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the blessings of the gospel, both received and to be received, belong to us, and shall be eventually enjoyed by us.
Yet hour is the nature of assurance to be ascertained ? How to be distinguished from presumption? It is a fact, O my soul, that the sanctification of my heart is essential! Paul says, “ [ have a conscience void of offence, both towards God and towards man." “ Without boliness, no
man shall see the Lord!" But can a man, by the energy of his own unind, arrive at this blessed assurance? Nay, it is “the Spirit who beareth witness with our spirits, that we are born of God." The sun-dial will not tell the hour at night; — the sun must first arise and shine: so the Sun of Righteousness must arise upon us: then, and not till then, can we tell our true state before God. “ God be merciful unto us, and bless us, and cause his face to shine upon us, before Ephrain and Manassel shine forth; - lift upon us, O Lord, the light of thg countenance!"
I H.C. Furchain.
HINT FOR THE ILLUSTRATION OF 2 PET. i. 19,
The difficulty in' this, passage arises from the seeming reference of the comparative more sure, to the heavenly voice mentioned in ver. 18. How can the word of prophecy be more certain than the voice of the divine Father in the holy mount?
This difficulty ceases when we consider that the use of the comparative degree, in the sense of the superlative, is authorized by the purest classics, as well as in several passages of the New Testamento. There is, therefore, no comparison intendexi betweru the certainty of the prophetic Scriptures and that of the voice from lleaven. The foriner is introduced merely as all adelicional ground of certainty and confirmation of faith. “We have not followed cunningly devised fables, - we ourselves were eye witnesses of his majesty, - and we heard such a voice from the excellent glory; - we have also the most surs word of prophecy."
Mr. Markland .es the passage a different turn, retaining the proper force of the comparative word:-“This voice, saying, This is my beloved Son, in wliom I am well pleased we heard in the mount; and we have, by that means, the words of the propbet more fully confirmed." That βεβαιότερος and €¢ntuvos negros are most strictly capable of being thus translated, is showo by this excellent scholar, from the practice of the beni Greck writers.
† See, in the original, Mat. xi. 11. xiii. 32. xviü. 1, 4, Xull, 13
1 Taken from Isa, xiii. b,
DEFENCE OF JONAH'S HISTORY. [ Abridged from King's Morsels of Criticism, Note (*) p. 601-605.] Sir,
To the Editor, INCLOSED, you have an Extract from the Rev. Dr. Erskine's Sketches
and Hiuts of Church-History, &c. vol. ii. p 299. As the Defence of the History of Jonah is treated in a novel mavner, and contains argii. ments that some characters will alone admit, you would greatly oblige one of your readers by inserting it in the Evangelical Magazine; which, doubtless, frequently falls into the hands of those that are led astray by the errors broached at this day.
Y. The History of Jonah, though by some carped at and turned into ridicule, contains nothing inconsistent with the soundest philosophy ard experience; for,
1st, Though a whale, properly so called, has so small a gullet that it could not possibly swallow a inan; yet we ought to consider, that the word Keios does not necessarily mean a whale, as distinguished from other large fishes, but only a great sea-monster; of which there are some, the shark anong the rest, very capable of swallowing a man whole, and wbich bave often done so. A very remarkable 6sha wis taken on our own coast, though probably it was not of the full size, and therefore could not contain the body of a man; bul other of its species very well might. A prini and curious description of it, by Mr J. Ferguson, may be seen in the Philosophical Transactions, vol. liii. p. 170); from which even this small one appears to have been near five feet in length, and of great bulk; and to have merely, as it were, one vast bag, or great hollow tube, capable of containing the body of any animal, of size that was but in some small degree inferior 10 its own, Unquestionably, such a kind of fish, and of sull larger dimensions, may, consistently even with the most correct ideas of any natural historian, be supposed to have occasionally appeared in the Mediterranean, as well as on our own coasts, where such a one was caught, having come up so far as the Bristol Channel and King's Road.
2dly, A man may continue in the water, in some instances, without being drowned. Derham tells us *, that some bave the foramen ovale of the heart remaining open all their lives,' though, in most, it is closed very soon after birth; and that such persons as have the foramen ovale so left open, could neither be hanged nor drowned; because, when the lunga cease to play, the blood will nevertheless continue to circulate, just as it does in à fætus in the womb. Though Mr. Chesel
Physico-Theology, book iv. cap. 7, note, p. 158, 159, 12mo.
den doubted of this fact; yet Mr. Cowper, the anatomist, says he often found the foramen open in adults: and gives some curious instances. Mr. Derham mentions several persons who were many hours and days under water, and yet recovered ; and one who even retained the sense of hearing in that state.
Dr. Plott * mentions a person who survived and lived, after having been hanged at Oxford for the space of twenty hours, before she was cut down. The fact is notorious; and her pardon, reciting this circumstance, is extant on record. Ray on the Creation, p. 230, observes, “ That having the fore amen ovale of the heart open, enables some aniinals to be amo phibious.”. Where then is the absurdity in conceiving that Jonah might have been a person of this kind, having the foramen ovale of his heart continuing open from his birth to the end of his days ? in which case be could not be drowned, either by being cast into the sea, or by being swallowed up by the Gsh.
3dly, Neither could Jonah be injured by the digesting Auid in the fish's stomach; for Mr. J. Hunter observes, “That no arimal substance can be digested by the digesting fluid usually existing in aniinal stomachs, while life remains in such animal substances. Animals,” says he,“ or parts of animals, possessed of the living principle, when taken into the stomach, are not in the least affected by the powers of that viscus, so long as the animal principle reinains. Thence it is that we find animals of various kinds living in the stomach, or even hatched or bred there; but the moment that any of these lose the living principle, they become subject to the digestive powers of the stomach. If it were possible for a man's hand, for example, to be introduced into the stomach of a living animal, and kept there for some considerable time, it would be found, that the dissolvent powers of the stomach could have no effect upon it; but if the saine band were separated from the body, and introduced into the same stomach, we should then find that the stomach would immediately act upon it. Indeed, if this were not the case, we should find that the stomach itself ought to have been inade of indigestible naterials; for if the living principle were not capable of preserving animal substances from undergoing that process, the stomach itself would be digested. But we find, on the contrary, that the stomach, which, at one instant, that is, while possessed of the living principie, was capable of resisting the digestive powers which it contained the next moment, viz. when deprived of the living principle, is itself capable of being digested, either by the digestive powers of other stomachs, or by the reinains of that power which it had of digesting other
• History of Staffordshire, p. 293.
Consistently with the observations of Mr. Hunter, we find that smaller fishes have been taken alive out of the stomachs of fishes of prey; and (not having been killed by any bite, or otherwise) bave survived their being devoured, have swam away well recovered, and very little affected by the digesting fluid. Two instances of this kind are mentioned by Dr. Ploit t; and many others might be added.
There appears, therefore, nothing unphilosophical or absurd, in supposing that Jonah (or indeed any other man, having the foramen ozule of the heart open, or such a construction of his frame as those persons mentioned by Derham had) might be cast into the sea, and be swallowed up whole by a great fish, and yet be neither drowned, nor, bitten, nor corrupted, nor digested, nor killed ; and it will easily follow, from the dictates of common sense, that, in that case, the fish itself must either die, or be prompted by its feelings to get rid of its load; and this it perhaps might do more readily near the shore than in the midst of the waters; and in that case, such person would certainly recover again, by degrees, and escape. I acknowledge, there must have been a miraculous divine interposition in causing all the circumstances of the presence of the fish, of the formation of Jonab, and of the nearness of the shore ai the time of his being thrown up, to concur rightly to effect his deliverance; and how much farther the miraculous interposition might extend, we cannot, nor ought, to presume to ascertain ; but, solely to show the fact to be philosophically possible, even according to the experience we are perinitted to be acquainted with, is sufficient to remove and fully to answer the objections of scoffers.
* Philosophical Transactions, vol. Ixii. p. 449.
REFLECTIONS ON JOHN XIII. 16.
The Servant is not greater than his Lord. The primary design of the ever blessed Son of God, in, assuming humanity, and in yielding himself up to the death of the cross, was undoubtedly to expiate the oitences of his elect, and to furnish them with a perfect robe of righteousness; but while this must be confessed to be a truth of imniense consequence, as lying at the very foundation of our everlasting welfare, it should not be forgotten that he confirmed the doctrines he inculcated by his own immaculate example: - an example which he has left us, that we should follow his steps. To what part of our Redeemer's history can we turn our aitention, without the liveliest emotions of admia Tation and delight? What amiable instances do we behold of patience, of meekness, of resignation, of ardent concern for the glory of bis heavenly Father, and of unwearied benevolence to the bodies and the souls of men ! The law of kindness dwelt upon his lips: he went about doing good. Wherever be advanced, Misery and Disease fled at his approach ; and the solicitous multitude received from his benig. nant hand the richest favours," without money and without price." But when we view tim retired from the clamorous ihrong, seated in condescending majesty, surrounded by his affectionate disciples, and giving them his gracious lessons, how superlatively amiable does his character appear! What a remarkable action is that which is related in this chapter ! Jesus has now in view his approaching scene of suffering, of conflict, and of triumph. He has just ended the celebration of the last supper with his beloved, though faithless followers. He perceives that, notwithstanding the instructions he has repeatedly given them on the subject of his spiritual king. dom, they are still looking up to him as a deliverer from teluporal vassalage ; and too prone to contend with each other on the point of superiority in that empire which they expected him to erect. To repress a spirit so highly unbecoming in itself, and so fatally pernicious in its consequences, behold the expedieut which our blessed Saviour adopted : he rises from table, he pours water into a bason, he girds linself with a towel, and begins to wash the disciples' feet! Peter, whose heart was shocked at the supposed indignity, at first refuses to submit; but on our Lord's assuring him, that, unless this were done, he should have no part with bim, eagerly exclaims, “ Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head.” Jesus having finished the solemnity, resumes his garments and his seat; and now, what is the improvement he makes of an action apparently so opposite to the dignity of his character! “ Know ye,” says he,“ what I have done to you? Ye call me Master and Lord ; and ye say well, for so I ain. If I then, your Lord and Master, bave washed your feet, ye also onght to wash one anotber's feet. I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.
Then, adds he, in a manner inost emphatical and striking," Verily, verily, I say unto you, the servant is not greater than bis Lord."
We shall not attempt to prove the truth of this assertion ; because it is self-evident and undeniable: - we shall only point out a few inferences, which are plainly deducible from the words.
Ist, Is it true that the servant is not greater than his Lord? Then let him cultivate a spirit of meekness and humility. As Pride is, of all vices, the most universally detestable, so there is nothing more conciliating and amiable ihan genuine Humility: I say genuine humility ; for there is an affected grimace of