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customs may be compared

be compared to the bill of divorcement, which put afunder those whom God hath joined together; so 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 she may go and be anotber “ reputation.

66 Was

jury, not only to pay her father fifty Thekels of filver, but to marry

and retain her for life.” " it possible,says he, “to devise a law that more “ strongly protected female chastity ?"-It certainly was not possible—and the abolition of this law is equally ruinous to the female sex, and an insult to that God who lo graciously consulted their fecurity and protection. This is best accounted for, by confidering that our present system of law, with respect to the commerce of the sexes, 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 those laws out of fight, which, had they been retained, muft have fadly interrupted their monstrous debaucheries, as well with regard to virgins as married women, " which were often carried to such lengths as we “ should scarcely credit (says our author) were we

not assured of them by the most authentic records." Had the law of Lev. xx. 10. been retained, the churchmen could not very safely have defiled other men's wives-and as they could not take any woman for their own, the laws of Exod. xxii. 16. and Dent xxii. 28, 29. could not possibly be obeyed—therefore it was expedient to leave them out of their fyftem. They now, from long disuse, have sunk intó oblivion, and perhaps there are thousands of thofe, who call themselves Christians, who do not recolled that there are such laws as there in the Bible. VOL. II. D

man's

man's wife ; and this so far from being reckoned adultery, as by God's law it cer-tainly is, is accounted a virtuous action; it makes her an honest woman, as the phrase is; such a marriage (though doubtless adultery, in the fight of God, in the man who by putting her away caused her to commit it-in the man who marries her who is so put away and in the woman who marries another man, living the first who possessed her) is accounted a cleanser, as it were, of all former defilement, takes out the spots from the woman's character, and has been by some ludicrously styled “ the fuller's earth of

All this monstrous wickedness is, as to the guilt of it, as much kept out of our sight, by our laws and customs, as the guilt of the divorcing Fews was kept out of theirs by the bill of divorcement. Well might our Blessed LORD say, Luke xvi. 15. That which is highly efteemed among men is abomination in the hight of God! The place which those words stand in, Thews them to relate in a particular manner to what He says at the 18th verse, touching the point of unjust divorce, they stand in the same context; which plainly reaches from the words- And He said unto them, ver. 15. to the end of ver. 18.

As to the consequences of such taking and unjust divorcement, with respect to far

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the greater number of seduced females, who (abandoned to all that infamy, want, disease, and even death itself can bring upon them)

are

At once the prey and foorn of all they meet,

Swarm in each brothel, and infest each street as I shall consider their situation, with its effects and consequences, both to themselves and the public, in the conclusion of this work, I will say no more of it here, but proceed to consider the commerce of the sexes, as it concerns society in general, and is therefore the object of human laws, more particularly with regard to marriage as a civil contract.

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CHAP. VII.

CIVHL

Of MARRIAGE confidered in a

View, as the Object of HUMAN
Laws.--EXAMINATION of the PRIN-
CIPLES and Tendency of the MAR-
RIAGE-Act.

HA

AVING before considered marriage

as a divine institution, as ordained of God, and by Him defined in what it shall consist (see before vol. i.

P. 18-20.) I cannot help once more observing, that, in this view of it, no human power has the least authority * to interfere, so as to make that null and void which God hath made valid and binding ; or to say that those are not

one

* Some have properly diftinguished marriage as two-fold, consisting in a two-fold bond, called vinculum internum-an internal bond, and vinculum externum-an outward, or external bond. The first of these arises from the union of the male and female in one body, and is rendered indissoluble by the command they shall be one flesh. Compare Gen. ii. 24. with 1 Cor. vi. 16. This cannot be dissolved 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 vinculumexternum, or outward bond, arises from the recognition of the other by some outward rite or ceremony

in

one flesh whom His word bath made fo; or to put afunder those whom God, by his own ordinance and command, hath joined together. Nor hath any human legislature the least authority to determine who fall, or who shall not, marry together, unless its law be declarative of or coincident with the law of God..

But forasmuch as marriage must, in the very nature of the thing, concern the outward order of society, 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 consequence to the state; therefore certainly every state has a power, not only to require such recognition, but under such terms, and under such conditions, and by such means as may appear to the legislature most expedient for the se·curity of inheritances, family descents, pe

in the fight of men. This, as to the mode of administration, is different according to the various customs of mankind, and is the object of human laws; but the other is one and the same, as to its essence and obligation, in all ages and places, and no more controulable, in these respects, by human laws, than any other works of creation or providence. To assert the contrary, is that species 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.

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