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$6 free from the obedience of the com
" mandments which are called moral.” No one can consider aright the divine inftitution of marriage, and not see that it is founded in the very nature of things, and that by the God of nature.
This is as self-evident, as that if mankind were to increase and multiply, and replenish the earth, there must be an appointed means by which this was to be brought to pass. Therefore the laws concerning marriage cannot be reckoned a mere object of those rites and ceremonies which were to vanish away. Heb. viii, 13.
Nor can they be reckoned among the objects of that civil polity, which was only cal'culated for the government of a particular people, in a particular part of the world, and that under particular circumstances, such as never were or can be known to any other people on the earth--unless marriage itself can be supposed to be confined to them, and not equally to concern the whole human
The moral law hath therefore marriage as its object, as concerning, in the highest and most material points, the moral actions of men, This clearly appears, not only from the very nature of the thing itself, but from the
very words of the seventh commandment--Thou Mhalt not commit adultery; and again of the tenth-Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife. These are moral laws, equally binding at all times in all places over all persons. And as the seventh commandment is a moral
law founded on the divine institution of marriage itself, so are all the expofitions of it which are to be found in the scripture, unless we can be absurd enough to imagine, that the letter of a law can be of a moral nature, and that the sense, meaning, and intendment of it are only of a ceremonial or civil tendency.
What is meant by the word 983-adultery, is not to be determined by the conceits, inventions, customs, or laws of men, but by the mind and will of God, as revealed to us in the precepts and examples which are recorded in His word for our instruction ; and especially from the uniform and unvaried idea annexed to the use of that word throughout the writings of Moses and the prophets. If these have failed in giving us the true sense of it, then is it not true that their writings are profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction (επανορθωσιν the amendment of what is wrong) for instruction in righteousness, so that the man of God (i.e. the believer) might be perfect, thoroughly furnished (both as to knowledge and practice-nothing less can be the sense of åptios) unto, all good works, 2 Tim. iii. 16, 17. The scriptures which are spoken of in this passage are the scriptures of the Old Testament, or those holy Scriptures which TiMOTHY had known from a child-before a fingle line of the New Testament was written, ver. 15. If therefore polygamy does not stand recorded as a sin against the law of God, either by Mofes or the prophets, but as a matter
were more or less tainted with this corrupt prin
owned, blessed, allowed of God, we must say, unless we pretend to be wise above what is written, that it is no fin, for fin is the tranfgression of the law. As to the common notion, that it was made sinful by some new law of CHRIST, and absolutely forbidden in the New Testament, it is one of the three pious * lyes which owed their invention to the ignorant zeal of some professors and writers in the very early ages of Christianity.
One was “ —that marriage was a carnal thing, incon“ fistent with the purity and perfection of
* " It was a maxim avowed in the 4th century, that "-it is an act of virtue to deceive and lye, when, by that “ means, the interests of the church might be promoted." This horrible maxim was indeed of long standing, " and had been adopted for some ages past, to the un“ speakable detriment of that glorious cause in which so they were employed. And it must be frankly con“ fessed, that the greatest men, and most eminent saints, " ciple. We would willingly except Ambrose and “ Hilary, Auslin, Gregory Nazianzen, and Jerome ; but
TRUTH, which is more respectable than these venera“ ble fathers, obliges us to involve them in the general
accusation.” See Mosheim, vol. i. p. 200. * Though the primitive Christians (says Moyle) lived
up to the full rules of their religion with the utmost 66 probity and innocence of manners, yet it is too cer“ tain, there were some persons among them, who, " through a mistaken zeal, made no scruple of lying for " the sake of their religion. Their fictions found an " easy reception in a credulous age, and were conveyed “ down to posterity as certain truths,” See Fortin, Rem. vol. i. p. 299.
Du Pin owns, that St. Hilary seems to think “ a lye po necessary upon some occasions.” Vol. ii. P: 76.
a Christian, and therefore I unlawful under “ the gospel.”-Another was—that “ if a
màn, on the death of his wife, married “ again, it was no better than adultery.” The third, begotten between the other two, was—that “ polygamy, though allowed to the “ Jews under the Old Testament, is forbid“ den to Christians under the New.” The two first (among the Protestants at least) are come to nought-the last is as generally believed among Christians of all sorts, as the lye of transubstantiation is in the Romish church. And there can be little doubt, but that a man who has two wives, under whatever circumstances they might be taken, would be looked upon to be as impious, and as much a child of the devil, among us, as a person would be among the Papists, who wickedly refused to give up his outward fenses, and to believe that a small piece of wafer, after certain words said over it by a priest, is the body, flesh, blood, and bones, of a man fix feet high-or as a priest, bishop, or pope, who married at all.
As these things will be farther considered under the head of Superstition, I will now
Epiphanius, Hæres. 58, speaks of the Valesians, who caftrated themselves, and also their guests, that by this means they might introduce them into the kingdom of “ heaven“ Se & hofpites suos caftrârunt, ut ita fecum “ introducerent in regnum cælorum.”—They held that none but eunuchs could be saved. Nisi quis eunuchus fieret, salvari non poffe.
hasten to the examination of a notion, which
System of morality, than that of the law which
was given by Moses.”—This horrible blafphemy against the holiness and perfection of God's law, as well as against the truth of CHRIST, who declared that He came not to destroy the law, but to fulfil it—this utter contradićtion both of the law and the gospel-was the foundation on which the heretic Socinus built all his other abominable errors. From whence he had it, will appear in the sequel. In the mean time, I cannot help stopping a while to lament the progress which Socinianism is daily making among us--with many, among the Disenters especially, it is called new light-but, thank God! there are yet some remaining, who call it by its true name
-old darkness and as such oppose it.-As it is coincident with the main subject of the following chapter, it will fall in my way to. say something, which I hope will thoroughly apprize the reader of the mischiefs which must result from Socinianism in all its shapes. - In the course of what I shall have to say, it will appear, that, so far from Christ's ever condemning polygamy, which, as a new lawgiver, he is supposed to have done, He never mentioned it during the whole course of