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tended. Let us see, then, that we are intelligent Now, the crime of unchastity, in any of admirers of the suffering saints, because like them its aspects, is a blow levelled at this blessed we have been renewed in the spirit of our minds, family constitution, of which God is the author; and are vitally united to the same glorious Head. and no wonder, then, that it is so vigorously
repelled, and the crime so strictly and severely forbidden. The seventh commandment implies
thåt men would be apt to fall into the sin of TWENTY-FIRST DAY.--MORNING. unchastity. And is not this amply realized by
facts? There are some offences so manifestly · Thou shalt not commit adultery, Exod. xx. 14. destructive of society, that all concur in conTo understand aright the enormity of the offence demning them, such as forgery and murder. against which the seventh commandment is But it is not so in regard to breaches of the directed, it is necessary to bear in mind that seventh commandment. Though really subverthat commandment lies at the foundation of the sive of the family constitution—not to speak of family constitution, and so of the welfare of the the honour of God—and though almost all nations, commonwealth. God might have maintained even the darkest and most corrupt, have passed and enlarged the population of the world as he laws at least against adultery, and so far testicommenced it, namely, by creation. There might fied that the conscience of man is here at one have been successive creations of races. But with the revealed will of God, yet it does not instead of this, in great wisdom and goodness appear so immediately fatal to the welfare of he has seen meet to carry forward the peopling man, and hence, in all ages and countries, the of the world by a succession of families. In sins of licentiousness have been amazingly comother words, he has created man male and mon. Few are the nations, perhaps, where female, and provided in this way for the increase poetic genius has not exerted its powers against of mankind, and their multiplication and replen- the seventh commandment, and more or less ishing of the earth.
directly reviled the family constitution. Over The family constitution is one of the highest immense countries, fornication, polygamy, and moment. Little as many may think of it-frivolous divorce, are treated with perfect indifmuch as many may despise and injure it, it pro- ference; yea, unlawful connections often form a vides largely for the happiness of the parties, so part of false religion. Idolatry and licentiousness that their union becomes the image of all that are generally associated. The deities, male and is most endearing and permanent. It secures in female, which millions of ancient and modern the best manner for the care and comfort of nations have worshipped and continue to worchildren ; it lays the foundation for other most ship, are of the worst character. Nay, part of important relations, such as those of brothers and the actual worship of some idols consists in a sisters; indeed, for some of the most useful and sacrifice of chastity. gentle affections of which our nature is suscep
And as this commandment is needed, so does tible; it is the source, to an incalculable extent, it express the strongest divine disapprobation of of industry and economy, education, subordina- the sin. God, the great lawgiver, declares, “thou tion to government, and religious knowledge and shalt not,' on any pretext whatever, violate practice. Conceive, if possible, that there were the law of chastity. The language is compreno such thing as human families, or that there hensive, and as binding as “thou shalt not kill.' was no such thing as marriage as the foundation In itself the crime is fraught with the greatest of socieiy, and all these blessings would, to a and most wide spread evil. It has been justly vast extent, be frustrated and destroyed. The remarked, that there is no sin which more sad evil which results to children where the speedily and irretrievably destroy's character, parents are not married, amply show how fearful both in high and low, and which introduces would be the result were this universal. So more misery in less time. It implies and leads important and honourable does God account the to other crimes, such as fraud in cases of seducconjugal relation, that he himself condescends tion, perjury in cases of marriage, not unfreto employ its imagery in regard to still higher quently to murder and suicide. It involves also things. He is pleased to style himself the Hus- the greatest misery. Who can conceive the band of his people. “Thy Maker is thy husband.' degradation and woe of an abandoned one And the Redeemer is denominated the Bride- the wretchedness of an injured father or mother, groom, and his church the Bride and the Lamb's and scarcely less injured children—the sweetest wife.
relations of life turaed into gall and wormwood?
The word of God has declared His mind in no mitigate its severity; they rejoiced in this as doubtful terms. No whoremonger or adulterer good news, as gospel. Had such been the real hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ design of the Redeemer's advent, we may safely and of God; also, 'whoremongers and adulterers say he would have been cordially and univerGod will judge. Whoremongers, (who are sally welcomed, but instead of adding to the classed with murderers) it is said, shall have happiness of man, he would have been one of their part in the lake which burneth with its cruellest destroyers. So far from abrogating fire and briinstone, which is the second death.'s the law He vindicates it, explains its extent and What were the crimes which brought down a spirituality, and closely applies it to the heart and deluge on the earth, and destroyed at once the the conscience. Indeed, next to the noble purpopulation of a world? Were not those of licen- pose of propitiation by suffering and death, this tiousness in the number? What were the sins was a leading object of His coming, and the one which called down fire and brimstone from was intended to be subservient to the other. The heaven on the cities of the plain, consuming Saviour was anxious to convince his hearers of them to ashes? Were they not breaches of the sin. Until this was gained, all tidings of redempseventh commandment, heightened in aggrava- tion were vain. tion? And what were these punishments meant There are many strong things which have been to typify, if not the still more fearful inflictions spoken by pagan philosophers, legislators, and of the future and eternal place of torment? moralists, against breaches of the seventh com
Let us then abide firm by the law, as unfolded mandment, and not a few severe punishments, in in the scriptures, and contend for its integrity almost all countries, have been enacted against their and permanence. And let us be persuaded that commission, but none can compare in purity and nothing can warrant the dissolution of the con- comprehensiveness with the views of the Son of jugal relation once formed, but the crime which God. It is obvious that he entertains a far loftier destroys the very end of marriage, and see at standard of morality than any others. Who, it may once the guilt and folly of the modern infidelity be asked, can abide his law? Who has never been which, under the pretence of adding to social conscious of one evil and irregular desire ? If this happiness, would, by destroying the permanence be a breach of the moral law, then are all transgresof the conjugal tie, overspread society with a sors. Yes! and that is the very conviction which deluge of crime and wretchedness. Let us adore Christ is anxious to fasten upon every conscience. the wisdom, and bless the goodness of God, for He wishes to convince of sin, that all may be led the sweet ties of the family circle, and for the to exclaim, What must they do to be saved ? and powerful defence which he has drawn around may be persuaded to receive his free redemption. them; and show our sense of obligation by
It is not necessary to show that the seventh strictly maintaining the law of chastity our commandment is, like all the others, spiritual; the selves, and guarding, so far as in us lies, against words of Christ testify to this in the most imits violation in others.
pressive manner. He who gave the law is a Spirit, and can be served only spiritually. It is well
known how possible a thing it is to observe a law TWENTY-FIRST DAY.-EVENING. with the utmost external correctness, while the • Whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her, sion. Can such a state of mind be acceptable in
heart is revelling in its daily and hourly transgreshath committed adultery with her already in God's sight? Would it be pleasing in the eye of an his heart, Matt. v. 28.
earthly parent, or teacher, or master? No. But The great desire of fallen man is to repeal the how solemn the saying that he who so much as moral law of God. He imagines it is at war looks upon a woman to lust after her—though this with his happiness, instead of being what it be a single and most transient act, is an adultruly is, where obeyed, the grand source of abid- terer—one of the most hateful of characters. ing bliss. Hence the misinterpretation to which How holy must God be—how terrible the slightChrist's mission was exposed in early times, and est violation of his law and what a multitude of to which it is exposed still. As many now think transgressors of it! Though conscious guilt may that the design of Christianity is to introduce what rebel, yet reason and conscience must pronounce is called a remedial law, softening the rigour of the declaration to be equitable and right. the decalogue, so
we find there were some in Instead of quarrelling with the law, let us the days of Christ who imagined that he had rather, fully approving its spirituality, consider come to abrogate the law, or at least greatly to by what means irregular passions and propen
be best overcome. If the eye be and to walk together in love, as Christ bad the inlet to so serious sin—a sin which shall des- loved them,' exhorts, as an indispensable step to troy the soul_let us be on our guard against all this course, and indeed a part of it, to shun those outward excitements which may lead to its whatever savoured of unchastity. Nothing could commission. Peter speaks of some whose eyes be more fatal to an imitation of God, or to walkare full of adultery, and Job speaks of having ing in brotherly love. The language is remarkamade a covenant with his eyes. Let us be bly comprehensive and strong. But fornicawatchful against all that would suggest evil tion,' says he: not merely higher crimes, but thoughts, or words, or lead to licentious deeds, the simplest form of the sin, and all uncleanwhether in ourselves or in others. Let us be ness,' whatever its nature or degree, or covetwatchful against all in dress, or attitude, or ges- ousness,' selfish—inordinate desire, whatever its ture—all in books, or prints, or sculpture—all in kind; “let it not once be named among you, az poetry, and music, and song—all in the dance, becometh saints. So far from being practised and or the stage, that even in a remote degree con- spoken of with pleasure-treated as a matter of duces to light views of unchastity. Let us also indifference-let it not so much as once be even beware of any excess in food, or in drink, which named among you,' and that because it is not would blunt the conscience and relax the spiritual merely criminal in itself, but is utterly unbevigilance of the soul. The men of the world coming, and inconsistent with, the character of may laugh at these precautions, but such will saints—the holy family of God. And not satisnot be the judgment of high moral, and much more fied even with this most comprehensive counsel, Christian principle.
he adds, “neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, And the better to enable us to pursue this nor jesting, which are not convenient (or becomcourse, let us in all circumstances remember the ing), but rather giving of thanks. It is unomnipresence of God, and that his eye sees and chaste thoughts which lead to unchaste words; marks the most secret sins, and that ere long He while again, unchaste words, by a sad re-action, will bring all into judgment. Let us remember deepen and perpetuate the thoughts, and lead to the case of Joseph, who though a young man in corruption in practice. The apostle does not, of a dependent situation, and surrounded with the course, condemn harmless pleasantry and wit, strongest temptations, yet preserved his integrity, which may be subservient to the cause of truth, asking with true principle, “How shall I do this and the vindication of character, as well as innowickedness and sin against God? Let us remem- cent recreation, but to talking and jesting which ber the awful judgments of God against the have an unchaste tendency. licentious and unclean—and that Christ, with all It may seem singular, but there was urhis purity and delicacy of mind, did not shrink gent need for exhortations on these points, even from addressing to them the most distinct and to Christian churches, especially in primitive solemn warnings. Nor let the young especially times. The great mass of the members had forget the apostolic counsel to abstain from come fresh from the moral abominations of heayouthful lusts, which war against the soul.' It thenism—from a heathenism, in regard to which, cannot be doubted that multitudes who promised the apostle says of its miserable victims that well, have fallen a prey to the temptations of they were past feeling, and wrought all uncleanlicentiousness—have thus broken the hearts of ness with greediness. The Christians of Ephetheir parents-blasted all the hopes of honour and sus had been the worshippers of Diana, whose usefulness which they had awakened, and made temple was one of the wonders of the world—but shipwreck of the eternal welfare of the soul. How whose character was notoriously immoral—and as needful then that the Holy Spirit, as the spirit is the object worshipped, so ever must be the of sanctification, should be sought by prayer,
character of the worshipper. The apostle Paul
found it necessary to administer the most solemn TWENTY-SECOND DAY.-MORNING.
reproofs to the Christians at Corinth—a city proverbial for its profligacy.
He informs them, that • But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covet- the case of incest, tolerated in their communion,
ousness, let it not be once named among you, as surpassed the proceedings of heathenism, and yet becometh saints ; neither filthiness, nor foolish he said that on visiting them anew, he expected talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient; to be humbled and cast down, on account of but rather giving of thanks,' Eph. v. 3, 4.
many of them who had sinned, and who had not Paul writing to his Ephesian converts, to be repented of the uncleanness, and fornication, followers' or imitators of God as dear children, and lasciviousness, which they had committed. This shows how strong were the temptations | ness into union with the holiest benevolence and to such crimes in apostolic times; they were brotherly love: and besides it exposes the Chrissimilar to temptations to the same sins in the tian church to the scorn and contempt of those newly formed Christian churches of the South men of the world who are pure in their morals. seas, or the West India islands, at the present Let Christians then, as individuals, families, and day. Nor have such exhortations been uncalled churches, flee all that savours of uncleanness, for in the Christian church generally, in all sub- whether in word or deed—let it not be so much sequent times. Not to refer to the breaches of as once named among them. Let them rememthe seventh commandment, which the apostle, ber their professed character—their connection doubtless, foresaw, in connection with the celi- with Christ and the Holy Spirit. So far from bacy and confessional, the convents and the using the tongue to purposes of obscenity, let nunneries of the apostate church of Rome, such them rather devote it to thanksgiving and praise offences have always constituted too large a part to the restraining grace of God, which preserves of the discipline of the Christian church.
them from the sin and woe of licentiousness. It is surely not necessary to say any thing of the gross inconsistency between the offences of which the apostle speaks, and a profession of Christianity. What can be more at variance with TWENTY-SECOND DAY.-EVENING. the spirit, conversation, and conduct of the Lord · Let no corrupt communication proceed out of Jesus Christ? Such sins may suit well enough with the character of the men of the world. They
your mouth, but that which is good to the use of may not exclude from the favour even of what
edifying, that it may minister grace unto the is called good society, but they are at war
hearers,' Eph. iv. 29. with every pretension to true piety, and ought It is apprehended that few, even of the intellinot only to exclude from the communion of the gent and Christian members of society, consider, church, but the recognition and friendship of as they ought, the vast importance and responsiChristian men, in the more private relations of bility attached to the use of articulate speech. life. Paul writing to Christians solemnly says, So long as a man is silent, the good or the evil is • If any man defile the temple of God, him confined to his own breast—others cannot be shall God destroy.' The temple of God is the affected by it; but the moment he speaks, it Christian church; and whosoever pollutes it with ceases to be his own; the words, with the sentisins of licentiousness, shall suffer under the wrath ment which they convey, pass from under his of God. • The body,' says he, of Christians is control. He knows not into what other minds ‘not for fornication, but for the Lord. It is not and hearts they may be transmitted.
This only for the service of sin. It is fitted and designed he knows, that they may pass from individual to for the service of God and of holiness. “Know individual, from family to family; nay, from one ye not,' he adds, that your bodies are the mem- generation to another, and in their influence bers of Christ. It is the high privilege of Chris-only cease to act with the day of final judgment. tians, that they are made one with Christ their What a solemn thought, that a man may be doing Surety, so as to become members of his body, irreparable mischief, long after his spirit has he being the Head. Now it is asked, "Shall passed to its award, and his body has mouldered I make them the members of a harlot? One into dust! It is pleßant to think, on the other cannot conceive any thing more unutterably hand, that good, whether by poetry, or prose, or shocking, than turning the body of our blessed tradition, is as capable of transmission and perLord to the wretched purposes of sin. But petuity. Under the head of “corrupt communievery Christian who yields up his body to cation, rather classes of sins, than particular such sins, does in effect convert the body of offences, seem to be comprehended. We may Christ into the members of sin ; "for he that is interpret it as cautioning Christians against all joined to a harlot, is one body with her.' What blasphemy and profaneness as regards God, or Christian does not shudder at the thought? any thing which is His—all falsehood and perHow inconsistent with devotion-with seeking jury-in short, breaches of the ninth commandto promote the honour of Christ, and the salva- ment, in their endless variety; all flattery, taletion of souls, are unchaste character and conver- bearing, whispering, reproach, railing, reviling, sation! We cannot conceive anything more backbiting, slandering, as regards our fellowabhorrent to the morality of the gospel. It men, and fellow-Christians : and all obscene and not only brings intense, but degrading selfish-I unchaste words and jests, and vain and idle
talking, and rash judgment, and unprofitable | be able honestly to ask God's blessing. A pious speech, as regards ourselves. No sins are more man who is watching for opportunities of good, frequently or solemnly condemned both through- may by well-timed and well-turned conversation out the Old and New Testaments.
not only prevent mischief, but by first recomSurely it is not necessary to say any thing of mending his own intelligence and good sense may the danger of evil communications. Proverbially afterwards communicate salutary moral impresthey corrupt good manners. What multitudes of sions of lasting value to his hearers, especially the the young, made miserable for life, can bear witness young. In order to this he will always speak of to the injury which they have received from false God with reverence and awe, where it is necessary tenchers, ungodly masters, sinful companions ! to mention His name; with prudence, candour, and Armed, too, with sympathy and apparent earnest- tenderness, where it is proper to speak of others; ness, how powerful is speech, whether in the and with uniform modesty, and sobriety, when he hands of the orator, or the demagogue, for evil. feels called on to speak of himself. Did man simply cease to deal in corrupt conver- Let Christians now, when the means and sation, how much time would be redeemed; what opportunities of social intercourse are daily multiincentives to sin would be escaped ; how much plying, and so much time is necessarily taken up evil would be prevented; what occasions and op-in conversation, be exhorted carefully to comply portunities would be afforded for lessons in good! with the excellent counsel before us. Putting what
It is worthy of notice, however, that the apos- is directly corrupt out of sight, is it not matter of tle, in addressing Christians, does not content deep regret, when looking back at the close of day, himself with forbidding evil. He exhorts to that professed disciples of Jesus find whole sucgood. It is added, but that which is good cessive hours in conversation directed to no good to the use of edifying, that it may minister purpose, but idle, light, frivolous, it may be, illgrace to the hearers. Of course he does not, natured or satirical talk, injurious to the spiritual by this, mean to forbid cheerfulness and innocent health of their own minds, and to the influence mirthi, nor to interfere with the freedom and con- which it should exert over others. Do such 110sequent enjoyment of conversation. This were glected opportunities, and misapplied talents, and at war with the happiness of society, which ingrateful treatment of God, involve no crimispeech is so well-fitted and designed to promote. nality? Let Christians faithfully employ their gifts But he condemns all vain, frivolous, trifling con- and advantages. Let them be intelligent, candid, versation which is not fitted to do us or others amiable, sober-minded, communicative, that they good; all idle talkativeness which leaves the mind may be able to make a right and effective use of empty and destitute of just thoughts, and all their articulate speech; and while they do not, by excess in pleasantry otherwise lawful, which is any means, confine themselves to religion, let them irrational and unfits for serious duty. In opposi- not fall into the opposite error of preserving a tion to this he calls Christians to turn the gift of strict silence on all that borders on religion, as if articulate speech to useful account, even to speak it were intended only for the secrecy of the heart, in a wise, rational, entertaining it may be, but or as if men could not speak upon it withont still profitable manner. He teaches them that disputing, or as if in the danger of professing too a savour of godliness and of heavenly wisdom, a much, it were better to make no profession at all. desire for the glory of God and the interests of Above all, let them” remember the example of piety, should appear in their conversation, and, so the Lord Jesus. What a pattern was he of to speak, tincture their words. Not that it is pure and profitable, yet withal pleasant speech! necessary or desirable to be always speaking What wisdom directed his words! What love to in a manner directly religious, any more than to God, what compassion for men, breathed throngh be always engaged in the actual worship of God. them all! Let such be the model of the disciples
. This would be inconsistent with the other duties of life, and mar our usefulness. What Christianity requires, is, that its disciples, in speech and conversation, never indulge in any thing which is at vari- TWENTY-Tuurd DAY.-Morxixo. ance with Christian principle—that they take care that all be pure, rational, calculated more or less to “Thou art of purer cyes than to behold cril, and be useful, and if possible, that all shall remotely
canst not look on iniquity,' Hab. i. 13. at least have a moral and religious tendency; so It is scarcely necessary to refer to the proofs of that on the retrospect they may not have any the divine holiness; they are to be met with on thing with which to reproach themselves, and may every hand. Jlow impressive is the holiness of