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of the church, the offerer would have been answered as Simon Magus was-Thy money perish with thee, &c. Acts viii. 20.
See 13 Edw. I. ftat. 4. commonly called the statute of Circumfpecte agatis ; and 9 Edw. II. ftat. I. c. 2. and c. 3.
See also before, vol. i. p. 64, n. and Burn. tit. Penance.
CHA P. XI.
AVING thus far finished what I had to fay on the foregoing fubjects. which are not of an indifferent or trivial nature, but of the utmost importance for every body's confideration-it may be proper, by way of conclufion, to recapitulate, and to commend what has been faid to every man's confcience in the fight of GOD. 2 Cor. iv. 2.
While our laws are what they are, and fuffer men to take virgins into their poffeffion, and then put them away, not all the devices of human wisdom, nor the moft ftrenuous efforts of the most difinterested and best-contrived plans of reformation, can have any
any greater effect on the mifchiefs which they would remedy, than a few buckets of water taken out of a river would have upon the stream. The water would foon unite again, and flow on with the fame apparent fulness. So, though a few prostitutes may .be taken from among the countless herd, and fome of them fo reformed as not to mix with it again, yet no apparent diminution meets the eye, no leffening of their numbers ftrikes the observation. The brothels were full-they are full-the ftreets were infefted with prostitutes-they are ftill infested with them as much as ever- there is no more difference as to numbers, than there is in an army, from whence an hundred foldiers are discharged, and an hundred fresh recruits are lifted in their room. The man who thinks it can ever be otherwife, as our laws with refpect to marriage now ftand, may go with Horace's ruftic to the brink of a river, and expect that it will run itself dry.
Labitur & labetur in omne volubilis ævum.
If an expedient could be found to dry up its fource, and thus ftop it at the fountainhead, the ftreams must cease, and the bed of the river become dry ground. So if a law be devised which can prevent feduction and dereliction, and thus ftop prostitution at its remoT4
teft apparent caufes, the thing itself must
This has not been left for the invention of man, he never could have been equal to the task.-The ALL-WISE GOD Himfelf, who could alone be poffeffed of wisdom and authority fufficient for this, hath done it. His law delivered to Adam at the beginning, and afterwards in more explicit terms to Mofes at Mount Sinai, ftands as a record of the divine mind and will, and, if duly obferved by mortals, is adequate to the prevention or remedy of all the moral evils under the fun, among the rest, the dreadful and deftructive evil of proflitution.
This law has been difregarded, a fyftem very different from it has been set up in its place. This fyftem, being of human contrivance, muft of courfe oppofe itself to the law of GOD-for His ways are not our ways, nor His thoughts, our thoughts. If. lv. 8. In fhort, that which God hath bound, man hath loofed. The obligation which is created by GOD's own fiat, muft now give place to the inventions of men, which declare GoD's ordinance of marriage null and void, unless ratified by man's authority. What are the righteous confequences of all this? Mifery, ruin, defolation.-Let men but keep clear
"As if the links of that eternal chain, whose beginning is in the breaft of the FIRST CAUSE of all "things, could ever be difunited by the inftitutions of "men!" Effay on Crimes and Punishments, ch. xvi.
of the human ceremony, and they may bid defiance to the divine inftitution. The lewd, the defigning, the merciless and cruel, are turned loose upon the female world, to make what ravages they can. Seduction precedes, violation follows, dereliction comes next, and prostitution clofes the monftrous iniquity! Shame and difgrace attend the divine inftitution, honour and reverence await the human ordinance! Thus MAN IS EXALTED-GOD DESPISED! This is attended with the most fatal confequences to thousands, whofe protection is provided for and fecured by the laws of GOD, and whofe ruin is invited and infured by the neglect of them.
What an alteration would it make in the regions of profligacy, was the whole entire law of GOD to be obferved? If no man, let his fituation be what it might, could entice a virgin, &c. and not furely endow her to be his wife? This in every cafe whatever? What a fecurity would this be to the lower order of females, on which the licentiousness of the higher order of men ufually falls the heaviest? It is hardly to be imagined that men of family and fortune would pay their addreffes, or rather lay their fnares, where the accomplishment of their defires must be attended with an union, unfuitable in all respects to their rank in life. This would force them early to match themselves with their equals; they would not gratify their luft at the expence of their pride, and we should not fee fo many victims of luft, treachery, and cru
elty, filling the brothels, and walking our Streets, till disease conveys them to an hofpital, and from thence to the grave: cut off and loft to the public in the bloom of youth; when, had the protection which the law of GOD hath ordained for them, been afforded them by their feducers, they might have been happy in themfelves, and bleffings to fociety.
Nor does the rejection of God's law, by the fubftitution of man's inventions, confine its mifchief even within the dreadful bounds above-mentioned, it extends itself even to murder, and that of the moft foul and unnatural kind, that of infants by the hands of the mothers who bare them. As fomething elfe than God's ordinance is required to make parties one flesh, perfons who are actually married in GoD's account, are under no legal obligation to each other. The unhappy mother of what is called a baftard-childthough as really married to the father of it as Rebekah was to Ifaac, or Leah and Rachel to Jacob -is placed in fuch a light by the fuperftition of the world, as to make her prefer an act of barbarity, which her own bowels muft yearn at, to the treatment which it is the custom of the world to bestow upon
*The murder of bastard children is the effect of a "cruel dilemma, in which a woman finds herself, who "has been feduced through weaknefs, or overcome by "force. The alternative is, either her own infamy, "or the death of a being who is incapable of feeling "the lofs of life. How can fhe avoid preferring the