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when indeed 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, and what standards were set up? Isaiah xlix. 22; who discovered their valour? 2 Tim. iv. 7; and who their cowardice? Psal. lxxviii. 9; what persons deserted, and who came over to the king's standard? Isaiah lxii. 10; what standard-bearer fainted? Isaiah 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; I appeared as a mere impostor confounded before them, and some of them 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 knows nothing of the matter?


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 you. He sternly said unto me, Turn aside, and stand here; and I turned aside, and stood still, 2 Sam. xviii. 30.

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. And, indeed, from that time I found my false zeal abate, and my love to the king wax cold; and no wonder, when I only followed him to gain a name, and get applause; and expected 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.

But that which put a final stop to my running was, I had a fall 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, 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 Bethphage, 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?

Ahimaaz. If I had, I should have been able to have got up again. No; it was the next mount to that, called the Mount of Corruption: and rightly named 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 Jerusalem, which were on the right hand of the Mount of Corruption, which Solomon, the king of Israel, had builded for Ashtoreth the abomination of the Zidonians, and for Chemosh the abomination of the Moabites, and for Milcom the abomination of the children of Ammon, did the king [Josiah] defile," 2 Kings xxiii. 13,

Cushi. There never was above one man yet that found a way to Jerusalem, so as entirely to escape that mountain, for it stands right before the city and it is upon that mount that all the abominable Babels, vain towers, baseless castles, and imaginary structures in the world have been

reared. I believe that is the mount that bears up the whole fabric of iniquity; it is a spot that is barren of all good; no good fruit ever grows there. This the great Messiah shewed to his followers, when he cursed the fruitless fig-tree; that tree was barren, and yet it grew almost a quarter of a mile from that mount.

Ahimaaz. They never could get the Messiah to put his foot on that mount; he kept close to the Mount of Olives, until he came to the foot of the Mount of Corruption; and then he sent his servants to fetch the ass; and he rode all the rest of the way upon the garments of his followers; as it is written, "And they brought the colt to Jesus, and cast their garments on him; and he sat upon him; and many spread their garments in the way," Mark xi. 7, 8. Perhaps this was done to shew them, that their filthy rags of self-righteousness, Isaiah 1xiv. 6; or their filthy garments, Zech. iii. 3; ought to be left at the foot of that mount, as more fit for the foot of an ass, than the ornament of a Christian.

Cushi. That is right, and you have hit the mark; the Saviour did nothing in vain. It was not without a cause that he stopped at that mount; nor did he curse the fruitless fig-tree, mount the ass, or ride on the clothes of his followers, for nothing. But I suppose you learnt something by your fall; that is, you had some strange sensations, and found yourself too much disabled to run with tidings, did you not?

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Ahimaaz. Indeed I did; for I never knew what the fall of Adam meant, till I fell on that mount; nor did I form any true idea of corruption till I stumbled on that mount myself; for I thought I fell from all hope of mercy; I felt myself the basest mortal in all the world; my beauty and self-sufficiency all vanished, and I thought the mount and myself were both of a piece, for all my comeliness was turned into corruption, and I retained no strength for bearing tidings, Dan. x. 8.

Cushi. Then I suppose you could hardly credit your own tidings, I mean, that all was well, nor yet praise the king, as usual?

Ahimaaz. Indeed I found neither love to the king nor to the loyalists; I was all enmity as well as corruption.

Cushi. You was more fit to carry tidings then, than ever you had been before: I suppose you found yourself in a fine pickle; pray who helped you up?

Ahimaaz. Indeed, if I had been sent with tidings then, they would have been heavy tidings, and consequently I should not have run so fast.

There appeared to me a man with a shining countenance, and asked me what country I was of? I told him I was not a countryman, but a citizen of Jerusalem, and the son of a certain priest. He replied, I did not ask after your descent, but your residence; if you are a citizen of Jerusalem, there is a fountain opened for the inhabitants of that city for sin and for uncleanness, Zech. xiii. 1. I told

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