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bat. But who was prepared to go up against this man of war? The face of the mightiest gathered paleness before him! At this juncture, David, who was but a youth, arrived with presents to his brethren. He heard the boast of the giant-he heard te him defy the armies of the living God-he saw that no one seemed disposed to meet the foe-he feltek that Israel was disgraced -- he could not endure it- the his heart burned within him, and he said to Saul, “ Let no man's heart fail; thy servant will go
and fight with this Philistine." And he met him; and with his sling and a smooth stone he destroyed him; and he cut off Goliath's head, and took his sword, and brought both to the king at the head of the army. . Thus David wrought deliverance in Israel. Anda when he bore the trophies of victory, “the women came out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet king Saul, with tabrets, with joy, and with instruments of music. And the women answered one another as they played, and said, Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thou
1 sands.” And thus David gained the affections of the people, and their hearts were never surrendered to any other, until they were stolen by Absalom. They were stolen by craft, and directed to crimeand the whole enterprize ended in sorrow, defeat, and death!
My hearers, our subject furnishes a salutary caution. We should not hastily accredit any man's professions of patriotism, nor hastily believe his declarations of ardent love to his country, if there be no corresponding indication in his conduct. Do not allow yourselves to be led astray. There are thou
sands of men who have their eyes on entirely selfish ends, while they talk about their desire to be of use to their fellow-citizens and to their country. I have no reference whatever to any particular party politics. I am speaking of the depravity of mankind. Every man's honesty and patriotism must be determined by his actions, and not by his words. “The tree is known by its fruit.” Many men have said, in effect, “O that I were made judge in the land, that every man who hath any suit or cause, might come unto me, and I would do him justice," -when, at the same time, self-elevation was his great object. Others have said, “If we can only get that man into authority, it will be the best thing that can happen for the interests of the country”while the fact has been, that those very persons were seeking office and self-aggrandizement, through the influence of the individual whose elevation they so strongly urged!
I have another subject in view, and I desire your company in the investigation of it. It has a bearing on an enterprize which is carried on by another class of people. But here I find a difficulty: I know not how to unfold the subject, because I do not wish to give offence to any one; and I would carefully avoid impugning the motives of those of whom I shall speak. But, my friendly hearers, I am impelled by a sense of duty, and by my profession, to bring against a certain class of community, a charge which is very justly represented in the text. Says the hearer, “Who does he intend to accuse? Some very low creatures, I suppose--some very impious persons.". My friends, I should be pleased had I no more disagreeable task before me. But I have the distressing duty to perform, of informing you, that I have the Christian clergy in view,--the doctors of divinity, who profess to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. “Surely,” says the hearer, "surely the speaker does not intend to bring the charge against them.!” It is more painful to me to make the charge, than it is to you to hear it. But the popular clergy have committed a less excusable theft than Absalom committed. “Wherein?” They have stolen the hearts of the people, not from an earthly monarch, as Absalom did, but from our Father in heaven! The people believe what they have been told, and they love the clergy better than they do the Almighty, and have more confidence in bike them! “ Is that a fact?” says the hearer. Yes, it is. Do not the clergy inform you that the Lord is full of wrath toward poor sinners, and that you are in the awful danger of endless destruction from the drawn in sword of divine vengeance! “ Yes.” And how is it with themselves? Are they willing to yield you up to such destruction? They are not. They informe you, that they have so much regard for your best interests, that they wish to place you in such a situa-ker tion as will secure you from the eternal vengeance of your Creator! They have so strong an affection porten for you,
that they are willing to converse with you day and night, and to spend and be spent in the la- tior bour of love, if they can but save one poor from the vengeance of offended heaven! And the hell people believe them. They say, “How solemnly doing that man spoke of his love for us! he must be a very good man.” People will listen to such fascine nating language, and they will give up their hearts Rock
soul the tot
to the ministers, but God thereby loses the affections of the children he has formed!
There is one particular in which our clergy have improved on the example of Absalom.
66 Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel.” And herein his sagacity failed. He should have attempted to steal the hearts of the women of Israel; and in the opinion of your humble servant, if he had succeeded in so doing, he would have succeeded in his rebellion.
I remarked, that our clergy have improved on Absalom's example. You will generally find, that they take the opportunity to visit your houses, when the father, husband, or brother, is engaged in his business. They sit down with the wife or daughter, as the case may be, and begin the conversation by saying, “I feel concerned for your welfare; I fear there is a dreadful doom coming upon you. You know that God is the enemy of sinners, and that hell is the certain portion of every unconverted soul. I come out of pure love,-shall I pray with you?” “Why, yes." He kneels down, and prays fervently. He then tells the inmates of the house how ardently his heart longs for their salvationand how sincerely he desires to save them from the Vengeance of Almighty God! They look upon his visage, and behold nothing but the most ardent affection. It would be wicked," say they, “to refuse the message of such a loving friend!” So they give their hearts to the minister, and think they are doing right!
Is not this stealing the hearts of the people from the Father of the spirits of all flesh? Why cannot mankind perceive, that God would not send such
affectionate messengers, if what they say be true? If he be really so wrathful toward mankind, would he send such loving ministers? If God were our enemy, he would send ministers of wrath and indig. nation.-The clergy to whom I have referred, profess to come in the name of God-and yet their object seems to be to steal the hearts of women and children from their Creator! I do not intend to impugn their motives. They may themselves be deceived, and think that they love the people better than the people are loved by the Almighty. If they are not thus deceived, they are guilty of the rankest hypocrisy-of which, however, I do not accusę them. I believe they are themselves deceived. When they were rocked in their cradles, the same deception prevailed around them. They were sent
More to colleges and theological seminaries, in which the doctrine they preach was taught. It has been carefully instilled into their minds—and they have been deceived thereby. It is a most terrible delusion. And the doctrine which gives existence to it, and sanctions it, and enables the preachers of it to steal the hearts of mankind from our Father in heaven, must of necessity be false.
In a former part of this discourse, the fact was mentioned, that David had done much for the people of Israel, while Absalom had done nothing for the advantage of his country. It is also worthy of notice, that when Absalom professed so much love for the men he deluded, and expressed so great a desire to do them justice, they did not think of inquiring whether David had ever wronged them, or whether he had ever ceased to love them. When