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Elijah the Reformer

Elijah the Reformer

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Published by glennpease

" And Elijah said unto Ahab, As the Lord God
of Israel liveth, before whom I stand." (I Kings
xvii. 1.)

" And Elijah said unto Ahab, As the Lord God
of Israel liveth, before whom I stand." (I Kings
xvii. 1.)

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Published by: glennpease on Jul 27, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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ELIJAH THE REFORMER BY CHARLES CARROLL ALBERTSO" And Elijah said unto Ahab, As the Lord Godof Israel liveth, before whom I stand." (I Kingsxvii. 1.)The character of Elijah is rugged,majestic, colossal. He is the reformerof his age. The brightest pages of human history tell of lives like his: Jo-seph in Egypt, Daniel in Babylon, ehe-miah in Jerusalem, John the Baptist inJudea, Chrysostom in Constantinople, Sa-vonarola in Florence, Luther in Germany,Knox in Scotland, Wesley in England.All of these began their work, as Elijahbegan his, by establishing in the minds of men just conceptions of the character of God. Hear him before Ahab — Ahab, idol-ater and polytheist, — " As the Lord Godof Israel liveth." Israel's God, the livingGod, is not in Ahab's pantheon of gods,but Elijah wiU put Him there, will setup His name, and if Ahab can only bemade to see what God this is, he will re-nounce all other gods and cast them out.And this is the first fact in the conscious-ness of the reformer, personal accounta-bility to God. "As the Lord God of Israel liveth, before Whom I stand." Agreat American statesman, the greatestorator since Demosthenes, once said, " Thegreatest thought of which I have any con-
ception is that of my personal responsi-bility to the Almighty." There can beno greater thought than this in its bear-ing upon himian conduct. Those whohave accomplished most for the race havelived in the atmosphere created by thatsense of inalienable accountability. Thereflection, " I stand before God," laysbare the primary impulse of the reformer,his intense motive and purpose. It ex-56ELIJAH THE REFORMER plains his courage. Elijah stands beforeAhab, but he sees God more plainly thanhe sees Ahab. Because of this fact it isAhab standing before Elijah, just as ninecenturies later it was not Christ standingbefore Pilate but Pilate standing beforeChrist. Pilate was on trial, not Christ.Ahab was on trial, not Elijah. If it seema small thing to you for Elijah to con-front Ahab thus, remember who Ahabwas, — " proudest and fiercest spirit of thatold age of tyranny," cruel, conscienceless,absolute, with a woman at his side as muchmore ambitious than he, as Lady Macbethwas more ambitious than Macbeth. Fewmen rise to heights of heroism or holinesswithout the help of some good woman;few men sell their souls to sin for anyprice, unprompted by some bad woman.So here are Ahab and Jezebel. Considerthem as to their power, their prestige.Then consider who it is that rebukes them,thwarts their designs, defeats their pur-
67ELIJAH THE REFORMER poses, predicts their downfall: an abso-lutely unknown man.Elijah appears upon the scene withoutintroduction. o one vouches for him.His lineage is unknown. His parentageis unheralded, and that among a peopleand in an age that made more of gene-alogy than modern Philadelphians do.What race is so careful to keep ancestralrecords as were the Jews? His provinceand his town are known, but they are notfavorable to him. Gilead was a wild andlawless country, much like the feud coun-ties of Kentucky in our day. Unlikelyplace to produce a prophet. Yet God isfond of such anomalies*. Out of the wil-derness came the herald of the Christ, andout of Galilee came He whom the love andfaith of ages have crowned the King of Saints. Joan of Arc was a peasant girl,yet she drove the English out of France.Martin Luther was a miner's son, yet hehghted a fire in Germany which yet blazes58ELIJAH THE REFORMER throughout Christendom. Abraham Lin-coln was a child of bitter poverty, yet he

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