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and Discontent between Husband and Wife ; Quarrels and Animofities between Rivals; and in short, are attended with so much Uneasiness of Troubles without, and ill Temper and Guilt within, that their Life is an Hell upon Earth, and they become their own Devils and Tormenters.
III. The last fort of the Dangers of the Sins of Uncleanness I thought to have considered, are the Dangers to the Publick. But this I shall dispatch in a Word, because the other Heads of Discourse have detained me much longer than I expected. The Dammage to the Publick will quickly appear to any one that will consider the following three or four Inconveniencies, which I shall but just mention; the Proof of them being to be gathered from what we have said on the former Heads. (1) Is it not a great Loss to the Publick, the bringing in so much Sickness, Weakness, Pains, and so many hereditary Infirmities among it's Subjects, as we have shewed to be the Consequences of these Sins ? (2) Is it not a great Loís to the Publick, the bringing in so much Poverty and Neglect of all Business, as attends this sort of Sins ? (3) Is it not a great Loss to the Publick, that there are so
many Children brought into the World of uncertain, spurious and disgraceful Births, that the Parents are alhamed to own them, and consequently take little or no Care of their Education ? (4) Are not the lasting Jealousies, Discontents, Animofities, and Emulations attending this fort of Sins, of very dangerous Consequence to the Publick? (5) Lastly, Is not every Thing that breaks the Peace of Families; every Thing that obstructs the Disposal of virtuous Women in the honourable Way of Ma
trimony, and every Thing that makes their Lives so uneasie in it: Is not every Thing that alienates the natural Affection of Parents from Children, and Children from. Parents : Is not every Thing that brings the Curse of God on a Nation, of most pernicious Consequence to the Publick? Most Nations have been so sensible of these Things by the mere Light of Nature, that they have appointed dreadful Punishments for those Sins, if I had Time to give you an Account of them. But having so far exercised your Patience, I shall now make an End of the first Head I proposed to speak to from the Words, namely, the Cautioning you against the gross Acts of Uncleanness; for as Solomon says of the Strange Woman, though they are Sweet at first, and (a) ber Lips drop as a Honeycomb, and her Mouth is smoother than Oil, yet ber End is bitter as Wormwood, and sharp as a twoedged Sword. As for our Saviour's further Prohibitions of the Luft of the Eye and Heart, I must refer them to another Opportunity.
Now God bless what we have heard, that it may take Root in our Hearts, and bring forth Fruit in our Lives and Conversations, to his Honour, and our own Sanctification, and Salvation, through Jesus Christ our Lord. To whom, &c.
(a) Prov. v. 3.
MATT. V. 27:
Time, Thou shalt not commit Adultery.
on a Woman to Lust after her, bath committed
The Third Sermon on this Text.
SHALL not spend much Time in Repeti
tion of what in two several Discourses I have already spoke to from this Text; only put you in Mind, that after Explication of the Words, in pursuance of the Intent of them, there were Three Things I proposed to caution you against.
First, Against all gross Acts of Uncleanness.
Secondly, Against all seeking Occasions of this Sin, particularly by Luftful Looks or Conversation.
Thirdly, Against all Mental Uncleanness, by Looking and Lusting after Women in your Heart.
Now having dispatched the first of these, by shewing you the Dangers attending the gross Acts of Uncleanness, I proceed now to the Second and Third ; namely, to caution you against the looking out for, and seeking Occasions of this Sin ; and
against all Mental Uncleanness: Which were the two Points our Saviour thought fit to superadd to the Interpretations of the Jewish Doctors, relating to this seventh Commandment.
II. To begin with the Occasions of this Sin, where our Saviour begins his Improvements of this Commandment: This is to be observed in
general, That it is not enough that we struggle against Temptations, when they present themselves, unless by the Principles of our Religion we stave them off, and keep them at a Distance. As in War, where there is a Town to be defended, the prudent Governour of it will not lead out his Men, and rafhly trust to the Hazard of a Battle ; but chooses to keep the Enemy at a Distance, by strong Ramparts and Out-works, and Fortifications, which perhaps the Enemy, if he is not very much superiour in Number, will never so much as attempt : So here in our Spiritual Wars against Sins and Temptations, our Lord advises this Piece of Spiritual Prudence, to keep at as great a Distance as is possible from Temptations, and to guard against all Dallying and Tampering with the Enemy: And especially in the Sins prohibited by the seventh Commandment, it is most necessary that this Rule be observed ; because it is much better dealing with those Sins by keeping them at a, Distance, than by a close Fight. Can a Man take Fire in bis Bojom, says Solomon, and bis Clothes not be burnt ? speaking of those very Sins, Prov. vi.
Now while we speak of the Occasions of this Sin, we are to remember there are two Ways we are led into it, Outward Temptations, and Inward Imaginations ; against both which our Saviour
cautions us in this Text; but neither of them finishes the Temptation Stroke, till our own Lufting is joined with them. He begins with the Outward Temptation, which is the external Looking on a Woman: But doth not place the Sin in that alone, but with the Addition of these Words, to Lut after her ; i. e. either with an express Design of gratifying Luft; or if the firit Design was more innocent, so long, or so carelessly til Luft is excited ; so that That is the Effect, whatever the Intention was. From this Description there seem to be three Parts of Duty pointed at with relation to these Outward Temptations; which ought to be carefully minded.
1. The Declining the Temptation itself, or the Keeping out of the way of it.
2. The Regulating of the Intention, that when such Tempting Objects present, we have no bad Intention.
3. The Governing or cutting short the Sight or Conversation, if we find it proves dangerous, and is like to excite the Inward Lufting.
1. The Declining the Temptation itself, or Keeping out of the Way of it. This is a Piece of Spiritual Prudence much recommended, Prov.v. 8. Speaking of the naughty Woman, the Advice which Solomon gives is this, Remove thy Way far from her, and come not nigh the door of her House
. q. d. It is not safe to see her, left thou be ensnared with her Beauty; nor to hear her, lest thou be taken with her enticing Words. So it is observed of Joseph, a great Pattern of this Virtue of Chastity, Gen. xxxix. after the first Temptation, to which he gave a resolute honest Denial, that he would not trust himself any more either to his