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Israel, but thou and thy father's house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the Lord, and thou hast followed Baalim.” Then Elijah told the king to call together all the prophets of Baalim; and when they were all assembled on Mount Carmel, - Elijah came unto the people, and asked them, when they would make up their minds whom they would serve; saying, If the Lord be God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.” At this the people were silent, and said not a word.
There stood Elijah, the only prophet of the Lord, on the top of this high mountain; on one side of him was the deep sea, and on the other might be seen the land in which they dwelt, those homes for which they were indebted to that God whom they had forsaken: around the prophet stood four hundred and fifty men, who called themselves priests of Baal, and who taught this unhappy people to bow their knees to an idol. Then Elijah wished that they should each make trial of their religion; those around him, by making an offering to their god Baal; while he would make his offering to the Lord his God; and “call ye on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the Lord, and the God that answereth by fire, let him be God." To this the people agreed; and the priests of Baal took a bullock, dressed it, and laid it on the wood: but it was in vain that they besought their god to consume it with his fire; they called upon his name from morning till noon, saying, “O Baal, hear us; but there was no voice, nor any that answered.” Thus they continued until the time of the evening sacrifice; still their offering lay untouched by fire; their god, in whom they had trusted, had forsaken them in their need, and was indeed proved to be a false god. “Then Elijah said unto all the people, Come near unto me: and he repaired the altar of the Lord that was broken down, took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, and with the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord :" he then made a deep trench (31) round the altar, which he caused to be filled three different times with water, until everything around the altar was quite wet. When the time was come for the evening sacrifice, Elijah came near, and said, “Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I ain thy
servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word: Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the Lord God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again.”“ Then the fire of the Lord fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench; and when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces, and they said, The Lord He is the God, the Lord He is the God.”
Thus were this people once more brought to own the one true God; and Elijah commanded that all the priests of Baal should be seized and put to death. After this the country was refreshed by rain, according to the word of the Lord.
The prophet was obliged to flee into the wilderness, to escape the anger of his enemies for having slain the priests of Baal: we read “ that he went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree;" there he prayed for himself that he might die: but the Lord never forsakes those who trust in Him, and after the prophet had fallen asleep, an angel came and comforted him, and said, “Arise, and eat:” and he looked, and behold there was a
cake baken on the coals, and a cruse of water at his head, and he did eat and drink, and laid himself down again; and the angel of the Lord came again the second time, and touched him, and said, “Arise, and eat, because the journey is too great for thee:" and he arose, and did eat and drink, and went, in the strength of that meat, forty days and forty nights, unto Horeb the mount of God." Here he lodged in a cave, where the Lord appeared unto him several times, and he was commanded to go and anoint a new king over Syria, and also over Israel, and to anoint Elisha to be prophet in his stead. “So he arose from thence,” and found Elisha ploughing, and the prophet threw his mantle over him; upon which Elisha left his oxen, and said, “Let me, I pray thee, kiss my father and my, mother, and then I will follow thee:" and we find that, after he had taken leave of his people, he left his home and his friends, and “arose, followed Elijah, and went about with him.”
MY DEAR CHILDREN,
Elisha never left Elijah again, but went about with him until the day that he was taken from the earth, and from those scenes which had been to him so varied: this took place one day while they were walking together, when “there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven:” as he went, his mantle fell from him, which was taken up by Elisha, upon whom the spirit of the aged prophet seemed from that time to descend : with it he smote the waters of the river Jordan, which parted, and he went over to the sons of the prophets at Jericho, who, when they saw him, bowed before him, and said, “The spirit of Elijah doth rest upon Elisha.” At their earnest entreaty, he consented to let them go and search for Elijah; for they said, Perhaps "the spirit of the Lord hath taken him up, and cast him upon some mountain, or into