Sinner escape for thy life. Make no tarrying. Eternity is at hand. The Judge is at the door. To-day, while it is called to-day, harden not your heart.


MAT. V. 27-32.

As a farther illustration of the spiritual meaning and extent of the law of God in opposition to the limited views of the Scribes and Pharisees, our Lord quotes the seventh commandment of the Decalogue.

Vv. 27 and 28. "Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her, hath committed adultery with her already in his heart." It was scarcely possible for the Scribes to limit this commandment, as they did the sixth, to the mere outward act, inasmuch as the tenth commandment expressly declares "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife," a prohibition evidently extending to the thoughts of the mind, and the desires of the heart. Yet to obviate this difficulty, which would force itself on the mind of every reflecting man, the Jewish teachers made a strange and most unwarranted distinction in this matter

between the Jew and the Gentile, alleging that God would never charge upon an Israelite, though he undoubtedly would upon the uncircumcised, any thought, however sinful in itself, which did not terminate in the commission of a sinful action. In this way they persuaded the descendants of Abraham that in so far as they were concerned, the seventh commandment prohibited no more than the actual commission of adultery. Jesus, however, declares in the face of the assembled multitudes, that such an interpretation, though supported by the most learned Jewish Rabbis, was completely opposed to the whole spirit and meaning of the law of God. He solemnly declares that not only the man who is guilty of the crime of adultery is to be regarded as a transgressor of the seventh commandment, and therefore exposed to the wrath of the righteous Jehovah; but the lustful look, the impure thought, the carnal desire, stamps a man in the sight of God as guilty of the sin of adultery. The language of the passage, you observe, shews not only that he is guilty of what leads, or may eventually lead to the commission of this heinous sin, but even in casting that look, in entertaining that unhallowed feeling, "he has already committed adultery with the woman in his heart." The sin has been committed in the sight of God, who searcheth the heart, and though man can only take cognizance of the outward act as indicating the state of the heart,

God looks directly at the secret workings of the soul. How extensive then is the bearing of this holy commandment! It is truly a discerner of the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And if there is one sin which is described in the Word of God as more than another calling forth his righteous judgments, it is the very sin which this commandment prohibits, a sin which debases and degrades the man to a level with the brutes that perish, darkening his mind and hardening his heart, and depraving his whole nature, rendering him despised and polluted in the eyes of man, and abhorred in the estimation of a holy God. What can be more at variance with that purity of heart in which God delights than the indulgence of unholy thoughts and impure desires. "Fornication. and all uncleanness," says an apostle, "let it not be once named among you as becometh saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient" or proper. "Be not deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, thieves nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God." Among the heinous sins enumerated in this black catalogue, those of uncleanness occupy the first and most conspicuous place, for these are the sins which more especially unfit the soul for that communion with God in which consists the very essence of Christianity:


Hence the apostle in writing to the Corinthian Church, uses arguments on this subject which ought to have peculiar weight with every redeemed child of God. "Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ and make them the members of an harlot ? God forbid. What! know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two (saith he) shall be one flesh. But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body: but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. What! know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God? and ye are not your own, For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's." These are words of no ordinary significance. Let the young believer ponder them deeply, and earnestly strive and pray that he may "flee youthful lusts, which war against the soul."

There is no class of sins which abound to a more lamentable extent in the present day than those to which we now point. Uncleanness and its twinsister drunkenness, both born of the devil, are the scandal of every part of our land. How much do they weaken the hands and discourage the heart of the Christian minister! How early and rapidly do

they corrupt the hearts of the young, and shed a withering blight over the sweetest and purest natural affections of the soul! How many young men and women who might have been the ornaments, and under God the strength of the Church, have they ruined in this world, and through eternity! "For this ye know," saith the word of the living God, "that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God."

There is a peculiarity in the sin of unchastity which does not attach to other sins. Such is the depraved nature which we carry about with us, so desperately wicked is the human heart when unpurified by the Spirit of God, that evil communications speedily corrupt good manners, and impurity in word or behaviour exerts a most polluting influence upon all around. The flesh, the corrupt nature even in the child of God, retains such a firm hold, that Scripture adopts the strongest language in speaking of the struggle which the Christian maintains in subduing the evil propensities of his nature. Thus, "they that are Christ's" are said to "have crucified the flesh, with its affections and lusts;" and our blessed Lord, alluding to the same difficult and arduous contest exhorts his hearers;

Vv. 29 and 30.

"And if thy right eye offend

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