« הקודםהמשך »
who now say
ours; and then reprobate our views. You cannot say we desire to make a new party; for we have always shown our love of union with all who renounce human creeds and take the Bible alone. We hold no sectarian tenet-not one. You cannot show we hold one. We make no new term of communion. We neither add to, nor subtract from, the written word. If you have no human creed, why oppose us? If you have renounced your printed creeds, and articles, and church covenants founded on man's opinions, so far you have reformed. This was not your character twenty years ago, as I can prove in any court in America to the conviction of any independent jury.
There are not wanting intelligent persons are flattering some reformers as a political manæuvre, that you might weaken A. C's influence; that you would receive them all, no doubt, with all their peculiarities, if you could annihilate him; that were all that he has said, written, and published, obliterated and erased from every memory but that of your own priesthood, you would receive every reformer in America. If this be not true of all the Baptist people, nor of all their preachers, it is admitted as true of a vast majority of their leaders that have opposed reformation.” So speaks Fame, through at least fifty of her hundred trumpets; and for myself I have neither leisure nor inclination to verify her proclamation.
The ridicule which some of the Baptist editors seek to throw around the very profession of reformation the Romanists have worn out ages before we were born. Mr. Waller, in a flat and evaporated style, but uses the missiles of the cardinals, bishops, and clergy of Rome, employed against Luther, which the opponents of Nehemiah and Ezra haughtily hurled against the restorers of the ancient worship to the Jews: If a fox,' said they, 'were only to run against the repairs and reformations of these self-conceited Jews, their labors would fall to the ground.' They supposed there was as much wit and cunning in this as in the animal they happened to introduce into their imagery; and indeed they were on such occasions as eloquent as any of our Christiun (!) opponents.
But how easy were it to turn these impotent weapons against the men who pride themselves in gathering them out of the street. I have no time nor disposition for such foolish and indecorous trifling.
am always prepared to show the futility of every obiection and effort down and avamine the fomeSodom and
CONVERSATIONS AT THE CARLTON HOUSE.--No. XXI.
OLYMPAS having commanded the household to read the 18th and 19th chapters of Genesis, resumed the close of the 18th as follows:•We have found one of the three guests of Abraham, under a very high title, communing with him on the immediate fate of Sodom. How is this revelation introduced?'
Reuben. "And the Lord said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous, I will go down now and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it which is come unto me; and if not, I will know.” This certainly would indicate that the Lord did not know all things, if we understand it literally as it reads. But I presume it is an accommodation of things supernatural to our usual modes of ascertaining facts.
Olympas. No more than when it is said, "Grieve not the Spirit”“God repented that he had made man"—the Lord sees—the Lord remembers—the Lord hears, walks, rises, stands, &c. &c. These all are accommodations, and this is an Eastern periphrasis-a beautiful circumlocution, intimating that the Lord will impartially examine and adjudicate all the actions of men according to truth before he pronounces sentence. "The men then turned their faces from thence towards Sodom, and went on before the Lord.”
Thomas. This would intimate to me that the Lord's saying “I will go down and see," means not a descent from heaven, but from the place that he then occupied in communing with Abraham. Am I right?
Olympas. I almost fear to say you are right, and yet I dare not say that you are wrong; for all the Rabbies, Hebrew, and Greek, and English, down to 'Tillotson the Archbishop, A. Clarke, and all the moderns, speak of the Lord as descending from heaven. But this is one instance, that to follow the connexion and common sense is
generrally more natural and safe than to look afar off to hypothesis, analogy, or theory for light on difficult passages. The case is simply this: The Lord on earth was talking to Abraham on an eminence above the plain in which these four cities stood. To Abraham he says, I will confidence, and full of compassion "he drew near” to the Lord and began his intercessions—the Lord and he standing upon the same piece of earth. He begins his intercession on the plea of fifty righteous being found in the city. And what numbers next, James?
its truth, The
Jumes. Forty-five, forty, thirty, twenty, ten.
Henry. Abraham asked six times, and I think he ought to have been ashamed sooner, rather than to have asked any more.
Olympas. What seems to be the point, the main point in the intercessions of Abraham, Eliza?
Eliza. The confounding of the righteous with the wicked. His plea was, “Wilt thou slay the righteous with the wicked?” This, Abraham thought, would be wrong; for he said, Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?"
Olympas. So we still think; and the Lord thinks so too, and therefore he will make a difference between him that serveth him and him that serveth him not.” Observe that the Lord to whom Abraham spoke is here regarded by Abraham as "the Judge of all the earth." After this long and wonderful intercession on the part of Abraham, in which it appears that Abraham became ashamed to ask, before the Lord refused to listen, we are told the Lord went his way, and Abraham returned to his place." This intercession, then, not only took place on earth, both the Lord and Abraham standing upon the soil; but the Lord walked on the earth in visible form as a man, and as the sequel shows, directed his course towards Sodom, whither the two other men.like celestials had gone before him. Do we again hear, Edward, of the former two angels?
Edward. I presume it is of these we read in the next chapter: "And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom, and seeing them rose up to meet them, and he bowed himself with his face to the ground.”
Olympas. Doubtless you are right, Edward. These are the two; and a faithful day's journey it was, as it seems to me, to reach Sodom by sun-down from the vicinity of Abraham's dwelling. How did Lot view these two angels, Henry?
Henry. He seems to have viewed them as men, just as Abraham had viewed them. He invited them 10 his house, and prepared for them a repast, as he would have done for his uncle Abraham had he visited him. But what could have induced Lot to go and sit at the gate of Sodom?
Olympas. How do you answer, Thomas?
Thomas. There were no taverns in Sodom in those days, as all ancient tradition intimates. And towards evening sometimes the more hospitable and benevolent used to go to the gate of the city to invite the more respectable strangers home with them. Generally strangers pitched their tents in the streets, and lived in the city as they were wont to do while on their journey. In those mild clima'es there were no taverns. Travellers carried their tents and their provisions and lived as at home. So some ancient history, which I read at school, represents the custom.
Olympas. Very good. This does honor to Lot as much as the actual fact of his inviting them home with them. They were respectable looking strangers, without any travelling apparatus; and who can tell but the Omnipresent Spirit so moved the mind of Lot as to direct his steps to the gate of the city just at the moment that he might have the honor of entertaining angels unawares, and that the Lord's angels might be carried home to the Lord's people.
Edward. It seems that the wicked men of Sodom assaulted the house, and desired to have the angels whom they regarded as men. For what purpose did they want them?
Olympas. These were the vilest of the vile, who envied Lot of these distinguished, and, no doubt, beautiful looking angel-men; and who were addicted to a crime which yet bears the name of the accursed city, and which, as you advance in the study of Leviticus, 18th and 20th chapters, you may some day more fully understand. You will observe that the two angelic men proposed staying in the street all night; but Lot, probably anticipating such an affray, more perseveringly invited them to share the protection of his house.
Reuben. Lot ought not to have lived in such a wicked place.
Eliza. So one of the Apostles intimates when he says, “that righteous man, while dwelling among the Sodomites, had his soul vexed from day to day by their unrighteous deeds."
Olympas. Cupidity or inordinate selfishness had led him astray: for when Abraham gave him the choice of pasturage, instead of saying, “Uncle Abraham, you have been my protector and my superior, and I would rather you would choose first. Take the hill or the plains, as see ns good in your sight.' But no; he accepted the preference, and “chose all the plain of Jordan," for its pastures were rich and well watered: and so Abraham returned to the high grounds and pitched his tent from oak to oak, and from hill to hill, as the exigencies of his flocks and herds required. But, observe, Lot suffers for his inordinate self-love, as the event fully and awfully demonstrates. So that good men are not ever or very long perfect! After this rude assault of these vile wretches, what next occupies the historian's attention?
Edward. The men (angels, I presume,) commanded Lot to assemble his sons-in-law, sons and daughters, and whatever he had, and to depart: for, said they, “We will destroy this place; for the Lord has sent us to destroy it."
Olympas. Did the sons-in-law of Lot obey their father?
Thomas, He seems to have had only a wife and two daughters; for his daughters seem to have been betrothed rather than married.
Olympas. So it might seem. But does Lot promptly obey the command of the two angels?
Edward. No: he lingered till "the men took hold of him and of the hands of his wife and daughters, the Lord being merciful to him, and they brought him forth and set himn without the city."
Olympas. What a lesson! How stupid and lingering is mao-the best of men! How merciful and long-suffering is God! Who would have thought that so good a man as Lot could have been so attached to so wicked a society, as that angels must lay hands on him and drag him out of the city of destruction! And even when he is out of the walls and gates the angels add, “Escape for thy life, look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain lest thou be consumed!" Yet listen to Lot: “Oh! not so, my Lord"_"Oh! let me escape to Zoar. Is it net a little city! I cannot escape to the mountain!" It was well for Lot that Abraham had interceded for the righteous in Sodom! The Lord in mercy for the affrighted and un. nerved Lot, said, “See I have accepted thee in this thing: I will not overthrow this city for which thou hast spoken! Haste, haste, thee; escape thither; for “I cannot do any thing till thou be come hither." The Lord it seems by this time appeared to Lot, and it was to him that Lot prayed. What time of the morning was this, Eliza?
Eliza. The sun was just risen upon the earth when Lot entered Zoar.
Olympas. Why, William, was it called Zoar.
William. Zoar, you said, means little; and, I suppose, as this was a very small city, it was called Zoar.
Olympas. What was its former name?
William. Thomas says it was first called Bela; but I do not know how he knows that.
Olympas, Explain, Thomas.