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Drawn by A. Clarion.
“May all lore,
SILENCE a moment the glad marriage peal,
For when we see young hand in young hand placed,
Forgive me, then, if my sad sight perceives,
Blame me not, therefore, for the darker thread
For those, who list to him, will wake to grieve,
Look up, young pair, where that pale lady sits ;-
Clash forth then, merry marriage peals, once morc,
“ THE FISH THAT SWALLOWED JONAH.”
"Yow the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah.”—Jon. i. 17.
GREAT deal of profane criticism, as the late lamented Dr. Kitto truly observes, has been directed against this statement. “Who in his sober senses,” exclaims Rosenmüller, “can believe that Jonah remained alive three days and three nights in the belly of a marine monster; that while he was in this prison-house he should have prayed in the words recorded in Chapter II.; and that at length he was cast forth from the mon. ster's belly unhurt upon the
shore ?" 66 The fish that swallowed Jonah,” once remarked a naturalist to the writer of this article, was no more a real animal than the horses of fire that took Elijah up into heaven.”
On account, therefore, of the assumed incapability of any fish to swallow a man whole, various fanciful hypotheses have been invented with a view, it is supposed, to render the sacred narrative intelligible. Hermann von der Hardt, for instance, regarded the whole history of Jonah as symbolical. The prophet represents Manasseh ; the ship is the Hebrew commonwealth, the "great fish” is the King of Assyria, who shuts up Manasseh in prison (“the belly”), but afterwards libcrates him. Such is one ingenious but highly objectionable mode of explaining the sacred story. Here is another by Godfrey Less, at one time Professor of Divinity in the University of Göttingen :-It was no fish at all, but a ship with the figure-head of a fish, or the painted representation of a fish on the stern, into which Jonah, after having been thrown overboard by the sailors of Joppa, was received safely, and so brought to land. We give one more curious attempt at an explanation; it is that of C. G. Anton, who maintained that, just at the time that Jonah was cast overboard, the dead hollow carcase of some large sea-monster floated by, into which he crept; that the carcase drifted to shore, and thus saved the life of the prophet! It certainly seems very strange that although our Lord himself expressly refers to Jonah's detention in the belly of a fish, and adopts this very incident as a symbol of his own temporary sojourn in the grave, men should thus have “wearied themselves to find the door” to an explanation of a narrative, whose literal fidelity is attested of the Lord himself.
To those who found their objections on the absolute denial of miracle, we have obviously in this place nothing to answer ; but there are many people who give only a qualified assent to the Scriptural account, because they do not believe in the existence of any animal capable of swallowing a man whole, or any substance at all approaching a man in size. Their objections rest on mistaken notions. There are animals whose gullets are sufficiently wide to allow of the passage of a man into the stomach.
The translation in the authorized version of the Greek word (KỘTOS) used by St. Matthew (xii. 40) is whale." Let us then see whether any known species of whale will answer to the required conditions. In the family of the Balænidæ, the gullet is so narrow as scarcely to allow the passage
any substance larger than a man's fist, the food therefore of these whales consists of small animals, such as Meduse, Crustacea, and Molluscs. The Delphinidæ, in which family are included some of the most fierce and voracious of the whole order of Cetacea, do not attain to any immense size, and are also incapable of swallowing a man. But there is at least one species in the family of the Catodontidæ, viz., the Spermaceti whale (Catodon macrocephalus), whose throat is wide enonghi to give passage to a man's body. Can this be the great fish in ques. tion? The probabilities, we think, are rather against it; for this reason principally, that, notwithstanding the size of its capacious gullet, this animal does not in its natural state swallow very large substances. Its food consists for the most part of squids, or cuttle-fish (Sepiale). Still it is a fact that fish as large as good sized salmon are sometimes ejected from its stomach, and Mr. Bennet (“Whaling Voyage," p. 176)