(ML) - Wisdom's Delight in Marriage Love: Followed by Insanity’s Pleasure in Promiscuous Love

ML 153

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153. XI. THAT CHASTITY CANNOT BE PREDICATED OF THOSE WHO ABSTAIN FROM ADULTERIES SOLELY ON ACCOUNT OF VARIOUS EXTERNAL REASONS. Many believe that mere abstinence from adulteries in bodily act is chastity, when yet this is not chastity unless at the same time the abstinence be in the spirit also. It is man's spirit--by which is here meant his mind as to its affections and thoughts--which makes what is chaste and unchaste; for it is from the spirit that these exist in the body, the body being altogether such as is the mind or spirit. Hence it follows that those who abstain from adulteries in bodily act and not from the spirit, are not chaste, as neither are those who abstain from them in spirit by reason of the body. There are many reasons which cause a man to desist from them in bodily act, and also in the spirit by reason of the body; yet he who does not desist from them in bodily act from the spirit is unchaste. For the Lord says, if any man has looked on another woman to lust after her, he has already committed adultery with her in his heart (Matt. 5:8).
[2] The reasons for abstinence from adulteries in bodily actions, cannot be enumerated, for they vary according to the state of the marriage and also according to the state of the body. There are those who abstain from them from fear of the civil law and its penalties; from fear of the loss of reputation and thence of honor; from fear of diseases therefrom; from fear of upbraidings by the wife at home, and so of an unquiet life; from fear of the vengeance of the husband or of relatives; and from fear of being beaten by the servants. Then there are those who abstain on account of poverty, or avarice, or weakness arising from disease, abuse, age, or impotence. Among these are also those who, being unable or not daring to commit adulteries in bodily act, condemn them in their spirit and so talk morally against them and in favor of marriages. But if they do not execrate adultery in their spirit and this from religion, they are still adulterers; for though not committing adulteries in bodily act, they yet commit them in spirit. Therefore, after death when they become spirits, they speak openly in favor of them. From this it is clear that even a wicked man can shun adulteries as hurtful, but that none but a Christian can shun them as sins. From the above, the truth of the proposition is now established, that chastity cannot be predicated of those who abstain from adulteries solely on account of various external reasons.


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