Page images
PDF
EPUB

ment, by adding, “ and by the Canons of the “ Church of Rome.

To all the weight of evidence which has been produced against the notion of CHRIST'S introducing a new law, either with respect to polygamy, or any thing else, I will add one more testimony, and such a one as must carry its own conviction with it, even into the bosom of prejudice itself. Let us hear our LORD Himself, Luke xvi. 18. Whosoever putteth away

his wife, and marrieth another, (* ¿Te pav) committeth adultery; and whosoever

marrieth * On considering all that has been said, on Matt. xix. 9. Mark X. 11. and here on Luke xvi. 18, I do) conclude, that if the qorxalai-committeth adultery-be understood with respect to the second-taken wife-then the anany and slepar must signify, that she was a married or unjustly-divorced woman; for the marriage of a maid! er a widow, was never made adultery by the law, under any circumstances whatsoever of precontract on the man's fide.

If porxalar be understood with reference to the first wife, whom the man had divorced in order to take another; and if in this sense we are to understand the em aulnoy Mark x. 11. i. e, with reference to the first wife;-we must then conftrue porxala by Matt. v. 32, and suppose the man an adulterer, in the same sense as an acces. sary before the fact to a murder, is a murderer, by causing another to commit it.

The argument which has been usually drawn from Matt. xix. 9. by many learned men, is as follows :-“IF “ it be adultery for a man to marry a second woman after “ he has put away the first, it is not less adultery to marry

a second while he retains the first.”-
But there are several faults in this argument:

1. Petitio principii, or taking that for granted which is denied.

2. Using the word adultery in a sense not warranted by the word.783-adultery~in the Hebrew scripture, where it only signifies the defilement of a married woman.

marrietb ber that has been put away (åtoner auuery) from her husband, committeth adultery. This, say some, is Christ's “ new law, by “ which He forbad polygamy, which was " allowed under the Old Testament.”- As to the meaning of the words themselves, as they are much the same as in Matt. xix.

9. I will not repeat what has already been observed on that place ; but as to their constituting some new law, we have Christ's own authority to say they do not : for observe the preface at ver. 17. with which our Lord introduces them, wherein He Himself gives us to understand, that, what He bere says, and of course what He says elsewhere to the same purpose, is grounded upon the law of the Old Testament. It is easier for beaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail

. Having introduced what He says, ver. 18. with this positive aflertion touching the stability, unchangeableness, and perpetual obligation of the law, we must, to be consistent

3. A non fequitur, or conclufion which does not follow from the premises, unless, divorcing the first wife, and retaining her, signify one and the same thing.

4. A contradiction of the law of Moses--an inconsistency with the antient laws of the Jews as recorded in the Pentateuch.

5. A rendering the words He that putteth away his wife, which occur uniformly in Matt. v. 32. Matt. xix. 9. Markx. 11. Luke xvi. 18.-which are all the texts on the subject-mere surplusage and totally insignificant.

6. The mention of the putting away, keeps the whole answer in direct agreement with the question asked-viz. Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? --which the other view of the text has nothing to do with.

ourselves,

ourselves, or to make Him consistent, construe what He says, as grounded upon that law, which He Himself lays down as the foundation on which He fpake. This can be no other than the law of God as * delivered by Moses; what that condemned, CHRIST condemned on its authority; but had He condemned what that allowed, or had He allowed what that condemned, there was an end of that law, and more than a tittle of it must be said to failTEDEV—to fall-perish, and be destroyed. It may be worth our while to take a short view of the context :-ver. 16. the law and the prophets were until John: pince that time, the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.

As if our LORD had said: “ Till the coming of John the Baptif-which was fore

[ocr errors]

* A strong and striking observation might here be made- viz. that at the time CHRIST held this discourse with the Pharisees, the whole law of Mofes was in its full force, even the cEREMONIAL LAW itself; to which CHRIST was subject, and which He observed, from the hour of His circumcision to His last supper, when He ate the pasover with His disciples. Luke xxii. 15. Nor did this law vanish away, 'till it had its full accomplishment in the death, resurrection, and ascension of the great and glorious antitype; when, having made peace through the blood of His cross, Col.i. 20, He entered in once into the HOLY PLACE, having obtained eternal redemption for us. Heb. ix. 12. From whence it follows, that during CHRIST's ministry on earth, no part of the law of Moses could, consistently with the character which OUR LORD sustained, be altered in a fingle jot or tittle for He came not to destroy the law, but to fulfil it-this could not be, if he revoked or altered, but more especially if he opposed, any part of it.

Vol. I.

Сс

66 told

told, If. xl. 3. Mal. iii. 1.-ye were under “ the teachings of the legal and prophetical “ dispensation; but since John's coming, that gospel

, which was prefigured by the cere“ monial and typical rites of the Mosaic dispensation, and foretold for

ages together by the prophets, is now openly declared. “ This is not confined, as the others were,

to the Jews only; but multitudes of perfons, of what nation or character soever,

even publicans and finners of the Gentiles, “ sensible of their fin and misery, shall be “ invited to partake of its blessings, and will “ eagerly press for an interest in them, though

they be no observers of the rites and cere“ monies of the law.

“ And yet the law is not hereby made “ void ;--the prophecies, types, and thadows “ of the Old Testament, are fully accom

plished; the moral law is honoured and “ confirmed, its precepts explained, and all 66 its commandments established as a law of

My kingdom, as an eternal and unchange“ able rule of life to all My subjects. There“ fore think not that I came to destroy the law “ (XOTOMUOU!, Matt. v. 17.) to dissolve it, or “ loosen men from any of its obligations in

point of obedience-It is eaper for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to failtherefore, however you may have “ been taught to make it void by your tradi« tions, and especially with regard to your “ treatment of your wives, by which you are daily violating the law of marriage, in

ac the

" the unjust and fcandalous divorcements, “ which your rabbies have taught you to “ abuse to the purposes of licentiousness and “ cruelty, yet the law of God changeth not, " it is the same now as in the days of Adam; " and therefore-whoever puts away his wife “ unjustly, breaks the law which commands “ him to cleave to her, and puts afunder what God hath joined together-and if this be “ done in order to marry one you like better, sc and under such circumstances of provoca

tion, as force the wife you put away to

marry another man, she certainly fins against “ the seventh commandment, as does the

man who takes her; but yet the guilt of adultery is not confined to them, but lights upon you also, who, by your unlawful treatment of your wife, in putting her away

unjustly, caused her to commit it (see “ Matt. v. 32.) You are therefore answerable “ before God as an adulterer; for there is " no difference, in the eye of His law, between the perpetrator of a crime, and the

instigator and promoter of it.”

In the above paraphrase on the context, I have endeavoured to take in the whole sense of the passage, as agreeable to, and reconcileable with, the law of the Old Testament; for it was certainly by this, that our Lord regulated all His thoughts, words, and actions, on every subject, and upon every occasion, as well as in the instance of what He said, Luke xvi. 18.

Сс 2

Had

« PreviousContinue »