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would have been of no service to him in that lonely and desolate place. But Elijah had a friend above, and when man deserted him, God took him up; when he could do nothing for himself, God was able and willing to do all things for him.

And it is in such circumstances as those in which Elijah was placed, that the value of religion is seen and felt. When people are going on prosperously, and the world smiles upon them, and they have no crosses or losses to disturb or vex them, then the importance of having God as their friend, is little felt. But when the scene is changed, and disappointments and trials and afflictions come down fast and thick and heavy upon their heads, then they feel the happiness of him whose strength is God, and whose rock and fortress is the Lord Almighty.

God cared for Elijah, if no one else did; took care that no one should come near his hiding-place to find him out; sent him a meal of food twice every day; and comforted his heart with spiritual consolation. So that I will venture to say, Elijah by the brook Cherith, without an earthly friend, without a house to shelter him or a bed to lie on, the proscribed outlaw Elijah, was a far happier man than any to be found in the court of Ahab, not excepting Ahab himself. For what? Religion gives a man peace-peace of conscience-peace towards God: and the brightest jewel that sparkles in the crown of earth's proudest prince, is not half so valuable as even a little of that peace, which it is the Christian's privilege to possess. We learn from Elijah's history moreover,

(2.) The insufficiency and uncertainty of all earthly sources of comfort and support. The brook

Cherith is an emblem of these. It was but a brook-shallow, having very little water in it at any time-and what there was, soon failed. I say, this is an apt emblem of all earthly sources of succour and support.

They are insufficient at any time. Let a person run the round of all this world's gayeties, vanities, and pleasures-let him drink as much as he will of all the good things it has to give; and he finds after all that it is but a brook, where there are more stones than water, and which promises at a distance more than it can perform, to which he has had recourse for the satisfying of a restless and uneasy soul. Solomon gave the world a fair trial, and ascertained the utmost it could do; and the conclusion to which he came was this-" Vanity of vanities, all is vanity."

So all earthly pleasures and comforts are most uncertain. Elijah did not enjoy the brook long. The dry weather lasted and the water disappeared; and the next time he went to it to satisfy his thirst, there was no water there for him to satisfy his thirst.

So do worldly people find it with their sources of comfort and satisfaction. The dry weather of affliction-trial — sickness—death comes; and where then are the waters of which they have so long been drinking? what comfort and satisfaction do they then find from those pleasures and pursuits, of which they used to be so fond?

Now it is not so with the Christian. It is no shallow uncertain brook of which he drinks. "There is a river," saith the Psalmist, "the streams whereof make glad the city of God." It is from a river then, that he satisfies the thirst of

his soul. And a river is deep-broad-abundant and unfailing in its supplies. So God's mercy and love and grace in Christ Jesus, is plentiful and abundant. There is enough for you and for me and for every sinner in the world, if we will apply to it. And it is also open and free to us all. Who ever thinks of asking leave to take water out of the river? It is common property; the poorest as well as the richest has a right to it. So is it with God's grace. It is freely offered to every one of us. The vilest and guiltiest, the most sinful and unworthy, are freely welcome to it. "Whosoever will," says the Scripture, "let him come and take of the water of life freely."

(3.) The feeding of Elijah in the desert symbolizes God's supply of His servants' spiritual wants. For consider,

The Christian's state in this world. It is a wilderness to him, in which he finds, as others do, that there are far more thorns than roses, more pains than pleasures. And the best of us is apt to think too much about the desert, and to make much more of his troubles than he ought; and to wish that the world was a little more comfortable, and that he had not so many of its trials and temptations to contend with. Consider further,

The source whence the Christian's spiritual life is sustained. Every holy desire, every good thought, every heavenly affection in our hearts, comes from God. Elijah had no food in the desert, but what God was pleased to send him. So there is nothing good in our hearts, but what divine grace is pleased to put there. And what would have been the fate of the prophet in the wilderness, if God had not supplied him with

food? He must have been starved to death: and what will become of our souls, if God is not pleased to give us His converting and sanctifying grace? Consider further,

The means and instruments employed by God for maintaining spiritual life-their utter weakness and insufficiency of themselves for this purpose. God might have sent angels to feed his servant Elijah in the désert; but He sent ravens.

So He is pleased to make use of ministers and ordinances and books and a variety of other means, utterly inadequate and insufficient of themselves, for the purpose of implanting and maintaining spiritual life in men's dead souls. And why does He make use of such feeble and unworthy instruments? In order that, as Elijah never dreamed of ascribing praise to the ravens, so neither should Christians ever think of ascribing the praise of their conversion and growth in grace, to the means and instruments employed, but to God alone, to whom it is only due. Consider further,

The food supplied to the prophet in the desert, as to quality and quantity.

As to its quality. It was "bread and flesh,"something solid and substantial--wholesome and nourishing. And what bread and flesh are to man's body, that God's grace is to man's soul. It supports and sustains; it cheers and nourishes. The Christian cannot live upon vanity and folly and sin, as others do. He wants better food than this; and he finds the food he wants in his Bible, in prayer, in thinking upon heavenly things, in meditating upon the Saviour and His finished work. These things satisfy and support his soul. These are the bread and flesh on which he feeds, and of which he never grows tired.

As to its quantity. The ravens brought Elijah bread and flesh every day, and twice a day, morning and evening. People who know but little about religion think, that to take care of their souls once a week, is quite sufficient: and many, who come to church once a day, never come twice; they come to God's house in the morning, and go to their neighbours and friends in the evening.

But if God had dealt with Elijah's body, as these deal with their souls, what would have been the end?

Be assured that to make religion a ground of real hope, it must be made an every day's business. And there is no real Christian, no one who has a well-founded hope of everlasting life, who does not twice every day, morning and evening, desire of God pardon for the past, and more grace for the future.

And mark, though the ravens brought bread and flesh every day, they only brought one meal at a time, what was enough for a present supply, and no more. Elijah never had a stock beforehand : he never could say, 'Now I can do without the ravens to-morrow; I have enough by me for to-day and to-morrow too.' So neither does God ever give of His grace more than enough for present use. No Christian can say, 'I need not pray, I need not read my Bible to-morrow; I have done so to-day.' He finds that to-day's grace will only do for to-day's wants, and that another day will call for a fresh supply. Yet how many sit down contented and satisfied with the little knowledge and faith and love they have, and never look out for the arrival of the ravens to bring them more from God!

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