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. - '* Such a day, such a month, and year, *' I such a one, of such a place, do, "os my own free consent and choke, "repudiate thee A. B. my late wise, "banish thee from me, and restore "thee to thy own liberty, and thou ** mayest henceforth go whither, and '* marry whom, thou wilt. And this "is thy bill of divorcement and "writing of expulsion, according to "the law of Moses and Israel. Sign"ed by two witnesses." See Univ. Hist, vol. iii. p. 149. The people having been taught that such a bill of divorcement was a valid dissolution of the marriage, the woman of course believed, that she, having received it, was free to marry any other man, as much as if her husband had been dead; and thus was flic caused, by this deceit, to marry another, by which, in truth, and in the light of God, she committed adultery.
The latter clause of ver. 32. Whosoever /ball marry her that is divorced, commits et b adultery, is wanting in the Cambridge manuscript. St. Augustine says, that some Greek and Latin copies had it not, and seems to treat it as a needless tautology; his words are these —" Explica"tus hie sensus putari potuit in eo quod «• superius dictum est"—" facit earn nusc•« chart" —" quomodo cnim dimilsa fit
macha, nisi fiat qui earn duxerit ma■" chus ?"—that is—" The fense of this "clause may be supposed to be explained "in what goes before—caufetb her to com"mit adultery—for how could she become "an adulteress, unless the man who mar** ried her became an adulterer?" But when it is considered that our Saviour was speaking to a people whose ears were dull of hearing. Matt. xiii. 15—who were taught by their DocJors to stand upon the mere letter of scripture, without entering into the spirit of it—it was necessary that line should be upon line—line upon line—precept upon precept, precept upon precept—as the Prophet* speaks, If. xxviii. 10—therefore, that our Lord should not leave them to draw conclusions from words of implication only, and thus to throw the sin upon the woman alone, because the man was not mentioned, but so express Himself as to bring the whole law on the subject into full view; as Lev. xx. io. where both the woman and the man are explicitly mentioned, the one as an adulteress, the other as an adulterer: Surely then, on the authority of the scripture itself, the reading of this last clause ought to be retained, as it stands in the best copies.
* So the Apostle, Phil. iii. 1.—To write the fame things to you, to me Indeed Is not grievous, but for you it is safe.
Vo*. I. B b The
The next scripture to be farther considered, is Matt. xix. 9. Jfay vntoyou, WhdJbever pall pat away bis wife (except it be for fornication) and Jhall marry dnothtf, committetb adultery, and whoso mafrieth her '•which is put away, committetb adultery.11' This is highly neceflary, in order TO bring into view the whole of Our Lord's design, which was to reprobate the various abuses of divorce, at that time practised by the sews, and among the rest, the hbrrid traffic, which the very law of Mo~ fes, to which they referred for their justification, condemned—that of divorcing their wives for every cause, and, of course, that they might exchange them for a time, and then take them back again;—this was expressly forbidden by Deut. xxiv. 2, 3, 4. therefore certainly included in Our Lord's discourse on the subject of unlawful and unjutt: divorce. And indeed I much doubt, whether, in this place, the applying and inforcing of Deut. xxiv. 2, 3, 4. was not the cbifobjeA which Our Saviour had in view—(fee before p. 8t;, 86, 87.) For where a man divorced his wife for such a purpose (which, according to the Hilklians was held lawful—fee before p. 8:2, 83.) he became an adulterer in: a double fense, as not only causing his own unjustly-divorced wife tor "commit adultery, by prostituting her to another man, ac....' cording
cording to Matt. v. 32.—but also by taking the other man's unjustly-divorced wife to himself; which seems the true import of yxfj.vi(rvi dXKViV in this place. We must remember, that Christ is arguing with the Jews on the footing of the law qf Moses, as it stood in the Hebrew scripture, not as the Scribes and Pharisees interpreted it, or as we have translated it. See the learned AinsWorth on Deut. xxiv. 1, &c. and Gell's Essay towards a New Translation, p. 723.
A person of infidel-principles was once making himself merry in a large company, at the expence of the scriptures, and told his companions, that he could prove the , prophet of the Christians (as he called Christ) miftaken, even upon the most common subjects. After awakening the curiosity of the company, he thus gratified it—" Christ fays, that old bottles are "not so strong as new" (alluding to Matt, ix. 17.) "and therefore, if new wine is ** put into old bottles, it will break them ** —now don't every body know that old "is just as strong as new, for who "ever heard that glass was the weaker for "being old?" A clergyman in company, who had been made the butt of his wit, gently reproved the ignorance and folly of this witling, by aslang him if he understood Greek ? — " Greek, Sir ? — No, Sir B b 2 '" —but "—but what has Greek to do with it ?— "a bottle's a bottle, whether in Greek or "English, every body knows that, and "that an old bottle is just as good and as "strong as a new one."—" Not quite, Sir," (replied the other) " if they are made of "leather or Jkins, which was the fact as to "the bottles Christ speaks of, as their "Greek * name imports;—and indeed it is
• 'Afrxot signifies a leathtrn bottle, or vessel, used to hold wine. See Jofli. ix. 4, 13, where the Hebrew word /lYTRJ is rendered by the LXX. do-not. They are said to be old and rent, and bound up. See Harm. Obs. on Scripture, vol. i. p. 131, 132.
The celebrated At. de Voltaire, whose malice against the scriptures could only be equalled by his ignorance of their contents, endeavours to prove, From Prov. xxiii. 31. that the whole book is a forgery, and not written by Solomon; this because DO is rendered, in the translations before him, by the word glass—vitrum—verre—" whereas," fays that wife critic, *' drinking-glajfes were not invented till after So"lomon's time," taking it for granted that DO must: signify a drinking-glass; whereas it denotes any drinking-cup which covers or incloses the liquor, of whatever materials the said cup may consist.
He is alike happy in his proof of i Sam. xxviii. (which gives an account of Saul's consulting the witch of Endor) being a forgery, "because the word "Python" (used in the Vulgate translation) "was ** not known 'till the sews had some acquaintance "with the Greeks, after the time of Alexander." —The Hebrew is yiH which the LXX render by iyyas-pi/Avflsr—vcntriloquam—a kind of wizard, so called from their inward way of speaking or muttering. But not a glimpse of Python is there to be found. Sec Letters of Jews to Voltaire, vol. 2. p. 275, 373. Trans. by Lefanu.