JOB 31

1 I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid?

It might not seem as if THE SEVENTH COMMANDMENT yielded any such insight into the wisdom of God. It is far otherwise when we consider all things. Sexual affinity is the one thing above all our other faculties requiring the powerful regulation of law. It is a necessity in the present state of existence, and, in its right employment, a source of pure blessing, whether we consider the individual benefits it confers, or the immortal race that will finally people the earth as the result (in part) of its action.

But, left to itself, there is no more potent blaster and destroyer of the human species. It is like fire--one of the most useful servants of man, but requiring the most rigorous confinement in grates and bars. Nothing but the stern and imperative restriction of law is equal to its management, Apart from law there is no guidance. "Where there is no law there is no transgression." If God had not laid down a law, there would have been nothing but a human sense of expediency to regulate the most powerful of human inclinations--which all experience and all history show to be futile. But the law of God having spoken, sin is created when the limits of the law are transcended, and thus a powerful barrier is put up against the torrent of human passion--that is, where the law is revered, which it is by all the children of God, for those who do not revere His law are not His children (as all Scriptures declare).

The Psalmist said, "Rivers of water run down mine eyes, because they keep not thy law." There is no more common cause of sorrow in our eyes than the almost universal disposition to get rid of divine law in this matter by sophistries born of lust, and to substitute plausible theories that undermine morality and lead men and women to destruction. There are "great swelling words" and small insinuating suggestions; there are elegant poetisings and romancings, and vulgar indecencies and profanities; there are pretentious and sententious philosophical theories, which even ladies shame their sex by countenancing, and there are disgusting flippancies of unblushing fools, all of which are to be classified under a common heading of ignorant rebellion.

The rebelliousness is self-conceit, for the law of God is plain and express. The ignorance may not be so apparent, but it is the true root of the mischief. Either there is a want of conviction that God has spoken--the most common because due to neglect of the sources of conviction --which is one form of ignorance; or there is a want of confidence in the wisdom of what He has communicated, which is another form of ignorance.

To knowledge, the matter stands in a perfectly plain position. Two principles cover the whole ground. 1. The adjustment of male and female is just as purely mechanical as the adjustment of food to the mouth. 2. The intervention of the law of God, and this alone, imparts a moral character to the relation.

When this is perceived, there is no room for the defiling sophistries by which the simplest matter of right and wrong is obscured, and men and women nonplussed to their own destruction. Remove law, and there is nothing but the deceitful winds and currents of inclination which draw to perdition. Let law remain, and we have a simple rule which is light and life, a safe anchorage, and a sure foundation. It is fortunately not a matter in which human will has any jurisdiction. Whatever men may think or do with the law, the law is there, reiterated a hundred times in the Scriptures both of the prophets and the apostles.

It is the law of God whether men know it or not. It is the joy of those who are enlightened. These have a very short and decisive answer to all demoralizing theories and speculations on the relations of the sexes: "Get thee behind me, Satan ", they say to libertinism in every shape and form--whether free love, promiscuous use, harlotry or temporary marriages by so-called "affinity". 

"It is wrong because God forbids it, and for no other reason, and there cannot be a moment's compromise with what is wrong." Marry whom you will, but once married, man and woman are one flesh by Divine law, and" What God hath joined together, let not man put asunder". "Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled; but whore-mongers and adulterers God will judge", to their utter destruction (Heb. 13:4).

As in the case of murder, so in this. The law of Christ lifts the matter a stage higher, and kills disobedience in its very inception. 

"Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: but I say unto you that whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart."

Hence Christ not only forbids adultery, but forbids the thoughts and feelings that lead to it. Doubtless, many an earnest mind has groaned under the stringency of this law; and some may even have been disposed to murmur with certain unsuccessful disciples in the days of Jesus. "This is an hard saying, who can hear it ?" But the fruits of victory are so sweet that the wisdom of law is more than justified.

What could more powerfully tend to the development of pure-mindedness than the deprecation of impure thoughts ? and what is nobler and sweeter, and what more fitting as a preparation for exaltation to immortal life, than that "holiness both of body and spirit" which such a law tends to engender ? In this respect it is like the command to bear injuries unresentfully: it is a powerful self-circumcision which chastens and subdues the natural man, and leaves room for the growth of that new man "which after (the image of) God is created in righteousness and true holiness" (Eph. 4: 24).

Law of Moses Ch 7.

9 If mine heart have been deceived by a woman, or if I have laid wait at my neighbour's door;

The woman Eve deceived me

"The eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked."

The effect produced upon the woman by the eating of the forbidden fruit, was the excitation of the propensities. By the transgression of the law of God, she had placed herself in a state of sin; in which she had acquired that maturity of feeling, which is known to exist when females attain to womanhood.

The serpent's part had been performed in her deception; and sorely was she deceived. Expecting to be equal to the gods, the hitherto latent passions of her animal nature only were set free; and though she now knew what evil sensations and impulses were, as they had done before her, she had failed in attaining to the pride of her life -- an equality with them as she had seen them in their power and glory.

In this state of animal excitation, she presented herself before the man, with the fruit so "pleasant to the eyes." Standing now in his presence she became the tempter, soliciting him to sin. She became to him an

"evil woman flattering with her tongue;" "whose lips dropped as a honeycomb, and her mouth was smoother than oil."

She found him "a young man void of understanding" like herself. We can imagine how

"she caught him, and kissed him; and with an impudent face, and her much fair speech, she caused him to yield."

He accepted the fatal fruit, "and eat with her," consenting to her enticement, "not knowing that it was for his life;" though God had said, transgression should surely be punished with death.

As yet inexperienced in the certainty of the literal execution of the divine law, and depending upon the remedial efficacy of the Tree of Lives, he did not believe that he should surely die. He saw every thing delightful around him, and his beautiful companion with the tempting fruit; and yet he was told that his eyes were shut! What wonderful things might he not see if his eyes were opened. And to be "as the gods" too, "knowing good and evil," was not this a wisdom much to be desired?

The fair deceiver had, at length, succeeded in kindling in the man the same lusts that had taken possession of herself. His flesh, his eyes, and his pride of life, were all inflamed; and he followed in her evil way "as a fool to the correction of the stocks."

They had both fallen into unbelief. They did not believe God would do what He had promised. This was a fatal mistake. They afterwards found by experience, that in their sin they had charged God falsely; and that what He promises He will certainly perform to the letter of His word. Thus, unbelief prepared them for disobedience; and disobedience separated them from God.

Elpis Israel 1.3.

15 Did not he that made me in the womb make him? and did not one fashion us in the womb?

The preparation of the " seed of the woman " is described in Luke :

Behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a Son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High. (Luke 1. 31, 32.)

Until instructed, Mary could not understand how a virtuous maiden, as she was, could give birth to a son, hence her question :

" How shall these things be, seeing I know not a man ? "

Since no one can dispute this universal law of generation ; since, also, no one can dispute biological facts which shew that the birth of a child is due to the vitalization of one of the many seeds which come forth from the womb, it must be admitted that " Jesus was made of a woman " (Gal. iv. 4), and that the man Jesus had no separate existence before the time chronicled by Luke.

The Holy Spirit which came upon Mary was not, and could not be, anything but that which is described as the power of the Highest overshadowing Mary {ibid.verse 35), and for that reason the babe was called the Son of God, otherwise the son of the increate Father, whose power or Spirit existed with the Father from eternity.

Thus the manifestation of the Father in aSon commenced when the Father by His Spirit vitalized the seed of the woman, but that fact did not alter his relationship to the human family. Jesus himself recognised this relationship to the body of sin, which, in the providence of the Father, He was destined to destroy (Rom. vi. 6), saying :

I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the congregation will I sing thy praise. (Heb. 11. 12.)

Again it is written :

Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same. (Ibid.14.)

For both he that sanctifieth and they that are sanctified are all of one : for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren. (Ibid, verse 11.)

Further, the words used by Jesus before baptism unquestionably shew that Jesus could not have existed before his birth of Mary, viz.,

" Thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness " (Matt. 3. 15),

an obscure statement unless emphasis is placed on that little word us, which signified that Jesus and His brethren were one in physical constitution, made of the same flesh and blood (Heb. ii. 14) and therefore subject to the same temptations.

The saying, " thus it becometh us to fufil all righteousness " could not refer to a pre-existent personality in any sense. It could not refer to the Father, who was not baptized, neither could it have reference to the Spirit of the Father, which was the means of bringing

Him forth from the womb, any more than it can be said that the vitalizing power of a human father brings forth a pre-existent son.

The pre-existent character of a father is often manifested in his offspring, and so it was in Jesus. The character of the Father manifested in the Son was shown in the righteous walk of Jesus, who received from John this tribute.

" Comest thou to me ? I have need to be baptized of thee ! "

The mind of the Father also shone forth more fully in Jesus when the Spirit came upon Him after baptism, as foretold by Moses, Deut. xviii. 18; Matt. iii. 16; John iii. 34 ; VII. 16 ; x. 30.

Again, since that little word us includes Jesus and his brethren, if he were pre-existent then they must be pre-existent too ! A conclusion too absurd to entertain for one moment.

The Temple of Ezekiel's Prophecy 5.2.3

33 If I covered my transgressions as Adam, by hiding mine iniquity in my bosom:

Man was "very good" in a physical, not a moral, sense.

He was "very good" as lions, tigers, serpents, doves, &c., were very good; for it is written,

"God saw all that he had made, and behold, it was very good."

... When man breathed the breath of lives for the first time he was simply innocent. He had done neither good nor evil. He had no character; but as a new born child, capable of its development in the future of its career.

If man had been formed incapable of sin, which is the transgression of law, there would have been no scope for the formation of character. He would have been a mere automation, and the law and transactions of Eden a farce.

Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, June 1857.


Now, consider Adam in the garden of Eden; he had the instruction of the Father by the angels; for, as I admitted on Tuesday night last, he would not have known, in the absence of experience, how to walk or how to look at things, without this supernatural instruction.

Those impressions which we get slowly from experience as children he got direct; as in the case of the apostles on the day of Pentecost upon whose brains the Spirit wrought those scholastic results which in the natural order of things could only be got at by five or seven years' grinding: and who were therefore able to speak foreign languages in a moment without learning.

Adam was driven out of Eden because of disobedience. He was therefore thrown back upon himself, so to speak, and he soon found in himself and his progeny how weak and evil a thing the flesh is, for his first son was a murderer.

And because disobedience or sin, was the cause of his expulsion, and that sin was the result of the desires of the flesh, and because all the desires that are natural to the flesh organisation are because of native ignorance, in directions forbidden, there is no exaggeration, no high figure in talking of sin in the flesh.

It is Paul's figure. He speaks of "sin that dwelleth in me, " and as he defines me to be "my flesh, " sin that dwelleth in me is "sin in the flesh"—a metonym for those impulses which are native to the flesh, while knowledge of God and of duty is not native to the flesh. I cannot do better than read what Paul says in Rom. 7.:

"What shall we say, then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin but by the law; for I had not known lust except the law had said Thou shalt not covet! But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead."

That is to say, so long as a man is not forbidden to do a certain thing, the doing is not sin. But when the law says "don't do it," then you are made conscious of the activity of the propensity to do it; and, therefore, without the law, sin is in a state of quiescence; but as soon as the law comes, you are made aware of native rebelliousness. He proceeds

"For I was alive without the law once:"

that is, while he was in ignorance of it: before he had woke to the bearing of the law upon him, as in the earlier part of his life;

"but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death. For sin—taking occasion by the commandment—deceived me, and by it slew me."

Sin in me, Paul, by the commandment, which I disobeyed by reason of sin in me, or impulses which lead to sin, slew me.

"Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good. Was, then, that which is good, "

that is the law, which was a good thing, outside of him,

"made death unto me? God forbid."

But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin, by the commandment might become exceeding sinful."

It is God's purpose to make us realise our native tendency to disobedience, and our native inability to conform; for there lives not a mlan who has, in all things, conformed, except Christ.

"For we know that the law is spiritual, but I (that is, the natural Paul) am (by constitution) carnal, sold under sin. For that which I do I allow not; for what I would that I do not, but what I hate, that do I."

The natural Paul was not destroyed, but only brought into subjection, and even in that state of subjection there were many things, as every son of God experiences, such as forgetfulness of God in sleep, for the sake of illustration, which the new man would rather not be subject to, and many aspirations and spiritual achievements to which it is impossible a saint in the flesh state can attain.

The Christadelphian, Oct 1873