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under the immediate direction of God; which they most assuredly did, by ask.. ing a king :-“And Samuel said unto all Israel, Behold, I have hearkened unto your voice in all that ye have said unto me, and have made a king over you. Behold, here I am: witness against me before the Lord, and before his anointed: whose ox bave I taken? or whose ass have I taken ? or whom have I defrauded ? wbom have I oppressed? or of whose band bave I received any bribe, to blind mine eyes therewith? and I will restore it you. And he said anto them, The Lord is witness against you, and his anointed is witness this day, that ye have not found aught in my band. And they answered, He is witness. Now therefore, stand and see this great thing, which the Lord will do before your eyes. Is it not wheat harvest to-day? I will call unto the Lord, and be shall send thunder and rain; that ye may perceive and see that your wickedness is great, which ye bave done in the sight of the Lord, in asking you a king. So Samuel called unto
the Lord; and the Lord sent thunder and rain that day : and all the people greatly feared the Lord and. Samuel. And all the people said unto Samuel, Pray for thy servants unto the Lord thy God, that we die not: for we have added unto all our sins this evil, to ask us a king." Sam. chap. xii. ver. 1, 3, 5, 16, 19.
No king of Israel, or any other king, ever could with truth make such an appeal as the above, to their people, on the relinquishment of their regal authority. Indeed, the brutal conduct of Saul, the first Jewish king, especially to David, the most valiant and faithful soldier he had in his army, proved him to be a most unprincipled, jealous, and suspicious tyrant: but what capped the climax of his villanies, was his murdering the Jewish priests, for no crime but what was the offspring of his own suspicion. Kings are always sur. rounded with such servile and sycophantic miscreants as Doeg. Hear what he says to Saul, in order to insinuate himself in his favour; and mark
the sequel:-" Then answered Doeg the Edomite, (who was set over the servants of Saul) and said, I saw the son of Jesse coming to Nob, to Abimelech the son of Abitub. And he enquired of the Lord for bim: and gave him victuals, and gave him the sword of Goliath the Philistine. Then the king sent to call Abimelech the priest, the son of Abitub, and all his father's house, the priests that were in Nob: and they came all of them to the king, And Saul said, Hear now, thou son of Ahitub: and he answered, here I am, my lord. And Saul said unto bim, Why have ye conspired against me, thou and the son of Jesse, in that thou hast given bim bread, and a sword, and bast enquired of God for him, that he should rise against me, to lie in wait, as at this day? Then Ahimelech answered the king, and said, And who is so faithful among all thy servants, as David, wbich is the king's son in-law, and goeth at thy bidding, and is honourable in thine house ? Did I then begin to enquire of God for him ?, be it far from me; let not the king impute any thing unto his servaut, nor to all the house of my father : for thy servant knew nothing of all this, less or more. And the king said, Thou shalt surely die, Abimelech, thou, and all thy father's house, Avd the king said unto the footmen that stood about bim, Turu and slay the priests of the Lord; because their hand also is with David, and because they knew when he fled, and did not shew it to me. But the servants of the king would not put forth their band to fall upon the priests of the Lord. And the king said to Doeg, Turn thou and fall upon the priests. And Doeg the Edomite turned, and he fell upon the priests, and slew on that day fourscore and five persons that did wear a linen Epbod. And Nob, the city of the priests, smote he with the edge of the sword, both men and women, children and sucklings, and oxen, and asses, and sheep, with ihe edge of the sword.” 1 Sam. chap. xxii. ver. 9-19. What savage barbarity! that even the innocent, crying, and smiling infants, and bleating lambs could not escape.
But surely this was a just re-action of Providence, for the base servility and ingratitude of the Jews; and the above was only the beginning of their sorrows; for it appears all their kings were tyrants, David and a few others excepted : and even the case of David's intrigue with Uriab's beautiful wife, al. though the best man, and the best king of Israel, is a plain and positive proof, that even the best men in church or state, should not be entrusted with too* much power. Alexander the Great, who at the commencement of his military career, was an amiable young man, yet in following years, he was metamorphosed to a barbarian, by the abuse of power. Indeed, I can at present re. collect of but one solitary instance, where power had not the influence to corrupt a great man; I mean general George Washington. While the king of England received from the mouth of labour onr million sterling, per annum, for the most superficial services, this great man endured all the hardships of a sanguinary war; and after procuring