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man of God; and when she saw him, she threw herself at his feet, and held him fast in an agony of grief. And Gehazi, who thought she did not treat his master with respect, came near to thrust her away. But the prophet was too kind to suffer this. He saw the anguish of her heart, and pitied her, and said, “ Let her alone ; for her soul is vexed within her."
Encouraged by the goodness of Elisha, the unhappy woman explained in a few words the cause of her grief, declaring, at the same time, that she would not leave the prophet ; so sure did she feel that he who first promised her the child was quite able to give him back to her, even from the dead. " As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth,” said the mother of the child, “ I will not leave thee."
Wonderful, indeed, was her faith, when even death could not shake it. She had seen the child, whom she had so tenderly nursed and loved, droop and die : why did she not lay him in the grave, as her neighbours and her friends had so often done before her, with the bodies of those whom they had lost? She had never known the souls of the dead to come back to their bodies again ; why, then, was she so anxious to see the man of God? Why was she so unwilling to leave him, until she had brought him to her child? Was it not her faith that taught her all this? Did it not enable her to believe most firmly that the power of God was greater than death? and that, though most persons when they died turned to the dust from which they came, yet might her child be restored to her, if such were the will of God?
E. What did Elisha do for her, mother?
M. He arose, my son, and followed her to her home: that home which had been so happy when he last was there, and which was now turned into a house of mourning.
Gehazi had gone on before them, and laid the prophet's staff on the face of the child; this he did by his master's desire, who did not know but that the Lord might allow even the touch of his staff to awake the dead. Gehazi had done as he had been told, but there were no signs of returning life; " there was neither voice nor hearing.” Wherefore he went again to meet Elisha, and told him, saying, 66 The child is not awaked.” And when Elisha was come into the house, behold, the child was dead, and laid upon his bed.” Then the prophet shut the door, and prayed unto the Lord. He did not doubt the power of God, because he had laid his staff upon
the child's face in vain. He might gain his desire by prayer, though every thing else should fail. Therefore, he prayed unto the Lord; and after he had prayed, he stretched himself upon the child; and the flesh of the child began to grow warm, and in a few moments more the child opened
Oh! blessed, happy sight! Who shall say what even the prophet felt, when the soul of that child came back to him again ? and how shall any words give us the saintest idea of the mother's joy?
E. Was she with Elisha, mother, when he raised the child from the dead?
M. No, she could not bear the sight; she could not trust herself to look upon that countenance, once so bright and happy, now sunk into the deep sleep of death. She left the dead body with the prophet, and went away; to pray, most likely, to her God in secret, and to wait what he would do for her. But the trial of her faith was almost over. few moments she was told that the prophet called for her. And when she was come in unto him, he said, “ Take up thy son.”
E. Not dead now, mother, as he was the last time she held him in her arms?
M. No, my son: the sleep of death had passed away; it was her living son that she took from the hands of the prophet.
And here, Edward, I shall stop: no words of mine could at all describe the feelings of that mother when her child was given back to her even from the dead. I will only tell you that, before she would suffer herself to embrace her son, she fell at the prophet's feet, and bowed herself to the ground; silently offering up to God, in that humble posture, the praises of her thankful heart.
FIFTY-FIRST SUNDAY EVENING.
NAAMAN THE SYRIAN.
E. Did the prophet Elisha work any more miracles, mother, after he raised the Shunammite's child from the dead ?
M. Yes; there were more miracles worked by Elisha, I think, than by any other prophet, either before or after him. In the same chapter which tells us the interesting story I have just been relating to you, we find two other miracles mentioned.
The first was performed at Gilgal, where there was at this time a famine. Elisha and the sons of the prophets were sitting down to dine upon some pottage, into which by mistake some poisonous gourds had been put.
66 And it came to pass, that, as the men were eating of the pottage, they cried out and said, O thou man of God, there is death in the pot; and they could not eat thereof."
E. What did Elisha do then ?
M. “He called for some meal, and cast it into the pot, and said, Pour out for the people, that they may eat ;" for there was no longer “ any
harm in the pot.” The sons of the prophets knew very well that a handful of meal had no virtue in itself to remove the poison from their pottage; they knew that the hand of God had removed the death that lay hidden in their food.
E. What was the other miracle that you spoke of, mother?
M. Elisha, in this time of famine, had a present sent him of twenty loaves of barley and a few ears of corn, which was then no doubt a very valuable gift. He desired Gehazi to set it before the people, that they might eat.
His servant was astonished at such a command, and said, “What! should I set this before an hundred men ?" How were a hundred people to be fed with twenty loaves of bread? But Elisha said again, "Give the people, that they may eat; for thus saith the Lord, they shall eat, and shall leave thereof. So he set it before them; and they did eat, and left thereof, according to the word of the Lord.”
You will see in a moment, my son, that it was God's blessing which made this small quantity of food enough to satisfy the hunger of a hundred people.
Now you will easily believe, Edward, that all these miracles which Elisha worked must have made him to be thought a great deal of in Israel. No doubt the people talked much of the wonderful things which he did; and we may hope that man were led by them to glorify the God of Elisha. I am now going to tell you how the name of this great prophet was spread at last through all the land of Syria, as well as through his own country.