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But the other has no Life left for these Spiritual Exercises. She that liveth in Pleasure, says he, is Dead while she Liveth. A very Emphatical Expreslion to signifie the Uselessness and Inactivity of such a Person, as to the Duties of Devotion, or any other good Duties whatsoever.
(2) As to Sins of Commision, it is impossible to reckon
all that this sort of Vices expose us to. They make Young People Impudent and Disobedient, and undutiful to their Parents; they make Married Persons harsh and unfriendly, and disregardful of one another; they make us break through all Duties to God, to Parents, to Hulbands or Wives. Nay, often they make us break through all Rules of common Decency, Honour, Reputation and Civility; and stop our Ears to all good Advice, and even to the Clamours of common Shame; they blind our Understandings, that we carinot perceive those Vices in our selves, which every Body elfe perceives, and exclaims against; they make Fools of Men, and expose them to every Unreasonable Thing that may serve to compass their sinful Purposes, or to preserve them in the good Graces of the Persons by whom they are so led aside. They make them espouse all their Vices as well as their own; and become Tools and Fools to do any unreasonable Thing, They dictate and suggest. And commonly these Creatures finding the Advantage and Ascendant which they have upon the Persons they have thus got
in their Snare, spare not to make use of it to the utmost, and not only to exercise but to flew their Authority, to the most shameless degrees of Imperiousness : So that one would admire what's become of our Understandings and Common
Sense, to suffer our felves to be so imposed upon: And may with Admiration put the question God puts in Ezek. xvi. 30. How weak is thine Heart, faith the Lord, seeing thou dost all these Things, the work of an imperious whorish Woman?
4. Another Danger of these Sins is, that they are very Tenacious and hard to get rid of. They are like Pitch or Birdlime, which whosoever touches cannot easily shake off; Solomon speaking of the Wborish Woman, Prov. ii. 19. faith, that none that go unto her return again, neither take they hold of the Paths of Life. It is an Elegant Allusion to a Wilderness or Labyrinth, in which any one may easily find the Way in, but it is exceeding difficult to find the way out. In another Place he says, (a) Many strong Men have been Slain by her, and ber House is the way to Hell, going down to the Chambers of Death. As
would not then choose to travel through a great Bog or Quagmire, where there is no sure Footing, but every step ye take in it, it is Worse and Worse, and ye are sure to be both bedawbed and bemired; consider before ye are engaged in such dangerous Courses, and extricate your felves quickly all ye that are not yet grown Hardened in your Wickedness ; for affure your felves the more ye dally with these Vices, so much the faster thall ye be caught and entangled in them; till at last in vain thall ye bewail your evil Habits, and not find the way out of them, nor be able to comprehend the Reason, how ye are so fast bound to that base fort of Servitude. Solomon will tell
(a) Prov, vii. 26. 27.
was a Thing that puzzled his Reason, as well as endangered his Salvation. Eccl. vii. 24, 25. That which is far off and exceeding Deep, who can find it out? I applied my Heart to know and to search, and to seek out Wisdom, and the Reason of Things, and to know the Wickedness of Folly, even of Foolishness and Madness : And I find more bitter than Death the Woman, whose Heart is Snares and Nets, and her Hands as Bands : whoso pleaseth God shall escape from ber, but the finner shall be taken by ber.
5. Another great Mischief of those grofs Acts of Uncleanness is, that they not only endanger our own Souls, but the Souls of others, who are Partners in the Crime. And this is really a very great Aggravation of the Sin. To be a Seducer and a Tempter to Sin is the Office of the Devil ; and we should consider, though afterwards it may be in our Power to repent of our own Sins, it may not be in our Power perhaps to perswade those others to Repentance, whom we have formerly led aside with our Wickedness
. This must be a dreadful Consideration to all that fear God, to think that they have proved the Occasion of the Ruin of the Soul of any other Person. And what our Saviour says of those who Scandalize or offend others, that is, prove the Occasion of their falling away from him and their Duty, is one of the severest Things he ever laid against any Sin, except the Sin against the Holy Ghost. Ye
Ye may see it, Matt. xviii. 6. But whojo Mall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a Milftone were Hanged about his Neck, and that he were drowned in the Depth of the Sea. And although
he tells us it is imposible but that Offences will come, he denounces a Wo against Them by whoin they come. If we have then any regard either to our Saviour's dreadful Threatning, or are afraid of being Instrumental in the greatest of all Injuries to others, let us beware of those Sins, which bring on the Guilt and Damnation of others.
6. The Sixth I fall mention of the Spiritual Dangers of those Sins, is the Opinion which God Almighty has of them; for in all the Catalogues we have in Scripture of Great and Damning Sins, They generally make a principal Part. I shall quote a few Passages to this Purpose. Gal.
Now the Works of the Flesh are Manifest, which are these, Adultery, Fornication, Uncleanness, Lasciviousness, Idolatry, Witchcraft, Hatred, Variance, Emulations, Wrath, Strifé, Seditions, Heresies, Envyings, Murders, Drunkenness
, Revellings, and such like : Of which I tell you before, as I have also told you in Time past, that they who do such Things shall not inherit the Kingdom of God. And Col. iji. 5. Mortify therefore your Members which are upon the Earth ; Fornication, Uncleanness, Inordinate Affection, Evil Concupiscence, and Covetousness, which is Idolatry: For which Things fake the Wrath of God cometh on the Children of Disobedience. And I Cor. vi. 9. Be not deceived, neither Fornicators, nor Idolaters, nor Adulterers, nor Efeminate, nor Abusers of themjelves with Mankind, nor Thieves, nor Covetous, nor Drunkards, nor Revilers, nor Extortioners, Shall inherit the Kingduin of God. And Rev. xxii. 15. speaking of the new Jerusalem, he says, miryout are Dogs and Sorcerers, and
Whoremongers, and Murderers, and Idolaters, and whosoever loveth and makeih a Lye. From all which we may conclude, that the Sins of Uncleanness are particularly Odious to Almighty God, and shall receive an high Degreee of Punishment, unless repented of and forsaken betimes,
7. Lasily, Among the Spiritual Dangers, we may reckon the Sentiality and Sottishness they bring upon a Man's Spirit, the vile Ideas with which they fill and pollute his Imagination and Memory; the want of Life and Courage to attempt any good Work or Study, which the Consciousness of such vile Practices certainly introduces; the constant Pull-backs in Devotion, the Wandering of the Mind in Prayer and all good Exercises ; and the Want of Hope and Affiance in God, without which no great Matter irr Spirituals can be effected; all which are such evil Consequences of those Vices, that nothing in this World can ever sufficiently compensate and make up. But I must leave time to say something of the other two Sorts of Dangers of those Vices I proposed, namely, the External Dangers to Ourselves and the Common-wealth: For tho' the Consideration of them seems to be foreign to Religion, yet it may prove the Means of bringing Men to R pentance, as the Straits the Prodigal was brought to, cccasioned his Resolving to come Home to his Father; and since the Holy Scripture makes use of such Arguments, I know not why we should not use them too.
II. The Second Sort of Dangers then of the Sins of Uncleanness I proposed to consider, are the External Ones to our own Persons; such as