Imatges de pÓgina
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Babel. For ought that appears, the family of Eber was the only one which remained upon the divine inftitution. It fhould feem, that he alone was diffentient from the new political order, as afterwards the believing people were of him, named Hebrews.

How much Eber was affected by this event, appears by the name given to his fon, Peleg; which feems not intended fo much to denote the many divifions which these politicians, city builders, fplit into, as the one grand divifion between all these, and those who keep the ordinances of faith; which, in their meaning and inftruction, were then, as they now are, the great foundations of the city, whole builder and maker is God.

Refpecting this policy of Babylon, which has been ever the pattern of the wildom of this world, and the rule of eftimation of all political excellence, it is of importance to obferve, that religion was never excluded from the device; on the contrary, it is acknowledged by all fober judges, to be a conftituent of this theory of government, and is deemed effential to the adminiftration and good order. Atheists, and even deifts, are dunces of politicians; and of all religions, that which approaches the nearest to the divinely instituted forms, is acknowledged to be the belt: Provided, however, the doctrine or inftruction of thofe forms be always perverted; and that, by their interpreters, they be made to speak fome language other than their own truth; which is, that no city but the city of God, builded upon the ordinances

of the everlasting covenant, which faithfully exhibit the will of God in Chrift, hath foundations; and that, befides this, all are raised in oppofition to heaven; and, at an appoint-. ed hour, under the full vials of divine wrath, they fhall fink with their builders.

Attempts to alter the divine inflitutions as to their forms, have been made only when they have been heard to speak a language, which no man hearty in the Babylonian or Chaldean counfel, could ever bear. Indeed they are fo exprefs, fo fignificant, that without fome corruption of the emblem itself, it is not eafy to prevent their being, in fome measure, understood,

Section 3. The Overthrow of Sodom.

One of the branches of the family of the Hethites, fettled in the plain of Jordan.This country was well watered, and abounded with bread, and greatly indulged its inhabitants in eafe and diffipation. It was, perhaps, the leaft affected by the ravages of the flood, of any spot upon the face of the earth-it feemed, indeed, to retain some primitive features of the garden of the Lord, and a refemblance of the glory of the firit world. Hence, in a natural view, it was under the leaft check and control from the operation of the archangel government and difcipline; an important a ticle of which, confifts in the curfe that is laid upon the ground, and the

folemn injunction that in the fweat of our face fhall we eat bread.

Wherefore these people who, from the name of their principal city, were ftyled Sodomites, ripened faft for judgment. The men of Sodom were wicked, and finners before the Lord exceedingly. God had chaflifed them by the hand of men, when they were overcome in battle by an army of Affyrians, and laid under tribute; and, a few years after, rebelling, they received a fill more folemn check in their thoughtlefs and vile career, in being again conquered, captivated, and having their cities fpoiled by the confederate Affyrian powers; when, for the fake of Lot, a Hebrew, who, with his family, fojourned among them, and was with them taken captive, they were, by the hand of Abraham, mercifully and moft heroically, delivered.

But neither the judgments nor the goodnefs of the Lord, led them to repentancethey waxed worfe and worse, until the fin of Sodom became very grievous, and the cry of violence reached unto heaven; and the Lord the Judge, together with two of his companions, came down in perfon, though in a concealed form, to enquire and fee whether the matter was altogether according to the cry of it, which had come before him. In his way, he vifited Abraham his friend, and after confirming his covenant of alliance and friendfhip, he difclofed to him the reason why he looked towards Sodom. And Abraham, having gone with them fome distance, to

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bring them on the way; and coming to a place in which Sodom was in view, he ftopped, and communed with the Lord upon this interefting fubject, whilft the two accompanying angels went forward towards the city.

And Abraham drew near, and faid, Wilt thou alfo deftroy the righteous with the wicked? Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou alfo deftroy, and not fpare the place for the fifty righteous that are there- . in? That be far from thee to do after this manner, to flay the righteous with the wicked: and. that the righteous fhould be as the wicked, that be far from thee: hali not the Judge of all the earth do right? And the Lord jad, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their fakes.

Abraham, in making interceffion for Sodom, in the first inftance, put in a plea of righteoufnefs, in the view of the cafe as involving the righteous with the wicked in one common deftruction. That be far from thee to do after this manner, to flay the righteous with the wicked: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? This plea being fully admitted, but with fuch a diftinction, however, between the cafe of the righteous and the wicked, as led directly to the idea, that the righteous might be removed and faved, and the city be de-. ftroyed; whilft, at the fame time, it was plainly fuggefted that, in fome cafe, the Lord would Ipare a wicked city, for the fake of the righteous who are therein; Abraham catched hold upon this ground, and renewed his

interceffion upon a plea of grace, according to the merciful difpenfations of the Lord towards a finful people, on account of the righteous who dwell among them.

And Abrah im anfwered, Behold now, I have, taken ubon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and afhes. Peradventure there fhall lack five of the fifty: wilt thou deftroy all the city. for lack of five? And he faid, If I find there forty and five, I will not destroy it. And he Spake unto him yet again, and faid, Peradventure there fhall be forty found there. And he faid, I will not do it for forty's fake. And he faid, Oh, let not the Lord be angry, and I will Speak: Peradventure there faill be thirty found there. And he faid, I will not do it, If I find thirty there. And he faid, Behold now, I have taken upon me to fpeak unto the Lord: Peradventure there fhall be twenty found there. And he faid, I will not deftroy it for twenty's fake.. And he faid, Oh, let not the Lord be angry, and I will fpeak yet but this once: Peradventure ten fhall be found there. And he faid, I w ll not. d ftroy it for ten's fake. And the Lord went his way, as foon as he had left communing with Abraham: and Abraham returned to his place.

It is apparent, that Abraham did not make this interceffion for Sodom upon the idea of the perfonal worth and value of the righte-" ous; for, in the view of their perfonal relalation to God in covenant, the intereft of one righteous man in the divine favor, is above all eftimation; and in this view he might have named before the Lord, one with as much

ce as fifty; but, that he contemplated

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