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salvation unto all them that obey him. They did not, they could not know it then; but we know that “ Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall He appear the second time, without sin unto salvation.” (Heb. xi. 28.) Yes, we know what the sign of the prophet Jonah would have spoken to the men who stood around the Saviour if they bad but wished to know; if, instead of closing their ears, and hardening their hearts against the voice of their Lord, they would have listened to his words, and asked his help to understand them. We know, because, from our early childhood, we have been taught that for our salvation Christ died and rose again ; but are we sure that this knowledge has sunk into our hearts so as to direct our lives ? Are we sure that

“ give the most earnest heed to the things which we have beard, lest at any time we shall let them slip; for “how shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation ; (Heb. ii. 1, 3.) so kind, so complete, so clear a way of safety from the punishment our sins have justly deserved ? “The sign of the prophet Jonah ” has been fulfilled in the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus, who pointed it out to the attention of the Scribes and Pharisees; but have we not, like them, turned carelessly from it? The heathen mariners, when they saw the sea cease from raging the moment Jonah was cast into it, “feared the Lord exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice unto the Lord, and made vows." (Jonah i. 16.) Has the death of Christ the Lord, for our sakes, had as serious an effect upon us, as the casting out of Jonah for their sakes had upon these poor heathens ? Let us not pass from this question without earnest, faithful self-examination.

Prayer. O God, we bless thee and adore thee, that thou hast made clear to us the sign of the prophet Jonah. We bless thee that we know thine only Son, the Lord Jesus, was delivered up to die for our offences, that by his death we might be saved, and the tempest of thy wrath against sin might be turned away from us, and life become to us as a calmed sea, in which our hope in thee may be as an anchor of the soul, both “sure and stedfast.” (Heb. vi. 19.) We bless thee that we know that this, thine only Son, the Lord Jesus, was laid in the grave, making it for us a bed of hopeful rest, and that by his own power He rose again, and ascended into heaven; and that when He had thus, by his death, purged away our sins, He sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high, “where He ever liveth to make intercession for us.” (Heb. i. 3. vii. 25.) Teach us, O God, we beseech thee, rightly to understand how that our human nature went down with the holy Jesus into the grave, and that in him it rose again, and went to heaven, accepted at the right hand of God, because the debt of sin was fully paid, and Satan's power overthrown." (Heb. ii. 14.) Teach us rightly to understand this great mystery, that, as the Lord Jesus appears now before the throne for us, our human nature is accepted for his sake. Grant that our lives may be holy and pure as those for whom the Son of God appears at thy right hand. Teach us, 0 our God, “that denying ungodliness, and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the Great God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works." Let thy blessed and Holy Spirit teach us this, for thy Son's sake. Amen.


The Lord Jesus had reminded the Jews of the prophet Jonah ; of his being cast into the deep, and after being three days in the belly of the whale, brought up again to finish the service for which God had appointed him. He now passes on to remind them what that service was; and to shew them, that, as the casting out, and the bringing up of Jonah again, on the third day, was a sign that they should live to see fulfilled, so the repentance of the men of Nineveh at the preaching of Jonah, was a sign to them of their own condemnation, because they obstinately refused to listen to the preaching of Jonah's Lord, He whom Jonah himself obeyed. He said :

MATTHEW 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."

The people of Nineveh had repented at the preaching of Jonas, though he wrought no miracle. He brought to them no message of love, no offer of mercy. Suddenly he appeared in their city, crying aloud, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown." (Jonah iii. 4.) What was it that caused the great city, and all the people in it to be saved ? It was this, “they believed God, from the greatest of them even to the least of them.” (Jonah iii. 5.) They did not deny their sins, or excuse them. Humbled and afraid, "the king of Nineveh arose from off his throne, and laid his robe from him, and covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes,” in sign of his grief for his sin, and of unworthiness of any good thing. He did more than this, he sent forth to his people to call upon them to join with him in humbling themselves before God, and with fasting and prayer to cry mightily unto God, that He would turn away bis anger from them, and destroy them not. And so they were saved; for “God saw their works, that they turned from their evil ways; and God repented * of the evil, that He had said He would do to them; and He did it not. (Jonah iii. 10.)

• (Repented.) When God is said to repent of a thing, the meaning is, that

But now a greater than Jonah had appeared among the Jews. Greater in every way, for Jonah was the servant, but this was the Master. Jonah came with a message ; but Christ spoke in his own name.

Jonah's message was, that Nineveh should be destroyed for the sins of its people ; but the good news that Jesus brought was, that in him all might have pardon and peace. The Ninevites had repented and turned to the Lord, therefore they were forgiven ; but the Jews refused to listen. One greater than Jonas stood among them, but they turned from him, and "would have none of his reproofs.” They cared not for his offers of mercy, therefore, in that awful judgment-day, (Rev. xx. 12.), when all the dead, small and great, shall stand before God; (Luke xi. 32.), then, (said the Lord Jesus to the Pharisees around him) then “ The men of Nineveh shall rise up 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."

And not the men of Nineveh alone; Jesus declared that an

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He changes his manner of dealing towards the persons spoken of, because of their conduct, and no doubt the expression is made use of, to shew us that we bring good or evil upon our own heads by our conduct. It is written in Gen. vi. 6., And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth,” when He saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth," Gen. v., and in consequence He drowned all the race of man (except Noah and his family) by a flood, which He brought upon the earth.

In 1 Samuel xv. 11., it is written, that the Lord said " It repenteth me that I have set up Saul to be king : for he is turned back from following me, and hath not performed my commandments ;” and the consequence of this was, that God withdrew his favour from Saul, and set up David to be king in his stead. We have just read that upon the people of Nineveh humbling themselves and turning from their evil way, God repented of the evil that he had said he would do to them, and did it not. Therefore from all this as well as from many other passages of Scripture, we may clearly see that God in His great kindness to us makes use of such words as we would ourselves use, that we may understand the great truth-that we must eat the fruit of our own doings; “ but that he that taketh warning shall deliver his soul.” Ezekiel xxxiii. 5.

other awful form should stand forth from among the dead to witness against them.

MATTHEW xii. 42. The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it : for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and behold a greater than Solomon is here."

The Scribes and Pharisees knew that the Queen of Sheba had come from afar when she “ heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the Lord,” and that “she communed with him of all that was in her heart :” (1 Kings x.) and that when she had heard and seen all the wisdom God had given to Solomon, she blessed the Lord God, and confessed the happiness of those who served him. Yet now that one stood among them who “spake as never man spake" before ; whose wisdom was so great, that all that Solomon knew, was, in comparison, only like the lesson repeated by a child, they refused to listen to him! Surely the Queen of the South would rise up in the judgment and condemn them.

Awful were the words of Christ the Lord, and when we think of how they must have been spoken, when we remember that in him there could have been no want of earnestness, nothing in the teacher that could excuse want of attention in those He taught, we may well feel amazed at the hardness of those Jews on whose hearts the words of our Lord fell as the dew falls upon a rock from which neither fruit nor flower can spring.

There was a reason for this, a reason so awful that we may well tremble while we read it; but before we read the further warning given to the Jews, who thus madly refused to be saved, let us turn to ourselves ; let us solemnly consider if there are none who may rise up with us in the judgment to condemn us, because that though far less taught than ourselves, they repented when we would not care to hear. Let each one of us

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