Richard Baxter – Directions Against Fornication (and Lusting)

If thou wouldst be free from lust, keep far enough from the tempting object. If possible, dwell not in the house with any person that thou feelest thyself endangered by; if that be not possible, avoid their company, especially in private: abhor all lascivious and immodest actions. Dost thou give thyself the liberty of wanton dalliance, and lustful embracements, and yet think to be free from lust? wilt thou put thy hand into the fire, when thou art afraid of being burnt? Either thou hast the power of thy own heart, or thou hast not: if thou hast, why dost thou not quench thy lust? if thou hast not, why dost thou cast it upon greater temptations, and put it further out of thy power than it is? Fly from a tempting object for thy safety, as thou wouldst fly from an enemy for thy life. These loving enemies are more dangerous than hating enemies: they get the key of our hearts, and come in and steal our treasure with our consent, or without resistance; when an open enemy is suspected and shut out…..If you think this course too dear a cure, and had rather cherish your flesh and lust, you are not the persons that I am now directing; for I speak to such only as are willing to be cured, and to use the necessary means that they may be cured. If you be not brought to this, your conscience had need of better awakening.

Directions Against Fornication