And now, as surely as the LORD lives--the One who established me, who set me on the throne of my father David, and who founded for me a dynasty as He promised--surely Adonijah shall be put to death today!"
Martin Luthers schoolmaster, always took his hat off to his schoolboys. "Who can tell," he would say, "what man there may be here? "There was wisdom in the act, for among those boys was the solitary monk that shook the world. Yet it is not every man who becomes all that we mean by a man. Vanity emasculates some. and they become — not men, but the show-blocks of their hatter, the lay-figures and walking advertisements of their tailor. Indolence destroys others, and they become — not men, but manikins dependent on the charity of their relations, and parasites that live by suction. Vice is, the degradation of others, until, sinking below shame, unworthy utterly of the human form — erect, divine," they become as swine in sensuality or as wolves in brutal ferocity. But even if men escape these degradations they may still remain immeasurably below the standard implied in this great word, "a man."
I. MAN WAS MADE IN THE IMAGE OF GOD. This is His essential characteristic. The more He reflects this image, the more truly manly He is. The religion of the Bible restores His manhood.
II. THERE IS NO FACULTY IN MAN WHICH DOES NOT FIND ITS COMPLEMENT AND ITS DEVELOPMENT IN GOD. His reason finds in God alone the truth which it seeks. His heart only finds an object adequate to its power of loving in the God who is Love. His conscience has for its ideal and its law the Divine holiness. "Be ye perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect" (Matthew 5:48). His will derives its power alone from God.
1. The Son of God was the Son of man, and realized the true idea of humanity in His holy life.
2. The religion of God honours and exalts man, even as falsehood and error degrade and debase him.
3. The Divine morality is in profound harmony with true human morality, that law which is written in the natural conscience. The petty religiousness which says, "Touch not, taste not, handle not" (Colossians 2:21), and creates all sorts of artificial duties, is not in accordance with true piety, the one great commandment of which - love to God and man - approves itself at once to the gospel and to the conscience.
4. Be a man means, finally, Do thy duty like a man. Be one of the violent who take the kingdom by force. Let us be careful not to effeminate our Christianity by a soft sentimentalism. Let us learn from the Son of God to be truly men "after God's own heart." - E. DE P.
Be thou strong therefore, and shew thyself a man.
I. IT INVOLVES THE CHOICE OF A GREAT OBJECT. It sets a man upon living for a great end, the greatest end that he can live for. To see grown-up men occupying themselves in petty concerns, suffering them to engross their thoughts and their time and their powers, making them their all, concentrating upon them their energies and their efforts, following them with a zeal, an earnestness, and a pertinacity utterly disproportionate and exaggerated, it is a pitiable sight, ridiculous if it were not also melancholy. This is puerile, boyish, effeminate. The things of a child are very proper things for a child. There is fitness, there is beauty, there is use, in his devotion to them. But how unseemly, how contemptible, how offensive, is such a devotion in a man. We judge of men by the elevation and magnitude of their pursuits. We think a fop a puerile creature, who lives to look pretty and smell sweet. And the man "whose God is his belly," who lives to eat, and lays out his mind on marketing and cookery, is another great child. Such men are still busy with their playthings a little changed in form. But does any man rise to the height of himself who lives for this world? Is there not in an such living the same sort of dwarfing and disparagement of the true greatness and dignity of human nature, the same sad incongruity and disproportion?
II. THERE IS MANLINESS AGAIN IN DECISION, FIRMNESS, AND CONSTANCY OF PURPOSE. It is characteristic of children that they do not know their own minds, that they are the sport of whim and caprice, unsteady, vacillating, freakish, easily diverted from their aim, easily discouraged by difficulties, deficient in persistency, resolution, and concentration. When we see a child more fixed and consistent in the choice of an end than children are wont to be, we call him precocious, a manly child; and if this quality is not so prominent as to be premature and unnatural, we say it augurs well for the boy's future. To see a grown man the victim of fugitive preferences, impressions, and impulses, "a wave of the sea, driven with the wind and tossed," is wretched. We say then that fixedness, concentration, steadfastness, are attributes of a man, are essential to the development of a truly manly character. And where are they so exhibited as in religion, if it be genuine and true? What else so tends to form and foster them? What else so draws the whole life as it were to a single focus? — so forces all its streams to run into one reservoir? What else gives life such unity, coherence, and connection of parts?
III. THERE IS MANLINESS IN INDEPENDENCE; and this is emphatically a religious virtue. The Christian must be singular, and pursue a path not trodden by the multitude. And he must be content ordinarily to pursue it in the face of misconception, misconstruction, remonstrance, and derision. This is to no small extent "the offence of the cross." To be unlike others, to be looked upon with curiosity, to be thought affected or ostentatious, is trying. So, to keep a separate and isolated position, to be one by one's self, and stand an anomaly and exception, self-centred and self-sustained, without the ordinary props of human opinion and usage, requires largely independence of character. Independence is a quality of manhood. A child is a conformist and a copyist. It leans upon the parent, and holds itself up by clinging to an older person, as the ivy hangs upon the tree or wall It goes in leading strings, and looks timidly out for examples and precedents and authorities. To think and act for himself, to mark out his own line of action and pursue it, to have the reasons and the law of his actions in himself, and not to swerve from his path at dictation or censure or contempt, is to vindicate one's maturity, to act the part of a man. Does not religion then stand vindicated from the charge of unmanliness? And is not David s counsel to Solomon his son justified and sustained — Be manly and be religious, be manly in your religion, and religious in order to be manly? Is not religion successfully rescued from one of, the most effective and damaging aspersions that is ever cast upon it — that it is unmanly, that it is a suitable thing for the softer sex, and pretty in children, but not at all fit for robust, hardy, deep-thinking, bold-acting men? It is not in the slightest degree true.
(R. A. Hallam, D. D.).
I. MAN HATH A CAPACITY FOR CONSTANT AND PERPETUAL PROGRESSION IN KNOWLEDGE.
II. MAN HATH A CAPACITY FOR HOLINESS AS WELL AS KNOWLEDGE. His rational and moral faculties both capacitate and oblige him to be holy. His perception and volition, in connection with his reason and conscience, enable him to discern and feel the right and wrong of actions, and the beauty and deformity of characters. This renders him capable of doing justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly with God.
III. THAT MAN HATH A CAPACITY FOR HAPPINESS, EQUAL TO HIS CAPACITY FOR HOLINESS AND KNOWLEDGE. Knowledge and holiness are the grand pillars which support all true and substantial happiness; which invariably rises or falls, accordingly as these are either stronger or weaker. Knowledge and holiness in the Deity are the source of all his happiness. Angels rise in felicity as they rise in holiness and knowledge. And saints here below grow in happiness as they grow in grace, and in the knowledge of holy and Divine objects.
IV. THAT MAN HATH A CAPACITY FOR GREAT AND NOBLE ACTIONS.
1. We may justly infer from the nature and dignity of man, that we are under indispensable obligations to religion. Our moral obligations to religion are interwoven with the first principles of our nature. And, as man is formed for religion, so religion is the ornament and perfection of his nature. The man of religion is, in every supposable situation, the man of dignity. Pain, poverty, misfortune, sickness and death, may indeed veil, but they cannot destroy his dignity, which sometimes shines with more resplendent glory under all these ills and clouds of life.
2. This subject may help us to ascertain the only proper and immutable boundaries of human knowledge: such boundaries of our knowledge as arise from the frame and constitution of our nature, and not from any particular state or stage of our existence.
3. This subject gives us reason to suppose, that men, in the present state, may carry their researches into the works of nature, much farther than they have ever yet carried them. The fields of science, though they have been long traversed by strong and inquisitive minds, are so spacious, that many parts remain yet undiscovered.
4. The observations, which have been made upon the nobler powers and capacities of the human mind, may embolden the sons of science to aim to be originals. They are strong enough to go alone, if they only have sufficient courage and resolution. They have the same capacities, and the same original sources of knowledge, that the ancients enjoyed.
5. We are under indispensable obligations to cultivate and improve our minds in all the branches of human knowledge. All our natural powers are so many talents, which, in their own nature, lay us under moral obligations to improve them to the best advantage. Being men, we are obliged to act like men, and not like the horse or the mule which have no understanding.
(N. Emmons, D. D.)
Unless above himself he can
Erect himself, how poor a thing is man!
What, then, is this ideal? What is it that every woman puts into her love and every man into his self-respect when we sound the challenge: "Show thyself a man? What are the marks by which a sterling manhood may be known.
I. ONE MARK OF MANHOOD IS STRENGTH. "Be thou strong, therefore, and show thyself a man." In the notion of an ideal man we all include the attribute of physical strength. It is true that some have asserted their manhood in spite of bodily infirmity. The Apostle Paul carried the Gospel over two continents, notwithstanding that he was half blind and paralysed. Richard Baxter, the most voluminous writer and most successful pastor of his day, was a lifelong invalid. Dr. George Wilson was accustomed to deliver his lectures with a great blister on his chest. Bishop Butler, who wrote the Analogy of Religion, and James Watt, inventor of the steam engine, were both so harassed with bile and consequent melancholy as to be constantly tempted to make away with themselves. The lives of such men are notable illustrations of the triumph of mental energy over bodily infirmities, and should encourage those of us who suffer from constitutional debility; but they do not make physical weakness either natural or desirable. Young men ought to be strong, ought to take pleasure in vigorous exercises, ought to remember the ancient proverb: "The glory of young men is their strength." In this matter of physical culture I say to every young man: "Shew thyself a man." More, however, than either physical or mental strength, as sunlight is more than moonlight or starlight, is moral strength. In the high firmament of ideal manhood, moral strength is the greater light that rules the day. You must put the dement of conscience, you must put love for righteousness and hatred of evil-doing into your conception of manly vigour, or you never can truly say of any man what Marc Antony said of Brutus: —
The elements were
So mixed in him that Nature might stand up
And say to all the world — this was a man.
II. A SECOND MARK OF MANHOOD IS SAGACITY. Milton asks: "What is strength without a double share of wisdom?" and then he adds: "Strength is not made to rule, but to subserve, where wisdom bears command." He that would show himself a man must couple sagacity with strength; for we live in a world of illusions, which are like traps at a young man's feet. You young men of this new generation are face to face with what Carlyle described as "the Everlasting No." To every precept of heaven the devil brings a "No." "Fear God and keep His commandments." "No," says the devil; "indulge your passions." "Man's chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him for ever." "No," says the devil; "man's chief end is to glorify himself and enjoy his own way." "He that findeth his life shall lose it, and he that loseth his life for My sake shall find it." "No," says the devil; "let every other man be damned, body and soul, and what does it matter to you? This "Everlasting No" meets us at every call of duty, and has to be resisted and foresworn once and for ever, or we cut ourselves adrift from every possibility of achieving the ideal manhood. Thousands of men to-day are crippled and emasculated by this negative of unbelief. Their loss is incalculable. Themselves are stripped of blessing, and their influence is emptied of power. To the devil's "Everlasting No" do you oppose God's "Everlasting Yes." Be positive and practical; add sagacity to strength.
III. A third mark of manhood is saintliness. A saint is one who lives unto God, and in whom God's will is law. Here manliness completes itself. Man being created in the image of God, we can regard none as attaining the ideal of manhood who does not in thought, purpose, impulse, and deed reflect the God in whom he lives, moves, and has his being; and is not this what we mean by saintliness? Saintliness includes honesty, for it accepts the golden rule: "Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you do ye also to them"; and does not Pope affirm " an honest man's the noblest work of God"? Saintliness includes the service of others; for every saint is a follower of Him who "came not to be ministered unto, but to minister and give His life a ransom for many." And does not Lord Lytton remind us —
That man is great, and he alone
Who serves a greatness not his own
For neither praise nor pelf.
Content to know and be unknown,
Whole in himself!Strength, sagacity, saintliness — these three, and the greatest of these is saintliness, if any one of us would show himself a man.
(W. J. Woods, B. A.)
I. THE CHARGE OF THE DYING FATHER. It is that of a king to his successor, who is soon to ascend the throne of Israel. The position is so responsible, the charge will be long and weighty. But no; how short the address, how few the directions — "Show thyself a man" Be a man, that is all. Yes, but that is everything. Be a man, such as God made; not the distorted, crooked, perverted creature sin has made.
II. WHAT IS IMPLIED IN THIS CHARGE. Vir was the word the Romans used for man, and from which our word virtue comes. Virtue, too, with them meant courage, heroism. Whatever therefore is virtuous is manly. Truthfulness is a virtue, and therefore manly. God is truth. Man is most manly when most like God, for he was made in the image of God. Honesty is paying our just debts, paying honour to whom honour is due, exercising supreme love to God, and loving our fellow-men as ourselves (Matthew 22:27). Hence, a true man, a real man, must be a Christian and a gentleman. Temperance, patience, kindness, gentleness, unselfishness, are all virtues, and therefore manly. The gentleman's code of honour is found in Philippians 4:8.
III. THE FOUNDATION OF MANHOOD IS STRENGTH. Strength of purpose, will-power, determination, self-control, power to resist popular customs when wrong, prevalent vices that have become aristocratic, fashions and habits of evil that have fastened on people whom you consider above you in age, experience, and profession; power to be called eccentric, odd, queer, to be sneered at. You need a courage that will not dilly-dally with evil, but at the first solicitation say "no," that will "dare to do right, dare to be true." Hence in this brief charge the very first accents are, " Be thou strong." David knew it required strength.
IV. THE SOURCE OF THIS STRENGTH IS IN GOD. Moses, Joshua, Paul, Luther, Wesley, were men of mighty power, and they all found their strength in God.
V. THE IMPORTANT AIM OF THIS CHARGE WAS THE RIGHT DEVELOPMENT AND FORMATION OF CHARACTER. This should be the first aim of every young man. This is the first aim of the Gospel, now so often overlooked in this busy, bustling, noisy age. Paul's first; instruction to Timothy was, "Take heed unto thyself." Deceit, falsehood, lust, etc., are all intruders. Cast them out, show thyself. Let not the animal reign, but the man. Be a man, and then you will be what every true man is — a king.
(G. H. Smyth.)
1. Young men, it is your duty to cultivate your physical strength by athletic sports, gymnastics, and other exercises that will help to fortify the noble temple in which God has housed your mind and soul. It matters not how valuable the possessions that are stored in a house, if the house is insecure or the roof leaky. It is no credit to a man to be so careless about the house in which the priceless treasures of mind and spirit are placed that the building becomes worn out before its time. If you and I are going to do efficient work in this the busiest age of the world's history, if we are to hold our own in the fierce competition of this the greatest of all commercial periods, we will need sturdy muscles, stout lungs, healthy livers, and good digestion. A man handicaps himself seriously in the race of life who pays no regard to the rules of health. On the other hand, a man with a healthy body has better chances of success, because health inspires him with hope and ambition. Thomas Carlyle gave to the world a jaundiced view of many things because he had a weak stomach. What misery he caused in his own home, and in the life of that patient martyr-wife of his, has been revealed in the letters of Jane Welsh Carlyle. Many a man who most sacredly keeps the Ten Commandments breaks with impunity the laws of health.
2. The development of the body, however, is not all that makes up man. A prize-fighter has a well-developed body, but his influence does not count for much outside of the prize-ring. There is a mind to be cultivated and a soul. The man who devotes himself entirely to physical development will be apt to forget the needs of the other two parts of his nature. If all the energy in a man's nature is running to brawn, there will be nothing left to run to brain. The men who have compelled the world's attention have not been physical giants hut men of mental and moral muscle. Napoleon, Wellington, and Grant were not great in body. If the ideal of a perfect man consisted only in physical qualities, we should be lower in the scale than certain animals. The ex surpasses a man in muscular strength; the antelope in speed; the hound in keenness of scent; the eagle in eyesight; the rabbit in acuteness of hearing; the honey-bee in delicacy of taste; the spider in fineness of nervous energy. So we cannot measure a man by his body, nor by his material possessions. We have advanced beyond the age in which the world counted as its greatest heroes Hercules, Ajax, Croesus, Miltiades. The world to-day is ruled not by muscle, but by mind and heart. The bravest are the tenderest, the loving are the daring. A young man's value to the world and to himself depends largely on the cultivation of his intellect. Just as in the cultivation of the body you have to regard suitable food and proper exercise, so in the development of the mind you have to consider the kind of food. Every young man ought to mark out for himself a course of reading in history, biography, poetry, and philosophy. Another thing: As you would not knowingly take into your system diseased meat, or decayed fruit or vegetables, in like manner you will not desire to poison your mind by the reading of impure books. The quality of our thoughts determines the quality of our character. Impure thoughts are worms which eat away the tissues of moral character. The man who falls a victim to temptation is the man whose character has become worm-eaten. Guard most sacredly the door of the mind, and keep it closed against the entrance of evil thoughts. Had General Grant been a man of weak will, he never could have carried the campaigns of the Civil War through to success. Yet his memoirs reveal a man with a heart as tender as a girl's, hating war and disliking the very sound of a gun, but possessed of such self-command that to foresee a thing necessary to be done was to command, even though he had to fight it out on one line all summer. Opposition, discouragement, difficulties, never can keep a man of will power down. The party leaders at Rome thought they would get rid of the ambitious young Caesar, so they gave him a commission which necessitated a prolonged absence from Rome and a difficult expedition into the heart of an un-civilised and unexplored region of country. They said: "Rome never again will hear of young Caesar." But the young man conquered Gaul, and returning after a campaign of ten years seized the sceptre of imperial power. It is a sad thing to see a man in whom the will power has gone to decay. Dr. Maudsley, the English scientist, says the beginning of recovery from mental derangement is always a revival of the power of the will. When an expert in an insane asylum finds a patient able to execute some new plan of conduct, and to hold himself in the pursuit of it for hours at a time, he is apt to say that that man will soon go out of the asylum.
3. Let me now come to the final quality that goes into the makeup of symmetrical manhood, and that is the spiritual nature. Physical strength is good, but it is only the cellar foundation of the house. No one would be content to live in the cellar, no matter how well stocked it might be with provisions and other comforts. He would at least want to have another storey to the building, and we have spoken of the intellectual development. But to stop with that would be like dwelling in a library, or art gallery, and never having any higher rooms where we might come into fellowship with the Creator, and with His Son, our Saviour. To change the figure, lev me say that to neglect the spiritual nature, as some men have done, equipping the physical and mental natures with everything needful, is like building a splendid ship and leaving off the rudder. The spiritual nature in a man is the rudder which controls his thoughts and purposes. Sometimes a ship at sea is found flying the signal, "Not under control." That is a very terrible signal. The splendid athlete who can win a boat race, or in the arena knock out his opponent, may be only a baby in his moral manhood. A man with muscles strong enough to fell a horse may be weak enough to yield to some subtle temptation. The secret is spiritual character. You remember what men said of the noble Greek who governed his city by unwritten laws — "Phocion's character is more than the constitution." The power of character in Lamartine was such that during the bloodiest days in Paris he never bolted his doors, and once when he rose to speak the one who introduced him said: "Sixty years of a pure life are about to address you." Emerson says there was a certain power in Lincoln, Washington, and Burke not to be explained by their printed words. John Milton said: "A good man is the ripe fruit our earth holds up to God." If the Roman youth were elevated in spirit by standing one day each week in a room devoted to the statuary of great heroes, and making vows to their imaginary presence, how much more are we ennobled when we go into the presence of the infinite and eternal Jehovah, who is able to impart to us the transforming influence of His Holy Spirit.
(D. H. Martin, D. D.)
Homilist.This is the parting advice of a king to his son, whose right it was to grasp the sceptre as it fell from the pallid hand of his dying father.
I. BE THOU STRONG.
1. Not boastful severest conflict, when many are fainting.
2. How is this strength obtained? From God alone, through our Lord Jesus Christ. How from Him? Repent of all sins. Resolve to break from all sins, and live a devoted Christian life. Cultivate personal trust in Christ as your Saviour, and believe that God for His sake pardons and saves you.
II. SHOW THYSELF A MAN. Lot it not be a mere inference, but a palpable fact; a demonstration. "Show thyself." Men put a value upon us according to how we show ourselves. Don't leave it to others to show that you are a man; do it yourself. Not an angel, but a man. There is no instrument God can use in so many ways and places, and with such wonderful success, as a devoted Christian who can show himself a man — a man who has the tear of sympathy for the sorrowing, a word of comfort for the bereaved, and a word of hope for the downcast and desponding.
(Homilist.)World's Children, gives some remarkable specimens of the Spartan training in courage that the boys of Japan must all undergo. All kinds of games are played to test the character in this particular of the children. They are told thrilling stories of dragons and giants, and, when worked up to terror, each boy has to go into a darkened room and bring out a strand of wick which is burning in a dish of oil; and this, too, with a smiling face, absolutely unruffled. Another favourite game is to gather in a lonely graveyard, under a tree, and plant flags in a haunted spot. Then each boy is made to walk up the avenue alone, pull out a flag slowly, with dignity, and without a nervous tremor. So, having borne the yoke in his youth, his courage is believed to be equal to all demands upon it in later life.
PeopleAbiathar, Abishag, Abner, Absalom, Achish, Adonijah, Amasa, Anathoth, Barzillai, Bathsheba, Benaiah, David, Eli, Gera, Haggith, Jehoiada, Jether, Joab, Maacah, Maachah, Ner, Shimei, Solomon, Zadok, Zeruiah
PlacesAnathoth, Bahurim, Gath, Hebron, Jerusalem, Jordan River, Kidron, Mahanaim, Shiloh
TopicsAdonijah, Adoni'jah, Causeth, David, Death, Dynasty, Established, Founded, Kings, Line, Placed, Promised, Seat, Securely, Sit, Spake, Surely, Throne, To-day, Truly
Outline1. David, having given a charge to Solomon
3. of Reverence
5. of Joab
7. of Barzillai
8. of Shimei
10. Solomon succeeds
12. Adonijah, moving Bathsheba to ask unto Solomon for Abishag,
13. is put to death
26. Abiathar, having his life given him, is deprived of the priesthood
28. Joab fleeing to the horns of the altar, is there slain
35. Benaiah is put in Joab's room, and Zadfok in Abiathar's
36. Shimei, confined to Jerusalem, by occasion of going to Gath, is put to death.
Dictionary of Bible Themes1 Kings 2:24
5120 Solomon, character
LibraryThe Horns of the Altar
WE MUST tell you the story. Solomon was to be the king after David, but his elder brother, Adonijah, was preferred by Joab, the captain of the host, and by Abiathar, the priest; and, therefore, they got together, and tried to steal a march upon dying David, and set up Adonijah. They utterly failed in this; and when Solomn came to the throne Adonijah was afraid for his life, and fled to the horns of the altar at the tabernacle for shelter. Solomn permitted him to find sanctuary there, and forgave …
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 31: 1885
"He Ascended into Heaven:" Believe. "He Sitteth at the Right Hand of the Father...
Whether Curiosity Can be About Intellective Knowledge?
Whether the Angels have Bodies Naturally United to Them?
Whether the Natural Law Can be Changed?
The Whole Heart
"The King Kissed Barzillai. " 2 Sam. xix. 39
What Manner of Man Ought not to Come to Rule.
Authorship of the Pentateuch.
Fifth Sunday after Trinity Exhortation to the Fruits of Faith.
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