You shall not commit adultery.
I. That which is here literally and expressly FORBIDDEN is —
1. That detestable and loathsome sin of adultery. There are two things in this sin of adultery that make it so exceeding heinous.
(1) The luxury and incontinency of it: in letting loose the reins to a brutish concupiscence; and yielding up the body to pollution and the soul to damnation.
(2) The injustice of it: being a deceit of the highest and most injurious nature that can be.
2. This Commandment forbids the uncleanness of fornication. Which, properly, is the sin committed betwixt two single persons. And, though it hath not some aggravations that belong to the other, yet it is an abominable sin in the sight of God (see 1 Corinthians 6:9, 10; Revelation 22:15; Galatians 5:19; Colossians 3:5).
3. Here, likewise, are forbidden all incestuous mixtures; or uncleanness between those who are related to each other within the degrees of kindred specified (Leviticus 18:6-18).
4. Here is likewise forbidden polygamy, or a taking a wife to her sister; that is, to another (Leviticus 18:18).
5. Here also are forbidden all those monsters of unnatural lust, and those prodigies of villainy and filthiness, which are not fit to be named among men; but thought fit to be punished upon beasts themselves "as ye may read (Leviticus 20:15, 16; Leviticus 18:22, 23).
6. All those things that may be incentives to lust and add fuel to this fire are likewise forbidden in this Command.
7. Because this law is spiritual, therefore it not only forbids the gross outward acts of filthiness but the inward uncleanness of the heart; all lustful contemplations, and ideas, and evil concupiscences.
II. THE GREATNESS AND HEINOUS NATURE OF THIS SIN appears —
1. In that it is a sin which murders two souls at once, and, therefore, the most uncharitable sin in the world.
2. This is the most degrading sin of all others.
3. This is a sin that doth, most of all ethers, obscure and extinguish the light of a man's natural reason and understanding.
4. This is a sin justly the most infamous and scandalous amongst men (Proverbs 6:32, 33).
5. Consider, that this sin of uncleanness is a kind of sacrilege; a converting of that which is sacred and dedicated unto a profane use.
6. Consider, if all these things will not prevail, the dreadful punishment that God threatens to inflict upon all who are guilty of this sin. Yea, He speaks of it as a sin that He can hardly be persuaded to pardon; a sin that puzzles infinite mercy to forgive (Jeremiah 5:7, 8, 9). And, indeed, God doth often, in this life, visit this sin: sometimes, by filling their loins with strange and loathsome diseases (Proverbs 6:26), sometimes, by reducing them to extreme beggary; for this sin, as Job speaks, is a fire that consumeth to destruction, and would root out all his increase. Yea, this very sin is so great a punishment for itself that the Wise Man tells us (Proverbs 22:14) that those whom God hates shall fall into it.
III. Let me now give you some CAUTIONARY RULES AND DIRECTIONS, by observing of which you may be preserved from it.
1. Be sure that you keep a narrow watch over your senses. For those are the sluices which, instead of letting in pleasant streams to refresh, do commonly let in nothing but mud to pollute the soul.
2. Addict thyself to sobriety and temperance; and, by these, beat down thy body and keep it in subjection to thy reason and religion.
3. Continually exercise thyself in some honest and lawful employment. Lust grows active when we grow idle.
4. Be earnest and frequent in prayer: and, if thou sometimes joinest fasting with thy prayers, they will be shot up to heaven with a cleaner strength. For this sin of uncleanness is one of those devils that goes not out but by fasting and prayer. God is a God of purity. Instantly beg of Him, that He would send down His pure and chaste Spirit into thy heart, to cleanse thy thoughts and thy affections from all unclean desires.
(Bp. E. Hopkins.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Thou shalt not commit adultery.