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munity, that this necessity is an evidence of the “ hardness of their hearts,” and that this permission of the state, though valid as regards human tribunals, is a permission to do what is WRONG in the sight OF GOD; and that those, who avail themselves of this permission, will not thereby be the less guilty before Him.

In this capacity, I must protest against a civil officer in a Christian country, and in particular if he profess himself a member of our Church,) taking upon himself, under secular authority, the ratification of a contract specially instituted by God, and in every age of Christ's Church blessed and bound by God's Priests. And finally, in this capacity, I protest against the members of a Christian Church, turning from its ministrations, despising its blessings, rejecting its prayers, and going before a layman to stamp only with his authority that ordinance, of which Jesus Himself, and, from the days of Jesus, the lawfully called ministers of His Church, have pronounced, “ What God hath joined together, let not man put asunder."



I use the term "new-fangled" with reference especially to this country, wherein no such practice was ever known since it has been under Christian rule, excepting under Cromwell's usurpation. For a short period the nation was debased by that and other follies; but soon, sickened and disgusted with the consequences of their delusion, the people gladly returned to the customs, and the Church, which, in a moment of madness, they had deserted. But while I state this special application of the term “new-fangled,” I contend that the practice, to which I have applied it, is opposed no less to the spirit and practice of the primitive Church, than to the authority and customs of our own. I am fully aware, that Selden, whose research and learning are very great, raised a question upon the point, whether it was the general practice of the early Christians to celebrate marriage in the presence of a minister of the Church. But the authority of Tertullian appears directly against him, in the passage commonly quoted : “How can I sufficiently set forth the happiness of that marriage, which the Church makes or conciliates, and the oblation confirms, and the benediction seals, and the angels report, and the Father ratifies '?” In several other passages of the Fathers, allusions to the part taken by the Church, in the solemnization of marriage, are made, and these passages have been adduced by Bingham, who points out the sources of Selden's


For the purpose of ascertaining correctly the practice of the Church in this respect, Bingham lays down the following distinctions to be observed :

Ist. Between marriages made among Christians one with another, and marriages made between Christians and infidels, Jews, heathens, and heretics. 2dly. Between marriages made according to the tenor and direction of the laws, and marriages made against them. 3dly. Between disapproving of the undue manner of a marriage, and declaring it absolutely no marriage, or utterly null and void. Now if the question be, first, concerning Christians marrying one with another, by whom the solemnity of marriage was performed ? by a minister of the Church, or by any other? I answer, that it is most probable,

1 Tert. ad Ux. lib. ii. cap. 1. cited from Bingham, Eccles. Ant. Look xxii. chap. iv. § 1.

hand or

that in fact, for the first three hundred years, the solemnities of marriage were usually performed by the ministers of the Church. But, secondly, if Christians happened to marry with Jews, or heathens, or heretics (as they sometimes did), then as the Church did altogether discourage such marriages, so it is probable that the ministers of the Church never had

any concern in solemnizing them. But, thirdly, whilst the Roman laws allowed such marriages, it was not in the power of the Church to reverse or annul them, but only to punish the delinquents by her censures. Only in such cases as the laws prohibited, as all incestuous marriages; and children marrying against the consent of their parents, which the Roman laws not only prohibited, but many times annulled : I say, in such cases, the Church could go a little further, being warranted by the laws of the State, as well as the laws of God, to declare such marriages void. Fourthly, though the Church disapproved of any undue manner of marriage that the State forbad; as marrying without espousals and instruments of dowry, whilst the civil law was against it; yet she did not proceed so far, as to declare such marriages absolutely no marriages, or utterly null and void.”

These distinctions amount to no more than I have admitted, when I remarked what I considered to be the real state of the question'. I do not regard the practice of the primitive Church as essential to establish the obligations of our form of solemnization. The authority of our own Church is sufficient with respect to its own members ; and I think the reasons I have suggested ought to have weight with pious and reflecting Chris. tians, and good subjects, although not of her communion. But, nevertheless, I contend (whatever its worth) that we have also in our favor the example of the primitive Church.

See page 121, line 23, &c.




"O God, who hast consecrated the state of Matrimony to such an excellent Mystery, that in it is signified and represented the spiritual marriage and unity betwixt Christ and His Church ; look mercifully upon those entering into the same, that both husbands may love their wives, according to thy word (as Christ did love His spouse the Church, loving and cherishing it even as His own flesh) and also that wives may be loving and amiable, faithful and obedient, to their husbands, and in all quietness, sobriety, and peace, be followers of holy and godly matrons ; through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

1 Cor. xi. 11-12.







This text is peculiarly well suited to those views of our mutual dependance which I have heretofore had occasion to enforce, and under a sense of which I am especially desirous that relative duties should

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always be performed. Though I have felt it right to urge, upon the authority of religion, a ready acquiescence in all those regulations, and in that variety of rank, station, and employment, which are essential to the well being, and we may say existence, of society; yet I have anxiously endeavoured to show, that whatsoever sacrifices we are called upon to make, whatsoever obedience it may be our duty to render, should be offered as acts of reasonable and religious beings, not by constraint, but willingly, and in the consciousness that we are members of a body, which we cannot profit without ourselves reaping the advantage, nor without doing the work of that Lord who is the head of it. I have argued that service, regarded in this light, does not imply slavery, that obedience does not imply degradation; and that Christian independence is based upon a sense of our dependance upon each other, and upon an honest zeal to discharge with love and cheerfulness towards those with whom we are connected, the duties assigned to us by either religion, or the regulations of society. In perfect unison with these principles will the text be found, as an introduction to this discourse, which I purpose to appropriate to the consideration of the reciprocal duties of husbands and wives.

St. Paul therein expressly and emphatically urges those considerations, which, if duly weighed, will not fail to repel at once the perverse suggestions of pride and selfishness, to make the performance of

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