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Of the eighth Commandment.
EXODUS XX. 15.
Thou shalt not steal,
ward estate in the world; and the scope of it is to procure and further the fame by all good
And the law of God respecting this plainly says, that religion is highly concerned in our civil actions, working, buying, and selling, and all the ways of advancing of the outward eftate. In these we are hedged about by this command, as well as in natural things by the sixth and feventh. God's law follows us where ever we go, to the house or field, bed or board, church or market. This command allo 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 ourselves as well as our neighbour. And so the meaning is, Thou shalt not fteal from thyself nor any other; thou shalt not wrong thyself nor others.' And as in every negative is implied an affirmative, fo 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,
1. What is required in this command, viz. “ the “ lawful procuring and furthering the wealth and Si outward estate of ourselves and others."
II. What is forbidden, viz. “ Whatsoever doth "S or may unjustly hinder our own or our neigha « bour's wealth or outward estate." III. Make application.
as in the presence of a holy God, who will call us to an account in this matter before his tremendous judgement-feat, and hear his holy law, Thou shalt not commit adultery.
In this short abbreviate of the law of God, where one fin is expressly condemned, under it are forbidden all sins of the same kind. So here the whole dunghill of filthiness is set before us for our abhorrence and deteftation of our fouls, as we would not bring down the wrath of God on us. Here then all gross acts of filthiness are forbidden. As,
1. All unnatural luks, not to be mentioned without horror; filthy fellowship with devils, as the guilty do suppose; sodomy, persons abusing themfelves with those of their own fex, Rom. i. 24.26.27.; bestiality, Lev. xviii. 22. And to these we may add incest, which is betwixt persons within the forbidden degrees of consanguinity or affinity, Lev. xviii. 6. Concerning which this is to be observed, that a man must hold at the same distance from the relations of his wife as his own, and contrariwise, Lev. XX. 14.; and such unnatural mixtures can never be fanctified by marriage.
2. Adultery, where one of the parties or both are married. In this case the aggravations of the sin of the married party will be justly charged upon the single person, and for both, whoremongers and adulterers God will judge, Heb, xiii. 4. "And bigamy and polygamy are adultery; for the vile fact cannot be fanctified, but made worse by marriage with the adulterer or adulteress, Hof. iv. 10. They shall commit whoredom, and shall increase.
3: Fornication, which is betwist single persons, Col.iii
. 5. 6. Mortify your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, &c. For which things Sake the wrath of God cometh upon the children of difobedience. Whoredom is a sin that without repentance is a sad badge of a subject of Satan, Eph. v. 5. No whoremonger nor unclean perfon—hath any
tance in the kingdom of God and Christ. · And a vaft inconfiftency there is betwixt being a member of Christ, and that of a harlot, i Cor. vi. 15. 4. Rape, or forcing a person to filthiness, Deut.
This is a capital crime by the laws of God and men.
5. Secret uncleanness in a person by themselves alone, whether they be waking, Eph. v. 12. or sleeping, at least so far as they have occafioned it to themselves by their own corrupt imaginations.
6. Lastly, Immoderate and unfeasonable use even of the marriage-bed, and much more of the bed of whoredom. Mark these passages, i Theff. iv. 3• 4• 1 Cor. vii. 5. Il. lvii. 13. Ezek. xxii. 10. & xviii. 6.
These are the several kinds of vileness here forbidden. But this command goes further, and forbids three forts of uncleanness besides
i. Uncleanness in heart, all speculative filthiness, unclean imaginations, thoughts, purposes, and affections, though people do not intend to pursue them to the gross act, Matth. v. 28. Whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her, hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. Chap: xv. 19. Out of the heart proceed-adulteries, fornications. These fall not under the eye of men, but are open to the eye of God, who will judge accordingly. A voluntary thought of these things is dangerous, a delightful rolling of them in the heart is uncleanness before God, and a vitiated habit whereby on every light occasion these filthy sparks are kindled in the heart, is worst of all, and most abominable.
2. Uncleanness in words, all filthy communications and obscene language, Eph. iv. 29. Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth. They are the discoveries of a filthy heart ; for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth Speaketh, contrary to nature propaling those things which nature teaches to keep secret. They are snares to the hearers; and to speak of them for delight, is to act the filthiness in words when they cannot do it otherwise. Neither will the art fome have in dressing up their filthy notions in figurative terms excufe; but these in some fort are most dangerous, because the devilish wit desplayed in them makes them more sticking; and so by means of the like phrafes occurring in holy exercifes, they are the readier even to defile these. Of this fort are filthy fongs and ballad singing ; and the delightful liftening to such things, as the simple youth did to the speeches of the adulterous whore, Prov. vii. 18.-21.
3. Uncleanness in actions. Besides the gross acts, there are others leading thereunto, which are here also forbidden. As,
(1.) Wanton looks: there are eyes full of adultery, 2 Pet. ii. 14. wanton eyes, Il. iii. 16. Even a look for unlawful carnal delight is the venting of the impurity of the heart; and though it be only from levity and curiosity, it is sinful, as a mean leading to evil.
(2.) Impudent and light behaviour, and immodest geltures, if. iii. 16. indecent postures, contrary to religion and good manners. These are hellish matters of sport, that defile the actors, and those that are witnesses to them without abhorrence. And on this ground ftage-plays and filthy pictures are a. mongst the things forbidden in this command, Ezek, xxiii. 14. 15. 16.
(3.) Luxurious embraces and dalliances. These are as smoke going before the flame, and were practised by the adulterous whore, Prov. vii. 13
Now, as all these are here forbidden, so all occasions and incentives to luft are forbidden, all that has a tendency to corrupt our own or neighbour's chastity.
(1.) Immodest apparel, Prov. vii. 10. pointed apparel, 1.) for neceflity, to cover our Thame and nakedness; 2.) to distinguish sexes; 3.) to distinguish callings, the more noble from the
meaner fort. The devil has found out the fourth, to be enticements to luft.
(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 Jofeph's commendation, that he Hed from his mistress. Whatever the company be, people should beware that they cast not theinfelves into snares. (3.) Idleness, the nursery of all filthiness, Ezek.
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 sixth command, and to uncleanness, forbidden in the one under consideration, Prov. xxiii. 30. 31. 33. Notable to this purpose is that scripture, 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 luft, if. xxiii. 15. 16. 17. It is fup. posed, that it was to a dancing match among the daughters of the land that Dinah went forth, when the was dealt with as an harlot. This practice feems to be struck at by these scriptures, Rom. xi. 13. Let us walk--not in chambering and wantonness. 1 Pet. iv. 3.
where mention is made of walking in revelling; is offensive to the grave and pious, is condemned by our church, yea and has been condemned by fome fober 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, I Cor. vii. 12. 13. ; want of conjugal affec