Obrázky na stránke

kindle or feed the same impure Desires, as if the Person were present. And this is looking on a Woman to luft after her, and debauching her in our Heart, as well as the other. There is only one Distinction will be necessary in this Place, for the Satisfaction of innocent Persons; that is, to distinguish the sudden Thoughts of an unlawful Object, before they obtain our Consent, if they are immediately thrown out, from an actual Lufting: These sudden Thoughts not assented to, are more properly Temptations than. Sins: and the Şin of this Mental looking on a Woman to lust after her, consists chiefly in the morosa dele&tatio, in the Mind's deliberate and leisurely fixing upon and delighting itself with such Carnal Objects and Desires, called by Solomon, the lusting after ber Beauty in the Heart, Prov. vi. 25. Lust not after her Beauty in thine Heart, neither let her take thee with her Eye-lids.

From the Words thus explained, there are these Three Things which we are to be earnestly cautioned against, if we would be acquainted with the true Spirit of Christianity in this Particular of the Seventh Commandment. Namely,

1. Against all gross Acts of Uncleanness.

2. Against all exposing of our felves to the occafions of those Sins, by the Eye, or other Senses ; for the Looking with the Eye is mentioned here rather as a principal Example, than as a full Enumeration of the Ways how we are led into the Sins of Uncleanness. 3. Against all Mental Uncleanness

, by Looking and Lufting after Women in our Heart.

1. I fiy, we are to be cautioned against all gross Acts of Uncleanness . These the Scribes and Pha



he G

risees themselves allowed to be condemned by this Commandment ; for whether the Greek Word wayćuer here translated to commit Adultery, be to be taken, as it is very probable, for all Outward Debauchery of that Kind; or whether by way of Synecdoche, as some Authors will have it, the Part is put for the Whole ; I must needs think the Scribes and Pharisees, for the Reasons before mentioned, understood that there were several other Sins prohibited in the Seventh Commandment, besides Adultery. For even the Scriptures of the Old Testament, under the severest Penalties and Difgraces, forbid all manner of Whoredom and Uncleanness as well as Adultery. Deut. xxiii. 17. It is exprelly commanded that there should be no Whore of the Daughters of Israel. And to deter them so much the more from all Sins of that kind, (a) the playing the Whore in their Father's House was punished with Stoning : Or if it was (b) the Daughter of a Priest, with Burning. Whores were not permitted to offer unto God any Offering out of their unlawful Gains, but those and the (c) Price of a Dog (a Creature which among the Egyptians had been used for Idolatry) were equally held in Abomination. They wanted not Instances among them of the terrible Judgments of God in punishing Sodomy, and Incest, and the Sin of Onan, and all other Acts of Uncleanness. So that I cannot imagine the Jewish Doctors could be so ignorant as to think, that nothing was forbid by the Seventh Commandment but the Sin of Adultery.

(a) Deut, xxii. 21. (b) Lev. xxi. 29. (6) Deut. xxiii. 18.

I might I might thus dismiss these gross Acts of Uncleanness, as acknowledged by the Scribes and Pharisees to be prohibited by the Law of Mofes; and come to our Saviour's Improvements : But alas, it is too true, that we Christians under the clearer Light of the Gospel, are so far from coming up to our Saviour's Improvements of this Commandment, that we want as much as ever the Jews did, to be cautioned against the gross Acts of Impurity themfelves. I shall therefore briefly suggest to you a few things to this Purpose, before I come to our Saviour's further Prohibitions of the Luft of the Eye and Heart. And because I apprehend this may prove a copious Subject, I Thall propose what I intend to say upon it under these Three Heads.

1. The Spiritual Dangers to our Souls attending those Sins.

2. The Temporal Dangers to the Body, Health, Purse, Reputation, &c.

3. The Publick Dangers to the Commonwealth.

I. To begin with the Spiritual Dangers, which though least observed prove the most fatal; there are several Things I shall propose, which if duly considered, would be sufficient to make us for ever abhor this sort of Vices. But the Mischief of these Vices is, that they fortify us against all that can be said ; and make us Brutish, Inconsiderate, and Insensible of all Reason and Argument. And therefore by way of Preface to my other Diffuafives, the first Thing I shall offer to your Consideration against this sort of Vices, is, that they are of an Intoxicating and Bewitching Nature, fo as to bind up the Use of our rational Faculties, and to hinder us to behave our felves with the


Reason of Men. If a Man had ever so good natural and acquired Parts, what use are they of to him, if he is perpetually drunk; or so besotted that he is not capable of attending either to the Reasonings of his own Mind, or to the Arguments suggested by others ? Of this Nature are those Carnal Pleasures, as well as Drunkenness; they fascinate the Understanding ; they drown the Judgment; they overwhelm all a Man's Faculties, and so make him Proof against every thing that can be offered to undeceive him, not by any Force of Reason in themselves, but by that stupifying and intoxicating Quality which is in them. They are a strong Opiate, they make a Man insensible to all the Considerations of God and Religion ; of Soul and Body; of Honour, Health or Estate; of this Life, or the Life to come. There is no dealing with them by the way of Argument, till the Force of them is in some Measure abated, that the Person becomes capable of hearing Reason. Whoredom and Wine, and new Wine, take away the Heart, Hof. iv. 11. that is, Unlawful Pleasures, as well as Drunkenness, besot Men, and take away the Use of their Understanding and Judg

And therefore of all things they are to be avoided and fled from ; and we ought not to venture our selves in the Lists with them; but to keep at a great Distance from them.

But upon this I foresee an Objection against all that can be offered on this Head. If those Unlawful Pleasures are such bewitching, intoxicating Things, that while we are under the Power of them we are incapable of Considering, or of being persuaded by any Argument; then to what Purpose will it be to offer any Reasons to dissuade us

from fome



from them, or to caution us against them ? for if we are under the Power of them, Reason will do no good upon us, and if we not under the Power of them, we stand in no need of Reasons against them. But to this I an(wer, though there is very little Hope of prevailing with such as are actually under the Dominion of their Lusts, by Reason of the intoxicating Nature of them, as I have said ; yet there is both great Necessity to fortify others against a Temptation to which all are exposed; and there is great Hope likewise of prevailing with those others, as not being Prejudiced against any thing that may be suggested of that Nature. And besides, those that are ensnared by sinful Lusts, are not all Bewitched by them to the fame Degree of Infatuation. Some are under great Struggles with their own Minds and Consciences; and to these a little Help to extricate them will be very seasonable ; others, though for the most part Infatuated, yet have their lucid Intervals, in which they are apt to implead and condemn themselves, and at those Times will give a patient and attentive Ear to whatever can be offered against a Vice, to which they themselves are not insensible of their being too much addicted. As for others indeed who lie under the Dominion of this Vice, I know it is almost as much in vain to attack them with Arguments, as it would be to talk to a Man that is Dead Drunk in praise of Sobriety ; but it is to be hoped of the greatest Part, that they are not yet Argument-Proof. At least whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear, we must not despair, but try to do our Duty: For some Remedies that will not work at present, by Reason of

« PredošláPokračovať »