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desired the Pharisees to consider the original institution of marriage in paradise, where God created the human kind of different sexes, and implanted in their breasts such a mutual inclination towards each other, as in warmth and strength surpasses all the other affections wherewith he has endued them. And because they have such a strong love to each other, he declared that in all ages they should neglect every other tie, and among the rest that which binds them to their parents, and go together by marriage; and that male and female thus joined together in marriage, are by the strength of their mutual affection, no more twain, but one flesh; that is, constitute only one person in respect of the unity of their inclinations and interests, and of the mutual power which they have over each others bodies, (1 Cor. vi. 16. vii. 4 ) and that as long as they continue faithful to this law, they must remain undivided till death separates them. Matth. xix. 4. And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that * he which made them (the Creator) at the beginning, made them male and female? 5. And + said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they twain shall be one flesh. From the original institution of marriage in paradise, and from the great law thereof declared by God himself on that occasion, it evidently appears that it is the strongest and tenderest of all friendships, a friendship supported by the aut' ority of the Divine sanction and approbation, a friend. ship therefore which ought to be indissoluble till death. 6. Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let no man put asunder, by unreasonable divorces. Thus, according to Matthew, our Lord answered the Pharisees question concerning divorce, by referring them to the original institution of marriage in paradise. But Mark says, he answered it by referring them to the Mosaical precept. Mark x. 3. And he answered and said unto them, What did Moses command you? The evangelists however may be easily freed from the in putation of inconsistency, by supposing that the answer in Mark was given after the Pharisees had, as Matthew informs us (ver. 7.) objected the precept in the law to the argument of divorce drawn from the original institution. Matt. xix. 7. They say unts liim, Why did Meses then commund to give a writing of divorcemerit, and to put her away? If divorce be contrary to the original institution of marriage, as you aflirm, how came it that Moses has commanded us to give a bill of divorce, and to
: . Ver. 4. He which made them.] O mowy, the Creator, as o tueus, Mait. iv. 3. signifies the templer.
+ Ver. s. And said, For this cause, &c.] The words here ascribed to the Creator, are in the Mosaic history ascribed to Adam. But as the father of mankind spake on that occasion by inspiration, our Lord justly affira. ed, that what he said was spoken by God."
put her away! The Pharisees, by calling the law concerning dia vorce a command, insinuated that Moses had been so tender of their happiness, that he would not suffer them to live with bad wives, though they themselves had been willing, but peremptorily enjoined that such should be put away. Mark x. 3. And he answered and said unto them, What did Moses command you 3 4. And they said, Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement, and to put her away. Our Lord's question, mentioned by Mark, being placed in this order, implies that he wondered how they came to consider Moses' permission in the light of an absolute command, since it was granted merely on account of the hardness of their hearts. Matt. xix. 8. He saith unto them, Moses, * bem cause of the hardness of your hearts, suffered you to put away your wives; but from the beginning it was not so.. And as unlimited divorces were not permitted in the state of innocence, so neither shall they be under the gospel-dispensation. 9. + And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away, doth commit adultery. From our Lord's answer therefore it appears, that the school of Sammai taught the best morality on the subject of divorce, but that the opinion of the school of Hillel was more agreeable to the law of Moses on that point. See on Matth. v, 31. $ 26. This 9th verse of Matthew seems to be parallel to the 11th verse
* Ver. 8. Because of the bardness of your bearts.] He meant their pas sionate stubborn temper, which was such, that had they not been permitted to divorce their wives, some would not have scrupled to murder them outright; others would have got rid of them by suborning witnesses to prove the crime of adultery against them; others would have reckoned it great mildness, if they had contented themselves with separating from their wives, and living unmarried. And thus God's design of multiplying his people exceedingly must have been frustrated, as the hated wives would either have been murdered, or denied the liberty of propagating by other husbands, a privilege that was secured to them by divorce. Mor ses therefore acted as a prudent lawgiver, in allowing other causes of dia vorce besides whoredom, because by admitting the less, he avoided the greater evil. At the same time, the Jews whose hardness of heart ren, dered this expedient necessary, were chargeable with all the evils that followed it; for which reason, as often as they divorced their wives, unless in the case of adultery, they sinned against the original law of marriage, and were criminal in the sight of God, not withstanding their law allowed such divorces.
+ Ver. 9. An I say unto 2011, Whosoever shall put away his wife, &c.) The practice of unlimited divorces which prevailed among the Jews, gave great encouragement to family quarrels, was very destructive of charity, and hindered the good education of their common offspring. Besides, it tended not a little to make their children lose that reverence for them, which is due to parents ; as it was scarce possible for the children to avoid engaging in the quarrel. Our Lord's prohibjion therefore of these divorces is founded on the strongest reason, and tends highly to the peace and wel. fare of society.
of Mark, having been spoken to the disciples in the house, as is probable from the unusual change of persons observable in this part of the discourse. Nevertheless, for the sake of representing the whole of our Lord's doctrine on this subject together, I have here brought in the ninth verse of Matthew immediately after the eighth. But what appears to be the true order, is preserved in the Harmony. There is this farther difference observable in the account which the evangelists give of our Lord's conversation with the Pharisees, that toward the conclusion thereof, Mark brings in the citation from Gen. ii. 24. concerning the original institution of marriage, wherewith Matthew says it was begun. Mark x. 5. For the hardness of your heart, he wrote you this precept. 6. But, as I told you before, from the beginning of the creation, God made them male and female. 7. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; 8. And they twain shall be one flesh; so then they are no more twain, but one fiesh. 9. What therefore God hath joined together, thus intimately by marriage, let no man put asunder by causeless divorce. See on Matt. ver. 4. It seems this citation was twice produced. Nor is there any thing improper in such a repetition. For the Pharisees having objected Moses' precept, as inconsistent with the sense which Jesus put upon the passage in Genesis, it was very fit to repeat that passage, after he had coníuted them, because by so doing he signified that its genuine. and natural meaning could not possibly be affected by their frie volous objections. See an example of a like repetition, Matt. xv. 7.967.
The disciples, it seems, were greatly surprised at Christ's de cision concerning divorce ; for though they said nothing to him while the Pharisees were present, they did not neglect to ask him about it when they came to their lodging. 10. And in the house his disciples asked him again of the same matter. 11. And he saith unto them, Whosoever shail put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her. From this general ex. pression, the Papists infer hat it is unlawful for a man to marry after having divorced his wife, even on account of adultery. But the parallel passage in Matthew shews plainly, that the clause except it be for fornication, is omitted here. Or though that clause had not been there mentioned, the precedent context, and the subject spoken of, would necessarily have led the reader to supply this limitation. 12. Ani if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committath adultery. It was the custom of those times, for the women also to divorce their husbands. Matt. xix. !0. His disciplis say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry: Since the law of marriage is so rigid, that unless the woman breaks the bond by going astray, her husband cannot dismiss her, but
must bear with her, whether she be quarrelsome, petulant, prodi. gal, deformed, foolish, barren, given to drinking, or, in a word, troublesome by numberless vices, a man had better not marry at all. Jesus answered, It is not in every one's power to live continently; yet, if any man has the gift, whether by natural constitution, or by the injury of human force used upon him, which has rendered him incapable of the matrimonial union, or by an ardent desire of promoting the interests of religion, animating him to subdue his natural appetite, and enabling him to live in voluntary chastity, unencumbered with the cares of the world; such a person will not sin though he leads a single life. Matt. xix. 11. But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given. 12. For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother's womb; and there are some euruchs, which were made eunuchs of men; and there be eunuchs, * which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. † He that is able to receive it, let him receive it. These words must not be referred to the clauses immediately preceding them, as if our Lord had meant to say, He that is able to become an eunuch by any of the ways I have mentioned, let him become one; for the second way, namely, through violence offered to mens bodies, is absolutely unlawful. But they must be referred to ver. 11. as is plain from the words themselves. In that verse Jesus had said, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given, they cannot live without marriage chastely, un
• Ver. 12. Which have made themselves eunuchs.) That the amputation of the desire, not of the member, is meant in the phrase made themselves ecom nuchs, may be gathered froin the other clauses of the passage. For there is mention made, first of eunuchs, which were so born from their mothers womb, plainly importing, that some are continent by natural constitution ; next, we are told of eunuchs that are made so by men, i. e. through violence that has been offered to their bodies ; last of all, there be who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake, not by doing violence to themselves, but by a strong resolution of living continently in a state of celibacy, for the sake of promoting more effectually the interests of religion.
t Ibid. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it. What is here said of a single life, is entirely perverted by the Papists, when they produce it to discredit matrimony, and exalt celibacy as the more perfect state. For on this very occasion marriage is declared to be an institution of God. And lest any one might have replied, that it was a remedy contrived pure. ly for the weakness of our fallen state, it is particularly observed, that ic was an institution given to man in innocence. Wherefore, as the apostle tells us, marriage is honourable in all ranks and conditions of persons, provided the duties thereof are inviolably maintained. Besides, it is false to affirm that our Lord recommends celibacy. He only gives permission for it as a thing lawful, telling them that if they were able to live continently, they would not sin though they did not marry, especially as the times they lived in were tiines of persecution. In which light also the judgment of the apostle Paul is to be considered, when he declared it to be helter for Christians, as matters then stood, not to marry, I Cor. vii. 26.
less they have the gift of continency. In the 12th verse he shews
• X. 13,-16. Luke xviii. 15,---17.
• The in positinn of hands was a ceremony with which the ancient prophris aluais accompanied their prayers in behalf of others. See Gen. divii. 14. Numb. xxvii. 18. 2 Kings v. 11. Matt. ix. 18.