by Clarence E. Macartney

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Chariots of Fire (1 of 18)
A Tomb Without a Tenant-Absalom
Clarence E. Macartney
2 Samuel 18:18

On the battlefield of Saratoga stands a towering
obelisk commemorative of that decisive struggle of the
American Revolution. About its base are four deep
niches, and in these are bronze figures of the
generals who commanded there. In the first stands
Horatio Gates; in the second, Schuyler; and in the
third, Morgan. But the fourth, alas! stands empty. The
soldier who won that niche of fame has forfeited his
right to be remembered. Below the empty niche cut in
the stone there is a solitary name. As the eye falls
upon it, a vision rises: I see a young Colonial
officer leading his troops on a wintry morning against
the battlements of Quebec. Again, I see him charging
the British lines at Saratoga; and yet again,
crouching at the midnight hour by the murmuring
Hudson, bartering his soul to Satan. The scene
changes. I see a lonely room in London, and an old man
dying-friendless, homeless, godless-Benedict Arnold,
hero, patriot, traitor.

Here is another beautiful, but unoccupied, monument.
The history of Absalom closes with one of those
overwhelming contrasts in which the Bible delights.
When Joab had thrust the three darts through his body,
Absalom was cut down from the limb of the oak tree
where he had been caught by his luxuriant hair, and
cast into the nearest pit. As the companies of
soldiers marched by on their way back from the
battlefield, each man took a stone and cast it upon
Absalom until a great mound of boulders marked the
last resting place of that rebel prince.

In strange contrast with this lonely and rude
seplucher was the costly pillar or mausoleum which
Absalom had reared for himself in the king's dale.
That was the tomb which he had expected to occupy.
There his flawless body, arrayed in royal robes and
prepared for the sepulcher with spikenard and
ointment, was to be laid away wi ...

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