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to sow between forty and fifty out of a little, great blessing out acres last spring. Harvests on of a small effort, great knowledge harvests are shut up in that little out of a little faith, blessed imhusk. So it is about the value of mortality out of earthly toil and things to which we give ourselves suffering: up. Some pursuits are barren of “'Twas springtime when He blessed the bread,
And harvest when He brake. helpfulness to ourselves or others.
EDITOR. We shall one day wonder why we wasted time over them. Some
Solomon's Prayer. would rather go in for what is
1 Kings iii. 9, 10. showy and win applause to-day,
" In Gibeon the Lord appeared to instead of the mental and moral
Solomon in a dream by night : and God culture, which lasts. Some give said, “Ask what I shall give thee.' . themselves to this world, and
'Give Thy servant an understanding heart neglect their minds and hearts, to judge Thy people, that I may discern and are barren in relation to between good and bad.'” eternity. We shall take nothing SOLOMON, the youngest son of out of the world but ourselves, as David, ascended the throne of made by education, and moral dis- Israel about the age of twenty cipline, and the grace of God.
years. Absalom, by murder and 3. God is building up our future, conspiracy, lost his right, had he and we are-out of our present. One lived. Adonijah, by an attempt of the things found out after con- at usurpation, previous to his version is that so much of the old father's death, and by his father's remains with us. There is such a decree, lost the sceptre. Solomon thing as moral continuity. You was anointed and crowned, therecannot cut life off from its past. fore, before his father's decease, Men who rise in the world cannot and from the lips of that father hide or get away from their early received his charge and blessing in privations and their old selves, as the infancy of his wonderful reign. moulded by them. Life is a pro- Solomon was the most pious and gress, a growth, an evolution. In benevolent of youths, and David the eternity before us we shall go recognized in his son a man of on in our present ways. All the brain and nerve. He urged him to change will be circumscribed by quit himself like a man, both in present character and capacity. the moral and in the civil ability Heaven is the fruit, the harvest of of his administration. Solomon's earth. It may be a poor heaven, first acts were marked with wisdom a salvation hardly realized; or it and decision, combining justice may be a full, a glorious salvation. with clemency, and firmly estabSo, take heed what you are doing, lishing the security of his throne. what use you are making of pre- All opposition, at home and abroad, sent spiritual opportunities. You now swept away, and the may not have many or much in throne of David, in Solomon's possession-only some poor five reign, was free from enemies, by little loaves and a few fishes ; but divine decree and purpose. Young, if you bring them to Christ He will wise, decided, vigorous and powermake the most of them ; He will ful, Solomon cleared the way to turn them to the best account; He his glorious reign with but little will make a meal of them to sup- blood, and his kingdom port the life of others, to inspire established greatly.” David had hope in others, joy in others. He planted it in power, and Solomon wisl make them to sustain a higher was to crown it in glory. and better life for yourselves; for In the first year of his reign, God He has power to evolve great good i appeared to Solomon in a vision at
Gibeon, and after his magnificent | heart; his conscious discernment of sacrifices to the Lord of a thousand God's will; and the desire for burnt - offerings,
" Ask what I divine wisdom is most pleasing to shall give thee,” said Jehovah. God. Wisdom is God's first great “An understanding heart,” was natural attribute, as love is first in the response; and the response His moral being; but omnipotence, proved Solomon wise in his youth. omnipresence, justice, mercy, goodHe called himself a “little child' ness—all are nothing without the at God's feet, and, in the wonder- order and control, the harmony ful humility of his heart, he felt and development, of wisdom. To his lofty responsibilities and recog- be truly wise is to be godlike in nized God's grace and providence goodness and utility, and it takes as his only safety and success. He an understanding heart to reach wanted only an understanding true wisdom. Wisdom is a force heart,” that he might sit on David's behind all the other powers, and throne, judge God's people, and faith, without heart-understanding, “discern between good and bad.” however pleasing to God, can He had a good head by nature, think, feel, and act but feebly and but he desired a wise heart. A man inefficiently. is master of any situation in the In considering Solomon's choice, life of faith who recognizes God's consider will as his rule, who feels his
I. God's PROMISES. responsibilities in his heart, and who acts upon his recognition. He " And God said unto him 'Becannot be surprised by disaster, cause thou hast asked this thing, nor overcome by temptation. He and hast not asked for thyself long did not want simply an intellectual life,'" etc. conception of truth and justice, but Solomon was full of sacrifices, a heart realization of moral prin- and devotion, and prayer at the ciples, of all true wisdom, of human time. His head was full of great government and affairs. How few works, and his heart enlarged with have a conscientious and conscious responsibilities and lofty desires. discernment of truth! How few God knew his sublime possibilities rise above ambition, pride, preju- and capabilities, and Heappreciated dice, eccentricity, self! discerning the purity of his motives, the fire the right against the wrong, in the of his zeal, and the largeness of his midst of weakness and opposition ! soul. Solomon was all aglow with eschewing and vanquishing evil, his Father's business. He wanted in spite of odds and temptation ! to honour God with righteous How few young people desire judgment and magnificent work; wisdom at all ! How few who and God determined to make him lack wisdom ask it of that God a success beyond all other men in from whom cometh down light, and the history of kings, or scholars, knowledge, and every perfect gift! or workers. What vast promises ! What an attribute for princes, a What appreciation of God in a wise heart!
young man !
Any other man The request of Solomon greatly ablaze with zeal, and humble with pleased God. Without faith, it is purity, and determined of purpose impossible to please God; but no to glorify God and do the world element in faith is so fundamental good—any other man, oblivious of to all goodness and efficiency as a self, who makes no conditions for wise head and an understanding success—will find God exalt him, heart. The most learned and according to capacity and purpose, intellectual Christian never goes | just as he helped and honoured beyond the understanding of his Solomon.
1. God honours Solomon for not the only man, under like circumasking selfish ends. He did not ask stances and with such prospects for long life
--that to which before him, who ever so far forgot most people cling, instead of look- himself as to ask only for the one ing towards the eternal day. thing needful. God's promises are Hezekiah asked for an extension sure, and wonderfully they are of years to finish God's work; but fulfilled. God never fails, especially no true worker for Jesus wishes to
to humility and fidelity. live beyond the day of his useful
II. SOLOMON'S SUCCESS. Length of days,' Solomon says in Proverbs, " is the Like his father David, Solomon right-hand blessing of wisdom"; reigned over Israel “forty years.” but it is a blessing which is the Enthroned at twenty, he died at result of purity and usefulness. sixty, not having reached his He asked not for days; but God “three score and ten”; leaving promised him long life, provided he God's conditional promise of “long was wise and walked in His law. life” unfulfilled. The first twenty
Solomon did not ask for the life five years of his reign were years of bis enemies. Selfishness always of unparalleled wisdom, wealth, wants the death of its opponents; power, peace, glory, and purity.but the disinterested purpose to
This was the unconditional fulfilserve and glorify God loves its ment of God's promise.
It was enemies and does good for evil- not till the forty-fifth year of kills by kindness. Solomon tried, Solomon's life—the age when dein every way, to save his enemies fections or virtues mature—that and to crown his sceptre with Solomon began to manifest cormercy Hence Solomon's reign ruption. During the closing fifteen was one of great peacefulness and years of his life and reign, God glory.
cut loose the engine of Providence 2. God promised Solomon, specially from the car of Solomon's progress and marvellously, that which he did and glory, and though the momenask—"an understanding heart.” He tum attained carried his reign on never had his equal !
What a for awhile, as if the engine had promise to that boy! Solomon's not been loosed, yet the train slackchoice was God's own kindling, ened its pace, its wheels ultimately and so every desire we have and stopped, and the government and prayer we make, in faith according | grandeur of Solomon went to decay to God's will, is indited by the and ruin; not completely, howSpirit. “ Ask what I shall give ever, till after his death. His thee,” said God to Solomon; and defections laid the foundation of if we should always yield and Israel's ruin, for God by promise respond to the divine promptings blotted out the dynasty of David as Solomon did, we should always in the event of corruption. receive God's promises and blessings For twenty-five years Solomon's to the full. God can do all things reign was a splendid picture of for a willing and responding heart, God blessing a man and a nation, and wonders with a yielding and ruling in righteousness and peace, active will.
and wholly devoted to His cause. 3. God promised Solomon, super- His prayer for wisdom was anabundantly, those things he did not swered, and the subsequent incident ask. He was to have riches and of his decisibn concerning the child honour above all the princes or claimed by the two harlots demonmen of his time. No man was ever strated his marvellous insight and to be so rewarded for unselfishness created fear and obedience throughand modesty; for, perhaps, he was out the nation. He surrounded
Dhimself with a magnificent retinue as the stones in the streets of Jeruof officials for the administration salem, and of silver there was taken of his govėrnment; and such even no account. He was thirteen years was the sumptuousness of his table, more in the construction of his own that twelve dignitaries were dis- palace and other magnificent public tributed in the kingdom to purchase buildings in Jerusalem and the the rich provisions for his house. forests of Lebanon ; and he had a Carellus estimates that the daily throne of ivory and lions adorned supply of Solomon's table would with gold, the finest the world ever have fed forty-eight thousand
He built and fortified a people, the lowest estimate being number of strong cities throughthirty thousand. The reign of out the kingdom, and he made Solomon was that of an empire Jerusalem impregnable with walls. from the “river unto the land of The Queen of Sheba came to bethe Philistines and unto the borders hold the glory of Solomon, and to of Egypt”; and such was Solomon's lay her vast treasures at the grand power over the surrounding nations monarch's feet, and to learn wisthat they laid their tribute of dom from his lips; and she said wealth at his feet, and gave him the half had not been told her, as universal homage. His fame ex- she swooned before his magnificelled all the men of the East.
The navies of the ocean, He wrote three thousand proverbs and the caravans of the desert, and one thousand songs; and and the learning of the world everything in natural history and poured their riches into the lap of philosophy became subject to his Jerusalem; and the people of Israel wisdom. The kings, and sages,
bondage, but and peoples of the earth came to princes, and men of war, and learn at Solomon's feet and to see rulers, and freemen. He that his glory. All this is a type of humbleth himself shall be exalted, Christ in His millennial reign. The and he that seeks wisdom and world will be subdued to the cross virtue only shall have all. Yet in peace and glory, and the nations Solomon's glory was only a type, of the earth shall bring their a shadow, of future glory. The honour and wealth of spirit into type was only brief, and faded Jerusalem, and to the feet of Jesus, away purposely; but the heavenly sitting on His father David's is the eternal and imperishable. throne.
III. SOLOMON'S DEFECTION The greatest work of Solomon was the building of God's house, early begun in his reign, and We come now to the saddest and planned by David. Israel had per- strangest fact of this great and fect rest from wars, nor was evil wise man's history. At forty-five occurrent. Hiram of Tyre fur- his corruption began to show itself. nished the materials; seventy He had enough to turn the head of thousand workmen in timber, any man without persistent ineighty thousand in stone, and three tegrity. He was surfeited with thousand six hundred overseers wealth and glory, and when poswere employed for seven years in session and ease succeeded the executing God's pattern. It was pursuits and enterprises of ardent the most elaborate and costly build- youth, age became a prey to gratiing in history, and was dedicated fication. He had all the heart by the most wonderful ceremonies, could desire of wisdom, of power, and divine manifestations.
and luxurious wealth and fame; but Such was Solomon's wealth, at these became his snare when young this time, that gold was as common faith and humility yielded to old
indifferency and pride. His mis- wisdom to test forbidden vanities. take in life and his defect were sown Such presumption in the wisest and in youth. He married Pharaoh's strongest man, will result in certain daughter! With her, he loved
No man can hold his own other strange women.
These hea- in a contest with the devil, alone. then wives, forbidden by Moses, Solomon tried every sin and exwon his heart to idolatry and lust claimed, All is vanity! Let none by degrees, and the time came presume on wisdom and virtue to when it was said of him, his heart
taste of any forbidden fruit. was not “perfect” with God. Then 5. Solomon repented. He was it is said he was not fully” on saved, so as by fire. He will be the Lord's side. Then he went called “the least in the kingdom of after Ashtaroth, and Milcom, and heaven.” He put out his light at Molech, and Chemosh. He built
midday, and he has been a stumlarge places for all the gods of his bling block to millions. He is a • Pagan wives, according to their beacon on a dark shore for our nationality. God, who had met
example and warning.
Young him with promises and blessings, man, seek the true glory of Solonow met him with expostulations mon by humility in youth; but and warnings; and though roused beware of Solomon's long cherished: to momentary faith and purpose,
defections in age. he gradually relapsed deeper and
GEO. A. LOFTON, D.D. deeper into apostasy. For David's sake he remained upon the throne
The Ark in the House. till he died ; but his sun went down in a cloud.
2. SAMUEL vi. 12. What lessons do we learn here?
“ The Lord hath blessed the house of 1. The solemn importance of not
Obed-edom and all that pertaineth unto being unequally yoked with un
him, because of the ark of God.” believers in marriage. A bosom MEN were frightened by the fate companion may wrench a Christian of Uzzah. Even King David from his integrity. Samson, the broke up the solemn procession strongest-Solomon, the wisest man which was escorting the ark to —was ruined by a heathen wife. Jerusalem, and feared to bring it
2. We should beware of the temp- near his abode in the new capital. tations of wealth and honour. When So he took it aside from the road Solomon was young and humble, into the house of Obed-edom, the faithful and zealous, these did not Gittite-not probably a Philistine affect him; but with age and ease, from Gath, but Hebrew of possession and position, camevolup- Gath Rimmon. At the end of three tuousness and pride, indifferency months it was reported to the and infidelity. We see many pure king that, for the ark's sake, the in their early struggles, but puffed Lord was blessing Obed-edom, and and corrupted with success.
all his household, and all that per-. 3. Solomon's defection grew by
tained to him. The blessing was degrees. The young oak had a notable and extraordinary, so as to small defect in its heart; but the be plainly given “because of the defect, unremoved, grew with the ark of God.” Then the king retree to grand proportions. It fell sumed his interrupted purpose, and one day, and great was the fall; brought the ark to Jerusalem, and, lo ! the monarch of the forest The ark was the symbol of God's was hollow within, though flourish- presence. Where it was present, ing and beautiful without! So men recognized that God was there. Solomon grew to decay.
How may we have the ark in the 4. Solomon presumed upon his house? Such regular use of the