Thomas Watson
The Ten Commandments
File 15
(... continued from file 14)

2.7 The Seventh Commandment 
    'Thou shalt not commit adultery.' Exod 20: 14. 
    God is a pure, holy spirit, and has an infinite antipathy 
against all uncleanness. In this commandment he has entered his 
caution against it; non moechaberis, 'Thou shalt not commit 
adultery.' The sum of this commandment is, The preservations of 
corporal purity. We must take heed of running on the rock of 
uncleanness, and so making shipwreck of our chastity. In this 
commandment there is something tacitly implied, and something 
expressly forbidden. 
    1. The thing implied is that the ordinance of marriage should 
be observed. 'Let every man have his own wife, and let every woman 
have her own husband.' 1 Cor 7: 2. 'Marriage is honourable and the 
bed undefiled.' Heb 13: 4. God instituted marriage in paradise; he 
brought the woman to the man. Gen 2: 22. He gave them to each other 
in marriage. Jesus Christ honoured marriage with his presence. John 
2: 2. The first miracle he wrought was at a marriage, when he turned 
the 'water into wine.' Marriage is a type and resemblance of the 
mystical union between Christ and his church. Eph 5: 32. 
    In marriage there are general and special duties. The general 
duty of the husband is to rule. 'The husband is the head of the 
wife.' Eph 5: 23. The head is the seat of rule and judgement; but he 
must rule with discretion. He is head, therefore must not rule 
without reason. The general duty on the wife's part is submission. 
'Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.' 
Eph 5: 22. It is observable that the Holy Ghost passed by Sarah's 
failings, not mentioning her unbelief; but he takes notice of that 
which was good in her, as her reverence and obedience to her 
husband. 'Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord.' I Pet 3: 6. 
    The special duties belonging to marriage, are love and 
fidelity. Love is the marriage of the affections. Eph 5: 25. There 
is, as it were, but one heart in two bodies. Love lines the yoke and 
makes it easy; it perfumes the marriage relation; and without it 
there is not conjugium but conjurgium [not harmony but constant 
wrangling]. Like two poisons in one stomach, one is ever sick of the 
other. In marriage there is mutual promise of living together 
faithfully according to God's holy ordinance. Among the Romans, on 
the day of marriage, the woman presented to her husband fire and 
water: signifying that as fire refines, and water cleanses, she 
would live with her husband in chastity and sincerity. 
    II. The thing forbidden in the commandment is infecting 
ourselves with bodily pollution and uncleanness. 'Thou shalt not 
commit adultery.' The fountain of this sin is lust. Since the fall, 
holy love has degenerated to lust. Lust is the fever of the soul. 
There is a twofold adultery. 
    [1] Mental. 'Whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her has 
committed adultery with her already in his heart.' Matt 5: 28. As a 
man may die of an inward bleeding, so he may be damned for the 
inward boilings of lust, if it be not mortified. 
    {2] Corporal; as when sin has conceived, and brought forth in 
the act. This is expressly forbidden under a sub poena. 'Thou shalt 
not commit adultery.' This commandment is set as a hedge to keep out 
uncleanness; and they that break this hedge a serpent shall bite 
them. Job calls adultery a 'heinous crime.' Job 31: 2: Every failing 
is not a crime; and every crime is not a heinous crime; but adultery 
is flagitium, 'a heinous crime.' The Lord calls it villany. 'They 
have committed villany in Israel, and have committed adultery with 
their neighbours' wives.' Jer 29: 23. 
    Wherein appears the greatness of this sin? 
    (1) It is a breach of the marriage-oath. When persons come 
together in a matrimonial way, they bind themselves by covenant to 
each other, in the presence of God, to be true and faithful in the 
conjugal relation. Unchastity falsifies this solemn oath; and herein 
adultery is worse than fornication, because it is a breach of the 
conjugal bond. 
    (2) The greatness of the sin lies in this: that it is a great 
dishonour done to God. God says, 'Thou shalt not commit adultery.' 
The adulterer sets his will above God's law, tramples upon his 
command, affronts him to his face; as if a subject should tear his 
prince's proclamation. The adulterer is highly injurious to all the 
Persons in the Trinity. To God the Father. Sinner, God has given 
thee thy life, and thou dost waste the lamp of life, the flower of 
thine age in lewdness. He has bestowed on thee many mercies, health, 
and estate, and thou spendest all on harlots. Did God give thee 
wages to serve the devil? It is injurious to God the Son, in two 
ways. As he has purchased thee with his blood. 'Ye are bought with a 
price.' I Cor 6: 20. Now he who is bought is not his own; it is a 
sin for him to go to another, without consent, from Christ, who has 
bought him with a price. As by virtue of baptism thou art a 
Christian, and professes that Christ is thy head, and thou art a 
member of Christ; therefore, what an injury is it to Christ, to 
'take the members of Christ, and make them the members of a harlot'? 
I Cor 6: 15. It is injurious to God the Holy Ghost; for the body is 
his temple. 'Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy 
Ghost which is in you?' I Cor 6: 19. And how great a sin is it to 
defile his temple! 
    (3) The sin of adultery lies in this: that it is committed with 
mature deliberation. There is contriving the sin in the mind, then 
consent in the will, and then the sin is put forth into act. To sin 
against the light of nature, and to sin deliberately, is like the 
dye to the wool, it gives sin a tincture, and dyes it of a crimson 
    (4) That which makes adultery so sinful is, that it is 
needless. God has provided a remedy to prevent it. 'To avoid 
fornication, let every man have his own wife.' I Cor 7: 2. 
Therefore, after this remedy prescribed, to be guilty of fornication 
or adultery, is inexcusable; it is like a rich thief, that steals 
when he has no need. This increases the sin. 
    Use one. The church of Rome is here condemned, which allows the 
sin of fortification and adultery. It suffers not its priests to 
marry, but they may have their courtesans. The worst kind of 
uncleanness, incest with the nearest of kin, is dispensed with for 
money. It was once said of Rome, Urbs est jam tota lupanar, Rome was 
become a common stew. And no wonder, when the Pope, for a sum of 
money, could give a license and patent to commit uncleanness; and, 
if the patent were not enough, he would give them a pardon. Many of 
the Papists judge fornication to be venial. God condemns the very 
lusting. Matt 5: 28. If God condemns the thought, how dare they 
allow the fact of fornication? You see what a cage of unclean birds 
the church of Rome is. They call themselves the Holy Catholic 
Church; but how can they be holy who are so steeped and parboiled in 
fornication, incest, sodomy, and all manner of uncleanness? 
    Use two. It is a matter for lamentation to see this commandment 
so slighted and violated among us. Adultery is the reigning sin of 
the times. 'They are all adulterers, as an oven heated by the 
baker.' Hos 7: 4. The time of King Henry VIII was called the golden 
age, but this may be called the unclean age, wherein whore-hunting 
is common. 'In thy filthiness is lewdness.' Ezek 24: 13. Luther 
tells us of one who said, 'If he might but satisfy his lust, and be 
carried from one whore-house to another, he would desire no other 
heaven'; and who afterwards breathed out his soul betwixt two 
notorious strumpets. This is to love forbidden fruit, to love to 
drink of stolen waters. 'Son of man, dig in the wall; and when I had 
digged, behold a door; and he said, Go in and behold the wicked 
abominations that they do here.' Ezek 8: 8, 9. Could we, as the 
prophet, dig in the walls of many houses, what vile abominations 
should we see there! In some chambers we might see fornication; dig 
further, and we may see adultery; dig further, and we may see 
incest, &c. And may not the Lord go from his sanctuary? 'Sees thou 
the great abominations that the house of Israel committeth, that I 
should go far off from my sanctuary?' Ezek 8: 6. God might remove 
his gospel, and then we might write Ichabod on this nation, 'The 
glory is departed.' Let us mourn for what we cannot reform. 
    Use three. For exhortation, to keep ourselves from the sin of 
adultery. 'Let every man have his own wife,' says Paul, not his 
concubine, nor his courtesan. I Cor 7: 2. That I may deter you from 
adultery, let me show you the great evil of it. 
    (1) It is a thievish sin. It is the highest sort of theft. The 
adulterer steals from his neighbour that which is more than his 
goods and estate; he steals away his wife from him, who is flesh of 
his flesh. 
    (2) Adultery debases a person; it makes him resemble the 
beasts; therefore the adulterer is described like a horse neighing. 
'Every one neighed after his neighbour's wife.' Jer 5: 8. Nay, it is 
worse than brutish; for some creatures that are void of reason, yet 
by the instinct of nature, observe some decorum and chastity. The 
turtle dove is a chaste creature, and keeps to its mate; and the 
stork, wherever he flies, comes into no nest but his own. 
Naturalists write that if a stork, leaving his own mate, joins with 
any other, all the rest of the storks fall upon it, and pull its 
feathers from it. Adultery is worse than brutish, it degrades a 
person of his honour. 
    (3) Adultery pollutes. The devil is called an unclean spirit. 
Luke 11: 24. The adulterer is the devil's first-born; he is unclean; 
he is a moving quagmire; he is all over ulcerated with sin; his eyes 
sparkle with lust; his mouth foams out filth; his heart burns like 
mount Etna, in unclean desires; and he is so filthy, that if he die 
in this sin, all the flames of hell will never purge away his 
uncleanness. And, as for the adulteress, who can paint her black 
enough? The Scriptures calls her a deep ditch. Prov 23: 27. She is a 
common drain; whereas a believer's body is a living temple, and his 
soul a little heaven, be spangled with the graces, as so many stars. 
The body of a harlot is a walking dung hill, and her soul a lesser 
    (4) Adultery is destructive to the body. 'And thou mourn at the 
last, when thy flesh and thy body are consumed.' Prov 5: 11. It 
brings into a consumption. Uncleanness turns the body into a 
hospital, it wastes the radical moisture, rots the skull, and eats 
the beauty of the face. As the flame wastes the candle, so the fire 
of lust consumes the bones. The adulterer hastens his own death. 
'Till a dart strike through his liver.' Prov 7: 23. The Romans had 
their funerals at the gate of Venus's temple, to signify that lust 
brings death. Venus is lust. 
    (5.) Adultery is a drain upon the purse; it wastes not the body 
only, but the estate. 'By means of a whorish woman, a man is brought 
to a piece of bread.' Prov 6: 26. Whores are the devil's 
horse-leeches, sponges that suck in money. The prodigal son spent 
his portion when he fell among harlots. Luke 15: 30. The concubine 
of King Edward III, when he was dying, got all she could from him, 
and even plucked the rings off his fingers, and so left him. He that 
lives in luxury, dies in beggary. 
    (6) Adultery destroys reputation. 'Whoso committeth adultery 
with a woman, a wound and dishonour shall he get, and his reproach 
shall not be wiped away.' Prov 6: 32, 33. Some, when they get 
wounds, get honour. The soldier's wounds are full of honour; the 
martyr's wounds for Christ are full of honour; but the adulterer 
gets wounds, but no honour to his name. 'His reproach shall not be 
wiped away.' Wounds of reputation no physician can heal. When the 
adulterer dies, his shame lives. When his body rots underground, his 
name rots above ground. His base-born children are living monuments 
of his shame. 
    (7) This sin impairs the mind; it steals away the 
understanding; it stupefies the heart. 'Whoredom and wine take away 
the heart.' Hos 4: 11. It cats out all heart for good. Solomon 
besotted himself with women, and they enticed him to idolatry. 
    (8) This sin incurs temporal judgements. The Mosaic law made 
adultery death. 'The adulterer and adulteress shall surely be put to 
death;' and the usual death was stoning. Lev 20: 10; Deut 22: 24. 
The Salons commanded persons taken in this sin to be burnt. The 
Romans caused their heads to be stricken off. Like a scorpion, this 
sin carries a sting in its tail. The adultery of Paris and Helen was 
the death of both, and the ruin of Troy. 'Jealousy is the rage of a 
man.' Prov 6: 34. The adulterer is often killed in the act of his 
sin. Adultery cost Otho the emperor, and Pope Sixtus IV their lives. 
Laeta venire Venus, tristis abire solet [Lust's practice is to make 
a joyful entrance, but she leaves in misery]. I have read of two 
citizens in London, in 1583, who, having defiled themselves with 
adultery on the Lord's-day, were immediately struck dead with fire 
from heaven. If all who are now guilty of this sin were to be 
punished in this manner, it would rain fire again, as on Sodom. 
    (9) Adultery, without repentance, damns the soul. 'Neither 
fornicators, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, shall enter into the 
kingdom of God.' I Cor 6: 9. The fire of lust brings to the fire of 
hell. 'Whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.' Heb 13: 4. 
Though men may neglect to judge them, yet God will judge them. But 
will not God judge all other sinners? Yes. Why then does the apostle 
say, 'Whoremongers and adulterers God will judge'? The meaning is, 
he will judge them assuredly; they shall not escape the hand of 
justice; and he will punish them severely. 'The Lord knoweth how to 
reserve the unjust to the day of judgement to be punished, but 
chiefly them that walk in the lust of uncleanness.' 2 Pet 2: 9, 10. 
The harlot's breast keeps from Abraham's bosom. Momentaneum est quod 
delectat, auternum quod cruciat [The delight lasts a moment, the 
torment an eternity]. Who for a cup of pleasure would drink a sea of 
wrath? 'Her guests are in the depths of hell.' Prov 9: 18. A wise 
traveller, though many pleasant dishes are set before him at the 
inn, forbears to taste, because of the reckoning. We are all 
travellers to Jerusalem above; and when many baits of temptation are 
set before us, we should refrain, and think of the reckoning which 
will be brought in at death. With what stomach could Dionysius eat 
his dainties, when he imagined there was a naked sword hung over his 
head as he sat at meat? While the adulterer feeds on strange flesh, 
the sword of God's justice hangs over his head. Causinus speaks of a 
tree growing in Spain, that is of a sweet smell, and pleasant to the 
taste, but the juice of it is poisonous. This is an emblem of a 
harlot; who is perfumed with powders, and fair to look on, but 
poisonous and damnable to the soul. 'She has cast down many wounded, 
yea, many strong men have been slain by her.' Prov 7: 26. 
    (10) The adulterer not only wrongs his own soul, but does what 
in him lies to destroy the soul of another, and so kills two at 
once. He is worse than the thief; for, suppose a thief robs a man, 
yea, takes away his life, the man's soul may be happy; he may go to 
heaven as well as if he had died in his bed. But he who commits 
adultery, endangers the soul of another, and deprives her of 
salvation so far as in him lies. Now, what a fearful thing is it to 
be an instrument to draw another to hell! 
    (11) The adulterer is abhorred of God. 'The mouth of strange 
women is a deep pit: he that is abhorred of the Lord shall fall 
therein.' Prov 22: 14. What can be worse than to be abhorred of God? 
God may be angry with his own children; but for God to abhor a man, 
is the highest degree of hatred. 
    How does the Lord show his abhorrence of the adulterer? 
    In giving him up to a reprobate mind, and a seared conscience. 
Rom 1: 28. He is then in such a condition that he cannot repent. He 
is abhorred of God. He stands upon the threshold of hell; and when 
death gives him a push, he tumbles in. All this should sound a 
retreat in our ears, and call us off from the pursuit of so damnable 
a sin as uncleanness. Hear what the Scriptures say: 'Come not nigh 
the door of her house.' Prov 5: 8. 'Her house is the way to hell.' 
Prov 7: 27. 
    (12) Adultery sows discord. It destroys peace and love, the two 
best flowers that grow in a family. It sets husband against wife, 
and wife against husband; and so causes the 'joints of the same body 
to smite one against another.' This division in a family works 
confusion; for 'A house divided against a house falleth.' Luke 11: 
17. Omne divisibile est corruptibile. 
    Use four. I shall give some directions, by way of antidote, to 
keep from the infection of this sin. 
    (1) Come not into the company of a whorish woman; avoid her 
house, as a seaman does a rock. 'Come not nigh the door of her 
house.' Prov 5: 8. He who would not have the plague, must not come 
near infected houses; every whore-house has the plague in it. Not to 
beware of the occasion of sin, and yet pray, 'Lead us not into 
temptation,' is, as if one should put his finger into the candle, 
and yet pray that it may not be burnt. 
    (2) Look to your eyes. Much sin comes in by the eye. 'Having 
eyes full of adultery.' 2 Pet 2: 14. The eye tempts the fancy, and 
the fancy works upon the heart. A wanton amorous eye may usher in 
sin. Eve first saw the tree of knowledge, and then she took. Gen 3: 
6. First she looked and then she loved. The eye often sets the heart 
on fire; therefore Job laid a law upon his eyes. 'I made a covenant 
with my eyes, why then should I think upon a maid?' Job 31: 1. 
Democritus the philosopher plucked out his eyes, because he would 
not be tempted with vain objects; the Scripture does not bid us do 
this, but to set a watch before our eyes. 
    (3) Look to your lips. Take heed of any unseemly word that may 
enkindle unclean thoughts in yourselves or others. 'Evil 
communications corrupt good manners.' I Cor 15: 33. Impure discourse 
is the bellows to blow up the fire of lust. Much evil is conveyed to 
the heart by the tongue. 'Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth.' Psa 
141: 3. 
    (4) Look in a special manner to your heart. 'Keep thy heart 
with all diligence.' Prov 4: 23. Every one has a tempter in his own 
bosom. 'Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts.' Matt 15: 19. 
Thinking of sin makes way for the act of sin. Suppress the first 
risings of sin in your heart. As the serpent, when danger is near, 
keeps his head, so keep your heart, which is the spring from whence 
all lustful motions proceed. 
    (5) Look to your attire. We read of the attire of a harlot. 
Prov 7: 10. A wanton dress is a provocation to lust. Cuttings and 
braidings of the hair, a painted face, naked breasts, are 
allurements to vanity. Where the sign is hung out, people will go in 
and taste the liquor. Jerome says, they who by their lascivious 
attire endeavour to draw others to lust, though no evil follows, are 
tempters, and shall be punished, because they offered the poison to 
others, though they would not drink. 
    (6) Take heed of evil company. Serpunt vitia et in proximum 
quemque transiliunt [Vices spread abroad and spring on to any 
standing by]. Seneca. Sin is a very catching disease; one tempts 
another to sin, and hardens him in it. There are three cords that 
draw men to adultery: the inclination of the heart, the persuasion 
of evil company, and the embraces of the harlot; and this threefold 
cord is not easily broken. 'A fire was kindled in their company.' 
Psa 106: 18. The fire of lust is kindled in bad company. 
    (7) Beware of going to plays. A play-house is often a preface 
to a whorehouse. Ludi praebent semina nequitiae [Plays furnish the 
seeds of wickedness]. We are bid to avoid all appearance of evil: 
and are not plays the appearance of evil? Such sights are there that 
are not fit to be beheld with chaste eyes. Both Fathers and Councils 
have shown their dislike to going to plays. A learned divine 
observes, that many have on their death-beds confessed, with tears, 
that the pollution of their bodies has been occasioned by going to 
    (8) Take heed of mixed dancing. Instrumenta luxuriae tripudia 
[Dances are instruments of wantonness]. From dancing, people come to 
dalliance with another, and from dalliance to uncleanness. 'There 
is,' says Calvin, 'for the most part, some unchaste behaviour in 
dancing.' Dances draw the heart to folly by wanton gestures, by 
unchaste touches, and by lustful looks. Chrysostom inveighed against 
mixed dancing in his time. 'We read,' he says, 'of a marriage feast, 
and of virgins going before with lamps, but of dancing there we read 
not.' Matt 25: 7. Many have been ensnared by dancing; as the duke of 
Normandy, and others. Saltatio adadulteras non ad pudicas pertinet 
[Dancing is the province not of the chaste woman, but of the 
adulteress]. Ambrose. Chrysostom says, where dancing is, there the 
devil is. I speak chiefly of mixed dancing. We read of dances in 
Scripture, but they were sober and modest. Exod 15: 20. They were 
not mixed dances, but pious and religious, being usually accompanied 
with singing praises to God. 
    (9) Take heed of lascivious books, and pictures that provoke to 
lust. As the reading of the Scripture stirs up love to God, so 
reading bad books stirs up the mind to wickedness. I could name one 
who published a book to the world full of effeminate, amorous, and 
wanton expressions, who, before he died, was much troubled for it, 
and burned the book which made so many burn in lust. To lascivious 
books I may add lascivious pictures, which bewitch the eye, and are 
incendiaries to lust. They secretly convey poison to the heart. Qui 
aspicit innocens aspectu fit nocens. Popish pictures are not more 
prone to stir up idolatry than unclean pictures are to stir up to 
    (10) Take heed of excess in diet. When gluttony and drunkenness 
lead the van, chambering and wantonness bring up the rear. Vinum 
fomentum libidinis; 'any wine inflames lust;' and fulness of bread 
is made the cause of Sodom's uncleanness. Ezek 16: 49. The rankest 
weeds grow out of the fattest soil. Uncleanness proceeds from 
excess. 'When I had fed them to the full, every one neighed after 
his neighbour's wife.' Jer 5: 8. Get the 'golden bridle of 
temperance.' God allows recruits of nature, and what may fit us the 
better for his service; but beware of surfeit. Excess in the 
creature clouds the mind, chokes good affections, and provokes lust. 
Paul did 'keep under his body.' I Cor 9: 27. The flesh pampered is 
apt to rebel. Corpus impinguatum recalcitrat. 
    (11) Take heed of idleness. When a man is out of a calling, he 
is ready to receive any temptation. We do not sow seed in 
fallow-ground; but the devil sows most seed of temptation in such as 
lie fallow. Idleness is the cause of sodomy and uncleanness. Ezek 
16:49. When David was idle on the top of his house, he espied 
Bathsheba, and took her to him. 2 Sam 11: 4. Jerome gave his friend 
counsel to be always well employed in God's vineyard, that when the 
devil came, he might have no leisure to listen to temptation. 
    (12) To avoid fornication and adultery, let every man have a 
chaste, entire love to his own wife. Ezekiel's wife was the desire 
of his eyes. Chap 24: 16. When Solomon had dissuaded from strange 
women, he prescribed a remedy against it. 'Rejoice with the wife of 
thy youth.' Prov 5: 18. It is not having a wife, but loving a wife, 
that makes a man live chastely. He who loves his wife, whom Solomon 
calls his fountain, will not go abroad to drink of muddy, poisoned 
waters. Pure conjugal love is a gift of God, and comes from heaven; 
but, like the vestal fire, it must be cherished, that it go not out. 
He who loves not his wife, is the likeliest person to embrace the 
bosom of a stranger. 
    (13) Labour to get the fear of God into your hearts. 'By the 
fear of the Lord men depart from evil.' Prov 16: 6. As the 
embankment keeps out the water, so the fear of the Lord keeps out 
uncleanness. Such as want the fear of God, want the bridle that 
should check them from sin. How did Joseph keep from his mistress's 
temptation? The fear of God pulled him back. 'How can I do this 
great wickedness, and sin against God?' Gen. 39: 9. Bernard calls 
holy fear, janitor animae, 'the door-keeper of the soul.' As a 
nobleman's porter stands at the door, and keeps out vagrants, so the 
fear of God stands and keeps out all sinful temptations from 
    (14) Take delight in the word of God. 'How sweet are thy words 
unto my taste.' Psa 119: I03. Chrysostom compares God's word to a 
garden. If we walk in this garden, and suck sweetness from the 
flowers of the promises, we shall never care to pluck the 'forbidden 
fruit.' Sint castae deliciae meae scripturae [Let the Scriptures be 
my pure pleasure]. Augustine. The reason why persons seek after 
unchaste, sinful pleasures, is because they have no better. Caesar 
riding through a city, and seeing the women play with dogs and 
parrots, said, 'Sure they have no children.' So they that sport with 
harlots have no better pleasures. He that has once tasted Christ in 
a promise, is ravished with delight; and how would he scorn a motion 
to sin! Job said, the word was his 'appointed food.' Job 23: 12. No 
wonder then he made a 'covenant with his eyes.' 
    (15) If you would abstain from adultery, use serious 
consideration. Consider, [1] God sees thee in the act of sin. He 
sees all thy curtain wickedness. He is totus oculus, 'all eye.' The 
clouds are no canopy, the night is no curtain to hide thee from 
God's eye. Thou canst not sin, but thy Judge looks on. 'I have seen 
thy adulteries and thy neighings.' Jer 13: 27. 'They have committed 
adultery with their neighbours' wives; even I know, and am a 
witness, saith the Lord.' Jer 29: 23. [2] Few that are entangled in 
the sin of adultery, recover from the snare. 'None that go to her 
return again.' Prov 2: 19. This made some of the ancients conclude 
that adultery was an unpardonable sin; but it is not so. David 
repented. Mary Magdalene was a weeping penitent; upon her amorous 
eyes that sparkled with lose, she sought to be revenged, by washing 
Christ's feet with her tears. Some, therefore have recovered from 
the snare. 'None that go to her return,' that is, 'very few;' it is 
rare to hear of any who are enchanted and bewitched with this sin of 
adultery, that recover from it. Her 'heart is snares and nets, and 
her hands are bands.' Eccl 7: 26. Her 'heart is snares,' that is, 
she is subtle to deceive those who come to her; and 'her hands are 
bands,' that is her embraces are powerful to hold and entangle her 
lovers. Plutarch said of the Persian kings, 'They were captives to 
their concubines,' they were so inflamed, that they had no power to 
leave their company. This consideration should make all fearful of 
this sin. Soft pleasures harden the heart. [3] Consider what 
Scripture says, which may ponere obicem, 'lay a bar in the way' to 
this sin. 'I will be a swift witness against the adulterers.' Mal 3: 
5. It is good when God is a witness 'for us', when he witnesses to 
our sincerity, as he did to Job's; but it is sad to have God a 
'witness against us.' 'I,' says God, 'will be a witness against the 
adulterer.' And who shall disprove his witness? He is both witness 
and judge. 'Whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.' Heb 13: 4. 
[4] Consider the sad farewell the sin of adultery leaves. It leaves 
a hell in the conscience. 'The lips of a strange woman drop as a 
honeycomb, but her end is bitter as wormwood.' Prov 5: 4. The 
goddess Diana was so artificially drawn, that she seemed to smile 
upon those that came into her temple, but frown on those that went 
out. So the harlot smiles on her lovers as they come to her, but at 
last come the frown and the sting. 'Till a dart strike through his 
liver.' Prov 7: 23. 'Her end is bitter.' When a man has been 
virtuous, the labour is gone, but the comfort remains; but when he 
has been vicious and unclean, the pleasure is gone, but the sting 
remains. Delectat in momentum, cruciat in aeternum [He gains 
momentary pleasure and then eternal torment]. Jerome. When the 
senses have been feasted with unchaste pleasures, the soul is left 
to pay the reckoning. Stolen waters are sweet; but, as poison, 
though sweet in the mouth, it torments the bowels. Sin always ends 
in a tragedy. Memorable is that which Fincelius reports of a priest 
in Flanders, who enticed a maid to uncleanness. She objected how 
vile a sin it was, he told her that by authority from the Pope he 
could commit any sin; so at last he drew her to his wicked purpose. 
But when they had been together a while, in came the devil, and took 
away the harlot from the priest's side, and, notwithstanding all her 
crying out, carried her away. If the devil should come and carry 
away all that are guilty of bodily uncleanness in this nation, I 
fear more would be carried away than would be left behind. 
    (16) Pray against this sin. Luther gave a lady this advice, 
that when any lust began to rise in her heart, she should go to 
prayer. Prayer is the best armour of proof; it quenches the wild 
fire of lust. If prayer will 'cast out the devil,' why may it not 
cast out those lusts that come from the devil? 
    Use five. If the body must be kept pure from defilement, much 
more the 'soul of a Christian must be kept pure.' The meaning of the 
commandment is not only that we should not stain our bodies with 
adultery, but that we should keep our souls pure. To have a chaste 
body, but an unclean soul, is like a fair face with bad lungs; or a 
gilt chimney-piece, that is all soot within. 'Be ye holy, for I am 
holy.' I Pet 1: 16. The soul cannot be lovely to God till it has 
Christ's image stamped upon it, which consists in righteousness and 
true holiness. Eph 4: 24. The soul must especially be kept pure, 
because it is the chief place of God's residence. Eph 3: 17. A 
king's palace must be kept clean, especially his presence-chamber. 
If the body is the temple, the soul is the 'Holy of holies,' and 
must be consecrated. We must not only keep our bodies from carnal 
pollution, but our souls from envy and malice. 
    How shall we know our souls are pure? 
    (1) If our souls are pure, we flee from the appearance of evil. 
1 Thess 5: 22. We shall not do that which looks like sin. When 
Joseph's mistress courted and tempted him, he 'left his garment in 
her hand, and fled.' Gen 39: 12 He was suspicious to be near her. 
Polycarp would not be seen in company with Marcion the heretic, 
because it would not be good report. 
    (2) If our souls are pure, the light of purity will shine 
forth. Aaron had 'Holiness to the Lord' written upon his golden 
plate. Where there is sanctity in the soul, there 'Holiness to the 
Lord' is engraven upon the life. We are adorned with patience, 
humility, good works, and shine as 'Lights in the world.' Phil 2: 
15. Carry Christ's picture in your conversation. I John 2: 6. O let 
us labour for this soul purity! Without it there is no seeing God. 
Heb 12: 14. 'What communion has light with darkness?' 2 Cor 6:14. To 
keep the soul pure, have recourse to the blood of Christ: which is 
the 'fountain open for sin and uncleanness.' Zech 13: 1. A soul 
steeped in the briny tears of repentance, and bathed in the blood of 
Christ, is made pure. Pray much for a pureness of soul. 'Create in 
me a clean heart, O God.' Psa 51: 10. Some pray for children, others 
for riches; but pray thou for soul purity. Say, 'Lord, though my 
body is kept pure, yet my soul is defiled, I pollute all I touch. O 
purge me with hyssop, let Christ's blood sprinkle me, let the Holy 
Ghost come upon me and anoint me. O make me evangelically pure, that 
I may be translated to heaven, and placed among the cherubim, where 
I shall be as holy as thou wouldst have me to be, and as happy as I 
can desire to be.' 

Watson, The Ten Commandments
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