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of the manner of it, is truly affecting ;-never was a scene of sorrow so full of distress!
The king fled with all his household, to save himself from the sword of the man he loved: He fled with all the marks of humble sorrow--“ with "his head covered and barefoot ;" and as he went by the ascent of mount Olivet, the sacred historian says he wept ;-some gladsome scenes, perhaps, which there had passed-some hours of festivity he had shared with Absalom in better days, pressed tenderly upon nature, he wept at this sad vicissitude of things:-And all the people that were with him, smitten with his affliction, covered each man his head--weeping as he went up.
It was on this occasion, when David had got to Bahurim, that Shimei the son of Gera, as we read in the 5th verse, came out. Was it with the choicest oils he could gather from mount Olivet, to pour into his wounds?-Times and troubles had not done enough; and thou camest out, Shimei, to add thy portion
"And as he came, he cursed David, and threw "stones and cast dust at him; and thus said Shimei, "when he cursed: Go to, thou man of Belial--thou "hast sought blood,--and behold thou art caught "in thy own mischief; for now hath the Lord re"turned upon thee all the blood of Saul and his
There is no small degree of malicious craft in fixing upon a season to give a mark of enmity and ill-will: -A word, a look, which, at one time, would make no impression, at another time, wounds the heart; and, like a shaft flying with the wind, pierces deep, which, with its own natural force, would scarce have reached the object aimed at.
This seemed to have been Shimei's hopes; but excess of malice makes men too quick-sighted, even for their own purpose. Could Shemei posVOL. III. P
sibly have waited for the ebb of David's passions, and till the first great conflict within him had been over-then the reproach of being guilty of Saul's blood must have hurt him :-His heart was possessed with other feelings-it bled for the deadly sting which Absalom had given him-he felt not the indignity of a stranger--" Behold, my son Ab"salom, who came out of my bowels, seeketh my life "—how much more may Shemei do it ?--let him a"lone: It may be the Lord may look upon my afflicti
on, and requite me good for this evil.”
An injury unanswered, in course grows weary of itself, and dies away in a voluntary remorse.
In bad dispositions, capable of no restraint but fear-it has a different effe&t;-the silent digestion of one wrong, provokes a second. He pursues him with the same invective ;--and as David and his men went by the way, Shemei went along on the hill's side over against him; and cursed as he went, and cast dust at him.
The insolence of base minds in success, is boundless; and would scarce admit of a compa rison, did not they themselves furnish us with one in the degrees of their abjection, when evil returns upon them.--The same poor heart which excites ungenerous tempers to triumph over a fallen adversary: In some instances, seems to exalt them above the point of courage, sinks them, in others, even below cowardice ;--not unlike some little particles of matter struck off from the surface of the dirt by sunshine-dance and sport there whilst it lasts, but the moment it is withdrawn-they fail down,--for dust they are--and unto dust they will return,--whilst firmer and larger bodies preserve the stations which nature has assigned them, subjected to laws which no change of weather can alter.
This last, did not seem to be Shemei's case; in all David's prosperity, there is no mention
made of him; he thrust himself forward into the circle, and possibly was numbered amongst friends and well-wishers.
When the scene changes and David's troubles force him to leave his house in despair, Shimei is the first man we hear of, who comes out against him.
The wheel turns round once more; Absalom is cast down, and David returns in peace.-himei suits his behavior to the occasion, and is the first man who hastes to greet him,and, had the wheel turned round an hundred times, Shimei, I dare say, in every period of its rotation, would have been uppermost.
O Shimei! would to heaven, when thou wast slain, that all thy family had been slain with thee, and not one of thy resemblance left! but ye have multiplied exceedingly, and replenished the earth, -and if I prophesy rightly-ye will, in the end, subdue it.
There is not a character in the world, which has so bad an influence upon the affairs of it, as this of Shimei: Whilst power meets with honest checks, and the evils of life with honest refuge, the world will never be undone ; but thou, Shimei, hast sapped it at both extremes; for thou corruptedst prosperity-and it is thou who hast broken the heart of poverty; and, so long as worthless spirits can be ambitious ones, it is a character we shall never want. O! it infests the court the camp-the cabinet ;-it infests the churchgo where you will-in every quarter, in every profession, you see a Shimei following the wheels of the fortunate, through thick mire and clay
-Haste, Shimei !-haste, or thou wilt be undone forever.-Shimei girdeth up his loins, and speedeth after him.-Behold the hand which governs every thing,-takes the wheels from off his
chariot, so that he who driveth, driveth on heavi ly.—Shimei doubles his speed-but it is the contrary way; he flies like the wind over a sandy desert, and the place thereof shall know it no more. Stay, Shimei, it is your patron--your friend your benefactor ;--it is the man who has raised you from the dunghill.--It is all one to Shimei ; Shimei is the barometer of every man's fortune; marks the rise and fall of it, with all the variations from scorching hot to freezing cold upon his countenance, that the similie will admit of. Is a cloud upon thy affairs ?-see-it hangs over Shimei's brow.-Hast thou been spoken for to the king or the captain of the host without success? -look not into the court-calendar-the vacancy is filled up in Shimei's face. Art thou in debt? tho' not to Shimei-no matter-the worst officer of the law shall not be more insolent.
What than, Shimei ?-is the guilt of poverty so black-is it of so general a concern, that thou and all thy family must rise up as one man to reproach it?-when it lost every thing-did it lose the right to pity too?or did He, who maketh poor as well as maketh rich, strip it of its natural powers to mollify the hearts and supple the temper of your race? Trust me, ye have much to answer for; it is this treatment which it has ever met with from spirits like yours, which has gra dually taught the world to look upon it as the greatest of evils, and shun it as the worst disgrace.
And what is it, I beseech you-what is it that man will not do, to keep clear of so sore an imputation and punishment? Is it not to fly from this that he rises early,—late takes rest, and eats the bread of carefulness?—that he plots-contrives-swears
lies-shuffles,-puts on all shapes-tries all garments,- -wears them, with this, or that side, outward-just as it favors his escape?
They who have considered our nature, affirm,
that shame and disgrace are two of the most insupportable evils of human life: The courage and spirits of many have mastered other misfortunes, and borne themselves up against them,but the wisest and best of souls have not been a match for these: And we have many a tragical instance on record, what greater evils have been run into, merely to avoid this one.
Without this tax of infamy, poverty, with all the burdens it lays upon our flesh-so long as it is virtuous, could never break the spirits of a man; all its hunger, and pain, and nakedness, are nothing to it, they have some counterpoise of good; and, besides, they are directed by providence, and must be submitted to; but these are afflictions, not from the hand of GoD, or nature"for "they do come forth of the DUST, and most properly 66 may be said to spring out of the GROUND and "this is the reason they lay such stress upon our 66 patience, and in the end, create such a dis"trust of the world, as makes us look up-and 66 pray, Let me fall into thy hands, O GOD! but let 46 me not fall into the hands of men.”
Agreeable to this, was the advice of Eliphaz to Job, in the day of his distress- "Acquaint thy"self, said he, Now with GOD."-Indeed his poverty seemed to have left him no other friend: The sword of the Sabeans had frightened them away-all but a few; and, of what kind they were, the very proverb,of Job's comforters-says enough.
It is an instance which gives one great concern for human nature, "that a man, who always wept "for him who was in trouble ;--who never saw any "perish for want of clothing---who never suffered the 46 stranger to lodge in the street, but opened his door 66 to the traveller ;---that a man, of so good a cha"racter-that he never caused the eyes of the wi"dow to fail,-or had eaten his morsel by himself alone, and the fatherless had not eaten thereof;"