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therefore this act is done agreeably to God's will, it is like all other acts so done, good and not evil. In order to make it evil, it must be done against some precept of God's law, otherwise it is as innocent as satisfying our bunger with eating, or our thirst with drinking. These
may become sinful by their abuse or excefs; fo
may the other ; but in itself, and in its lawful use, it is as perfectly innocent as the two former.
We have observed before, that where a man and woman become personally united to each ather, they are one flesh, and are forbidden to put each other away. This is the *ordinance of marriage, and the only one which is revealed in the scriptures ; therefore we may call it the only one which God ever ordained.
But when men corrupted their ways upon the earth, Gen. vi. 12, this ordinance of marriage, fanctified by God's blessing, Gen. i. 28, and ratified by His own express command, Gen. ii. 24, was, as every other divine institution, corrupted, perverted, and abused; and men, to satisfy their desires at as cheap a rate. as possible, without the incumbrance of a wife and family, or confining themselves to the sober duties of maintaining, taking care
* Unless we agree in defining the terms made use of, no argument can be properly understood, or satisface torily concluded. I would therefore here repeat, what I have already said "that, as in God's fight, by marriage" ordinance I mean, that, by which the parties become
one fleshand by marriage, the ałtually becoming so." This was, is, and ever must be one and the same, in all ages, times, and places, however mankind may differ about the adventitious circumstances of human ceremony--whether Jewish, Popis, Protestant, Mahometan, or Heathen.
of, or providing for their households, chose to have intercourse and commerce with women, like brute beasts; for the sake of mere appetite, and then to leave the women for the service of the next comer. Something of this sort may not improbably be the meaning of Gen. vi. 2, where it is said, that they took them d'y women of all which they chose. For though this word, in certain connexions, denotes what we call wives (as Deut. xxi. 15.) yet it fignifies primarily the female sex, or women in general. Such traffic was offensive to God, an abuse of His ordinance, (see 1 Cor. vi. 15, 16.) and tending to destroy the marriage-obligation, not only by rendering the bond which was created by it ineffectual, but by inducing mankind to despise it, and set it at nought. All genealogies must be confounded, inheritances obscured, and relationship itself destroyed ; for who could afcertain these things, so necessary to the existence of all civil fociety, in the commerce with barlots ? Confufon, and every evil work, , must ensue, and therefore the all-wise Governor of the universe forbad whoredom and fornication on pain of death temporal and eternal. See 1 Tim. i. 8, 9, 10.
The Hebrew word nji is particularly appropriated to this offence in the Old Testament, as topverd is in the New Testament ; and we shall never find it mentioned but with the divine abborrence. We have no law to enforce the punishment which God annexed to it, or to treat an harlot or whore as a capiVOL. I. E
tal offender; but it is nevertheless offensive to God, and will now, as ever, meet with marks of His displeasure. Know ye not, faith Paul, 1 Cor. vi. 9, that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived, neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, -&c. hall inberit the kingdom of God.
So odious is whoredom in God's sight, that it is not only faid to defile the parties who are guilty of it, but the very land itself was said to be defiled thereby, Jer. iii. 9. Though this text may perhaps primarily relate to idolatry, which is fpiritual whoredom, yet it serves to shew the malignant nature of whoredom otherwise this would not be made use of, as adultery is in the same verse, in a figurative sense, to denote the other.
God expressly commanded, that there should not be a whore of the daughters of Ifrael, Lev. xix. 29. Deut. xxiii. 17; and ordained, that a woman playing the whore, if the daughter of a common person, should be Atoned to death, Deut. xxii. 21. but if the daughter of a priest, she was to be burned with fire, Lev. xxi. 9. I mention these things as proofs of the sinfulness of an act, innocent in itself, when committed against a divine positive law. No human power or custom can alleviate its guilt, or make it less offenfive to God than His word has made it; the person's conscience that thinks otherwise is sadly deceived.
Though what has been already said may serve as a definition of this offence, yet, to save the
Reader the trouble of looking back, as well as to be still more explicit upon the subject, I would define 1737, or whoredom, to be " a wo“ man's giving her person to a man, without “ any intent of marriage, but either for the
mere gratification of luft, or for gain or hire, “ and departing from that man to others for “ the same * purposes.” This is being what the Hebrew scriptures call 77311, an harlot or wbore. See Gen. xxxviii. 15, 16. The radical idea of the Hebrew 1737 seems to be, to ena compass, encircle, infold, enclose; and denotes unlawful embraces between the sexes. Hence we render it, to commit whoredom. See Parkh. Heb. and Eng. Lex, sub voc.
As whoredom is generally used in our translation, as denoted by the word 1731, and seems rather appropriated to signify the woman's share in the offence; so the term + fornicacation, which is expressed by the same word in the original, seems to be the name given
* After reading the above, it is hardly to be conceived with what eyes people have red this book, and yet charge the author with giving no definition of whoredom.
+ Our English word fornication, seems to be derived from the Latin fornix ; which literally signifies an areh or vault in houses and by a metonymiy-a brothel-house, because these were in vaults under ground. Ainsworth. Hor. Epist. 14. 1. 21, 22. says to his steward
Fornix tibi, & uncta popina ;
FRANCIS. Hence the haunters of those places were called fornicators. See Johnson's Diet. Hor. Sat. lib. i. Sat. 2. 1. 30, 31,
to the offence which the man commits in such illicit commerce. Though this observation may not hold in all cases, yet it is the best reason which occurs to me, for our using different words, to denote an offence of the same kind.
I readily confess, that the revival of God's antient laws against whoredom, amongst us, would be very dreadful, and indeed unjust, unless the whole consistent scheme which God has laid down was all to be revived together. The women, under God's law, could force their seducers to take them as their wives ; or rather were deemed so actually married, as not to be put away.
A woman had but to summon her seducer before the judges, to prove the fact against him, and their sentence, which must have been according to the law, must have been obeyed on pain of death. Deut. xvii. 12. Unless this were (as it ought to be) the case among us, it would be oppressive, unjust, and cruel to the last degree, to punish women with death, for being, by the treachery and villainy of men, forced into a way of life (however abhorrent in itself, or culpable) which is the natural, and, in most instances, the inevitable consequence of their being deserted by those who ought to have protected them, but against whom they have no remedy, or means to make them act the just and honourable part.
Under this head of forbidden lewdness, I would mention the practice of taking an har