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“Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty “of the Chaldees' excellency, shall be as when “GoD overt HaEw Sodom AND Gomo RRAH. “It shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be “ dwelt in from generation to generation: nei“ ther shall the Arabian pitch tent there, neither “shall the shepherds make their fold there".” Jeremiah beheld the same face of things, when he made these ruins prefigure the downfall of Edom. “Edom shall be a desolation: every “one that goeth by it shall be astonished, and “shall hiss at all the plagues thereof. As IN “. The over THRow of SoDoM AND GomoRRAH, “and the neighbouring cities thereof, saith the “Lord, no man shall abide there, neither shall “ the son of man dwell in itt.” Jesus, who is Truth itself, appeals to the same desolation, and to all its circumstances, as an image of his own visitation of the Jewish nation.—“As it was “in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, “ they bought, they sold, they planted, they ‘ builded; but the same day that Lot went out “ of Sodom, it RAINED FIRE AND BRIMsTo NE FRoM HEAven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of “man is revealed. In that day, he which shall “ be upon the house top", and his stuff in the “house, let him not come down to take it away: “ and he that is in the field, let him likewise “ not return back. REMEMBER Lot's wiFEt!” The apostle Peter, in the passage read at the commencement of this Lecture, admits this fact into the catalogue of divine judgments against iniquity; and represents the offended and insulted Deity, “TURNING THE c1TIEs of SoDoM “AND GoMoRRAH IN To AsHEs, condemning “ them with an overthrow, and making them “an ensample unto those that after should live “ungodly.” While the writers of the scriptures thus strengthen one another, they evince that the same characteristic ruin, has through all ages, overspread the same country. We obServe 2. THERE REMATN corresponde NT FEATURES OF DESOLATION ON THE SPOT TO THIS DAY. It is readily admitted, that travellers who visit the country in question are liable to be deceived; and that in many instances the in
* Is. Kiii. 19, 20. + Jer. xlix. 17, 18. L. 40,
* These houses had flat roofs, and an ascent to them on the outside : of course a person at the top would descend without en
tering the house.
habitants of the surrounding regions have imposed upon them. Josephus has asserted that the pillar of salt was to be seen in his days, and that he actually saw it. It is disputable, how far this testimony may be received; not that we bring the charge of wilful misrepresentation against him, but that it is probable he was himself deceived. The same credulity which led him to admit the account of a sabbatical river, would easily induce him, visiting the lake, as he did, with a mind prepossessed in favour of some such monument of antiquity remaining, to mistake some rude, mishapen rock, for a crumbling fragment of the pillar of which Moses speaks. Nevertheless, we think that the general features of the country, and particularly the lake, are standing memorials of this awful fact. Some indeed have denied that the cities stood upon this spot. But it must be admitted that the universal appearance of the land sanctions the common opinion, that here judgment was executed against the unrighteous inhabitants of Sodom. The description of the face of that unhappy country, given in the passages which we have quoted from the scriptures, and transcribed from ancient historians, accords well with the whole aspect of the vicinity of the Dead Sea. The country is stripped of herbage; the lake, Q
and the soil, are salt and bituminous ; and vegetable life seems extinct on all it's borders. It would be difficult to fix upon any other spot in the known world, to which the principal features of the narrative would apply. It is to be supposed, from the uniform language of the Bible, that the destruction of these cities was to be a lasting monument of divine displeasure against their wickedness: consequently that strong vestiges of their desolation should remain through every age. It is certain that all the ancient historians who have adverted at all to this singularly awful display of divine justice, have also fixed upon this place, as the theatre on which it was exhibited. It is no less remarkable, that all who have described this lake, and it's vicinity, have connected with it a tradition, more or less explicit, respecting the destruction of the cities of the plain; and some of them were men to whom it is scarcely probable, that the writings of Moses were accessible; and who must therefore have received the knowledge of the event through some other channel. May we not also reasonably suppose that some changes have been effected by time, which have considerably altered the aspect, and even the properties of the waters, since the ancient writers, whom we have quoted, visited this land of barren solitude? Time, which alters the whole globe, and overturns empires, would not spare the Dead Sea, and it's deserted, naked shores! Jordan perpetually rolls his tide to this gulf: streams of fresh water are continually pouring into it: the Arabs diminish it's salt, by draining it's water into large pits near the lake, leaving it to be crystallized by the sun; and it's bitumen is gathered by, the same people, whose ingenuity applies it to many purposes, and who convert it into an article of commerce. We still think, that the spot manifests marked features of desolation at this hour; and the lake is said to be about thirty miles long, and ten miles broad. * of
Before this subject is entirely dismissed, permit us to make two remarks, which appear to arise out of it. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ** ol. Judgments DELAYED will y Et EvenTUALLY be executed. To other sins, the ungodly add that of presumption. Because serenity reigns over the face of the heavens, they apprehend no evil—they conclude that the tempest will never rise. When the cloud appears “like “a man's hand,” they flatter themselves that it will extend no farther. When you warn them of their danger, and foretel their approaching ruin, they regard you as “one that mocketh.” Even when the heavens, are overspread with