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ASCENSION, Also the Lives, Travels, Doctrines, Sufferings, and various

Martyrdoms of the Holy Evangelists, MATTHEW, MARK, LUKE and John; with the Lives of the Holy Apostles, and other Disciples; particularly ST. PETER, PAUL, ANDREW, JAMES the Great and Less, PAILIP, BARTHOLOMEW, Simon, JUDE, MATTHIAS, BARNABAS, STEPHEN, TIMOTHY, TITUS, &c. who were made Instruments, by Divine Grace, in promoting the Establishment of Christianity, the Foundation whereon are built all our Hopes of Eternal Salvation.

TO WHICH ARE ADDED, A summary View of the great Difference between the Law as

delivered by MOSES and the PROPHETS, and the Gospel under CHRIST and his APOSTLES. Also the connexion between the OLD and NEW TESTAMENTS, with a clear DISPLAY of the great Truths of DIVINE REVELATION.


ILLUSTRATIONS, Of the most learned BISHOPS, DIVINES, Ecclesiastical and

other authentic, ancient and modern Historians, who have

hitherto written on the subject. The whole calculated to Enlighten the Understanding, purify

the Heart, and promote that Knowledge, by which we may obtain Happiness in this world, and eternal Salvation in that which is to come.









David's restoration and return to Jerusalem. Is reconciled to

Shimei, and returns Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan, his possessions, which he had bestowed on Ziba, the steward of Mephibosheth. His gratitude to Barzillai. Sheba raises an insurrection, upon which David sends Amasa, his general, against him, who is treacherously wounded by Joab. Sheba’s rebellion suppressed. The Israelites are afflicted with a famine, on account of Saul's slaughter of the Gibeonites. David gives up seven of Saul's descendants, who are hanged on gibbets erected for the purpose, after which the famine ceases. David engages the Philistines and conquers them. Composes a psalm of thanksgiving on the occasion. Account of David's Worthies. David numbers the people, for doing of which he incurs the Divine displeasure, and on that account the Israelites are afflicted with a dreadful pestilence. David humiliates himself before God for his transgression, and, by order of the prophet Gad, erects an altar on the occasion, and offers up sacrifices, upon which the plague ceases.

THE defeat of Absalom, and the extinction of the rebellion under him, was no sooner known among the

tribes of Israel, by the flight of those who had escaped out of the battle to their respective places of abode, than David's friends, who were very numerous through all the kingdom, used the proper methods to bring over to their duty all those who had been engaged in, or favored the rebellion. To effect this they reminded the people, that David had, by his victories, delivered them out of the hands of their enemies, particularly the Philistines; and yet, notwithstanding these eminent services, he had been forced to abandon his capital, and flee out of the land, at the instigation of Absalom, his son, who had been advanced to the kingdom in his stead. But that as Absalom was now dead, there could be no reason for their delay. ing to return to their allegiance to David, and coming to an unanimous resolution of bringing him back to Jerusalem, and restoring him to his throne and government.

These representations had their proper effect, insomuch that the different tribes were eagerly desirous of recalling him from his banishment, and re-establishing him in the kingdom; his friends, out of affection and loyalty to him, and those who had joined Absalom in his rebellion, to atone for their crimes, and more effectually to secure their pardon.

David, who continued for some time at Mahanaim after his victory, waiting to see what effect the news of it would have upon the people, received the agreeable intelligence, that they were in general disposed in his favor, and were concerting measures for his restoration. But as the tribe of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, had not yet shewn any disposition to return to their obedience, nor sent him any invitation to take possession of the city, he wrote to Zadok and Abiathar the priests, desiring them to repair to, and expostulate with, the elders of Judah in these words: Why are ye the last to bring the king back to his house? seeing the speech of all Israel is come to the king, eren to his house. Ye are my brethren, my bones and my flesh. Wherefore then are ye the last to bring back the king? He likewise sent a particular message to Amasa, the rebel general: Say ye to Amasa, Art thou not of my bone and of my flesh? that is, of my own family, and my near relation? God do so to me, and more also, if thou be not captain of the host before me continually, in the room of Joab.

This part of David's conduct was exceeding prudent and necessary. The tribe of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, were under the command of Amasa, who was peculiarly guilty, as he had headed the rebellion under Absalom, and had great reason to fear David's resentment; and who certainly would have kept possession of Jerusalem, and continued the spirit of disaffection to the king, had he not been assured of indemnity both for himself and his adherents. David, therefore, well knowing the importance of the tribe of Judah, and of Amasa, who had seized the city, and garrisoned it with a strong body of troops, thought it absolutely necessary to regain their affections and recover their interest. To effect this, without mentioning a single word of the rebellion, he only puts them in mind that he was of their own tribe, and gently reproaches them for being the last, who should have

been the first, of the tribes to obtain his restoration. As for Amasa, he first compliments him on being his near relation, and then assures him that he should be captaingeneral of his army instead of Joab.* The prudence of this conduct immediately appeared by its effects: for he, that is, Amasa, bowed the hearts of all the men of Judah, even as the heart of one man; and in return for his great generosity and goodness to them, they immediately sent a deputation to invite David, and all his servants to Jerusalem.

Amasa and the tribe of Judah being thus gained over, and all the other tribes appearing well disposed in favor of David, he resolved to set out immediately on his return to Jerusalem. He was accompanied by a great number of people belonging to the different tribes in whose country he had resided during the rebellion; as also by the depu. ties from Judah, who assured him that the whole tribe,

* With respect to the promise made by David to Amasa of placing him in Joab's room, the prudence of it will plainly appear, if we consider that Joab and Amasa stood in the same degree of consanguinity: the offer, therefore, must have been influenced by the personal qualities of the man, the importance of gaining him over (he being a person of great power and authority) and a resentment against Joab for the murder of Abner, and the assassination of Absaloun.


would, in a body, assemble at Gilgal, and from thence march to the river, provide every thing necessary for his passage over it, with his servants and attendants, and supply him with all accommodations for his journey to the city.

The whole tribe of Judah attended David as their deputies had told him, and with them went Shimei, who had cursed and thrown stones at the king in his flight, attended with a thousand Benjamites. To shew his extraordinary zeal and joy at David's restoration, he went down to Jordan before the king had passed over it, and before the tribe of Judah could reach it, hoping no doubt, that by this appearance of bis peculiar affection to him, he should atone for his past insolence and treason, and more readily obtain the king's forgiveness.

As soon as David had got on the opposite side the river Jordan, Shimei presented himself before him, fell prostrate at his feet, and, in a very suppliant manner, apologized for his villainous behavior, recanting all his accusations, acknowledging that he had grievously offended, and humbly imploring forgiveness. “Let not, says he, “my lord impute iniquity to me, neither do thou remem6 ber what thy servant did perversely, the day that my < lord the king went out of Jerusalem, that the king 6 should take it to heart. For thy servant doth know that 66 he hath sinned. Therefore behold I am come the first “ this day of all the house of Joseph, to go down to meet 6

my lord the king." Abishai, (moved with a just indignation against a wretch, who first, in the malice of his heart, falsely and virulently abused his sovereign, and attempted to murder him, and then meanly retracted his calumnies to save his life, fearful of being punished like a traitor and regicide as he well deserved) said to the king, “ Shall not Shimei be put to death, because he hath “ó cursed the Lord's anointed?” David, though warm, could not be deliberately vindictive; and therefore, being displeased with Abishai's proposal, told him be intermeddled with an affair that did not concern him, and that the prompting him to revenge himself on Shimei, though it might proceed from zeal in him for his service, was, in reality, the advice of an enemy: that it was exciting him to an unnecessary instance of severity, since his restora

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