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She, in her piety, finding him pass by often, constrained him to eat bread at her house, and gave him a room in it. If this were now to take place, she would be called the patron of Elisha, and he would be thought highly indebted to her, and bound to look up to her. But what was the actual bearing of Elisha and this pious woman towards one another? they both felt that his presence conveyed far more to her than any thing she could do for him. Accordingly, in spite of her riches and his poverty, he in her house acted as the lord, and she as the servant. We read that, “it fell on a day that he came thither, and he turned into the chamber, and lay there. And he said to Gehazi his servant, Call this Shunammite. And when he had called her, she stood before him. And be said unto him, Say now unto her, Behold, thou hast been careful for us, with all this care; what is to be done for thee? wouldest thou be spoken for to the king, or to the captain of the host ? And she answered, I dwell among mine own people. And he said, What then is to be done for her? And Gehazi answered, Verily, she hath no child, and her husband is old. And he said, Call her. And when he had called her, she stood in the door. And he said, About this season, according to the time of life, thou shalt embrace a son"." Such a deportment would in this day be called pride in such as Elisha,—so different are God's ways and our ways. It would indeed have been gross pride and arrogance, had he so acted as from himself; but he was in his day a steward of the mysteries of God, and only behaved himself as became his rank and his office as
1 2 Kings iv. 11-16.
God's representative. Again; consider his conduct towards Naaman, which so grievously offended the proud Syrian. Instead of waiting upon him, he sent him a mere message to wash in Jordan. Thus he magnified his heavenly office, to remind Naaman that there was a God in Israel, whereas Naaman and his master had considered him a mere servant of the king of Israel, bound to do whatever he was bidden to do. Consider, too, his conduct to the messenger of Jehoram, already referred to, when he “sat in his house and the elders with him ;” and to Joash, on his death-bed, with whom “the man of God was wroth,” because “ he smote thrice and stayed !!” What have we here but a figure of that Church to whom kings were to "bow down with their face toward the earth, and lick up the dust of her feet ""?
To conclude. These remarks lead us to this reflection. If Elisha be in spirit still among us, I mean, if the Church of Christ, viewed in her rulers, her confessors, her ascetics, and her doctors, be represented in the prophetic writings, such as Elisha is described in the history of Israel, how much have we to learn before we gain a clear and simple view of its real character! What a veil is on the eyes of men who treat it as a mere institution of this world ! Surely, we are under a supernatural dispensation, though we do not realize it; and did we realize it, we should be given to see it, I mean we should doubtless have more sensible proofs given us of it. God asks of us, first, faith, and then He vouchsafes to give us sight. Did we
| 2 Kings v. 10; vi. 32, 33 ; xüi. 14—19. 2 Tsa. xlix. 23.
believe that we were under His immediate governance, He would reward us by tokens of such a privilege which we know not of at present. Did we cry out, “Where is the Lord God of Elijah ?” the waters would divide. Never then, my brethren, come to Church, or to Holy Communion, never be present at a baptism, marriage, or burial, or at any other rite, without feeling that there is a great deal more there than you see. Where two or three are gathered together in Christ's Name, He is in the midst of them. Believe that, were your eyes opened, as the young man's were, you would see horses and chariots of fire round about. God's arm is not shortened, though man does not believe. He does His wonders in spite of us. Elijah went to heaven by miracle, and one man only saw it; but a miracle was done nevertheless. Angels are among us, powerful to do any thing. And they do wonders for the believing, which the world knows nothing about. According to our faith, so it is done unto us. Only believe, and all things are ours. We shall have clear and deeply-seated convictions on our minds of the reality of the invisible world, though we cannot communicate them to others, or explain how we come to have them.
The Christian Church a Continuation of the
" The remnant that is escaped of the house of Judah shall again take rusi
downward, and bear fruit upward.”—Isa. xxxvii. 31.
David were failing, and darkness was falling on the Church, and religious men were fighting against dismay and distrust, then the Prophets foretold that the kingdom of the saints should one time be restored; and that, though its glories were then setting, a morrow would come in due course, and that a morrow without an evening. Has this promise yet been fulfilled or no ? and if fulfilled, in what sense fulfilled ? Many persons think it has not yet been fulfilled at all, and is to be fulfilled in some future dispensation or millennium ; and many think that it has indeed been fulfilled, yet not literally, but spiritually and figuratively; or, in other words, that the promised reign of Christ upon earth has been nothing more than the influence of the Gospel over the souls of men, the triumphs of Divine
Grace, the privileges enjoyed by faith, and the conversion of the elect.
On the contrary, I would say that the prophecies in question have in their substance been fulfilled literally, and in the present Dispensation; and, if so, we need no figurative and no future fulfilment. Not that there may not be both a figurative and a future accomplishment besides; but these will be over and above, if they take place, and do not interfere with the direct meaning of the sacred text and its literal fulfilment.
In the text, the prophet Isaiah, upon Sennacherib's invasion, makes to Hezekiah the encouraging promise, that, in spite of present misfortunes, “the house of Judah should again take root downward and bear fruit upward.” Other prophecies, parallel to the text, are such as the following “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah. ...I will put My law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts, and will be their God, and they shall be My people'." Again : “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will perform that good thing which I have promised unto the house of Israel and to the house of Judah. ... For thus saith the Lord, David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel, neither shall the priests, the Levites, want a man before Me to offer burnt offerings, and to kindle meat offerings, and to do sacrifice continually ?." Ezekiel speaks the same lan1 Jer. xxxi. 31-33.
* Jer. xxxiii. 1418.