THE SIXTH COMMANDMENT.
Q. Which is the sixth commandment ?
A. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
Q. What is forbidden by this precept ?
A. Not only adultery, which is a carnal act, with another's wife or husband, but also fornication, incest, sacrilege, wilful pollution, sin against nature, 1 Thess. iv. and all other exterior acts which proceed from lust.
Q. What are the things forbidden, which tend to adultery, fornication, or lust ?
A. All unchaste touching of ourselves, or others, as also unchaste or lewd discourse, lustful kisses, filthy songs and books, immodest pictures, etc.
Q. How do you prove fornication, and voluntary pollution, to be grievous sins ?
A. Out of St. Paul, in his epistle to the Colossians, ch. iii. ver. 5. where he says, " mortify your members upon earth ; fornication, uncleanness, lust, evil concupiscence, etc., for which the wrath of God comes upon the children of incredulity.
Q. Which are the particular kinds of lust ?
A. These will be specified when we come to explain the seven deadly sins.
Q. Why is adultery named in the prohibition of this commandment, rather than any of the other kinds ?
A. Because, besides the impurity of the act, and the injustice against our neighbor, and injury to the sacrament of matrimony; it contains also a wrong done against the commonwealth, in regard, that lawful heirs are deprived of their due by bastards : and therefore a married woman who knows for certain she has bastards, who are accounted as her lawful children, is bound by sparing and other means, to endeavor to recompense the loss, that her husband's lawful children, or next heirs, shall receive by her bastards.
Q. Is it lawful for a man to dismiss his wife, upon account of adultery ?
A. Yes, if the fact be evident.
Q. Can he who hath so dismissed his wife marry another during her life?
A. No, by no means; " for he that dismisseth his wife," says our Saviour Christ, " and marries another, committeth adultery." Matt. v. 32. And St. Luke says, " he that marries her that is so dismissed, commits adultery." Luke xvi. 18.
Q. Can a wife that is so dismissed from her husband, marry again during her husband's life?
A. No, she cannot.
Q. How do you prove she cannot marry again ?
A. From the first epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians, where he says, " to those who are joined in wedlock, not I only command, but the Lord, that the wife depart not from her husband: but if she shall depart, that she remain unmarried." Chap. 7. ver. 10, 11. And in the same chapter he says, " a woman is bound by the law, so long as her husband lives; but if her husband dies, she is at liberty to marry whom she will."
Q. What is commanded by this commandment ?
A. It commands husbands and wives to love and be faithful one to another, which is a mutual and unchangeable right, not transferable to any other during life. Whoever entices a wife to this sin, robs her of her innocency, the husband of the love and faithfulness of his wife, to which he has an incommunicable right, and may bring other irreparable mischiefs.
Q. How is this abominable sin of the flesh, to be avoided?
A. The best means for avoiding it, is to beware of bad company, and the occasions of the sin, to shun intemperance, and especially idleness; to fast and pray, confess often, and communicate with much devotion.