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go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain chil dren by her.' This connection was no part of Abraham's plan of life. It was occasioned by Sarah's strong desire to have children, whom she could call her own. It was temporary intercourse with a bondwoman; and ceased as soon as Hagar had conceived. The issue, as Paul tells us, was not legitimate, or entitled to inherit the property of Abraham. That Abraham-himself originally an idolater, and living in the midst of idolaters, who not only practised polygamy, but every other species of impurity-in despair also of any issue from Sarah, should have had views of marriage so far loose and incorrect, as to yield to such a proposal from his wife, is not surprising ; but it furnishes no evidence of the lawfulness of Polygamy. Abraham's marriage with Keturah did not occur until seven years after the death of Sarah. If this extemporaneous connection of Abraham with Hagar proves the lawfulness of any thing, it proves merely that a husband who was childless might lawfully, with the consent of his wife, connect himself temporarily with his female slave; but obviously, this is not Polygamy.
10. Isaac had but one wife.
11. Esau," that profane person," had three wives. " And Esau said in his heart, The days of mourning for my father are at hand; then will I slay my brother Jacob.""
12. Jacob, while in the family of Laban, lived among idolaters, who practised polygamy. Laban and his children were idolaters, yet polygamy was no part of Jacob's plan of life. Leah was put upon him by a fraud, to which he must submit, or hazard the loss of Rachel. He likewise told his father several direct falsehoods, and with extreme cruelty defrauded Esau of his birthright.
13. Lot, the twelve sons of Jacob, Amram, Moses, Aaron, Eleazar, Joshua, Caleb, and many others, who lived during the period in question, had each but one
wife. On the supposition that polygamy was lawful, } this fact cannot be explained.
We have, then, the practice of the Patriarchs on this subject before the flood, in the example of Lamech, and that of the Apostates who filled the earth with violence; and in that of Esau, and that of Jacob after the flood : four instances during the first two thousand seven hundred years of the world. In this statement of facts we find strong presumptive evidence that the Patriarchs did not regard Polygamy as lawful. Let us now inquire whether it was not expressly forbidden.
The Great Original Law of Marriage, with the occasion of its promulgation, is thus recited in the second chapter of Genesis : " And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone: I will make an help-meet for him'— And the Lord God brought the woman unto the man, and Adam said, “This is now bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man'-Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife; und they shall be one flesh."
The comment of our Saviour on this Law, in the 19th of Matthew, will help us to explain it. The Pharisees, tempting him, inquired, “ Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife, for every cause.”—To this he replied, "Have ye not read, that He who made them at the beginning, made them male and female; and said,
For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave unto his wife, and they twain shall be one flesh.'— Wherefore they are no more twain, but
one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not Man put asunder."
The following remarks on this Law, may show on what footing Marriage was placed under the Old Dis. pensation.
1. The words_ For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave unto his wife, and they twain shall be one flesh”_were not, as some have supposed, the words of Adam, but were uttered by God. The language of Christ is, “He who made them at the beginning, said, 'For this cause,'" &c. The Maker of of Adam, therefore, and not Adam, said this; and the thing uttered was not a prediction of Adam, but a command of God.
2. This is the Great Original Law of Marriage binding on the whole human family. It was not a part of any Ceremonial Law, or of the National Law of Israel; but was promulgated at the original institution of marriage, to the first parents of mankind, as the representatives of the whole race. Men and women about to contract marriage were the only beings, and the very beings on whom it was binding. By the terms of it, Adam and Eve were personally exempted from its operation ; since they were already married, and Adam had no father or mother, whom he could leave. It was made, therefore, for their Posterity; and since, in its binding force on them, there are no restrictions or limitations, it was clearly given to bind the whole human family. On this point the comment of Christ is express.
The Jews inquired of him,-- Whether it was lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause ?-In his reply, he admits that Moses, for the hardness of their hearts, allowed divorces in certain cases; but asserts that in the beginning it was not so. He then declares, that, except in the single case of incontinence, it is not lawful for a man to put away his wife, and marry another; and assigns four reasons for it. (1.) The fact, that God originally created but one man and one woman, and joined them in marriage; and thus expressed his own pleasure that marriage should subsist between one man and one woman. (2.) That at the time when God instituted marriage, he declared "For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave unto his wife; and they twain shall be one flesh.” (3.) That that is the reason why two married persons are no more twain, but one flesh. (4.) That all who are united in marriage, are joined together by God.—Here, then, is an express recognition of this law, as the Original Law of Marriage; as in force from the beginning; as in full force under the Levitical Dispensation, amended as it was in a single point that relating to divorces; and, in consequence of the express repeal of that amendment by Christ himself, except for one cause, as in force with that exception, in all its original extent under the Christian Dispensation.
3. This Law in the very terms of it, as well as according to the comment of Christ, is an absolute prohibition of Polygamy. It is so in the terms of it. It declares that lawful marriage, as appointed by God, is the connection for life between twain or two, one man and one woman, and that when they are married they cease to be twain, and are one flesh. It also declares that the man who is thus united to a woman in marriage, shall cleave unto her as his wife. Before, with filial affection, he clave unto his parents as a son, and acknowledged them only; and now, with conjugal affection, he is directed as a husband to cleave unto his wife. This language is capable of but one interpretation. If he is connected with any other woman, he ceases to cleave to his wife, and makes himself one flesh with a stranger. " What, know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot, is one body?” The same is equally true, if the connection with the stranger were to be preceded by the forms of marriage. Any connection with another woman is leaving his wife, and ceasing to cleave to her, in the very point which the law respects. So obviously is this the only interpretation, that this very language is customarily used in the marriage ceremony, when a promise is exacted from the parties, that they will be faithful to each other.
This is equally evident from the comment of Christ. After admitting that Moses permitted Divorces, and assigning the reason for it, he first declares that the Original Law of Marriage did not permit them; and then, with a single exception, abrogates the Mosaic permission. The Original Law did not allow of divorce in any case. He allows it in one-that of incontinence.
—that of incontinence. With this exception, he places the Law of Marriage on its original footing; and declares, in language which cannot be misunderstood, its real force and meaning-_"He who putteth away his wife, except for incontinence, and marrieth another, committeth adultery." But in what does the adultery, thus committed by the husband consist ? Not in the mere putting away.
That might be cruelty, but it is not adultery. Not in the mere marriagecontract. If he had stopped at that, there would have been no adultery--It consisted in the fact, that, having one rife, he marries and has intercourse with another, before the first is dead or lawfully divorced. By the Original Law of Marriage, therefore, as thus explained by Christ, the man, who having a wife, marries another, before the first is lawfully divorced, is guilty of adultery. But every polygamist does this : every polygamist there