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Chapter 26 - Concerning the Seventh Commandment

The Order of Salvation and Damnation by William Perkins (1558-1602)

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Election is God’s decree “whereby on his own free will, he hath ordained certain men to salvation, to the praise of the glory of his grace.” Reprobation is “that part of predestination, whereby God, according to the most free and just purpose of his will, hath determined to reject certain men unto eternal destruction, and misery, and that to the praise of his justice.”

Chapter 26 – Concerning the Seventh Commandment

The seventh commandment showeth how that we should preserve the chastity of ourselves, and of our neighbor.

Thou shalt not commit adultery.

The Resolution:
“Adultery;” To commit adultery, signifieth as much as to do anything, as what way soever, whereby the chastity of ourselves or our neighbor be stained. Matthew 5:28, “But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.”

The Negative Part
Thou shalt no way either hurt, or hinder they neighbor’s chastity.

In this place are prohibited:
1. The lust of the heart, or evil concupiscence of the flesh, Matthew 5:28, “But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” Colossians 3:5, “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry.”
2. Burning in the flesh, which is an inward service of lust, whereby the godly motions of the heart are hindered, overwhelmed, and, as it were, with constant fire, burnt up. 1 Cor. 7:9, “But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.”
3. Stranger pleasures about generation, prohibited in the word of God the which are many.
1) With beasts, Lev. 18:23, “Neither shalt thou lie with any beast to defile thyself therewith: neither shall any woman stand before a beast to lie down thereto: it is confusion.”
2) With the devil as witches do by their own confession, For why should not a spirit as well have society with a witch as to eat meat?
3) With one of the same sex. Lev. 18:22, “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.” This is a sin which they commit, whom God hath given over into a reprobate sense. Rom. 1:26, “For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature.” It was the sin of Sodom, Gen 19, where it was so common, that to this day is termed Sodomy.
4) With such as be within the degrees of consanguinity or affinity, prohibited in the Word of God. Lev. 18:6, “None of you shall approach to any that is near of kin to him, to uncover their nakedness: I am the LORD.”
5) With unmarried persons. This sin is termed fornication. Deut 22:28-29, “If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found; Then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel’s father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife; because he hath humbled her, he may not put her away all his days.” 1 Cor. 10:8, “Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand.”
6) With those, whereof one is married, or at the least betrothed. This sin is called adultery, and God hath instructed by His Word the same punishment upon them, which commit this sin, after they be betrothed, as he doth upon such as are already married. Deut 22:22-24, “If a man be found lying with a woman married to an husband, then they shall both of them die, both the man that lay with the woman, and the woman: so shalt thou put away evil from Israel. If a damsel that is a virgin be betrothed unto an husband, and a man find her in the city, and lie with her; Then ye shall bring them both out unto the gate of that city, and ye shall stone them with stones that they die; the damsel, because she cried not, being in the city; and the man, because he hath humbled his neighbour’s wife: so thou shalt put away evil from among you.” This is a great sin, as may appear in that it is the punishment of idolatry. Romans 1:23-24, “And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves.” Yea, this sin is more heinous than theft. Proverbs 6:20, “My son, keep thy father’s commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother.” Proverbs 6:32, “But whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding: he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul.” Again the adulterer breaketh the covenant of marriage, which is God’s covenant. Proverbs 2:17, “Which forsaketh the guide of her youth, and forgetteth the covenant of her God.” Adulterers dishonest their own bodies. 1 Cor. 6:18, “Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.”And bereave their neighbors of a great and unrecoverable benefit, namely, chastity. As for the children which are begotten in this rot, they are short cut from that preeminence, which they otherwise might obtain in the congregation. Deut. 23:2, “A bastard shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD; even to his tenth generation shall he not enter into the congregation of the LORD.” He maketh his family eschewed, as appeareth in David, whose adultery was punished by Absolom’s lying with his father’s concubines. 2 Sam 16:21, “And Ahithophel said unto Absalom, Go in unto thy father’s concubines, which he hath left to keep the house; and all Israel shall hear that thou art abhorred of thy father: then shall the hands of all that are with thee be strong.” Job 31:9, “If mine heart have been deceived by a woman, or if I have laid wait at my neighbour’s door.” Job 31:12, “”To conclude, thought his sin be committed never so closely, yet God will reveal it. Numbers 5:12-23, “Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, If any man’s wife go aside, and commit a trespass against him, And a man lie with her carnally, and it be hid from the eyes of her husband, and be kept close, and she be defiled, and there be no witness against her, neither she be taken with the manner; And the spirit of jealousy come upon him, and he be jealous of his wife, and she be defiled: or if the spirit of jealousy come upon him, and he be jealous of his wife, and she be not defiled: Then shall the man bring his wife unto the priest, and he shall bring her offering for her, the tenth part of an ephah of barley meal; he shall pour no oil upon it, nor put frankincense thereon; for it is an offering of jealousy, an offering of memorial, bringing iniquity to remembrance. And the priest shall bring her near, and set her before the LORD: And the priest shall take holy water in an earthen vessel; and of the dust that is in the floor of the tabernacle the priest shall take, and put it into the water: And the priest shall set the woman before the LORD, and uncover the woman’s head, and put the offering of memorial in her hands, which is the jealousy offering: and the priest shall have in his hand the bitter water that causeth the curse: And the priest shall charge her by an oath, and say unto the woman, If no man have lain with thee, and if thou hast not gone aside to uncleanness with another instead of thy husband, be thou free from this bitter water that causeth the curse: But if thou hast gone aside to another instead of thy husband, and if thou be defiled, and some man have lain with thee beside thine husband: Then the priest shall charge the woman with an oath of cursing, and the priest shall say unto the woman, The LORD make thee a curse and an oath among thy people, when the LORD doth make thy thigh to rot, and thy belly to swell; And this water that causeth the curse shall go into thy bowels, to make thy belly to swell, and thy thigh to rot: And the woman shall say, Amen, amen. And the priest shall write these curses in a book, and he shall blot them out with the bitter water.” And it usually hath one of these two as companions: namely, dullness of hearts, or a marvelous horror of conscience. Hosea 4:11, “Whoredom and wine and new wine take away the heart.” As for the Patriarch’s Polygamy, or marrying many wives, albeit it cannot be defended, yet it may be excused: either because it served to the enlarging of the number of mankind, where there were but few, or at the least, to the propagation of the church of God.
7) With man and his wife. They abuse their liberty if they know each other so long as the woman who is in her flowers. Ezek. 22:10, “In thee have they discovered their fathers’ nakedness: in thee have they humbled her that was set apart for pollution.” Lev. 18:19, “Also thou shalt not approach unto a woman to uncover her nakedness, as long as she is put apart for her uncleanness.” Ezek. 18:6, “And hath not eaten upon the mountains, neither hath lifted up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, neither hath defiled his neighbour’s wife, neither hath come near to a menstruous woman.” Or using the marriage bed intemperately. Ambrose, (lib. De. Philosophy) which Augustine citeth, lib 2. “Contra Julian,” saith, “That he committeth adultery with his wife, who in the use of wedlock hath neither regard of seemlessness nor honesty. Hierom, in his first book, again Jouinian saith, “A wise man ought to love his wife in judgment, not in affection. He will not give the bride unto headstrong pleasure, not headily company with his wife. Nothing,” saith he, “is more shameless, then to love a wife though she were a strumpet.”
8) Nocturnal pollutions, which arise of immoderate desire, or unchaste cogitations, going before the day. Deut. 23:10, “If there be among you any man, that is not clean by reason of uncleanness that chanceth him by night, then shall he go abroad out of the camp, he shall not come within the camp.” Onan’s sin (Gen 38:8) was not much unlike these.
9) Effeminate wantonness, whereby occasions are sought to stir up lust. Gal. 5:19, “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness…” Occasions of lust are 1] eyes full of adultery, 2 Peter 2:14, “Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children.” 2] Idleness, 2 Sam. 11:2-3, “And it came to pass in an eveningtide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king’s house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon.” 3] Riotous and lascivious attire, 1 Tim. 2:9, “” Isaiah 3:16-23, “Moreover the LORD saith, Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, and walk with stretched forth necks and wanton eyes, walking and mincing as they go, and making a tinkling with their feet: Therefore the Lord will smite with a scab the crown of the head of the daughters of Zion, and the LORD will discover their secret parts. In that day the Lord will take away the bravery of their tinkling ornaments about their feet, and their cauls, and their round tires like the moon, The chains, and the bracelets, and the mufflers, The bonnets, and the ornaments of the legs, and the headbands, and the tablets, and the earrings, The rings, and nose jewels, The changeable suits of apparel, and the mantles, and the wimples, and the crisping pins, The glasses, and the fine linen, and the hoods, and the vails.” And it is no marvel if the prophet be so sharp against excess and wanton apparel: for this is, 1) a lavish and prodigal wasting of the benefits of God, which might well be employed upon better uses. 2) It is a testimony, and as it were, the cognizance or ensign of pride, whereby a man would have himself in greater reputation then an other. 3) It is a note of great idleness and slothfulness, For commonly such as bestow much time in tricking and trimming themselves up, do quite neglect other business, and of all things, cannot away with pains. 4) It argueth levity, in desiring every day some new fashion, or imitation that which others desire. 5) It maketh a confusion of such degrees and callas, as God hath ordained, when as man of inferior degree and calling, cannot be by their attire, discerned from men of higher estate. 4] Fullness of bread and meat, which provoke lust. Ezek. 16:49, “Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.” Luke 16:19, “There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day.” Rom. 13:13, “Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.” 5] 1 Cor. 15:33, “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.” Such are the vain love songs, ballads, interludes, and amorous books. This is the thing we are careful to shun in the reading of Poets, yet as so, as mariners do in navigation, who forsake not the sea, but decline and fly from the rockets. 6] Lascivious representations of love matters, in plays and comedies. Eph. 5:3-4, “But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.” 7] Indecent and unseemly pictures. 1 Thess, 5:22, “Abstain from all appearance of evil.” 8] Lascivious dancing of men and women together. Mark 6:22, “And when the daughter of the said Herodias came in, and danced, and pleased Herod and them that sat with him, the king said unto the damsel, Ask of me whatsoever thou wilt, and I will give it thee.” 9] company with effeminate persons. Proverbs 7:25, “Let not thine heart decline to her ways, go not astray in her paths.”
10) To appoint some light or sheer punishment for adultery, such as that Romish Synagogue doth. For it is nothing else, but to open a gap for other lewd persons, to run headlong into the like impiety.

The Affirmative Part

Thou shalt preserve the chastity of they neighbor.

Chastity is the purity of soul and body, as much as belongeth to generation. The mind is chaste, when it is free, or at the least freed from fleshly concupiscence. The body is chaste when it putteth not in execution the concupiscence of the flesh. 1 Thess. 4:3, “For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication.” 1 Cor. 7:34, “There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband.”
These are two especial virtues which preserve chastity: Modesty and Sobriety. Modesty is a virtue which keepeth in each work an holy decorum, or comeliness: and it is seen, 1) in the countenance and eyes, namely, when they neither express, nor excite the concupiscence of the heart. Job 31:1, “I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid?” Gen 24:64, “And Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac, she lighted off the camel.” Proverbs 7:13, “So she caught him, and kissed him…” 2) In words: When a man’s talk is decent, in speaking of such things, as by reason of our sin are become shameful. Gen. 4:1, “And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD.” Psalm 51:1, “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.” Isa. 7:20, “In the same day shall the Lord shave with a razor that is hired, namely, by them beyond the river, by the king of Assyria, the head, and the hair of the feet: and it shall also consume the beard.” Judges 3:24, “When he was gone out, his servants came; and when they saw that, behold, the doors of the parlour were locked, they said, Surely he covereth his feet in his summer chamber.” Again, a man’s talk must be little and chaste. Matthew 12:19, “He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets.” Prov. 10:19, “In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise.” 3) In apparel we must observe a holy comeliness. Titus 2:3, “The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things.” Holy comeliness, that is, the godliness, temperance, and gravity either of man or woman. This decency will more plainly appear, if we consider the ends of apparel, which are in number five. 1] Necessity, to the end that our bodies may be defended against the extremities of parching heat, and pinching cold. 2] Honesty, that the deformity of our naked bodies might be covered, which immediately followed the transgression of our parents. 3] Commodity, whereby men, as their calling, work, and trade of life is different, so do they apparel themselves and hence it is, that some apparel is more decent for certain estates of men, then others. 4] Frugality, when a man’s attire is proportionable to his ability and calling. 5] Distinction of persons, as of sex, ages, offices, times and actions. For a man hath his set attire, a woman’s hers, a young man is appareled on this fashion, and an old man on that. And therefore it is unseemly for a man to put on a woman’s apparel, or a woman the man’s. Deut 22:5, “The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God.”
To set down precisely out of God’s word, what apparel is decent is very hard; wherefore in this case, the judgments and practice of modest, grave, and sincere men, in every particular estate, is most to be followed and men must rather keep too much within the bounds of measure, than to step one foot without the precincts. 4) In purging the excrements of nature, care must be hard, that they must be cast forth into some separate and close place, and thereto covered. Deut. 23:12-14, “Thou shalt have a place also without the camp, whither thou shalt go forth abroad: And thou shalt have a paddle upon thy weapon; and it shall be, when thou wilt ease thyself abroad, thou shalt dig therewith, and shalt turn back and cover that which cometh from thee: For the LORD thy God walketh in the midst of thy camp, to deliver thee, and to give up thine enemies before thee; therefore shall thy camp be holy: that he see no unclean thing in thee, and turn away from thee.” 1 Sam. 24:4, “And the men of David said unto him, Behold the day of which the LORD said unto thee, Behold, I will deliver thine enemy into thine hand, that thou mayest do to him as it shall seem good unto thee. Then David arose, and cut off the skirt of Saul’s robe privily.”
Sobriety is a virtue, which concerneth the usage of our diet in holiness. For the better observation thereof, these rules may serve: 1) the chiefest at the banquet, let him consecrate the meats to God by saying grace. 1 Sam. 9:13, “As soon as ye be come into the city, ye shall straightway find him, before he go up to the high place to eat: for the people will not eat until he come, because he doth bless the sacrifice; and afterwards they eat that be bidden. Now therefore get you up; for about this time ye shall find him.” Mark 6:39-41 “And he commanded them to make all sit down by companies upon the green grass. And they sat down in ranks, by hundreds, and by fifties. And when he had taken the five loaves and the two fishes, he looked up to heaven, and blessed, and brake the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before them; and the two fishes divided he among them all.” Acts 27:35, “And when he had thus spoken, he took bread, and gave thanks to God in presence of them all: and when he had broken it, he began to eat.” 2) it is lawful to furnish the table with store of dishes, not only for necessity, but also for the good entertainment of a friend, and for delight. Luke 5:29, “And Levi made him a great feast in his own house: and there was a great company of publicans and of others that sat down with them.” Psalm 104:15, “And wine that maketh glad the heart of man, and oil to make his face to shine, and bread which strengtheneth man’s heart.” John 12:2-3, “There they made him a supper; and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with him.” 3) Choose the lower room at a banquet, and rather be troublesome, sit as the master of the feast assigneth thee. Luke 14:7-10, “And he put forth a parable to those which were bidden, when he marked how they chose out the chief rooms; saying unto them, When thou art bidden of any man to a wedding, sit not down in the highest room; lest a more honourable man than thou be bidden of him; And he that bade thee and him come and say to thee, Give this man place; and thou begin with shame to take the lowest room. But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee.” Prov. 25:6, “Put not forth thyself in the presence of the king, and stand not in the place of great men.” 4) Men must eat at due times, not at unseasonable hours. Eccl. 10:16-17, “Woe to thee, O land, when thy king is a child, and thy princes eat in the morning! Blessed art thou, O land, when thy king is the son of nobles, and thy princes eat in due season, for strength, and not for drunkenness!” 5) Man must eat and drink modestly, so that the body may receive strength thereby, and the soul be more fresh and lively, to perform the actions of Godliness. Luke 21:34, “And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.” Prov. 23:29-30, “Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes? They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine.” Prov. 25:16, “Hast thou found honey? eat so much as is sufficient for thee, lest thou be filled therewith, and vomit it.” Prov. 31:4, “It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink:.” 6) We must then especially regard these things, when we eat at great men’s tables. Prov. 23:1-3, “When thou sittest to eat with a ruler, consider diligently what is before thee: And put a knife to thy throat, if thou be a man given to appetite. Be not desirous of his dainties: for they are deceitful meat.” 7) Godly mirth at meals is tolerable. Acts 2:46, “And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart.” 8) Table talk (according as occasion of talk is offered) must be such as may edify. Such was Christ’s talk at the Pharisee’s table. Luke 14:1-16, “And it came to pass, as he went into the house of one of the chief Pharisees to eat bread on the sabbath day, that they watched him. And, behold, there was a certain man before him which had the dropsy. And Jesus answering spake unto the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath day? And they held their peace. And he took him, and healed him, and let him go; And answered them, saying, Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the sabbath day? And they could not answer him again to these things. And he put forth a parable to those which were bidden, when he marked how they chose out the chief rooms; saying unto them, When thou art bidden of any man to a wedding, sit not down in the highest room; lest a more honourable man than thou be bidden of him; And he that bade thee and him come and say to thee, Give this man place; and thou begin with shame to take the lowest room. But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee. For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted. Then said he also to him that bade him, When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbours; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompence be made thee. But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just. And when one of them that sat at meat with him heard these things, he said unto him, Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God. Then said he unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many:” 9) See that after the banquet ended, the broken meat be not lost but returned. John 6:12, “When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.” 10) At a fest leave somewhat. Ruth 2:14, “And Boaz said unto her, At mealtime come thou hither, and eat of the bread, and dip thy morsel in the vinegar. And she sat beside the reapers: and he reached her parched corn, and she did eat, and was sufficed, and left.”
Chastity is double: one of single life, another in wedlock. They that are single, must 1) with great care keep their affections and bodies in holiness. Psalm 19:9, “The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.” 1 John 2:13-14, “I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one. I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father. I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.” Ecc. 12:1, “Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them.” 2) They must fast often. 1 Cor. 9:27, “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” 3) They must take heed they burn not in lust: for 1 Cor. 7:9, “But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.”
Chastity in wedlock, is when the holy and pure use of wedlock is observed. Heb. 13:4, “Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.” to preserve purity in wedlock, these cautions are profitable: 1) contracts must be in the Lord and with the faithful only. Mal. 2:11, “Judah hath dealt treacherously, and an abomination is committed in Israel and in Jerusalem; for Judah hath profaned the holiness of the LORD which he loved, and hath married the daughter of a strange god.” 1 Cor. 7:39, “The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord.” 2) Both parties must separate themselves in the time of a woman’s disease, and at appointed fasts. Ezek. 18:6, “” 1 Cor. 7:5, “Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.” 3) Wedlock must be used rather to suppress, then to satisfy corrupt concupiscence of the flesh, and especially to enlarge the church of God, which is done by a holy seed. Rom. 13:14, “But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.” 4) It must be used with prayer and thanksgiving. 1 Tim. 4:3-4, “Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving.”

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