Page images

selves pure, must have their bodies in subjection, and that may require in some cases a holy violence, 1 Cor. ix. 27. 3. Keeping of chaste and modest

company. Hence Solomon exhorts, Prov. v. 8. 9. Remove thy way far from her, and come not nigh the door of her house : left thou give thine honour unto others, and thy years unto the cruel. How many have been ruined by the company they have fallen into, worse than they had fallen into a den of lions and wolves ? Ill company wears off insensibly the impressions of virtue on people's spirits; and if they be not at war with them, the maintaining of peace and converse will make people like them.

4. Being busied in some honest employment. Those that

would be virtuous indeed, must not eat the bread of idleness. Honest labour and business cuts off many temptations that idle perfons are liable to. Had David been in the field with his army, when he was rising from off his bed in the evening. tide, 2 Sam. xi. 2. he had preserved his chastity wben he loft it; and so had Dinah if she had been at her business in her father's house, when she went out to see the daughters of the land, Gen. xxxiv. I.

5. Marriage by those that have not the gift of continency. Hence says the apostle, 1 Cor. vii. 2.9. To avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn. Neither marriage nor single life are in themselves morally good or evil, but indifferent. But that state of life is to be chosen by every one, that will most conduce to their lead. ing a holy life. So every particular person ought by themselves to ponder their gift and other circumstances, which will let them see what is sin and what is duty in this case.

6. Cohabitation and conjugal love and affection betwixt married persons, without which that state Vol. III,


will be no fence to purity, but a snare. Hence So. lomon says, Prov. V. 19. 20. Let her be as the loving hind, and pleasant roe, let her breasts satisfy thee at all times, and be thou ravished always with her love. And why wilt thou, my son, be ravished with a strange woman, and embrace the bofom of a stranger?

7. Lastly, Shanning all occasions and resisting all temptations to the contrary, Prov. v. 8. forecited. So did Joseph, Gen. xxxix. 8. It is a dangerous bufiness to 'parley with them. The town that is content to capitulate with the enemy, is next door to surrendering. There are two fins that the scripture bids us flee from. 1. Idolatry, 1 Cor. x. 14. 2. Uncleanness, 1 Cor. vi. 18. Why? Because they are bewitching evils. It is safer to flee, than to stand to fight them.

SECONDLY, This command requires us to preserve the chastity of others, and that fo far as we can, in their hearts, lips, and lives. For fo far as we might prevent the fin of others, and do it not, 2,7d much more when we occafion it, it becomes ours. Besides that in preferving our own chastity we preferve that of others, and fo the means conducing to the one do also conduce to the other. Our duty in this point may be reduced to these two heads.

1. That we do nothing which may infnare others. For whosoever lays the snare is partner in the fin that comes by it. A lamentable instance of this we have in Judah and his daughter-in-law: they were neither of their careful to preserve the other's chaItity, and fo they fell each by another's fnare, Gen. xxxviii. 14. 15. 16. For this caufe modest apparel is here required, i Tim. ii. 9, and a careful avoiding of all unfeemly behaviour, which may have a tendency to defile the minds of others, though we ourselves have no ill intention. Thus Baththeba's washing herself in a place where she might be seen of others, was the fad occasion of the lin that David and the were plunged into, 2 Sam. xi. 2. And

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

truly where both grace and good manners are warting, it is little wonder that people break their necks over one another.

2. That we do every thing incumbent on us to preserve the chastity of others, in heart, speech, and behaviour. Let married persons live together in due love and affection to one another. Let each one be an example of purity to others. Let those whom ye see in danger be rescued by all means, whether by force or persuasion, as the circumstances require. And let none bring others guilt on their own heads by being filent when they see the finoke, till the flame rise and discover itself, . Let parents and masters do what they can to prevent the ruin of their children and servants, by rebuking any lightnefs about them, exhorting them, and praying for them ; keeping them out of ill company, not suffering them to be idle and vague, and seasonably dirposing of children in marriage. Our bodies are ihe 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 it any defile the tempple of God, him will God destroy,

II. I come now to shew what is forbidden in this command, It forbids “ all unchatte thoughts, words, and actions."

In nothing more quickly did the corrupt nature of man vent itself than in inordinate concupiscence, which brought hame 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 rçcasion of lin. Therefore though there is a necessity of speaking foniething on it, we cannot enlarge with that focedom upon it that we can do on other commands, Sif your hearts then as in the presence of a holy God, who will call us to an account in this matter before his tremendous judgement-seat, and hear his holy law, Thou shalt not commit adultery.

In this short abbreviate of the law of God, where one fin is expressly condemned, under it are forbidden all fins of the same kind. So here the whole dunghill of filthiness is set before us for our abhorrence and deteftation 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 lufts, not to be mentioned without horror; filthy fellowship with devils, as the guilty do suppose; sodomy, persons abusing themfelves with those of their own fex, Rom. i. 24.26.27.; bestiality, 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 fanctified by marriage.

2. Adultery, where one of the parties or both are married. In this cafe the aggravations of the fin 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 polygamy are adultery; for the vile fact cannot be fanctified, but made worse by marriage with the adulterer or adulteress, Hof. iv, 10. They shall commit whoredom, and Mall increase.

3. Fornication, which is betwixt single persons, Col. ii. 5. 6. Mortify your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, &c. For which things sake the wrath of God cometh upon the children of difobedience. Whoredom is a fin that without repentance is a fad badge of a subject of Satan, Eph. v. 5. No whoremonger nor unclean perfonhath any inheri

[ocr errors]

tance in the kingdom of God and Christ. · And a vast inconsistency there is betwixt being a member of Chrift, 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 fleeping, 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, i Theff. iv. 3. 4. i Cor. vii. 5. Il. lviii. 13. Ezek. xxii. 10. & xviii. 6.

These are the several kinds of vileness here forbidden. But this command goes further, and forbids three forts of uncleanness besides

1. Uncleanness in heart, all speculative filthiness, unclean imaginations, thoughts, purposes, and affections, though people do not intend to pursue them to the gross act, Matth. v. 28. Whosoever looketh on a woman to luft

, 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 bearers; and to speak of them for delight, is to

« PreviousContinue »