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The prophet follows the directions of his God—the Sareptan, under the same guidance, goes forth as it were to meet him. Emboldened by the charge he had received, Elijah no sooner beholds her, than he requests fome sustenance for exhausted nature. " Fetch me a little

water in a vessel, that I may drink
bring me,

I pray thee, a morsel of « bread in thine hand.”

Even in a city of Zidon, the habit and demeanour of Elijah proclaims him to be a prophet of JEHOVAH. When every morsel was precious, he scruples not, in virtue of his character, to folicit immediate relief. The claim seems at once to be acknowleged—but the person whom he addresses is compelled to an unwilling refusal. “ As the LORD

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thy God liveth, I have nothing, fave “ an handful of meal in a barrel, and a “ little oil in a cruse; and, behold, I am gathering a few sticks, that I may go VOL. II. I

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« in and dress it for my son, that we “ may eat it and die.” It was time for the prophet to bring comfort to these

The miserable parent was now preparing her last meal-after one wretched repast, she looked forward to a twofold death, in her own person, and that of her child. It is the glory of God to assist us when we seem to be utterly forsaken-our deliverance is then most welcome, as being least expected.

But what a trial is this of the faith of a weak proselyte? “ Fear not, do as “ thou hast said—but bring me thereof « first, and afterwards make for thee “ and thy fon. For thus faith the God " of Israel, The barrel of meal hall not waste, nor the crufe of oil fail, until the

day that the LORD send rain upon obe earth.” She must part with her present food, in expectation of future, which was to be provided her by miracle—she mutt feed a stranger, e'er she attend to


herself and her son-she must shorten her life, in hopes of its protraction.

<< Bold * Israelite,” might she have said, “wast " thou even a friend, or brother, would “ such a request beseem thee? Had I

fuperfluity of provision, thou mightest « have shared it with me now, that I " have only one morsel for my child, « what can induce me to listen to an uns known traveller ? Thou sayest the " meal shall not waste, nor the cruseof oil « fail. At this moment let thy word come

to pass. When thou hast exhausted the “ remainder of my store, in vain shall “ I challenge the performance of thy “ promise. -If thou canst thus multiply

food, why art thou in want of sustenance ?

But the pious Sareptan was taught by God not to distrust his prophet. Without one murmur or complaint, she obeys his commands, and hopes for the accomplishment of his prediction. “ He I 2

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“ that saveth his life, shall lose it; and “ he that loseth his life for my fake, “ the same shall save it.” Surely her faith was no less efficacious than the prayers of Elijah. The mercy of God crowns her liberality with an abundant reward. Who shall fear to extend relief to the necessitous, when the Father of Heaven has declared, that he will hold in everlasting remembrance the Christian's work, and labour that proceedeth of love?

The barrel of meal wastes not, the cruse of oil doth not fail. With what thankful devotion must the Sareptan have partaken of that food, which the providence of God bestowed in so fupernatural a manner! How welcome a guest was Elijah, who was thus the minister of God to her for god! No longer apprehensive of famine, she now Hooks on her son with all those exquisite feelings of hope, and love, and rapturę,

which none but parents can conceivewhich not even parents can express!

Alas, at what moment can we pronounce ourselves fecure from evil? The youth, who had been thus rescued from famine, is suddenly attacked by sickness. While her roof is yet honoured with the presence of Elijah, the Sareptan beholds the beloved of her heart, torn by the irresistible arm of death from her embraces.

How ready are we to mistake the grounds of our affliction, and attribute them to imaginary causes ! The paffionate mother imputes the death of her son to the presence of Elijah. In the distraction of her grief, she spares not her best benefactor. « What have I " to do with thee, O thou man of God? " Art thou come hither to call my sins “ to remembrance, and to say my « fon?” I 3


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