Practical Implications of the Seventh Commandment

by J. Parnell McCarter

The seventh commandment has many practical implications which are outlined and suggested in the Westminster Standards.Consider the following statements from the Westminster Larger Catechism:

Q. 137. Which is the seventh commandment?

A. The seventh commandment is, Thou shalt not commit adultery.[766]

Q. 138. What are the duties required in the seventh commandment?

A. The duties required in the seventh commandment are, chastity in body, mind, affections,[767] words,[768] and behavior;[769] and the preservation of it in ourselves and others;[770] watchfulness over the eyes and all the senses;[771] temperance,[772] keeping of chaste company,[773] modesty in apparel;[774] marriage by those that have not the gift of continency,[775] conjugal love,[776] and cohabitation;[777] diligent labor in our callings;[778] shunning all occasions of uncleanness, and resisting temptations thereunto.[779]

Q. 139. What are the sins forbidden in the seventh commandment?

A. The sins forbidden in the seventh commandment, besides the neglect of the duties required,[780] are, adultery, fornication,[781] rape, incest,[782] sodomy, and all unnatural lusts;[783] all unclean imaginations, thoughts, purposes, and affections;[784] all corrupt or filthy communications, or listening thereunto;[785] wanton looks,[786] impudent or light behaviour, immodest apparel;[787] prohibiting of lawful,[788] and dispensing with unlawful marriages;[789] allowing, tolerating, keeping of stews, and resorting to them;[790] entangling vows of single life,[791] undue delay of marriage,[792] having more wives or husbands than one at the same time;[793] unjust divorce,[794] or desertion;[795] idleness, gluttony, drunkenness,[796] unchaste company;[797] lascivious songs, books, pictures, dancings, stage plays;[798] and all other provocations to, or acts of uncleanness, either in ourselves or others.[799]

Surely love of God should draw us to carefulness and obedience in this area.


The December 1934 issue of the Free Presbyterian Magazine touched upon a few of these issues, as found at .There is much to prayerfully consider.