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chariot to meet thee? the leprosy, therefore, of Naaman, shall cleave to thee for ever;" and we read that Gehazi went from the presence of his master a leper as white as snow: thus was his covetous heart punished.
The story of Naaman's cure should teach us a lesson of humility and patient obedience: we all stand in need of a great cure to take place in our hearts, which are very sinful, and need washing with the blood of Christ before they can become clean in the sight of God; we must think seriously in our hearts, and pray to our Heavenly Father to make known to us, as the prophet did to Naaman, what we shall do to be clean: and if we listen to the still small voice within us, we shall not, perhaps, find that we are called upon to perform any very great action which may bring us the praise of all our friends; but simply to follow the path of our duty wherever it may lead us, to do what our conscience tells us is right, whether we are seen by others or not, remembering that there is an eye upon us which never sleeps; to practise daily, meekness and gentleness; to keep a constant watch over our thoughts, words, and actions; to govern our tempers; to think little of our
selves; and yield our own opinion to the wishes of others. These are duties which ought to be practised every day: we may know a tree by its fruit; a good tree will produce good fruit, and a bad tree will produce bad fruit; and it may be known, by your daily conduct, whether your hearts are right in the sight of God: if you are careless and inattentive, cross and always wishing to have your own way, it will be plain that, like Naaman when he was angry with the prophet, your hearts are too proud to perform these daily duties, that they have not yet been washed from the stain of sin. But on the other hand, if we see your cheerful obedience in all things, your meekness, patience, and kindness to others, we shall feel assured that, like the S;rian, you have been made clean by the power of God; that your hearts have been humbled in his sight: and you will feel greater content and peace of mind in the daily performance of these quiet duties, than would ever be your lot were you to neglect them and follow your own inclinations. Thus Naaman would have washed in his own rivers, Abana or Pharpar; he might have done so, but he would not have been healed, and he would
not have felt that happy change which took place in him when he gave up his own will, followed the advice of Elisha, and dipped himself in the Jordan.
We must not forget the little captive maid who had been made the cause of this change in her master. I would have you particularly remember, that these events were brought about by a little girl, who, although a captive in a strange land, and among a people who worshipped strange gods, yet she did not forget the God of her fathers, nor the works of his faithful prophet; and by this she was made useful to her master, spread very far the fame of Elisha, and above all, was the humble means of causing the name of her God to be made known in another land, and of bringing at least one more convert(35) to the only true God. Although you may not have it in your power thus publicly to serve Him, yet you should remember, that however lowly may be your rank in life, or however small your circle of friends, yet there will be some who may be led by your example: and your companions, when they see your kindness and gentleness, will be led to inquire how you have gained this command over yourselves; and when they find that you do not act according to your own wills, but follow the commands of Him who said, “by this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another,” they may, perhaps, be induced to make Him the rule of their lives; and thus, you will, like this little maiden of Israel, become useful to those around you, and be the happy means of spreading peace and good will among your companions.
Elisha still trusted in the Lord his God, in whose name he performed many wonders; and once, whilst he was with some of the sons of the prophets who were building themselves a place to dwell in, one of the men dropped his axe into the river Jordan, near whose banks they were cutting down wood; of course he never hoped to get it again, for it was made of iron, and had sunk to the bottom of the water, and he said to Elisha, “ Alas, master! for it was borrowed." Then power was given to the man of God by his Heavenly Father to cause the heavy metal to rise and float on the top of the water, and the man put out his hand and took it up again.
At this time the king of Syria came to war against Israel, and Elisha, who was full of wisdom from God, sent messages to the king of Israel, which put him upon his guard against his enemy, and several times saved his life. This very much troubled the king of Syria, who sent out an army to take Elisha; and one morning the servant of the man of God rose early and went out, and behold, on all sides of the city were chariots and horses, and a great army; he was quite frightened, but his master said to him, "Fear not, for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.” Even now, although surrounded on every side by his enemies, not able to see any way of escaping from them, he was not afraid, for he knew in whom he trusted; he knew that God will always protect those that trust in Him, and obey His commands ;-at the prayer of Elisha, his servant's eyes were open