« PreviousContinue »
I set thee as Zeboim. Mine heart is turned within me, my repentings are kindled together, I will not execute the fierceness of mine anger, I will not return to destroy Ephraim, for I am God and not man; the Holy One in the midst of thee: and I will not enter into the city. And his concluding reproof of Jonah is strikingly to the point.
“ The Lord God prepared a gourd, and made it to come up over Jonah, that it might be a shadow over his head, to deliver him from his grief. So Jonah was exceeding glad of the gourd. But God prepared a worm, when the morning rose the next day, and it smote the gourd, that it withered. And it came to pass, when the sun did arise, that God
, prepared a vehement east wind: and the sun beat upon the head of Jonah, that he fainted, and wished in himself to die, and said, it is better for me to die than to live. And God said to Jonah, doest thou well to be angry for the gourd ? And he said I do well to be angry even unto death. Then said the Lord, thou hast had pity on the gourd, for the which thou hast not laboured, neither madest it grow which came up in a night, and perished in a night. And should not I spare Nineveh that great city wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand : and also much cattle ?” Well and wisely did David say, when a choice of evils was proposed to him,
* Hosea xi. 8; 9.--Admah and Zeboim were cities in the neighbourhood of Sodom, and are supposed to have perished with it.---See Genesis xiv. 8.
6. Let us now fall into the hand of the Lord, (for his mercies are great,) and let me not fall into the hand of
The language of the New Testament is equally explicit upon this important subject. “The Lord is long-suffering to usward ; not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”+ “I exhort therefore that first of all supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men: for kings, and for all that are in authority ; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”I God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved.” “Repent ye,” saith the Saviour, “ for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
Come unto me all ye that are weary and
* 2 Sam. xxiv. 11-14.
+ 2 Peter iii. 9.
John iii. 17.
heavy laden, and I will give you rest."* hold I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door I will come in to him, and will sup with him and he with
Be zealous, therefore, and repent.”+ Having thus endeavoured to show that the truth expressed in our text forms an essential feature in the revealed character of Almighty God, I shall proceed briefly in a plain, popular, and I trust scriptural manner to make use of this truth.
1. Many of the evils which were committed in Nineveh in the days of Jonah and Nahum, are committed in England in these our days. I Falsehoods and frauds and thefts; ostentatious revellings; gluttonies, blasphemies, and whoredoms : all these and more than these defile our cities and villages.
To as many as are living in the commission of
any of these enormities, the history of the Ninevites sounds a plain and powerful warning. Repent, repent and turn ye from the evil of your ways, so iniquity shall not be your ruin. I cannot say, yet forty days, and ye shall be destroyed: God may give you longer space, or he may cut you off to-morrow, perhaps to-night. But this I can say in the word of the Lord, that except ye repent ye shall undoubtedly perish. Your fig-tree may already have spent its three years
* Matt. iv. 17 ; xi. 28. + Rev. iii. 20.
See the third chapter of the Prophet Nahum.
of barrenness : now, even now you may be undergoing that last process of patient anxious husbandry, which is to put you to your final trial; if, after all, no fruits appear meet for repentance, then assuredly you shall be cut down and cast into the fire. But, behold! the husbandman waiteth, with uplifted axe indeed, but still he waiteth : to the Lord our God belong mercies and forgivenesses, though we have rebelled against him. For he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil. Seek ye the Lord therefore while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return unto the Lord and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God for he will abundantly pardon. Imagine not for a moment that there is any impossibility about your repenting and turning from your evil practices.
' Make the trial. Begin to day.
Break the appointment which you have formed for some iniquity this very night-disappoint your companions in ungodliness : instead of dissipating this evening in idle conversation, or profane merriment, or worse; return to the house of God, or settle quietly in your own houses to read the word of God. Let him that stole
. steal no more: let him that defrauded his neighbour, in the market, or in the shop, defraud no more : let him that deceived his friend with lying lips deceive no more, but learn to speak the truth from his heart. And do not for a moment imagine that such a reformation is useless. Remember that when God saw the works of the Ninevites, that they turned from their evil ways, He repented of the evil that he had said he would do unto them, and he did not. Let me beseech you, as though God did beseech you by me:
you by me: let me pray you, in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.
2. To those among you whose sin has found them out, and who are terrified lest they should fall into the damnation of hell: who think that their day of peace is past, that their obstinate rebellion and monstrous ingratitude have gone so far, it would be presumption in them to hope for pardon. To those who are thus humbled under a deep and alarming conviction of guilt, the truth before us should come like the dew, or the small rain upon the tender grass. Poor trembling penitent. God stands with open arms to receive you, and wipe away all tears from your eyes. He was angry with you, but his anger is turned away: he did threaten you, but he has repented of the evil which he said he would do unto you, and he