself is opened and perfected.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 217 The blade, the ear, and the corn are thus successively produced.

What is true of the regenerate man is true in a supereminent sense and measure of the Lord Himself, as a man born into the world, but man immeasurably transcending all other men, in being the Son of Divine Father though of a human mother. As the son of Mary, He possessed the external coverings of the three degrees of the human mind, and these in Him, as in us, were finite; but as the Son of God, He possessed indeed the three degrees of mind answering to the three heavens, but in Him these degrees were not merely such as they are in the minds of angels and men, but such as they are in the Divine mind itself, and therefore infinite. In the Lord's paternal humanity, which was within and above His natural humanity, there was, from His birth, an infinite capacity, or a capacity for the infinite; and as these degrees were opened and perfected, according to the order of human development, the Lord's humanity became actually, as from birth it had been potentially, Divine. The Lord's glorification, like man's regeneration, commenced at His birth. The first of glorification, like the first of regeneration, consisted in acquiring and laying up, in the tender receptacles in the interiors of the mind, the remains of goodness and truth, and thus in forming the rudiments of the states which were to be developed and perfected by actual glorification. This is the descending series: first the celestial, then the spiritual, and lastly the natural. This descending series of Divine operations, both in relation to the Lord and to man, is described, in the internal series, in the history of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The ascending series, or the development of these rudimentary states, is described in the history of Saul, David, and Solomon.

The first of these ascending states, described by the history of Saul, we have now considered, both with reference to the glorification of the Lord and the regeneration of man. Imperfectly explained the subject has necessarily been, especially as it relates to the Lord's glorification. If, at best, we can have but a general and obscure knowledge of the regeneration of man, bow much more is this true of the glorification of the Lord. And yet it is highly necessary for the Christian to know something of that Divine work by which the Lord provided for the salvation of the human race. Next to the knowledge of the Lord as the only God, the knowledge of His work in the flesh is the most precious that the Scriptures reveal. It is justly maintained by Christians that the Atonement is the corner-stone of the Christian Church. The glorification of the Lord's humanity is the Atonement. It was this which effected the reconciliation of man to God, or of then human nature to the Divine, in the person of the Lord as the Savior.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 218 And it is by the transforming power of the Divine humanity that men are reconciled to God, and, being reconciled, can be saved by His life. "If, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life" (Rom. v. 10). The life, spiritual and eternal, which dwells in all fullness in the Lord's reconciled and glorified humanity, is that from which men have spiritual and eternal life; and that life transforms them into images of the Lord Himself. This great and blessed truth is destined to transform the whole Christian system as it now is. It sweeps away the entire scheme of substituted punishment and imputed righteousness, which forms the very essence of modern Christianity. But it is not a system of destruction and negation. It gives much more than it takes away. It gives gold for brass, and silver for iron (Isa. lx. 17). For merely natural it gives spiritual views of the justice and mercy of God. Instead of the Lord suffering in our stead, to satisfy the demands of Divine justice, it shows the Lord suffering for our sake, to satisfy the yearnings of Divine love. It presents the Incarnation in a light of marvelous clearness and transcendent beauty. It shows that God assumed human nature for the purpose of making it perfect through suffering; and having made it perfect, that He can now make men perfect, by conducting them through a life, the image of that which He himself lived upon earth. This is not the doctrine of those who teach that the Lord's work on earth consisted in showing men a perfect example. Men no doubt needed a perfect example; but they needed still more the will and the power to follow that example. These were what the glorification of humanity provided for them. The glorified humanity of the Lord is an ever-present power to prompt men to will and enable them to do of the Lord's good pleasure. It contains all the merit and righteousness which the Lord acquired by His Divine-human life upon earth. Indeed the Lord's humanity not only contains but Is merit and righteousness. By living according to the commandments a man has the law inscribed on his heart; by living according to the commandments, or rather by living the commandments themselves, the Lord became the law itself But this is true in a wider sense than is generally understood. In its largest sense the law means the whole Word; and this the Lord fulfilled, both in the letter and the spirit, in its utmost extent and in all its degrees. Thus did He become the Word in ultimates, as, from eternity, He had been in first principles. This is the Word of which Moses prophetically and spiritually says, "The Word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it" (Deut. xxx. 14); und of which the Lord Himself said, "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end" (Matt. xxviii. 20).



In the history of David's reign we have, in the internal sense, the history of a more advanced stage of the Lord's glorification and of man's regeneration than we possess in the history of the reign of Saul. It describes, as we have said, the process by which the Lord made His humanity Divine truth, David representing the Lord as Divine truth, or, the Divine-spiritual principle in the Lord's humanity. In the secondary sense David represents the spiritual man; and the history of his reign describes that stage of the regenerate life during which man is made spiritual, or during which the spiritual degree of the mind is perfected. We do not say opened, for the opening of the spiritual mind must be understood to have been represented by the circumstance of David having been anointed king during the reign, and long before the death, of Saul. There are three different states of the natural mind in. relation to the spiritual, which may be supposed to succeed each other with those who pass from death unto life. There is a state of the natural mind when the spiritual mind is shut, a state of the natural mind when the spiritual is not open and yet not shut, and a state of the natural mind when the spiritual mind is open.

We shall not attempt to follow the history of David, as describing in series the progress of the regenerate life which his reign represents; but we hope to draw from it some spiritual instruction and practical lessons that may direct and guide us in our progress through the regenerate life, as the only way to the kingdom of our Divine Sovereign.




2 Samuel i. 1-16.

David had not long returned from the slaughter of the Amalekites when tidings reached him of the disastrous issue of the battle of Gilboa, On the third day after his return to Zik1ag a man came to him "with his clothes rent, and earth upon his head: and fell to the earth before him, and did obeisance." He had come from the camp of Israel. To David's eager inquiry how the battle went, he answered that Israel had been defeated, and that Saul and Jonathan were dead. To the question, "How knowest thou that Saul and Jonathan his son be dead?" the young man replied, "As I happened by chance upon mount Gilboa, behold, Saul leaned upon his spear; and, lo, the chariots and horsemen followed, hard after him. And when he looked behind him, he saw me, and called unto me. And I answered, Here am I.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 220 And he said unto me, Who art thou? And I answered him, I am an Amalekite. He said unto me again, Stand, I pray thee, upon me, and slay me: for anguish is come upon me, because my life is yet whole in me. So I stood upon him, and slew him, because I was sure that he could not live after that he was fallen: and I took the crown that was upon his head, and the bracelet that was on his arm, and have brought them hither unto my lord." As there is some slight difference between this account of Sauls death and that given in the previous chapter, where nothing is said of the young Amalekite, some have supposed that his tale is an invention, intended to win the favor of David, who, he seems to have believed, was to be the future king of Israel. His story does not, however, contradict the previous narrative, but may be consistently understood as supplementing it. Although Saul had fallen upon his sword, he might be still lingering in agony, and desire to have his sufferings ended. The sacred writer says nothing to throw discredit on the relation, and we may therefore accept it as true.

There is something mournful as well as significant in Saul receiving his death-wound from the hand of an Amalekite. Amalek had been his great stumbling-stone and rock of offence. His mistaken leniency to the sinners, against whom the Lord had sworn that He would have war from generation to generation, had rent from him the kingdom; and now he invites from one of the doomed race the stroke that is to deprive him at once of his life and his kingdom. In the government of God, as in His written Word, there is the law of retribution. In the Divine mind, and in the Lord's dealings with His creatures, there is nothing, in the ordinary sense, of retributive justice; but there is the eternal and immutable law of order, that good and evil return into the bosom of those who do them. Not always, however, does evil return to the bosom of the evil-doer as its eternal dwelling-place. To the repentant it returns as an avenging spirit in the way of judgment. It comes, like the Amalekite to Saul, to extinguish the last spark of the expiring fire of the corrupt selfhood. In judgment, not only in the other world but in this, all states return, like the events of life to the memory of the drowning man. As these states appear, the mind passes judgment upon them; when such as it justifies remain and such as it condemns disappear. It is true that the mind itself is not the judge of its own state. The Lord is judge. But the Divine judge does not call men before an outward bar, to be tried by external evidence. The bar is conscience, the judge is eternal truth, and the witness is the inward testimony of the fulfilled or violated law of life. It is therefore the Lord that judges, because it is His truth that judges in us, or by which we judge ourselves. In passing through this ordeal, in which evil is to be severed from good, the penitent sinner calls down imprecations on himself, as Saul invited the Amalekite to slay him.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 221 For one of the truest marks of penitence for sin is self-condemnation, especially for that sin which comes home to the conscience with the most agonizing sense of guilt before God. And the more the sin itself is hated, the more is retribution felt to be deserved. But this very sense of desert turns the curse into a blessing; for like the scape-goat it carries the sin away into the wilderness. But the Amalekite not only slew Saul; he brought his crown and his bracelet to David. In ancient times kings wore a crown and an armlet in war, one as symbol of wisdom, the other of power. We have only to substitute spiritual for natural war to see in them symbols of spiritual wisdom and power as directed against evil and falsity. The crown and bracelet were providentially transferred from Saul to David, to represent the elevation of the principles they represented from the natural into the spiritual mind; and in the Lord, who was eminently represented by the kings of Israel, from truth Divine to Divine truth.

When the Amalekite had told the result of the battle and the fate of Saul, "then David took hold on his clothes, and rent them; and likewise all the men that were with him: and they mourned, and wept, and fasted until even, for Saul, and for Jonathan his son, and for the people of the Lord, and for the house of Israel; because they were fallen by the sword." The character of David here shines forth with peculiar lustre. Though now delivered from a persecuting enemy, and raised, as he must have felt, to the throne of Israel, he shows no feeling of satisfied resentment or gratified ambition, but, in evident sincerity, mourns with religious fervour, not only for the people of the Lord and the house of Israel, but for Saul himself. The several marks of sorrow which David and his men exhibited are symbolic of the affections which enter into that deeper sorrow which theirs represented. David and they that were with him taking hold of their garments and rending them, represented mourning on account of Divine truth lost, and cast away by those who were in faith separate from charity; for the regal office signified Divine truth, and the Philistines represented those who were in faith separate from charity. Mourning is grief of heart and weeping is grief of mind, or of will and understanding; and fasting is grief on account of the privation of goodness and truth, which support the life of love and faith in the Church, and in the minds of her members. The even, till which they mourned, is the end of the Church, or the end of the spiritual state of desolation, when mourning is ended. For, as we have said, every end is followed by a new beginning. When the Church perishes, a new Church is raised up in its stead; and the end of every state in the life of those who are of the spiritual Israel is succeeded by another in the ascending scale higher and better.



Another scene, in singular contrast to the mourning and weeping of David and his men over the fate of Saul and his army, now presents itself. With that sudden and apparently easy transition from tenderness to severity which, judging from Scripture, marked the Jewish character, and which is more or less characteristic of all external men, David passes from the meekness of the mourner to the zeal of the avenger. He demands of the young Amalekite, "How wast thou not afraid to stretch forth thine hand to destroy the Lord's anointed?" and calling one of the young men, he said, "Go near, and fall upon him. And he smote him that he died." The Amalekite, although he seems to be free from moral blame in ending Saul's miserable life, is yet put to death as a regicide, because it was a deadly sin to destroy the Lord's anointed. He should have known this; for, although an Amalekite, he was the son of a sojourner, called in our version a stranger, and a foreigner, living among the Israelites to learn their laws and customs. He represented one who is desirous of being instructed in the principles of the Church. One who is instructed in the truth, and yet destroys it, is guilty of sin. Therefore David says to the dying Amalekite, "Thy blood be upon thy head; for thy mouth hath testified against thee, saying, I have slain the Lord's anointed." The spiritual lesson we learn from this is, that he who, knowing the truth, destroys it, will himself be destroyed. He indeed brings destruction upon himself: his blood is upon his own head; for his mouth utters his own condemnation. "By thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned."

Besides this general lesson there are some particulars that deserve our attention. It would seem as if the Amalekite had done both Saul and David a service. He killed the dying king, and brought the insignia of his royalty to his Divinely appointed successor. And yet he is slain. In the simple fact we can see this meaning:' that which slays the natural is in turn slain by the spiritual. But why should this be represented in the narrative as an act of vengeance due to blood guiltiness? The representative character of Amalek accounts for this appearance. Amalek represents falsity grounded in interior evil, which steals in upon the mind when it is suffering from the depression and feebleness produced by severe trial and temptation; like certain diseases to which the body is liable when it is in a low condition. We see this shadowed forth in, the present instance. Saul had anticipated the last effects of defeat in battle, and David had but returned from the pursuit and slaughter of the Amalekites. The young man happened by chance on mount Gilboa at a time that was suitable to his own natural and representative character and to the condition of Saul. He was also behind Saul, as of old his people came behind enfeebled Israel (Deut. xxv. 18); for the falsity of interior evil enters rather into the will, which is behind, than into the understanding, which is before. Saul looked behind him, and saw this son of Amalek; as the Lord turned and looked upon Peter (Luke xxii.), and as John turned to see the voice that spake with him (Rev. i. 12).


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 223 That which enters into and affects the will causes the understanding to turn in that direction, that the intellect may perceive what the will has felt. And Saul's understanding was now opened to see the nature of the evil to which, in the hour of trial, he had weakly yielded. When the young Amalekite came to David, he came in something of the manner in which Agag came to Samuel, delicately. He came, indeed, as a friend to David, as he had seemed to be to Saul. But his representative character is the same in regard to both. This is seen even in his bringing to David the dead king's crown and bracelet. The evil, or rather the evil spirits-for evil has no abstract existence-which the Amalekites represent, insinuate themselves into the hearts of men, not only through the objects of their ambition, as these insignia of royalty might be to David, but even, in the case of spiritual men, through the spiritual principles which these insignia represent. Evil spirits, like evil men, can simulate characters not their own, and can possess themselves of the knowledges, which are but the symbols, of wisdom and honour, as the crown and bracelet were of the dignity and power of their royal owner. Through these they seek to act upon the minds of men whom they desire to seduce.

We can see a sufficient reason, on the ground of the spiritual sense, for David slaying the seemingly blameless Amalekite. Not that an act of natural injustice could be permitted for the purpose of representing a spiritual truth, or teaching a spiritual lesson. But spiritual causes lie at the root of all natural effects. And although the effect may sometimes seem different in its character from that of the cause, there is still a real relation between them, the outward seeming being all that produces the apparent want of harmony.



2 Samuel i. 17-27

Davids elegy over Saul and Jonathan, considered only as the expression of his own personal sentiments and feelings, is admitted to be one of the noblest and tenderest to be found in any language. It reflects the highest credit upon David himself. Had Saul been a bosom friend we could not have expected more; had he been an honorable rival, we should have been satisfied with less; but when we reflect that for years he had been a bitter and implacable enemy, David's lamentation over him has a moral sublimity worthy of our highest admiration, and, still more, of our faithful imitation.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 224 It is true that David speaks of Saul as the Lord's anointed, yet much of the praise he bestows upon him is for his personal qualities, although he says nothing of his general character.

In the inner sense both Saul and David are to be regarded in their representative character. In the highest sense, both are types of the Lord Himself, as King; and the Lord is King as Divine truth. When Pilate demanded of Jesus, who had said His kingdom was not of this world, "Art Thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a KING," which was a form of affirmation; and He immediately adds in explanation, "To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the TRUTH." Both Saul and David represented the Lord as the Truth; and David, in his lamentation over Saul, bears witness to the Truth. His description of Saul is, in the spiritual sense, a description of the Truth.

When the elegy is thus understood, we can see the appropriateness and significance of that otherwise difficult and almost unintelligible exordium to it, "Also he bade them teach the children of Judah the use of the bow: behold, it is written in the book of Jasher." We need not trouble ourselves with the conjectures of commentators as to the meaning and purpose of this seemingly strange introduction. The book in which it is said to be written suggests a mysterious meaning. Jasher was a book of the ancient Church, written by those who understood the law of correspondence between spiritual and natural things, and who therefore taught spiritual truths by natural images. In the symbolic language of Scripture, which is written according to this law, a bow corresponds to doctrine. Arrows correspond to truths, but to truths opposing falsities; and truths proceed and have their power from doctrine, as arrows from the bow, or stones from the sling. But what connection is there between this lamentation over Saul and Jonathan and teaching Judah the bow? The same connection that there is between revealing truths and teaching doctrine. A religious doctrine is a conclusion from all the truths of the Word relating to one subject, as a doctrine of science is a conclusion from one class of the facts of nature. Truths are made known to men to enable them to do good and resist evil, But in order to employ truths effectually they must know them, not only singly, but in combination. The Word contains all religious truth; but the Word is not understood without doctrine. Without doctrine the mind can have but an obscure and confused notion of what the Scriptures teach. Therefore Saul and Jonathan are celebrated that Judah may learn the bow. One reason why the Church must learn the doctrines as well as know the truths of the Word is this.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 225 The Word, as we have remarked, consists to a considerable extent of apparent truths, which, unless explained by doctrine, may be adopted and confirmed as real truths, which then become errors. Doctrine is formed from the real truths of Scripture; and these, when brought into a doctrinal form, explain its apparent truths. This distinction between truth and doctrine, and the formation of doctrine from the real truths of the Word, are taught symbolically in this Divine composition. Saul and Jonathan, as formerly explained, both represent Divine truth, such as it is in the letter of the Word, but Saul represents its apparent truths and Jonathan its real truths. In accordance with this, David speaks of Saul as wielding the sword, because the sword is the emblem of truth, and of Jonathan as wielding the bow, because the bow is an emblem of doctrine. It is Judah, too, that is to be taught the bow, because Judah represents those who are in good, as distinguished from those who are in truth, or the celestial, as distinguished from the spiritual; and the celestial desire and acquire only the real truths of the Word, which teach nothing but the doctrine of love and charity. This is the doctrine meant by the bow; so that to teach Judah the bow is to teach the doctrine of love to God and charity to man. This also is a key to the subject of the lamentation, in the spiritual sense; otherwise the introduction would have no relation to the subject. We shall see as we proceed that there is an intimate connection between what the Philistines had destroyed and what Judah was to be taught.

In David's lamentation we are to regard Saul as the Lord's anointed, not as the frail and erring mortal that he was; as the representative of the second Adam, not as the too faithful image of the first. In the regenerate man, a corresponding distinction is to be made. Regeneration does not destroy the distinction between the spirit and the flesh, although the Christian no longer lives in the flesh, but in the spirit. The corrupt selfhood is not abolished but only subdued; and the Christian, while with the mind he serves the law of God, knows that in himself, that is, in his flesh, dwelleth no good thing (Rom. vii. 18).

David eulogizes Saul as the beauty of Israel, and both Saul and Jonathan as the mighty, as lovely and pleasant in their lives, as swifter than eagles and stronger than lions. Terrible to the enemies of Israel, the bow of Jonathan turned not back, the sword of Saul returned not empty, from the blood of the slain, from the fat of the mighty. Bountiful to his people, Saul clothed the daughters of Israel in scarlet with delights, and put on ornaments of gold upon their apparel.



Lofty as the strain of this eulogium is, its language and imagery but faintly describe the beauty and might of Him whom Saul, as the anointed king of Israel, represented, whether we apply it to H person even when veiled in our frail humanity, or to His works of redemption and salvation, in which He overcame the enemies of His kingdom and enriched and adorned His Church with the precious gifts of His grace and truth. Saul, as the anointed king of Israel, represented the Lord as Divine truth; and the destruction of Divine truth in the Church is the general subject of the lamentation.

But it may be well to strike a lower key, and consider the lamentation as it applies to the regenerate and to the work of regeneration. These are not only images of the Lord and of His work in the flesh; but the Lord is in every regenerate man, and works out his deliverance from the evils of his nature, and brings him into newness of life, by a process similar to that by which He overcame the powers of darkness, and glorified His own humanity, and ordinated heaven, and established a spiritual Church upon earth. The Lord's work in the flesh is effected anew, in a finite measure, in every true disciple. This is the reason why the greater work is the archetype of the less, and why a description of one is, only in a different degree, a description of the other.

Truth sanctified by goodness, or a true faith anointed with the oil of love, is the beauty of Israel, because it beautifies the meek with salvation, clothing the affections of charity with the beautiful garments of wisdom and righteousness, woven of the scarlet threads of practical truth and adorned with the golden ornaments of practical goodness. Whatever graces beautify the mind, whatever virtues adorn the character, all are derived from the Lord through a living faith in Him, as our God and Savior, and are to be admired and exalted as His gifts and as the images of His perfections. As faith animated by love is the beauty of Israel, love acting by faith is the mighty; for by the sword of truth and the bow of doctrine it overcomes what is false and evil, as opposed to that which is true and good, as principles in the understanding and the heart. The doctrine of the true Church, which is the doctrine of love and charity, is the bow that turns not back, and the truth of doctrine is the sword that returns not empty, from the blood of the slain and the fat of the mighty, or from the conflict with what is false and evil.

This is the spiritual ground of David's praise of Saul ' as the Lord's anointed. It shows forth the excellence of a true and living faith, which the anointed king represented, as opposed to a false and dead faith, of which the Philistines were the types. It shows also the benefits and blessings to be derived from a true faith, when exalted to its true place in the mind, and allowed to have its due influence in the government of the ends and actions of life.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 227 This will ever be the case with the true Israel of the Lord. It is this which marks the true disciple of Jesus as an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile. For who are the Israel of the Lord but those who practically acknowledge Him as the King of Israel, the Anointed of Jehovah? And the Lord is practically acknowledged as the King of Israel when His laws are written in the heart and obeyed in the life; when the affections and thoughts, words and works of those who call themselves by the name of Christ, are so governed by His love and truth, that, for the Lord's sake, they do to others as they would that others should do to them. This is the law and the prophets. The Lord governs where His law rules. Where His law is exalted He is exalted, where it is fulfilled He is glorified. How beautiful must be the state and character of one who is thus brought under the hallowing influence of the Lord's Divine law of love and truth! The truth and love contained unitedly in the Divine law, are like Saul and Jonathan, who were lovely and pleasant in their lives, and in their death they were not divided. Death cannot divide those whose lives have been lovely and pleasant, whether we apply this beautiful sentiment to persons or to principles. Those who are united in that lovely connection which exists between the true and the good, and especially as they exist in the two sexes, will not be separated by death. Their union is as firm and indissoluble as that between the Lord and the soul of the true believer. "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For Thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Rom. viii. 35-39). How beautiful would the lives of Christians be if they were a faithful transcript of the spiritual law of love to the Lord, as exhibited in charity to man, which our Lord Himself revealed, when He said, "A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another, as I have loved you, that ye also love one another"! (John xv. 12.) The command to love one another, and to love each other as ourselves, is old; but to love each other as the Lord Jesus has loved us, this is new. This is Christian love. Not ourselves, but Jesus, is the standard of love to one another. He gave Himself for us; lived for us, suffered for us, died for us. Are we willing to give ourselves for each other? But this is not only true love, it is also true faith. This faith is the beauty of Israel, and the mighty also. Faith imbued with love is beauty, love working by faith is power.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 228 Faith has no beauty but from love; love has no power but by faith. Separate, they have neither beauty nor power; united, they have both. The religion of faith alone is religion deprived of those elements which give it all its beauty and might.       

This is the evil and the calamity that David lamented in his lamentation over Saul and over Jonathan his son. The Philistines had seen the beauty of Israel upon the high places, the mighty had fallen under their instruments of violence; and those who were lovely and pleasant in their lives, and were swifter than eagles and stronger than lions, had died together in the conflict with error and evil. The destructive nature and effects of faith alone are thus expressively described. Faith in its true state is the safeguard as well as the guide of charity. But when that which should be a protection against evil and a guide in the performance of good, claims to itself all saving power, it destroys all that is vital and saving in religion. We shall see this still more clearly if we turn our attention to some of the particulars in which this is symbolically described in the pathetic lamentation of David.

"The beauty of Israel is slain upon thy high places: how are the mighty fallen!" The high places are the interior affections of the mind. These are constantly represented in Scripture by high places, especially by mountains, as here by the mountains of Gilboa. The will is the highest faculty of the mind. It is the seat of the affections. In Scripture and in popular language it is called the heart. The Divine law is said to be written in the heart when it is loved with the highest and best affections. Men are required to love God with all the heart-with the will and all its affections. Faith is also, in its highest state, placed in the heart. This is the high place of living, practical faith. "For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness"(Rom. x. 10). When the faith and the love of God are quenched in the affections, and His law is effaced from the heart, the beauty of Israel is slain upon its high places, the mighty are fallen. This is the death and the fall which David, moved by the Holy Spirit, lamented. And he exclaims," Tell it not in Gath, publish it not in the streets of Askelon; lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice, lest the daughters of the uncircumcised triumph." In the literal sense this is rather a rhetorical than an actual wish, since David knew that the issue of the battle must have been already published throughout the whole of Philistia. The same idea is often repeated in Scripture. God speaks and is spoken of as doing great things for Israel, that His Name may be known among the nations; and fears are expressed lest the nations hear and rejoice over the people's calamities, and regard them as evidences of the inability of their God to defend them. This idea is the basis of another and higher one. In the inner sense the nations are the evil affections and false thoughts of the natural mind, while the Israelites are the good affections and true thoughts of the spiritual mind, or, of the natural and of the spiritual man.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 229 The natural man being opposed to the spiritual, there is war between them. The contest is to determine whether the spiritual shall rule over the natural, or the natural over the spiritual. The consequences of this contest are most momentous. If final they are eternal. There is therefore a deep spiritual reason for David's passionate lamentation over Saul, and for his exclamation, "Tell it not in Gath, publish it not in the streets of Askelon." But this reason refers to more than the victory itself. That had already been gained by the enemies of Israel. The telling of the tidings in Gath and publishing them in the streets of Askelon, and the joy and triumph of the daughters of the Philistines over the victory, is another. This we have now to consider, and this will be seen from the spiritual meaning of Gath and Askelon, and the daughters of the Philistines.

These two principal cities of the Philistines belonged at one time to the children of Israel. In the time of the judges Judah took Askelon (i. 18), and in the time of Samuel "the cities which the Philistines had taken from Israel were restored to Israel, from Ekron even unto Gath" (i Sam. vii. 14); but they had passed into the possession of the Philistines again. These cities, therefore, now represent true doctrines of the Church falsified, like the cities from which the Israelites fled, and in which the Philistines came and dwelt. The two principal doctrines of the Word, and therefore of the true Church, are the doctrines of love to God and charity to man. These doctrines or laws of life are the conditions of salvation, because they teach the very graces that save. But when love to the Lord and charity to man are abolished as conditions of salvation, except as fulfilled by a substitute, and faith is held to be sufficient for salvation, these doctrines are falsified, and become as Askelon and Gath in the bands of the Philistines. Truths falsified, unlike simple errors, are not only aliens but enemies. They inspire the mind with hatred of the truth, and cause it to rejoice and triumph over the truth, when it seems to yield the palm of victory to the reasonings and fallacies of the natural man which have been brought against it. The Jewish Philistines in the time of our Lord, who had made the commandment of God of none effect by their tradition, which they had done by perverting the truth, rejoiced and triumphed over the destruction of the truth in the person of Him who was the Truth itself. When the two witnesses, who bore testimony to the doctrines of love to the Lord and love to man, were killed by the beast, which was the type of faith without love or works, they that dwelt on earth rejoiced over them, and made merry, and sent gifts to one another, because the two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth (Rev. xi. 10) To kill-spiritually means to deny, reject, destroy; but to triumph over the slain is to confirm the mind in a state of denial.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 230 This is the reason that David deprecates the tidings of Israel's defeat and the death of Saul being published in the cities of the enemy, lest the daughters of the victors should rejoice. The denial of truth is especially confirmed when the affections of the will respond to the decisions of the understanding. The affections of the will are meant by daughters; and we have here the daughters of the Philistines, who are the affection of what is false, and the daughters of the uncircumcised, who are the affection of what is evil. The confirmed denial of what is true is meant by the daughters of the Philistines rejoicing, and the confirmed rejection of what is good is meant by the daughters of the uncircumcised triumphing. That the denial of the principles of truth and goodness in the understanding may not be confirmed in the affections of the will, is the Lord's desire, as expressed in David's wish. And as His love desires so does His providence operate to prevent men confirming their hearts in a state which cuts off the hope and almost the possibility of restoration.

There are two states of mind which, while they have an affinity, and one too often leads to the other, are yet to be distinguished. One state is that in which evil is loved and practised, while a belief in its sinfulness and a secret dread of its consequences remain. The other state is that in which the conviction of sin and the dread of its consequences have been overcome, and the affections rejoice and triumph over the defeat and death of those better thoughts and feelings that gave pain and created alarm. This is a state of confirmed unbelief and impenitence. The conflict is over; the waning power of the good and true in the heart and mind has been overcome. The tidings have been told in Gath and published in the streets of Askelon, and the daughters of the Philistines rejoice, the daughters of the uncircumcised triumph. This is the state which Divine love desires to prevent, and against which Divine wisdom in all possible cases provides; and to express which David by inspiration uttered the desire, "Tell it not in Gath."

But the high places themselves on which Saul and Jonathan were slain are made the subjects of an imprecation. "Ye mountains of Gilboa, let there be no dew, neither let there be rain, upon you, nor fields of offerings: for there the shield of the mighty is vilely cast away, the shield of Saul, as though he had not been anointed with oil." The consequence of evil is often in Scripture announced in the form of a malediction. Yet God is the author of no curse, but sin entails its own curse on those who commit it. In this case the imprecation is on the scene of the slaughter, and is in harmony with the economy of the Israelitish dispensation, that place should be an image of state.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 231 The curse on the mountains of Gilboa is a description of the state of the heart or will, which mount Gilboa represents, when the truth and love of God are therein destroyed. The dew and the rain of heaven are celestial and spiritual truth, flowing into the inmost of the mind from the Lord out of heaven, and giving refreshment and fruitfulness. And the fields of offering are the good things of love and charity that are offered up to the Lord, as the fruits of His own free and bountiful gifts that have descended upon the humble and receptive mind.

But this also describes the condition of the mind when, the heart being turned away from God, the heaven of the spiritual mind is shut, and the Lord's doctrine no longer drops upon the natural mind like rain, and His Spirit no longer distils like dew and like small rain upon the tender grass; but the mind becomes like a parched land not inhabited. When there is no spiritual love in the heart there is no saving truth in the understanding. There may be knowledge, but there is no wisdom; there may be persuasion, but there is no faith.

A special reason that there might be no dew or rain on the mountains of Gilboa was, that there the shield of the mighty had been vilely cast away, the shield of Saul, as not anointed with oil. The shield of the mighty is vilely cast away when the truth that defends good is contemned and rejected, the shield of Saul, as not anointed with oil, is cast away, when truth is treated as if it had no relation to love, or when that relation is denied.

Thus far David, in his pathetic lamentation, speaks chiefly of the death of Saul and Jonathan as regarded by the Philistines. He next comes to speak of it in relation to the Israelitish people and to himself.

David had desired that the daughters of the Philistines might not rejoice over the death of Saul; he now calls the daughters to weep for him. The daughters of Israel are the opposites of the daughters of the Philistines; they are the affections of truth. They are exhorted to mourn the destruction of truth in the Church, and to mourn by weeping, for weeping is the symbol of sorrow because truth has perished.

But to apply this to the inward state of those who are passing through the trials of the spiritual life. There are states in Christian experience which are called states of desolation, when light and hope seem to have departed, and the delight of life seems to have died away. These are times of weeping. David describes these states from his own experience; as in the sixth Psalm, "O Lord, rebuke me not in Thine anger, neither chasten me in Thy hot displeasure." Those whom the Lord loves He rebukes and chastens. But we must be not only the objects, but the subjects, of the Lord's love, before we can be chastened as children. And then the Psalmist describes his distress under the Lord's rebuke and chastening:


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 232 "I am weary with my groaning; all the night make I my bed to swim; I water my couch with my tears. Mine eye is consumed because of grief; it waxeth old because of all mine enemies." This grief is made more poignant by the remembrance of the previous state of prosperity and enjoyment, as the daughters of Israel are called upon to weep for Saul, who had clothed and adorned them. This weeping, with the state of humiliation and godly sorrow which it implies, brings the suffering soul to the Lord. "In those days, and in that time, saith the Lord, the children of Israel shall come, they and the children of Judah together, going and weeping: they shall go, and seek the Lord their God" (Jer. 1. 4). To those who thus mourn, though it be in sackcloth and ashes, the Lord will give beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified (Isa. lxi. 3).

It is natural that in David's lamentation over the slain on the mountains of Gilboa Jonathan should occupy a prominent place. "O Jonathan, thou wast slain in thine high places. I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan: very pleasant hast thou been unto me: thy love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women." Wonderful indeed was Jonathan's love for David. A worthy representative it was of love to the Lord, whom David represented, and of love for the truth which He taught. Under another view, it represented that love which is grounded in the harmony and unity which exist between the letter and the spirit of the Word; that is, between the real truth of the letter and the pure truth of the spirit; or, what is the same, between doctrine as drawn from the literal sense of the Word, and the essential principles of doctrine as contained in its spiritual sense. Combining these views we may be able to see more clearly and fully the truth and beauty of that seemingly hyperbolical tribute to Jonathan's love for David, that it surpassed the love of women.

There is one respect in which the love of man surpasses the love of woman. This has its ground in a constitutional difference in the mental character of the sexes; and, in the highest degree of the regenerate and heavenly life, it becomes actual and obvious.

The masculine soul is love covered with wisdom, and the feminine soul is wisdom covered with love. As love in the man is inmost and wisdom is outermost, his love is deeper than his wisdom; and as wisdom in the woman is inmost and love is outermost, her wisdom is deeper than her love. Masculine love is thus deeper or more interior than feminine love, as, on the other hand, feminine wisdom is deeper or more interior than masculine wisdom. Love being inmost in the man it is less perceptible, for it manifests itself in wisdom; and the wisdom of the woman is less perceptible, because it manifests itself in love.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 233 We say therefore that the man is wisdom and that the woman is love, because these are their outward and obvious characteristics. We say also that true marriage consists in the union of feminine love with masculine wisdom, because these are the outward and obvious qualities by which they are distinguished. But there is also a deeper and more interior, although less conscious or at least less sensible, union between those who are united in true conjugal love. Besides the union of feminine love with masculine wisdom, there is a union of feminine wisdom with masculine love; or of the internal love of the man with the internal wisdom of the woman. , This twofold union is strikingly exhibited in the heavens. In the spiritual heaven, where the spiritual or lower degree of the mind is opened, the husband is wisdom and the wife is love; but in the celestial heaven, where the celestial or highest degree of the mind is opened, the husband is love and the wife is wisdom. In these two heavens we also see the different character of masculine and feminine wisdom exemplified. Masculine wisdom, being external, is rational wisdom; feminine wisdom, being internal, is perceptive wisdom. Therefore in the spiritual heaven the angels reason, in the celestial heavens the angels perceive. In the celestial heaven it is yea, yea, nay, nay; in the spiritual heaven there is something, of the whatsoever is more than these, which cometh of evil. We observe this distinction between masculine and feminine wisdom, or between the masculine and feminine intellect, even in this world. We observe that men reason and that women perceive. We see also that the rational wisdom of the man is not communicable to the woman, and that the perceptive wisdom of the woman is not communicable to the man. But we see the Creator's wisdom and benevolence in these distinctive characteristics of the sexes, by which two souls, that can never in anything be the same, become more perfectly one than either of them apart could ever be. In true marriage there is the union of beauty and might, mental and physical; and this marriage exists in its perfection with the angels in heaven.

Jonathan's love for David, as being wonderful and more than the love of women, represented that love for truth and wisdom, whose type David was, which is the primary love that lies at the root of human nature, and out of which all other loves spring, even the love of women, for the woman was taken out of the man.

It would have been interesting to notice the numerous pairs of expressions that occur in this beautiful elegy, which refer to what Clowes so often points out as pervading the Word, the marriage of the good and the true, or, in the opposite sense, of the evil and the false; but this must be left to the reader.

David concludes, "How are the mighty fallen, and the weapons of war perished! "Fallen are the mighty when the heavenly principles of love and charity are no longer the religion of the heart and life, and the weapons of war have perished when the truths of the Word have ceased to defend good against evil, and the conflict has ended in the extinction of spiritual life.





2 Samuel ii.

The defeat of Israel and the death of Saul and his three sons in the battle of Jezreel, must have convinced David that the time was come when the anointing of Samuel, which had hitherto brought him nothing but trouble and anguish, would reward him for his sufferings by bringing him to the throne of Israel. He does not, however, betray any of the signs of human ambition, which most other men have manifested in similar circumstances. He does not follow the promptings of his own will, nor act on the dictates of his own judgment; nor does he ask counsel of flesh and blood; he inquires of the Lord, not whether he shall claim the vacant throne, but whether and to which of the cities of Judah he shall go up; and he is answered, "Go up unto Hebron."

Kirjath-arba, which is Hebron, had long been a distinctly representative, and, had become even a sacred, place. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had dwelt there; and it had been appointed as a city of refuge and a Levitical city. Hebron represented the spiritual Church. One circumstance connected with its history gives it a double significance. When the Israelites came into Canaan, Hebron was possessed by the children of Anak. These were giants, and were like those who are spoken of as existing before the Flood (Gen. vi. 4). The nations of Canaan were the degenerate descendants of the people of the ancient Church, and of these the Anakim were the most corrupt; as the Nephilim, or giants, that lived immediately before the Flood, were the most corrupt of the degenerate descendants of the people of the most ancient Church. It was the fear of the sons of Anak that caused the children of Israel to wander forty years in the wilderness, and to at excluded all the men from twenty years old and upwards from entering Canaan, except Caleb and Joshua" (Num. xiv. 29, 30). When the spies who were sent to search the land, returned to the camp of Israel, one part of their evil report related to its gigantic inhabitants. "There we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight."


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 235 When the Israelites took possession of the land of Canaan, Hebron, the district inhabited by these giants, was appropriately given to Caleb (Josh. xiv. 13), who had brought up a good report of the land, and encouraged the children of Israel to go up at once and possess it (Num. xiii. 30)

When David was divinely directed to go to Hebron, it was on account of its representative character. In Hebron had dwelt these in whom the ancient Church had fallen into its deepest state of corruption; on account of which the inhabitants of Hebron were utterly destroyed by Joshua (Josh. x. 36, 37); and there David was commanded to go, to set up his kingdom, which was to represent the Lord's spiritual Church, that Church which the Lord established when He was upon earth; for the Christian Church was the ancient Church unswathed. To represent more expressively the establishment of the Church, it is recorded that David, when be went up thither, took with him his two wives, who represented the Church, as to the internal and external affection of truth, by which the spiritual Church is distinguished. His men also did David bring up, every man with his household; these representing all the truths of the Church, each united to its own good, with their derived thoughts and affections those who are principled therein constituting the household of faith. David's men dwelt in the cities of Hebron. Thus the doctrines of the ancient Church, which these cities represented, after being purged of their errors and corruptions, became again the habitations of spiritual truth and goodness, which David's men and their families represented.

Not long after David's settlement in Hebron, "the men of Judah came, and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah." The tribe of Judah, which was the first, was for some time the only tribe that acknowledged David as king; we can hardly say, as the successor of Saul, for the men of Judah seem to have made no claim for David's sovereignty over the whole people. Yet rightly considered, he who was king of Judah was entitled to be the sovereign of all the tribes of Israel; for he who rules the highest should rule all below. Jesus was sought and worshipped by the wise men from the east as King of the Jews, and the King of the Jews was written as an accusation over His cross; but He was acknowledged also as the King of Israel.

The kingdom began under David as it ended under Rehoboam, by being divided into two, the kingdom of Judah and the kingdom of Israel, if we may call Ish-bosbeth's reign a succession, which was rather a usurpation. The kingdom belonged to the Lord, and by His command David had been anointed king long before the death of Saul. David was therefore the rightful sovereign of the one kingdom. Still there was a deeper cause for, and there is a deeper meaning in, the divided state of the people than the letter of the Word reveals.



David, we have seen, was potentially king while Saul actually reigned; as, in an early stage of the regenerate life, "we delight in the law of God after the inward man: but we see another law in our members, warring against the law of our mind, and bringing us into captivity to the law of sin which is in our members." The state is now changed. The inward man reigns actually, but the outward man is not yet wholly subject to his government. The highest or inmost thoughts and affections of the natural mind have made a voluntary submission, or rather have given their joyful consent, to the supremacy and rule of the, spiritual. The men of Judah have anointed David king, confirming Samuel's act by their own, and thus reciprocating the Divine love to them in their practical love to Him. Our Lord, as the anointed of Jehovah, though never anointed as an earthly king, had the precious ointment of grateful and adoring love poured upon His head (Matt. xxvi. 7), and even upon His feet (John xii. 3); acts appropriately done to Him, and done by loving women, who represented the Church, not only in general, but in particular, as it exists in the heart, when Jesus reigns there as King and Governor.

When the men of Judah came and anointed David king, they told him of the pious act of the men of Jabesh-gilead in burying Saul; and David sent messengers to bless them, and at the same time to ask their allegiance to him, now that Saul was dead. We have already remarked upon the burial of Saul as the type of resurrection; and it was fitting that this should be introduced here, seeing that the anointed, as buried in Saul, had risen in David. For, in resurrection, that which is raised is not the same as that which is sown; the life that is taken up is not the same as that which is laid down. The old dies, the new lives. David, as the anointed, was higher than Saul.

It does not, however, appear that the men of Jabesh acknowledged David as king. For it is immediately added, "But Abner the son of Ner, captain of Saul's host, took Ishbosheth the son of Saul, and brought him over to Mahanaim; and made him king over Gilead, and over the Ashurites, and over Jezreel, and over Ephraim, and over Benjamin, and over all Israel." Mahanaim, which was on the other side Jordan, and not far from Jabesh, was the spot where Jacob, after parting with Laban, with whom he had entered into a covenant, was met by the angels of God. "And when Jacob saw them, he said, This is God's host; and he called the name of the place Mahanaim." This name means two camps, and these two camps signify both the heavens, or both the kingdoms of the Lord, the celestial and the spiritual; and in the supreme sense, the Divine celestial and the Divine spiritual of the Lord. Although in its after-history Mahanaim seems to have verified its name, its two camps were not always the camps of God, nor were angels always the hosts that encamped therein.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 237 Mahanaim is connected, though not in the same manner, with two kingdoms, rivals to that of David. In Mahanaim Abner set up a rival king and kingdom to those of Judah; and to Mahanaim, David himself came, when he fled before Absalom, on that unnatural son rebelling against his father, and attempting to wrest the kingdom from him (xvii. 24). In Israel there were at this time, therefore, two camps, but one of them was hostile to the other.

The subject treated of in the naming of Mahanaim is, the inversion of state, in which good obtains the first place and truth takes the second. Good has now obtained the first place, for the men of Judah have anointed David king of Judah; but truth has not yet submitted to the supremacy of good, for the rest of the tribes have not yet given David their allegiance. This is a state which has yet to be wrought out, but it is not to be effected without that internal conflict which is represented in the Word by war.

A singular and sanguinary conflict seems to have formed the commencement of the several years' war that was carried on between the house of David and the house of Saul. Abner, captain of his master's host, had gone to Gibeon, and was followed by Joab, captain of the host of David; and they met together on the opposite sides of the pool of Gibeon. "And Abner said to Joab, Let the young men now arise, and play before us. And Joab said, Let them arise." Twelve from each side met, "and they caught every one his fellow by the head, and thrust his sword in his fellow's side; so they fell down together: wherefore that place was called Helkath-hazzurim, which is in Gibeon." Had this encounter been the means of settling a question of -right or even of might, there would have been less regret for the mutual slaughter, but it was only the initiative of a sore battle, in which David's men were victorious. We may be thankful that, as a part of Bible history, it contains another and higher meaning than that of the letter.

The pool of Gibeon, on the opposite sides of which the two little armies sat down, and across which their two leaders spoke to each other, is the type of one of those deep questions on which the men of the Church have long taken opposite sides, and over which they have proposed and accepted the challenge to decide the question by a gladiatorial display of intellectual skill. In Scripture pools signify intelligence derived from the knowledges of goodness and truth; for pools are there taken for collected waters or lakes, and collected waters or lakes are collected knowledges by which intelligence comes. Both from its situation and from the subject of the contest between the two camps, the intelligence which the pool of Gibeon represents, is that which relates to the question, whether goodness or truth, or, what is the same, whether charity or faith has the claim to priority, and is entitled to take the first place.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 238 Those who maintain the priority and supremacy of charity are represented by the servants of David, while those who contend for the priority and supremacy of faith are represented by the servants of the son of Saul. "It has been a subject of controversy from the most ancient times whether priority and preference are due to charity or to faith. This controversy originated in the ignorance which prevailed of old, and which prevails at this day, concerning this truth, that one has only so much of faith as he has of charity, and that in the process of regeneration charity meets faith, or what is the same thing, good meets truth, insinuating into it all its particulars, and adapting itself thereto, and thus causing truth to be faith." "Those who are in truth before they are regenerate are always such that they believe truth to be both prior and superior to good, and so it appears at that time; but when truth is conjoined to good in their minds, or when they are regenerate, they see and perceive that truth is posterior and inferior, and then good in them has the dominion over truth. But as within the Church there are more unregenerate than regenerate men, and as the unregenerate judge from appearances, it has been a matter of dispute from ancient times we ether priority belongs to truth or to good. With those who were not regenerated, and also with those who were not fully regenerated, the opinion prevailed that truth is prior; for as yet they had no perception of good, and so long as there is no perception of good, they must of necessity be in shade, or in ignorance on things of this nature. But those who are regenerate, because they are in essential good, are enabled, by virtue of the intelligence derived from it, to perceive what good is, and that it is from the Lord, and that it flows in through the internal man into the external, and this continually an being entirely ignorant of it, and that it adjoins itself to the truths of doctrine which are in the memory, consequently that good in itself is prior, although it did not before appear to be so."

These states of thought in the Church, and these stages of the regenerate life, are strikingly represented in the state of the Israelitish people at the time of this meeting between Joab and Abner, when they were divided, the tribe of Judah, which represented charity or goodness, being on one side, and the rest of the tribes, which have more, relation to truth and faith, being on the other. Yet, in reference to the regenerate this is a temporary state; for even in this stage the regenerate are progressing to one in which truth in them will be subordinate to goodness, as the tribes now under Saul are being brought, though by a painful experience, to unite with Judah in acknowledging the sovereignty of David. Their submission is to be brought about by conquest; and the singular and sanguinary scene enacted in the sight of the two contending parties is the beginning of the conflict.



And very expressive also of the nature and issue of the contest, in this its first state, are the particulars of the conflict. The contest is at first a kind of intellectual sport, as the young men were to arise and play "the intellectual character of the contest is indicated by the number of the combatants on either side. There are some numbers that have relation to good and some that have relation to truth. The number twelve has especial relation to truth, and generally means all the truth, that enter into and constitute the faith of the Church, like the twelve tribes of Israel and the twelve apostles of the Lord. These are the intellectual combatants that are to contend for victory. They enter into the serious play of deadly strife. The contest is short and sharp, each man seizes his fellow by the head, and plunges his sword into his side. The head has a comprehensive meaning but, in particular, it signifies the truth which a man believes to be truth, and which he makes the truth of his faith, for with man this constitutes the head, and is meant by the head in many parts of Scripture; as in Isaiah, "The redeemed shall come to Zion with songs of joy upon their head" (Isa. xxxv. 10). As the head has relation to truth and faith, the side has relation to charity; for there, where the combatants strike, is the region of the heart, which is the seat of life, and the symbol of love, which is life. Spiritual combatants lay hold of the head and thrust at the side, when they seize the faith and strike at the love of their opponents, and thus endeavour to subdue them through both the understanding and the will. But the singularity of this conflict is, that each combatant is victor and each is vanquished. The whole of the combatants are slain, they fall down together. A complete representative this of those intellectual and spiritual conflicts in which victory and defeat are common to both sides; in which neither convinces the other, but each one believes that he wields the sword of truth, and inflicts a mortal wound upon the principles of the other. From the determined character of those who engaged in this conflict the place was called the field of strong men, to express the state of mind which such a deadly but indecisive trial of strength leaves behind it, each side equally strong in its own convictions.

But no momentous question can be allowed long to remain undecided, if the means exist by which it can be brought to a decision. The death of these combatants was the signal for a general engagement. "And there was a very sore battle that day; and Abner was beaten, and the men of Israel, before the servants of David." This preponderance of power on David's side is representative of the beginning of that inversion of state which is to end in good being actually the first in the mind's estimation, and in the government of its thoughts and affections. And this also implies the ascendancy of the spiritual over the natural; for the one state implies the other.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 240 So far as we are naturally minded we give truth the first place and good the second, and even if we do not give truth the preference theoretically, we do it we do it practically; and only when we have become spiritual, do we give a practical supremacy to good. In every regenerate mind, therefore, the conflict takes place which is to determine whether good or truth shall be the reigning power; and only as we incline to the supremacy of goodness in our own hearts and lives does the cause of the right principle prosper and ultimately prevail.

When Abner was beaten he fled, and was pursued by a brother of Joab. As this flight and pursuit have important future consequences both to Abner and Joab, the captains of the opposing hosts, it is necessary carefully to consider it.

"There were three sons of Zeruiah there, Joal), and Abishai, and Asahel: and Asahel was as light of foot as a wild roe." Asahel pursued Abner, but Abner seems to have been nearly as light of foot as his pursuer. He not only kept in advance, but was able to look behind and warn Asahel of the danger to which he exposed himself in coming too near. "Howbeit he refused to turn aside: wherefore Abner with the hinder end of the spear smote him under the fifth rib, that the spear came out behind him; and he fell down there, and died in the same place." The three sons of Zeruiah represent, like all such combinations, the trine that makes complete unity; and as the last in every trine has reference to action, this is well represented by Asahel being light of foot. The wild roe, to whose fleetness that of Asabel is compared, expresses the character of the ultimate which he represented. In Jacob's last blessing on his sons, Naphtali is said to be a hind let loose; and be represents the delight of the natural affections after temptations, when the affections, previously bound, are restored to a state of freedom. But Asahel is compared to a roe that has never been bound, but is in the enjoyment of its original wild freedom. He, therefore, represents that activity which springs from the impetuosity of the natural affections that have not been chastened by temptation. He receives his death-stroke in an unusual way indeed, from behind Abner, and by the hinder end of his spear; but this shows his want of caution and experience, and it points out also the external means by which such a principle as that which Asahel represents may be overcome; for behind and before mean what are relatively external and internal, obscure and clear. To be thus slain would be a reproach; and the circumstance that "as many as came to the place where Asahel fell down and died stood still," may be considered to express mingled sorrow and regret that, in the warfare of the spiritual life, much zeal may be united with much indiscretion, and that a good cause may suffer loss from the well-intentioned but misdirected efforts of those who support it.



But Joab and Abishai continued the pursuit in which Asahel had failed; "and the sun went down when they were come to the hill of Ammah, that lieth before Giah by the way of the wilderness of Gibeon." In the prosecution of the same object by the two higher faculties there is some degree of the union of what is good and true, and therefore of zeal and discretion, as effected by temptation, which was wanting in Asahel; for they came to the hill Ammab, which means a beginning; that lieth before Giah, which means breaking forth (of a fountain); by the way of the wilderness of Gibeon, which spiritually signifies temptation as to truth. But when they were come thus far the sun went down. Sunset is the end of a state of clear perception, and the beginning of a state of obscure perception, in regard to love and faith. In the present instance the state of clear perception had ended before the object of pursuit had been attained; thus indicating a still undecided or indecisive state respecting the supremacy of good or of truth in the Church and kingdom of the Lord among and within men.

The state of undetermined supremacy is further described in the account which follows. The men of Benjamin, the tribe to which Saul belonged, and in whose land the combatants now were, "gathered themselves together after Abner, and became one troop, and stood on the top of an hill. Then Abner called to Joab, and said, Shall the sword devour for ever? Knowest thou not that it will be bitterness in the latter end? how long shall it be then, ere thou bid the people return from following their brethren? And Joab said, As God liveth, unless thou hadst spoken, surely then in the morning the people had gone up every one from following his brother." These leaders of the two opposite troops agreed to desist; and they returned, one to Mahanaim, the other to Hebron. They seem to have been mutually impressed with a conviction that it was unbecoming to carry on a fratricidal war to determine whether one or both the kings should reign; for this alternative seems to have entered into their calculations; and this state of indecision may be referred to that higher sphere which this condition of the two parties represents.

Still, although the question of the kingship was as yet undecided, and both the leaders agreed for the time to desist, the advantage was on the side of David. Of David's servants only nineteen had fallen besides Asahel, but of Benjamin and the men of Abner three hundred and threescore had died. These numbers express not only the extent but the nature of the loss; for three belongs to the spiritual class of numbers, and twenty to the celestial; or, to truth and good respectively. Although, therefore, both sides suffered loss, the relative strength remaining was on the side of goodness as compared with truth, or of the inner as compared with the outer man.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 242 As regards Asahel they buried him in the sepulcher of his father which is in Bethlehem; thus representing the rising into a new and higher life of that natural principle of which he was the expressive type.



2 Samuel iii.

The truce between Joab and Abner was but of short duration. At what time the conflict was renewed we do not learn; but the third chapter opens with the statement, "Now there was long war between the house of Saul and the house of David: but David waxed stronger and stronger, and the house of Saul waxed weaker and weaker." There were no doubt many conflicts, but they are left unrecorded. In the progress of the regenerate life there are temptation-conflicts that do not belong so much to our outward as to our inward experience. Not all are inscribed on the natural memory, but the issues of all are inscribed on the spiritual memory, the book of life, out of which all are to be judged. Our Lord was engaged during His whole life in conflicts with the powers of darkness, in which He passed alternately through states of exinanition and glorification; so that He waxed stronger and stronger, and the opposing power waxed weaker and weaker. Yet all that we read of in the Gospels are His temptations in the wilderness, and those in Gethsemane and on the cross. So with the Christian disciple who follows his Master and Lord. His record is on high; and to know and rejoice that his name is written in heaven, is to him more than to know and rejoice that the spirits are subject unto him. This is to know that the government of the natural is waxing weaker and weaker, and the government of the spiritual is waxing stronger and stronger; that religion is becoming more and more of the heart, and less and less of the intellect: not that religion loses any of its intellectual interest, but it is regarded, even on its intellectual side, more for the good which it leads us to do than for the truth which it requires us to believe.

The progress of this inversion of state, by which good obtains the ascendancy, is attended with an increase of the graces, or of the spiritual affections and thoughts, that enrich the mind, so far as religion comes to be a vital principle that moves the heart, still more than a system of doctrine that convinces the understanding. This is expressed in the series of events in this inspired record. Immediately after saying that David waxed and the house of Saul waned, the sacred writer relates that "unto David were sons born in Hebron."


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 243 He mentions six sons born of as many different mothers. These sons spiritually understood, are true thoughts born of good affections. They are six in number, to express the idea that true thoughts from good affections are not produced without labor and sorrow, a meaning which this number has acquired from the six days of labor that precede the Sabbath of rest, these natural days representing spiritual states through which the regenerate pass in their progress towards the heavenly state of spiritual and eternal rest.

But the true thoughts, or the spiritual perceptions of truth, which are thus born in the mind through labor and travail, which are states of spiritual conflict, become in their turn the means by which falsities and evils are resisted and overcome. Therefore children, or sons, are said to be "as arrows in the hand of a mighty man. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate" (Ps. cxxvii. 4,5) The gate, in which are the enemies with whom the sons of youth shall speak, is the rational mind which communicates between the spiritual and the natural: and the enemies in the gate are the evils of the natural mind that resist the good of the spiritual mind in its effort to flow down into and unite the truths of the lower mind to itself. The sons that are as arrows in the hand of a mighty man, are, specifically, rational truths which have a spiritual origin; and these, when wielded by the power of internal or spiritual goodness, which is the hand of the mighty, are instrumental in removing the evils that rise up in rebellion against good, which desires to rule, only that, by establishing order, it may produce concord and happiness.

A way was now opened for the reconciliation of the two conflicting elements, and for bringing the whole under the dominion of the rightful power, which was hardly to be expected, but which is not unusual in similar, and therefore in corresponding, circumstances. Abner, who had made himself strong for the house of Saul, was accused by his master of going in to one of Saul's concubines. This would have been practically making a claim to Saul's throne, and would have represented the adulteration of the good of natural truth. This charge Abner indignantly denied; and be threatened to "translate the kingdom from the house of Saul, and to set up the throne of David over Israel and over Judah, from Dan even to Beer-sbeba." In conformity with this threat, Abner "sent messengers to David, saying, Whose is the land? saying also, Make thy league with me, and, behold, my hand shall be with thee, to bring about all Israel unto thee." David accepted the offer, but attached to it a singular condition. "Thou shalt not see my face, except thou first bring Micbal, Saul's daughter." David sent messengers to Ish-bosheth to demand his wife, and Ishbosbeth sent and took her from her husband, Phaltiel, the son of Laish.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 244 There is something remarkable in these circumstances. David refuses to see Abner, who offers him a kingdom, unless he bring with him Michal, David's first wife. Yet David himself demands her of Ish-bosheth, who delivers her to Abner, and thus becomes the means of effecting his own overthrow. Ish-bosheth feared Abner, and it is evident he also feared David; and although he may not have been aware of the league that had been made between them, he must have seen the danger of sending the leader of his army to restore Michal to David in Hebron. But these circumstances were divinely ordered or permitted for higher than historical purposes. Michal was to be the medium through whom the kingdom of Saul was to be united to the kingdom of David. We do not say, by whom the house of Saul was to be united to the house of David; for, as we shall see, Michal did not effect this higher union. The daughter of Saul may not have had any direct personal influence in bringing over the tribes; but she represents the affection by which the internal and external are brought together in order that they may become one. Therefore, as Saul had taken Michal from David and given her to Phaltiel, the son of Saul took her from Phaltiel and restored her to David. Abner was the instrument, Michal was the medium. He is the truth, she is the good, by which spiritual Israel is united to Judah under the rule of David's Lord.

An affecting scene is recorded in connection with these events. When Ish-bosheth sent and took Michal from Phaltiel, "her husband went with her along weeping behind her to Bahurim." It is pleasing to find in the tender affection of Phaltiel a worthy exception to the unfeeling character of the times, which could tolerate the separation, in the easiest manner possible, of a wife from her husband. Michal had for the second time been thus disposed of; and as she loved David, she may not have felt grieved at being parted from Phaltiel. There is nothing recorded respecting Phaltiel which can account for Saul having given him Michal while she was the wife of David. We only know him as the son of Laish, the lion, a name which he may have obtained for his prowess, although he has left no memorial of his feats of strength.

Saul both gave Michal and took her away, not from love but from hatred of David, and not to aid but to injure him. Yet Saul's wrath even in this was turned to Davids praise. To see his wife given to another must have added to his anguish of spirit, yet it creates no bitterness of temper towards him who had so outraged his feelings as a husband. But the time of separation must have been a time of trial for Michal as well as for David, and their reunion must have been gratifying to both; and represents the conjunction of truth in the spiritual mind with the affection of truth in the natural mind, which serves as a medium of connection and conjunction between the spiritual and the natural.



But that which was a time of rejoicing to David was a time of sorrowing to Phaltiel. All separations are sorrowful. But they may be profitable nevertheless. If we may judge by a Hebrew sign, the husband of Michal had passed into a higher state by his union with her. When Michal was given to him he was Phalti, when separated from him he was Phaltiel. As the letter h, which changed Abram into Abraham, and Sarai into Sarah, was taken from the Divine name Jehovah; the letters el, which changed Phalti into Phaltiel, formed the Divine name El, or were taken from Elohim. Jehovah may be called the Lord's Divine-celestial name, Elohim His Divine spiritual name. Those to whose names el is added, from being natural become spiritual, and those to whose names h has been added, from being spiritual become celestial. Those who received such names at their birth belong respectively to the spiritual and the celestial class. We mean of course representatively. But Phaltiel went on weeping after Michal till he came to Bahurim, when Abner commanded him to return. This Benjamite city, which was not far from Jerusalem, has its name from a root which signifies to prove, to choose, to love. It was the scene of transactions differing widely in character, but having one feature in common. Shimei there cursed David when flying from Absalom (xvi. 5), and there Hushai's messengers to David were concealed in a well when pursued by Absalom's men (xvii. 17). In these three instances, the only ones in which the place is mentioned, the circumstances that occurred were such as severely to try, and therefore to prove, men. David endured his trial meekly, and Phaltiel quietly submitted to the harsh mandate of the rough soldier.

Abner came to Hebron with a retinue of twenty men, and he was prepared to say to David, "I will arise and go, and will gather all Israel unto my lord the king, that they may make a league with thee, and that thou mayest reign over all that thine heart desireth. And David sent Abner away; and he went in peace." No sooner had Abner departed, than Joab returned from pursuing a troop, and laden with spoil. Hearing that Abner had been to Hebron, and that David had taken him into his favour, he came to the king, and reproached him with having sent away in peace one who had only come as a spy. Joab then sent messengers after Abner, who brought him again from the well of Sirah. "And when Abner was returned to Hebron, Joab took him aside in the gate to speak with him quietly, and smote him there under the fifth rib, that he died, for the blood of Asahel his brother." When David heard of this treacherous deed, he declared himself and his kingdom guiltless of the blood of Abner, and pronounced a malediction on Joab and on all his father's house.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 246 Abner was buried in Hebron, and David gave him all the honours of a princely funeral. He himself followed the bier, and wept at the grave, and lamented over Abner; and said, "Died Abner as a fool dieth? Thy hands were not bound, nor thy feet put into fetters: as a man falleth before wicked men, so fellest thou. And all the people wept again over him." David fasted till the sun went down. And the king said unto his servants, "Know ye not that there is a prince and a great man fallen this day in Israel? And I am this day weak, though anointed king; and these men the sons of Zeruiah be too hard for me: the Lord shall reward the doer of evil according to his wickedness."

In order to understand the spiritual meaning of the transactions recorded in this chapter, and in some others as well, we must consider what Joab and Abner, the two leaders of the opposing forces, who play no unimportant parts in this history, represent.

In early times, the king was the leader of his army as well as the ruler of his people. One, if not the chief, object for which the Israelites desired a king was, that he might go out before them, and fight their battles. And when Samuel told the people the manner of the king that would reign over them, be spoke of his appointing captains over thousands and over fifties, but said nothing of his placing a leader over the whole army. The general of the army, therefore, when he took the place of the king, was his lieutenant in a stricter sense than an officer of the same rank is now. Both Joab and Abner were, moreover, related to the kings whom they served. Joab was the nephew of David (I Sam. xxvi. 6), and Abner was the cousin of Saul (xiv. 47). Joab was related to David on the mother's side, Zeruiah being the sister of David; Abner was related to Saul on the father's side, Ner being the uncle of Saul.

While both of these generals were related to the kings whom they served, they yet represented principles that perform a temporary use, and are removed when that use has been performed. Abner did not long survive the reign of Saul, and Joab did not long survive the reign of David. Both of them committed the same error. Abner, on the death of Saul, took up the cause of Ish-bosheth against David; and Joab, on the death of David, took up the cause of Adonijah against Solomon. That is to say, they both adhered to the natural line, one, by heredity, the other by primogeniture; one ignoring the Divine appointment of David through Samuel, the other the Divine appointment of Solomon through David. Both died a violent death. Joab killed Abner to avenge the death of Abishai, and Solomon killed Joab to avenge the death of Abner. One was slain in the gate, the other at the altar.

One other particular which broadens the basis of the spiritual sense of the history of these two leaders, is the signification of, their names.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 247 Ab, which means father, enters into both; but the termination of one name means light or a lamp, and the beginning of the other means Jehovah. Abner thus signifies father of light, and Joab means Jehovah my father; and light signifies truth, and the Divine name Jehovah signifies good.

Now there are two classes of men, one in whom the will, the other in whom the understanding, is the more active and the ruling power. This difference between Joab and Abner may be seen in their personal as well as in their typical character. Joab acts more from the deep and sometimes malignant feelings of the heart; Abner more from the dictates of the understanding. Joab is by no means deficient in intelligence, but his understanding is more under the control of his will than his will is under the control of his understanding. There is, therefore, a duplicity of character in Joab, which indicates, intellectually, more of the wisdom of the serpent than the harmlessness of the dove. Abner's character indicates more intellectual control, and more singleness of mind, perhaps also more of the harmlessness of the dove than the wisdom of the serpent.

Joab's characteristics show him to represent the rational mind not yet under the control of the spiritual. It is very significant that Joab and his brothers are always spoken of as the sons of Zeruiah, the sister of David. A sister, as we have seen from Abraham and Isaac calling their wives their sisters, signifies rational truth, or rather the affection of rational truth. The three sons of Zeruiah are the truths born of this affection; for the rational, like the spiritual and the natural, is inner, middle, and outer. This affection and its truths differ from those represented by Hagar and Ishmael, as the affection of understanding differs from the affection of knowing. The affection of rational truth is, indeed, the affection of understanding truth rationally. As, to understand is greater than to know, so much greater is its responsibility; and as it gives the faculty and the means of rising higher, so does it of sinking lower. Joab exhibits examples of both. The downward tendency in him prevails. And as he who understands the truth can profane it; so Joab, in slaying Abner without just cause and by deceit, commits the sin of profanation, and brings upon himself and upon his father's house the curse which that sin incurs, and from the blood-guiltiness of which there is no refuge, even in the sanctuary of God, and at the horns of the altar.

But Abner, what of him? He, as the servant of Saul and the supporter of Ish-bosheth, is possessed of the lower gift of knowing; therefore he is less capable of so deeply sinning, and more capable of readily repenting. It is true he turns to David because his master had offended him, but the offense shows that his master was undeserving of his support; therefore he turned from the false to the true.



But besides going over to David himself, he had communicated with the elders of Israel and spoken to the men of Benjamin, whom he found willing to acknowledge David as their king. It would appear from this as if the kingdom was about to be transferred, peaceably and at once, from the house of Saul to the house of David, and that Joab's jealousy alone frustrated Abner's good intention and well-devised scheme. But in the ways of God there is permission as well as provision; and this is no doubt to be regarded as the law under which both Abner and his master were taken out of the way, that the tribes of Israel might, of their own free-will and independent action, come to seek David as their king. This does not exonerate those who did the evil. God does not prompt men to sin; but neither does He forcibly restrain them. Law and conscience are the bonds of His controlling providence; and when men break these, they run into punishment, which is also permitted as a means of correction, and if possible of improvement. The evil were not withheld from compassing the death of the Lord Himself, and even the treacherous kiss of Judas was permitted to pollute the sinless lips of the Son of Man. These deeds were mourned over, and those who committed them are justly held in execration; and yet they were permitted as necessities, for the sake of the end of which they were the means-the means of effecting that death, which was to be the gate to everlasting life. Might not, on the same principle, the death of Abner, and even of Ishbosheth, be a necessary sacrifice, though done by treacherous and bloody men, who neither desired nor intended the end to which their cruel deeds contributed? And might not these men be representative and their acts significative in that history, all whose parts were ensamples, written for our admonition? Judas was a disciple, and yet he was a traitor. Joab was David's servant, and yet he slew a confiding man, whom his master had dismissed with favour. The rational can act against as well as with the spiritual, which it is its true office to serve and obey but even its contrary acts may become channels of usefulness.

David, however, justly mourned over Abner's death; and what is more, he made Joab himself mourn. "And David said to Joab and to all the people that were with him, Rend your clothes, and gird you with sackcloth, and mourn before Abner." Joab's mourning may have had little sincerity to commend it, but the outward and visible act is that which represents; and the concurrent mourning of all concerned, from the king downwards, expresses the concurrent action of all the thoughts and affections of the mind in expressing godly sorrow for the commission of an ungodly deed. In the obsequies which they paid the slain hero, "king David himself followed the bier. And they buried Abner in Hebron: and the king lifted up his voice, and wept at the grave of Abner; and all the people wept."


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 249 As burial is the symbol of resurrection, Abner's being buried in Hebron tells us that the natural truth, which he represented, is raised into a spiritual state, when it has once acknowledged the sovereignty of spiritual truth, however unreal it may have been to the rational, when acting from its own views and impulses. Abner had not, it is true, carried his purpose into effect. But this he would no doubt have done had he been allowed to return to his own land. He had the will, but be was deprived of the opportunity of bringing it into action. He was not like those who have the will with the opportunity, thus showing that they have not, but only suppose they have, the performing will.

At the grave the king lamented over Abner, and said, "Died Abner as a fool dieth? Thy hands were not bound, nor thy feet put into fetters: as a man falleth before wicked men, so fellest thou." David had lamented over Saul, now he laments over Saul's general. Saul had been slain by the enemy, Abner had fallen by the hand of an ostensible friend. Neither foolish nor bound, be died as if he had been both a fool and in fetters. Wisdom and power, with the freedom to use them, are no protection against treachery. But in Scripture, a fool is not so much a weak as a worthless or wicked person; and such a one may require restraint, and even deserve death, which, we have seen, overtook Nabal. Abner was not such a one, and yet he suffered an inglorious death. But what does this lamentation of David teach us in its inner meaning? In Saul's death, David lamented the fall, in the Church, of Divine truth, which, as the anointed king of Israel, he represented. In the death of Abner he laments the fall of a primary truth, which is the same truth in a lower form and active state, as represented by Abner. Therefore David said to his servants, "Know ye not that there is a prince and a great man fallen this day in Israel?" For a prince means a primary or principal truth, which is subordinate to and rules under the highest. In espousing and maintaining the cause of Ish-bosheth, Abner became the support of Saul's house and throne. When he transferred his allegiance to David, he virtually became a support of the house and throne of David; and had he lived, he would have become so actually. Partly at least on this account, after saying of Abner, that a prince and a great man had fallen in Israel, David added, "And I am this day weak, though anointed king." But this weakness arose also, and perhaps still more, from the deed of Joab, as calculated to bring discredit on himself and his kingdom, although he had washed his hands of the guilt. "And these men the sons of Zeruiah," he concludes, "be too bard for me: the Lord shall reward the doer of evil according to his wickedness."


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 250 When the inward man fails to find support in the outward man, whether it be from want of correspondence on the part of the rational or the natural, he is, in that state, as David was in that day, weak, though anointed king. Faith imbued with love may be the ruling principle in the inward man; but the inward man is but weak, and feels his own weakness, whenever the outward man refuses to act in harmony with him, much more when he acts against him. For the outward man is not, strictly speaking, an agent, but a reagent; he does not act but reacts; for all the power of acting comes from within. But the outward man can react against, as well as with, the inward man; he can use the power with which he is continually supplied to work his own will instead of that of his master. It is the same with man himself in relation to the Lord.

Man is not, strictly speaking, an agent but a reagent. The Lord is the only agent throughout this universe; all created things and beings are but reagents. Yet man, although he has all his power, as he has his life, from God, can react against Him. He can use his God given power to do his own will, instead of the Divine will. He has rationality and liberty, without which he would not be human, and the existence of these implies the power of judging and choosing, and therefore of acting, as if the power were his own, as it virtually, though not actually, is.

It seems remarkable that David should so bitterly complain that the sons of Zeruiah were too hard for him, and yet show no intention or even desire to remove them from a position they had misused. It may be thought they were too powerful to lose as friends and encounter as enemies. The higher reason is, that the sons of Zeruiah had a representative use to perform. That rationality which they represented is not to be rejected, even when it reacts against the higher perceptions of the mind, until the stage of the regenerate life to which it belongs is completed, and the state is perfected. When good takes the place of truth, when Solomon reigns instead of David, its end will have come. Then JEHOVAH will reward the doer of evil according to his wickedness. Not the anointed but the anointed is he who rewards such wickedness; not the Divine truth but the Divine good is that which removes such capability from the sphere of mental activity and bodily action. Now, the inversion of state is only going on. When that is completed, and good reigns, it will cast out all that offends.





2 Samuel iv.

IT is not surprising that "when Saul's son heard that Abner was dead in Hebron, his hands were feeble, and all the Israelites were troubled." It would appear from this that Ish-bosheth was not aware that the captain of his army had made a league with David, to bring all Israel under his rule. Adversity brought effects, not unusual in rude and warlike nations, in the affairs and fortunes of Ish-bosheth; it shook the stability of his kingdom, and raised up unscrupulous and deadly enemies against him in his own camp. Two brothers, that were captains of bands, Baanah and Rechab, went, and came about the heat of the day to the house of Ish-bosheth, who lay on his bed in his bedchamber; and they slew him, and cut off his head. This they brought unto David at Hebron, and said to the king, "Behold the head of Ishbosheth the son of Saul thine enemy, which sought thy life; and the Lord hath avenged my lord the king this day of Saul, and of his seed." Instead of commending or rewarding them, David ordered them to be slain; and the young men who slew them cut off their hands and their feet, and hanged them over the post of Hebron. But they took the head of Ish-bosheth, and buried it in the sepulchre of Abner in Hebron.

It is always painful to read of the sufferings and fate of the unfortunate, especially when brought upon them by those whom "their former bounty fed." But history records too many instances of this to make it a matter of surprise, as it is of regret. Yet even here we are to recognize a permissive Providence. The Creator of all worlds is this Disposer of all events. His presence and power, which are necessary to the subsistence and order of all things, and without which this glorious universe would resolve itself into chaos, are equally necessary to preserve and ordinate the moral world. Unless the providence of the Lord over the states and concerns of men were as minute as the beautiful analogy suggests, that the very hairs of their head are all numbered, and that a sparrow falls not to the ground without their Father in heaven, the moral world would fall into utter confusion and ruin. True it is that the Divine will is not done in all the actions of men; yet that will is ever active, working out, through the human mind and in human affairs, the greatest possible amount of good and measure of happiness for each one and for the whole of the human race.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 252 The Divine is present in the minutest particulars of human thought and affection, influencing where it cannot inspire, controlling where it cannot guide; while all angels and spirits are employed as agents, and men and circumstances are brought to act as far as possible, in furtherance of the one purpose of the Divine Father, in the creation and government of the world, to make men holy and thence happy. A Being who is eternal must have eternal ends in view. Therefore much of human experience in this world is permitted for the sake of life in the world to come.

In sacred history, where we see as much of the dark, with more of the bright side of human nature than in the histories of the world, we find it placed in the light of Divine truth, and thus in the light of Divine and not merely of human judgment. In Scripture the actions and experience of men are not recorded for information merely or even chiefly, but for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. But besides all the doctrine and instruction that can be drawn from the sacred history, as history, we can now, by the law of spiritual interpretation, see in it a higher doctrine and purer instruction, enabling us to drink at the upper as well as the nether springs of revealed truth.

In the historical events of this part of the Word we see, especially, in the character and conduct of the two barbarous brothers, the character and operations of the unregenerate natural mind, both as to will and understanding. Their cruel deed exemplifies as well as represents the character of the natural man. One of the characteristics of natural-minded men is their instability. They are the people who change with circumstances. Having no inward principle to guide them, they go with the stream, and can be as zealous in destroying, as they had been in preserving, the idol of their worship. When the will and understanding are united in the pursuit of a selfish object, no deed is too dark, no means too unscrupulous. The two Benjamiites went into the house of Ish-bosheth as though they would fetch wheat-as though they were pursuing good when they were hasting to do evil, seeking to promote life when they were eager to destroy it. Ish-bosheth "lay on his bed in his bedchamber, and they smote him, and slew him, and beheaded him, and took his head, and gate them away through the plain all night." When evil and falsehood penetrate into the interior of the human mind, where life reposes, or seeks repose, after the toils and anxieties of its active state, they take that life away, so far as it has been the life of goodness and truth; and severing the inner from the outer part of that which they have already slain, they get them away with it through the plain in the darkness of night. This plain is in the mind itself, and the night is a state of the mind.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 253 Plains, in Scripture, signify planes in the mind. These two words in our language have the same origin, and express nearly the same idea, but the idea, and not merely the word, forms the ground of the meaning. "With man there are two planes, on which the celestial and spiritual principles from the Lord are founded. One is interior; the other is exterior. The planes themselves are conscience. The interior plane, or interior conscience, is where genuine goodness and truth are, for goodness and truth flowing in from the Lord constitute its active power. The exterior plane is the exterior conscience, and is where justice and equity, in the proper sense, are, for what is just and equitable, moral and civil, which also flow in, constitute its active power. There is also an outermost plane, which appears as conscience, but is not conscience. It does what is equitable and just for the sake of self and the world, or for the sake of self-honour or reputation, of worldly possessions and through fear of the law." This last plane is that which, exists in the minds of the wicked. It is the plain through which those represented by Baanah and Rechab pass in the night, when darkness is sought to cover deeds of darkness, and hide it even from themselves.

David, to whom the slayers of Ish-bosheth presented his head, as an offering intended to secure his favor, shows the true nobility which marked his conduct on other similar occasions, when his interest would have prompted him to act a less generous part. He said to them, "When one told me, saying, Behold, Saul is dead, thinking to have brought good tidings, I took hold of him, and slew him in Ziklag, who thought that I would have given him a reward for his tidings how much more, when wicked men have slain a righteous person in his own house upon his bed? Shall I not therefore now require his blood of your hand, and take you away from the earth? And David commanded his young men, and they slew them, and cut off their hands and their feet, and hanged them up over the pool in Hebron. But they took the head of Ish-bosheth, and buried it in the sepulchre of Abner in Hebron." Those mutilations which were practised so much by ancient nations, when recorded in the Word are representative of the effects of evil. The hands and the feet, as the members by which the power of the body operates, or by which, roughly speaking, we work and walk, correspond to the ultimate powers of the mind by which the will and the understanding act. When the evil are such that "the act of violence is in their hands, and their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood" (Isa. lix. 6, 7), they lose the power of doing good. We see in this the judgment of Divine truth, which returns the evil done upon the evil-doer, according to the eternal law of retribution, that as a man sows so also shall lie reap.






2 Samuel v. 1-5

ISH-BOSHETH reigned two years; but it was not till five years after his death that David was anointed king over Israel. What government prevailed among the eleven tribes between the death of Saul's son and the commencement of David's reign, we do not learn. It would probably resemble that which existed during the time of the judges, when there was no king in Israel, and every man did that which was right in his own eyes. The tribes had no doubt come to feel the necessity of a more stringent rule. They came to David of their own accord. It is indeed remarkable that David seems to have taken no measures to bring the eleven tribes under his dominion. It was no doubt right that they should come and offer him their voluntary homage. The Lord came to establish a kingdom, but He never employed force to bring men into it. He requires the free reciprocation of His love; for only in freedom can men be ruled to their advantage.

When the tribes of Israel came to David they said, "Behold, we are thy bone and thy flesh. Also in time past, when Saul was king over us, thou wast he that leddest out and broughtest in Israel: and the Lord said to thee, Thou shalt feed My people Israel, and thou shalt be a captain over Israel. So all the elders of Israel came to the king to Hebron; and king David made a league with them in Hebron before the Lord: and they anointed David king over Israel." This is an accurate description of the Lord Jesus. He is our bone and our flesh, in being clothed with humanity, which, though glorified in Him, is not less akin to us. Nay, it is nearer to us than it was when yet unglorified. For that humanity in which all the fulness of the Godhead dwells, is life itself, and enters as a living principle into all that is human in us: nay, it is the origin of all that is truly human in human minds; for no one is truly man but he in whom is an image of the Divine man. It is no less accurate a description of David's Lord that He feeds His people, and is a captain over them. He leads them to the green pastures and beside the still waters, and defends them against, and even prepares a table before them in the presence of, their enemies.

The league which the Lord makes with His people is the agreement which rests upon conditions-conditions of support and protection on His part, and of fidelity and obedience on theirs.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 255 This league is made before Jehovah, when the Church acknowledges the Divinity of the Lord in His Humanity. And the Church anoints the Lord King over Israel, when the love she has received from the Lord is returned to Him again, and there is reciprocal conjunction between the Lord and His people.

When all Israel had thus voluntarily placed themselves under the rule of David, and formed one united kingdom under one king, a new capital was to be provided by the king more suitable to his enlarged dominions.

Jerusalem was inhabited by the Jebusites, one of the seven nations of Canaan that were devoted to the sword. In the division of the land it fell to the lot of Benjamin (Josh. xviii. 28). The king of Jerusalem was one of the five kings who fought against Joshua on that memorable day when the sun stood still (Josh. x. 5). So powerful were the Jebusites, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, aided no doubt by the strength of the place, that neither the children of Judah nor the children of Benjamin could drive them out, but the Jebusites dwelt with them "unto this day" (Josh. xv. 63; Judges i. 21). The reduction of the stronghold of the Jebusites was reserved for David, nor did he attempt it till backed by the whole force of Israel. And when the king went up against Jerusalem, the Jebusites, as we shall see, felt so perfectly secure, that they mocked at the very idea of his seriously attempting to force his way into their impregnable fortress. In all this there is of course a higher meaning. It is, in one of its applications, part of a large and comprehensive subject, and one of the mysteries of the kingdom that could only have been known by what may be called a revelation.

The whole history of the Israelites, from the time of Moses to the reign of Solomon, is, in the internal sense, a history of the Lord's work of redemption, in regard to its effects in the spiritual world. There, we know, judgment is effected, and a new heaven is formed, preparatory to the establishment of a new Church upon earth. The plagues of Egypt, by which the Israelites were separated from the Egyptians, describe the process and progress of judgment, by which the good were severed from the evil in the world of spirits. The Red Sea signifies that hell into which the wicked, who were represented by the Egyptians, were cast, and through which the righteous, represented by the Israelites, passed in safety. The forty years' journey through the wilderness describes the temptations through which the redeemed passed before they could enter heaven. And this reveals a most important fact relating to those who had lived in the world from the fall of the celestial Church to the time of the Lord's Advent. It is the common belief of Christians, that there was no salvation for the fallen race of man but through Jesus Christ; and that His atonement included past sins as well as future offences.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 256 But the important question is, How was this effected? We know the common opinion. Christ, it is held, suffered for the sins of all men from the time of the Fall; and those "who died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off," were saved, "being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past" (Rom. iii. 24, 25). We share in the common belief in the efficacy of our Lord's redemption. We believe, however, that sins can only be remitted by being removed. And it is a vital question, how the sins committed before the Lord's coming could be removed by what the Lord did and suffered in the flesh.

The work of salvation consists of two parts, reformation and regeneration. All who are reformed in the world are ultimately saved; for those who in the natural world have shunned evils as sins can be imbued with good in the spiritual world. Before the Lord's coming men could be reformed in the world, but they could not be regenerated. Regeneration cannot be effected without temptation. And until the Lord had conquered hell and glorified His humanity, no one could undergo temptation; therefore none were admitted into a trial in which none could have stood. Yet without regeneration there is no salvation, therefore no heaven. How then was the salvation of those who died in faith provided for? All who had passed through the first stage of the new life, and were thus capable of passing through the second, were reserved in the intermediate state, or world of spirits, until the Lord's coming. And when the Lord had overcome hell and glorified His humanity, then could the faithful in the world of spirits pass through the corresponding process, and be regenerated as He had been glorified. He being perfected through suffering could succour them that were tempted (Heb. iii. 18). The temptations which the faithful underwent in the middle state, were represented by the trials which the children of Israel endured in the middle region between Egypt and Canaan, the waste and howling wilderness. And by this means they realized the promise, and had remission of sins that were past. They had been carried in the womb; now they were born-born from above although with trouble and anguish. For the Church, as the mother of the faithful, had been in that state described by the prophet: "The children are come to the birth, and there is not strength to bring forth" (Isa. xxxvii. 3). The faithful, new-born, were prepared to enter into heaven, as the Israelites, after their weary pilgrimage, were to enter into the Promised Land.

Regarding Canaan as the type of heaven, the eternal home of the faithful, there is one important circumstance connected with it, which seems to make it anything but an image of that place where the wicked cease from troubling and the weary are at rest.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 257 It is inhabited by wicked nations, which have to be driven out before Israel can find it a quiet habitation. But this otherwise inexplicable circumstance is explained in the Writings, and in such a way as to make the whole history of Israel a consistent and continuous history of the great work of human redemption. "Before the Lord's coming into the world, that region of heaven to which the spiritual were afterwards raised, was occupied by evil spirits and genii; for before the Lord's coming, a great part of them roamed at large, and infested the good, especially the spiritual, who were in the lower earth; but after the Lord's coming they were all thrust down into their hells, and that region was delivered, and given for an inheritance to those of the spiritual Church." These were like the imaginary heavens spoken of in connection with the Lord's Second Advent, and which were abolished by the judgment which then took place.

When we know that the evil spirits and genii who occupied that region of heaven. which was afterwards given as an eternal inheritance to the spiritual, were represented by the nations of Canaan, we can see the reason why none of them were completely conquered by Joshua, by the judges, or even by Saul, but that their final and complete overthrow or subjugation should be reserved for David, who especially represented the Lord as Divine truth, and who, as such, conquered death and hell, and went and preached to the spirits in prison, delivering men on earth and the faithful in Hades from the captivity in which they had for ages been held by the powers of darkness.

David is now leading Israel, as the Lord led the faithful, to take the kingdom of heaven by force. But the account of this we reserve for another chapter.



2 Samuel v. 6-10.

As the capital of the kingdom is now to be transferred from Hebron to Jerusalem, a few remarks on this may be offered. Hebron was nearer to the borders of Canaan than Jerusalem; and represented a more exterior part of that region of heaven which was given to the spiritual; and also the Church in a less interior state.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 258 The removal of the kingdom from Hebron to Jerusalem represented therefore the exaltation of the spiritual in the other life, and of the Lord's love and truth in the mind, by which their dominion becomes more perfect and extensive.

In the first as in the second, seat of David's kingdom there is a duality, which is expressive of that distinction which was represented by Jerusalem and Zion. It is sometimes spoken of as Kirjath-Arba, which is Hebron. And Kirjath-Arba and Hebron, like Jerusalem and Zion, signify the two principles of truth and good which unitedly enter into the kingdom and government of the Lord, whether they are grounded essentially in love to Him, or in love to the neighbor. We sometimes indeed speak of the government of truth and the government of good, as expressive of the two kingdoms of the Lord; but we do not mean truth or good separate, but united. That principle which is most active gives its character to the mind. In some minds truth is more active than good, in others good is more active than truth. Yet in every regenerate mind, truth acts from good, or good by truth. And this constitutes the difference between the spiritual and celestial man, church, and heaven.

Jerusalem and Zion, like Arba, which is Hebron, were in the possession of the native inhabitants of Canaan when the children of Israel entered to take their inheritance. Hebron, we have seen, was in possession of the sons of Anak; and in the distribution of the land it was given to Caleb, in fulfilment of a promise which had been given him by Moses forty-five years before, that he should receive all the land on which his feet had trodden, when he went with others to spy Canaan, because he had wholly followed the Lord his God. Caleb and Joshua were the only two of those who left Egypt that entered the Holy Land, the only two who saw the beginning and the end of that eventful history that commenced with the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt, and ended with their settlement in Canaan. And these two men represented those two principles-goodness and truth-which, amidst all the changes which the mind and life experience, continue to exist, and finally prevail. These enter into and are present in all states, and form them into one, by connecting the first with the last, the beginning with the end. They therefore represent also the new will and the new understanding, which are acquired during the progress of the regenerate life.

David may be considered the Joshua of the regal period of the Israelitish history; and to him was reserved the more arduous work of wresting Jerusalem and Zion from the hands of the Jebusites.

Some difficulty has been experienced in regard to the circumstance of the blind and the lame being intrusted with the defence of the stronghold of Zion, and of David offering a reward, or making it a matter of peculiar merit and importance, to smite the lame and the blind.



Although the literal sense of the Word is written for the sake of the spiritual sense, and in some instances is made to yield to it, yet there is no wisdom in creating difficulties where none exist, and the simplest will generally be found the truest and most satisfactory way of explaining such difficulties as the Scriptures, like human writings, sometimes present. The most reasonable view of the matter appears to be, that the place was so strongly fortified, as well as so greatly favoured by nature, that the Jebusites in derision intrusted its defence to the lame and blind, and taunted David with his inability to wrest it even from their feeble hands. There is no reason to suppose that when the Jebusites perceived the nature of the enemy they had to contend with, they left the fate of their city in the hands of those they had derisively placed upon its walls. They no doubt brought their whole strength to bear upon their besiegers, and found its utmost efforts unavailing.

But whatever view may be taken of the precise meaning of the singular circumstance of the inhabitants of Jerusalem affecting to in trust the defense of their city to the most helpless members of their community, the internal spiritual sense remains the same: the fact itself is sufficient for our guidance.

The lame and the blind are the evils and falsities of our own hearts and understandings. In Scripture, where diseases of the body signify diseases of the mind, lameness, which implies partial or entire inability to walk or to work, signifies a debilitated or perverse state of the will, which prevents one from living a useful life; and blindness, because the eyes correspond to the understanding, signifies ignorance or error which is either unintentional or wilful mental blindness.

If we consider this subject as relating to the work of human regeneration, Zion and Jerusalem, in the hands of the Jebusites, will be seen to represent the will and understanding not yet delivered from the power of evil desires and false persuasions. In David we see a type, in the highest sense, of the Lord as the Deliverer and Saviour, by whose omnipotent arm the enemies of the heart and mind are overcome, and who establishes His kingdom where that of Satan once had been. But whether we speak of the Lord or of His Divine love and truth it is the same: for the Lord is Love itself and Truth itself; and He is present in His love and truth in the minds of men, but cannot be present, as a saving power, out of or without them. Whether therefore we speak of the Lord and His power, or of His truth and its power, within us, it is the same; and in this sense and way we may, consider the Lord's representative, David, in the present circumstances. The truth of the Lord has now, we may consider, laid siege to the highest thoughts and affections of the mind, the most powerful strong old of the evils and falsities of our hereditary nature; and in the particulars of the Divine record we may find some instructive lessons as to the nature and results of the contest.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 260 The lame and the blind are represented as the great obstacles to the reduction and possession of the city by David; and the king himself regards them as such, since he exhorts the people to get up to the gutter and smite them.

The Jebusites, as one of the seven nations who were devoted to destruction, represented one of the primary or essential evils and falsities with which no league can be made. They were like the seven devils of the New Testament which must be cast out to effect perfect purification, and like the seven spirits more wicked than himself with which the evil spirit that has gone out of a than returns, and by which the last state of that man becomes worse than his first. We are not indeed to understand that the number of such destructive evils is seven; the number seven is employed to denote the quality rather than the quantity of evils that are essentially destructive of the spiritual life, and which are therefore themselves to be cast out or destroyed. For the number seven, in its favorable sense, is expressive of what is holy, and in its opposite sense of what is profane. Whatever is evil and false may indeed be said to be profane, and therefore the seven nations and seven evil spirits comprehend all evils and falsities. Yet there are evils and false principles which are not essentially so in relation to those who, are in them, when they are the fruit of ignorance, or the indirect but unintentional results of an imperfect or erroneous faith. Such evils are not essentially profane, nor absolutely destructive of spiritual life; and these were represented by the remote nations whom the children of Israel were permitted to spare and make tributaries. The Jebusites, under their more favourable representative character, signify a false principle in which there is something of truth; and for this reason they were long permitted to remain in Jerusalem, and were never entirely expelled. In one respect the presence of some redeeming quality in that which is nevertheless essentially wrong is the means of its preservation, since evil does not appear so evil when it can present a good side, nor does falsity appear so false when it can show something of truth. The magicians of Egypt were able to deceive by simulating the miracles of Moses, so long as these miracles represented states in which there was a mixture of evil and good, as of truth and falsity; but as soon as Moses came to perform wonders which represented states of evil and falsity alone, the power of the magicians ceased. Those who are well disposed cannot be deceived and led by mere evil and falsity, but they can be seduced by those which can put on some appearance of goodness and truth.

But the Jebusites intrusted the defense of the city to their lame and blind, because these were unable to offer any serious resistance.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 261 They must therefore have represented something less essentially opposed to the Israelites than the men of war who might have been opposed to David and his men, and who stood behind them ready to put forth their power if the necessities of the case should require it. The Lord said to the Jews, "If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth." Blindness, when it signifies ignorance, is not sinful; lameness, when it signifies the want, but not the abuse of power, is not criminal. But when these are assumed, or when, as in the present instance, the blind and the lame are put forward in derision or for deception, then is the criminality greater than where there is no confession of sin, no show of humility or of impotence. The lame and the blind are therefore spoken of as being bated of David's soul, as well as pointed out for destruction. Yet it is to be observed 'that not these alone are mentioned as the objects of his hate and hostility. For David says, "Whosoever getteth up to the gutter, and smiteth the Jebusites, and the lame and the blind, that are bated," evidently combining them in his mind, as the enemies against whom his hatred and power were to be directed. It is added, indeed, as if these feeble opponents were the special objects of his dislike, that the Israelites therefore said, "The blind and the lame shall not come into the house." But there is some obscurity about this passage, that leaves room to doubt whether it lends any countenance to this idea. In the margin of our Bibles it is rendered differently, so as to put this expression into the mouth of the lame and blind themselves: "Because they had said, even the lame and the blind, He shall not come into the house." There is something unaccountable in the idea of the Israelites declaring, for this is not spoken by David alone, that the lame and blind should not come into the house, unless we suppose this to have been a decree made at a future period. For then there was no house of the Lord in Jerusalem. The tabernacle was not set up there till several years afterwards; nor is there any reason to suppose that any of the Jebusites would be permitted to come into the house of the Lord.

After David had taken the stronghold of Zion, he dwelt in the fort and called it the city of David, and built round about from Millo and inward. This stronghold of error had become the city of truth; and had acquired a "new name" expressive of its new quality. And what was possessed needed to be defended. The building round about from Millo and inward was no doubt the beginning at least of those magnificent edifices, both for defence and enjoyment, which afterwards called forth the Psalmist's praises of this "joy of the whole earth." "Walk about Zion, and go round about her: tell the towers thereof. Mark ye well her bulwarks, consider her palaces" (Ps. xlviii. 12, 13). The attainment of a state of holiness, and the preservation of that state when attained, are objects that should be combined in our religious life.



David had now entered on a new career, attended, as all spiritual progress is, with hindrances and trials, which are but the permitted means of calling forth mental energy, and increasing humility and trust. "David went on, and grew great, and the Lord God of hosts was with him." Those who go on in the way of truth and grow in the love of goodness have the God of love and truth with them, nay, in them; for it is Be that enables them both to will and to do of His good pleasure. The Lord of hosts is with them in their spiritual conflicts. The armies that He leads forth for the aid of the faithful, are Hi; angelic hosts and the truths of His Word. These ever act together. They are the instruments by which the Lord opposes the hosts of the enemy. These opposing hosts are in our own hearts and minds. There is the conflict, there is the victory, which cannot fail to be obtained when the Lord God of hosts is with us.

One result of David's success and greatness was that Hiram, king of Tyre, sent messengers to him with materials and workmen, and they built David a house. Hiram, who afterwards did so much to aid Solomon in the building of the temple, represented those who possess the knowledge of goodness and truth, and who thus supply the means and intelligence for building up in the mind a habitation for the Lord. David's house was such a habitation, not, indeed, like the temple, which was a type, not only of the regenerate mind, as a temple of the holy Spirit, both of the Divine humanity of the Lord, as the temple of His Divinity; his house was a type of the mind when the Lord's truth finds in it a fixed abode. "David [therefore] perceived that the Lord had established him king over Israel, and that He had exalted his kingdom for His people Israel's sake." This stage in David's progress represents the establishment of spiritual truth as a governing principle in the regenerate mind. The spiritual state is not yet perfected; but the spiritual principle has obtained so firm a hold on the affections, that it gives the mind a joyful sense of stability and therefore of power.

Distinct though not apart from this spiritual view of the subject, David expresses an enlightened view of the purpose for which kings reign. The Lord had exalted David's kingdom for His people Israel's sake. This is the principle of the Divine government. The Lord governs for His people's sake. He desires that His kingdom should be exalted in the hearts of men, that He may rule them for their own good. He has no view to His own glory separate from their happiness.

Another result of the prosperous condition of David's kingdom is one that, naturally considered, is not so pleasing to reflect upon. "David took him more concubines and wives out of Jerusalem, after he was come from Hebron: and, there were yet sons and daughters born to David." Spiritually, these additions mean an increase of the affections of truth and goodness, and the sons and daughters born are the virtues that are produced by them.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 263 The names of the wives are not given; but the names of the sons born to David in Jerusalem are mentioned. As natural births mean spiritual births, the sons of 'David, like the sons of Jacob, have a representative character, and their names have a spiritual meaning. The order their birth is also descriptive of the order in which the qualities they represent come into existence. It would perhaps be difficult accurately to explain the nature and order of the spiritual births which these sons of David represent. And yet the Divine record affords the means of forming some conception of what is involved in these successive births. Hebrew names have a meaning, although we cannot always be certain what their exact meaning is. And as, in Scripture, names are significative as well as persons and things, they serve as the means of interpretation. Let us see whether the signification of the names given to the eleven sons of David born in Jerusalem does not suggest some idea of a series of qualities that enrich the mind in the progress of the regenerate life. Sharnmuah, signifies hearing; Shobab, brought back (from enemies); Nathan, given (by God); Solomon, peaceable; Ibhar, whom He (God) elects; Elishua, God the rich; Nepbeg, shot, bud; Japhia, illustrious; Elishama, my God will hear, or hearken; Eliada, whom God knows, i. e. acknowledges and cares for; Eliphalet, God of salvation. The series begins with hearing and ends with salvation. But there is a connection of the whole, which we may attempt to trace.

The first son is named from hearing; and hearing is faith in the will, as seeing is faith in the understanding. Faith in the will, or obedience to the truth, delivers the Christian disciple from the power of his enemies, which are the evils of his own heart. So far as evil is removed, the Lord gives good, or, what is the same, charity. And when good is united to truth, or charity to faith, the Christian comes into a peaceable state, or receives of the Lord's peace. Then is he numbered with the elect; for the elect are those whom the Lord has chosen, because they have chosen Him as their teacher and guide. When the disciple has chosen the good part, be becomes rich in God, being enriched with the treasures of wisdom and knowledge; with the fear of the Lord: that is wisdom. A new state of development now begins. When the life of love flows into the mind from the Lord, as heat from the sun into a tree, it causes it to bud, and to put forth shoots. Next the buds unfold themselves in a garb of foliage, and the tree puts forth its blossoms as the promised wealth of harvest; and this is the spiritual state of being illustrious, for blossoms signify intelligence, and fruit the works of righteousness. These two states are not the beginning of the new life; for the regenerate man must, like a tree, have attained some degree of maturity before he can have the power of reproduction.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 264 But what connection is there between this last state and that which is expressed by God hearing? A blessed and fruitful state of the Church is described by Hosea in these words: "It shall come to pass in that day, I will hear, saith the Lord, I will hear the heavens and they shall hear the earth; and the earth shall hear the corn, and the wine, and the oil; and they shall hear Jezreel. And I will sow her unto me in the earth" (ii. 21-23). The Lord hears us when all things of the mind from the highest to the lowest correspond, each answering to the other, and all in a state of agreement with Him. There are two different acts of hearing. We hear the Lord when we receive His truth into our will; He hears us when our will is in agreement with His truth. The first is reception, the second is reciprocation. When the Lord hears us, He knows us, and we also know Him. "I know My sheep, and am known of Mine. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me: and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand." Then truly may the Christian say, God my salvation!

There is some similarity between these eleven sons of David and the last eleven sons of Jacob.

The name of the first of these sons of David has the same signification as that of the second son of Jacob, and he has the same spiritual meaning. Reuben was Jacob's first-born, and he was named from seeing; Simeon was his second son, and he was named from hearing. The understanding sees truth, the will hears it. Now regeneration does not begin actually till truth enters the will, that is, till Simeon is born. David's sons born in Hebron were six in number, and the number six has relation to truth, and to states of truth. His sons born in Hebron may be considered, relatively to those born in Jerusalem, as Reuben was to the other sons of Jacob. It is deserving of remark that, like Reuben, some of David's first sons misconducted themselves. Amnon ravished his sister Tamar, Absalom rebelled against his father David, and Adonijah rebelled against his brother Solomon. All three died a violent death, as the result directly or remotely of their crimes. Reuben and Absalom committed the same sin: each went up unto his father's couch.

So far we may consider the sons of David and the sons of Jacob to have a relative signification. As natural signify spiritual births, the same general fact is represented by them all, differing according to the state of mind and stage of the new life in each case.

David's prosperity did not secure him against trial. Regeneration is to a considerable extent a succession of states of alternate trial and triumph, of tribulation and repose. "When the Philistines heard that they had anointed David king over Israel, all the Philistines came up to seek David.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 265 "So formidable was this array that David again betook himself to the hold. The Philistines also came and spread themselves in the valley of Rephaim, or of the giants. But David, encouraged by the Lord his God, went up against them, and defeated them. A second invasion by the same foes was followed by the same result; and David "smote the Philistines from Geba until thou come to Gazer."

Having already considered several of Israel's conflicts with the Philistines, we can the more readily leave these without particular explanation. Not that they are unimportant; but they can be more easily understood from those which have been already explained. Other events, and of a different character, claim their share of our attention.



2 Samuel vi.

The ark of God was the most sacred of all the sacred things of the Israelitish Church. It was the consecrated receptacle of the two tables of stone, on which the ten commandments were engraven by the finger of God. That law was called the law of the covenant, because the keeping of its precepts was the condition on which rested all the promises of God to His people. That condition still remains. "If thou wilt enter into life keep the commandments." There is, however, one difference. We must keep them in the spirit as well as in the letter. But as the obligation is increased, so is the blessing of obedience enhanced. If we have a spiritual law, we have also as a reward a spiritual inheritance. As the law of God is to be engraven on our hearts, so is the kingdom of God to be within us. With the Christian "the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost." When this kingdom is set up in the heart, the Christian has his inheritance in himself; and it remains as a treasure in heaven that waxeth not old. It remains sure amidst all outward changes.

This interest that we have in the law makes everything relating to it, or related of it, interesting to us. Those treasured histories of the Old Testament respecting the ark of God, how interesting do they become to us when we know that all the singular and often affecting circumstances related of it happened for examples, and are written for our admonition!

In the history of the journey through the wilderness we read of the law being delivered amidst the thunders of Sinai, and directions given for the construction of the ark, wherein the tables on which it was written were to be placed.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 266 The ark was to be of shittim wood, overlaid with pure gold within and without, to teach us that the laws of heaven have their immediate dwelling-place in the good of love, free from selfishness and self-righteousness, the heart inwardly acknowledging no merit but that of the Lord, from whom all righteousness comes. Over the ark was the mercy-seat, also of pure gold, and on the mercy-seat were the two cherubims, between which God was to meet and commune with Moses, and through him with the people. The ten commandments are a Divine summary of our duties to God and to our neighbor, and therefore contain the whole duty of man as a religious being. For this reason our Lord, while He enforced the keeping of the commandments as a condition of eternal life, raised them above the low standard of Jewish morality. He taught that the first of all the commandments is, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God above all things, and that the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself; and declared that upon these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. Love to God and love to man, which all the commandments teach and on which they are all fulfilled, are the two cherubim that were over the mercy-seat that covered the ark containing the Divine law. The Lord meets with His people where love to God and love to man are united; and their union rests upon purity of heart and holiness of life, as the mercy-seat and the cherubim rested upon the ark of the testimony.

The ark, thus containing the law and surmounted by the cherubim, was placed in the inmost of the tabernacle, to remind us that the Divine law is to be placed in the inmost of the heart and mind.

The ark henceforward became the centre round which the Levites congregated and the congregation encamped. It was carried before them in their journeyings, and returned with them into their rest. It divided the Jordan and overthrew the walls of Jericho. For when the Divine law is in the heart, it has power to remove all obstacles that self-love and love of the world offer to our progress in the spiritual life.

But a time came when the children of Israel no longer possessed the ark as a means of protection and blessing. Under the priesthood of Eli there was war with the Philistines, and Israel was overcome. In their distress and perplexity the elders caused the ark to be brought into the camp, and Israel shouted with a great shout, so that the earth rang again. But this was not the shout of holy trust and confidence in God. Their priestly leaders were shamelessly corrupt, and they themselves had apostatized to the worship of Ashtaroth, the queen of heaven, a name and title of the moon, as Baal was of the sun.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 267 There can be no real confidence in God when there is iniquity in the midst, such as was now the case with the children of Israel. In their next encounter with the Philistines, the Israelites were smitten, and the ark of God was taken. The ark was carried as a trophy into the country of the Philistines. But if the presence of evil in the good hinders the very ark of God from protecting or delivering them, what must its effect be upon the evil themselves? It is the means of their destruction. "This is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light begins cause their deeds were evil." And it may be said of the tables of the law, as it is said of the Lord Himself, who was that very law, "who soever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder." The ark soon showed its power against its unbelieving possessors. Dagon fell down in pieces before it. The inhabitants of Ashdod were destroyed and smitten with disease. The diviners were called, and advised that the ark should be sent with an offering back into the land of Israel. Two milch kine were tied to a cart, on which the ark, and the coffer containing the golden mice and images of their emerods, were placed; and the kine took the straight way to Bethshemesh, a city of Judah. This was no doubt done in accordance with the law of correspondence, the remains of which still continued among the Philistines. The ark was placed upon a new cart, because a new cart signifies doctrine undefiled by evil and falsity; the cart was drawn by milch kine on which no yoke had come, because they signified good natural affections which have not been brought under servitude to false persuasions. The kine spontaneously took the way to Beth-shemesh, to indicate that uncorrupted natural affection inclines to the truth which leads to spiritual goodness, or goodness having a spiritual origin. The men of Beth-shemesh clave the wood of the cart, and offered up the kine a burnt-offering unto the Lord; for this act implied the dedication to the Lord of the true thoughts and good affections of the natural mind, by which they become spiritual and saving.

But the men of Beth-shemesh themselves brought evil upon many of the people by an act of irreverence of which they were guilty. They looked into the ark, and the Lord smote of the people fifty thousand and threescore and ten men. Such an act seems in itself but a venial sin, and under a spiritual dispensation might not be regarded as a sin at all. But that to which the men of Beth-shemesh belonged was a representative Church, in which everything was typical. An act done from an idly curious or with a profane eye, an act which, with the deepest reverence, could be lawful for none but for the priest only, brought upon them a destruction which, like the act itself, was representative.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 268 To seek to penetrate into the inmost of the Holy Word, and see its hidden wisdom, with an understanding unsanctified by the Spirit of truth, and a heart uninfluenced by the love of good, is destructive of spiritual life.

Terrified by this destruction, the Beth-shemites sent to the men of Kirjath-jearim, who carne and fetched the ark, and brought it into the house of Abinadab in the hill, and sanctified Eleazar his son to keep the ark of the Lord. "And it came to pass, while the ark abode in Kirjath-jearim, that the time was long; for it was twenty years: and all the house of Israel lamented after the Lord." There the ark remained till the time of David. One of the first acts of his reign was to bring it up out of its obscure place in Gibeah, and set it in his place, in the midst of the tabernacle he had pitched for it in Jerusalem. The account of this translation of the ark is that which we are now to consider.

David, with thirty thousand of the chosen men of Israel, went to bring up the ark of God from the house of Abinadab. When they had placed it upon a new cart, they set out with it, accompanied by two sons of Abinadab, Uzzah and Ahio, playing upon all manner of instruments. When, however, they came to Nachon's threshing-floor, the oxen shook the ark, and Uzzah put forth his hand and took hold of it: and for this rash act, the Lord's anger was kindled against him, and He smote him there, that he died by the ark. David's fear for the Lord was so great, that instead of removing the ark to his own city, he carried it aside into the house of Obed-edom the Gittite, where it remained for three months. Hearing that the Lord had blessed the house of Obed-edom because of the ark, he brought it up with great sacrificings and rejoicings to the city of David.

This removal of the ark by successive stages, or from one place to another, is representative of the successive elevation of the Divine law of love and truth in the mind, which takes place during the progress of the regenerate life. Three places are mentioned in which the ark rested. The first two were its temporary abode, the last was its fixed and proper dwelling-place. These three places, and the resting of the ark in them, and its removal from one to the other, represented the three states through which the regenerate pass in their upward progress to the kingdom of heaven. For every one who is fully regenerated is first natural, afterwards spiritual, and lastly celestial. To express it more strictly, man is regenerated first as to the natural degree of his mind, then as to the spiritual, and finally as to the celestial. And these degrees of the mind are signified by the house of Abinadab, the house of Obed-edom, and the city of David. In this view of the subject the account of the removal of the ark to its final resting-place in Zion describes representatively the work of regeneration from its beginning to its end, in those who attain to the highest degree of religious perfection. It may seem therefore to have but little interest for any others than those who have reached this elevated state.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 269 There is, however, in every particular stage a resemblance of the whole. And in this way the relation may be applied by every one to his own state. The ark of God, as a symbol of the Divine law of love and charity, experiences a progressive elevation in every regenerate mind analogous to that which it has in those who reach the purest condition of celestial life. The Divine law, in every regenerate one, is successively raised out of the memory into the understanding, and out of the understanding into the will. The first two are but the temporary abode of the law, the will is its final and permanent dwelling-place. The imperfectness of the previous state is marked by the act of Uzzah. His putting forth his hand to prevent the ark from falling to the ground, points to that state of the mind when man acts under the influence of the feeling or persuasion that he is able to keep the law by his own power, or support or vindicate it by his own wisdom.

The removal of the ark by successive stages representing the successive elevation of the Divine law in the regenerate mind, there are some particulars of the history respecting it which deserve our attention.

David and those who were with him played before the Lord while removing the ark both from its first and from its second resting place. As music is expressive of affection, the various instruments mentioned signify the various affections of the mind, the harmonious delights of which produce that which may be called the music of the soul-the sense of peace with God and goodwill to men. This is the true music of the spheres, and fills heaven itself with sweetest harmony. The instruments on which they played on their way from the house of Abinadab signified the gladness of the mind resulting from the natural and spiritual affections of truth. The dancing of David, with the sound of a trumpet, on their way from the house of Obed-edom to Zion, signified joy of heart resulting from the affections of spiritual and celestial good.

While on the way to Zion, and after he brought the ark into it, David sacrificed to the Lord, to represent the dedication to Him of all the principles and faculties of the mind, this being true worship. He blessed the people, and dealt among the whole multitude of Israel, as well to the women as men, to every one a cake of bread, and a good piece of flesh, and a flagon of wine. The people, the multitude of Israel, represented the common affections-the women the affections of good, the men the affections of truth. The bread, flesh, and wine given them are the spiritual and celestial good and truth, by which, as their proper food, they are sustained and delighted. But when these general feasts are spoken of, the mutual satisfaction and delight of all the affections of the mind are understood.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 270 Satisfaction and joy that fill the whole mind are the feast of the soul, and that which was represented by the feasts of which we read so often in the Sacred Word.

The introduction of the ark into Zion after all its wanderings in the wilderness, its capture by the Philistines, its abode in the houses of Abinadab and Obed-edom, was no doubt the greatest and most joyous event connected with that sacred symbol that took place previous to its introduction into the temple of Solomon. Representing the completed work of regeneration, the event is fraught with matter of the most important significance. And although we may not be able to enter into it as a subject which is realized in our own experience as a whole, yet it may have found its fulfillment in some particulars of our spiritual life. Every single truth, as a part of the Divine law, is an image of the whole; and every single truth that passes out of the memory into the understanding, and out of the understanding into the will, and again from the will into act, performs a circle that is an image of the greater. And every truth that thus completes the circle of life becomes a part of our eternal inheritance. It has attained its place in the inmost of the mind, and will, if we remain faithful, continue there for ever.

In the highest sense this event represents the completed work of the Lord's glorification, as the origin and pattern of our regeneration. And in connecting these two in our minds, we may find more abundant reason for rejoicing. Connected together as cause and effect, the one sheds light upon the other, for in the higher we see the lower in its cause and pattern, in the lower we see the higher in its effect and image. To that Divine work in the Lord we trace every saving work that can be effected in ourselves. And when we reflect that the Lord came into the world, and went down into Egypt, and passed through the temptations of the wilderness, and overthrew the works of the devil, and finally entered into His glory, only that He might deliver us from bondage, and lead us to victory, and raise us into spiritual power and happiness, we must indeed be desirous to connect these works together, not only in our reflections but in our experience. As subjects in which we have a deep interest, we may profitably enter into them with the earnest and jubilant feelings which the records and images of them are intended to express and inspire. The entrance of the ark of God into the city of David is generally, and we have no doubt justly, considered to be the theme of that sublime psalm which the Church usually chants in celebrating the Lord's ascension. The 24th Psalm is written in the responsive form, and is supposed to have been sung when the holy ark arrived at the gates of the Holy City, David and the multitude without, and the priests, the Levites, and the people within, singing in responsive strains, "Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 271 Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, He is the King of glory."

Looking at the Lord in His ascension as one who has gone before us-as that one who, having been lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Him, we may make a practical application of the subject in the responsive words of the same psalm. "Who shall asked into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in His holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who bath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of his salvation."

When David had concluded the service in the tabernacle which he had set up for the sacred ark, he went to bless his household. But he met with a singularly unkind reception. "Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David, and said, How glorious was the king of Israel to day, who uncovered himself to day in the eyes of the handmaids of his servants, as one of the vain fellows shamelessly uncovereth himself!" This reproachful speech drew from David the only severe expressions he ever addressed to any one of the house of Saul. "David said unto Michal, It was before the Lord, which chose me before thy father, and before all his house, to appoint me ruler over the people of the Lord, over Israel therefore will I play before the Lord. And I will yet be more vile than thus, and will be base in mine own sight: and of the maid-servants which thou hast spoken of, of them shall I be had in honour." In speaking of Michal, I have said that she represented rather a natural than a spiritual affection. She seems to have had little sympathy with David in his holy work of bringing up the ark, and raising the law into its rightful position, though not into its final dwelling-place. So far as Michal represents the Church, she represents it in its Judaizing rather than in its Christian aspect, like those early disciples who wished to unite the law and the gospel, by placing the Jewish ceremonials on a level with Christian rites, making the law of ordinances as necessary for salvation as the law of life. The natural affection, however firmly it may adhere to the law, does not delight in it; and it was to the gestures expressive of delight that Michal objected in David's conduct. Especially does the natural affection object to see the spiritual uncovered, which was the highest of David's offences' against dignity and propriety in the eyes of his wife. The conduct of Michal is no doubt to be understood as having brought a Divine judgment upon her, Shehadno child to the day of her death. This implies, when spiritually regarded, that between David and Michal there was no true marriage.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 272 "Children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is His reward" (Ps. cxxvii. 3). When spiritually He makes women childless, it is because there is a want of harmony between the natural mind and the spiritual, whose union is necessary to give birth to the virtues of the religious life. When natural affection is not in unison with spiritual truth, there can be no such union between them as to make the life fruitful. And if that state of affection remains, Michal, who might have been a joyful mother of children, shall have no child till the day of her death.




2 Samuel vii.

The scene which the sacred historian now presents to us is the peaceful one of David sitting in his house with Nathan the prophet. The Lord had given him rest round about from all his enemies. Regarding the, glory of God more than his own splendour, he says to Nathan, "See now, I dwell in an house of cedar, and the ark of God dwelleth within curtains." It would be a very low idea of this sentiment to transfer it literally to ourselves, and regard it as a reproof of our own not uncommon practice, of surrounding ourselves with elegance and comfort, and leaving the house of God with but scant provision of either. But if we did apply his words in this way, we should receive but small encouragement from the sequel of David's zealous plea for the honor of his God. The prophet, indeed, sympathized with David's sentiment, and entered warmly into his idea. "Nathan said to the king, Go, do all that is in thine heart; for the Lord is with thee." But both prophet and king had resolved without asking counsel of Him whom they desired to honor. "It came to pass that night, that the word of the Lord came unto Nathan, saying, Go and tell My servant David, Thus saith the Lord, Shalt thou build Me an house for Me to dwell in?" Since the Lord brought the children of Israel out of Egypt, He had walked in a tent and in a tabernacle, and had asked none of the tribes or judges, "Why build ye not Me an house of cedar?" He had taken David from the sheep cote to make him a ruler over His people Israel; He had been with him wither so ever he went; He had cut off all his enemies; He had made him a great name. Moreover, He would appoint a place for His people Israel, which they would dwell in, and move no more, neither be afflicted any more by the children of wickedness: He would also build David a house.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 273 Not with standing all this, not he, but his son that should reign after him would build a house for the Lord to dwell in.

In all that the Lord says to Nathan, no reason is given why the temple was not to be built by David but by Solomon. The reason is made known when the temple is about to be built. Here we may say that, as the temple represented the glorified humanity, it was to be built by the king by whom that humanity was represented. Our principal object here is to notice some of the particulars of the present narrative.

If David represented the Lord, how are we to understand his ignorance of the Divine will in regard to the building of a house to His name? In the Gospel history there is the appearance, at least, of the Lord being ignorant of some things. We need not stop to consider the instances in which the Lord marvels, and makes inquiries. He who needed not that any should testify of man, for He knew what was in man, and who gave so many evidences of knowing persons and events at a distance, could not be really ignorant of persons and circumstances near at hand. There is, however, one instance in which the Lord Himself makes confession of His ignorance. Of His own second coming He says, "Of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels who are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father (Mark xiii. 32). We might take this statement in all its literalness, if Jesus were a mere man, or even the first created intelligence. But if we admit His Divinity, it is impossible to understand it in its merely literal sense. For even if we believed Him to be a Divine person distinct from His Father, it could make no difference, since the Three Persons of the Godhead have all equal Divinity. But when we understand the distinction in the Godhead to be that of Essentials, we can see the ground of our Lord's declaration. The Father is the Divine love, the Son is the Divine wisdom. Now the first Christian Church or dispensation is called the kingdom of the Son, and the second is called the kingdom of the Father. Thus St. Paul speaks of the end, when the Son shall deliver up the kingdom to the Father; when the Son also Himself shall be subject to the Father, that God may be all in all (Ii Cor. xv. 28). This is commonly explained as relating to what is called the Lord's mediatorial kingdom, which the Son is to resign at the end of the world, when His intercession for sinners shall no more be required. But what of the Son being subject to the Father? There is a dogmatic answer, but it is unnecessary to consider it. Thankful we may be that we are delivered from all this perplexity. Clear and beautiful is the truth, that the kingdom of the Son is the Church and the member of the Church a, governed by Divine wisdom or truth, and that the kingdom of the Father is the Church and the member of the Church as governed by Divine love.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 274 The kingdom of the Son must of necessity precede the kingdom of the Father. Truth must reign till all things are put under its feet; till all rebellious thoughts and affections are subdued, and made subject to Christ. But when all enemies, or all enmities, are put under the power of the truth of God, then His truth gives up the kingdom to His love, which enters on its peaceful reign. Even truth itself becomes subject to love; for faith becomes secondary and subordinate to charity, truth to goodness, the understanding to the will. Love is the fulfilling of the law. Against love there is no law. He who has love is not under the law. The law has done its work. It has put all things under its feet; and it has resigned the kingdom to love, and is itself subject to its beneficent rule.

How plain is the analogy in this case to the reign of David and that of Solomon. David was a man of war; Solomon was a man of peace. Yet Solomon owed his peaceful reign to the warlike reign of David. The Lord put all the enemies of Israel under David's feet; and when all the enemies of Israel were conquered, a reign of peace followed as its natural sequence. But all this does not reveal the cause or explain the fact of the Son not knowing the day and hour of visitation and of His future coming; or David's mistaken zeal for the Lord's house. The Lord's ignorance of the day and hour of His coming was not absolute but relative. Nothing could be hid from His infinite wisdom; but His wisdom does not reveal His love except to those who receive it. Time is the symbol of state. A state of love is unknown to those who are in a state of truth. Every state reveals itself to those who enter it. In a lower state we may know that a higher exists; but what that state is in itself, we can only know by experience. We know that the reign of law is to be followed by the reign of love, but what that love is, love only knows and can reveal. We may, like David, desire and even attempt to anticipate it; but the Divine command is, to refrain. A new birth is to take place before this work can be performed, this new house built. "When thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build an house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom for ever." The two kingdoms, the spiritual and the celestial, of which heaven consists, and which were also represented by the kingdom of David and Solomon, are so distinct, that the wisdom of the angels of the higher kingdom transcends the apprehension of the angels of the lower; nor can any enter into celestial wisdom until they attain the celestial state. The new name in the white stone no man knoweth save he that receiveth it.



Such is the Divine mode of teaching us that every state of life or stage of regeneration has its own duties, its own work, and its own kind and measure of knowledge. And as it is with individuals, so it is with dispensations. One passes into another, and yet so distinct are they in character, that one can neither know nor do what belongs to the state and uses of its successor.

When Nathan delivered the Divine message to David, then went, in king David, and sat before the Lord; and, with profound humility and deep gratitude, poured out his heart before Him. Adoring the Lord God, besides whom there is no God, who had redeemed Israel for Himself, from the nations and their gods, he praises Him for the good which He had spoken concerning His servant, and for His gracious promise that He would establish his house for ever.

Whether we regard David as a type of the Saviour or of the saint, and his prayer as expressive of the Lord's aspirations to the Father or of the saint's pious adorations of his Saviour, we may learn a great lesson. The states of humiliation through which the Lord passed during the days in which He carried our frail nature, teach us lessons of profound wisdom. They tell us, so far as we can comprehend them, what the Lord endured and did for our sake, and also what we must endure and do for His: with this important difference, that all He did was for our benefit, while all we are required to do is for our own. For His sake, indeed, our works, both of passion and of action, must be done, for the end sanctifies the deed. Our works are good only when the Lord is in them as their end and cause, when His love prompts and His wisdom guides us. Self-abnegation must lie at the root of our self-denial as well as of our active duties. For it is possible to practice self-denial for the sake of self, as well as do good deeds for the sake of reward. Self-abnegation is a high state to attain, and can only be reached by patience and perseverance. But not only have we the example of our blessed Lord before us, we have His Spirit with us-that of which it is said, "The Holy Spirit was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified" (John vii- 39). The Spirit of Jesus differs from the Spirit of Jehovah. The Spirit of Jehovah was rather a creative than a regenerative Spirit. The Spirit of Jesus is the Spirit and power of all that He accomplished in the world; it is the Spirit of Jehovah in His Divine humanity, and it therefore conveys to those who receive it the power to become, by regeneration, images of what the Lord has become by glorification.





2 Samuel viii.

The rest which the Lord had given David from all his enemies round about he did not long enjoy. About two years after he had taken Jerusalem we find him engaged in war with several different nations. The first of these are the irrepressible Philistines, whom David subdues, and from whom he takes Metheg-ammah, an important town in Gath, which, from its commanding position, was called the bridle of the mother city. A blow was thus struck at the metropolis of Philistia. Like one of the heads of the Apocalyptic beast, it was wounded to death, but like it also its death-wound was healed; for although subdued, the Philistines were not yet wholly vanquished.

After recording this subjugation of the Philistines, the chapter is occupied in relating the wars which David carried into some of the nations beyond the borders of Canaan, which he not only conquered but made tributary. And this leads us to consider a distinction which the Israelites were commanded to make between the Canaanitish nations and those whose countries bordered upon Canaan, but were separate from it.

The seven nations inhabiting Canaan were to be utterly destroyed, but the nations beyond Canaan, unless they resisted, were only to be subdued and made tributary. In Deuteronomy (chap. xx.) this is clearly stated: "When thou comest nigh unto a city to fight against it, then proclaim peace unto it. And it shall be, if it make thee answer of peace, and open unto thee, then it shall be, that all the people that is found therein shall be tributaries unto thee, and they shall serve thee. . . . Thus shalt thou do unto all the cities which are very far off from thee, which are not of the cities of these nations. But of the cities of these people, which the Lord thy God doth give thee for an inheritance, thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth."

The nations of Canaan represented evil loves and false persuasions that are essentially opposed to everything good and true, and which can neither be reconciled nor made subservient to right principles. But the nations out of Canaan represented affections and persuasions that are indeed remote from goodness and truth, but are not essentially opposed to them, and can therefore be made tributary to them, and serve them. On this interesting and important subject the Writings throw a clear light, as the following quotation will show. Though the author's remarks refer directly to another subject, they are quite, applicable to this.



"Evils with man are of various kinds; there are evils with which good cannot be mixed, and there are evils with which good can be mixed; the case is the same with falsities; and unless it was so, it would be impossible for any man to be regenerated. The evils and falsities with which goods and truths cannot be mixed, are such as are contrary to love to God and to love towards our neighbor. For example; if any one loves himself in preference to others, and under the influence of that love studies to excel others in moral and civil life, in scientifics and doctrinals, and to be exalted to dignities and likewise to opulence above others, and yet acknowledges and adores God, performs from his heart duties towards his neighbor, and does from conscience what is just and equitable, the evil of that self-love is such as to admit good and truth to be mixed with it; for it is the evil which is proper to man, and is hereditarily born with him; and suddenly to take it away from him would be to extinguish the fire of his first life. But if any one love himself in preference to others, and under the influence of that love despises others in comparison with himself, hates those who do not honor, and, as it were, adore him, and therefore feels the delight of hatred in revenge and cruelty, the evil of his love is such as not to admit of good and truth being mixed with it, for they are contraries. Again: if any one believe himself to be pure from sins, and cleansed like a person cleansed of filth by washing in water, when he has once done the work of repentance, and discharged the duties which he has imposed upon himself by repentance, or after confession has been told by his confessor that he is so cleansed, or after he has been a partaker of the Holy Supper; in case such a one lives a new life, in the affection of what is good and true, this false principle is such as to admit of good being mixed with it; but in case he lives a worldly and carnal life, as heretofore, the false is then such as not to admit of good being mixed with it. So again; he who believes that man is saved by virtue of believing what is good, and not by virtue of willing what is good, and nevertheless wills what is good, and in consequence thereof does what is good, this false principle is such as to admit of good and truth being adjoined to it; but not so in case he does not will and thence do what is good. Again, if any one be ignorant that man rises again after death, and in consequence thereof does not believe in the resurrection, or if be acquainted with the resurrection, and still doubts and almost denies it, and yet lives in truth and good, this false principle also is such as to be admissive of good and truth being mixed with it; but if such a person lives in what is false and evil, the false in this case is admissive of no such mixture, because of contrariety, and the false destroys the true, and the evil the good.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 278 Further, pretence and cunning, which have good for their end, whether it be the good of the neighbor, or of a man's country, or of the Church, are prudence, and the evils thereto admixed may be mixed with good from and for the sake of the end proposed; but pretence and cunning, which have evil for their end, are not prudence, but are artifice and deceit, with which good can in no wise be conjoined, for deceit, which has evil for its end, induces an infernal principle in all things in man, and places evil in the midst, and rejects good to the circumference, which order is essentially infernal. The case is similar in numberless other instances. That there are evils and falsities, to which goods and truths can be adjoined, may appear from the fact, that there are so many diverse dogmas and doctrinals, several of which are altogether heretical, and yet in every one of them salvation is attainable; and also from this, that among the Gentiles who are out of the Church, there is likewise a Church of the Lord, and that although they are in false persuasions, still such as live a life of charity are saved, which could not possibly be the case, unless there were evils which can be mixed with goods, and falsities which can be mixed with truths. Evils which are mixed with goods, and falsities with truths, are wonderfully arranged in order by the Lord, for they are not conjoined, still less are they united, but they are adjoined and applied, and this in such a sort, that goods with truths are in the midst, as in a center, whilst such evils and falsities are by gradations as the circuits or circumferences, in consequence of which the latter are illustrated by the former, and are variegated like black and white by the light proceeding from the midst or center. This is heavenly order."

The nations whom David subdued at this time were the Moabites, the Syrians, and the Edomites. David garrisoned their cities, and they became his servants. Two of them are mentioned as having brought gifts, but the other was no doubt also made tributary. Besides these gifts, which were compulsory, the king of Hamath sent him vessels of gold and silver and brass. These did David "dedicate unto the Lord, with the silver and gold that he had dedicated of all nations which he subdued; of Syria, and of Moab, and of the children of Ammon, and of the Philistines, and of Arnalek, and of the spoil of Hadadezer, son of Rehob, king of Zobah." The reduction of these nations to a state of vassalage, is a type of the subjection of the natural man to the authority of the spiritual; and the dedication of their gifts or their spoil to the Lord, is representative of the sanctification of the possessions of the natural man, by devoting to spiritual uses and eternal ends what had hitherto been employed for natural uses and temporal ends.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 279 As the silver and gold, of which the Israelites spoiled the Egyptians, came to be dedicated to the Lord in the construction and adorning of the tabernacle, the treasures which David obtained from the nations helped to adorn and enrich the temple. But as both the tabernacle and the temple represented, not only the Lord's Humanity, but His Church, and not the general Church only, but the Church as built up and established in the individual mind, we learn from this turning of the spoils and gifts of the nations from profane to sacred uses, the duty of turning all our natural acquisitions, whether they be intellectual or material, into means for promoting the glory of God. This does not imply that they are to be devoted to what are commonly called religious purposes, but that they are to be brought under the government of religious principles, and so employed as to promote the glory of God, by ministering to the best interests of ourselves, and of our neighbor. That which is made to serve the love and truth of God in us, is, in the best sense, dedicated to the Lord, for it is applied to uses that build us up into temples of His presence.

The gifts themselves are various; but they are spoken of, in the present case, as consisting of gold, silver, and brass; and these were sent by the king of Hamath, were in the form of vessels. We have had occasion, more than once, to speak of these receptacles as symbols of what we have called scientifics, that is to say, facts, as distinguished from the conclusions we draw from them, or the wisdom they teach us. Every one recognizes the difference between knowledge and wisdom. But we have a better instance in the difference between science and religion. Nor do we need to confine ourselves in this case to natural science. A man may be eminent in religious science and yet have no religion. In regard to natural science, we know that it can be a means of confirming men either in the belief or in the denial of a creative Intelligence. By the believer "the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead" (Rom. i. 20). To the unbeliever, invisible things are assumed to have no existence, and the visible are considered to account for their own existence, and to show that they are able to take care of themselves. It is essential that men should not be forced to believe, therefore God does not reveal Himself to sense, but to reason. It is a less evil to disbelieve from choice than it would be to believe from compulsion. Natural science, therefore, leaves men free. But it does not leave them blameless. That is to say, scientific denial is deeper and more deadly than simple negation. Science creates neither belief nor unbelief, but it confirms the mind more deeply in either. The more deeply the natural man penetrates into the secrets of nature the nearer he believes he is to the origin of life. What he calls the origin of life the spiritual man calls its beginning, the origin of which is in Him who is Life itself, from whom all things are and live.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 280 Scientifics I in fact, are vessels, which men may replenish either from the true vine or from the vine of Sodom and the clusters of Gomorrah, and out of which they may drink either to the true God or their self-love or the raven images of to idols-the molten images of their self-intelligence.

But, on this subject, we must let the light of Revelation in upon ourselves. There, if we have entered on the regenerate life, we shall see what is here described representatively in the history of the Israelites.

We shall see the spiritual mind and the natural mind in their true character. In the natural mind we shall find evils that are in their very nature opposed to spiritual truth and goodness; while there are others, some of which may be called infirmities, which can be brought under subjection to spiritual principles, and be made to serve some useful spiritual purpose, the acquirements of the natural man contributing to the perfection of the spiritual. Let us see, then, what these different nations represent.

Moab, the first of these nations that David subdued, was descended from Lot's son by his eldest daughter. In treating of the Ammonites, the descendants of the son of Lot's younger daughter, who were the first to feel Saul's kingly power, we have seen that Moab and Ammon represented the profanation of goodness and truth. Yet they did not represent that degree of profanation which is unpardonable, because unremovable. A Moabite or an Ammonite was not absolutely excluded from the congregation of Israel, but was not allowed to enter until the tenth generation (Deut. xxiii. 3), which implies that the profanation they represented did not necessarily destroy all remains of goodness and truth, but might leave a rudiment, from which a new and spiritual state could be commenced. David's treatment of the Moabites on this occasion teaches something of the same kind. They were subdued and severely treated, but not exterminated. "He smote Moab, and measured them with a line, casting them down to the ground; even with two lines measured he to put to death, and with one full line to keep alive." Dreadful work! And yet apologists tell us, and no doubt tell us truly, that the treatment of the Moabites, as compared with that of conquered nations in those times, was humane. By the law of nations, and even by the law of Moses, the whole of the Moabites had forfeited their lives by their opposition or resistance; and David showed his clemency by saving some. It reminds us of the Calvinistic vindication of the character of God in the decree of election. The whole race by their sins had incurred the sentence of eternal damnation, and God showed His mercy by saving a few. The truth is, the Jews were a barbarous race, and enjoyed the delight of all barbarous nations in shedding blood. They were not chosen because they were better than other nations, but because they were better adapted to perform a use which concerned the welfare of the human race.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 281 Their great use in the Divine economy was to receive and preserve the oracles of God, and to keep alive, however imperfectly, the faith and worship of the one true God. Their barbarism made them fit instruments for rooting out hopelessly corrupt nations, and their facile piety made them the means of keeping the embers of religion from altogether dying out. They served therefore to preserve the spiritual connection between heaven and earth, on which the salvation and even the preservation of the human race depends; and they could perform acts which represented higher things than they either thought or intended.

Regarding David's treatment of the Moabites, there is some difficulty in understanding the nature of the operation by which the fate of the vanquished was decided. German critics make the text to mean, that David subdued Moab, and then made the whole people lie down on the ground, and measured them with a measuring-line, destining two measures to death, and one measure to life. In other words, instead of exterminating the whole brood, he decimated them, as it were, by a kind of lot, and left it to apparent chance whether any given Moabites were to be slain, or spared. Josephus, however (Jewish Wars, vii. 5), has not so taken it; possibly he was willing to spare David's humanity, just as the Chronicles omit this incident. On the other hand J. D. Michaelis, in his treatise on the Mosaic Law, declares that David was much more merciful than the Mosaic Law if he only killed two-thirds of them.

Whatever the precise nature of the operation may have been, the general conclusion seems to be, that two-thirds were in this way devoted to death, and one-third kept alive. Whatever obscurity there may be respecting the application of the measuring-line and its results, the terms are sufficiently precise to enable us to see the spiritual lesson intended to be conveyed by the circumstances. To measure is to ascertain or estimate the quality of a thing. A mystic man with a measuring-line measured the temple (Ezek. xl.), and also Jerusalem (Zech. ii. 2), and John was commanded to measure the temple of God and them that worship therein (Rev. xi. 1); in all which cases, to measure evidently means to discover, or rather to show, the quality or state of the Church. The measuring-line applied to the spiritual Moabites is not, therefore, a measure merely to decide their fate, but a measure to ascertain or express their character. With two lines David measured to put to death, and with one full line, literally, with the fullness of the line, to keep alive. All the Moabites were cast down upon the ground, to represent, that those who live profanely are all equally natural and earthly; but they were measured with different lines, to show that they are not all equally guilty; that even with them "there is a sin unto death, and there is a sin not unto death (i John v. 16, 17).


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 282 Those who were measured with two lines typified those who live profanely from the will with the full consent of the understanding; while those who were measured with one line represented those who live profanely from one of these two active powers of the mind, but not from both. This subject may be illustrated by one of the laws of Moses. One of the rules of evidence laid down in the Mosaic code was this "At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is worthy of death be put to death; but at the mouth of one witness he shall not be put to death" (Deut. xvii. 6). This law, spiritually interpreted, teaches this important, and at the same time hopeful truth. When the will and the understanding, or when the will, the understanding, and the outward life, bear united witness against us; at the mouth of these two or three witnesses, we bring upon ourselves the sentence of eternal death. But when one of these only witnesses against us, we, of the Divine mercy, are kept alive. Some sin from natural depravity, hardly knowing what sin is and what are its consequences; some sin from education and habit, as those who have been brought up to crime, as skilled workmen in a not dishonorable but rather dangerous trade. It is not to be supposed that either of these is in a state of innocence. But they come within this saving condition: Natural depravity of the will may not have deeply corrupted the understanding, and misdirection of the understanding may not have deeply corrupted the will. Indeed, we can hardly speak of will and understanding with respect to such persons; for will is nothing without understanding, and understanding is nothing without will. Such persons form a kind of fictitious will and understanding in a lower region of the mind, leaving the true faculties to a treat extent undeveloped, and the capacity of being reformed and, regenerated, though seriously injured, yet not undestroyed. This is not, of course, the case with all even of the criminal class; but it is no doubt true of some. Indeed, the Moabite, in the better aspect of his character, represents one possessed of some natural goodness, which makes him the easy dupe of the designing, to whom he has not the courage to say no.

There are, however, others besides such characters, to whom, as spiritual Moabites, these lines may be applied. The law which required at least two witnesses to put to death, was delivered with immediate reference to the man or the woman who "hath gone and served other gods, and worshipped them, either the sun, or moon, or any of the host of heaven." Scripture does not say that Moab worshipped the heavenly bodies, unless the Moabitish god Chemosh, who is said to have been worshipped under the form of a black star, may be considered to belong to the host of heaven; but the Mosaic law included all kinds of idolatry.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 283 And the worship of God was an exalted virtue and idolatry a deep crime, because the idea of God enters into all our worship, which comprehensively means all our religion. In profane worship there may be the concurrence of the will and the understanding; or one may be involved without the other. A gross idolater may be sincerely devout. While his understanding is corrupted, his heart may be sound. He will be measured by one full line to be kept alive. When the heart is idolatrous as well as the understanding, then will the false worshipper be measured by two lines to be put to death. But there is an inward as well as an outward idolatry. Yet even here the line of life may be found to apply. Only when the concurrent testimony of the two inward witnesses is against the idolater, will he be measured with two links to be put to death. A hopeful doctrine this when we apply it to others; a solemn one when we apply it to ourselves.

After Moab, David "smote Hadadezer, the son of Rehob, king of Zobah, as he went to recover his border at the river Euphrates." From him David took many thousand chariots, and horsemen, and footmen. And when the Syrians of Damascus came to succor Hadadezer, David slew of the Syrians twenty-two thousand. Zobah was in Syria, so that here was one and the principal of the Syrian princes supporting another. Syria, in its best days, when the second ancient or Hebrew Church was there, signified the knowledge of good, as Syria of rivers signified the knowledge of truth. In the time of Abraham, when he was called out of Ur of the Chaldees, which was in Syria, it had sunk into idolatry, and had therefore corrupted the truth which it once possessed. Syria is thus the intellectual principle, answering to Moab, which has relation to the will. The intellectual character of the Syrians is indicated by their chariots and horsemen, which are symbols of doctrine and intelligence, false it may be.

When David had subdued and made tributary the Syrians of Zobah and Damascus, a third Syrian king, Toi, sent his son to bless David, because he had fought against Hadadezer, and smitten him, because that Hadadezer had wars with Toi. Wars take place in the rational mind itself, which Syria, under one view, signifies, as when one intellectual nation conflicts with another. We have seen that one evil may serve to hold another in check, but cannot remove it. Neither the rational nor the natural mind has the power to reform itself. This can only be done by the spiritual mind. So David ended the wars between the two Syrian kings; and, while he forced one into submission, led the other to send a friendly message with rich gifts.

One other nation David subdued. "He put garrisons in Edom. throughout all Edom he put garrisons, and all they of Edom became his servants." The Edomites, the descendants of Esau, had, like the other nations, degenerated.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 284 Therefore, from representing the good of the natural mind, they had come to represent the natural mind under the influence of self-love, which rejects all truth. In putting garrisons throughout all Edom, and making all Edom. become his servants, David represented the power and operation of the spiritual mind in placing under the control of spiritual truth all the natural affections that powerfully influence the mind in favor of self as a ruling principle. For those garrisons of the king's forces in the conquered nations around Canaan symbolize the presence of the spiritual mind in the natural by means of truths, which exercise a controlling power over those thoughts and feelings which are inimical to, but not destructive of, the life of love and truth in the soul. Yet this is not a permanent state.

The thoughts and feelings which at first are restrained must finally be brought into a friendly relation with the ruling principle of the mind, or be removed. And so we find in the prophets predictions of the ultimate renewal or destruction of the nations generally that David conquered. Here, at least, we have, in the conquests of David, a representative history of a Divine work that is constantly going on in the minds of those who are being regenerated, and a promise of the time when all nations shall serve the Lord, and bring their gifts and offerings to Him as the King of kings and Lord of lords.



2 Samuel ix.

David, having subdued his enemies, began to make inquiry after his friends. True to the generous sentiment which he had constantly manifested towards him who had been, almost from first to last, his deadly enemy, "David said, Is there yet any that is left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan's sake?" That this inquiry should not have been made until fifteen years after the death of Saul is assumed to have been because not till then could David feel sure that his kingdom was securely established. It seems singular, however, that David should have been ignorant of the very existence of one in whom, had he known of him, he must have felt the liveliest interest, and to whom he had bound himself by a solemn covenant to show kindness. One reason of this may have been, that the descendant of Saul, whom he now discovered, lived in retirement, perhaps in seclusion, lest, as some suppose, he might be treated as a possible rival to the throne.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 285 Yet there is some difficulty even here; for David's noble conduct on the death both of Saul and of Ish-bosheth, with the tolerance, at least, which he had hitherto manifested towards Saul's sons, might have inspired confidence in his clemency if not in his friendship. There are, however, deeper reasons than any that the circumstances themselves suggest for no one of the house of Saul having been discovered till this time. The sequence of events in sacred history represents the sequence of states in the regenerate life. And evil is to be subdued before good can be attained or brought into manifest existence.

Ziba, a servant of Saul, being brought into David's presence and interrogated respecting Saul's family, answered, "Jonathan bath yet a son, which is lame on his feet." When fetched from the house of Machir, in Lo-debar, which was in Gilead, on the other side Jordan, where he had been long and no doubt lovingly cherished, Mephibosheth fell on his face before David, and he did reverence. And David said unto him, "Fear not: for I will surely show thee kindness for Jonathan thy father's sake, and will restore thee all the land of Saul thy father; and thou shalt eat bread at my table continually."

This son of Jonathan we have had occasion to speak of once before. In the fourth chapter we read that he was five years old when the tidings came of Saul and Jonathan out of Jezreel, and his nurse took him up and fled; and it came to pass as she made haste to flee that he fell, and he became lame.

The origin of Mephibosheth's lameness, which had some influence on his fortunes, and has something to do with his representative character, has an interest for us, which invites us to consider it.

In the Scriptures a nurse, as one who nourishes and suckles an infant, properly signifies one who nourishes innocence with the mil of the Word, which is the good of truth. Of this spiritual nourishment, which unites the qualities and virtues of goodness and truth, milk is a beautiful emblem; for it is at once food and drink, and contains all the elements required for the support and growth of the body, in all its constituent parts. Its provision is a striking instance of the wise beneficence of that Being who created and sustains us; as His Holy Word is of His love in so mercifully providing for the nourishment and growth of our souls. It is not, therefore, by a figure of speech, but by an exact and beautiful analogy, that the nourishers of the Church are called her nursing fathers and nursing mothers, and that the Church herself is spoken of as the nursing mother of her children. "Rejoice ye with Jerusalem, and be glad with her, all ye that love her: rejoice for joy with her, all ye that mourn for her: that ye may suck, and be satisfied with the breasts of her consolations; that ye may milk out, and be delighted with the abundance of her glory" (Isa. lxvi. 10, 11).



But a nurse has another function besides that of suckling the children. She takes care of them after they are weaned. And, although children were suckled to a comparatively advanced age in olden times, yet such we may suppose was the office which the nurse held when she fled with her young charge after the fatal battle of Jezreel; as it was that of Rebekah's nurse, when she accompanied her young mistress, on leaving her father's house to become the wife of Isaac; and of whom we have the honorable memorial, that when she died, they buried her under an oak, which was called the oak of weeping (Gen. xxxv. 8). But even while a nurse is suckling a child she contributes to the nourishment and growth of his mind as well as of his body. This is mental nursing, and is represented by physical nursing, which it accompanies.

In mental growth there are two different elements that are nourished and, for a time, grow up together. All infants are born in a state of innocence; and the proper function of those who nurse the mind is to nourish and support that infantile innocence. But while all infants are born in a state of innocence, they are also born with hereditary inclinations to evil, that is, with the natural inclination to love themselves and the world inordinately, or with what may be called ambition and covetousness. However carefully the young may be nurtured, these natural inclinations will increase and strengthen. They are the tares that grow up together with the wheat. We cannot pluck them up, nor would it be wise in us to do so if we could. To the human wisdom that would attempt it, Divine wisdom has said, "Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into My barn" (Matt. Xiii. 29, 30). Not till man comes under the regenerating influence of the Lord's Spirit can this separation be effected, and then angels, not men, are the reapers. When this change of state comes, then, where there was the natural ambition to be great and be envied by others, there is the spiritual principle, "He that would be greatest among you let him be your servant;" and where natural covetousness grew there is the heavenly plant of the Father's planting, "Covet the best gifts."

Until the human being can acquire and act from these higher and purer motives, he must act from the lower and grosser. All that can be done and ought to be attempted, is to bring the higher, as they acquire strength, to bear upon the lower, so as to moderate them by their influence. But to attempt to root out all hereditary inclinations that have regard to self and the world, which inspire them, to root out, for instance, youthful emulation, would be equally vain and mischievous. Rather should such inclinations be nursed, by being supplied with their proper food, and directed, as far as possible, in their exercise, to useful results.



In the more interior sense, in which persons represent principles, a nurse means hereditary evil itself. "Thus hereditary evil yields the young nourishment, until they are able to judge for themselves, and then, if they are regenerated, they are led by the Lord into a state of new infancy, and at length into celestial wisdom, thus into true infancy, or into innocence, for true infancy or innocence dwells in wisdom. The difference is, that the innocence of infancy is without and hereditary evil within, but the innocence of wisdom is within and hereditary evil without. Hence it is that hereditary evil performs as it were the part of a nurse, from first infancy up to the age of new infancy. Hence it is that a nurse signifies hereditary evil, and also the insinuation of innocence through the celestial spiritual principle."

Such a nurse was represented by Rebekah's nurse, and such a nurse was represented by her who fled with the young son of Jonathan, who, by falling in her panic-stricken flight, became lame in both his feet.

What, in the spirit of its meaning, is this lameness? and why should it have happened to the son of Jonathan? The feet are important members of the human body. They are so often spoken of in Scripture in a religious sense, and their analogy is so plain, that no one can mistake their general meaning. "I turned my feet unto Thy testimonies. I refrained my feet from every evil way. Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet" (Ps. cxix. 59, 101, 105). To walk in the Lord's truth (Ps. lxxxvi. 11); to walk in His paths (Isa. ii. 3); is it life according to the teaching of His Word, and thus in the path of righteousness.

Lameness is also spoken of in a religious sense. "Lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; and make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way" (Heb. xii. 12, 13). One of the blessings promised by the Lord's coming was that the lame man should leap as an hart (Isa. xxxv. 6); and although this was literally fulfilled, yet both the prediction and the act have a spiritual meaning. Lameness is either partial or complete; on one side or on both. Our Lord said, "If thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire" (Matt. xviii. 8). The hand and the foot are, in this instance, offending members; and from a similar statement it would appear, that it was the right hand or foot that was to be rejected (v. 30). Divine wisdom must have had a meaning in this symbolic teaching. The right and the left sides and members of the human body correspond to what may be called the two sides of the human mind and character, the moral and the intellectual.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 288 The right corresponds to the moral side, the left to the intellectual. How beautifully instructive the Lord's teaching is! Not the intellectual error but the moral evil is to be cut off and cast from us. Not that error is a matter of indifference, but all serious error has a moral ground, and when that ground is removed, root and branch, the error withers away. But the feet of Mephibosbetb, which were lame, do not mean evil and error, but goodness and truth. His lameness was an accident and a misfortune, and represented the loss both of moral and intellectual power, so as to be unable to walk in the ways of truth and goodness.

After the death of the king and his three sons, Mepbibosheth, as the son of Jonathan, was the natural representative of the house of Saul. But the battle of Jezreel ended Saul's temporary kingdom, and commenced the enduring kingdom of David. This is described in the Divine promise given to David respecting Solomon: "My mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee. And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever (2 Sam. vii. 15, 16). All the power of the house of Saul was now, therefore, departed from it, and transferred to the house of David. Mephibosheth, in his state of physical lameness and impotence, represented the house of Saul in its powerless condition. But this accidental and natural analogy is itself representative; and must be viewed in other than natural light before it can disclose its true Scriptural meaning. For only in the light of God can we see the light of His Word.

Saul, we have seen, represented truth Divine. In its widest sense this includes all Divine truth as received by finite minds, in heaven and in the Church, and even as it was in the mind of the Lord Himself, in the earlier period of His life on earth, while He was making His humanity truth Divine. In a less extended sense, Saul represented truth Divine such as this in the letter of the Word, and specifically the apparent truths of the letter, Jonathan representing its real truths. Jonathan's son now represented both. The letter of the Word consists, of necessity, in a great measure of apparent truths. Everything that comes from God into nature must put on nature. The human soul cannot live and act in the natural world without a natural body. Revelation cannot come from God into the natural world but by clothing itself with a natural sense, adapted to the understandings of men. The letter of the Word is, in the truest sense, a body, in which its spirit dwells, analogous to our own body, as the dwelling-place of the soul. All that in the Word concerns love to the Lord constitutes the heart, all that relates to faith in the Lord forms the lungs, or the spirit. These are the two vital principles which, pervade and animate the whole Word, and on which all its truths depend.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 289 The highest of these truths, those which relate to God, are the head; secondary truths, which relate to the neighbor, are the trunk; and the moral precepts and laws of duty are the hands and the feet. When all these parts are preserved in their order, connection, and integrity, the Church herself has a sound mind in a sound body. But this is far from being always the case. When the Lord was in the world, He declared to the leaders of the Jewish Church, that they had made the commandment of God of none effect by their tradition (Matt. xv. 6), and that they taught for doctrines the commandments of men (Mark vii. 7). With them the moral and intellectual power of the Word was gone. They neither walked in the truth nor in the good of religion; they neither performed their duties to God nor to man; they neither practiced sincerity nor integrity; they devoured widows' houses and for a pretence made long prayers (Matt. xxiii. 14). The foundations were removed, and the kingdom of God among men was threatened with dissolution. In truth, the kingdom as it had been established among the Jews, provisional and temporary as it was, like that of Saul, had come to its end, when a new foundation was to be laid, and an everlasting kingdom established, which was typified by that of David. "Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner-stone, a sure foundation" (I Sa. xxviii. 16). "I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth" (Jer. xxiii. 5). "Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon His kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever" (Isa. ix. 7).

There is a profound significance in the Lord being called a foundation and a foundation-stone. The Church on earth is the foundation of the Church in heaven, the literal sense of the Word is the foundation of its spiritual sense, the religious virtues are the foundation of the religious graces. The higher rest upon the lower, unsupported by which they are unsubstantial and evanescent. At the time of the Incarnation all these foundations had given way. The Lord came into the world to lay these foundations anew, and to lay them in such a way that they should never be moved. He laid them deep and sure in the human nature He assumed and glorified. For, in truth, all these foundations exist in man, and have no existence out of him. The Church on earth has no abstract existence. Nor does it exist in creeds and formularies. It has no actual existence but in the hearts and lives of men. This is equally true of the Word itself. As a book it is a mere dead letter. Only when its truths are received into the understanding and hearts of man, as principles and laws of life, has it any actual existence as a power on earth.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 290 The religious graces, as love to God and love to man, have no abstract existence, nor can they exist in the mind alone; they have no positive existence but in the virtues of a religious life. When these ultimates are wanting, or exist only in a perverted form, the Church and religion, and even the Word itself, as received in the human mind, is as a house built upon the sand, or as a man without the power to walk. This is the condition of truth Divine as represented by the son of Jonathan, who was lame in both his feet.

Put David took this child of misfortune under his care and protection, as David's Lord took our infirmities and carried our sorrows; so that He, as the Word made flesh, became the Word as flesh had made it, perverted and enfeebled. For what do we understand by the Word being made flesh? That He clothed Himself with a fleshly body? He assumed human nature, not merely a human body. And man's nature is human from his having the capacity of knowing and doing the will of God. Yet even this does not, strictly speaking, constitute humanity, but is only the capacity of becoming human. Humanity consists in knowing and doing the will of God. It is this that makes man human. The Lord took upon Him human nature, but He took it, as it had become through sin, maimed and distorted. "His visage was so marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men" (Isa. lii. 14). That only mars and deforms humanity which mars and deforms that which constitutes humanity.

But the Lord took humanity marred and deformed, that He might restore it to more than its original beauty of visage and perfection of form. He made humanity, not only as it is in its greatest possible perfection in men and angels, a form of truth, but He made it the Truth itself in form. This is glorification, and that for which the Lord prayed when He said, "Father, glorify Thou Me with Thine own self with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was" (John xvii. 5). The Lord restored and glorified His humanity in two ways, one external, the other internal. Knowledges, especially the truths of His Word, entered from without, and the life of His indwelling Divinity entered from within; as Mephibosheth had restored to him all the land of Saul, and was fed continually at the king's table. Our Lord pointed out this distinction regarding Himself His disciples were gone away into the city to buy food, and on their return, when they pressed Him to He told them that He had meat to eat that they knew not of (John iv. 32).

Mephibosheth, who represented the Lord's frail humanity, as truth Divine, was not indeed restored to soundness; for the account of his better fortunes closes with the words, "So Mephibosheth dwelt in Jerusalem: for he did eat continually at the king's table; and was lame on both his feet." But although not restored himself, he was restored in his son; for he "had a young son whose name was Micha."


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 291 And so far as we can rely on the meaning of names, those, in this instance, of parent, and child have a happy significance; for the father's name mean "Exterminating the idol," and the son's, "Who is like unto the Lord?"




2 Samuel x

GREAT events sometimes arise out of trifling circumstances, and bloody wars have been undertaken to redress some small wrong or revenge some slight or fancied insult. "The beginning of strife is as when one letteth out water," says Solomon (Prov. xvii. 14). Or it is like the cloud no bigger than a man's hand, which was quickly followed by a heaven black with clouds and wind, and a great rain (I Kings xviii. 44, 45). The whole cloud material was there, though invisible; and a slight electric change was all that was needed to produce a storm. So is it often in our public wars and private contentions. The warlike, and contentious spirit is there, and little suffices to let it loose, so as to deluge fields with blood and spread and perpetuate discord among men. But the interest and honour of nations must be maintained, and men must stand upon their personal rights. By all means. But in our times, and with the nations and people of Christendom, let it be on Christian principles. Those who lived in less enlightened ages, and under a less perfect religious dispensation, must be judged by a lower standard.

This chapter of the Book of Samuel gives an exemplification of serious consequences resulting from an apparently slight offence. The King of the children of Ammon died; and David said, "I will show kindness unto Hanum the son of Nahash, as his father showed kindness unto me. And David sent to comfort him by the hand of his servants for his father." The princes of the Ammonites persuaded the new king that David have an interested motive in this ambassage. "Wherefore Hanun took Davids servants, and shaved off the one half of their beards, and cut off their garments in the middle, even to their buttocks, and them away." As the men were greatly ashamed, the king said, "Tarry at Jericho until your beards be grown, and then return." The result of this insult was war, first with the Ammonites, aided by the Syrians, in which they were defeated, and next with the Syrians themselves, in which David slew the men of seven hundred chariots, and forty thousand horsemen, and, reduced them to servitude.



There is no account elsewhere of Nahash, the king of Ammon, showing kindness to David. This Nahash is supposed to be the son of the Ammonitish king who, forty years earlier, besieged Jabesh-gilead, which was relieved by Saul. Though an hereditary enemy of Israel, he might show kindness to David, as did Achish, king of the Philistines, while Saul was their common enemy. David, in his prosperity, desired to return to the son the kindness that the father had showed him in his adversity. But why should David desire to cultivate friendly relations with the king of the Ammonites? The children of Ammon were of the nations with whom the children of Israel might make peace, representing, as one of these remote from Canaan, what could be subordinated to right principles. David might, therefore, lawfully send to Hanun a message of condolence on the death of his father. But there was now on the throne of Ammon a king that knew not David, whom his princes easily persuaded to distrust and insult. The treatment to which the king subjected David's messengers was, according to the ideas of the times, most ignominious. Those messengers were no doubt men of rank, whose flowing beards and rich and ample apparel reflected the dignity and grandeur of the court to which they belonged and the king they represented, and were intended to show honour to those to whom they came. To have refused their message, would have been discourteous and unfriendly, but besides this, to send them away with half of their beards shaved off and their garments cut so as to shamefully expose their persons, was certainly a wanton insult and great indignity. Our principal concern is to understand what it means and what instruction it affords.

The hair in general and the beard in particular, and the garments, are so often spoken of in Scripture in what is called a figurative sense, that it is not necessary to show that they have a symbolic meaning. We need only to consider what their meaning is.

It would be an interesting inquiry, why the Creator has given a natural covering to animals, which he has denied to, or but sparingly bestowed on man. Without attempting to discuss so large a subject, a few remarks upon it maybe ventured. One of the fathers of the Development theory, while believing that Nature has done all else for man, cannot help thinking that we must recognise the hand of God in this. According to this admission, man's peculiar condition in this respect is at least evidence of design. This we need not stop to consider. We do not so much desire to know its economical purpose, as to ascertain its secondary cause, and thence its meaning. First of all, it implies because it necessitates, the existence in man of a reasoning power.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 293 The being who is thus circumstanced, and has to provide what his condition requires, must see the connection between end and these truths, power means, and between cause and effect. May not that mental power truths, which sees the bodily need and exerts itself to supply it, have had some share, as a secondary cause, in producing it? All creatures are the organized forms of their own nature. They are made for the life they are intended to lead. Their whole structure, even to the hair and feathers, and scales with which they are covered, is a development of their nature, and an adaptation to their mode of life. The animal soul clothes itself with an animal body, in every particular its own image, of God of none and therefore its own instrument. This is equally true of man. The human soul clothes itself with a human body, because this is its form, its image, its instrument. But there is this important difference between an animal and a man. An animal is born with all the knowledge which its nature requires. Man is born only with the faculty of knowledge, not with any undeveloped fund of knowledge, yet with the inflowing light of discernment. Animals are born with clothed minds, and as a consequence they are born with clothed bodies. They neither sow nor reap, nor toil nor spin to feed and clothe their bodies, because neither labour nor skill is required of them to feed and clothe their minds. The Creator has given man a naked body because He has given him an unclothed mind. Man has, by study and labour, to acquire knowledge, and as a consequence, he has to acquire the materials and form them into garments for his body. In brief, the clothing of animals grows out of their bodies because their knowledge grows out of their minds. Man has to acquire and put raiment on his body, because he has to acquire and put garments on his mind. It is on this ground that there is an analogy between the knowledge that clothes the mind and the garments that clothe the body.

Yet the human body is not left without a natural covering entirely. The head in all, and the lower part of the face in man, have a covering for beauty and glory. This, too, has its origin in correspondence. The celestial degree of the mind, to which the head corresponds, is in its nature and activity spontaneous. The men of the celestial Church did not, and the celestial angels do not, like the spiritual, lay up their truths in the memory and their garments in the wardrobe, and put them on as occasion requires. The celestials apply the truths they acquire immediately to the life. There is an important difference, however, between the hair of the head and the beard. The hair of the head comes by birth, the beard comes with manhood. And as the period of manhood is that in which reason asserts its power and assumes its sway, and as man, by the exercise of his reason, passes from knowledge into intelligence, therefore the beard is the emblem of intelligence, as indeed the face is of the rational mind, out of which it grows.



As knowledge is to the mind what clothing is to the body, this is the Scripture meaning of garments. But that to which they correspond is the knowledge of Divine and spiritual things, or, truth as the vesture of goodness. As the hair and the garments serve a similar use, they have a similar meaning. There is this difference: the hair corresponds to that truth which celestial goodness puts forth, and garments correspond to those truths which spiritual goodness puts on; one comes by immediate, the other by mediate influx, or, one comes from within, the other from without.

One more particular respecting the hair and the garments. As a covering for the body they answer to the ultimate truths of the mind, in which its inward principles terminate, and which preserve them in their integrity and connection. So that when those ultimate truths are removed, the effects on the mind are like those which the removal of the hair and garments would have on the body. Besides being exposed to injuries, the vital heat would be dissipated, and disease would in all probability speedily bring its existence to a close. So with the mind.

Hanun did not, however, denude Davids messengers entirely of their hair and garments. His purpose was not so much to injure as to insult, to express contempt for the king of Israel, and cast ridicule upon his servants. The Ammonitish king and his advisers were like' those who not only refuse to receive the messengers of the King of kings, the prophets and evangelists, but who heap up contempt and ridicule upon them. Their mode of manifesting their contempt is very significant. They shaved off half the men's beards and cut their garments in the middle. In its evil sense, to halve is to divide, to divide is to dissipate, and to dissipate is to destroy. The act of king Hanun represents, therefore, a state of antagonism to Divine and spiritual truth of a very decided and hopeless kind. Simple denial of revealed religion, deeply mistaken though it is, may be sincere, and resolved upon after serious reflection. But when denial not only refuses to listen to the message of peace and goodwill, but treats the messengers with contempt and ridicule, unbelief is not only intellectual but moral denial. It is like the treatment to which the Lord Himself was subjected in the Proetorium, when, with daring derision, they took off His own garments and dressed Him in a purple robe, and put a crown upon His head and a reed in His hand, and saluted Him with, Hail, King of the Jews! Another representative act of those who crucified the Lord more formally resembles that of Hanun to the messengers of 'David, and has a similar meaning. The soldiers parted the Lord's garment. They did not indeed divide it in two but four parts; but four has often the same meaning as two, the multiple of numbers having the same general meaning as the roots.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 295 The Lord's outer garment, which was the one the. soldiers divided, represented, in relation to Him as the Word, the literal sense of the Word, which contains, supports, and preserves its Divine and spiritual senses; and when that is rent and divided, it is practically destroyed; and the higher truths which express themselves through the lower, though, like the Lord's seamless garment, preserved entire, are disposed of by the providential decision of the lot, so as to save it from division and profanation. For profanation is one of the evils represented by division, and is one of the evils represented by the Ammonites. But how do the evil divide the truth? Not as the workman, who has shown himself approved unto God, rightly divides the Word of truth (2 Tim. ii. 15), giving to every one according to his capacity. The division of truth by the evil is not the apposition, but the opposition division of truth to truth, and especially of truth and goodness. But how can one truth be brought into conflict with another truth? With the letter of Scripture this can be done, and often is done, by placing its apparent truths in opposition to its real truths, which produces seeming contradiction. Some also who reject the Word of God, do so, partly at least, on the ground that its tendency, if not its teaching, is immoral, and that its human authors, besides whom they acknowledge no other, under the guise of doing men service, seek only to seduce and enslave them; just as the princes of the children of Ammon suggested to Hanun their lord, "Thinkest thou that David doth honour thy father, that he hath sent comforters unto thee? hath not David rather sent his servants unto thee, to search the city, and to spy out, and to overthrow it?" The Ammonites, we have said, represented those who profane truth-those who maintain, not only that the truths of the Scriptures are divided against themselves, but that they are hostile to goodness, because they lead men to neglect their true interests in this world in order to secure an imaginary happiness in a world which has no existence.

It is true there is a deeper kind of profanation than this, which is committed by those who first believe the truth and then deny it. This arises, not from a change of mind only, but from a change of heart. No one who has really believed the truth of God can reject it unless his faith has been undermined by evil. Yet we must draw a distinction between the truth as it is revealed in the Word of God, and as it is represented to be in human creeds. These forms of faith may be matter of belief and afterwards of denial, without the truth itself being absolutely rejected.

But there are the victims as well as the subjects of this unbelief to be considered, the messengers of David as well as the princes of Hanun.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 296 Viewed abstractly, these represented the truths themselves which the spiritual Ammonites profane, the prophets and apostles as present with us in their writings. But the messengers of David represent also those who acknowledge the truth, which the prophets and apostles have written, those who are in the faith of the truth, and belong to the Lord's kingdom. How do these suffer injury from those represented by the Ammonites? and how is the injury to be repaired?

Two circumstances recorded in the earlier part of the Hebrew Scriptures will help us to understand the nature of the injury sustained by David's servants. When Joseph's brethren sold him to the Ishmaelite, they stripped him of his coat, which they made use of to deceive their father and conceal their own wickedness. When Joseph fled in horror from the enticements of his mistress, she caught hold of and retained his garment, which she employed as evidence against him, so that he was cast into prison. The spiritual meaning of these circumstances is this. When the faithful are deprived of ultimate truth, they are left unprotected; and that which was given as a defence is even turned in the hands of their enemies into a testimony against them. How is this? Those who are opposed to the truth of Scripture seize on the apparent truths of the letter, and employ them to invalidate its real truths, and thus to prove what is false to be true, and what is good to be evil; as Joseph's enemies did in regard to him. It is a cause of great distress to tile faithful to see what they hold sacred thus profaned, by men seizing and mutilating the ultimate truths of the Word, to show that the teaching of the Holy Book is neither true nor good. And not the least dangerous enemies of revealed truth are some of its professed friends, whose laboured criticisms and materialistic systems of interpretation Lend to degrade the Word to the level of a common writing, composed by men with views as different as were those of the times in which they lived. This, it is true, affects only the letter of the Word. But the letter of the Word is the clothing of its spirit. And when that is marred and severed from its spirit, which is the Spirit of God, it has breathed into it the spirit of man, which is that of its human interpreter.

But in the Scriptures these oppositions of the false to the true and the evil to the good are, in the spiritual sense, descriptive of oppositions in the mind itself, as inward trials of faith and love. In the mind of the spiritual man, or of him who is becoming spiritual, doubts and difficulties arise on those very points and questions, which the natural man settles either by an easy or elaborate negation. There is no solid and settled faith without intellectual conflict, no deep and abiding love without moral temptations. The Egyptian and the Philistine, the Moabite and the Ammonite have all to be encountered and overcome in the errors and evils which they represent.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 297 The Ammonitish principle assails us when we are tempted to doubt the Divinity and spirituality of the Word, on the ground covered by the question, How can that be, in its essence, Divine and spiritual, which, in its form, is, in many instances, so human as to be inconsistent and contradictory, and so natural as to be concerned with the affairs of the world only? There are doubts to which the young Christian is perhaps most liable. He looks at the Word more with the eye of science than with that of spiritual discernment. It is but right that he should. By all means let him bring his scientific faculty and knowledge to bear upon the Scriptures. But let him not trust to these alone. There is, however, a time, or rather a state in the experience of every earnest inquirer, even when he inquires in an affirmative spirit, when these doubts are so prominent and so powerful as seemingly to deprive him of half his faith. It is a favourable sign if, in this state of mind, which seems to be forced upon him, he feels distressed and ashamed. There is the sure ground of hope in such a state of mind. It prepares it for hearing and following the counsel that will repair the temporary loss he has suffered, and restore him to a more perfect spiritual faith. The counsel to such tempted ones is that given by David to his insulted messengers: "Tarry at Jericho until your beards be grown, and then return."

Jericho was the first city to which the children came after they had crossed the Jordan and entered the Promised Land. As in passing through the Jordan the Israelites received a second baptism, the first being that unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea (I Cor. x. 2), these two answering to the baptism of John and that of Jesus; and as those who pass through baptism are to be instructed in the truth of Jesus and to enter on a new life instruction in new and higher truths, and a new life in accordance with them, were represented by Jericho. What, then, are the truths instruction in which are the requisite means for restoring to the intellect the intelligence and power of faith?

To those whose scientific faculty and knowledge have brought them into distrustful doubt, there is a science which will resolve all scientific doubt, because it enters into and enlightens all science. The science of Correspondence is the science of sciences. Creation was framed and the Word of God was written according to the law of correspondence. This explains the nature of the connection which exists between God the Creator and His works, and between God the Revealer and His revelation. It explains the nature of the connection which exists between the works of God and His Word, and between the different parts of these with each other. Correspondence is the universal bond that holds all things in connection and in harmony with God and with each other. We all acknowledge the intimate connection that exists between the words and works of men.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 298 If a man is perfectly sincere, his words and his works are but two different modes of expressing his mind. His will and understanding are manifested equally in both; and each might be translated into the other. Few seem to think that there is as perfect a connection or correspondence between the words and the works of God. Yet this must absolutely be the case. The correspondence between Creation and Revelation being perfect, we should regard them both in the same way. If we look at the works of God only sensually and superficially, we see many things under an appearance which is widely different from, and sometimes opposite to, the reality. Where would have been the science of astronomy if men had never looked up into the heavens with any other eye but that of sense? Where would have been the science of geology if men had never looked deeper than the surface of the earth? On the same ground, where would true theology be if men looked no deeper into the book of God than the letter? Besides these and other intellectual considerations that counteract the influence of negative reasoning from science, there is a moral consideration of the very highest importance in the settlement of doubts. "If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God" (John vii. 17). "He that is of God heareth God's words" (viii. 47). These are among the lessons we have to learn for the strengthening of our faith, in a state of trial such as that represented by the sufferings of the messengers of the king of Israel to the king of the Ammonites.

Although David must have felt keenly the insult that had been offered him by Hanun, he does not appear to have meditated any swift revenge. The Ammonites were the first to move; and in doing so, they perhaps only anticipated what they knew must happen. "When the children of Ammon saw that they stank before David, the children of Ammon sent and hired the Syrians of Beth-rehob, and the Syrians of Zoba, twenty thousand footmen, and of king Maacah a thousand men, and of Ish-tob twelve thousand men." Against these combined forces David sent Joab, who defeated them, and returned to Jerusalem. But the Syrians gathered themselves together again. "And Hadarezer sent, and brought out the Syrians that were beyond the river: and they came to HelanO There David himself at the head of the Israelitish army met them, and slew the men of seven hundred chariots and forty thousand horsemen. Then "all the kings that were servants to Hadarezer made peace with Israel, and served them. So the Syrians feared to help the children of Ammon any more."

It would occupy too much space to enter into the particulars of this narrative. We have recently seen David engaged in war with several of the Syrian nations, whom he conquered and made tributary. But the same spiritual evil, like the same natural enemy, is not always, when once defeated, entirely subdued. Old evils enter into new combinations, and call up others to strengthen their forces.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 299 For there is a confederacy between things evil as there is a connection or confederacy between things good. David speaks of this in the Psalms, "Thine enemies make a tumult: . . . they are confederate against Thee: the tabernacles of Edom, and the Ishmaelites; of Moab, and the Hagarenes; Gebal, and Ammon, and Amalek; the Philistines with the inhabitants of Tyre; Assur also is joined with them; they have holpen the children of Lot" (lxxxiii. 2, 5-8). Almost all the nations which have appeared in the historical part of the Word on which we have been engaged, are introduced here, and they are all confederate against God, to help the children of Lot, as the Syrians are here. But not only do evils and falsities become confederate among themselves, but evil becomes confederate with good and falsity with truth. "Syria is confederate with Ephraim," is recorded of a time in the Jewish history which represented the Church in the last stage of its decline, and is therefore followed by the Divine promise, "Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son" (Isa. Vii. 2, 14). The mixture of principles in their nature opposite is the worst kind of profanation. But even in these times, and in the worst states of temptation, the faithful have an unfailing support and guide, sufficient, if they but trust and follow Him, to overcome all the power of the enemy, and to break up the confederacy so far, at least, as that the Syrians shall fear to help the children of Ammon any more.



2 Samud xi.

It is impossible long to peruse the record of human transactions without having cause to mourn over the frailty of human nature history, both sacred and secular, is, to a considerable extent, a record of the vices and follies of mankind. It was meet that the Book which reveals the origin of evil and the fall of man, should trace the evil through its devious course, and exhibit the consequences of the fall in the darker doings of corrupt humanity. However painful these may be to our better feelings, and indelicate some of them may seem to out conventional sentiments, they are all capable of producing beneficial effects, when rightly contemplated. The purpose of Revelation, in recording such transactions, is to place crime before us, not only as, evil, but as sin; to point it out, not only as a breach of the laws of man but as a violation of the laws of God; to show us that the Lord has placed our secret sins in the light of His countenance; and that the sinner, though he may be above the reach of human authority, shall not escape the judgment of a righteous God.



A striking exemplification of this is given in the case of David in the double crime he committed in the matter of Bathsheba.

There are some reflections that can hardly fail to arise in our minds in reading the narrative of David's sins, and which it may be necessary to consider before proceeding to speak of its more interior sense.

It may not be necessary to employ much time in meeting the not uncommon objection, How, viewing such conduct, can David have been called a man after God's own heart? It is abundantly proved that this could not have been affirmed of him in regard to his personal, but his official and representative character; for it is not the man, but the function that represents. This is evident from David's own treatment of Saul, whom he regarded and treated as the Lord's anointed.

There is another and still more serious difficulty. How could David, in such acts as those of which he had been guilty, represent the Lord, or even the regenerate man? The fact, which has been already stated, must be kept in mind, that evil actions committed by representative men represent, in the Lord and in the regenerate, not acts but temptations. Nor are they to be understood as temptations to commit those very acts of which David and others were guilty; but temptations which have a much deeper ground, and go much more to the root of evil, which grows up and branches out into the numerous forms of sin that men commit. All evil has its primary root in self-love, which is the opposite of love to God. Love to God is the root of all goodness, for even love to the neighbor grows out of love to God. And these two loves comprehend all goodness, for on them hang all the law and the prophets. In like manner the love of the world grows out of the love of self; and these two loves comprehend all that is opposed to goodness, for all evils are opposed to the law and the prophets. As love to God thus comprehends all religion, the love of self comprehends all irreligion; as the one includes all righteousness, the other includes all unrighteousness. What the apostle calls sins of the flesh have their root in self-love as truly as any other sins. Self-love is at the root of whatever we do to gratify our own, desires without regard to the welfare and happiness of others. And what can be more greedily and basely selfish than to gratify the lust of the flesh at the expense of all that is most precious to a human being upon earth, not to speak of the effects which are spiritual and may be eternal?

It is in this way we are to look at sin and at temptation. Christian temptation is not simply that which comes from external objects, exciting our desires and alluring us to sinful acts.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 301 These no doubt are temptations. But real spiritual temptations may be endured without externally exciting causes, if causes they can be called, for they are rather the occasions than the causes of sin. The causes, as well as the ends, are within us. Unless these are removed, sin is never put away, the axe is never laid at the root of the tree; we are content to try to lop off the branches. Temptation goes to the root of evil, to the end and the cause; and not until we endure and overcome such temptations are we in the true way of being perfected by suffering. The Lord took upon Him all our hereditary evils, which had their root in His maternal humanity. That root descended, so to speak, into the lowest hell, from which, through that hereditary root, His deepest and direst temptations came, and in overcoming which He carried His redeeming power to the very root of evil and to the lowest depths of Satan; so that He is now able to succour them that are tempted, however severe their temptations may be.

In the transaction we have been considering, David committed the two greatest crimes of which a man can be guilty, and they must therefore have represented the Lord's deepest temptations. To see the true nature of the two evils he committed, and so to understand something of the depth of the temptations they represented, we must inquire into their spiritual origin. And this we cannot better ascertain than in the Writings of the Church:-

"The origin of love truly conjugal is the love of the Lord towards the Church, whence the Lord is called in the Word the Bridegroom, and the church the bride and wife. From this marriage the Church is a church, both in general and in particular; and the Church in particular is the man in whom the Church is. Hence it is evident e conjunction of the Lord with the man of the Church is the origin of true conjugal love. How that conjunction is the origin of this love shall be explained. The conjunction of the Lord with the man of the Church is the conjunction of goodness and truth. From the Lord is goodness, and with man is truth. Hence the conjunction is called the heavenly marriage, from which exists love truly conjugal between married partners who are in the conjunction of goodness and truth from the Lord. Hence it is first evident that love truly conjugal is from the Lord alone, and with those who are in the conjunction goodness and truth from Him. Now since the origin of conjugal love is the marriage of, goodness and truth, which is heaven, it is manifest that the origin of the love of adultery is the marriage of evil and falsity, which in its essence is hell. Heaven is marriage, because all who are in the heavens are in the marriage of goodness and truth and hell is adultery, because all who are in the hells are in the marriage of evil and falsity. Hence it follows that marriage and adultery are as opposite to each other as heaven and hell.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 302 The love of marriage corresponds to the love of the supreme heaven, which is love to the Lord from the Lord, and the love of adultery corresponds to the love of the lowest hell. The reason why the love of marriage is so holy and celestial is that it commences from the Lord Himself in the inmost parts of man, and descends according to order to the ultimate parts of the body, and thereby fills the whole man with celestial love, and induces in him a form of Divine love, which form is the form of heaven, and is an image of the Lord. But the love of adultery commences from the ultimate parts of man, and from an impure lascivious fire there, and thence, contrary to order, penetrates towards the interiors, always into man's selfhood, which is nothing but evil, and induces therein a form of hell, which is an image of the devil.

"The good works of chastity which concern married partners are, spiritual and celestial loves, intelligence and wisdom, innocence and peace, power and protection against the hells. The evils consequent upon adulteries are opposite to these. Instead of spiritual and celestial loves are infernal and diabolical loves; instead of intelligence and wisdom there are insanities and follies; instead of innocence and peace are deceit and no peace; instead of power and protection against hell are demons themselves, and the hells; and instead of beauty there is deformity. . . . Adulteries correspond to the adulterations and defilements of goodness and truth." So far respecting David's violation of one commandment. What is involved in his violation of the other?

"In the spiritual celestial sense, Thou shalt not kill, means, Thou shalt not take away from man the faith and love of God, and thereby his spiritual life, this being homicide itself; for by virtue of this life man is man, the life of the body serving thereto as the instrumental cause serves the principal cause. From this spiritual homicide moral homicide is derived, wherefore he who is in the one is also in the other; for he who wills to take away man's spiritual life, is in hatred against him if be cannot take it away, for he hates his faith and love, and thus the man himself. Spiritual homicide, which is that of faith and love; moral homicide, which is that of fame and honour; and natural homicide, which is that of the body, are consequent in a series, one from the other, as cause and effect. Since all who are in hell are in hatred against the Lord, and thence in hatred against heaven, for they are against goodness and truth, therefore hell is the very homicide or murderer itself, whence homicide or murder proceeds. The reason is this: man is man from the Lord through the reception of goodness and truth, wherefore to destroy goodness and truth is to destroy what constitutes humanity itself, thus to kill the man."

But there is this to be taken into consideration in regard to David's Sins.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 303 The principles which have been themselves, but the guilt attaching to those who act against them is in proportion to the moral and spiritual light they enjoy. Under the, Jewish dispensation men did not see the sinfulness of such violation s of the law so clearly as Christians do. Indeed polygamy, which the law, sanctioned, and in which they lived, was inconsistent with the true idea of marriage, and therefore with a clear conception of the sinfulness of violating its sanctity; and comparatively little value was then set on human life, because they had but an obscure notion of the soul and of its eternal existence. To us who live under a higher dispensation, to which the true nature and the sanctity of marriage, and the true nature of the soul and of the future life have been so fully made known, the lessons which these sins teach are most solemn.

We see from the teaching of the Writings how holy marriage is, and bow great is the sin of those who violate its sanctity; how precious the soul of man is, and bow sinful it is to destroy its spiritual life The violation of what is most holy and the destruction of what is most precious lie at the root of David's two sins. The two spiritual evils are most destructive of the Church, as the two natural evils are of human society. They are the evils in which the spirits of darkness are most deeply involved; and are the most directly and deeply opposed to the love of God and man, in which the angels of heaven are principled, and which they embody most perfectly in the sanctity, of marriage, and in the intense love of the human soul, which makes them all ministering spirits, and inspires them with joy over every, sinner that repents. In short, heaven and hell are opposed to each other as life and death, purity and impurity.

Now the Lord in His temptations had the angels with Him although He took nothing from them; because, as His maternal humanity brought Him into connection with all the hells, His Paternal humanity brought Him into connection with all the heavens; so that while the Lord as the Redeemer was conquering the hells, He was at the same time and in the same degree ordinating the heavens; and in this, way establishing the equilibrium between heaven and bell, on which the spiritual freedom of the human race, because of the human will, depends. But as hell could not be subdued, so heaven could not be ordinated, without conflict. The angels of heaven as well as the spirits of hell retain the selfhood, or proprium, which is the ground of their conscious existence as individual human beings. This in its very nature is opposed to the Divine, but only in the way that the centrifugal force of the planets is opposed to the centripetal of attractive force of the sun. If the planets had not the tendency to fly off from the sun as their centre they would fall into it, and could therefore have no individual separate existence;


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 304 and if the sun did not attract them, they would fly off into space and be lost or destroyed. So comparatively with God and man. God, as man's Creator, has given him a selfhood, as the ground of his individuality, which, from its very nature, tends outwards, away from the Author of his existence and Fountain of his life; but his Creator exerts an attractive force which is equal to the contrary force exerted by the creature. This applies when man is in a state of order. For, unlike the planet, man has free-will and can overcome the attractive force of Divine love, and wander away into the spiritual region of darkness and death. That region is hell; for hell is nothing more than wilful separation from God, and determined opposition to Him, and to all that is with Him, therefore to His kingdom on earth and in heaven. Angels are with the Lord, and yet their selfhood is against Him. In this is grounded the singular fact that, in the great work of redemption, the Lord was tempted even by the angels, nay, that the severest of His temptations were from that source. And this, in the highest sense, is involved in David's temptation in the matter of Bathsheba.

But in effecting redemption the Lord had a work to perform in His Church on earth as well as in His Church in heaven. Redemption included among its immediate objects the establishment of a Church on earth, as the basis for the Church in heaven, and as the means of saving souls, and thus supplying heaven with inhabitants. And in the internal sense it is to this that the history of David and Bathsheba relates.

Bathsheba was the wife of Uriah the Hittite. "The Hittites were among the better sort of inhabitants of the land of Canaan, as may appear from the circumstance that Abraham dwelt among them, and afterwards Isaac and Jacob, and were also buried there; and they behaved themselves with piety and modesty towards Abraham, as is manifest from Genesis xxiii. Hence it is that this people, as a well-disposed nation, represented the spiritual Church. But it came to pass with them as with the rest of the nations who composed the ancient Church, that in process of time they declined from charity or the good of faith, and hence they afterwards signified the false principle of the Church, as in Ezekiel xvi. 3, 45 (where Jerusalem is reproached with having been an Amorite and her mother a Hittite). Still the Hittites were among the more honourable, as may appear from the consideration that Hittites were attendant on David, as Ahimelech (I Sam. xxvi. 6), and Uriah (2 Sam. Xi. 3), whose wife was Bathsheba, of whom David had Solomon." But the circumstance that has more particular relation to the present subject is the burial of Sarah, Abraham's wife, in the land of the Hittites, who were the children of Heth. Sarah died in Hebron, which we have seen represented the spiritual Church; and there Abraham buried her in the field of Ephron.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 305 "And the field, and the cave that is therein, were made sure unto Abraham for a possession of a burying-place by the son of Heth." Sarah represented the Church, and burial signifies resurrection. Abraham burying Sarah among the children of Heth, was representative of the Lord raising up a Church among the Gentiles, when the former Church had expired. This Church was also represented by Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah the Hittite. It may be, difficult to see bow a criminal connection can represent anything that is good. And yet we know there are in Scripture things evil that are types of things good, and things false that are types of things true. This seeming inconsistency originates in the circumstance that evil is the perversion of good, and falsity is the perversion of truth; and when the perversion is removed the good and the truth remain. Evil and falsity have no original or independent existence. Evil is nothing without reference to good, falsity is nothing without reference to truth. If there had been no such thing as good, there could have been no such thing as evil; if there had been no such thing as truth, there would have been no such thing as error or falsity. On this ground the connection between Lot and his daughters had a good as well as a bad representation; so had that between Judah and his daughter-in-law Tamar, through whom, as afterwards through the harlot Rahab, came the seed royal, and finally the Messiah. Although, naturally, this tells us that on the Lord was made to rest, by hereditary transmission, the iniquity of us all; yet, spiritually, the Lord's progenitors represented the remains of goodness and truth, of all kinds and degrees, which the Lord acquired from His birth upwards. David's first connection with Bathsheba represented the conjunction which existed between the Lord and the Gentiles before the Church, in its true sense, was established amongst them. The universal Church has, indeed, in all times and under all dispensations, included the Gentiles, since it includes all who, are in the good of their religion, whatever that religion may be. But Gentile good, though not false, is spurious, because it is good unenlightened and unpurified, like the good of childhood. Yet that good, like the good of childhood, is very beautiful to look upon, as Bathsheba was; and although it is not pure, it desires purity, and employs such means of purification as the Gentiles possess, or as the Church may indirectly supply, as the woman was washing herself when David from the roof of his house beheld her. The conjunction of the Lord with the Gentiles, when the Church was established among them, was represented by the connection that existed between David and Bathsheba when she became his wife, the marriage of the Lord and the Church being the result of the union of goodness and truth; for Gentile good becomes Christian good when it is enlightened and purified by, and united to, Christian truth.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 306 The fruits of these two dissimilar conjunctions were represented by the child born, whom the Lord smote that he died, and by Solomon the wise, who succeeded David on the throne. All good is from the Lord; but good from the Lord is not genuine good in us unless it is united to truth, and the fruit of such good has not true spiritual life in it. When good is united to truth, then, from this union, which is the heavenly marriage, the fruit of wisdom and righteousness is produced.

Such is a general view of the spiritual meaning of this inspired record, which, while it stands as a great moral and religious warning, teaches a high spiritual truth.

As all evil is, as far as possible, turned by Divine providence to some substantial good, this evil has produced some results that may be profitable to the Church in all future times. To David's crime we owe the penitential psalm, through which the prostrate sinner breathes the very language of a broken and contrite heart; and which assuredly shows the royal sinner's repentance to have been sincere and deep. One should never read the account of David's crime without reading also the utterance of his contrition. It would do much to temper the severity of our judgment respecting him, and to diffuse over our minds a feeling of reverential awe in the presence of Him who alone can give us power to resist temptation as well as grant us pardon for our sins. The fifty-first psalm is so perfectly full of the beauties of holiness, and they are linked together in such perfect harmony, that it seems like doing violence to the whole to part them asunder.

Another benefit the Church has received from David's sin is that beautiful lesson of active piety and wise resignation which he displayed, one during the illness, the other at the death of his child. "The Lord struck the child that Uriah's wife bare unto David, and it was very sick. David therefore besought God for the child; and David fasted, and went in, and lay all night upon the earth." On the seventh day the child died, and his servants feared to tell him that the child was dead, concluding that, as he refused all comfort while the child alive, he would vex himself much more on hearing of his death. But David acted a wiser and more consistent part. When David perceived from his servants' whisperings what they feared to tell, he rose from the earth, and anointed himself, and changed his apparel, and came into the house of the Lord, and worshipped: then he came to his own house; and when he required, they set bread before him, and he did eat. When his servants remarked on this strange conduct, he said, "While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept; for I said, who can tell whether God will be gracious to me that the child may live? But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me." This is conduct which Christian would do well to imitate, and the reasons on which it was grounded Christians would do wisely to, adopt as their own.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 307 Under David's circumstances, earnest prayer and pious resignation are equally dutiful and perfectly consistent. While there is hope we may send up the prayer of faith. Yet even in this prayer there should be resignation, whether unuttered or expressed, as in the words of the Lord Himself, "nevertheless, not as I will, but as Thou wilt." When the issue is no longer uncertain, what should be our course but meek and quiet submission? It is hard to part with the objects of our love, who are a part of ourselves and of our very life. But wherefore should we afflict our souls? We cannot bring one of them back. And we can say with more enlightened views of life and immortality, and with a brighter hope than David had, I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me."



2 Samuel xii.

IT is not perhaps desirable to enter into the particulars of this painful history, the bare mention of which is sufficient to rend our hearts, and impel us, like the lepers of old, to cry, Unclean, unclean. For the moral leprous spot, which broke out in this representative man, is exhibited in Scripture, not only to warn us against such uncleanness, but to remind us that we all inherit the propensity to which he yielded in temptation. We will consider David's double crime as so expressively described in the parable of Nathan, when that prophet was sent by the Lord to reprove David for his sin, and pronounce the judgment of Divine justice against him. The exposition has appeared elsewhere, but this is the place it originally occupied.

David had now accomplished his object. Bathsheba had become his wife. This was more than he originally intended. But this result of his sinful indulgence had been forced upon him by the self-denial of a faithful servant, who had forfeited his life to his continency. Whether David's conscience was entirely at ease we know not. He had added iniquity to his sin. But he had done it secretly. No one knew of his dark device but Joab. And he was too faithful a representative of the rational faculty, which easily becomes the servile instrument of an overmastering passion. Had David's crime been generally known, he might have been pricked by the stings of that social or conventional conscience which we call shame. But as it was hid from men, David seems to have felt as if his were hid in his own heart.


FIRST THREE KINGS OF ISRAEL p. 308 But there was an eye, that eye to which all things lie open, that was ever upon him, and that looked through him, in the motions of his criminal passion, and in the schernings of his fertile brain. "The thing that David had done displeased the Lord. And the Lord sent Nathan unto David." The presence of Nathan did not call David's sin to his remembrance, and it was not the prophet's purpose to charge him directly with it. He adopted a more prudent course, and one that was eminently successful, not only of convicting but convincing the king of his guilt.

The kings of Israel, like those of most other nations of that period, were the judges as well as the rulers of their people. The prophet availed himself of this circumstance to perform his important but delicate mission with the greatest certainty of success. He appeared in the presence of the Israelitish monarch as a claimant for justice to an injured Israelite. Addressing the royal judge, he took up his parable, and said, "There were two men in one city; the one rich, and the other poor. The rich man had exceeding many flocks and herds: but the poor man had nothing, save one little ewe lamb, which he had bought and nourished up: and it grew up together with him, and with his children; it did eat of his own meat, and drank of his own cup, and lay in his bosom, and was unto him as a daughter. And there came a traveller unto the rich man, and he spared to take of his own flock and of his own herd, to dress for the wayfaring man; but took the poor man's lamb, and dressed it for the man that was come to him." On hearing the recital of this heartless act of cruelty and oppression, David's anger was greatly kindled against the man, and he said to Nathan, "As the Lord liveth, the man that hath done this thing shall surely die: and he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing and because he had no pity." By this righteous decree the first object of the prophet was attained. The royal judge had admitted the justice of the poor man's cause, and had pronounced sentence against his rich oppressor. While David's zeal for justice and his generous indignation against the rich man were yet hot, the prophet, with the authority and power of a messenger from the judge of all the earth, pronounced in his ears the awful words, "Thou art the man. Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul; and I gave thee thy master's house, and thy master's wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah. Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the Lord, to do evil in His sight? Thou hast killed Uriah with the sword, and taken his wife to be thy wife."

No case could more strikingly point the moral delivered in the writings of the Apostle, "He that judgeth another judges himself when he doeth the same things."



All men have a perception of abstract justice. In some it may be clearer than in others, but in none is it entirely wanting. In a certain sense, and to a certain extent, the Divine law is still written on the human mind, though unhappily not now upon the human heart; and written too with the finger of God; for He is the Author of every perception which the mind has of right and wrong, of justice and injustice. And not only has every one a perception of abstract justice, but he is able, almost unerringly, to apply it for the regulation of his own conduct. By the power of reflex judgment he can see that, in condemning any evil in another, he condemns that evil in himself. The same power enables him to apply a still more comprehensive law, the law of equity, "Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them." This, it is true, is not only a natural but a revealed law: it is" the law and the prophets." But the laws of nature and of revelation are in harmony; for the same God is the Author of both. Were man in a state of nature, by which we can a state of order, such as that in which he was created he would have the law of his nature, which is the law of God, written in his heart, and would require no outward revelation. But having departed from his original sta