Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

to defeat his own title to the character of the MESSIAH, concerning whom GOD had fworn to David, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, He would raise up CHRIST to fit on his throne. See Acts ii. 30. with Pf. cxxxii. II. The fruit of his loins in this place, and the feed which shall proceed out of thy bowels, 2 Sam. vii. 12. are expreffed, 1 Chr. xxii. 9. by-Behold a SON fhall be born unto thee--which, though primarily spoken of Solomon, ultimately points to CHRIST, as 2 Sam. vii. 14. with Heb. i. 5. demonftrably fhew. Therefore CHRIST is emphatically styled THE SON OF DAVID.

How would all this ftand by our law? Decius, a nobleman of large eftate, having this, as well as his honours, limited to him and the heirs of his body, marries Decia, by whom he has no iffue; then, living Decia, he marries Portia, by whom he has a fon. Decius dies. This fon cannot inherit the eftate and honours of Decius, as heir of his body, nor can this be done by any of the defcendents of that fon to the lateft pofterity. The reafon of which is, that we deem a po

66

6.6.

99

*Filius qui petit hæreditatem tanquam filius, debet probare filiationem. "A fon who feeks an inheritance, or eftate by fucceffion, as a fon, ought to prove fonShip' This maxim of the civil law was also among the Jews; they excluded, on the authority of Deut. xxiii. 2. from all the privileges of the Jewish commonwealth, both civil and religious, not only all illegitimate iffue, but even that whofe legitimacy was any ways doubtful. See Univ. Hift. vol. iii. p. 117. note L. Comp. Judg. xi. 1, 2. Alfo Ezra ii. 62.

Neh. vii. 64. lygamous

lygamous marriage no marriage at all, but null and void to all intents and purposes whatsoever; but not fo the law of GOD: which is wifeft and beft, must be left to the confideration of the judicious reader.

There is a remarkable circumftance in David's hiftory, which I cannot help observing on this occafion, which is, that the adulterous offspring of David by Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah, begotten by David during the life-time of Uriah, is mentioned twelve times in eight following verses, 2 Sam. xii. 15, &c. and is not once called a fon, but — the man-child. The prophet Näthan indeed fays, ver. 14. jan—the fon which is born unto thee-which carries with it a fharp reproof of David, who, before he came to a fight and fenfe of his fin, might have called it fo himself; but after he was awakened to a due fenfe of his iniquity, not all the torments which he endured while the child was fick, nor the news of its death, ever induced him to call it "my fon," but the man-child. How differently did he exprefs himself on the news of the death of Abfalom, 2 Sam. xviii. 33. and à Sam. xix. 4. where eight times in two verfes he repeats-0 Abfalom, my fon! my fon! &c. I'll venture to suppose that, if David had been afked the caufe of this diftinction, we fhould have reafon to think he faw a most important difference, between a child begotten in adultery, and a fon begotten and born under polygamy.

I think the prophet Nathan ufed the word
C 2

Son

בני

*.

fon in an improper fenfe, as abovementioned, and for the reafon there given; because the child, being begotten in adultery, was a baftard, not a fon, in the legal fenfe of the word. a fon, is from the root, which fignifies to build, as an houfe, a city, &c. therefore a fon, is fo called, in the true legal and proper fenfe of it, because he builds up or continues his father's house or family * The child therefore of David's adulterous intercourse with Bathsheba, was not properly a fon. And the Holy Spirit, ver. 15, when He returns to the narrative of GOD's dealings with David for his iniquity, faith, And JEHOVAH ftruck, (not a-the fon, but) h -the man-child, (fee Exod. i. 17, 18.) which Uriah's wife bare unto David: and we do not find this unhappy offspring ever mentioned afterwards, either by David or his fervants, by any other name. We use the word fon much in the fame fenfe with the Hebrew 12, to denote lawful issue. If a man makes a will, and leaves his eftate and effects to his fon or fons, no baftard could take under this description, the word fon only denoting lawful iffue. Hence no baftard can have any

anceitors to whom he can inherit or be an

[ocr errors]

heir-but, as faith the apostle, Gal. iv. 7. If a fan then an heir, which explains what he means (Rom. viii. 17.) by faying-If children then keirs, &c.; for it is as true in the fcrip

*In this fenfe the word feems emphatically used Gen. xxii. 2, 12, 16.

[ocr errors][merged small]
[ocr errors]

86

tures as in our law-" qui ex damnato coitu nafcuntur, inter liberos non computantur" those who are born from illicit commerce " are not reckoned amongst children." It follows, therefore, that our LORD's anceftors, Solomon, Nathan, Abijah, &c. in the direct line from David, must all be deemed of Gop the issue of lawful marriage, otherwise He is not the Son of David-the King of Ifrael. The lawfulness of polygamy must of course be established, or the whole of Chrif tianity muft fall to the ground, and CHRIST not be He that was to come, but we must look for another. Matt.xi. 3.

Our divorces, caufâ præcontractûs, or be

cause of an antecedent contract on the man's fide, are without the divine authority, and stand wholly on the inventions of men upon the fubject of polygamy; thefe originate from the received notion that though polygamy "allowed under the Old Teftament, it "is forbidden under the law of the New "Teftament;"--wherefore all polygamous contracts are null * and void in themselves, and the

was

*I do not find that the ecclefiaftical courts have gone any farther in fuch a cafe, than merely pronouncing a polygamous contract null and void, ab initio - I cannot meet with any inftance of their punishing a man as aņ adulterer or fornicator.

Thefe courts are called fpiritual, because they take cognizance of offences of a spiritual and religious kind, and they profefs to judge by the law of GOD-but where is there to be found, in all the law of GOD, either a precept or example to justify this fort of divorces, caufa precontractus? The truth is-they make void the law of C 3

GoP

the parties entering into them are to be di-. vorced. But as there is no law in the New Teftament which is not in the Old Testa ment, the latter muft for ever remain as the invariable rule of right; wherefore all divorces whatfoever, which have not their grounds and reafons in the divine law which was delivered by Mofes, are encroachments on the divine prerogative, and amount to the fin of-putting afunder those whom GOD bath. joined together.

Polygamy on the man's fide (for that is the fenfe in which I would be understood to use the word throughout this whole book) is no caufe of divorce, either with regard to the former or to the after-taken woman; had it been fo, we furely should have found fome inftance of it in the Hiftory of the Church, from Adam to the time of the prophet Malachi, that is to fay, in the space of about 3600 years. Nor is it to be imagined, that GOD fhould fuffer His own chofen people to have continued in the open and avowed

GOD through their traditions; and a man who is divorced on fuch an account may very juftly, with a little variation, apply to the judge who pronounces the fentence of divorce, what was faid by Paul to the high-priest ANANIAS on another occafion, Acts xxiii. 3. Sitteft thou to judge me after the law, and commandeft me to be DIVORCED contrary to the law? The right of the ecclefiaftical powers to divorce the man, and the right of the civil powers to hang him, are equally without all foundation in the divine mind and will, as revealed in the fcriptures, and are built on that palov eufos of the council of Trent, concerning the unlawfulness of polygamy to "Chriftians."

""

practice

« PreviousContinue »