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But not only did he carry away with him the mantle of Elijah; the spirit of Elijah rested on him also; even that same spirit of prophecy, which he had desired so eagerly, and which God was pleased to give him in answer to his prayers.
Thus, my dear boy, I have given you a full account of the prophet's departure from this world, as it is written in that most wonderful and best of books, the Bible. But before you go away, listen to me a few moments more, whilst I try to show you, in few words, of how much consequence it is that we should know and believe this extraordinary event: for it will do us no good, if we read it as if it were merely an extraordinary and interesting story ; we must search and see what we may learn from it.
And first, does it not teach us the great advantage of serving God always ? Do we not see this in Elijah's case, who, though he suffered great things from the rage of his enemies, was kept so safely always under the shadow of the Almighty, and was at length delivered, in such a wonderful manner, from this evil world, and taken up so gloriously into heaven?
Again, may we not learn from this story, to be quite sure of a world to come after this ? For though Christ is the resurrection and the life, and it is he who has brought life and immortality to light, and spoken clearly to us of the world to come, yet we must not suppose, that holy men of old were altogether without these cheering hopes; on the contrary, they spoke of themselves as strangers upon earth, looking for a better home in heaven. Indeed, from the first, God Almighty was pleased, not only to lead
E. But we cannot go as he did, mamma, without dying.
M, No, my child; he went up, it is true, in a very unusual manner, ascending gloriously in a chariot of fire. But let us serve God as truly, and our funeral bier, which carries us to the grave, shall be to us what Elijah's fiery chariot was to him. They may indeed lay us down in the dust; but it is only for a short time, it is only to prepare us for our ascent. The moment of our triumph will soon come. When death is over, although the wicked who forget God will be turned into hell, all pious Christians, who trust in Christ and serve him faithfully, shall be raised again from their graves, and shall be caught up, as Elijah was in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall they ever be with the Lord.
TWENTY-FOURTH SUNDAY EVENING.
ELISHA. SUCCEEDS ELIJAH.
E. Oh! dear mamma, I am glad you are come at last; I wish so much to hear what Elisha did after he left the place from which he saw Elijah go up into heaven. I think, mamma, I like the history of Elijah almost better than any you have ever told me.
M. I do not wonder that it has delighted you so much, Edward; for it is a very interesting part of the Word of God; we will now see what became of Elisha, who took the place of Elijah in Israel. I think there are many stories about him. v VOL. Il.
gotten at all the account you gave me of the taking of Jericho; but, mamma, I thought Joshua had the whole city pulled down?
M. He had, my love; and you may remember, perhaps, how he pronounced a curse upon any one, who, in days to come, should attempt to build again that city, which it had pleased God utterly to destroy on account of the wickedness of those who dwelt in it. For many years after this, the spot, where this famous city had once stood, remained a place of ruins, a monument of the wrath of the Almighty against sin. Nor was it till the days of Ahab that any hands were bold enough to build up that city, which the Lord had caused to fall, and against the building of which he had himself pronounced so awful a curse. The words of that dreadful sentence which God had spoken against the builder of Jericho were these:-“ Cursed be the man before the Lord that riseth up and buildeth this city Jericho: he shall lay the foundation thereof in his first-born, and in his youngest son shall he set up the gates thereof.”
E. I do not quite understand the meaning of those words, mamma.
M. They meant, my love, that the man who rebuilt that city, should lose his first-born child the moment he began the impious work ; that as he went on with the building, others of his children should die; and that as soon as the city was finished and the gates of it set up, his last remaining child should perish also.
Now a wicked man, named Hiel, dared to act against such dreadful words as these. He lived at Bethel, that place where Jeroboam had fixed one of