« PreviousContinue »
God's servants, the prophets, had been slain by the com. mand of Jezebel : besides, there was an express. law*, that all those who attempted to draw the people away from the worship of the true and only God should be put to death. ' It is imagined, that the prophets of the groves (supposed to have been Sidoniaàs did not attend.
The words of Elijah to the people of Israel, How long halı ye between twn opinions? If the Lord be GOD, fol. low Him; and if Baal, follow him, deserve to be seriously considered by us. As the LORD could not endure that the Israelites should divide their worship between Him and idols : neither will he endure that Christian's should divide their love between him and the world, so as to suffer the world to draw them away from his worship, and occasion them to profane his sabbaths. Nor will the Lord approve of those worshippers who set up their own Reason as an idol, refusing to receive the truths of Divine Revelation, because they are in some instances above the comprehension of the human facultiest.
Let us then give to the LORD the honour due unto His name, not suffering any thing to draw our affections from Him, who is the author of all the good things that we enjoy; but let us serve him sincerely, uniformlý, and entirely, believing all He has revealed, and doing all that he has commanded.
* Deut. xiii. 1-11. of See a discourse upon this text in the second volume of Sere mons, pubiished by the late Bishop of London, admirably suited to these times, in which many who call themselves Christins are partially so, both in respect to Faith and Obedience.
CONTINUATION OF THE HISTORIE'CP AHAB KING OF
ISRAEL, AND ELIJAH THE PROPHET.
From 1 Kings, Chap. xviii, xix.
And Elijah said unto Ahab, Get thee up, eat and drink : for there is a sound of abundance of rain.
So Ahab went up to eat and to drink. And Elijah went up to the top of Carmel ; and he cast himself down upon the earth, and put his face between his knees, and said to his servant, Go up now, look toward the sea. And he went up, and looked, and said, There is nothing. And he said, Go again seven times,
And it came to pass at the sevenih time, that he said, Behold, there ariseth a little cloud out of the sea like a man's hand. And he said, Go up, say unto Ahab, Prepare thy chariot, and get thee down, that the rain stop. thee not.
And it came to pass in the mean while, that the heaven was black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain. And Ahab rode and went to Jezreel.
And the hand of the Lord was on Elijah ; and he girded up his loins , and ran before Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel.
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 unto Elijah, saying, so let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not thy, life as the life of one of them, by to-morrow about this time.
And when he saw that, he arose, and went for his life, and came to Beer-sheba, which belongeth to Judah, and left his servant there,
But he himself went a day's journey into the wilder. ness, and came and sat down under a juniper-tree ; and he requested for himself that he might , die, and said, It is enough, now, O LORD, take away my life: for I am not better than my fathers.
And as he lay and slept under a juniper-tree, behold then, an angel touched 'him, and said unto him, Arise and eat.
And he looked, and behold there was a cake baken on the coals, and a cruse of water at his head : and he did eat and drink, and laid him down again.
And the angel of the LORD came down the second time, and touched him, and said, Arise and eat, because the journey is too great for thee.
And he arose, and did eat, and drink, and went in the strength of that ineat forty days and forty nights, unto Horeb the mount of God.
And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there: and behold, the WORD of the LORD came to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah?
And Elijah said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts'; for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy, prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left ; and they seek my life to take it away. · And he said, Go fortii, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD : but the LORD was not in the wind :'and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake : and after the earth. quake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire, a still small voice.
- And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the N 2
entering in of the care : and behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?
And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts : because the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain. thy prophets with the sword; and 1, even I only am left ; and they seek my life, to take it away:
And the Lord said unto him, Go, return on thy way to the wilderness of Damascus: and when thou comest, apoint 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.
And it shall come to pass, that him that escapeth the sword of Hazael shall Jehu slay: and him that escapech from the sword of Jehu, shall Elisha slay.
Yet have I left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.
So he departed thence and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with the twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he with the twelfth: and Elijah passed by him, and cast his mantle upon him. .
And he left the oxen, and ran after Elijah, and said, Let me, I pray thee, kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow thee. And he said unto him, Go back again ; for what have I done to thee?
And he returned back from him, and took a yoke of oxen, and slew them, and boiled their flesh with the instruments of the oxen, and gave unto the people, and they did eat : then he arose, and went after Elijah, and ministered unto him.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS. It had been revealed to Elijah, and he had declared to Ahab, that there should be neither dew nor rain for years, but according to his word; by which was meant, that the desired blessings should follow the prophet's prayer, in order to gain him esteem, and to magnify his office, which at that time was greatly depreciated in the land of Israel. The prophet of the LORD could not, without dishonouring the Divine Being, intercede for a nation of idolators ;- but as soon as Baal was disgraced, and the majesty of the LORD JEHOVAH vindicated, Elijah knew that his prayers would be accepted; he therefore immediately addressed himself to the Almighty God with the utmost earnestness of intercession, as we may judge by the humble posture he made use of, and his eagernesz to know whether the LORD regarded his petitions. As soon as Elijah found that the blessing he prayed for was at hand, he not only dispatched his servant with a message to: Ahab, but, to shew that he was far from being his enemy, and only desired that he would become a worshipper of the true God, the prophet girded up his vest, as was the custom when any one wanted to make expedition, and ran before the king like an humble attendant. .
It seems inconsistent that Elijah, who had hitherto been sustained and protected by the miraculous power of God, and whose behaviour to Ahab was full of intrepidity, should be intimidated by the threatenings of the impious Jezebel The extraordinary courage which he had before displayed was certainly inspired by the LORD ; Elijah, when he was not under the influence of the Holy Spirit, was a man of like passions with ourselves ;* and perhaps he might have grown vain and arrogant, on * James v. 17.