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of the controversy between God and finners, is the express article which conftitutes the righteous character, and draws this line of diltinction among men. From this caufe of unbelief, the minds of the fons-in-law of Lot were in a great measure in a flate of indifference as to the controverfy itself; infomuch, that they could not enterprize, and take upon them boldly the hazard of standing up for the cause in which the family were involved in fuch great peril. And the fame cause which had induced in their minds fuch coldnefs and langour respecting taking an active and bold part in the intereft of Lot and his guefts, operated, in like manner, to render them heedlefs and indifferent to the alarm of danger, from the impending deftruction of the city.
Lot, as well as Abraham, had a large concern, and his household confifted, doubtless, of fome hundreds of fouls; and it is natural to fuppofe, that his fons-in-law were the heads of his houfehold, and that it was through the unbelief, and confequent ftupor of these men, that they were all loft.-Oh, what a charge will the heads of families and houfeholds have to answer for, in the day of accounts!
Having difcharged this meffage, and given his commands to his fons-in-law, Lot returned in hafte to his family; when affairs had arifen to an alarming height; the day drew on, and the hour of action approached, and the voice of the angels began to found like thunder; faying, Arife, take thy wife, and
tky two daughters which are here; left thou be confumed in the iniquity of the city. And while he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters: and they brought him forth, and fet him without the city.
At that momentous crifis, the merciful and fovereign Lord himself arrived; he never comes too late to fave his people, who have made a covenant with him by facrifice. And when they had brought them forth abroad, he faid, Efcape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither flay in all the plain: efcape to the mountain left thou be confumed.-The ministers of vengeance were now in the act of throwing off their covers, and taking arms to execute their orders, and were turning about in battle array against the city, Alas! Lot foon became fenfible of the importance of the moments he had loft by lingering in Sodom; and he now felt, that without fome further intervention of mercy, he must perifh after all.
Wherefore, almoft breathlefs and ready to fink under the weight of the gathering cloud, he addreffed himfelf to his fovereign, and entreated the good Lord, that a litle city, which was near by in the plain, might be given to him as a city of refuge-And Lot faid unto them, Oh! not fo my Lord: Behold now, thy fervant hath found grace in thy fight, and thou haft magnified thy mercy, which thou haft fhewed unto me in faving my life: and I cannot escape to the mountain, left yet the evil overtake me, and I die. Behold now, this eity is near to flee unto, and it is a little one:
Oh! let me escape thither; (is it not a little. one?) and my foul fhall live. And he faid unto him, fee, I have accepted thee concerning this thing alfo, that I will not overthrow this city, for the which thou haft fpoken. Hafle thee, escape thither; for I cannot do any thing till thou be come thither: therefore the name of the city was called Zoar.
See now a man escaping for his life! But his wife looked back from behind him; and at the fight of the unveiled face of the angel, fhe became petrified, and followed on no Remember Lot's wife. The fun was rifen upon the earth when Lot entered into Zoar. Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out heaven. And he overthrew thofe cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground. And Abraham gat up early in the morning, to the place where he stood before the Lord. And he came juft in time to witnefs the explofi on of the vengeance of eternal fire upon the accurfed cities. And he looked towards Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the cities of the plain, and beheld, and lo, the fmoke of the country went up as the fmoke of a furnace.When the wicked are cut off, THOU SHALT SEE IT. The place where Abraham flood, was on the rifing ground, on the western side of Sodom; and Lot went out on the oppofite eastern fide.
I have been the more particular in remark, ing upon this memorable event of divine providence, as it is faid exprefsly, to be an
emblem or picture of the final deftruction of Great Babylon, and of the cities of the nations in confederacy with her. And Babylon the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees excellency, fhall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. Ifai. xiii. 19.
Though, undoubtedly, at the time of the end, when the tranfgreffors are come to the full, and the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled, and the finishing catastrophe will come upon the ungodly, there will be many thoufands of righteous fouls in the world; yet it is manifest from the fcriptures, that from various unhappy caufes, they will be found in no condition of order and ftrength, fo as to be able to make a ftand against the overfpreading deluge of iniquity. And I heard the man cloathed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand, and his left hand unto heaven, and fware by him that liveth for ever, that it shall be for a time, times and a half: and when he shall have ACCOMPLISHED to fcatter the power of the holy people, all these things fhall be E1NISHED. Dan. xii. 7.
The righteous, at that perilous jun&ture, whatever may be their numbers, will be trodden down and scattered-they will be at the end of all their fkill and prowefs-and will be no more able to refiit the torrent of apostacy and wickednefs, than was the righteous man dwelling alone in Sodom. Then all the wicked of the earth will know, to their forrow, what wrong they have done to their own fouls, in difpifing, oppofing, and wear
ing out the faints of the most high. AKÍ then, all the proud and fcornful of the earth will be convinced of their miftake, and too late will confefs the truth which they had often been told, that the righteous, their reprovers, were their belt friends.
This weak, broken, and forlorn flate of the righteous, as to their influence and teftimony in the world, will not all, nor even in the greatest part, take place by means of the oppofition from without. Neither earth nor hell could effect fo much, by means of their own proper forces; but the greatest evil will .arife from apoftacy and corruption within. There will be among the covenant people themselves, a great many fons in-law-men who love their ownfelves and the world, and the things which are in the world; through whofe debates and ftrifes, for their own things, the great compact and fettlement of the people in their embodied and organized flate, will be difquieted and difturbed; and this, to fuch a fuffering degree, that the most faithful, the deareft brethren, and even the fathers themfelves, will be forced, through painful neceffity, to fectarize and feparate.--And it has long been known, that a breach of this nature, is like the breaking forth of wa ters-it will continue ftill to widen by new fectatifms, until it becomes great like the fea; who can heal it?
It will be remembered, that the weak and inefficient flate that Lot was found in, was occafioned at firft by a ftrife between the herdmen of Abraham and of Lot, which caufed