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as by GoD's law it certainly is, is accounted a virtuous action; it makes her an honest woman, as the phrafe is; fuch a marriage (though doubtlefs adultery, in the fight of GOD, in the man who by putting her away caufed her to commit it-in the man who marries her who is fo put away-and in the woman who marries another man, living the first who poffeffed her) is accounted a cleanfer, as it were, of all former defilement, takes out the Spots from the woman's character, and has been by fome ludicrously styled "the
fuller's earth of reputation." All this monstrous wickedness is, as to the guilt of it, as much kept out of our fight, by our laws and cuftoms, as the guilt of the divorcing Jews was kept out of theirs by the bill of divorcement. Well might our Bleffed LORD fay, Luke xvi. 15. That which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the fight of GOD! The place which those words stand in, fhews them to relate in a particular manner to what He fays at the 18th verfe, touching the point of unjust divorce, they ftand in the fame context; which plainly reaches from the words-And He faid unto them, ver. 15. to the end of ver. 18.
As to the confequences of fuch taking and unjust divorcement, with refpect to far the greater number of feduced females, who (abandoned to all that infamy, want, disease, and even death itself can bring upon them) are
At once the prey and fcorn of all they meet,
as I fhall confider their fituation, with its effects and confequences, both to themselves and the public, in the conclufion of this work, I will fay no more of it here, but proceed to confider the commerce of the fexes, as it concerns fociety in general, and is therefore the object of human laws, more particularly with regard to marriage as a civil contract.
CHA P. VII.
Of MARRIAGE confidered in a CIVIL VIEW,
AVING before confidered marriage as a divine inftitution, as ordained of GOD, and by Him defined in what it shall confift (fee before vol. i. p. 18-20) I cannot help once more obferving, that, in this view of it, no human power has the least authority *
* Some have properly diftinguifhed marriage as twofold, confifting in a two-fold bond, called vinculum internum-an internal bond, and vinculum externum—an outward, or external bond. The firft of these arifes from the union of the male and female in one body, and is rendered indiffoluble by the command-they fhall be one flesh. Compare Gen. ii. 24. with 1 Cor. vi. 16. This cannot
to interfere, fo as to make that null and void which God hath made valid and binding; or to say that those are not one flesh whom His word hath made fo; or to put afunder those whom God, by his own ordinance and command, hath joined together. Nor hath any human legislature the leaft authority to determine who shall, or who shall not, marry together, unless its law be declarative of or coincident with the law of God.
But forafmuch as marriage muft, in the very nature of the thing, concern the outward order of fociety, it becomes, in that point of view only, an object of human laws in the light of a civil contract; the recognition of which, as to civil purposes, is of much confequence to the ftate; therefore certainly every state has a power, not only to require fuch recognition, but under fuch terms, and under fuch conditions, and by fuch means, as may appear to the legislature most
be diffolved during the lives of the parties, but by an act of adultery in the woman, which totally vacates it, and releases the man from all obligation whatsoever. The vinculum externum, or outward bond, arises from the recognition of the other by fome outward rite or ceremony in the fight of men. This, as to the mode of administration, is different according to the various cuftoms of mankind, and is the object of human laws; but the other is one and the fame, as to its effence and obligation, in all ages and places, and no more controulable, in thefe refpects, by human laws, than any other works of creation or providence. To affert the contrary, is that fpecies of atheism which strikes at the wisdom, holiness, perfection, purity, and stability of the DIVINE LAW, as well as at the uncontroulable fovereignty and immutability of the DIVINE LAW-GIVER.
expedient for the fecurity of inheritances, family defcents, pedigrees, and other wife purposes, which are to be answered thereby, ftill not interfering with the thing itself as between GOD and the parties, but leaving
this as it ftands in the Bible.
This distinction has not been attended to as it ought, therefore the laws of this country, like the laws of most others, have intrenched on the divine law, making crimes, and ordaining punishments, which are not only unwarranted by it, but are directly oppofite to it: as a proof of this, we need only turn to the Statute Book, and read 31 Hen. VIII. c. 14. which made it " felony for a man in boly orders to marry, both in him, "and in the woman." So I Jac. I. c. II. which enacts, that "if a man, being mar"ried, shall marry another woman, his first "wife being alive, he shall be deemed a "felon, and fuffer death as fuch."-The firft of these two laws was repealed long ago, but the latter is ftill in force, and, but for the benefit of clergy, a man who had two wives, would be fent to the gallows with murderers and highwaymen, though there is no more warrant for this in the word of God, than there was for making a priest a felon for marrying at all, or for burning a man under the writ de hæretico comburendo, for being fuch an heretic as to deny that a piece of wafer, after a priest has muttered fome words over it, is a human body. Vulgar errors, while remaining merely in the minds of
men, however they may affect the individuals who believe them, may be very harmless things with refpect to thofe who are wife enough to fearch and think for themselves, and therefore differ in judgment; but when they are obtruded upon the confciences of men, armed with the terror of fanguinary laws, even unto death itself, they are formidable to the last degree; and those are to be remembered as fome of the best friends to mankind, who have had the wisdom first to form their own opinions by the fcripture of truth, and then the courage to attack, and the fuccefs (under Providence) to defeat, fome of thefe monsters, though doubly guarded and defended by laws of church and state. No opinions, however facred in the estimation of mankind, can in the least affect the truth of GOD with refpect to the moral world, any more than different systems of philofophy can affect or change the smallest atom in the vifible creation-GoD's government over both is utterly unaffailable by mortals, unchangeable by human power or wifdom. The phænomena of day and night, depend not on the fyftems of the Ptolemaic, Cartefian, or Newtonian philofophy, but on the wisdom and power of him who created all things, and upholdeth them by the ward of His power. So with refpect to marriage, which is as much an ordinance of GOD, as the ordinances of the material heavens are, (Jer. xxxi. 35, 36.) it is, with respect to itfelf, as uncontroulable by human power, as D 3