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“ right: or if thou depart to the right hand, “ then I will go to the left"."
This offer, on the part of Abraham, was generous, and worthy of himself. Although the elder, and one specially blessed by God, and known to be such by Lot, he relinquishes his right to the younger, and one greatly indebted to him. In Lot it ought to have produced a conduct different from what he displayed. It ought to have created in him a most earnest desire of still remaining connected with the patriarch, and of settling the differences between their herdmen without separating : or, if Abraham insisted upon the separation, which does not, from the history, appear probable that he would have done, he ought to have declined the choice, as belonging to the elder. Wealth, however, had corrupted the heart of Lot; he heard the proposal with indifference, a proposal which contemplated his banishment, as it were, from the friend of God, and from the means of religious instruction. Rather than restrain his herdmen, rather than yield his consequence, he coolly, as it appears, and deliberately, consents to leave
a Gen. xiii. 8, 9.
THE CHARACTER or lor. [SER. VIII. the guide of his youth, and perhaps the instrument of his salvation.
How treacherous is the human heart! Little did Lot think, when he left Haran under the guidance of his venerable relation, that he would ever with indifference have parted from that relation. No doubt, in the first sojournings of the two families, Abraham's tent, like the paternal roof, was to the nephew the object of his fondest attachment. To it, now that his father was dead, and he a stranger in a strange land, his views were directed, and in it his hopes of comfort and happiness, such as a parent can bestow on his child, centered.. .,
What more natural for a child, on leaving his father's home to settle in the wide world, than to look back to that home with fondness, and, in prosperity or adversity, to wish for a parent's smiles to heighten the charms of the former, and lessen the miseries of the latter ! Such feelings, however, wear away in the bustle of life, and with the cares of the world. Nothing so soon paralyzes their power, as a continued series of prosperity. Wealth has a natural tendency to destroy the finest feelings of the heart, by exciting
selfishness. It creates imaginary wants, which nothing but an increase of it can satisfy. No wonder, then, that Lot forgat his obligations to Abraham; no wonder that he cared so little about leaving him: he had grown rich, had become important, and felt himself equal with the patriarch. I do not say, that he actually displayed such pride in his conduct on this occasion; but his indifference at parting with his guide and more than father, can be accounted for on no other principle, satisfactorily, than the influence of such pride in the heart. To suppose that he was proud because he was rich, is what daily experience renders credible. Even men who, like Lot, in the main are upright, from the same cause too frequently display the same temper. At least they act as if their wealth had destroyed their humility, and made them think more highly of themselves than they ought to do.
0. . .. Lot not only consents to the separation without one feeble struggle to prevent it, but even accepts the offer which was generously made him. Instead of acting as he ought to have done, he assumes the place of Abraham, and acts as if he were the elder, and the father of
the faithful. For youth to attempt taking precedence of age, even though age magnanimously offers it, is highly improper. To venerate age, especially if it be connected with moral excellence, is a sacred duty, which even pagans practise. A suitable expression of this reverence Lot omitted to make on this occasion. He, who discovered no reluctance at leaving Abraham's family, and the ordinances of his house, discovered no hesitation to choose before Abraham. His choice was wretched and miserable! It was made under the influence of a worldly spirit, and regardless of spiritual advantages. « Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld « all the plain of Jordan, that it was well 6 watered every where, before the Lord de“ stroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as “ the garden of the Lord, like the land of “ Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar. Then “ Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and “ Lot journeyed east: and they separated “ themselves the one from the other. Abram “ dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot “ dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitch« ed his tent toward Sodom. But the men of “ Sodom were wicked, and sinners before the
“ Lord exceedingly.”. Notwithstanding the odious and detestable character of the Sodomites, which Lot must have known, he chose their land because it was fruitful and pleasant to the eye. The sacred historian compares it to “ the garden of the Lord,” which may either mean Paradise, or, according to the use of the Hebrews, the most excellent kind of country. It is also said to resemble Egypt, at that time under the greatest improvement, and exhibiting a delightful scenery of natural beauties.
In this short description, great room is left for the exercise of imagination to form a suitable picture in the mind of the plain of Jordan. The landscape must have been indeed interesting to the eye. Over the plain, highly cultivated and well watered, were scattered, at suitable distances, the rich and populous cities of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboim, and Zoar. Had this country been inhabited by a virtuous and holy people, what a rational prospect it afforded of real earthly happiness! But a race of vile and ungodly wretches possessed it. Their character is strongly drawn, it is pre-emiVOL. II.