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"thousand years immediately after the birth " of Chrift.
19. Was our church marriage-ceremony the confequence of Pope Innocent "the 3d, putting marriage, as a facrament, "into the hands of Popifh priests, or was " it not?
20. What reafons can be affigned for "GOD's permitting fo many people, and, particularly, fome of his diftinguished "faints of old, to live allowedly in the practice of Polygamy, and to die, with"out ever reproving them, calling them "to repentance, (if it was a fin) and with" out their ever expreffing any sorrow for "it, and fhewing any evidences at all of "their repentance? And if GOD's word be "the rule of our conduct, and if the ex"ample of these faints be written for our learning, what are we to learn from them, refpecting their polygamy ?
<c 21. If these faints of old lived and died "in fin, by living and dying in the allowed "practice of polygamy, what is the name of
the fin? By what term is it to be distinguished? Was it adultery? or, whore"dom? or, fornication? Was their com"merce licit or illicit?. What command"ment did they fin against? Were they "adulterers, whoremongers, or fornicators? "What does the fcripture-hiftory of the "lives and deaths of thefe faints teach us to "call this their practice?
"22. Were Hannah, and Rachel, and (after Uriah's death) Bathsheba, whores or "adultereffes; or, were they lawful and ho"noured wives? How are they spoken of, "and how were they treated, as the fcrip"ture-history informs us?
23. Were Jofeph, Samuel, and Solomon, baftards, or honourable legitimate "fons? In what character were they fpoken of and treated? Did GOD fhew favour to them, or diflike of them?
66 24. Were not Hannah, Rachel, and Bathsheba, whores, or adultereffes; and Jofeph, Samuel, and Solomon, bastards, according to the laws of our land?
25. Are there any things unfcriptural, as well as impolitic, in the late act of Par"liament for the preventing clandeftine marriages, and if there be, what are they, " and why? And why did half the House of "Lords, fave one fingle voice, move for a repeal of this act ?
"26. In what way can a ftop be put to thefe following ruinous, deteftable, hor"rible, and national evils; namely, brothelkeeping, murdering of infants by feduced "women; pregnant virgins committing of "fuicide; medicine-taking to procure abor"tion; the venereal difeafe; feduction; prof❝titution; whoredom; adultery; and all "the deplorable evils accompanying and fol
lowing the mischievous fin of lewdness in "this land? If God's law refpecting the "commerce of the fexes, was obferved, and
xxxii PREFACE to the SECOND EDITION.
"if the laws of our land were to enforce that, might we not expect His bleffing on "fuch means used to accomplish so needed " and defirable an end?
27. On fuppofition that polygamy be a "practice difallowed of God, is the other part " of the scheme for preventing the horrible "evils of lewdnefs in our land, fcriptural and practical, or not?
28. Is the design and aim of the book "to hinder lewdnefs, and its deplorable ef"fects, or not?
"After these questions are anfwered, not "in a trifling, fuperficial, and merely fpe"cious and declamatory manner, but in a full, plain, fair, fcriptural, and reasonable manner; and the answers are open and honeft, free from paltry fubterfuge, and "all deceiving equivocation, and reservation, " and all the answers are founded on truth " and facts, we fhall then notice what the confequences will be of fuch a right mode "of answering these questions; and fo find "out, whether the arguments in "Thelyph"thora" be fcriptural, reasonable, and defen"fible, or not; whether the fcheme in that "book has a good or a bad tendency; whether "to be reprobated, or received; and whether "the friends and abettors of it are friends or foes to their country? the caufe of GOD? "the temporal, fpiritual, and eternal wel"fare of their fellow-creatures?"
O call in queftion the truth of longreceived opinions, is a fort of employment which few chufe to be engaged in; not only from the natural indolence and fupineness of the human mind, but from the reception which fuch attempts are likely to meet with from the generality, who are always jealous of whatsoever may seem an attack on principles which have the fanction of antient cuftom; and from thence, even of laws themselves, for their fupport.
We need but look * back to the times of the Reformation, in order to fee this abundantly
If we carry our researches into the history of the Heathen world, we fhall find that it was an established maxim adopted by Plato, and in which all the other philofophers without exception concurred, that "every "nation fhould worship the gods according to the efta"blished laws and customs, to which alfo every private "perfon in his own practice ought to conform." By this artifice of the devil (who is emphatically ftyled the
god of this world, that blinds the minds of men,' 2 Cor. iv. 4.) not only the Heathen world, but a great part of the Chriftian world, hath been enslaved in chains of error
dantly verified. Our Reformers no fooner began the falutary work of enquiry after truth, and its infallible confequence, the detection of error, than the whole Chriftian world, fo called, was in arms against them. Councils were fummoned, fynods held, and their fentences were, in fubftance, what that of the "men, brethren, and fathers," of the Jews was against that fuppofed innovator, Paul of Tarfus, when they faid, "Away with fuch a fellow from the earth, for it is not fit that be fhould live." Acts xxii. 22.
When Paul and Silas were apprehended, and carried before the magiftrates at Philippi, the charge against them ran in the following terms: Thefe men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city, and teach customs which are not lawful for us to obferve, being Romans,'
But why was it not lawful for the Romans to obferve what Paul had been teaching? Because of the contrariety of the Roman laws
and delufion. On the footing of this maxim it was, that when Socrates, who was the wifeit of the philofophers, attempted to awaken his countrymen to a more rational and fpiritual fense of divine things than they had been accuftomed to, he was accufed at Athens by Anytus and Melitus, that he did not believe thofe to be gods which the city believed, and that he introduced other Voc new gods"-for this he was put to death. How many Chriftians have been put to death on a fimilar principle, let the annals of thofe declare who are now crying, How long, O LORD, holy and true, doft thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth! Rev. vi.
So Cicero binds it as a duty upon the people to follow the religion of their ancestors." Cic. de Leg. lib. ii. c. 8.-ritus familie patrumque fervanto.