Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

1. That nothing is more unreasonable in it self. Should not finite and fallible creatures, (as the best of men are) having erred and mistaken, if they return to sober judgment, right apprehensions, fee their error, and disclaim what they have done amiss, humble themselves, ask God forgiveness, and submit to him, and deprecate his displeasure ; should not such find mercy with infinite goodness ? there is nothing more reasonable.

2. Nothing is worse for Jonah himself, and the whole world besides him. For, what should become of us all, if there were no place for repentance ? and for Jonah himself, how shall he be pardoned for his present distemper, if God should not allow place for repentance ?

3. Nothing is more unnatural, in respect of his of fice; for by his office, he was a prophet ; and, was it not his work to promote repentance and reformation among finners and should this be with out effect ? But,

4. Nothing worse can be put upon God, than to be represented implacable and irreconcileable. Will he have God full of anger, and retain it for ever? Would he have God forget to be merciful ?

5. And lastly, This would render men hopeless and desperate in the world. 'Tis pity, Jonah's notion thould be true. What, no place for repentance,

and repentance without effect? what, all one with the impenitent and penitent? this is the case; but this is not the first distemper that we find Jonah in..

For, if we look to Yonah, chap. I.

1. We shall find Jonah in great refractoriness and disobedience ; God sends him to Nineveh, and he goes to Tarshish, Jonah i: 3.

2. We shall find him stupid and senseless, and more blockish than the idolatrous mariners ; and of them, they use to say, None nearer death, none farther from God. These stupid persons learned this in the storm, to apply to their gods; and they came and awakened him with indignation, and said unto him, What meanest thou, O Aeeper ? arise and call upon thy God; art thou not sensible of the danger that thou art in ? Jonah i. 5,6.

3. We find him in a case of desperate infolency ; for when the mariners found out that he was to blame, (for he could not avoid telling them) they incline to compassionate him, and rowed hard to bring the ship to land, but he bid them throw him into the sea, verfe 12, 13. ; for we have no reason to think that this came from the greatness of his faith; for we do not read any word of his application to God, or of his prayer, till he came into the whale's belly.

Take notice here by the way, that Jonah is not wrought upon by storms and tempests, but he is affected with the sense of God's preservation. 'Tis ingenuity, goodness, and kindness that works

upon men, that effects their repentance, and brings them home to God; and this is his course generally. Despiseft thou the riches of his goodness, not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance,

Rom. ii. 4.

. But

But for all this, we find Jonah in a bad temper, Fonah iv. 9. where God asks him, if he did well to be angry; and he said, I do well to be angry, even unts death. Here you see he was refractory, peevish, and in a disingenuous temper. But

4. We find him in a state that is unnatural, barbarous and inhumane ; for he desired the destruction of fixscore thousand persons, body and soul, to fecure his credit, and reputation of being a true prophet; as you may see by God's reasoning with him, Jonah iv. II.

5. All these his distempers are aggravated by his late deliverance in the belly of a whale.

6. He is not overcome by the declaration of the reason of things ; no, not out of the mouth of God himself. For, God reasons with him by a gourd, which he had caused to come up as a shelter for him ; but he caused a worm to smite it, so that it 'withered. But Jonah had pity on the gourd, and he was angry for what had happened to it; and God made advantage of this, and improved it for his information : Hadst thou compassion on the gourd, for which thou didft not labour, but it rose up of itself in a night, on a sudden, and a thing of no long continuance , and should not I have compassion of such a multitude of people ? Jonah iv. 10, 14.

And lastly, The story leaves him without any account of returning to himself, and to a due temper ; upon which I shall observe this ; that in high iniquities and great enormities, we should not be too forward to pass a sentence of absolution upon high and great of fenders. Not that I will deny then the benefit of repentance, but I would not have them have the credit of it in this state ; for it may prove but hurtful to the community, and contrary to the example of fcripture : for fo we find concerning Solomon, notwithstanding fo great things are spoken of him

repentance 3. Taka

before his idolatry, yet afterwards there is no menfrat Dotion of him ; so that we are left without any decla

ration of his state God-ward. And David, after his great fin, there is never abfolute testimony give en of his integrity, but with reservation. It is to the hurt of mankind, that great and enormous offenders should have the sentence of absolution passed upon them. I do not deprive any of the benefit of repentance for the fafety of their foul ; but let us not talk so much of it, as to give them the credit of it ; for this would be to credit their state, which we should not do, neither do we follow the example of scripture therein.

Now, to make fome observations upon what we have been speaking.

1. Let us learn from what we have heard of Janah, to consider, in how sad and forlorn a condition, we are, if God be not with us. Let every man use Jonah as a glass for him to fee his own foulness in: and let us examine and fee what hath been past, and if in some time of our life, we have not been in such a distemper as Jonah here was.

2. Observe how fin multiplies, and grows upon us, if once we fall into a distemper. Here is disobedience, and peevishness and wrathfulness, and displeasure against God; and barbarous cruelty, and inhumanity, and casting off the bowels of compassion.

ز

3. Take notice from hence, of the great danger of selfishness, and stiffly adhering to a man's own sense. If once we relax our felves from the rules and laws of action, and then humour ourselves, see how we may be misguided.

4. Let this be for caution and admonition ; which is a very unhappy obfervation, That persons acquainted with religion, if once out of the way

of reason and conscience, they prove rather more exorbitant than others ; as we have fad instances of it in fcripture. When David had once broken loose, we then find him idle, and from idleness to wantonness, from wantonness to adultery, and from adultery, to murder: we also find him, 2 Sam. xii. 31. practising cruelty, beyond the bounds of reason, contrary to the doctrine of religion and human nature ; for had it not been enough to have subdued the Ammonites, but he must cause them to pass under faws and harrows of iron, and to go through the brick-kiln ; things which were never commanded him to do ; and a man should never prosecute revenge to the utmost. Thus we find David to do, after he had contracted the guilt of those former sins : and 2 Sam. xix. 29. we find him most rash in his judgment; for a false accusation of Mephibosheth, he gives his land to his servant, and upon complaint made unto him, he faith, Trouble me no more in this matter ; I have faid, thou and Ziba divide the land. Even so, when Peter had once broken loose and denied his master, he soon after adds imprecations and curfings. I do not now instance in these failings of good men, but for our advantage ; for the apostle hath told us that

all

[ocr errors]
« FöregåendeFortsätt »