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that the repenting Ninevites would in the last day condemn their obstinacy and unbelief.
The text naturally leads us to shew I. Wherein Jonah was a type of Christ
Whatever agreement there is between the histories of Jonah and of Christ, the leading points, wherein the former typified our Lord, are two:
1. His miraculous restoration to dry land after having been three days confined in the belly of a fish
[This was doubtless a wonderful event; that he should be preserved three days in the belly of a fish, uhurt; and that, after so long a continuance in that situation, the fish, which seemed destined for his destruction, should be the instrument of his preservation! To this, under God, we must ascribe the efficacy of his word at Nineveh; for our Lord tells us, that, by this means, he was made " a sign to the Ninevites.” What means they had of ascertaining the fact itself, we do not exactly know, but they evidently had not the smallest doubt respecting the truth of it; and therefore they received his message as coming immediately from God.
Now in this he was evidently a type of Christ. Our Lord having, like Jonah, been voluntarily delivered up to death for the salvation of others, was confined in the heart of the earth. The term of his imprisonment there was the same with that of Jonah's continuance in the fish's belly; yet he " saw no corruption;" and, at the appointed time, he burst the bands of death (of which it was not possible he should be holden) and thus became a sign to the Jewish nation.b On this he laid the whole stress of his Messiahship, while he was yet ministering among his countrymen; and, after the event had taken place, he gave so many, and such convincing, evidences of the fact, as to leave no possibility of doubt respecting his divine mission; this therefore was made the very corner-stone of Christianity; and his sending down of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost in consequence of his resurrection, was such “a sign from heaven” as must leave unbelievers without excuse to all eternity.] 2. His successful preaching consequent upon it
[The effect of Jonah's preaching stands perhaps unrivalled from the foundation of the world. The large and populous city instantly received the word; and though Gentiles by nature, began to call upon Jehovah; so that, from the king upon his throne to the very meanest of his subjects, they all humbled themselves before him in sackcloth and ashes: nor
Luke xi. 30.
proper to notice
did they cease from their cries, till the wrath of God was averted from them.
And must not this event lead our minds to Jesus, who is no less “a light to lighten the Gintiles, than he is the Glory of his people Israel?" His ministry among the Jews indeed was attended with small success, though ultimately “they shall be again engrafted on their own stock:” but how rapid, how extensive, has been the effect of his word among the Gentiles! Many myriads have already turned from idols to serve the living and true God; and in due season the whole Gentile world shall flock to his standard, and “ all flesh behold the salvation of God.”]
But notwithstanding this honour put upon Jonah, it will be II. His inferiority to him whom he typified
Though we are disposed to cast a veil over the infirmities of God's servants, yet the peculiarity of Jonah's character, no less than the very words of the text, requires, that his inferiority to the Saviour should be strongly marked. We may observe it 1. In his office and character
(Jonah was indeed a prophet of the most high God; but he had as great corruptions as could well consist with a converted state. The whole of his conduct, from first to last, indicated a proud, peevish, discontented, uncharitable, and rebellious disposition; so that it is even a great stretch of charity to believe, that he had any piety at all. But the blessed Jesus was free from every species and degree of sin; and was no other than the Messiah himself, even the very Son of God, " Jehovah's Fellow," " the brightness of his Father's glory, and the express.image of his person.” Methinks, therefore, he did not arrogate much to himself, when he said, “Behold a greater than Jopas is here.”] 2. In his manner of executing his office
[Jonah executed the prophetic office among the ten tribes:d but we know nothing of his spirit, except from the book which bears his name. And here we see, that he did not enter on his office without great reluctance, fleeing from God, in order to avoid an embassy, which he was afraid would be attended with personal danger, or disgrace. When he was in the midst of the storm, which endangered the vessel wherein he was sailing, he, a professor of the true religion, he, a prophet of Jehovah, he, who was the occasion of the storm, was sleeping, while the heathen sailors were crying to their gods; and he was reproached for his supineness by the very heathens
c Isai. xi. 10.
d 2 Kings xiy. 28.
cross, and so
themselves. After God himself had interposed to mark him as the occasion of the storm, so that he could conceal his guilt no longer, he confessed his wickedness, and acknowledged to the crew, that the only way of saving the ship, was to cast him overboard. This done, a fish was prepared to swallow him; and constrained to deliver him safely upon dry land. After this, we might hope, he had attained a better spirit; but, alas! though compelled to deliver his message, he preferred his own honour before the salvation of a million souls; instead of once interceding for them, he waited with anxious expectation to see his word fulfilled, and even quarrelled with God for extending his mercy to them."
How different was the conduct of our adorable Jesus! He willingly left the bosom of his Father, to become a messenger to our guilty world. So far from wishing to avoid disgrace or danger, he gladly submitted to the accursed death of the
his own life a ransom for many;.” Instead of sleeping while others prayed, he continued whole nights in prayer for those, who were insensible of their danger; and, instead of grieving at the salvation of those who received him, he wept over the impenitence of those who rejected him. All concern for himself was lost in his concern for others. And his restoration to life, which was effected by his own almighty power, was made the means of more abundant and effectual exertions on behalf of those, to whom he was sent. And the more his efforts were crowned with success, the inore did he glorify God on the behalf of those, who obtained mercy.} 3. In the success with which he executed it
(Jonah prevailed to the outward reformation and temporal preservation, of one single city-- But Jesus does, and will, prevail to the spiritual renovation, and everlasting Salvation of a whole world - How exalted is he in this view, and how worthy of our highest praise!]
We may OBSERVE from this subject
[The Ninevites knew for certain the divine mission of Jonah, by means of his miraculous deliverance from the fish's belly. How evidently then is “ Christ declared to be the Son of God with power by his resurrection front the dead!" Let then every word of his, by whomsoever it be delivered, "be received, not as the word of man, but, as it is in truth, the word of God
2. How inexcusable are they, who continue impenitent under the preaching of the gospel!
& Ps. x]. 7-9.
• Jonah i. 5, 6.
f Ib. iv. 2-5.
[Jonah simply denounced the vengeance of God against the Ninevites, without making them any offer of mercy, or even intimating, that there was any possibility that the sentence might be reversed; yea, and without so much as working one single miracle in confirmation of his word: yet they, though heathens, trembled at the very first denunciations of God's wrath, and set themselves to repent and turn from their sins, upon the slightest hope that peradventure God might turn from his fierce anger.k How then ought we to seek the Lord, who have not merely temporal ruin, but eternal condemnation, denounced against us; who, besides this, have promises of mercy also set before us, to encourage our repentance; and both the threatenings and the promises confirmed by ten thousand miracles! Surely “ the Ninevites will rise up in judgment against us at the last day, if we continue obdurate” under such means as are used to reclaim us.]
3. How certainly may they expect mercy, who repent and believe in Christ!
[We have no reason to think, that the repentance of the Ninevites was genuine and abiding: it is more probable that it resembled that of Ahab, both in its nature and duration.' Still, however, it was the means of preserving all of them from the threatened calamities. And shall not true repentance, accompanied with faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, avail for the salvation of our souls? Will that God, whom Jonah reproached for the unbounded extent of his grace and mercy,
cast out any who come to him by Jesus Christ?''m We need not fear: it is not a peradventure, but a certainty, that God
will save them to the uttermost.” Let us then seek the Lord in his appointed way, that we may be monuments of his mercy to all eternity.]
k Jonah iii. 5-9.
11 Kings xxi. 27-29,
m John vi. 37.
CXV. ELIAKIM A TYPE OF CHRIST. Isai. xxii. 24. They shall hang upon him all the glory of his
Father's house. IN the various changes that take place in human governments, or in the persons who are to be entrusted with the supreme authority, the hand of God ought to be continually acknowledged: whoever be the instruments, or whatever be the means, of effecting those changes, we must look through the second causes to God, as the first great cause, who ordereth all things after the counsel of his own will, and makes use of men as his agents, to convey blessings to a nation, or to infict his just judgments
upon it. But in his dispensations towards the Jews, there was often some mystery concealed, where we should have observed nothing but an ordinary occurrence. This was the case with respect to the deposition of Shebna, and the substitution of Eliakim in his place, as first minister of state under Hezekiah, Eliakiin seems to have been raised as a type of Christ: the agreement between him and Christ is strongly marked in the passage before us I. In his succession to one who had abused his office
[Shebna was a proud, vain-glorious man, far more intent on agrandizing himself and his family, than on executing the arduous duties of his station.a God therefore moved Hezekiah to dismiss him, and inspired Isaiah, not only to predict his degradation, but to foretel the elevation of Eliakim to his post and office. Thus was our Lord appointed to succeed the governors of the Jewish nation; who, both in the civil and ecclesiastical departments, had abused their trust, and rendered themselves unworthy to be continued in it. Humiliating in the extreme are the descriptions, which the prophet gives of the rulers both in church and state:b and the time was coming, when God would fulfil his word, in “raising up in their place a faithful priest, who should do all his will, and another king, who should reign over the house of David for ever.” "With their robe was He to be clothed, and with their girdle was he to be strengthened; and their government was to be committed into his hands;'d and this too, not only according to the commandment of God, but by the immediate agency of his over-ruling Providence.c] II. In the authority committed to him
[As Joseph in former times had been invested with all the insignia of office by, Pharaoh, king of Egypt, so was Eliakim to have "the key of the house of David laid upon his shoulder, and to exercise the most unlimited authority:" nor was he to be removed, like Shebna, whose boasted security would soon fail him;& but he was to be “a nail fastened in a sure place.”]
Our blessed Lord applies to himself the very words here used in reference to Eliakim;" thereby shewing, that Eliakim was indeed a type of him; that, what was spoken of Eliakim
a Ver. 15, 16.
b Isai. i. 5. and lvi, 10-12. ci Sam. ii. 30, 35. and Jer. xxiii. 2, 5.
Comp. ver. 21. with Rev. i. 13. Isai. xi. 5. and ix. 6. € As this was marked in the case of Eliakim (ver. 19-21.) so in that of Christ by the raising him from the dead, and utterly destroying the Jewish polity. f Gen. xli. 41-44.
8 Ver. 25. refers to Shebna, and not to Eliakim. h Rev. iii. 7.