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plainness and simplicity, and avoid those dainties which are so often deceitful meat.

2. Let the daughters of Abraham learn to be in subjection to their husbands. This is the apostle's inference from this story, 1 Peter iii. 1, 5, 6. Likewise ye wives be in subjection to your own husbands in all things lawful, even as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him, whenever she spoke of him, her lord, though she was of the same family, and greatly honoured both by God and men, as well as Abraham. Remember this excellent woman, whose daughters ye indeed are as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement; are not led hastily or inconsiderately, through shame or fear, to say or do what is wrong.

3. Let us imitate Abraham in a religious care of our families, v. 19. This was a bright part of his character; I know Abraham, says the Lord, thut he will command his children and his household to keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment. God himself approved of this, that he taught them diligently; that his principal care was about practical religion, to keep the way of the Lord, and do justice and judgment; that he added his authority to his instructions, and insisted upon it, as a qualification for a place in his family. All heads of families should imitate this example, and take care of their servants as well as their children; they have souls to be looked after, and in minding our business they too often neglect those souls. We should guard them against such an error; not labour to fill their heads with notions and speculations, as too many parents and masters do; but, like Abraham, teach them those things they can understand and practise; to keep God's ways, to be devout, and do justice and judgment; to be honest in their dealings, and faithful to their promises. Let us be concerned, like Abraham, that religion may flourish when we are gone; and therefore command our household to keep God's ways when we are taken from them. This is the way to secure God's favour, to enjoy his gracious presence in this world, and in that which is to come.

CHAP. XVIII. 20, to the end.

God here acquaints Abraham with his intention to destroy Sodom and the cities of the plain; upon which Abraham humbly and earnestly intercedes for them.

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ocations, of Sodom and Gomorrah is great,* and because their sin is very grievous; therefore, to speak after the 21 manner of men, I will go down now, and see, inquire into the truth of the thing, whether they have done altogether

These two cities only are mentioned, because they were the chief, and perhaps the most wicked.

according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know; I will make a strict scrutiny, that my justice as 22 well as my righteous judgment may appear. And the men, that is, two of the three, who were angels, turned their faces from thence, and went towards Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the LORD.

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And Abraham drew near, with reverence and humble confidence, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the 24 wicked? I am sure thou wilt not. Peradventure there be fifty

righteous within the city, in all the cities, the chief being put for all the rest wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place 25 for the fifty righteous that [are] therein? That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the judge of all the earth do right, deal in that moderate and equitable way, which God is pleased to 26 use with the sons of men? And the LORD said, if I find in

Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the 27 place for their sakes. And Abraham answered and said, Be

hold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the LORD, 28 which (am but] dust and ashes.† Peradventure there shall lack five of the fifty righteous: wilt thou destroy all the city for [lack of] five? And he said, If I find there forty and five, 29 I will not destroy [it.] And he spake unto him yet again, and said, Peradventure there shall be forty found there. And 30 he said, I will not do [it] for forty's sake. And he said [unto him,] Oh let not the LORD be angry, and I will speak: Peradventure there shall thirty be found there. And he said, I 31 will not do [it,] if I find thirty there. And he said, Behold

now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the LORD: Perad⚫ venture there shall be twenty found there. And he said, I will 32 not destroy [it] for twenty's sake. And he said, Oh let not the LORD be angry, and I will speak yet but this once: Peradventure ten shall be found there. And he said, I will not destroy [it] for ten's sake. Abraham could not in decency proceed any further; and he might reasonably hope that in all the cities there were at least ten righteous persons, including Lot 33 and his family. And the LORD went his way, withdrew the tokens of his presence, and disappeared, as soon as he had left communing with Abraham and Abraham returned unto his place to wait the event.

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• Sometimes the righteous are taken away in public calamities, but then it is in mercy to them.

The nearer we approach to God, the more sensible we are of our own meanness and

vileness.

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REFLECTIONS.

ET us learn from hence, humility in all our address→ es to God. This was an amiable part of Abraham's character; How shall I, who am dust and ashes, mean and vile, take upon me to speak unto thee? It becomes us thus to draw nigh to God, with reverence and godly fear; to acknowledge our unworthiness and sinfulness, and the vast distance there is between God and us. Let us not be rude in the divine presence, or rush into it as the horse into the battle, but consider Him with whom we have to do. How admirable is his condescension to suffer us to come into his presence and to speak to him, yea, plead with him, as a man with his friend! Well may we come before the Lord, as David did, and say, Who am I, O Lord, and what is my house, that thou hast brought me hitherto ! Well may we break out in a holy strain of gratitude, and say, Thanks be to God for Jesus Christ, through whom we have access with humble confidence, and can come with an holy boldness to the throne of grace, to seek mercy, and grace to help in every time of need.

2. We see how highly God esteems and regards the righteous: if only ten righteous persons had been found in Sodom, it would have been saved. Good men are the defence of a nation; better than the chariots of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. They are blessings to any place or neighbourhood; and when they are removed, our glory and security are taken away. Those who think otherwise, and persecute or oppress them, are cutting the bough on which they themselves stand. See in this instance how acceptable their piety is to God; He would spare the wicked for their sake. The saints are the excellent ones of the earth, and our delight should be in them. And if in the midst of public calamities the righteous should be taken away, it is in mercy to them.

3. We see the astonishing efficacy of prayer. It had in this instance great honour put upon it, and met with great success, God was pleased to come down to very low terms indeed; nor even then left off granting till Abraham was quite ashamed, and could ask no more. Let this encourage us to intercede for our own land, where there are so many righteous persons; let us stand in the breach and lift up holy hands without wrath or doubting. It is a sad thing indeed when the times are so bad, that the prayers of the remaining few will not prevail. Let us stir up ourselves to call upon God; and let the success of Abraham's petitions in behalf of wicked Sodom, excite our hope and humble boldness. Above all, let the long suffering, the compassion, the goodness, and mercy of God, confirm our faith and confidence that we shall not seek his face in vain.

4. What great reason have we all to rejoice in the interces sion of the Lord Jesus Christ! If the prayer of a righteous man

availeth much; if the prayer of Abraham almost prevailed for Sodom; if the prayer of Moses so often delivered Israel; how much more reason have we to hope, that the intercession of our great High Priest, the Son of God, who is passed into the heavens for us, shall be successful? He offers the prayers of all the saints, mixed with his much incense, and him the Father heareth always. In his name let us intercede for our country, and for our own souls; for whatsoever we ask of the Father in his name, it shall be done unto us.

CHAP. XIX. 1–22.

Contains an account of Lot's entertainment of the angels; the shameful attempt that was made upon them; and the deliverance of Lot from this wicked place.

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ND there came two angels* to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom, probably to invite strangers, knowing how apt his townsmen were to abuse them; and Lot seeing [them] make a respectable appearance, rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the 2 ground; And he said, Behold now, my lords, turn in, I pray you, into your servant's house, and tarry all night, and wash your feet, and ye shall rise up early, and go on your ways. And they said, Nay; but we will abide in the street 3 all night, which was common in those hot countries. And he, knowing the danger of being exposed all night in Sodom, pressed upon them greatly; and they turned in unto him, and entered into his house; and he made them a feast, of such provisions as he had, and did bake unleavened bread, and they did eat.

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But a most horrible attemp_twas made upon these strangers before they lay down, for the men of the city, [even] the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter: and they called unto Lot, 5 and said unto him, Where [are] the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know -them. They were, as Paul expresses it, Rom. i. 17. given up to vile affections, burning in lust one toward another; men with 6 men, working that which was unseemly. And Lot went out at 7 the door unto them, and shut the door after him, And said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly; with all tenderness and earnestness, beseeching them to refrain from their wick8 ed designs. Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as [is] good in your eyes: only unto these men do nothing; for therefore came they under the shadow

*Perhaps those two who had departed from Abraham.

9 of my roof.* And they said, in the height of rage and resentment, Stand back. And they said [again,] This one [fellow] came in to sojourn, and he will needs be a judge: now will we deal worse with thee, than with them. And they pressed sore upon the man, [even] Lot, and came near to break the 10 door. But the men, the two angels, put forth their hand, and 11 pulled Lot into the house to them, and shut to the door. And they smote the men that [were] at the door of the house with blindness,† both small and great: so that they wearied themselves to find the door.

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And the men, that is, the angels, said unto Lot, Hast thou here any relations beside? son in law, and thy sons, and thy daughters, and whatsoever thou hast in the city, bring [them] out of this place; though they should be wicked, we have com 13 mission to show themmercy for thy sake: For we will destroy this place, because the cry of the sins of them is waxen great before the face of the LORD; and the LORD hath sent us to destroy it, 14 And Lot went out and spake unto his sons in law, which married his daughters, or were betrothed to them, v. 8. and, notwithstanding the danger to which he exposed himself, expostu lated with them, and said, Up, get you out of this place; for the LORD will destroy this city. But he seemed as one that mocked unto his sons in law, and they made a jest of his warning.

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And when the morning arose, then the angels hastened Lot, saying, Arise, take thy wife, and thy two daughters, which are here; lest thou be consumed in the iniquity or pun16 ishment of the city. And while he lingered, perhaps desirous of saving some others, or praying God to spare the city, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the LORD being merciful unto him: and they brought him forth, and set him without 17 the city. And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he, one of the angels, said, Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; 18 escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed. And Lot 19 said unto them, Oh, not so, my Lord; Behold now, thy ser vant hath found grace in thy sight, and thou hast magnified thy mercy, which thou hast showed unto me in saving my life; and I cannot escape to the mountain, lest some evil take 20 me, and I die before I can get there: Behold now, this city, called Bela, [is] near to flee unto, and it [is] a little one: and therefore as its inhabitants, so its sins are fewer: oh, let me escape thither, ([is] it not a little one?) and my soul shall live, 21 shall rejoice and be cheerful. And he, that is, God, said unto him by the angel, See, I have accepted thee, granted thy re

This was, undoubtedly, a very unwarrantable offer in Lot, and what he ought not to have made; it was doing evil that good might come. Of two evils we may choose the least, but of two sins we must choose neither.

Not with the loss of their eyes, but with a great dimness, or a thick dark mist.

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