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signed to give them a king, why did he not give them a king in a way that would have presented them with no occasion of rejecting himself as king? God designed to show what rebellion was in them, and his Providence manifests this, even in the way of fulfilling his own purposes, which coincide with theirs. Here is sovereignty.


Saul must be anointed by Samuel to be king of Israel. How is this to be effected ? The asses of Kish, the father of Saul, must go astray ; Saul must be sent by his father to seek them ; they must not be found by him; he is providentially led in a course that places him in the neighbourhood of the city where Samuel was at the time; it is suggested to Saul by his servant to inquire of the Prophet, when he him. self had resolved to return to his father's house ; Saul and his servant arrived at the city in which Samuel was, just at the time that served the purpose, and every thing succeeded to bring about the event which Providence designed. Thus is Saul anointed king of Israel. Nothing is accidental. Things which to us are accidental, may be the beginning of a train that is to effect some of the most important events in Providence. What can apparently have less connection with the anointing of Saul to his office as king, than the straying of his father's asses ? This, in itself, was a disagreeable accident, that gave great trouble to the family of Kish. But


it was connected with the glory of his house, and was not only in wisdom, but in goodness. Let us use this key to open disagreeable occurrences in Providence that may be for us which appears against us.


1 Sam. xiii. 8.

Why did not Samuel come within the appointed time? Was it accident, was it necessity, was it negligence, which was the cause of his delay ? Whatever it was, it was providential. God designed it to be a touchstone to try the obedience of Saul. And it was a test peculiarly adapted to try the strength of the faith and obedience of the new king to the King and God of Israel. No arguments for disobeying a divine injunction could be more plausible than those pleaded by Saul on the occasion. The people were scattered, and the piety of the king will not engage in battle without sacrifice to the God of Israel. As Samuel had disappointed him, does not necessity oblige him to offer sacrifice himself ? “ And he tarried seven days, according to the set time that Samuel had appointed: but Samuel came not to Gilgal ; and the people were scattered from him. And Saul said, Bring hither a burnt-offering to me, and peace-offerings. And he offered the burnt-offering. And it came to pass, that as soon as he had made an end of offering the burnt-offering, behold, Samuel came; and Saul went out to meet him, that he might salute him. And Samuel said, What hast thou done ? And Saul said, Because I saw that the people were scattered from me, and that thou camest not within the days appointed, and that the Philistines gathered themselves together at Michmash; therefore said I, The Philistines will come down now upon me to Gilgal, and I have not made supplication unto the Lord : I forced myself therefore, and offered a burnt-offering. And Samuel said to Saul, 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.”—1 Sam. xiii. 8–14. When Providence puts it out of the power of his people to observe his ordinances according to his own appointment, they are not guilty in not observing them ; and they are guilty when they observe them, under any pretence, contrary to the Divine appointment. God could have given victory to Saul without sacrifice, when sacrifice could not be legally observed. And when Saul observed it illegally, God was not only displeased with him,


very account rejected him as king of Israel. And had Saul waited a little longer, he would have had sacrifice in a legal way. Samuel made his appearance as soon as Saul had ceased to offer the burnt-offering. The Providence of God tries his people, even with their conviction of the utility of his ordinances.

but on


1 Sam. xvii.

David, as the type of Christ, must engage and defeat the champion of the Philistines. Providence brings him to the spot at the precise moment of time, and by a train of circumstances brings him to the encounter. His father providentially resolves to send a supply of necessaries to his sons in the camp of Israel. Why at this moment? Why not the day preceding, or the day following ? Why not in the evening, after the hosts were on both sides retired into their tents; or in the morning, so early as to return before the engagement? Why was David sent ? Had not his father other messengers

? Why was David taken from the sheep ? David made some inquiries which showed that he was conceiving the resolution to encounter Goliath, and his soul is fired with zeal for the glory of Israel and of Israel's God. He is discouraged by his brother Ehab, and insulted; yet he is not driven from his purpose. The thing providentially reaches the ears of Saul, and eventually David engages and defeats the enemy of Israel. Here is a chain of providen. tial circumstances, undoubtedly planned, formed, and connected by the hand of God. David slings a pebble. What a lucky hit! The unerring hand of God led it to its destination. Goliath is killed by a pebble from a sling, at the first discharge. How

many have escaped from the field of battle, amidst the discharge of the most powerful cannon! One man is killed by a fall from his feet on the open field ; another falls ninety feet perpendicular, and is uninjured.


David must be king in the room of Saul; therefore none of the plans of his enemy can take his life. Yet, in general, he was providentially preserved ; in the very way in which God usually preserves his people. Saul cast a javelin at him: David escaped. Saul sent him on an errand, that he might perish among the Philistines : David executed the commission, and returned in safety. That the thing was providential, Saul himself was convinced. “ And Saul saw and knew that the Lord was with David." Among the means of safety which Divine Providence prepared for David against the snares of Saul were the love of Michal, and the unexampled love of Jonathan. By the means of his wife and of his friend in the house of Saul, David was generally aware of the dangers that awaited him. These things were merely providential. How could David escape the wrath of the king, when even Jonathan, the king's son, was in danger of his life from his father, for his love to

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