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from his master. And thus it ever will be with the conscious singer i Guilt is, restless and uneasy. Hence proceed, those strugglings and inward conflicts of mind, which go before it; and those 'terrors and apprehensions, which follow after it the downcast look, and unsteady gait; the suspicious ear, and midnight.paleness.
The better, however, to succeed in his design; this wicked wretch endeavours to conceal his crime by his impudence:"-with an affectation of the intrepidity of conscious innocence, he went in, and stood before his master.
is But Elisha, who well knew his guilt, soon found means to give a check to his impudence:
"Whence comest thou, Gehazi ?”
How much Gehazi must be thunder-struck at this unexpected question, I leave you to judge. He endeavours, however, to recover himself, and with that ready assurance, which the father of lies never fails to bestow on his children, answers, “ Thy servant went no whither.”
But the prophet was not so to be deceived. To convince: him, therefore, that he was no stranger to what had passed,' he recapitulates the several circumstances of his guilt, and reproaches
him with the unfitness of thie time to adopt the crimes of the Jewish nation, which was already on account of its sins, in danger of being carried into captivity.--"Went not mine heart with " thee,” says he,“ when the man turned again " from his chariot to meet thee? Is it a time to “ receive money, and to receive garments ? And, to conclude all, he adds that dreadful punishment of his guilt :-“ Therefore the leprosy
of Naaman shall cleave to thee and to " thy seed for ever." And no sooner was this sentence pronounced, than it was also executed: for the sacred history tells us,~" He went out " from his presence a leper, as white as snow.”
Let this example of Gehazi, then, teach us to guard our hearts against the snares and temptations of riches, -to be contented with our condition, and to prefer an honest mediocrity, or a virtuous poverty with a good conscience, to the greatest affluence without it. You see how dear the love of riches cost Gehazi:-- with what rapidity it hurried him on froin one sin to another, till it brought him to destruction. And thus it ever will be. A covetous man will stick at nothing in the way to his beloyed treasure. Nor perjuries, nor frauds, nor treachery; nor violence will shock his conscience, so long as they promote his interest. The ties of blood
and nature, the bonds of society, or the duties of religion, are vain and ineffectual where the stronger call of lucre sounds in his ears.
Were his dearest friend in the way, laden with the treasures of Naaman, his language would be that of Gehazi, " As the Lord liveth, I will run " after him, and take somewhat of him.”. Learn, then, in time, to set bounds to your desires, and in all cases prefer the riches of heaven before those of earth; remembering those two wise and invaluable lessons contained in your Bibles ;="That a small thing that the righteous
hath, is better than great riches of the un
godly;" and that “they that will be rich, “ fall into temptation, and a snare, and into
many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.”
2dly, If we have fallen into any snare or temptation, through the love of riches, let us not, like Gehazi, have recourse to lying to cover our sin. It is enough that we have offended God by one sin, without adding to it another, which he hates and abhors. Besides, what will it avail us to hide our sin from men, if God is privy to it? We may, indeed, escape their censure, but we cannot escape his judgment. For in his book are all our actions written. And at the day of account will that book be opened, ጥ T2
and all our hypocrisies, lies, and secret sins, called forth by that God, who is able to bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and make manifest the counsels of the heart. And then will all the Gehazis of this world, the liars, the oppressors, and the covetous, appear in their proper colours before men and angels. '
Think, therefore, when thou art tempted to conceal thy guilt by lying, what it will avail thee, before Him, from whom no secrets are hid. When "thou' standest at the throne of God, and that dreadful question is proposed to thee, “Whence comest thou, Gehazi ?” will it avail thee any thing to answer, “ Thy servant went « no whither?" Will such an answer deceive a God of knowledge, by whom all thy actions are weighed; whose heart goes with thee in every moment of thy life ; who is about thy patli and about thy bed, and spiest out all thy ways ? No: thou canst not fly from his presence, or go from his spirit. --If thou climb up into heaven; he is there : if thou go down into hell; he is there also : if thou couldest take the wings of the morning, and remain in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there also his hand should find thee, and his right hand should hold thee :Shouldest thou say, Peradventure the darkness shall cover me; then thy night shall be turned
to day; yea, the darkness is no darkness with him, but the night is as clear as the day; the darkness and light to him are both alike.
Seeing then we have a God to deal with, who cannot be deceived, let us not vainly pretend to dissemble with him, or to deny our sins : let us rather approach him in the humiliating language of the prophet, “Righteousness belungeth unto " thee, O Lord, but unto us confusion of face;" knowing that “if we say that we have no sin,
we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in
us; but if we confess our sins, God is faith“ ful and just to forgive us our sins, and to « cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”