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Of the eighth Commandment.
EXODUS XX. 15.
HIS command refpects mens goods and outward eftate in the world; and the scope of it is to procure and further the fame by all good means. And the law of God refpecting this plainly fays, that religion is highly concerned in our civil actions, working, buying, and felling, and all the ways of advancing of the outward eftate. In these we are hedged about by this command, as well as in natural things by the fixth and feventh. God's law follows us where-ever we go, to the house or field, bed or board, church or market. This command also plainly establishes diftinct properties, and that there is no univerfal community of goods, but every one has his own portion.
This being a command of the fecond table, it refpects ourselves as well as our neighbour. And fo the meaning is, Thou shalt not fteal from thyfelf nor any other; thou fhalt not wrong thyfelf nor others. And as in every negative is implied an affirmative, fo while ftealth or theft is here forbidden, the contrary is required, namely, the procuring and furthering of our own and others welfare in these things, but by means only that are lawful..
In difcourfing further from this subject, I shall shew,
I. What is required in this command, viz. " the "lawful procuring and furthering the wealth and outward eftate of ourselves and others."
II. What is forbidden, viz. "Whatsoever doth or may unjustly hinder our own or our neigh "bour's wealth or outward eftate."
III. Make application.
as in the presence of a holy God, who will call us to an account in this matter before his tremendous judgement-feat, and hear his holy law, Thou shalt not commit adultery.
In this fhort abbreviate of the law of God, where one fin is exprefsly condemned, under it are forbidden all fins of the fame kind. So here the whole dunghill of filthiness is set before us for our abhorrence and deteftation of our fouls, as we would not bring down the wrath of God on us. Here then all grofs acts of filthinefs are forbidden. As,
1. All unnatural lufs, not to be mentioned without horror; filthy fellowship with devils, as the guilty do fuppofe; fodomy, perfons abufing themfelves with those of their own fex, Rom. i. 24. 26.27.; beftiality, Lev. xviii. 22. And to these we may add inceft, which is betwixt perfons within the forbidden degrees of confanguinity or affinity, Lev. xviii. 6. Concerning which this is to be obferved, that a man muft hold at the fame diftance from the relations of his wife as his own, and contrariwife, Lev. xx. 14.; and fuch 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 juftly charged upon the fingle perfon; 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 adulterefs, Hof. iv. 1o. They hall commit whoredom, and fall increafe.
3. Fornication, which is betwixt fingle perfons, Col. iii. 5. 6. Mortify your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, &c. For which things fake the wrath of God cometh upon the children of dif obedience. Whoredom is a fin that without repentance is a fad badge of a fubject of Satan, Eph. v. 5. No whoremonger nor unclean perfon-bath any inheri
tance in the kingdom of God and Chrift. And a vast inconfiftency there is betwixt being a member of Chrift, and that of a harlot, 1 Cor. vi. 15.
4. Rape, or forcing a perfon to filthinefs, Deut. xxii. 25. This is a capital crime by the laws of God and men.
5. Secret uncleannefs in a perfon by themselves alone, whether they be waking, Eph. v. 12. or fleeping, at least so far as they have occafioned it to themselves by their own corrupt imaginations.
6. Lastly, Immoderate and unfeasonable use even of the marriage-bed, and much more of the bed of whoredom. Mark thefe paffages, 1 Theff. iv. 3. 4. 1 Cor. vii. 5. If. lviii. 13. Ezek. xxii. 10. & xviii. 6.
Thefe are the feveral kinds of vilenefs here forbidden. But this command goes further, and forbids three forts of uncleannefs befides
1. Uncleanness in heart, all speculative filthiness, unclean imaginations, thoughts, purposes, and affections, though people do not intend to purfue them to the grofs 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 thefe things is dangerous, a delightful rolling of them in the heart is uncleannefs before God, and a vitiated habit whereby on every light occafion these filthy sparks are kindled in the heart, is worst of all, and most abominable.
2. Uncleannefs in words, all filthy communications and obfcene 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 fpeaketh, contrary to nature propaling those things which nature teaches to keep fecret. They are fnares to the hearers; and to fpeak of them for delight, is to
act the filthinefs in words when they cannot do it otherwife. Neither will the art fome have in dreffing up their filthy notions in figurative terms excufe; but thefe in fome fort are most dangerous, because the devilifh wit defplayed in them makes them more sticking; and fo by means of the like phrafes occurring in holy exercifes, they are the readier even to defile thefe. Of this fort are filthy fongs and ballad finging; and the delightful liftening to fuch things, as the fimple youth did to the fpeeches of the adulterous whore, Prov. vii. 18.-21.
3. Uncleannefs in actions. Besides the grofs acts, there are others leading thereunto, which are here alfo forbidden. As,
(1.) Wanton looks: there are eyes full of adultery, 2 Pet. ii. 14. wanton eyes, If. 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 finful, as a mean leading
(2.) Impudent and light behaviour, and immodest geftures, If. iii. 16. indecent poftures, contrary to religion and good manners. Thefe are hellifh matters of fport, that defile the actors, and thofe that are witneffes to them without abhorrence. And on this ground ftage plays and filthy pictures are amongst the things forbidden in this command, Ezek. xxiii. 14. 15. 16.
(3.) Luxurious embraces and dalliances. These are as fmoke going before the flame, and were prac tifed by the adulterous whore, Prov. vii. 13.
Now, as all these are here forbidden, fo all occafions and incentives to luft are forbidden, all that has a tendency to corrupt our own or neighbour's chastity..
(1.) Immodeft apparel, Prov. vii. 10. God appointed apparel, 1.) for neceffity, to cover our hame and nakednefs; 2.) to diftinguish fexes; 3-) to diftinguifh callings, the more noble from the
meaner fort. The devil has found out the fourth, to be enticements to luft.
(2.) Keeping ill company.
This has been the ruin of many therefore Solomon advises, Prov. v. 8. Remove thy way far from her [a ftrange woman, or whore]; and come not nigh the door of her house. It was Jofeph's commendation, that he fed from his miftrefs. Whatever the company be, people should beware that they caft not themfelves into fnares.
(3.) Idlenefs, the nursery of all filthinefs, Ezek. xvi. 49. This expofeth to many temptations; for Satan will be ready to find idle people work. Gadding and vaguing abroad can hardly mifs to have an unfavoury end.
(4) Intemperance, gluttony, and drunkenness. These have a tendency to murder, which is forbidden in the sixth command, and to uncleanness, forbidden in the one under confideration, Prov. xxiii. 30. 31. 33. Notable to this purpofe is that fcripture, Jer. v. 8. They were as fed borfes in the morning: every one neighed after his neighbour's wife.
(5.) Promifcuous dancing, or dancing of men and women together. This entertainment, however reckoned innocent among many, is evidently an incentive to luft, If. xxiii. 15. 16. 17. It is fuppofed, that it was to a dancing match among the daughters of the land that Dinah went forth, when he was dealt with as an harlot. This practice feems to be ftruck at by these scriptures, Rom. xiii. 13. Let us walk-not in chambering and wantonnefs. 1 Pet. iv. 3. where mention is made of walking in revelling, It is offenfive to the grave and pious, is condemned by our church, yea and has been condemned by fome fober Heathens.
(6.) Undue delay of marriage, 1 Cor. vii. 7. 8. 9.; for they that refufe the remedy, ftrengthen the difeafe.
(7.) Unjuft divorce, Matth. v. 33; wilful defertion, 1 Cor. vii. 12. 13.; want of conjugal affec