And God prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah.
Shipmates, the sin of Jonah was in his disobedience of the command of God.
He found it a hard command. And it was hard, shipmates, for all the things
would have us do are hard. We would obey God we must disobey ourselves.
But Jonah still further flouts at God by seeking to flee from him, Jonah
thinks that a ship, made by men will carry him into country where God does
not reign. He prowls along the shipping like a vile burglar hastening to
cross the seas. As he comes aboard the sailors mark him. The ship puts
out. But soon the sea rebels it will not bear the wicked burden, a
dreadful storm comes up, the ship is like to break, the bosun calls all
hands to lighten her. Boxes, bales and jars are clattering overboard, the
wind is shrieking, the men are yelling. "Fear the lord," cries Jonah, "the
God of heaven who hath made the sea and the dry land." Again the sailors
mark him, wretched Jonah cries out to them to cast him overboard for he
knew for his sake this great tempest was upon them.
Now behold Jonah taken up as an anchor, and dropped into the sea, into
the dreadful jaws awaiting him. The great whale shoots to all of his great
ivory teeth like so many white bolts upon his prison, and Jonah cries unto
the lord ut of the fish's belly. But observe his prayer shipmates, he
doesn't weep or wail, he feels his punishment is just he leaves
to God and even out of the belly of hell grounded upon the ocean's utmost
bones, God heard him when he cried. God spake unto the whale from the
shuddering cold and blackness of the deep the whale breached and vomited
out Jonah upon the dry land and Jonah, bruised and beaten, his ears like
two seashells still multitudinously murmuring of the ocean.
Jonah did the Almighty's bidding and what was that shipmates? To preach
the truth in the face of falsehood, no shipmates, woe to him who seeks
to pour oil on the troubled waters when God has brewed them into a gale,
ye, woe to him who as the pilot Paul has it: 'while preaching to others
is himself a castaway.' But delights is to him, who against the proud
Gods and commodores of this earth, stands forth his own inexorable self.
Who destroys all sin, though he pluck it out from under the robes of senators
and judges! And eternal delight shall be his, who coming to lay him down,
can say "Oh father, mortal or immortal, here I die. I've striven to be
thine, more than to be this worlds or mine own. Yet this is nothing. I
leave eternity to thee for what is man, if he should live out the lifetime
of his God?"
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