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Elijah in the Cave.

Elijah in the Cave.

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1 Kings, 19 : 9. — And he came thither unto a caye, and lodged there, and
behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and He said — What doest thou
here, Elijah ?


1 Kings, 19 : 9. — And he came thither unto a caye, and lodged there, and
behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and He said — What doest thou
here, Elijah ?

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Jun 29, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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1 Kings, 19 : 9. — And he came thither unto a caye, and lodged there, andbehold, the word of the Lord came to him, and He said — What doest thouhere, Elijah ?
The beautiful order of our church introduces us thismorning to one of the most remarkable characters everpresented for human contemplation. The history of Elijah is brief, emphatic, and grand. The life of Elijahis illustrative, therefore, instructive and inspiring. If Christ had not told us John the Baptist were greaterthan he we should have imagined Elijah the greatestof men. Yet great as he was he was still only man,and the text brings him to our notice, hid away in acave, moody, gloomy, and desponding, God, however,still with him, and he God's child, though he knows nothow near God is to him.It has pleased God, in the history of nations^ to in-struct us relative to the needs, tendencies, and capabilitiesof man, in the mass. One nation is a reflection of allELIJAH I THE CAVE. 23nations. All the laws that work in one work in another.A perfect history of one nation would give us a pictureof man in society under three fundamental aspects, the«Family, the State, and the Church. In a completenational history we view man socially, civilly, and re-ligiously. It has pleased God, in the history of individr
ualsj to instruct us relative to human life in its fountains,to human nature in its organic forces, to the individualin his necessities, his cravings, and his hopes. One manis an epitome of his race, in all that is involuntary andnatural. A wicked man is an epitome of man, under aperversion of his endowments. A righteous man is anepitome of man under a wise improvement of nature'sgifts. Man presented to us individually and socially,is man presented to us in all his being. These two ne-cessities, the individual and the social 1)eing, hold manup in his body and his soul, his here and his hereafter.Hence, for our instruction God employs both in the Bible.The nation and the individual are God's two grand illus-trations. The Jews will live as long as the Bible, andholy men of God will shed light upon all coming ages.For this reason we have man, in the Bible, just as he is,a fallen, weak being, slowly and irregularly, but certainlyand proudly rising. We have man in his weakness andin his strength, in his misfortune and his fault, his igno-rance and error, in his motives, too, his wisdom, aspira-tions, and achievements. If the Bible presented uswith wicked men, wholly, irredeemably wicked, withoutone quality to relieve a nature absolutely dark, it wouldgive us, not a likeness, but a mere ideal — ^it would giveus an exception, not an average. Men go graduallydown as well as gradually up. We should find thecounterpart of an utterly abandoned man nowhere in24 SERMOS.life, for seldom^ if ever, has it happened that man hasbeen left without all traces of God's likeness. We shouldhave no fear of becoming such monsters, and therefore, theeffect of the warning would be lost. If the Bible present-ed us with righteous men, uniformly and exaltedly righte-ous, superlatively good, never lapsing, nor betraying anyweakness, we should have something which could findno counterpart in our observation or experience, and so
the effect would be to discourage us. We could haveno hope of attaining to absolute perfection, and so shouldgive up exertion and sink into sin.Human life is a wonderful complication, and yet, insome of its aspects, it is a sublime simplicity. One thingthat is wonderful about it is, that while what has been,is still, while one generation but repeats the experiencesof another, while one man is only plodding the commonpath, there is no robbing it of its reality. Each genera^tion has to think for itself just the same. Each manhas his own struggles and his own triumphs. The thoughtthat God is over all, and that life is a fact common toall men, does not sink us into indifference— does not robus of a sense of responsibility. The aimple fact thatanother man has troubles does not take away ours.Every life is a unit in itself, a new creation. I have justas much a problem to solve as if a similar problem hadnever been solved. Every man, though only a worm,has wrapt up in him an infinity and an eternity, thoughonly an atom h« is, as though a whole humanity wereconcentrated within him. Each one has a work to do,a hope to achieve, a God to see. Each has it to do forhimself, just as if no being had ever done it before him.But, whilst time is only repeating itself, the veryrepetition implies progression. Whilst we are all movingELIJAH IX THE CAVE. 25in the same orbit, the orbit itself is moving in a sublimeprocession. If each has the savie problem to solve, eachmust still solve it under different conditions. A lifeahead of mine, a foot-print on the sands of time, is of infinite importance to me, in telling me I am not off thetrack, not lost, not merely wandering, floating, <lrifting.There is life in the thought that it in worth while tostruggle, that every exertion tells toward the grjind

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