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and richly loaded with divine benefits, have yet arisen up in rebellion against the Governor of the world, made the most ungrateful returns for his benefits, plunged into all manner of wickedness, and exposed themselves to an aggravated condemnation. And as the inhabitants of Sodom were doomed to a most awful destruction, for their abominations, and their abuses of the goodness of God; so the inhabitants of the world, in their natural state, are under condemnation, and unless they escape to the city of refuge, which is prepared, will perish by the righteous vengeance of God.
2. The impenitent not only live in a wicked world, but, as is implied in the very term, they themselves are sinners, and transgressors of God's holy law, and, like the men of Sodom, and sons-in-law of Lot, are obnoxious to the divine wrath. The heart of the sons of men is full of evil, it is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. At the fall, sin entered the world, and since that event, has reigned in every age, and in every heart. It is written, “ There is none righteous, no not one. -There is none that doeth good, no not one.—Their throat is an open sepulchre, with their tongues they have used deceit—the poison of asps is under their lips. Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness-their feet are swift to shed blood-destruction and misery are in their ways.The way of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes.” Such is the character of the impenitent; of all in a state of nature, as drawn by the pen of inspiration..
3. Notwithstan.ing life and salvation are freely. offered to impenitent sinners, yet, like Lot's sons-inlaw, in Sodom, they are wholly undeserving of any mercy. They justly merit destruction. For the sake of righteous Lot, his sons-in-law, who were inhabitants of Sodom, had the offer of deliverance.
For the sake of Christ, and through his atonement, salvation is proposed to impenitent sinners, on condition of gospel faith and repentance. Had Lot's sons-in-law joined theinselves to him, and fled out of the city, they would still, in themselves, have been as ill-deserving as ever, and as any of those, who were left behind. And when any of mankind comply with the call of the gospel, and are joined to Christ, it does not imply that they are better than others, or have done any thing more, to recommend them to the divine favor. None have any merit. All are children of wrath. All have broken the law, and are under its curse ; for it is said, “Cursed is every one, that continueth not in all things, written in the law, to do them.”
4. As the sons-in-law of Lot, when addressed by him, were in danger of sudden destruction, from the sentence denounced against Sodom ; so impenitent sinners, who are addressed in the gospel, are in the. most imminent and constant danger, on account of the displeasure of God, and the sentence of his righteous law, which is passed against the ungodly.“ God is angry with the wicked, every day.” For their opposition to his law, and their rejection of the gospel, his righteous indignation is kindled against them; and so long as they continue impenitent, they are treasuring up wrath against the day of wrath.
How uncertain is life, on the brittle thread of which, hang everlasting things ! What folly to presume upon it! Sinners know not what a day may bring forth; and yet, at death, continuing impenitent, they are liable to a destruction, unspeakably greater than that of Sodom.
5. Like Lot's sons-in-law, impenitent sinners, under the gospel, are apprized of their danger, and urged to avoid it. God first sent his prophets, upon this message, to sinners. He, afterwards, spake to
them by his well-beloved Son; and he still continues to address them, in his holy word. They are warned by the ambassadors of Christ ; and not only warned, but pressed and urged, to flee for refuge, to the hope set before them in the gospel. , By these means, they are informed of the extent and perfection of the divine law, of God's disapprobation of all sin, of his determination to punish the impenitent, with an everlasting destruction, and that if they turn a deaf ear now, they will hereafter cry,
in vain. 6. Sinners, like Lot's sons-in-law in Sodom, are unbelieving. They discredit the message, addressed to them. Lot seemed like one that mocked, to his sons-in-law. So, while the ambassadors of Christ declare to sinners their danger, while they speak of future retributions, the regions of endless despair, and the divine determination to destroy all the workers. of iniquity, they are considered as mocking, as being weak and enthusiastic, and unworthy of attention.That God is possessed of such a character as they represent, so infinitely opposed to sin, so determined to punish the impenitent with everlasting destruction, is accounted impossible. Sinners cannot believe it to be consistent with goodness, although clearly revealed in the sacred volume. Making their own feeling, therefore, the standard of judging, and admitting nothing as truth, but what they wish to be such, sinners are enabled to work themselves
into a kind of ease, or stupidity, so that they can hear and despise the most solemn warnings, and determine to continue in the city of sinful indulgence, and run the dreadful venture of falling under the wrath of God.
7. Like the sons-in-law of Lot, sinners, notwithstanding all their self-flattery and disbelief, will, finally, be destroyed in the flames of divine wrath. Their endeavouring to persuade themselves that this is not true, will not render it untrue. Though they
may now laugh at fear, and make a mock at sin ; yet an awful calamity assuredly awaits them. It will be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha, in the day of judgment, than for thein.
Lastly. All the finally impenitent will perish, Like Lot's sons-in-law, by their own folly. They are abundantly warned of their danger. The door of the gospel is set open before them. They have a plenitude of the means of grace,
“ line upon line, and precept upon precept." They are told that the wages of sin is death ; and are urged by the most powerful motives, to flee for refuge, to the hope set before them, even the Lord Jesus Christ. But they set at nought all counsel, and despise all reproof, and rush on to destruction, in opposition to all the arguments of the gospel, the light of reason, and the dictates of their own consciences. Surely they will be without excuse. As the fool dieth, they die. They perish by their own folly.
Thus it appears, that the situation, conduct, and destruction of Lot's sons-in-law, are an emblem of the situation, conduct, and destruction of the ungodly and impenitent, and among other things, written of old, are obviously held up, for a warning to us in this age of the world.
In review of what has been said, how dangerous must we consider the situation of careless sinners! How foolish and criminal is their conduct, and how alarming their prospects! And is it not probable, that there are some of this character among ourselves? We have reason to hope, that many present have, at the call of the gospel, fled from spiritual Sodom, and escaped for their life to the mountain, nor tarried in all the plain. But that there are others who linger behind, and are in a state of impenitence, cannot be doubted. For the sake of such, if they are not moved by what has already been said, I would address the words of a great and good divine, who, although dead, yet speaketh. They
were addressed to a congregation, whose circumstances were somewhat similar to ours. " There is reason,” says he, “to think, that some have lately fled for refuge, to Christ. And will you, (i.e. the impenitent) be willing to stay behind, and be condemned to suffer, for ever, in the lake of fire ? Hereafter, you will see others mounting up, as with wings, and with songs of joy, to meet the Lord. But if you remain unconcerned, you will, at the same time, be filled with horror and amazement.It is an awful thought, that there are now some persons present, in this congregation, who will, probably, be subjects of eternal misery. There are probably some, now hearing this discourse, whom the rest of the congregation wiil, at the judgment day, see at the left hand of the Judge. Now, we know not their names
we know not what seats they sit in, nor whom to pitch upon. But God knoweth the names, and now seeth and knoweth what they think, and how much they regard the warning given them this day. We have no reason to suppose, but that some of you, my hearers, will, hereafter, see others entering into glory, with Christ and saints and angels, while you, with disappointment and despair, will be cast off. It may be, that the persons are now flattering themselves in their hearts, that it will not be they. Every one present hopes to obtain Heaven. If any thought they should fail of it, they would be greatly amazed. But as many will fail of ít, so it is not to be supposed, but that there are some present, who will not be in earnest; who will not hearken to the call of the gospel, nor improve the price put into their hands. Tell them of the awful danger, as often as you will, and set it out in as lively colors as you will; yet they will be slack and slothful. And they will never be likely to obtain heaven, while they are sleeping and dreaming and intending and hoping, but the wrath of God will overtake them. Nor is it to be supposed, that all who