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now Lord, take away my life, for I am not better than my fathers." His faith and his firmness failed him, and he betrayed, in this instance, sad symptoms of cowardice and impatience. With all his excellence, and with all his soul prosperity, he “ was a man subject to like passions as we are." It must be the grace of God that upholds us, nor can we withstand a moment when his divine aid is withheld or withdrawn. But He giveth more grace, and “having loved his own, he loveth them unto the end."
Perhaps Elijah should have stood his ground, in full confidence of the divine protection; but he fled with haste and terror, and alone, into the wilderness where Israel had wandered forty years. What shall we say, when so exalted a character betrays such weakness?
-“ Lord, uphold us,
All our strength must come from thee.” In a moment we fail and die, when we are left to ourselves. Of all calamities, this would be the most dreadful. But rejoice, O my soul! He hath said, “ I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee."
The Lord did not desert his timorous servant, the prophet, in this season of difficulty. He had before fed him by the ravens, but now he sent an angel to provide for him. All creatures are his servants. The prophet was thus sustained in the wilderness forty days, without any further supplies. He who in the case of “ the barrel of meal, and cruse of oil ” had made a little go a great way, now enables his servant to live long upon a meal. A little with the blessing of God will suffice.
“ Man needs but little here below,
God is the strength of his people, and he is ever mindful of them and of his promises to them. He is, in fact, saying to his children, who are pilgrims on earth, “ Arise and eat, for the journey is long." Gracious Father, thine arm is not shortened. Thou hast innumerable ways of providing for our necessities. Thy hand has made us, and can at all times uphold us, till the number of our days is accomplished. Grant soul prosperity under all the adversities of a time state, and by trusting in thee may we glorify thy name. Give us patience that we may glorify thee in the fires. May our patience have its perfect work.
In the case of Job, we should not have heard so much of his patience, had he not been tried as he was. Job's sufferings would have been less, but God would have been less honoured. So in all the straits and trials of Elijah, and of the people of God in general, God gives strength as they require it, and so is glorified in carrying them through.
When Elijah came to Horeb, and stood before the Lord of the whole earth with profound veneration, he betrayed the same spirit, and alleged the same excuse, as before. How forward are men to justify themselves, and how backward to humble themselves, before God! At length, however, the prophet recovered all his former courage, and executed the commission he had received, by denouncing the divine vengeance against the king Ahab, for his guilt in the murder of Naboth. Let all the ministers of the gospel maintain the same faithfulness in preaching and declaring the whole will and counsel of God, whether men will hear or forbear. In the path of duty, we have nothing to fear. «He that is for uş is more than all those who are against us."
Elijah commanded fire to come down from heaven, and it was done accordingly, to the destruction of
a captain and his fifty," 2 Kings i. 12. This he did by a divine impulse, for God had determined to make his power known to these idolaters. Here Elijah was not an example for us. Jesus must be our example; " he came not to destroy men's lives, but to save them.” If we would evince any real prosperity of soul, we must “ love our enemies, and do good to them which hate us."
The most remarkable circumstance in the life of this prophet is, his being taken up to heaven without dying. His prosperous soul was fitted for the society of the blessed, the infinite power of God changed his body, and he was at once, in an extraordinary manner, admitted into heaven. This was a remarkable honour, by which God testified his approbation of him, as one of whom, indeed, “ the world was not worthy.” Let us not be conformed to this world, but rise and follow the prophet to fairer and purer regions. Our bodies must sleep in the dust, but they “ shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day;" and the souls and bodies of good men, in a state of happy re-union, shall dwell in the presence of that Redeemer for ever, who in this world shed his blood for their redemption.
O that this may be the happy prospect of every reader. Many, alas! are perishing in the ruins of the fall. Their souls are in an awful state, and, dying without a change of heart, they must rise to the resurrection of condemnation. Gracious Jeho
vah ! “ Draw us, and we will run after thee." Put life into our souls, and cause them to prosper for our own comfort, and for the glory of thy holy name.
A SUPPOSED DIALOGUE BETWEEN
When God would take up his dear servant Elijah into heaven, by a whirlwind, which was known at least to all the sons of the prophets, the pious Elisha attends his venerable master; and when desired by him to stay behind, he protests that he will not leave him, he says, not till death part them : but conscious that Elijah was to ascend to heaven, as Enoch had done before, he is determined, if he may not enter in with him, yet to attend him to the very gates of glory. When the holy seer observes the firm resolution of his promising pupil, he desists, and proposes what he would desire of him as the last office of kindness he could do for him, before he should be taken from him.
The one having mentioned, and the other having replied to the petition, they continue the Divine Dialogue, and walk on in expectation of the parting moment. And well may we conclude that the subject was of the most sublime nature, between such great souls, and at such a period.
Might we imagine it to be like the following ?
Elijah. My dear Elisha, thou art now attending, with joy and sorrow mixed, thy aged master through the last stage of life. I am not like other men,
, * Vide Solitude Sweetened, by J. Meikle, whence some of these thoughts are taken.
expecting a death-bed, but am to be wafted to the other world, without the separation of soul and body; and in a little thou shalt see me no more.
Elisha. 0, then, my master! my father! let our conversation be about the glory of the better country into which thou art soon to enter.
Elijah. It already refreshes me, the heavenly gale blows into my soul, and sheds a joy divine. To day shall I behold his face in glory; a glory so exceedingly great, that I cannot describe it, but only pant after it. Let him come and take me to himself.
Elisha. What, pray, are those transcendent excellences of the heavenly inheritance that make thee so desire it ?
Elijah. The bliss above is unbounded, pure, and permanent. The joys are transporting and divine. There God is enjoyed through his Son, the Messiah, who is to assume our nature, suffer for our sins, take away our iniquities, and win eternal life for us: whom all the sacrifices set forth, all the types, washings, and sprinklings represent, and put us in remembrance of; to whom all we prophets bear witness; there our seeing him shall make us like him, and change us into the same image, from glory to glory. Divide, ye heavens, that I may enter in.
Elisha. Does it create no uneasiness in thy breast, to leave the world, thy relations, and other concerns in it?
Elijah. Truly the world is to me a barren desert, as ever the wilderness was to our fathers : and as to its relations, as I had them from God, so I give them back, and lose them in him, who is himself all in all to my soul. Other concerns in the world have I