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REFLECTIONS:

1. T ET us learn from hence, humility in all our address

L es to God. This was an amiable part of Abraham's character ; How shall I, who am dust and ashes, mean and vile, take unon 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 oan come with an holy boldne88 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 there. of. 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 maw

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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. 1 AND there came two angels* to Sodom at even ; and

A 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. 4 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 Löt, 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 yon, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as [is] good in your eyes : only into 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 resent, men!, Stand back. And they said (again,] This one (fellow] came in to sojourp, 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 twa 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,t both small and great : so that they wearied them:

selves to find the door, 12 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 huve come 13 mission to show them mercy, 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 mars

ried 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, 15 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 pun. 16 ishment of the city. And while he lingered, perhaps desirous

of saving some others, or praying God to sfiare 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 merci.

ful 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 sere

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, ondoubtedly, a very inwarrantable 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 thcir cyes, but with a great dimness, or a thick dark Înist.

guest concerning this thing also, that I will not overthrow

this city, for the which thou hast spoken ; 80 much do I regard 22 the prayers of my people, for their safety and happiness. Haste

thee, escape thither; for I cannot do any thing till thou be come thither, because of Gods promise to save thee from the destruction. Therefore from that time the name of the city was called Zoar, that is, a little one.

REFLECTIONS.

1. U TE see in these verses, what monstrous wickedness the

VV human nature is capable of. We cannot think of it without horror, that the men of Sodom, young and old, should attempt the commission of such a crime in such an open and impudent manner. When men declare their sin, like Sodom, they must be daring sinners indeed. Pride, fulness of bread, and much idleness, led those exceeding great sinners to such a pitch of wickedness; their habitual practice of sin, took away the horror of it. Filthy conversation and unlau'ful deeds the apostle Pe. ter charges them with. These wretches were not ashamed, nei. ther could they blush. Their wickedness was greatly aggravated by the temporal blessings which God had bestowed upon them, and by the example and reproofs of Lot; but they continued in the practice of the most vile and unnatural wickedness, till wrath came upon them to the uttermost. Let us bewail their degeneracy, and avoid every appearance of such evil.

2. Observe here with pleasure God's care of a good man, and his favour to him. This is the apostle's inference in 2 Peter ii. 7, 8, 9, where he says, God delivered just Lot, vered with the filthy conversation of the wicked : and infers, The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the un. just unto the day of judgment to be punished. Lot lived in a wicked place, and kept himself pure ; he did not follow a multitude to do evil ; but was singularly holy, and reproved them by his preaching and example ; and God showed such a regard for him, and his promises to him, that he says, v. 22. I cannot do any thing till thou art safe. He would rather let them all escape, than hurt him. How precious are the lives of good men in the sight of God! He will take care that they are preserved. Those who, like Lot, mourn for the abomination of the times and places where they live, shall have a mark set upon them before the destroying angel goes forth ; and he shall not come near any man on whom that mark is found ;, he will spare them now, and when the day comes, in which he maketh up his jewels, he will honour and reward them. Let this engage us to be blameless and harmless, the sons of God without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and per. verse generation,

3. God's dealings with Lot are an emblem of his dealings with his people in general. He hath sent messengers to convince them of the evil of sin, and exhort them to flee from the wrath to come ; yet sometimes, when they believe the message, they linger, and are too much attached to earth and sense ; but God being merciful to them, as was here said of Lot, repeats the warning, takes them by the hand, and pulls them out. Their salvation is to be ascribed to God's mercy ; they are saved by grace. If God had not brought them out, they would have lingered still, and perished with the ungodly. We are exhorted to escape for our lives, as.we prize the life of our souls, and desire eternal life. We are not to look behind, to slacken our pace, or hearken to the allurements of the world ; but escape to the mountain ; reach toward Christ and heaven, and take up with nothing short of it. That is a necessary exhortation, work out your own salvation ; for we are too prone to trifle, though we know we are in danger of being consumed ; and that is a most encouraging promise which follows it, for God will work in us to will and to do of his good pleasure.

CHAP. XIX. 23, to the end.

The destruction of Sodom and the cities of the plain ; and some : unhappy circumstances relating to Lot's family. 23 T HE sun was risen upon the earth when Lot enter

1 ed into Zoar ; it was a fine bright morning, and no ap24 pearance of the storm that was just going to fall. Then the

LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah, and uport
Admah and Zeboim, hail and lightning, brimstone and fire from

the Lord out of heaven, by his own immediate power, and not 25 according to the eommon course of nature ; And he overthrew

those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the

cities, and that which grew upon the ground.* 26 But his wife looked back from behind him, out of curiosity,

unbelief, and a covetous desire of what she had left behind, and

she became a pillar of salt. 27 And Abraham gat up early in the morning, full of anxiety

to know the event, and he hastened to the place where he stood 28 before the LORD : And he looked toward Sodom and Gomor

rah, and toward all the land of the plain, and beheld, and, lo,

the «smoke of the country went up as the smoke of a furnace. 29 And it came to pass, when God destroyed the cities of the

• The plain where they stood was changed into a sulphureous lake, called the Dead Sea.

+ The lightning blasted her. She was struck dead, but not thrown down. She stood erect like a pillar or statue. The briinstone and salt which were rained down, fell upon her, and not only crusted her over, but penetrated through her whole body. Thus she was instantly petrifiel; changed into a substance that would oudure for many ages; a metallic thalt. Fosephus tells us he himself had seen it.

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