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there was a scarcity: here he turned a mess of poisonous herbs into wholesome food; and in the name of the Lord he set twenty loaves, and some ears of corn in the husk, before one hundred people, and He, in whose name it was done, made them all to eat and be satisfied, and yet there was some left.
I WILL now tell you a story about a little girl who was taken from her home in Israel by some Syrians, and who was, although so young, the means of spreading the fame of the prophet Elisha, and of making known to a person of rank in the land of Syria the name of the God of Israel.
Naaman, who was master over the hosts of the king of Syria, was in great favor with his prince, because the Lord had made him successful in battle; he vas an honourable man, and very highly thought of hy every one: but with all of this world's good things to make him happy, he was afflicted with a dreadful disease, called the leprosy, for which no cure was to be had. It was to Naaman's wife that the little captive maid was brought, and she waited upon her.
Now this little girl did not forget the land of her fathers, she doubtless thought often upon the home of her youth: and she must have felt very melancholy when she remembered that there were none about her to whom she could talk of those things she had left; but we may suppose that her home was a better one than often falls to the lot of those who are carried away as prisoners into an enemy's country: we may conclude that she was kindly treated, by the interest she felt for her master, whose sufferings called to her mind the wonders wrought by the man of God, the prophet of her own land;—and she said unto her mistress, “Would God that my lord were with the prophet that is in Samaria, for he would recover him of his leprosy.” This reached the ears of the king, who directly wrote to the king of Israel, saying, “When this letter is come unto thee, behold I have therewith
sent Naanan, my servant, unto thee, that thou mayst recover him of his leprosy." When the king of Israel read the letter, he was grieved, and rent his clothes, a way of shewing sorrow then very common among this people, saying, “Am I a God, to kill and to make alive;" he felt that the Syrian king had asked of him what was not in his power to grant, yet he thought if he refused him his request, a quarrel would arise.
When the prophet Elisha heard of these things, he sent to the king, saying, “Wherefore hast thou rent thy clothes? let him come now to me, and he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel.” Thus this Syrian noble found that his cure was not to be performed in a king's palace, but he was to seek it in the prophet's humble dwelling; neither did he who was to pronounce the words of healing come out to meet the captain of the hosts of Syria, who now stood with his horses and chariot at his door; in the eyes of the minister (33) of heaven all this earthly shew was nothing; he knew the proud spirit with whom he had to do, and it was the will of God that his pride should be humbled. Instead of seeing Naaman himself, Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, “Go and wash in Jordan
seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean.” This greatly offended Naaman, who went away, and said, “Behold, I thought, he will surely come out to me, and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, and strike his hand over the place and recover the leper."
He who was accustomed to be looked up to with fear and respect by all around him, felt very angry at being treated with so little respect as not even to be admitted within the prophet's house, but to be kept waiting at the door, and there to receive such a message as this: to be told that simply washing in the river Jordan seven times would cure his dreadful complaint and heal his body; he could not believe it; for he knew not the power of that God to whom all things are possible; and he said, “Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? may I not wash in them, and be clean?” so he turned away in a rage. His servants then came near, and said to him, “My father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldst thou not have done it? how much rather then, when he saith to thee, wash and be clean."
Naaman seems to have been soothed
by these kind words, which raised better feelings in his heart; for we read, that "he went down, and dipped himself seven times in Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God: and his flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.”. Naaman then went back to Elisha and owned that there was no God in the earth but the God of Israel; and he said “now therefore, I pray thee, take a blessing of thy servant." But Elisha would take nothing, saying, "As the Lord liveth, before whom I stand, I will receive none." After this Naaman departed.
You have before heard me mention the name of Gehazi, the servant of Elisha; he displeased his master very much on this day, for he did not like that Naaman should take back with him all the presents which he had brought for the prophet, by whom they had been refused; and his covetousness (34) prompted him to follow the Syrian and obtain something from him, by pretending a message from his master. But although he carefully hid his gains before he went in again to Elisha, the prophet knew it, and said to him, “Went not mine heart with thee, when the man turned again from his