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and vigour, he employs to pamper intemperance; and corrupts into a source of disease, of weakness, of anguish, of decay. From the word of God, the bread of life, he contrives to extract poison. Expert in devising mischief against himself, he draws from the fountain of pure doctrine and unsullied righteousness imaginary cordials for unchristian opinions, and imaginary palliatives for unchristian practices. Unlearned and unstable, he wrests at present, as in the days of St. Peter, the Scriptures to bis own destruction. In no instance is the depraved perverseness of the human mind more glaring than in the abuse of the long-suffering mercy of God. The divine forbearance, deferring from time to time the already protracted vengeance ; prolonging the hitherto neglected interval of probation; raising again and again with louder fummons the hitherto unregarded call to repentance; renewing and enlarging the hitherto despised means and wasted opportunities of grace: is beheld as ministering encouragement to carelessness in fin.. Man, obstinately insensible to the accustomed dispensations of
mercy, hardens himself against extraordinary interpositions of Providence: and will not repent and believe, though one should rise. from the dead, nor though an angel should
bear to him a special warning from the Most High.
Among the different nations which, in the days of Abraham, inhabited the land of Canaan, the people of Sodom and Gomorrah were distinguished by superiority in wickedness. The
of the cities arose unto heaven; and called for vengeance on the grievousness of their sin. The long-suffering of God was exhausted: the season of trial was fulfilled : the hour of mercy was paft: the storm of fire and brimstone was ready to defcend. Among these habitations of guilt, Lot, the nephew of Abraham, had been unhappily induced, by the fruitfulness of the furrounding country, to take up his abode. He was a juft and righteous man, faith St. Peter; and in seeing and bearing vexed bis righteous foul from day to day with their unlawful deeds (a). In consideration of his general righteousness, and from tender regard to Abraham, God mercifully pardoned the criminal conduct of Lot in continuing to dwell in so impious a region ; and determined by a special interposition of providential grace to send him forth from the impending destruction. The two angels, the ministers of divine wrath, said unto Lot; Haft thou any (a) a Pet. ii. 7, 8.
bere besides ? Son-in-law, and thy fons, and
blesome and unseasonable interrupter of their pleasures. They regarded him as a dreamer; a felf-appointed prophet of evil tidings; a gloomy and over-righteous enthufiaft, fearing where no fear was, and needlessly tormenting himself and others by discoursing of the anger of God, when no such anger exifted, and of judgements and overwhelming vengeance never destined to take place. He feemed unto them as one that mockcd. They despised his counfel: they refused to fly for deliverance from that feat of corruption : and within the space of very few hours, they perished in the universal destruction of the guilty land.
I proceed, in humble reliance on the divine bleffing, by which alone religious inftru&ion, whether public or private, is rendered efficacious, to apply for your edification those circumstances in the history of Lot and his sons in-law, which are particularly mentioned in the text:
Perhaps, however, you may be disposed to say within yourselves ; “ Why represent “ as applicable to us, the case of the most de“ testable transgressors whom the world has \ witnessed? Are we, like unto them, finners “ above all ? Are we the by-word and fcandal “ of the land? Are we, beyond all others, ” notorious for disobeying and disregarding religion?". God forbid. But were not all things, which were written aforetime in the Scriptures, written for our learning? Is it foreign to the purpose, for which we are affembled, to set before you any example of divine indignation poured out upon wickedness? Do not two of the apostles of Christ, St. Peter and St. Jude, apply this very example to you, and to all mankind? Do they not aver that Sodom and Gomorrah, and the neighbouring cities, condemned with an overthrow, turned into ashes, and suffering the vengeance of eternal fire, are set forth for an ensample unto all that afterwards shall live ungodly; an enfample that all who thall thenceforth live ungodly thall be reserved unto the, day of judgement to be punished (6)? Does not our Saviour himself apply to you and to all men this identical example? Does he not folemnly affirm to his disciples concerning all who should not hear and receive their words; and consequently concerning all who should not receive and obey the gospel, whoever may be the preacher of it; that in the day of Judgement it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomora rah, than for them (c)? (6) 2 Pet. ii. 6-9. Jude, 7.