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and condemn polygamy in the prefence of fuch multitudes of Jews, and in a fettled dispute with His bittereft foes, the Pharifees, who only disputed with Him to enfnare Him, andto have whereof to acccufe Him to the people as an enemy to Mofes (for this was their grand point in their appeal to Mofes's writings) and yet that we should not meet with a fyllable of reply to what He advanced, when they might have quoted the whole Old Testament against Him? that He should declare a thing to be adultery, without a fingle teftimony from Mofes to fupport Him in what he said? and this, when He never on any other occafion taught any doctrine but on the authority of the Old Testament, and constantly appealed to it for the truth of what He declared?
Dr. Whitby, in his comment on Matt. xix. 9. fays, "Here it seems evident that CHRIST prescribes a new "law, which had not before obtained among the Jews." This is the palov Leud, the grand mistake, which runs through his whole comment on the paffage, as well as through the usual and vulgar interpretation of it—But can any thing be more contradictory to every notion of propriety, than to fuppofe CHRIST "prefcribing a new
law-which had never obtained among the Jews" in order to restrain a practice which He proves to be forbidden by their own law, that of unjuft divorce; and to prohibit polygamy as adultery, in contradiction to the law of Mofes, which allowed it; more especially after declaring folemnly, that He came not to deftroy the law-and that not even a jot or tittle should pass from it? To imagine CHRIST as correcting the Jews by a law "which had "never obtained among them," is an abfurdity of the first magnitude; For what the law faith, it faith to them that are under the law, Rom. iii. 19; those who are not under the law (be that law what it may) have nothing to do with it.
Laftly. Is it conceivable, as CHRIST must be fuppofed to speak in Hebrew, that He should give a meaning to the language of the Old Teftament, which, in all the writings of Mofes and all the prophets, it never had? Now, wherever the verb μοιχαομαι is ufed in the Greek translation of the LXX, it conftantly answers to the Hebrew ; and therefore there is no room to doubt, that wherever, in our SAVIOUR's difcourfes, as recorded by the Evangelifts, we meet with the wordμaxatai, was the very Hebrew term used by him: but no where, throughout the whole Hebrew Bible, is this word applied to a man's marrying a fecond wife, living his firft, unless such fecond was either betrothed or married to another, or to any thing elfe, than only to the defilement of a betrothed or married woman. This is its fingle idea throughout the whole. Therefore it is figuratively used to describe the people's forfaking GOD, and turning to idols. See before, p.
CHRIST faid to the Jews, John v. 46, 47. Had ye believed Mofes, ye would have believed Me; but if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe My words? It is not eafy to conceive words more forcible than thefe, to exprefs an absolute and unreferved appeal to the Old Teftament for the truth of all CHRIST faid
* Let any one take up an English concordance, and look at the word adultery, and he will not be able to find a single inftance where it is applied to polygamy in any part of the Old Testament, nor in any other manner
נאף than the Hebrew
and taught in His prophetical character.
*Voltaire, in whose writings on the fcripture are to be found here and there a fenfible thing, among heaps of folly and nonfenfe; has an observation which is worth attending to, viz. "We are told in St. Matthew, that "the great men, and the priests, and all the council, fought falfe witness against Jefus, to put Him to death.
Now if they were obliged to feek for falfe witneffes, "they could not charge Him with having preached "openly against their law." Treat, on Tol. Franklin's tranf. p. 192. vol. xxxiv. But if CHRIST had preached against polygamy, as adultery, He would as evidently have preached against the law of Mofes, as if he had preached against marriage itself, or as a miffionary would preach against the law of Turkey, who fhould contend for the establishment of 1 Jac. c. II. at Conftantinople-and this, on the authority of the Alcoran's having prohibited polygamy.
Him to have condemned polygamy) "he com"mitteth adultery; but where doft Thou "find this in Mofes's writings? they are "filled with the allowance of what Thou condemneft, without a fingle exception : therefore, because we believe Mofes's writings, we do not believe Thee."
From all that has been said, I do conclude, that CHRIST was not a destroyer of the old law, nor a giver of a new one-that therefore the bufinefs of polygamy, and all other points relative to the commerce of the fexes, were fully adjusted and fettled by the divine law, subject to no alteration or change whatsoever, by any power in EARTH OR HEAVEN. For thus faith the SPIRIT-Ecclef.iii. 14, Whatfoever GOD doeth, it shall be for ever, nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it.
Having now finished what I had to fay on the fubject of this chapter, I fhall next proceed, on the footing of the divine law, to confider another material point relative to the commerce of the fexes, which is Divorce.
* ZUINGLIUS, in his letter on the fubject of King HENRY's divorce, fays very truly-that the apostles "had made no new laws about marriage, but had left "it as they found it." See BURNET, Hift. Ref. vol. i. p. 93.
APPENDIX TO CHAP. I.
Containing FARTHER THOUGHTS ON
HIS fcripture is ufually understood very evidently to contain a law, that he who enticed, &c. a young woman, should be - obliged to marry * her. To understand it in any other light, is to diveft the most intelligible and plain words of their certain and obvious meaning. But it is to be observed, that the damfel must be entirely difengaged from any betrothment to another man; for if fhe were betrothed to another, then the man who defiled her could not marry her, but both he and she, if she consented to the defilement, were to be put to death, according to Deut. xxii. 23, 24; otherwise it is here faid, ver. 16. he shall furely endow her to be his wife, or for a wife to himself, as-was 15— may be more literally rendered. So Jofephus
Ὁ φθείρας παρθένον, &c. αυτός γαμείτω.—“ He "who defiles a virgin, the fame shall marry "her." That is, fhall pay the dowry, and fo recognize and confirm the marriage-obligation,
* I would here be understood to take the word marry in its popular fenfe, as denoting fome outward act of public recognition of the marriage-obligation, fuch as the payment of the dower among the Jews.