Page images

ness to his glory. He begged Elisha to stay at Gilgal, saying that the Lord had sent him to Bethel.

Elisha seems also to have foreseen something of what was coming, for he refused to leave Elijah; and when the prophets at Bethel came to him, saying, “Knowest thou that the Lord will take away thy master from thy head today ?” he answered, “ Yea, I know it, hold thou thy peace.

At Bethel Elijah again begged Elisha to tarry, as the LORD sent him to Jericho. But again Elisha answered, “ As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee." At Jericho too, the sons of the prophets spoke to Elisha as those of Bethel had done, and he made the like answer.

At Jericho once more, Elijah spoke to Elisha saying, “ Tarry here, I pray thee, for the Lord hath sent me to Jordan.” But Elisha refused. And they two went on, and stood by the river Jordan. Then Elijah took his mantle, and wrapped it together, and smote the waters, and they were divided hither and thither, so that they two went over on dry ground. Fifty of the sons of the prophets of Jericho remained afar off watching, and saw the wonders that befel. When they had passed the river Jordan, Elijah said to Elisha, “ Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee.” Then Elisha said, “I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me.” Eli. jah answered, “ Thou hast asked a hard thing, nevertheless, if thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee; but if not, it shall not be so."

And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them asunder, and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. Thus, as in the raising of the Zidonian widow's child, Elijah had typified our Blessed LORD's Resurrection, so he now was himself a type of His Ascension.

Once more was Elijah seen by mortal eyes, even on Mount Tabor, at the Transfiguration of the same Blessed Saviour, of whom the Prophet was a forerunner. Moses and Elias were permitted to appear there in glory with Him, and the three holy Apostles, S. Peter, S. James, and S. John were allowed to behold that exceeding great glory, although they could not enter into its mysteries.

When Elisha saw his master thus taken up in this wondrous fiery chariot, he cried out,

My father, my father! the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof !” Then all the heavenly vision was lost to Elisha's sight, and in his sorrow he rent his clothes. But seeing Elijah's mantle, which had fallen from the Prophet as he was taken up, Elisha returned with it to the river Jordan, and smote the waters, saying, “ Where is the LORD God of Elijah ?” Then the waters divided, as they had done for Elijah, and Elisha passed over. By this both he and the prophets who were watching knew that his prayer was granted, and that Elijah's spirit rested on Elisha.

Elisha knew that his master was gone not to return, but the prophets of Jericho did not see so far into the heavenly counsels. They therefore begged to be allowed to send men to seek Elijah, saying, “Lest peradventure the Spirit of the Lord hath taken him up, and cast him upon some mountain, or into some valley.” At first Elisha refused, but when they urged the point, he consented, and for three days they sought Elijah, but found him not. Then they saw that God had indeed taken His faithful servant for ever to Himself.


Elisha's new power to work miracles was soon called upon. The men of Jericho complained that though their city was pleasant, they suffered much from having bad water, and barren land. Elisha bade them bring him a new cruse of salt, and going to the spring, he cast the salt into it, saying, “Thus saith the LORD, I have healed these waters; there shall not be from thence any more death or barren land.” And from that day the waters were good.

After this Elisha left Jericho to go to Bethel, and on this journey a very different and more terrible instance of the power given him by GOD appeared. A number of little children ran out of the city after Elisha, mocking him, and calling out, “Go up, thou bald head !” The Lord holds all irreverence done to His Ministers as done to Himself, of whom they are but the servants and ambassadors, and now He caused Elisha to turn back and curse these children in the Name of the LORD. Then there came two she-bears out of the wood, and tore forty-two of the children ; a solemn warning to

all who read the history of how fearful punishments God sometimes sends upon what careless people are apt to call trifling sins. It cannot be too often repeated that no sin against our Pure Holy God can be little. “ Whoso despiseth small things shall fall by little and little."

The next time that we are told of Elisha's using his miraculous power, is in the exercise of mercy , and pity. A widow woman who feared the LORD came to Elisha to intreat help, as her husband's creditor was going to seize her two sons for bondsmen, because she could not pay her debt. Elisha answered, “ What shall I do for thee? tell me, what hast thou in the house?” She said, “Thine handmaid hath not anything in the house, save a pot of oil.” Then Elisha bade her borrow as many empty vessels as she could, and then, having shut her door, she was to pour the oil into them. The widow obeyed, and went on pouring until her son had no more vessels to bring her. Then the oil was stayed, and ceased to flow. The widow hastened to tell Elisha what had come to pass, and he bade her sell the oil, and having paid her debt, to take the rest of its produce for herself and her children.

« PreviousContinue »