Guarding Against Sexual Sin - Wilhelmus a Brakel

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TylerRay

Puritan Board Graduate
Wilhelmus a Brakel:

Everyone ought to be on guard so that, consistent with the exhortation of the apostle, everyone may possess his vessel in sanctification and honor (1 Thess 4:4).
  1. We must know that we have the enemy within ourselves, that we carry the seed of uncleanness within, which will very readily shoot up if we do not carefully watch against this. Happy is he who has a true heart of a virgin, for when this sin takes hold, it cannot very easily be driven out. Therefore, watch!
  2. Carefully avoid all occasions which would stimulate this sin—be it via the eye or the ear. One must therefore watch very carefully over these two senses. "I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid" (Job 31:1).
  3. If an unclean motion arises in your heart, immediately shake it off as you would shake off fire from your clothes. Divert your thoughts immediately to something else. Here, fleeing is the best option. If, however, you do not reject the initial thought and you allow your thoughts but to reflect on it for a moment, you are conquered. This sin will flourish rapidly and will at once exercise great power.
  4. Be always engaged in honest activities. Even when you are free from obligations, do not let your flesh be idle. Arouse yourself to be engaged in your task with delight and earnestness, so that it may occupy your heart, and thus there will be neither room nor time for this filthiness.
  5. Be moderate in eating, drinking, and sleeping, for if there is a lack of moderation in these things, the body will be vulnerable for this sin and the lust for and yearning after this sin will arise that much easier.
  6. Avoid such people who are inclined toward this sin—be it that they are giving license to the flesh or that they are battling this sin. There can very easily be a word or something else which ignites a virgin heart. Furthermore, this sin will take hold all the more readily if one also is battling against this sin himself.
  7. Arm yourself with fear for God‘s presence and omniscience. Pray continually: "Create in me a clean heart, O God." If it is common for this sin to frequently assault you, have days of fasting for this—and the Lord will help the person who is engaged in this battle.
  8. Always consider the consequences of this sin. It yields but a brief delight for the flesh and a long and bitter aftertaste for the soul. And if this aftertaste presents itself as a lively reality for you, you will then be able to reject its brief delight that much easier.
 

Jonathco

Puritan Board Freshman
Excellent and godly advice. I keep hearing folks on here mention Brakel, but I am not knowledgeable about him. Is this from one of his books?
 

TylerRay

Puritan Board Graduate
Excellent and godly advice. I keep hearing folks on here mention Brakel, but I am not knowledgeable about him. Is this from one of his books?
Yes, it's from The Christian's Reasonable Service, a 4-volume systematic theology with exemplary devotional qualities. A Brakel was a 17th century Dutchman.
 

Jonathco

Puritan Board Freshman
Yes, it's from The Christian's Reasonable Service, a 4-volume systematic theology with exemplary devotional qualities. A Brakel was a 17th century Dutchman.
Thank you. I found it on [link removed].
 
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TylerRay

Puritan Board Graduate
Thank you. I found it on Monergism.
Yes, it was just translated a few years ago, and was released into the public domain. The public domain version doesn't have the scholarly notes that the print version has, though, which is why there are huge blank sections at the bottom of each page.

Edit: pretty much everything in this comment is incorrect. See comments below for corrections.
 
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Seeking_Thy_Kingdom

Puritan Board Freshman
I would certainly recommend moving this up to the top of your reading list, it has excellent practical application.
 
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Regi Addictissimus

Completely sold out to the King
Thank you. I found it on
These files should not be freely distributed on the internet. We own the copyright. There was confusion about it being freely available to the public. Please do not promote these links on here.
I would encourage people to please buy the volumes from RHB if you would like to read the set. Your support goes a long ways as we are a Christian non-profit.
 
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Regi Addictissimus

Completely sold out to the King
Wilhelmus a Brakel:

Everyone ought to be on guard so that, consistent with the exhortation of the apostle, everyone may possess his vessel in sanctification and honor (1 Thess 4:4).
  1. We must know that we have the enemy within ourselves, that we carry the seed of uncleanness within, which will very readily shoot up if we do not carefully watch against this. Happy is he who has a true heart of a virgin, for when this sin takes hold, it cannot very easily be driven out. Therefore, watch!
  2. Carefully avoid all occasions which would stimulate this sin—be it via the eye or the ear. One must therefore watch very carefully over these two senses. "I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid" (Job 31:1).
  3. If an unclean motion arises in your heart, immediately shake it off as you would shake off fire from your clothes. Divert your thoughts immediately to something else. Here, fleeing is the best option. If, however, you do not reject the initial thought and you allow your thoughts but to reflect on it for a moment, you are conquered. This sin will flourish rapidly and will at once exercise great power.
  4. Be always engaged in honest activities. Even when you are free from obligations, do not let your flesh be idle. Arouse yourself to be engaged in your task with delight and earnestness, so that it may occupy your heart, and thus there will be neither room nor time for this filthiness.
  5. Be moderate in eating, drinking, and sleeping, for if there is a lack of moderation in these things, the body will be vulnerable for this sin and the lust for and yearning after this sin will arise that much easier.
  6. Avoid such people who are inclined toward this sin—be it that they are giving license to the flesh or that they are battling this sin. There can very easily be a word or something else which ignites a virgin heart. Furthermore, this sin will take hold all the more readily if one also is battling against this sin himself.
  7. Arm yourself with fear for God‘s presence and omniscience. Pray continually: "Create in me a clean heart, O God." If it is common for this sin to frequently assault you, have days of fasting for this—and the Lord will help the person who is engaged in this battle.
  8. Always consider the consequences of this sin. It yields but a brief delight for the flesh and a long and bitter aftertaste for the soul. And if this aftertaste presents itself as a lively reality for you, you will then be able to reject its brief delight that much easier.
Thank you for sharing. In my estimation, this is particularly timely counsel. People are unusually isolated and spending more time outside of their vocations. Now is a perfect time for the evil one to set up sexual snares. Many are vulnerable as fear and anxiety is running rampant.
 

Jonathco

Puritan Board Freshman
These files should not be freely distributed on the internet. We own the copyright. There was confusion about it being freely available to the public. Please do not promote these links on here.
I would encourage people to please buy the volumes from RHB if you would like to read the set. Your support goes a long ways as we are a Christian non-profit.
My apologies, Robert. I was not aware of this. I'll edit my last post and remove the link.
 

Regi Addictissimus

Completely sold out to the King
My apologies, Robert. I was not aware of this. I'll edit my last post and remove the link.
I know you weren't, brother. I take no offense and am in no way upset with you. It has been an issue for some time. As I said in my previous post, there has been confusion about the files being freely available.
 

Taylor Sexton

Puritan Board Junior
The public domain version doesn't have the scholarly notes that the print version has, though, which is why there are huge blank sections at the bottom of each page.
Is that the case? I have the print version, and footnotes seem to be rare and short. You definitely don't have the constant footnoting as, say, the Battles edition of Calvin's Institutes. I was thinking that the PDF version has those huge spaces because they did not format the text, but wanted to keep the pagination the same (which it is).
 

Regi Addictissimus

Completely sold out to the King
Is that the case? I have the print version, and footnotes seem to be rare and short. You definitely don't have the constant footnoting as, say, the Battles edition of Calvin's Institutes. I was thinking that the PDF version has those huge spaces because they did not format the text, but wanted to keep the pagination the same (which it is).
The PDFs are from one of the final proofs before going to print.
Brakel's work doesn't necessitate extensive footnotes as Calvin's work does. Calvin quotes extensively from Church Fathers and is much more polemical in nature. Brakel's work was written for family instruction.
 

TylerRay

Puritan Board Graduate
Is that the case? I have the print version, and footnotes seem to be rare and short. You definitely don't have the constant footnoting as, say, the Battles edition of Calvin's Institutes. I was thinking that the PDF version has those huge spaces because they did not format the text, but wanted to keep the pagination the same (which it is).
I could be dead wrong here. I guess I just figured since there are no footnotes, and there are huge spaces, that the spaces are where the footnotes should be.

I'll leave my comment up, but with a caveat, because the discussion would make no sense if I deleted it.
 
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TylerRay

Puritan Board Graduate
These files should not be freely distributed on the internet. We own the copyright. There was confusion about it being freely available to the public. Please do not promote these links on here.
I would encourage people to please buy the volumes from RHB if you would like to read the set. Your support goes a long ways as we are a Christian non-profit.
I didn't know this. Forgive my misinformation.
 

arapahoepark

Puritan Board Graduate
Bart Elshout the translator, ran a site where it was freely put up for years. It has since expired. Hence the confusion.
 

Regi Addictissimus

Completely sold out to the King
Bart Elshout the translator, ran a site where it was freely put up for years. It has since expired. Hence the confusion.
Yes. It should have never been freely available on the website. We can conclude this discussion and let people focus on the content of the OP.
 

Bryce Simon

Puritan Board Freshman
Avoid such people who are inclined toward this sin—be it that they are giving license to the flesh or that they are battling this sin.
Thoughts on this idea in relation to the idea of accountability relationships between brothers? Should accountability primarily be done between a mature Elder and a younger disciple, rather than two men who are both battling?
 

Rescued

Puritan Board Freshman
Starve this sin by prayer and fasting. And keep constant watch. Good advice, thank you.
 

moral necessity

Puritan Board Junior
Wilhelmus a Brakel:

Everyone ought to be on guard so that, consistent with the exhortation of the apostle, everyone may possess his vessel in sanctification and honor (1 Thess 4:4).
  1. We must know that we have the enemy within ourselves, that we carry the seed of uncleanness within, which will very readily shoot up if we do not carefully watch against this. Happy is he who has a true heart of a virgin, for when this sin takes hold, it cannot very easily be driven out. Therefore, watch!
  2. Carefully avoid all occasions which would stimulate this sin—be it via the eye or the ear. One must therefore watch very carefully over these two senses. "I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid" (Job 31:1).
  3. If an unclean motion arises in your heart, immediately shake it off as you would shake off fire from your clothes. Divert your thoughts immediately to something else. Here, fleeing is the best option. If, however, you do not reject the initial thought and you allow your thoughts but to reflect on it for a moment, you are conquered. This sin will flourish rapidly and will at once exercise great power.
  4. Be always engaged in honest activities. Even when you are free from obligations, do not let your flesh be idle. Arouse yourself to be engaged in your task with delight and earnestness, so that it may occupy your heart, and thus there will be neither room nor time for this filthiness.
  5. Be moderate in eating, drinking, and sleeping, for if there is a lack of moderation in these things, the body will be vulnerable for this sin and the lust for and yearning after this sin will arise that much easier.
  6. Avoid such people who are inclined toward this sin—be it that they are giving license to the flesh or that they are battling this sin. There can very easily be a word or something else which ignites a virgin heart. Furthermore, this sin will take hold all the more readily if one also is battling against this sin himself.
  7. Arm yourself with fear for God‘s presence and omniscience. Pray continually: "Create in me a clean heart, O God." If it is common for this sin to frequently assault you, have days of fasting for this—and the Lord will help the person who is engaged in this battle.
  8. Always consider the consequences of this sin. It yields but a brief delight for the flesh and a long and bitter aftertaste for the soul. And if this aftertaste presents itself as a lively reality for you, you will then be able to reject its brief delight that much easier.
Thanks for this...do you have the citation for where to find this quote in his works?

Blessings!
 

Regi Addictissimus

Completely sold out to the King
Thanks for this...do you have the citation for where to find this quote in his works?

Blessings!
Volume 3, pages 212-213 in à Brakel, Wilhelmus. The Christian’s Reasonable Service. Ed. Joel R. Beeke. Trans. Bartel Elshout. Vol. 3. Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage Books, 1994. Print.
 
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