Wednesday, July 11, 2012


Albie's note: Did it ever seem odd to you that King David was the only figure in scripture ever called "a man after God's own heart?"  I would like to share the following passage by the great English essayist and philosopher Thomas Carlyle [1795-1881.] 

Old Tom Carlyle isn't a thinker I always agree with, but these words touched me greatly, and I hope they can, perhaps, bless someone else too.


Who is called "the man after God's own heart"?

David, the Hebrew king, had fallen into sins enough -- blackest crimes -- there was no want of sin. And, therefore, unbelievers sneer, and ask, "Is this your man after God's own heart?"

The sneer, it seems to me, is but a shallow one. What are faults, what are the outward details of a life, if the inner secret of it, the remorse, temptations, the often baffled, never ended struggle of it, be forgotten?

"It is not in man that walketh to direct his steps." Of all acts, is not, for a man, repentance the most divine? The deadliest sin, I say, were that same supercilious consciousness of no sin;—that is death; the heart so conscious is divorced from sincerity, humility and fact; is dead: it is "pure..." as dead dry sand is pure.

David's life and history, as written for us in those Psalms of his, I consider to be the truest emblem ever given us of a man's moral progress and warfare here below. All earnest souls will ever discover in it the faithful struggle of an earnest human soul towards what is good and best.

Struggle often baffled -- sore baffled -- driven as into entire wreck; yet a struggle never ended, ever with tears, repentance, true unconquerable purpose begun anew.

--Thomas Carlyle, (1795-1881), from the book "On Heroes and Hero Worship."  1841

Painting by William Brassey Hole

"Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest."
--King David, PSALM 51:4



Oscar said...

I don't recall reading any Carlyle, but I will check out Heroes and Hero Worship.

Albie The Good said...

OSCAR: I think you'd like it, friend. Believe it or not, it made me think of westerns and western writing more than once, as one of the themes is mythic literature and fiction.

Thanks for commenting!