Exodus 20:14

to worship a false god is to aim at the life of the true God. Idolatry is spiritual adultery. Besides this the sixth and seventh commandments are clearly related; the one guards the life of the individual, the other the life of the family, the sanctity of the home. Consider: -

I. THE SIN ITSELF. When a man by anticipation, or after marriage, breaks the marriage vow; when a woman acquiesces in the crime thus perpetrated, it is murder aimed at the collective life of the family. Madness for society to make light of such a crime, which, if permitted, must destroy society. For notice, the family, not the individual, is the ultimate social unit. [Illustration. Tree covered with foliage: individual leaves and blossoms are connected with twigs and boughs; you may kill a leaf without injury to the bough, but kill the bough, and what about the leaves?] Individuals are leaves and blossoms on the tree of life; it is through the family that they belong to the tree at all. Adultery poisons the bough, and through that withers the leaves and blossoms. Further, the sin involves a spreading plague. It spreads not merely far and wide, but on and on through future generations. You may keep it hid, you cannot keep it inactive. [Illustrate from case of David and Bathsheba; may we not trace his mother's influence in Solomon's sin? He goes after strange women, and then after strange gods. On David's side we have Amnon's sin directly connected with Absolom's rebellion, which again is connected indirectly with the successful rebellion of Jeroboam and resulting idolatry of the northern kingdom. It is still the one sin which spreads; outwards and onwards.] A pure home is a sound spot in the social organism; corrupt its purity, and it becomes a centre of corruption. May notice also, in this connection, that all sins of this class, fornication, uncleanness, etc., do and must manifest themselves in spite of concealment. Other sins (1 Corinthians 6:18) are "outside the body." These are "against the body," and through the body they declare themselves. The pure may not know why they shun the impure, but instinctively they discern the signs of his impurity. His sin shows through him, as a lurid light shows through a lantern.


1. A low ideal of womanhood. According to the Divine ideal, "man" is "male and female;" it is in the union of the sexes that the "image of God" is reflected. According to the human ideal, woman is rather man's play-mate than his help-mate; he chooses her as he would a picture, because he likes the look of her. She is in thought his toy, his doll. In unchristian countries this low ideal of woman is universally prevalent, but even in Christian countries it is too often tacitly if not verbally accepted. Such an ideal cannot but be mischievous. [Illustration: Take lantern from summit of light-house and place it at the foot. It will still guide the ships, though no longer off the rocks but on to them.] Woman must exert influence; place her high and it will be ennobling, set her low and it will become degrading.

2. A low ideal of manhood. If woman is a toy, then that part of a man's nature which can require such a costly toy, will be the most important. The animal nature will be uppermost. The desires will rule.

3. A low level of life. This results naturally from 1 and 2. A man cannot live above the level of his own ideals. If man is a mere animal, woman a mere toy, then marriage is a mere convention. All its sanctity has evaporated. A man will marry if he can afford a wife, if not he will take some cheaper substitute. In the light of the Divine ideal, marriage becomes a duty and a privilege; the completion of that Divine idea of which man unmarried is a mere torso. Guard, of course, against improvident marriages; at the same time it is not improvidence to share, in common, sacrifice and self-denial. One man has two hundred pounds per annum and cannot marry under four hundred pounds; another has four hundred pounds and requires one thousand pounds. If a man divides himself into his income and finds he goes once and nothing over, he may set to work and make his income larger, or he may try to make self smaller; many a man could so reduce his divisor, that, without any increase in his income, the quotient should be two, with a fair remainder. Conclusion. - All such evils spring no doubt from a corrupt heart; but a high ideal will guard the heart and tend to purify it if impure. By the help of God's grace, let man reverence woman, and woman reverence man, and each reverence in himself and in the other that ideal which is their common glory. Before the splendour of the Divine image as thus mirrored in their union, adultery and sins of uncleanness must be driven afar off. - G.

Thou shalt not commit adultery.

1. Unchastity in thought and desire (Matthew 5:28; Proverbs 6:18).

2. Unchastity in conversation (Ephesians 5:3, 4).

3. Sensuality in all its forms and actions.


1. To avoid temptation, by carefully keeping the heart (Proverbs 4:23).

2. To cherish a regard for God and His will (Proverbs 5:21).

3. To keep the body pure as a temple of the Holy Ghost (1 Corinthians 6:17, 18).

4. To seek lawful wedlock when chastity cannot otherwise be retained (1 Corinthians 7:2).

5. To honour the estate of matrimony (Hebrews 13:4).


1. It consumes the body and destroys the soul (Proverbs 5:11; Proverbs 6:32).

2. It destroys a man's name and family (Proverbs 6:33).

3. It involves others in guilt.

4. It breaks down moral principles, and does violence to all the virtues.

5. It incurs the displeasure of God. He has denounced this sin in almost every book of the Bible.

6. It excludes from heaven, unless the sin be repented of and, by the help of God, forsaken (Ephesians 5:5).

7. It will be visited by condign punishment (Hebrews 13:4 with Hebrews 10:31).

(L. O. Thompson.)

The faithful observance of the matrimonial contract is guarded by this Commandment. Marriage holds both socially and morally a quite exceptional rank among contracts.

I. Glance for a moment at its SOCIAL consequences, which are those that bulk most largely in the view of a civil legislator. No community can be more orderly, healthy, rich, or happy, than the sum of the families which compose it.

II. The MORAL aspects of marriage, however, are those which in this place deserve the most careful attention.

1. The law of marriage is a restraint upon the relations of the sexes which at first sight may appear arbitrary or conventional. It is less so than it looks. Monogamy is suggested by the proportion which exists between males and females in the population, and is found to be conducive both to individual well-being and to the growth of society. Manifestly, therefore, it has its roots in the nature of man himself, and is in harmony with the best conditions of his being. Still, it is a restraint; and a restraint imposed just where the animal nature of man is most pronounced and his personal passions are most head-strong. The limitations of the marriage-bond constitute only a single department (though an important one) of that old-fashioned and manly virtue called "temperance," or the due control of oneself. It is a virtue which has to be learned in youth; and in learning it we need to bear in remembrance what St. Peter says, that the lusts of the flesh are the peculiar foes of the spiritual life; its incessant and its mortal foes: "Beloved, I beseech you as sojourners and pilgrims, to abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul."

2. There is a second aspect of this law of marriage to which I must venture to invite your attention. I have said that it testifies to the need for restraint upon the physical appetites. It shows no less the extreme consequence of associating the strongest and most necessary of all appetites with a whole cluster of higher moral and social affections before it can be worthy of human beings. The union of true husband and wife in holy wedlock involves a crowd of complex elements, many of which touch the spiritual nature. It assumes a "marriage of true minds"; for that is not an ideal marriage which is not first a union of souls before the "twain become one flesh." It reposes upon mutual esteem. It presupposes common tastes and establishes a most perfect system of common interests. It is, to begin with, a friendship, although the closest of all friendships. It leads to a noble dependence of weakness upon strength, and a chivalrous guardianship of strength over weakness. It asks for a self-renunciation on the part of each to the welfare of the other, which is the very perfection of disinterested love. It engages principle and honour to sustain mere inclination, and raises what would otherwise be the passion of an hour into a permanent devotion. By means of all this, the nobler social and moral emotions are enlisted in the service of "love," so that there emerges that lofty ideal of chaste wedded affection in which lies the chief poetry of common lives.

(J. O. Dykes, D. D.)

Leighton, in explaining this precept, says, I purpose not to reckon up particularly the several sorts and degrees of sin here forbidden, for chastity is a delicate, tender grace, and can scarcely endure the much naming of itself, far less of those things that are so contrary to it. If you would be freed from the danger and importunity of this evil, make use of these usual and very useful rules:

1. Be sober and temperate in diet: withdraw fuel.

2. Be modest and circumspect in your carriage. Guard your ears and eyes, and watch over all your deportment. Beware of undue and dangerous familiarities with any, upon what pretence soever.

3. Be choice in your society, for there is much in that.

4. In general flee all occasions and incentives to uncleanness. But the solid cure must begin within, otherwise all outward remedies will fail. Then,(1) Seek a total entire change of heart and to find the sanctifying Spirit of grace within you.(2) Labour to have the heart possessed with a deep apprehension of the holiness and purity of God, and then of His presence and eye upon all your actions and thoughts.(3) Acquaint yourselves with spiritual enjoyments.(4) Increase in the love of Christ. Alas! the misery which the sin here forbidden produces!

I. God FORBIDS UNFAITHFULNESS TOWARDS HUSBAND OR WIFE. Any previous step in course of infamy — any kind of incentive to impurity. Indecent conversation. Immodesty in dress. Evil thoughts.


1. Mortify any evil propensity.

2. Strengthen spirituality of mind.

3. Seek society and friendship of good and holy.

4. Fill up time with wholesome and right employment.

5. Observe temperance in all things — eating, sleeping, drinking.

(W. B. Noel, M. A.)


1. Community. Woman is man's complement, his essential peer, his alter ego, his second self; constituting with him the genus mankind, or Homo.

2. Diversity. Man and woman are the two poles of the sphere of mankind — the one implying the other. Like the stars, they differ in their glory.

II. MARRIAGE A DIVINE INSTITUTION. A constituent elemental fact of humanity.

III. THE MARRIAGE RELATION TAKES PRECEDENCE, OF EVERY OTHER HUMAN RELATION (Genesis 2:24). None but the Lord who joins, can disjoin. "Thou shalt not commit adultery." It is the Divine Lawgiver's ordinance, guarding the chastity of marriage, the sanctity of home, the blessedness of the household, the preservation of society, the upbuilding of mankind. Let earth's civic authorities, then, take exceeding care that they legislate and administer in this supreme matter of marriage according to the Divine oracle. Would God they all conceived it according to the standard and in the spirit of the Nazarine Teacher! And so we pass from the Seventh Commandment itself to the Divine Man's exposition of it (Matthew 5:27-32). Here at least is freshness of moral statement, radiant in beauties of holiness, born from the morning, sparkling with the dew of perpetual youth. Our topic, I must sorrowfully add, is pertinent to our age and land. Loose notions touching marriage, divorce, re-marriage, are painfully, alarmingly prevalent. We need not go so far as Utah to find Mormons, theoretical and practical. Let it be thundered from the pulpit, from the academy, from the forum, that divorce (absolute divorce, allowing re-marriage), saving for one solitary cause, is a threefold crime — a crime against home, a crime against society, a crime against God. And now let us ponder the Divine Man's prescription for the cure of unchastity: "If thy right eye causeth thee to stumble, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: and if thy right hand causeth thee to stumble, cut it off, and cast it from thee." No; Christ's asceticism is not asceticism for its own sake, but asceticism for the sake of the moral discipline and rectification of character. Enough that I simply remind you that whatever fosters or suggests unchaste desire or thought — whether it be painting or statuary, opera or dance, romance or song, ambiguous allusion or the figment of one's own imagination, as in the prophet Ezekiel's vision of the chambers of imagery — it must be instantly, remorselessly, everlastingly renounced.

(G. D. Boardman.)


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.)

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.


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.)

I. SOMETHING IMPLIED — that the ordinance of marriage should be observed; "let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband," "marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled." Marriage is a type and resemblance of the mystical union between Christ and His Church. Special duties belonging to marriage are love and fidelity.

1. Love. Love is the marriage of the affections.

2. Fidelity. Among the Romans, on the day of marriage, the woman presented to her husband fire and water: fire refines metal, water cleanseth; hereby signifying, that she would live with her husband in chastity and sincerity.

II. SOMETHING FORBIDDEN — the infecting ourselves with bodily pollution and uncleanness: "thou shalt not commit adultery." The fountain of this sin is lust. Since the fall, holy love is degenerated to lust. Lust is the fever of the soul. There is a twofold adultery:

1. Mental; "whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her, hath committed adultery with her already in his heart." As a man may die of an inward bleeding, so he may be damned for the inward boilings of lust, if they be not mortified.

2. Corporal adultery, when sin hath conceived, and brought forth in the act.Wherein appears the heinousness of this sin of adultery?

1. In that adultery is the breach of the marriage oath.

2. The heinousness of adultery lies in this, that it is such a high dishonour done to God.

3. The heinousness of adultery lies in this, that it is committed with mature deliberation. First, there is the contriving the sin in the mind, then consent in the will, and then the sin is put forth in act. To sin against the light of nature, and to sin deliberately, is like the dye to the wool, it gives sin a tincture, and dyes it of a crimson colour.

4. That which makes adultery so heinous is, that it is a sin after remedy. God hath provided a remedy to prevent this sin; "to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife." Therefore after this remedy prescribed, to be guilty of fornication or adultery, is inexcusable; it is like a rich thief, that steals when he hath no need. It is matter of lamentation to see this Commandment so slighted and violated among us. Now, that I may deter you from adultery, let me show you the great evil of it. First, it is a thievish sin. Adultery is the highest sort of theft; the adulterer steals from his neighbour that which is more than his goods and estate, he steals away his wife from him, "who is flesh of his flesh." Secondly, adultery debaseth a person; it makes him resemble the beasts; therefore the adulterer is described like a horse neighing: "every one neighed after his neighbour's wife." Nay, this is worse than brutish; for some creatures that are void of reason, yet, by the instinct of nature, observe a kind of decorum of chastity. The turtle-dove is a chaste creature, and keeps to its mate; the stork, wherever he flies, comes into no nest but his own. Naturalists write, if a stork, leaving his own mate, joineth with any other, all the rest of the storks fall upon him and pull his feathers from him. Adultery is worse than brutish, it degrades a person of his honour. Thirdly, adultery doth pollute and befilthy a person. The body of a harlot is a walking dunghill, and her soul a lesser hell. Fourthly, adultery is destructive to the body. Uncleanness turns the body into a hospital, it wastes the radical moisture, rots the skull, eats the beauty of the face. As the flame wastes the candle, so the fire of lust consumes the bones. Fifthly, adultery is a purgatory to the purse: as it wastes the body, so the estate, by means of a whorish woman a man is brought to a piece of bread. Sixthly, adultery blots and eclipseth the name; "whoso committeth adultery with a woman, a wound and dishonour shall he get, and his reproach shall not be wiped away." Some while they get wounds, get honour. The soldier's wounds are full of honour; the martyr's wounds for Christ are full of honour; these get honour while they get wounds: but the adulterer gets wounds in his name, but no honour: "his reproach shall not be wiped away." Seventhly, this sin doth much eclipse the light of reason, it steals away the understanding, it stupefies the heart; "whoredom takes away the heart." It eats out all heart for good. Solomon besotted himself with women, and they enticed him to idolatry. Eighthly, this sin of adultery ushers in temporal judgments. This sin, like a scorpion, carries a sting in the tail of it. The adultery of Paris and Helena, a beautiful strumpet, ended in the ruin of Troy, and was the death both of Paris and Helena. "Jealousy is the rage of a man"; and the adulterer is oft killed in the act of his sin. Ninthly, adultery, without repentance, damns the soul. How may we abstain from this sin of adultery? I shall lay down some directions, by way of antidote, to keep you from being infected with this sin.

1. Come not into the company of a whorish woman; avoid her house, as a seaman doth a rock; "come not near the door of her house."

2. Look to yon eyes.

3. Look to your lips.

4. Look in a special manner to your heart.

5. Look to your attire. A wanton dress is a provocation to lust.

6. Take heed of evil company.

7. Beware of going to plays. A play-house is oft the preface to a whore-house.

8. Take heed of mixed dancing. Dances draw the heart to folly by wanton gestures, by unchaste touches, by lustful looks.

9. Take heed of lascivious books and pictures.

10. Take heed of excess in diet. The flesh pampered is apt to rebel.

11. Take heed of idleness. When a man is out of a calling, now he is fit to receive any temptation.

12. To avoid fornication and adultery let every man have a chaste, entire love to his own wife. It is not the having a wife, but the loving a wife makes a man live chastely. He who loves his wife, whom Solomon calls his fountain, will not go abroad to drink of muddy, poisoned waters.

13. Labour to get the fear of God into your hearts, "by the fear of the Lord men depart from evil." As the banks keep out the water, so the fear of the Lord keeps out uncleanness. Such as want the fear of God, want the bridle that should check them from sin.

14. Set a delight in the Word of God. "Let the Scriptures be my chaste delights." The reason why persons seek after unchaste, sinful pleasures is because they have no better. He that hath once tasted Christ in a promise, is ravished with delight; and how would he scorn a motion to sin!

15. If you would abstain from adultery, use serious consideration. Consider,(1) God sees thee in the act of sin.(2) Few that are entangled in the sin of adultery, recover out of the snare; "none that go to her return again." Soft pleasures harden the heart.(3) Consider what the Scripture saith, that it may lay a bar in the way to this sin, "I will be a swift witness against adulterers."(4) Consider the sad farewell this sin of adultery leaves: it leaves a hell in the conscience (Proverbs 5:3, 4).

16. Pray against this sin. If the body must be kept pure from defilement, much more the soul of a Christian must be kept pure.

( T. Watson.)


1. Marriage is the union of one man with one woman until death do them part.

(1)A mutual compact.

(2)A civil contract.

(3)A vital and spiritual union.

(4)A Divine institution.

2. The sacredness of the marriage contract as between one man and one woman was among the first things to be sullied by the fall, and through the lingering progress of many centuries has but slowly recovered.


1. The man and the woman are the two halves of God's image. Not the masculine qualities alone, but also the feminine; not man's strength alone and vigour, but also woman's beauty and gentleness, are reflections of what, in the archetype, is found in God alone.

2. In this principle that the sexes are complemental to each other, together making one reflection of the image of God, we must learn that as a rule marriage is the appointed instrument for our highest moral development. When souls are wedded, when husband and wife alike are baptized into the Divine secret of utter self-abnegation, so that every drudgery is glorified, and every sacrifice made sweet, earth has no fairer picture of celestial joys.


(W. J. Woods, B. A.)

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.)

Marriage is a Divine institution founded in the nature of man as created by God. There is no higher mode of living for man and woman than to be husband and wife. It is the most intimate and sacred union that can exist on earth, to which all other relations are to give place. It is the union of one man and one woman for life, whose duties are not only to each other and to society, but to God. The legitimate power of the State is simply to enforce the law of God. If the State attempts to separate those whom God hath joined together, or to unite those whom God forbids to unite, her laws are nullities at the bar of conscience. God's institution of marriage is the foundation of the family, and the family is the foundation of society, the State, and the Church. Rome rose by the sanctity of her family life, and fell when it was undermined, as any fabric however stately will fall when the foundation is removed. Her rise was through the courage of her men and the virtue of her women. The perpetual fire on the altar of the Temple of Vesta, tended by a chosen band of white-robed virgins, was a true symbol of her strength. But the days of degeneration came, and the fire flickered and went out. There were no divorces in the early years of her history. There were many easily obtained divorces in the years of her luxury. Mutual consent was all that was needed to break the tie. Now the Roman laws in their later laxness are at the basis of much of our (American) legislation, and have displaced the law of God. We should be aroused from indifference by her experience. Like cause will produce like effect. Beyond love of our country Christian sentiment should arouse in its strength, and impress God's law of marriage upon the statute books of our States. It is enough to enshrine marriage in our regard, that it is ordained by God and governed by His law. Now all God's laws are for the highest good of man, and hence we find many inestimable blessings flowing from marriage. It confers happiness upon the married. True, there are unhappy marriages. These who marry for property will be very apt to find the husband or wife an encumbrance. Those who marry heedlessly will find here as everywhere that heedlessness brings disaster. But the great majority of married people are happier for the marriage, as happy as their circumstances and character will allow. Poverty can never have the pleasures of wealth, but can have more pleasure in a loving marriage than in single loneliness. Love makes many a cottage happy. Covetousness can never have the pleasure of generosity, but in a loving marriage it finds dwarfing influences, and so becomes a smaller barrier to happiness. Selfishness in whatever form can never have real happiness, but true love in marriage tends to destroy selfishness. Marriage is God's grand institution for cultivating love in human hearts. What would this sin-stricken world be without the affections of the family circle, the love of husband and wife, parents and children, brothers and sisters? What refining influences come into this world with a little child! How selfish and narrow and hard our hearts and lives would become were it not for God's gift of children, awakening gratitude to Him, self-sacrificing love for them, and all the sweet sympathies and tender patient ministries of the home! What more helpless than a babe? God in marriage secures the might of love for its helplessness. What more ignorant? God secures teachers whose patience is well-nigh inexhaustible. Is there danger the child may become rough and selfish? In the required yielding to one another of brothers and sisters of different ages is found an antidote of selfishness, and the cultivation of gentle manners. Certainly the child will need government. The family is God's place for cultivating obedience to law from the earliest hours of childhood. Submission to right authority is the spirit of a good child, of a good citizen, of a good Christian. Is there any wonder, then, that God guards this blessed institution of marriage against all that would pollute and destroy it? If the frequency and earnestness of the warnings of the Holy Scripture against any sin measure the tendency of man to commit that sin, then impurity is one of the most fearfully prevalent and dreadful sins of the race; and so the history of the past and of to-day plainly teaches. Our laws are lax here too. They do not regard adultery and its hideous kindred as crimes. To steal ten dollars sends a man to prison. To steal happiness and honour only gives a right to sue for damages. And has society, the State, no interest in such things? Surely adultery is a crime. However silent our laws may be, let us never forget that God is not silent. The Bible does not whisper, it thunders peal on peal the hot denunciations of Divine wrath against the adulterer. Marriage is further ennobled in our thought since God has chosen this most intimate and sacred union to illustrate the union between Christ and His Church. On the plains of Northern Italy there stands an ancient and beautiful city. Near its centre rises a building of pure white marble, wonderful for its grandeur and beauty, seeming more like a dream from heaven than a creation of the earth. As one stands upon the roof of this cathedral of Milan, surrounded by the multitude of its dazzling pinnacles and spires, he may look far off to the north, over the plains and hills, until his eye rests upon the snowclad summits of the Alps, those other pinnacles and spires which God Himself created, and clothed with the ever pure white garments of the skies. So, from this purest of earth's relationships, we lift our thoughts to the mystical union of life and love, between the heaven and the earth, the marriage of the Church to her Divine Lord. Who shall speak of the love and faithfulness of this Divine Bridegroom, the love which knows no changing, which led Him to lay down His life for His Church? How steadily and warmly should her love go out to Him!

(F. S. Schenck.)

Sir Edward Coke was very neat in his dress, and it was one of his sentiments, "that the cleanness of a man's clothes ought to put him in mind of keeping all clean within."

A Greek maid, being asked what fortune she would bring her husband, answered: "I will bring him what is more valuable than any treasure — a heart unspotted, a virtue without a stain, which is all that descended to me from my parents." No woman could have a more valuable dowry!

One bright July morning I was driving to town. As I came to the top of the hill just above the bridge, on the outskirts of the place, a little boy, from a cottage on the north side of the road, fired off a small cannon. He was so near the road, the cannon made so great a noise, and the whole thing came so unexpectedly, that my little bay pony took fright, and shied, with a spring, to the other side of the road. He not only overturned the carriage in doing so, but was with great difficulty reined in and prevented from running away. "You should not fire your cannon so near the road," said I to the boy; "you frightened my horse badly, and nearly made him run away." "I didn't mean to do it," said he, "but it got agoing before I saw the horse, and then I couldn't stop it." I said no more, but drove on, thinking of the boy's answer, as I have often thought of it since, though all this happened years ago. "Couldn't stop it." How often, when we start "lust," there is no stopping. Do not begin, and the difficulty will not arise — it will not get "a-going."

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