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become a heap of ruins like Nineveh, the beings now crowding its streets will still live. We are led to ask-What will become of them all ?-In what world will they live -For what world are they preparing ? A striking instance of compassion was it when God sent a prophet to Nineveh to warn the people to flee from the wrath to come. Is not God's conduct towards the cities of our land in the present day even more compassionate ? When we read of the vices and crimes of London, for example ; when we think of the horrid deeds which are done, and the malignant and licentious passions cherished; and then think of the gospel message, amidst all this ungodliness—of the nature and design of this message; when we remember that it brings tidings from God to man, announcing salvation through Jesus Christ; when we remember that it points to that Divine and glorious Mediator who, unlike Jonah, pleased not himself, but freely gaye up his very life for human redemption,-how great are God's mercy and love shown to be!
Jonah went through the streets, saying, “ Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be destroyed.” Wonderful was the impression, a moral miracle was wrought. The Hebrew messenger, by his simple denunciation, awes and subdues a whole city, and that, too, one, as is manifest from its recently discovered monuments, of the most proud, self-dependent, egotistical, and superstitious on the earth. There must have been Divine power working with the prophet, for the people “ repented in dust and ashes ;” and there was sincerity and earnestness in their fasting and prayers. Strangers entering the city, who had heard of its glory, must have been very much astonished. Ambassadors from other courts, who had seen it in the midst of it's triumphs and revelries, might have thought it much degraded now. But in the eye of God and holy beings the place had never looked $0 well before. A people humbled before the Almighty in confession and prayer, really present a more noble sight than all the spectacles of gaiety and grandeur in a joyous city. In our metropolis there are no scenes comparable to the hidden ones of souls in earnest supplication with God, seeking the pardon of their sins through Jesus Christ, and strength to help them to subdue evil in this evil world. And God despised not the prayer of the Ninevites. “He saw their works, that they
turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that | he said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.” “ But
it displeased Jonah " that God spared Nineveh. The folly and the heartlessness of the prophet serve to exhibit the more strikingly the compassion and love of Him who sent him. What a contrast here, as in a multitude of cases, is there
ings of God towards them! " 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. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord : for as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts," Isa. lv. 7–9. Not a supplication can you breathe but it is heard--not a tear can you shed but it is seen. The prayer of the poor old man, and of the heart-broken widow, and of the anxious little child, who out of the depths of their sorrow cry, not only for peace, but for pardon-not only for comfort, but holiness is sure to be heard by the holy and merciful One.
The men of Nineveh did repent at the preaching of Jonah. The l'ough, earnest cry of the prophet did warn and alarm them. The change was held up by Christ as a warning to the mien of his times : “ The men of Nineveh shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and, behold, a greater than Jonah is here,” Luke xi. 32. Is not this warning applicable to our times ? Men favoured with greater advantages than the Ninevites abuse and dishonour them. There were multitudes who heard Christ, the Redeemer of the world, with less impression than the men of the Assyrian city heard the prophet-people now so hear the gospel of Christ. In the present day repentance is proclaimed, that radical change of heart required by God, and due from the sinner towards his offended Maker; to how many may it be said—perhaps to the reader of these lines-you do not repent. You hear of coming wrath, of a doom far worse than that which hung over Nineveh, of the hour when “the Lord Jesus shall be revealed, in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey hiot.the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power, ? Thess. i. 7-9; yet you do not repent. It is not said, Forty days, and you shall be destroyed; but you are told of the love of God, and that this is “a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners ;" yet you do not repent.
He who speaks in the gospel is the ever-living, present, and gracious Lord. Whenever Christ is preached it may be said" A greater than Jonah is here," even the Saviour himself. He who came from heaven, who suffered on the tree, who paid the price of our redemption, is present by his Spirit; for he said,
Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." lle is near to you. He speaks touchingly and with tenderness. Do you feel you are not happy, because you are guilty and
Christ tells you that. Do you feel a shrinking and a
truth more solemnly than Jonah could which makes you feel so; yet you do not repent. Do you see that you may escapethat there is a Rock to which you can flee, and which the earthquake cannot move nor touch-that yonder there is an open gate which leads to a bright and beautiful paradise? Jesus Christ tells you that; yet you do not repent. That hoaryheaded Ninevite bows down like a child, and weeps and cries for mercy; but you do not. That Assyrian woman wrings her hands with anguish and implores deliverance; but you do not. That boy there, he too supplicates in sympathy with his parents, he prays the God of the Jewish prophet to have mercy ; but you do not. The houses rang with earnest entreaties which went up to heaven after Jonah had preached. God saw there many a one mourning apart; but it is not so in your dwelling, and with your soul. A few days' preaching, perhaps a few hours', availed with those Ninevites; weeks of preaching, years of preaching, sermons without number, have not availed with you. What a marvellous change went through that old city all at once! No change is seen in you. The messengers of God come and go; but there is no change. They plead and pray; but there is no change - they warn and invite; but there is no change. Providence has followed preaching. You have been smitten with breach on breach; losses, sickness, death, have torn away your earthly idols; God saying at the time, “Son, daughter, give me thine heart;” but there is no change. You have seen friends buried, and by the grave you have seemed to touch eternity; but there has been no change. Inward conviction there has been, solemn thought there has been, inquiry about religion
a something better, and perhaps resolves there have been; but no vital, radical, saving change-no change like that which our Lord describes, “ Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven;" “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God," Matt. xviii. 3 ; John iii. 3.
What will be the end? Will you leave the world without doing what the Ninevites did ? Then the end is sure : “ The men of Nineveh shall rise up in the judgment with this gencration, and shall condemn it.” “ It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment” than for you, Mark vi. 11. " Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip ;-how shall we escape, if we neglect so
It is related that some years ago, while a frigate was cruising in the Mediterranean, her commander was ordered to ascertain whether there existed, within certain lines of latitude and longitude, a shoal or reef, which had been reported as being there. The captain addressed himself to the task with all the rough earnestness of a British seaman; at the same time entertaining a strong persuasion that nothing of the kind described would be found in the position pointed out. The undertaking was accordingly conducted in a superficial manner, and was specdily terminated by the captain declaring that the report which had occasioned the search was a perfect mistake, and originated in delusion or falsehood. But an officer on board-a man who had accustomed himself to accurate calculations and observationwas of another mind, and felt convinced that, with more careful and prolonged examination, a different result might probably be obtained. None of his arguments, however, availed with the commander, who sharply rebuked him as wanting experience, and being a mere theorist. The officer, however, carefully treasured up his observations and reckonings; and having left the frigate, persuaded the Admiralty to send him on a second expedition, with a small vessel under his own command, in quest of the reported rock, or whatever else it might prove to be. His voyage was successful; and he returned with the clearly ascertained information, that in a certain spot in the Mediterranean there lay a dangerous sunken rock. *This fact, for safety in the navigation of that sea, was of course forthwith carefully marked down in the maps. For this service he was rewarded with promotion. The commander of the frigate hearing of this some time afterwards was highly incensed, and declared that the report was a fraud to get promotion ; adding, “If ever I have the keel of this ship under me in those waters again, and do not carry her clean over where the chart marks a rock, call me a liar, and no seaman to boot.”
Two years afterwards he was bound for Naples, having some public functionaries as passengers on board his vessel. One autumn afternoon, as the ship took a north-easterly direction, threatening, dark strips of cloud began to stream over the sky, and a gale sprang up, which made the sails and cordage creak as though they would burst, while the heaving waves tossed and tried the timber of the well-compacted keel. Night came on, and the captain paced the decks rather anxiously, and consulted with the master of the ship, whose practical skill and experience rendered him a valuable counsellor. By the light of a lantern they examined a chart, when the master, pointing to the spot whereabouts they were, exclaimed, “ Look here, sir!” There was the recently discovered point of danger, marked down under the name of the “ Twills Rocks." The commander was reminded of former circumstances, and; incensed beyond description at the remembrance, burst out into a passionate speech, abusing the officer who had reported the discovery, and repeating his own determination to sail right over the spot, and so demonstrate that the whole thing was a bugbear; at the same time stamping his foot, to give emphasis to his words.
On the ship speeded her way over the rolling billows, and down went the commander into the cabin to join his illustrious passengers, and to tell the story of the sunken rock; thinking to make them merry at the expense of the false lieutenant. “In five minutes," said he, taking out his watch, with a laugh, "we shall have crossed this terrible spot.” But the intelligence by no means awakened sympathetic merriment in the company. They were terror-stricken, while he spoke gaily. There was a pause, and then a slight grating touch of something that scratched the bottom of the noble ship--then a noise of alarm from the hatchway--then a shock-then a crash, and a quivering of the hull; and then the bursting of timbers, and the in-gushing of water ;--the frigate had struck, and was presently a wreck; the masts reeling over into the ocean, and the breakers threatening to swallow up all that remained of the ill-fated vessel. With desperate energy every thing possible was done to save