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“ v. 5.); and like Anna, Luke ii. 36, 37

continuing in supplications and prayers night and day.”—This I take to be a consistent and clear view of these passages taken together. As we may from hence infer, that there were women in the church younger than fixty years, by the Apostle's express exclusion of those under that age from those offices to which women were to be chosen ; as also that there were many who had been twice married, by his designing those who had been but once. married for the aforesaid offices ; so we may as fairly conclude, from his saying a bishopSše Érvaimought to be and again, if any, šscu is or be the husband of one wife-that there were many Christians, not who had had, but at that present time actually had more than one wife. If this had not been the case, it would have been as much out of the question to have mentioned the having but one wife, as to have said, that none should be chosen but those who had but one head or one body, when it was not to be supposed that any man had

more.

As to the conceit, that, “what the Apostle says about the bishops and deacons, is to prove that no minister may marry a second

time,” it is all but as bad as saying, with the church of Rome, that he ought not to marry at all.

With respect to the business of polygamy, as to the thing itself, nothing that is here faid proves it to be more or less sinful in one man than in another ; that depends wholly on the

law

law of God delivered by Moses. Therefore the prudential reasons, for which he evidently excepted against polygamists being elected to church-offices, no more affects the matter of polygamy, than the excepting against women under sixty years old, proves it finful in a woman to be younger, or that, because no woman was to be chosen to the office of a deaconess who had been twice married, therefore it was sinful for the woman to marry again after the death of her husband, contrary to 1 Cor. vii. 39. and to the express advice of the Apostle, 1 Tim. v. 14.

As to the supposed unlawfulness of second marriages, or the notion, that if a man loft his wife, it was finful to marry again ; this began very early in the church, and spread itself even to this country. We find in the time of Ed. I. * about the year 1276, the parliament adopted a constitution made by the Pope at Lyons, to exclude men that had been twice married from all clerks privilege. So that if a man was convicted of felony, who would otherwise have had bis clergy, and it appeared that he had been twice married, he was to be executed like other lay-people. A statute of 18 Ed. III. mitigated the rigour of this law with respect to clerks, by making a suggestion of bigamy triable by the ordinary, before the justices could proceed. But all were delivered from the bondage of such laws by i Ed. VI. c. 12. $ 16. which enacts, that

* See Burnet Hift. Ref, vol. ii. p. 323.

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every

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every person, who by any law or statute “ of this realm ought to have the benefit of clergy, thall be allowed the same, although " he hath been divers times married to any

single woman or single women, or to two " wives or more, or to any widow or wi66 dows.”

Among the fix famous articles proposed by Henry VIII. to the parliament and convocation, one was— whether priests, that is to

say, men dedicate to God by priesthood, « may, by the law of God, marry after or " no?” -“ After great, long, deliberate, " and advised difputation and consultation “ had and made concerning the faid article, « as well by the consent of the King's High

ness, as by the affent of the Lords fpiritual " and temporal, and other learned men of his

Clergy in their convocations, and by the • consent of the Commons, in this present

parliament afsembled, it was and is finally “ refolved, accorded, and agreed that

priests, after the order of priesthood rea ceived as afore, may not * marry by the law

of

* In the eighth century, some monks pretended, that the angel Gabriel had brought twelve articles from heaven, one of which was, that ecclefiaftics must not marry. See Jortin Rem. vol. ii. P: 43.

In the ninth century, Pope Nicholas I. made a decree to reftrain priests from marrying. The bishop of Augsburg wrote a pathetic letter to the Pope, setting forth the fad and mischievous consequences of taking their wives from the priests. The letter is at large in Foxy vol. ii. p. 392: and well worth reading. He tells Pope Nicholas, that his predecessor Saint Gregory (i. e. Gre

gory

31 Henry

of God. The enacting part

of « VIII. c. 14. goes on and says—If any

person shall preach--teach-or obstinately « affirm and defend, that any man, after the “ order of priesthood received, may marry

or contract matrimony, he shall be ad

judged to suffer death, and forfeit lands " and goods as a felon; and if any priest do “o actually marry or contract marriage with “ another, or any man that is or hath been

a priest do carnally use any woman to " whom he is or hath been married, or with “ whom he hath contracted matrimony, or

openly be conversant or familiar with any “ such woman, both the man and the woman shall be * adjudged felons.”

That

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gory IV.) made such a decree, but repented of it on this occafion; to use the old bishop's words as they are there translated" Upon a certain day, as St. Gregory “ sent to his fifh-pond to have some fish, his servants 66 drained it, and found at the bottom 6000 infants “ heads, which were brought to him. Upon this he “ did greatly repent in himself his decree touching the “ single life of the priests, which he confessed to be the « cause of that fo lamentable murder.” The letter in Fox, as above cited, is in Latin ; the translation is referred to p. 393, as having been before inserted; which the reader may turn to. Whether the above letter was written by the bishop of Augsburg, according to Crit. Hift. of England, p. 83. or by Volusianus bishop of Cara thage, as Fox seems to thînk, is very immaterial.

* How ought the clergy of the church of England, some of whom are not only married men, but, having loft a first, are now living in comfort, honour, and reputation with a second wife, (see before, p. 190. n.) to bless the day when men dared to attack the reigning fuperftition of the times, and in the face of all manner of

reproach,

That all this was contrary to the law of God is apparent; for the priests and Levites under the Old Testament, and the apostles and other ministers under the New Testament, who were respectively the clergy of the time, might marry, and many of them were actually married men.

I therefore mention these things, to fhew how we may be led into error, even to putting men to death, thinking we do God service (John xvi. 2.) when once the word of God is left for the inventions and traditions of men; and how far men may believe things which are contrary to scripture are right and good, and things agreeable to

reproach, and even of the danger of death itself, boldly vindicate thofe rights of mankind, with which the LAW OF God had invested them, but of which they had been deprived by the insolent tyranny of men like themselyes?

It little concerned Luther, and his fellow champions for the honour of the DIVINE LAW~that they were called antichrifts-scandals to religion-revivers and propagators of the laws of Mahomet-or that the Popish Cerberus, with his three heads of iGNORANCE, SUPERSTITION, and BLIND ZEAL, threatened to tear them to pieces. They persevered--they were successful and what they lowed in times of darkness and persecution, we are reaping in days of light and liberty.

Thank God, the aforesaid Cerberus is chained up. He now will bark, and bark he may 'till he be hoarse; the man who minds him can have but little else to do.

The author of this book pretends not to be a prophet -but judging from what has been to what may be, he entertains not the least doubt, that, a century hence, the world may either wonder at the man who had WILDNESS enough to attack the present system of things with regard to marriage, or that there were found people who were ABSURD enough to abuse him for it. This to THOSE WHOM IT MAY CONCERN-VERBUM Sat.

scripture

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