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which excludes trials by juries in criminal matters, and substitutes paper depofitions in the place of vivâ voce evidence, is too abhorrent from every principle of our free conftitution to be endured; and I am aftonished, that at the Reformation, their very being was not annihilated, as that of the ftar-chamber was afterwards, 16 Car. I. Thefe * courts, however, have cognizance of the crime of adultery, for which they can fet the offender on a joint ftool in a white sheet, under title Penance; unless, under title + Commutation, he
* In antient times, the King's courts, and especially the Leets, had power to enquire of and punish fornication and adultery; but by 13 Ed. I. Stat. 4. called the ftatute of circumfpecté agatis, these matters were turned over to the ecclefiaftical courts. See 1 Burn, 662, 663. Also 2 Burn, 144, 145.
+ All this wicked traffic of penance and commutation was originally derived from the doctrine of indulgences; concerning which, Tetzel and his affociates, when defcribing the benefit of indulgences, and the neceffity of purchafing them, a little before the Reformation, thus exprefs themselves:-"The efficacy of indulgences is fo
great, that the most heinous fins, even if one fhould "violate the mother of GOD, would be remitted and expiated by them, and the perfon freed both from pu"nishment and guilt. For twelve-pence you may redeem "the foul of your father out of purgatory."
Tetzel was fent into Germany, in the time of Leo the Tenth, with a large cargo of indulgences, which he difpofed of for the railing a fum of money for the Pope. Tetzel affirmed, that he could not only pardon fins paft, but alfo fins to come; whereupon a German gentleman bought fuch a pardon of him, and afterwards robbed Tetzel of the money. Tetzel threatening him, the other faid, he had bought his pardon, declaring that was the fin which he determined to commit. To which Tetzel could not reply.
or fhe can buy off their fin and shame with a fum of money. See 1 Burn. Ecc. Law, 663, quarto. Whatever be the caufe, most certain it is, that the crime of adultery daily increases amongst us, infomuch, that one would think many of the British ladies, once famed for their modefty, chastity, and sobriety, either never red their Bibles at all, or else only that edition of it which was printed by the company of Stationers, in the reign of Charles the First (and for which Archbishop Laud fined them severely in the far-chamber) wherein they printed the feventh commandment without the word not, fo that it ftood, Thou shalt commit adultery.
But if in reading the Hebrew Bible we reftrain the word adultery in the feventh commandment, to the married woman only, and to the man who defiles her, do we not leave the man, who, having one wife, takes another*, out of its reach? I anfwer-It is
*The wife, holy, uniform, and connected fcheme of GOD's moral government, with refpect to the commerce of the fexes, has two principal ends in view. The one, to prevent all confufion of iffue-the other, to fecure the female fex from that which muft lead to it. Therefore a woman's going from one man to another is in all cafes made a capital offence, and punishable with death. On the other hand, no man could take a woman, and then wantonly forfake her. This, being apparently the fource of adultery and proftitution, is pofitively forbidden. The law which forbids this, though conceived in general terms, without any limitation or exception, muft, in fome cafes, fail of the provision it has made for the above purposes,
not for us to judge in this matter, but by the rule of God's word; if that brings fuch a case within the reach of the seventh commandment, or of any one interpretation of it which is to be found in the book of that law, then fuch a man is condemned: if otherwife, he is free-For where there is no law, there is no tranfgreffion. Rom. iv. 15. And fin is not imputed (Ennoyeitai, reckoned, charged, brought to account) where there is no law. Rom. v. 13.
By the book of the law, I mean the Pentateuch, or five books of Mofes, delivered by GoD himself to that eminent fervant and prophet of the MOST HIGH, and by him committed to writing, and delivered to the people. To the book of this law the great apofile of the Gentiles evidently refers, Gal. iii. 10. where he fays, Curfed is every one, that continueth not in all things which are written in the BOOK OF THE LAW, to do them. Our LORD'S forerunner, John the Baptift, declared THE LAW given by Mofes, John i. 17. There is therefore no law but that which was given by GOD to Mofes, nor was any new law enacted after the canon of the Pentateuch was clofed by the death of Mofes. The distinction and difference of moral good and evil were then un
without the allowance of polygamy; as, where the man taking the woman was married before. It is therefore neceffary for us to enter deeply into this question; which I fhall endeavour in the next chapter, not on the precarious footing of popular prejudice and vulgar opinion, concluding that we are wifer than the inhabitants of more extenfive parts of the globe; but on the firm basis of divine revelation, concluding that GOD is wifer than man.
alterably fixed, and the nature of both invariably to remain the fame. What God doeth, it shall be for ever; nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it that men fhould fear before Him. Eccl. iii. 14.
As I am fully perfuaded, on the most mature deliberation, that taking from God's law in fome points, and adding to it in others, are the chief causes of the evil complained of, with regard to the ruin of one fex, by the luft, cruelty, treachery, and perfidy of the other ; I fhall examine the fubject before us the more freely not fuppofing that polygamy, being made felony by that fanguinary ftatute 1 Jac. I. c. II. is therefore finful in the fight of GoD, any more than that adultery is innocent before Him, or one jot the more fo, because our flatute-book has ordained no punishment for it whatsoever. Nor does its being looked upon with deteftation and abhorrence in this part of the world, any more prove the unlawfulnefs of polygamy in the fight of GOD, than the approbation and practice of it in other more extenfive parts of the globe, can prove its lawfulness.
* The pride and felf-importance fo natural to fallen man, are the true reafons why people of all climes and countries are apt to imagine themfelves in the right, and all others who differ from them in the wrong. The Turk defpifes the Chriftian, because he is not a polygamist, the Chriftian in his turn abhors the Turk because he iswhat fhall decide between them? Cuftom, ufage, preju dice of education, national belief, municipal laws-have as much to plead on one fide as on the other: these may fay
Non noftrum inter vos tantas componere lites.
lawfulness. All muft ftand or fall by GoD's own revelation of His own will, in His own law. To fuppofe that His law can be different in different parts of the world, which he hath made, and upholds with the word of His power; or that His one uniform jurisdiction doth not equally and invariably extend over all His reasonable creatures; is to think of Him as the poor idolatrous, ignorant Syrians did-The LORD is God of the bills, but he is not the God of the valiies. 1 Kings xx. 28.
Near akin to this, is the fuppofition that GOD can change his mind, and be of one mind in the Old Testament, and of another in the New Teftament; if fo, He may now have changed His mind again, and neither of these
The only decifive appeal which can be made, must be to the Hebrew fcriptures, unlefs we are to suppose that the Great Moral Governor of the universe had no mind or will concerning the matter, or that he left his church and people in the dark for four thousand years together, touching an affair of fuch infinite confequence. As for imagining that he left the adjustment of marriage to the days of the New Teftament (which is a popular notion amongst us) having fuffered the Jews to live in ignorance and error concerning it for fo many preceding ages-this is as falfe in point of fact, as if it were faid, that they lived without any revelation at all. As furely as the writings of Mofes contain the law of GOD, fo furely was the law of marriage adjusted and fettled in the minuteft particular. Among other reasons why this muft neceffarily have been the cafe, is that very conclufive one, which arises from the dependence of the lawfulness of the issue on the lawfulness of the marriage, and of course the preservation of true genealogy throughout the whole Jewish difpensation; a matter in which our deareft and eternal intereft is concerned.