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and condemn polygamy in the presence of such multitudes of Jews, and in a settled dispute with His bitterest foes, the Pharisees, who only disputed with Him to ensnare Him, andto have whereof to acccuse Him to the people as an enemy to Moses (for this was their grand point in their appeal to Moses's writings) and yet that we should not meet with a syllable 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 single testimony from Mofes to support 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. says,
Here it seems evident that CHRIST prescribes a new “ law, which had not before obtained among the Jews.” This is the #palov feuda, the grand mistake, which runs through his whole comment on the passage, as well as through the usual and vulgar interpretation of it-But can any thing be more contradiétory to every notion of propriety, than to suppose CHRIST “ prescribing 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 unjust divorce; and to prohibit polygamy as adultery, in contradiction to the law of Mofes, which allowed it; more especially after declaring solemnly, that He came not to destroy the law—and that not even a jot or tittle mould pass from it? To.imagine CHRIST as correcting the Jews by a law " which had “ never obtained among them,” is an absurdity 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.
Lastly. Is it conceivable, as Christ must be supposed to speak in Hebrew, that He should give a meaning to the language of the Old Testament, which, in all the writings of Moses and all the prophets, it never had ? Now, wherever the verb mor yaouae is used in the Greek translation of the LXX, it constantly answers to the Hebrew 48); and therefore there is no room to doubt, that wherever, in our Saviour's discourses, as recorded by the Evangelists, we meet with the word MOXATOS, 983 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 second wife, living his first, unless such second was either betrothed or married to another, or to any thing else, than only to the defilement of a betrothed or married * woman. This is its single idea throughout the whole. Therefore it is figuratively used to describe the people's forsaking God, and turning to idols. See before, p.
Christ said to the Jews, John v. 46, 47, Had
ye believed Mofes, ye would have believed Me; but if ye believe not his writings, bow shall ye believe My words ? It is not easy to conceive words more forcible than these, to express an absolute and unreserved appeal to the Old Testament for the truth of all CHRIST said
* Let any one take up an English concordance, and look at the word adultery, and he will not be able to find a single instance where it is applied to polygamy in any part of the Old Testament, nor in any other manner than the Hebrew 98],
and taught in His prophetical character. In this character He stood before the great mula titudes of the people and the Pharisees, while he was delivering, on the authority of the scriptures, the sense of those scriptures upon the matter of unjust divorce, and proving the criminal consequences of it to all parties concerned. He fo proved His point, that His adversaries had not a word to reply. He filenced them as He did the devil, Matt. iv. 10, II. by the word of God. But had He said polygamy was finful, from which of Moses's writings would He have proved * this? The Pharisees might have retorted upon Him His own declaration and appeal to the writings of Moses; they might have faid-“ Thou hast said, that if we be“ lieved the writings of Mofes, we should believe
Tby words—Thou hast said, that if a man
having a wife, marrieth another,” (for thus they might have put it, had they understood
* Voltaire, in whose writings on the scripture are to be found here and there a sensible thing, among heaps of folly and nonsense; 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 false witness against Jesus, to put Him to death.
Now if they were obliged to seek for false witnesses, " 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 Moses, as if he had preached against marriage itself, or as a missionary would preach against the law of Turkey, who should contend for the establishment of 1 Jac. c. 11. at Conftantinople--and this, on the authority of the Alçoran's having prohibited polygamy,
Him to have condemned polygamy) “ he com“ mitteth adultery; but where doft Thou “ find this in Moses's writings ? they are “ filled with the allowance of what Thou
condemnest, without a single exception : “ therefore, because we believe Moses's writ
ings, 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 business of polygamy, and all other points relative to the commerce of the sexes, were fully adjusted and settled 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 mall be for ever, nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it,
Having now finished what I had to say on the subject of this chapter, I shall next proceed, on the footing of the divine law, to consider another material point relative to the commerce of the sexes, which is Divorce.
* ZUINGLIUS, in his letter on the subject of King Henry's divorce, says 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
Exod. xxii. 16, 17.
HIS scripture is usually 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 divest the most intelligible and plain words of their certain and obvious meaning. But it is to be observed, that the damsel must be entirely disengaged from
betrothment to another man ; for if The were betrothed to another, then the man who defiled her could not marry her, but both he and the, 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. be shall surely endow her to be his wife, or for a wife to himself, as--one's 15 may be more literally rendered.
So Jofephus -ο φθείρας παρθένον, &c. αυτός γαμείτω.-“ He “ who defiles a virgin, the same shall marry “ her.” That is, shall pay the dowry, and so recognize and confirm the marriage-obligation,
* I would here be understood to take the word marry in its popular sense, as denoting fome outward act of public recognition of the marriage-obligation, such as the payment of the dower among the Jews.