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could never come back, either to repent of their crimes, or to reform and turn to God. God has provided a remedy for fallen man in Jesus Christ; but those who neglect this remedy must perish for ever.
III. THE CIRCUMSTANCES WHICH FOLLOWED THE DESTRUCTION.
1. We may suppose that the neighbouring countries would be struck with terror. The report would spread far and wide, and make sinners afraid. It is by the terrible judgments of God that men are taught the evil of sin, and the abhorrence in which it is held by a holy God. We hear of no other cities being abandoned to similar lusts. The nations would fear the God of Abraham. God always intends to warn others by his judgments upon any particular people ; and that judgment is a warning even to the present day.
2. Abraham went to look for an answer to his prayer, and saw the destroying flames at a distance. Prayer should never be offered up
without a strong desire for an answer. Let us pray for lawful things in faith, expecting to receive. Abraham got up early to see whether his prayers were answered ; but seeing the smoke of Sodom, he knew that there were not ten righteous persons there. What would his feelings be for Sodom, and for Lot! He saw the judgments at a distance,
but they did not come nigh him. The friends of God are always safe.
3. Zour was spared. One good man saved a city! He was first directed to the mountain; but through earnest prayer he was permitted to remain in Zoar. Had he gone to the mountain, every soul in Zoar would have perished ! O what terror must those people have felt, especially when he informed them why they were spared. The wicked are often spared on account of the righteous.
4. Lot's daughters after all caused their father to sin. Lot, indeed, must have been off his . guard; but it is a sad thing for children to tempt their parents. They had a plea for sin, and so has every sinner. - Ah, how soon we forget judgments! Nothing but love will lead to steady obedience. Fear is powerful while it lasts; but, like à sudden blaze, it soon goes out.
Abraham about to Slay his Son.
GEN. xxii. 10.
And he stretched for th his hand to slay his son.
THE heathen nations were foul idolaters; and to each of their idols they offered that kind of sacrifice which they imagined would be most acceptable. Upon particular occasions they offered up human victims. Children were made to pass through the fire to Moloch. “The Avites made Nibhaz and Tartak, and the Sepharvites burnt their children in fire to Adrammelech and Anammelech, the gods of Sepharvaim." How this abominable practice first took rise is not easy to determine. Some have thought that confused traditions of Abraham offering up Isaac
rise to the practice. That God required Abraham to offer up his son is certain; but it was to try him, and not to sanction the abominable practice of immolating children.
In this discourse we shall consider three things : first, why God commanded Abraham to offer up his son: secondly, how Abraham complied with the command : and, thirdly, what lessons we may learn from the whole transaction.
1. WHY DID GOD COMMAND ABRAHAM TO OFFER UP HIS SON?
1. The command was given to try Abraham. “ And it came to pass after these things (mentioned in the preceding chapters) that God did tempt Abraham.'
The word tempt, in this passage, comes from a Hebrew word which signifies 10. prove, to make experiment, and to try what a person is, or how he will act. Abraham professed true religion ; but the sincerity of his profession must be proved. He was a believer; but his faith must be proved. He loved God; but his love must be proved. He was obedient to God; but his obedience must be proved. It was a severe trial of faith; for many promises had been made, which, humanly speaking, could not be fulfilled in case of Isaac's death. The trial of his love was severe; because Isaac was the son whom he loved. Nor was the trial of his obedience less severe, having to offer up Isaac with his own hands.
2. The command was given that Abraham might become a bright example to believers
of after ages. God having a perfect knowledge of Abraham's character, had no need of proving him for his own satisfaction; but as Abraham was to stand before men as an example, it was necessary for him to be proved in such a way as should make a deep impression upon their minds. Nothing is more powerful than example. Mere precepts, however good, may be deemed impracticable, and on this ground many vain excuses may be formed; but when we see a thing done before our eyes, we are struck dumb, and have not one excuse to plead. In this case we have a proof as certain of Abraham's obedience, as if we had seen it with our eyes; because it is recorded in the faithful word of God.
II. How DID ABRAHAM COMPLY WITH THE COMMAND ?
1. He made no oljection. He might have pleaded with God, that it was contrary to nature to offer
promises could not be fulfilled; but he was silent. All that he deemed necessary was a certain knowledge of God's will; for then his way was plain, and he knew it right to yield obedience to the high command. No doubt he was fully satisfied that the command was from the Lord. He would not have hearkened to the voice of wicked spirits. The Lord spake to him in a way