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strength of argument set before us, if we refuse to do what appears most fit to be done, till every little objection is removed that metaphysical refinement can invent, we shall never take one wise resolution as long as we live. Let faith, therefore have its perfect work; let it go on, conquering, and to conquer, till we have thereby completely overcome the world. Though Herod should be moved, and all Jerusalem with him, let us follow our heavenly conductor, and, rejoicing with exceeding great joy, proceed directly to Bethlehem. There, through meanness, poverty, and obscurity, let us discern the King of the Jews, give him the honour due unto bis name, acknowledge and adore him as our Lord and our God. And since we are commanded not to appear before the Lord empty, let us bring presents when we come into bis courts. Let us offer to him of our substance, and the first-fruits of our increase ; let us offer to him of the true riches with which he has blessed us ; faith, tried, precious, resplendent, as gold ; devotion, ascending from fervent affections, like the smoke of frankincense from the holy altar; love, peace, joy, and the other graces of sanctification, fragrant, cheering, and diffusive, like “ myrrh and aloes, with all " the chief spices and powders of the merchant." Let us offer to him our strength, our time, and our talents, our souls and bodies, all we have, and all we are, to worship and obey him this day, and every day which it shall please bim to add to our lives. With these dispositions and resolutions if we now come to his light, and haste to the brightness of his rising, we shall hereafter behold him in his meridian exaltation, when heaven and earth shall be full of the majesty of his glory; when, the last enemy being destroyed, he shall appear, as the “Prince of Peace, in a city that hath foundations; when all kings shall fall down before him, all nations shall serve him; when he shall reign for ever and ever, King of kings and Lord of lords; when he shall receive as his just and rightful tribute (the only tribute which can then be paid) the praises of his redeemed subjects, and the everlasting hallelujahs of the celestial choir, ascribing, as we now do, to him, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, all blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, might, majesty, and dominion, for ever and ever. And let all the people say, Amen.

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And it came to pass, when God destroyed the cities

of the plain, that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when he overthrew the cities in which Lot dreelt.

EXTRAORDINARY interpositions of Providence demand extraordinary attention. If Ġod speaks, it is but reasonable that man should hear. And when he executeth the vengeance to which the text referreth, he certainly spake, in an audible voice, to the hopes and fears of all the dwellers upon earth. By the deliverance vouchsafed to his righteous servant, he encouraged the hopes of such as, like him, preserved their integrity in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation; while, by the unparalleled destruction of the cities of the plain, he alarmed the fears of those who resembled them in impiety and iniquity. And although so many hundred years have passed since that astonishing catastrophe took place, yet the history should answer the same purpose now, that the event itself was designed to do then. No

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time can destroy the efficacy of this salutary medicine for the disorders of the world. Virtue and vice are not changeable things; they continue still the same; and there is no alteration in the divine deerees concerning them. Sooner or later, in this life or the next, a deliverance similar to that of Lot will be granted to the righteous; a destruction correspondent to that of Sodom will be the portion of the wicked. For, as St. Peter argues on the subject, “ If God, turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah “ into ashes, condemned them with an overthrow,

making them an example to those that after should "live ungodly; and delivered just Lot, vexed with “the filthy conversation of the wicked—the Lord " knoweth how to deliver the godly out of tempta" tions, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of " judgement to be punished a."

It is with the utmost propriety, therefore, that the church, in the course of her proper lessons, openeth the present season of humiliation with a display of sọ awful and affecting a scene of mercy and judgeinent; that the sinner may know how terrible is the wrath of an incensed God, and the penitent be taught the way to escape it.

In conformity to so judicious an appointment, it is proposed, in the following discourse, to take a view of the whole narrative, illustrating the several parts of it with such observations and reflections, as, it may be presumed, the church intended we should make upon it, with an eye to the great doctrine of repentance, at this time more especially to be recommended and inculcated.

a 2 Pet. ii. 6.

In the preceding chapter, the eighteenth of Genesis, we find the holy patriarch Abraham interceding with Jehovah for sinful Sodom. And we find (such is the amazing extent of divine mercy) that had there been only Ten righteous persons in the city, the rest would have been spared for their sakes. But universal corruption prevailed; and Abraham himself can intercede no longer. “The Lord left communing with “ Abraham, and Abrahamn returned to his place.”

Our blessed Lord, in whose name Abraham, as a prophet, and as the father of the faithful, interceded for Sodom, intercedes, in like manner, for the world, which, notwithstanding the wickedness of its inhabitants in general, is continued in being, on account of the righteous it contains, and the execution of God's counsels concerning his church. When the faithful shall be “ininished from among the children " of men," when unbelief and disobedience shall have overspread the earth, the intercession of Christ will also be at an end, and vengeance will be poured out on the world of the ungodly. Then he, who

“maketh intercession for sinners,” will no more “ offer their offerings, or take up their names into “ his lips.” Then, that which alone hath so long stood between an angry God and a guilty world, shall cease to do so, and a deluge of fiery indignation will issue from the presence of the Lord, to devour the whole earth; even as the waters of the sea once brake forth, and destroyed all flesh, upon the removal of those bars and doors appointed by the


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