The plague is as rampant in our streets as it is represented to be in the Proverbs. Mankind has sat for the picture: there is no mistake in the outline; there is no exaggeration in the coloring. It is a mirror held up for the world to see itself in. Dark as the lines are in which the importunate, shameless solicitations of a wanton woman are drawn on this page, they are not darker than the reality, as seen in our crowded thoroughfares by day and by night. The vulture, with unerring instinct, scents the carrion and flutters around the place where it lies until an opportunity occurs of alighting upon it and satiating her appetite on the loathsome food. The power of sin lies in its pleasure. If stolen waters were not sweet, no one would steal the waters. This is part of the mystery in which our being is involved by the fall, and it is one of the most fearful features of our case. Our appetite is diseased. If our bodily appetite were so perverted that it should crave for what is poisonous and loathe wholesome food, we would not give ourselves up to each random inclination: the risk of death would be great and valuing life, we would set a guard on the side of danger. But in man fallen there is a diseased relish for that which destroys. Sin, which is the death of a man’s soul, is yet sweet to the man’s taste.
Joseph was a good soldier of that God whom he served. He was far from yielding to the most insinuating and most urgent temptations. “And it came to pass, as she spake to Joseph day by day, that he hearkened not unto her, to lie by her, or to be with her.” He regarded neither her caresses nor her frowns, her threatenings nor her promises. None of her arts could induce him to do that great wickedness to which she solicited him, and to sin against God. If she could have given him all the treasures of Egypt as the price of his virtue, he would have despised them.
The Glorious Victory of Chastity; in Joseph’s Hard Conflict, and His Happy Escape (From Potiphar’s Wife) Jenks (1646–1724), divine, eldest son of John Jenks, vicar of Eaton-under-Haywood, Shropshire. This book was mentioned in Pike and Haywards Cases of Conscience – 1755, and by George Herbert, in a letter. It was not easy to find an online copy to narrate, and finding it to read, and in reading it to put it into more modern English at the same time, but it was certainly worth it!
For she sitteth at the door of her house, on a seat in the high places of the city, to call passengers who go right on their ways. “They are evil times, when tempters to sin are permitted to hunt so avowedly for prey. Let well-meaning persons, in such a time, watch and pray against temptation. These are the persons whom the foolish woman solicits, and too often with success.”
The venom and sting of a serpent is concealed under the honey of her lips. Those who repent of their uncleanness will experience far more bitterness than ever they tasted pleasure, in their unlawful gratifications. But few get so well off, and if persons continue hardened; the end is more bitter than death.
When men enter into a course of sin, they have no intention to be damned. They intend only to indulge the selves in the pleasures of sin for a time, and then to return to the paths of life. Millions of souls have been seduced to everlasting destruction by this one temptation of the old serpent,— “Ye shall not die although you eat; grace is free, and there is abundance of time to repent.” The wise man gives what may repel is temptation, by letting us know how foolish it is for men to flatter themselves with the hope, that they shall be truly disposed and enabled to repent of their sin.
This is a sermon from the Collected Works of Matthew Henry Volume 1. From Four Discourses Against Vice and Profaneness. Henry wrote, “That is a miserable calling which lust only lives by, and which soul and body will certainly be ruined by. That is a miserable service wherein the devil is the master, sin’s drudgery is the work, and hell-fire the wages, for the end of those things is death.
Such houses, and their inhabitants and maintainers, are the scandal of a Christian nation, the pests of the towns and countries where they are, the slaughter-houses of precious souls, the rendezvous of the vilest of creatures ; and more frightful habitations of devils, holds of foul spirits, and cages of unclean and hateful birds, than Babylon the great will be when it is fallen, Rev. 18:2.
7 Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice,8 Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness:9 When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years.10 Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways.11 So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.)
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.
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