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SERMON IV.

Delivered in the Lombard Street Church, Sunday Morning,
November 9, 1834.

THE CRAFT AND CRIME OF ABSALOM.

"So Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel."—2 Sam. xv. 6.

The language of the text embraces a subject which indicates great ingratitude in a son toward his father. It also indicates much subtlety in prosecuting an ungrateful and wicked design. It furnishes much admonition that we ought carefully to regard, to render us cautious how we are deceived by the false and artful pretensions of our fellow creatures.

Absalom, son of David, had, in former times, eaused his father much trouble and distress. He had imbrued his hands in the blood of a brotheron account of which offence he was obliged to flee his country. He journeyed to Geshur, in Syria, where he abode, until his father, having become paeified toward him, was induced to recal him. The efforts of Joab, and the counsels of a wise woman of Tekoah, prompted David to this measure. Absalom returned to Jerusalem; but instead of becoming a dutiful son, instead of being grateful for past favours and present privileges, he undertook to supplant his father in the affections of the people, in order that he might eventually usurp the throne.

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In the accomplishment of his object, he was even willing to drive the venerable king from his beloved Jerusalem, and cause him to become a fugitive and a stranger in a strange land.

The chapter in which the text is found, mentions the means that Absalom adopted to supplant his father in the affections of the people. He placed himself "beside the way of the gate, and when any man who had a controversy came to the king for judgment," Absalom was sure to meet him first, and make inquiry as to whence he came, and what was the nature of his controversy. And then he would say unto him, "See, thy matters are good and right-but there is no man deputed of the king to hear thee❞—thus intimating that David was inattentive to the interests of the people. And Absalom moreover would say, "O that I were made judge in the land, that every man who hath any suit or cause might come unto me, and I would do him justice"--thus artfully intimating, that he was the man who should be judge in the land-because he would see that justice was done to the people. By these means, he transferred to himself all the confidence previously reposed in the integrity of the king. But the work was not yet completed. Absalom desired the people to believe that he sincerely loved them" and when any man came nigh to him to do him obeisance, he put forth his hand, and took him, and kissed him. And on this manner did Absalom to all Israel that came to the king for judgment: so Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel." His professions of love were designed to impress them with the conviction, that were he made judge in the land, he would not only see that

justice was done, but he would be the loving friend of the people!

Having thus stolen the hearts of the men of Israel-for theft it certainly was-and having carefully matured all his wicked designs, Absalom went to his father, and said, "I pray thee, let me go and pay my vow, which I vowed unto the Lord, in Hebron. For thy servant vowed a vow while I abode at Geshur in Syria, saying, If the Lord shall bring me again to Jerusalem, then I will serve the Lord." This was the form in which Absalom laid his subject before the king. David was a pious man, and was willing that his son should go to Hebron to pay his vow to the Most High. And he said, "Go in peace. "" And Absalom went-but not to worship. He went to raise the standard of rebellion against his father! The trumpet, when first it sounded, proclaimed that Absalom reigned as king in Hebron! "And there came a messenger to David, saying, The hearts of the men of Israel are after Absalom." David looked around him, and his eye rested upon a few veteran soldiers, who were at his command. And he said, "Arise, and let us flee; for we shall not else escape from Absalom: make speed to depart, lest he overtake us suddenly, and bring evil upon us, and smite the city with the edge of the sword.' "" This language of venerable David is very touching-it is almost enough to melt a heart of stone! He had nourished and brought up a favourite child—and that child had rebelled against him! Absalom stood in hostile attitude toward the lawful king of Israel. Ahithophel, David's counsellor, a man of much wisdom and experience, was also turned against him. This was another calamity.

In the accomplishment of his object, he was even willing to drive the venerable king from his beloved Jerusalem, and cause him to become a fugitive and a stranger in a strange land.

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The chapter in which the text is found, mentions the means that Absalom adopted to supplant his father in the affections of the people. He placed himself "beside the way of the gate, and when any man who had a controversy came to the king for judgment," Absalom was sure to meet him first, and make inquiry as to whence he came, and what was the nature of his controversy. And then he would say unto him, "See, thy matters are good and right-but there is no man deputed of the king to hear thee"-thus intimating that David was inattentive to the interests of the people. And Absalom moreover would say, "O that I were made judge in the land, that every man who hath any suit or cause might come unto me, and I would do him justice"--thus artfully intimating, that he was the man who should be judge in the land-because he would see that justice was done to the people. By these means, he transferred to himself all the confidence previously reposed in the integrity of the king. But the work was not yet completed. Ab salom desired the people to believe that he sincerely loved them-" and when any man came nigh to him to do him obeisance, he put forth his hand, and took him, and kissed him. And on this manner did Absalom to all Israel that came to the king for judgment: so Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel." His professions of love were designed to impress them with the conviction, that were he made judge in the land, he would not only see that.

justice was done, but he would be the loving friend

of the people!

Having thus stolen the hearts of the men of Israel-for theft it certainly was-and having carefully matured all his wicked designs, Absalom went to his father, and said, "I pray thee, let me go and pay my vow, which I vowed unto the Lord, in Hebron. For thy servant vowed a vow while I abode at Geshur in Syria, saying, If the Lord shall bring me again to Jerusalem, then I will serve the Lord." This was the form in which Absalom laid his subject before the king. David was a pious man, and was willing that his son should go to Hebron to pay his vow to the Most High. And he said, "Go in peace." And Absalom went-but not to worship. He went to raise the standard of rebellion against his father! The trumpet, when first it sounded, proclaimed that Absalom reigned as king in Hebron! "And there came a messenger to David, saying, The hearts of the men of Israel are after Absalom." David looked around him, and his eye rested upon a few veteran soldiers, who were at his command. And he said, "Arise, and let us flee; for we shall not else escape from Absalom: make speed to depart, lest he overtake us suddenly, and bring evil upon us, and smite the city with the edge of the sword." This language of venerable David. very touching-it is almost enough to melt a heart of stone! He had nourished and brought up a favourite child-and that child had rebelled against him! Absalom stood in hostile attitude toward the lawful king of Israel. Ahithophel, David's counsellor, a man of much wisdom and experience, was also turned against him. This was another calamity.

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