The Ten Commandments
by Thomas Watson
The SEVENTH Commandment
"You shall not commit adultery." Exodus 20:14
God is a pure, holy being, and has an infinite antipathy
against all impurity. In this commandment he has entered his caution against
it, "You shall not commit adultery." The sum of this commandment is--the
preservations of bodily purity. We must take heed of running on the rock
of impurity, and so making shipwreck of our chastity. In this
commandment there is something tacitly implied, and something expressly
1. The thing implied is that the ordinance of MARRIAGE
should be observed. "Let every man have his own wife, and let
every woman have her own husband." 1 Cor 7:2. "Marriage is honorable and the
bed undefiled." Heb 13:4. God instituted marriage in paradise; he brought
the woman to the man. Gen 2:22. He gave them to each other in marriage.
Jesus Christ honored marriage with his presence. John 2:2. The first miracle
he wrought was at a marriage, when he turned the "water into wine." Marriage
is a type and resemblance of the mystical union between Christ and his
church. Eph 5:32.
In marriage there are general and special duties. The
general duty of the husband is to rule. "The husband is the head of
the wife." Eph 5:23. The head is the seat of rule and judgment; but he must
rule with discretion. He is head, therefore must not rule without reason.
The general duty on the wife's part is submission. "Wives, submit
yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord." Eph 5:22. It is
observable that the Holy Spirit passed by Sarah's failings, not mentioning
her unbelief; but he takes notice of that which was good in her, as her
reverence and obedience to her husband. "Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him
Lord." 1 Pet 3:6.
The special duties belonging to marriage, are love
and fidelity. Love is the marriage of the affections. Eph 5:25. There is, as
it were—but one heart in two bodies. Love lines the yoke and makes it easy;
it perfumes the marriage relation; and without it there is "not harmony but
constant wrangling." Like two poisons in one stomach, one is ever sick of
the other. In marriage there is mutual promise of living together faithfully
according to God's holy ordinance. Among the Romans, on the day of marriage,
the woman presented to her husband fire and water: signifying that as fire
refines, and water cleanses, she would live with her husband in chastity and
II. The thing forbidden in the commandment is infecting
ourselves with bodily pollution and impurity. "You shall not
commit adultery." The fountain of this sin is lust. Since the fall, holy
love has degenerated to lust. Lust is the fever of the soul. There is a
 Mental. "Whoever looks on a woman to lust after her
has committed adultery with her already in his heart." Matt 5:28. As a man
may die of an inward bleeding, so he may be damned for the inward boilings
of lust, if it is not mortified.
 Physical; as when sin has conceived, and brought
forth in the act. This is expressly forbidden, "You shall not commit
adultery." This commandment is set up as a hedge to keep out impurity; and
those who break this hedge a serpent shall bite them. Job calls adultery a
"heinous crime." Job 31:2: Every failing is not a crime; and every crime is
not a heinous crime; but adultery is "a heinous crime." The Lord calls it
villainy. "They have committed villainy in Israel, and have committed
adultery with their neighbors' wives." Jer 29:23.
Wherein appears the greatness of this sin?
(1) It is a breach of the marriage-oath. When
people come together in matrimony, they bind themselves by covenant to each
other, in the presence of God, to be true and faithful in the marital
relation. Unchastity breaks this solemn oath; and herein adultery is worse
than fornication, because it is a breach of the marital bond.
(2) The greatness of the sin lies in this: that it is a
great dishonor done to God. God says, "You shall not commit
adultery." The adulterer sets his will above God's law, tramples upon his
command, affronts him to his face; as if a subject should tear his prince's
proclamation. The adulterer is highly injurious to all the persons in the
Trinity. To God the Father. Sinner, God has given you your life, and
you do waste the lamp of life, the flower of your age in lewdness. He has
bestowed on you many mercies, health, and estate, and you spend all on
harlots. Did God give you wages--to serve the devil! It is injurious to God
the Son, in two ways. As he has purchased you with his blood. "You
are bought with a price." 1 Cor 6:20. Now he who is bought is not his own;
it is a sin for him to go to another, without consent, from Christ, who has
bought him with a price. As by virtue of baptism you are a Christian, and
professes that Christ is your head, and you are a member of Christ;
therefore, what an injury is it to Christ, to "take the members of Christ,
and make them the members of a harlot"? 1 Cor 6:15. It is injurious to God
the Holy Spirit; for the body is his temple. "Don't you know that
your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you?" 1 Cor 6:19. And
how great a sin is it to defile his temple!
(3) The sin of adultery lies in this: that it is
committed with mature DELIBERATION. There is contriving the sin
in the mind, then consent in the will, and then the sin is put
forth into act. To sin against the light of nature, and to sin
deliberately, is like the dye to the wool, it gives sin a tincture, and dyes
it of a crimson color.
(4) That which makes adultery so sinful is, that it is
NEEDLESS. God has provided a remedy to prevent it. "To avoid
fornication, let every man have his own wife." 1 Cor 7:2. Therefore, after
this remedy prescribed, to be guilty of fornication or adultery, is
inexcusable; it is like a rich thief, who steals when he has no need. This
increases the sin.
Use one. The church of Rome is here
condemned, which allows the sin of fortification and adultery. It does not
allow its priests to marry—but they may have their paramours. The worst kind
of impurity, incest with the nearest of kin, is dispensed with for money. It
was once said of Rome, Rome was become a common stew. And no wonder, when
the Pope, for a sum of money, could give a license to commit impurity; and,
if the license were not enough, he would give them a pardon. Many of the
Papists judge fornication to be venial. God condemns the very lusting.
Matt 5:28. If God condemns the thought, how dare they allow the
act of fornication? You see what a cage of unclean birds the church of
Rome is. They call themselves the Holy Catholic Church; but how can
they be holy--who are so steeped and parboiled in fornication, incest,
sodomy, and all manner of impurity!
Use two. It is a matter for lamentation to see
this commandment so slighted and violated among us. Adultery is the reigning
sin of the times. "They are all adulterers, as an oven heated by the baker."
Hos 7:4. The time of King Henry VIII was called the golden age—but this may
be called the unclean age, wherein whore-hunting is common. "In your
filthiness is lewdness." Ezek 24:13. Luther tells us of one who said, "If he
might but satisfy his lust, and be carried from one whore-house to another,
he would desire no other heaven"; and who afterwards breathed out his soul
between two notorious strumpets. This is to love forbidden fruit, to love to
drink of stolen waters. "Son of man," he said, "do you see what they are
doing? Do you see the great sins the people of Israel are doing to drive me
from my Temple? But come, and you will see even greater sins than these!"
Then he brought me to the door of the Temple courtyard, where I could see an
opening in the wall. He said to me, "Now, son of man, dig into the wall." So
I dug into the wall and uncovered a door to a hidden room. "Go in," he said,
"and see the unspeakable wickedness going on in there!" Ezekiel 8:6-9. Could
we, as the prophet, dig in the walls of many houses, what vile abominations
should we see there! In some chambers we might see fornication; dig further,
and we may see adultery; dig further, and we may see incest, etc. And may
not the Lord go from his sanctuary? God might remove his gospel, and then we
might write Ichabod on this nation, "The glory is departed." Let us
mourn for what we cannot reform.
Use three. For exhortation, to keep ourselves
from the sin of adultery. "Let every man have his own wife," says Paul, not
his concubine, nor his paramour. 1 Cor 7:2. That I may deter you from
adultery, let me show you the great evil of it.
(1) It is a thievish sin. It is the highest
sort of theft. The adulterer steals from his neighbor, that which is more
than his goods and estate; he steals away his wife from him, who is flesh of
(2) Adultery debases a person. It makes him
resemble the beasts; therefore the adulterer is described like a horse
neighing. "Everyone neighed after his neighbor's wife." Jer 5:8. Nay, it
is worse than brutish; for some creatures that are void of reason—yet by the
instinct of nature, observe some decorum and chastity. The turtle dove is a
chaste creature, and keeps to its mate; and the stork, wherever he flies,
comes into no nest but his own. Naturalists write that if a stork, leaving
his own mate, joins with any other, all the rest of the storks fall upon it,
and pull its feathers from it. Adultery is worse than brutish, it degrades a
person of his honor.
(3) Adultery pollutes. The devil is
called an unclean spirit. Luke 11:24. The adulterer is the
devil's first-born; he is unclean; he is a moving quagmire; he is all over
ulcerated with sin; his eyes sparkle with lust; his mouth foams out filth;
his heart burns like mount Etna, in unclean desires. He is so filthy, that
if he dies in this sin, all the flames of hell will never purge away his
immorality. And, as for the adulteress, who can paint her black
enough? The Scripture calls her a deep ditch. Prov 23:27. She is a common
sewer; whereas a believer's body is a living temple, and his soul a little
heaven, bespangled with the graces, as so many stars. The body of a harlot
is a walking dung--hill, and her soul a lesser hell.
(4) Adultery is destructive to the body.
"Afterward you will groan in anguish when disease consumes your body." Prov
5:11. Immorality turns the body into a hospital, it brings foul diseases,
and eats the beauty of the face. As the flame wastes the candle, so the fire
of lust consumes the bones. The adulterer hastens his own death. "So she
seduced him with her pretty speech. With her flattery she enticed him. He
followed her at once, like an ox going to the slaughter or like a trapped
stag, awaiting the arrow that would pierce its heart. He was like a bird
flying into a snare, little knowing it would cost him his life!" Proverbs
7:21-23. The Romans had their funerals at the gate of Venus' temple, to
signify that lust brings death. Venus is lust.
(5.) Adultery is a drain upon the purse; it wastes not
the body only—but the estate. "Keeping you from the immoral
woman, from the smooth tongue of the wayward wife. Do not lust in your heart
after her beauty or let her captivate you with her eyes, for the prostitute
reduces you to a loaf of bread, and the adulteress preys upon your
very life!" Proverbs 6:24-26. Whores are the devil's horse-leeches, sponges
that suck in money. The prodigal son spent his inheritance, when he fell
among harlots. Luke 15:30. The concubine of King Edward III, when he was
dying, got all she could from him, and even plucked the rings off his
fingers, and so left him. He who lives in luxury, dies in beggary.
(6) Adultery destroys reputation. "But the man
who commits adultery is an utter fool, for he destroys his own soul. Wounds
and constant disgrace are his lot. His shame will never be erased!" Prov
6:32, 33. Some, when they get wounds, get honor. The soldier's wounds are
full of honor; the martyr's wounds for Christ are full of honor; but the
adulterer gets wounds—but no honor to his name. "His shame will never be
erased!" Wounds of reputation--no physician can heal. When the
adulterer dies, his shame lives. When his body rots underground, his name
rots above ground. His bastard children are living monuments of his shame.
(7) This sin impairs the mind. It steals away
the understanding; it stupefies the heart. "Whoredom and wine take away the
heart." Hos 4:11. It eats all purity out of the heart. Solomon besotted
himself with women, and they enticed him to idolatry.
(8) This sin incurs temporal judgments. The
Mosaic law made the penalty for adultery, to be death. "The adulterer and
adulteress shall surely be put to death;" and the usual death was stoning.
Lev 20:10; Deut 22:24. The Salons commanded people guilty of this sin
to be burnt. The Romans caused their heads to be stricken off. Like a
scorpion--this sin carries a sting in its tail. The adultery of Paris and
Helen was the death of both, and the ruin of Troy. "For jealousy arouses a
husband's fury, and he will show no mercy when he takes revenge!" Prov 6:34.
The adulterer is often killed in the act of his sin. Adultery cost Otho the
emperor, and Pope Sixtus IV their lives. "Lust's practice is to make a
joyful entrance—but she leaves in misery." I have read of two in London, who, having defiled themselves with adultery, were immediately struck
dead with lightening from heaven. If all who are now guilty of this sin were
to be punished in this manner, it would rain fire again, as on Sodom!
(9) Adultery, without repentance, damns the soul.
"Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not
be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor
homosexual offenders . . . will inherit the kingdom of God!" 1 Corinthians
6:9-10. The fire of lust brings to the fire of hell. "God will judge
the adulterer and all the sexually immoral!" Heb 13:4. Though men may
neglect to judge them—yet God will judge them!
But will not God judge all other sinners? Yes. Why then
does the apostle say, "God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually
immoral"? The meaning is, he will judge them assuredly; they shall not
escape the hand of justice; and he will punish them severely. "The Lord
knows how to reserve the unjust to the day of judgment to be punished—but
chiefly those who walk in the lust of immorality." 2 Pet 2:9, 10. The
harlot's breasts keeps from Abraham's bosom! "The delight
lasts a moment, the torment an eternity!" Who for a cup of
pleasure--would drink a sea of wrath! "Her guests are in the
depths of hell." Prov 9:18. A wise traveler, though many pleasant dishes are
set before him at the inn, forbears to eat all of them--because of the
reckoning. We are all travelers to Jerusalem above; and when many baits of
temptation are set before us, we should refrain, and think of the reckoning
which will be brought in at death. With what pleasure could Dionysius eat
his dainties, when he saw there was a glittering sword hung over his head as
he sat at table? While the adulterer feeds on strange flesh, the sword of
God's justice hangs over his head. Causinus speaks of a tree growing in
Spain, that is of a sweet smell, and pleasant to the taste—but its juice is
poisonous. This is an emblem of a harlot; who is perfumed with powders, and
lovely to look on—but poisonous and damnable to the soul! "She has cast down
many wounded, yes, many strong men have been slain by her." Prov 7:26.
(10) The adulterer does what lies in him, to destroy the
soul of another--and so kills two at once! He is worse than the
thief; for, suppose a thief robs a man, yes, and also takes away his life--
the man's soul may be happy; he may go to heaven as well as if he had died
in his bed. But he who commits adultery, endangers the soul of another, and
does all he can, to deprive her of salvation. Now, what a fearful thing is
it to be an instrument to draw another to hell!
(11) The adulterer is abhorred of God. "The
mouth of an adulteress is a deep pit; he who is abhorred by the Lord, will
fall into it." Prov 22:14. What can be worse than to be abhorred of God? God
may be angry with his own children; but for God to abhor a
man--is the highest degree of hatred!
How does the Lord show his abhorrence of the
adulterer? In giving him up to a reprobate mind, and a seared
conscience. Rom 1:28. He is then in such a condition that he cannot repent.
He is abhorred of God. The immoral person stands upon the threshold of hell;
and when death gives him a push, he tumbles in!
(12) Adultery sows discord. It destroys
peace and love--the two best flowers that grow in a family. It
sets husband against wife, and wife against husband; and so causes the
"joints of the same body to smite one against another." This division in a
family works confusion; for "A house divided against a house falls." Luke
All this should sound a warning in our ears, and call us
off from the pursuit of so damnable a sin as immorality. Hear what the
Scriptures say: "Her house is the way to hell." Prov 7:27.
Use four. I shall give some directions, by way
of antidote, to keep from the infection of this sin.
(1) Do not come into the company of a whorish
woman; avoid her house, as a seaman does a rock. "Run from her! Don't go
near the door of her house!" Proverbs 5:8. He who would not have the plague,
must not come near infected houses; every whore-house has the plague in it.
Not to avoid the occasion of sin, and yet pray, "Lead us not into
temptation," is, as if one should put his finger into the candle, and yet
pray that it may not be burnt!
(2) Look to your eyes. Much sin comes in by the
eye. "Having eyes full of adultery." 2 Pet 2:14. The eye tempts the
imagination, and the imagination works upon the heart. A lustful amorous
eye, may usher in sin. Eve first saw the tree of knowledge--and then
she took. Gen 3:6. First she looked--and then she loved.
The eye often sets the heart on fire; therefore Job laid a law
upon his eyes. "I made a covenant with my eyes--not to look with lust upon a
young woman." Job 31:1. Democritus the philosopher plucked out his eyes,
because he would not be tempted with vain objects; the Scripture does not
bid us do this—but to set a watch before our eyes.
(3) Look to your lips. Take heed of any unclean
word which may enkindle unclean thoughts in yourselves or others. "Evil
communications corrupt good manners." 1 Cor 15:33. Impure discourse, is the
bellows to blow up the fire of lust. Much evil is conveyed to the heart
by the tongue. "Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth!" Psalm
(4) Look in a special manner to your heart. "Guard
your heart with all diligence." Proverbs 4:23. Every person has a tempter in
his own bosom. "Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts." Matt 15:19.
Thinking of sin, makes way for the act of sin. Suppress the first
risings of sin in your heart. As the serpent, when danger is near--guards
his head, so keep your heart, which is the spring from whence all lustful
(5) Look to your attire. We read of the attire of
a harlot. Proverbs 7:10. A wanton dress is a provocation to lust. Cuttings
and braidings of the hair, a painted face, half-naked breasts, are allurements to
immorality. Where the sign is hung out--people will go in and
taste the liquor. Jerome says, "those who by their lascivious attire
endeavor to draw others to lust, though no evil follows--are tempters--and
shall be punished, because they offered the poison to others, even though
they would not drink."
(6) Take heed of evil company. Sin is a very
contagious disease; one person tempts another to sin, and hardens him in
it. There are three cords which draw men to immorality:
the inclination of the heart,
the persuasion of evil company, and
the embraces of the harlot.
This threefold cord is not easily broken. "A fire was kindled in
their company." Psalm 106:18. The fire of lust is kindled in bad company.
(7) Beware of going to theaters and plays.
A play-house is often a preface to a whorehouse. "Plays furnish the seeds of
wickedness." We are bid to avoid all appearance of evil; and are not
plays the appearance of evil? Such sights are there, which are not fit to be
beheld with chaste eyes. A learned divine observes, that many have on their
death-beds confessed, with tears, that the pollution of their bodies has
been occasioned by going to plays.
(8) Take heed of mixed dancing. "Dances are
instruments of lust and wantonness." From dancing, people come to
dalliance with another, and from dalliance to immorality. "There
is," says Calvin, "for the most part, some unchaste behavior in dancing."
Dances draw the heart to immorality--by wanton gestures, by unchaste touches, and
by lustful looks. Chrysostom inveighed against mixed dancing in his time.
"We read," he says, "of a marriage feast—but of dancing there we read not."
Matt 25:7. Many have been ensnared by dancing; as the duke of Normandy, and
others. "Dancing is not the conduct of a chaste woman—but of the
adulteress," Ambrose. Chrysostom says, "Where dancing is, there the devil
is!" I speak chiefly of mixed dancing. We read of dances in Scripture—but
they were sober and modest. Exod 15:20. They were not mixed dances—but pious
and religious, being usually accompanied with singing praises to God.
(9) Take heed of lascivious books and pictures,
which provoke to lust. As the reading of the Scripture stirs up love to
God, so reading vile books stirs up the mind to wickedness. To lascivious
books I may add lascivious pictures, which bewitch the eye, and are
incendiaries to lust! They secretly convey poison to the heart.
(10) Take heed of excess in diet. When gluttony
and drunkenness lead the van, immorality and wantonness bring up the rear.
"Wine inflames lust." "Sodom's sins were pride, laziness, and gluttony."
Ezekiel 16:49. The foulest weeds grow out of the fattest soil.
Immorality proceeds from excess. "When I had fed them to the full,
everyone neighed after his neighbor's wife." Jer 5:8. Get the "golden bridle
of temperance." God allows the refreshment of nature, and what may
fit us the better for his service; but beware of surfeit. Excess in temporal
things--clouds the mind, chokes good affections, and provokes lust. "I
discipline my body and bring it under strict control." 1 Cor 9:27. The
flesh pampered--is liable to immorality.
(11) Take heed of idleness. When a man is idle, he
is ready to receive any temptation. The devil sows most of his seeds of
temptation in fallow ground. Idleness is the cause of sodomy and
immorality. "Sodom's sins were pride, laziness, and gluttony." Ezek 16:49.
When David was idle on the top of his house, he espied Bathsheba, and
committed adultery with her. 2 Sam 11:4. Jerome gave his friend counsel to
be always well employed in God's vineyard, that when the devil came, he
might have no leisure to listen to temptation.
(12) To avoid fornication and adultery, let every man
have a chaste, entire love to his own wife. Ezekiel's wife was the
desire of his eyes. Chap 24:16. When Solomon had dissuaded from immoral
women, he prescribed a remedy against it. "Rejoice with the wife of
your youth." Proverbs 5:18. It is not having a wife—but loving
a wife-- which makes a man live chastely. He who loves his wife, whom
Solomon calls his fountain, will not go abroad to drink of muddy,
poisoned waters. Pure marital love is a gift of God, and comes from heaven;
but, like the vestal fire, it must be nourished, so that it does not go out.
He who does not love his wife, is the likeliest person to embrace the bosom
of a harlot.
(13) Labor to get the fear of God into your
hearts. "By the fear of the Lord, men depart from evil." Proverbs 16:6. As
the embankment keeps out the water, so the fear of the Lord keeps out
immorality. Such as lack the fear of God, lack the bridle which
should check them from sin! How did Joseph keep from his mistress'
temptation? The fear of God pulled him back! "How can I do this great
wickedness, and sin against God!" Gen. 39:9. Bernard calls holy fear,
"the door-keeper of the soul." As a nobleman's porter stands at the door,
and keeps out vagrants, so the fear of God stands and keeps out all sinful
temptations from entering.
(14) Take delight in the Word of God. "How sweet
are your words unto my taste." Psalm 119:103. Chrysostom compares God's Word
to a garden. If we walk in this garden, and suck sweetness from the
flowers of the promises, we shall never care to pluck the "forbidden
fruit." "Let the Scriptures be my pure pleasure," says Augustine. The reason why
people seek after unchaste, sinful pleasures--is because they have nothing
better. Caesar riding through a city, and seeing the women play with dogs
and parrots, said, "Surely, they have no children." So
those who sport with harlots have no better pleasures. He who has once
tasted Christ in a promise, is ravished with delight; and he would
scorn a temptation to sin! Job said, that the Word was his "appointed
food." Job 23:12. No wonder then, that he made a "covenant with his eyes."
(15) If you would abstain from adultery, use serious
 Consider that God sees you in the act of sin! He sees
all your curtain wickedness. He is totus oculus--"all eye."
The clouds are no canopy, the night is no curtain--to hide you
from God's eye! Whenever you sin--your Judge looks on! "I have seen your
detestable acts--your adulteries and your neighings." Jer 13:27. "They have
committed adultery with their neighbors' wives. I know it and am a witness
to it!--declares the Lord." Jer 29:23.
 Consider that few who are entangled in the sin of
adultery, ever recover from the snare. "None that go to her return again."
Proverbs 2:19. This made some of the ancients conclude that adultery was an
unpardonable sin; but it is not so. David repented. Mary Magdalene was a
weeping penitent; upon her amorous eyes which sparkled with lust, she sought
to be revenged, by washing Christ's feet with her tears! Some,
therefore have recovered from this snare. "None that go to her
return," that is, "very few." It is rare to hear of any who are enchanted
and bewitched with the sin of immorality, who recover from it. "I find more
bitter than death the woman who is a snare, whose heart is a trap and whose
hands are chains. The man who pleases God will escape her, but the sinner
she will ensnare." Eccl 7:26. Her "heart is a trap," that is, she is subtle
to deceive those who come to her; and "her hands are chains," that is her
embraces are powerful to hold and entangle her lovers. This consideration
should make all fearful of this sin. Soft pleasures, harden the
 Consider what Scripture says, which may lay a barricade in
the way to this sin. "I will be a swift witness against the adulterers."
Mal 3:5. It is good when God is a witness "for us", when he witnesses
to our sincerity, as he did to Job's; but it is sad to have God a "witness
against us." "I," says God, "will be a swift witness against the
adulterer." And who shall disprove God's witness? He is both witness
and judge. "God will surely judge people who are immoral and those
who commit adultery." Heb 13:4.
 Consider the sad farewell, which the sin of adultery
leaves. It leaves a hell in the conscience. "The lips of an immoral woman
are as sweet as honey, and her mouth is smoother than oil. But the result is
as bitter as poison, sharp as a double-edged sword. Her feet go down to
death; her steps lead straight to hell." Proverbs 5:3-5. The goddess
Diana was so artfully drawn, that she seemed to smile upon those who
came into her temple—but frown on those who went out. So the
harlot smiles on her lovers as they come to her--but at last,
they come to the frown and the sting! "Until an arrow pierces his liver." Proverbs
7:23. "Her end is bitter."
When a man has been virtuous, the labor is
gone—but the comfort remains; but when he has been wicked and
immoral, the pleasure is gone—but the sting remains. "He gains
momentary pleasure--and then eternal torment," says Jerome. When the senses
have been feasted with unchaste pleasures, the soul is left to
pay the reckoning. Stolen waters are sweet; but, as poison, though sweet in
the mouth, it torments the conscience. Sin always ends in tragedy!
Sad is that which Fincelius reports of a priest in Flanders, who
enticed a young girl to immorality. When she objected how vile a sin it was, he
told her that by authority from the Pope he could commit any sin; so at last
he drew her to his wicked purpose. But when they had been together a while,
in came the devil, and took away the harlot from the priest's side, and,
notwithstanding all her crying out, carried her away! If the devil should
come and carry away all that are guilty of immorality in this
nation--I fear more would be carried away than would be left behind!
(16) Pray against this sin. Luther gave a lady
this advice, that when any lust began to rise in her heart, she should go to
prayer. Prayer is the best armor against sin; it quenches the wild fire of
lust. If prayer will "cast out the devil," it will certainly cast out
those lusts which come from the devil.
Use five. If the body must be kept pure
from defilement, much more the soul of a Christian must be kept pure.
The meaning of the commandment is not only that we should not stain our
bodies with immorality—but that we should keep our souls pure. To have a
chaste body—but an unclean soul, is like a beautiful face with a cancerous
heart. "Be holy, for I am holy." 1 Pet 1:16. The soul cannot be lovely to
God, until it has Christ's image stamped upon it, which consists in
righteousness and true holiness. Eph 4:24. The soul must especially be kept
pure, because it is the chief place of God's residence. Eph 3:17. A king's
palace must be kept clean, especially his presence-chamber. If the body is
the temple, the soul is the "Holy of holies," and must be consecrated. We
must not only keep our bodies from carnal pollution—but our souls from envy
How shall we know our souls are pure?
(1) If our souls are pure, we flee from the appearance of
evil. 1 Thess 5:22. We shall not do that which looks like sin. When
Joseph's mistress courted and tempted him, he "left his garment in her hand,
and fled." Gen 39:12 He was suspicious to be near her.
(2) If our souls are pure, the light of purity will shine
forth. Aaron had "Holiness to the Lord" written upon his golden plate. Where
there is sanctity in the soul, there "Holiness to the Lord" is engraved upon
the life. We are adorned with patience, humility, good works, and shine as
"Lights in the world." Phil 2:15. Carry Christ's picture in your life! 1
John 2:6. O let us labor for this soul purity! Without it there is no seeing
God. Heb 12:14. "What communion has light with darkness?" 2 Cor 6:14.
To keep the soul pure—have recourse to the blood of Christ, which is
the "fountain open, to cleanse from sin and impurity." Zech 13:1. A soul steeped in the
briny tears of repentance, and bathed in the blood of Christ, is made pure.
Pray much for a pureness of soul. "Create in me a clean heart, O God." Psalm
51:10. Some pray for children, others for riches; but you are to pray for
soul purity. Say, "Lord, though my body is kept pure—yet my soul is defiled,
I pollute all I touch. O purge me with hyssop, let Christ's blood sprinkle
me, let the Holy Spirit come upon me and anoint me. O make me evangelically
pure, that I may be translated to heaven, and placed among the cherubim,
where I shall be as holy as you would have me to be, and as happy as I can
desire to be."