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life of those days: and had polygamy then existed, would it not have been one of the most important points for the Apostles of the new creed, to exalt the new moral law above the old? But we do not find this ;-exactly in accordance (in this instance) with the Old Testament, the New Testament nowhere ordains monogamy and prohibits polygamy. Impartial men allow this, and Dr. Channing, who, though no Protestant, must surely be considered a Christian, writes concerning Milton's opinion of polygamy, “ Finding no prohibition of polygamy in the New Testament, he believed that not only holy men would be traduced, but Scripture dishonoured by pronouncing it morally evil:" and again, “We believe it to be an undisputed fact, that although Christianity was first preached in Asia, which had been from the earliest ages the seat of polygamy, the Apostles never denounced it as a crime, and never required their consorts to put away all wives but one."* Surely this is an important confirmation of our assertion, that we did not require the preaching of the Apostles to teach us that refinement and elevation of the social system which, with the advancement of humanity, time would procure us, and which was in fact obtained at the very era, in which we are told it was first offered us, by the adoption of a superior moral code.
The text to which Christians appeal as the prohibition of polygamy, is one from which a very different conclusion might be drawn—“Whoso shall put away his wife (except for adultery) and shall marry another, committeth adultery, and whoso marrieth her which is
* Channing's Works, People's Edition, vol. i. page 26.
put away doth commit adultery.” Surely this can only mean, that a man is forbidden unlawfully to put away one wife, and marry another in her stead, not to keep the first, and add another to his household; and the spirit of this precept we have already had in the Mosaic law: but, even granting that it does prohibit polygamy, we, too, have a prohibition of equal, if not superior force, and written much about the same time by the venerable Rabbi Arni; 6 I
that any man who marries a second wife, must fully have repudiated his first;"* a precept on which Herod appears to have originally acted, by his divorcing Doris before he married Mariainne. That he took Doris back again after the first Mariamne's death, proves nothing. The Jewish law forbade such an act; but we have seen that he cared nothing for the laws; but that Mariamne was his sole wife while she lived is sufficient for our purpose.
There may, perhaps, be some who think these remarks irrelevant to our subject; but if they aid, as they must do, our assertion, that the Jewish religion is enough for her female votaries, that we need no other to elevate and secure our natural position, we earnestly trust that they will not be disrnissed unread. We mean no disrespect to other creeds: we shrink from following the example of some, who endeavour to exalt their own faith by debasing and throwing contempt upon another. We would only prove, that the imperfection (if the nonprohibiting polygamy be such) of our moral code, exists equally in the other; and that it is the gradual, but * Yebamoth, fol. 65, col. a. For this and many
of the preceding remarks on polygamy and the Christian and Jewish discussions on the point, I am indebted to the kind suggestions and valuable information of Mr. Theodores, of Manchester.
sure advancement of the human species, which is the refiner and elevator of domestic and social life-not solely the ordinances of any particular laws. The first idea of polygamy being allowed, supposes a degraded position for women; but we have seen, that even at the period of its practice in Judaism, women were not degraded, for the law provided against its abuse : and even then, with very few exceptions, the chosen servants of the Eternal proved, in their own persons, the advance beyond their age in the practice of monogamy.
The captivity in Babylon had been an era in Jewish history. The partial return to Jerusalem, and dispersion over other lands, had occasioned very many changes. Man, even in the midst of apparently increasing evil and darkening morality, had yet, in actual fact, made a stride in advance, and much which had polluted the nation before, in the worshipping and sacrificing to idols, the fearful abuse of the gracious non-interference with Eastern customs and long endeared habits, and other crimes coeval with man's least refined state of existence-all had given way and been trampled on in the terrible revolution which, through the Babylonish power, had overwhelmed the land. Sins of equal magnitude, and demanding yet more fearful retribution, from the neglect and heedlessness of former chastisement, indeed, desecrated Judea; but, in the very different nature of the evil, the very sins themselves, we see, as it were, the advancement in human powers. The good in human nature will not make advance alone. Good and evil passions mutually sway . the heart of man; and, according as the one or other gains the ascendancy, so will be the increased good or
increased evil in appearance of the world. But having an equally increased power of good, the evil is only visibly evil; the under-current is still working, though invisibly, far more powerfully and beneficially, than in those periods when the capabilities of good and of evil were less than they are now. The conflicting powers could not produce the same end; but as the Divinity in the good advances, the evil will, in the end, be both visibly and invisibly subdued; and man, through the grace of God, attain that perfection for which he was originally framed.
We see the prophecy of this in the sublime fact, that there is never evil without its being the parent of good. No national revolution ever yet took place without being' followed by a rapid stride in human nature, and as strikingly visible as far-spreading good : yet during the continuance of those revolutions, what can we trace or feel, but the supremacy of evil, in the war, famine, misery in a thousand shapes, which devastate mankind ? Still good is working, and we know and see it when the darkened torrent has rolled back, and the clear crystal waters, reflecting the blue azure of the eternal heavens, are seen beneath,
Thus good sprung for Israel from the captivity of Babylon, working even in the midst of the crime and sin, in which its visible form was but too soon swallowed up.
The minds of men had advanced; but, left to their own hardened hearts to obey or disobey the laws of their God, and so prove themselves worthy of the mercies proffered if they obeyed, they chose the evil, and so by their increased capabilities for its accomplishment, hurled down the most awful chastisement on their own
heads, and on their holy land, sweeping in one fearful vortex the innocent and the guilty, the pious and the blasphemer, the obedient and the disobedient : for in this world no distinction might be made. The King of heaven waited till they appeared before His throne, to pronounce sentence according to their hearts yet more than according to their deeds.
But humanity itself had not gone back, though all on earth seerned dark and terrible. Good worked even there. The Divine part of our mingled nature was visible in those instances of patriotism, martyrdom, earnestness, and spirituality, which our history records of man and woman,
and youth, even in the blackest tempest of the war, and surrounded as they were with men, who, given up to their own passions and inclinations, so succumbed to the evil as to appear incarnate fiends. And good sprung from this; ay, not only from the evil of the war, but from the untold-of, incalculable, indescribable wretchedness of dispersion and persecution. It brought, nay, it is still bringing Israel once more, in loving faith and unquestioning obedience, to his God, and hastening on that day, when the evil shall be entirely subdued, and the good reign triumphant.
With these reflections, we will conclude the Sixth Period of our history, leaving to the Seventh a glance over our dispersion, and its effect on the present condition of our nation, male and female. Brought down, as the history of the women of Israel now is, to nearly seventy years after the advance of Christianity, the proofs of our non-abasement and degradation become yet more inportant; for there are many to assert, that in the Bible-times the Hebrew females shared the holy