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"Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him."

I KINGS, xix, 18.

BSORBING passions are terrible forces in the world, as we know, but their recoil is in proportion to their power. A man with a passion accomplishes great results, but the very absorption of his powers in his passion shuts out from his view the perspective and blinds him to the consciousness of relation with other workers. It is a strange as it is a sad thing to know that great reformers pass, by easy stages, to become great persecutors. I take a chapter from the life of Elijah, the prophet, known as Elijah the Tishbite, to illustrate this thought. His country, through the influence of Jezebel, wife of Ahab, a Phoenician woman and a worshipper of Baal, was given over to the worship of the gods of the Phoenicians. The prophets of Israel were great souls studying the conditions of their country, interpreting everything from the point of view of great moral and religious principles. They came forth from their seclusion, with messages direct from God, to denounce the sins of the court and of the people; and with their "Thus saith the Lord," they were the purifying element in Hebrew politics and social and common life. The

priest always becomes a formalist and a literalist, whether in that century or in this. The priest always likes things as they are; the routine of worship; the splendor of ceremonial pageant; the incense and the offering. The priest is a blind tool in the hands of an unscrupulous king and noble; but the prophet is the independent soul. His message comes to him direct from God. It is always fresh and full and free. He never fears the face of man. It is he that, in the language of Ahab, "Troubled Israel;" and kings counted them as those who stirred up sedition among the people.

Prophets are usually lonely men; their message comes to them while ploughing, or herding cattle, or tending sheep, or sitting in the mountains in silent contemplation of the movement of affairs. Such an one was Elijah, known as the Tishbite. He suddenly appears in an exigency in his nation's history. He has called together the people at Mount Carmel. He has offered them their choice between Jehovah and Baal. If Jehovah be God, follow Him; if Baal, follow him. Choose ye this day whom ye will serve. And then in fierce exultant passion he has slain the prophets of Baal and the prophets of the grove. And now the words of the fierce Phoenician queen comes to himself. "So let the gods do to me and more also, if I make not thy life as the life of one of them by to-morrow about this time." He who fears not the king flees from the queen, and at last finds himself amid the dread desolations of Sinai.

He stands in the mouth of the cave; the fierce winds rend the mountains; the volcanic fires that have shattered those great mountains, rock them now on their bases. The lightnings play about their black summits. Then in the silence that follows this, a still small voice asks him, "What doest thou here, Elijah?" He says, "I have been very jealous for the Lord God of Hosts,

because the children of Israel have forsaken Thy covenants, and have thrown down Thine altars and have slain Thy prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life to take it." It sounds like a pitiful plea as if it ought to have its response in kindness and sympathy, and there seems a certain hardness and lack of sympathy in the answer which comes: "Go; return on thy way to the wilderness of Damascus ; you have left your place and left your duty, and when thou comest, annoint Hazael to be king over Syria. And Jehu to be king over Israel; and Elisha to be prophet in thy stead." "I have still left seven thousand men in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed to Baal; and every mouth which hath not kissed him."


It is as if He had said, you are not to think this cause rests on you alone. Why do you say, "I have been very jealous for the Lord God of Hosts?" They seek my life to destroy it," as if you and you alone sustained the great cause of righteousness in this world. You are one among many. Even should you die, this cause will not die; there are seven thousand like yourself that have been true to me.

God rests his cause on no one man, I understand these words to mean. God rests his world on no one issue. No one battle decides things. The death of one man does not stop the movement of things. Sir Edward Creasy wrote a book which is called "The Fifteen Decisive Battles of the World." The decisive battles of the world can not be numbered by fifteen or one hundred. They have been fought out by man with his duty and with his God in silence.

"God's state," says Milton, "is kingly." Thousands at his bidding wait to speed o'er land and sea. One of the best results of the National Conference of Charities and Correction, which has just closed its session here, I count to be this: the introduction of many

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