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The Apostle would not be under the Power even of lawful Things.

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Whereas some among the newly converted Corinthians, might

not be sufficiently sensible of the Enormity of the Sin of Fornication, the Apostle, after some useful Refleétions on Things, really indifferent, expresses himself frongly on that Head, and pleads those Views peculiar to Christianity, which efpecially illustrate the Heinousness of it. 1 Cor, VI. 12, to the End.

12.

1 CORINTHIANS VI. 12.

I. CORINTHIANS VI. 12.
LL Things are lawful
A

KNOW, some of you at Corinth, allow Sect. 11. unto me,

but all Things are not expedient:

to All Things are lawful for and find many Excuses for doing Things, which 1. Cor. VII. me, but I will not be others conscientiously scruple : But as Matters brought under the Power of any.

at present stand, I think it necessary to give you
some Cautions upon this Head. Suppose the
Things in Question to be as indifferent in their
own Nature, as many

of you would fain per-
suade yourselves and others, they are: I will, for
Argument Sake, grant, that all these Things are
lawful for me; but at the same Time

you

must acknowledge, if you reflect ever so little, that all such Things are not convenient : Circumstances may make it improper for me to do that, which is not absolutely and universally criminal. And though it be allowed, that all Things in Question are lawful for me, nevertheless I will not be brought under the Power of any such Thing. But am folicitous to maintain such a Superiority to Appetite

and Paffion, as becomes a Man, and a Christian,
13 Meats for the Belly, in these Cases. This Maxim may particularly 13
But God hall destroy both Kind of Food, and another. All Meats, capa-
and the Belly for Meats : be applied to the supposed Difference between one

ble of ministering to our Nourishment, [are] in-
differently made for the Use of the Belly, and the
Belly is made for receiving and digesting Meats.
It is true; but then it ought to be remembered,

it

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Much less would be allow Fornication: **** Sect. 11.

that the Time will quickly come, when GOD it and them. Now the Body will destroy both it and them; Meats, and the is not for Fornication, but

for the Lord; and the Lord 1 Cor. VI. Organs, by which they have been received, and for the Body.

this animal Frame, which has been nourished by
them, thall be mixed together in the Grave, and
moulder into Dust. Since therefore they refer
only to this mortal Body, so soon to be reduced to
its first mean Principles, it is certainly beneath
the Dignity of the Christian Character to be a Slave
to this or that Kind of Meats;

any

Instan-
.cęs, to indulge this perishing Flesh, so as to in-
jure the Souls of others, or hazard our own.
But if

any Man extend the Maxim, I have
mentioned above, to patronize any kind of Lewd-
ness, it would be a groundless and most unjusti-
fiable Inference : For it is most certain, that the
Body is not made for so infamous a Purpose as
Fornication, nor can the Commission of it be
ever necessary, or expedient; but it was on the
contrary, formed for the Service of the Lord,
that, while we continue in it, we might devote
all our animal, as well as rational Powers, to our
great Creator and Redeemer.; and the Lord is in
an important Sense for the Body, he is the great
Saviour of the Body as well as of the Soul, and
will make it at last appear, that he hath not for-
gotten the meaner Part of our Nature, in the

gracious Scheme he hath formed for our Felicity. 14 And this Scheme shall surely be effectual; for

14 And God hath both GOD the Father bath both raised up the Lord Je- allo raise up us by his own

raised the Lord, and will
sus Christ, from the Dead to an immortal Life, Power.
and will also raise us up, in like Manner, by bis
Divine and Alinighty Power, and transform these
Bodies of ours into a Resemblance of the glori-
fied Body of our Lord; which should certainly
raise us above all impure Affections and Defires, :
and engage us to live in the Body, in fome Con-

formity to fo divine and glorious a Hope.
15 Enter, I beseech you, into the Thought; and

15 Know ye not, that let me expostulate freely with those, who are

your ready to forget it. Know ye not indeed, tbat, as ya Bodies make an essential Part of yourselves,

they

15.

Flesh.

For our Bodies are the Members of Christ;

273 your Bodies are the Mem- they are to be considered as Members of Christ, Sect. 11. bers of Chrift? Shall I then belonging, as it were, to his Body, and in that and make them the MemView under his Care, as to their final'and everlast- i Cor. VI. bers of an Harlot ? God ing Happiness with him. Shall I then take these, forbid.

which I am taught to look upon, as in an im-
portant Sense the Members of Christ, and prosti-
tute them to so infamous a Purpose, as to make
them the Members of an Harlot by unlawful Em-
braces ? GOD forbid! It is a Thing not to be

thought of, without the utmost Abhorrence and
16 What, know ye not Indignation. What, know g'e not, that be, who 16
that he which is joined to is thus joined to an Harlot, is one Body with her ?
two (faith he) Thall be one For say (the Divine Oracles ;] speaking of that

Conjunction, which Whoredom prostitutes to the
Dishonour of Matrimony, so wisely and graci-
ously ordained by God; (Gen. ii. 24.) they two,

thať is, the Man and his Wife, shall be one Flesh.
17 But he that is joined But on the other Hand, be that is joined to the 17
unto the Lord, is one Spirit. Lord by a true Faith, is one Spirit with him.

And as the Head and Members of the natural
Body are one, as they are acted upon by the
same Spirit, so the same divine and holy Spirit,
which lives in Christ as the Head, is communi-
cated to us from him; just as the vital Spirits are
communicated from the Head to the Limbs.
Now what Thought can be more monstrons,
than that any one should think of being, at the

same Time, one Spirit with the Lord, and one
18 Flee Fornication. E- Flesh with an Harlot? Let this therefore be 18
very. Sin that a Man doeth, instead of ten thousand Arguments, to engage
is without the Body: But
he that committeth Forni- you to flee Whoredom : Concerning which one may
cation, finneth against his farther plead, that every [other] Sin, which a Man
own Body.

practises, is without the Body ; its Effects fall not
so directly upon the Body, but often more imme-
diately upon the Mind (a). But be that commit-
teth Wboredom, or any kind of Lewdness, fin-
neth particularly against his own Body (6), not

only

(a) Every [other] Sin, &c.] It would be unreasonable to insist on the most rigorous Interpretation of these Words; but the general Sense is plain and true, and I suppose, that on the whole, there is no other Sin, by which the Body receives equal Detriment, considering not only its Nature, but how much it has prevailed. (6) He that committeth Whoredom, finneth against his own Body.] This is well illustrated Vol. IV.

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even own.

274

And the Temples of the Holy Ghost. Şect. 11. only polluting and debasing it, by making it one

with so infamous a Creature, but perhaps infecting I Cor. VI. and infeebling, wasting and consuming it, which 18,

these Vices, when grown habitual and frequent,
have an apparent Tendency to effect. (Compare
Prov. V. II.

Job xxxvi. 14.) There is also
another View, in which the Baseness of this
Crime must appear to you, Christians, in Con-

sequence of your Relation to that blessed Agent,
19 the Spirit of God. Have you not all been bap 19 What, know ye not

tized in his Name, and instructed in your Rela- that your Body is the Tem,
tion to him? What, know ye not, that your Body pole of the Holy Ghof which
is the Temple of the Holy Ghost, which is in you, God, and ye are not your
dedicated to him, and inhabited by him :
that Spirit, which you receive of GOD, as his
most valuable Gift? And on the whole, in what-
ever View

you consider yourselves, it will appear,
that ye are not by any Means your own Property,
nor can be justly at your own Disposal, to seek
your present Gratification without Controul, or
Regard to the Will of a Superior.

For the contrary is most apparent; ye are 20 For ye are bought bought with a Price, and that infinitely beyond with a Price : Therefore what

you can pretend to be worth. Therefore, glorify God in your Body: far from doing any Thing to bring a Dishonour

and in your Spirit, which

are GOD's.
on Religion, you ought in every Action, Word,
and Sentiment, to own yourselves his Property,
and exert yourselves to the utmost, in a Course of
vigorous and constant Obedience, to glorify GOD,
both with your Body, and with your Spirit,
which are, by the justest Title, GOD's; as he
hath not only created, preserved, and maintained
you, but by the invaluable Blood of his Son

pur-
chased and redeemed you to himself, and by his
holy Spirit taken Poffefsion of you, and marked
you

for his own.

20

by a fine Passage of Xinophon, produced by Raphelius here, in which Socrates is represented as saying, “ That intemperate Men hurt themselves far more than others; whereas other “ Sinners fecure fome Profit to themselves, tho' they are injurious to others." It is evident, that topita, must here fignify any unlawful Commerce between Persons of different Sexes, fince Whoredom with married Women is as directly contrary both to the Honour and Health of the Body, as with single.

IMPROV E

Reflections on our Obligations to Purity, &c.

275

I M P R O V E M E N 7.

HO

Sect. 11. W péculiar is the Excellence of the Christian Religion ! With

what incomparable Advantages doth it enforce all the Lessons of moral Virtue, which it teaches! With what holy Disdain should we look on the Baits of Sense, and the Pollutions which are in the World through Luft! if we seriously and often reflected on these two Things.That Ver. 15. our Bodies are the Members of Cbrist, and that they are the Temples of the Holy Ver. 19. Ghost! Let it be our Care, that they may not only he nominally, but really so. That we may by a living Faith be united to the Lord, so as · to become one Spirit with him, animated by that Spirit, which resides in Ver. 17. him, and dwells in all who are truly his.

Let us, as often as we are tempted to alienate ourselves from the Service of God, reflect upon the Price, with which we are bought. How Ver. 20. great, how important a Price, which we should never think of but with secret Shame, as well as Admiration and Love! Oh Lord! hast thou paid such a Ransom for me, and shall I act as if I thought even this not enough? as if thou hadst acquired only a partial and imperfect Right to me, and I might divide myself between thee and Strangers, between thee and thine Enemies ? Oh may we be entirely thine! and make it the Business of the latest Day and Hour of our Lives, to glorify GOD with our Bodies, and with our Spirits, which are his.

Under the Influence of this Thought, may we effectually enter into the wife and pious Suggestions of the Apostle; and guard, not only against Things absolutely and universally unlawful, but likewise against Ver. 12. those, which, in present Circumstances, may be inconvenient. May we be ever ready to exert a holy Freedom of Soul, and a Superiority to whatever may ensnare and enslave us : which we shall more easily obtain; if we reflect on the transitory Duration of the Objects of Appetite and Sense : How soon the Things we enjoy, and those Bodies by which Ver. 13. we enjoy them, shall be reduced to the Dust, out of which they were taken. God destroys all that is present and visible, that we may look more intensely for a Kingdom that cannot be moved. He reduces our Bodies to Putrefaction, that we may learn to cultivate with greater

Care the Interest of a never-dying Soul: Which if we faithfully and diligently pursue, GOD who hath raised up his Son as our Surety and Saviour, will Ver. 14. also raise us up by his own Power, to Enjoyments, sublime, incorruptible and eternal. Oh Lord! we would wait for thy Salvation, and in the mean while, would do thy Commandments, and animated by so exalted a Hope, would purify ourselves, even as thou art pure.

SECT.

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