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peace, that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that sạith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth,” Isa. lii. 7; and as soon as he drew nigh the walls, the porter would open the door, with joy on șeeing him, and cry out, “ Come in, thou blessed of the Lord, why standest thou without,” Gen. xxiv. 31. And as soon as he came in, all the inhabitants of the city would flock round him from every quarter, to hear what the tidings were; and while he has stood pubJishing them, some would smile, others weep, some triumph, and others could hardly keep audience for joy; and when he has ended his oration, some have wept over him, others have thanked God for sending him, while others have wished to hear the same tidings over again; and, to be short, all such as prized their liberties, have showered the blessings of heaven upon his head; while some few, alas, who knew not what a citizen's liberties were worth, have gone away railing at the messenger and his message too: but the citizens, who were free men, havę followed them up with such sharp rebukes, and so justified wisdom's messenger and message, that they have skulked away with a fallen countenance, like those who once accused the adulterous woman before the great Messiah.
By these observations I clearly saw that there was a double honour belonging to the office; and I have secretly envied the messenger, and coveted the honour of his holy calling. Such were my motives; and I thought with myself thus:--My father is a priest ;-I have good learning, and can speak with a more audible voice than þe, and have sublime expressions at com. mand to convey tidings; and who more fit than I?
Cushi. Ah, my brother, but there is a power that
attends a real tidings-bearer which no audible voice can command; the power is of the Messiah, and not of us; and those that honour him he will honour, 1 Sam. ii. 30.
- Ahimaaz. Blessed be God, I know that now; but as I before observed, such were my motives; and, as I knew the citizens of Mahanaim would all be longing for tidings, I was determined to get their praise; therefore I strove to outrun you, though I sweat for it.
Cushi. And when you came to the city, pray what did you say?
Ahimaaz. Oh, I made a poor tale of it: “ The king said, Is the young man Absalom safe? And I answered, When Joab sent the king's servant, and me thy servant, I saw a great tumult, but I knew not what it was," 2 Sam. xviii. 29. - Cushi. And pray how did the citizens receive you, my friend; did they exult and triumph, and bless your feet for bringing good tidings ? :
Ahimaaz. No, far from it; their seeing me run so fast raised their expectation very high; and the watchman crying out, “ The running of the foremost is like the running of Ahimaaz, the son of Zadok," (2 Sam. xviii. 27) raised it still higher, so that they expected good tidings, and an eloquent oration from the son of the seer. But, alas, all their expectations were cut off, and their very countenances were expressive of the effects of their starving disappointment. My false gift, of which I had boasted, was (as wisdom says) “ like clouds and wind without rain,” Prov. xxv. 14; and so the citizens found it, for they got neither refreshment nor hope from my tidings.
Cushi. But I suppose you thought that you should cut a figure among them when you set off, did you not?
Ahimaaz. O yes, that I did; for I thought the very word 'tidings,' and a few encomiums put upon the king, would be enough to set all the citizens in an ecstacy; for I had observed in the tidings of others, that many praises on the king were introduced, therefore I was determined not to leave them out.
Cushi. And did you cry out tidings, and praise the king?
Ahimaaz. You may be sure that I tried to mimic others as well as I could. I made a great outcry, I bowed my knees, and I praised the king: “ I called out, and said to the king, All is well; and I fell down to the earth on my face before the king, and said, Blessed be the Lord thy God, which hath delivered up the men that lifted up their hand against my Lord the king,” 2 Sam. xviii. 28; but, when they began to inquire into particulars, I was obliged to tell them that “ I saw a great tumult, but I knew not what it was," 2 Sam. xviii. 29. .
Cushi. And, if any of the citizens had asked you who sent you, what should you have said to them? .
Ahimaaz. Had that been the case, I could not have answered them at all, for indeed I was not sent; I only got leave of Joab to run after you, when my intent was to run before you, and that only for the sake of applause.
Cushi. The man that bears tidings, ought to shew both his mission and commission; and, if the citizens are satisfied with these, they will shew him respect, and give him audience too, whether his tidings be disagreeable or pleasing. How wouldest thou have acted if they had scrutinized thy knowledge of heraldry and war, by asking thee what banners were displayed, (Isa. xiii) and what standards were set up? Isa. xlix. 22. Who discovered their valour, (2 Tim. iv. 7) and who their cowardice? Psalm lxxviii. 9. What persons deserted, and who came over to the king's standard ? Isa. Ixii. 10. What standard-bearer fainted ? Isa. x. 18. Who stood it out, 1 Cor. xvi. 13; and who first broke their ranks? Joel ii. 7. : Who were taken prisoners; how many wounded, (Acts ii. 37) and how many slain? : Ahimaaz. All this I thought nothing about; I cried out, “ All is well,” dropped upon my knees, and praised the king in God's name; and I thought that would do. But I was much abashed to see how the citizens looked at me; for I appeared as a mere impostor confounded before them; and some whispered together, saying, What could tempt him to run, sweating at that rate, with the empty sound of “ All is well” in his mouth, when he knew nothing of the matter?
Cushi. And pray what said the king to thee?
Ahimaaz. He frowned upon me, and put me to the blush before the loyalists, by telling me to give this man place (namely yourself.) He sternly said unto me, “ Turn aside, and stand here; and I turned aside, and stood still,” 2 Sam. xviii. 20.
Cushi. Thou art not the first aspiring character that has been “ put lower in the presence of the prince whom thine eyes have seen,” Prov. xxv. 7. . ,
Ahimaaz. I assure you, my brother, that my pride was much hurt at it, my consequence much demolished; and I have been fully convinced since, that more than an audible voice is wanted in those that bear tidings. Indeed from that time, I found my false zeal abate, and my love to the king wax cold; and
no wonder, seeing I only followed him to gain a name and get applause, and expecting him to encourage me in my pride,
Cushi. And did this affair put a final stop to your desire of appearing in that character ? : Ahimaaz. No; I ran with the words, “ All is well,” in my mouth after that. Bụt that which put a final stop to my running, was a fall that I had upon a certain mountain, as you had on mount Gilboa. Your barren soul lay there many days, you say, without either dew or rain; but mine had never felt either.
Cushi. Pray where was you running, and what was the name of the mountain on which you fell? Did you “stumble upon one of the dark mountains ?” Jer, xiii. 16. - Ahimaaz. If I had stumbled, I should not have known it, because I had never been in the light. No; I was running from Mahanaim to Jerusalem, to carry the tidings of Absalom's death, and the defeat of the rebels. The king did not send me, nor was I sent by any body else, but I stole away; for, as I had met with a wretched disappointment before at Mahanaim, I was determined to try my luck again at Jerusalem; but just as I came to the village called “ Bethpage, at the mount of Olives,” (Mark xi. 1) and was ascending the next hill, down I came neck and heels. ..Cushi. What, did you fall on the mount of Olives?
Ahimaạz. If I had, I should have been able to have got up again. No; it was the next mountain to that called the mount of Corruption: and rightly pamed it is; for there Solomon fell, and close to it he raised up all his abominable temples for idolatry, as you read, “ And the high places that were before