I am aware that the Scripture of Enoch , which has assigned this order of action to angels , is not received by some, because it is not admitted into the Jewish canon either. I suppose they did not think that, having been published before the deluge, it could have safely survived that world-wide calamity, the abolisher of all things. If that is the reason for rejecting it , let them recall to their memory that Noah , the survivor of the deluge, was the great-grandson of Enoch himself; and he, of course, had heard and remembered, from domestic renown and hereditary tradition, concerning his own great-grandfather's grace in the sight of God , and concerning all his preachings; since Enoch had given no other charge to Methuselah than that he should hand on the knowledge of them to his posterity.
Noah therefore, no doubt , might have succeeded in the trusteeship of his preaching; or, had the case been otherwise, he would not have been silent alike concerning the disposition of things made by God , his Preserver, and concerning the particular glory of his own house. If Noah had not had this conservative power by so short a route, there would still be this consideration to warrant our assertion of the genuineness of this Scripture: he could equally have renewed it, under the Spirit's inspiration, after it had been destroyed by the violence of the deluge, as, after the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonian storming of it, every document of the Jewish literature is generally agreed to have been restored through Ezra.
But since Enoch in the same Scripture has preached likewise concerning the Lord, nothing at all must be rejected by us which pertains to us; and we read that every Scripture suitable for edification is divinely inspired. By the Jews it may now seem to have been rejected for that very reason, just like all the other portions nearly which tell of Christ. Nor, of course, is this fact wonderful, that they did not receive some Scriptures which spoke of Him whom even in person, speaking in their presence, they were not to receive.
To these considerations is added the fact that Enoch possesses a testimony in the Apostle Jude. Grant now that no mark of pre-condemnation has been branded on womanly pomp by the fact of the fate of its authors; let nothing be imputed to those angels besides their repudiation of heaven and their carnal marriage: let us examine the qualities of the things themselves, in order that we may detect the purposes also for which they are eagerly desired. Female habit carries with it a twofold idea — dress and ornament. By dress we mean what they call womanly gracing; by ornament, what it is suitable should be called womanly dis gracing.
The former is accounted to consist in gold, and silver, and gems, and garments; the latter in care of the hair, and of the skin, and of those parts of the body which attract the eye. Against the one we lay the charge of ambition, against the other of prostitution; so that even from this early stage of our discussion you may look forward and see what, out of all these, is suitable, handmaid of God , to your discipline, inasmuch as you are assessed on different principles from other women — those, namely, of humility and chastity.
Gold and silver, the principal material causes of worldly splendour, must necessarily be identical in nature with that out of which they have their being: they must be earth, that is; which earth itself is plainly more glorious than they , inasmuch as it is only after it has been tearfully wrought by penal labour in the deadly laboratories of accursed mines, and there left its name of earth in the fire behind it, that, as a fugitive from the mine, it passes from torments to ornaments, from punishments to embellishments, from ignominies to honours.
But iron, and brass, and other the vilest material substances, enjoy a parity of condition with silver and gold , both as to earthly origin and metallurgic operation; in order that, in the estimation of nature, the substance of gold and of silver may be judged not a whit more noble than theirs. But if it is from the quality of utility that gold and silver derive their glory , why, iron and brass excel them; whose usefulness is so disposed by the Creator , that they not only discharge functions of their own more numerous and more necessary to human affairs, but do also none the less serve the turn of gold and silver, by dint of their own powers, in the service of juster causes.
For not only are rings made of iron, but the memory of antiquity still preserves the fame of certain vessels for eating and drinking made out of brass. Let the insane plenteousness of gold and silver look to it, if it serves to make utensils even for foul purposes. At all events, neither is the field tilled by means of gold, nor the ship fastened together by the strength of silver. No mattock plunges a golden edge into the ground; no nail drives a silver point into planks. I leave unnoticed the fact that the needs of our whole life are dependent upon iron and brass; whereas those rich materials themselves, requiring both to be dug up out of mines, and needing a forging process in every use to which they are put , are helpless without the laborious vigour of iron and brass.
Already, therefore, we must judge whence it is that so high dignity accrues to gold and silver, since they get precedence over material substances which are not only cousin-german to them in point of origin, but more powerful in point of usefulness.
On the Apparel of Women
But, in the next place, what am I to interpret those jewels to be which vie with gold in haughtiness, except little pebbles and stones and paltry particles of the self-same earth; but yet not necessary either for laying down foundations, or rearing party-walls, or supporting pediments, or giving density to roofs? The only edifice which they know how to rear is this silly pride of women : because they require slow rubbing that they may shine, and artful underlaying that they may show to advantage, and careful piercing that they may hang; and because they render to gold a mutual assistance in meretricious allurement.
But whatever it is that ambition fishes up from the British or the Indian sea, it is a kind of conch not more pleasing in savour than — I do not say the oyster and the sea-snail, but — even the giant muscle. For let me add that I know conchs which are sweet fruits of the sea. But if that foreign conch suffers from some internal pustule, that ought to be regarded rather as its defect than as its glory ; and although it be called pearl, still something else must be understood than some hard, round excrescence of the fish.
Some say, too, that gems are culled from the foreheads of dragons , just as in the brains of fishes there is a certain stony substance. This also was wanting to the Christian woman , that she may add a grace to herself from the serpent! Is it thus that she will set her heel on the devil's head, while she heaps ornaments taken from his head on her own neck, or on her very head?
It is only from their rarity and outlandishness that all these things possess their grace ; in short, within their own native limits they are not held of so high worth. Abundance is always contumelious toward itself. There are some barbarians with whom, because gold is indigenous and plentiful, it is customary to keep the criminals in their convict establishments chained with gold, and to lade the wicked with riches — the more guilty, the more wealthy. At last there has really been found a way to prevent even gold from being loved!
We have also seen at Rome the nobility of gems blushing in the presence of our matrons at the contemptuous usage of the Parthians and Medes, and the rest of their own fellow-countrymen, only that their gems are not generally worn with a view to ostentation. Emeralds lurk in their belts; and the sword that hangs below their bosom alone is witness to the cylindrical stones that decorate its hilt; and the massive single pearls on their boots are fain to get lifted out of the mud!
In short, they carry nothing so richly gemmed as that which ought not to be gemmed if it is either not conspicuous, or else is conspicuous only that it may be shown to be also neglected. Similarly, too, do even the servants of those barbarians cause the glory to fade from the colors of our garments by wearing the like ; nay, even their party-walls use slightingly, to supply the place of painting, the Tyrian and the violet-colored and the grand royal hangings, which you laboriously undo and metamorphose. Purple with them is more paltry than red ochre; and justly , for what legitimate honour can garments derive from adulteration with illegitimate colors?
That which He Himself has not produced is not pleasing to God , unless He was unable to order sheep to be born with purple and sky-blue fleeces! If He was able , then plainly He was unwilling : what God willed not, of course ought not to be fashioned. Those things, then, are not the best by nature which are not from God , the Author of nature. Thus they are understood to be from the devil , from the corrupter of nature: for there is no other whose they can be, if they are not God's; because what are not God's must necessarily be His rival's.
But, beside the devil and his angels , other rival of God there is none. Again, if the material substances are of God , it does not immediately follow that such ways of enjoying them among men are so too. It is matter for inquiry not only whence come conchs, but what sphere of embellishment is assigned them, and where it is that they exhibit their beauty. For all those profane pleasures of worldly shows — as we have already published a volume of their own about them — ay, and even idolatry itself, derive their material causes from the creatures of God.
Yet a Christian ought not to attach himself to the frenzies of the racecourse, or the atrocities of the arena, or the turpitudes of the stage, simply because God has given to man the horse, and the panther, and the power of speech: just as a Christian cannot commit idolatry with impunity either, because the incense , and the wine, and the fire which feeds thereon , and the animals which are made the victims, are God's workmanship; since even the material thing which is adored is God's creature. Thus then, too, with regard to their active use, does the origin of the material substances, which descends from God , excuse that use as foreign to God , as guilty forsooth of worldly glory!
For, as some particular things distributed by God over certain individual lands, and some one particular tract of sea, are mutually foreign one to the other, they are reciprocally either neglected or desired: desired among foreigners, as being rarities; neglected rightly , if anywhere, among their own compatriots, because in them there is no such fervid longing for a glory which, among its own home-folk, is frigid.
But, however, the rareness and outlandishness which arise out of that distribution of possessions which God has ordered as He willed, ever finding favour in the eyes of strangers, excites, from the simple fact of not having what God has made native to other places, the concupiscence of having it. Hence is educed another vice — that of immoderate having; because although, perhaps, having may be permissible, still a limit is bound to be observed.
This second vice will be ambition; and hence, too, its name is to be interpreted, in that from concupiscence ambient in the mind it is born, with a view to the desire of glory — a grand desire, forsooth, which as we have said is recommended neither by nature nor by truth , but by a vicious passion of the mind — namely, concupiscence. And there are other vices connected with ambition and glory. Thus they have withal enhanced the cost of things, in order that thereby they might add fuel to themselves also; for concupiscence becomes proportionably greater as it has set a higher value upon the thing which it has eagerly desired.
From the smallest caskets is produced an ample patrimony. On a single thread is suspended a million of sesterces. One delicate neck carries about it forests and islands. The slender lobes of the ears exhaust a fortune; and the left hand, with its every finger, sports with a several money-bag. Such is the strength of ambition — equal to bearing on one small body, and that a woman's , the product of so copious wealth. Handmaids of the living God , my fellow-servants and sisters, the right which I enjoy with you — I, the meanest [postremissimus] in that right of fellow-servantship and brotherhood — emboldens me to address to you a discourse, not, of course, of affection, but paving the way for affection in the cause of your salvation.
That salvation — and not the salvation of women only, but likewise of men — consists in the exhibition principally of modesty. For since, by the introduction into an appropriation in us of the Holy Spirit , we are all the temple of God , Modesty is the sacristan and priestess of that temple, who is to suffer nothing unclean or profane to be introduced into it , for fear that the God who inhabits it should be offended, and quite forsake the polluted abode. But on the present occasion we are to speak not about modesty, for the enjoining and exacting of which the divine precepts which press upon us on every side are sufficient; but about the matters which pertain to it, that is, the manner in which it behooves you to walk.
For most women which very thing I trust God may permit me, with a view, of course, to my own personal censure, to censure in all , either from simple ignorance or else from dissimulation, have the hardihood so to walk as if modesty consisted only in the bare integrity of the flesh, and in turning away from actual fornication; and there were no need for anything extrinsic to boot — in the matter I mean of the arrangement of dress and ornament, the studied graces of form and brilliance:— wearing in their gait the self-same appearance as the women of the nations , from whom the sense of true modesty is absent, because in those who know not God , the Guardian and Master of truth , there is nothing true.
For if any modesty can be believed to exist in Gentiles , it is plain that it must be imperfect and undisciplined to such a degree that, although it be actively tenacious of itself in the mind up to a certain point, it yet allows itself to relax into licentious extravagances of attire; just in accordance with Gentile perversity, in craving after that of which it carefully shuns the effect. How many a one, in short, is there who does not earnestly desire even to look pleasing to strangers?
Who does not on that very account take care to have herself painted out, and denies that she has ever been an object of carnal appetite? And yet, granting that even this is a practice familiar to Gentile modesty — namely, not actually to commit the sin , but still to be willing to do so; or even not to be willing , yet still not quite to refuse — what wonder? For all things which are not God's are perverse.
Let those women therefore look to it, who, by not holding fast the whole good, easily mingle with evil even what they do hold fast. Necessary it is that you turn aside from them, as in all other things, so also in your gait; since you ought to be perfect, as is your Father who is in the heavens. You must know that in the eye of perfect, that is, Christian , modesty, carnal desire of one's self on the part of others is not only not to be desired, but even execrated, by you: first, because the study of making personal grace which we know to be naturally the inviter of lust a mean of pleasing does not spring from a sound conscience : why therefore excite toward yourself that evil passion?
Why invite that to which you profess yourself a stranger? Secondly, because we ought not to open a way to temptations , which, by their instancy, sometimes achieve a wickedness which God expels from them who are His; or, at all events, put the spirit into a thorough tumult by presenting a stumbling-block to it.
We ought indeed to walk so holily, and with so entire substantiality of faith , as to be confident and secure in regard of our own conscience , desiring that that gift may abide in us to the end, yet not presuming that it will. For he who presumes feels less apprehension; he who feels less apprehension takes less precaution; he who takes less precaution runs more risk.
Fear is the foundation of salvation ; presumption is an impediment to fear. More useful, then, is it to apprehend that we may possibly fail, than to presume that we cannot; for apprehending will lead us to fear , fearing to caution, and caution to salvation. On the other hand, if we presume, there will be neither fear nor caution to save us.
He who acts securely, and not at the same time warily, possesses no safe and firm security; whereas he who is wary will be truly able to be secure. For His own servants, may the Lord by His mercy take care that to them it may be lawful even to presume on His goodness! But why are we a source of danger to our neighbour? Why do we import concupiscence into our neighbour?
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Which concupiscence, if God , in amplifying the law, do not dissociate in the way of penalty from the actual commission of fornication, I know not whether He allows impunity to him who has been the cause of perdition to some other. For that other, as soon as he has felt concupiscence after your beauty, and has mentally already committed the deed which his concupiscence pointed to, perishes; and you have been made the sword which destroys him: so that, albeit you be free from the actual crime, you are not free from the odium attaching to it ; as, when a robbery has been committed on some man's estate, the actual crime indeed will not be laid to the owner's charge, while yet the domain is branded with ignominy, and the owner himself aspersed with the infamy.
Are we to paint ourselves out that our neighbours may perish? Where, then, is the command , You shall love your neighbour as yourself? Care not merely about your own things , but about your neighbour's?
Missionary (LDS Church)
No enunciation of the Holy Spirit ought to be confined to the subject immediately in hand merely, and not applied and carried out with a view to every occasion to which its application is useful. Since, therefore, both our own interest and that of others is implicated in the studious pursuit of most perilous outward comeliness, it is time for you to know that not merely must the pageantry of fictitious and elaborate beauty be rejected by you; but that of even natural grace must be obliterated by concealment and negligence, as equally dangerous to the glances of the beholder's eyes.
For, albeit comeliness is not to be censured , as being a bodily happiness , as being an additional outlay of the divine plastic art, as being a kind of goodly garment of the soul ; yet it is to be feared , just on account of the injuriousness and violence of suitors: which injuriousness and violence even the father of the faith , Abraham , greatly feared in regard of his own wife's grace ; and Isaac, by falsely representing Rebecca as his sister, purchased safety by insult! Let it now be granted that excellence of form be not to be feared, as neither troublesome to its possessors, nor destructive to its desirers, nor perilous to its compartners; let it be thought to be not exposed to temptations , not surrounded by stumbling-blocks: it is enough that to angels of God it is not necessary.
For, where modesty is, there beauty is idle; because properly the use and fruit of beauty is voluptuousness, unless any one thinks that there is some other harvest for bodily grace to reap. Are women who think that, in furnishing to their neighbour that which is demanded of beauty, they are furnishing it to themselves also, to augment that beauty when naturally given them, and to strive after it when not thus given?
Sex, Guilt and Shame | The Village Church
Some one will say, Why, then, if voluptuousness be shut out and chastity let in, may we not enjoy the praise of beauty alone, and glory in a bodily good? Let whoever finds pleasure in glorying in the flesh see to that. To us in the first place, there is no studious pursuit of glory , because glory is the essence of exaltation. Now exaltation is incongruous for professors of humility according to God's precepts.
Secondly, if all glory is vain and insensate, how much more glory in the flesh , especially to us? For even if glorying is allowable , we ought to wish our sphere of pleasing to lie in the graces of the Spirit , not in the flesh; because we are suitors of things spiritual. In those things wherein our sphere of labour lies, let our joy lie. We discussed the fact that in our anger we no longer have to sit in judgment because we have faith in a perfect Judge. We no longer have to stand in the place of God, but we can turn those resentments and that anger over to him, trusting him to reconcile all things.
We also talked about abuse. We talked about a redeemed truth about abuse, and we talked about abuse being the misuse of anything. God created all things for his glory, and the misuse of his creation is abuse and ultimately sinful. All sin is abusive, and sin against others is undeserved. We cannot overcome the effects of sin or abuse independent of God, but he has provided the way to overcome sin, the way of redemption through the gospel of Jesus Christ. God does not allow abuse or any other form of suffering in the lives of his children without a redemptive purpose.
In Christ, through the Spirit, we will display his supremacy and victory over evil as we arise over sin, shame, and even death. I just wanted to share one Scripture related to that. I was attending an abuse conference up in Seattle, and I ran across a name tag it was literally one of those name tags like what you guys have on on the boardwalk as I was running.
It caught my attention, so I turned around and picked it up. I ended up naming my daughter Ava Micah because it was during that time that I found out my wife was pregnant. This Scripture right here has been so profound for me just in terms of the sin that has been committed against us, particularly in the areas of abuse. It says in Micah I will bear the indignation of the Lord because I have sinned against him, until he pleads my cause and executes judgment for me. He will bring me out to the light; I shall look upon his vindication.
We will have victory. When I was in AA we, like we do here at The Village, assessed, or took inventory of, our sexual behavior, our sexual immorality. In some ways it was good, but in other ways it was very lacking. It was good from the standpoint that we examined our moral behavior. It was good to acknowledge that we all seem to fall short in this area. It was good because the God of my understanding was to be considered in the formula of how I was to move forward from here, and it was good from the standpoint that I was able to discuss it with someone with more experience in the program.
I was single again, and when I came to faith was very dysfunctional in the area of sex. On one level, my conscience testified to what was right and wrong, but I somehow had convinced myself that what was acceptable when it came to sex was anything that could be shared between two consenting adults. I had drawn a line where God does not draw the line. I decided to ask my sponsor what his thoughts were on that. Not yet, I believe, being a born-again Christian which he is today , he responded with an observation that I felt was helpful.
The other thing that was curious in AA was that although we were encouraged to examine our behavior, even the motive behind our behavior when it came to sex, what about the other areas of my life I fell short in? Sex is just one of those areas I may feel guilt or shame in. What do I do with that? Where do I put that on my inventory? There was no way to deal with my guilt and my shame.
There was no guilt and shame inventory. As we were talking today in the intensive, one of the things we wanted to keep at the forefront when we wrote our curriculum was to give a comprehensive and in-depth look at each one of our struggles as human beings and a comprehensive guide to how the gospel can be applied in each one of these situations. Remember we started with creation, fall, redemption, consummation.
Be fruitful and multiply. Guess what that means? Do you see it as a gift, or do you see it as gross? Do you see it as an expression of worship before God, or do you see it as something to be worshiped? God ordains sex in the creation account within the context of marriage between one man and one woman. The sexual union between a man and a woman is to be reserved for the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman.
He is the author of it. He created it, and he determines how it is to be used and, therefore, how it is abused. It is a seal of the emotional, spiritual, and relational oneness of this couple within the context of a covenantal relationship. Giving myself physically to my spouse should be done as an act of worship to God for her pleasure, which in turn should be my pleasure. As with all the creation, sex is meant to point to something more glorious in the gospel.
Let me explain. In the physical act of sex, a man rises. He enters into his bride. He fills her to bring forth new life. This is a picture of the gospel, that Jesus is raised from death to life, that he enters into his bride, that he fills her with the Holy Spirit, and the seed within the woman then is born and brings forth life. Our physical birth is a picture of spiritual rebirth. So he has provided a way back.
Here are a couple of observations I would like to make about sex. There is greater joy and pleasure in the spiritual than in the physical, and you will never enjoy sex the way God has intended it as long as you are looking to it for ultimate satisfaction. As we look to sex for ultimate satisfaction, it becomes a lust, which, by nature, you cannot satisfy.
One other thing here, as we see this glorious picture sex is to represent: God does not enter into those he is not in covenant with, nor should we. Obviously, as we look around at the culture and look back maybe on the tragedy of our own lives, we see the fall is very evident. Romans says the worship of creation in the fall becomes the agenda. Instead of sex being the overflow of worship before God in loving your spouse, the worship of other things becomes paramount: pleasure, security, safety, people, acceptance, etcetera.
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To him be glory forever. God is to be on the throne, and we are to worship him, offer ourselves to him, and be a living sacrifice for him for his glory. So stick with us. Women, when you engage sexually with a man outside of the covenant of marriage, you are literally giving yourself, offering yourself, and presenting yourself to a man as a sacrifice, as as Mark Driscoll would say your functional savior. Woe to those of us who would take the place of God and accept this type of worship and usurp him from the throne, even if only in your mind by fantasizing about the creation, bowing down and serving your every desire and often seeking to fill your insecurities through the conquest of collecting trophies on the wallpaper of your mind.
It is counterfeit redemption. It is no redemption at all for you to fill your insecurities with these trophies. I hear all kinds of rationalizations about engaging in sexual immorality. You would never put another person before a holy God in sin if you loved them. The question is What are you looking at?
What are you looking for? And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ?
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