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shake off the ignominious yoke, and withheld the tribute. But Shalmaneser hearing of the conspiracy, came again into Palestine, and besieged Samaria, which, after three years defence, was taken---the conquered king was imprisoned, and the inhabitants were all carried into the cities of the Medes, which had before received their unhappy brethren.
Thus ten of the twelve tribes which took possession of the land of Canaan, literally exemplified the prophecy of Moses. *
“ It shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe to do all his commandments, and his statutes, which I command thee this day-the Lord shall bring thee and thy king, which thou shalt set over thee, unto a nation which neither thou nor thy fathers have known, and there thou shalt serve other gods, wood and stone.” (B. C. 677.)
The land of Israel thus stripped of her native sons, was re-peopled by Assyrians, whom the conquerer sent thither. Finding their new habitations infested by wild beasts, by whom some of the colonists were killed, they were seized with religious terror, and ascribed the visitation to their ignorance of the manner in which the deity of that place ought to be worshipped. A priest of the captives was therefore sent to instruct them ; but if he taught them at all, to know the God of Israel, they only received Him amongst the number of their own deities : thus a mongrel religion was introduced, and was perpetuated to their posterity, who were denominated Samaritans. They were also called Cutheans---because some of the strangers came from a place called Cuth.
* Deut. xxviii. 15-36.
CATHERINE. Were there any prophets in Israel, in the times of which you have been speaking, beside Elijah and Elisha?
Mrs, M. Several of those who are called the minor prophets lived in this period. Amos and Hosea foretold the destruction of Israel, in the reign of the second Jeroboam, the great-grandson of Jehu, because there was “ no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land ;"—that Samaria should become desolate, and the Assyrian should be her king. Amos stood boldly in the temple of the golden calf, at Bethel, and told the people that “ their impious feasts should be turned into mourning—their songs, into lamentations ;'--that “ Israel should be led away captive out of their own land, and scattered amongst the nations." His warning was called a conspiracy; the king and his priests were uneasy; but not choosing to lay violent hands on him, entreated that he would go from them, and prophecy in Judah. But the faithful pastor replied, that he was expressly sent unto Israel-that he had not been educated in the sacred college, nor did he call on them in the casual exercise of a profession_“I was no prophet,” said he, “ nor the son of a prophet; but a herdsman, and a gatherer of sycainore fruit; and as I followed the flock, Jehovah said unto me, Go, prophecy unto my people Israel.” And Micah, in the reign of Hoshea, declared to them, that sacrificial rites, however multiplied, would not atone for their transgressions. They were required “ to do justly, to love mercy, and walk humbly with their God;" that having neglected these commands, and “ kept the statues of Omri, and all the works of the house of Ahab,” the Assyrian should desolate their land.
As I propose to give you a general view of the prophetic
writings by and by, I merely notice them now, as they are connected with the several parts of the Jewish history. The book of Jonah does not come within this description ; but as he flourished at this period, it may be proper to mention it in this place; and, as it is wholly narrative, you will be entertained as well as edified, by a more particular account of its contents.
Jonah is supposed to have prophecied in the reign of Jew hoahaz, king of Israel, of the restoration of the coasts of that country, which had been seized by Hazael, the Syrian, and were recovered by the second Jeroboam. I do not state a supposition, with respect to the prophecy, but to the precise time in which it was delivered, which is an unimportant circumstance.
But his principal mission was to a gentile nation. He was the instrument employed to suspend the threatened judgments against the great city of Nineveh. Nineveh was a very ancient city, dating its foundation so early as the time of Asher, the grandson of Noah. It was sixty miles in circuit, and contained not less than six hundred thousand persons. Abounding in wealth, it was immoral to excess, and Jonah was commanded to tell the inhabitants that unless they repented, in forty days their city would be destroyed.
It is not likely that the great Supreme would leave his servant in doubt about the source of a command from himself, in whatever way communicated. Jonah well knew that obedience was his duty; but he wanted fortitude to dare the rage of the proud Ninevites, and, without reflecting that he could not flee from the Lord of the Universe, he determined to neglect his mandate, and go to Tarshish, Where the Tarshish of the Scriptures was situated, the re
searches of the learned cannot now discover: we only know that Jonah was obliged to go thither by sea, and that he took shipping at Joppa. But soon a tremendous storm sent the terrified mariners to call upon their gods for deliverance. Lots, too, were cast to discover the offender, for whose sake they were in peril, that he might be sacrificed to the vengeance of the angry deities. The lot falling on the disobedient prophet, he was awakened from a sleep, and entreated to call also upon his God, and to declare to his companions the cause of their present danger. With the deepest contrition, he acknowledged that he had been sent to Nineveh, and had “ fled from the face of the Lord.” Assuring them of safety to themselves, he desired them to cast him into the sea; but their humanity prompted them first to try every other means of preservation.The tempest, however, still raging, the sailors confessed the sovereignty of Jonah's God, and committed him to the waves! Punishment alone, not death, being designed, Jonah was swallowed by a great fish, and, after remaining three days in this gloomy tomb, was cast alive on dry land!
Convinced now that He who could preserve him three days in the bosom of the great deep, could protect him in the execution of his mission, he went iminediately to Nineveh, and proclaimed the dread decree : “ Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown !!!
It is very possible that the report of the late miracle disposed the inhabitants to listen to the prophet ; perhaps his incarceration, within a great whale, declared by himself, was believed. He was received with surprising humility. The king himself laid aside the royal robes, and exhorted his people to follow his example-to clothe thenselves in sackcloth-to keep a rigid fast-to turn from their aggravated sins, and to pray earnestly. Accordingly the prayer of Faith ascended to the Throne of Grace, and Nineveh was spared for a time.
CHARLES. Was not Jonah rejoiced at the success of his preaching
Mrs. M. The prophets, my son, were but men, like others. They foresaw events the most unlikely, and they performed wondrous miracles; but they had the failings of humanity. In the faithful record of their errors, we have a triumphant answer to those who tell us, that the Messiah,“ of whom they spake," was but a prophet like themselves ;-in one, we see infirm creatures-in the other, a perfect character. Jonah was not only timid, but culpably jealous of his own honour. In the probable penitence of the Ninevites, and the consequent reversal of his denunciation, he feared that his prophetic name might be tarnished. Already forgetting the pardon of his own sin, he grieved that the same mercy had been accorded to an immense multitude of his fellow creatures. Uncertain, however, of the event, he went out of the city and sat down on an eminence to observe its fate. Repenting Nineveh still reared her proud towers-her princely palaces, and her stupendous walls, survived the destined day, and Jonah peevishly exclaimed, “ Was not this my saying when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fed before unto Tarshish : for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful ; slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil. Therefore, now, O Lord, take, I beseech thee, my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live.”
Suddenly, in the course of one night, “ a gourd," or