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own house, and the hearts of good men, but out of heaven itself, without thorough repentance and reformation.
4. The cafe ftanding thus; it is matter of just admirati on, how the sin of uncleanness should grow so epidemical and common as it doth, feeing such as live in this filthy courfé, must needs counter-act and oppose their own reason and interest together. For they forsake God's way, which gives them as much liberty as can be reasonably desired; and caft themselves into a courfe of life, clogged with all manner of temporal and eternal miseries, of foul and body, honour and estate.
The plain rule and diétate of common reason, which I laid down before, being applied to this particular cafe, manifestly condemns it. For seeing honesty and chastity comprize the true pleasure, profit, and honour of the whole man; are more congruous to human nature, and preservative of it; it ought, therefore, to be preferred in the estimation and choice of all men, to unlawful adulterous pleatures, which (for the reasons above) are inferior in themselves to chafte, conjugal enjoy ments; and besides that, are attended and followed with such a train of present and future miseries, destructive to the whole man.
And yet for all this, to the amazement of all serious obser. vers, never was any age more infamous for this sin, than the present age is; and that under the clear shining light of the gospel,
What the special causes and inducements, to the overflow ing and abounding of this fin, are in the present age, will be well worth the enquiring and fifting at this time,
Ø 5. Inducement 1, It is highly probable, the influencing examples of great men, have had no small hand in the spreading of this abomi, nable and crying fin, amongst all inferior ranks and orders of men.
Great mens ill examples, like a bag of poison in the fountairi, corrupt and infect multitudes. The vulgar think they are privileged, or, at the least, very much excused, when they do but follow the precedents and examples of great and eminent persons.
But this will be found a weak and foolish plea, for uncleanness, which will never be able to endure the test of your own reason : For the inbred notions of a God, and of a future lifc of retribution, being so firmly sealed and engraven upon human nature, they can never be utterly eradicated ; your own
reason will argue from those inbred notions in this manner, and how you will be able to refel the argument, and escape conviction and self-condemnation, quite surmourts my imagination, whatever it do yours. And thus it will dispute, and dilemma you, do what you cari.
That God, before whom greater and leffer, honourable and baser finners shall appear in judgment, will be either partial or impartial, in his judgments upon them. There is, or there is not respect of persons with him. If there be, (which both his nature and word utterly deny ;) then those great and honourable adulterers, or fornicators, whose examples you follow, may haply be excused for their eminency and honour's fake, but you, that have no such eminency and honour in the world, as they have, must be condemned, though you thought to escape as well as they.
But if there be no partiality, or respect of persons with God, (as most afsuredly there is none), then both greater and lesser, honourable and baser, adulterers, must be condemned together, to the fame common and intolerable mifery.
So that to take any (though the least) encouragement to fin, from the precedents and examples of great ones, is a most senseless and irrational thing, utterly unworthy of one that believes there is a just and impartial God; and he is worse than a devil, that believes it not : For the devils themselves believe and tremble.
$ 6. Inducement 2. But others would persuadé us, they are drawn into this fin by a kind of inevitable neceffity; they being néither able to contain, nor marry.
They are not yet arrived to an estate sufficient to maintain a family with reputation : But when they have gotten enough by trade, or by the fall of their paternal estates, to live in equal reputation with their neighbours; then they design to alter their course of life, and abandon these follies.
But, reader, if this be thy plea for uncleanness, thou shalt have as fair a trial, for a foul fact, as thine own heart can defire: be still thine own judge ; and let thine own reason give a fair answer to these three pertinent questions.
Quest. 1. Whether whoredom be as likely and promising a way to engage God's blessing upon your trades and employments, as continence or conjugal chastity are ? That is to fay plainly, Whether obedience and disobedience to the law of God, be all one, and please him alike? You know, your fuccess in business it is not in your own hand; it is God
that giveth thee power to get wealth : His blessing maketh riche And is fin as likely, a way to engage his blessing, as duty and obedience is ? I am confident, your own reason will never give it.
Object. If you say, such persons prosper in the world as well as others, for ought you see.
Sol. The contrary is evident in the common observation of mankind : By reason of whoredom, multitudes are brought to a piece of bread. And though God suffer fome unclean persons to prosper in the world ; yet chastity with poverty, is infinitely preferable to such accursed prosperity.
Quest. 2. Whether the course of sin you are now driving and accustoming yourselves to, will not, in all probability, so infatuate and bewitch you, that when you come into a married citate, you shall still be under the power of this sin; and, so ruin the person you marry, as well as yourself? If the word of God fignify any thing with you, it signifieth this ; That there is a witchcraft in whoredom; and, comparatively speaking, “ None that go to her return again, neither take they, “ hold of the paths of life ;”. Prov. ii. 18, 19.
Object. If to invalidate this testimony, you fall say that he that spake this, did himself go after strange womem.
Sol. It is true, he did so. But then withal, you must remember, that he hath warned you by his own fad experience, that you never follow him in those his footsteps : Ecclef. vii. 26. “I find (faith he) more bitter than death, the woman whose “ 'heart is snares and nets, and her hands as bands. Whofo
pleaseth God, shall escape from her; but the finner shall be « taken by her.” : Quest. 3. And, lastly, I demand of your reason, whether it can; or will, allow any place to this plea of necessity ; before you have tried and used all God's appointed remedies, which are sufficient to prevent that necessity you plead ?
There are lawful remedies enough, fufficient, with God's blesfing, to keep you from such a necessity to fin; such as temperance, and more abstemiousness in meats and drinks; - avoiding lascivious books, play-houses, and filthy company ; laborious diligence in your lawful callings, and fervent prayer, for mortifying and preventing grace: And if temptations shall ftir amidst all these preventives; then casting yourselves upon the directions and supply of providence, in the honourable estate of marriage. Never plead necessity, whilst all these preventives might, but have not been used.
the fin, you
§ 7. Inducement 3. Others plead the absence of their lawful remedies, and presence of tempting objects. This is the case of our soldiers i and seamen. But though this be the most colourable pretence of all the rest, yet your own reason and conscience will, even in this case, so dilemma and non-plus you, that if you will adventure upón
shall never have their leave and consent with you: For they have a fpecial and peculiar confideration of you, as perfonis more eminently and immediately exposed to the dangers of death than other ‘nien. And thus (would you but give them a fair hearing) they will expostuJate and reason out the matter with you.
Either thou shalt escape, or not escape, the hazard of this ( voyage, or battle. If thou fall (as to be sure many will) will • this be an honourable, safe, and comfortable close, and wind• ing up of thy life? What, from a whore to thy grave! God • forbid. From burning lufts, to everlasting burnings ! Better thou hadft never been born.'
Or if thou do escape, and return again to thy family ; how canst thou look her in the face, with whom thou hast lo basely broken thy marriage-vow and covenant ? Whatever else thou bring home with thee, to be sure thou shalt bring home guilt with thee, a blot never to be wiped away.
Object. If you say, you are not such fools to publish your own same ; you will follow Caesar's advice to the young adulterer,
non caste, tamen caute, If I act not chastly, I will att cautiously.
Sol. Your reason and conscience will both deride the weakness and folly of this pretence : For they both very well know, no man lins so secretly, but he sins before two infallible witnesses, viz. God, and his own conscience; and that the last, and least of these, is more than a thousand witnesses. That God usually detects it in this world, carry it as closely as you will ; but to be sure, it shall be published as upon the housetop, before men and angels in the great day.
98. Inducement 4. Another inducement to this sin, (and the last I shall mention), is the commonness of it, which abates the shame of it.
What need they trouble themselves so much, or be so shy of that which is practised by thousands, which is fo frequently acted in every place, and little made of it?
But if either your reason or conscience will admit this plea • for good and lawful, the devil hath utterly blinded or infatua*ted the one or other; as will evidently appear by the follow. ing reafons. For,
Reason 1. If the thing be evil, (as you cannot deny but it is then, by how much the commoner, by so much the worse it mult needs be. Indeed, if a thing be good, by how much the commoner, so much the better : but to attribute this effential property of good unto evil, is to confound and destroy the difference between them, and make good and evil both alike.
Reason 2. If the commonness of uncleanness will excuse you, it will more excuse all others that shall commit this lin after you : and fill by how much more the numbers of adulterers and fornicators are increased, still the less fcruple men need make to commit it; and so the whole community shall in a little time be fo infected and defiled, that christian kingdoms Thall quickly become like Sodom, and God provoked to deal with them, as he did by that wretched city.
Reason 3. If the commonness of the lin be an excuse and plea for it; fuppose the roads should be more infested than they are with highwaymen, fo that every month you should see whole cart-loads of them drawn to Tyburn; would your reason infer from thence, that because hanging is grown fo common, you need not scruple so much as you were wont to do, to take a purse, or pistol an honest innocent traveller upon the road?
Object. If you fall say, uncleanness is not so costly a fin as rehbery is : there is a great deal of difference between Tyburn, and a whore-house punisbment.
Sol. There is a great difference indeed, even as much as is betwixt Tyburn and hell, or a small muld in the courts of men, and the eternal wrath of a fin-revenging God: fo great will the difference betwixt the punishments of all fins by God, and by men, be found.
Thus you see, gentlemen, the common pleas for uncleanness over-ruled by your owă reason and consciences.
We live in a plentiful land, abounding with all the comforts of this life, and with thousands of full-fed wantons; of whom the Lord complains this day, as he did of the Jews, whom that flowing land vomited out, Jer. v. 7. “When I had fed them " to the full, they committed adultery, and assembled them« selves by troops in the harlots houses. They were as fed " horses in the morning ; every one neighed after his neigh« bour's wife.” How many such stallions are thus neighing in the fat pastures of this good land !
Nor do I won«ler at all to see the growth of Atheism, in a land swarmed and over-run with so many thousands of blafphemers, drunkards, and adulterers. It was a grave observati