« PreviousContinue »
times lasting and incurable wound, on innocent families, and friends. They have often blasted the fondest hopes of parents; and they have gone down to their graves, mourning over a lost child. They have destroyed the peace and enjoyment of a partner for the rest of life. They have entailed disgrace upon children. And they have caused brothers and sisters to blush, whenever the name of a once beloved brother or sister has been pronounced in their hearing.
In the sight of God some of the sins against this commandment are so offensive, and so injurious to the interests of society, that by the laws which he gave the Jews, they who were guilty of them, were to be punished with death.
Sins against this commandment also, exclude from the kingdom of heaven. The person cannot be a child of God who habitually lives in a violation of the seventh commandment. The Scriptures are very plain on this subject. Attend to the following texts; "Whoremongers and adulterers God will judge;" Heb. xiii. 4. "Mortify your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness. For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience;" Col. iii. 6. "Fornication, and all uncleanness, let it not be once named among you. For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God;" Eph. v. 3, 5. "Be not deceived, neither fornicators, nor adulterers shall inherit the kingdom of God;" 1 Cor. vi. 9, 10. "The works of the flesh are manifest which are these, adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness-of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God;" Gal. v. 19, 21. These texts unequivocally teach that they who live in sins against the seventh commandment, cannot have any title to the favour of God; but must be under his wrath, and in the way to everlasting perdition. And if they should die without true repentance for these sins, they will inevitably perish forever.
And a very alarming consideration on this subject is, there is but little hope that persons who have become habituated to these crimes ever will repent and forsake their sins. Sins against the seventh commandment per
haps more than any other harden the heart, stupify the conscience, and provoke God to withdraw his Holy Spirit, and leave the person to his own corrupt heart. In confirmation of this remark we read in the Scriptures; "Whoredom and wine and new wine take away the heart;" Hos. iv. ii. Solomon speaking of the abandoned woman, and warning others to beware of her, says; "Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death;" Prov. vii. 11. And in another place; "Her house inclineth unto death, and her paths unto the dead: None that go unto her return again, neither take they hold of the paths of life;" Prov. ii. 18, 19.
The preceding considerations showing the evils of the sins against the seventh commandment are very solemn, and ought to alarm any who may be addicted to these sins; and lead them without delay, as they value their own immortal souls, and would avoid the tremendous wrath of God, to break off their sins, repent of them, and seek for forgiveness and cleansing, in the blood of Christ. Although there is but little hope that such will repent, and forsake their sins; yet if they do, and flee to Christ by faith, notwithstanding the odiousness of their sins in the sight of God, he will pardon, accept and save them. For the blood of Christ cleanseth from all sin;" 1 John i. 7. And we read of Corinthians who had been addicted to these sins, being "washed, sanctified, and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God;" 1 Cor. vi. 11.
And let all who are not as yet addicted to these sins, as they value their souls and the favour of God, guard against every thing which may lead them away from the path of virtue.-AMEN.
DUTIES OF THE EIGHTH COMMANDMENT.
1 TIMOTHY V. 8.
"But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel."
It is the duty of a church to make provision for the relief of their poor widows. This the apostle enjoined upon Timothy, in our text. But at the same time he informed him, that if any widows had children or nephews, who were able to take care of them, they ought to do it, and not suffer them to be chargeable to the church. This duty our text was intended to enforce.
Hence we learn, that a neglect to provide for our own households is inconsistent with true religion.
Persons guilty of such conduct, if they profess faith in Christ, by their works deny him. And they not only deny the faith which they profess; but are worse than infidels, or the unbelieving Pagans; because they acknowledge, and generally perform the duty of taking care of their own households; and professing christians have more light.
The text has been selected as the foundation of a discourse on the duties required in the eighth commandment, with respect to our own estate.
The eighth commandment is, "Thou shalt not steal." This commandment prohibits not only theft properly so called; but also all kinds of injustice and unmercifulness, with respect to the outward estate, whether of ourselves or others. And as in the commandments generally, the prohibition of any sin implies that the contrary duty is commanded; so in the eighth, the sins forbidden imply at the contrary duties are required.
The duties required in the eighth commandment, we stated in our catechism, in the answer to the 74th on, as follows:
"What is required in the eighth commandment?
The eighth commandment requireth the lawful procuring and furthering the wealth and outward estate of ourselves and oth
The duties of this commandment according to this answer, relate either to our own estate, or to the estate of others. In regard to our own estate this commandment requires, that we, in a lawful manner, endeavour to procure and further our own wealth and outward estate; and in regard to the estate of others, it requires, that we, in a lawful manner endeavour to procure and further the wealth and outward estate of others.
The object of this discourse is, to illustrate the duties, which, according to this commandment, we owe ourselves.
It is our duty to endeavour to obtain a portion of the good things of this world, that we, and our families may be comfortable, and that we may have the means of assisting those who may need our aid, and of doing good in the world. We ought not to be greatly anxious about the things of this world, or to esteem them the chief good, or to pursue them to the neglect, or the breach of God's commandments; but it is not only permissible to seek after them in a lawful way; but it is our duty. This is taught in our text; "If any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith and is worse than an infidel." Jacob was anxious to provide for his own house; for he expostulated with Laban, saying, "When shall I provide for mine own house also;" Gen. xxx. 30, And Paul wrote to the Corinthians, "The parents ought to lay up for the children;" 2 Cor.xii. 14. The same duty is further evident from all the numerous exhortations we find in the Scriptures to administer of our substance to the relief and comfort of the needy, which we could not do if we had not of this world's goods. To acquire property, it is our duty to be industrious, frugal, and prudent in the management of our temporal affairs. 1. It is our duty to be industrious. Industry is a duty frequently taught in the Scriptures; and an indolent christian, is almost if not altogether a contradiction. That industry is a duty we are taught in the curse, which was pronounced upon man after the fall; "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground;" Gen. iii. 19. The duty of industry is also shown
in the following passages among others. "Not slothful in business;" Rom. xii. 11. "Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: which having no guide, overseer or ruler, provide their meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest. How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? When wilt thou arise out of thy sleep? Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep so shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man;" Prov. vi. 6-11. "The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing; but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat;" Prov. xiii. 4. "He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand but the hand of the diligent maketh rich;" Prov. x. 4. "Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men;" Prov. xxii. 29. "I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding; and lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down. Yet a little sleep a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: so shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth; and thy want as an armed man;" Prov. xxiv. 30-34. "Let him that stole steal no more; but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth;" Eph. iv. 28. "If any would not work, neither should he eat. We command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread;" 2 Thes. iii. 10, 12. In these passages, industry is enjoined as a duty, slothfulness is condemned, and the connexion of the former with a competency and affluence, and of the latter with poverty, is taught. A man ought to be engaged in some lawful business, and to be industrious in it.
And here a question is suggested. What is a lawful business or calling? I answer, that which will not necessarily lead to the neglect of any required duties, or to the breach of any of God's commandments. If a calling allow us no time or opportunity for the devotional duties of the closet, or of the family; if it lead to the breach of the Sabbath; if it must be followed by deceit, or falsehood, or dishonesty; or if it be connected with extortion and oppression,--it cannot be a lawful cal