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sin and shame with a sum of money. Whatever be the cause, most certain it is, that the crime of adultery daily increases amongst us, insomuch, that one would think many of the British ladies, once famed for their modesty, chastity, and sobriety, either never red their Bibles at all, or else only that edition of it, which was printed by the company of Stationers, in the reign of Charles thcFirJl (and for which Archbishop Laud fined them severely in the star-chamber) wherein they printed the seventh commandment without the word not, so that it stood, Thou Jhalt commit adultery.

But if in reading the Hebrew Bible we restrain the word adultery in theseventh commandment, to the married woman only, and to the man who defiles her, do we not leave the man, who, having one wife, takes another *, out of its reach? I answer—It


was originally derived from the doctrine of indulgences; concerning which, Tetzel and his associates, when describing the benefit of indulgences, and the necessity of purchasing them, a little before the Reformation, thus express themselves :—" The efficacy of indul"gencies is so great, that the mest heinous fins, "even if one should violate the mother of God, "would be remitted and expiated by them, and the "person freed both from punijhment and guilt. For • "twelve-pence you may redeem the soul of your fa"ther out of purgatory."

* The wise, holy, uniform, and connected scheme •f God's moral government, with respect t© the commerce

is not for us to judge in this matter, but by the rule of God's word j if that brings such a case within the reach of the seventh commandmenty or of any one interpretation of it which is to be found in the book of that law, then such a mail is condemned: if otherwise, he is free For where there is no law, there is no transgression. Rom. iv. 15. And fin is not imputed {iXKoytiTX'., reckoned, charged, brought to account) where there is no law. Rom. v. 13.

By the book of the law, I mean the pentateuch, or five books of Moses, delivered by God himself to that eminent servant

mtree of the sexes, has two principal ends in view. The one, to prevent all confusion os issue—the other, to secure the female sex from that which must lead to it. Therefore a woman's going from one man to another is in all cafes made a capital offence, and punishable with death. On the other hand,,no man could take a woman and then forsake her. This, being apparently the source of * adultery and prostitution, is positively forbidden. The law which forbids this, though conceived in general terms, without any limitation or exception, must, in some cafes, fail of the provision it has made for the above purposes, without the allowance of polygamy; as, where the man taking the woman was married before. It is thereforenecessary for us to enter deeply into this question; which 1 shall endeavour in the next chapter, not on the precarious footing of popular prejudice and vulgar opinion, concluding that we are wiser than the inhabitants of more extensive parts of the globe; but on the firm basis of divine revelation? concluding that God is wiser than man.

* Mnt. v. \t,

F 3 and

and prophet of the Most High, and by him committed to writing, and delivered to the people. To the book of this law the great apojile of the Gentiles evidently refers, Gal. iii. 10. where he fays, Cursed is every one, that continuetb not in all things which, are written in the Book Of The, ta\. do them. Our Lord's forerunner, "John the Baptijl, declared the law was given by Moses, fohn i. 17. There is therefore no law but that which was given by God to Moses, nor was any new law enacted after the canon of the Pentateuch was closed by the death of Moses. The distinction and difference of moral good and evil were then Unalterably fixed, and the nature of both invariably to remain the same. What God doeth, it Jhall be for ever; nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it thai: men Jhould fear before Him, Eccl. iii. 14.

As I am fully persuaded, on the most mature deliberation, that taking from God's law in some points, and adding to it in others, are the chief causes of the evil complained of, with regard to the ruin of one sex, by the lust, cruelty, treachery, and perfidy of the other; I shall examine the subject before us the more freely: not supposing that polygamy, being made felony by that sanguinary statute 1 Jac. L c. 11. is therefore sinful in the fight of God, any ■


more than that adultery is innocent before Him, or one jot the more so, because our statute-book has ordained no punishment for it whatsoever. Nor does its being looked upon with detestation and abhorrence in this part of the world, any more prove the unlawfulness of polygamy in the sight of God, than the approbation and practice of it in other more extensive parts of * the globe, can prove its lawfulness. All must stand or fall by God's own revelation of His own will, in His own law. To suppose that His law can be different in different parts of the world, which he

• ;i hath

* The pride and self-importance, so natural to fallen, man, are the true reasons why people of all climes and countrfes are apt to imagine themselves in the right, and all others who differ from them in the wrong. The Turk despises the Christian because he is not a polygamist, the Christian in his turn abhors the Turk because he is—what shall decide between them? Custom, usage, prejudice of education, national belief, municipal laws—have as much to plead on one side as on the other: these may say

Non nostrum inter vos tantas componere lites.

The only decisive appeal which can be made, must be to the Hebrew scriptures, unless we are to suppose that the Great Moral Governor of the universe had no mind or will concerning the matter, or that he left his church and people in the dark for four thousand years together, touching an affair of such infinite consequence. As for imagining that he left the adjustment of marriage to the days of the New Testament (which is a popular notion amongst us) having

F 4 " suffered hath made, and upholds with the word of His power; or that His one uniform jurisdiction doth not equally and invariably extend over all His reasonable creatures; is to think of Him as the poor idolatrous, ignorant Syrians did—The Lord is God of the hills, but he is not the God of the rallies, l Kings xx. 28.

Near akin to this, is the supposition that God can change his mind, and be of one mind in the Old Testament, and of another in the New Tejlament; if so, He may now have changed His mind again, and neither of these books contain a single syllable which can be depended upon j so that after all the pains we can take to acquaint ourselves with the divine mind and will, we may be as utter strangers to them as the savages in America are.—But when we search the indelible records of truth, we find that the attribute of unchangeablenefs shines,

suffered the Jews to live in ignprance and error concerning it for so many preceding ages—this is as false in point of fact, as if it were said, that they lived without any revelation at all. As surely as the writings of Moses contain the law of God, so surely was she law of marriage adjusted and settled in the minutest particular. Among other reasons why this must necessarily have- been the cafe, is that very conclusive one," which arises from the dependence of the lawfulness of the ijsuj on the lawfulness of the marriage, and'of course the preservation of true genealogy throughout the whole 'Jewijh dispensation; a matter in which

our dearest and eternal interest is concerned.

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