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*' But as the sick are to be visited and 'attended, as well as the poor relieved, 'it may be necessary also to appoint 'women for these purposes, especially 'as to attending and nursing the poor 'of their own sex. These may require 'many offices highly improper for men 'to be engaged in; though the nursing 'sck men, or visiting and relieving them, 'may very properly fall also under the 'care of women. These women may 'also be called Aiaxcvot tvfi ix.iifyeitt.t (see 'Rom. xvi. i.) servants or ministers of the 'church. Those who are to be deemed 'proper for these offices, must not be 'young, raw, unexperienced girls ; nor
* married women, whose attention be'longs to their husbands and families, 'I Cor. vii. 34; nor the younger wi1 dows, who are not arrived at a time of 'life suitable to such employments, 'i Tim. v. 11: let these marry, to keep 'themselves out of mischief, ver. 12, '13, 14. The only women who are fit 'to be chosen as servants or minis ers of 'the church in the respects above men'tioned, should be far advanced in years; 'that is to fay, not less than threescore 'years old, who having buried their
* husbands and brought up their children, '1 Tim. v. 10. have time, as well as
"inclination, "inclination, to devote themselves to "the offices of the church. They should "also be sober and discreet persons, who, *' by their conduct in their younger *' years, have shewn their temperance "and sobriety, by having contented "themselves with one husband, and who, "ever after the death of that husband, "have secluded themselves from any "further worldly engagements of that "fort, so as to be justly styled widows "indeed; though desolate, yet trusting in "God (i Tim. v. 5.); and like Anna, •' Luke'ii. 36, 37. continuing in supplications ** and prayers night and day."—This I take to be a consistent and clear view of these passages taken together. As we may from hence infer, that there were women in the church younger than Jixty years, by the Apostle's express exclusion of those •under that age from those offices to which women were to be chosen; as also that there were many who had been twice married, by his designing those who had "been but once married for the aforesaid offices; so we may as fairly conclude, from his saying a hi/bop—Sf/ tivxt—ought to be—and again, if any, tqu, is or be the husband of one wife—that there were many Christians, not who bad had, but at that present tune actually had more than one
wife* wise. If this had not been the cafe, it would have been as much out of the question to have mentioned the having but one wife, as to have said, that none should be chosen but those who had but one bead or one body, when it was not to be supposed that any man had more.
As to the conceit, that, "what the "Apofile says about the bifiops and dea"cons, is to prove that no minister may "marry a second time," it is all but as bad as faying, with the church of Rome, that he ought not to marry at all.
With respect to the business of polygamy, as to the thing itself, nothing that is here said proves it to be more or less sinful in one man than in another; that depends wholly on the law of God delivered by Moses. Therefore the prudential reasons, for which he evidently excepted against polygamijls being elected to church-offices, no more affects the matter of polygamy, than the excepting against women under sixty years old,, proves itsnful in a woman to be younger, or that, because no woman was to be chosen to the office of a deaconess who had been twice married, therefore it was sinful for the woman to marry again after the death of her husband, contrary to i; i Cor. I Cor. vii. 39. and to the express advice of the Apojlle, 1 Tim. v. 14.
As to the supposed unlawfulness of second marriages, or the notion, that if a man lost his wife, it was sinful to marry again; this began very early in the church, and spread itself even to this country. We find in the time of Ed. I. about the year 1276, the parliament adopted a constitution made by the Pope at' Lyons, to exclude men that had been twice married from all clerks privilege. So that if a man was convicted of felony, who would otherwise have had bis clergy, and it appeared that he had been twice married, he was to be executed like other laypeople. A statute of 18 Ed. III. mitigated the rigour of this law with respect to clerks, by making a suggestion os bigamy triable by the ordinary, before the jujiiees could proceed. But all were delivered from the bondage of such laws by 1 Ed, VI. c. 12. § 16. which enacts, that—" every person, who by any law or "statute of this realm ought to have "the benefit of clergy, shall be allowed "the fame, although he hath been divers ** times married to any single woman or "single women, or to two wives or more, "or to any widow or widows." • Among the six famous articles proposed X by by Henry VIII. to the parliament and <ro>ivocation, one was—" whether priests, that "is to fay, men dedicate to God by "priesthood, may, by the law of God, ** marry after or no?"—" After great, *' long, deliberate, and advised disputa*' tion and consultation had and made "concerning the said article, as well by "the consent of the King's Highness, as "by the assent of the Lords spiritual and "temporal, and other learned men of his "Clergy in their convocations, and by the "consent of the Commons, in this present "parliament assembled, it was and is "finally resolved, accorded, and agreed "—that priests, after the order of priest"hood received as afore, may not * marry
* In the eighth century, some monks pretended, that the angel Gabriel had brought twelve articles from heaven, one of which was, that ecclesiastics must not marry. See Jortin Rem. vol. ii. p. 43.
In the ninth century, Pope Nicholas I. made a decree to restrain priests from marrying. The bishop of Augjburg wrote a pathetic letter to the Pope, setting forth the sad and mischievous consequences of taking their wives from the priests. The letter is at large in Fox, vol. ii. p. 392. and well'worth reading. He tells Pope Nicholas, that his predecessor Saint Gregory (i. e. Gregory IV.) made such a decree, but repented of it on this occasion; to use the old bishop's words as they are there translated — "Upon a certain day, as St. Gregory sent to his "fish-pond to have some filh, his servants drained