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Deut. xxi. 15, &c. xvii. 17, it is plain that the marginal interpretation (viz. one wife to unother) cannot be true, but that the marriage of two sisters at the same time is here prohibited; and Grotius justly observes, that as the feuds and animosities of brothers are, of all others, the most keen; so are, generally, the jealousies and emulations between sisters. Therefore, the historian used the strong expression to rex her : but though a man might not marry two sisters together, it seems a natural conclusion, from the phrase in her life-time, that he might marry the sister of his deceased wife : and thus, we learn from Selden, the Jews in general understood it.”
Adam Clarke says :
" Thou shalt not marry two sisters at the same time, as Jacob did Rachel and Leah; but there is nothing in this law that rendered it illegal to marry a sister-in-law, when her sister was dead : therefore the text says, thou shalt not take her in her life-time to vex her, alluding probably to the case of the jealousies and vexations which subsisted between Leah and Rachel, and by which the family peace was so often disturbed.”
In Walton's Polyglot, the Septuagint, Vulgate, Syriac, Samaritan, Arabic and Chaldee paraphrases, agree in this interpretation, which is adopted by Grotius, Montesquieu, Mr. Justice Story, and Chief Justice Vaughan. The last observes :
“ Within the meaning of Leviticus, and the constant practice of the commonwealth of the Jews, a man was prohibited not to marry his wife's sister only during her life, after he might : so the text is (citing it).
This perhaps is a knot not easily untied, how the Levitical degrees are God's law in this kingdon, but not as they were in the commonwealth of Israel, where first given."
This is the only manner in which the precept can be reconciled with the precept in Deuteronomy. (xxv. 5), where a marriage in the same degree of kindred is enjoined as a duty :
“ If brethren dwell together, and one of them die, and have no child, the wife of the dead shall not marry without unto a stranger: her husband's brother shall go in unto her, and take her to him to wife, and perform the duty of an husband's brother unto her."
It is quite clear, therefore, that the judges have erred in holding marriages between persons thus connected to be prohibited. As for the canons, under which the table hung up in churches was prepared, they were never confirmed by parliament, and have been held by Lord Hardwicke to possess no binding authority as laws. (Middleton v. Croft, 2 Atkins Rep. App.) Summary, sc. --Pp. 9–11.
This line of argument is fully borne out by the Talmudical rabbies and scribes, whose interpretation had such weight, that Bishops Patrick, Kidder, and Heber, unhesitatingly adopted it; and Michaelis, with that unrivalled acumen by which his critical labours are characterised, in his elaborate and masterly work on the Laws of Moses, thus expounds the question :
Marriage with a deceased wise's sister he (Moses) permits, but prohibits on the other hand the marrying two sisters at once.
The words of the law, Levit. xviii. 18, are very clear - Thou shalt not take a wife to her sister, to be her rival, &c. along with her in her life-time.' After so distinct a definition of his meaning, and the three limitations added, (1) as to being the other's rival, (to express which, we may observe, by the way, that the same word is used as in 1 Sam. i. 6, where two wives have but one busband; and in Arabic, it is found in the same sense); (2) as to his taking both; and (3) as to his doing so in the life-time of the first ; I cannot comprehend how it should ever have been imagined, that Moses also prohibited marriage with a deceased wife's sister ;that very connexion which we so nften find a dying wife entreating her husband
to form, because she can entertain the best hope of her children's welfare from it.
“What Moses prohibited was merely simultaneous polygamy with two sisters; that sort of marriage in which Jacob lived, when he married Rachel as well as her sister Leah. The reason of this prohibition it is not difficult to discover. Sisters, in whom nature has ever planted a principle of the strongest affection, are not to be made enemies to each other, hy polygamy. That two wives of the same husband should love each other is inconceivable. The man, therefore, who wishes to live in polygamy, and make two wives hate each other from jealousy, should make use of strangers, not of sisters. The history of Jacob, who, contrary to his inclination, was brought into this predicament, furnished a very animated representation of the reasons on which this law is founded. Enmities between sister-wives will, besides, always be more violent, and from their having known each other too intimately, all their lives, more unmannerly than when they are strangers to each other, and cannot so fully venture to outrage decency in their mutual hatred." (Law of Moses, vol. ii. p. 112.)Considerations, &c.—Pp. 24, 25.
And here it may be profitable to observe the course adopted in the reign of Edward VI. In the "Reformatio Legum Ecclesiasticorum," promulgated in the fifth year of his reign, anticipating possibly a case analogous to the present, any partial or individual interpretation of the Levitical law is strongly reprobated. In the section "De Gradibus in Matrimonio prohibitis," under the head “ Divinum jus in Matrimonio prohibendo quale sit,” we find the following sound practical observations : " Deus id his gradibus certum jus posuit, Levit. xviii. et xx. capite, quo jure nos et omnem posteritatem tenere necesse est. Nec enim hæc illorum capitum præcepta veteris Israelitarem Reipub. propria fuerunt (ut quidam somniant) sed idem authoritatis pondus habent, quod religio nostra decalogo tribuit, ut nulla possit humana potestas quicquam in illis allo modo constituere.” This to us appears sufficiently explicit, and certainly ought to make any judge pause in pronouncing an unqualified verdict on the point at issue.
The question then arises, " Is the Canon Law, as amended by Lord Lyndhurst, identical with the Levitical Law ?” if not, are Christians bound by it? Upon this linges the whole case ; and we have no doubt that a christian community will weigh all the bearings in a truly gospel frame of mind, before they venture to condemn either of the distinguished parties who entertain opposite views. To one and all, in investigating the point, we recommend a deliberate and unprejudiced perusal of the pamphlets under consideration, and submit for their guide, in coming to a decision upon the protestant, or rather catholic, and most important part of the subject, the nervous language of Chillingworth," clarum et venerabile nomen."
“ By the religion of Protestants, we do not understand the doctrine of Luther, or Calvin, or Melancthon; nor the confession of Augusta, or Geneva, nor the catechism of Heidelberg, nor the Articles of the Church of England, no, nor the harmony of Protestant confessions ;—but that wherein they all agree, and which they all subscribe with a greater harmony, as a perfect rule of their faith and actions, that is, the BIBLE. The BIBLE, the BIBLE only, is the religion of Protestants! Whatsoever else they believe, besides it, and the plain, irrefragable, in dubitable consequences of it, well may they hold it, as a matter of Opinion ; but as matter of Faith and Religion, neither can they with coherence to their own grounds, believe it themselves, nor require the belief of it of others, without most high and most Schismatical presumption. Propose me anything out of this book, and require whether I believe or no, and seem it ever so incomprehensible to human reason, I will subscribe it with hand and heart, as knowing no demonstration can be stronger than this: God hath said so, therefore it is true. In other words, I will take no man's liberty of judga ment from him ; neither shall any man take mine from me.
I will think no man the worse man, nor the worse Christian ; I will love no man the less for differing in opinion from me. And what measure I mete to others, I expect from them again. I am fully assured that God does not, and therefore that man ought not, to require any more of any man than this,-to believe the Scripture to be God's word, to endeavour to find the true sense of it, and to live according to it." (Chillingworth, Religion of Protestants, cap. vii.)Considerations, fc.--Pp. 31, 32.
We have directed the attention of our readers to this subject as a point of duty : we have, on many occasions, met with estimable characters in the peculiar position to which we have referred, who have gone into voluntary banishment to Prussia or America, where a different law prevails, rather than live under the existing code. Surely this deserves the attention of the Episcopal Bench, and the legislature at large ; to both of which classes an attentive perusal of the works under review cannot fail to be interesting, as involving the happiness of no inconsiderable number of conscientious individuals.
Ant. IV.- The Kingdom of Christ : or, Hints on the Principles, Ordi
nances, and Constitution of the Catholic Church. In Letters to a Member of the Society of Friends. By a Clergyman of the Church
of England. Vol. I. London: Darton and Clark. Pp. 332. We believe that few works are more likely or better adapted to produce great and permanent results in leading men to the truth than the present volumes, in our existing state of religion, philosophy, and politics. Originally published in a series of twelve letters to a member of the Society of Friends (that is, Quakers), they are now publishing in a more permanent and continuous form; and we think they are well worthy of being thus distinguished; and with a view to their becoming better known to the members of our Church, and to those who either totally, or partially, do not admit our principles, we now bring them before our readers. There is hardly a point disputed in the present day, on which they do not throw a bright and guiding light. We could, indeed, at times, wish that the admirable author had more clearly, and in a style less declamatory, wrought out his conclusions; but the original form in which they were published will excuse this defect. We could also, perhaps, wish that he had been less of an oplimist; but this defect may render his work more acceptable to those who have seceded from the Church, when they see that he is willing to admit the good which is involved in every form of truth, however perverted, and is not nig. gardly in making all due and honourable apology for names which they hold dear. Not that the author ever shrinks from the painful duty of blame, where his subject absolutely requires it; and his remarks on the so-called “religious world," and the way in which the dissenters plead “conscience” for the justification of the bitterness of their attacks on the Church, will be read with deep and stirring interest. On the latter point he shows, from the writings of Dr. Wardlaw, and other sources, that exactly in proportion as they are louder in talking about "conscience," they have abandoned the thing itself; in short, that in the present day, the leading dissenters utterly discard all belief in the very existence of a conscience. The beginning of the first letter will show clearly the method taken by our author in dealing with the whole subject :
My Dear Friend, If the books and pamphlets which you so kindly forwarded to me had been all written by members of your Society, I should not have offered a word of comment upon the subjects discussed in them. As a private Christian, and as a student of ecclesiastical history, I must have been deeply interested in the controversy; but I should have feared to take part in it, lest I might excite your alarm, and render your own inquiries less manly and less effectual.
But I find that I should not be the first intruder. The Christian Observer and Eclectic Review have volunteered their advice and encouragement to your disaffected members. Dr. Wardlaw of Glasgow, and Mr. Newton of Plymouth, have made a formal attempt to detach them from your communion. If I had agreed with them, I would have left you in their hands.
'I cannot, of course, pretend to their talents or their reputation, and in many respects I must be far less agreeable to your Society than they are. They meet you as members of a brother sect in committees and societies. I know you only as individuals with whom I have had much agreeable intercourse. Two of the four, probably, would account you allies in politics, ---me, ex-officio, at least, an enemy. Moreover, in all questions respecting the dignity of Sacraments,--the connexion between the constitution of the Church and the idea of Christianity, and the importance of episcopal ordination to ministers, and of apostolic succession to bishops---they would all agree with you in denouncing my opinions as antiquated, bigoted, and ridiculous.
But I do not approve of the method which these writers have adopted in addressing you. I dislike it from taste, from experience, from principle. To inspire men with contempt or indifference for those whom they have been taught from their infancy to admire and love—from the accounts of whose deeds and whose sufferings they have acquired their first perceptions of moral courage, and beauty and dignity of character,-- from whose teaching they have probably first learnt to love their brethren, and revere the operations of their own spirits, seems to me at all times a most heartless proceeding. I know the phrases that are used to defend it. I know what they say about the paramount worth and preciousness of truth. In my heart of hearts 1 own that preciousness, and hope that I may die rather than part with the sense of it. But I believe a tender and reverent spirit is inseparable from the love of truth. I never saw the last permanently strong where the other was wanting; and I believe that anything which tends to weaken either, weakens both of them. I do not believe that those of your Friends, who are tempted by their own hearts, or the sneers of others, to think scornfully of their ancestors, will be half so zealous and affectionate in their determination to risk everything for the truth's sake, as those who retain a fond admiration for their beauties, and are willing to throw a veil over their deformities. I cannot forget that Ham was cursed though Noah was drunk. I cannot forget what his curse was ;—the most affronting to the proud spirit of independence which dictated his crime—“A servant of servants shall he be." And a servant of servants—the slave of every fanatic, who is himself the slave of his own delusions—do those high-minded persons most generally become, who, after his example, commence their career of free inquiry with detecting and exposing the absurdities of their earthly or spiritual fathers.
A moral instinct would lead me to the conclusion ; all the experiments that I have seen or heard of abundantly confirm it.
I have known persons, brought up in your Society, tempted by such arguments as Mr. Newton's pamphlet contains, to join our Church. I saw no reason to question their sincerity or their zeal. But I observed that their views were always more negative than positive; that they were led to embrace a doctrine, not so much because they believed that to be true, as because they perceived its opposite to be false; that they could perceive what was inconsistent much more quickly than they could recognise what was orderly ; that their minds were unquiet, unharmonious, and rickety. In a few years our proselytes departed, gone, as we ought to have expected beforehand, to join or establish some newer sect, denouncing us now, as they have denounced you before ; destined shortly to become as discontented with their present notions as with either. I say it in sorrow, not in bitterness; in reproach to us for seeking converts, by exciting unhallowed feelings, not that I dare to pass uncharitable judgment upon them. There are instances equally recent and better known, of some, high in cultivation, and, as I am well assured, in feeling and in honesty, who had fled to us, from what most would consider, a much worse faith than yours, --a faith which almost every Dissenter, Quaker, and Churchman thinks himself at liberty to scorn and satirize. We raised a shout when they joined us; we listened with delight while they laid bare the gross abominations of the body from which they had escaped; we thought it a mighty compliment to our faith, that such sagacious champions should adopt it; we thought we had a security for the permanence of their convictions, which scarcely any other circumstances could have afforded us. Time showed what sage prophets we were. These learned and able Neophytes were as little constant as those ardent ones; they soon left us, proclaiming to the world as the reason of their departure, the grand discovery, so often made before, (never, perhaps, since the days of the Athenian sophists announced with equal boldness,) that that only is true which seems so to each man. Nothing can abate the grief which we feel on their own account for their change. To us they have made abundant compensation for our loss, by learning us the lesson, never to be conned over or prized too much, that the mind which is continually dwelling on the falsehood of any system, even though it do not in the least exaggerate the amount or evil of that falsehood, contracts an incapacity for welcoming or perceiving truth, in that or any other system.
On these grounds, if on no other, I should have disapproved of the method which several Churchmen and Dissenters have taken in their recent addresses to you. All seem to make it their business to undermine your respect for your founders, and your belief in the positive principles which they taught. I say positive principles, for the Eclectic Reviewer, and Dr. Wardlaw, and Mr. Newton, will be ready to exclaim, 'we agree with George Fox and his friends most entirely in their denunciations of your Church, though their language may seem to us occasionally too uncourteous, and though we may believe that they pushed their objections too far, when they attacked all pecuniary provision for the support of ministers.' These were their negative doctrines; in these I am perfectly aware that they may find admirers and supporters in every vestry-room and tavern. But I need not inform you, that your early Friends rested their