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cratic head of the Jewish empire, by disobeying his commands relative to the deftruction of the Amalekites, as to make him form the refolution of taking the kingdom from him, the prophet Samuel was directed by Divine infpiration to go to Bethlehem, to anoint one of the fons of Jeffe, in order that he may become the fucceffor of Saul, when the train of events, which were to render fuch an event neceffary, should be completed.
Samuel naturally thought that the eldest of Jeffe's fons was to be the object of his choice, not only on account of the priority of his birth, but the fuperior dignity of his perfon to any of the others. But God, who judgeth not as man judgeth, by the outward appearance, preferring the mental qualifications and integrity of the youngest, directed the prophet to fix on him; and David was accordingly anointed after the ufual form.
Notwithstanding this young man did not equal his eldest brother in the height of his ftature, and majefty of his deportment, yet he wanted no perfonal or mental endowment that could render him worthy of the honour intended him. His perfon was formed after one of Nature's moft perfect models, fuch as
we fee delineated by the pencil of Corregio; and that both his natural and acquired accomplishments were far above the level of the times, appears from every circumstance of his life.
In the following, the obfervation is remarkably confpicuous. Soon after David's felection to the future fovereignty of Ifrael, Saul being attacked with ftrange demoniacal complaints, it was propofed by his physicians, as the most effectual remedy they could point out for the cure of his perturbed mind, that a perfon fhould be fought for, who was skilful in playing upon the harp, and in reciting hymns, in order to perform before the king. Upon this occafion, when it is rational to fuppofe the most able judges directed the choice, David, though the youngest son of a perfon at a diftance from the royal refidence, and whofe ufual employment it was to tend his father's fheep, was fixed on, in preference to all others, for the purpose a certain proof that his abilities in that line were of the first rate. And we find he exerted them fo happily, that whenever the evil fpirit became turbulent, the melody of his voice, aided by the sweet reverberations of his harp,
restored the mind of Saul to its usual placidity.
But what raised David fo high in the estimation of his countrymen, and ferved as the foundation of his future glory, was his combat with Goliath, which, for its fingularity, requires more than a curfory recital.
The Philistines having with a great army invaded the country of the Ifraelites, Saul marched with his forces to oppofe them. While the two armies lay encamped on two hills oppofite to each other, one of the Philiftines, named Goliath of Gath, came daily into the valley between the two camps, defying any one of the Ifraelites to meet him, and decide the conteft by fingle combat. "If," exclaimed Goliath," the man you shall chuse vanquishes me, then will we be your fervants; but if I prevail against him, and kill him, then fhall ye be our fervants, and ferve us. And this he continued to do for forty days, to the great terror of Saul and his troops, not a man daring to accept the challenge on account of his gigantic fizé, he being above four cubits in height, clad in complete armour, and bearing weapons proportionable to his enormous bulk.
About the expiration of this time, it happened that Jeffe fent his fon David to the camp, to carry fome refreshments to his three eldest brothers, who were with the army, and to enquire after their welfare; from whence we muft conclude, though there appears to be a chafm in the hiftory here, that as foon as Saul's diforder had been removed by the musical exertions of David, he returned to his former occupation of tending his father's flocks.
Just as David arrived at the camp, the Philiftine came to his wonted station, and repeated aloud his defiance and reproaches. On hearing fo glaring an infult offered to his countrymen, the young man found his indignation aroused; and he inftantly declared, that he would accept the challenge of this vaunting infidel. Nor could the discouragement he met with from his eldest brother on making this declaration, (who, despising his youth and want of military skill, reproved him for his prefumption, and bid him return to his flocks), deter him from adhering to his refolution. Impelled by that invisible power who was planning his future elevation, he was not to be filenced, but continued publicly
publicly to exprefs his defign, till at length it reached the ears of the king.
As foon as Saul received the information, he ordered David to be brought before him, and interrogated him relative to the truth of the report; upon which David thus addreffed him: "Be not difmayed, O king! at the infolence of this uncircumcifed Philiftine, for I will go down and meet him; and I truft, although there is fuch a vaft difproportion in our strength and stature, that I shall be able to rid thee of so troublesome an enemy."
Saul admired the fpirit of the young man ; but reflecting on the disparity of the age, fize, and military knowledge of the two combatants, would have diffuaded him from undertaking the combat. "How canft thou," faid the king, "attempt fo hazardous an encounter, who art but a ftripling, and thy opponent not only a man exceeding all others in ftrength and bulk, but one that has been a warrior from his youth?"
"Judge not of my ance, O king!” replied David, (while firmness, tempered by modefty, beamed from his
abilities by my appear