Homily 1.11 - Against Whoredom and Adultery

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  1. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    The First Book of Homilies - Homily 11

    Against Whoredom and Adultery

    Although there are, good Christian people, great swarms of vices worthy to be rebuked, such is the decay in true godliness and virtuous living: yet above all other vices, the outrageous seas of adultery, the breaking of wedlock, whoredom, fornication and uncleanliness, have not only burst in, but overtaken almost the whole world, to the great dishonour of God, the exceeding infamy of the name of Christ, the notable decay of true Religion, and the utter destruction of the public good. So abundantly, that the vice is now normal, this vice is grown in such a way, that many no longer count it a sin at all, but rather a pastime, a dalliance, and but a touch of youth: not rebuked, but winked at: not to be punished, but to be laughed at.

    So it is now necessary to discuss the sin of whoredom and fornication, telling you how great a sin it is; how odious, hateful and abominable it is, and always has been before God and all good people, and how grievously punished both by the law of God, and the laws of many Princes.

    I also intend to show you certain remedies, so you may by the grace of God, put aside this most detestable sin of whoredom and fornication, and lead your lives in all honesty and cleanliness, and understand that fornication and whoredom are, in the sight of God, most abominable sins. You remember the commandment of God, You shalt not commit adultery (Exodus 20.14): by the which word, adultery, which is properly understood to be the unlawful commixing or joining together of a married man with any woman beside his wife, or of a wife with any man beside her husband: yet it also signifies all unlawful use of those parts, which are ordained for procreation.

    And this one commandment, forbidding adultery, does sufficiently paint and set out before our eyes the greatness of this sin of whoredom, and manifestly declares how greatly it ought to be abhorred of all honest and faithful people. And none shall think themselves exempted from this commandment, whether old or young, married or unmarried, man or woman, hear what God the Father says by the prophet Moses: There shall be no whore among the daughters of Israel, nor no whoremonger among the sons of Israel (Deuteronomy 23.17).

    Here is whoredom, fornication, and all other uncleanliness forbidden to all kinds of people, all degrees, and all ages without exception. And that we shall not doubt that this precept or commandment pertains to us indeed, hear what Christ, the perfect teacher of all truth, says in the New Testament, You have heard that it was said in time past, You shall not commit adultery: but I say to you, whoever sees another with lust in their thinking has committed adultery already in their heart (Matthew 5.27-28).

    Here our Saviour Christ not only confirms and establishes the law against adultery, given in the Old Testament of God the Father by his servant Moses, and makes it of full strength, continually to remain among those who profess his Name in the new law: but he also condemns the gross interpretation of the Scribes and Pharisees, who taught that the this commandment only required to abstain from the outward adultery, and not from the filthy desires and impure lust. This teaches us an exact and full perfection of purity and cleanliness of life, both to keep our bodies undefiled, and our hearts pure and free from all evil thoughts, carnal desires, and fleshly ambitions. How can we then be free from this commandment, where so great charge is laid on us?

    May a servant do what he will in any thing, having commandment of his master to the contrary? Is not Christ our Master? Are we not his servants? How then can we neglect our Master’s will and pleasure, and follow our own will and fantasies? Christ says You are my friends if you keep those things that I command you (John 15.14).

    Now has, Christ our Master, commanded us that we should forsake all uncleanliness and filthiness both in body and spirit: this therefore must we do, if we look to please God. In the Gospel of Saint Matthew we read, that the Scribes and Pharisees were grievously offended with Christ, because his disciples did not keep the traditions of the forefathers, for they did not wash their hands when they went to dinner or supper (Matthew 15.1-2): And among other things, Christ answered and said, Hear and understand; It is not that thing which enters the mouth defiles one, but that which comes out of the mouth defiles one (Matthew 15.10-11). For those things which proceed out of the mouth, come forth from the heart, and they defile one.

    For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, breaking of wedlock, whoredom, theft, false witness, blasphemy: these are the things which defile you (Matthew 15.19-20, Mark 7.21). Here may we see, that not only murder, theft, false witness, and blasphemy, defile one, but also evil thoughts, breaking of wedlock, fornication, and whoredom. Who is now of so little understanding, that they will esteem whoredom and fornication to be things of small importance, and of no weight before God? Christ, who is the truth, can not lie and he says evil thoughts, breaking of wedlock, whoredom, and fornication defile one, that is to say, corrupt both the body and soul, and make the temples of the Holy Ghost, the filthy dunghill, or dungeon of unclean spirits; the House of God, the dwelling place of Satan (Titus 1.15).

    And again in the Gospel of Saint John, the woman taken in adultery, was brought to Christ, who said to her, Go your way, and sin no more (John 8.11). Does he not call whoredom sin? And what is the reward of sin, but everlasting death (Romans 6.23)? If whoredom be sin, then it is not lawful for us to commit it. Saint John says, Those who commit sin are of the devil (1 John 3.8). And our Saviour says, Everyone who sins, is the servant of sin (John 8.34).

    If whoredom had not been sin, Saint John the Baptist would not have rebuked King Herod for taking his brother’s wife, but he told him plainly, that it was not lawful for him to take his brothers wife. He did not wink at the whoredom of Herod, though he was a king of power, but boldly reproved him for wicked and abominable living (Mark 6.18), and for this he lost his head. But he would rather suffer death than see God so dishonoured, by the breaking of his holy precept and commandment, than to see whoredom unrebuked, even in a king.

    If whoredom was but a pastime, a dalliance, and not to be passed off, as many count it today. Truly John would have been insane to the displeasure of a king, be cast in prison, and lose his head, for a trifle. But John knew how filthy, stinking, and abominable the sin of whoredom is in the sight of God, therefore would not he leave it unrebuked, not even in a king, If whoredom is not lawful in a king, neither is it lawful in a subject. If whoredom be not lawful in a public or common officer, neither is it lawful in a private person. If it is not lawful in King, nor subject, neither in common officer, nor private person, truly then it is lawful in no man or woman of whatsoever degree or age they are.

    Furthermore in the Acts of the Apostles we read that when the Apostles and Elders with the whole Congregation, were gathered together to pacify the hearts of the faithful living in Antioch. They were disquieted through the false doctrine of certain Jewish preachers. They sent word to the brethren, that it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to them, to charge them with no more than the necessary things: among other, they willed them to abstain from idolatry and fornication, they said, if you keep yourselves from these you shall do well (Acts 15.28-29). Note here, how these holy and blessed Fathers of Christ’s Church, would charge the congregation with no more things than were necessary.

    Mark also how among those things, from the which they commanded the brethren of Antioch to abstain, fornication and whoredom is numbered. It is therefore necessary, by the determination and consent of the Holy Ghost, and the Apostles and Elders, with the whole Congregation that as from idolatry and superstition, so likewise we must abstain from fornication and whoredom. It is necessary to salvation to abstain from idolatry: So is it to abstain from whoredom. Is there any nearer way to lead to damnation, than to be an idolater? No. There is no faster way to damnation, than to be a fornicator and whoremonger.

    Now, where are those people, which so lightly esteem breaking of wedlock, whoredom, fornication and adultery. It is necessary, says the Holy Ghost, the blessed Apostles, the Elders, with the whole Congregation of Christ, it is necessary to salvation, they say to abstain from whoredom. If it be necessary to salvation, then woe be to them who neglect their salvation and give their minds to filthy and stinking sin, to so wicked a vice, and to such a detestable abomination.
     
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  2. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    THE SECOND PART OF THE SERMON AGAINST ADULTERY.

    In the first part of this Sermon against Adultery, we learned that Adultery today reigns most above all other vices. We heard what is meant by this word, Adultery, and how Holy Scripture dissuades or discourages this filthy sin, and finally the corruption comes to one’s soul through the sin of Adultery. Now to proceed further, let us hear what the blessed Apostle Saint Paul says on this matter, writing to the Romans he has these words. Let us cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly as it were in the day time, not in eating and drinking, neither in chambering and wantonness, neither in strife and envying, but put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh to fulfil the lusts of it (Romans 13.12-14).

    Here the Holy Apostle exhorts us to cast away the works of darkness, which (among other) he calls gluttonous eating, drinking, chambering, and wantonness, which are all ministers to that vice, and preparations to induce and bring in the filthy sin of the flesh. He calls them the deeds and works of darkness, not only because they are often in darkness, or in the nighttime, for every one that does evil, hates the light, neither comes he to the light, lest his works should be reproved, John 3.20. They they are way to utter darkness, where there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 25.30). And he says in another place in the same Epistle, They that are in the flesh, cannot please God: We are debtors, not to the flesh, that we should live after the flesh, for if you live after the flesh, you shall die (Romans 8.8, 12-13).

    Again he says, Flee from whoredom, for every sin one man commits, is outside the body: but whosoever commits whoredom, sins against their own body. Do you not know, that your members are the Temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, whom also you have of God, and you are not your own? For you are dearly bought: glorify God in your bodies, etc. And a little before he says, Do you not know that your bodies are the members of Christ: Shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of a whore? God forbid. Do you not know, that he who cleaves to a whore, is made one body with her? There shall be two in one flesh he says, but he that cleaves to the Lord, is one spirit (1 Corinthians 6.15-17).

    What godly words does the blessed Apostle Saint Paul bring forth here, to dissuade and counsel us from whoredom and all uncleanliness? Your members he says, are the Temple of the Holy Ghost, which whoever defiles, God will destroy them, as Saint Paul says. If we be the Temple of the Holy Ghost, how unfitting then is it, to drive that Holy Spirit from us through whoredom, and in his place to set the wicked spirits of uncleanliness and fornication, and to be joined, and do service to them?

    You are dearly bought, he says, therefore glorify God in your bodies. Christ the innocent Lamb of God, has bought us from the servitude of the devil, not with corruptible gold and silver, but with his most precious and dear heart blood (1 Peter 1.18-19). To what intent? That we should fall again into our old uncleanliness and abominable living? No truly that we should serve him all the days of our life (Isaiah 38.20, Luke 1.74-75), in holiness and righteousness, that we should glorify him in our bodies, by purity and cleanliness of life.

    He declares also that our bodies are the members of Christ: How unseemly a thing is it then to cease to be incorporate or embodied and made one with Christ, and through whoredom to be joined and made all one with a whore? What greater dishonour or injury can we do to Christ, then to take away from him the members of his body, and to join them to whores, devils, and wicked spirits? And what more dishonour can we do to ourselves, than through uncleanliness, to lose so excellent a dignity and freedom, and to become bondslaves, and miserable captives of the spirit of darkness?

    Let us therefore consider, first the glory of Christ, then our estate, our dignity, and freedom, wherein God has set us, by giving us his Holy Spirit, and let us valiantly defend the same against Satan, and all his crafty assaults, that Christ may be honoured, and that we lose not our liberty or freedom, but still remain in one Spirit with him.

    Moreover, in his Epistle to the Ephesians, the blessed Apostle wills us to be so pure and free from adultery, fornication, and all uncleanliness, that we name them not once among us, as it becomes Saints, nor filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not comely, but rather giving of thanks: for this you know, he says, no whoremonger, neither unclean person, nor covetous person, nor idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God (Ephesians 5.3-5, 1 Corinthians 6.9-10). And that we should remember to be holy, pure, and free from all uncleanliness, the Holy Apostle calls us Saints, because we are sanctified and made holy by the blood of Christ, through the Holy Ghost.

    Now if we are Saints, what have we to do with the way of the Heathen? Saint Peter says, as he who called you is holy, even so be holy also in your conversation, because it is written, Be holy, for I am holy (1 Peter 1.15-16, Leviticus 19.4, 19.2).

    So we have heard how grievous a sin fornication and whoredom is, and how greatly God abhors it through the whole of Scripture. It is a sin of great abomination, seeing it may not once be named among the Christians, much less it may in any point be committed. And surely if we would weigh the greatness of this sin, and consider it in the right way, we will find the sin of whoredom, to be a most filthy lake, soul puddle, and a stinking sink, where all kinds of sin and evil flow, where also they have their resting place and live.

    For has not the adulterer a pride in their own whoredom? As the wise say, They are glad when they have done evil, and rejoice in things that are worth nothing. Is the adulterer not also idle, and delights in no godly exercise, but only in that most filthy and beastly pleasure? Is not a mind plucked and utterly drawn away from all virtuous studies, and fruitful labours, and only given to carnal and fleshly imagination? Do not whoremongers give their minds to gluttony, that they may be the more able to serve their lusts and carnal pleasures? Do not adulterers give their mind to covetousness, and to the opinion of others, that they may be the more able to maintain harlots and whores, and to continue in filthy and unlawful love?

    Do they not dwell with envy against others, fearing that their prey should be allured and taken away from them? Again are they not angry and increasing with wrath and displeasure, even against their best loved, if at any time their beastly and devilish schemes be revealed? What sin, or kind of sin is it, that is not joined with fornication and whoredom? It is a monster of many heads: it receives all kinds of vice, and refuses all kinds of virtue. If one single sin brings damnation, what is to be thought of that sin, which is accompanied with all evils, and has waiting on it whatsoever is hateful to God, damnable to mortals, and pleasant to Satan.
     
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  3. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    Great is the damnation that hangs over the heads of fornicators and adulterers. What shall I speak of other dangers which issue and flow out of this stinking puddle of whoredom? Is not that treasure, which before all other is most regarded of honest persons, the good fame and name of man and woman, lost through whoredom? What patrimony, what a burden in life, what substance, what goods, what riches doth whoredom shortly consume and bring to nothing? What courage and strength is many times made weak, and destroyed with whoredom? What mind is so fine, that is not besotted and defaced through whoredom? What beauty (although it were ever so excellent,) is not disfigured through whoredom? Is not whoredom an enemy to the pleasant flower of youth, and brings gray hairs and old age before their time? What gift of nature (although it were ever so precious) is not corrupted with whoredom? Come not many foul and horrible diseases of whoredom? From whoredom comes so many bastards and misbegotten children, to the high displeasure of God, and dishonour of holy wedlock. How many consume all their substance and goods, and at the last fall into such extreme poverty, that then they steal, and so are hanged, through whoredom? What contention and manslaughter commes of whoredom? How many maidens deflowered, how many wives corrupted, how many widows defiled through whoredom? How much is the public and common good impoverished, and troubled through whoredom? How much is God’s word is gone against through whoredom and whoremongers?

    Of this vice comes a great part of the divorces which these days seems so common, and we are accustomed and used to it by men’s private authority, to the great displeasure of God, and the breach of the most holy knot and bond of matrimony. For when this most detestable sin is once crept into the breast of the adulterer, so that they are entangled with unlawful and unchaste love, straightaway true and lawful wife is despised, her presence is abhorred, her company stinks, and is loathsome, whatsoever she do is thought to be not good enough. There is no quietness in the house, so long as they are in sight: therefore to make short work, they must away, for they can not bear each other any longer. Thus through whoredom, the honest and harmless wife is put away, and a harlot received in her place: and in like sort, it happens many times in the wife towards her husband. O abomination! Christ our Saviour, very God and man, coming to restore the Law of his heavenly Father, to the right sense, understanding, and meaning, among other things, reformed the abuse of this Law of God.

    For whereas the Iaws used a long sufferance, by custom, to put away their wives, at their pleasure, for every cause, Christ correcting that evil custom, did teach, that if any man put away his wife, and marry another, for any cause, except only for adultery, (which then was death by the law) he was an adulterer (Matthew 19.9), and forced also his wife so divorced, to commit adultery, if she were joined to any other man, and the man also so joined with her, to commit adultery.

    In what case then are these adulterers, which for the love of a whore put away their true and lawful spouse, against all law, right, reason and conscience? O how damnable is the estate wherein they stand! Swift destruction shall fall on them, if they repent not, and amend not: For God will not suffer holy wedlock thus to be dishonoured, hated and despised. He will once punish this fleshly and licentious manner of living, and cause that this holy ordinance shall be had in reverence and honour. For surely wedlock (as the Apostle says) is honourable among all, and the marriage bed undefiled: But whoremongers and fornicators God will judge, that is to say, punish and condemn (Hebrews 13.4).

    To what purpose do we labour to describe and set forth the greatness of the sin of whoredom, and the troubles that follow from it, seeing that breath and tongue shall sooner fail anyone, then they know the abomination and heinousness of it? Notwithstanding this is spoken to the intent that all should flee whoredom, and live in the fear of God. God grant that it not be spoken in vain.
     
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  4. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    THE THIRD PART OF THE SERMON AGAINST ADULTERY.

    In the second part of this Sermon against adultery, you have learned how earnestly Scripture warns us to avoid the sin of adultery and to embrace cleanliness of life. Through adultery we fall into all kinds of sin, and are made bond-slaves to the devil: through cleanliness of life we are made members of Christ. Finally, how far adultery brings one from all goodness, and drives us headlong into all vices, mischief, and misery. Now I declare to you in order, the grievous punishments God, in times past, plagued adultery, and how certain worldly Princes also punished it, that you may perceive that whoredom and fornication are sins no less detestable in the sight of God and to all good folk as I have explained.

    In the First Book of Moses, we read that when mankind began to be multiplied on the earth, the men and women gave their minds so greatly to fleshly delight, and filthy pleasure, that they lived without all fear of God. God seeing their beastly and abominable living and perceiving they amended not, but rather increased daily more and more in their sinful and unclean ways, regretted that ever he had made us: and to show how greatly he abhors adultery, whoredome, fornication, and all uncleanliness, he made all the fountains of the deep earth to burst out, and the sluices of heaven to be opened, so that the rain came down on earth for forty days and forty nights, and by this means destroyed the whole world, and all mankind, eight persons only were exempted, that is to say, Noah, preacher of righteousness, as St. Peter calls him, and his wife, his three sons and their wives. O what a grievous plague did God cast here on all living creatures for the sin of whoredom! For the which God, took vengeance, not only of people, but also beasts, fowls, and all living creatures.

    Even Manslaughter was committed before (Genesis 4.8), yet that was not the world destroyed for, but for whoredom all the world, except for a few, was overflowed with water, and so perished. An example worthy to be remembered, that you may learn to fear God.

    We read again, that for the filthy sin of uncleanliness, Sodom and Gomorrah, and the other Cities near to them, were destroyed by fire and brimstone from heaven (Genesis 19.24), so that there was neither man, woman, child, nor beast, nor yet any thing that grew on the earth there was left intact. Whose heart does not tremble hearing this history? Who is so drowned in whoredom and uncleanliness, that will not now and forever leave this abominable life, seeing that God so grievously punishes uncleanliness, to rain fire and brimstone from heaven, to destroy whole cities, to kill man, woman, and child, and all other living creatures there abiding, to consume with fire all that grew there? What can be more manifest tokens of God’s wrath and vengeance against uncleanliness and impurity of life? Mark this history, good people, and fear the vengeance of God.

    Do we not also read that God smote Pharaoh and his house with great plagues, because that he had an ungodly desire for Sarah the wife of Abraham (Genesis 12.17)? Likewise read we of Abimelech King of Gerar, although he touched her not by carnal knowledge (Genesis 20.4). These plagues and punishments did God cast on upon filthy and unclean persons, before the Law was given, the law of nature only reigning in the hearts of all, to declare how great love he had to matrimony and wedlock, and again, how much he abhors adultery, fornication, and all uncleanliness. And when the Law that forbade whoredom was given by Moses to the Jews, did not God command that those who broke the law should be put to death? The words of the law be these: Who commits adultery with any man’s wife, shall die the death, both the man and the woman, because he has broken wedlock with his neighbours wife (Leviticus 20.10). In the Law also it was commanded, that a damosel and a man taken together in whoredom should be both stoned to death. In another place we also read, that God commanded Moses to take all the Rulers, and Princes of the people, and to hang them upon gibbets openly, that everyone might see them, because they either committed, or did not punish whoredom (Numbers 25.4).

    Again, did not God send such a plague among the people for fornication, and uncleanliness, that they died in one day three and twenty thousand? I pass over for lack of time many others in the history of the Holy Bible, which declare the grievous vengeance, and heavy displeasure of God against whoremongers and adulterers. Be sure of the extreme punishment appointed by God, shows evidently how greatly God hates whoredom. And let us not doubt, that God at this present time abhors all manner of uncleanliness, no less than he did in the old law, and will undoubtedly punish it, both in this world, and in the world to come. For he is a God that can abide no wickedness: therefore ought it to be avoided by all that the glory of God me be declared, and for the salvation of own souls (Psalms 5.4).

    Saint Paul says, All these things are written for our example, and to teach us the fear of God, and obedience to his Holy Law (1 Corinthians 10.11). For if God spared not the natural branches, neither will he spare us who are grafted in, if we commit like offence. If God destroyed many thousands of people, many cities, yes the whole, world for whoredom, let us not flatter ourselves, and think we shall escape free, and without punishment. For he has promised in his Holy Law, to send most grievous plagues on them that transgress, or break his holy commandments.
     
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  5. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    We heard, how God punishes the sin of adultery: let us now hear certain laws, which the Civil Magistrates devised in their countries, for the punishment of it, that we may learn how uncleanliness has ever been rejected in well ordered cities and commonwealths, and among all honest persons.

    > Laws devised for the punishment of whoredom.
    • The law among the Lepreians was this, that when any were taken in adultery, they were bound and carried three days through the City, and afterward as long as they lived, were they despised, and with shame and confusion counted as persons void of all honesty.

    • Among the Locrensians the adulterers have both their eyes thrust out.

    • The Romans in times past, punished whoredom, sometime by fire, sometime by sword.

    • If any man among the Egyptians had been taken in adultery, the law was, that he should openly in the presence of all the people be scourged naked with whips, to the number of a thousand stripes, the woman was then taken with him, had her nose cut off, whereby she was known ever after, to be a whore, and therefore to be abhorred of all men.

    • Among the Arabians, they that were taken in adultery, had their heads stricken from their bodies.

    • The Athenians punished whoredom by death in like manner.

    • So likewise, did the barbarous Tartarians.

    • Among the Turks even at this day, they that be taken in adultery, both man and woman are stoned straightway to death, without mercy. Thus we see what godly acts were devised in times past of the high powers, for the putting away of whoredom, and for the maintaining of Holy Matrimony, or wedlock, and pure conversation.
    And the authors of these acts were not Christian, but Heathen: yet were they so inflamed with the love of honesty and pureness of life, that for the maintenance and conservation or keeping up of good order, they made godly statutes, suffering neither fornication nor adultery to go in their Realms unpunished.

    Christ said to the people, The Ninevites shall rise at the judgement with this Nation, meaning the unfaithful Jews, and shall condemn them: for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, but behold, he says, a greater than Jonah is here, meaning himself, and yet you repent not (Matthew 12.41).

    Shall you not think the Locrensians, Arabians, Athenians, with such others, shall rise up in judgement, and condemn us, for as much as they ceased from the whoredom at the mortal commandment, and we have the law, precepts and commandments of God, and yet forsake we not our filthy conversation? Truly, truly, it shall be easier at the day of judgement, to these heathen, than to us, except we repent and amend. For though death of body seems to us a grievous punishment in this world for woredome: yet is a pain nothing in comparison of the grievous torments which adulterers, fornicators, and all unclean persons shall suffer after this life. For all such shall be excluded and shut out of the Kingdom of Heaven, as St. Paul says, Be not deceived, for neither whoremongers, nor worshippers of images, nor adulterers, nor effeminate persons, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous persons, nor drunkards, nor speaker in curses, nor revellers, shall inherit the Kingdom of God (I Corinthians 6.9-10, Galatians 5.19, Ephesians 5.5).

    And St. John in his Revelation says, That whoremongers shall have their part with murderers, sorcerers, enchanters, liars, idolaters, and such other, in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death (Revelations 21.8). The punishment of the body, although it be death, has an end: but the punishment of the soul, which St. John calls the second death, is everlasting, there shall be fire and brimstone, there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, the worm that there shall gnaw the conscience of the damned, shall never die (Matthew 13.42, Mark 9.44). Those heart does not distil, nor even drops of blood, hear and consider these things? If we tremble and shake at the hearing and naming of these pains, oh what shall they do that feel them, that suffer them, yes, and ever shall suffer, world without end.

    God have mercy on us. Who is now so drowned in sin, and past all godliness, that they will set more by filthy and stinking pleasure, which soon passes away, than by the loss of everlasting glory? Again, who will so give themselves to the lusts of the flesh, and fears nothing at all the pain of hell fire? But let us hear how we may avoid the sin of whoredom, and adultery, that we may walk in the fear of God, and be free from those most grievous and intolerable torments, which abide all unclean persons.

    Remedies whereby to avoid fornication and adultery.

    Now to avoid fornication, adultery, and all uncleanliness, let us provide above all things, we keep our hearts pure and clean, from all evil thoughts and carnal lusts: for if that be once infected and corrupt, we will fall headlong into all kinds of ungodliness. This shall we easily do, if when we feel inwardly, that Satan our old enemy tempts us to whoredom, we by no means consent to his crafty suggestions, but valiantly resist and withstand him by strong faith in the word of God, contending always in our heart for this commandment of God.

    It is written, You shalt not commit whoredom. It shall be good also for us, ever to live in the fear of God, and to set before our eyes the grievous threatening of God against all ungodly sinners, and to consider in our mind, how filthy, beastly, and short that pleasure is, to which Satan continually stirs and moves us. And again, how the pain appointed for that sin is intolerable and everlasting. Moreover, the use temperance and sobriety in eating and drinking, avoid unclean communication, avoid all filthy company, flee idleness, delight in reading the Holy Scriptures, watch in godly prayers and virtuous meditation, and at all times, exercise some godly restraint. This shall help greatly in avoiding whoredom.

    And here are all degrees to be admonished, whether they be married or unmarried, to love chastity and cleanliness of life. For the married are bound by the law of God so purely to love one another, that neither of them seek any strange love. The man must only cleave to his wife, and the wife again only to her husband: they must so delight one in anothers company, that neither of them covet another. And as they are bound thus to live together in all godliness and honesty, so likewise it is their duty, virtuously to bring up their children, and provide, that they fall not into Satan’s snare, nor into any uncleanliness, but that they come pure and honest to holy wedlock, when time requires. So likewise ought all masters, and rulers to provide that no whoredom, nor any point of uncleanliness be used among their servants. And again, they that are single, and feel in themselves that they cannot live without the company of a another, let them get a spouse of their own, and so live godly together: For it is better to marry than to burn (1 Corinthians 7.9).

    Avoid fornication, says the Apostle, let every man have his own wife, and every woman her own husband. Finally, all such as feel in themselves a sufficiency and ability, through the working of God’s Spirit, to lead a single and continent life, let them praise God for his gift, and seek all means possible to maintain the same: as by reading of the Holy Scriptures, by godly meditations, by continual prayers, and such other virtuous exercises.

    If we all on this we endeavor to reject fornication, adultery, and all uncleanliness, and live our lives in godliness and honesty, serving God with a pure and clean heart, and glorifying him in our bodies by the leading an innocent and positive life, we may be sure to be in the number of those, of whom our Saviour Christ speaks in the Gospel, Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God (Matthew 5.8): to whom alone be all glory, honour, authority, and power, world without end. Amen.
     
  6. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    Notes:
    • I have retained the use of the word 'whoredom' as I struggled to find meaning contemporary equivalent expression with sufficient weight, and I concluded it went to heart of the homily. In my imagination I imagine most people will know what the homily is taking about.
    • I have retained the use of the word 'chambering' simply because I just thought it was such a great word, and the only seeming contemporary equivalent 'bed hoping' just did not seem to fit.
    I have thought a number of the homilies tended to placate the ruling authorities and the King. This one seems to be very brave.
    • The first matter that it deals with is the matter of taking one's brother's wife. Catherine of Aragon was betrothed to Arthur from a very young age. Arthur was the Tudor Heir and Henry was the Tudor Spare. The marriage of Catherine and Arthur lasted less than five months, before Arthur died possibly of the sweats, or similar disease. The question of the consummation of this marriage is today possibly as divergent a subject as it was then. Despite the public bedding the decision was taken that the marriage had not been consummated and the Pope gave a dispensation that enabled Henry to marry Catherine. It seems to have been in the mind of Henry VIII that part of the reason for the failure to produce a make heir was because this marriage was a sin, and that the dispensation was founded on a lie. In a sense, whilst this reference in the homily may well have been more direct and oblique in referencing the Kings acts, this was a act for which it seems the King was ready to repent.

    • The other matter of course is the general behavior of the court of Henry VIII. He rose to the throne, ill prepared, he was the spare, the Party Prince, tall, good looking, sporty, and none to serious. The court was soon awash with parties, wine, women and song. The Tudor court became famous in Europe for the extravagance and the endless party time. Chambering aka bed hopping was a notorious part of the court, and the King was not immune to the temptations of the flesh. Offspring of Henry VIII outside of wedlock include Henry Stafford Duke of Richmond and Somerset, Thomas Stuckeley, Richard Edwardes, Catherine Carey (Ancestor of Diana Princess of Wales), Henry Carey, Etherelda Malte, John Perrot.
    One cannot help but feel that this was a very brave paragraph in its day

    If whoredom was but a pastime, a dalliance, and not to be passed off, as many count it today. Truly John would have been insane to the displeasure of a king, be cast in prison, and lose his head, for a trifle. But John knew how filthy, stinking, and abominable the sin of whoredom is in the sight of God, therefore would not he leave it unrebuked, not even in a king, If whoredom is not lawful in a king, neither is it lawful in a subject. If whoredom be not lawful in a public or common officer, neither is it lawful in a private person. If it is not lawful in King, nor subject, neither in common officer, nor private person, truly then it is lawful in no man or woman of whatsoever degree or age they are. ​

    And the more so, for Henry VIII was quite prepared exact severe or severing judgement on those who caused him offence. This may well be one of the braver sermons in history.
     
    newsoul and Lowly Layman like this.

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