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.
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.