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been bound through a long night of darkness, by a papal tyranny. Most of the civil, and all the religious, liberty, that the British nation now possesses, was obtained by the clerical dissenters from the Romish and from the established church. They boldly claimed for themselves and for others, that freedom of conscience which the Gospel allows, and, in thousands of instances, sealed with their lives, the truth of the doctrines they professed. In our revolutionary contest, the clergy were as forward as any other class of citizens, in asserting and vindicating the rights of their country. Relying upon the word of God for the rectitude of their conduct, they stimulated their countrymen to resistance and the history of this momentous period leaves no doubt but that the blessings of heaven descended and rested upon this rising nation, in answer to their prayers, and as a reward for their labours. At the present day the preachers of the Gospel afford more aid to our government, and a safer protection of our rights, than ten thousand times the number of armed men. If the virtue of the people is the surest basis of a republican form of government, then the preaching and diffusion of that Religion which inculcates the highest and only genuine species of virtue, must be of indispensable, of incalculable importance. Laws would be of little avail for the protection of person or property, if Religion did not add her sanction for their observance. The rope of the hangman, and the cells of the penitentiary would carry no terror to a God forsaking, a God despising people. It is from the influence of religious truth, that in our happy land, each one is permitted to sit under his own vine and his own figtree, with none to molest, disturb, or make him afraid. Every one who has had the opportunity for observation, will accede to the justness of the remark, that in that part of the community where there is the most frequent and most regular preaching of the Gospel, there is to be found the most social and civil order, and that wherever it is wholly neglected, there is to be seen the most vice and the most crime. Every real friend to his country will feel himself bound to encourage and support an insti
tution which effects so much good and prevents so much evil; yet it is feared, that there are many who hold official stations, and would conceive themselves grossly insulted, were their patriotism to be questioned, who never visit the sanctuary, nor countenance by their presence the preaching of the Gospel. We leave to such the impracticable task of reconciling their conduct to their professions.
[To be concluded in the next number.]
[For the Monitor,]
THE IMPRECATIONS OF DAVID.
The imprecations found in some of the Psalms have appeared to some pious persons to be inconsistent with the spirit of true benevolence; and have been urged by the infidel, as an objection against the inspiration of the Scriptures.
In offering a few remarks on this subject, we shall consider, first, the circumstances in which David was placed; secondly, what his duty was in these circumstances; thirdly, how far his conduct was consistent with his duty.
First. David was placed in a very different situation from what Christians are at the present day. God was pleased to manifest himself in a very peculiar and extraordinary manner to the posterity of Jacob. He
preserved this nation distinct from all other nations, and in a miraculous manner conducted them to the land of Canaan. He gave them in clear and express terms not only the moral law, but many positive commands. One of these commands was, to destroy the Canaanites. For this he assigned two wise and sufficient reasons ; the one, on account of their wickedness; the other, that his chosen people might not become contaminated with iheir vices, and abominable idolatries. Deut. vii. 2, 16. 66 When the Lord shall deliver them before thee, thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make
no covenant with them, nor show any mercy unto them. Thou shalt consume all the people, which the Lord thy God shall deliver unto thee; thine eye shall have no pity upon them, neither shalt thou serve their gods, for that will be a snare unto thee.” ix, 5. “ For the wickedness of these nations doth the Lord drive them out before thee, and that be may perform the word which he sware unto thy fathers, unto Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” The Canaanites were not all subdued at once, but were left for a long time to trouble and harass the children of Israel. Yet as this was the only nation that in any degree maintained the worship of God, his declarative glory was promoted by their national prosperity and by the subjugation of their enemies. When men studied nothing but war, bloodshed, and conquest, had the Jews sheathed the sword, they must have been cut off by the neighbouring nations, the promises made to the Patriarchs would never have been fulfilled, and the knowledge of the true God would have been bañished from the earth. Saul, for not executing his commission to destroy the Amalekites, was rejected from being king of Israel, David was elevated to the throne, not by usurpation, nor the voice of the people, but by the appointment of heaven. In view of the divine commands, the example of Joshua and his successors, and especially of Samuel the Prophet, who sent Saul against the Amalekites and hewed Agag in pieces, and the signal punishments inflicted on Saul for not
extirpating his enemies, we inquire,
Secondly, What was David's duty ? The first thing that would strike his mind, and that with far more force than we can conceive, would be the deliverance of Judea from all her enemies. He was not commissioned “to preach repentance and remission of sins to the Gentiles,” but to conquer and destroy them as objects of divine vengeance.
Had Paul neglected to preach the gospel or David to destroy the Canaanites, both would have been guilty of criminal negligence. . And if it were Paul's duty to pray for success in his preaching, it was David's duty to pray for success in the work which heaven had commissioned him to perform.
David's imprecations do not imply want of love to God. He was in the path of obedience. They do not imply want of love to his neighbour; they flow from love and tender concern for the interests of his people. They do not imply any unholy and malevolent feelings towards his enemies. This will appear evident, if we consider that the Jewish nation was the only visible church, and that the glory of God was concerned in protecting them, and destroying those idolatrous nations. The same state of pious feeling, which leads the church now to pray for deliverance from her enemies, either by their conversion, or the defeat of their evil machinations, would lead David to pray for the destruction of the enemies of Jerusalem.
Thirdly. We have only to inquire, how far David's conduct corresponded with his duty. His first act was slaying Goliab. This mighty champion had defied the armies of the living God, and looked with sovereign contempt on our youthful hero. Does David's heart swell with pride or rankle with malice ? No. Full of zeal for the glory of God, and with strong, unwavering faith, he replies to this haughty foe of God and man56 Thou comest to me with a sword, a spear, and a shield, but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, in the name of the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied.”
taken as a specimen of David's feelings towards those, who were the objects of his imprecations.
So far was David from avenging himself on Saul for his ingratitude, and malicious designs, that he treated him as a friend, and when he was slain, he mourned for him as for a brother. Was this implacable hatred ? In the same manner he treated all Saul's family, Shimei and others, though his professed enemies. Surely in this conduct is exemplified the same spirit of forbearance and true benevolence which is so abundantly inculcated in the New Testament.
An analysis of the Psalms would lead to the same result. Such exalted views of the character of God, such intense love and delight in the divine law, are not to be found in the memoirs of any
one presume to say he understood not the first principles of this. law, that of love to God and all mankind, when he made it the subject of his daily study and constant meditation ? There are only thirty Psalms that contain imprecations of any kind; and twenty-one of these are not against his personal enemies, but the enemies of God. In Psalm xxviii, he prays, that the wicked may be rewarded according to their deeds. So prayed St. Paul — Alexander did me much evil; the Lord reward him according to his works." These prayers may be considered as predictions, and as such, some of them are quoted in the New Testament.
In one of his most solemn seasons of devotion and the closest scrutiny of his own heart, he thus appeals to God—“ Do I not hate them that hate thee, do I not count them my enemies ?” This hatred, which he cherished toward the enemies of God, was to him the greatest évidence that he was in the exercise of pure benevolence and assimilated to God in his moral feel ings.
[For the Monitor ]
Few professional men in our country have arisen ta such high and honourable distinction as the late Dr. Benjamin Rush. As a practical physician, as a lecturer, and as an author, he stood on an eminence which few can hope to reach, but which may well excite the ardent endeavours of all.
Why was he thus eminent? It is, in a great measure, from the hope of finding an answer to this inquiry, that the well regulated mind seizes, with such avidity, on the biography of a distinguished man. Such a work may interest, for the time, merely by the amusing nature of the facts and anecdotes introduced, particularly as they are connected with the names of the great; but it can be well written only when the inquiry stated above is kept in view, and circumstances are related in such a manner, .as to furnish an answer as