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" binds him to one woman, than where he is “ bound only by the tie of marriage, con“ ceived in general terms.
“ The case of mankind, since the fall, varies
very much from what it was in innocence; “ for then the soundness of their bodies, and “ purity of their minds, did keep out of the way
all the nazards of barrenness, hickness, “ uncleanness, or croliness of humours, which vs made the former law not so proper for " mankind ; yet still a single marriage was the “ perfecter, as being * nearer the original.
5. Before the flood, we find Lamech a poly
gamist; such were Abraham and Jacob af“ ter it; not that this was not indulged by
Moses; for all that he did relating to these “ affairs, was only to allow a DIVORCE, which
was a proviso for the hardness of the hearts “ of the Israelites. Every man was bound to “ maintain whom he had first married ; left, “ therefore, such as designed another wife, “ and could not maintain a former, might “ use indirect ways to be rid of them, this
fair one of divorce was allowed to by GOD;
which mankind have invented, and laid for one another's
* See Burnet on the Articles of the Church of England, ad edit. fol, p. 288,
+ I just take the liberty to obferve, that it is best to keep to the expression of scripture. Our BLESSED SAYlour doth not say, that God allowed divorce-but-Mo
" and their polygamy was practised, without
either allowance or controul, as the natural
privilege of mankind. Neither is it any “ where marked among the blemishes of the
patriarchs ; David's wives, and store of “ them he had, are termed by the prophet, “ God's gift to him: yea, polygamy was made “ in some cases a duty by Moses's law ;-when
any died without issue, his brother, or “ nearest kinsman, was to marry his wife, for
raising up feed to him ; and all were obliged to obey this, under the hazard of infamy, if they refused it; neither is there any exceptions made for such as were married. From whence I may faithfully con
clude, that what God made necesary in " some cases to any degree, can in no case be finful in itself; fince God is holy in all His ways. • But it is now to be examined, if it is
forbidden by the gospel. It is certain, that “ our Lord designed to raise mankind to the
highest degrees of purity and chastity; and 66. therefore our LORD and St. Paul do
pre* fer a fingle life to a married state f, as that “ which qualifies us for the kingdom of so heaven, and was loaded with the fewelt
fes allowed or permitteil it;- so the Bishop expresses himtelf a few lines higher.
+ " This was meant only with respect to particular 85 persons in particular circumstances, such as an apoflle; " which is the reason why St. Paul applies it chiefly to si himself." I Cor. vii.
66 incumbrances ; and by this rule, a fingle
marriage being next to none at all, was
certainly more suitable to the gospel,” [he means the times of the gospel.] “ But a “ simple and express discharge of polygamy is
no where to be found.
except in the case of adultery; adding, that “ whosoever puts away his wife upon any 5 other account, commits adultery : so St. “ Luke and St. Matthew in one place have it
or commits adultery •against her: fo St. “ Mark has it--or causes ber to commit adultery: fo St. Matthew in another place.
If it be adultery then to take another
woman after an unjust divorce, it will fol« • low that the wife has that right over the
husband's body, that he mult touch no • other.'-- This is indeed plaufible, and it is “ all that can be brought from the New Testa
ment, which seems convincing ; yet it will not be found of weight. of For it is to be considered, that if our « LORD had been to antiquate polygamy, it be
ing so deeply rooted in the men of that
age, confirmed by such fashions and unques“ tioned precedents, and riveted by so long
a practice, he must have done it plainly and authoritatively, and not in such an involved
manner, as to be fought out of his words by “ the search of logick.
« Neither are these dark words made more “ clear by any of the apostles in their writings: ** words are to be carried no farther, than
" the defgn upon which they were written
will lead them to y so that our Lord be. ing, in that place, to strike out divorce so explicitly, we must not, by a consequence,
condemn polygamy; since it seems not to “ have fallen within the scope of what our “ Lord does there disapprove.
“ Beside, the term adultery may be taken “ in general, for such a breach of wedlock as " is equivalent to adultery; and such is an
unjust divorce. This may be the impor
tance of the phrase used by St, Mark, viz. “ -he committeth adultery against ber; or all
may be better explained by the phrase St, “ Matthew uses about it, in one place-he
causes her to commit adultery; since he that exposeth or tempteth to fin, shares in the
guilt with the person that succumbs : and “ from this it appears, that polygamy is not " declared adultery, neither in the place cited, “ nor any other that I know of.
But it is true that polygamy falls short • of the intendment of marriage, in inno
cency, to which state, we that are under ' the gospel must return as near as it is pof
fible. It is to be confessed that polygamy, “ was much condemned by the ancients, “ though I think I have met with something “ about it, that is little noticed ; but of that “ I can adventure to say nothing at this “ I distance from my books and papers.
# How unfairly Dean Delaney represents this passage in the Bishop's paper, may be seen before, p. where
• But all that being granted, it is to be « considered that the antients were unjust and “ Severe against marriage (itself), and did ex
cessively favour the celibate, or single (life); “ so that in some places, they who married a Si fecond time, were put to do penance for it; " and, indeed, both Jew and Gentile had run «« into such excess by their free commixtures, “ that it is no wonder if the holy men of “ those ages, being provoked to a just zeal, “ against such unjust practices, must have “ been carried, through immoderate swaying şi of the counterpoize, into some extremes on
the otber band.
“ Therefore, to conclude this short answer, “ wherein many things are hinted, which
might have been enlarged into a volume, I “ see nothing so strong against polygamy, as “ to balance the great and visible imminent şi hazards that hang oves so many thousands, is if it be not allowed.”
The author cannot help expressing the highest satisfaction in finding, that in what he has written on the subject, he has had the honour of coinciding in so many points, we are to suppose his Lordship making “ the best excuse “ he could, for giving a rad opinion--whereas, he seems to give the circumstance of being at “ a distance from " his books and papers," as a reason for not producing teftimonies from the antients" little noticed," but which, if produced, would tend to fhew, that some of them thought as his Lordship did upon the subject.