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 David And Araunah 

AFTER DAVID HAD reigned may years, he numbered the people of Israel. This was wrong; and God sent a pestilence which destroyed seventy thousand men. David was grieved, and prayed that God would punish him and spare the people.
      God stayed the hand of the destroying angel; who stood by the threshing-floor of Araunah, whither David was told to go and offer sacrifice. David went. He purchased the threshing-floor of Araunah, also oxen and wood and offered a burnt sacrifice to God.
      The following verses describe the scene:
      Beside Araunah's threshing-place
      The awful angel took his stand,
      When from high heaven came words of grace
      "It is enough; stay now thine hand."
      For David's penitential prayer
      Had enter'd God's compassionate ear;
      And where the angel stood, even there
      God bade the King and altar rear.
      Araunah offered ground, and wood,
      And oxen for the sacrifice:
      David stood noble wish withstood,
      And bought them all at full price.
      His answer has a royal ring;
      Its lesson high shall not be lost:
      "Burnt offerings I will never bring
      Unto Jehovah without cost."
      The altar rose, the victims died,
      The plague was stayed, and lo, there fell
      Token that Heaven was satisfied
      A fire from God, and all was well.
      'Twas like a finger from the skies
      That falling fire - to show God's will,
      That here the Temple should arise
      And crown Moriah's sacred hill.
      And still God marks the faithful prayer,
      The careful work, the costly pains;
      The Spirit's fire descendeth there,
      And there, as in a shrine, remains.
      [Richard Wilton, M.A.]

      THE END.

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