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who hold that the Spirit of God, in regeneration, uses the instrumentality of the word. For it is not their opinion, that the holy Spirit acis no otherwise than by addressing motives to the soul, in regeneration. On the contrary they maintain, that while he addresses with motives, he exerts a power, in producing this change, through the word, so as these motives take their effect; and this is the sole reason, according to them, why the same motives presented to every hearer of the gospel, which are lost upon many, to others have an efficacy in them, to draw them to Christ. But this will be considered afterwards.
(To be concluded in our next.)
For the Religious Monitor. ON THE QUESTION, WHETHER A MAN MAY MARRY
HIS DECEASED WIFE'S SISTER?
(Continued from page 460) It is unquestionably a correct principle, that whatever God in bis word plainly and positivoly onjnine it is the duty of men to observe and do, whether they be able to discover mo sumann ohy such command has been given or not. To do so without gainsaying, is the best acknowledgement of the sovereignty of God, as our lawgiver; and to do so cheerfully, is the best evidence we can give of our faith in the character of God, as holy, just and good. But if, as is sometimes the case, the reason of the commandment is either declared in the scriptures, or is so obvious as to present itself readily to the reflecting mind, and this be such as at once to illustrate the holiness of God, and his amazing goodness to his creatures, in providing, by the laws which he gives them, for their greatest happiness,-disobedience must certainly, in such a
be most unreasonable, and the sin of it, in the sight of God, most highly aggravated. The bearing of these remarks, on the subject under discussion, is obvious. We have in the first part of this paper exhibited, from the Christian's Magazine, reasoning which we hope will satisfy every unbiassed mind, that the marriage of a deceased wife's sister is plainly and explicitly forbidden in the law of God, or which is the same thing, that a woman is as expressly forbidden to marry the husband of her deceased sister, as she is to worship a false god, to commit murder or perjury, or to covet her neighbours husband; and that there is just as
much inference and no more
in the one case as in the other
claims our unreserved obedience; and intimates to us, that it is at our peril to disobey. But over and above this expression of authority, we have reasons and motives presented to win us to obedience by the powerful constraints of love; for in the same sentence, it is written, “I am your God,” your covenant God, whose name and memorial is the Lord, the Lord God, merciful, and gracious, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin. And a due consideration of this statute, will shew its full accordance with this character of its author, and that it is calculated in the highest degree to promote the purity and happiness of the human family.-The powerful reasonings which we are now to extract from the pages of Dr. Livingston and Domesticus, will place the subject in the most pleasing and interesting point of view, and afford the strongest confirmation, if confirmation were necessary, of the correctness of the conclusion already established, from the scriptures themselves. In this, as well as in every other, it is most true, that “the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; and in keeping of them there is GREAT REWARD.”
In stating the argument from scripture, Dr. L. coincides with, or rather adopts the reasoning, which we have quoted in the first part of this paper, and corroborates this argument by shewing, in a manner the most delicate and pleasing, and we think most satisfactory, the fatal consequences of violating, and the blessed fruits of duly observing, this ordinance of the Lord. His observations on this head, which is entitled “ Decency,” are thus introduced.
“When incontrovertible arguments have decided a question, it may appear improper to add corroborating observations. But the subject before us extends, with interesting consequences, in every direction-it may therefore be expedient, besides arguments, to suggest considerations which appeal to the feelings of the heart. Only two shall be mentioned.-The first is distinguished by the title of DECENCY.*
"Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, if there be any praise, think on these things,” Phil. iv. 8. With this affecting manners, which include all that is implied in decency and delicacy'
Marriage is justly styled "a delicate institution,” essentially connected with order and decency. Sweet spring of purest comforts, exuberant source of domestic happiness, it pours its precious blessings wherever it is honoured, and amply pays for protection and defence. But, exposed to insults and susceptible of injuries, it withholds its invaluable benefits from those who suffer it to be abused and polluted. Any people who tolerate incest of any description; who countenance adultery; or sanction divorces for any other cause, than what the word of God prescribes; will quickly realise the pernicious effects of their conduct. They will rapidly depreciate in taste and sentiment, and infallibly degenerate in morals. If the fountain of social virtue be troubled and poisoned, the streams will inevitably be turbid, bitter, and fatal“thine own wickedness shall corect thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee.”
Many indecent and indelicate, disagreeable and unpleasant consequences resulting from a marriage with a sister in law, will be readily anticipated by every serious and reflecting mind. Let it suffice to observe; that admitting (which cannot in truth be granted,) that a doubt might be cherished whether a sister in law be a relation, within the prohibited degrees; must it not still be acknowledged, that to marry such a relative is a rash and dangerous act? Is it not perilous to advance as near as possible to the brink of a precipice? Is it safe, is it prudent, is it consistent with the Christian character, to approach deliberately to the very verge of an abominable and accursed crime, under the infatuated and fluctuating hope that perhaps it may possibly be an exemption?:
But it is not only rash and dangerous to the individuals; it is alsoʻinjurious to the community. Such marriages trespass upon the rules of deceney; they are inimical to that purity, and chastity of families, which insure the repose and happiness of society; they are hostile to that virtue and delicacy, which the religion of nature, and revealed religion inculcate.
In the confidence of protection from a man, who by his marriage has been brought into the family, and become a brother, the younger sisters are always in the habit of associating familiarly and frequently with their married sister-their former affection is not interrupted by the introduction of a new relative. This is proper. It is consistent with the most rigid rules of morality. It is founded upon the indisputable presumption, that the sister of the wife is now also become the sister of the husband, and he is her brother.
No suspicion of indecency can arise in her mind, nor any imputation of indelicacy upon the part of the public. She may cume, remain, or go, in all the safety of innocency, under the broad shield of the divine law, and the universal consent and approbation of society. But let it be once adopted, let practice establish the detestable principle, that the sister, after the death of the wife, may become not at all related to the husband; that she may be to him a stranger, and as much the legitimate object of marriage as any other woman, and her frequent and familiar visits must cease. She can no more come to his house, or be oftener seen in the company of her brother-in-law, than she may frequent the house or be familiar in the company of any other married
The affectionate intercourse of the sisters is at an end. As it respects himself and the unhappy victim of his incestuous cohabitation-is it not indecent to persuade her to an act, which could she have foreseen, would, from principles of delicacy, have prevented the familiar intercourse, in which, as a sister, she had innocently indulged?—Nay, is it not cruel, to render the woman, who had placed confidence in him as a brother, a paitaker with him, in the fearful risks and alarming consequences of such a connection?”
Domesticus, who is believed to be the Rev. Alexander M’Çlellan, one of the Professors of Dickinson College, pursues the same argument which we have just quoted from Dr. Livingston. There is however this difference: Dr. L. uses it as a collateral argument and rests the strength of his cause on the direct argument from the Scripture, as stated in the first part of this paper: Domesticus, without any necessity, and without even attempting to shew that the direct argument is not a sound one, very improperly gives it up altogether, and rests the weight of his cause on the argument from expediency. After admitting, (page 36,) that it is not said in so many words that a man may not marry two sisters, he adıls; “If however the Letter be not in Leviticus the Spirit is there, and with this I am perfectly satisfied. I ask myself, what is the reason of the prohibitions that law actually contains, ex. gr. of the Marriage of Brother and Sister, Aunt and Nephew, Motherin-law and Son-in-law ?-I discover it; and I find it to apply against the marriage in controversy, with appalling force. My conclusion is, that it is as really part of the will of God, -of the divine institution, as those which are more clearly expressed.”
surrendered by Domesticus, would establish the certainty of a divine constitution;-yet in connexion with that law, and resting on it as its foundation, as it ought to do, it becomes, in our estimation, an irresistible demonstration of the correctness of that argument, and of the glory of divine holiness and goodness as manifested in that institution. The following extracts, will put our readers in possession of the most material parts of the reasoning of Domesticus, though perhaps its unity and effect may be impaired for the want of the parts which we are under the necessity of omitting *
“ The reason of the law of incest—one that is perfectly adequate and convincing is this;-It is the great moral safeguard appointed by Providence for protecting the laws of Marriage andr Chastity without which the best organized society, that the earth has ever seen upon its surface would become in a few years a hideous mass of corruption and rottenness. It is no petty artifice to extend friendships,-or to secure filial reverence,-or to stock the world with healthy children. All this is as chaff compared with the magnificent purposes of the institution. It is an expedient for guarding against a species of criminality which would destroy society in its fountains ;-and the only way of guarding against it, is by declaring such an awful sacredness in the persons of those nearly related, that touching one another, even after a marriage compact, is enormity. The law speaks in this strain, “such is the turpitude of the act, that no matrimonial covenant,-no holy ceremonies,-no solemn vows, can hallow it or wash the offender from his foulness.” In a word, it forbids Marriage itself, thereby more effectually to inspire that abhorrence of intercourse without marriage which it is chiefly anxious to prevent. It is thus that where the danger of criminality would be greater from the unrestrained familiarity of the family circle, were there no law of incest, there, this law interposes its guard by associating greater turpitude-a mysterious horribleness with the crime.”+
* Some sentiments and reasonings of Domesticus, on the Levitical law, we are sorry to say, are loosc and dangerous in a high degree-such as we hope his own deliberate judgment will decidedly reject. We intended to make some remarks on these, which are rendered unnecessary by the communication of our friend A. H. on this subject, which shall appear in our next number,
+ The same views, respecting the reason of the law of incest recorded in the xviii, chap. of Leviticus, are expressed both by Scott and Henry on the passage. The following from Paley's Moral: Philosophy, Book iii. chap. v. contains the same doctrine. “In order to preserve chastity in families, and between persons of different sexes, brought up and living together in a state of unreserved intimacy, it is necessary by every method possible to inculcate an abhorrence of incestuous conjunctions; which abhorrence can only be upheld by the absolute reprobation of all commerce of the sexes between near relations. Upon this principle, the marriage as well as other cohabitations