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Prophets,” and Elijah alone was left; and he wished to die, for he was not better than his fathers. But when he came to Horeb, his gracious Master, the wonderworking God, taught him by the mighty acts recorded in the text, that He was to be found, not in public, but in private, by notes and tokens personal and secret; according to the words of a later prophecy, “I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones ;" or in those of our Lord Himself, “Neither shall ye say, Lo here l or Lo there! for the kingdom of God is within
First, there was a great and strong Wind, which rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks; and next an Earthquake; and then a Fire. What is the Wind, but that "rushing, mighty wind” that was heard on the day of Pentecost ? and what the Earthquake, but that “shaking of the place where” the Apostles “were assembled together” when they had prayed ? and what the Fire, but the “cloven tongues, like as of fire,” which “sat upon each of them”? And the strong Wind went forth into all the world, and swept it clean of idols, and breathed life into the dead bones, and made them live. And the Earthquake followed, and the kingdoms of men were cleared away, and the gold and silver and brass and iron fell down shattered and “broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing-floors," till “the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them.” And then came the
i Isa. lvii. 15. Luke xvii. 21
Fire, when the light of the Church burnt keen and manifest, like the flame of fire in the bush, attracting to it, by its shining, all who passed by. And now has come a time of Silence, like Elijah's time, when the love of many has waxed cold, and truth and antiquity are given up. Surely, then, it is merciful to read in this vision, granted to the Prophet of the latter days, that after all God was not in the Wind, not in the Earthquake, not in the Fire, though He wrought through them; but that His Living and True Word, our Hope and our Salvation, “the engrafted Word, which is able to save our souls," is "a still small Voice;" and that even in that miserable time, when an idol was openly worshipped, God had yet reserved unto Him a remnant, and yet had work for Elijah. “Go, return on thy way to the wilderness of Damascus, and when thou comest, anoint Hazael to be king over Syria; and Jehu the son of Nimshi shalt thou anoint to be king over Israel ; and Elisha, the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah, shalt thou anoint to be prophet in thy room. . . Yet I have left Me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him."
Let us, then, think it enough, with the Prophets of old, to be patient, to pray, and to wait. “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. ... The prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up. . . . Be patient, therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he
receive the early and latter rain.” A Prophet of God was satisfied, in silence, though with a full heart, to build the altar of God of twelve stones, in remembrance of the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, on the barren top of Carmel, and to do no more. satisfied to minister to the widow and fatherless, though it were only, if so be, to bring their sin to remembrance. He was satisfied to do his work in his day, though the only fruit of it were, that Jehoram should talk with Gehazi of all the great things which Elisha had done. He was satisfied with the reverence and affection of the Shunammite in private, while the world at large was scoffing at him. Let us, in like manner, feel certain, as well we may, that however great are the disorders of this present age, and though the unbelieving seek and find not, yet that to the humble and lowly, the earnestminded and pure in heart, the Lord God of Elijah still reveals Himself. The Presence of Christ is still among us,
in spite of our many sins and the sins of our people. “The spirit and power of Elias” should now especially be with us, because the notes of his day are among us. What is the token of his coming but a backsliding age ? what are the notes of that Man of God, but dimness and confusion, the threatenings of evil, the scattering of the faithful, and the defection of the powerful ? “In the way of Thy judgments, O Lord, have we waited for Thee; the desire of our soul is to Thy Name, and to the remembrance of Thee. With my soul have I desired Thee in the night, yea with my spirit within me will I seek Thee early.” “Although the fig-tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour
of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls; yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation ?."
What want we then but faith in our Church? with faith we can do every thing; without faith we can do nothing. If we have a secret misgiving about her, all is lost; we lose our nerve, our powers, our position, our hope. A cold despondency and sickness of mind, a niggardness and peevishness of spirit, a cowardice and a sluggishness, envelope us, penetrate us, stifle us. Let it not be so with us; let us be of good heart; let us accept her as God's gift and our portion; let us imitate him, who, when he was "by the bank of Jordan, . . . took the mantle of Elijah, that fell from him, and smote the waters, and said, Where is the Lord God of Elijah 'gu She is like the mantle of Elijah, a relic from Him who is gone up on high.
1138. xxvi 8, 9. Hab. iii. 17, 18.
2 Kings ii. 13, 14.
Feasting in Captivity.
(PREACHED ON THE ANNIVERSARY OF THE CONSECRATION
OF A CHAPEL.)
" The fast of the fourth month, and the fast of the fifth, and the fast of
the seventh, and the fast of the tenth, shall be to the house of Judah joy and gladness, and cheerful feasts ; ther-fore love the truth and peace."--ZECH. viii. 19.
WHEN we reflect upon the present state of the Holy
Church throughout the world, so different from that which was promised to her in prophecy, the doubt is apt to suggest itself to us, whether it is right to rejoice when there is so much to mourn over and to fear. Is it right to keep holiday, when the Spouse of Christ is in bondage, and the iron almost enters into her soul? We know what prophecy promises us, a holy Church set upon a hill; an imperial Church, far-spreading among the nations, loving truth and peace, binding together all hearts in charity, and uttering the words of God from inspired lips; a Kingdom of Heaven upon earth, that is at unity within itself, peace within its walls and plenteousness within its palaces ; "a glorious