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ginning, revealed first to Adam, afterwards recorded by Mofes, that it might be transmitted to all succeeding generations, as the one rule of faith and practice, for all those to whom God's word should come, to the end of the world. Neither with you only, faith Moses to the people (then present at the re-publication of God's law, Deut. xxix. 14, 15.) do I make this covenant and this oath, but with him that ftandeth here with us this day, before the LORD our God, and also with him that is not (or those who are not) bere with us this day, i. e. with all succeeding generations, till time shall be no more.
Therefore CHRIST, so far from altering, changing, or destroying the law delivered from God by Moses, enters a caveat against such a supposition (Matt. v. 17.) Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets; I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil; for verily I say unto you, 'till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wife pass from the law, 'till all be fulfilled—ws äv Távta gyévatas until all things be done. Hammond. And again (Luke xvi. 17.) It is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail. This not only stamps unchangeableness upon the law, but upon its import, sense, and meaning, as one and the same throughout all ages and generations, as an invariable rule of life for the members of God's visible church upon earth, even to the least jot or tittle.
Notwithstanding, as this passage of Matt. xix. is the chief ground on which that absurd position is built, that “Polygamy, though " allowed under the law, is forbidden un“ der the gospel;” or, though permitted “ under the Old Testament, is * forbidden
* The notion that marriage under the New Testament, is different from what it was under the Old Testament, which, as will appear in a third volume of this work, is true genuine Popery, reminds one of Moliere's Médecin malgrè lui, where SGANARELLE is setting forth his profound medical and anatomical knowledge;
an instance of the last, he places the liver on the right side, and the heart of the left.-GERONTE says
On ne peut pas mieux raisonner sans doute. Il n'y a qu'une seule chose qui m'a choqué. C'est l'endroit du foye & du coeur. Il me semble que vous les placez autrement qu'ils ne font. Que le coeur est du côté gauche, & le foye du côté droit. SGANARELLE. Oui cela estoit AUTREFOIS AINSI: mais
AVONS CHANGE TOUT CELA, nous faisons maintenant LA MEDICINE D'UNE METHODE NOUVELLE.
GERONTE. C'est ce que je ne sçavois pas, & je vous demande pardon de mon ignorance.
SGANARELLE. Il n'y a point de mal, & vous n'estes pas obligé d'eftre aussi habile que nous.
“ GERONTE. One cannot, doubtless, discourse bet
ter on the subject.—There is but one thing that has " displeased me-I mean the situation of the liver and " the heart.-It seems to me, that you place them other“ wise than they are--that the heart is on the left side, " and the liver on the right.
“ SGANARELLE. Yes, it was formerly so; but we “ have changed all that, and now-a-days we practise
physic after a method entirely new.
« Gerunte. That I did not know, and I ask your “ pardon for my ignorance.
co SGANARELLE. There's no harm done. You are not obliged to be as skilful as we are."
“ under the New" (as if there could be a law in the New Testament contradictory to that in the Old Testament) it may be worth our while to consider the matter more minutely.
The question put hy the Pharisees, Matt. xix. 3. is not, “ whether it be lawful to
marry two wives at a time, or to take one “ to another ?” but-" Is it lawful for a man “ TO PUT AWAY his wife for every cause ?" The question concerns divorce, and divorce only. When we consider who it was that was to give the answer, we may be certain of its entire pertinence to the question. It follows (ver. 4, &c.) He answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that He which made them at the beginning, made them male and female, and said, For this caufe Mall a man leave father and mother, and cleave unto his wife, and they twain (i. e, the man and his wife) Fall be one flesh? wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
With so close, so apposite, fo conclusive an answer, grounded on the old marriage-institution, not on any new dispensation; they ought to have been satisfied that divorce was unlawful. But they urge him farther, and (ver: 7.) said unto him—Why did Mofes then command to give a writing of divorcement, and put her away? He saith unto them, Mofes, because of the hardness of your hearts, suFFERED you to put away your wives, but from the beginning it
was not fo.(i. e. that men should put away
their wives). And I say unto you, that whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and Mall marry another, committeth adultery; and he who marrieth her which is put away, committeth adultery.
This last is the verse which has made the difficulty; for if this were meant to condemn polygamy, it amounts, so far, to a contradiction, or rather repeal, of the old law, which permitted it; and then more than a jot or tittle has passed from the law. If it means that it was always finful, and against the law of God, it condemns, as was before observed, all that ever practised it, and falls heavy on some of the greatest saints, that are recorded in fcripture as patterns of faith, holiness, and obedience.
This difficulty, like many others in the scriptures, can only be solved, by attending to the character of the speaker, the peculiar circumstances of the persons fpoken to, and the particular occasion on which the words were spoken; for want of this, we are apt to interpret the scriptures more by found than sense, and thus make them speak what they never meant I.
# You then whose judgment the right course would fieer;
Know well each antient's proper character;
at once before your eyes,
En. on Crit. VOL: 1.
The Jews, at the time of their dispute with Christ on the subject of divorce, were fonder of tradiiion than of the feriptures, and of the teachings of their rabbies, than of the law of God; insomuch that Christ charges them (Matt. xv. 9.) with teaching for doctrines the commandments of men: and (Mark vii. 9, 13.) with rejecting and making the word of God of none effect, through their tradition. There were several famous rabbies, whom they highly reverenced, but particularly Shammah, Hillell, and Akiba.
* The school of Shammah taught, that a man could not be lawfully divorced from his wife, “unless he had found her guilty of some " action which was really infamous, and con
trary to the rules of virtue.” But the school of Hillell t, who was Shammah’s disciple, taught, on the contrary, that “ the least rea“ fons were sufficient to authorize a man to
put away his wife. For example--if she “ did not dress his victuals well, or if he “ found any other woman he liked better.' Akiba was still more indulgent than Hillell, for he affirmed that “it was sufficient cause for
If such requisites are necessary forjudging properly of the mallow productions of mortals, how much more are those abovementioned neceffary, that we may judge aright of the deep things of God. * See Cruden, under divorce.
Shammah and Hillell are supposed to have lived about an hundred years before the destruction of the second temple. Some say they were cotemporaries with Herod the Great. See Ant. Univ. Hift. vol. x. p. 429, 469,