Imágenes de páginas

leprosy. Naaman was informed of her expressions : and speedily commencing his journey to Samaria, conveyed with him for the prophet a present of immense value; and a letter from the king of Syria to the king of Ifrael desiring, in authoritative language, that Naaman might be healed. The king of Ifrael perused the letter with astonishment and alarm. He rent his clothes, and said, Am I God, to kill and to make alive ; that this man doth fend unto me to recover a man of his leprosy? And he concluded that the purpose of the Syrian monarch was to seek a pretence for quarrelling and entering into war with him. When Elisha heard the news, he reproved the king of Israel for yielding to fear, instead of humbly confiding in God, who was ready to protect all that put their trust in him; and had even then raised up'a prophet in Samaria able to cure the leper. Let Naaman, he added, come unto me: and he mall know that there is a prophet in Israel. Naaman accordingly proceeded with his chariot and attendants to the door of Elisha: and there received a message from the prophet, directing him to go and wash himself seven times in the river Jordan, and assuring him that his leprosy should thus be immediately removed. The haughtiness of Naaman burst

[ocr errors]

into open fury, when he heard the message. He instantly departed. He considered the river Jordan as utterly contemptible in comparison with the rivers of his own country. Heexpected too that the prophet should instantly have ape peared before him with ceremonious deference: and that he should have performed the cure publicly in the fight of the people, and in a manner calculated to render the highest how nour to so great a man as the captain of the host of the king of Syria. Naaman was" wroth, and went away, and faid; Bebold I thought, he will furely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the Lord bis God, and frike his hand over the plate, and re.. cooter the leper. Are not Abana and Pharpar, i riters of Damafius, better than all the waters" of Ifrael? May I not wash in them, and be clean ? So he turned, and went away in a rage." Happy was it for him that he had some at-" tendants of a spirit different from his own." They came near, and faid unto him; My father, if the prophet had bid thee do fome great thing wouldest thou not have done it?" Home much rather then, when be faith; : i Wafh and be clean ? Here was the language of reason and kindness. The language of reason unaccompanied by kindness will often fail of making an impression. It has no ef


fect on the understanding, because it touches not the heart. The language of kindness unaffociated with reason will frequently be unable to persuade: because though it may gain upon the affections, it wants that which is necessary to convince the judgement.' But let reason and kindness be united in your discourse; and seldom will even pride or prejudice find it easy to resist. Thus it was with Naaman. His pride and prejudices, yielded at once. He went forward to the river Jordan ; dipped himself seven times; and ascended out of the water perfe&ly healed of his disease. He haftened back to the prophet in the fervor of gratitude and piety. He was eager to load Elisha with costly gifts: But Elisha fought not by healing Naaman to enrich himself. His object was to promote the glory of God. Urged again and agaia with the most importunate earneftness, he fteadily refused to receive a reward. Naaman avowed his conviction that the God of Israel, was the God of all the earth : and folemnly protested that from that moment he renounced the worship of idols, and would adore the true God alone. He returned into Syria completely changed not in outward appearance merely, but in heart.



II. I pro:

* II. I proceed to explain- in some of its branches the instruction to be deduced from the history of Naaman. . ,

1. The power of the Deity is conspicuously exalted, when he “accomplishes his gracious purposes by means which are undervalued or despised. Naaman for a time would not bear the idea that'a river in the land of Israel, à land which he beheld with fcorn, a land which he probably had trampled down at the head of his victorious hoft, could be the instrument by which God would remove his leprosy. Does, the New Testament supply no parallel ? When Chrift appeared on earth to save mankind by his atoning death and by his fanctifying doctrine; all the world took offence at him. To the Jews, he was a stumbling-block; to the Greeks, foolishness. The Jews expected their Redeemer to manifest himself in worldly magnificence and grandeur ; to place himself in triumph on the throne of David in Jerusalem; and to render the people of Israel the glory and the dread of the whole earth. A Saviour who was found in the humblest rank of life; who disclaimed all human dignity and power, who submitted to be treated as a malefactor, to be put to death upon the cross; they were too proud and too ignorant to acknowledge.

[ocr errors]



[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

Is not this the Carpenter, the son of Mary? Can any good thing come out of Nazareth (a)? The Greeks had fixed their hearts on the oitentatious subtleties which they denominated wisdom. They despised all doctrines which were not distinguished by intricate, refined, and disputatious learning, and decorated with a parade of eloquence. The simple,pure, and holy gospel of Christ they regarded as unworthy of the notice of informed and cultivated minds. Are humility and discerninent universal among ourfelves? Even in our own days, the divine authority of our crucified Lord is by niany perfons scornfully decried : and the righteous instructions and commandments, which he delivered are represented by blind and presumptuous finners as poffefling no particular merit, and as in some respects hard, unreafonable, and pernicious. To such fcoffers what shall be our reply? We reply to thein in the words addressed by Christ to the unbelieving Jews : Wisdom is justified of all her ɛhildren (6). They who understand the Christian plan of salvation, they perceive it to be the power of God and the wisdom of God.

2. Observe, secondly, that if there be any blessing which you are desirous of obtaining (a), Mark, vi. 3. John, i. 46. (1) Luke, vii. 35. R2 ,


« AnteriorContinuar »