Imágenes de páginas

it required the same power to do one as to do the other, and either way is miraculous." I then beg to observe, in the outset of my inquiry, that whatever the DAG of Jonah may have been, God's supernatural instrumentality in the matter cannot be overlooked. In spite of the objections of unbelievers, the humble servant of God will readily admit it to have been a fish; but what species of fish it was must for ever be considered an uncertainty, from the fact that the word DAG is not a specific but a generic term, or rather a term used to denote fish in general, the word being a general name in scripture for aquatic animals. But to this question I shall return.

As the consideration of the whole narration, as it is found in the book of Jonah, would monopolize a much greater space than the limits of these observations will allow, I shall confine myself merely to the nature of the preserver which was provided by the God of Jonah for his delivery out of the "deep waters," into which his want of faith had carried him. This subject therefore is chiefly comprehended in the last verse of the first chapter of Jonah-" Now the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah: and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights"-although it will be highly necessary that the reader should also take the whole narrative into consideration before any accurate opinion can be advanced as to the fact of whether the word dag can even be defined so closely as to imply a living fish. To the decision of this question we will therefore now proceed. "The fame of Jonah's deliverance appears to have spread among the heathen nations; and the Greeks, who were accustomed to adorn the memory of their heroes by every remarkable event and embellishment which they could appropriate, afterwards added to the fictitious adventures of Hercules that of having continued three days without injury in the belly of a dog, sent against him by Neptune. The fable of,Arion and the dolphin, of which the date is fixed at a time nearly coeval with the period of Jonah, is possibly a misrepresentation of particulars recorded in the bible." And there is little doubt that from the word dag is derived the heathen deity who

"had his temple high

Reared in Azotus, dreaded through the coast of Palestine." This idol appears, from the description given of it in 1 Sam. v. 4, to have been composed partly of a fish and partly of a man. There was a temple of Dagon at Gaza: the same was pulled down by Samson (Judges xv.) Another was at Ashdod, where the Philistines deposited the ark of God. Besides these, there were several cities named after this deity; as Beth-Dagon, a city of Judah-Caphar-Dagon, not far from Diospolis. So that the account of Jonah having been restored from the belly of a fish must have given rise to many confused statements, and, from its miraculous appearance, have been the origin of much superstitious exaggeration, which spread itself far and wide. Thus there was an ancient fable that Qavvng (Oannes), who was half a man and half a fish, rose

Lycophron, the Greek poet, alludes to this

"That famed three-nighted lion, whom of old
Triton's carcharian dog with horrid jaws

+ Gray's Key.

"It is our opinion that Dagon was represented like a woman, with the lower parts of a fish

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Desinit in piscem mulier formosa superne;' Horat. de Arte Poet. like a triton or syren. The Magnum Etymologicum says that Dagon was Saturn, others say he was Jupiter; others say Venus, whom the Egyptians worshipped under the form of a fish, because in Typhon's war against the gods, Venus concealed herself under this shape (Ovid's Met., lib. v. fab. 5). Diodorus Siculus says, lib. ii., that at Askelon the goddess Derceto, or Atergatis, was worshipped under the figure of a woman, with the lower parts of a fish; and Lucian (de dea Syr.) describes that goddess, or Venus, being adored under this form."-Calmet.

up out of the Red Sea, and came to Babylon, where he taught men several of the arts, and returned again to the sea. Apollodorus states that there were four such creatures, which at several ages had come forth out of the Red Sea, and that the name of one of them was Qaror, whence the learned Selden derives dagon. Berosus, speaking of Oannes, says he had the body and head of a fish, and above the head of the fish he had a human head; and below the tail of the fish, he had human feet.

Whatever were the corrupt purposes to which these heathen representations and legends pointed, I cannot help thinking that some little credence ought to be placed in them as far as the representation will coincide with what we know to be probable, if not actually certain. If the dag which received Jonah, for example, were nothing more than a ship or a floating preserver of some kind, how is it that mythology has over and over again recorded this event after its own fashion, yet always associating the wonderful preservation of their God with some fish? Now the mythological origin of many heathen deities may be traced to some real event recorded in the word of God; and there is no doubt that the report of Jonah's wonderful preservation by a fish would never have received such an unaccountable perversion, had the prophet been cast up out of a ship. Neither would the event have been likely to gain so much notoriety had it merely consisted in a simple act of casting one supposed to be drowned, but really saved, out of the interior of some floating vessel. I say thus much in proof of the dag being a real fish, because the author of the "Fragments" appended to Calmet has very learnedly conducted an argument to shew that the dag was not an animal, but a mere floating preservert. In its primary sense it certainly means a fish, although it may also mean a fish-boat, and figuratively a preserver. Moreover St. Matthew in describing the words of our Saviour, who was asked for a sign, uses the word krog, which can have no other meaning than that of a fish-“ As Jonah was in τη κοιλία του Enroug (the hollow cavity of the whale or fish) three days," &c. It is true the word kηTоç is sometimes put for great ships, but where would be the sense of preserving Jonah in a great ship? Besides, in Jonah's time nothing but open galleys were in use.

But we have the account of another symbol of this event in the Greek writers, which they call Derketos. Diodorus, Lucian, Pliny, and others, describe this goddess as having the countenance of a woman, with all the other parts of a fish. The Greeks supposed that Semiramis was the daughter of Derketos, who was changed into a fish. This image was much worshipped in Palestine and in Syria, around Judea **. It has been thought by some writers that this female emblem, as well as the masculine Dagon, went by different names in different countries tt. We can

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not, however, avoid coming to the conclusion that this Derketos answered to the dag. One is the Greek, the other the Hebrew word for fish; and both images display the same fact of a human form proceeding out of the mouth of a fish. Nor can we use a more powerful argument that a real fish was made the receiver of Jonah, than by directing the reader to the original words, which in Hebrew are usually put to signify ship and fish. When ships are spoken of in the Hebrew, the word anioth is mostly used; and when fish are spoken of, the word dag is used. We never see the word dag used for a ship; if therefore it is made to suit this purpose in Jonah, there is no precedent for it.

It has even been thought by some that the method of giving names to different ships, might have been the cause of the receiver of Jonah being called dag, just in the same way that we give to our ships the name of animals, or fish, or cities, or great men. But how remote is the probability that such was the origin of the word, setting aside the fact that we possess no historical evidence to prove that this method of naming vessels was in fashion before the time of Virgil t.

But among the fictions which were originally founded on the adventures of Jonah, may be quoted that of the exposure of Andromeda, the daughter of Cepheus, king of Egypt, upon a rock which projects into the sea at Joppa. It is stated that for her mother's pride she was chained to a rock, in order to be devoured by a sea-monster; but she was released by the bravery of Perseus, who afterwards married her.

Now if Jonah had been generally understood to have been received within "the hollow cavity" of a ship instead of a fish, the fiction of Andromeda would have, in all probability, gone to state that she was cast into some floating preserver to take her chance.

It is remarkable that old Jewish doctors, who were great lovers of the marvellous, among their numerous traditions and interpolations of the scriptures, have, in almost if not all instances, preserved some idea of a living animal having been the preserver of Jonali. Josephus and the rabbins assert that it was a whale that enclosed Jonah, and that it went up the Bosphorus into the Euxine Sea, where he was cast out of the fish. And their belief in the miracle of Jonah's being received into the belly of the fish, does not bear a comparison with the real impression which was upon their minds, and which they gave authority for.

Thus they thought the fish that swallowed Jonah was created from the beginning of the world; that, when it had brought Jonah into the Red Sea, it showed him the way that Israel passed through it; and in violent defiance of all anatomical knowledge, they supposed that the fish's eyes were as windows to

Atergatis to be the same as Dagon, and derived from the Hebrew, Adir Dagan, "magnificent fish." Diana the Persian, or Venus, was, they say, changed into a fish, by throwing herself into the waters of Babylon. There was a very deep pond near Askelon, filled with fish, consecrated to Derceto, from which the inhabitants of the town abstained, through a superstitious belief that Venus having cast herself into this pond, was there metamorphosed into a fish."-Calmet, copied from Diodorus.

The word sephineh is also put for ship in Jonah i. 5. Now if dag also means a ship, how very unlikely is it that two different words should be used in the same chapter to mean the same thing, one of which does not again occur.

Tzi is also

another name for ships; tzi adir means a large capacious vessel. The ships that came to the aid of Eneas were the Tiger,

Centaur, Triton, Pristes, Chimera, Scylla. As Pristes signifies a whale, and this was a name given by the Romans to a ship, it is conjectured that dag might have been applied to the preserver of Jonah in the same manner.

This was formerly the only port which the Jews had upon

the coast of All the materials that were sent from Tyre towards the building of Solomon's temple, were brought and landed at this place. It was a very ancient

place, supposed to have been built by Japheth, and is celebrated

as the place from whence Jonah embarked. Its antiquity may be inferred from the fact of the Mediterranean Sea having been at first named after it, the sea of Jaffa or Joppa.

Jonah, so that he looked out and saw all as he went. There was also a tradition among these rabbins that Jonah was twice swallowed by a whale, once by a male and once by a female.

But without further pursuing this part of the subject, the reader will have an opportunity of seeing that there is considerable evidence to show the prophet was received within the cavity of a fish. Our next inquiry will lead us to the evidence which favours that particular fish which some have undertaken to argue, with considerable learning, must have been the whale, others the sea-calf, and others again the shark. It would indeed be difficult to reconcile the statement of the prophet with any thing but an animal of some kind; for it would be impossible, or rather unreasonable, to suppose that a preserver, in the form of a ship, could be kept at the bottom of the sea; in which place the dag must have been, for Jonah to have said "The depths closed me round about; the weeds were wrapped about my head. I went down to the bottoms of the mountains." For it is clear that nothing but an animal of sufficient magnitude could penetrate to such a depth in the sea as to admit of such expressions as these being used. It is not, perhaps, considered by every reader of that beautiful prayer of Jonah, what was the real depth which the prophet descended, to have enabled him to express himself in the way he did; and it may be looked upon as an utter impossibility that any mere ship or cavity could have descended to such a depth as would admit of his going down to the bottoms of the mountains, which-if what Mrs. Somerville states be correct, that the mean depth of the sea is about equal to the mean height of the continents and islands above its level-is equivalent to his having possibly penetrated as low as fifty thousand feet, or nearly ten miles t.

"This idea does not differ much from those of the Chinese, who consider that a painted eye on the front of their ship is indispensable in order to secure the safety of the ship when sailing.

+ We have inserted these observations of our ingenious correspondent, as it is interesting to examine the collateral evidence to the truth of scripture history: but we apprehend that no Christian can, after the words of our Saviour quoted above, have the slightest doubt that Jonah was really received into the belly of a fish.-ED.

A Sermon,

Perpetual Curate of Hailey, Oxon.
COL. i. 21,

"You, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreprove able in his sight; if ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel."

A VERY important truth is intimated in the text, a truth never to be lost sight of by the believer, a truth repeatedly inculcated by Christ and his apostles, a truth directly opposed to the fatal errors of the Antinomian, namely, that sanctification is one great end of our redemption; that a recovery of the lost image of God, no less than of his lost favour, was the great object of Christ's incarnation and death; that, though the saints are dead to

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the law as a means of salvation, they are not dead to it as a rule of life. Were the scriptures given simply to make us "wise unto salvation" and strong in faith, do they not in addition exhibit this practical tendency, to make us "thoroughly furnished unto all good works?" Are the doctrines of the gospel in some degree mysterious and hard to be understood? They are nevertheless "the truth which is after godliness." Is faith merely an inward and mental operation? Still it is a mighty principle, controlling the passions, swaying the affections, elevating the mind, purifying the heart, and overcoming the world. Has Christ reconciled us to the Father in the body of his flesh through death, as is stated in the text? It is with this ultimate design" to present us holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight" at the judgment day. Did Christ bear our sins in his own body on the tree? He thus suffered, that we, being dead to sin, should live unto God. Has Jesus loved his church and given himself for it? It was that he might sanctify and cleanse it, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing. Are true believers" elect, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father?" Their election is evidenced through "the sanctification of the Spirit unto obedience." Are believers predestinated to eternal life as an end? Sanctification is the appointed means to that end: for, whom the Lord foreknows, he predestinates to be conformed to the image of his Son. Are we informed of the grace of God that bringeth salvation? In the same verse we are told that that grace teacheth us to live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world. Do we read the pleasing intelligence" there is no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus?" It is instantly subjoined, to check any false confidence, that such as are in Christ "walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." In short, is the cheering communication of the gospel--"Believe, and thou shalt be saved?" It communicates with no less frequency and distinctness this most necessary caution-" faith without works is dead."

tles, which may be regarded as a proof that he spoke and wrote as moved by the Holy Ghost. He never wounds but to heal: like a skilful surgeon, he probes the wound to the very core, keeps it open till the seat of the disease has been attacked, and, as soon as the poison is effectually eradicated, immediately he pours in the oil of gladness and the healing balm of Gilead. Thus, in the text, no sooner does he throw a gloom over the minds of the Colossians, by saying "You that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works," than instantly a ray of comfort shines forth-" yet now hath he reconciled."

In the opening words of the text, the apostle reminds the Colossians of their former state of Gentile depravity: he tells them they were once alienated in their hearts from the living and true God, and evidenced the enmity of their minds by wicked works. Thus, you perceive, he uses no enticing words of flattery, but utters the plain unvarnished truth, a truth most humbling to the spiritual Christian, and highly offensive to the pride of the natural man. But here let me call your attention to a great beauty in St. Paul's epis

This peculiarity, be it observed, may be discerned in every part of scripture, and is one internal proof that the sacred volume is a revelation from God. Do threatenings therein abound? The promises do much more abound. Do we read in the scriptures of sin, its tyranny, its hatefulness, its ingratitude, its condemnation? Instantly the Friend of sinners stands forward for our acceptance. Do we hear in one verse of our fall in the first Adam? In the next we are reminded of our full recovery through the second Adam. Is the conscience troubled on hearing the language of reproof? is the believer heart-smitten by some passages at the recollection of his many short-comings and backslidings? Immediately he hears the still small voice of love and mercy, of patience and forbearance, whispering peace and consolation to his soul. Are we reminded in the scriptures of the storms and tempests that will gather around us on our voyage through life? Presently the Sun of Righteousness bursts into view, and dispels the surrounding gloom. Do we hear of the many shoals and quicksands on which we are in imminent danger of making shipwreck of our faith? We are soon assured for our consolation, that he, whose piercing eye penetrates the unfathomable depths, he, whom the winds and the waves obey, ever sits at the helm, ever pilots the vessel, and will at last bring us to the haven of peace. Do we read in the sacred volume of the weakness of the members? Immediately we are reminded, for our encouragement, of the strength of Christ, the head of the body. Are we troubled at the repeated statements of our emptiness in the sight of God? Ere long we are cheered with the assurance, that it pleased the Father that in Christ all fulness should dwell. Do we tremble at our naked and defenceless state before our spiritual foes? Immediately the divine armoury is thrown open to our view. Are we abased at the consciousness of our great unworthiness? Immediately we read, worthy and all-sufficient is the Lamb that was slain for the sins of the world.

We, like the Colossians, have suffered from the fall of our first parent. We ourselves, in a state of nature, were alienated from Christ and enemies in our mind by wicked works. It is true, we have been born and trained under more favourable circumstances than those to whom the apostle wrote, who were partly of heathen parentage, the children of a people unblessed with the riches of the gospel and the light of a revelation from heaven. We, on the other hand, have sprung from parents professedly if not really Christian, have been admitted by the rite of baptism into the outward and visible church of Christ, and have enjoyed indirectly many collateral advantages from the general profession of Christianity. Outward circumstances may make us to differ in some respects from the Colossians; but yet the natural man, of whatever age or parent, age, of whatever clime or colour he may beis an enemy to the true God, and a stranger to vital godliness. "We all," says the apostle, writing to the Ephesians, who were converts partly from Judaism and partly from heathenism, including himself among the number, we all were by nature the children of wrath even as others." In Adam all fell: by one man's disobedience came death and sin and all our woe: we inherit from our common parent, one and all, a body of death and a soul of pollution. Yes, indeed, we have been transgressors from the womb: time was, when we walked according to the course of this world, and went astray like lost sheep, wandering further and further from the fold of the good Shepherd: the heart was not right with God. The carnal mind, the mind with which you and I, and every son and daughter of Adam, came into the world, is so constituted as to be at enmity itself against God: till the Holy Spirit works a change, it is in a state of alienation. That which is born of the flesh, in every case is flesh; and cannot become spiritual and meet for the kingdom of heaven till born of the Spirit.

Let us now proceed to a brief illustration | peared in our nature, undertook the work of of the several truths stated in the text: the our redemption, and suffered as our surety sad effect of the fall; our recovery through and representative. "He bore our sins in his Christ; the final perseverance of the believer; own body on the tree;" and his death purand his future glorification. chased life for us: his voluntary sacrifice of himself upon the cross was accepted as a satisfaction to the offended justice of our heavenly Father. Thus God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself; and now, out of regard to Christ's death, and merits, and intercession, he waiteth to be gracious to the penitent sinner, and is most willing not to impute unto him his iniquities. Hence the really injured and offended party is already satisfied with the terms of mediation. It only remains, then, that man should lay down the arms of his rebellion, the enmity of his carnal mind be subdued, and the love of God be shed abroad in his heart. This inward change the Holy Spirit can alone effect, and will most assuredly effect in answer to repeated supplications for his gracious influences: this change, too, he has already effected in the heart of every true believer, who, by his faith, has become interested in all those blessings which Christ has purchased for his church. God is not only reconciled to him, but he is also in a state of reconciliation with God: he can look up to him and address him in the endearing language of "Abba, Father!" his judgment acquiesces in the wisdom and excellency of the gospel scheme of redemption, and acknowledges the commandments to be holy, just, and good.

But, not to dwell any longer on this true, painful, and humiliating subject, man's natural alienation from God, let us pass on to consider how the child of wrath can become the child of grace, how a complete change can be effected in his situation and character, how, in short, God and man can be reconciled to each other. The way and only way of reconciliation is through Christ." You, that were sometime alienated, yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death." Jesus Christ, praised be God, ap

On recurring to the text, we shall perceive the apostle does something further than remind the Colossians of their present privileges, their being brought into a state of peace and reconciliation with one to whom they had shewn themselves such great enemies: he directs their thoughts onwards to their future exaltation in the kingdom of glory, to their presentation before the throne of the great Judge, "holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight." That the Colossians might keep on stedfast unto the end, and be faithful even unto death, he exhorts them to keep their eyes towards the crown of glory, to traverse with the eye of faith through the dark and unseen vale of futurity, and to look beyond that vale to the everlasting mountains of peace and righteousness. Such, brethren, must be our conduct, such our spirit, and such our views: we can endure with firmness a fight of trials, when seeing him who is invisible: we can patiently submit to the cross here, when fully expecting to wear the crown hereafter: we can with patience the race that is set before us, if we keep our eyes steadily fixed on the heavenly goal. Our spirits will not droop, our


courage will not fail, our strength will not be | exhausted, our service will not be constrained, whilst we look, not at the things which are seen and are temporal, but at the things which are not seen and are eternal: yea, our hope will be the more lively, our faith the more vigorous, our obedience the more uniform, our spirits the more encouraged, and our race the stronger, the more frequently we attempt to realize, and succeed in the attempt of realizing, the grand scenes and glorious visions of eternity, and the judgment day "when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, and shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe." May we not then stand on the left hand amongst the number of his adversaries, but may we rather be presented perfect in Christ Jesus, "holy, and unblameable, and unreproveable in his sight!" May we henceforth so live, as that when he shall appear we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming!

But here it may be asked, how can I be assured that I shall be accepted in that great day? The text answers this question: an entrance into heaven will be granted to those only "who continue in the faith, grounded and settled, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel"-to those only who patiently persevere unto the end in a life of faith and holiness.

Now, these concluding words of the apostle lead us to remark, in the last place, the importance and necessity of a stedfast course of holy living. This part of the subject will be discussed with great brevity, but well deserves our most attentive consideration.

We are in constant and imminent danger of falling: we have a wayward and treacherous enemy within, and a mighty and subtle enemy without; and, unless there be continued watchfulness on our part, we may draw back, yea, draw back even unto perdition. Moreover, in this age of religious inquiry, when there is strange diversity of opinion amongst the masters in Israel who sit in Moses' seat, there is a great probability that, without stability of principle, we shall be "tossed to and fro with every wind of doctrine." Not only is there great fluctuation in the religious aspect of nations and societies, but even in individual Christians, alas! there are sometimes grievous declensions from the way of truth. Many a child of God is constrained to cry out in bitterness of spirit-"O! that I were as in months past!" We are very much the creatures of outward circumstances; and our religion, if not firmly based on a solid basis, ebbs and flows with every tide of fortune, with every gale of

prosperity, and every storm of adversity. Sometimes the clouds of adversity depress the spirits, damp the ardour of devotion, obstruct the onward course, and eventually drown the soul in a sea of sinful anxiety; but more frequently a continued prosperity, or an unexpected accession of wealth, draws the heart from the Lord into the world, and entangles the individual to his ruin in the pleasures and pursuits of this life: when riches increase, man's infirmity is to set his heart upon them. "I did know thee," said Jehovah to Israel, "in the wilderness, in the land of great drought; according to their pasture, so were they filled: they were filled, and their heart was exalted, therefore have they forgotten me." A change of circumstances, or a change of ministry, is sometimes the occasion of a great alteration in apparent piety. Professing Christians may be thrown into a circle of gay or worldly-minded friends and relatives: the evil communications of these will in a short time corrupt their good manners, and their sound principles are gradually undermined. A change of ministry, too, is sometimes attended with lamentable consequences. We may have sat for a time under the sound of the gospel, fully and faithfully preached: we may flatter ourselves that we have obeyed, from the heart, the truth; but, when less favourably circumstanced, our strong impressions may gradually subside, our love wax cold, and our former zeal degenerate into lukewarms. Not unfrequently, too, injudicious and unequal matrimonial alliances prove a great snare to the soul: fresh cares and fresh pleasures, fresh acquaintances and fresh worldly ties, spring out of such connections; and most generally, when two are unequally yoked together, the piety of the one party gives way, and the ungodliness of the other gains the ascendant. We need only instance the histories of Sampson and Solomon in illustration of the wretchedness, the danger, and the degradation arising from such unhallowed associations. Some persons, too, are naturally fickle and unstable as water in their religious sentiments: they are not rooted and grounded in love: they do not hold fast any form of sound words: they run from one extreme to. another: they may fall from the heights of Calvinism to the lowest depths of Arminianism, and at length perhaps plunge into the fatal gulf of Socinianism or infidelity.

Such, then, is the weakness of flesh and blood, such the power of temptation, and such the cunning wiles of our great adversary, that we cannot be too strongly cautioned against inconstancy and backsliding; and the consideration of our proneness to err, both in judgment and practice, should operate as an

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