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exaltation, when heaven and earth shall be full of the majesty of his glory; when, the last enemy being destroyed, he shall appear, as the "Prince of Peace,' in a city that hath foundations; when all kings shall fall down before him, all nations shall serve him; when he shall reign for ever and ever, King of kings and Lord of lords; when he shall receive as his just and rightful tribute (the only tribute which can then be paid) the praises of his redeemed subjects, and the everlasting hallelujahs of the celestial choir, ascribing, as we now do, to him, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, all blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, might, majesty, and dominion, for ever and ever. And let all the people say, AMEN.
THE RIGHTEOUS DELIVERED.
GENESIS, XIX. 29.
And it came to pass, when God destroyed the cities of the plain, that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when he overthrew the cities in which Lot dwelt.
EXTRAORDINARY interpositions of Providence demand extraordinary attention. If God speaks, it is but reasonable that man should hear. And when he executeth the vengeance to which the text referreth, he certainly spake, in an audible voice, to the hopes and fears of all the dwellers upon earth. By the deliverance vouchsafed to his righteous servant, he encouraged the hopes of such as, like him, preserved their integrity in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation; while, by the unparalleled destruction of the cities of the plain, he alarmed the fears of those who resembled them in impiety and iniquity. And although so many hundred years have passed since that astonishing catastrophe took place, yet the history should answer the same purpose now, that the event itself was designed to do then. No
salutary mediVirtue and vice
time can destroy the efficacy of this cine for the disorders of the world. are not changeable things; they continue still the same; and there is no alteration in the divine decrees concerning them. Sooner or later, in this life or the next, a deliverance similar to that of Lot will be granted to the righteous; a destruction correspondent to that of Sodom will be the portion of the wicked. For, as St. Peter argues on the subject, "If God, turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah "into ashes, condemned them with an overthrow, "making them an example to those that after should "live ungodly; and delivered just Lot, vexed with "the filthy conversation of the wicked-the Lord "knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of "judgement to be punished."
It is with the utmost propriety, therefore, that the church, in the course of her proper lessons, openeth the present season of humiliation with a display of so awful and affecting a scene of mercy and judgement; that the sinner may know how terrible is the wrath of an incensed God, and the penitent be taught the way to escape it.
In conformity to so judicious an appointment, it is proposed, in the following discourse, to take a view of the whole narrative, illustrating the several parts of it with such observations and reflections, as, it may be presumed, the church intended we should make upon it, with an eye to the great doctrine of repent
a 2 Pet. ii. 6.
ance, at this time more especially to be recommended and inculcated.
In the preceding chapter, the eighteenth of Genesis, we find the holy patriarch Abraham interceding with Jehovah for sinful Sodom. And we find (such is the amazing extent of divine mercy) that had there been only TEN righteous persons in the city, the rest would have been spared for their sakes. But universal corruption prevailed; and Abraham himself can intercede no longer. "The Lord left communing with "Abraham, and Abraham returned to his place."
Our blessed Lord, in whose name Abraham, as a prophet, and as the father of the faithful, interceded for Sodom, intercedes, in like manner, for the world, which, notwithstanding the wickedness of its inhabitants in general, is continued in being, on account of the righteous it contains, and the execution of God's counsels concerning his church. When the faithful shall be "minished from among the children "of men," when unbelief and disobedience shall have overspread the earth, the intercession of Christ will also be at an end, and vengeance will be poured out on the world of the ungodly. Then he, who "maketh intercession for sinners," will no more "offer their offerings, or take up their names into "his lips." Then, that which alone hath so long stood between an angry God and a guilty world, shall cease to do so, and a deluge of fiery indignation will issue from the presence of the Lord, to devour the whole earth; even as the waters of the sea once brake forth, and destroyed all flesh, upon the removal of those bars and doors appointed by the
Almighty to confine them within their channel. Let every man, therefore, be diligent to secure a part in the benefits of that gracious intercession, which is one day to have an end. Behold "the great High "Priest of our profession," standing before the altar in heaven, with his golden censer in his hand, ready to offer up the prayers of his servants, with the sweet incense of his own merits, to make them accepted with the Father. Now, then, let prayer ascend from earth to heaven, to glorify God, and pardon will descend from heaven to earth, to bless mankind, as we read in the epistle for the day-"Now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation."
The destruction of Sodom being thus determined, Lot was to be first called out of it.
Accordingly, "There came two angels to Sodom," on the evening before the dreadful sentence was put in execution; "and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom."
Happy were the days, when celestial visitants thus deigned to descend, and converse with men, as a " man converseth with his friend." But surely, we have no reason to complain of any partiality shown, in this respect, to our fathers; we, to whom God hath been manifested, not under a similitude, or temporary appearance, but verily and indeed, in a body of our flesh, no more to be deposited, or laid aside, but actually taken up into heaven with him; we, to whom the word of life hath been sent by the hand of such a messenger, the "angel of the covenant;" we, to whom this comfortable promise hath been made
▸ Mal. iii. 1.