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ing some restrictive expression or
* epithet to the description of the man as to that of the damfel. But, instead of any thing of this fort, we find the indefinite w'X; and therefore our translators have rightly rendered it a man indefinitely;so the LXX-Eav de tis-but if any man ;-the Latin--fi vir-if a man ;-the French of D. Martin-hi quelqu'un—if any one. Though all the translators of the Bible which I have met with, have modestly, humbly, and faithfully represented the mind of God as He has been pleased to reveal it, yet some expofitors have ventured to interpret W'R '3— if a man-by-If an unmarried man--thus
* The restrictive description of the damsel is 70X85 -non desponfata-not betrothed. But no wig is added to the description of the man. And it is very remarkable, that though betrothing is used fo often in the Bible, it always relates to the woman, never to the man, as the perfon betrothed. The man is said to betroth a woman, as Deut. xxviii. 30. Deut. xx. 7. & al.-so when betrothing is figuratively used, as Hof. ii. 19, 20. But in neither fense is it once used in all the scriptures passively on the man's fide.
This distinction is also maintained in the New Testament. See Matt. i. 18. Luke i. 27 ; ii. 5. 2 Cor. xi. 2. This can make no difference with regard to DIVORCE ; but it seems to make a confiderable one in certain other respects.
Agreeably to the above remarks, Gronovius on Grot. de Jure. lib. ii. c. 5.9 8. n. 20. observes, that where Grotius speaks of the woman's contracting herself to the man, there is “ tacitly implied, that the contract on the man's “ side is not by nature, but from positive institution." See before, p. 22. n. This muft mean human institution, for there is no trace of such a thing in the Bible, as the confinement of the word 078 to the side of the woman sufficiently demonstrates. 3
corrupting the passage by an interpolation, not only unwarranted by the Hebrew text, but by every translation of it extant. This method of interpreting fcripture, not by scripture, but by our own prejudiced imaginations, is making the word of God to mean any thing and every thing which fancy may invent; and rendering it-instead of a fure word of prophecy, to the which we do well to take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, 2 Pet.i. 19.-a sort of ignis fatuus, by no means to be depended on fór a director and guide, in so awful a concern as therein is proposed to every man to whom that word shall come.
The only shadow of excuse for such an interpretation, or rather corruption of the pafsages above mentioned, is the being able to produce some positive law against a man's having more wives than one at a time; and then, in order to make God's laws agree together, it may be thought reasonable to reftrain the indefinite expression og 3—if a man, in Exodus and Deuteronomy, to unmarried men only. But as the first is impossible, the second is without, and indeed against, all authority from the law of God; for that it allowed polygamy, is just as clear as that it allowed marriage. Therefore the consequence is, that the expression in question being general, without limitation or exception with respect to the situation of the man, as married or unmarried, it must in some cases command polygamy, and therefore make it a duty. This consequence must be allowed, if we let scrip
ture speak for itself; it could not be avoided by any other means than a man's refraining entirely from the other fex, or, if he married, contenting himself with one wife. If a man went farther than this, he must take the consequence. But as God would not suffer a whore of the daughters of Israel, so he made these laws to prevent their being expofed to prostitution by men's taking them, and then putting them away.
This was just as likely to be the case where married men were concerned, as where others were ; therefore pofitively forbidden as to both alike.
That there were some ingredients in these laws, of the ceremonial, local, or temporary kind—as the payment of the fifty Shekels to the father-we do not deny ; but that the morality of these laws must survive as long as morality itself exists, is as clear, as that exposing a woman to prostitution and ruin must at all times be equally hateful in the fight of God, and therefore at all times equally provided against by these humane and falutary laws.
In confirmation of what is here said, I would lay it down as a rule in all cases, that wherever a moral intendment appears to be involved in the words of a ritual, ceremonial, ar local and temporary institution, there, though the letter of the law itself can have no place among us, yet the spirit and moral intention must survive as long as the world endures. For instance, it is written, Deut. xxv. 4. Thou Malt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn. By this we must suppose, that it
was the custom in those days, and in that
Shall we say, that we must construe the words—if any man-to mean unmarried men only, because, though God's laws do not forbid polygamy, yet ours do? To imagine that our laws are to controul the laws of God, is a blasphemous arrogance, in comparison of which, Cardinal Wolfey's-EGO ET Rex Meusis humility itself in the very
abstract. The law of the land is such, that a married Englishman cannot publicly and openly marry the virgin he has seduced or taken ; he cannot
* Kolben tells us, that this practice is observed at the Cape of Good Hope, (vol. ii. p. 73.) and adds—“'tis most “ certain, that corn is much more expeditiously got out " of the ears by the treading of horses or oxen, than it is
by threshing. A team of eight horses or oxen will tread
out more corn in a few hours, than a dozen men can " thresh out in a whole day.”
obey the letter therefore of these laws of God, as the Jews could have done; but he can and ought to make them the law of his conscience ; and if he has taken a virgin, &c. he can, according to the spirit of these laws, maintain, protect, and provide for her, and, if he survives his present engagement, marry
her publicly in preference to all other women upon
earth. --Thus would one great end of this law be answered, and millions be preserved from destruction. If indeed the woman is profligate enough to forsake the man, and voluntarily unite herself with another, she is guilty of transgressing these laws of God, as in other cases of adultery : for, the same reason which is given why the man Jhall not put her away all bis days, viz. because be hath humbled her, goes to what is also said of the woman--the shall be his wife-lhe certainly therefore is his wife in God's fight, and whosoever toucheth her shall not be innocent, Prov. vi. 29.
I some time ago met with two sermons, which were preached, and afterwards printed, on occasion of passing the marriage-act. The learned author, speaking of polygamy, expresies himself as follows:-“We find like*« wise in those early times, and afterwards, “ that polygamy was partly indulged, but
only upon certain typical occasions, and " then only among the patriarchs and some “ of the kings, who were all express types
of “ Christ in their several marriages; and in “ this respect they each typified and pre! figured Christ's marrying the Jewish