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About The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923 | View Entire Issue (Feb. 1, 1922)
r" ' FK i i ? 4
; J- VOL; 22, NO. 2
tako up Elijah Into heaven by a whirlwind, that
Elijah wont with Elisha from Gilval."
No Btrainod language; no words of introduc
tion; just a simplo statement. There was noth
ing to emphasize the unusual honor to he ac
corded tho groat prophet.
THREE TESTS OP LOYALTY
Elijah tosted tho loyalty of the younger man:
"Tarry hore, I pray thee," ho said, "for tho
Lord hath sent mo to Bothcl." Elisha's an
swer must have ploasod Elijah, for it throbbed
with devotion: "As tho Lord livoth, and as
thy soul livoth, I will not leave thee." So thoy
journoyed on togothor toward Bethel.
Tho sons of tho prophets who wore there had
loon informed of what was about to tako place,
and asked Elijah, "Knowost thou that the Lord
will tako away thy master from thy hoad to
day?" "Yea, I know it," said Elisha; "hold
yo your peace."
Again Elijah tried tho faith of tho young man
and asked him to tarry in Bethel while ho wont
to Joricho. Again Elisha refused. So thoy
went on to Joricho.
A third time Elijah urged him to stay be
hind whilo he went to Jordan, and a third time
Elisha ronowod tho declaration of his purpose
not to leavo him.
It Is a wonderful picture that theso two pre
sent as they loft tho s6ns of the prophets who
wore at Jericho and approached the Jordan.
Taking his mantle, Elijah wrappod it together
and smote tho water: the water divided and the
two passed over to tho other side.
Elijah then probed tho hoart of his compan
ion, and this tost presented a more difficult
problom to Elisha than tho throe preceding
ones. It was much easier for Elisha to declare
his intention to follow Elijah much easier to
refuse to bo separated from him than to answer
Wisely the question now put to him: "Ask what
I shall do for thee."
WHAT WOULD OUR ANSWER BE?
We may woll ask ourselves what our answer
would bo if wo wore permitted to have the
tiling that tho heart most desired.
There aro many false gods that are wor
shipped today gods upon whose altars wo lay
our offerings. We do not always know what is
uppermost in the minds of those about us; only
such a question as that asked by Elijah brings
the paramount wish to the surface. The real
longings of tho heart may be suppressed on
ordinary occasions, but when' ah opportunity
for gratification comes, but ruling passion
finds oxprossion. What would we ask if given
i5ur choice by ono with power to grant any re
quest? If Elijah had himself framed the answer, it
could not have delighted him more; Elisha
poured his heart into his words whon he an
swored: "I pray thee, let a double portion of
thy spirit be upon me."
It was a hard request to grant, but it was
just the thing that Elijah would like to grant.
There had been no jealousy in his hoart, not
the slightest sign of disappointment when he
was by God sent to ano'nt his successor, plowing
with his oxen in his father's field. With all tho
bigness of a big man, he had taken Elisha to
himself and trained-him for his work, holding
back nothing from -him. In tho answer that
Elisha made he saw his confidence justified and
his hopes realized.
.THE DIVINE CURRENT IS CONTINUOUS
Then camo Elijah's ascension to heaven in a
whirlwind. Elisha watched the impressive
scene until his master was gone; then, following
tho custom of his time, he rent his garments
Having given expression to his grief, he turned
to tho task before him.-
Taking up the mantle of Elijah, he wont back
to tho- Jordan and, in imitation of Elijah, ho
smote tho waters and they parted as they did
before Elijah. His act bore witness to his faith,
and tho sons of the prophets, seeing that he'
too, was able to perform miracles in the name
of the Lord, recognized in his victory over the
waters evidence that the spirit of Elijah rested
Wo find in "the mantle of Elijah" a more
practical lesson than in the translation of tho
prophet. In the latter wo see evidence of
Qod's power and proof of His Trillingness to give
an extraordinary reward to one who rendered an
extraordinary service, but all can succeed to a
mantle. "Tho mantle of Elijah" is a figure of
speech that has been woven into the language of
The success that attended Elishtf proves that
tho divine current is continuous it only awaits
conductors. Throughout the ages God has been
working His wonders; His spirit has manifested
itself through those who surrendered themsolvoq
to Him, 'and like Elijah and Elisha, wero will!
ins to proclaim His truth. The mantle Is a
visible sign of invisible power. It does not
pass from prophet to prophet as it did in days
of old, but the same consecration is necessary
today as in olden times.
NO ARISTOCRACY IN CHRISTIAN SERVICE
Tho succession is not by blood. There is no
aristocracy of great servants; Christian nobil
ity does not run In families.
The Bible does not tell us anything about the
family of Elijah; we do not know whether he
left any sons. But we do know that he was not
called upon to anoint a son as his successor. ,
Tho throne of Israel descended from father to
son, but the scepter of spiritual power does hot
follow man's lino of descont.
God calls to His work those who prepare for
it. They may have had little thought in -their
preparation of the uso they would make of that
which they learned, just as David never dreamed
of tho uso that ho would make of the skill he
had acquired in the hurling of pebbles with his
sling. But the day camo when the sling and
pebbles were needed to slay a Goliath, and the
"ruddy shepherd lad" was ready for the work.
There wore seven thousand in Israel who had
not bowed the knee to Baal, but only ono of
them was prepared to do the work of Elijah.
There were many young men plowing with oxen,
but there was only one Elisha. Many may have
coveted the mantle of the great prophet, but
the one to whom it was givqn was the one most
worthy to wear and use it, as Elijah did, as a
symbol of power delegated by Jehovah to a ser
vant. NO FAINT HEARTS NEED APPLY
Today there are tasks awaiting all "who are
willing to consecrate themselves to God's ser
vice, tasks as great as ever fell to any genera
tion. No faint hearts need apply. Only those
whose trust is complete and who are -willing,
at any risk, to follow the path of duty can
hope for a summons to service.
The task may not seem a large one; but who
Is man that he should attempt to measure the
consequences of a human act? Trival things
become turning points in the life of individuals
and nations, and things seemingly important
dwindle into insignificance. The servant of
God does not ask whether the thing, to be done
is little or big; he simply asks whether it is
a duty whether it is a thing that should be
We can afford to leave the consequences with'
God. If we have the faith that we ought to
have, we pray for light and then act according
to the light that is given us. We will not bo
ashamed to take up the tasks that others lay
down, and we need give ourselves no concern
about successors. If ve are engaged in doing
God's work, successors' will be found and drafted
into service as we ourselves have answered to
AN INSPIRATION THAT OVERCOMES
The critics" ridicule the account of the trans
lation of Elijah; they attempt to undermine
faith in itand to rob it of its authority and in
fluence. But they work in vain, because the
inspiration that the lesson brings into a single
human life outweighs the total work of all the
critics who are whittling at the Word of God
Men whose hearts have never responded to
a call to duty may scoff at Elijah's mantle
those who will not condescend to tako up and
carry on the unselfish efforts of others mav
laugh at Elisha; but these majestic characters
still stride up and down tho earth arousing the
sons of men to sacrifice and service. Hearts
that are open to divine suggestion will see in
them examples to be followed, and multitudes
Elijah and Elisha are among the "immortals"
who still "rule our spirits from their urns."
the Lord hath hld it from mo, and hath not t0)
And the mother of the chiid said a i
Hvetli. and as my soul livoth, I win 8,,J ,Lor
thee. And he arose, and followed her leavc
And when Elisha was come Into tho i,..
hold, the child was dead, and laid upoSW A"
Ho went in therefore, and shut the 3i bcd
them twain, and prayed unto the Lord up0n
And he went up, and lay upon tho child ni
his mouth upon his mouth, and his eyia u,S Wl
eyes, and his hands upon his hands- Sn hJs
stretched himself upon tho child; and th?dfi5?
of tho child waxed warm, Ulc f,(?sh
Then he returned, and Walked In the hn.i
and fro; and went up, and stretched-hlnwoif to
hinu and the, child sneezed seven time" amiU??n
child opened his eyes. mtn, and tho
And he called Gehazl, -and said Call thin ?,,
mite. So he called hef. And when shi w ' !"
in unto him, he said. Take up thy son comc
Then she went in, and fell at his feet.' and Wvi
herself to tho ground, and took up he? son 2
went out. , 0,, ftna
A GREAT WOMAN'S FAITH
By WILLIAM JENNINGS BRYAN
BIBLE TEXT LESSON FOR FEB 4
(II Kings 4:18-22, 27, 30, 32-37)
And when the child was crown it frn ,
that ho went out to his fathers to n,ieJL a da
And ho said unto hifr fathe? Mv Snrieapers,'
And he said to a lad Carry m'm to ? itf head
And when ho had taken him and bimJShV1 .
is? as.116 ho sat on her fifti nooais
And she went up, and laid Mm on Iho hA .
man of God. and shut tho door up him,bandWont
? pMct XS ortVnWndS0na
comh0Ba"BX tm J may run t tffma'S &d, gg
iiAnd,-wnen ?ho camo to tho man of an i
hill, she caught him by the reet' but n?i??Wito tho
near to thrust her away. And thn mn VlAzl, came
Let her alonel for ffiJYoui fvewdPthinrnk
"And it fell on n day, that Elisha passed to
Shunem, where was a. great woman; -and sha
constrained him to eat bread."
' So begins the story of the Shunammitc wom
an whose kindness and faith God rewarded
through his prophet according to the faith that
was. in her.
A great woman where before in history do
we firid that word applied to "a woman, and
where outside of the3ible has woman been hon
ored' as she is In Holy Writ?
Besides this Shunammite woman, who ex
hibited a cluster of the highest virtues rever
ence, hospitality, implicit; faith, and profound
gratitude the Bible, has immortalized many
other good women.
The Old Testament tells of Sarah, Rebekah
Rachel, Deborah, Ruth and .Naomi, Vashti and
Esther, and many others
In the New Testament we read of a generous
widow who with two mites purchased more en
during fame than any other person! has been able
to buy with unlimited means; of the Tabitha,
whose deeds 'of kindness called forth one of the
most eloquent of eulogies, of Martha, who ex
pressed her trust in that classic lament, "Lord,
if thou hadst been here my brother had not
died," and; of the woman whose alabaster box
of ointment ha3 spread its fragrance over 19
centuries. And above and' beyond all these, and
all others, Mary, chosen for the sacred task of
mothering the Saviour.
THE POWER OF QODLY WOMEN
In our own day and in every lan'd great wom
en can be found; "nowhere are they more num
erous or more beloved than in the United States.
, In the church, in SQorety, in politics they have
madetheir power felt as they have demonstrated
the possession of those virtues: that disclose a
likeness to Him in whose image we aro made.
The one woman 'to whom our nation has thus
far paid the highest honor is Frances Willard,
who was so conspicuous in all three lines of
work that her statue graces the Hall of Fame
While history, sacred and profane, has writ
ten high the" names of a few women, wo must
not forget the unnumbered multitude who, just
as reverent, as hospitable, as full of 'faith and as
generous in their expressions of gratitude, have
glorified womanhood by embodying the best that
' there is in huriianity.
"And it fell on 4 day, .that Elisha passed to
Shunem, where was a great woman; and she
constrained him to eat bread. And so it was
that as often as he passed by," he turned in
thither to eat bread."
The road from Gilgal to Mount Carmo!, which
the prophet often had occasion to take on God's
business, led by this woman's home. After
Elisha had thus become a frequent visitor at
the home, tho woman said to her husband:
"Behold now, I perceive that this is an holy
man of God, which passeth by us continually.
Let us make a little chamber, I .pray thee, on
the wall;, and let us set for him there a bed, and
' a table, and a stool,' and a candlestick: and
it shall be, when he cometh to us, that he shall
turn in thither." '
ONE OF WOMAN'S JEWELS
It was a. kind thought, just such a thought
as, ha3 inspired millions of women who have
added to the comfort of God's servants. Men
do think .of these things, but the home has ever
been woman's throne and her hospitality has
been one ct tho jewels' in her crown.
The prophet, anxious to make some suitable
return for the woman's generous thoughtfulness,
sent for her and said:
"Behold, thou hast been careful for us with
all this care; what is to be done for theo?
Wouldst thou be spoken for to the king, or to
the captain of the host?"
He suggested thp rewards ,that would ordi
narily bo acceptable," He was in 6, position to se
cure, for .her whatever lier heart inigbt wish,
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