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Bible Commentaries

MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture

2 Samuel 12

Verses 5-7

2 Samuel


2Sa_12:5 - 2Sa_12:7 .

Nathan’s apologue, so tenderly beautiful, takes the poet-king on the most susceptible side of his character. All his history shows him as a man of wonderfully sweet, chivalrous, generous, swiftly compassionate nature. And so, when he hears the story of a mean, heartless selfishness, all that is best in him kindles into a generous indignation, and flames out into instinctive condemnation. ‘The man that did this thing shall die because he had no pity.’

And then, on to that hot fervour of righteous wrath, comes this dash of cold water, ‘And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man.’ Like some keen spear-point, sharpened almost to invisibility, this short sentence two words in the original driven by a strong hand, goes right through the armour to the very heart. What a collapse there would be in the king when the pointed forefinger of the prophet emphasised and drove home the application!

I. This dramatic scene before us may be taken as suggesting first that we are all strangely blind to our own faults.

If a man’s own sin is held up before him a little disguised, he says, ‘How ugly it is!’ And if only for a moment he can be persuaded that it is not his own conduct but some other sinner’s that he is judging, the instinctive condemnation comes. We have two sets of names for vices: one set which rather mitigates and excuses them, and another set which puts them in their real hideousness. We keep the palliative set for home consumption, and liberally distribute the plain-spoken, ugly set amongst the vices and faults of our friends. The same thing which I call in myself prudence I call in you meanness. The same thing which you call in yourselves generous living, you call in your friend filthy sensualism. That which, to the doer of it, is only righteous indignation, to the onlooker is passionate anger. That which, in the practiser of it, is no more than a due regard for the interests of his own family and himself in the future, is, to the envious lookers-on, shabbiness and meanness in money matters. That which, to the liar, is only prudent diplomatic reticence, to the listener is falsehood. That which, in the man that judges his own conduct, is but ‘a choleric word,’ is, in his friend, when he judges him, ‘flat blasphemy.’

And so we go all round the circle, and condemn our own vices, when we see them in other people. So the king who had never thought, when he stole away Uriah’s one ewe lamb, and did him to death by traitorous commands, setting him in the front of the battle, that he was wanting in compassion, blazes up at once, and righteously sentences the other ‘man’ to death, ‘because he had no pity.’ He had never thought of himself or of his crime as cruel, as mean, as selfish, as heartless. But when he sees a partially disguised picture of it he knows it for the devil’s child that it is.

‘O wad some Power the giftie gie us

To see oursels as ithers see us!

It wad frae mony a blunder free us,’

and so it would, to see ourselves as we see others. We judge our brother and ourselves by two different standards.

And that is only one phase of a more general principle, one case that comes under a yet wider law, viz. that we are all blind, strangely blind, to our own faults. Why that is so I do not need to spend time in inquiring, except for a distinctly practical purpose. Let me just remind you how a strong wish for a thing that seems desirable always tends to confuse to a man the plain distinction between right and wrong; and how passions once excited, or the animal lusts and desires once kindled in a man, go straight to their object without the smallest regard to whether that object is to be reached by the breach of all laws, human and divine, or not. Excite any passion, and the passion is but a blind propensity towards certain good, and takes no question or consideration of whether right or wrong is involved at all.

And further, habit familiarises with evil and diminishes our sense of it as evil. A man that has been for half a day in some ill-ventilated room does not notice the poisonous atmosphere; if you go into it you are half suffocated at first, and breathe more easily as you get used to it. A man can live amidst the foulest poison of evil; and, as the Styrian peasants get fat upon arsenic, his whole nature may seem to thrive by the poison that it absorbs. They tell us that the breed of fish that live in the lightless caverns in the bowels of some mountains, by long disuse have had their eyes atrophied out of them, and are blind because they have lived out of the light. And so men that live in the love of evil lose the capacity of discerning the evil, and ‘he that walketh in darkness’ becomes blind, blind to his sin, and blind to all the realities of life.

Then is it not true, too, that many of us systematically and of set purpose, continually avoid all questions as to the moral nature of our conduct? How many a man and woman who reads these words never sits down to think whether what they have been doing is right or wrong, because they have deep down in their consciences an uneasy suspicion as to what the answer would be. So, by reason of fostering passion, by reason of listening to wishes, by reason of the habit of wrongdoing, by reason of the systematic avoidance of all careful investigation of our character and of our conduct, we lose the power of fairly deciding upon the nature of our own acts.

Then self-love comes in, and still another thing tends to blind us. We are all ready to acquiesce in the general indictment, and so to shirk the particular application of it. That is what people do about all great moral principles that ought to affect conduct,-they admit them in words, as general truths applying to mankind, and then hide themselves in the crowd, and think that they escape the incidence and particular application of the truths. No one of us would, I suppose, venture in plain words to stand up and say: ‘I am an exception to your general confessions of sin,’ and most of us would be ready to unite in the acknowledgment: ‘We have all come short of the glory of God,’ though in our consciences there has never stirred the faintest movement of self-condemnation even whilst our lips have been uttering the confession. Do not shrink away in the crowd, my brother! Come out to the front, and stand by yourself as God sees you, isolated. Look at your own actions; never mind about other men’s. Do not content yourselves with saying,’ We have sinned’; say, ‘ I have sinned against Thee.’ God and you are as if alone in the universe. ‘Against Thee, Thee only, have I sinned.’ There are no crowds in God’s eyes; He deals with single souls. Every one of us,-thou, and thou, and thou,-must give account of himself to God.

II. In the next place, let me ask you to think how this story suggests that the true work of God’s message is to tear down the veil and to show the ugly thing.

‘Nathan said unto David, Thou art the man.’ It needed a prophet to do that, with divine authority. Nothing less would suffice to get through the thick bosses of the buckler of self-conceit and ignorance which he had to penetrate. As God’s messenger, he gathered up, as I said, into one sharp-pointed, keen-edged, steel-bright sentence, the very spirit of the whole ancient Law, which seeks to individualise the sinner, and to drive home to the conscience the consciousness of wrong-doing.

The remarks that I have been making, in the former part of this sermon, imperfect as they must necessarily be, may at least serve one or two purposes in reference to this part of my discourse.

It seems to me that if what I have been saying as to a man’s blindness to his own true moral character be at all correct, there flows from that thought a strong presumption in favour of a divine revelation. We need another than our own voice to lay down the law of conduct, and to accuse and condemn the breaches of it. Conscience is not a wholly reliable guide, and is neither an impartial nor an all-knowing judge. Unconsciousness of evil is not innocence. It is not the purest of women who ‘wipes her mouth and says, I have done no harm.’ My conscience says to me, ‘It is wrong to do wrong’; but when I say to my conscience, ‘Yes, and pray what is wrong?’ a large variety of answers is possible. A man may sophisticate his conscience, or bribe his conscience, or throttle his conscience, or sear his conscience. And so the man who is worst, who, therefore, ought to be most chastised by his conscience, has most immunity from it, and where, if it is to be of use, it ought to be most powerful, there it is weakest.

What then? Why this, then-a standard that varies is not a standard; we are left with a leaden rule. My conscience, your conscience, is like the standard measures which we at present possess, which by their very names-foot, handbreadth, nail, and the like, tell us that they were originally but the length of one man’s limb. And so your measure of right and wrong, and another man’s measure, though they may substantially correspond, yet differ according to your differences of education, character, and a thousand other things. So that the individual man’s standard needs to be rectified. You have to send all the weights and measures up to the Tower now and then, to get them stamped and certified. And, as I believe, this fluctuation of our moral judgments shows the need for a fixed pattern and firm unchangeable standard, external to our mutable selves. A light on deck which pitches with the pitching ship is no guide. It must flash from a white pillar founded on a rock and immovable amid the restless waves. Our need of such a standard raises a strong presumption that a good God will give us what we need, if He can. Such a standard He has given, as I believe, in the revelation of Himself which lies in this book, and culminates in the life and character of Jesus Christ our Lord. There, and by that, we can set our watches. There we can read the law of morality, and by our deflections from it we can measure the amount of our guilt.

But beyond that, the remarks which I have already made in the former part of my sermon may suggest to us, along with this utterance of the prophet’s, that one indispensable characteristic and certain criterion of a true message and gospel from God is that it pierces the conscience and kindles the sense of sin. My dear brethren, there is a great deal of so-called Christian teaching, both from pulpits and books in this day, which, to my mind, is altogether defective by reason of its underestimate of the cardinal fact of sin, and its consequent failure to represent the fundamental characteristic of the gospel as being deliverance and redemption. I am quite sure that the root of nine-tenths of all the heresies that have ever afflicted the Christian Church, and of the weakness of so much popular Christianity, is none other than this failure adequately to recognise the universality and the gravity of the fact of transgression. If a word comes to you, calls itself God’s message, and does not start with man’s sin, nor put in the forefront of its utterances the way by which the dominion of that sin in your own heart can be broken, and the penalties of that sin in your present and future life can be swept away, it is condemned, ipso facto , as not a gospel from God, or fit for man. O my brother! it sounds harsh; but it is the truest kindness, when Nathan stands before the king, and with his flashing eye and stern, calm voice says, ‘Thou art the man.’ Was not that nobler, truer, tenderer, worthier of God, than if he had smoothed David down with soft speeches that would not have roused his conscience? Is it not the truest benevolence that keeps the surgeon’s hand steady whilst his heart is touched by the pain that he inflicts, as he thrusts his gleaming instrument of tender cruelty into the poisonous sore? And are not God’s mercy and love manifest for us in this, that He begins all His work on us with the grave, solemn indictment of each soul by itself, ‘Thou art the man’?

‘He showed me all the mercy,

For He taught me all the sin.’

III. Lastly, let me say that God accuses us and condemns us one by one that He may save us one by one.

The meaning of Nathan’s sharp sentence was speedily disclosed when the broken-down king exclaimed, ‘I have sinned against the Lord,’ and when, with laconic force as great as that which barbed the condemnation, the prophet stanched the wound with the brief words, ‘And the Lord hath made to pass the iniquity of thy sin.’ The intention of the accusation is the extension of the mercy and forgiveness. God, as the Apostle puts it, ‘hath concluded all in unbelief, that He might have mercy upon all.’

And now, mark, for the carrying out of that divine purpose in regard to us, and for our possession of the proffered mercy, the same individualising and isolating process is needful as was needful for the conviction of the sin. God desires to save the world, but God can only save men one at a time. There must be an individual access to Him for the reception of forgiveness, as there must be in regard to the conviction of sin, just as if He and I were the only two beings in the whole universe. There is no wholesale entrance into God’s Church or into God’s kingdom. God’s mercy is not given to crowds, except as composed of individuals who have individually received it. There must be the personal act of faith; there must be my solitary coming to Him. As the old mystics used to define prayer, so I might define the whole process by which men are saved from their sins, ‘the flight of the lonely soul to the lonely God.’ My brother, it is not enough for you to say, ‘We have sinned’; say, ‘I have sinned.’ It is not enough that from a gathered congregation there should go up the united litany, ‘Lord, have mercy upon us! Christ, have mercy upon us! Lord, have mercy upon us!’ You must make the prayer your own: ‘Lord, have mercy upon me !’ It is not enough that you should believe, as I suppose most of you fancy that you believe, that Christ has died for the sins of the whole world. That belief will give you no share in His forgiveness. You must come to closer grips with Him than that; and you must be able to say, ‘Who loved me , and gave Himself for me .’ Let us have no running away into the crowd. Come out, and stand by yourselves, and for yourselves stretch out your own band, and take Christ for yourselves.

A man may die of starvation in a granary. You may be lost in the midst of this abundance which Christ has provided for you. And the difference between really possessing salvation and not possessing it, lies very largely in the difference between saying ‘us’ and ‘me.’ ‘Thou art the man’ in regard to the general accusation of sin; ‘Thou art the man’ in regard to the solemn law which proclaims that ‘the soul that sinneth it shall die’; and, blessed be God, ‘Thou art the man’ in regard to the great promise that says, ‘If any man thirst, let him come unto Me and drink.’ Christ gives you a blank cheque in His word: ‘Whoso cometh unto Me, I will in no wise cast out.’ Write thine own name in, and by thy personal faith in the Lamb of God that died for thee, thy sins shall pass away; and all the fulness of God shall be thy very own for ever. ‘If thou be wise, thou shalt be wise for thyself, and if thou scornest, thou alone shall bear it.’

Verse 13

2 Samuel


2Sa_12:13 .

We ought to be very thankful that Scripture never conceals the faults of its noblest men. High among the highest of them stands the poet-king. Whoever, for nearly three thousand years, has wished to express the emotions of trust in God, longing after purity, aspiration, and rapture of devotion, has found that his words have been before him.

And this man sins; black, inexcusable, aggravated transgression. You know the shameful story; I need not tell it over again. The Bible gives it us in all its naked ugliness, and there are precious lessons to be got out of it; such, for instance, as that it is not innocence that makes men good. ‘ This is the man after God’s own heart!’ people sneer. Yes! Not because saints have a peculiar morality, and atone for adultery and murder by making or singing psalms, but because, having fallen into foul sin, he learned to abhor it, and with many tears, with unconquerable resolution, with deepened trust in God, set his face once more to press toward the mark. That is a lesson worth learning.

And, again, David was not a hypocrite because he thus fell. All sin is inconsistent with devotion; but, thank God, we cannot say how much or how dark the sin must be which is incompatible with devotion, nor how much evil there may still lurk and linger in a heart of which the main set and aspiration are towards purity and God.

And, again, the worst transgressions are not the passionate outbursts contradictory of the main direction of a life which sometimes come; but the habitual, though they be far smaller, evils which are honey-combing the moral nature. White ants will pick a carcase clean sooner than a lion. And many a man who calls himself a Christian, and thinks himself one, is in far more danger, from little pieces of chronic meanness in his daily life, or sharp practice in his business, than ever David was in his blackest evil.

But the main lesson of all is that great and blessed one of the possibility of any evil and sin like this black one, being annihilated and caused to pass away through repentance and confession. It is to that aspect of our text that I turn, and ask you to look with me at the three things that come out of it: David’s penitence; David’s pardon consequent upon his penitence; and David’s punishment, notwithstanding his penitence and pardon.

I. First, then, the penitence.

What a divine simplicity there is in the words of our text: ‘David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the Lord.’ That is all. In the original, two words are enough to revolutionise the man’s whole life, and to alter all his relations to the divine justice and the divine Friend. ‘I have sinned against the Lord.’ Not an easy thing to say; and as the story shows us, a thing that David took a long time to mount up to.

Remember the narrative. A year has passed since his transgression. What sort of a year has it been? One of the Psalms tells us, ‘When I kept silence my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long; for day and night Thy hand was heavy upon me; my moisture was turned into the drought of summer.’ There were long months of sullen silence, in which a clear apprehension and a torturing experience of divine disapprobation, like a serpent’s fang, struck poison into his veins. His very physical frame seems to have suffered. His heart was as dry as the parched grass upon the steppes. That was what he got by his sin. A moment of turbid animal delight, and long days of agony; dumb suffering in which the sense of evil had not yet broken him down into a rain of sweet tears, but lay, like a burning consciousness, within his heart.

And then came the prophet with his parable, so tender, so ingenious, so powerful. And the quick flash of generous indignation, which showed how noble the man was after all, with which he responded to the picture, unknowing that it was a picture of his own dastardly conduct, led on to the solemn words in which Nathan tore away the veil; and with a threefold lever, if I may so say, overthrew the toppling structure of his impenitence.

First of all, and most chiefly, he seeks to win him to repentance by a picture of God’s great love and goodness. ‘I have done this and that and the other thing for thee. What hast thou done for Me?’ Ah, that is the true beginning. You cannot frighten men into penitence, you may frighten them into remorse; and the remorse may or may not lead on to repentance. But bring to bear upon a man’s heart the thought of the infinite and perfect love of God, and that is the solvent of all his obstinate impenitence, and melts him to cry, ‘I have sinned.’ And along with that element there is the other, the plain striking away of all disguises from the ugly fact of the sin. The prophet gives it its hideous name, and that is one element in the process which leads to true repentance. For so strange and subtle are the veils which we cast over our own evils, that it comes sometimes to us with a shock and a start when some word, that we know to connote wickedness of the deepest dye, is applied to them. David had very likely so sophisticated his conscience that, though he had been writhing under the sense that he was a wrongdoer, it came to him with a kind of ugly surprise when the naked words ‘adultery’ and ‘murder’ were pressed up against his consciousness.

And the third element that brought him to his senses, and to his knees, was the threatening of punishment, which is salutary when it follows these other two, the revelation of a divine love and the unveiling of the essential nature of my own act; but which without these is but ‘the hangman’s whip’ to which only inferior natures will respond. And these three, the appeal to God’s love, the revelation of his own sin, the solemn warning of its consequences-these three brought to bear upon David’s heart, broke him down into a passion of penitence in which he has only the two words to say, ‘I have sinned against the Lord.’ That is all. That is enough.

And what is it? It is the recognition-which is essential to all real penitence-that I have not merely broken some impersonal law, or done something that hurts my fellows, but that I have broken the relations which I ought to sustain to a living, loving Person, who is God. We commit crimes against society, we commit faults against one another, we commit sins against God, and the very notion of sin involves, as its correlative, the thought of the divine Lawgiver.

So, dear brethren, penitence goes deeper than a recognition of demerit and unworthiness. It is more than an acknowledgment of imperfection and breach of morality. It is something different altogether from the acknowledgment that I have committed a fault against my fellow. David had done Bathsheba and Uriah, and in them his whole kingdom, foul wrong, but, as he says in Psa_51:1 - Psa_51:19 , ‘Against Thee, Thee only, have I sinned.’ His account with these is of a less grave character, but ‘against Thee I sinned.’

And in like manner, this penitence contains in it the recognition of transgression against a loving Friend and Father, which had been brought home to his mind by all the words of the rebuking prophet, who was a kind of incarnate conscience for him now. And it contains, still further, confession to God against whom he had sinned. The first impulse of a man when he dimly discerns how far he has departed from God’s law, is that which the old story represents was the first impulse of the first sinners-to hide himself in the trees of the garden. The second impulse is to go to Him against whom we have sinned, and who only therefore can deal with the sin in the way of forgiveness, and to pour it all out before Him. Once an Apostle, when he caught a partial glimpse of his own demerit and transgression, said to the Master with a natural impulse, ‘Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!’ But Peter had a deeper sense of his own sin, and a happier knowledge of what Christ could do for his sin, when his brother Apostle whispering to him in the boat, ‘It is the Lord,’ the traitor Apostle cast himself into the shallow water and floundered through it anyhow, to get as close as he could to the Master’s feet.

Do not go away from God because you feel that you have sinned against Him. Where should you go but to your mother’s bosom, and hide your face there, if you have committed faults against her? Where should you go but to God if against Him you have transgressed? Look, my brother, at your own character and conduct; measure the deficiencies and imperfections, the transgressions and faults; ay! perhaps with some of you, the crimes against men and society and human laws; but see beneath all these a deeper thought; and stifle not the words that would come to your lips as a relief, like a surgeon’s lancet struck into some foul gathering, ‘I have sinned against the Lord.’

II. And now, secondly, notice with me David’s pardon consequent upon his repentance.

Can there be anything more striking-I do not say dramatic, for the circumstances are far too serious for terms of art-can there be anything more in the nature of a gospel to us all than that brief dialogue? David said unto Nathan, ‘I have sinned against the Lord.’ And Nathan said unto David, ‘The Lord also hath put away thy sin.’

Immediate forgiveness, that is the first lesson that I would press upon you. Dear brethren, it is an experience which you may each repeat in your own history at this moment. It needs but the confession in order that the forgiveness should come. At this end of the telephone whisper your confession, and before it has well passed your lips there comes back the voice sweet as that of angels, ‘The Lord hath forgiven thy sin.’ One word, one motion of a heart aware of, and hating, and desiring to escape from, its evil, brings with a rush the whole fulness of fatherly and forgiving love into any heart. And that one confession may be the turning-point of a man’s life, and may obliterate all the sinful past, and may bring him into loving, reconciled, harmonious relations with the Almighty Judge.

Learn, too, not only the immediacy of the answer and the simplicity of the means, but learn how thorough and complete God’s dealing with your sin may be. The original language of my text might be rendered, ‘The Lord hath caused thy sin to pass away’; the thought being substantially that of some impediment or veil between man and Him which, with a touch of His hand, He dissolves as it were into vapour, and so leaves all the sky clear for His warmth and sunshine to pour down upon the heart. We do not need to enter upon theological language in talking about this great gift of forgiveness. It means substantially that howsoever you and I have piled up mountain upon mountain, Alp upon Alp, of our evils and transgressions, all pass away and become non-existent. Another word of the Old Testament expresses the same idea when it speaks about sin being ‘covered.’ Another word expresses the same idea when it speaks about God as ‘casting’ men’s sins ‘into the depths of the sea’-all meaning this one thing, that they no longer stand as barriers between the free flow of His love and our poor hearts. He takes away the sense of guilt, touches the wounded conscience, and there is healing in His hand. As, according to the old belief, the sovereign, by laying his hand upon sufferers from ‘the King’s evil’ healed them and cleansed them, so the touch of His forgiving love takes away the sense of guilt and heals the spirit. He removes all the impediments between His love and us. His love can now come undisturbed. His deepest and solemnest judgments do not need to come; and no more does there stand frowning between us and Him the spectre of our past.

People tell us that forgiveness is impossible, ‘that whatsoever a man soweth, that must he also reap’; that law is law, and that the consequences cannot be averted. That is all quite true if there is not a God. It is not true if there is; and if there is no God, there is no sin. So if there is a God, there is forgiveness.

Consequences, as I shall have to show you in a moment, may still remain, but pardon may be ours all the same. When you forgive your child, does it mean that you do not thrash it, or does it mean that you take it to your heart? And when God pardons, does it mean that He waives His laws, or does it mean that He lets us come into the whole warmth and sunshine of His love? Will you go there?

Forgiveness was to Jews a thing difficult to apprehend. It was hard for them to understand the harmony of it with the rigid retribution on which their whole system of religion reposed. But you and I have come further into the light than Nathan and David had. And I have to preach a modification of the words of my text which is not a limitation of them, but the unveiling of their basis and the surest confirmation of them, when I say ‘In Him’-Jesus Christ-’we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins.’

The New Testament teaches us that the Cross of Christ threw its power back upon former transgressions as well as forward upon future ones; and that in Him past ages, though they knew Him not, received remission. Christ is the Medium of the divine forgiveness; Christ’s Cross is the ground of the divine pardon; Christ’s sacrifice is the guarantee for us that the sin which He has borne He has borne away. ‘By His stripes we are healed.’ ‘Wherefore, men and brethren, be it known unto you, that through this Man is preached unto us the forgiveness of our sins.’

III. Third and lastly, look at the punishment which follows -shall I say notwithstanding or because of ?-the penitence and the pardon.

In David’s life there came the immediate retribution in kind, which was signalised as such by the divine message-the death of the child ‘who was conceived in sin and shapen in iniquity.’ But beyond that, look at David’s life after his great fall. There was no more brightness in it. His own sin and example of lust loosed the bonds of morality in his household, and his son followed his example and improved upon it. And from that came Absalom’s murder of his brother, and from that Absalom’s exile, and from that Absalom’s rebellion, and from that Absalom’s death, which nearly killed his poor old father. And for all the rest of his days his home was troubled, and his last years ended with the turmoil of a disputed succession before his eyes were closed, all traceable to this one foul crime.

Joab was the torment of David’s later days, and Joab’s power over him depended upon his having been the instrument of Uriah’s murder; and so the master of the king, whose bidding he had done. Ahithophel was the brain of Absalom’s conspiracy. His defection struck a sharp arrow into David’s heart-’mine own familiar friend in whom I trusted.’ He evidently hated the king with fierce hatred. He was Bathsheba’s grandfather; and we are not going wrong, I think, in tracing his passionate hatred, and the peculiar form of insult which he counselled Absalom to adopt, to the sense of foul wrong which had been done to his house by David’s crime.

And so all through his days this poor old king had to do what you and I have to do-to bear the temporal results of sin. ‘Be not deceived, God is not mocked; for whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap.’

So ‘of our pleasant vices the gods make whips to scourge us.’ And it is in mercy that we have to drink as we have brewed, that we have to lie upon the beds that we have made; that in regard to outward consequences, and in regard to our own hearts and inward history, we are the architects of our own fortunes, and cannot escape the penalties of our sins and of our faults. Better to have it so than be cursed with impunity!

Some of you young men are sowing diseases in your bones that will either make you invalids or will kill you before your time. All of us are bearing about with us, in some measure and sense, the issues, which are the punishments, of our evil. Let us thank Him and take up the praise of the old psalm, ‘Thou wast a God that forgivest them, though Thou tookest vengeance of their inventions.’ There is either merciful chastisement here, that we may be parted from our sins, or there is judgment hereafter.

O my brother! let me beseech you, do not commit the suicide of impenitence, but go to Christ, in whom all our sins are taken away, and lay your hands on the head of that great Sacrifice, and ‘the Lord shall cause to pass the iniquity of your sin.’

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MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 12". MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture.