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deliverance confirmed his authority as a prophet, so Christ was declared to be the Son of God with power, by his resurrection from the dead; and it therefore becomes us to hear and obey him in all things.

CHAP. II.

The prayer of Jonah, and his delivery from the belly of the fish ; finding himself alive, and preserved in so extraordinary a manner, where, without a miracle, he would have been immediately suffocated, he drew encouragement to pray and hope.

HEN Jonah prayed unto the LORD his God out of the

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his mind, and the substance of his thoughts during his confinement; I cried by reason of mine affliction, or, out of mine affliction, unto the LORD, and he heard me ; out of the belly of hell cried I, that is, the grave, or pit, in which he seemed to 3 be buried alive, [and] thou heardest my voice. For thou hadst cast me into the deep, in the midst of the seas: and the floods compassed me about: all thy billows and thy waves passed over me; applying to himself the words of David, Psalm xlii. 7. David used them figuratively, but Jonah literally. 4 Then I said, I am cast out of thy sight; when I was first thrown out I was dispirited ; yet I will look again toward thy 5 holy temple. The waters compassed me about, [even] to

the soul; the depth closed me round about, the weeds were 6 wrapped about my head. I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; I seem buried, as much as if I had been under the highest mountain; the earth with her bars [was] about me for ever; humanly speaking, there was no hope of restoration: yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, or destruction, O LORD my God; I had confidence in thy mercy that thou 7 wouldst do so. When my soul fainted within me, I remembered the LORD and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple; I had a comfortable assurance that my prayer 8 was heard. They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy; referring perhaps to idolaters in general, or to the mariners calling each on his god; or rather, to his own folly 9 in disobeying the command of Jehovah. But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay [that] that I have vowed; being strongly persuaded that I should be

The Israelites, when abroad, used to prav with their faces toward the temple; but as Jonah could not tell, in his situation, which way Jerusalem lay, he could turn his thoughts thither; or perhaps he may refer to God's temple in heaven; his meaning cerBainly is, I will pray, and hope to find mercy. A glorious triumph of faith, considering his present circunstances!

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delivered, I not only resolved to praise God, but to go through Jerusalem in my way to Nineveh, and there sacrifice to the Lord. Salvation [is] of the LORD; it is all to be ascribed to him.

And the LORD spake unto the fish, he made such an impression upon it, as disposed it to do what he intended, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry [land ;] or, so near the shore that he could reach it without danger.

REFLECTIONS.

ROM this chapter we may infer the importance and necessity of prayer. Happy was it for Jonah that he had been used to this work; and had treasured up in his memory many of David's devout sentiments and expressions, several of which he adopts in this short address. We may be in circumstances and situations where we can have no one to pray for us; it is therefore very desirable that we should be accustomed to address God ourselves, and have a stock of pious thoughts and expressions in our minds; and especially to have the word of God dwelling in us richly; which is the best guide and help in prayer.

2. Here is great encouragement to humble penitents to pray and hope, even when in circumstances of the deepest distress, and into which they have brought themselves by their sins. In any place, and when no human help or hope is near, they may look up and address themselves to God. Though their souls faint, and are ready to despair; yet still let them remember the Lord, and come boldly to the throne of grace. Jonah's acceptance and deliverance show us both the power and mercy of God, and that he is near to the souls that seek him.

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3. They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy, v. 8. This is true not only of idolaters, but of all that forsake God. The honours, the possessions, the pleasures of the world, yea, every thing which they pursue to the neglect of him, is a lying vanity; it will deceive and disappoint their expectations. Whatever happiness men seek for in sinful courses, they run upon their own misery. God alone is able to help and support, and to be a suitable portion for the soul; and all that forsake him act contrary to their comfort and interest, as well as their duty.

4. God's delivering goodness ought to be thankfully acknowledged. When he has wrought out deliverances for us, or for those who are dear to us; especially in circumstances when we are ready to despair of relief, it is our evident duty to sacrifice to him with the voice of thanksgiving: and if, in our distress, we made vows of gratitude and better obedience, let us be careful to pay what we have vowed. Let us love God better, and love prayer better; and live to him who is the God of our salvation, and to whom belong the issues from death.

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CHAP. III.

Jonah is sent again to the Ninevites; and upon their repentance,
God spareth them.

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ND the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the second time, and it was a great favour to be employed again 2 after his former disobedience, saying, Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee; in the words that I shall bid thee when thou comest thither; words, probably intended to convince them of their great wickedness, to inform them of God's displeasure, and of the vengeance coming 3 upon them: So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceeding great city of three days' journey; near sixty miles round. 4 And Jonah began to enter into the city a days' journey, about twenty miles, which was a days' journey for a man on foot: he began at the gate of the city, and he cried aloud, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown; that is, by some immediate judgment. He fixes the time, that there might apfear something more extraordinary in the message, and to give them space to repent; his own extraordinary deliverance led him boldly to declare this message: this was his text, which he probably enlarged upon, so as fully to display their sin and danger; and his being a Hebrew might make his message the more regarded.

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So the people of Nineveh believed God, were fully persuaded of the truth of what Jonah delivered to them from God, though we read of no miracle wrought by him, nor is it probable (as some have supposed) that any of the mariners should have informed the Ninevites of the miracle wrought for him, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth from the greatest of them even to the least of them; they fasted to add fervency to their prayer, and joined with this, sackcloth, to testify their humiliation, 6 and the king himself set them a good example. For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered [him] with sackcloth, and sat in ashes; he put on the habit of a mourning penitent. 7 And he caused [it] to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water; that the hearts of the peo 8 ple might be affected by the crying of their cattle: But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, as horses are still sometimes put into mourning at the funerals of officers, &c. and cry mighti ly unto God; pray earnestly for pardon, when judgment is so near': yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the

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violence that [is] in their hands; let them forsake all sin, especially violence, injustice, and oppression, (which were their reigning sins) and practise honesty and charity; giving this 9 remarkable reason for the command; Who can tell [if] God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?

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And this was all that the light of nature could teach them; but Jonah probably gave them more encouragement, by assuring them of pardon; the happy consequence of this was, that 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; he not only saw their humiliation and fasting, but their works; he saw that they were true penitents; he changed his purpose when they changed their be haviour, and the execution of the threatening was suspended; but, about a hundred years after this, having returned to their wickedness again, the city was taken and destroyed, as Nahum and Zephaniah foretold.

REFLECTIONS.

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E have here another remarkable proof of the divine displeasure against sin, especially the sins of injustice and oppression. These are crimes which the light of nature might have taught heathens to avoid, and are peculiarly inexcus able in christians. God does not indeed send any prophets to warn us against them; but he teacheth us by his nature, (his moral perfections and providence) by his word, and especially by this story, that when he beholds violence and oppression, he is highly displeased with them, and will execute vengeance on those who practise them.

2. See the necessity of humiliation and prayer, in order to obtain the favour of God. It is our duty, as sinners, and as part of a sinful nation, to bewail our own and others sins, and to cry mightily to God as those who are in earnest, for his forgiveness and favour. If we do not see the evil of sin, and our danger of destruction by it, and stir up ourselves to call upon God, we act worse than those heathens did. If we do not believe God when he threatens to destroy the impenitent, we are more stupid than they. Let us then humble ourselves under his mighty hand, and seek his face, that we may be saved in the day of wrath.

3. If we are desirous that our prayers should be acceptable, we must reform what is amiss in our lives; not only lift up our hands unto God, but turn from the violence that is in them. The exhortation here is excellent. Let every one turn; not blame one another, but each look to his own ways; that he may put

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away the evil of his own doings, and even the sins of his heart; for if we regard iniquity in our hearts, the Lord will not hear us.

4. This story gives all true penitents great encouragement to hope for mercy. If we had no further ground of hope than the Ninevites had; if it was only a who can tell, it would be our wisdom and duty to repent, and turn to God. But their deliverance, and many other histories and promises in God's word, assure us, that there is forgiveness with him. Let his goodness lead us to repentance. May it never be said of us, as our Lord said of the Jews, Matt. xii. 41. The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonas, and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here: words still more alarming to us as christians; may they be deeply impressed on our hearts.

CHAP. IV.

Jonah, for refining at God's mercy, is reproved by the type of a gourd.

UT it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very

cy; but a selfish concern for his credit as a prophet vexed him. 2 And he prayed unto the LORD, and said, I pray thee, O LORD, [was] not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish; pleading this as an excuse for his former disobedience, I thought that thou wouldst pardon them, and that I should be regarded as a false prophet, that when I came back again it would be said, I was not sent, because Nineveh was not destroyed: for I knew that thou [art] a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil; the proclamation of 3 God's name to Moses. Therefore now, O LORD, take, I beseech thee, my life from me; for [it is] better for me to die than to live.

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4 Then said the LORD, Doest thou well to be angry? is there 5 any just reason for it? is it decent, or proper ? So Jonah went out of the city, rather, was gone out, and sat on the east side of the city, and there made him a booth, and sat under it in the shadow, till he might see what would become of the city; ke made an arbour of the boughs of trees, and sat there to observe 6 the event, but the leaves of his arbour quickly withered. And therefore the Lord GoD prepared a gourd, or plant, and made [it] to come up over Jonah, that it might be a shadow over his head, to deliver him from his grief; to shelter him from the heat, which added to his vexation. So Jonah was exceeding

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