Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

THE GIANT AND THE STRIPLING.

I Invite my young friends to go with me to a field of battle,and with pleasure 1 will endeavour to explain to them the events which there occurred. Although I am a man of peace, I think we can sometimes learn useful lessons from the field of conflict. The account of the battle to which I refer may be found in an old book, which 1 love and revere, called the Bible— which book I hope my young friend will often attentively and prayeifully peruse.

In the seventeenth chapter of the first book of Samuel, we have a narration of a battle between a giant named Goliath, of Gath, and a young stripling named David, of Bethlehem. The former was a Philistine, the latter a Hebrew or Israelite. The Philistines and Israelites were at war. Saul, the king of Israel, in consequence of his departure from the Lord, had occasioned this war. The time for the battle drew near, and the Philistines gathered their troops together in "Ephes-dammim," and intended to cause "the effusion of Hood" in this place. The king of lsrail marched his forces and "pitched by the valley of Elah." He thought that the situation would give him some advantage over his enemies. In war, places of eminence are generally sought, for much dep nds on the site which is occupied. "The Philistines stood on a mountain on the one side, and Isiacl stood on a mountain on the other side," and the valley of Elah ran between them. Here they were, on two elevated spots of ground, preparing to use the implements of war and of death.

\N hile they were making ready for the engagement, a man of large dimensions proci eded out of the camp of the Philistines, vainly challenged and proudly defied, the armies of the living God, and proposed to terminate the contest by single combat. This challenge he repeated morning and evening for forty da)8 in succession. The Israelite* were awfully dismayed, for his huge appearance and the terrible roar of his powerful voice, as it vibrated across the valley, sent fear to the very core of the timid, smitten hearts of the Israelites.

But who, or what is this man, that he should be such an object of terror and alarm? Let us just have a look at him, as he stood lifting up his voice, full of vanity and pride. He was a giant, and perhaps the son of a giant, " whose height was six cubits and a span." A "cubit " signifies the length from the elbow to the top of the middle finger, which is generally reckoned at one foot six inches. A "span" is the distance from the top of the middle finger to the end of the thumb, when stretched to the utmost extent on a plane, the ordinary length of which is nine inches. According to this measurement, the gijnt would bo nine feet nine inches in height—a tremendous size for a man. There are, however, various opinions concerning the length of the ancient cubit. According to the computation of some, the Philistine was ten feet six inches and a half; of others, ten feet seven inches and a half; and of others, eleven feet three inches. Whichever of these opinions be correct, the height and bulk of Goliath must have been unusually great and alarming. He had also got weapons of war with him, the size of which sufficiently indicates the prodigious strength of the man. A certain writer computes the weight of his armour as follows: "His brazen helmet weighed about fifteen pounds avoirdupois; his target, or collar, affixed between Lis shoulders, to defend his neck, about thirty pounds; his spear was about twenty-six feet Ion?, and its head weighed about thirtyeight pounds; his sivord four pounds; his greaves on his legs thirty pounds; and his coat of mail, 166 pounds; and so the whole armour was 273 pounds weight." Such was the ponderous weight of the panoply which incased this giant; and such the amazing size and strength of the man, that this weighty armour was not too heavy for its owner. This wus the man who defied the army of the Israelites with impunity, and with whom it was difficult to find a man who would engage in single combat. Ultimately, however, circumstances transpired, which brought a youth into the camp of Israel, destined to vanquish the giant. His name was David, the youngest pon of old Jesse, a farmer, in the small town of Bethlehem.

David brought food to his three elder brothers, who were

in the army. He bad just left the mountains on which he roamed, to protect and guide his father's sheep. He had the ruddy appearance of a youth of innocent employment, and accustomed to bask in the fresh breezes of heaven. His habits were characteristic of simplicity. His figure was beautiful and of equal proportion; his countenance comely, and his whole appearance prepossessing. While he conversed with his brethren, the arrogant challenge of the Philistine sounded in his ears. His righteous indignation, and zeal for God, were aroused, and he determined to wipe away the reprcach from Israel. On hearing that riches, honour, and the king's daughter, were to be the portion of the man who should destroy this potent adversary, David immediately signified his willingness to take up the gauntlet which the enemy had thrown down. This news, notwithstanding the opposition of his elder brothers, soon reached the ears of king Saul, who forthwith sent for David. After examining the youth, Saul was quite satisfied that David should meet the giant. David was then clothed with the king's own armour; but David immediately put off the armour, resolving, without such armour, to meet the giant in the name of the Lord of Hosts. He left the presence of the king; and, with a sling and shepherd's crook in his hand, and a bag by his side, proceeded to the fearful spot. On his way he crossed a brook which ran along the valley, picked up five smooth stones, carefully lodged them in his bag, and ran to meet his enemy.

When the giant saw the stripling he despised him; his pride was awfully mortified, and his self-consequence felt insulted. He commenced a long and pompous parley, in which in the name of his gods he cursed David, and devoted him to destruciion. David, nothing daunted, meekly, firmly, and confidently, predicted the destruction of the giant. They drew near to each other in the valley, and each army stood gazing in breathless silence and fearful suspense. On their great champion the Philistines placed their hopes, and on this ruddy and unpretending youth the fate of Israel depended. If Jesse now saw his darhng boy, he would doubtless cry, with all the fervour of a doling parent's heart, "O God, protect my child!" And who could help at this moment breathing an anient prayer that Gud would defend and prosper the lad. The King of kings forsook not his youthful servant in time of danger. David having come within a proper distance, put his hand into his bag, took out a stone, and fastened it in his sling, and threw it with all his might at his foe. The Lord guided the hand and directed the stone, it entered the sturdy forehead of the giant, and he fell on the ground in a state of complete prostration. The stripling, encouraged by this, hastened and trod upon the stunned carcase of his foe, drew his huge sword out of its sheath, cut off his stupendous head therewith, and held it up to public gaze in token of victory. The Philistines, seeing their champion was killed, took to their heels, and fled with the utmost speed. The Israelites followed and effectually routed them, and David left the field of battle in victorious honour and safety.

From this history we may learn, 1. The advantages of early pitty. David begun to serve the Lord in early life, and " God made him to prosper." He had repeated tokens of the Divine favour before he fought with Goliath, and this encouraged him to trust in Jehovah on this occasion. His piety had grown to a holy asquairtance with God, and he conversed with him as a man with his friend. This gave a tone to his future life, and was the main spring of his prosperity and happiness. God, generally, fits for peculiar and extensive usefulness those who begin to love and serve him in early life. The blessings of early piety are incalculable: they stretch beyond the grave, and will parallel the existence of the soul. We may notice—

2. The protection of God over those that serre him. David had been in imminent danger, before this occurrence, when on the solitary mountain watching the flock of his father, he had been delivered from the jaws of a lion, and the paws of a bear; and when contending with the giant his success did not depend on his staff, his bag, his stone, or bis sling; nor on his beauty, strength, or youth; but on the Lord of Hosts, whose invisible arm got David the victory. "The Lord is as a wall of fire around them that fear him, to deliver them." How great, therefore, is the encouragement to serve God in the days of our youth, before those days come which are full of evil, misery, and sorrow. We may notice—

3. The fearful consequences of rebelling against God. Goliath was large, and strong, and skilful, and, without Divine interposition, would probably have prevailed against David; but he could not prevail against God. When the Divine Being strikes, neither helmet, nor shield, nor coat of mail, can prevent the blow from being fatal. No one that fights against God can prosper, and the sinner shall not go unpunished. The Lord will as certainly destroy nil his obstinate enemies as he slew Goliath by the hand of David. Stand, then, my young friends, in awe, and sin not, lest iniquity should prove your ruin.

Ignis Fatuus.

THE PRIVILEGES, RESPONSIBILITIES, AND DANGERS OF YOUNG MEN.

[The substance of a Lecture delivered to the "Young Men's Mutual Improvement Society, connected with the Wesleyan Association, Clitheroe, by one of its members.]

The period of the world, in which the providence of God bas cast our lot, is one of great importance and interest. The world appears to be on the move, towards some great moral revolution. What are those struggles for liberty, those efforts for freedom, this dissatisfaction with present forms of corrupt government, and this restless desire for purity and truth f They are the indications of the mighty struggle between principle and prejudice, truth and error. These are the motions of a hidden life, seeking freedom from the spell of worldliness and selfishness, with which it has been so long bound, and by which progress has been so much impeded. We, indeed, live in important times, and are surrounded by important and deeply interesting circumstances. How numerous are our privileges! our responsibility how awful! our dangers how great. O that, as young men, we may feel the vast, the amazing importance of our position; that we may rightly act our part in the '• fear

« AnteriorContinuar »