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covet. Rom. vii. 7. Therefore, when our Saviour preached on the Mount, He did not make, ordain, or publish any new law, nor did he make the law more spiritual than when published at Mount Sinai; but he set it forth, and vindicated it from the false glosses of the Scribes and Pharisees, who, in their teaching, dwelt on the outward letter only, throwing a veil of obscurity over its spiritual fense and meaning. The seventh commandment was just as spiritual under the Old Testament as under the New. The very thought of adultery in David, was as sinful as it would have been in Saint Paul. How then can it be imagined, that the commandment against adultery meant not as much in the times of Moses and the prophets, as in the days of Christ and His Apojlles? or, in other words, as much under the Old Testament as under the New? How can it be thought to condemn any thing amongst Christians, which it did not equally condemn amongst the sews? Whatsoever things the law faith, it faith to them that are under the law (whether sews or Christians) that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world become guilty before God. Rom. iii. 19. If then the law ever condemned polygamy as adultery, whoredoms or fornication,
tion, it certainly does it now; but, as hath been shewn, it never did condemn it in any one instance, not only from the beginning, by any construction put on the original marriage-institution, but also for 1500 years together after the giving the law at Mount Sinai; therefore it never has condemned it since: for Christ gave no new meaning to this or any other of the commandments, but only vindicated and restored the old. What was murder is now murder—what was theft is now theft—what was adultery is now adultery—and what was none of these, is still none of these.
God's law is His will, and His will is His law a change of one must infer a change in the other, and either of these a change in Himself: an idea which is wholly irreconcileable with the scripturechar after of God, with whom there is no 'variableness, neither any shadow of turning, fames i. 17.
Men may cobble, and vamp, and alter, and repeal laws, and indeed it must be so, as mischiefs, which escape all human prescience and foresight, must daily arise; but it cannot be so with OmniScience. All things are present and open to Him. Heb. iv. 13. He ordained the propagation of mankind—He blessed them, Vol. I. K and
and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and repleni/b the earth. Gen. i. 28. He made the woman, and brought her to the man, and skid—A man Jhall cleave to his wife, Gen. ii. 22, 24. (by which expression, according to St. Paul's * interpretation, 1 Cor~ vL 15, 16. is meant the act of copulation or marriagej and they Jhall be one fiejh—thus creating between them so indissoluble a bond, as never to be divided more. Though these words were spoken immediately by Adam, yet, doubtless, he spake under the influence os the divine Spirit, as may appear from Christ's manner of applying the words, Matt. xix. 4, 5. and may therefore, as what Moses and the prophets spake under the same holy influence, be styled—" The word of God." The circumscription and regulation of the whole, was provided for by fixed, determined, and immutable laws, calculated for all times, places, and ages of the world, wherein He should be pleased to make them known. These laws, on the establishment of the church, on its- deliverance out of Ægypt, were given to ■moses, and enforced and explained by him, and the subsequent prophets, under
, ..'. » See-before, 19*20, and note* 1
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the immediate command and teaching of God; and continue, like the holy Lawgiver Himself, one and the same for ever. Who may marry together, and who may not—what is a lawful marriage in God's account, and what is not so, was not left to the uncertain or presumptuous determinations of mankind, but immutably fixed by •written laws of God. To these it Is our bounden diity to conform, and to fay to all subsequent inventions of men, as Well thbse which forbid marriage entirely, as those who would put asunder those whom God hath joined together, under pretence of greater purity and holiness, as the angel did to Peter, Acts x. 15. What God hath cleansed, that call thou not common or unclean.
I have mentioned she law being explained by the prophets. These were extraordinary messengers which God raised tip and sent forth under a special commission; not only to foretell things to come, but to preach to the people, to hold forth the law, to point out their defecations from it, and to call them to repentance, under the severest terms of God's displeasure^ unless they obeyed. Their commission, in these respects, we find recorded, If. lviii. 1. Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet: flew my K 2 * people
people their transgrejfions, and the house of Jacob their fins. This commission was to be faithfully executed, at the peril of the prophet's own destruction, as appears from the solemn charge given to Ezekiel, chap. iii. 18. When I fay to the wicked, Thoufljalt Jure/y die, and thou give/I him not warning, . nor fpeakeji to warn the wicked to save his life, the fame wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood will I require at thine hand.
These prophets executed their commission very unfaithfully towards God and the people, as well as most dangerously for themselves, if polygamy was a sin against God's law; for it was the common practice of the * whole nation, • from the prince on the throne to the lowejl of the people; and yet neither Isaiah, Jeremiah, nor any one of the prophets, bore the least testimony against it. They reproved them sharply and plainly for defiling their neighbours wives, as Jer, v. 8 j xxix. 23.—in which fifth chapter, we not only find the prophet bearing testimony against adultery, but against whoredom and fornication, ver. 7. for that they assembled themselves by troops in the harlots houses.
* Josephus calls it Tolstoy—which answers to what we mean by the word national.