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with a distinguished lustre; I am Jehovah, faith He, I change not. Mai. iii. 6. God is one—His will is one—therefore this, no more than Himself, can kn6w any alteration, diminution, or change — What was law * at the beginning will be law to the end; and therefore what that law is, as touching the point in question, I will now proceed, with the confidence which the love of truth inspires, and with a proper disregard for the fallacious and unfcriptural reasonings of men, in the freest manner to consider. .. ..'..:;
* This is true even of the ceremonial law, as to its meaning and substance. It cannot be less true of the moral law, which is founded in the relation which rpankind bear to God and each other.
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1 PROMISED the Reader, that the proofs for what I advance, should be drawn from the word of God; and, for my own fake, as well as that of the truth, I find myself more especially bound to keep this promise, with respect to the subject before us: for if I were to go to human authorities, I should wander into such an endless labyrinth of difference and contradiction, as to lose sight of every thing but fruitless * disputation.
* Fruitless indeed ! For the great Puffendorf, B.vi. c. i. § 17. fays —" Whether 'or no this practice "be repugnant to the law of nature, is a point not "fully settled among the learned." He then gives the arguments on both sides, "leaving the decisive ** judgment to be passed by the reader." So that upon the footing of human wisdom—adhuc sub judice Us eft. The author therefore only considers it on the footing of the divine law, conceiving it impossible to determine its lawfulness or unlawfulness in God's fight by any thing else. According to this law will all men be judged at the last day: therefore, to appeal to any other, in matters of conscience, is absurd to the last degree. There is no other principle or means of discovering the mind and will of God /\ touching
That the mischiefs which must inevitably attend polygamy on the woman's side, do not accrue from it on the part of the man, is very clear: and on this principle, we may account for the total difference which is put between them in the divine law — the one punished with death, the, other not so much as mentioned in a criminal light. So far from being prohibited or condemned by the law, we find it allowed, owned, and even blejjed of Goo: and in no one instance, amongst the many recorded in scripture, so much as disapproved.
By polygamy, I would be understood to mean *, what the word literally imports, the having and cohabiting with more than one wife at a time. Whether taken toge
touching this, or any other religious truth, no other rule or measure of judging and determining any thing about it or concerning it, but only the writing from whence it is taken, it being wholly of divine revelation, and that revelation being only expressed in that writing. See Dr. Owen on the Scriptures, p. 18.
* Polygamy, strictly speaking, is of two forts; either when one woman promiscuously admits of more husbands than one, or when one man is at the fame time joined in marriage to more than one woman— The former of these is too aborrent from nature, reason, and scripture, to admit of a single argument in its favour, or even to deserve a moment's consideration. The author therefore, by the word polygamy, only means the latter, throughout this treatise.
tber, as seems to be the cafe of king fehoajh, 2 Chron. xxiv. 3. or first one and then another, as Jacob, Gen. xxix. 28. or DaVid, 1 Sam. xxv. 43; it was this which was allowed of God, consequently practised by His people. The putting away or divorcing one woman, in order to take another, was as much forbidden in the Old Testament as in the New. God fays, Deut. xxii. 29. She Jhall be his wife; he may not fut her away all his days. So before, ver. 19 j and again, Exod. xxi. 10. If be take him 'another wife, her food si. e. of the firjl wife) her raiment, and her duty of marriage, he Jhall not * diminish. Putting away or divorcing 2l firjl, in order to take a second, is a palpable breach of these laws, and therefore treated by the great and infallible interpreter of them as a heinous offence against God, it being a breach of that obligation, laid upon the man, to consider his wife as one flejh with himself, and, as such, to cleave to her for life, as bone of his bone,fleJh of his flejh, Gen. ii. 23 j which our Lord cites, and reasons upon, to prove the abomination of such a proceeding, as absolutely contrary to the original institution of the marriage-bond.
This, however, was the common prac
* JTU lib—not withhold—withdraw—keep back—*'* <»Var«f nfu, LXX 3 much less lhall he put her away.
tice of the profligate Jews of that day, who abused the liberty of divorce permitted by Moses, in certain cases, to the most licentious purposes, so as 19 make marriage little better than a pretence for gratifying their lusts, divorcing one, in order to take smother, and thus profaning the holy ordinance of God, by giving it no higher place in their esteem, than as a means of indulging their depraved appetites. A monstrous practice! against which Christ's discourse, Matth. xix. 4. &c. is levelled, not against polygamy, as considered limply in itself. If we interpret this passage as such an explanation of God's law from the beginning, as will serve to prove all polygamijls are * adulterers, we must condemn a large generation of God's dearest servants and children; and instead of believing that all these died in faith, Heb. xi. 13. we must fay, that many of them died in a state of unbelief and disobedience; and instead of looking for Abraham, Jacob, David, &c. in the kingdom of heaven, we must look for them in the kingdom of Satan; for bis they were, and him they served, if polygamy be an offence against the law from
* Adultery is marked as a mortal sin, Gen. xx. 3. in the history of Abimelech king of Gerar; and polygamy therein stands as utterly distinguished from it— this in the judgment of Jehovah himftlf. See post.