Sunday, September 30, 2007
Counterfeited love is one of the vilest things under heaven. That heavenly word, love, has been trailed in the mire of unclean passion and filthy desire. The licentiousness, which comes of the worship of Venus, has dared to take to itself a name which belongs only to the pure worship of Jehovah. Now, the works which counterfeit love are these: “adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness.” To talk of “love” when a man covets his neighbour’s wife, or when a woman violates the command, “Thou shalt not commit adultery,” is little less than sheer blasphemy against the holiness of love. It is not love, but lust; love is an angel, and lust a devil. The purities of domestic life are defiled, and its honors are disgraced when once the marriage bond is disregarded. When men or women talk of religion, and are unfaithful to their marriage covenant, they are base hypocrites. Even the heathen condemned this infamy, let not Christians tolerate it. The next fleshly work is “fornication,” which was scarcely censured among the heathen, but is most sternly condemned by Christianity. It is a wretched sign of the times that in these corrupt days, some have arisen who treat this crime as a slight offense, and even attempt to provide for its safer indulgence by legislative enactments. Has it come to this? Has the civil ruler become a panderer to the lusts of corrupt minds? Let it not be once named among you, as it becometh saints. “Uncleanness“ is a third work of the flesh, and it includes those many forms of foul offense which defile the body and deprive it of its true honor; while to bring up the rear we have “lasciviousness,” which is the cord which draws on uncleanness, and includes all conversation which excites the passions, all songs which suggest lewdness, all gestures and thoughts which lead up to unlawful gratification. We have sadly much of these too evils in these days, not only openly in our streets, but in more secret ways. I loathe the subject. All works of art which are contrary to modesty are here condemned, and the most pleasing poetry if it creates impure imaginations. These unclean things are the works of the flesh in the stage of putridity — the very maggots which swarm within a corrupt soul. Bury these rotten things out of our sight! I do but uncover them for an instant that a holy disgust may be caused in every Christian soul; and that we may flee therefrom as from the breath of pestilence. Yet remember, O you that think yourselves pure, and imagine you would never transgress so badly, that even into these loathsome and abominable criminalities high professors have fallen; ay, and sincere believers trusting in themselves have slipped into this ditch, from whence they have escaped with infinite sorrow, to go with broken bones the rest of their pilgrimage. Alas, how many who seemed to be clean escaped from pollution have so fallen that they have had to be saved so as by fire! Oh, may we keep our garments unspotted by the flesh; and this we cannot do unless it be in the power and energy of the Spirit of holiness. He must purge these evils from us, and cause his fruit so to abound in us that the deeds of the flesh shall be excluded for ever.