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exchanged without a bill of divorce, adultery must be acknowledged on both sides; they therefore have recourse to a bill of divorcement, under which the woman was held to be legally put away, according to the law of Moses and Ifrael (see before p. .) and was free to marry whom she would ; the bill of divorcement being looked upon as an absolute and total dissolution of the marriage-bond. Our Lord is shewing the contrary. First, On the footing of the indiffolubility of the contract, in the light of God, by any human authority. Secondly, On the terms of the very law, to which the Pharisees referred him for their justification ; which being taken all together, proves no more than an implied permission of divorce for the hardness of their bearts; or, as we sayma mensa & toro propter Jævitiam-“ from bed and board by reason “ of cruelty :” and this was, that women might be released from the barbarity with which their cruel hulbands would have treated them, on conceiving fome dislike, had they been forced to have lived with them. But yet, as Moses shews, the bond of marriage stil! remained ; so that if a man married such a woman, he and the woman were both guilty of adultery, in the fight of God, notwithItanding the bill of divorcement. If this had not been the case, Mofes could not have called the marriage of the divorced woman a defilement --saying, Deut. xxiv. 4.-after she is defiled, Our SAVIOUR, therefore, doth not by His
I say unto you, mean that He was enacting * a new law, or laying down a rule that was opposite to, or inconsistent with, the law of Mofes had He attempted this, he had fallen into the very snare which the Pharisees had laid for Him. But," I say unto you” means here, as in the instances before related in His sermon
the mount (see before, p: 3.10 -313) as if He said—“Yourrabbies teach you o so and so, and in so teaching you they “ make void the law of God through their “ traditions ;-but I, who am come to re« store the honour of Moses's law, by restor
ing its true sense and meaning-I-on the “ authority of that law, which you have “ partially quoted, without taking the “ whole together-say unto you, though, for “ the hardness of your hearts, Moses suffered
you to put away your wives, and suspended
any punishment which might haye accrued “ for so doing, yet did he not, nor could he " thereby dissolve the marriage itself; so “ far from it, he terms the marriage of such “ a divorced woman a defilement. Therefore " I say unto you-whosoever putteth away “ his wife, (except for the cause of fornica“ tion-which is the only legal cause of
divorce) and marrieth another-hereby
tempting, and even provoking the divor“ced woman to marry another man-that " though the personal guilt follows the per
* Mr. Salmon well obseryes, that “ the gospel is a “ covenant revealing grace, not commanding a new morality;" Essay on Marriage, p. 134.
fonal aft, with respect to her, so that if The, while her husband liveth, be married to “ another man, she shall be called an adulteress
(see Rom. vii. 2.) yet the guilt of this
adultery will also be imputed to him who “ was the wilful occasion of it, by causing « her to commit it. And as to you, who, “ for the purpose of exchanging your wives “ with each other (a matter which the law of Mofes,
of the passage which you “ refer me to, but which you don't mention,
was particularly made to guard against *) “ have pưt away yoar wives--and to you “ who marry such divorced women and to you divorced women,
women, who think yourselves at liberty to marry whom ye will, when
ye are unjustly put away from your hus“bands—Mofes calls all this defilement, which “ is but another term for adultery :--there“ fore I say unto you, as well as to those
who, contrary to the law above-mentioned, take back again the women they have once divorced t, after they have been mar
* For this, faith Abarbinel on Deut. xxiv. 4. was to imitate the Egyptians, who changed their wives, and took them again into their houses, which was the occafion of great filthiness; for, as Ifaac Arama glosses, if this had not been prohibited, a gate had been opened unto vile men to make a trade of changing their wives, and thereby filled the land with whoredom.-See Patr. on Deut. xxiv. 4.
+ Though the bill of divorcement wrought as a sort of divorce a menfa & toro, and as a release from the vinculum externum, or outward bond-yet nothing but adultery or death could diffolve the vinculum internum, which was
vorcing their wives and marrying others,
“ ried to others however ye may have been
taught to abuse the toleration of divorce
on particular occasions—that all the cases * which I have mentioned, touching men
thereby causing their unjustly-divorced “ wives to marry other men—uf men marry“ ing divorced women—and divorced women
marrying other men—this is all contrary “ to the law of marriage itself, as delivered “ to and pronounced by ADAM, Gen. ii. 24.
as well as to the law of the seventh coms« mandment, delivered to Mofes, and by him
delivered to the people at Mount Sinai. . In short, these are only several * methods of
created by the special command of God-they shall be one flesh. Therefore, when a divorced woman went away from her husband, and married another man, she committed an act of adultery in the eye of God: but this dissolved the first contract, and made her the wife of the second man; therefore, if this man put her away, the first husband, of whom she had been the toneruusin, (fee Luke xvi. 18.) could not take her again without committing adultery ;for after her departure from him, under the bill of divorcement, she had become, by the husband's own act and deed, and by her act of adultery, another man's property, otherwise she could not be supposed (ver. 2.) to become another man's wife. The law therefore of Deut. xxiv. 1, &c. was especially made to prevent such abominable traffic.-See the preceding note.
* The reader 'may observe, that, in this paraphrase, I have endeavoured to lay before him every interpretation of the passage, which harmonizes with the meaning of the word 983-adultery—as it is used in the Hebrew scripture; for it cannot be supposed that Christ, who is speaking of the law of Moses, should call any thing adultery, but that which is so by that law.
« incurring the guilt of adultery ; therefore « all the salvos which your consciences may “ derive from your abuse of Moses's permis“ fion, with respect to bills of divorcement, “ however highly esteemed amongst men, are “. abomination in the fight of God. Luke xvi.
15."—Here Christ puts the Pharisees to filence, by the very law which they had
partially quoted, with the hope of ensnaring Him, and making Him appear as an enemy to the law of Moses. We do not read of any reply which they attempted to make: this would certainly not have been the case, had they understood him to have spoken against polygamy as adultery; the Pharisees could have desired nothing more to their purpose, of representing Him as an enemy to Mofes, as there was not a single passage in the whole law of Mofes to have supported Him against them on that point. They were ready enough, on other occasions, to call upon him for his authority as to what he said and did—See Matt. xxi. 23. Mark xi. 28.--but here they are totally filent: and this under the only fair opportunity they ever had, of convicting Him of a downright falfhood, as laying down that for law, which their law contradicted. It is therefore plain that they understood Him in no such sense. Neither did His own disciples understand Him to speak of any thing but divorce.—They are faid, Mark x. io, in the house to ask Him again of the same matter ; His answer was in substance the same: the conclusion which the disciples draw from it is