A Gracious Temper
2 Samuel 9:1-13
And David said, Is there yet any that is left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan's sake?…

I. AN AFFECTING EXHIBITION OF THE VICISSITUDES OF HUMAN LIFE. I do not now refer to those common changes which are taking place in the community, but to those which are calculated powerfully to affect the mind. Neither do I now particularly allude to those by which persons have rapidly risen from their original obscurity, to stations of eminent dignity, emolument, or power, so that mankind have been astonished at their sudden elevation. My reference is to events of a precisely opposite character. See, for example, the patriarch Job, the richest man in his day in the east. Listen to the language of one who was in the golden mediocrity, and bad all her wants liberally supplied, but was afterwards so reduced that she exclaimed — "Call me no more Naomi, but call me Marah. for I went out full but the Lord has sent me home empty." Look at the family of Saul. And, not to multiply examples from scripture, have we not witnessed similar events, and equally surprising, within the last twenty years of our lives? If we look into the more private circle, how many, through changes and war, through the violence and fraud of others, or through their own imprudence and ambition, have been precipitated from the summit of the mount to the very bottom of the valley! To them we may almost apply the language of Solomon — I have seen "princes sitting on dunghills." In a word — we are taught the folly of making earthly things our rest and portion. If you possess them in abundance, they cannot give true or abiding satisfaction: — possess them! — they are so insecure, that you know not that they shall be yours by the dawn of to-morrow's morn. "Vanity of vanities, all is vanity." You may be in a palace and on a throne, and your family overloaded with opulence and secular distinctions, and in a few years the question may be asked, "Is there any left of the house of Saul?"

II. THERE IS A NOBLE TRIUMPH OF A GENEROUS AND GRACIOUS TEMPER. For who was Saul? We have said he was a king; and let us not indulge towards him a radical spirit, but do him justice. For some time he acted according to the rules of equity and humanity, and law, by the advice of his wise and pious counsellor Samuel; and for a while his kingdom prospered. But at length he disobeyed the positive commands of God, distinctly given him by the prophet. With respect to David, who never treated him but with respectful courtesy and kindness, he was so jealous of his rising character and fame, that he left no means which he could command untried, to deprive him of his life. Now, mark the disposition and demeanour of David. Religion does not require us to select as our chosen associates, those who have furnished unequivocal evidence that they would injure us if it were in their power: but it does require of us to control our passions; to suppress unholy irritation; to pass by an offence; to bury it in silence; to be willing to show acts of kindness to the injurious.

III. HERE IS A BEAUTIFUL SPECIMEN OF DELICATE FRIENDSHIP. There was a condescension and an activity in the benevolence which is here described, and which deserve more emphatic notice. David was in his palace, surrounded by the distinctions of royalty. Mephibosheth, the last of Saul's remaining sons, was in the shade of seclusion and poverty. But the prince did not deem it beneath his dignity to ask after the humblest or the poorest subject in his realm, and to solicit information of his condition, and to stretch out his hand to lift the impoverished relict from his obscurity, and liberally supply his wants. Let those in elevated rank, and magisterial office, wear their honours unmoved, and let those in opulence enjoy their abundance, and share in the permitted delights of the sons of men — but let them also be assured that it is no degradation to be touched with the feeling of human infirmities, or to wipe away tears from the eyes of the distressed; nor is there any enjoyment more sweet or luxurious (next to communion with God) than that with which he is inspired, who can say, "I was eyes to the blind, and feet was I to the lame; and I was a father. to the poor. The blessing of him who was ready to perish came upon me, and I caused the widow's heart to sing for joy."

IV. Behold in this text and history, a DESCRIPTIVE REPRESENTATION OF THE MIND OF HIM OF WHOM DAVID WAS AN ANCESTOR AND A TYPE. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was a lineal descendant of David, according to the flesh. In real dignity, the Saviour infinitely surpassed him; and hence David called Him Lord; hence the proclamation — "I am the root and the offspring of David, the bright and morning star," which shines with a brilliancy above the rest

(J. Clayton.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And David said, Is there yet any that is left of the house of Saul, that I may shew him kindness for Jonathan's sake?

WEB: David said, "Is there yet any who is left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan's sake?"

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