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free from the obedience of the com"mandments which are called moral." No one can confider aright the divine inftitution of marriage, and not fee that it is founded in the very nature of things, and that by the GoD of nature. This is as felf-evident, as that if mankind were to increase and multiply, and replenish the earth, there must be an appointed means by which this was to be brought to pafs. Therefore the laws concerning marriage cannot be reckoned a mere object of thofe rites and ceremonies which were to vanish away. Heb. viii. 13.
Nor can they be reckoned among the objects of that civil polity, which was only calculated for the government of a particular people, in a particular part of the world, and that under particular circumstances, such as never were or can be known to any other people on the earth-unless marriage itself can be fuppofed to be confined to them, and not equally to concern the whole human
The moral law hath therefore marriage as its object, as concerning, in the highest and moft material points, the moral actions of men. This clearly appears, not only from the very nature of the thing itself, but from the very words of the Seventh commandment-Thou fhalt not commit adultery; and again of the tenth-Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife. Thefe are moral laws, equally binding at all times-in all places-over all perfons. And as the feventh commandment is a moral
law founded on the divine inftitution of marriage itself, fo are all the expofitions of it which are to be found in the fcripture, unlefs we can be abfurd enough to imagine, that the letter of a law can be of a moral nature, and that the fenfe, meaning, and intendment of it are only of a ceremonial or civil tendency.
What is meant by the word—adultery, is not to be determined by the conceits, inventions, customs, or laws of men, but by the mind and will of God, as revealed to us in the precepts and examples which are recorded in His word for our inftruction; and especially from the uniform and unvaried idea annexed to the use of that word throughout the writings of Mofes and the prophets. If thefe have failed in giving us the true sense of it, then is it not true that their writings are profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction (ἐπανορθωσιν the amendment of what is wrong) for inftruction in righteousness, fo that the man of GOD (i. e. the believer) might be perfect, thoroughly furnished (both as to knowledge and practice-nothing lefs can be the fenfe of apTios) unto all good works, 2 Tim. iii. 16, 17. The fcriptures which are fpoken of in this paffage are the fcriptures of the Old Teftament, or thofe holy fcriptures which TIMOTHY had known from a child—before a fingle line of the New Teftament was written, ver. 15. If therefore polygamy does not stand recorded as a fin against the law of GOD, either by Mofes or the prophets, but as a matter owned,
owned, bleffed, allowed of GOD, we must say, unless we pretend to be wife above what is written, that it is no fin, for fin is the tranf greffion of the law. As to the common notion, that it was made finful by fome new law of CHRIST, and abfolutely forbidden in the New Testament, it is one of the three pious *lyes which owed their invention to the ignorant zeal of fome profeffors and writers in the very early ages of Chriftianity. One was "-that marriage was a carnal thing, incon"fiftent with the purity and perfection of
"It was a maxim avowed in the 4th century, that "-it is an act of virtue to deceive and lye, when, by that " means, the interefts of the church might be promoted."This horrible maxim was indeed of long standing, " and had been adopted for fome ages paft, to the un"speakable detriment of that glorious caufe in which
they were employed. And it must be frankly con"feffed, that the greatest men, and rhoft eminent faints, were more or lefs tainted with this corrupt prin"ciple. We would willingly except Ambrofe and "Hilary, Auflin, Gregory Nazianzen, and Jerome; but TRUTH, which is more refpectable than these venera"ble fathers, obliges us to involve them in the general "accufation." See Mofheim, vol. i. p. 200.
"Though the primitive Chriftians (fays Moyle) lived "up to the full rules of their religion with the utmost "probity and innocence of manners, yet it is too cer"tain, there were fome perfons among them, who, "through a mistaken zeal, made no fcruple of lying for "the fake of their religion. Their fictions found an "eafy reception in a credulous age, and were conveyed "down to pofterity as certain truths," See Fortin, Rem. vol. i. p. 299.
Du Pin owns, that St. Hilary feems to think " a lye neceflary upon fome occafions." Vol. ii. p. 76.
"a Chriftian, and therefore ‡ unlawful under "the gofpel."-Another was-that " if a "man, on the death of his wife, married
again, it was no better than adultery.". The third, begotten between the other two, was-that "polygamy, though allowed to the "Jews under the Old Teftament, is forbid"den to Chriftians under the New." The two first (among the Proteftants at least) are come to nought-the laft is as generally believed among Chriftians of all forts, as the lye of tranfubftantiation is in the Romish church. And there can be little doubt, but that a man who has two wives, under whatever circumstances they might be taken, would be looked upon to be as impious, and as much a child of the devil, among us, as a perfon would be among the Papifts, who wickedly refufed to give up his outward fenfes, and to believe that a small piece of wafer, after certain words faid over it by a priest, is the body, flesh, blood, and bones, of a man fix feet high-or as a priest, bishop, or pope, who married at all.
As these things will be farther confidered under the head of Superftition, I will now
Epiphanius, Hæres. 58, fpeaks of the Valefians, who caftrated themselves, and also their guests, that by this means they might introduce them into the kingdom of "heaven-"Se & hofpites fuos caftrârunt, ut ita fecum "introducerent in regnum cælorum."-They held that 66 none but eunuchs could be saved.
Nifi quis eunuchus fieret, salvari non posse.
haften to the examination of a notion, which I fear is too common among us, and on which what is ufually faid and thought on the fubject of polygamy, is for the most part built I mean that of representing CHRIST as appearing in the world, as "a new lawgiver, who was to introduce a more pure and perfect Syftem of morality, than that of the law which "was given by MOSES."-This horrible blafphemy against the holiness and perfection of GOD's law, as well as against the truth of CHRIST, who declared that He came not to deftroy the law, but to fulfil it—this utter contradiction both of the law and the gospel-was the foundation on which the heretic Socinus built all his other abominable errors. From whence he had it, will appear in the fequel. In the mean time, I cannot help stopping a while to lament the progress which Socinianifm is daily making among us-with many, among the Diffenters efpecially, it is called new light-but, thank GOD! there are yet fome remaining, who call it by its true name -old darkness-and as fuch oppose it.-As it is coincident with the main fubject of the following chapter, it will fall in my way to. fay fomething, which I hope will thoroughly apprize the reader of the mischiefs which must result from Socinianifm in all its fhapes.
In the courfe of what I fhall have to say, it will appear, that, fo far from CHRIST'S ever condemning polygamy, which, as a new lawgiver, he is fuppofed to have done, He never mentioned it during the whole course of His