« AnteriorContinuar »
any lightness about them, exhorting them, and praying for them; keeping them out of ill company, not suffering them to be idle or vague, and seasonably disposing of children in marriage. Our bodies are the Lord's; we are or ought to be the temples of God; the heart is the most holy place of the temple, and our speech and behaviour the holy place. Let us take heed we bring in no unclean thing there, but keep his temple pure; for if any defile the temple of God, him will God destroy.
II. I come now to shew, what is forbidden in this command. It forbids all unchaste thoughts, words, and
In nothing more quickly did the corrupt nature of man vent itself, than in inordinate concupiscence, which brought shame along with it, as its just punishment; which makes it hard to speak of it, and so much the rather that corrupt nature is apt, through Satan's influence, to turn the very commandment against it unto an occasion of sin. Therefore, though there is a necessity of speaking something on it, we cannot enlarge with that freedom upon it that we can do on other commands. Sist your hearts, then, as in the presence of a holy God, who will call us to an account in this matter before his tremendous judgment-seat, and hear his holy law, Thou shalt not commit adultery.
In this short abbreviate of the law of God, where one sin is expressly condemned, under it are forbidden all sins of the same kind. So here the whole dunghill of filthiness is set before us for our abhorrence, and detestation of our souls, as we would not bring down the wrath of God on us. Here then all gross acts of filthiness are forbidden. As,
1. All unnatural lusts, not to be mentioned without horror; filthy fellowship with devils, as the guilty do suppose; Sodomy, persons abusing themselves with those of their own sex, Rom. i. 24,-27; beastiality, Lev. xviii. 22; And to these we may add incest, which is betwixt persons within the forbidden degrees of consanguinity or affinity, Lev. xviii. 6. Concerning which this is to be observed, that a man must hold at the same distance from the relations of his wife as his own, and contrariwise, Lev. xx. 14; and such unnatural mixtures can never be sanctified by marriage.
2. Adultery, where one of the parties, or both are mar.
ried. In this case the aggravations of the sin of the married party will be justly charged upon the single person; and for both, whoremongers and adulterers God will judge,' Heb. xiii. 4. And bigamy and poligamy are adultery; for the vile fact cannot be sanctified, but made worse, by marriage with the adulterer or adulteress, Hos, iv. 10;They shall commit whoredom, and shall increase.'
3. Fornication, which is betwixt single persons, Col. iii. 5, 6. Mortify your members which are upon the earth 3 fornication, uncleanness, &c. For which things sake the wrath of God cometh upon the children of disobedience.' Whoredom is a sin that without repentance is a sad badge of a subject of Satan, Eph. v. 5. No whoremonger nor unclean person-hath any inheritance in the kingdom of God and Christ.' And a vast inconsistency there is betwixt being a member of Christ, and that of a harlot, 1 Cor. vi. 15.
4. Rape, or forcing a person to filthiness, Deut. xxii. 25; This is a capital crime by the laws of God and men.
5. Secret uncleanness in a person by themselves alone, whether they be waking, Eph, v. 12; or sleeping, at least so far as they have occasioned it to themselves by their own corrupt imaginations.
6. Lastly, Immoderate and unseasonable use even of the marriage-bed, and much more of the bed of whoredom. Mark these passages, 1 Thess. iv. 3, 4. 1 Cor. vii. 5. Isa. lviii. 13. Ezek. xxii. 10. and xviii. 6.
These are the several kinds of vileness here forbidden. But this command goes further, and forbids three sorts of uncleanness besides.
1. Uncleanness in heart, all speculative filthiness, unclean imaginations, thoughts, purposes, and affections, tho' people do not intend to pursue them to the gross act, Matth. v. 28; Whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her, hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.' Chap. xv. 19; Out of the heart proceed-adulteries, fornications.' These fall not under the eye of men, but are open to the eye of God, who will judge accordingly. A voluntary thought of these things is dangerous, a delightful rolling of them in the heart is uncleanness before God, and a vitiated habit, whereby on every light occasion these filthy sparks are kindled in the heart, is worst of all, and most abominable.
2. Uncleanness in words, all filthy communications and
obscene language, Eph. iv. 29; Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth.' They are the discoveries of a filthy heart; for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh,' contrary to nature, propaling those things which nature teaches to keep secret. They are snares to the hearers; and to speak of them for delight, is to act the filthiness in words, when they cannot do it otherwise. Neither will the art some have in dressing up their filthy notions in figurative terms excuse; but these in some sort are most dangerous, because the devilish wit displayed in them makes them more sticking; and so by means of the like phrases occurring in holy exercises, they are the readier even to defile these. Of this sort are filthy songs and ballad singing; and the delightful listening to such things, as the simple youth did to the speeches of the adulterous whore, Prov. vii. 18,-21.
3. Uncleanness in actions. Besides the gross acts, there are others leading thereunto, which are here also forbidden. As,
(1.) Wanton looks: there are eyes full of adultery,' 2 Pet. ii. 14; wanton eyes,' Isa. iii. 16; Even a look for unlawful carnal delight is the venting of the impurity of the heart; and though it be only from levity and curiosity, it is sinful, as a mean leading to evil.
(2.) Impudent and light behaviour, and immodest gestures, Isa. iii. 16; indecent postures, contrary to religion and good manners. These are hellish matters of sport, that defile the actors, and those that are witnesses to them without abhorrence. And on this ground stage plays and filthy pictures are amongst the things forbidden in this command, Ezek. xxiii. 14,-16.
(3.) Luxurious embraces and dalliances. These are as smoke going before the flame, and were practised by the adulterous whore, Prov. vii. 13.
Now, as all these are here forbidden, so all occasions and incentives to lust are forbidden, all that has a tendency to corrupt our own or neighbour's chastity.
(1.) Immodest apparel, Prov. vii. 10. God appointed apparel; [1.] For necessity, to cover our shame and nakedness; [2.] To distinguish sexes; [3.] To distinguish callings, the more noble from the meaner sort. The devil has found out the fourth, to be enticements to lust.
(2.) Keeping ill company. This has been the ruin of many: therefore Solomon advises, Prov. v. 8. Remove thy way far from her,' a strange woman, or whore; and come not nigh the door of her house.' It was Joseph's commendation, that he fled from his mistress. Whatever the company be, people should beware that they cast not themselves into snares.
(3.) Idleness, the nursery of all filthiness, Ezek. xvi. 49. This exposeth to many temptations; for Satan will be ready to find idle people work. Gadding and vaguing abroad can hardly miss to have an unsavoury end.
(4.) Intemperance, gluttonny, and drunkenness. These have a tendency to murder, which is forbidden in the sixth command, and to uncleanness, forbidden in the one under consideration, Prov. xxiii. 30, 31, 33. Notable to this purpose is that scripture, Jer. v. 8; They were as fed horses in the morning every one neighed after his neighbour's wife.
5. Promiscuous dancing, or dancing of men and women together. This entertainment, however reckoned innocent among many, is evidently an incentive to lust, Isa. xxiji. 15, 16, 17; It is supposed, that it was to a dancing match among the daughters of the land that Dinah went forth, when she was dealt with as an harlot. This practice seems to be struck at by these scriptures, Rom. xiii. 13; Let us walk not in chambering and wantonness,' 1 Pet. iv. 3. where mention is made of walking in revelling. It is offensive to the grave and pious, is condemned by our church, yea, and has been condemned by some sober heathens.
(6.) Undue delay of marriage, 1 Cor. vii. 7, 8, 9; for they that refuse the remedy, strengthen the disease.
(7). Unjust divorce, Matth. v. 33; wilful desertion, 1 Cor. vii. 12, 13; want of conjugal affection, and all harsh, ness and unkindness betwixt married persons. These are to be avoided, as incitements to uncleanness.
(8.) Lastly, The popish doctrine and practice of forbid, ding lawful marriages, 1 Tim. iv. 3; dispensing with unlawful marriages, Mark vi. 18; tolerating of stews or bawdy. houses, Deut. xxiii. 17; and entangling vows of single life, Matth, xix. 10, 11. .
I shall next make some improvement of this subject. 1. Let those that have fallen into the sin of uncleanness, repent, and walk humbly all the days of their life under the sense of it. There are, alas! not a few amongst us to whom this exhortation belongs. And perhaps, if their eyes were opened, they would see something in their lot that God has sent to go along with them, as a mark of his displeasure against that their sin; wherein they might with no great difficulty read their old sin in a continued punishment. That sin may be forgotten with us, that is not so with the Lord.
2. Let those that stand take heed lest they fall. Labour to get your hearts possessed with a dread of this sin, and watch against it, especially ye that are young people, seeing it is a sin most incident to youth, when the passions are most vigorous; which yet may stick fast with the blue marks of God's displeasure upon you when you come to age. For motives, consider,
(1.) It is not only a sin, but ordinarily, if not always, a plague and punishment for other sins. It is a mark of God's anger against the person that is permitted to fall into it, Prov. xx. 14. The mouth of a strange woman is a deep pit: he that is abhorred of the Lord, shall fall therein.' This is a heavy mark of God's indignation, which is worse than to fall into a fever, or some lingering distemper; for a person may recover of these in a short time, but it is not so easy to recover the other.
(2.) It is a sin that very few ever get grace to repent of. It stupifies the conscience, and wastes all sense of sin from it, Hos. iv. 11. I have seen, alas! too many that have made public satisfaction for that sin; but allow me to say, I have seen very few by whose repentance I was much edified. Hear what the Spirit of God says of these unhappy people, Prov. ii. 19. None that go unto her, return again, neither take they hold of the paths of life.' None, that is, very few; but some indeed do, as among the Corinthians, 1 Cor. vi. 9, 11. And be not offended, but cautioned, if I say, that few women particularly ever get grace to repent of it. Solomon said it before me, Eccl. vii. 28. A woman among all those have I not found. And observe what is said, Acts xxiv. 25. that Felix trembled when Paul preached, though he repented not; but there is not a word of Drusilla's being moved.