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the cruelty of murder, or their foreheads against the shame of theft or perjury; few are capable of the impicty of direct blasphemy: But to the solicitations of what are called the softer passions, we are apt to yield with less repugnance; probably for this reason, that neither the injury of our neighbour, nor a sordid self-advantage, nor the affront of God, being so immediately the object of the act in these, as in the other instances, we are not equally deterred from the crime by any atrocious malignity or disgusting meanness that it carries in its very first aspect. Hence these are the sins with which the generality of mankind, iñ the gayety of their thoughtless hearts, are most easily beset; and perhaps very few indeed hold in such constant and severe restraint as might be deemed any thing of an imitation of Christ's example, the wanderings of a corrupt imagination, the principal seat of fallen man's depravity, towards the enticing objects of illicit plea


For this reason, the Holy Scriptures with particular earnestness enjoin an abstinence

"Flee from fleshly

from these defilements. lusts," says St. Peter, St. Peter," which war against the soul." And to these pollutions the admonition in the text seems to have a particular regard; for the original word which we render "pure" is most properly applied to the purity of a virgin.

"Purifies himself as He is pure." Would God, a better conformity to the example of his purity than actually obtains were to be found in the lives of nominal Christians!

the numbers would be greater which might entertain a reasonable hope that they shall be made like to him when he appeareth. But, thanks be to God, repentance, in this as in other cases - genuine, şincere repentance, shall stand the sinner in the stead of innocence: The penitent is allowed to wash the stains even of these pollutions in the Redeemer's blood.


By the turn of the expression in my text, the apostle intimates, that every one's purification from defilements which in a greater or a less degree few have not contractedthe individual's personal purification, must,

under God, depend principally upon himupon his care to watch over the

motions of his own heart

upon his vigil

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ance to guard against temptations from without upon his meditation of Christ's example upon his assiduity to seek in prayer the necessary succour of God's grace. Much, however, may be done for the purification of the public manners, by wise and politic institutions ;-in which the first object should be, to guard and secure the sanctity of the female character, and to check the progress of its incipient corruption; for the most effectual restraint upon the vicious passions of men ever will be a general fashion and habit of virtue in the lives of the women.

This principle appears indeed to have been well understood and very generally adopted in the policy of all civilized nations; in which the preservation of female chastity, in all ages and in all parts of the world, hath been an object of prime concern. Of various means that have been used for its security, none seem so well calculated to attain the end, nor have any

other proved so generally successful, as the practice which hath long prevailed in this and other European countries, of releasing our women from the restraints imposed upon them by the jealousy of Eastern manners; but under this indispensible condition, that the female, in whatever rank, who once abuses her liberty to bring a stain upon her character, shall from that moment be consigned to indelible disgrace, and expelled for the whole remainder of her life from the society of the virtuous of her own sex. But yet, as imperfection attends on all things human, this practice, however generally conducive to its end, hath its inconveniencies, I might say its mischiefs.

It is one great defect, that by the consent of the world (for the thing stands upon no other ground), the whole infamy is made to light upon one party only in the crime of two; and the man, who for the most part is the author, not the mere accomplice of the woman's guilt, and for that reason is the greater delinquent, is left unpunished and uncensured. This mode of partial

punishment affords not to the weaker sex the protection which in justice and sound policy is their due against the arts of the seducer. The Jewish law set an example of a better policy and more equal justice, when, in the case of adultery, it condemned both parties to an equal punishment; which indeed was nothing less than death.

A worse evil, a mischief, attending the severity, the salutary severity upon the whole, of our dealing with the lapsed female, is this, -that it proves an obstacle almost insurmountable to her return into the paths of virtue and sobriety, from which she hath once deviated. The first thing that happens, upon the detection of her shame, is, that she is abandoned by her friends, in resentment of the disgrace she hath brought upon her family; she is driven from the shelter of her father's house; she finds no refuge in the arms of her seducer, his sated passion loathes the charms he hath enjoyed; she gains admittance at no hospitable door; she is cast a wanderer upon the streets, without money, without a lodging, without food: In this forlorn and

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