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"Thou shalt not commit adultery." "Whosoever looketh on a woman to lust
after her, hath committed adultery with her already in his heart."
In these two scriptures we have a complete definition of unchastity.
The seventh commandment, with the Saviour's commentary upon it, places
clearly before us the fact that chastity requires purity of thought
as well as of outward acts. Impure thoughts and unchaste acts are alike
violations of the seventh commandment. As we shall see, also,
unchastity of the mind is a violation of natural law as well as of moral
law, and is visited with physical punishment commensurate to the
Mental Unchastity.--It is vain for a man to suppose himself chaste who
allows his imagination to run riot amid scenes of amorous associations.
The man whose lips delight in tales of licentiousness, whose eyes feast
upon obscene pictures, who is ever ready to pervert the meaning of a
harmless word or act into uncleanness, who finds delight in reading
vivid portrayals of acts of lewdness,--such a one is not a virtuous
man. Though he may never have committed an overt act of unchastity,
if he cannot pass a handsome female in the street without, in
imagination, approaching the secrets of her person, he is but one grade
above the open libertine, and is as truly unchaste as the veriest
Man may not see these mental adulteries, he may not perceive these
filthy imaginings; but One sees and notes them. They leave their hideous
scars upon the soul. They soil and mar the mind; and as the record of
each day of life is photographed upon the books in Heaven, they each
appear in bold relief, in all their innate hideousness.
O purity! how rare a virtue! How rare to find a face which shows no
trace of sensuality! One turns with sadness from the thought that human
"forms divine" have sunk so low. The standard of virtue is trailing
in the dust. Men laugh at vice, and sneer at purity. The bawdy laugh,
the ribald jest, the sensual glance, the obscene song, the filthy tale,
salute the eyes and ears at every street corner, in the horse-car, on
the railroad train, in the bar-room, the lecture hall, the workshop.
In short, the works and signs of vice are omnipresent.
Foul thoughts, once allowed to enter the mind, stick like the leprosy.
They corrode, contaminate, and infect like the pestilence; naught but
Almighty power can deliver from the bondage of concupiscence a soul
once infected by this foul blight, this moral contagium.
Mental Uncleanness.--It is a wide-spread and deadly error, that only
outward acts are harmful; that only physical transgression of the laws
of chastity will produce disease. We have seen all the effects of
beastly abuse result from mental sin alone.
"I have traced serious affections and very great suffering to this cause.
The cases may occur at any period of life. We meet with them frequently
among such as are usually called, or think themselves, continent young
men. There are large classes of persons who seem to think that they
may, without moral guilt, excite their own feelings or those of others
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