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rence thus serves as a new test of our character; and if we stand the trial, and remain true to our calling, it tends to promote our growth in knowledge and in grace, and to furnish us to every good work.
In conclusion, permit me to impress upon each of you, the exhortations here made by Moses to the Israelites : Remember all the way which the Lord thy God hath led thee.
Consider the course of events which, under the control of divine Providence, have severally come upon you, and learn to profit by them; to convert them to the end which, according to the purport of this passage, they were intended and suited to promote. Call to mind that mercy and compassion which have watched over you from your earliest years; recollect in what a variety of instances the voice of conscience, or rather the voice of God, addressing you both by your afflictions and enjoyments, has been heard and disregarded; how often you have determined to repent and lead a new life, and how soon you have forgotten the resolution; the goodness of God, instead of leading you to repentance, having by a sad perversion of it, only served to confirm you in a general course of indifference and neglect.
Remember then the way in which you have been led, while the retrospect may be beneficial. It is the direct tendency of such meditations to guard you against future delinquency. This is the view under which Moses more particularly demands the attention of the Israelites. No man who has a right sense of his own repeated transgressions, and of the daily mercies which have nevertheless been extended to him by the forbearance of God, can continue in habits of deliberate disobedience: he will rather be led to say, What shall I render unto the Lord for all His benefits ? * How can I best show my gratitude for His undeserved loving-kindness, and rightly improve the mercies which are still vouchsafed to me?"
And every good man will, on the same ground of experience, be brought to repose a sure confidence in God. When he observes through what dangers the divine wisdom has safely protected him, and in what a remarkable manner his very trials and afflictions have contributed to his real good; when he sees, in the retrospect of life, that the things which he would gladly have avoided, have been overruled to a gracious purpose, and that the attainment of the objects, which by being withheld from him, disappointed his hopes, would have been injurious to his true interests, what a powerful effect must such reflections have in leading him to place his trust in the Lord; and how cheerfully, under this impression, will he resign himself, with all his anxieties and all his hopes, into His hands, persuaded that they who thus wait upon the Lord shall inherit His blessing, and that even if all outward supplies should fail, there is One who is able to keep, and who will not forsake him; he shall be made to know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live.
* Ps. cxvi. 12.
But for this knowledge, and for these holy dispositions, we must be indebted to the influence of the Holy Spirit. That Spirit alone can give us true repentance, and can work in us those things which are pleasing in the sight of God. In the name then, and through the mediation of that Saviour by whom we have access to the throne of grace, let us ask for divine instruction! “ Enable us, O Lord, in all things to see and acknowledge Thine hand : unfold to us the evil of our own hearts : make us humble, faithful, obedient. To these ends let every appointment of Thy providence be improved; and by all the events of life, whether in other respects prosperous or adverse, may we be trained to meetness for the heavenly Canaan; and finally by Thy grace be conducted to that rest which remaineth for the people of God.”
SAMUEL'S DEPARTURE FROM SAUL,
1 SAMUEL xv. 34, 35.
“ Then Samuel went to Ramah ; and Saul went up to his
house to Gibeah of Saul: and Samuel .came no more to see Saul until the day of his death : nevertheless Samuel mourned for Saul: and the Lord repented that He had made Saul king over Israel.”
A few years before the period to which this passage refers, the Israelites had determined to follow the example of the neighbouring nations, and to be governed by a king. This is mentioned as an act of great wickedness on the part of the people; because for many ages God Himself had been their king, and had appointed over them judges, as His own immediate servants and representatives. He condescended however to grant their desire, and Saul was anointed to be captain over the house of Israel. Every thing at first seemed to promise a long and
prosperous reign : his appointment was