Saul and Jonathan, beloved and delightful in life, were not divided in death. They were swifter than eagles, they were stronger than lions.
I. THE OCCASIONS OF SUCH JOY.
1. In general, the misfortunes of the Church, whatever hinders its advancement or causes reversal.
2. In particular, the inconsistencies of professing Christians. It is amazing how men will gloat over the occasional lapses of Christians into sins which they are themselves habitually committing. Still it is a serious enhancement of the guilt of such lapses that they cause "the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme" (2 Samuel 12:14).
3. Contentions and divisions among Christians. When these are rife, the world is apt to exclaim in scorn, "See how these Christians love one another!"
4. Failures in their work.
II. THE CAUSES OF SUCH JOY.
1. Hatred of God and goodness. To "rejoice in iniquity" is a sure sign of this; and to rejoice in the enfeebling of the power which most of all tends to its subjugation - the power of Christian life and teaching - is scarcely less so. It is a diabolical joy.
2. The encouragement in sin which is derived from the faults of good men. Sinners feel as if justified in their own sins when Christians fall into them; their guilty consciences are relieved. As if sin in themselves were less sinful because practised by those who profess to have renounced it; or as if the Law of God, Which condemns the Christian's occasional sins, did not at least equally condemn the habitual sins of others. Rather should they remember that the knowledge of the evil of sin by which they condemn others is to their own condemnation (Romans 2:1, 3). They ought, therefore, to take warning instead of indulging satisfaction.
III. HOW CHRISTIANS SHOULD BE AFFECTED BY IT.
1. They should be careful not needlessly to publish that which will produce it. "Tell it not," etc. Not needlessly; for ofttimes secrecy is impossible, sometimes it would be injurious. We must not deny facts, nor palliate sin, to prevent the triumph of enemies. But we ought not to eagerly announce to the world the occurrences which tend to our humiliation and their exultation.
(1) For the sake of those who would exult. That they may not add to their sins by their unholy joy, nor become more hardened in them.
(2) Lest we should put stumbling blocks in the way of feeble Christians; or
(3) discourage our brethren in their conflicts with evil; or
(4) lessen the power of the testimony of the Church on the side of Christ and holiness.
2. They should be still more careful so to live as to give no occasion for such exultation. "That by well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men" (1 Peter 2:15).
3. They should in no degree imitate it. Which they do when they rejoice at any scandal which arises in another Church that they regard as a rival, or at failure on its part in efforts to do good. Christian love "rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth," and will be grieved at sin wherever it may be found, and at the failure of Christian work by whomsoever it may be done. - G.W.
Lovely and pleasant in their lives.
1. Great value is always to be attached to inspiring personal influence. None of us can fully compute the benefits which arise from it. The Eternal God has put it within the power of each one of us to affect others for good or harm. We communicate our intellectual interests, our moral tone, our spiritual bias to those with whom we come into contact. Not more surely is the infection of disease given off than the infection of character. Some men are very mighty in this respect. There is about them a strange contagion. They cannot have intercourse with others without in some degree affecting them. These are men of character: they leave their stamp Upon whomsoever they meet. There is about them, always and everywhere, a distinct, distinguishing manner and style of influence, which it is nearly impossible to resist; and equally so to lose, once it has laid hold upon you.
2. We recognise the importance of the earnest reception of inspiring personal influence. The mightiest inspiration fails to affect some people. They do not receive it. They are like blocks of marble or granite kissed by the sunshine, or sprinkled with the soft sweet rain of heaven. If, in this world, and in our strange human life, when we come near to a good and great man, we open all the doors and windows of our nature to him, He will shine into it, and give to it the warmth and comfort that it needs. When such good people are near, we should see to it that they do not pass away without leaving a blessing upon us. I will indicate a few of the points in which the Master and the disciple strikingly resembled one another: —
I. BREADTH OF VIEW IN REGARDING IMPORTANT MATTERS. The Christian Church has many eminent men occupying positions of prominence in its ministry or its membership, whose power of intellect, and intensity 'of nature, are related to the circumstance that they look and walk along straight lines, and confine themselves to a defined field of observation. They never change their point of view. It is the one with which they are most familiar, and from which they fancy they can see most. From that point they have been looking for ten, twenty, thirty, fifty years. It is easier thus to limit one's field of vision.
II. GREAT REFINEMENT WAS MANIFEST IN THE CHARACTERS OF THESE TWO FRIENDS. It is wonderful how it ever came to pass that a vulgar person could gain credit for being a Christian; for Christianity is the most refining of influences. It sheds a beautifying, chaste, and hallowing effect upon human life. It is the everlasting foe of everything that is vulgar. The coarse, and the harsh, and the hard elements of character have no recognition from it.
III. COURTESY. Some might ask if this is a Christian virtue. Indeed it is. But, like so many Christian virtues, it has been invariably relegated to the domain of cultured, graceful paganism.
PeopleAmalekites, David, Jasher, Jonathan, Saul
PlacesAshkelon, Gath, Gilboa, Mount Gilboa, Ziklag
TopicsBeloved, Death, Divided, Eagles, Gracious, Jonathan, Lighter, Lions, Loved, Lovely, Mightier, Parted, Pleasant, Pleasing, Quickly, Saul, Stronger, Swifter
Outline1. The Amalekite who accused himself of Saul's death is slain
17. David laments Saul and Jonathan with a song
Dictionary of Bible Themes2 Samuel 1:17-27
5086 David, rise of
LibraryThe History of the Psalter
[Sidenote: Nature of the Psalter] Corresponding to the book of Proverbs, itself a select library containing Israel's best gnomic literature, is the Psalter, the compendium of the nation's lyrical songs and hymns and prayers. It is the record of the soul experiences of the race. Its language is that of the heart, and its thoughts of common interest to worshipful humanity. It reflects almost every phase of religious feeling: penitence, doubt, remorse, confession, fear, faith, hope, adoration, and …
Charles Foster Kent—The Origin & Permanent Value of the Old Testament
The Christ Crowned, the Fact
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