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lously conducted in the way of figure and token, that certainly it does seem likely that Elisha is meant to represent some person or persons in the times of the Gospel, as Elijah is the type of St. John. Nor is it to the purpose to object that Scripture is silent on the subject, for Scripture omits to tell us that Isaac is a type of Christ, or Joseph, or Job, or Jeremiah; yet we can scarcely doubt that ail these were such; and as the Apostle had much to say (which he did not say) about Meichizedek, there is no reason why he might not also have had somewhat to say about Elisha too, had it so happened. Since specimens of a typical correspondence between the histories of the Old and of the New Tes. tament are given us in Scripture, it is arbitrary to say that the correspondence ends with these specimens; probable, on the other hand, that we are intended dutifully to avail ourselves in our expositions of Scripture of the clue which Scripture itself has put into our hands.
Still, though Elisha be the representative of some Christian office or ministry, it does not follow that there should be any very accurate and conclusive correspondence between type and antitype. Thus Elijah, we know, represents the Baptist; yet there are points in his history which are unlike St. John, and more like Christ Himself. The Baptist did no miracles; Elijah even raised the dead, and so far was a type of Christ rather than of the Baptist. Again, when he ascended on high, he was rather a type of Christ than of Christ's forerunner.
We cannot, then, have such certainty in typical
expositions which we make for ourselves, as we feel when Scripture has supplied them; but it is a great mistake to suppose that religion is only occupied with such facts and doctrines as are certain. Faith has its duties towards what is probable or doubtful, as well as towards the express teaching of Scripture. Whom then does Elisha represent? does he prefigure Christ? All the Prophets are types of Christ, as being Prophets ; and it is true besides that Elisha is the type of Christ, in some remarkable points of his history peculiar to himself. For instance, when he came from Jordan, gifted by the hand of Elijah with the power of the Spirit, surely he resembled our Lord, as baptized by St. John in Jordan, and receiving the Spirit in consequence. And when his bones after his death revived a dead man, he typified (one cannot doubt) the Everlasting Saviour, whose body, dying on the cross, is our life and resurrection. Yet, in spite of these parallels, one may hardly call Elisha a special type of Christ any more than Elijah.
Whom then does Elisha represent? in other words, What is the lesson for Christian times deducible from Elisha's history? What light does that history throw upon the present condition of the Church, and the present duties of us members of it? I think we may say that, as Elijah represents the Baptist, Christ's forerunner, so Elisha prefigures Christ's successors, His servants which come after Him and inherit His gifts ; Christ Himself being exactly represented by neither, coming between them, or (if at all) represented by both at once, when the one was departing, and the other
taking his place; at once the Antitype of Elijah ascending into heaven, and of Elisha standing by Jordan, and receiving the gift of the Spirit.
Let Elisha then be taken to be the figure of Christ's favoured servants and followers, and thus be made to throw light upon their duties and privileges. By Christ's favoured and special servants, I do not merely mean His ministers, such as bishops and others, but all who in any measure have upon them eminent marks of the Lord Jesus; such as evangelists, confessors, solitaries, founders of monastic orders, doctors, and the like. Of all these, the glorious company of the Apostles, the goodly fellowship of the Prophets, the noble army of martyrs, Elisha is the type. Let us go through some points of the resemblance.
1. Though Elijah was so great a prophet, yet Elisha had a double portion of his spirit. This seems to have its parallel in the Christian history. Our Saviour says, that though “ among those that were born of women, there was not a greater than John the Baptist, yet he that was least in the kingdom of heaven,” that is, the Christian Church, “was greater than he.” This is explained by our being told by the Evangelist, that the Spirit was not given till Christ was glorified. St. John "was filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb ;" yet even this extraordinary gift was as nothing compared with that Presence of the Spirit which Christ's followers received, and by which they are regenerated. It is indeed a double, or rather a sevenfold portion of the Spirit, and gives us powers,
1 Luke i. 15.
proportion to our faith, above all that we can anticipate or comprehend. This then is a first point of resemblance. Christ's followers, like Elisha, begin their divine career from the waters of Jordan, with the power of the Holy Ghost upon them.
2. Next I observe on the especial communion, or (as I may call it) citizenship, which Elisha enjoyed with the unseen world. Elijah thought himself solitary, though he was not so; the world invisible was hid from him. Though ministered to by Angels, though sustained miraculously by Almighty God, yet, like St. John Baptist, when he sent to ask Christ, “Art Thou He that should come ?” he seemed to himself one against many. But Elisha had the privilege of knowing that he was one of a great host who were fighting the Lord's battles, though he might be solitary on earth. To him was revealed in its measure the comfortable Christian doctrine of the Communion of Saints. His eyes were purged to see sights which the world could not see; and that so clearly, that he could even comfort his attendant, who felt that fear which had overtaken Elijah when he fled from Jezebel. Hear Elijah's words -"I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life to take it away!.” On the other hand, when Elisha's servant, on finding the host of the Syrians round about them, said to the Prophet, “ Alas! my master, how shall we do?" Elisha answered, “Fear not, for they that be with us more than they that be with them." And then he besought Almighty God to give to his servant for an instant a glimpse of that glorious 11 Kings xix. 10.
2 2 Kings vi. 15—17.
6. Ye are
vision which he in faith, or by inspiration, enjoyed continually. He “prayed, and said, Lord, I pray Thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the
eyes of the young man; and he saw: and behold the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.” How well does this vision correspond to that blessed privilege which, as the Apostle assures us, is conferred upon us Christians ! come unto Mount Zion, and unto the city of the Living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of Angels, to the general assembly and Church of the first-born, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the Mediator of the New Covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel !” . An innumerable company of Angels, and the Spirits of the just ;-we dwell under their shadow; we are baptized into their fellowship; we are allotted their guardianship; we are remembered, as we trust, in their prayers. We dwell in the very presence and court of God Himself, and of His Eternal Son our Saviour, who died for us, and rose again, and now intercedes for us before the Throne. We have privileges surely far greater than Elisha's; but of the same kind.
3. Another gift bestowed upon Elisha, and on the Christian Church which he prefigured, that is on her saints, and at times on her rulers, is the gift of discerning of spirits. Of our Saviour it is said, “He knew what was in man;" He knew the thoughts of His disciples; He knew what was happening in other