« ZurückWeiter »
taken, if we think we have a right to assume the honourable title of Christians. Let us, therefore, attend more to the essence than the forms of Religion; more to the practical duties which the Gospel clearly enjoins, than to the speculative opinions of fallible men; which may lead us into errors, uncertainty, or infidelity, but cannot forward us one step in the way, which leadeth to eternal life. Finally, suffer me to address you in the affectionate language of Joshua to the Israelites:-“Now, therefore, fear " the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and
truth, and put away the idols from among
you. And let your's be the noble answer of the same Israelites, -" God forbid that we “ should forsake the Lord, to serve other
2 KINGS v. 20—27.
But Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of
God, said, Behold my master hath spared Naanan the Syrian, in not receiving at his hands that which he brought; but as the Lord liveth, I will run after him, and take somewhat of
him. So Gehazi followed after Naaman : And when
Naaman saw him running after him, he alighted down from his chariot to meet him,
and said, Is all well ? And he said, All is well. My master hath sent
me, saying, Behold even now there be come to me from mount Ephraim two young men of the sons of the prophets ; give them, I pray thee, a talent of silver, and two changes of garments.
And And Naaman said, Be content, take two talents.
And he urged him, and bound two talents of silver in two bags, with two changes of garments, and laid them upon two of his servants, and they bare them before him. And when he came to the tower, he took them from their hand, and bestowed them in the house, and he
let the men go, and they departed. But he went in, and stood before his master..
And Elisha said unto him, IV hence comest thou, Gehazi? And he said, Thy servant went no
whither. And he said unto him, Went not mine heart with
thee, when the man turned again from his chariot to meet thee? Is this a time to receive money, and to receive garments, and olive-yards, and vineyards, and sheep, and oxen, and men
sertants, and maid-servants? The leprosy therefore of Naaman shall cleave unto
thee and unto thy sced for ever. And he went out from his presence a leper, as white as snow.
N inspired Apostle tells us, “The love of
money is the root of all evil.”_And this is true, not only with regard to those frauds and villanies, which it prompts men to commit, but also with regard to the miseries and evils
which it draws upon them : and, therefore, the same apostle very justly adds, “ Which, whilst
some have coveted after, they have pierced " themselves through with many sorrows.
Of both these the history of Gehazi affords us a very striking example. He no sooner saw the gold and the silver, which Naaman in vain had offered to his master, than his avaricious heart was set upon them: and no less readily had he recourse to fraud and villany to accomplish his purpose of partaking of them. But the resentment of the prophet and the vengeance of heaven as quickly succeed :—the rapacious plunderer, by a just sentence, is driven from the comfort of human society :-—the unblushing liar is branded with the leprosy of Naaman, to be transmitted, as a memorial of his guilt, to his latest posterity.
But let us examine the circumstances of this transaction a little more particularly.
Naaman, having now obtained the wished-for cure of his leprosy, had taken leave of the
prophet, and was returning to his own country. And, perhaps, upon this occasion it will not be easy to say, which was happier ;--the Syrian, in having received the restoration of his health,