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been lowered by living among the ungodly people of Sodom. V. 14.-It was now above four hundred
years since the flood had been sent to shew, that the wicked shall by no means go unpunished.” The inhabitants of Sodom must have heard of it through their fathers; but no striking judgment had lately occurred to bring to their remembrance that “God reigneth, and that there is knowledge in the Most High.” They were at ease in their wickedness. “ They did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded." « Pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness, was in her.” They had so entirely lost the sense of their being accountable to God for the use of their time, their possessions, and their powers of body and of mind, that when Lot went to his children, and told them of the impending danger," he seemed as one that mocked unto his sons-in-law." They knew that God was a holy being; but they could not believe it a possible thing, that, having left them so long to their own ways, he should ever really take vengeance; they could not see any thing in themselves that should expose them to his wrath; no such thing had happened in their days; and, altogether, they deemed it utterly improbable and unlikely.. "He seemed as one that mocked unto his sons-inlaw." His tears, his earnest intreaties, his representation of his own belief, and of the step he was about to take for his preservation, only convinced them the more firmly that he was beside himself. 6 He seemed as one thąt mocked unto his sons-inlaw.”—You stand astonished at their folly, you say; surely, if there was the possibility of such a danger, it was madness to think of remaining;.it was surely worth while to bestow some pains to learn whether such a message had been really sent, whether such a danger really existed. You can see and wonder at their folly ;--but how is it with
yourselves ? When your minister comes to you, or declares to you from the pulpit, that;" the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all unrighteousness and ungodliness of men;" that, “ if you believe not in Christ, and do works meet for repentance, you shall die in your sins ;" when, lest you should perish, he beseeches you to flee from the wrath to come;" how does it affect you? Have you not too often" made light of it, and gone your ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandize?” And have not the remnant too often joined together to scoff at the warning ? Have you not wondered what there is to make your minister so uneasy about you ? Have not his words been to you as an idle tale ? Has he not seemed unto you “as one that mocked ?”—How hard and perverse is the heart of man! How sad his want of common sense in the things of religion! When the awful truths of God's word are heard without concern, is there not a cause for your minister's anxiety? Have you had God's house open to you every Sabbath-day, which you might have attended-his word in your hands, which you might have studied-and reason given you to understand its contents—and God's grace besides for your help; and shall you not be called to account for these things? You know what happened to Sodom and Gomorrba, and we read that the fire and brimstone from heaven, by which those cities and their inhabitants were destroyed, was not the only punishment that befel them, dreadful as it was: we read in Jude 7. that they are now--Now while you are reading--" set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.” And, though perhaps you may be ready to say, yes, this is very dreadful, but I am not guilty of their abominations, therefore I am in no danger of the same ruin, hear what our Saviour says. He declares, that if the mighty works which have come down to us in the Gospel bad been done in them, they would have remained unto this day. He says, that in the day of judgment it will be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha than for those who refuse to listen to the Gospel message.
* Whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, verily I say unto you, it shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment than for that city." (Matt. X. 14, 15. xi. 23.) And yet, how few consider the guilt of despising the Gospel message! There are many that have some feeling of the evil of taking God's name in vain, of breaking the Sabbath, and of sins against their neighbour, as being also offences against God, who yet do not consider the special offence given to Him in despising bis offers of mercy, through the blood of his Son. God speaks of it as the highest of all offences, (John ii. 18.) and men sometimes seem as if they scarcely considered it to be any offence at all. They think that perhaps
have some reason to be displeased with them, for their intemperance, or discontent, or passion ; but that he should be displeased with them for their contempt of his offers of grace in the Gospel, is a thing that never enters their imaginations.
But suppose, now, that a superior were to send you word, that by going in such a path you would incur some great danger; but that he had opened a way for you, by which you might avoid it: if you gave no heed to his message, went in the usual path, and despised the means of safety which lie pointed out, would he not have reason to be highly offended with you? Would he not say, that you treated him with contempt? And yet, this is the very same treatment men give to God, and then imagine that he will not call them to an account for it. Think not that he will suffer with impunity such contempt of his mercy. O no; “How shall ye escape if ye neglect such great salvation ?” Ý. 15.-" The angels hastened Lot." Strange
it appears to us that he should require to be has : tened—that he should need entreaty to escape from so awful a danger: but is it less strange that men who will acknowledge that they are unprepared for eternity, should yet need so much persuasion to “ frame their ways and their doings to turn unto God?"
V. 16.-"And while he lingered,” &c, Lingering nature needs the aid of special grace : the ex. pected season of leisure, for attention to the concerns of the soul, never arrives, there is always something to be done.
V. 17,- Escape for thy life," &c. Now God's word shews us a danger as certain as the angels shewed Lot; and it also shews' a way of deliver ance. “The soul that șinneth it shall die;" but " Christ gave himself for our sins." 66.He that be lieveth on him hath everlasting life ; but he that believeth not on the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him," Escape then for your life. You may have many reasons for wish, ing to remain as you are. Your friends may be careless, and perhaps may even ridicule you if you seek to be religious. You must have to deny your most beloved sins too; and sometimes give up your worldly interest. You may have a thousand plau, sible reasons to give for not attending to religion ; but still, "escape for thy life, look not behind thee, stay not in all the plain, escape to the mountain lest thou be consumed." Eternity is at stake: time is swiftly hurrying you on to an unchangeable state. You let these excuses satisfy you now; but you well know that you would not listen to them for a mo, ment if you were laid upon a bed of sickness, and certain of pot living a week. You well know, that the thousand excuses you make to yourself now, would then seem lighter than vanity itself. Think of eternity; and all your vain excuses will be at an end. Have you ever considered what eternity is?
It is an unmixed state of happiness or misery for ever. Nothing neglected here can be atoned for or remedied there. Well, then, may your ministers say to you, as the angels-to Lot, " Escape for your Jife.”
V. 18—22.- Thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, long-suffering, and plenteous in mercy. And surely, never were these attributes more fully displayed than on this occasion. What can equal the inconsistency of Lot, except the forbearance exercised by his heavenly Father, who“ pitied him in his low estate, for his mercy endureth ever.” At first he could scarcely be persuaded to leave Sodom; then he dared not believe he should be carried in safety to the place which the Lord appointed for him; and by and by we find him withdrawing even from that town which the Lord spared at his request.
V. 26.-The necessity of being stedfast in religion is strongly taught in this chapter. “Remember Lot's wife," says our Lord. It is awful to think how far men may go in religion, and yet fall short of salvation. You may have a respect for religious people, like Herod. (Mark vi. 20.) You may love to hear instruction from the pulpit, like those in the parable of the sower, who received the word with joy, or the Jews in Ezekiel's time. (Ezek. xxxii. 30-32.) You may even know so much about it, that an error in the statement of religious truth may jar upon your ear, like a false note in music. You may even have left Sodom, put away gross sin, “ escaped the corruptions that are in the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour;" and yet not be a living branch of the true vine. “ In many things we offend all :" but if there be any one known sin, let it appear ever so trifling, that we will not give up for Christ's sake, it is a sign upon us that we are none of his ; for every true Christian has such a view of the odious nature of