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(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, gluttony, and drunkenness. These have a tendency to murder, which is forbidden in the fixth command, and to uncleanness, forbidden in the one under consideration, Prov. xxii. 30, 31. 33. Notable to this purpose is that fcripture, 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, Il. xxiii. 15. 16, 17. It is supposed, that it was to a dancing match a. mong the 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. xii. 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 fome 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 harshness 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 unlaw. ful 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 fo with the Lord.
2. Let those that stand take heed left they fall. Labour to get your hearts poffefsed 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 fin, but ordinarily, if not always, a plague and punishment for other fins. 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, Ihall 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 of 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, Hof. 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. VOL. III. No. 23.
3. It dishonours and debases the body, 1 Cor, vi. 18. Our bodies are the members of Christ or should be ; but how are they debased, being made members of a harlot? And how low and contemptible a thing is such a wretched creature, even in the eyes of those that join with them?
(4.) It leaves an indelible stain upon their reputation; their honour is funk, and there is no recovering of it, Prov. vi. 33. Though the sin may be pardoned before God, yet the blot lies on their name, while they have a name on the earth. Yea, and when they are dead and
their bastard posterity still lie under the itain, whereof they could be no cause,
(5.) Poverty and want oft-times follow it. It natively tends to poverty, Prov. v. 10.; and there is a secret curse of that nature that often accompanies it, Prov. vi. 26. “ By means of a whorish woman a man is brought to a piece of bread.” How many have been made miserable by it, who have had occasion as long as they lived to remember they had ruined themselves ?
(6.) Lastly, It is ruining to the foul, Prov. vi. 32. “ He that doth it," commit adultery with a woman, “ destroyeth his own soul.” It ruins it here, in so far as it defiles the conscience, fetters the affections, blinds the mind, utterly unfits for communion with God, till the guilt be washed off by the application of Christ's blood, after a frightful awak. ening of the conscience. And if they do not repent of this fin, it will destroy the soul for ever. Let these scriptures imprint a horror of it in the minds of all, Heb. xiii, 4. i Cor. vi. 9. Gal. v. 19. 21. Rev. xxi. 8.
I close with a few directions, in so many words.
1. Give yourselves away soul and body to Jesus Christ, and learn to live by faith, sensible of your own weakness, and relying on his promised strength; for without him ye can refist no fin, nor temptation to fin.
2. Beware of a carnal frame, of floth and laziness. Labour to be fpiritual and heavenly in the frame of your heart, Gal. v. 16. " Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the luft of the flesh."
3. Watch over your heart and senses. 66 Make a covenant with your eyes, as Job did, that ye may avoid unlawful looks; and never venture on the devil's ground, otherwise ye will fall into the snare.
4. Study mortification of all your unruly lusts and passions, and beware of all occasions and incentives to this wicked. nefs.
5. Keep at a distance from immodest company, and be not too frolicsome and foolish, light and airy in your discourse. 6. Lastly, Pray fervently and importunately, that the Lord
from this foul sin, and all temptations to it; faying with David, Pfal. cxix. 37. “ Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity."
OF THE EIGHTH COMMANDMENT.
Exod. xx. 15.-Thou Malt not steal.
in the world ; and the scope of it is to procure and further the same by all good means.
And the law of God respecting this plainly fays, that religion is highly concerned in our civil actions, working, buying, and selling, and all the ways of advancing of the outward estate. In these we are hedged about by this command, as well as in natural things by the fixth and seventh. God's law follows us wherever we go, to the house or field, bed or board, church or market. This command also plainly establishes distinct properties, and that there is no universal community of goods, but every one has his own portion.
This being a command of the second table, it respects our. selves as well as our neighbour. And so the meaning is, Thou shalt not steal from thyself nor any other; thou shalt not wrong thyself nor others. And as in every negative is implied an affirmative, so while stealth 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 discoursing further from this subject, I shall shew, I. What is required in this command, viz. “ the lawful
procuring and furthering the wealth and outward estate of ourselves and others.”
II. What is forbidden, viz. “ Whatsoever doth or may unjustly hinder our own or our neighbour's wealth or outward estate."
III. Make application.
FIRST, God requires us in this command, by lawful means, to procure and further our own wealth and outward eftate. We may
this in these seven things. 1. We should look unto God for things necessary and convenient for us. Here we should begin our care about temporal things; " for he it is that giveth thee power to get wealth,” Deut. viii. 18.; and without his appointment our endeavours will not succeed, Psal. cxxvii. All the creatures depend on God's provision, as caged birds on those to whose care they are committed, Prov. xxx. 8. And so our Lord teaches us to pray every day, “ Give us this day our daily bread,” Matth. vi. 11. seeing God has comprehended this in the promise.
2. A provident care and study to get things necessary and suitable to our condition, 1 Tim. v. 8. To pray, and cast off means, is presumption; to use means, but neglect praying, and looking to the Lord, is atheism. We should keep the middle way betwixt carelessness and anxiety, and hold in the way of moderate care in these things; for we are not to expect to be like the lilies that toil not, neither spin, and yet are clothed.
3. For this cause every body must have a lawful calling and employment, and duly use it, that so he may be useful to himself, and worth his room in the world, and not like mice and rats, good for nothing but to devour what others labour for. Adam in innocence had a calling, that of dressing and keeping the garden of Eden, Gen. ii. 15. ; and so had his fons afterwards, though born to greater estate than any now can pretend to, the one being a keeper of sheep, and the other a tiller of the ground, Gen. iv. 2. But we must be sure it be a lawful calling, Eph. iv. 28. But what avails it if it be not duly used? Therefore God requires of men that they labour to be skilful in it, and not bunglers at what they take in hand, Prov. xiv. 8.; and he allows men to look to himself for that end, If. xxviii. 26.; and likewise that they