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“pearance of the country, which has lost it's “fertility”.” - - The testimony of Philot and of Pliny’t accords with that of the Roman historian. Diodorus Siculus describes the lake Asphaltites at large, in two different parts of his work; and concludes his account by saying, “The “region round about burning with fire, ex“hales a stench so intolerable, that the bodies “ of the inhabitants are diseased, and their “.. lives contracted.” . . . ." Strabo, in writing on the same subject, thus concludes: “There are many indications that “fire has been over this country: for about “Masada they shew rough and scorched rocks, “ and caverns in many places eaten in, and “the earth reduced to ashes, and drops of “ pitch distilling from the rocks, and hot “streams, offensive afar off, and habitations “ overthrown: which renders' credible, some “reports among the inhabitants, that there “were formerly thirteen cities on that spot, “ the principal of which was Sodom; so ex“tensive as to be sixty furlongs in circum“ference; but that by earthquakes, and by “an eruption of fire, and by hot and bitumi“nous waters, it became a lake as it now is: “ the rocks were consumed, some of the cities “were swallowed up, and others abandoned “ by those of the inhabitants who were able to “escape".” Ji, o, o or or of . Similar to this is the language of Solinus. * At a considerable distance from Jerusalem, a “frightful lake extends itself, which has been “ struck by lightning, as is evident from the “ground, black, and reduced to ashest,” of He goes on to relate the fable of the apples growing near it, which were said to appear fair to the eye, but to contain only sooty ashes, and upon being touched, to exhale! into smoke, or to vanish into dust. The same fiction is mentioned also by Tacitus; but we must learn, in receiving the testimony of ancient historians, to distinguish between truth and fable, to separate the former from the latter, with which it is often found overwhelmed, to discriminate between the fact and the legend, to divide that which they saw, from that which they admitted only from tradition, to make allowance for their credulity, and impartially to weigh the evi. . . . . . . . .”. - - * .
* Tacit. Hist. lib. v. † Philo de Vità Mosis. f Plin. Hist, lib. v. cap. 16. *I Diod. Sic. lib. ii. et lib. xix.
dence which they produce, Moses is not answerable for the fondness which they discovered for the marvellous, nor for the fables which tradition blended with his history. Neither is their account of that which, they saw, to be rejected for the easy credit which they gave to that which they only heard, and, heard from disputable authority. While the facts of the Mosaic, history are confirmed, his superior purity, and consequently credibility, is established, i.e. so, o Leo to solo on. Among the moderns, Bisselius in his treatise on illustrious ruins, and a great number of travellers, have described this singular lake. Maundrell, Volney, Pococke, Shaw, and other men of eminence, have communicated to the public the result of their observations. As a so I, , of Alexander Trallianus mentions an heathen form of exorcism, that confirms, the scripture representation of the calamity which overtook Lot's wife, It runsjähus—“ In the name of “God, who turned Lot's wife into a pillar of “salt”,” We have yet to examine, go to of , , , , , a soluto or . . . . . . ; ; ; ; bo; ...ii!, * Dodd. Lect, part. VI. Prop. cik, Demon. 7. page 294, quarto edition. Consult Grot. de Verit. Sect. xvi. in not. See also,
for the whole of these quotations, note 3, at the end of this Lecture,
1. THE APPEARANCE of THE LAKE, AND of the surrou NDING cou NTRY, HAs BEEN very similar IN Every AGE. It has carried the same mournful vestiges of destruction. Not only do the respective testimonies of ancient writers agree with each other, but the several subsequent representations of this fact, given in the Bible, accord entirely with the Mosaic history: a decisive proof that the spot has carried the same features of ruin from the first; and a pleasing evidence that the sacred writings preserve the most perfect harmony with themselves. . A selection of a few passages, written at various and distinct periods, will exhibit the appearances of these desolated cities, as they presented themselves to the different writers; and will furnish a coincidence and concord which truth alone can produce. It is worthy consideration, that, in these several passages, appeals are made to this fact as an event well known, and a subject on which the world were, at that time, able to obtain ample satisfaction, by visiting, and considering, the spot itself. Moses refers the Israelites of his day, to the
appearance which these wasted plains then presented, as an image of what their own possessions would become if they disobeyed the commands of God. He threatens—“The gene
ration to come of your children that shall rise up after you, and the stranger that shall come from a far land, shall say, when they see the plagues of that land, and the sicknesses which the Lord hath laid upon it; and that the whole land thereof is brimstone, and salt, and burning, that it is not sown, nor beareth, nor any grass groweth therein, LIKE THE overTHRow of SoDo M, AND Gomohn AH, ADMAH, AND ZEBoIM, which the LoRD overTHREW IN HIS ANGER, AND IN HIS WRATH: even all the nations shall say, Wherefore hath the Lord done thus unto this land? what meaneth the heat of this great anger? Then men shall say, Because they have forsaken the covenant of the Lord GoD of their fathers, which he made with them when he brought them forth out of the land of Egypt".”
When Babylon is threatened, another appeal
made to this event, as to a fact well known,
and indisputably authenticated. Isaiah proclaims her fall, and this is her awful sentence:
* Deut. xix. 22–25.