Of Chastity

Of Chastity

Sermon on the Mount. St Matthew.

(The Gospel History, Section 43*)

Ye have heard that it was said, Thou shalt not commit adultery: but I say unto you, that every one that looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. And if thy right eye causeth thee to stumble, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not thy whole body be cast into hell. And if thy right hand causeth thee to stumble, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not thy whole body go into hell. It was said also, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement: but I say unto you, that every one that putteth away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, maketh her an adulteress: and whosoever shall marry her when she is put away committeth adultery.

Of Chastity

(The Saviour of the World, Vol II Book III Poem XLI)

And the Lord spake:—
Know thou thy body, pure, a Holy Place

For incense of thy prayer;
An altar, where

Continual sacrifice is offered up;
Where every day thou spill’st oblation’s cup
Of filial praise before the Father’s face!

But what these fumes of horrid thoughts, impure,

A woman’s face hath stirred,—
A soft air, heard,

A tale of love and lust hath conjured quick—
Till prayer and praise, My service, turn thee sick?
Though nothing hast thou done, thy sin is sure:

’Tis not what a man does, but what he thinks,

Emotions he lets rise
When eyes meet eyes,

Hand toucheth hand, although lips silent be,—
These be the spells unchaste divide from Me;
For can man worship God the while he sinks,

Faint with desire, before an alien shrine?

Adultery of the heart,
An easy part

That risks not penalty before the law,
A sin insidious, a man may draw
To lose his soul and body, which be Mine.

Then guard thee when thou walkest in the street,

Nor see lewd play, or look,
Nor read loose book;

Nay, if thine eye offend thee pluck it out,—
Cast it away, nor join the unclean rout
Of them, for body’s lust would hell fire meet.

Is’t thy right hand would thee to stumble make,

With thrilling touch and grasp,
Hot passion’s clasp?

Nay, cut it off, and never heed the pain;
To lose thy several members were thy gain,
So, fire of lust not in thy body wake!

Nor think to bring desire within the law,

By writing out a bill
That shall make nil

Thy marriage with the wife who shares thy home;
If in her place another woman come,
In lust and sin ye two together draw.

Nay, keep thy soul a garden of the Lord,

Where I may walk at eve,
Nor e’er perceive

The heavy odour of an unchaste thought—
The turbulence of nerves and blood is wrought—
But quiet keep thee, that thou hear My word!

St. Matthew v. 27-32