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Against such people, this judgment is denounced by the Psalmist; destroy, O Lord, and divide their tongues, for I have seen violence and strife in the city *. The city of God is at unity with itself; but the city of the adversary, like Babel, the Mother of Harlots, is the Citadel of dispute and division. The false wisdom of this world begins and ends (if error has any end) with disputation and opposition. We see an example of this in the multitude of gods, and the many strange rites of worship, with the endless oppositions of science falsely sd called, which arose among the sects of the heathen philosophers when the Greek and Roman learning flourished: and (to come nearer our own times) in the multitude of sectaries and heresies which have arisen since the Reformation, in this country, amongst those who paid no regard to the doctrines and discipline of the primitive Church. In a word, all those who ret up themselves, and affect high things, in opposition to the wisdom of God, are cursed with confusion; and there is no greater evidence of their error, than that they are never able to speak the same language.
After the events of the Flood, and the dispersion at Babel, the destruction of Sodom is to
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* Psalm, iv. 9.
be understood as a sign or prophetic figure of the future destruction of the world by fire, together with the deliverance of the faithful after the example of Lot. This history is referred to in the Hth Psalm, where the wicked are threatened with.fire and brimstone to be rained upon them from the Lord, as formerly upon Sodom. St. Jnde'm his Epistle warns us that Sodom and Gomorrah are set forth Jor an example *, suffering the vengeance of eternal.fire. And that short admonition of our Saviour, in one of his discourses, Remember Lot's Wife, teaches us what we ought to learn from the particulars of the story; that as the world shall be destroyed by fire like Sodom, so a remnant shall be saved by the divine mercy; and that of those who are taken by the hand to follow their deliverer and to flee from the wrath to come (which is another allusion to the same event) some shall turn back in their hearts and affections toward this wicked world, and so be unfit for the kingdom of God: a circumstance which should be thought upon with fear and trembling: for consider how that unbelieving soul, by favouring what was evil, lost all that was good, when it was in her power to escape ; as they will not fail to do, who either disbelieve God's judg
. - ment * Jude vii.
ment upon the world," or think the world undeserving of it, and so take part with the wicked against the justice of God. When times and places are evil, and wickedness prevails with a high hand, the universality and power of corruption is dreadful to think of. When the world was drowned,/<?», that is, eight Souls only were saved in the ark; and when Sodom was overthrown, a small remnant only were delivered; whence we are to expect, that as it was in the days of Lot, so shall it be in the day when the son of Man is revealed: confidence in this world, and insolent disregard of truth and godliness shall generally prevail, and few indeed shall be left to receive him and escape with him when this Sodom wherein we now live shall be visited.
From a likeness of character in the Jewish
people when they became abominable in their
sins, the name of Sodom is given to their city,
and they are threatened with the same fate.
Hear the word of the Lord, ye rulers of Sodom;
give ear unto the law of our God ye people of
Gomorrah; saith the prophet Isaiah *. The
prophet's message is to Judah and Jerusalem;
the rulers and people of which being fallen
into great corruption, and strengthening them
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rCIiap. i. 10.
selves in their wickedness, are addressed by the prophet as the rulers and the people of the abominable Sodom; and he pronounces that they would have met with the judgment of Sodom, but for the sake of the faithful who were still left amongst them, such as Abraham hoped to find when he interceded for Sodom: except the Lord of Hosts had left unto us a ve?y small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah *, that is, as like unto them in their punishment as they were in their manners. And now we shall see the reason why the Evangelist in the book of Revelation speaks of a great city, which spiritually is called Egypt and Sodom, where our Lord was crucified; for certainly our Lord was crucified at Jerusalem, and Jeru-> lem for its apostacy and the judgment that was to overtake it, is called by these names in the prophets: though the passage as it stands in the Revelation may be extended from the example of Jerusalem to the world at large.
I pass over the allegorical history of Abraham, Sarah, and Hagar, the bond-woman and the free, because it hath been so fully commented upon by the apostle as a figure of the Jewish and Christian covenants. I cannot add
to * Isaiah i. 91
to his explanation; and as I should be unwilling to contract it, I rather chuse to refer you to the consideration of it, as it stands in the fourth chapter of the epistle to the Galatians; and shall proceed to the deliverance of Israel out of Egypt, which is one of the most interesting and edifying histories of scripture; as it gives' us an example of all the dangers, temptations and deliverances that can happen in the life of man, during his progress and pilgrimage through the wilderness of this present world. For, in the first place, the translation of the church from Egypt to Canaan is applied in all its circumstances as a pattern of the translation of us Christians from the bondage of sin, to the enjoyment of our freedom in the kingdom of Christ. Out of Egypt, saith God by the prophet, have I called my son *: a declaration which is as truly verified in every child of God at this day, as when Israel was delivered from Pharaoh, and when the infant Jesus was brought back in safety from Egypt to his own kingdom and people.
Thus the redemption of the people of God
from Egypt as a sign of a greater and more
universal redemption, is a doctrine with which
few readers of the scripture can be unac
K 3 quainted.
• Hoseaxl. \i .