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the word, which fignifies whoredom in general.


When we speak of divorce, we must always pre-fuppofe a lawful marriage, I mean fuch a one as is lawful according to the law of GOD. Those which were forbidden of God in those positive laws, Deut, vii. with refpect to connections with the heathen, as well as those which we find prohibited Lev. xviii. by reafon of confanguinity and affinity, were not only voidable, but void* in themselves, after they were forbidden by those positive laws. But amongst all those laws, there is not the leaft trace of forbidding marriage, or enjoining divorce, on account of any preengagement whatsoever on the man's fide-nor was fuch a thing ever known, till the Church of Rome firft invented, and then established

*The laws against marriages with heathen women, muft not be understood to affect the validity of marriages with fuch as were profelyted to the worship of the true GOD, from the worship of idols. Such women, being out of the mischief which thofe laws were enacted to provide against-that of corrupting and turning their huftands from GOD to idols (fee Deut. vii. 4.)—were certainly out of the intention of it, and were indeed as much members of the church of GoD, as the Jewish women themselves were. Such were Rahab-Ruth, and others mentioned in fcripture as married to men in the holy line. See Pf. xlv. 10, 11. Of this number we must also reckon Solomon's wife Naamah, the Ammonites, (the mother of Rehoboam) whom Solomon married t before he came to the throne of Ifrael, when his heart was filled with zeal for GOD's law-the neglect of which, in his more advanced years, plunged him into grofs idolatry. See 1 Kings xi. 1, 2, 3.

† See 1 Kings xiv. 21. 2 Chr. xii. 13. Comp. with 2 Chr. ix. 30.

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it by Canon Law. Wherefore all our divorces on that account, which we derive from human invention and church-power, are without God's authority, therefore unlawful in His fight, as putting asunder those who ought not to be separated. Had the law of GoD forbidden a man to have more than one wife at a time, all but the first must have been put away, and that by the fentence of the magistrate, for the fame reason that the Jews, in Ezra's time, were commanded to put away the idolatrous women whom they had mar ried; because it would have been contrary to God's pofitive law * to have kept them


*The law against marrying with Heathens, though pofitively enacted, Deut. vii. 3. yet fubfifted before, as may appear from what JACOB's fons faid, Gen. xxxiv. 14. to Shechem and Hamor on the fubject of Dinah.We cannot do this thing, to give our fifter to one that is uncircumcifed, for that were a reproach (or difgrace, n) to us. Shechem was an uncircumcifed Heathen, and therefore his lying with Dinah, the daughter of Jacob, could not make her Shechem's lawful wife-it was no other than a pollution-ver. 13. The deceit which the fons of Jacob made ufe of to wreak their revenge, and the murders which they committed on the Shechemites, after having difabled them from all felf-defence, by ftratagem, and that effected by a notorious abuse and prostitution of the facred rite of circumcifion, must be allowed to be one of the fouleft acts recorded in Scripture; and as such, it appears to be mentioned by Jacob, ver. 30. and again, ch. xlix. 5, 6, 7. where he fixes a curfe upon the principles on which they acted.

On the other hand, as GoD often ferves the purposes of his Providence by the wickedness of men, as well as by their good actions, we may view the matter as a punifhment on Shechem, for violating the laws of hofpita

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fee before vol. i. p. 133. So John the Baptift told Herod, who had married his brother Philip's wife-" It is not lawful for thee "to have her." Matt. xiv. 4. EXEN AUTYto retain her. He was doubtlefs bound to put her away, fince GoD himself had, as it were, forbidden the banns (Lev. xviii. 16.) even fuppofing the brother had been dead; for he had a daughter by Herodias living, named Salome, who would have been heiress to Philip. Numb. xxvii. 7, 8. See Jofephus, Ant. Lib, xviii. 6, 4. Doddridge, vol. i. 166. note a. But as Philip was then living, Herod also finned against the feventh commandment, in taking her at firft; and therefore it was unlawful for him to have her at all. So in the cafe of Abimelech, who had taken Sarai the wife of Abram, he is commanded to put her away, and restore her to her husband, on pain of death. Gen. xx. 7. In all cafes where the taking was forbidden, as well in heathen and idolatrous, as in incestuous connections, the retaining seems to be unlawful, as a conftant repetition, and continuation of the for

lity, in defiling a virgin who appears to have trusted herfelf under his protection, ver. 1.(Comp.ver.7. latter part.) and then, with the reft of the Shechemites, profaning the holy rite of circumcifion, by receiving it only for carnal and worldly ends, ver. 23, without the least view to it, as the holy ordinance of JEHOVAH, or as the feal of his covenant with those who duly received it. This affords an awful and inftructive leffon to all, who take on them, either the profeffion, or, more especially, the ministry of religion, with wordly views, or to answer fome fecular or finifter purpose.



bidden act: but where the taking is no where forbidden, there is no allowed caufe of divorce, or putting away, except for the cause of fornisation, or the woman's having fuffered herfelf to be defiled by another man, either before or after their coming together.


If we take the words of the primary institution merely by themselves, and judge of them by their found (as the Papifts do-Hoc eft corpus meum-in fupport of the ridiculous lye of transubstantiation) they may be faid to intimate that a man shall have but one wife, not only at once, but, as fome have contended, as long as he lives; and thus fecond marriages are forbidden: but if we confider them as explained by GoD himself in the fubfequent parts of the fcripture, they appear to mean that a man fhall cleave to any and every woman that he marries, and not put her except for fornication. I conclude this to be the import of the law, because, if it was meant to forbid polygamy, and to enjoin the divorce of a fecond woman taken, living a first, we should somewhere have met with an explicit determination of the matter; but such a thing, or even an hint or trace of it, is not to be found. So far from it, GoD, in that declarative law, Deut. xxi. 15. absolutely ratifies the fecand marriage as much as the first, not only by declaring the iffue of the fecond equally inheritable, but even to take place of the other as to the right of the firft-born, if born firft. This could not be, if taking the fecond was a forbidden act; fuch


Second taking, being prohibited, would have been null and void, as in other inftances, and the man would have been commanded to have put away the fecond wife and her children, as was done in the cafe of other forbidden contracts. See Ezra x. 3. The direct con

trary appears, for on the footing of that law, the man could no more divorce the fecond than he could the firft; GOD calls them both which word, though, when it ftands by itself, it denotes the female fex in general, like the French Femmes, yet in the connection it ftands here, like the word *Femmes alfo, denotes women in a marriage relation, or wives as we tranflate it. GOD likewife determines the iffue of both to be equally legitimate, by making them equally inberitable. This law was fubfequent to the Adamic law, could not contradict it, therefore must be looked upon as entirely confonant with its whole intention; for GOD cannot contradict himself. That GOD made general laws fubject to certain exceptions, on particular occafions, and for particular purposes, is very plain; we have an instance of this, Deut. xxv. 5. where a brother was to marry his brother's widow, though against the general law, Lev. xviii. 16; but this ticular cafe was excepted out of that general law, for a particular purpose, which appears in the law itself (fee before vol. i. chap. iv.) but where this was not the cafe, there the


Quand un homme aura deux Femmes. Fr. Transl.


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