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therefore this act is done agreeably to God's will, it is like all other acts fo done, good and not evil. In order to make it evil, it must be done against fome precept of God's law, otherwise it is as innocent as fatisfying our hunger with eating, or our thirst with drinking. These may become finful by their abuse or excefs; fo may the other; but in itself, and in its lawful ufe, it is as perfectly innocent as the two former.
We have obferved before, that where a man and woman become perfonally 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 fcriptures; 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 bleffing, Gen. i. 28, and ratified by His own exprefs command, Gen. ii. 24, was, as every other divine inftitution, corrupted, perverted, and abused; and men, to fatisfy their defires at as cheap a rate as poffible, without the incumbrance of a wife and family, or confining themselves to the fober duties of maintaining, taking care
*Unless we agree in defining the terms made use of, no argument can be properly understood, or fatisfactorily concluded. I would therefore here repeat, what I have already faid-"that, as in GoD's fight, by marriage"ordinance I mean, that, by which the parties become
one flesh-and by marriage, the actually becoming fo." This was, is, and ever must be one and the fame, in all ages, times, and places, however mankind may differ about the adventitious circumftances of human ceremony-whether Jewish, Popish, Protestant, Mahometan, or Heathen.
of, or providing for their households, chofe to have intercourfe and commerce with women, like brute beats, for the fake of mere appetite, and then to leave the women for the fervice of the next comer. Something of this fort may not improbably be the meaning of Gen. vi. 2, where it is faid, that they took them □ women of all which they chofe. For though this word, in certain connexions, denotes what we call wives (as Deut. xxi. 15.) yet it fignifies primarily the female fex, or women in general. Such traffic was offenfive to God, an abuse of His ordinance, (fee 1 Cor. vi. 15, 16.) and tending to deftroy the marriage-obligation, not only by rendering the bond which was created by it ineffectual, but by inducing mankind to despise it, and fet it at nought. All genealogies must be confounded, inheritances obfcured, and relationship itself deftroyed; for who could afcertain these things, fo neceffary to the existence of all civil fociety, in the commerce with harlots? Confufion, and every evil work, must enfue; and therefore the all-wife 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 is particularly appropriated to this offence in the Old Teftament, as opvεia is in the New Testament; and we shall never find it mentioned but with the divine abhorrence. We have no law to enforce the punishment which GoD annexed to it, or to treat an harlot or whore as a capiVOL. I. tal
tal offender; but it is nevertheless offenfive 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 fhall not inherit the kingdom of GOD? Be not deceived, neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers,
-&c.—fhall inherit the kingdom of GOD.
So odious is whoredom in God's fight, that it is not only faid to defile the parties who are guilty of it, but the very land itself was faid to be defiled thereby, Jer. iii. 9. Though this text may perhaps primarily relate to idolatry, which is fpiritual whoredom, yet it ferves to fhew the malignant nature of whoredom; otherwife this would not be made use of, as adultery is in the fame verse, in a figurative fenfe, to denote the other.
GOD exprefsly commanded, that there fhould 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 perfon, should be ftoned to death, Deut. xxii. 21. but if the daughter of a prieft, fhe was to be burned with fire, Lev. xxi. 9. I mention these things as proofs of the finfulness of an act, innocent in itself, when committed against a divine pofitive law. No human power or custom can alleviate its guilt, or make it lefs offenfive to GOD than His word has made it; the perfon's confcience that thinks otherwise is fadly deceived.
Though what has been already faid may ferve as a definition of this offence, yet, to fave the
Reader the trouble of looking back, as well as to be still more explicit upon the fubject, I would define nt, or whoredom, to be a wo"man's giving her perfon 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 fame * purposes." This is being what the Hebrew fcriptures call it, an harlot or whore. See Gen. xxxviii. 15, 16. The radical idea of the Hebrew n feems to be, to encompass, encircle, infold, enclofe; and denotes unlawful embraces between the sexes. Hence we render it, to commit whoredom. See Parkh. Heb. and Eng. Lex. fub voc.
As whoredom is generally used in our translation, as denoted by the word П, and seems rather appropriated to fignify the woman's fhare in the offence; fo the term + fornicacation, which is expreffed by the fame 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, feems to be derived from the Latin fornix; which literally fignifies an arch or vault in houfes-and by a metonymy-a brothel-house, because these were in vaults under ground. Ainfworth. Hor. Epift. 14. 1. 21, 22. fays to his fteward
Fornix tibi, & uncta popina;
"For well I know, a tavern's greasy fteam,
Hence the haunters of thofe places were called fornicators. See Johnson's Dict. Hor. Sat. lib. i. Sat. 2. 1. 30, 31,
to the offence which the man commits in fuch illicit commerce. Though this obfervation may not hold in all cafes, yet it is the best reafon which occurs to me, for our ufing different words, to denote an offence of the fame kind.
I readily confefs, that the revival of God's antient laws against whoredom, amongst us, would be very dreadful, and indeed unjust, unless the whole confiftent fcheme which GOD has laid down was all to be revived together. The women, under GoD's law, could force their feducers to take them as their wives; or rather were deemed fo actually married, as not to be put away. A woman had but to fummon her feducer before the judges, to prove the fact against him, and their fentence, 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 cafe among us, it would be oppreffive, unjust, and cruel to the laft degree, to punish women with death, for being, by the treachery and villainy of men, forced into a way of life (however abhorrentin itself, or culpable) which is the natural, and, in most inftances, the inevitable confequence of their being deferted by those who ought to have protected them, but against whom they have no remedy, or means to make them act the juft and honourable part.
Under this head of forbidden lewdnefs, I would mention the practice of taking an bar