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thren; that is to fay, with the parents and relations of their unjustly divorced wives, who gave them their daughters or Jijlers in marriage, to abide with them, not to be put away. They dealt treacherously also with their .wives, in putting them away —Therefore the prophet reproves them, and calls them to repentance by the following considerations, ver. 14, 15; which I will endeavour to lay before the reader in a paraphrase suitable to the literal and true meaning of the original Hebrew, and conformable to the analogy of divine revelation, as delivered to us by Moses and the prophets. Then it will appear, that these distinguished servants of God were not guilty of concealing, disguising, or dissembling the truth j nor God Himself capable of suffering His seventh commandment, as well as the original institution of marriage, to be transgressed, not; only with impunity, but allowance, uni^ formly through so many ages, or of leaving His church and people utterly ignorant of His mind and will, touching sp important a matter, for all that time.
7WV "iriN ab) Et ne unus fecit? Mont. And did not one make? Here our commentators, misted by our translators, and these by the vulgar error of the fmfulness of polygamy, tell us, that "these words signify
"lS nil "wen And He hath (or hath He not?) the remainder of the Spirit—Hath He not the fame power He ever had?— Is His hand shortened at all, so that He cannot complete your restoration if He pleases, or punish you still more severely, if you continue disobedient to His commandments? Spirit is here used for * power, mighty, but espe
"cially irresistible power; as Ps.cxxxix. 7.
*'. Is. lix. 19. Is. lxiii. 14. Is. xxxiv-s 16.
** —Wpm "inKH n»l And what did The
"One seek? Dtivn V1T—aseed of God — an -f- holy seed (see Ezra ix. 2.) therefore take heed to your spirit—that
* So the power of the Spirit is often used for the Spirit itself. Comp. If. xxxii. 15. Luke xxiv. 49. Acts i. 8. See also Judges xiii. 25; xiv. 19; xvi. Jj, 20. Rom. i. 4. with 1 Cor. vi. 14. & al. freq. In an old edition of the Bible, printed in the year 1615, there are short notes added in the margin; and in the note on the word Spirit, in this text, it is explained to mean power and virtue.
f This can have nothing to do with polygamy, because, if it had, we (hould have hardly found it allowed of God, and practised by his saints; or, in fact, have found some of the most distinguished and blessed men that ever lived, the offspring of polygamous marriages; witness holy Joseph, and the prophet Samuel. Besides all this, we may observe, that the Jews, who are in this place of Ezra emphatically styled the holy feed, were descended from the twelve fins of Jacob, half of which were born under ftlygamy.
"is, your temper—affections'—as T\T\ is very often applied, (fee Numb. xiv. 24. I Sam. i. 15.) "and none of you deal *' treacherously againji the wife of thy youth, "by putting her away, and taking these "idolatreffes; for I the Lord hate putting "away" The consideration of the relation they stood in to Jehovah—He their common Father—they His professing children, was one argument against their separating — another was, that, as the Lord sought a godly feed in their offspring, by their being devoted to Him in their earliest infancy, then brought up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, this design would be defeated by their taking idolatrous women, who, instead of devoting the children to Jehovah, would be for bringing them up to the * worfoip of their idols, and an ungodly feed be the consequence. See Deut. vii. 3, 4. Lastly, God had forbidden divorce from the beginning, (see Gen. ii. 24.) for He hateth putting away at any rate; but how much more to see His own professing daughters put away, that His own pro
* We find that these idolatrous women laid a sure foundation for this, by bringing up their children in the knowledge of the heathen tongues of their several countries, so that they could not understand the language of God's law. See Neh. xiii, 23, 24,
feffing sons might marry the daughters of a strange God? This was indeed doing an abominable thing "which God hated. Jer. iv. 44.
This I take to be a clear consistent view of this famous passage, and agrees exactly with what Ezra fays, chap. ix. 9. &c. and chap. x. 2. &c. who did not rend his mantle and gannent, and pluck the hair off his head and beard, ^and Jit down astonished, because the people did what their fathers Abram, Jacob, David, &c. had done without the least reproof, and had been constantly, openly, avowedly practised by the holiest of their forefathers, without the least * scruple on their part, or condemnation on God's part—but because they had married hea^ then women, and, as appears by Mai. ii. 14. had dealt treacheroujly against the Jewish lawful wives, by putting them away in order to do it.
* When Joseph was solicited by Potiphar's wise,' he answered with aborrence—How can I do this great ■wickedness, and fin against God? Gen. xxxix. 9. latter part.—But when Abrahams, wife Sarah proposed her husband's taking Hagar to wife, Gen. xyi. 2, 3. he does it without the least objection. So Jacob took Rachel after Leah, there being their no law against marrying a wife's fijler. This, and the many other instances, clearly prove, that the wisest and best of God's saints never dreamt of polygamy's having any relation to the sin 6f adultery.