« AnteriorContinua »
Babel. For ought that appears, the family of Eber was the only one which remained upon the divine institution. It should seem, that he alone was dissentient from the new political order, as afterwards the believing people were of him, named Hebrews.
How much Eber was affected by this event, appears by the name given to his son, Peleg; which seems not intended fo much to denote the many divisions which these politicians, city builders, split into, as the one grand division between all these, and those who keep the ordinances of faith; which, in their meaning and instruction, were then, as they now are, the great foundations of the city, whose buildir and maker is God.
Respecting this policy of Babylon, which has been ever the pattern of the wisdom of this world, and the rule of estimation of all political excellence, it is of importance to observe, that religion was never excluded from the device; on the contrary, it is acknowledged by all fober judges, io be a conftituent of this theory of government, and is deemed essential to the administration and good order. Atheists, and even deilts, are dunces of politicians; and of all religions, that which approaches the nearest to the divineiy instituted forms, is acknowledged to be the best: Provided, however, the doctrine or instruction of those forms be always perverted; and that, by their interpreters, i hey be made to speak fome language other than their own truth; which is, that no city but the city of Gud, builded upon ihe ordinances
of the everlasting covenant, which faithfully exhibit the will of God in Christ, hath foundations; and that, besides this, all are raised in opposition to heaven; and, at an appointed: hour, under the full vials of divine wrath, they shall fiok with their builders.
Attempts to alter the divine institutions as to their forms, have been made only when they have been heard to speak a language, which no man hearty in the Babylonian or Chaldean counsel, could ever bear. Indeed they are so express, so fignificant, that without some corruption of the emblem itself, it is not easy to prevent their being, in some measure, understood,
The Overthrow of Sodom. One of the branches of the family of the Hethites, settled in the plain of Jordan.This country was well watered, and abound. ed with bread, and greatly indulged its inhabitants in ease and dissipation. It was, perhaps, the least affected by the ravages of the flood, of any spot upon the face of the earth-it seemed, indeed, to retain some primitive features of the garden of the Lord, and a resemblance of the glory of the firit world. Hence, in a natural view, it was under the least check and control from the operation of the archangel government and discipline; an important a ticle of which, consists in the curse that is laid upon the ground, and the
folemn injunction that in the sweat of our face Mall we eat bread.
Wherefore these people who, from the name of their principal city, were styled Sodoinites, ripened fast for judgment. The men of Sodom were wicked, and sinners before the Lord exceedingly. God had chastised them by the hand of men, when they were overcome in battle by an army of Assyrians, and laid under tribute ; and, a few years after, rebelling, they received a fill more solemn check in their thoughtless and vile career, in being again conquered, captivated, and having their cities fpoiled by the conlederate Aflyrian powers; when, for the fake of Lot, a Hebrew, who, with his family, sojourned among them, and was with them taken captive, they were, by the hand of A : braham, mercifully and most heroically. delivered.
But neither the judgments nor the good. ness of the Lord, led them to repentancethey waxed worse and worse, until the fin of Sodom became very grievous, and the cry of violence reached unto heaven; and the Lord the Judge, together with two of his companions, came down in person, though in a concealed form, to enquire and see whether the matter was altogether according to the cry of it, which had come before him. In his way, he visited Abraham his friend, and after confirming his covenant of alliance and friendfliip, he disclosed to him the reason why he looked towards Sodom. And Abraham, having gone with them 'fome distance, to
bring them on the way; and coming to a place in which Sodom was in view, he stopped, and communed with the Lord upon this interesting subject, whilst the two accompanying angels went forward towards the city.
And Abraham, drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked? Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy, and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are there- . żn? That be far from thee to do after this manner, to say the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Jhall not the Judye of all the eartb do right? And the Lord ja:d, It I find in Sodom fij ty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their fakes.
Abraham, in making intercession for Sodom, in the first instance, put in a plea of righteousness, in the view of the case as involving ihe righteous with the wicked in one common destruction. That be far from thee to do after this manner, to pay the righteous wi!h the wicked: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right ? --This plea being fully adınitted, but with such a distinction, however, between the case of the righteous and the wicked, as led directly to the idea, that the righteous might be removed and saved, and the city be deftroyed; whilst, at the same time, it was plainly suggested that, in some case, the Lord would Ipare a wicked city, for the sake of the righteous who are therein; Abraham catched hold upon this ground, and renewed his
intercellion upon a plea of grace, according to the merciful dispensations of the Lord towards a finful people, on account of the righteous who dwell among them.
And Abrahim answered, Behold now, I have, takın ubon me to speak unto the Lord, which ain but dut and ashes. Peradventure there shall lack five of the fifiy: wilt thou destroy all the city. for lack of five? And he said, If I find there forly and five, I will not destroy it. And he Spake unto him yet again, and said, Peradventure there shall be forty found there. And he fuid, I will not do it for jorly's fake. And he Jard, Oh, let not the Lord be angry, and I will
. Speak: Peradventure there mill be thirty founde there. And he said, I will not do it, if I find thirty there. And he said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord: Peradventure there shall be twenty found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for twenty's suke, And he said, Oh, let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak yet but this once: Peradventure ten shall be found there. And he said, I w ll not. d stroy it for ten's sake. And ihe Lord went his way, as soon as he had left communing with Abraham: and Abraham returned to his place.
It is apparent, that Abraham did not make . this intercellion for Sodom upon the idea of the personal worth and value of the righte.' ous; for, in the view of their personal relalation to God in covenant, the interest of one righteous man in the divine favor, is above all eltimation; and in this view he might have named before the Lord, one with as much grace as filiy; but, that he contemplated