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But for all this, we find Jonah in a bad temperT Jonah iv. 9. where God asks him, if he did well tt be angry ; and he faid, / do well to be angry, even unta 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 sixseore thoufand persons, body and soul, to secure his credit, and reputation of being a true prophet ; as you may see by God's reasoning with him, Jonah iv. n.
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: Hadji thou compajston on the gourd, for which thou didst not labour, but it rose up of itself in a mght, on a sudden, and a thing of no long continuance , and Jhould not I have compajston 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 jhould not be too forward to pass a sentence of absolution upon high and great offenders. Not that I will deny them the benesit of
repentance, but I would not have them have the credit of it in this state ; for it may prove but hurtsul to the community, and contrary to the example qf scripture : for so we find concerning Solomon* notwithstanding so great things are spoken of him before his idolatry, yet asterwards there is no mention of him; so that we are left without any declaration of his state God-ward. And David, aster his great sin, there is never absolute testimony given of his integrity, but with reservation. It is to the hurt of mankind, that great and enormous of-» senders should haye thesentence of-absolution pasted upon them. I do not deprive any of the benefit of repentance for the fasety of their soul ; 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 some observations upon what we have been speaking.
1. Let us learn from what we have heard of J§itah, to consider, in how fad and forlorn a condition we are, if God be not with us. Let every man use Jonah as a glass for him to see his own foulness in: and let us examine and see what hath been past, and if in some time of our lise, we have not been in such a distemper as Jonah here was.
2. Observe how sin 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.
: . g.-'Take notice from hence, of the great danger efselfishness, and stiffly adhering to a man's own fense.; Jfonce- we relax our selves from thexulea and laws of action, and then humour ourselves,: see how we may be misguided. . .1. .: .;.c i
4. Let this be for caution and admonition ; which fe a veryunhappy observation, That persons acquaint-, ed with religion, if once out of the way of reason andconseienoe, they prove rather more exorbitant than others -as we have fad instances of it in scrip-' ture.:When David had once broken loose, we then find hirst idle, and from idleness to wantonness, from wantonnefe'to adultery, andifrom adultery^ to murder: we also find him, 2 Sam. xii. 31. practising oVuelty, beyond the'bounds of reason, contrary tat the doctrines religion and human nature ; for had it not b'eeW enough to have subdued the Ammonites, but he must cause them to pass under saws and harriws of if on;-and to go through the brick-kiln; tilings which we/e Jnever commanded him to do; and a: man should never 'prosecute revenge to die-UNmost. '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 ar false accufation of Mephibojheth, he gives his land to his servant, and upon complaint made unto him, he faith,; ^trouble ?ne no more in this matter; I have said, thou and 7AbsL divide the land. Even so, when. Peter had once broken loose and denied his master, he soon aster adds imprecations and cursings. I do not now instance in these failings of good men, but for our advantage ; for the apostle hath told us that.
all things that stand upon record in scripture, arefor our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come, 1 Cor»jc.. 11.. Hence we are taught what great care a man ought to take,,to preserve his innocence and integrity, for these are a. fafeguard andi protection to kiih ; these give, him security, and preserve him in fasety. A man doth defy sin at the fast, but when he is out-of ths use of his principles,, which are wont tc. stay and govern him, he is as * weak man without a staff.. Principles of religion, and conscience, they are a bar against iniquity,, whereby it receives a check, a stop, and controul: but if a man discharge himself once of the reason ofhis mind, or the rule of conscience, wedo-not know, how far he may miscarry. If once- the principles of. religion and conscience give way, and we voluntarily or negligently incur a forseiture of.our innocen-cy and integrity, and by fo doing, lose. God's protection, we shall be exposed to all manner of eyils ;, for these are as a dam, which once being brokendown, all evils will flow in.upon us : foe, beginnings! effn, are like the lettings in of mighty waters, which at the first might have been prevented, but if onceit hath got over, twenty times as much will not stay it. So it is in. sin ; while a man retains his innocence, there is a modesty and ingenuity upon his mind, and that will be his preservation ; but if once a man, either by gross neglect, or voluntarily doth, consent to iniquity, and so betray himself, he doth incur a. forseiture of God's protection, and cast away that which is his greatest security and desence;. and this is the true account of thatgreatimpudence-..
-and immodesty that many sinners arrive unto. For our better security, let us -consider,
j. That it is much easier to prevent, than to restrain sin, and to recover a man's self. 'Tis easier a great deal, not to consent to sin, than to lay any limits upon one's self. ",
2. Let us be very wary and cautious of approaching evil ; while we are upon our legs, and are ourselves, let-us-be jealous and cautious of approaching evil.
3. Let us have no self-considence ; let us not arrogate to ourselves, as if we were self-sussicient, but know that our sufficiency is of God, whose strength is sufficient for us in our weakness. And these are the advantages that I make of Jonah's distemper.
Now to proceed. It is pity, that that should he true which Jonah would have, that a sinner should in any state be uncapable of repentance, even aster denunciation of judgment ; or that repentance' should not at any time take elfect; and this Jonah would have had. It were a thoufand pities it should be so, for it would prove the undoing of the world, and the worst news that could be brought from heaven unto men; that there should be an incapacityf of repentance in any state of sin whatsoever; of \ that repentance, in any case, at any time, should prove successless and inesfectual; and yet, this is' that which Jonah would have had. And he is a great deal the more to blame, because he is wilful in his distemper : for in the text we find, that Jonah knew before hand, that if they did repent, <jod was so gracious and merciful, that he wouldJ