David wrote a letter - This was the sum of treachery and villany. He made this most noble man the carrier of letters which prescribed the mode in which he was to be murdered. This case some have likened to that of Bellerophon, son of Glaucus, king of Ephyra, who being in the court of Proetus, king of the Argives, his queen Antia, or as others Sthenoboea, fell violently in love with him; but he, refusing to gratify her criminal passions, was in revenge accused by her to Proetus her husband, as having attempted to corrupt her. Proetus not willing to violate the laws of hospitality by slaying him in his own house, wrote letters to Jobates, king of Lycia, the father of Sthenoboea, and sent them by the hand of Bellerophon, stating his crime, and desiring Jobates to put him to death. To meet the wishes of his son-in-law, and keep his own hands innocent of blood, he sent him with a small force against a very warlike people called the Solymi; but, contrary to all expectation, he not only escaped with his life, but gained a complete victory over them. He was afterwards sent upon several equally dangerous and hopeless expeditions, but still came off with success; and to reward him Jobates gave him one of his daughters to wife, and a part of his kingdom. Sthenoboea, hearing this, through rage and despair killed herself.
I have given this history at large, because many have thought it not only to be parallel to that of Uriah, but to be a fabulous formation from the Scripture fact: for my own part, I scarcely see in them any correspondence, but in the simple circumstance that both carried those letters which contained their own condemnation. From the fable of Bellerophon came the proverb, Bellerophontis literas portare, "to carry one's own condemnation".
Many of those who are placed high in command to fill responsible stations have but little conscience or nobility of soul; they can exercise their power, even to the destruction of those under them, and it is winked at. These commanders could abuse the power given them and cause those subject to them to occupy dangerous positions where they would be exposed to terrible encounters with the rebels without the least hope of conquering them. In this way they could dispose of daring, thoroughgoing men, as David disposed of Uriah. 2 Samuel 11:14, 15. 1T 255.1
Valuable men have thus been sacrificed to get rid of their strong antislavery influence. Some of the very men whom the North most need in this critical time, whose services would be of the highest value, are not. They have been wantonly sacrificed. The prospects before our nation are discouraging, for there are those filling responsible stations who are rebels at heart. There are commanding officers who are in sympathy with the rebels. While they are desirous of having the Union preserved, they despise those who are antislavery. Some of the armies also are composed largely of such material; they are so opposed to one another that no real union exists among many regiments. 1T 255.2
As this war was shown to me, it looked like the most singular and uncertain that has ever occurred. A great share of the volunteers enlisted fully believing that the result of the war would be to abolish slavery. Others enlisted intending to be very careful to keep slavery just as it is, but to put down the rebellion and preserve the Union. And then to make the matter still more perplexing and uncertain, some of the officers in command are strong proslavery men whose sympathies are all with the South, yet who are opposed to a separate government. It seems impossible to have the war conducted successfully, for many in our own ranks are continually working to favor the South, and our armies have been repulsed and unmercifully slaughtered on account of the management of these proslavery men. Some of our leading men in Congress also are constantly working to favor the South. In this state of things, proclamations are issued for national fasts, for prayer that God will bring this war to a speedy and favorable termination. I was then directed to Isaiah 58:5-7: “Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul? is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the Lord? Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?” 1T 256.1Read in context »