Imagens das páginas

that is with God himself. He in whom all souls delight; he in the enjoyment of whom we have hearts ease and satisfaction, and w.hom to enjoy is happiness and eternal life : the light of whose countenance is better than life itself. Now Jonah is offended with God himself.

2. The cause of his offence. He is offended with God's goodness, he is offended with finners repentance ; he is offended that repentance doth take effect. Was ever a man offended in this manner ? behold here the infirmity of human nature ! let no man be self-confident or presumptuous : let every man's mind be cloathed with modesty, and dwell in humility. Let us all fear ourselves, and live in the sense of our dependance upon God. What prodigious creatures we are, if we fall into distemper ? how monstrously may we misunderstand ourselves ? and this is not only manifest from the case of Jonah, but is universally acknowledged. St. James speaks of Elias, that extraordinary person, Jam. v. 17. That be was a man subject to like passions with other men. And so, Aets xiv. 15. Paul and Barnabas, when in the exercise of their commission, so behaved themselves, that the people were ready to deify them: but they acknowledged themselves to be men of like pasions with them.

Since then all is not true reason that takes place in the lives of the very best of us, it is to be wished that we would be no where peremptory, no where felf-pleasers, that we would not be dogmatical and felf-assuming ; that we would not judge and censure one another ; that all our passions would display Vol. I,


themselves in tenderness and compassion. In so doing we should represent God himself. Pfal. ciïi. 8. The Lord is merciful and gracious, how to anger, &c. Isa. xlix. 1.5. As a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him.

See then that you keep out of passion, if you would not shamefully miscarry; and if you be in a passion, never believe yourselves, or be confident of any thing you did, if not in calm reason. If in passion, review and examine ; and when calm, consider and rectify that which you did amiss : you fee you have reason from the miscarriage of Jonah. 'Tis strange that a man should be angry and displeased with God; yet thus får did his paffion draw him. Let us from hence know how frail and fubject to infirmity we are. That ever it should come into the head of a man to be aggrieved that there is place for repentance ! and that God should pardon upon repentance ! and that God should give over to punish when men repent ! one would think, we should be merciful for our own fakes. Was not David rash in judgment when Nathan represented in a parable what he himself had done? he passed a sentence that he would not have had executed. That we may not forsake our own mercies, and pass judgment upon ourselves, let us be very cautious and deliberate, and easy to make candid constructions of other mens actions. Then how unreasonable is it to be aggrieved at God's goodness, at finners repentance ? If a man be once out of the use of reason, there is no bounds to unreasonableness ; once out of the way of reason, who knows what will be; or how far a man

.. will

bo will go ? how desperate a thing it is in Jonah, that & he would have this stand upon record in holy scripia ture, that God did refuse to give finners repentance, and.

when they had repented, he did refuse to accept them ; and yet this Jonah would have had upon record,

clean contrary to the dealings of God. For we find 004 when Ahab (who was a person that had sold himand self to do wickedness) did but repent and humble OB himself, God promiseth, that the evil should not come 25 in his days ; but by Jonah's consent, God should not 212 give way to repentance. Homepage But you will ask, wherefore do I blemish the rea od putation of a prophet, of a type of Christ ? 0I I answer, whatsoever is upon record in the scrip12 ture, is for our admonition : we look upon him fi now, how he acts in his distemper, not to cry him en down, but, by his loss, to give ourselves advantage. 21- 1. Let us in this instance, see our own weakillness and informity, and be modest and humble. Let

be us not brag of our own reason and wisdom. Let us all all know, that we are safe only in God's hands ; and Eble that if we incur a forfeiture of God's protection, we 12! may extremely miscarry ; as we may see in this inza stance of Jonah. list 2. Let us preserve our innocence, and fear to fall De into passion, beware of running into such heat and me distemper of mind. be 3. Take care of selfishness and narrowness of spiz! rit : the narrowness of Jonah's mind, who so much Min valued his credit of being a true prophet, that the of safety of so many thousands seemed nothing in his an eye ; though herein he contradicted the very nature

of God, and his own knowledge : for, faith he, 1 knew that thou wert gracious, &c. And also, it was contrary to the express declarations that God had made, that though he should denounce against sinners, and commissionate a prophet to declare the particular judgment ; yet he is not bound to bring the judgment upon that place or persons against whom he had denounced them, if the case of repentance interveen.

DISCOURSE II. The Perfection of the Mercy of God.

JOEL ii. 13. For he is gracious and merciful, flow to anger, and of

great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.

ALTHOUGH I have changed my text, I I have not left my argument ; and I have done

it for this end : in Jonah we find the self same words, but to a very unnatural use ; by these words

fonah would justify himself. I therefore purposely left that prophet, because I would not further inquire into his distemper ; though it is of great use, that Fonah reports thus of God, who would not have it so. The advantages that I have made, are these,

1. That


1. That by taking notice of the miscarriage of so eminent a person, that he shouļd so fail and miscar, ry, we may thereby fee the frailty of human nature ; and this should teach us to be, modest and humble, and to live in a daily sense of our dependence upon God. Moses, the meekest man upon earth, stands upon record, that he spake unadvisedly with his lips.

2. Jonah's distemper represents to you the danger of passion ; how Jonah misbehaves himself to God, how injurious and uncharitable to man, when in a pafsion ! It is not safe for any man to believe himfelf, or to trust himself, if in a heat. Beware then of running into heat and distemper of minda

The third advantage that I make is, to recom: mend the spirit of the gospel ; it is always to be found in a spirit of love. Our Saviour, living and dying, was always in a fpirit of love ; and the first martyr St. Stephen, he exactly writes after his copy,

Aets vii. 60. And he cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. Wherein he doth much exceed the testimony in the Old Testament, by: Zachariah, who faith, The Lord require it at their hands. I cannot say, but Zachariah's prayer was just ; but St. Stephen's was gracious. These things are upon record for our instruction ; therefore we are to take notice of them to make us wary, left we our selves be overtaken ; and to make us tender-fpiritedy out of the sense of our own fallibility...

This for a reason why I take. notice of Jonah's, misbehaviour.

I now follow this prophet, For he' is gracious and merciful &c.

B: 3



« AnteriorContinuar »