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IV.

SERM. Then to descend into the particulars. I find in stories two

sorts of memento: 1. Memento et fac, ‘remember to follow; 2. Memento et fuge, remember to fly the like.' Mary Magdalene's ointment, an example of one; Lot's wife's saltstone, an example of the other. Or to keep us to this story, Lot looked not back, till he came safe to Zoar : : memento et fac. Lot's wife did, and died for it: memento et fuge.

The verse before sheweth, why Christ laid the memento upon her. Μή καταβάτω, μη επισρεψάτω, that we should not turn or return back, as she did; that we should not follow her, but when we come at this pillar, turn at it and take another way. That is, we should “ remember Lot's wife,” but follow Lot; remember her, but follow him.

Now in either of both mementos, to follow, or to fly, we alway enquire of two points, and so here, 1. quid fecit, 2. quid passa est; what they did whose story we read, and how they sped—the fact and the effect. The fact, vice or virtue; the effect, reward or punishment.

Both which concerning this unfortunate woman we find Gen. 19.26. set down in one verse, in the nineteenth of Genesis, what she

did; that “she drew back,” or “ looked back”—this was her sin. The effect, that she was turned into a salt stone—this was her punishment. And these two are the two memorandums concerning her to be remembered. First, of her fault.

The Angel had given charge to Lot and his company, in the seventeenth of that chapter, “ Scape for thy life, stay not in the plain, look not once behind thee lest thou perish."

Scape for thy life”—She trifled for all that as if no peril were.

Stay not in the plain,” yet stayed she behind. “Look not back lest thou die." She would and did look back, to die for it. So that she did all that she was forbid, and regarded none of the Angel's words, but despised the counsel of God against her own soul. This was her sin, the sin of disobedience, but consisteth of sundry degrees by which she fell, needful all to be remembered.

1. The first was; that she did not severe custodire mandatum ing.

Dei, ‘strictly keep her to the Angel's charge, but dallied with it, and regarded it by halves; that is, say what he would, she might use the matter as she would; go, or stay and look

1. Her fault.

1. Waver

back.

about as she list. Such light regard is like enough to have grown of a wandering distrust; lest haply, she had left Sodom in vain, and the Angel feared them with that which never should be. The sun rose so clear and it was so goodly a morning, she repented she came away. Reckoning her sons-in-law more wise in staying still, than Lot and herself in so unwisely departing. Which is the sin of unbelief, the bane both of constancy and perseverance. Constancy in the purpose of our mind, and perseverance in the tenor of our life.

2. From this grew the second, That she began to tire and 2 Fainting. draw behind, and kept not pace with Lot and the Angels. An evil sign. For ever fainting is next step to forsaking ; and sequebatar a longe, a preparative to a giving clean over. Occasionem quærit, saith Solomon, qui vult discedere ab amico, Pro. 18. 1. “ he that hath not list to follow, will pick some quarrel or other to be cast behind."

3. This tiring, had it grown of weakness or weariness or 3. Looking want of breath, might have been borne with; but it came of another cause, which is the third degree. It was, saith the text, at least to look back, and to cast her eye to the place her soul longed after. Which sheweth, that the love of Sodom sticked in her still; that though her feet were come from thence, her heart stayed there behind; and that in look and thought she returned thither, whither in body she might not; but possibly would in body too, if as Niniveh did, so Sodom had still remained. 4. Looking back might proceed of divers causes: so might 3. Pre

ferring this of hers, but that Christ's application directs us. verse before saith, “ Somewhat in the house;" something left Zoar. behind affected her, of which He giveth us warning. She grew weary of trouble, and of shifting so oft. From Ur to Haran; thence, to Canaan; thence, to Egypt; thence, to Canaan again; then to Sodom, and now to Zoar; and that, in her old days, when she would fainest have been at rest. Therefore, in this wearisome conceit of new trouble now to begin, and withal remembering the convenient seat she had in Sodom, she even desired to die by her flesh-pots, and to be buried in "the graves of lust;" wished them at Zoar that would, See Num.

il. 34.] and herself at Sodom again, desiring rather to end her life

The Sodom to

IV.

SERM. with ease in that stately city, than to remove, and be safe

perhaps, and perhaps not, in the desolate mountains. And this was the sin of restiness of soul, which affected her eyes and knees, and was the cause of all the former. When men weary of a good course which long they have holden, for a little ease or wealth, or I wot not what other secular respect, fall away in the end; so losing the praise and fruit of their former perseverance, and relapsing into the danger and destruction, from which they had so near escaped.

Behold, these were the sins of Lot's wife, a wavering of mind, slow steps, the convulsion of her neck: all these caused her weariness and fear of new trouble—she preferred Sodom's

ease before Zoar's safety. “Remember Lot's wife.” The aggra This was her sin; and this her sin was in her made much vation of her fall.

more heinous by a double circumstance, well worth the remembering; as ever weighty circumstances are matter of special regard, in a story specially. 1. One, that she fell after she had stood long. 2. The other, that she fell even

then, when God by all means offered her safety, and so (Jonah 28] “ forsook her own mercy.”

Touching the first. These “winter brooks," as Job termeth long standing. flitting, desultory, Christians, if they dry; these “summer Job 6. 15. fruits," as Amos, if they putrify; these “morning clouds," as

Hosea, if they scatter; these “shallow rooted corn,” if they Hosea 6. 4. wither and come to nothing, it is the less grief. No man Mat.13.20. looked for other. Pharaoh with his fits, that at every plague

sent upon him is godly on a sudden, and “() pray for me now;" and when it is gone, as profane as ever he was, beginning nine times, and nine times breaking off again ;-he moves not much. To go farther. Saul that for two years, Judas that for three, Nero that for five kept well, and then fell away, though it be much yet may it be borne. But this woman had continued now thirty years, for so they reckon from Abraham's going out of Ur to the destruction of Sodom. This, this, is the grief, that she should persist all this time, and after all this time fall away. The rather, if we consider yet farther, that not only she continued many years, but sustained many things in her continuance, as being companion of Abraham and Lot in their exile, their travel, and all their affliction. This is the grief, that after all these storms in the

1. After so

Amos 8. 1. 2.

Exod. 8. 8.

broad sea well passed, she should in this pitiful manner be wrecked in the haven. And when she had been in Egypt, and not poisoned with the superstitions of Egypt; when lived in Sodom, and not defiled with the sins of Sodom; not fallen away for the famine of Canaan, nor taken harm by the fulness of the city of the plain; after all this, she should lose the fruit of all this, and do and suffer so many things all in vain ;this is the first. Remember it. The second is no whit inferior; that at that instant she 2. Now,

when best woefully perished, when God's special favour was proffered to means of

standing. preserve her; and that when of all other times she had means and cause to stand, then of all other times she fell away. Many were the mercies she found and felt at God's hands by this very title, that she was Lot's wife. For by it she was incorporated into the house and family, and made partaker of the blessings of the faithful Abraham. It was a mercy to be delivered from the errors of Ur; a mercy, to be kept safe in Egypt; a mercy, to be preserved from the sin of Sodom; a mercy, to be delivered from the captivity of the five Kings; and this the last and greatest mercy, that she was sought to be delivered from the perishing of the five cities. This no doubt doth mightily aggravate the offence, that, so many ways before remembered by God in trouble, she so coldly remembered Him; and that now presently, being offered grace, she knoweth not the day of her visitation ; but being brought out of Sodom, and warned of the danger that might ensue, having the Angels to go before her, Lot to bear her company, her daughters to attend her, and being now at the entrance of Zoar, the haven of her rest; this very time, place, and presence, she maketh choice of to perish in, and to cast away that which God would have saved; in respect of herself, desperately; of the Angels, contemptuously; of her husband and daughters, scandalously; of God and His favours, unthankfully; forsaking her own mercy, and perishing in the sin of wilful defection.

“Remember Lot's wife," and these two; 1. That she “looked back," after so long time, and so many sufferings. 2. That she “ looked back," after so many, so merciful, and so mighty protections. And remember this withal, That she “ looked back” only, and went not back ; would, it may be,

ment.

SERM. but that it was all on fire. But, whether she would or no, or IV.

whether we do or no, this forethinking ourselves we be gone out, this faint proceeding, this staying in the plain, this convulsion of the neck, and writhing the eyes back; this irresolute wavering, whether we should choose either bodily pleasures in perishing Sodom, or the safety of our souls in little Zoar, was her sin; and this is the sin of so many as stand as she stood, and look as she looked, though they go not back; but if they go back too, they shall justify her, and heap upon themselves a more heavy condemnation. So much for the sin,

which we should remember to avoid. 2. Her Now for her punishment, which we must remember to punish

escape.

This relapse in this manner, that the world might know it to be a sin highly displeasing His Majesty, God hath not only marked it for a sin, but salted it too, that it might never be

forgotten. Death, The wages and punishment of this sin of hers was it, which Rom.6. 23. is “the wages of all sin,” that is, “death." Death in her

sure worthily, that refused life with so easy conditions, as the holding of her head still, and would needs look back and die.

The sound of death is fearful, what death soever; yet it is

made more fearful four ways, which all be in this of hers. 1. Sudden. 1. We desire to die with respite; and sudden death we

fear, and pray against. Her death was sudden;—back she

looked, and never looked forward more. It was her last look. 2. In the 2. We desire to have remorse of sin ere we be taken away;

and death, in the very act of sin, is most dangerous. Her death was so.

She died in the very convulsion; she died with her face to Sodom. 3. Unusual. 3. We would die “ the common death of mankind, and be [See Num. visited after the visitation of other men;" and an unusual 16. 29 ) strange death is full of terror.

Hlers was so.

God's own hand from Heaven, by a strange and fearful visitation.

4. Our wish is to die, and to be buried, and not to remain a spectacle above ground, which nature abhorreth. She so died as she remained a spectacle of God's wrath, and a by-word to posterity, and as many as passed by. For until Christ's time, and after, this monument was still extant, and remained undefaced so many hundred years. Josephus, a writer of good

act of sin.

4. Without burial.

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