Peacemaker continued 6
This law would protect our young ladies from all harm of this kind. If a man entice a maid without first obtaining the consent of her father to address her; and if the father refuse to give her in marriage, then the man is compelled to pay money according to the dowry of virgins. Exodus 22: 16-17
Thus does the law of God make the father the supreme head of his family. Yet he has no right to compel his daughter to be married without her consent. For it is unlawful for the woman to be held even by marriage contrary to her free choice, for the woman must not be enslaved by marriage. But suppose a man (that has already a wife) entice a maid; how then could he marry her? If a man entice a maid that is not betrothed, and he lie with her, he shall surely endow her to be his wife. Exodus 22: 16
There is no condition that can justify him in refusing to marry her. The kind hearted and affectionate maid or wife, shall not be put away or neglected, on pain of death. There is no positive law of God against a man's marrying Leah, and Rachel both. So long as he is a good and faithful husband, he is justified by the law of Christ his lawful head. But one objects, that it is written, they twain, (not they three) shall be one flesh. From this he infers that the law of God forbids him to marry more than one wife.
Yet you allow a man to marry another wife if his first wife be dead; which would constitute three, one flesh, as much so, as if both wives were alive at the same time. But the fact is, two females cannot become one flesh. When Jacob married Leah, they twain became one flesh; of this compound Rachel formed no part. And when Jacob married Rachel, they twain became one flesh; of this compound Leah constituted no part, any more than if she had been dead, when Jacob married Rachel. It is still no more than twain that became one flesh. And it is evident that none other could be the result, had Jacob married as many wives as King David; a man after God's own heart, or even as King Solomon.
And whether the former wives be dead or alive it alters not the result in this respect in the least. Because this word is literally accomplished in the offspring only. Thus this objection vanishes into smoke. The burthen of maintaining the wife is a sufficient check.
A man cannot be put lawfully under the law of marriage to the woman; she is his property in marriage. The word sayeth, That a woman is under the law to her husband as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is no adulteress though she be married to another man. Here we learn what is particularly meant, by a woman's being under the law to her husband; that is, she has no right to be married to another man, while her husband liveth. And if a man has no right to marry another woman while his first wife liveth, then is he under the law of his wife, and the law of his wife is the governing power of his wife.
Thus do our laws as I have before abundantly shown, establish this gross absurdity. The man is under the governing power of his wife, and the wife is under the governing power of her husband; and both in identicaly the same premises. Now, which shall be subservient? Certainly neither where both have equal power.
By taking away a man's lawful right of giving divorcement, when his wife rebels; and by depriving him of the right of marrying more than one wife, you totally annihilate his power of peaceable government over a woman, and deprive the family of its lawful and necessary head.
But the husband is under the law to Christ, who is his lawful head.
And he forbids, his
putting away his affectionate wife in any case. When the law of God shall be
restored, it will have a direct tendency to turn the desire of the wife
towards her husband, as God has ordained.
fornication will finally cease to take place in a married woman.
The expense and care of a numerous family, and support of many wives, will be a sufficient check to men in ordinary circumstances, not to go to excess in multiplying wives which they must support, and cannot put away, or wilfully neglect on pain of death. And in fact vile men will not be able to obtain wives so easily.
It is said, 1 Timothy 3: 2 That a bishop must be a man of one wife. We must infer from this, that other men might have more than one wife. This is not a law to govern men in general, or in any case. It is merely a mark of character; with several other marks of character therein specified. Such as to be vigilent, sober, given to hospitality, apt to teach, etc. And it was proper that a bishop or elder who should take the care of the church upon him, that he should not be encumbered with a numerous family, or many wives.
But a man fortunate in the choice of one good wife whose character; such as she must be is also specified. It was therefore a circumstantial and characteristic mark. If it had been a law, it could not have been a mark of character; because it must have been enforced by law upon all. Neither is it now any mark of character being compulsory upon all. But when the law of God shall be restored, it will then as formerly become a mark of character; and not till then can this direction of Paul, become applicable to us.
The law must be restored in all things; for it is written, that the times of the restitution of all things spoken by the mouth of all God's holy prophets since the world began, shall come. That is, all the true principles both of the law (or civil governing power), and of the gospel, for these are the things which have been spoken by the mouth of all the prophets.
And in the times of the restitution of these things, shall Jesus again come. See Acts 3: 21 A bishop or an elder in the church, must however have at least one wife, which is in fact the principle meaning of this passage; or how could he have his children in subjection with all gravity? see the whole specification as given by the apostle.
But kings, and men in power are forbidded to multiply wives, or greatly to multiply gold and silver, Deuteronomy 17: 17. It would be as reasonable to make a law, and ten thousand times less injurious to mankind; that a man should possess no more than one dollar, one servant, or one cow at one time, as is our law upon this subject. But we are commanded to be temperate in all things.
To God only are men accountable in this matter, and not to their wives. But if a man entice a maid that is not betrothed, and lie with her, he shall surely endow her to be his wife And if the man refuse to marry her, he shall suffer death. Such is the perfect law of God.
And David by the holy spirit of truth declares, that the law of God is perfect. This penalty may appear unreasonably severe to Gentiles, educated as they are. But when we consider attentively the circumstances in which the man is placed by the law of God, why should he desire to put away the kind hearted wife, or the affectionate maid which he has thought proper to woo to his embrace? Especially when the law not only permits him to retain them both, but requires it, at the peril on his life; and a disobedient one he can discharge.
As soon would a king wish to drive from his realm his most zealous and faithful subjects; or a man throw away his money because he had too much. No doubt it was so ordained by infinite wisdom, thus to prevent the possibility of such cruel and unnatural crimes, by annihilating all temptation thereto. We might here remark, that the abominable crimes of a maiden beguiled and deserted by the man: and a wife and family abandoned to the mercy of a heartless world; never did occur in the land of Israel.
Neither can they occur where the perfect law of God bears rule.
A law therefore which would annihilate such unnatural and cruel crimes, with the endless catalogue of ruinous evils, that follow in their train; and which at the same time would harm no body; must be acknowledged by reason, to be a holy and righteous and perfect law. While the laws of the Gentiles to the contrary, do produce these outrageous crimes; with the addition of many cruel murders: and are in their very nature not only a complete disorganization of all righteous and peaceable government. but are temptations in many cases to commit the most unnatural, and outrageous cruelties; and they are the fruitful source of an innumerable train of wicked and cruel evils. A tree is known by its fruit.
For their vine is worse than the vine of Sodom, and of the fields of Gomorah; their grapes are grapes of gall, their clusters are bitter. Deuteronomy 32: 32
That is our law upon this subject is worse than Sodomy in its effects. But consider and repent. What was the fate of Sodom? If the true law of divorcement was restored, without any other improvement, and the penalty of adultery; they would be great blessings to this nation. For then a man would have power to maintain peace and order in his family; and women would not be compelled to live with men, whom they did not love, and all cruelty towards wives would cease. And the propogating our species from an alienated woman would be prevented: which in its effects and consequences, is the greatest evil that exists among us.
But yet while a man is bound by law to one wife only, the cause of jealousy in a married woman still exists. The jealousy of a married woman is a thing not named in the whole volume of the Bible; and because it did not exist. It could not exist under the law of God. And is the principle cause of the alienation of wives. And our young ladies would still remain exposed to the arts of seduction, as they now are. A thing which the law of God wholly prevented; and such a circumstance is not recorded in the Bible.
These great evils with all their wretched consequences would remain in their full force: and the filth of the daughters of Zion would not be washed away, and annihilated. Therefore I esteem all thy precepts O Lord concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way. Psalm 119: 128.
The law of God does not forbid to marry, like the law of the Gentiles. See 1 Timothy 4: 3
As we have before said, the woman cannot marry. But the man marries the woman, and she is given in marriage. The law which forbids a man to marry any free woman whom he pleases; is a particular mark of antichrist. Now the spirit speaks expressly, that in the latter times some
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