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what is called a baftard-child-though as really married to the father of it as Rebekab 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 must yearn at, to the treatment which it is the custom * of the world to bestow upon her. Fear unheaths the fatal inftrument of death, and fhame plunges it into the vitals of the helpless innocent. The wretched mother (for concealment feldom covers the offence of
*The murder of baftard children is the effect "of a cruel dilemma, in which a woman finds "herself, who has been feduced through weakness, 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
the avoid preferring the laft to the inevitable mifery of herself and her unhappy infant? The "best way of preventing this crime would be effec"tually to protect the weak woman from that ty"ranny, which exaggerates all vices that cannot "be concealed under the cloak of virtue.
"I do not pretend to leffen that just abhorrence, which thefe crimes deferve, but to difcover the "fources from whence they spring; and I think I may draw the following conclufion-That the "punishment of a crime cannot be just, that is, necef
fary, if the laws have not endeavoured to prevent "that crime by the best means which times and circum"ftances would allow." BECCARIA, Crimes and Punishments, chap. 31.
murder) is apprehended, and by the hand of juftice configned to the pain and ignominy of a public death.
The father of the child looks upon himself as free; no outward ceremony had paffed, and the tragical end of his gallantry deters him not from endangering a like scene of horror, with respect to the next woman he can feduce.
GOD's law arrefts the man on his firft intercourse with the woman, and pronounces them one flesh, fo that he cannot forfake, or put her away all his days. Were this obferved, and that deemed a marriage, which God hath made fo, the woman could be under no temptation to fuch an act, or to any other, than that, which
* Here I mean to include the frequent, though horrible, and, to many, fatal practice of taking medicines to cause abortion. That this, in a moral fenfe, is a species of murder, there can be no doubt, which was feverely punished by the divine law. See Exod. xxi. 22, 23. There indeed the cafe is put of injury arifing from only accidental violence to the woman; yet, even there, if it occafioned the death either of the mother or the child, if quick, it was a capital offence. Life was to go for life. The word NON-which we tranflate mischief, comes from the root D-which fignifies to pour out as water; and as a noun, DN-effufion, diffusion, dissipation, diffolution.-Ar. Mont. renders it by Mors-death. Comp. 2 Sam. xiv. 14. In the tranflation of the LXX, or rather
which the law would put in her power, that is to say, making the man do her the justice which it is now fo amply in his power to refufe. From what has been faid, let the reader revolve in his mind every fpecies of injury and female ruin, which he ever heard of, red of, has seen, or can conceive, and he will find that it has all originated from the abolition of the divine laws, which fo amply provide for the fecurity of women, and from the introduction of thofe human inventions, which have turned marriage into a mere
rather their paraphrafe on this place of Exodus, they diftinguifh between the παιδίον με εξεικονισμένον, the child not formed, and exovio pivov-formed; or, as we may fay, between the embryo, which is inanimate, and the foetus, which, being full formed and animated, may be faid to be capable of lofing life.
The frequent abortions which are procured by medicines, no doubt fall within the reafon of this law.
But when we take into the account, the numbers of women, who have destroyed themselves, as well as the children within them, and thus have died, under the double guilt of SUICIDE and CHILD-MURDER, it ought to fill us with horror, to think that a fyftem, which, in the very nature of it, muft afford numberlefs temptations to this, and be productive of frequent inftances of it, fhould be the fyftem of a people who profefs a belief of DIVINE REVELATION, wherein the caufes of fuch mifchiefs are provided against by the wisdom and goodnefs of the CREATOR HIMSELF.
civil contract, for in no other view does our municipal law regard it, thus vacating obligations which God hath made, and laying obligations which God hath not made.
As for appointing certain outward acts, rites, or ceremonies, for the public recognition of the marriage as to civil purposes, these are in the breast of the state to ordain or alter, as may feem most expedient; but as to marriage itself, it neither being ordained of men nor by men, but of and by the GOD of Heaven, no power on earth can change or alter it. It is no more within the jurifdiction of man, or the power of mortals, to do this in a moral fenfe, than it is, in a natural fense, to change the rifing of the fun, or ftop the flowing of the tide. For the fame reafon that a child is completely and perfectly baptized, without the fign of the cross, or without godfathers and godmothers, a man and woman, whose perfons are united, are completely and perfectly married in the fight of GOD, without any human ceremony whatsoever; that is to fay, because this is no part of GOD's ordinance of marriage, therefore cannot
* See before vol. i. p. 64.
be effential to the perfection of it as in bis fight.
It is therefore truth, even the truth of GOD, that no man can receive the perfon of a virgin into an union with his own (fuppofing her not betrothed to another man) without her becoming his woman or wife-fa femme-from that moment. This law is as general as it is abfolute; though exceptions of betrothing or efpoufals are made on the part of the woman, no fuch thing appears on the part of the man: therefore, whatever his fituation may be, it makes no difference
having taken the woman and HUMBLED HER, he may not put her away all his days.
That this law
involves polygamy, so as even to command it, and therefore to make it a duty, where the man is married who takes the virgin, is evident from the very terms in which the law is conceived: If a man-muft mean † any man-every man who does fo. The liberty which commentators have taken with
* Deut. xxii. 28, 29.
+ As in ver. 22. IF A MAN be found lying with a woman married to an husband-here-if a man -must be understood without limitation or reftraint, as to the fituation of the adulterer-fo doubtless of the seducer at ver. 28.