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SERMON

ON

Lingering in Religion.

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ON

LINGERING IN RELIGION

GENESIS, XIX, 16.

And when he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon

the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters, the Lord being merciful unto him, and they brought him forth, and set him without the city.

Wise men,

It has been often asked, “Whence came evil ?"? Wise men, however, will see, after the fruitless pains that have been taken to solve the difficulty, that He, who alone could solve it, has not thought proper to gratify curiosity in this respect. On such subjects He giveth no account of his matters. therefore, will rather attend to that which He has made plain, and declared to be important, than attempt to rend a veil which He has purposely drawn over his holy retirements.

A matter of fact plainly appears:-Sin has entered in the world, and misery follows sin. From revelation we learn the nature and extent of this evil, or its reign unto death. Our grand inquiry, therefore, now should be, noin “Whence came evil ?” but, is the remedy for that evil, which is already come ???

Wise men will regard the entrance of evil, as a man views a fire already begun in his house: it is too late now to ask, How came this ?"

or,

“ Where did the fire begin ?" His single question will be, how he, and his family and property, can be secured ?

But, amidst the devastation which sin is spreading in the world, there is one effect of it to which this Scripture should particularly direct your attention,

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VOL. III.

especially as it is not commonly noticed among men: I mean, its infatuating, blinding, and hardening effect. Most men mark sin in the drunkard, the debauchee, the injurious, or the profane; but who detects its slower, but not less fatal poison, in carnal securitythat deadly opiate, by which, not only the sordid and sottish, but the sensible and scientific also, sleep the sleep of death? Yea, by which the Christian himself is strangely detained and confounded; and that. as we shall presently see, while he has a direct view of the most affecting prospects and consequences.

In this passage of Scripture, (which our Church has appointed as the Lesson for the day, in that season of the year when she calls her members to particular recollection and repentance) we are informed, that, after Abraham had interceded for Sodom, and Lot had admonished it both by his teaching and example, but-in vain, two angels of God appeared, cominissioned to destroy it. They heheld the outrageous abominations of the place, and found the measure of its iniquities now full. They said, therefore, to Lot -"Hast thou any here besides? Son-in-law, and thy sons, 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 hath sent us to destroy it."

He did so. Lot went out, and spake unto his sonsin-law, and said, Up, get ye out of this place! But mark the infatuating effect of sin! they treated him as a dotard, or visionary. He urged danger, with every proof of its reality: he entreated them, no doubt, with the most lively emotions of terror and distress in his countenance: but He seemed, says the sacred historian, as one that mocked unto his sons-inlaw.

Is this a singular case? Far from it. Let any one of us make the experiment: alas we have often made it! Let a man speak feelingly of the evil of sin, of the necessity of repentance, of fleeing from the wrath to come to the only hope set before us; let him choose his company for this purpose, not from the dissipated, but from the decent, the sensible, the formally religious: let him watch his opportunity: let him select his expressions: still what, I say, does experience allow us to expect from such an attempt, but a fresh proof of that infatuation recorded in the history before us? They are, at first, alarmed—they conjecture-they are hurt-and, at length, they smile! The serious Christian 'seems as one that mocks.'

From such persons, we naturally turn to those who know and acknowledge the importance of truth, and the necessity of acting from its principles : yet what plausible reasons do even these, like Lot, urge for delay!

From these general remarks, however, I shall direct your attention to one, in particular, which the text before us will serve to illustrate.

LINGERING NATURE NEEDS THE HAND OF SPECIAL

GRACE TO RESCUE IT FROM IMPENDING RUIN.

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The case of Lot himself, more than even that of his sons, seems to illustrate this observation. He was not only warned from heaven, and urged to arise without delay; but he knew that the fire was ready to fall --that another minute might be fatal. The angels hastened him, saying, “Arise! take thy wife, and thy two daughters which are here, lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of this city.' Still he lingers :-'and, while he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the band of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters, the Lord being merciful unto him, and they brought him forth, and set him without the city. He lingered—as if he had said, “A little longer

A --yet a little longer-to prepare for such a flight. Something, which I should take, will be left behind :

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