« PreviousContinue »
o foever things are honest, Con dépvă; whatfoeverSERM.
OCve ccXIV. .: things are grave or venerable, coa áyrå, whatsoever is things are pure or chaste, think on these things ;" that is, have great regard to them in your conversation and behaviour, there being no sort of virtue which the christian religion does not strictly enjoin and exact from us; and consequently whatsoever is light and frothy, and much more whatever is lewd and filthy, ought to be banished from the conversation of Christians, as utterly inconsistent with the gravity and purity of that holy profession,
And the same apostle tells us, that all the promises of the gospel are so many arguments and obligations to purity and holiness. 2 Cor. vii. 1. “Having there“ fore these promises (dearly beloved) let us cleanse « ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, “ perfe&ting,” or practising, “ holiness in the fear of “ God.” And on the contrary St. John tells us, that all impurity will be an effectual bar to our entrance into heaven. Rev. xxi. 27. speaking of the new Jerusalem, says he, “there shall in no wise en" ter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatso“ ever worketh abomination.” So that if either the promises or threatnings of the gospel have any influ. ence upon us, they will effectually restrain this vicious practice.
VII. and lastly, all impure and filty communication “ grieves the holy spirit," and drives him away from us. And therefore after he had forbidden this vice here in the text, that “.no corrupt communica« tion proceed out of your mouth, but that which is “ good to the use of edifying, that it may minister “ grace unto the hearers ;" he immediately adds, " and grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby " ye are sealed to the day of redemption ;" hereby
SER M. intimating, that all corrupt and filthy communication CCXIV.
:“ grieves the holy Spirit of God," that blessed Spirit which is the seal and earnest of our redemption,”t hat is, as the apostle himself explains it, of “the redemption “ of our bodies from the bondage of corruption,” by the resurrection of them to'eternal life. For it is the Spirit of God dwelling in us, which shall raise our bodies at the last day, and make them partakers of a blessed immortality. So the apostle says exprefly, Rom. viii. II. “. But if the Spirit of him that raised up JESUS «c from the dead dwell in you ; he that raised up « Christ from the dead, shall also quicken your “ mortal bodies, by his Spirit that dwelleth in you." If we defile our bodies, or any members of them by uncleanness, we grieve the Spirit of God which dwells in us, and force him out of his habitation ; that blessed Spirit, which should quicken our mortal bodies, and is both the earnest and the cause of their resurrection to eternal life. For our bodies as well as our souls are “ the temples of the holy Ghost," and “ the Spirit of God dwells in them ;” and we banish him out of his temple, whenever we profane it by lewd and filthy fpeech.
And the apostle useth this argument more than once to deter Christians more especially from the sins of uncleanness. 1 Cor. iii. 16, 17. “ Know ye not that ye « are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God “ dwelleth in you?' If any man defile the temple of « God, him shall God destroy. For the temple of « God is holy, which temple ye are." The holy Spirit of God fanctifieth the place where he more e. ipecially resides, and makes it his temple ; and so are our bodies as well as our souls ; as the fame apostle exprésly tells us, chap. vi. ver. 18, 19, 20. where he argues againft the sins of uncleanness, which are com
mitted in the body, and by the members and instru-SERM.
CCXIV. ments of it, from this consideration, that“ our bodies " are the temples of the holy Ghost. Flee fornica« tion,” says he. “ Every sin a man doth; is with“ out the body: but he that committeth forni“ cation, sinneth against his own body;" that is, the body is not the immediate instrument of other sins, as it is of those of uncleanness; and then it follows, 56 what, know ye not that your body is the temple “ of the holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of “ God, and ye are not your own? for ye are bought “ with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, " and in your spirit, which are God's.” Under the name of fornication the apostle comprehends all the sins of uncleanness, of which any member of the body is an inftrument; so that the lasciviousness of the eye, or ear, or tongue, is a polluting or profaning this temple of God, and drives the holy Spirit of God out of his poffeffion.
And whenever the Spirit of GoD departs from us, we cease to be the children of God, and forfeit the earnest of our eternal inheritance. “ Now if any man “ have not the Spirit of Christ," says the same apoftle, Rom. viii. 9. “ he is none of his;" that is, he does not belong to him ; in plain english, he is no Christian. So that as we would not forfeit the title of Christians, and the blessed hope of a glorious * resurrection, we must be very careful that “ no corrupt communication proceed out of our mouth,” left hereby “ we grieve the holy spirit of God, by " which we are sealed unto the day of redemption."
I have now done with this argument, and what I have said concerning immodest and unchalte words, is of equal force against lascivious books, and pictures, and plays; all which do alike intrench upon natural
SER M. modefty, and for that reason are equally forbidden LAIY, and condemned by the christian religion; and there
fore it may fuffice to have named them. I shall only speak a few words concerning plays, which as they are now ordered among us, are a mighty reproach to the age and nation.
To speak against them in general, may be thought too severe, and that which the present age cannot so well brook, and would not perhaps be so just and reasonable; because it is very poflible, they might be so framed and governed by such rules, as not only to be innocently diverting, but instructing and useful, to put some vices and follies out of countenance, which cannot perhaps be lo decently reproved, nor so effectually exposed and corrected any other way. But as the stage now is, they are intolerable, and not fit to be permitted in a civilized, much less in a christian nation. They do most notoriously minifter both to infidelity and vice. By the profaneness of them, they are apt to instil bad principles into the minds of men, and to lessen the awe and reverence which all men ought to have for God and religion; and by their lewdness they teach vice, and are apt to infect the minds of men, and dispose them to lewd and dissolute practices.
And therefore I do not see how any person pretending to sobriety and virtue, and especially to the pure and holy religion of our blessed Saviour, can without great guilt, and open contradiction to his holy profeflion, be present at such lewd and immodeft plays, much less frequent them, as too many do, who yet would take it very ill to be shut out of the communion of Christians, as they would most certainly have been in the first and purest ages of christianity. To conclude this whole discourse, let us always re
member, that gravity and modesty in all our beha-SERM.
m CCXIV. viour and conversation, in all our words and actions, are duties indispensably required by the "christian religion, and the great fences of piety and virtue; and therefore 'ought with great coničience and care to be preserved and kept inviolable: and when these fences ars once broken down, there is a wide gap made for almost any fin and vice to enter in. Immodest words do naturally tend to corrupt good manners, both in ourselves and others.
There is none of us, but would reckon it very
This I hope may be sufficient to restrain men from