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vi. 15

more.

16. is meant the act of to copulation or marriage) and they shall be one flejhthus creating between them so indirsoluble a bond, as never to be divided

Though these words were spoken immediately by ADAM, yet, doubtless, he spake under the influence of the divine Spirit, as may appear from Christ's manner of

applying the words, Mait. xix. 4, 5. and may therefore, as what Moses and the prophets spake under the same holy influence, be styled -The word of God.' The circumscription and regulation of the whole was provided for by fixed, determined, and immutable laws, calculated for all times, places, and ages of the world, wherein He should be pleased to make them known. These laws, on the establishment of the church, on its deliverance out of ÆGYPT, were given to Moses, and enforced and explained by him, and the subsequent prophets, under the immediate command and teaching of God; and continue, like the holy Lawgiver Himself, one and the same for ever. Who may marry together, and who may not—what is a lawful marriage in God's account, and what is not so, was not left to the uncertain or presump

+ This is the literal import of noxa 227-agglutinatus erit in uxore fua. Mont. (See before p. 20. note,) ill expressed by-hall cleave to his wife.--The verb liporronana Onoelas, LXX. Matt. xix. 5. and Eph. v. 31.--and the participle Konawuevos, i Cor. vi. 16.-are in the passive voice. For the Author's idea of the word marriage, see before, p. 48. note.

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tuous determinations of mankind, but immutably fixed by written laws of God. To these it is our bounden duty to conform, and to say to all subsequent inventions of men, as well those which forbid marriage entirely, as those who would put afunder those whom God bath joined together, under pretence of greater purity and holiness, as the angel did to PeTER, Acts X. 15. What God hath cleansed, that call thou not common or unclean.

I have mentioned the law. being explained by the prophets. These were extraordinary messengers which God, raised up and sent forth under a special commission; not only to foretell things to come, but to preach to the people, to hold forth the law, to point out their defections from it, and to call them to repentance, under the severest terms of God's displeasure, unless they obeyed. Their commission, in these respects, we find recorded, Il. lviii. 1. Cry aloud, Spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet : Mew my people their transgressions, and the house of Jacob their fins. This commission was to be faithfully executed, at the peril of the prophet's own destruction, as appears from the solemn charge given to Ezekiel, chap. iii. 18. When I say to the wicked, Thou shalt surely die, and thou givest him not warning, nor Speakest to warn the wicked to save his life, the same wicked man

shall die in his iniquity, but his blood will I require at thine hand.

These prophets executed their commission very unfaithfully towards God and the people, Vol. I.

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as well as most dangerously for themfelves, if polygamy was a fin againft God's law; for it was the common practice of the * whole nation, from the prince on the throne to the lowest of the people; and yet neither Isaiah, JEREMIAH, nor any one of the prophets, bore the least testimony against it. They reproved them fharply and plainly for defiling their neighbours wives ; as Jer. v. 8; xxix. 23.in which fifth chapter, we not only find the prophet bearing testimony against adultery, but against whoredom and

fornication, ver. 7. for that they assembled themselves by troops in the barlots boufes. Not a word against polygamy, How is it possible, in any reason, to think that this, if a sin, should never be mentioned as such, by GOD by f Moses or any one of the prophets ?

Here I may particularly mention Elijab the Tisbite, who could with truth say of himself, 1 Kings xix. 10. !783P X3p-zelando zelatus sum. Mont. Which emphatical reduplication we translate byI have been very JEALOUS for the LORD OF HOSTs. This holy man was fired with zeal for God's law, and was a most faithful and undaunted reprover of fin, even to the very face of king Abab

* Josephus calls it wallprov which anfwers to what we mean by the word national.

+ Moses mentions all the fins of the nations of Canaan, as warnings to the Israelites not to be guilty of them but their polygamy is no where mentioned or condemned, nor are the Jews warned against it. See Lev. xviii. 3,

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(who åt that time reigned in Israel, and was doubtless a polygamif, by his having seventy fons) yet not a word is said about his polygamy; which could hardly have been omitted, had it been a fin against either the primary law of marriage, or the seventh commandment. The fame zeal which led Elijah to tell Abab, that he and his father's house bad troubled Ifrael, by forsaking the commandments of the LORD, and following Baalim, must surely have led him to reprove Ahab's polygamy, had that also been a forfaking the commandments of JehovAH. The scripture, 1 Kings xvi. 31. strongly remarks, as an aggravation of Ahab's superlative wickedness, that he married an idolatress, contrary to Deut. vii.

3. Had his polygamy been contrary to Exod. xx. 14. this would hardly have escaped the reproofs of the prophet Elijah; who did not forget Jezabel, and the prophets which ate at her table. I Kings xviii. 19.

We may also observe that Ezekiel, ch. xxii. sets down very particularly the sins of lewdness, which the Jews were addicted to in his day, ver. 10, 11. but not a word of polygamy is there to be found.

Although it be true, that none of the prophets before the captivity mention it as a fin, yet did not Malachi, after the return from the captivity, speak of it, and in very severe terms condemn it? thus closing the canon

of the Old Testament with a moit awful

reprehension of it? Mal. ii. 14, 15.

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As this famous passage is taken for granted to be a condemnation of polygamy under the Old Testament, let us examine it, and we shall find that it does not even relate to the subject: if it did, it would be very strange, that so material a point should escape all the prophets that went before him, Mojës himself not excepted. This single circumstance should make one suspicious of the common interpretation given to this portion of scripture by the general run of commentators, who, mistaking the sound of the words for the sense of the text, have followed one another like sheep, who keep the same track, only because others have gone before then. The words, as they stand in our translation, are theseThe Lord hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously : yet she is thy companion and the wife of thy covenant. And did not He make one yet hath He the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one ? That He might seek a godly feed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth ; for the LORD God of ISRAEL faith, that be bateth PUTTING AWAY.

The last words are a key to the rest, and shew, that the instance in which they dealt treacherously with their wives, was putting them dway; and this, in order to take beathen women in their room. This is manifest from ver. 11. JUDAH hath dealt treacherously, and an abomination is committed in ISRAEL and JERUSALEM; for Judah hath prophaned the

holiness

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