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the all-wife LAW-GIVER founded them. As nothing can make a marriage in God's fight but His own inftitution, fo nothing can make a divorce lawful before Him but His own authority. To affert the contrary, is to fet man's law above GOD's law; which is in effect to take part * with the man of fin, the Jon of perdition, who oppofeth and exalteth himfelf above all that is called GOD, or that is worshipped; fo that he, as GOD, fitteth in the temple of GOD, fhewing himself that he is GOD. 2 The. ii. 4. One character of this man of fin was, that he should think to change times and laws. Dan. vii. 25.-Our LORD'S oppofite character to this is very apparent in all He faid and did, but no where more fo, than in what He said on the subject of divorce, in His difpute with the Pharifees, Matt. xix. 4, &c. He there fhews from the divine law, what makes a marriage, and, taken in connection with chap. v. 32. what diffolves it, and authorizes divorce-while we, like the Pharifees, make and unmake marriages juft as we please, and, if we do but fteer clear of a priest and an human ceremony, may take and put away as many women as we can feduce. Methinks a few might exclaim against us in the words of Shylock

"O father Abraham, what these Chriftians are!"

The Council of Trent actually pronounced an anathema against any who fhould fay, that the "church "might not difpenfe with fome of the impediments men"tioned in Leviticus, or add others." Brent. Trans. of Polano, 784.


Efpecially if he took his Bible, and contrafted the law of Heaven to our laws, as they now ftand, relative to the fubject of marriage. Even the antient* Goths may ferve to shame for they obliged him who debauched a virgin, to marry her, if the was equal to him in rank; if not, he was conftrained to give her a fortune equal to his own condition; if he could not give her such a fortune, he was condemned to death, because a woman thus dishonoured had no chance of obtaining an husband without a fortune, and because it was by marriage only that a state could be properly peopled. See Alex. Hift. Wom. vol. i. p. 148.

So in the bufinefs of adultery:—the antient Germans allowed the husband to affemble the relations of the adulteres, in their prefence to cut off her hair, ftrip her naked, turn her out of his houfe, and whip her from one end of the village to the other. A woman thus publicly expofed, could never wipe away the stain of fo foul an infamy, nor could any motive ever prevail on another to marry her, though youth, beauty, fortune, and every advantage combined to allure him.


As may, in many refpects, the Hottentots; for, as Kolben, in his Hiftory of the Cape of Good Hope, informs they fuffer no promifcuous intercourse with their women they punith adultery with death they allow the validity of polygamous marriages-in all which particulars, they follow, though they know it not, the law of Mofes--whereas we Chriftians, to whom are committed the oracles of GOD, directly counteract it in these very important particulars.



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Ib. p. 151. We CHRISTIANS, reward the adulterefs with a divorce, which enables her to become the legal property of the adulterer; that is to say, if the injured husband can afford the enormous expence of it, if not, he must be plagued with the woman during life. But to return

The mischiefs arifing from unlawful divorce, (for fuch I call all putting away which is not authorized by the divine law) are dreadful to think of, none can enumerate them, unless they could diftinctly count the miferies of proftitution. This can exist on no other foundation than men taking women, and putting them away just as and when they please; a practice as contrary to the primary law of nature established at the beginning, as to every thing CHRIST laid down on the footing of that law in His discourse with the Pharifees. I will allow, that, here and there, inftances may be found of females, who owe their ruin to their own vicious inclinations, and who have nobody to blame but themfelves ; but for one inftance of this fort, hundreds owe their deftruction to the baseness and treachery of their feducers. The divine law was levelled at both these cases-if a virgin played the whore by proftituting herself, it was a capital offence-if a man enticed a virgin, &c. he was to endow her to be his wife, and not put her away all his days. While thefe laws were in force and vigour amongst the Jews, as to the observance of them, there could be no whore among the daughters of If


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rael, Deut. xxiii. 17. When Mofes found it neceffary in fome cafes, mentioned Deut. xxiv. 1. to fuffer them to put away their wives, the fame hardness of heart which occafioned this measure of policy, (for fo it certainly was) led them to abuse it to purposes of great licentiousness, of which adultery grew to be the confequence, as may appear from Deut. xxiv. 4. a fcripture little confidered and underftood, but the bafis of what CHRIST faid to the Pharifees, Matt. xix. 9.-Still we read of no brothels, no public prostitutes of the daughters of Ifrael. If the wife, who was unjustly divorced, married another man, she committed adultery, the man who married her committed adultery, and the first husband, by being the cause, was liable to the guilt of fuch adultery; and though the severity of the law, as to the temporal confequences, was suspended by the bill of divorcement, yet in GOD's account the primary law of marriage was violated, the law of the feventh commandment broken, and the delinquents were answerable at the bar of the divine justice, as tranfgreffors of the divine law. So faid the law itself, as explained by CHRIST, Matt. v. 32. xix. 9. Mark x. 11. Luke xvi. 18.

Now to apply this.-The obligation created by the law of marriage is one and the fame for ever, fo muft all thofe laws be, which GOD gave by Mofes to expl in and enforce it; as Exod. xxii. 16. Deut. xxii. 28, 29 *. Our

* Dr. Alexander, Hift. of Wom. vol. ii. p. 236. speaking of the privilege of divorce among the Jews,

adds, in allufion

Our laws and cuftoms may be compared to the bill of divorcement, which put afunder those whom GOD bath joined together; fo that if a man take a virgin, (not betrothed) and lie with her, he is under no obligation to her whatsoever, he may put her away for every cause the may go and be another man's wife; and this, fo far from being reckoned adultery,


allufion to the law of Deut. xxii. 28, 29." But he "who deflowered a virgin forfeited it, and the law obliged him, in compenfation for that injury, not only 66 to pay her father fifty fhekels of filver, but to marry "and retain her for life." "Was it poffible," fays he,


to devife a law that more ftrongly protected female "chastity?"-It certainly was not poffible-and the abolition of this law is equally ruinous to the female fex, and an infult to that GOD who fo graciously confulted their fecurity, and protection. This is beft accounted for, by confidering that our prefent fyftem of law, with refpect to the commerce of the fexes, has, in a great measure, been handed down to us from the church of Rome-that the churchmen thereof, in former ages, had the framing and fashioning matters as they pleafed that as all marriage was forbidden them, they took special care to make themselves amends, by keeping thofe laws out of fight, which, had they been retained, must have fadly interrupted their monftrous debaucheries, as well with regard to virgins as married women, "which were often carried to fuch lengths as we should "fcarcely credit (fays our author) were we not affured "of them by the most authentic records." Had the law of Lev. xx. 10. been retained, the churchmen could not very fafely have defiled other men's wives-and as they could not take any woman for their own, the laws of Exod. xxii. 16. and Deut. xxii. 28, 29. could not poffibly be obeyed-therefore it was expedient to leave them out of their fyftem. They now, from long difufe, have funk into oblivion, and perhaps there are thousands of thofe, who call themfelves Chriftians, who do not recollect that there are fuch laws as these in the Bible.


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