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ELISHA AND THE MOCKERS.
(2 KINGS II. 23, 24.) When Elijah was translated to heaven in a “ chariot of fire,” the sons of the prophets eagerly sought him amid mountains and valleys, in the hope that he was not in reality departed. Their search was vain; but they received comfort in the successor whom God appointed. As Elisha smote the waters of Jordan, like his predecessor, and they receded backwards, to open a pathway for his feet, they exclaimed with joy, “ The spirit of Elijah doth rest on Elisha!”
This was not the only transaction which proved the Divine legation of Elisha. A succession of miracles of mercy and judgment followed in its train.
Elisha took up his residence at Jericho. This was a pleasant situation, but the waters were impure, and the country around barren. Availing themselves of the prophet's presence, the inhabitants complained to him that the water was unwholesome. Elisha attended to their complaint, and directed the suppliants to furnish him with some salt in a new cruse. Having brought it, the prophet “went forth unto the spring of the waters, and cast the salt in there, and said, Thus saith the Lord, I have healed these waters; there shall not be from thence any more death or barren land.” Through this simple act, accompanied by Divine power, the waters of Jericho became permanently wholesome,* an apt emblem of the effect produced by the grace of God operating on the polluted heart of man. When that remedy is applied, a change takes place through all the powers of the soul —a change which results in its purification and salvation.
This miracle of mercy was followed by one of judgment, which is represented in the annexed engraving. Removing from Jericho
* This stream, which rises to the west of Rihhah, is thus described by Maundrell: “ Turning down into the plain, we passed by a ruined aqueduct, and a convent, in the same condition, and in about a mile's riding came to the fountain of Elisha. Its waters are, at present, received into a basin about nine or ten paces long, and five or six broad, and from thence, issuing out in good plenty, divide themselves into several small streams, dispersing their refreshment between this and Jericho, and making it exceeding fruitful.”