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EXERCISES ON SCRIPTURE LESSONS.

MORNING LESSONS.

OCTOBER 4. SAUL AND DAVID IN THE CAVE OF ENGEDI.—1 Samuel xxiv.

SAUL IN JEOPARDY.–V.1-7. From evil intentions against his master. ch. xxiii. 29 we learn that after the nar. Well might be appeal to God, The row escape narrated in our last Lesson, Lord judge between me and thee. David David departed into the wilderness of will not take the law into his own Engedi, a tract of rocky, almost barren hands; mine hand shall not be upon land at the southern extremity of the thee. He confirms his resolution with Dead Sea. So soon as the Philistines a proverb : Wickedness proceedeth from (ch. xxiii. 27) are repulsed, Saul the wicked,-guilt leads to guilt; if follows him. David and his men are thy suspicions of me were correct, hidden in a large cave. See Portfolio. should I not have seized this opporInto this very cave Saul enters alone. tunity to do thee hurt? Moreover, Coming out of the bright light into the compared with the King, David is gloom,

he would not be able to see far powerless as a dead dog, insignificant or distinctly, so David and his men as a single flea. Saul's pursuit of him remain unobserved ; perhaps some was unworthy of his dignity, as well as chamber or angle concealed them. At unreasonable and wicked. Then again all events the King is quite ignorant David refers his cause to God, and of their presence. What a temptation expresses the utmost confidence as to to David! A single blow might rid the issue: The Lord therefore, etc. him of his inveterate enemy and set THE KING'S REPLY.-V. 16-22. If him on the vacant throne. Besides, Saul has any right feeling left in him, did it not look providential that Saul David's magnanimity and David's should thus have come under David's words will stir it to its utmost depths. power? So his men thought, for they So it is. He speaks kindly and gratesay exultantly, Behold the day, etc. - fully to the man he had persecuted. He Not that David had received any such perceives the force of the contrast; he message from God, but they see in the

was seeking David's life, David had occurrence itself a fulfilment of the

preserved his. He invokes the Divine general promise of victory. Then the blessing upon the outlaw, confesses his outlaw steps toward the King, dagger own sin, extols David's conduct, admits in hand. Surely he is taking

his com- that the kingdom of Israel must come panions' advice. No: he only cuts a to him, and begs him to swear that he piece from the upper garment Saul had will not then destroy the family of his thrown off, and leaves the owner predecessor, as was not uncommon in unharmed. Yet even for this David's

the East upon a change of dynasty: conscience smote him : was not Saul

David gives the required pledge. Saul his sovereign, the anointed of the Lord

goes home satisfied David will keep over him ? ought he to have injured his oath. David returns to his cave, he even his robe? These feelings he fears that the King's penitence will not expresses, The Lord forbid, etc.-He last. Doubtless for the moment Saul restrains his servants from doing was sincere, but David's fears were violence to the King, who departs from only too speedily verified. the cave in safety, quite unconscious of the danger that had threatened him. REFLECTIONS.-1. Rom. xii. 19-21.

David's SPEECH.— V. 8-15. Picture -Of this precept David's conduct is an Saul's astonishment when he heard eminent illustration. Mark its success, David's voice, and saw the man before how it subdued Saul. Never avenge him whom he had been seeking so your own injuries. unsuccessfully

David's manner is 2. Honour the king."-Respect for most respectful, while his argument is those who rule over us is a duty of unanswerable. The piece of the robe religion, Rom. xiii. 1. was proof positive that he cherished no 3. Note the ienderness of a good man's VOL. IX. NEW SERIES.-Ociober, 1874.

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conscience. — Let us pray that our
consciences may bem
“ Quick as the apple of an eye,

The slightest touch of sin to feel.”
4. Opportunity for sin is no justifi-
cation of it.—Opportunity for sin is
often a strong temptation to it. Satan
would fain persuade us that it is
designed that we should do wrong
when the means of doing it easily are
placed in our power. See how David
resisted the temptation.

5. Contrast the characters of Saul and David,- the former seeking the latter's life, the latter sparing the life of the former. Was it natural to

David to act so? Let Saul answer the
question by another: "if a man find his
enemy, will he let him go well away?”-
It was the grace of God that enabled
David to let his enemy“go well away.”
Notice how Saul trusts David's word,
the testimony that bears to David's
goodness. Which are you more like,
Saul or David ?

QUESTIONS.-Where was the wilderness of Engedi ? Describe the cave in which David was hidden. Who entered it? Did he know of David's presence? What advice was given to David ? How did he act ? How did he reply to the advice given ? What happened as soon as Saul had left the cave? Give the substance of David's speech ? Of Saul's reply? How did they part?

OCTOBER 11.- SONGS OF THANKFULNESS.-Psalms lvii., lxiii.

For repetition, Psalm lxiii. 3, 4. INTRODUCTION.There is little doubt xvii. 11. My glory,-i.e., the highest that the former of these Psalms was powers of the soul raised to the highest composed to commemorate the singer's pitch. Among the people, the Israelsparing the life of his enemy. Its title ites. Among the nations,--the Gentiles. ascribes it to the time when he fled

For Thy mercy is great, etc.,-far from Saul in the cave.Michtain means

above our measurement or compre“a golden Psalm,” expressing the high estimate formed of the Psalm. Al

hension. taschith means “ destroy not.” It seems

PSALM LXIII.—Here David rises even to refer to David's reply to those who higher than in the former song. He urged him to kill his foe, 1 Sam. xxiv. 6. has almost forgotten his privations The second of these Psalms is generally and dangers. This Psalm is the attributed to the same period. It was, breathing of a devout soul after God, doubtless, written in the same place. of one who is in the enjoyment of

God's favour after a yet more abundant PSALM LVII.-begins with complaint

manifestation of it. In a dry and and prayer; at ver. 7, the strain is

thirsty land, etc.,-his soul longed after changed to praise and triumph. As it

the means of grace, as much as the was composed in similar circumstances, this Psalm bears an obvious resem

parched wilderness needed water. I

will lift up my hands, etc.,-make blance to the other Psalms which have

supplication in the most solemn, eager been the texts of our Lessons. But

and expressive manner, even though little explanation is required. The

I cannot worship in the tabernacle. metaphor of ver. 1 is the same as that

But those that seek, etc.,—they shall of Pg. xvii. 8, only here the hen or

die, their bodies shall be left unburied, eagle is represented as covering her

a prey to the jackals. This was fulbrood from a heavy rain-storm. So

filled literally by the destruction of God should protect David till the

Saul's forces at the battle of Gilboa. tempest of calamities that threatened

The king,-David might speak thus him was overpast. Ver. 3; so certain

from his perfect confidence in his was David of deliverance, that he

future dignity. Every one that sweareth looked for direct, even miraculous,

by Him,-i.e., by God. interposition of Providence, when there was no other way of escape.

These Psalms afford fresh illusVer. 4, speaks of the malice and power trations of David's danger, gratitude of Daviđ's enemies. The figures of to Jehovah for past deliverances, and ver. 6 are all taken from the mode of implicit trust in Him for future capturing wild beasts; compare Ps. triumph. Repeated troubles could not

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shake his confidence. His faith bore not merely heavy, but successive blows. Mark, too, that these songs of praise came from the very midst of tribulation. It is easy to thank God when a trial is

over,

but David had learned with Paul to rejoice in his sufferings, Col. i. 24.

Note also,

1. David's love for God's house, Ps. lxiii. 1, 2.-Remember, he wrote this in the wilderness, no comfortable residence. He might have found many privations to complain of, but the only one he mentions is his enforced absence from the house of God. Can you sympathise with David's longing ?

He was

a devout and attentive worshipper.

2. His estimate of the worth of God's lovingkindness.- What does the first verse for repetition say ? Thy lovingkindness is better than life.Satan, who observes men very keenly and closely, declared "all that a man hath will he give for his life,” Job ii. 4. But David valued something more highly. If God's“ lovingkindness is better than life,” then certainly better than pleasure and sin.

3. How the thought of God and God's

goodness was always in David's mind.
Ps. lvii. 8 tells that David would give
the early morning to God's praise ;
Ps. lxiii. 6 shows how he spent the
wakeful hours of the night. So Bishop
Ken :
“ If in the night I sleepless lie,

My soul with hea ly thoughts supply." 4. David's earnest pursuit of God.

“My soul followeth hard after Thee;" like the Canaanitish woman after Christ, like Jacob after the retreating Angel, like the miner in diligent search after gold, who strains every nerve, and does not give way to weariness.

5. The help David obtained of God. -“Thy right hand upholdeth me.' Thus he overcame difficulties; thus was he kept from stumbling and falling. Only in God's strength can we follow after God.

QUESTIONS. When were these Psalms written? Explain the title of each Psalm. Explain “ my glory,” “among the people," among the nations,”

.” “I will lift up my hands in Thy name.” Who is meant by “the King"? How do these Psalms show David's danger ? thankfulness ? trust? love for God's house? How greatly did he value God's lovingkindness ? Show that the thought of God was never absent from his mind. How does he express his longing after God ?

our loss

OCTOBER 18.---NABAL, THE CHURL.-1 Samuel xxy. 1–13. THE DEATH OF SAMUEL.-V. 1. And dwelt a very rich man, who owned Samuel died,—being nearly one hun. land at Carmel. The man was known dred years old, having served God by the name of Nabal,-i.e., fool. It from his youth up. The respect his is not likely that this was his real countrymen had for him was evidenced name; it had been given him by by the large gathering at his funeral, his neighbours on account of his disand the sincere lamentations with position, he was churlish,-ill-tempered, which he was buried. The longest life niggardly, Isai. xxxii. 5, 7. Evil in must end. Let us so order our lives that his doings,-explains “churlish.” Of

may

be regretted ; above all, that the house of Caleb,—descended from the we may obtain the approval of God. great Caleb. Who was he? His wife, Samuel's peaceful death and honoured Abigail, was of another character. This memory afford encouragement to early Lesson treats of Nabal's conduct; in piety. His course was steadfast. Some our next we shall hear more of Abigail. persons seem to think a converted The rich man's vast flock was being child is sure to fall away. But the shorn. At such a time there would same God Who kept Samuel can keep be an unusual abundance of provisions. you. On hearing of his friend's decease, David sends a respectful message to David removed to the wilderness of Nabal, greeting him, reminding him Paran,—the northern portion of the that all the while his shepherds were desert of Arabia. He felt less safe in the neighbourhood of David's band, now that his counsellor was gone. they missed nothing. To rob the

NABAL, THE CHURL.-V. 2--13, flock would be no small temptation to Maon,-see ch. xxiii. 24. Carmel, armed men with no regular ineans of ch. xv. 12, and note. At Maon there subsistence. Nay more, David had

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defended Nabal's sheep against the attacks of the Arabs. So David begs a present of food in return for the service rendered. The request was reasonable in itself; moreover, such gifts were customary : on such a festive occasion as a sheep-shearing, near a town or village, an Arab Sheikh of the neighbouring desert would hardly fail to put in a word, either in person or by message; and his message would be a transcript of that of David to Nabal.”Robinson. The men spake to Nabal according to all those words in the name of David, and ceased,- they added nothing to, and omitted nothing from the message; having delivered it faithfully and politely, they waited for the answer. The churi replies with a blank and insulting refusal. He pretends not to know who this David is, but betrays his knowledge by his sarcasm, there be many servants, etc. Should he bestow what belonged to him upon such people ? Mark the repetition of the pronoun, my bread, and my water, and my flesh,” as though their value was enhanced by the fact that so great a man owned them. The contemptuous words are reported to David. Instantly he orders his men to arm themselves; about four hundred march against Nabal, two hundred remain to protect the encampment. Was David's intention right? Certainly not. He was taking the law into his own hands. He had been

wronged and insulted, but vengeance should have been left to God. How differently he had acted towards Saul in the cave! David obeyed the im. pulse of the moment; the command was issued without thought and prayer; so he sinned. See the danger of impulsiveness; the necessity of reflection. Because we have resisted one temptation, it does not follow that we may not be overtaken by another. The best men need the restraining grace of God. See, too, the necessity of watchfulness. Let Nabal's conduct and character serve as a warning to us.

He had not grown churlish all at once. God helping him, he might have fought and conquered his evil temper when he was young; He indulged it, it grew stronger and stronger. Be courteous ;civility costs nothing. Even inferiors should be addressed with due regard to their feelings. Note, again, Nabal's assertion that his property was his own, his forgetfulness that he was responsible to God for the use of it. Compare Luke xii. 17-20.

QUESTIONS.- Whose death is recorded in this Lesson? Where was he buried ? How did Israel feel at his loss? Whither did David remove? why? Where were Paran? Maon ? Carmel? Who lived at Maon? What does "Nabal” mean? What sort of a man was he? How did David come into communication with him? What message did David send? How did Nabal answer? Was David's request unreasonable? Why, then, did Nabal refuse it? What action did David take? Was he justi fied ? why not?

OCTOBER 25.

ABIGAIL, THE PRUDENT.—1 Samuel xxv. 14—20, 23–33.

For repetition, verses 32, 33.

ABIGAIL, THE PRUDENT.–V. 14—20. ample; larger than would be expected. Where did our last Lesson leave David ? What was it? Measures,-each con. What was he about to do? why? While taining rather more than an English David is preparing mischief against peck. When Abigail meets him, David Nabal, Abigail is devising means to has already begun his march. avert it. One of the servants had told ABIGAIL'S REMONSTRANCE.-V. 23her of her husband's treatment of 33. She greets David with the utmost David's messengers, and that the claim respect, and then pleads, Upon me, they had made was just. The servants etc.—She takes the fault upon herself, judge that David will not pass over in the hope that David will more such an insult, they will be involved readily pardon her, a female, than her in the punishment; can Abigail find husband. Her arguments are,-first, means to appease the chieftain's anger? Nabal is beneath David's notice, he is She decides promptly, David's demands a fool; second, her meeting David so must be satisfied. The present was pportunely, before he had had time

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to wreak his vengeance, was evidently 2. Read Psalm xix. 13.-God reProvidential. God was thus keeping strained David by means of Abigail. him from sin; punishment would He often uses circumstances, the advice certainly come upon Nabal from God, of others, to keep us back fronı wilful her best wish for David was that all sin. Let us recognise and pray for his enemies might in that respect be as God's “restraining grace.” Nabal. Then she refers to her present- 3. Note how David yields to Abigail's blessing, the

has been argument, and thanks her for her repaired. She speaks of David's sure monstrance, and blesses God for it.advancement, the Lord is with him, Let us be grateful to those who warn us has preserved him from Saul, will yet against sin. Let us heed their words. preserve him.

Bound in the bundle of Let us be thankful to God Whose agents life,-in perfect safety. See Illustra- they are. tions. The reference is to this world 4. Romans xii. 19; Prov. xx. 22.and the next. Shall He sling out-the What other illustration of these texts very opposite to being “bound in the have we studied recently? bundle of life.” When David ascends 5. Repeat the verses for repetition. the throne, it would be a grief to him Let us strive so to act, that we can look that he had acted so rashly; if he back upon our lives without remorse or spares Nabal and his innocent house- shame.-A moment of passion may see hold, he will then have naught to a deed done that will be a life-long reproach himself with. So positive is grief to the doer. Abigail of David's ultimate triumph, 6. The perfect safety of God's people that she prays, When the Lord shall in this world and in the world to come. have dealt, etc.—Could argument so ---They are “ bound in the bundle of respectful, so cogent, so right, fail of life with the Lord.” its effect ? At once David grants her prayer, and thanks God and her that QUESTIONS.-How did Abigail know what

had occurred ? What action did she take? by her remonstrance he has been kept

Describe the present. Where did she meet from sin.

David? What did she say to him ? Explain REFLECTIONS. — 1. Upon Abigail's

“bound in the bundle of life.” How did

David answer? character. Note her prudence, promptness, wisdom, humility.

Illustrations.-I. BOUND IN THE BUNDLE OF LIFE." “Mr. Roberts, in his Oriental Illustrations,' borrows from the proverbial expressions of the Hindoos a much better illustration of this text than ever fell under our notice. He says :-'Anything important or valuable is called a Kattu, i.e., “a bundle, a pack, a bale.” A young man who is enamoured of a female is said to be “bound up in the Kattu, bundle, of love." Of a just judge the people say, “He is bound up in the bundle of justice.” He adds other instances, from the application of which we see that Abigail intended to express that, under the Lord's protection, the life of David was so securely guarded, that all the attempts of his enemies against his existence must prove abortive.”-Kitto.

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II.

“The metaphor is taken from the custom of binding up valuable things in a bundle, to prevent their being injured. The words do not refer primarily to eternal life with God in heaven, but only to the safe preservation of the righteous on this earth in the grace and fellowship of the Lord. But whoever is so hidden in the gracious fellowship of the Lord in this life, that no enemy can harm or injure his life, the Lord will not allow to perish, even though temporal death should come, but will then receive him into eternal life.”—Kiel and Delitzch.

NOVEMBER 1.- -SAUL'S SECOND ESCAPE.-1 Samuel xxvi, 1-12. DAVID BETRAYED.-V. 1-4. What movements ? Again David is in the happened to Saul in the cave of same neighbourhood ; again the Engedi ? Where was the cave situated ? Ziphites give warning to Saul; again Who gave Saul notice of David's Saul starts in pursuit with his body

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