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ODOM and Gomorrah, and the cities and

country in their environs, have undergone one of the most signal catastrophes, recorded in history. “ They are set forth,” says the Apostle Jude, “ for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire." Or as others choose to render it-suffering the fimilitude, or a fample of eternal fire. So the Greek word dike, here translated vengeance, sometimes signifies, Aschylm VII. contra Thebos, l. 85. When the prophets are denouncing the most, terrible desolation to come upon any country, they can use no stronger figure to express it by, than to say “ it shall be made like to Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities round about them." There are different opinions what kind of desolation befel these de. vated cities, and the country in their vicinity.The most generally received opinion, I suppose, is this, That those cities, and the neighbouring champain country were not only burnt up by that preternatural shower of brimstone and fire ; but were sunk also; and that the lake of Sodom, most frequently called in scripture, the falt seat now occupics their place. In confirmation of their opinion, it is reported by some travellers, that they have actually seen heaps of ruined buildings in that sea, at some distance from the fhore


from which a continual smoke ascends. The Rev. Mr. Maundrell, a very sensible Englith clergyman, who visited this sea, March 30, 1697, affirms he could discover no such phænomena. * However, he is fo candid to the reports of others, as to suppose the reason he did. not see them, might possibly be, that the waters, at that time of the year, were higher than at some other seasons : Though he observes at the same time, that the waters of the Jordan, which is the principal stream, that runs into that fea,

+ Joshua, xv. 2.
Maundrell's Travels, page 82-85.

were then at leaft fix feet depreffed below the surface of its banks.

This vulgar opinion of the overthrow of Sod. om seems but ill to comport with many passages of scripture. It shall therefore be the business of this discoạrse, to ascertain, from the holy scriptụres and other ancient monuments, what was its primitive and flourishing state į and to what a desolate condition it was afterwards reduced, as a mark of the divine displeasure against its abandoned inhabitants.

The patriarch Abraham and his nephew Lot emigrated together from their native country, Ur of the Chaldees. They were afterwards fellow-pilgrims, for a little while, in the land of Canaan, where pressed with famine, they retired to Egypt to relieve their necessities. The famine being over, they returned to Betheli* a vil. lage in the land of Canaan, about twelve miles north of Jerusalem, and about twenty-five miles to the west of Jordan. The wealth of these patriarchs principally consisted of focks and herds. The natives of the land, “the Canaanite and Perizzite,” it is observed by the facred historian,

+ Gen. xii. 5, 13

* Gen. xiii. 3-5.

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