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perish with him, he desired them to cast him into the sea, and the sea would then be calm. These men, seeing that the God of Israel was the true God, then prayed God to forgive them for throwing Jonah overboard, for it was not their wish to commit murder. Then they cast Jonah into the sea, and it “ceased raging," and they, with becoming gratitude, offered up sacrifice to God. Let us, like them, never forget the goodness of God in preserving as from extreme dangers.
Jonah having been thrown overboard did not perish, for we are told that " the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow" him up, and he remained in his belly three days and three nights. This fish is, in our New Testament, called a whale; but it might there also be called in the English “a great fish :' for you must remember that the Old Testament was written in Hebrew, and the New in Greek, and that the English is only a translation. God, who made the fish, could make it do as he pleased ; and that God who made the prophet could as well preserve him in the fish as create him; and could as well restore him from the fish, as he can raise up the dead body from the grave.
Jonah was now commanded a second time, to go to the great city of Nineveh, and preach what God told him.. So Jonah went, and he cried, as he passed along in the city, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown !"
When the people heard Jonah, they believed he was a messenger from God; and they repented, and fasted, and turned from their wicked ways, and God spared them.
Jonah, instead of being delighted that the people believed his message, and that the city was spared, was mortified that his prophecy had not come to pass ; but God never intended it should, if the people repented.
How much more tender-hearted is God than man! Even this prophet could have borne to see a whole city perish, rather than his prophecy should fail Surely, he ought rather to have been glad that God had made him the means of bringing these sinners to repentance. So Jonah said to God, he knew how very merciful he was, and, as he supposed he would not destroy the whole city, he did not like to deliver his message; that was the reason why he had run away; and now, what he apprehended would be the case, had really come to pass. Indeed, the prophet was so vexed that he asked God to let him die. But God was also merciful to the prophet, and did not grant his rash request. On the contrary, he condescended to reason with his mind, and inquired of him, “Doest thou well to be angry?"
Jonah, however, still seemed to think that something might happen to the city ; so he went out of it, and made a booth on a spot where he could see Nineveh. A booth differed from a tent, being made, not of cloth, but only of branches of trees, something like our arbours in our gardens. In this situation, God was still kind to him, and he caused a gourd to spring up and cover Jonah's booth ; so that he was well protected in the day from the burning sun, and at night from the cold. Jonah was pleased at this comfort; but in the morning God caused a worm to destroy his gourd, and a strong warm wind drove the heat of the scorching sun full in Jonah's face, so that he became quite faint ; and he said, “It is better for me to die than to live.” Then God blamed Jonah for feeling so much at the loss of his gourd, and yet he could not feel pained at the thoughts of Nineveh perishing, where there were not merely immense numbers of grown-up persons, but a hundred and twenty thousand little infants, who could not possibly tell their right hand from their left, and who must have perished with their wicked parents.
not mereleel pained or feelings
Micah was a prophet of Judah. He confirmed the predictions of Isaiah against the people of Israel and Judah.
Nahum denounced the judgments of God against Nineveh, which returned to its wickedness after the preaching of Jonah. Here I shall tell you a little more about Nineveh. This city, the capital of Assyria, stogd on the banks of the river Tigris. It was very large, and contained at least sis hundred thousand inhabitants. Ancient writers tell us, that its walls were a hundred feet high, sixty miles round, nearly three times the size of London —and that it was defended by no less than fifteen hundred towers, from which the Assyrian warriors could command and drive off any enemies who should attempt to mount their walls. This famous city, notwithstanding its strength, was taken at several different times, and was entirely ruined in the time of Adrian, a Roman Emperor. It was afterwards rebuilt by the Persians; but the new city was destroyed by the Saracens twelve or thirteen hundred years ago. Not one atom of the ancient city now remains. So Nahum prophesied ; and the word of the Lord has strictly been fulfilled. This prophet said, “ The Lord will make an utter end of the place thereof-she is empty,
void, and waste.” The fate of Nineveh, at last, should teach sinners not to trifle with God. He is merciful, but he is also just. The sinner who truly repents shall without doubt be saved, but he who returns to his wickedness and hardens himself shall perish.
Habakkuk was one of the prophets employed to foretel the destruction of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans.
ZEPHANIAH. Zephaniah prophesied, not only against the wicked Jews, but also against the Philistines, Moabites, Ammonites, and Ethiopians.
HAGGAI. Haggai, by his prophecies, encouraged the rebuilding of the temple after the Johad been restored he come and ins the Jews had been restored by Cyrus, and the decree in their favour was renewed by Darius, as you read in Ezra, and Nehemiah.
Zechariah's prophecies also encouraged the Jews in the rebuilding of the the temple. He has some remarkable prophecies respecting some minute particulars in the life of Jesus Christ, as his riding on a colt, the foal of an ass, and the price paid to Judas to betray him.
MALACHI. Malachi was the last of the prophets of the Old Testament. He was known as a prophet about a hundred and twenty years after the Jews returned from Babylon, and four hundred and twenty years before Christ. He prophesied of Christ, and of his herald John the Baptist, who should have the spirit and courage of Elijah ; representing Christ as a glorious sun, who shonld arise and shine upon the nations darkened by ignorance, with health upon his beams.
With Malachi, the gift of prophecy under the old dispensation ceased, for John the Baptist was rather the immediate forerunner, than the prophetic preacher of Jesus. Four hundred years of history, from the time of