« AnteriorContinuar »
As to the notion expressed by commentators, in their apparently misconceived ideas of this text of Malachi—that because God created but one man and one woman at first, therefore he intended that "no man should have more than one "wife at a time ever after," I do humbly conceive, that, if God had meant so, He would somewhere have said so, and not have left it to the wisdom of men to put their * interpretations on what He was
* As to putting our construction on any acts of God, so as to draw them into precedents, unless clearly instructed by Him so to do, it would in. many cafes be attended with great mischiefs—for instance: Suppose we were to argue for brothers and sisters intermarrying, because this must have been the cafe among the immediate children of Adam and Eve? the creation of only one man and one woman, would at least be 'as good an argument for incest, as against polygamy. But it can have no weight in either cafe, because God, by a positive law, (Lev', xviii. 9.) prohibited the first, and by as positive a law (Deut. xxi. 15—17.) allowed the second. it pleased God, that the whole human nature should reside in one common sœderal head, who was to be the common representative of all his subsequent naturally-engendered offspring; and by one woman ^aken out of himself, to convey that nature which was in him to his own immediate children, and by them to his posterity, to the end of the world. Let any one read Rom. v. with attention, and consider in what respects Adam was a figure of Him that was to come (ver. 14.) and then it will be seen, that no man who ever was, or will be naturally engendered of the offspring of Adam, can have, been, or be in the
pleased to do; for who hath known the mind os the Lord, and who hath been his counsellor? Rom. xi. 34. Some may argue, that because it was said—" A man ** Jhall cleave to his wife, not wives, there"fore it is unlawful for a man to have "two or more wives in * succession, and "can only have one so long as he lives, "because Adam had but one." This fort of conceits is like supposing that God forbad the wearing cloth, or silk, or linen, because He cloathed our first: parents with skins. Gen. iii.. 21 j or supposing, like those mad heretics of the second century, who called themselves Adamites, that Chriftians are to meet together stark naked without any Jhame, because it is said (Gen. ii. 25.) Adam and Eve were naked, and were not ashamed. If we take upon ourselves to interpret this or any act of God merely by our imaginations, we take upon us what
fame circumstances and situation that Adam was. Wherefore a precedent against polygamy is no more to be drawn from him, than against natural generation from Eve's being made out of one of his ribs, or from his own being immediately formed out of the dust of the earth.
* There was a time in the Christian church, when this was looked upon as only " a more specious and "decorous kind of adultery," and reckoned infamous.
The Montanijls affirmed second marriages to be as scandalous and sinful as fornication. But more of this hereafter.
does not belong to us. We are told, Deut. xxix. 29. Secret Things belong unto the Lord our God, but those things which are Revealed, to us and our children for ever, that we may do all the words of His law.
That God might have created 10,000 men, and as many women, is certain. Why He did not, He hath no where told us, any more than why He created only one man and one * woman. This and all things else are to be resolved into His own good pleasure, and the counsel of his own will. Eph. i. 11. Rev. iv. 11. Our attempting to account for any of His holy acts or dispensations, any farther than the
* Milton represents Adam as faying
■ O why did God,
Creator wife, that peopled highest heav'n
We may presume that God made the rest of the animal creation by pairs, the male and female—■ Comp. Gen. i. 70—25. with Gen. vii. 14—16: therefore, to draw arguments against polygamy (which, by the way, the scriptures have no where done) from a similar creation of the human species, would, if pursued to the utmost, prove tio much, and of course prove nothing.
VpL. I. L revelation
revelation of His word expressly authorizes us, is to be wise above what is written, to involve ourselves in endless mazes of error, till—pros effing ourselves wife, we become fools. Rom. i. 22.
God's bringing the woman to the man— that solemn denunciation—therefore stall a man leave father and mother, and cleave unto his wife, and they stall be one flest— form a conclusive argument against divorce j and are expressly made use of by Christ for that purpose in His dispute with the Pharisees, Matt. xix. 4, 5; but it is no where, in the whole scripture, made use of as an argument against polygamy. There were, doubtless, opportunities enough in the antediluvian, as well as the postdiluvian world, to have given occasion for it, had any * such thing been intended.
* One weighty reason for the creation of only ene man and one woman at first, may be gathered from Acts xvii. 26. where it is said — He hath made %f One Blood all nations of tnen, for to dwell on all the face of the earth. Had more men and women than Adam, and Eve been created at first, this strict affinity of relationship by blood could not have existed; but this was wisely and graciously contrived, "as a reason for, and cement of, brotherly love—as a means of hiding pride, and boasting of one above another, with respect to their original pedigree; so that none, on this account, should despise or set at
. The first instance of polygamy which is recorded, we find Gen. iv. 19. And LaMe Ch took unto him two wives, the name of one was Adah, the other Zillah. Here our commentators think they have found out \ht Jin ot polygamy—*' It was "one of the degenerate race of Cain," faith one, "that first transgressed the law "of marriage, that two only should be "one flesh." These are the words of one of the wisest and best (Mr. Henry) amongst our English commentators, and
nought his brother. This thought is well expressed in that well-known epitaph:
Nobles and heralds, by your leave,
Although, in this corrupt and mixed state of things, civil government is necessary, therefore outward distinctions of men are necessary; for without these no civil polity could exist; yet, in that day, when the governors and governed shall appear before the Great Governor of all, they will be constrained to fay, with Joseph's brethen, Gen. xlii. u. we are all one man's sons;—and then will know, however little attention they may give to it now, that God is no respecter of persons. See Acts x. 34. If these humbling considerations were improved as they ought, they would furnish us with motives of humility, benevolence, brotherly kindness, long-suffering, mercy, and charity to each other, beyond all the arguments of the wisest moralists of Greece and Rome. See Mai. ii. 10.
L 2 serve