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which had been hallowed by the good man's prayers. He gazes fixedly and fondly on the pale placid countenance; and having waked up his tenderest affections for the little dead creature he had often carried in his arms, and kissed, and blessed, Elisha turns from the lifeless clay to the living God. He kneels beside the dead. He prays for the dead. And in prayers a mother may hear, as, with beating heart, she sits silent, and listening, and hoping below, he pours out his very soul to God. The prayer ceases. It has been heard. The prophet knows it; and now rises to employ other means, nor doubts of their success. As one who, seeking another's conversion, brings the truth in himself into kindest, closest contact with that other's soulsoul to soul, and heart to heart, Elisha brings his own life as close to the dead as possible. Love revolting at nothing, he takes the corpse into his arms. He stretches himself upon the body; he puts his mouth upon his mouth, and his eyes upon his eyes, and his hands upon his hands. The living heart of the prophet beats against the dead heart of the child, knocks there to waken it; he all the time pleading with God, entreating with tears that hang on the lashes of those closed eyes and bedew the pallid face of death. We know not how long the dead lay in the embraces of the living ; but pains and prayer had their sure reward. A step is on the floor. The mother catches it. She starts. The door opens. “Gehazi,” cries the prophet, a summons rapidly followed by the glad com. mand,“ Call the Shunammite.” Hope sounds in that voice; joy leaps in her heart. She hastens up, she rushes in. He points her to the smiling boy, saying, Take up thy son, as with delirious joy and open arms she bounds across the floor to lock him in her embraces.
Thus, simply as a medium or link which connects the living with the dead, a believer may be the means of communicating life. But the life which Christ gave you was his own. “Ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.” What Elisha did not, and could not do in that chamber for the child, our Saviour did on the cross for us. He died that we might live. He poured out his soul unto death. To fill our veins with blood, he emptied his own. He stretched himself out upon the cold corpse of a world to communicate life, and, while communicating it, expired. He breathed life into the dead, but it was his own. If any vital heavenly fire burns in you, it was Christ who kindled it; for the spirit life came not, like the natural, through father and mother, flashing, as an electric spark, from the first man along the linked chain of successive generations. Not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God, that life came when Christ impressed his kiss of love on death's icy lips, just as that of Adam came from his Maker, when, stooping over the clay model of a man, God breathed into its nostrils the breath of life. And as, by his death, which was a satisfaction for sin, Jesus Christ purchased our life, by his life he now maintains it; so that, as the life of a pregnant mother is the life of the babe within her, his life is ours. Is the connection between these two so intimate, that she might address her unborn, saying, Because I live, thou livest also ? Well, Jesus says more; he says, Because I live, ye shall live also. That mother may die. Hope has strewed her withered blossoms on a grave where the rose and the rose-bud lie buried together; and death, coffining the babe in a dead
mother's womb, by one fell stroke has inflicted a double blow on some childless, widowed man. But, in their life one with Christ, believers can never die. Never : for he dieth no more. That head bows on a cross no more ; that eye darkens in death no more; that brow, crowned with glory, bleeds under thorns no more. “I am he that liveth and was dead.”
Thus, restored to life by Christ, and through your union with him safe from the second death, believers can dare, in a sense, to use his own great words, saying, “I am he that liveth, and was dead, and, behold, I am alive for evermore.” So long as Christ lives, you live; so long as Christ shall live, you shall live. Since your life is hid with Christ in God, why then should you dread the grisly king ? Fear not the shaking of his dart. You are deathless men. Hear the voice of your Saviour. “I give unto them eternal life ; and they shall never perish.” “He that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live; and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.” Disease may rot off a limb; an empty sleeve, pinned to a breast hung thick with stars, and crosses, and medals, may tell of losses suffered as well as battles fought in a country's cause; and accident may any day tear a member from our body, and separate it froin its living head. But no accident, no chance, no, nor all the devils of hell, shall separate us from the love of Christ. I cling to that belief. Without it, where were the peace of the saints ? Where the promise and care of him who says, I will never leave you, let not your heart be troubled ; ye believe in God, believe also in me.
II. As Head of his church, Jesus Christ rules its members.
It is not pain that makes the insect go spinning round and round, to the entertainment of the thoughtless, not cruel, boy who has beheaded it. It has lost in the head that which preserves harmony among the members, and controls their movements, and prevents such anarchy in the body corporeal as there was in the body politic, when there was no king in Israel, and every man did that which was right in his own eyes. Seated, as becomes a king, in the highest place, the head gives law to all beneath it. The tongue speaks or is silent, the arms rise or fall, the feet walk or rest, the eye opens or shuts, as this sovereign wills; and, transmitting its orders along the nerves which, ramified through the body, reach the most distant members, it receives from all them instant, implicit obedience. It rules with more despotic authority than any other sovereign. Its subjects never mutiny; they hatch no plots; they form no conspiracies.
Patterns of the obedience which we should yield to Jesus Christ, the members hesitate not to obey the head, even to their own loss and painful suffering. Take the hand, for instance. Archbishop Cranmer stands chained to the stake. The fagots are lighted. With forked tongues the flames rise through the smoke that opens, as the wind blows it aside, to show that great old man standing up firm in the fiery trial. Like a true penitent, he resolves that the hand which had signed his base recantation shall burn first; and how bravely it abides the flame! In obedience to the head, the hand lays itself down to suffer amputation ; in obedience to the head, it flings away the napkin, sign for the drop to fall ; in obedience to the head, as was forescen by some of our fathers when they attached their names to the League and Covenant, it firmly signed the bond that sealed their fate and doomed them to a martyr's grave. Let the head forgive, and the hand at once opens to grasp an enemy's, in pledge of quarrel buried and estrangement gone. Would to God that Jesus Christ had such authority over us ! Make us, O Lord, thy willing subjects in the day of thy power! Ascend the throne of our hearts ! Prince of Peace! take unto thee thy great power, and reign!
How happy, how holy should we be, were our hearts, our minds, our bodies, as obedient to the laws of his word and to the influences of his Spirit, as that hand and this tongue are to the head that rules them. Brethren, what else but this is needed, not only to preserve the purity and peace of our souls, but to restore purity and peace to distracted churches ? My body knows and owns no authority whatever but its own head. Why should Christ's church do otherwise ? How many divisions would be healed, would she repudiate all government but his in things belonging to his kingdom, would she take his word as her only rule, and read it with the docile faith of a child, would she call none master but Jesus, nor admit anything to bind her conscience but the law and the testimony, would she throw down all sectarian walls and barriers, and make nothing necessary to church communion but what is necessary to being a Christian.
There is no essential difference between the Evangelical denominations. And what should hinder them from being as ready to love and help one the other as my foot is to run in the service of my hand, and as my hand. is to work in the service of my foot, and as my eyes and ears, standing on their tower of observation, are to watch for the good of the body and all its members? Were there sympathy like that among