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David, the servant of the Lord spake the words of this song
in the day that the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul. You know the history. The son of Jesse was sadly tried. The passage from the sheep-folds to the throne was a very crooked one, and oftentimes very dark; like the valley of the shadow of death that the shepherd would try to save His sheep from.
David was hunted up and down the mountains like a partridge, or a wild goat; but he was the man after God's own heart ; and, I dare say, if we had been by, we should have heard him say at almost every turn—“Thou wilt right my candle.” Oh! it is a blessed thing to have vur mind stayed on God !
Run your eye through this Psalm, and let your mind hread the thoughts like beads of pearl, or other pre
How bright they are, these heavenly istres! The most striking of all is, I think-Condence in God. How firm was the Psalmist’s integrity ! ow he shews that he held communion with the most Coly! how sure he was that the proud would fall, ad the afflicted be recompensed with salvation ! and len come the words of the text-"For Thou wilt ght my candle." Truths in the general all will endorse, but truths particular application very many pass by. David alized a truth in particular application to himself; e afflicted in general shall be helped, but the Lord 1 light my candle, says the Psalmist. 66 Saul is
fallen," he might have thought, but he would add more--" And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto His heavenly kingdom.” Cast not away your confidence, for it hath great recompense of reward.
A candle is an artificial instrument for feeding and displaying light; the term lamp will do as well, as in the margin at this place. By a figure of speech, the spirit of man is said to be the candle of the Lord, searching all the inward parts. This seems to be the candle to which David refers. He would be cheered; he would have joy; the clouds of affliction would pass by, and he would be happy again,
It would be interesting and instructive could we go through the life of David, and trace this patience of hope at its constant work. His mind had a pious bent even in youth. He was always reflective. When he kept his father's sheep, and the lion and the bear came forth and did such havoc, how vexed he was at the loss of his lamb. No doubt he deeply mused, before his spirit was stirred, and his nerves strong, to do the deed, even to catch the lion by his beard and slay him. The sudden resolve was the work of a moment; there was no time to dally; yet, in that little moment's work there was a realizing, so to speak, of the words of the text-" Thou wilt light my candle.” His candle went out, that is, his hopes were dashed, in the short space of the lion's spring; and it was lit again as speedily; a sudden inspiration from the Almighty nerv
ing him with superhuman strength. How quick the mind is in its actings ! and the Lord is ever at hand to shew Himself strong in behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward Him.
What a critical time it was with Israel, when the famous Giant of Gath defied their armies. Their candle would probably have gone out, had it not been for the son of Jesse. He could bear the chiding of his bro
he could afford to throw Saul's armour from off him; and with his shepherd's staff, and five smooth stones from the brook, he went forth to meet (aye, and to vanquish) the proud boaster against the God of his fathers. All who stood by wondered at the bold daring of the ruddy youth; but the heart of the shepherd of Bethlehem was drawing itself up for a noble act of faith; and the meaning of the words of the text had an utterance then-" Thou wilt light my candle.” Nothing can stand against such faith as this; the giant lust, or the giant sin, that, in the valleys of thy soul, bids defiance to heaven's God, shall fall before t; mountains shall move; and sycamore trees be planted in the sea.
What changes and chances did David experience before he found himself seated on his throne! Had le known beforehand what a road he had to travel long, he would doubtless have tried to stay at home ending a few sheep in the wilderness. How Saul eyed im with
envy, and strove to kill him; and how David avoided out of his presence. Jonathan, 'tis true, stayed him with his love ; and he behaved himself wisely in all his ways; yet the perplexities of his condition drove him on strange shifts. Who would have thought that the slayer of Goliath would have fled away with fear of Saul, and feigned himself mad before a Philistine king? We can hear him muttering strange words of fear—"I shall one day perish by the hand of Saul.” Verily his candle is gone out; his hope has flickered away. Man is an inconstant creature, and if only deserted of his God how weak and good-for-nothing he is! And yet I cannot help thinking but that as David encouraged himself in God, his hopes would return, and the prophecies of Samuel and the holy anointing oil, and other symbols of his royalty, would dictate to him some such speech as this" Thou wilt light my candle;" and as he spake, perhaps, the fire kindled. Oh how good is God to lighten our darkness, and deliver us from the trammels of distrust, and fear, and perplexity! Great deliverance giveth he to His king; and sheweth mercy to His anointed, to David, and to his Seed for evermore.
And yet there are some dark passages in the life of David, where I could hardly fancy the light of hope would shine. When he fled before Absalom; when he made lamentation over his death; and Oh! when, guilty of the foul sins of adultery and murder, he bethought him of his mighty guilt! And yet now, look, how high the heavens are in comparison with the earth, so great is God's mercy towards them that fear him.
Perhaps, when the aged monarch turned his restless head on his pillow, wet with penitent tears, in spite of all his former sins, and follies, and inconsistencies, to shew the grace of God, there was a faint uttering of hopeful words, as thus—“ Thou wilt light my candle;" and his soul went his way to the regions of the departed, and found rest in the bosom of Abraham. Oh, sin hath indeed abounded in this poor world ! but the grace of God hath abounded more, and before we cast a stone at the character of David, let us see to it that we have not a worse ourselves.
Hope is a blessed thing! To think that, even amid the dregs of our being, so precious a gem from the cabinet of heaven should be found, to give a value to the nature of man, a value above that of angels, and spirits of a purer world than this.
But we will turn from the particular instance of David's experience to the more general experience of 11 God's saints; and we shall find, I think, that the vords of the text are the utterance of a law that rules hroughout the whole. As we pass from one to another f the great company of the afflicted and persecuted, re seem to hear from the mouth of each, even in the eight of their perplexities, the words of the sweet salmist of Israel --" Thou wilt light my candle."
Thy case forms no exception surely; in all the straits f thy past experience, when sorely tried and hamperI by the waywardness of crooked circumstances, did st hope bear thee up, and was there not the faint