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tors, that it was enjoined to them of old time in “ the Law of Moses, That they should not commit “ Adultery; and provided Men govern themselves
as to the external Acts of the Sins of Uncleanness, these Doctors mind not any further Trans
gressions of this Commandment; but I say un“ to you, whosoever either outwardly looks on a “ Woman with a lustful Eye, or inwardly contem
plates her in his Mind with a lustful Heart, he “ is already guilty of the Breach of the Seventh oc Commandment with her.” This I take to be the genuine Sense of the Words. But for our more distinct Apprehension of it, I shall particularly enquire into these two Things, which are plainly contained in the Text.
1. What was the Opinion of the Jewish Doctors concerning the Sin or Sins prohibited in this Seventh Commandment?
2. What further Improvement our Saviour has made in the Interpretation of this Commandment?
I. What was the Opinion of the Jewish Doctors concerning the Sin or Sins prohibited in this Seventh Commandment?
It must be confessed that the Original Word dosyéves
, fignifies commonly to commit Adultery: But sometimes it is used in a larger Acceptation, for Whoredom in general ; so as to comprehend both Fornication and Adultery, and all the other more abominable Species of Actual Uncleanness, such as Incest, Sodomy, and the like ; at least by a Synecdoche the chief Species is put for the whole Kind; and I am apt to think in this Place it is to be taken in this larger Sense; both be-. cause it is very plain that all these were exprelly forbidden in the Law of Moses; and thereP 2
fore not likely that the Jewish Doctors would limit the Transgressions of this Commandment to the sole Sin of Adultery; and because we find fome of the Jewish Doctors (a) interpreting it in this wider Sense; And if they had limited it to the narrower Sense of Adultery, 'tis probable our Saviour would have corrected this their Mistake; whereas the only thing he faults in their Doctrine concerning this Commandment is, that they contented themselves with prohibiting the gross external Acts of Uncleanness, but let pass the inward Lustings and Uncleanness of the Heart.
II. This brings me to the next Thing I proposed to consider, namely, what further Improvement our Saviour has made in the Interpretation of this Commandment? But 1 say unto you, says he, that whosoever looketh on a Woman to lust after her, (5) hath debauched her already in his Heart. For fo'I think the Words should be rendred, agreeably to the large Notion of the Word μοιχευω, , in which I just now shewed you it ought to be taken. For finding out our Saviour's Meaning then in this Improvement, we are to consider and explain these two Things :
1. What is meant by looking upon a Woman to lust after her?
2. Why this lustful Look should be interpreted the Debauching her in the Heart ?
1. First, We are to consider what is the Meaning of this looking on a Woman to lust after her. As to the Act of Looking it is worth observing, that the Original Word Baéw is used not only for beholding with the Eyes of the Body, but for mind
(a) Aben Ezra. (b) Stupravit eam. Eral,
ing, regarding, and confidering with the Eye of the Mind; as Matt. xxii. 16. Thou regardest not the Person of Men. It is the same Original Word which we translate here looking upon. So Matt. xiv. 13. Therefore I speak to them in Parables, because they seeing, see not, i. e. though they see with their Bodily Eyes, they see not with the Eye of the Mind; they do not consider nor understand. And i Cor. i. 26. Ye see your Calling Brethren, how that not many Wise Men after the Flesh are called: Ye see, i. e. ye observe your Calling. And in the beginning of this same Chapter, what we translate Seeing the Multitudes, might be as well translated Looking upon, or Considering the Multitudes; for it was really the Confideration of their Circumstances, that gave Occasion to this excellent Sermon. And I observe our Saviour uses these Words of Beholding, or Looking upon; and Confidering promiscuously, as what is in one place, Matt. vi. 26. Behold the Fowls of the Ais, is presently afterwards Confider the Lilies of the Field. But now for the Sense of the Word here translated to look upon; I think it will very conveniently in this, as
many other Places, bear both these Senses, both the looking upon a Woman with the Eyes of the Body, and considering her with the Eye of the Mind; for both of them may be to lust after her; and when they are so, no doubt they are both a Debauching her in the Heart. The Lufting after a particular Object when present and under our Eye, is the looking on a Woman with our bodily Eyes to lust after her; but the Lufting after an Object that is absent, and only represented to the Memory, Fancy, or Imagination, is the Looking on a Woman too, but with the Eye of the P3
Mind, to Lust after her. And now that the lustful Look in both these Senses is the Debauching her in the Heart, and is very deservedly by our Saviour brought under the Breach of the Seventh Commandment, is what I am to shew in the next Place.
2. Our Saviour says, Whosoever looketh on a Woman
to lust after her, hath Debauched her already in bis Heart, i. e. as to his part of the Sin: For it is the Consent of the Heart that makes the Sin before God, and nothing else. For if we will suppose any Person invincibly chaste in Heart, overpowered with the mere Strength and Brutality of à Ravilher, and so suffering a part in the external gross Act, there is no doubt in the Sight of God, such a Person would be cleared from the Sin of Whoredom. The Sin then being feated properly in the Heart, we are to consider which way the Heart is prevailed upon to affent to it; and we shall find it is chiefly by this double Sort of Looking, with the Eye of the Body, and the Eye of the Mind. First, I say, Looking with the Eye of the Body; this is the way the Sensation and Idea of the Object Men lust after, comes to get Entrance into their Hearts, and is the common Original of all the sinful Motions that follow. But because the bare bodily Looking is not always finful in itself, but according to the Aim or Design of it, may be Good, Bad, or Indifferent; therefore to determine plainly what sort of Looking on a Woman is Sinful, our Saviour has decided it here in a Word, that it is the Looking on a Woman to Luft after her, that is, either in order to feed Luít; or at least till Lust is kindled; for it is possible that the first Look might proceed from
Chance, or Curiosity, which if continued, mignt end in Lust. And therefore we may define these finful Looks to be either when they are with an express Design to feed Lust; to excite or foment finful Desires, or when begun upon another Account, they determine in that, and are turned to that Use at last. So it is reported in the Apocryphal History of (a) Susannah, that the two wicked Elders commanded to uncover Susannah's Face, that they might be filled with her Beauty. This is commonly given as the first Occasion or Original of these forts of Sins. So it is said, Gen. xxxix. 7. that his Master's Wife cast ber Eyes upon Joseph, and then proceeded to tempt him to Adultery. Now it is certain she was guilty of the Sin so soon as she looked upon him with this Adulterous Eye. Nay, we find this Wantonness of the Eyes condemned, when they are only in general cafting their impure Glances, before they come to fix on any particular Object. Thus the Jewish Ladies are censured, IJ. iii. 16. As walking with stretched forth Necks and wanton Eyes. And thus St Peter describes fome Seducers in his Days, 2 Pet. ii. 14. as having Eyes full of Adultery, and that cannot cease from Sin. But if unclean Thoughts and Designs do first enter by the Eye, they do not commonly end there. The Adulterous Mind is commonly more guilty in this Respect, in that it not only receives and harbours all these external Ideas of Temptations, but infinitely diversifies and multiplies them in an impure Imagination, and free quently turns to them and looks at them, to
(a) Sul. v. 32.