The Seventh Commandment
Exodus 20:14
You shall not commit adultery.


1. The preservation of our own chastity and purity. There is a twofold chastity.

(1) In single life; when it is led in purity, it is like the angelical; when in impurity, it is devilish.

(2) There is conjugal chastity, when married persons keep themselves within the bounds of the law of that state. This lies in two things. (a) With respect to all others, keeping themselves pure and uncorrupted. (b) With respect to one another, keeping themselves within the bounds of Christian sobriety and moderation.

2. This command requires us to preserve the chastity of others, and that so far as we can, in their hearts, lips, and lives. Our duty in this point may be reduced to these two heads.

(1) That we may do nothing which may ensnare others. For whosoever lays the snare is partner in the sin that comes by it.

(2) That we do everything incumbent on us to preserve the chastity of others, in heart, speech, and behaviour. Let married persons live together in due love and affection to one another. Let each one be an example of purity to others. Let those whom ye see in danger be rescued by all means, whether by force or persuasion, as the circumstances require. And let none bring others' guilt on their own heads, by being silent when they see the smoke, till the flame rise and discover itself. Let parents and masters do what they can to prevent the ruin of their children and servants, by rebuking any lightness about them, exhorting them, and praying for them; keeping them out of ill company, not suffering them to be idle or vague, and seasonably disposing of children in marriage.


1. Uncleanness in heart, all speculative filthiness, unclean imaginations, thoughts, purposes, and affections, though people do not intend to pursue them to the gross act (Matthew 5:28).

2. Uncleanness in words, all filthy communications and obscene language (Ephesians 4:29).

3. Uncleanness in actions. Besides the gross acts, there are others leading thereunto, which are there also forbidden. As,

(1) Wanton looks: there are "eyes full of adultery" (2 Peter 2:14); "wanton eyes" (Isaiah 3:16).

(2) Impudent and light behaviour, and immodest gestures (Isaiah 3:16); indecent postures, contrary to religion and good manners.

(3) Luxurious embraces and dalliances. These are as smoke going before the flame, and were practised by the adulterous whore (Proverbs 7:13).I shall next make some improvement of this subject.

1. Let those that have fallen into the sin of uncleanness, repent, and walk humbly all the days of their life under the sense of it.

2. Let those that stand take heed lest they fall. Labour to get your hearts possessed with a dread of this sin, and watch against it, especially ye that are young people, seeing it is a sin most incident to youth when the passions are most vigorous; which yet may stick fast with the blue marks of God's displeasure upon you when you come to age. For motives, consider —

(1) It is not only a sin, but ordinarily, if not always a plague and punishment for other sins.

(2) It is a sin that very few ever get grace to repent of. It stupefies the conscience, and wastes all sense of sin from it (Hosea 4:11).

(3) It dishonours and debases the body (1 Corinthians 6:18).

(4) It leaves an indelible stain upon their reputation; their honour is sunk, and there is no recovering of it (Proverbs 6:33).

(5) Poverty and want oft-times follow it. It natively tends to poverty (Proverbs 5:10), and there is a secret curse of that nature that often accompanies it (Proverbs 6:26).

(6) It is ruining to the soul (Proverbs 6:32). "He that doth it" — commit adultery with a woman — "destroyeth his own soul." It ruins it here, in so far as it defiles the conscience, fetters the affections, blinds the mind, utterly unfits for communion with God, till the guilt be washed off by the application of Christ's blood, after a frightful awakening of the conscience. And if they do not repent of this sin, it will destroy the soul for ever. Let these Scriptures imprint a horror of it on the minds of all (Hebrews 13:4; 1 Corinthians 6:9; Galatians 5:19; Revelation 21:8).

(T. Boston, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Thou shalt not commit adultery.

WEB: "You shall not commit adultery.

The Seventh Commandment
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