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punished; but chiefly them that walk after the flesh, in the lust of uncleanness." These are very plain and affecting words: “ the Lord knoweth how to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished ; but chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness.” Saint Paul also has treated this subject very largely; as indeed he had occasion, being that to which the people he wrote to were before their conversion much addicted : “ but fornication, and all uncleanness, let it not be once named amongst you, as becometh saints.” Saint Paul shows here very plainly

” his sense of the heinousness of this vice. He not only says, let it not be practised, but “not once named amongst you, as becometh saints.”—This to the Ephesians. To the Corinthians he sets forth the guilt of

. this vice in this

way: “ Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy.” And that the defiling here spoken of is intended of fornication is pretty plain from what he says more fully in the sixth chapter of his epistle“ Flee fornication ; every sin that a man doth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body in the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God; and ye are not your own."

I do not want to explain the argument here used by Saint Paul, or all the expressions contained in it; because I produce it only to show what it says without any explanation—that Saint Paul condemned fornication as absolutely and peculiarly inconsistent with the Christian profession. In his Epistle to the Colossians (for I think there is hardly one of his epistles which does not take notice, more or less, of this), he charges

.

them as follows: “ Mortify your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence ; for which things' sake,” he adds, “ the wrath of God cometh upon the children of disobedience.” For which things' sake; that is, for the sake of fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence. This is a very awakening rebuke to these vices; we find that they call down upon

them the wrath of God. Once more also, in his Epistle to the Thessalonians : “ This is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication.” Had the Apostle stopped here, he had told us every thing we wanted of the will of God. " This is the will of God; and to know that will and do it is the whole of our business here :” but he proceeds, “ that every one of you should know how to possess his vessel (namely, his own body) in sanctification and honour: not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles, which know not God; for God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.” There are two very remarkable

passages to our purpose in the Revelation of St. John, in which you cannot fail to take notice both of the terrible sentence denounced against fornication amongst some other crimes, and also with what other crimes it is classed : “ The fearful and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone.” And again, speaking of those who shall be excluded from the divine presence, he

“ Without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.” The words of the text I reserve for the conclusion, because it is both positive, and withal so short

to be easily carried in

says:

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memory. It is in the thirteenth chapter of Hebrews and the fourth verse : “ Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled; but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.”

I shall make no sort of remark on what has been said, but this one ; that if you are satisfied, partly from the harm it does, but principally from these places of Scripture, that whoredom is really contrary to the will of God, and will draw down his wrath upon it, it matters not how light the world may in general make of it; because it is by the rules of Scripture and reason that we shall be judged at last, and not by the opinion of the world.

VOL. VI.

D D

XLIV.

FORNICATION

(PART II.)

HEBREWS XIII. 4.

Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled;

but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.

I have in a former discourse set forth the effects of lewdness as we see them in this world ; and also the consequences that we are to expect to ourselves in the next world, if the threats and declarations of Scripture are to be depended on. I made no other observation upon

these effects or these declarations than simply this

that if we saw reason to believe from either of them, or both of them together, that a course of unlawful lewdness was inconsistent with our hopes of salvation, not to suffer ourselves to be led away by the opinion of the world, or expect that these things would

pass

for trifles hereafter, because they are amongst many accounted trifles here. If, then, this be a vice of that serious nature, and which may have such serious effects upon our everlasting condition, the next great consideration will be, what are the proper preservatives and precautions against it.

Indeed the whole subject of the preservation of virtue is vastly too much neglected, in other circumstances, as well as this. A virtuous and vicious character does not so much consist in one or two, or a few single acts of virtue, or of vice, but

uch a plan and rule and habit of living, as is suited to promote the one and guard against the other. I allow that the greater part live without any such plan, rule, or habit; and what is

, the effect? They commit themselves to every situation that presents itself, without reserve, fear, or caution ; and they trust that if a temptation to vice assault them, they shall find firmness and reflection enough in themselves at the time to guard against it; and upon the strength of that persuasion, they either lay themselves out for such situations as furnish temptation and opportunities of vice, and are inviting on that account ; or they enter heedlessly into such situations ; or they fancy the time for exercising their morality is not yet come ; as yet there is no harm ; and when they fall, as they are almost sure to do, into the snares, why then, “ they were surprised and taken off their guard—they were overpowered by allurements which no one could resist-the reason they depended upon was perhaps grown dark—the resolutions, which were so stedfast and unconquerable, melted away like snow before the fire; and he surely, who knows whereof we are made, will condescend to excuse the passions which he himself has implanted, and not condemn with severity our fall, which no human fortitude could prevent.” In which train of thinking the error is, that we do not carry back our minds to that which composes,

, perhaps, the greatest part of our offence - our leading ourselves into temptation, our either seeking it or suffering ourselves to be drawn into it, or falling upon such a course of life as exposes us to it; which we might have prevented, and which surely we had powers enough to have withstood. “ But surely this delusion can happen but once. A man may be once drawn in, and entangled for want of experience ; but he will escape,

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