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refers to His merciful intention of saving Lot and his family, on which account alone He suspended the execution of the judgment He had resolved to bring upoo the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah.

It is mentioned, that the sun was risen upon the earth. In all probability, this bright luminary shone with its usual lustre, and gilded the mountains and plains withits cheerful rays, while the luxurious and careless inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah either reposed on their soft beds, or pursued with ardour their worldly affairs, without paying their early adorations to the God who made them. In a moment, the firmament melted with fervent heat, and a shower of fire and brimstone poured down on their devoted heads, burning up and destoying whatever grew on the surface of the ground, and Tendering the earth from that time forth, "unfit for culture or habitation*! From this instance we learn, that the element of fire, as well as that of water, is entirely under the government of Divine Providence, and may be rendered either an inestimable blessing, or a most distressing evil.

The ‘sin of Lot's wife is supposed to have been infide. lity t. Probably she did not believe that what had been revealed to her would come to pass. The judgment inflicted upon her was a most exemplary one, and remained for many ages à monument of an unbelieving souk Josephus, a learned Jewish històrian, says, that the Pillar of Salt was to be seen in his days. Interpreters tell us, that it did not consist of common salt, but of a metallic substance, such as was hewn out of rocks, like marble, with which it was usual to build houses

When Abraham, with anxióųs solicitude, repaired early in the morning to the place where he had the pre* Deut xxix. 93. Isa. xi i. 19. Jer. 1. 40."*" + Wisd. *. 7. See Essay for a new Translation of the Bible.

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ceding day stood before the LORD, how greatly must he have been affected with the awful sight which he beheld! Yet he arraigned not the justice of the LORD. He now understood, that nations are but as drops in the bucket, when God cometh to take vengeance on the wicked *.

The circumstances of the calamity not reaching Abraham, and of Lot's deliverance, are particularly pointed out by the sacred historian, and strongly intimate, that the whole transaction was directed by an over-ruling Providence.

Much practical instruction may be collected from the section before us.

In the first place we learn from it, and the passages of Scripture referred to, to be thankful to God for making known to us the ministry of Angels; and we may look forward with an increase of pleasure to a state, where, instead of being received with jealousy and envy as innovating strangers, we shall find a set of benevolent friends, who have been accustomed to interest themselves in the welfare of mankind, and who will rejoice in our exaltation to as great a share of blessedness as they themselves enjoy.

We are also here taught another lesson of good nature and hospitality,

We have likewise an additional instance of the interposition of Divine Providence, which shews, that the LORD, though He employs Angels as His ministers, does not abandon the human race to the government of imperfect beings; but is himself the SUPREME Dis. Poser of all events.

From the command given to Lot to escape, we are admonished, that it is better to leave our worldly posses. sions behind, than to stay and perish with the wicked. * Isaiah xl. 25,

We

We also learn, that we ought not to lead careless lives, from a dependance that nature will pursue a regular course of causes and effects. What is nature but the work of God? He therefore can instantly change the courses of the different elements, and send them as punishments on a guilty land, whenever he sees fit.

Since the Holy Scriptures point out so particularly the crimes for which Sodom and Gomorrah were condemned to destruction, we should make it our study 10 avoid them.

Our Lord has admonished us to Remember Lot's wife * ; we should, therefore, of all things, avoid info delity : for if we are in no danger of being turned into pillars of salt, as warnings to mankind, a more dreadful fate, awaits us, that of being salted with firet, or kept alive for endless ages in a state of torment.

Let us then imitate the faith and obedience of Lot, whose his. tory, we are told, is written for our admonition $; and, in so doing, let us repose our souls on the mercy and goodness of God, who will give His holy angels charge to keep us in all our ways.

SECTION XXIV.

THE HISTORY OF ABRAHAM CONTINUED THE BIRTH

OF ISAAC.

From Genesis, Chap. xxi.

AND the LORD visited Sarah as he had said ; for Sarah bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time God had spoken to him.

And Abraham called the name of his son that was born unto him, whom Sarah bare to him, Isaac. And

* Luke xvii. 32.

+ Mark ix. 49.

& 2 Pet. ii. 6. Jude 7.

Abraham

Abraham circumcised his son Isaac, being eight days old, as God had commanded him.

And Abraham was an hundred years old, when his son Isaac was born unto him. And Sarah said, God hath made me to rejoice, so that all that hear will rejoice with me.

And she said, Who would have said unto Abrahama, that Sarah should have given children suck? for I have borne him a son in his old age.

And the child grew, and was weaned ; and Abraham made a great feast the same day that Isaac was weaned. And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had borne unto Abraham, mocking.

Wherefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out the bond woman, and her son : for the son of this bonde woman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac. And the thing was very grievous in Abraham's sight, because of his gana

And God said unso Abraham, Let it not be grievout in thy sight because of the lad, and because of the bond-woman ;

in all that. Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice : for in Isaac shall thy seed be called. And also of the son of the bond-woman will. I make a nation because he is thy sced.

And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and tock bread, and a bottle of water, and gave it unto Hagar (putting it on her shoulder) and the child, and sent her away: and she departed, and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba.

And the water was spent in the bottle, and she case the child under one of the hubs. And she went, and sat her down over against him, a good way off, as it were a bow.shot: for she said, Let me not see the death of the child. And she sat over against him, and lift up her voice, and wept.

And

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And God heard the voice of the lads and the angel of God called to Hagar out of fieaven, and said, unto her, What aileth thee, Hagar fear not; for God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is · Arisen lift up the lad, and hold him in thine hand : for: I will make him a great nation.

And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water, and she went, andi filled the bottle with watering and gave the lad to drink

And God was with the lad; and he grew, and dwelt in the wilderness, and became an archer. And he dwelt in the wilderness of Paran: and his mother took him, a wife out of the land of Egypt. .

ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS. At length, after many years of expectation,, Abraham and Sarah were blessed in the birth of that, son, whom God designed to be heir of the promises, respecting both the land of Canaan, and the Everlasting Covenant ; and we are informed, that this joyful event happened at the exact time which the LORD had foretold ;, and that Abraham, in obedience to the Divine command, nam, ed the child Isaac, The great age of the Patriarchy and his wife, rendered his birth marvellous.

It appears that Sarah did not consign her son to the care of an hireling, but wag nurse to him herself.

Sarah's severity in respect to Islimael appears very illiberal ; but we have reason to think Islımael behaved in a most provoking manner, and that his mother, en. couraged: him: to do 80; in all probability, envy and jealousy possessed their minds. Thus circumstanced, had the parties continued to live under the same roof, family harmony could not have subsisted ;, the LORD, therefore, in mercy to them all, permitted the dismisision of those who pretended to be rivals, to. Sarah , and her son.

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