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perpetual gratification and satisfaction, and as long as we believe this worst of all deceptions, so long we shall live in sin, notwithstanding we may be told of the most horrid torments in a future world as a recompense therefor.

Man loves happiness and hates misery, and this love and hatred are the only inducements which move him to action. Let us realize then that righteousness will make us happy in the present life, and that sin will make us miserable here on the earth, and let us constantly withstand the testimony of our preachers, and the temptations of the flesh to the contrary, and we shall live as the grace of God teaches, by denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, and by living soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world.

It is worthy of special regard, that the divine promises and threatenings recorded by Moses and the prophets, with which God was pleased to signify his approbation of righteousness, and his disapprobation of sin, relate to blessings and punishments which have been enjoyed and suffered by the house of Israel in the earth.

For their encouragement the Lord promised them all manner of temporal blessings; and as a terror he threatened them with all manner of temporal calamities. And while they walked in the statutes of the Lord, and did his judgments these promises were faithfully fulfilled. The people multiplied greatly and abounded in all the rich blessings of life, of health and peace. But when they rebelled and walked in the way of sin, they were visited with all the plagues, judgments, and calamities with which they had been threatened. No people ever varied their character more than have the Jews. At times they were the most upright, the most pious, the most virtuous of all the nations of the earth; and then they were blessed above all people in the world. At other times they have been the most perverse ; have so forsaken the true God, as to carry idolatry to its extremes, have practiced violence and oppression, by which they became a prey to their enemies, and were carried into captivities, and punished with all the sore judgments which were written in their law or denounced by their prophets. And as no people have ever been more wicked, so none have been more punished than they.

The judgments which our Saviour denounced on ne Jews were the same of which we read in the 26th of Leviticus and other writings of Moses, in the Lamentations of Jeremiah and the other writings of this and the rest of the prophets. And it is directly to our argument to observe that all these calamities have come on that people ; and that we have no more authority for applying either the promises for obedience, or the threatenings for disobedience to a future state, than we have for believing that the Jews, for their obedience in this world, will be blessed in the future state in the quiet possession of the land of Canaan: and for their disobedience will be visited with sickness and be carried away into captivity by their enemies.

To conclude. Let us, my friends, open our eyes on the certain consequences with which our heavenly Father rewards the obedient here in the earth. Let us regard that calın sunshine of peace within, which we are sure to enjoy as the reward of well doing. Let us endeavor to estimate in a proper manner the rich inheritance which is the certain lot of those who keep the commandments of God.

Let us look round us, and see if prisons, dungeons, and gallows are not a sufficient argument to prove, that the wicked are recompensed in the earth. And if this sad scene be not sufficient, go draw the veil from still greater horrors, where intemperance and uncleanness exhibit the warning spectacle of degraded humanity. Beloved youth, look, these terrors are no fictions; they are awful realities! Your feet stand in slippery places! O put on the whole armor of righteousness that ye may be able to stand in the evil day; and pray most fervently that you may not be led into temptation, but that you may be delivered from evil.

LECTURE XX.

DIVINE GOODNESS IN THE DESTRUCTION OF THE

SODOMITES AND OTHER SINNERS.

EZEKIEL xvi. last of 50.

Therefore I took them away as I saw good.

The spirit of divine truth, addressing Jerusalem by the prophet, informed her that she was more corrupted in her ways than her sisters, Samaria and her daughters, or Sodom and her daughters. The words of the prophet are these; “As I live, saith the Lord God, Sodom thy sister hath not done, she nor her daughters, as thou hast done, thou and thy daughters. Behold this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness, was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hands of the poor and needy. And they were haughty, and coinmitted abomination before me; therefore I took them away as I saw good.”

The destruction of the inhabitants of Sodom is the subject of our text, and that to which the most cautious attention of this christian audience is now most earnestly solicited.

By those who believe and preach the “heart-chilling doctrine" of endless torment, the destruction of Sodom is constantly adverted to as an evident proof of this tenet, and an instance of its positive reality.

Now as it is one of the objects of this course of lectures, to disprove the doctrine here mentioned, and to show, that the divine testimony which its advocates apply as proof of this tenet gives it no support, it is thought expedient to show that we have no evidence to believe that the Sodomites are an instance of an

endless state of misery. And as several other instances of the destruction of the wicked are generally used for the same end as this of the destruction of Sodom, notice will be taken of a number of them in the present discourse, in a way to show that they afford no evidence in support of the doctrine, in favor of which they are perpetually employed by our terrific preach

ers.

The first question which we shall attempt to examine is, whether the scriptures, which speak of the destruction of Sodom, give any account of the endless misery of those people who died in that destruction ?

We are informed in the 18th and 19th chapters of Genesis, that, on account of the grievous sin of Sodom and Gomorrah," the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah, brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven. And he overthrew those cities and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground."

This is the account which we have in Genesis of the destruction of the Sodomites. But we find no mention made of their being consigned to a state of torment after their temporal destruction.

Here let us bring our subject into the light by the following queries.

1. Of the two events, the temporal destruction of the Sodomites and their being consigned to a state of unspeakable torment in the invisible and eternal world, which is the greatest ? Every one will acknowledge at once, that the last mentioned of these events is infinitely greater than the first. Indeed, those who believe and hold forth the idea of the endless misery of the wicked hereafter, always inform us, that all the sufferings of this mortal state are nothing compared with the sufferings of the miserable in the eternal world.

2. Why, allowing the common opinion of the miserable state of the Sodomites in the invisible world, is there a particular account given of their temporal destruction, and yet not a word about this everlasting torment in the future state, which is a subject infinitely greater? To illustrate the nature of this question, we will suppose, that we have an account in our newspapers of a fire in the city of Philadelphia that burnt several ware-houses and consumed considerable property. This account falls into the hands of our christian preachers, and they come forward in public and state a most lamentable account of the total destruction of the city of Philadelphia by fire. They set forth, in the most moving language the awful sufferings of the wretched inhabitants of that city, not one of which were able to make their escape from the devouring flames! They even go so far as to inform us of certain manifestations of the tender sympathies of husbands and wives, parents and children, brothers and sisters in the last sad moments of their dreadful destruction. After the peace of the whole town should be thus trifled with for some time, and all our hearts had been wrung with the keenest sorrow for the astonishing sufferings of our fellow mortals, some of us should ask our preachers how they were informed of the sorrowful news of the destruction of the inhabitants of Philadelphia ?—They in a very careless indifferent manner, after a few civilities, inform us that we have had the account in the public papers ; and ask us if we have not seen the account of the burning of those ware-houses and all the goods there were in them ?What should we think in such a case ? Should we not allow ourselves to query whether these good teachers had not made some mistake ? or exaggerated in a most unwarranted degree the account given in the papers? You will all agree that no excuse could possibly palliate for such a breach of our peace, except it could be proved that our teachers, who had thus troubled our souls, were actuated by a delirium. But my friends, even this comparison falls infinitely short of the subject under consideration. There is not so great a disproportion between the supposed account of the fire in Philadelphia, and the exaggeration of this account, which we have supposed, as there is between the account recorded in Genesis of the destruction of the Sodomites, and the exaggerations by which thou

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