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have set up a place, that is, a trophy, some monument to record his success, and to have gone about and passed on ; * probably with much pomp and triumphant celebration of his victory, as if he had subdued the enemy by his own power and wisdom. And the same disposition it is which dictated this request to the prophet. He was anxious to preserve appearances before men; contented, in some measure, if only he might seem to be on fair terms with the holy minister of God, and obtain reverence from the people. How different is the conduct of the real penitent! Instead of looking for the applause of men, he looks for that honour which cometh from God only; to be judged of man's judgment is to him a matter of little concern; his great anxiety is, “ How shall I appear in the view of my Maker ?” When David wrote the penitential psalm, to which I have already referred, so far was he from wishing to conceal his transgressions, and to obtain honour from the people, that he seems himself to hare published it, as embodying at once his own feelings, and as a model for expressing the feelings of his fellow-sinners in erery age of the church. His sin had been public, and public also was

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the confession of it; but to this genuine humility, Saul was a stranger. And we have no intimation that he was ever truly humbled for his offences. The insincerity which we observe in him at this period, continued with him it is to be feared, during the remainder of his life. It appears as if the Spirit of God, in rejecting him from being king, had ceased to strive with him, and had abandoned him to the suggestions of his own heart. He seems to have proceeded from one act of disobedience to another, till on the mountains of Gilboa, he at length fell desperately by his own hand. Such was the end of the first Sovereign of Israel; such the sad termination of a reign commenced under the fairest prospects, but carried on in a worldly spirit.

In taking a review of this subject, we observe here a man, who had been eminently favoured by the Most High and even raised up by the special appointment of His Providence, eventually cast off, and utterly rejected because he disobeyed the divine commandments, and repented not of his sin. And is it to be expected under the dispensation of the gospel, where the love of God is so wonderfully mani

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fested, and the purity of His law so plainly set forth, and the necessity of repentance and a holy life so peremptorily asserted, that conduct like that which was thus signally visited in the king of Israel, will be overlooked in us? Was it of any service to Saul, that he honoured God with his lips, that he even worshipped Him in the presence of the prophet, while there was duplicity in his heart? Little will be the benefit derived from an alleged regard for religion, where that profession is insincere. To preserve a fair character with our fellowcreatures, may be a matter of easy attainment; this unhappy king of Israel, possibly even at the period of his rejection, did the same; and this it seems he was anxious to do. Let every insincere and hypocritical person take warning by his example; let him learn how contemptible is the applause of our fellow-creatures, if God be against us!

Now what, my brethren, is the nature, and what the extent of our obedience? Is there satisfactory evidence, that it is such as the gospel requires ? The apostle, in writing to the Hebrews, admonishes them to fear, lest a promise being left us of entering into His rest,

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(the rest of God) any of them should seem to come short of it.* If this language be proper in respect to those who have believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, and have been renewed by His Spirit, with much reason may we say to men indiscriminately assembled, let us fear, lest we be contented with a partial obedience, and come short of true religion. It is a point on which we are very apt to deceive ourselves, and without diligent self-examination, it is scarcely possible that we should not be deceived; so erroneous is the cursory view which we commonly take of our own state, and so defective the standard to which we appeal. You may have a great regard for religion, and great reverence for the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in reference to this profession of faith, may do many things gladly; but are you endeavouring by the grace of God to be Christians in reality? Is there no favourite sin which you claim the liberty to indulge ? no selfish inclination which you are unwilling to relinquish? Qur Lord has told us that with sin there is to be no compromise: if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out: if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off:the obedience of Saul was * Heb. iv. 1.

+ Matt. v. 29.

partial and defective: the service which God requires, is that of entire devotedness. May it please God to convince each of us of the supreme importance of serving Him with full purpose of heart; and may we be ever enabled to maintain our integrity; looking to Him always for that grace and power, without which we can do nothing aright, and expecting that blessed recompense, which He will bestow upon His faithful servants in the day of final retribution.

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