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ESSAY ON MARRIAGE.

CHAPTER. I.

"the Peculiarity AND IMPORTANCE OF THE MARRIAGE RELATION...THE POSSIBILITY OF KNOW ing THE WILL OF GOD IN THIS AFFAIR....THE LAW LAid do WN,

How wonderful is it, that two persons, who perhaps never met before, should by a train of circumstances be brought together, obtain a peculiar propriety in each other, and form one absolute communion of wishes, joys and sorrows | If we compare this relation with other connexions, we shall find it surpasses them all. Are other unions optional? They may be limited in their continuance, or terminated at

pleasure. But this is permanent, and indisso-
luble. You cannot marry for a given period.
It is for life. Are other unions matural?
Intimate indeed is the relation between brother
and sister: tender is the relation between
parents and children, especially between the
mother and ‘the son of her womb.” “But for
this cause shall a man leave his father and
mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and
they two shall be one flesh. What God hath
joined together, let no man put asunder.’
The marriage connexion therefore is the
most singular, and the most important. Hence
it can never be viewed with indifference. It
cannot be carelessly contemplated by legisla-
tors, by politicians, by moralists, by divines.
And can it be slightingly regarded by the
individuals themselves? The effects extend
to families and communities; but how much
more powerfully must the consequences affect
the parties immediately concerned? Can the
scripture, always alive to the welfare of man,
Can the scripture pass by sueh a relation ?
Impossible. It shows us its divine institution
and benediction in Paradise. It shows us our

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Saviour gracing with his presence the celebration of a marriage at Cana in Galilee, and displaying “his glory’ by working a miracle to preserve the new-married couple from embarrassment and mortification. It shows us in this condition, characters the most eminent and distinguished for piety and usefulness; witness Enoch, and Peter, and James, and John. It brands with infamy the doctrine that ‘forbids to marry.' It often employs the connexion as the image of the union subsisting between Christ and the church. It assures us that “Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled : but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.’ It is obvious therefore that the scripture is far from discouraging marriage. But what it does not condemn, it is careful to regulate. Let us then, my Christian friends, look after the will of God in this momentous and interesting subject. If ever we err, it is not from any defect in the scripture, but because there is some ‘occasion of stumbling in us:’ some inattention that hinders examination, or some prejudice that perverts it. His word is ‘a lamp unto our feet, and a light unto our paths.” There is a sufficiency in it for all the useful purposes of ‘life and godliness.” Can a man ask at these ‘lively oracles, how he is to conduct himself in prosperity or adversity; can he inquire how he is to govern his family, and train up his children; and be at a loss for an answer P’ ‘He may run that readeth.” So it is in the case before us. If Christians are really desirous of knowing with whom, in marriage alliance, they are to unite themselves, we make no scruple to say, the revealed will of God is decisive and clear: IT RESTRICTs THEIR CHOICE TO RELIGIOUS CHARACTER ONLY.

CHAPTER II.
THIS LAW ARGUED AND ESTABLISHED.

If nothing express had been said on this subject, the conclusion might fairly have been drawn, from these general commands which Essay on marriage, † 13 aw "

forbid all chosen and needles the irreligious, founded on to tamination.

The case may be confirmed in no inconsiderable degree from the state of the Jews. It is scarcely necessary to mention, that the Jews were forbidden to marry with the surrounding nations. But it may be proper to state two objections.

First. It may be said that the prohibition was confined to the seven accursed nations of Canaan. But this was not the case. Ammonites, Moabites, and Egyptians are reckoned by Ezra among those from whom the returned Israelites were to be separated ; and none of these belonged to the race thus devoted to extermination.

Secondly. It may be supposed that this law was political, and regarded this people only in their civil and national capacity. But the futility of this will be demonstrated by remarking, first, that they were allowed to marry with individuals of any of the neighbouring countries when they became proselytes. This shows that the interdiction re

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