Sunday, February 5, 2023

On The Historicity And Morality Of The Canaanite Conquests (Part 2 Of 2)

  • Discussion:
          -James Bishop created a series of posts explaining what he thinks is problematic with traditional defenses of God commanding the Israelites to kill the Canaanites. The second installment of this series continues on the work of the first by answering a few other objections to this narrative. Following are a few excerpts from the author along with a critique: 

          "...If we swapped “Canaanites” with “Jews” in the Old Testament, and Joshua with Hitler, we would have Archer defending Hitler on the basis that the Jews cancerous, including their infants and children. If we swapped “Canaanites” with “Jews” in the Old Testament, and Joshua with Hitler, we would have Archer defending Hitler on the basis that the Jews cancerous, including their infants and children."

          This is a false analogy. Israel was a theocracy, not a dictatorship. Classes of people were not being eliminated at whim. The context of these battles in the Old Testament relates to purity of worship, not racial hatred. Note that the Old Testament does not paint these battles in a positive light, and rightfully so. It only records the details of these events, no matter how gruesome.

          It can also be pointed out that no other nation in history besides Israel had been led directly by God. He commanded His people to wage this war. Consequently, this reasoning cannot simply be applied to justify any genocide committed throughout history. A man actually commanded by God to do something should be distinguished from one who is delusional in the belief He is calling upon him. It is not our duty as Christians to kill anyone so that they do not sin later.

          This truly is a paradoxical situation. How can God be one essence in three persons? How can His sovereignty be reconciled with our freewill? How can God remain just while making just the unjust? These types of questions are raised here to illustrate the point that there are many aspects of God's nature that confound human rationality and sensibilities, especially that of nonbelievers.

          "God’s plan, however, is to not only kill all the Canaanite parents but their children and infants too. In other words, God is judging the Canaanites for practicing child sacrifice by killing their children."

          The Canaanite children would likely have grown up to resent the Israelites who raised them and cause rebellion. Further, Israel was not strong enough at this time like Rome was in a more developed stage to keep several hostile districts under control at the same time. Not every surrounding nation posed a threat to Israel.

          God could have terminated the lives of the Canaanite children to spare them from becoming corrupt like their forefathers. The same idea could be applied to the multitudes of children who died in the Genesis flood. They would be received into His kingdom rather than come under eternal condemnation for sin.

          God's reasons include what is best for the children given the entirety of circumstances at the time. He has reasons that exceed the scope of human comprehension. Children die all the time and in many different ways. This is ultimately rooted in the problem of evil, which has been tackled by different theodicies. 

          Liberal critics have no consistent grounds to criticize the morality of the Canaanite conquests given their support of abortion and euthanasia.

          "Going on what the biblical authors tell us, God wanted to eradicate the Canaanite religion and identity because they were a major threat to Israel. But here God, given his want to eradicate the Canaanites, we learn that they were not fully wiped out (Judg. 3:1–4)."

          Israel did not finish the job due to disobedience. One can only reach the conclusion that this part of the narrative is inconsistent by purposefully disregarding context.

          God extended mercy to nations that repented during the Old Testament (Jeremiah 18:7-8; Jonah 3:10). He is merciful enough to spare even the smallest remnant of righteous people in the midst of a wicked city (Genesis 18:24). The Canaanites had enough time and understanding of what God required of them in order to be spared from divine judgement, but they persisted in their ways. 

          God has the authority to use anything in His created order as an instrument to punish the unrighteous. He is sovereign over life (Deuteronomy 32:39). He gave it to us. Life belongs to Him. God can also take it back from us. He can do so in any way that He deems appropriate.

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

On The Historicity And Morality Of The Canaanite Conquests (Part 1 Of 2)

  • Discussion:
          -James Bishop created a series of posts explaining what he thinks is problematic with traditional defenses of God commanding the Israelites to kill the Canaanites. This two part series attempts to show that a number of those objections do not hold water when put under scrutiny. Following are a few excerpts from the author along with a critique: 

          "...Wesley Morriston agrees writing that there “is nothing uniquely “Canaanite” about them. All, or nearly all, of these practices—from sexual intercourse during a woman’s menstrual period to homosexual behavior to bestiality—are still common. Is there any real reason to believe that these things were more common among the Canaanites in the ancient world?”

          Some cultures in the ancient world were worse than others. It is not even claimed that Canaanite culture was the worst that ever existed. There are other instances in the Old Testament of societies that were destroyed by God because of their sin (Genesis 19). 

          Genesis 15:16 refers to a point of wickedness at which God has no other choice but to act in judgement. His patience with perverse people wanes according to the degree of their perversity. These people had four hundred years to repent. The real wonder is why God gave them so much time to do so.

          "More likely it is that the biblical authors are deliberately depicting their Canaanite enemies in a negative light, thus portraying them in a way that is not entirely fair. One should remember that the Israelites were the supposed exterminators of the Canaanites and we only have their testimony bearing witness to the Canaanites themselves. We have to rely on the killers of the Canaanites to learn about the Canaanites."

          This is not likely given that Jewish culture taught heavily against lying (Exodus 20:16; Psalm 101:7; Proverbs 12:22; Hosea 4:2). The Old Testament contains warnings against modifying the substance of its message (Deuteronomy 4:2; 12:32; Proverbs 30:5-6), which suggests that honest people wrote it.

          Even if we have only one side of an event presented by a source, that does not necessarily make it untrue or untrustworthy.

          "Evidence of the Canaanite culture, beliefs, and practices appear to leave out much of what the biblical authors say about them. This suggests that the biblical authors had limited knowledge of the Canaanites. For instance, translations of the Ugaritic texts do not suggest the Canaanites being a particularly “debauched” or “cruel” culture (unless one sees the common ancient practice of animal sacrifice as cruel)."

          Archaeological discoveries may be helpful in shedding light on more obscure parts of the Old Testament, but the insight that they provide is limited. How can we be sure that the Ugaritic texts provide us a full picture as to how the Palestinian world was? 

          The biblical authors should not be dismissed on a priori basis until proven correct. It is much more likely that our, not their, knowledge of the Canaanites is limited. The biblical authors were alive thousands of years before us. They would be better suited to speak to these matters than us.

          There could have been other documents further supporting the description of the Canaanites as found in the Old Testament that have since perished. We do not have even a fraction of literature produced from that time period.

Thursday, January 19, 2023

An Exegetical Analysis Of Hebrews 7:26-27 And Roman Catholic Eucharist Theology

          "For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself." (Hebrews 7:26-27)

          The priestly ministry of Christ is one in which He need not make additional sacrifices. His work has been brought about to the fullest extent possible. The Book of Hebrews presents His atonement as being accomplished one time forever, without further sacrifices. For the author of Hebrews, that which is unchangeable entails perfection. That is the very nature of Christ's position as High Priest. No one else can legitimately lay claim to it.

          The description of His atonement being made "once for all" emphasizes its perfection. It easily contrasts with the animal sacrifices performed under the Levitical priesthood. Those needed to be done on a daily basis. Those needed to be done on an annual basis. There was simply no end to them. This is not the case with Christ's work on the cross. His work had such an effect that animal victims are no longer necessary to be given for offerings. 

          The Penny Catechism has this excerpt explaining the sacrifice of the Roman Catholic Mass as being, "...one and the same Sacrifice with that of the Cross, inasmuch as Christ, who offered himself, a bleeding victim, on the Cross to his heavenly Father, continues to offer himself in an unbloody manner on the altar, through the ministry of his priests."

          If the sacrifice of Jesus Christ at Calvary and the sacrifice of the Mass are one and the same event, then why does it have to be continually offered? Why so many sacrifices? If His atoning sacrifice is ongoing, then the implication is that it did not get finished. The Mass causes the atonement of Jesus Christ to be just like the repetitive Old Testament sacrifices, which cannot bring about the perfection of our souls. The Mass is not consistent with the presentation of His work in Hebrews as to why it is superior to the animal sacrifices.

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

An Exegetical Analysis Of Hebrews 10:10-18 And Roman Catholic Eucharist Theology

          Roman Catholics are taught that priests transform bread and wine into the physical body and blood of Jesus Christ to be consumed during the Mass service. This dogma is known as transubstantiation. It is maintained that this alleged miracle is atonement for sin, that His propitiatory work is ongoing, and that His sacrifice is re-presented at each worship service. Hebrews 10:10-18 contains a number of ideas which are in conflict with this theology.

          We have been sanctified by means of Jesus Christ's sacrifice "once for all" (Hebrews 10:10). That entails His work being fully complete at Calvary. His sacrifice is not continuing on in worship services across the world because that historical event has already come to pass. There is no sense in which His atonement is still in progress. His work on the cross alone covers us perfectly and completely.

          Priests repeatedly offer the same sacrifices in vain as a result of Christ's expiatory work on the cross (Hebrews 10:11). They are powerless to accomplish anything to a person's benefit. Offerings cannot take away sin. No offerings are to be made since Christ's single sacrifice. This point is articulated more forcibly and explicitly in verse 18. It calls attention to the New Covenant being greater than the Old Covenant.

          Jesus Christ has ascended into the full presence of God (Hebrews 10:12-13). Never again will He descend to this earth to make another offering for sin. He is not returning from heaven at the command of a parish priest to be eaten by laypeople. Nor can Christ's physical body be located at thousands of different churches across the world at the same time. It is evident that Roman Catholic eucharist theology suffers from ontological problems.

          People who place their trust in Christ do not need any of the sacrifices performed during the Mass because they have been eternally perfected by His one sacrifice (Hebrews 10:14). Hebrews 10:18 is the climax of this argument in that it says no other offerings exist for the purification of our souls from sin. Christ has already given Himself up as a ransom. Ritual sacrifices are a thing of the past. They have no merit.

          The idea that Jesus Christ is in some way still offering Himself up for our sins runs contrary to the reasoning employed in Hebrews 10:10-18 as to the nature and effects of His atonement. The work of Christ on the cross is not constantly happening throughout the ages until His return. Atonement is not being made for sin today. His body and blood are not being physically consumed each time Christians celebrate the Lord's Supper.

Wednesday, January 4, 2023

What Is Your Religion?

 “Religion! Is what you hear at church religion? Is that which can bend and turn, and descend and ascend, to fit every crooked phase of selfish, worldly society, religion? Is that religion which is less scrupulous, less generous, less just, less considerate for man, than even my own ungodly, worldly, blinded nature? No! When I look for religion, I must look for something above me, and not something beneath.”

Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin, The Freeman's Defense (Chap. XVII)

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

The Brevity Of Human Life

“Death! Strange that there should be such a word, and such a thing, and we ever forget it; that one should be living, warm and beautiful, full of hopes, desires and wants, one day, and the next be gone, utterly gone, and forever!”

Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin, Reunion (Chap. XXVIII)

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

There Is More To Life Than This World

 "...But it is often those who have least of all in this life whom he chooseth for the kingdom. Put thy trust in him [God] and, no matter what befalls thee here, he will make all right hereafter.”

Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin, The Freeman's Defense (Chap. XVII)

Friday, December 2, 2022

A Textual Critical Analysis Of Mark 16:9-20

          Most modern English translations of the Bible place into brackets or footnotes the text of Mark 16:9-20, which is about Jesus appearing to the disciples and giving them instructions to carry on the work of preaching the gospel. The text records Jesus appearing first to Mary Magdalene who was not believed after telling others the news of Him being resurrected after His crucifixion. He then appears to two other disciples bodily and later for a third time to the eleven while they were supping. Scholars generally do not consider Mark 16:9-20 to be part of the original text of the gospel of Mark.

          Two key witnesses consulted in reaching this conclusion would be Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus. In regards to textual defects, Randall Price writes, "...there are thousands of variants between them [Sinaiticus and Vaticanus], but where they agree they appear to represent a text that goes back to the second century AD" (Searching for the Original Bible, p. 80). Philip Wesley Comfort writes, "Through the use of chemicals and painstaking effort, a scholar can read the original writing underneath the printed text" (The Quest for the Original Text of the New Testament, p. 27, n 1).

          Early Syriac, Coptic, Armenian, and Georgian translations are appealed to as evidence for Mark's gospel ending at 16:8. The New English Translation has this excerpt on Mark 16:9-20: "Most mss include the “long ending” (vv. 9-20) immediately after v. 8 (A C D W [which has unique material between vv. 14 and 15] Θ ƒ 33 M lat sy bo); however, Eusebius (and presumably Jerome) knew of almost no Greek mss that had this ending. Several mss have marginal comments noting that earlier Greek mss lacked the verses." This scribal interpolation was produced and in circulation as early as the second century. A few manuscripts contain a shorter ending that comes after Mark 16:8, which is cited as follows:

          "And they reported all the instructions briefly to Peter’s companions. Afterwards Jesus himself, through them, sent forth from east to west the sacred and imperishable proclamation of eternal salvation. Amen."

          Verses 12 and 13 parallels Luke 24:13-35 in which Christ chided two of His followers traveling on the way to Emmaus for their lack of faith. Verse 14 mirrors Christ appearing to the eleven apostles and eating with them in Luke 24:36-43 and John 20:19-23. Verse 15 is derived from Christ's commandment to preach the gospel to the unbelieving world in Matthew 28:18-20. Verse 16 echoes the words of incurred divine judgement on those who reject the gospel message found in John 3:18. The reference to handling snakes was gleaned from Paul's miraculous recovery from a snake bite during an encounter with barbarians in Acts 28. The idea of miraculous survival after drinking poison is nowhere to be found in the New Testament.

        Contributor Walter W. Wessel writes in the Expositor's Bible Commentary on Mark 16:9-20 regarding differences in vocabulary and style when compared to Mark's gospel: 

        "Of the 75 significant words in v. 9-20, 15 do not appear elsewhere in Mark and 11 others have a different meaning. In other words, more than a third of the words are non-Markan. The marked difference in vocabulary between 16:9-20 and the rest Mark's gospel makes it difficult to believe that they both came from the same author." 

        The insertion of Mark 16:9-20 as a conclusion to Mark's gospel after verse 8 disrupts the flow of the narrative in that it is suddenly introduced and reads awkwardly. The use of the word "now" at the beginning of verse nine seems disconnected with the ending of verse eight for the reason that there is no smooth change in focus from the woman mentioned in Mark 16:8 to Jesus appearing to Mary Magdalene in Mark 16:9. Mark did not write his gospel in a choppy style. It would also be unusual for Mark to introduce in this place (as if it were for the first time) Mary Magdalene when she was already mentioned a few times before (Mark 15:40, 47; 16:1). Why is the detail of her having seven demons cast out by Christ brought up here?

         The explanation taken here for Mark's gospel ending at 16:8 would not be that the concluding part of the work has been lost but he intended it to end that way. The theme of trembling and astonishment is one found throughout Mark's gospel (2:12; 4:41; 9:6; 10:32). The New English Translation has this footnote which speaks of, "the literary power of ending the Gospel so abruptly that the readers are now drawn into the story itself." It continues, "E. Best aptly states, “It is in keeping with other parts of his Gospel that Mark should not give an explicit account of a conclusion where this is already well known to his readers” (Mark, 73; note also his discussion of the ending of this Gospel on 132 and elsewhere). The readers must now ask themselves, “What will I do with Jesus? If I do not accept him in his suffering, I will not see him in his glory.”

Monday, November 28, 2022

A Textual Critical Analysis Of John 7:53-8:11

          Most modern English translations of the Bible place into brackets or footnotes the story of the woman caught in adultery, which can be found in John chapter seven verse fifty-three through the eleventh verse of the next chapter.

          The story of the woman caught in adultery has value because it sets in stone the superiority of Jesus Christ over the Law and portrays the cross as being the fountain of mercy that washes away iniquity. It powerfully emphasizes grace over law; justification rather than condemnation before God. The scribes and Pharisees tried to set up a trap for Christ. If He answered them by saying outright that justice should not be administered to this woman, then that would violate the Law of Moses and cause a negative reaction amongst the Jews against Him. If He were to take the administration of justice into His own hands, then that could have been viewed as a challenge to Caesar's authority. Rather than dong either, Jesus pointed out that all people fail to obey the Law.

          The text of John 7:53-8:11 strongly conveys to us the message that God has been gracious to us. Hence, it is no wonder that Christians would want to preserve this tradition in writing. Furthermore, there exists no credible reason to deem this event in the life of Jesus Christ as being a forgery. However, the oldest manuscripts available do not incorporate the text in question into John's gospel narrative. Henry Clarence Thiessen, in his Introduction to the New Testament, p. 176, writes in regard to John 7:53-8:11:

          "The section about the adulterous is, no doubt, a true story from the life of Jesus; but it is poorly supported by documentary evidence. It is not found in Aleph A B C L T W X Delta and at least seventy cursives and numerous Evangelistaria (Gospel Lectionaries). It is also wanting in the Old Syriac, the Peshitta, the Harkloan, in some copies of the Old Latin, and in several of the minor versions. Really, it appears in no Greek manuscript earlier than the eighth century, save in Codex Beza (5"cent.), which has many textual peculiarities. It is not quoted as by John until late in the fourth century, at which time Augustine says that some have removed it from their copies, fearing, he supposes, that its presence might give their wives undue license Jerome says that in his day it was contained in many Greek and Latin MSS." Plummer reminds us, however, that most of the worst corruptions of the text were already in existence in Jerome's time." Practically all scholars today accept it as a true incident in the life of Jesus, but not as a genuine part of John's Gospel. This includes conservative scholars as Warfield and A. T. Robertson. Yet there we have the statements of Jerome and Augustine!"

          J.B. Phillips, in his New Testament in Modern English, writes:

          "This passage [John 7:53-8:11] has no place in the oldest manuscripts of John, and is considered by most scholars to be an interpolation from some other source. Almost all scholars would agree that, although the story is out of place here, it is part of a genuine apostolic tradition."

          In fact, some manuscripts that do contain this passage have it located after John 21:24. There is one manuscript that has John 7:53-8:11 inserted after John 7:36. Others have the story of the woman caught in adultery placed after Luke 21:38, or at the very end of Luke's gospel.

          There is nothing inherently wrong with accepting this text as canonical Scripture, since it contains no doctrinal error and accurately reflects the tender side of Jesus Christ. This story is actually something that we would have more expected to be recorded in Luke's gospel, since he focused more on women than did the other three writers. The story of the woman caught in adultery does not in any way contradict historical details of the four gospels.

Sunday, October 9, 2022

An Interesting Look at the Life of Jonah

Father Mapple rose, and in a mild voice of unassuming authority ordered the scattered people to condense. "Star board gangway, there! side away to larboard- larboard gangway to starboard! Midships! midships!"

There was a low rumbling of heavy sea-boots among the benches, and a still slighter shuffling of women's shoes, and all was quiet again, and every eye on the preacher.

He paused a little; then kneeling in the pulpit's bows, folded his large brown hands across his chest, uplifted his closed eyes, and offered a prayer so deeply devout that he seemed kneeling and praying at the bottom of the sea.

This ended, in prolonged solemn tones, like the continual tolling of a bell in a ship that is foundering at sea in a fog- in such tones he commenced reading the following hymn; but changing his manner towards the concluding stanzas, burst forth with a pealing exultation and joy-

The ribs and terrors in the whale, Arched over me a dismal gloom, While all God's sun-lit waves rolled by, And lift me deepening down to doom.

I saw the opening maw of hell, With endless pains and sorrows there; Which none but they that feel can tell- Oh, I was plunging to despair.

In black distress, I called my God, When I could scarce believe him mine, He bowed his ear to my complaints- No more the whale did me confine.

With speed he flew to my relief, As on a radiant dolphin borne; Awful, yet bright, as lightning shone The face of my Deliverer God.

My song for ever shall record That terrible, that joyful hour; I give the glory to my God, His all the mercy and the power.

Nearly all joined in singing this hymn, which swelled high above the howling of the storm. A brief pause ensued; the preacher slowly turned over the leaves of the Bible, and at last, folding his hand down upon the proper page, said: "Beloved shipmates, clinch the last verse of the first chapter of Jonah- 'And God had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah.'"

"Shipmates, this book, containing only four chapters- four yarns- is one of the smallest strands in the mighty cable of the Scriptures. Yet what depths of the soul Jonah's deep sealine sound! what a pregnant lesson to us is this prophet! What a noble thing is that canticle in the fish's belly! How billow-like and boisterously grand! We feel the floods surging over us, we sound with him to the kelpy bottom of the waters; sea-weed and all the slime of the sea is about us! But what is this lesson that the book of Jonah teaches? Shipmates, it is a two-stranded lesson; a lesson to us all as sinful men, and a lesson to me as a pilot of the living God. As sinful men, it is a lesson to us all, because it is a story of the sin, hard-heartedness, suddenly awakened fears, the swift punishment, repentance, prayers, and finally the deliverance and joy of Jonah. As with all sinners among men, the sin of this son of Amittai was in his wilful disobedience of the command of God- never mind now what that command was, or how conveyed- which he found a hard command. But all the things that God would have us do are hard for us to do- remember that- and hence, he oftener commands us than endeavors to persuade. And if we obey God, we must disobey ourselves; and it is in this disobeying ourselves, wherein the hardness of obeying God consists.

"With this sin of disobedience in him, Jonah still further flouts at God, by seeking to flee from Him. He thinks that a ship made by men, will carry him into countries where God does not reign but only the Captains of this earth. He skulks about the wharves of Joppa, and seeks a ship that's bound for Tarshish. There lurks, perhaps, a hitherto unheeded meaning here. By all accounts Tarshish could have been no other city than the modern Cadiz. That's the opinion of learned men. And where is Cadiz, shipmates? Cadiz is in Spain; as far by water, from Joppa, as Jonah could possibly have sailed in those ancient days, when the Atlantic was an almost unknown sea. Because Joppa, the modern Jaffa, shipmates, is on the most easterly coast of the Mediterranean, the Syrian; and Tarshish or Cadiz more than two thousand miles to the westward from that, just outside the Straits of Gibraltar. See ye not then, shipmates, that Jonah sought to flee worldwide from God? Miserable man! Oh! most contemptible and worthy of all scorn; with slouched hat and guilty eye, skulking from his God; prowling among the shipping like a vile burglar hastening to cross the seas. So disordered, self-condemning in his look, that had there been policemen in those days, Jonah, on the mere suspicion of something wrong, had been arrested ere he touched a deck. How plainly he's a fugitive! no baggage, not a hat-box, valise, or carpet-bag,- no friends accompany him to the wharf with their adieux. At last, after much dodging search, he finds the Tarshish ship receiving the last items of her cargo; and as he steps on board to see its Captain in the cabin, all the sailors for the moment desist from hoisting in the goods, to mark the stranger's evil eye. Jonah sees this; but in vain he tries to look all ease and confidence; in vain essays his wretched smile. Strong intuitions of the man assure the mariners he can be no innocent. In their gamesome but still serious way, one whispers to the other- "Jack, he's robbed a widow;" or, "Joe, do you mark him; he's a bigamist;" or, "Harry lad, I guess he's the adulterer that broke jail in old Gomorrah, or belike, one of the missing murderers from Sodom." Another runs to read the bill that's stuck against the spile upon the wharf to which the ship is moored, offering five hundred gold coins for the apprenhension of a parricide, and containing a description of his person. He reads, and looks from Jonah to the bill; while all his sympathetic shipmates now crowd round Jonah, prepared to lay their hands upon him. Frightened Jonah trembles. and summoning all his boldness to his face, only looks so much the more a coward. He will not confess himself suspected; but that itself is strong suspicion. So he makes the best of it; and when the sailors find him not to be the man that is advertised, they let him pass, and he descends into the cabin.

"'Who's there?' cries the Captain at his busy desk, hurriedly making out his papers for the Customs- 'Who's there?' Oh! how that harmless question mangles Jonah! For the instant he almost turns to flee again. But he rallies. 'I seek a passage in this ship to Tarshish; how soon sail ye, sir?' Thus far the busy Captain had not looked up to Jonah, though the man now stands before him; but no sooner does he hear that hollow voice, than he darts a scrutinizing glance. 'We sail with the next coming tide,' at last he slowly answered, still intently eyeing him. 'No sooner, sir?'- 'Soon enough for any honest man that goes a passenger.' Ha! Jonah, that's another stab. But he swiftly calls away the Captain from that scent. 'I'll sail with ye,'- he says,- 'the passage money how much is that?- I'll pay now.' For it is particularly written, shipmates, as if it were a thing not to be overlooked in this history, 'that he paid the fare thereof' ere the craft did sail. And taken with the context, this is full of meaning.

"Now Jonah's Captain, shipmates, was one whose discernment detects crime in any, but whose cupidity exposes it only in the penniless. In this world, shipmates, sin that pays its way can travel freely and without a passport; whereas Virtue, if a pauper, is stopped at all frontiers. So Jonah's Captain prepares to test the length of Jonah's purse, ere he judge him openly. He charges him thrice the usual sum; and it's assented to. Then the Captain knows that Jonah is a fugitive; but at the same time resolves to help a flight that paves its rear with gold. Yet when Jonah fairly takes out his purse, prudent suspicions still molest the Captain. He rings every coin to find a counterfeit. Not a forger, any way, he mutters; and Jonah is put down for his passage. 'Point out my state-room, Sir,' says Jonah now, 'I'm travel-weary; I need sleep.' 'Thou lookest like it,' says the Captain, 'there's thy room.' Jonah enters, and would lock the door, but the lock contains no key. Hearing him foolishly fumbling there, the Captain laughs lowly to himself, and mutters something about the doors of convicts' cells being never allowed to be locked within. All dressed and dusty as he is, Jonah throws himself into his berth, and finds the little state-room ceiling almost resting on his forehead. The air is close, and Jonah gasps. Then, in that contracted hole, sunk, too, beneath the ship's water-line, Jonah feels the heralding presentiment of that stifling hour, when the whale shall hold him in the smallest of his bowels' wards.

"Screwed at its axis against the side, a swinging lamp slightly oscillates in Jonah's room; and the ship, heeling over towards the wharf with the weight of the last bales received, the lamp, flame and all, though in slight motion, still maintains a permanent obliquity with reference to the room; though, in truth, infallibly straight itself, it but made obvious the false, lying levels among which it hung. The lamp alarms and frightens Jonah; as lying in his berth his tormented eyes roll round the place, and this thus far successful fugitive finds no refuge for his restless glance. But that contradiction in the lamp more and more appals him. The floor, the ceiling, and the side, are all awry. 'Oh! so my conscience hangs in me!' he groans, 'straight upwards, so it burns; but the chambers of my soul are all in crookedness!'

"Like one who after a night of drunken revelry hies to his bed, still reeling, but with conscience yet pricking him, as the plungings of the Roman race-horse but so much the more strike his steel tags into him; as one who in that miserable plight still turns and turns in giddy anguish, praying God for annihilation until the fit be passed; and at last amid the whirl of woe he feels, a deep stupor steals over him, as over the man who bleeds to death, for conscience is the wound, and there's naught to staunch it; so, after sore wrestling in his berth, Jonah's prodigy of ponderous misery drags him drowning down to sleep.

"And now the time of tide has come; the ship casts off her cables; and from the deserted wharf the uncheered ship for Tarshish, all careening, glides to sea. That ship, my friends, was the first of recorded smugglers! the contraband was Jonah. But the sea rebels; he will not bare the wicked burden. A dreadful storm comes on, the ship is like to break. But now when the boatswain calls all hands to lighten her; when boxes, bales, and jars are clattering overboard; when the wind is shrieking, and the men are yelling, and every plank thunders with trampling feet right over Jonah's head; in all this raging tumult, Jonah sleeps his hideous sleep. He sees no black sky and raging sea, feels not the reeling timbers, and little hears he or heeds he the far rush of the mighty whale, which even now with open mouth is cleaving the seas after him. Aye, shipmates, Jonah was gone down into the sides of the ship- a berth in the cabin as I have taken it, and was fast asleep. But the frightened master comes to him, and shrieks in his dead ear, 'What meanest thou, O, sleeper! arise!' Startled from his lethargy by that direful cry, Jonah staggers to his feet, and stumbling to the deck, grasps a shroud, to look out upon the sea. But at that moment he is sprung upon by a panther billow leaping over the bulwarks. Wave after wave thus leaps into the ship, and finding no speedy vent runs roaring fore and aft, till the mariners come nigh to drowning while yet afloat. And ever, as the white moon shows her affrighted face from the steep gullies in the blackness overhead, aghast Jonah sees the rearing bowsprit pointing high upward, but soon beat downward again towards the tormented deep.

"Terrors upon terrors run shouting through his soul. In all his cringing attitudes, the God-fugitive is now too plainly known. The sailors mark him; more and more certain grow their suspicions of him, and at last, fully to test the truth, by referring the whole matter to high Heaven, they all-outward to casting lots, to see for whose cause this great tempest was upon them. The lot is Jonah's; that discovered, then how furiously they mob him with their questions. 'What is thine occupation? Whence comest thou? Thy country? What people? But mark now, my shipmates, the behavior of poor Jonah. The eager mariners but ask him who he is, and where from; whereas, they not only receive an answer to those questions, but likewise another answer to a question not put by them, but the unsolicited answer is forced from Jonah by the hard hand of God that is upon him.

"'I am a Hebrew,' he cries- and then- 'I fear the Lord the God of Heaven who hath made the sea and the dry land!' Fear him, O Jonah? Aye, well mightest thou fear the Lord God then! Straightway, he now goes on to make a full confession; whereupon the mariners became more and more appalled, but still are pitiful. For when Jonah, not yet supplicating God for mercy, since he but too well knew the darkness of his deserts,- when wretched Jonah cries out to them to take him and cast him forth into the sea, for he knew that for his sake this great tempest was upon them; they mercifully turn from him, and seek by other means to save the ship. But all in vain; the indignant gale howls louder; then, with one hand raised invokingly to God, with the other they not unreluctantly lay hold of Jonah.

"And now behold Jonah taken up as an anchor and dropped into the sea; when instantly an oily calmness floats out from the east, and the sea is as Jonah carries down the gale with him, leaving smooth water behind. He goes down in the whirling heart of such a masterless commotion that he scarce heeds the moment when he drops seething into the yawning jaws awaiting him; and the whale shoots-to all his ivory teeth, like so many white bolts, upon his prison. Then Jonah prayed unto the Lord out of the fish's belly. But observe his prayer, and learn a weighty lesson. For sinful as he is, Jonah does not weep and wail for direct deliverance. He feels that his dreadful punishment is just. He leaves all his deliverance to God, contenting himself with this, that spite of all his pains and pangs, he will still look towards His holy temple. And here, shipmates, is true and faithful repentance; not clamorous for pardon, but grateful for punishment. And how pleasing to God was this conduct in Jonah, is shown in the eventual deliverance of him from the sea and the whale. Shipmates, I do not place Jonah before you to be copied for his sin but I do place him before you as a model for repentance. Sin not; but if you do, take heed to repent of it like Jonah."

While he was speaking these words, the howling of the shrieking, slanting storm without seemed to add new power to the preacher, who, when describing Jonah's sea-storm, seemed tossed by a storm himself. His deep chest heaved as with a ground-swell; his tossed arms seemed the warring elements at work; and the thunders that rolled away from off his swarthy brow, and the light leaping from his eye, made all his simple hearers look on him with a quick fear that was strange to them.

There now came a lull in his look, as he silently turned over the leaves of the Book once more; and, at last, standing motionless, with closed eyes, for the moment, seemed communing with God and himself.

But again he leaned over towards the people, and bowing his head lowly, with an aspect of the deepest yet manliest humility, he spake these words:

"Shipmates, God has laid but one hand upon you; both his hands press upon me. I have read ye by what murky light may be mine the lesson that Jonah teaches to all sinners; and therefore to ye, and still more to me, for I am a greater sinner than ye. And now how gladly would I come down from this mast-head and sit on the hatches there where you sit, and listen as you listen, while some one of you reads me that other and more awful lesson which Jonah teaches to me, as a pilot of the living God. How being an anointed pilot-prophet, or speaker of true things and bidden by the Lord to sound those unwelcome truths in the ears of a wicked Nineveh, Jonah, appalled at the hostility he should raise, fled from his mission, and sought to escape his duty and his God by taking ship at Joppa. But God is everywhere; Tarshish he never reached. As we have seen, God came upon him in the whale, and swallowed him down to living gulfs of doom, and with swift slantings tore him along 'into the midst of the seas,' where the eddying depths sucked him ten thousand fathoms down, and 'the weeds were wrapped about his head,' and all the watery world of woe bowled over him. Yet even then beyond the reach of any plummet- 'out of the belly of hell'- when the whale grounded upon the ocean's utmost bones, even then, God heard the engulphed, repenting prophet when he cried. Then God spake unto the fish; and from the shuddering cold and blackness of the sea, the whale came breeching up towards the warm and pleasant sun, and all the delights of air and earth; and 'vomited out Jonah upon the dry land;' when the word of the Lord came a second time; and Jonah, bruised and beaten- his ears, like two sea-shells, still multitudinously murmuring of the ocean- Jonah did the Almighty's bidding. And what was that, shipmates? To preach the Truth to the face of Falsehood! That was it!

"This, shipmates, this is that other lesson; and woe to that pilot of the living God who slights it. Woe to him whom this world charms from Gospel duty! Woe to him who seeks to pour oil upon the waters when God has brewed them into a gale! Woe to him who seeks to please rather than to appal! Woe to him whose good name is more to him than goodness! Woe to him who, in this world, courts not dishonor! Woe to him who would not be true, even though to be false were salvation! Yea, woe to him who as the great Pilot Paul has it, while preaching to others is himself a castaway!

He drooped and fell away from himself for a moment; then lifting his face to them again, showed a deep joy in his eyes, as he cried out with a heavenly enthusiasm,- "But oh! shipmates! on the starboard hand of every woe, there is a sure delight; and higher the top of that delight, than the bottom of the woe is deep. Is not the main-truck higher than the kelson is low? Delight is to him- a far, far upward, and inward delight- who against the proud gods and commodores of this earth, ever stands forth his own inexorable self. Delight is to him whose strong arms yet support him, when the ship of this base treacherous world has gone down beneath him. Delight is to him, who gives no quarter in the truth, and kills, burns, and destroys all sin though he pluck it out from under the robes of Senators and Judges. Delight,- top-gallant delight is to him, who acknowledges no law or lord, but the Lord his God, and is only a patriot to heaven. Delight is to him, whom all the waves of the billows of the seas of the boisterous mob can never shake from this sure Keel of the Ages. And eternal delight and deliciousness will be his, who coming to lay him down, can say with his final breath- O Father!- chiefly known to me by Thy rod- mortal or immortal, here I die. I have striven to be Thine, more than to be this world's, or mine own. Yet this is nothing: I leave eternity to Thee; for what is man that he should live out the lifetime of his God?"

He said no more, but slowly waving a benediction, covered his face with his hands, and so remained kneeling, till all the people had departed, and he was left alone in the place.

Herman Melville, Moby Dick, chapter 9: The Sermon