2 Samuel 1:23
Saul and Jonathan were lovely and pleasant in their lives, and in their death they were not divided: they were swifter than eagles…
The words from the elegy of David far Saul and Jonathan, describe their character and relations in both life and death.
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.
Parallel VersesKJV: Saul and Jonathan were lovely and pleasant in their lives, and in their death they were not divided: they were swifter than eagles, they were stronger than lions.