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though she might have been the spoil of

any other, must be a slave in his house, and concerned for the misfortune of her master, that this leper might be made whole. Without all these concurring circumstances, Naaman had never been healed of his leprosy, nor come to the knowledge of the true God; nor had the king and court of Syria known, that there was a God in Israel, greater than the gods of the nations, and who doeth wonderous things alone. Who ait thou, then, that sayest to the Almighty, why doest thou so?. Canst thou, in the falling acorn, the food of swine, discern the future tree, the vehicle of commerce, the bulwark of nations ? Canst thou behold in Naaman's leprosy his succeeding conversion from idolatry? Look, then to his fate, and learn submission to that wise providence, which from the smallest beginnings, can call forth the greatest ends ; from a dark chaos can command the light to shine; from a mass of shapeless matter can form a world.

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But it may be asked, perhaps, What occasion was there for so many circumstances, when God might have done the same thing by a nearer and shorter way? Or, what necessity was there for the concurrence of so many second causes, when the first alone would have been sufficient?

To

To this question I might justly answer in the animated language of St. Paul, “ Shall the “ thing formed say to him that formed it, why “ hast thou made me thus :" We weak mortals know but a small part of the ways of the Almighty, and, therefore, it is not for us to scrutinize his proceedings, or to judge of his laws.

But to give a more direct answer to this objection, we may sufficiently vindicate the ways of God to man in this case, by shewing, that many wise purposes were answered by this method of procedure: for it contributed at once to convert Naaman, and to make his conversion the more conspicuous and memorable: it was a standing proof of the power of the God of Israel over all the false gods of the nations, and, at the same time, a durable monument to after ages, that the seeds of the knowledge of the true God had once been sown among the idolatrous Syrians: and very probably it might also answer other purposes, either with regard to the kingdom of Israel, or Naaman's own family, or to Gehazi, the servant of Elisha, and to those who were the witnesses of this great miracle. So that there might be abundant reason for all the circumstances which accompanied Naaman's journey into the land of Israel.

No

No sooner had Naaman obtained the consent of his royal master, than he departed, taking with him ten talents of silver, six thousand pieces of gold, and ten changes of raiment ; probably as a present for the propliet: and, to make sure of his success, he carries with him a letter from the king of Syria to the king of Israel; couched in these words : "Now when " this letter is come unto thee, behold, I have " therewith sent Naaman my servant to thee, " that thou mayest recover him of his leprosy.” The stile of this letter could not be very agreeable to the king of Israel : for the scripture tells us, “when he had read it, he rept his clothes, “ and said, Am I a God, to kill and to make “ alive, that this man doth send unto me to re

cover a man of his leprosy? Wherefore con• sider now, I pray you, and see, how he “ seeketh a quarrel against me.” Had his anger been levelled only against the arrogant stile of the letter, which required from him a thing which was in the hands of God alone,—there being none but he who killeth and maketh alive, that could stop the ravages of an incurable disease, Joram would have had just cause for his indignation. But it is more probable that he rent his clothies out of vexation at seeing himself, as he thought, threatened with the arms of the Syrians. For he saw the valiant Naaman at his

court,

VOL. I.

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court, whose courage had before routed the Israelitish army, and he concludes, by the stile of the letter he brought with him, that he was reduced to this hard alternative, either that he must cure him of his leprosy, which he knew himself unable to do, or be exposed to the fury of Benhadad : he says, therefore, " Consider, I

pray you, and see, how he seeketh a quarrel " against me."

Had he indeed had any comniunication or intercourse with Elisha, he might soon have been eased of the anxiety, into which this letter had thrown him, and have known, that it was not from himself, but from the prophet of God, that the cure of Naaman was expected. But religion was no part of Jehoram's concern, and, there: fore, he paid little regard to the prophets of the Lord. He had forgot, or did not care to remember, the miracles he had seen wrought by Elisha; or, perhaps, was loth to see any farther demonstration of his power with God, and, therefore, never thought of sending to him upon

this distressing emergency.

And so will it ever happen to those, who, in their prosperity, despise God and his messengers. When they most stand in need of comfort and assistance, they will be most unable to find it :

8

“ They " They shall

cry,

but there shall be none to hear

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However, Naaman's arrival at court, the cause of his coming, and Joram's inquietude, soon reached the ears of the man of God in Samaria. Knowing, therefore, the power which was given him from on high, “he sent to the king, say“ ing, Wherefore hast thou rent thy clothes? « Let him come now to me, and he shall know " that there is a prophet in Israel.”

Probably those words carried with them a seçret reproach to the king and his false prophets. As if he had said, " 'Tis conscious guilt alone so that makes you tremble at the presence of “ this stranger. Ye know that ye have aban, “ doned the God of Israel, and therefore have

no right to claim his protection. But let this

Syrian come now to me, and I will shew him, so that God has not forsaken his people;—that “ the God whom I worship and ye have for

saken, is still mighty to save,--and that there " is yet a prophet in Israel, who can speak com: " fort, when all the false prophets of Baal aré

duinb and confounded.”

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Naaman, being informed of the prophet's discourse, and, no doubt, impatient to know the

Q 2

issue

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