« FöregåendeFortsätt »
having entertained a very mean Opinion of him as a Prophet. And 'tis very certain, that he was guilty of fome great Failings, and grievous Offences, that leffen and obfcure his Character: But then 'tis as certain, that he was endued likewife with fome eminent Virtues and Qualities, among which (to mention no more at present) I cannot but take Notice of his free, voluntary, and generous Offer, to lay down his own Life, for the Preservation of the Lives of all those that were in the Ship with him. For when there arofe a mighty Tempeft in the Sea, fo that the Ship was like to be broken, and they were all in great Jeopardy, and had caft Lots to know for whofe Sake the Tempest was fent, and the Lot fell upon Jonah, upon further Inquiry he frankly told them the whole Truth, and that for his Sake this great Tempeft was upon them; and then freely offered himself as a Ranfom for them, advifing them to take him up, and to caft him into the Sea, and affuring them, that thereupon the Sea would be calm. Now this generous Propofal of the Prophet, to be caft away for the faving of others, was an eminent Type of the Sacrifice of the Death of Christ, that great Free-Will Offering that was made upon the Crofs for the Redemption of Mankind. 'Tis true, this is not commonly thought to be implied in the Prophecy of Jonah, nor is it mentioned by our Saviour in
in his Application of this Part of that Prophecy to himself. The Prophet is only fet forth in exprefs Terms, as a Type of his Burial and Refurrection. For as Jonah was three Days and three Nights in the Whale's Belly, fays our Lord, fo fhall alfo the Son of Man be three Days and three Nights, in the Heart
the Earth. But tho' this only be mentioned, why might not the other Part of the History be intended as a Typical Representation of the Death and Sacrifice, as this was of the Burial and Refurrection of Chrift? The Words of our Saviour, in the ftrict Senfe, and taken by themselves, fignify no more than his Burial; but yet as they refer to another subsequent Event, the Fish's cafting out Jonah upon dry Land, they must be allowed to point at his Refurrection; and if they imply a fubfequent Event, why may they not look back likewife to one preceding, viz. The Ground or Reason of his being caft into the Sea, which was his own mere Motion, and voluntary Offering? For he made the first Offer himself, and upon this Confideration, that if the Mariners caft him forth into the Sea, they would be safe, and the Sea would be calm. Thus, to all human Appearance, he freely and willingly expofed himself, for the Sake of others, to inevitable Death. And what could more lively typify the Free-Will Offering of Chrift? 'Tis true, at last he did not die, neither was Ifaac flain, B 2
tho' his Father's Hand was lifted up to give the fatal Stroke, and yet was a fignal Type of the Death of Chrift; and fo might the other, notwithstanding his miraculous Prefervation, efpecially when 'tis confidered, that that very Prefervation was defigned, as a Figure of a much greater Event, even of our Lord's rifing again the third Day. When Jonah had made known his Cafe and Condition, and told the Men of his Country and Religion, of the God whom he ferved, and of the Occafion of his coming into the Ship, and had withal declared, that the only Way to fave themselves from the Danger they were in, was to caft him into the Sea, the Mariners were at a Stand, and in a great Strait what to do. Being willing to fave their own Lives, and unwilling to take away the Life of another, they tried once more what their Strength and Skill could do, and therefore rowed hard to bring the Ship to Land: But when they found that all their Endeavours were vain, and that the Sea ftill wrought and was tempeftuous, they then implored the God of Ifrael, whofe Servant Jonah profeffed himfelf to be, that this Act of theirs, which was neither voluntary, nor chofen by them, might not be imputed to them as a Crime. Wherefore they cried unto the Lord, and faid, We befeech thee, O Lord, we beseech thee, let us not perish for this Man's Life, and lay not upon us innocent Blood: For thou, O Lord, haft done as it pleafed thee.
This Prayer is no other than the Voice of Nature, or the pure Dictate of Natural Religion, and what any Perfon, by the Light of Reason, without the Help of Revelation, might have been prompted to make. For to take away the Life of any Man, without an exprefs or fufficient Warrant from just Authority, muft appear, in the Eye of natural Reason, to be an unjustifiable and criminal Act. But the Cafe of the Mariners in the Text was otherwise; and yet they were not free from fearful Apprehenfions of doing amifs. For tho' they had not only the Confent, but the Request of the Person that was to fuffer; tho' they had Reason to believe him as a Prophet, and that he could not advise them to what was directly finful and unlawful, especially in a Matter that concerned his own Life; tho' God himself likewife did, in fome Measure, fignify his Pleasure in this Cafe, by the cafting of Lots, and fuffering the Lot to fall upon Jonah, and by continuing the Tempeft upon them, of all which they were fenfible themselves, as they confefs in the latter Part of the Text; and laftly, tho' to outward Appearance they must all have perished if they had not taken this Method, yet still they were afraid, and would not venture to proceed, before they had recommended themselves to the Mercy of God, and befought him not to lay upon them innocent Blood. Now fuch an Example from
from Mariners, from Heathens, from Strangers, of fo great an Averfion and Tenderness to take away the Life of another, notwithftanding the moft weighty Confiderations, that could well be urged for that Purpose, and of their great Readiness to implore the Divine Mercy on that Account, is furely more than enough, not only to condemn thofe barbarous Regicides, who made no Scruple to imbrue their Hands in the Blood of the Lord's Anointed, but likewise to shame and reprove those of the Separation, who have hitherto refused to join with us, in deprecating the Vengeance due to the BloodGuiltinefs of this Day. From this remarkable Paffage therefore, as now explained, I fhall take Occafion to lay before you these two Things.
First, I fhall endeavour from hence to make fome Estimate of the Greatness of that Guilt, which was contracted by fhedding the Blood of the Royal Martyr, by comparing both Cafes together.
Secondly, I fhall fhew, that 'tis the Duty
of all the People of this Land, to deplore the Guilt, and deprecate the Judgments, that may juftly be inflicted upon us, for this national and crying Enormity.