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Matt. v. 18.
never intended them, and learn to refine upon Vice, from the very Ideas raised in the Mind, by those, who only design these for their Instruction and Amend.. ment. It shall fuffice me therefore, upon this occasion, to remark, that the Sanctification, required by the Apostle, is a Virtue, extending to Mind and Body both : That all Gratifications of our fleshly Desires, out of the way of lawful Matrimony, whether committed upon and with Others, or even our own Persons, are unlawful Acts: That the Chastity imply'd in a single State, requires a total Abstinence from them all : And that of a married Life is not at large from all Restraints, but expects such Moderation and Temper, as may preserve the Ends of Matrimony; continue it, what it was intended for, a holy and an honourable State ; a Remedy, not an Incentive : That, not only actual Commissions, but obscene Language, lascivious Looks, impure Thoughts indulged, immodeft Behaviour, pampering and luxurious Diet to inflame our selves, induftrious Endeavours to kindle those Fires, and attract first the Eyes, then the Desires, of Others, all coquettry and affectation in Dress, or Deportment, which have a tendency that way; these too come within the Compass of Uncleanness. And, though they miss of the Effect, are rendered guilty by the Intention.
The less capable this Subject is of being conveniently treated by Our Teachers, the more exact and curious it becomes private Persons to be, in the Examination of their own Consciences concerning it. Especially, since the Apostle hath used such pressing Motives, in the Scripture now before us, by saying, that our Sanctification is the Commandinent of the Lord Jesus, and the Will of God; that the contrary Affections are the Scandal of the ver, 2, 3, 4, 5,
6, 7, 8. Gentiles, who know not God; that Christians are called, not unto uncleanness, but unto
Heb. xii. 14. Matt. v.8.
holiness ; and that
of these, who behave themselves unsuitably to that Call, draw down Vengeance upon their own Head, and despise God and the Holy Spirit be hath given us. The sum of all which Passages may be reduced to this, That Sins of Uncleanness, in particular, are a high provocation to Almighty God, that they forfeit the Privilege, and defeat the Ends of, and derive the greatest Scandal and Dishonour upon, our Christian Profession.
1. How high and grievous a Provocation these are to Almighty God, is evident, from the many severe Threatnings, denounced against them in the New Testament.
These declare, that without Holiness no
man shall see the Lord ; that this is a Bleri Cor. vi. 9, sing reserved for the pure in heart ; that
neither Fornicators, nor Adulterers, nor
the Effeminate, nor the abusers of themselves Rom. i. 24, 28,
with mankind, Mall inherit the kingdom of Christ and of God: That because of these things his wrath cometh upon the children of disobedience; that such God will destroy, and that, by reason of these vile Affeflions, God suffered the very Heathen, who indulged them, to quench their Natural Light; and gave them up to the most infamous, and unmanly, and absurd Lusts and Wickedneffes.
2. Among the Privileges of Christianity, none are more valuable, none more essential to our Salvation, than those of our Union with our Mystical Head Christ Jesus, and the Presence and perpetual aslistance of that blessed Spirit, whereby this Union is effected and preserved. But, by the Inordinacy of these Lults, we separate our selves from Christ, we take the Members
of Him, our Bodies, and make them Memi Cor. vi. 15. bers of Harlots. Those Bodies, which
are consecrated to his Use and Service, and are become living Temples of the Lord, by his Holy Spirit inhabiting there, we thus prophane,' and sacri
1 Cor. iii.
1 Cor. vi. 18,
legiously alienate co vile and polluted Uses. Thus we at once dishonour the Deity, and the Body, in which, as in the Tabernacle of old, he chose to make his gracious Residence. This is probably conceiv'd to be St. Paul's meaning, at the 8th Verse here. The contemptuous Treatment, and horrible Indignity such People are guilty of, to that Spirit, bestowed upon every Christian, at his Baptism. So that, as these Vices have the peculiar aggravation of being Sins against our own Bodies, they are likewise attended with that other, of despiếng, affronting, and driving away that Blessed Spirit and . his Grace, which, being a Spirit of Discipline and Purity, will not abide in those filthy Dwellings, where such Unrighteousness comes in, and takes Poffesion. A very weighty Consideration, to deter us from such Wickedness, as, by prostituting our own Persons, prostitutes the Honour of God at the same time ; and runs so manifest a risque of abandoning us to the most profligate and pernicious Courses, and delivering up our Souls to the uncontrouled Malice and Tyranny of the Devil.
3. The Ends of our Christian Profesion are manifestly defeated by these Luits and Practices. For so much is imply'd, Verse 7. God hath rot called us unto Uncleanness, but unto Holiness. The main design of Religion is, as I have already had occasion to obiurve, to make us like God. If therefore the Gentiles, who knew not God, gave themselves up to work all uncleanness with Greediness, the wonder is not so great, the Crime not near so great ; because owing to those false, and corrupt, and extravagant Notions of the Divine Nature, which, by such Ignorance, had obtained in the World. For, how should they frame themselves aright, who never understood the Model they were to frame by? But the Christian Faith gives us just and true Notions, of God, and of our Selves. By teach
ing us, that he is a Spirit, perfect and pure, removed far above all those Pasions, which, by being joyned to mortal and material Bodies, we feel Our Spirits subject to. That this Conjunction sets us, as it were, upon the Confines of the Spiritual and Material World; and produces a perpetual Conflict, between the Affection proper to a Rational Soul, in which we resemble God; and those of a Sensitive, in which the Brutes seem to carry some resemblance of Us. Confequently, the more we give way to Sensuality ; the lower we sink our Selves, and remove at a still greater distance from God. And, the only Course we can take, to raise and get nearer to Him, is by trampling down, and keeping under, those Desires and Passions, which the Condition of the Flesh, we carry about with us, kindles and cherishes : to exalt and refine our Souls, by fixing them upon Objects, that are suitable to the Immortality of their Nature, and approach to the Perfections of Him, whose Image and Character they bear. In the compassing this End, we are favoured and forwarded, not only by that more perfect Understanding of God and his Excellencies, which the Gospel helps us to, not only by that better Sense of the Dignity of our own Nature, which the Doctrines of it inspire ; but also by that prospect of our true and perfect Happiness, the Discovery and the Assurance of those pure and Spiritual Joys, in a State, for which we were created ; and to which we must aspire, by such dispositions, even in this Life,
as may make us meet to be partakers of the Epift. for the
inheritance of the Saints in light. How neSixth Sunday after Epiph. cellary a preparation for that Bliss such
a temper and turn of Mind must needs be, hath been formerly faid. And I need not add, that, if such be our Case, the End of Christianity must be utterly lost and defeated, by the Vice I am treating of. It being manifest to daily Obfervation
and common Sense, that the Lufts of Uncleanness indulged do, perhaps above any other Sin, estrange the Heart from God, create a disrelish of every thing that is Holy and Good, darken the Understanding, vitiate the Will, debase the Spirit, waste the Conscience, quench the Motions of Grace, produce first a Neglect, then a Contempt of Religion, deftroy and deface all Principles even of Justice, and Honour, and natural Modesty and Decency, make Men submit to the basest Arts, for compassing their filthy Purposes; harden them in Impudence and Beastliness, enervate the Mind, consume the Body ; In a Word, they unman the One Sex, lay the Glory of the Other in Common, and make such Monsters of Both ; that not only Revelation, but natural Reason, condemns and acknowledges the
Πάθη ατιμίας. deformity of these Sins : By covering them with Shame, and ascribing to them that most rightful Denomination of Vile and Dishonourable Lusts.
This is but a small part of what might be said, against a Corruption, the Indulgence whereof is so far from consisting with the Character of Christians, that it scarce leaves us Men : So far from any likeness to the Great and Holy God, that the most obscene and detestable Brutes are our Copy. My Subject leads me not so directly to mention the Diseases of Body, the Ruin of Estates, the Confusion of Families, the indelible Stain and Reproach, which God in his just Judgment inflicts, and hath indeed made Natural Consequences, upon Uncleanness. Well were it, if not only These, but the many Publick and National Evils, drawn down
whole Communities, were seriously laid to Heart on this occasion. All little enough for the Age we are fallen into, when so many great Examples have given Countenance to this Vice, as, if it were possible, almost to erase those Impresions