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of heaven, and comparing him with idol gods: Have any of the gods of the nations, faith he, delivered his land out of my hands, that the Lord should deliver Jerusalem out of my hand, Ísa. xxxvi. 18, 19,
Or certainly, here is some uncircumcised Philiftine that is risen up to defy the host of Israel, which was such a provocation to David, that, upon it, he put his life into his hand, and went out against him, as you read, 1 Sam. xvii. 39, 40.
Or certainly, here is some Baal's worship maintained and applauded ; which was a provocation to
Elijah's spirit, that he commanded them to be take i en and flain, every man of them, 1 Kings xviii. 40.
Or certainly, one would think that here was such a thing as false worship ; which was such a provocation to Moses, that made him throw down the tables which were in his hands, in which were writ the commandments of God, and to break theń to pieces, as you find it, Exod. xxxii. 19. Or,
2. Some great enormity or departure from the immutable and unchangeable law of everlasting righteousness, goodness and truth; that law of heaven, which is according to the very nature of God himself. As Nathan represented to David, a case, wherein a rich man spared his own flocks and herds, which were very many, and took the poor man's ewe-lamb, which he had nourished up, ás you may read, 2 Sam. xii. 1, 2. Prodigious cruel. ty and unmercifulness ! yea, so great unrighteoufness, thàt at the very representation thereof to David, tho’a person guilty, and he himself represented
by this shadow, as having highly offended God; yet his anger was greatly kindled against the man, insomuch that he faith to Nathan, The man that hath done this thing, shall surely die.
Or else, certainly here is some such thing as the Ifraelites meditated against the Benjamites, when they lay in wait to destroy them, Joshua ïi. 2. because they had set up a new temple, and provoked the Lord by their folly.
Or something like what St. John faw in his vifion, Rev. xvii. 2. A spiritual whore, making drunk all the potentates of the earth, with the wine of her fornications ; true causes indeed, of indignation, and of just exasperation. Or,
3. If neither of these two, at least there is some dreadful denunciation of judgment, and some terrible threatnings, at which the very nature of man doth startle and tremble, as you have our Saviour speaking, Mat. xxiv. concerning the destruction of Jerusalem, that there should not be one stone left upon ango, ther, which foould not be thrown down.
Or, such commiffion as was granted to Saul to dea stroy Amalek, and not to leave either man or beast alive. And so certainly one would think that the prophet is moved by human pity and compassion, as Zipporah was at the circumcifion of the child, Exod.
Or certainly, here is such cruelty as is practised upon the cities of Ammon, 2 Sam. xii. 31. where we read, that David brought forth the people that were therein, and put them under saws and harrows of iron, and axes of iron, and made them pass through the A 2
ks, that thoregoing chapter for fo I find it
brick-kiln, &c. One would not think nor imagine less to be the cause that Jonah was so highly difpleased, and greatly angry.
But here is the wonder ; nothing that is any just cause ; indeed there is no cause at all of any true offence, or real provocation : 'tis a shame to fay what is the cause. The good man is displeased with God himself, and he is offended at the divine goodness and compassion, and that God hath refpect to the repentance of sinners ; for so I find it, at the end of the foregoing chapter ; and God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way, and God repented of the evil that he had said that he would do unto them, and he did it not, Jonah iii. 10. And immediately it follows, that when Jonah understood this, he was highly displeased and greatly angry. But strange it is, that he should be angry at this ; for this is a thing contrary to the sense of the lower and upper world.
1. Contrary to the sense of the lower world ; for we find that the shepherd rejoiceth when he hath found his lost sheep, Luke xv. 5. and verse 9, the woman rejoiceth when she hath found her loft piece of silver, and the father rejoiceth when his prodigal son returneth home again, verse 20. .
2. Contrary to the sense of the upper world; for we read, that the angels of heaven, they rejoice at the conversion and repentance of one finner, verse 1o.
. . *. But we have now found the man, of whom it is
spoken in the gospel, that his eye was evil, because God zaś goodMat. xx. 15. He doth prefer his own
conceited credit and esteem, before the lives and beings of fixscore thoufand persons ; for so God himself hath given us the number of them, verse 11. of this chapter : and I will say conceited credit, because God himself hath given us to understand that all his denunciations against sinners are to be understood with a clause of reservation; and he doth always except this case, if the finner repent. Though his denunciations seem to be positive and peremptory, yet they always include this condition, unless the finner do repent, as I will shew youby three fcriptures for the present, among many, Jer. xviii. 8. where God faith thus, That if he doth declare against a nation or people ; if that nation or people against whom he hath denounced evil, turn from the evil. of their ways, he will repent of the evil he thought to do unto them; and, Ezek. xviii. 21. If the wicked turn from his evil way, and fet himself. to observe - my statutes, and do that which is right in my sight, all his wickedness fall not be remembred against him. Again, Ezek. xxxiii. 14, When I say to the wicked, thou shalt surely, die ; if he turn from his wickedness, and do that which is lawful and right, he snall not die. Though God had said it before, that the wicked should surely die : but thus he would have it be understood, that if he forsake his iniquity, he shall surely live ; and verse 19. you have the same words. These scriptures I have brought you for the encouragement of men to repent, and to leave off to fin, and to return to their duty, and to convert to God, be their case never so forlorn and desperate. For wħat can more encourage himg, than that judgment shall be suspended, and the re
penting finner received unto mercy and favour. You see God doth make this declaration, even after his denunciation of judgment; if the case of repentance come between, then God is not bound to proceed. And for your satisfaction further, I leave this notion with you. There is a mighty difference between God's declaring himself in a way of promise and in a way of threatning : if he declares by way of promise, he is obliged to make it good, for by this he gives a right to the thing promised ; and men may claim as good title from God's promise, though of grace and favour ; for God is faithful, and he will perform what he hath promised: but if he threaten, here is no right acquired; for who will demand of God that he will fulfill his threatning ? But to proceed.
That which makes the wonder the greater ; you nah, whom we find in this distemper, is of all the prophets the type of Christ ; our Saviour instanceth in him, There shall be no sign given, but the sign of the prophet Jonah, Mat. xii. 40. I am sure, in this temper and disposition of his, he is no type of Christ; for our Saviour doth declare, that the Son of man came, to seek and save that which was loft, Luke xix. 20. And he wept over Jerusalem, when he did but consider the destruction that was approaching : but this temper of Jonah's admits of no apology. This selfishness that is in Jonah, and his preferring his own conceited credit before the safety of multitudes; I say, this admits of no apology. You may see it in five particulars.