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be ten found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for ten's sake.
And the Lord went his way, as söön as he had left communing with Abraham: and Abraham returned unto his place.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
Having condescended to accept of Abraham's hospi.. tality *, the LORD from henceforth regarded him as: His friend t. He knew him to be one who had a sincere love for. Him, who was ready to obey His mands in all things, and who would educate his children, and instrnet his dependants, in the same pious principles ; therefore being about to bring such a de struction upon two neighbouring kingdoms, as mightstrike Abraham's mind with consternation and fear, for the safety of himself and family, and occasion him to flee from the neighbourhood, and perhaps stagger his faith so far as it related to the infinite mercy of: GOD; the Lord resolved to make Abraham acquainted. with the determination of divine justice in respect to; Sodom.
The angelic beings, who accompanied the LORDA were dismissed for a purpose which will be related in the next section. It may be observed, that, the scourge
of war had been sent upon Sodom and Gomorrah without produce ing any, amendment. And it is also to be remarked, that the LORD does not appoint deputies under him, and trust to their representations in the moral go. vernment of the world, but examines himself into the
* See Section xxi. +2 Chron. xx. 7. Isaiah xli, 8. James ii. 23. F.5
conduct of human beings, as may be known from this instance, as well as from the Fall, the Flood, and the confusion of languages.
As soon as - Abraham understood that the LORD de. signed to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, he availed himself of the divine favour that was shewed to him, and interceded for those devoted cities. From the gracious manner in which his intercession was ceived, it is evident that his benevolence well pleasing to the Lord, and would have been effectual, had not the measure of their iniquity been full. To what a pitch of wickedness must the inhabitants have arrived, if they did not furnish even ten righteous persons : that is, ten who believed in the true God, obeyed his will to the best of their knowledge, and shewed justice and mercy to their fellow creatures !
It appeared to Abraham (who had, as we may suppose, no time to consider the subject) inconsistent with divine justice, that the righteous should suffer with the wicked; and supposing that there was no future state of retribution, it certainly would be so. In the present case, however, God was fully justified in destroying all the inhabitants of Sodom, even upon Abraham's principle ; and, as we pursue the history, we shall find His dealings with other wicked nations equally reconcileable with perfect mercy as well as perfect justice ; we may therefore be certain, that in every national visitation, the Judge of all the earth doeth right. If the righteous must, from the nature of the visitation, perish with the wicked, God can, and doubtless will, recompense them in a future state.
The intimation which God vouchsafed to give Abraham, of his intention to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, was calculated also to answer the general purpose of informing future generations of mankind
through him, that such awful calamities, as the destruction of whole cities, are not to be ascribed to mere chance or natural causes (as infidels term it). The ways of the SUPREME Being are uniform, founded upon motives of the exactest rectitude; therefore, what He expressly professed to do, when He visibly manifested His Divine Presence on earth, we may reasonably suppose Him to do now, secretly and invi. sibly.
How pleasing is it to reflect, that the Lord should make his ways known, and honour mankind so much as to converse with Abraham as one friend does with another! How much more comfortable to be assured, that the same divine being regards all true Christians in the same endearing relation! Thus, saith the Divine Friend of Abraham to Christians, Te are my Friends if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not Servants, but Friends. These things I command you, that ye love one another.
As Abraham therefore embraced the advantage which the favour of God afforded him, to intercede for Sodom and Gomorrah, let us in like manner pray for all nations, particularly for our own, beseeching Gov, of his infinite goodness, to avert His impending judgements, if it be consistent with His justice so to do. And since we are encouraged from His discourse with Abraham, and from other passages of Scripture, to think that God sometimes spares a city for the sake of the righteous that are in it; let us endeavour to increase the number of these, by a careful regard to our own faith and practice, and the diligent instruction of our children and families, that we
may obtain the
friendship of the LORD God. And if, after all our supplications, we see his judgements in the world; nay, even if we suffer by them ourselves, let us acquiesce in Abraham's sentiment, that the Judge of all the earth doeth right, on which we may build a confident hope, that what is a panishment to the wicked, will ultie mately prove a blessing to the righteous.
It is plain from the expression, the Lord went his way after he had done talking with Abraham, that this was no visionary scene, but a real transactions.
THE DESTRUCTION OF SODOM AND GOMORRAH.
From Genesis, Chap. xix.
And there came two Angels to. Sodom at even ; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom : and Lot seeing them, rose up to meet them : and he bowed himself with his face towards the ground; and he said, behold now, my lords, turn in, I pray you, unto 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, all night. And he pressed upon them greatly ; and. they turned in unto him, and entered into his house : and he made them a feast, and did bake unleavened, bread, and they did eat.
But before they lay down, the men of Sodom com. passed the house round, both old and young, all the
people from every quatter. And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are those men, which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto: 08..
And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him, and said, I pray you brethren, da Bot so wickedly:
And they said, Stand back. And they said again, This one fellow came in to sojourn, and he will needs. be a judge : Now wilt we deal worse with thèe than with them. And they pressed sore upon the man, eren upon Loot, and came near to break the door.
But the Angels put forth their hands, and pulled Lot into the house to them, and shut the door. And they smote the men that were at the door of the house with blindness, both small and great :: 80 that they wearied themselves to find the door.
And the Angels said unto Lot, Hast thou, here any besides? Sons in law, and thy sons, and thy daughters, and whatsoever thou hast in the city, bring them out of this place : for we will destroy this place, because the cry of them is waxen great before the face of the LORD; and the LORD hath sent us to destroy it.
And Lot went out, and spake unto his sons in law, which married his daughters, and said, Up, get ye out of this place; for the LORD will destroy this city : but be seemed as one that mocked, unto his sons in law.
And when the morning arose, then the Angels hase tened Lot, saying, Arise, take thy wife, and thy two daughters which are here, lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city.
And while he lingered, the Angels laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the LORD being merciful unto him : and they brought him forth, and set him without the city.