« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
To conclude: though Joshua is a figure of Christ and IIis followers in that he is a combatant and a conqueror, in one point of view he plainly differs from them. He was bidden use carnal weapons in his warfare; but of ours St. Paul says, “the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong-holds'.” And, again, as the Prophet says, “Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts ®.” “Ride on," says the Psalmist, “because of the word of truth, of meekness and righteousness *;" and the armies which follow Christ are “upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean ;” and “fine linen is the righteousness of saints*.” Such is the rule of our warfare. We advance by yielding; we rise by falling; we conquer by suffering; we persuade by silence; we become rich by bountifulness; we inherit the earth through meekness; we gain comfort through mourning; we earn glory by penitence and prayer. Heaven and earth shall sooner fall than this rule be reversed; it is the law of Christ's kingdom, and nothing can reverse it but sin. As Achan could cause the defeat of the armies of Israel, so sin, indeed, of whatever kind, habitual, or hidden, or scandalous, may disturb this divine provision, but nothing else. Let us pray that we may all of us be kept pure from sin ; let us pray that at last, when we are well stricken with years, we may be as Joshua, not gifted with riches of this world, or with the blessings of life, or with “the precious things brought forth by
the sun,” or “the precious things put forth by the moon;" but with "a name better than of sons and of daughters,” “the Eternal God for our refuge, and underneath the everlasting arnis."
Elisha a Type of Christ and his followers.
(ELEVENTH SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY.)
“And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon
|--2 Kings ii. 9.
THERE is so much alike at first sight in the history
of Elijah and Elisha, that it is not surprising if many of us (as I suppose is the case) confuse them one with the other. Yet if we examine the sacred narrative carefully, we shall find that they differ from each other as widely as those children in the market-place, described by our Lord, the figures of Himself and St. John Baptist, who first piped and then mourned. Certainly there are many things which correspond in their respective histories. Both wrought miracles; both withstood kings; both, at God's bidding, visited in mercy the heathen in their neighbourhood; both lived in one age and one country, and apparently with one principal design in God's Providence, viz. that of witnessing against idolatry. Even the same miracles were wrought by the one and the other; both multiplied
oil; both raised a dead child : so far they resemble each other.
Yet they differ in many important respects. Elijah led an ascetic and solitary life, and was the great Reformer of Israel; he was a preacher of repentance, and the avenger of God's honour upon false gods and their worshippers. What the kings Hezekiah and Josiah did in Judah, that work Elijah the Prophet did in Israel, and by the same weapon, the sword. On the other hand, Elisha lived in the world, mixed with all classes of people, had greater political influence (as we now call it), and the higher invisible gifts.
Of Elijah it is said, “He was an hairy man, and girt with a girdle of leather about his loins !.” We read of him first as miraculously fed by ravens in concealment, then living on the oil and meal miraculously increased; and this for three years : next, as showing forth the great miracle on Mount Carmel before all the people, of calling down fire from heaven on the sacrifice, and as slaughtering the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal; then, as fleeing to the wilderness, sustained miraculously by an Angel, going forty days and nights without food; then as returning and denouncing judgment upon Ahab; then as calling fire from heaven upon the messengers of Abaziah; and, lastly, as taken up without dying in a whirlwind. Such is the course of his history, very mysterious throughout, as if he did not live on earth, but only appeared from time to time for special purposes. Like Melchizedek, he has neither beginning of days nor end of life; he is introduced
1 2 Kings i. 8.
abruptly, as "Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead!,” and he is taken away as suddenly. His special characteristics, however, are, on the one hand, his austere mode of life; on the other, his destruction of idolatry.
Elisha, on the other hand, cannot be called a preacher of repentance or a reformer: as if Elijah had done the work for him, as far as it was attainable. Moreover, he lived in public, in known dwellings; he presided in the schools of the Prophets; and he had dealings with the kings of Israel, Judah, Edom, and Syria.
The difference between the two Prophets is marked in the circumstance that Elijah, and not Elisha, is taken as the type of St. John the Baptist, our Lord's forerunner; and from our knowledge of what St. John was, we may form some idea of Elijah's office. The Baptist prepared the way for Christ; such seems to have been Elijah's office, with reference to the age which succeeded him.
Before his ministry, Baal's prophets had the supremacy, and the true prophets were hid in caves, and fed with bread and water; Elijah reversed the state of things, reinstated the Lord's Prophets, and then he was withdrawn. Thus he prepared the way for Elisha. Elijah then, as being a forerunner, a reformer, a preacher of repentance and righteousness, was the type of St. John the Baptist; but of whom is Elisha the type ? On this subject I proceed to say a few words.
We need not of course be surprised, even if the Prophet Elisha was not the type of any servant of God then to come. Yet God's providences are so marvel
11 Kings xvii. 1.