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"dress his victuals well, or if he found "any other woman he liked better." Akiba was still more indulgent than Hillell, for he affirmed that '* it was sufficient cause ** for a man to put away his wife, if she "Were not agreeable to her husband."

Jofephus and Phi/o shew very sufficiently, that in their time the Jews believed divorce to be lawful on every trivial cause. That the Pharisees had learnt to explain the toleration of Moses in a like extensive manner, may be gathered from the question which they put to our Saviour. The above observations may therefore serve as a key to the scripture under consideration. The Pharisees (who aiked, whether it was lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?J seem to have been deeply tinctured with that position of Hillell, and to have adopted that particular cause of divorce mentioned by him, that of seeing a woman they liked better, so putting away one whom they liked less, in order to take another whom they liked more. Against this Christ may be understood to level his answer—Whosoever putteth away his •wife, except for the cause of fornication, and marries h another, commits et h adultery, &c. not as condemning polygamy in itself, against which there was no law, but Under the particular circumstance os unlawG 2 fut ful divorce to effect it, against which the law of God was from the beginning. Such a thing was not contained in Moses's permission, nor mentioned therein, but was contrary to the very institution of marriage, and, as our Lor D shews clearly, ver. 4,5,6, virtually forbidden by the very words of it. It was as unlawful for a man to put away or divorce his wife for another woman, as for a woman to put away or divorce her husband for another man: the marriage- bond being equally binding as to the matter of putting away. We may also observe, that though the saints of God, of whom we read so much in the Old Testament *% practised polygamy, yet they


"* The example of the Heathens and Mahometans •' may indeed be of no great force in the argument for "polygamy* because it appears that those people are "guilty of many violations of the law of nature) "but the polygamy of the fathers under the old cove"nant, is a reason which ingenuous men must con"fess to be unanswerable." See Puffendorf, lib. vi. C. I. § 18.

Some have thought, that the examples of Abraham, Jacob, and the other Old-Testament saints, are too far removed into antiquity, to serve as proofs for the lawfulness of polygamy.—But did ever any one object to the history of {Jain, as an example of the criminality of murder, or of God's thoughts on t'hat subject? or does the Apostle, in the epistle to the Hebrews, scruple to recapitulate, by name, thofe heroes of antiquity, who did such mighty works by i the


did not put away one wife in order to make room for another. This was as directly forbidden them by the law of God, delivered by Moses, as by Christ, on the authority of that law, to these Pharisees.

Here I would observe, that our translators of the Bible seem to have paid too much attention to the Scribes and Pharisees, in the rendering the passage referred to for the justification of their doctrines about divorce. The Pharisees fay, Moses Commanded to give a writing of divorcement, and put her away. Thus the rabbies construed, Deut. xxiv. i, &c. in the imperative mood j and we, by doing the fame in our translation of that passage,' have justified their misinterpretation, and even justify the divorced woman's going to be another man's wife. She may go, and be another man's wife; so we translate, verse 2. No marvel, if this be the cafe, that Christ is supposed to condemn something which was before allowed; whereas the whole passage is suppository or hypothetical, and only introductory of that

the power of faith, as examples to us ? In stiort, doth he not assure us, Rom. xv. 4. That Whatsoever Things were ivritten afore-time, were written for our learning? But what can we learn from either the precepts or examples of old time, if we are to suppose that God has changed his mind upon the subjects which they hold forth to us?

G 3 positive;

positive law, ver. 4. The whole should be rendered thus, if we would avoid the absurdity of supposing Moses to command, what God positively forbad, and to consign a married woman into the arms of an adulterer, in the very face of the seventh commandment, by faying, "She may go and be another man's wife." ver. 2. This would be establishing adultery by a solemn Jaw.

The Hebrew text should be rendered—> When (or if J a man hath taken a wife, or woman, and married her, and it come to pass that jhe find no favour in his eyes, because be hath found some uncleannefs in her, and (if) he write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and fend her out of bis house, andjhejhall have departed out of bis house, and (if) she go and be another man's wife, and If the latter husband hate her (here we explain the 1 by an If, why not before ?) and write her a bill of divorcement, &c. or if the latter hujband die, which took her to be his wife, her former husband, which sent her away, may not take her again to his wife after that Jhe is Defiled, for that is abomination before the Lord, and thpujbalt not cause the land to fin, which the Lord thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.



Thus the Greek * interpreters express the fense of these four verses, and the Vulgar Latin, yea, and the Chaldee paraphrase may be so understood. So Tremellius renders the words, aud Vatabhis explains them, Scripferitque ei libeilum re-* pudii £? dederit Ei in manu, ejeceritque, &c. If be Jhall have written her a bill of divorce; &c. ** This is not an absolute sentence," faith Vatablus, "hut ought to be joined *' to the words following, which shew *' that If such things happened, that If *' a man divorced his wife, and If ano*'. ther took her, the former husband ■*' might not take her again, she having ** been defiled." Which proves the fame thing contended for by our Lord, in His discourse with the Pharisees* that

* To the testimonies here mentioned, for this interpretation of the Hebrew text, We may add that of the learned Buxtorf; who observes, that in .the words of Moses, Deut. xxiv. i—4. this one prohibition only is contained,—" That a man Jhall not re** teive <tgain to his bed, a wife which he hath once put "away"—but that the custom itself of putting away wives, is, in that place, neither approved by Moses, jior plainly condemned, but left as it were indifferent. And the observation of our Saviour, that this permission was given by Moses, because of the hardness of their hearts, sufficiently makes it appear, that the Mosaical indulgence doth not amount to an approbation, but signifies only a bare toleration, or connivance, exempting from civil punishment. See Pufsend. b. vi. c. 1. § 23.

G 4 those

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