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the will of the Father, that he perishes. He deliberately fits himself for divine wrath, and in spite of the love of God in providing for his salvation, he chooses eternal death and its misery. Entering upon the eternal state in the attitude of one "hating what God loves, and loving what God hates," this attitude of soul continues, and, so far as we know, can never change. Thus of his own free will, having separated himself in the first transgression from the source of his life, and after his loving Father has done all that even Deity could do to reunite him to Himself, and reinstate him in a sacred relation, man must abide the decision of a rejection or neglect of the offers of grace and salvation in Christ. He may compel the Father to refuse him admission into the realm of the redeemed, whose souls have been "washed in the blood of the Lamb," and who have with penitent believing hearts submitted to the plan of salvation by grace in Christ. Electing to remain in a state of alienation and separation from God, is electing to endure the wrath of God against sin, and virtually making ourselves the instruments of its execution.
To recapitulate: The orthodox consensus of the Church's interpretation of the divine word on the subject we have considered seems to be: 1. That God the Father is a distinct eternal personality. 2. That it is His office, in Christ His eternally and only begotten Son, to create and specifically govern the universe for His own glory and the highest good of His creatures, especially those that are rational and intelligent. 3. That He gives and executes all law, both natural and moral. 4. That He has provided a full and free salvation for all the members of a perishing race by giving His Son as the propitiation for sin; and still further, that at the general resurrection of the dead He will call our sleeping bodies from the grave, making them like the glorified and immortal human body of our divine Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and reuniting them with our saved souls. 5. That He will execute justice and wrath upon all who willfully reject or
neglect the great salvation provided in the person and through the work of His Son.
In the holding of these precious truths, with what is taught as to the personality and office of God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, we have a religion that meets all the necessities of our sin-fallen state, affording peace and comfort to the believer in life and in death as no other religion has ever been known to do.
ELISHA AND HIS TIMES.
BY REV. A. A. PFANSTIEHL.
THE books of Kings were written with a definite purpose in view, viz. to trace the history of God's people with a view to pointing out the cause of the decline and fall of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah. It is held by the author of the Commentary on these books in Lange's series of Commentaries, the Rev. Dr. Bähr, that they were written in the last half of the 70 years' captivity. There was then an urgent need for a treatise, wherein the cause of the decline and fall of the kingdoms was clearly pointed out, in order to be a safeguard to the people in the way of a warning against not only a continuance of, but renewed entrance into idolatry, now that they were scattered among idolatrous people, and peculiarly in danger of doing this. For we find the author clearly pointing out idolatry as the great cause of Israel's ruin. To him "idolatry and image-worship are the sin of sins, because they destroyed the world-historical destiny" of God's chosen people. That destiny was to preserve and conserve the knowledge and worship of the true and only God, and transmit to the world the true worship, and, as the custodians of the only supernatural revelation, be the conservators of the truth of God. To hold the people to their duty in this regard, and keep them to adherence of, and submission to the fundamental law, God raised up the prophets, and instituted the prophetic institution," the mission of which was to watch over the keeping of the covenant, to warn against all manner of apostasy and whensoever it appeared to exhort, to threaten and promise." Hence the prom
inence given to the prophets in the period of history recorded in the Book of Kings-a period when the people were peculiarly led into idolatry. Especially so in the Northern Kingdom, which came under the long, blighting influence of the shrewd, bold, fierce, wicked, unscrupulous, idolatress, Queen Jezebel. Two prominent characters were Elijah and Elisha.
It is proposed to study briefly a few things concerning the latter and his times. To do so, however, we cannot but note a few points of difference between these two men. Associated together, some seven years, their work interblends, or rather is so correlated, that the one cannot be considered without his connection with the other being taken into account. Differing vastly from one another, yet the work of the one was so supplemented, or complemented by that of the other, that the one would be unfinished without the other; and Elisha's mission can hardly be understood without reference to that of Elijah. Take the difference between the two,
1. As to natures. Elijah was rough, uncivilized, a man of the desert and wilderness, loving solitude, and dwelling mostly in wilderness and in the country. Elisha was gentle, civilized, a man loving city life and the association of men in the world and in society-living a citizen among citizens, with kindly disposition, and with charity. And then,
2. As to work. Elijah's work was tearing down; Elisha's was building up.
God raises up the right men for the right time and the right work. Elijah, with his peculiar nature and work was necessary, because the people had adopted a god and a religion of power and force. They were to be taught that after all their force was but feebleness. The radical, the harsh, terrible force of Elijah's dealings, showed this. Elijah met his foes on their own ground.
And yet this was not all. There was something characteristic in this display of force on the part of Jehovah. What was that? It was that after all God's force and power were to be shown to be in gentleness, in love, in tenderness, so as to be
represented in striking contrast to the false gods; so that He would be known as a God who could be loved and trusted in childlike faith that would have a loving obedience as its fruit, rather than feared with a cringing, self-pain-inflicting service as its effect. Hence,
(1.) God's manifestation to Elijah in the "still small voice” rather than in the wind, fire and earthquake; and,
(2.) In raising up Elisha with his miracles of kindness and good-will and charity. Why these miracles of Elisha, and so numerous, too? Because God was still to be shown to be the great God over all, the Almighty and Everlasting Jehovah. And yet these miracles were a striking exhibition of a nature governed by kindness, love, good-will. The prophets before Elisha, and those after him, such as Isaiah and Jeremiah, were preachers of righteousness, counselors to kings and people; he went about more as a worker of miracles to confirm the people in their restored faith. And it was just this line of confirmation that was needed; for the people had now for years been taught religiously in this manner,-working of miracles, or rather, performance of startling feats, being an accompaniment of false religions. Heathen prophets were not consulted so much on questions of truth and justice, as to be oracles to the people and kings in the way of foretelling adventures. Elisha, therefore, adopted a method most likely to influence or at least, draw the attention of the people. He is the most successful preacher who knows how to adapt himself to the sympathies of thought and life of his people; using judgment and common sense to find out the openings into the hearts and minds of his hearers; in other words, who like Paul, knows how to become all things to all men, in order by all means to save some. (I Cor. 9: 22. See also ch. 10: 33.)
There was, therefore, a necessity for two such men as Elijah and Elisha. Each had an important mission, and yet neither would have been complete without the other. This we can learn when we consider a little more in detail the conditions of the kingdoms. Take