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Self-pity- Saul in the Witch's Cave.

Self-pity- Saul in the Witch's Cave.

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Published by glennpease
BY WILLIAM BURNET WRIGHT



And Saul answered, I am sore distressed ; for the Phi-
listines make war against me, and God is departed from
me, and answereth me no more, neither by prophets nor
by dreams ; therefore I have called thee, that thou may-
est make known unto me what I shall do. — 1 Sam.
xxviii. 15. (R. V.)
BY WILLIAM BURNET WRIGHT



And Saul answered, I am sore distressed ; for the Phi-
listines make war against me, and God is departed from
me, and answereth me no more, neither by prophets nor
by dreams ; therefore I have called thee, that thou may-
est make known unto me what I shall do. — 1 Sam.
xxviii. 15. (R. V.)

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Published by: glennpease on Apr 10, 2014
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SELF-PITY- SAUL I THE WITCH'S CAVE. BY WILLIAM BURET WRIGHT And Saul answered, I am sore distressed ; for the Phi- listines make war against me, and God is departed from me, and answereth me no more, neither by prophets nor by dreams ; therefore I have called thee, that thou may- est make known unto me what I shall do. — 1 Sam. xxviii. 15. (R. V.) I BO not know whether I have been more thrilled by the horror, touched by the pa- thos, or numbed by the despair, in these words. They appear to be true. They were utterly false. The horror of them is this : they express a man's deliberate conviction that God, in whom he lives and moves and has his being, has cast him off, and left him to struggle alone against forces which sweep him as i- agara sweeps a skiff. The pathos of them is twofold. They are Saul's only complaint. They are the single shriek of one who believes himself a lost spirit pushed into the abyss. But they also SELF-PITY. 101 express the awful loneliness of a human being famishing for sympathy. Because he thinks he cannot have God 5 Saul turns to Samuel. So I have seen a woman who had outlived her associates, or driven them away
 
by persistent selfishness, turn to a poodle and try to make it fill the place of a friend ! So I have heard men in stress of trouble entreat me to pray for them, without a thought of praying for themselves, because, while God was drawing them to his ear by their afflictions, they fancied God had de- parted from them. The hopelessness of Saul's condition was that he mistook his own doings for God's, and, while the world was green and only his own glasses gray, fancied the world was gray and his glasses clear. The apparent truth of Saul's words comes from the fact that he was alienated from God. Their essential falsehood is in their saying that God had deserted him, when in fact he had deserted God. I. Recall the scene, — a valley three miles wide, running from northeast to southwest. orthward it swells upward into the hill Moreh. Its south side is Mount Gilboa. At the base of Gilboa flows the spring of 102 THE WORLD TO COME. Jezreel, a stream fifty yards wide. Upon the plain, north and west of Gilboa, the Philistines are encamped. South of the stream, upon the north slope of Gilboa, are Saul and his army. There is no reason for supposing that his forces were outnumbered by the enemy. That enemy was the Phi- listines, and the Philistines he had defeated many times. His position was impregnable.
 
He could choose his own time for attack, or decline battle altogether, for his base of sup- plies was immediately behind him, while the enemy were cut off from theirs and must fight or retreat. The strength of the Philistine army was in their iron chariots. These could only be employed upon the plain. They could not charge through the dense woods or up the steep slopes of Gilboa, upon the crest of which Saul's troops were safe as an eagle in its eyry. He was encamped on the spot whence Gideon descended upon the Midi- anites, and won the most brilliant battle re- corded in the history of Israel. Every in- dication promised an easy and decisive vic- tary, if only Saul could be Saul. But that he cannot be. Once he would have minded those Philistines as a lion minds jackals. But his courage is gone. He cannot hope, SELF-PITY. 103 because lie cannot pray. He feels that God has departed from him. Where clear eyes would have seen signs of promise, he dis- cerns only signals of despair. What shall he do? II. Seven miles as the bee flies north of his camp, directly in the rear of the Philis- tine army, lies Endor. At Endor lives a woman who claims that she can raise the dead. Perhaps she can. If so, it is by help of the infernal powers. If not, she is a fraud. In either case she is a wizard, and Saul him- self has commanded that every wizard in the land be put to death. To this woman, whether fraud or fiend he may not know,

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