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Subject. THE INSTITUTION OF
THE MARRIAGE STATE ORDAINED BY GOD; AND SUITABLE TO THE NATURE OF MAN. THE FORMATION OF WOMAN. RECIPROCAL DUTIES OF HUSBAND AND WIFE. PARENTAL EDUCATION.
GENESIS ii. 24.
Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife. And they shall be one flesh.
HE slightest knowledge of the nature
a social being in other words, that he is formed with faculties, both bodily and mental, which render it necessary as well as desirable to him to consort with beings of his own kind. So inferior is he in size, strength, agility, and other physical qualities, to several tribes of the animal creation, that, had his propensities led him to an
absolutely solitary life, his existence upon the face of the globe must soon have been terminated for, alone and unassisted, he could never have protected himself against the beasts of the field, who would have disputed the possession of the earth with him, and speedily have swept away from its surface every vestige of the human kind.
The faculties of his mind render it still more apparent that man was intended for society. His intellectual powers place him unspeakably higher on the scale of creation than any other inhabitant of the earth; and require, for their exercise, a communication with creatures equally gifted with himself. He has affections, also, for which he can find no objects here below, unless it be the rational part of God's creation. He has sympathies, moreover, which would not only be useless but distressing to him, were there not congenial beings around him, with whom they might be reciprocated: and further, he has wants and desires, which can be supplied, or accomplished, only by the relations which spring out of human society.
It is clear, however, that the general and extensive relations of social life, those of country, or even of neighbourhood, are not sufficient for the wishes and purposes of
mán. He must form narrower connections, and closer ties of union, for the expression of those feelings, whose proper exercise affords one of the principal and purest sources of human happiness.
We all know, and feel, that our own personal pleasures and pains can neither be partaken nor experienced by the world at large; but that, in order to increase the one or alleviate the other, we must quit the crowd, and seek particular intimatesbosom friends, who will identify their feelings and interests with our own; will "rejoice" with us when we " do rejoice;" and mourn" with us when we " mourn," There is both a grief and a" joy," in which "the stranger intermeddleth not," with which society cannot, will not, trouble itself; and which, indeed, no one is capable of participating, or authorised to interfere in, except those who are "dear unto us,
even as our own souls"
We all know, and feel, that it "is not "good for us to be alone," and that life denies us half its blessings, unless the enjoyments which it is capable of affording, be shared by a connection, closer to the heart than the relationship even of a father and a mother.
Such are the propensities, feelings, and
desires of man, considered as a social being. They are natural, for they make a part of his original nature. They are holy, for they were stamped by the Almighty himself upon that nature at the time of its creation, and were intended by God to have a very important influence over man's well-being, as long as he continues an inhabitant of earth.
To provide a proper object. for their exercise, and a connection exactly adapted to their display, the Almighty, in his wisdom and goodness, proceeded in the gracious manner related in the chapter from which our text is chosen.
The history of the transaction by the sacred penman is, indeed, slight and simple, but beautiful and impressive" And the "Lord God said, It is not good that the "man should be alone, I will make him an "help meet for him"
"And the Lord God caused a deep "sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept; " and he took one of his ribs, and closed up "the flesh instead thereof;
"And the rib, which the Lord God had "taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.
"And Adamn said, This is now bone of
"my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken "out of man.
"Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his "wife and they shall be one flesh."
Adam had already surveyed all the animal productions of this nether world. He had considered their properties; and given to them names adapted to their dif ferent kinds. But no one amongst the number was found to be a fit companion for intelligent, rational, and responsible man; no one, with whom he could interchange thought, communicate feeling, or share affection. Paradise, though lovely, still wore the melancholy character of a solitary habitation to our great first parent; and he was conscious that some of the most amiable principles, and some of the strongest impulses, of his nature, were yet without an object to which they could be directed.
This conviction of the evil of a state of solitude, and of the necessity of social intercourse to compleat his happiness, it was (possibly) intended by the Almighty Adam should experience; in order that he might be duly sensible of the value of the blessing which his Maker was about to