2 Kings 2* Elijah divides Jordan. (1-8) Elijah is taken up into heaven.(9-12) Elisha is manifested to be Elijah's successor. (13-18)Elisha heals the waters of Jericho, Those that mocked Elishadestroyed. (19-25)1-8 The Lord had let Elijah know that his time was at hand. Hetherefore went to the different schools of the prophets to givethem his last exhortations and blessing. The removal of Elijahwas a type and figure of the ascension of Christ, and theopening of the kingdom of heaven to all believers. Elisha hadlong followed Elijah, and he would not leave him now when hehoped for the parting blessing. Let not those who follow Christcome short by tiring at last. The waters of Jordan, of old,yielded to the ark; now, to the prophet's mantle, as a token ofGod's presence. When God will take up his faithful ones toheaven, death is the Jordan which they must pass through, andthey find a way through it. The death of Christ has dividedthose waters, that the ransomed of the Lord may pass over. Odeath, where is thy sting, thy hurt, thy terror! 9-12 That fulness, from whence prophets and apostles had alltheir supply, still exists as of old, and we are told to asklarge supplies from it. Diligent attendance upon Elijah,particularly in his last hours, would be proper means for Elishato obtain much of his spirit. The comforts of departing saints,and their experiences, help both to gild our comforts and tostrengthen our resolutions. Elijah is carried to heaven in afiery chariot. Many questions might be asked about this, whichcould not be answered. Let it suffice that we are told, what hisLord, when he came, found him doing. He was engaged in seriousdiscourse, encouraging and directing Elisha about the kingdom ofGod among men. We mistake, if we think preparation for heaven iscarried on only by contemplation and acts of devotion. Thechariot and horses appeared like fire, something very glorious,not for burning, but brightness. By the manner in which Elijahand Enoch were taken from this world, God gave a glimpse of theeternal life brought to light by the gospel, of the gloryreserved for the bodies of the saints, and of the opening of thekingdom of heaven to all believers. It was also a figure ofChrist's ascension. Though Elijah was gone triumphantly toheaven, yet this world could ill spare him. Surely their heartsare hard, who feel not, when God, by taking away faithful,useful men, calls for weeping and mourning. Elijah was toIsrael, by his counsels, reproofs, and prayers, better than thestrongest force of chariot and horse, and kept off the judgmentsof God. Christ bequeathed to his disciples his precious gospel,like Elijah's mantle; the token of the Divine power beingexerted to overturn the empire of Satan, and to set up thekingdom of God in the world. The same gospel remains with us,though the miraculous powers are withdrawn, and it has Divinestrength for the conversion and salvation of sinners. 13-18 Elijah left his mantle to Elisha; as a token of thedescent of the Spirit upon him; it was more than if he had lefthim thousands of gold and silver. Elisha took it up, not as asacred relic to be worshipped, but as a significant garment tobe worn. Now that Elijah was taken to heaven, Elisha inquired,1. After God; when our creature-comforts are removed, we have aGod to go to, who lives for ever. 2. After the God that Elijahserved, and honoured, and pleaded for. The Lord God of the holyprophets is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever; but whatwill it avail us to have the mantles of those that are gone,their places, their books, if we have not their spirit, theirGod? See Elisha's dividing the river; God's people need not fearat last passing through the Jordan of death as on dry ground.The sons of the prophets made a needless search for Elijah. Wisemen may yield to that, for the sake of peace, and the goodopinion of others, which yet their judgment is against, asneedless and fruitless. Traversing hills and valleys will neverbring us to Elijah, but following the example of his holy faithand zeal will, in due time. 19-25 Observe the miracle of healing the waters. Prophetsshould make every place to which they come better for them,endeavouring to sweeten bitter spirits, and to make barren soulsfruitful, by the word of God, which is like the salt cast intothe water by Elisha. It was an apt emblem of the effect producedby the grace of God on the sinful heart of man. Whole families,towns, and cities, sometimes have a new appearance through thepreaching of the gospel; wickedness and evil have been changedinto fruitfulness in the works of righteousness, which are,through Christ, to the praise and glory of God. Here is a curseon the youths of Bethel, enough to destroy them; it was not acurse causeless, for it was Elisha's character, as God'sprophet, that they abused. They bade him "go up," reflecting onthe taking up of Elijah into heaven. The prophet acted by Divineimpulse. If the Holy Spirit had not directed Elisha's solemncurse, the providence of God would not have followed it withjudgment. The Lord must be glorified as a righteous God whohates sin, and will reckon for it. Let young persons be afraidof speaking wicked words, for God notices what they say. Letthem not mock at any for defects in mind or body; especially itis at their peril, if they scoff at any for well doing. Letparents that would have comfort in their children, train them upwell, and do their utmost betimes to drive out the foolishnessthat is bound up in their hearts. And what will be the anguishof those parents, at the day of judgment, who witness theeverlasting condemnation of their offspring, occasioned by theirown bad example, carelessness, or wicked teaching!
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