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their faces; and they said, Jehovah, he is the God; Jehovah, he is the God! Elijah's faith is crowned; the foolish priests are put to shame, and their gods are confounded and annihilated."
The people on Mount Carmel, as might have been expected, gave glory to the God of Israel. They could no longer doubt that Jehovah was God. And, moreover, they could not but perceive that Elijah was a true prophet, and God a prayer-hearing and prayer-answering God. On them, therefore, the effect was happy; as it always is, when the truth is suffered to have its proper influence upon the heart.
But, on the priests of Baal, the signs and wonders of that day were lost. They were hardened before; they became harder still, and were now ripe for destruction. Acting under the authority of Jehovah, Elijah requires their slaughter. That slaughter is accomplished, and Ahab has no power to withstand the prophet of the Lord. Happy was it for him, that he himself was spared, to know yet more of the power of faith and the efficacy of prayer. Happy should we be, if we might add, what the Scripture history, however, does not sanction, that the merciful dealings of God towards him, resulted in turning him to the love and worship of the true God of Israel.
PRAYER OF ELIJAH FOR RAIN.
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 he said to his servant, Go up now, look towards the sea, &c.-1 Kings xviii. 41-46.
THE priests of Baal are slain-idolatry is rebuked-Ahab is humbled-Elijah is honored-Jehovah's cause is vindicated. The rain may now come.
Let us imagine ourselves once more at the foot of Carmel. Ahab is still here. He has witnessed all the transactions of the day; which have ended in the slaying of his prophets, and in the reestablishment of the worship of God. He still lingers on the memorable spot.
Elijah is also here, wishing, however, to be relieved from the company of Ahab. He has other, and more important business. He wishes to be alone, that he may pray for rain. With this in view, he suggests to Ahab to go up, and eat and drink, adding, "for there is sound of abundance of rain." Whether he heard, it only in faith, with the ear of the spirit, or whether God rendered his bodily hearing so accute, that he really heard it from afar, we need not inquire. It is enough that he heard it, and it was a summons to prayer.
Elijah ascends to the top of Carmel; and there now behold him, kneeling, closing his eyes, bending his head forward towards his knees; and in this posture, supplicating the God of rain, that he would water the parched earth. When Elijah stood before the people, and the prophets of Baal, he spoke and acted with the authority of God's embassador; but, now, as he kneels in the presence of God, his whole demeanor expresses abasement and conscious unworthiness. And, yet, he is entreating for a new wonder; for the fulfillment of the assurance he had given to Ahab years before, that there should not be rain but according to his word. "When Elijah had wrestled awhile with God, in the depth of self-abasement and poverty of spirit, in a manner which, perhaps, few of us know from experience; for all believers do not tread in the path of such a deep and thorough humiliation; he said unto his servant, Go up now,' that is, to the declivity of the mountain, and look towards the sea!' He placed him, as it were, on the watch-tower, to look out, and inform him when his prayer was beginning to be answered by a sign of rain becoming visible in the distant horizon. For he was certain of a favorable answer, in faith
on the word and truth of Him, who had said to him at Zarephath, 'Go, show thyself unto Ahab, and I will send rain upon the earth !' The servant went, looked out in the distance; but the sky was as clear as crystal; not a cloud to be seen. He came back, saying, 'I see nothing.' But it is a matter of daily experience, that help does not appear at the first cry, nor is the harvest reaped the moment after the sowing-time of prayer. This is certainly not agreeable to flesh and blood; but, spiritually considered, it is most salutary. What were the consequence, if God's treasures were always open to us at our first knocking? Should we not then seem to be rulers and commanders in the city of God, and forget our dependent condition? Should we not be in danger of making an idol of our prayer, as the Israelites made of the brazen serpent, and think it is our prayer that effects all; that in it we possess a secret charm, a divine rod, or a legal claim upon the bounty of God? We should soon become self-sufficient. Therefore, our gracious God does not always appear to hearken to the first cry, but lets us generally stand awhile at the door, so that once and again, we are obliged to say, 'I see nothing.' We ought then to reflect a little, and become deeply conscious, that we have, in reality, nothing to claim, but that all is mere unmerited favor. If we make our first approach to his footstool in the character of just persons, he keeps us back until we feel that we are poor sinners, unworthy petitioners; and are ready to say, 'Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their master's table.' Such is his method."
"There is nothing," said the servant. Elijah continues his prostration and his supplication; while he directs the servant to go yet seven times more. It was a great blessing, which he sought, and one which could be granted only to fervent, persevering prayer.
But, at length, Elijah's prayer is answered. The servant returns the seventh time, and says "Behold, there ariseth a
little cloud out of the sea, like a man's hand." It was a little cloud. But it was enough. Elijah understood the intimation, and says unto his servant, "Go up, say unto Ahab, prepare thy chariot, and get thee down, that the rain. stop thee not." The message of the prophet is delivered. Ahab turns his eyes, and sees for himself. Dark clouds ascend out of the sea; the heavens become black, the rain pours in torrents. "Ahab is already seated in his chariot, and on his way to his royal seat in Jezreel. 'But the hand of the Lord was upon Elijah.' Jehovah invigorated him with supernatural bodily powers, so that the prophet, girding up his loins, ran before Ahab's chariot, which, doubtless, was at full speed, on account of the rain. The prophet was now a living memorial to the king, to remind him of all the great things which the God of Israel had brought to pass by his prophet; that Ahab might not easily forget them, but carry the fresh impression of them to Jezebel. Elijah, therefore, outran the chariot before his eyes, through all the torrents of rain and tempest, till he came to the entrance of Jezreel."
The apostle James adduces this instance of Elijah's success in prayer, as an encouragement to us, to earnest, energetic prayer, and to believe that we also shall not fail of being answered, if we but pray in faith; because, "the earnest, energetic prayer of the righteous man availeth much." James 5: 16.
This is, indeed, the precise truth. He that "cannot lie," has promised to hear faithful, sincere, fervent prayer. Only ask as the children of God, by faith in Christ Jesus, and you will succeed. It may be that, for six times, the answer will be, "There is nothing; yet, wait on; pray on; agonize still more. The seventh time, which is the Lord's time, will give the answer you need.
Wait on the Lord, ye trembling saints,
He'll raise your spirit, when it faints,
THE SHUNAMMITE'S CHILD RESTORED TO LIFE.
And when Elisha was come into the house, behold the child was dead, and laid upon his bed. He went in, therefore, and shut the door upon them twain, and prayed unto the Lord, &c. &c.-2 Kings iv. 32-37.
THE mantle of Elijah is in the hands of Elisha, and with it he retires to Carmel, which becomes his residence; but from which, as occasion requires, he visits the seminaries of the prophets, and imparts instruction to the people.
He frequently traveled from Carmel to Samaria, between which lay the city of Shunem. At this latter place, during one of his journeys, he was introduced to a pious woman, who, with her husband, resided there. Her kindness to the prophet, on that occasion, so won his heart, that afterwards he often called, and was always welcomed with kindness and cordiality.
Elisha, in turn, by his holy deportment, and pious conversation, so wrought upon the heart of the Shunammite, that she proposes to her husband to erect a small chamber "for the holy man of God," which she would furnish with a bed, a table, a stool, and a candlestick. As such plain accomodations were within their means, the chamber was prepared and furnished; and the next time the prophet journeyed that way, he was invited to occupy it.
Grateful for the kindness thus shown him by this worthy woman, Elisha would fain make some suitable return. He bids Gehazi, therefore, request her attendance; and, on her presenting herself before him, he inquires what service he can render her. "Wouldst thou be spoken for to the king, or the captain of the host, for an office for thy husband? or, hast thou any complaint, or petition, which I can present for thee?" To these inquiries, she returns for answer: "I