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Threatenings. 349 a kingdom of blessedness in his presence, at his right-hand, throughout eternity. This is the blessed hope which he fets before you, provided that your life on earth be dedicated to Him : that you fenounce the world, the flesh, and the devil ;' that you live not unto yourselves, but unto Him who died for you. At the same time He forewarns you in terms as strong as language can supply that, if you refuse his offered grace, the punishment into which the sentence of divine justice is prepared to plunge you will be proportioned

to the happiness which you have obstinately · and ungratefully renounced: that there remaineth no more sacrifice for fin : there remaineth nothing for you to eternity but wrath, tribulation and anguish, weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth ; the lake of which the burning flood wherein Sodom and Gomorrah were engulphed was an emblem, the lake of fire and brimstone, where the worm dieth not, and the fire is never quenched. :

II. Consider, in the next place, the manner in which the sons in law of Lot received his aweful admonition..

He seemed unto them as one, that mocked. Their conduct discloses to us their character. They had evidently set their hearts on the worldly advantages which, in their apprehension, attended the place where they resided : and they made little account of its wickedness. They saw that the surrounding country, even all the plain of Jordan, was well watered and luxuriant ; offering abundant pasturage at all seasons for their flocks and herds; and promising a great and continual increase of wealth. They beheld with complacency the licentious manners of the city devoted to constant revellings and rior. Like the men of Athens when St. Paul dila courfed of Jesus and the resurrection; Thou bringet," said they to their father, " Arange " things to our ears.". When he described to them the sudden appearance of the angels ; they perhaps exclaimed, like Festus, when Paul related the manifestation from Heaven of Jesus Christ for his conversion, “Thou art " beside thyself: much learning doth make thee " mad.. When he testified to them, that God was about to overwhelm the city with terrible and extraordinary judgements : they probably replied in language like that of the fcoffers mentioned by St. Peter; “Where is " the promise of his coming ? For all things continue as they were from the beginning of the 6 creation." The love of profit, or of pleafure, blinded their understandings and feared


their consciences. They were puffed up with self-conceit. They were hardened in unbelief. They treated the messenger, whom God had commissioned to warn them of their danger, and to point out the method of escape, as one that was ignorant or an impoftor ; as one who was himself deceived, or desirous of imposing upon them; as one who pretended to knowledge beyond his Teach, and held forth a false representation of his Mafter's will. They gave not themselves the trouble to enquire and examine into the truth of Lot's declarations. They did not return with him to his house to satisfy themselves whether in reality two angels were there ; whether any communication as to the purposes of God had been vouchsafed to their father-inlaw; whether the city, as he affirmed, was about to be destroyed. They listened to him with carelessness and contempt. His message did not fuit their inclinations and their prejudices: and they at once rejected and de{pised the monitor, and the warning.: .

My brethren! In many respects the conduct of a large portion of the world bears at this day a close resemblance to that of the fons-in-law of Lot, and arises from the fame principles. When the gȚeat doctrines of the gospel are proposed as comprehending and disclosing the


appointed method of salvation ; what numbers disregard or despise them! When the holy commandments of God are explained and enforced as indifpenfably and in every particuJar binding upon every man ; what numbers withhold their afsent from the strictness of such interpretations of the Scriptures! When the terrors of the world to come are displayed, when the wrath and vengeance of God, the everlasting flames of Hell, are revealed against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men; what numbers refuse to credit the tremendous truth! The minister of the gospel seemneth unto them as one that mocketh. Many scruple not openly to treat as idle tales propositions so little indulgent to self-righteousness, to unholy deeds, to pride of understanding, to flight ideas of the guilt of fin, to blind and arrogant speculations concerning the nature and the extent of divine mercy. They profess, that, for their part, they think it sufficient to receive the promises of redemption in a general acceptation, without busying themselves with curious enquiries into particulars: that they discern not the necessity of regarding and of believing that minutely detailed account of the nature and office of Christ, which others appear fo desirous of obtruding upon them:


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that they look not to niceties of faith, but co regularity of conduct : that, as to holiness, man is frail and God is merciful : that, without pretending to that unattainable righteousness which is pronounced from pulpits and in books of divinity to be essential to salvation, righteousness which would put a stop to all the necessary dealings of life and all the transactions and intercourse of the world, they doubt not but that they shall on the whole lead such respectable lives as will entitle them, through the help of Christ making up their deficiencies, to the kingdom of heaven: and that for such persons as by grofs wickedness shall altogether fall short of heaven, the goodness of God will certainly provide some punishment more moderate and more reasonable than that which the unrelenting severity of learned enquirers imagines itself, and is glad to imagine itself, to have discovered in the New Testament. Such are the scornful and daring murmurs, the great fwelling words, of many, who, while they call themselves followers of Christ, nourish the temper and spirit of unbelievers. Others, less bold in their aversion to the truth as it is in Jesus, are in their hearts little less removed than the scoffers already mentioned from an humble fubmiffion to the doctrines and com

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