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adds the kind and seasonable motions of his good Spirit, by which convictions are awakened, warnings are impressed, and new resolutions are excited. Thus God takes them as by the hand, leads them without the devoted city, and commands them to escape for their lives. While they linger, he still strives with them, and urges their flight. With some, yea, with most sinners, he strives repeatedly. He begins with them early, even in the morning of youth; and he stretches out his hand to them all the day long. This is the language of Divine mercy, "How shall I give you up, and deliver you to deserved destruction? How shall I make you as Admah, and set you as Zeboim? My heart is turned within me; my repentings are kindled together." "Turn ye, turn ye, for why will ye die? I have no pleasure in your death; wherefore turn and live." "Repent and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin." After an unavailing repetition of his calls and warnings to sinners, he speaks as one desirous of their repentance, but in doubt what further means to use. "O Ephraim, what shall I do unto thee? O Judah, what shall I do unto thee? For thy goodness is as the morning cloud; as the early dew it goeth away."
Such were the warnings given to Lot's wife; and these are worthy to be remembered and applied; for the same, yea, more solemn warnings, are given to others, and they who despise these are doomed to a more marvellous destruction.
I proceed to say,
II. This woman was not only warned of her danger, but instructed how she might escape it.
Let us recollect the instructions which were given her. When the angels had brought Lot and his family without the city, they said to him, "Escape for thy life, look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed." When Lot, doubting whether he could reach the mountain, begged that he might find security in a little city near at hand, he received this condescending answer; "See, I have accepted thee in this thing also, that I will not overthrow this city, for which thou hast spoken: Haste thee, escape thither."
Here are several things which deserve notice.
1. You ought to remember, that Lot's wife was to flee from Sodom, leaving her substance and her friends. Your flight must be like her's.
If you would save your souls, you must renounce your sins. As Lot's family were to leave this guilty city, lest they should be consumed in it, so you must renounce your sinful course of life, lest you perish in that. Pride, luxury, and idleness, or any other sin, indulged and cherished, will be as fatal here, as they were in Sodom. The apostle, speaking of the abominations of the heathen, says, "Come out from among them, and be ye separate, and touch not the unclean thing. Cleanse yourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God."
Sodom was a place of great riches. Lot's family forsook all they had, to save their lives. We must also renounce the world. We must mortify our inordinate affections, shun every dishonest and unworthy art, dismiss all anxiety and solicitude about the events of time, and seek first the kingdom of God.
Lot's wife probably was a native of Sodom. There, she had many relatives and friends, sons-in-law who married her daughters and children too of her own flesh. The angels say to Lot, "Take thy daughters, which are here," intimating that there were others elsewhere. These she was to leave behind. In like manner Christ requires those, who would be his disciples, to forsake all and follow him. He who loveth father or mother more than him is not worthy of him; and he who forsaketh not all that he hath, cannot be his disciple. The gospel, indeed, does not require us, under ordinary circumstances, to withdraw from our natural and civil connections; but when the friendship of the world is inconsistent with our duty to Christ, we are to renounce the former. And in no circumstances may we have fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but we must rather reprove them.
2. Lot's family were commanded to escape for their life.
The command, though given immediately to Lot, respected the whole family; one as much as another. The expression de
notes great earnestness. All that a man hath will he give for his life. Let sinners remember, that their life, not the life of their bodies, but the life of their souls, is in hazard. Let them flee from the storm which pursues them. Let them take refuge in the mercy of God. That they may save their souls, they must exert themselves, as men who are struggling for their life. "Strive to enter in at the strait gate," says our Lord, for many will seek to enter in and shall not be able."
3. Lot's wife was forbidden to look behind her.
Sinners, remember this caution. It is as necessary in your case, as in her's. "He who putteth his hand to the plow and looketh back, is not fit for the kingdom of God." If you are once convinced of the danger of a guilty state; if once you begin to realize the necessity of repentance and a religious life, then immediately obey these convictions and sentiments, and pursue them until you find their proper effects wrought in you. Indulge no self-flatteries, yield to no delays; what your hands find to do, do it with your might. "Let your eyes look right on, and your eye-lids look strait before you; ponder the path of your feet, and let all your ways be established. Turn not to the right hand, nor to the left; remove your feet from evil.”
4. Remember and apply the caution farther given by the angel, stay not in all the plain. You must make no stops by the way, but continue your course without intermission. Run with patience the race set before you; run and be not weary, walk and faint not. Let your religion be, not an occasional, but a stated business, and make all your temporal concerns give way to this one thing needful.
This order, stay not in all the plain, imports, that the family of Lot were to make no stand, until they had reached the appointed place of safety. They who enter on a religious course, must continue in it with patience and perseverance; they must not reckon their life dear to them, that they may finish their course with joy; they must be faithful to the death, that they may receive the crown of life.
5. Remember, farther, God's great condescension to this family. When Lot expressed his fears, that he could not escape to the
distant mountain, lest some evil should overtake him, and begged that he might find security in a little city which was near at hand, the angel answered, "See, I have accepted thee concerning this thing also, that I will not overthrow this city for which thou hast spoken. Haste thee, escape thither; for I cannot do any thing until thou be come thither."
Here is something instructive and encouraging to us. God, in condescension to our impotence, and in compassion to our guilt, has provided a Saviour, through whom he will not only accept our humble faith in his mercy, and sincere repentance of our sins, but also grant us the seasonable influences of his Spirit, that we may comply with these terms of salvation. The righteousness of the law is like the distant mountain, pointed out to Lot. We cannot escape thither, lest some evil overtake us, and we die. God has provided a place of safety nearer at hand, and easier of The righteousness of Christ is our security-our strong tower. Guilty as we are, we shall be accepted as righteous, and protected as innocent, whenever we penitently repair to, and humbly trust in this refuge. Let none say, "We cannot escape thither." The grace of God is sufficient for our direction and support. "Lift up the hands that hang down, and the feeble knees. Let not that which is lame be turned out of the way, but let it rather be healed."
Since a city of refuge is provided near at hand, flee thither, and lay hold on the hope set before you. Seek the gracious assistance of the Holy Spirit; improve the external means, and internal influences afforded you; penitently confess your sins before God, and trust in the atonement of the Saviour as the ground of your pardon; submit to his authority, and put yourselves under the law to him; and, conscious of the weakness of your best intentions, and the imperfection of your best obedience, live by faith in the Son of God, who has loved you, and given himself for you.
The next thing to be remembered, in the case of Lot's wife, is her conduct under the warnings and instructions which she received. But the consideration of this, with the following parts of our subject must be deferred.
THE FATE OF LOT'S WIFE-A WARNING TO SINNERS.
LUKE XVII. 32.
Remember Lot's wife.
THE example of Lot's wife, who perished by delay in her flight from Sodom, our Lord improves as a warning to his disciples, against delay in their flight from the impending ruin of Jerusalem: And it may be applied to impenitent sinners in general, as a call to hasten their escape from the wrath to come.
In the case of Lot's wife, there are several things worthy of their consideration and remembrance; such as the warnings which were given her-the instructions which were added-her conduct under them-the causes of this conduct—and the consequences which ensued.
We have already considered the warnings and instructions given to this woman. Let us,
III. Consider the course which she took. This deserves to be remembered.
1. In consequence of the heavenly warning, she set out to escape from the devoted city. So far she did well. She did not treat with contempt the Divine message, like her sons-in-law, to whom Lot seemed as one that mocked, when he told them God