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and went with the king's forces against the rebels ; and was with Joab when Absalom was slain, and thought myself a man as sufficient to bear tidings as any in Palestine. I earnestly pressed upon Joab to let me go, but Joab would not send the tidings by me, though I used much importunity.

Cushi. You are not the first man, my brother, that has been forward at this work, nor will you be the last; those that have the fewest tidings to bear are the most forward to run; and they that have nothing to say are sure to outrun them that have; but if ever God sends them with tidings, they will have all their ground to run over again; for if they are true messengers, they must go all in regeneration which they went before

the way

in external profession.

Ahimaaz. True, my brother; and so I have found it; for after Joab had called and sent you with the tidings, I was grieved at it, though he told me that I should bear tidings another day, but then I had no tidings ready; however, I importuned him again to let me run after you, but he refused; but I wearied him with my importunity until he said, Run; so I set off by the way of the plain, and so outrun you, 2 Sam. xviii. 19-23.

Cushi. Ah, that is often the case now-a-days: there are many that run before they are sent; and if one takes the path of tribulation, and the other the way of the plain, no wonder if the latter, in the judgment of men, outruns the former. But in the eyes of the Lord it is not so; there are last

that shall be first, and first last; so many are called by the gospel, but few chosen of God, and fewer still to bear tidings, Matt. xx. 16. "The race,"

says the wise man," is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong." Many a wise man has mistook the road, and missed the mark, while the fool has not erred in the path, Isaiah xxxv. 8; and when the great spoil was divided, the lame have taken the prey, Isaiah xxxiii. 23.

But pray what were the chief motives that so strongly induced you to bear tidings? for the man who waits for tidings in the field of battle is in imminent danger, nor is he in less danger when he runs with tidings, for he is exposed to the arrows of every scouting party.

Ahimaaz. I have often observed that when the citizens of Zion have set a watchman upon their walls, to observe the approach of an enemy to their liberties, or an ambassador of peace; if the latter has appeared, as soon as the watchman lifted up his voice, and gave the watch-word, the citizens would immediately climb upon the walls, and when they saw the messenger gain the summit of an hill, they would cry out, "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace, that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth," Isaiah lii. 7; and as soon as he drew nigh the walls, the porter would open the door with such joy to see him, and cry out, "Come in, thou blessed of the

Lord, wherefore 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 publishing them, some would smile, others weep, some triumph, and some could hardly keep audience for joy; and when he has ended his oration, some have wept over him, others thanked God for sending him, others wishing to hear the same tidings over again; and, to be short, all those that prized their liberties have showered the blessings of heaven upon his head. Indeed some few, that knew not what a citizen's liberties were worth, have gone away railing at the messenger and his message both; but the citizens who were free men have followed them up with such sharp rebukes, and have 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. These 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 he, and have sublime expressions at command 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, these 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 should 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, a cloud 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 ecstasy; for I had observed in the tidings of others, that many praises on the king were introduced, therefore I was determined not to leave these out.

Cushi. And did you cry out tidings, and praise the king?

Ahimaaz. You may be sure that I tried to mimick 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; but when they began to enquire into particulars, I was obliged to tell them that I saw a great tumult, but I knew not what it was, 2 Sam. xviii. 28, 29.

Cushi. And suppose 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,

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