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when I have respect unto all thy commandments(n). If you lay claim to the denomination of a disciple of Jesus Christ, be it in every point and on every occasion your main concern to fulfil your known duty to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; and your duty to your neighbour, as a branch of your duty to God.
Without that stedfast concern, you possess ; not the disposition of a Christian. If, through
the renovating influence of divine grace, you have attained by effectual prayer this regenerate frame of soul; and if, through the same grace, you hold it fast unto the end: then are you in Cbrift a new creature.' Then have you fcriptural authority for your hopes that, whe
ther in the course of the present year you * shall be numbered with your fathers, or shall o be preserved unto the dawning of another,
you shall be found of your Lord in peace, and be accepted through the righteousness of Christ.
(n) Pf. cxix. 5, 6.10. 35.40: 94. 127, 128. 140. 162. 172.
On the Guilt and the Confequences of de
spising the Divine Threatenings.
And Lot went out, and spake unto his Sons-in
larewhich married his Daughters, and faid: "Up; get you out of this Place : for "the Lord will destroy this City.” But be seemed as one that mocked unto bis Sonsin-law. : :
M AN, fallen from original holiness, darkV ened in his understanding and perverted in his desires, transforms blessings into evils. The means of happiness consigned by the divine goodness to his application become, under his blind and unhallowed management,
causes and instruments of ruin. The food, : by which his body is to be fustained in health
and vigour, he employs to pamper intemperance, and corrupts into a source of disease, of weakness, of anguish, of decay. From the word of God, the bread of life, he contrives to extract poison. Expert in devising mischief against himself, he draws from the fountain of pure do&trine and unsullied righteousness imaginary cordials for unchristian opinions, and imaginary palliatives for unchristian practices. Unlearned and unftable, be wrests at present, as in the days of St. Peter, the Scriptures to his own destruction. In no instance is the depraved perverseness of the human mind more glaring.than in the abuse of the long-suffering mercy of God. The divine forbearance, deferring from time to time the already protracted vengeance; prolonging the hitherto neglected interval of probation ; raising again and again with louder fummons the hitherto unregarded call to repentance; renewing and enlarging the hitherto despised means and wasted opportunities of grace: is beheld as ministering encouragement to carelessness in fin. Man, obstinately insensible to the accustomed difpenfations of mercy, hardens himself against extraordinary interpofitions of Providence : and will not repent and believe, though one fhould rise from the dead, nor though an angel should
Z3 ... bear bear to him a special warning from the Most High.
Among the different nations which, in the days of Abraham, inhabited the land of Canaan, the people of Sodom and Gomorrah were distinguished by superiority in wickedness. The cry of the cities arose unto. heaven; and called for vengeance on the grievousness of their sin. The long-suffering of God was exhausted: the season of trial was fulfilled : the hour of mercy was paft: the storm of fire and brimstone was ready to descend. Among these habitations of guilt Lot, the nephew of Abraham, had been unhappily induced, by the fruitfulness of the surrounding country, to take up his abode. He was a juft and righteous man, faith St. Peter ; and in seeing and bearing vexed bis righteous foul from day to day with their unlawful deeds (a). In consideration of his general righteousness, and from tender regard to Abraham, God mercifully pardoned the criminal conduct of Lot in continuing to dwell in so impious a region ; and determined by a special interposition of providential grace to send him forth from the impending destruction. The two angels, the ministers of divine wrath, said unto Lot; Hast thou any .n, sor' (a) 2 Pet. ii. 7, &. .'''
bere besides ? Son-in-law, and thy fons, 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 bath fent us to destroy it. The words filled Lot with dismay. That his wife and his unmarried daughters, inhabitants of his own house, and accustomed to look up to him for direction, would obediently accompany his flight, might be no presumptuous expectation. But for his sons-in-law, dwelling apart in houses of their own, and free from his control as to the guidance of their per sonal conduct and that of their families, his heart trembled. He went out and spake unto them, and said, Up; get you out of this place : for, the Lord will destroy this city. How was the exhortation received ? He seemed as one that mocked unto his fons-in law! His words seemed unto them as idle tales : and they believed them 'not. They beheld terror painted in his countenance : they beheld the anxious earnestness. of his demeanour : they heard him announce nothing less than utter destruction; they heard him announce it solemnly in the name of God. What was the effect ? Hardened by the deceitfulness of sin, they turned from him as an unwelcome difturber of their tranquillity, a trou