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Elijah

 

It is probable that Elijah came to Jezreel to carry on the reforma­tion he had begun, and hoping that the late miracle would give him a powerful influence. But soon after he arrives in the suburbs, he learns the determination, not of the queen-consort, but of the queen-regent—­for Ahab, though king, was completely governed by a termagant wife—to put him to death. “And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and withal how he had slain all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “So let the gods do unto me, and more also, if I make not thy life as the life of one of them by to­morrow about this time.” Upon this he should have stood his ground, and have resolved to go on with his work, leaving events with God, and relying upon that providence and grace which had so signally appeared for him. He should have replied, as Chrysostom did, when Eudôxia the empress threatened him, “Go, tell her that I fear nothing but sin;” or as Basil did, when Valerius the Arian emperor sent him word that he would put him to death, “I would that he would; I shall only get to heaven the sooner:” or as Luther did, when they would have dissuaded him from going to Worms, “I would go if there were as many devils there as there are tiles upon the houses:” or as the prince of Condé did to the French king, when he purposed that he should go to mass, or suffer perpetual banishment or death, “As to the first of these, by the grace of God, I never will; and as to the other two, I leave the choice of either to your majesty.”

 

But where is the faith that never staggers through unbelief; the hand that never hangs down; the knee that never trembles? We are amazed at the magnanimity of Elijah before, in reproving Ahab to his face, opposing single-handed all the followers of Baal, and slaying Jezebel’s four hundred and fifty chaplains. But what is man? He can­not stand longer than God holds him, or walk further than God leads him. This same hero now turns pale, and flees for his life. “And when he saw that, he arose and went for his life, and came to Beer­sheba, which belongeth to Judah, and left his servant there) And why did he leave him? Was it from tenderness, wishing to save him from the perils to which he himself was exposed? Or was it the more per­fectly to conceal his movements, as one could he more easily hid than more? Or did he wish for unrestrained, unwitnessed intercourse with God? There are seasons and places in which we wish no eye to see, no ear to hear, but God to be all in all. Abraham left his young men below when he ascended to worship God. And Jesus said to Peter, James, and John in the garden, “Tarry ye here, while I go and pray yonder.”

 

 

Rev. Wm. Jay

 


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