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

The Jewish tradition in the time of our Lord taught that it forbad simply the act of adultery. More, says Christ (Matthew 5:27, 28), it forbids all impure thoughts and desires. Let us be as practical as possible about guarding against the beginnings of this sin. We who are parents should guard against its beginning in our children. We all agree that ignorance is not the mother of devotion, and yet act as if ignorance was the mother of purity. Knowledge is the basis of true religion, and the safeguard of virtue. Our children will learn concerning the new-born passions which fire their imagination, either from impure companions or from you, and it is a matter of tremendous importance whether they learn purely or impurely. These new-born passions have a wise purpose in the will of God, and governed by His law they become the source of the purest and richest blessings. They are as God's gift of fire to us. Controlled, it makes our firesides places of comfort and cheer; uncontrolled, it consumes our homes and leaves us miserable wanderers over a wintry waste. They are, like fire, excellent servants but terrible masters. It is well to know their nature and God's law for their control. We will all do well, and especially the young, to cultivate taste for purity, so keen and sensitive that it will instinctively turn from the suggestion of impurity with loathing. We can do this in selecting our reading, and there is much need of it. There are many novels and poems of insinuating vice and suggestive impurity. It is wise to let our novel-reading be a very small proportion of the whole, simply for needed recreation, and then only the very best, of noble characters and heroic deeds; and our poetry, of fair ideals and beautiful scenes. We should cultivate the taste for purity in the choice of our companionship. Let our acquaintanceship even, as far as it is a matter of our choice, be of those whose delight is in pure thinking and feeling, in clean speaking and living; and let our friendship, which is altogether a matter of choice, be only with the pure. We strive to have in our gardens the most beautiful flowers, and the finest flavoured fruit, but we are careful to have no poison vine, however brilliant its colours, trail over the flowers, no poison berries, however tempting to the sight, hang side by side with the fruit. Let us take at least as good care of our minds and hearts as we do of our gardens. Now we may approach the subject of marriage. A high ideal of marriage is a great incentive to purity of heart. If young people anticipate a pure marriage, every step towards it must be in the way of virtue. If you wish to win a pure white soul for your lifelong companion, you will be unwilling to give less than you wish to receive. You will keep your own soul sweet and clean.

(F. S. Schenck.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Thou shalt not commit adultery.

WEB: "You shall not commit adultery.

The Power of Passion
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