« السابقةمتابعة »
other, completes and perfects it. No wonder then that this constitutional adaptedness, this natural agreement of two different natures towards unity of end, should be explained by such extravagant philosophies, existent as that harmony is in all faculties of the whole being.
But the sense of harmony in two towards one purpose, or rather towards oneness of life, is manifested exceedingly in the ordinations and definitions of legislators. “Nuptiæ sive matrimonium," says the Roman law, “est viri et mulieris conjunctio individuam vitae consuetudinem constituens.” “Marriage is the union of a man and woman, constituting an united habitual course of life, never to be separated ;' and again the same Roman law defines it to be “ Consortium omnis vitæ, divini et humani juris communicatio:"-a “Partnership of the whole life,-a mutual sharing in all rights, human and divine."
But much as the Roman law acknowledges this natural unity; or rather tendency and adaptedness for unity of life, much further the English Common Law goes, for it actually considers, for all legal purposes, man and wife to be one person.”
To quote a modern writer, “The English Law goes further, and considers the Husband and Wife as one Person. As the law. yers state it, The very being or legal existence of the woman is suspended during the marriage, or at least is incorporated and consolidated in that of her husband, under whose wing, protection, and cover, she performs every thing, and is, therefore, in our law-French, called feme coverte, and her condition during her marriage is called her coverture.
“Hence a man cannot grant any thing to his wife by a legal act, or enter into covenant with her, for this would be to covenant with himself. The husband is bound by law to provide his wife with the necessaries of life; if she incur debts for such things, he is obliged to pay them. Even if the debts of the wife have been incurred before marriage, the husband is bound to discharge them, for he has espoused her and her circumstances together. If she suffers an injury, she applies for redress in her husband's name, as well as her own. If any one has a claim upon lor, the suit must be directed against her husband also. In criminal prosecutions, indeed, the wife may be indicted and prosecuted separately, for the union is only a civil union. But even in such cases, husband and wife are not allowed to be evidence for or against each other, 'justly,' say the lawyers, “because it is impossible their testimony should be impartial;' but principally because of the union of Person. For being thus one person, if they were admitted witnesses for each other, they would contradict one maxim of law, “Nemo in propriâ causâ testis esse debet;' .no one can be a witness in his own cause :' and if against each other, they would contradict another maxim, “Nemo tenetur se ipsum accusare;' 'no one is bound to accuse himself.'"*
* I have seen, somewhere, notice of an absurdly ingenious book called Sex in Souls.” To this the reply is easy; "in Christ there is neither malo nor female.” Souls are of no sex, although different in quality.
This is the doctrine of that English Common Law, which its ablest advocates have pronounced the “Perfection of Reason," and which, undoubtedly, from the oldest Saxon times, has been the Free Element in the constitution of England. This dogma, therefore, that civilly the effect of marriage is the union of the two into one Person, is the decision of the Common Law; a decision, we fear not to say, that nearer expresses the truth than any other. For, as we have shown, the natural feeling of the human heart, expressed in many fables, many philosophies, and many legal enactments, is such that it confesses an union of the closest and most intimate kind between the Husband and the Wifeman union so closely drawn and intimate, that by no other words can we clearly express the fulness of it, than by these of the Anglo-Saxon law-"these two individuals make one Person."
So, when we come to the Scriptures, we find the same doctrine most plainly held forth. The doctrine that these, being two individuals, “ are one flesh," one humanity; that is, one, not only in union of interests, will, sympathies, and affections, for this is a figurative oneness, but one as no other oneness is : so one, that by Christ's law nothing but death can disunite them; one, so that the unbelieving husband or wife is sanctified by the believer; one, as Christ and his church are one; one “in a mystery,” that is to say, the fact is to us impossible and incomprehensible as a fact, yet, as being revealed to us by the word of God, is true; while the means whereby it is so, the grounds, the consequences of it, these lie far beyond us, deep hidden in the limitless power and the inscrutable wisdom of the eternal God. This, as may be seen from the words of St. Paul and of our Lord Jesus, is the true doctrine of the Scripture and the Church concerning the marriage union.
* Blackstone's Commentaries.
“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the Saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be subject to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own body. For he that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: for we are members of his body, his flesh, and his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall become one flesh. This is a great mystery; and this I apply to Christ and the church."*
Eph. v. 22. It will be seen, in the above citation from St. Paul, that I translate two phrases somewhat differently from what they are in our English version. The first, in our version, is, “ they shall be one flesh.” The Greek expresses it differently; it is, “ they shall be unto one flesh;” that is, “shall become.” There is in the original a Greek word corresponding to our English word “unto,” which seems to be wholly neglected in our version, and yet upon it the stress of the argument lies. The same phrase, “shall be unto," I shall translate in this way in citing our blessed Lord's words: I shall not therefore notice it at that place.
Again, there is another peculiar phrase, which in the Greek original is, qouto dè Néyw stepi.” I translate it, “and this I apply to." Let my reader examine the passage, and he shall find that the first translation makes a jar in the sequency of the argument; the second brings it clearly out. The argument is from the idea of the mysterious nature of the marriage union, with which idea every Jew was well acquainted, to the doctrine, entirely new to them, of the vital union of Christ with His Church. The argument and illustration is from the one to the other; a logical connexion that is dislocated completely by one version, but expressed by the other in the text.
But are not the words, “but this I say concerning,” the translation, even a literal translation, of the Greek? Yes. And so of the French, “Il fait froid,” the English, “ It makes cold," is a translation, and yet it is nonsense ; and of the English, “So wo-begone," " Ainsi douleur va-t-en," is a translation. The fact is, as keen old Selden, from whom I take the illustration, This is the plain doctrine of Scripture: a doctrine that says that, in the very being and constitution of man by his creation, there is a mystery in reference to marriage.
A mystery, in the Scripture language, is "a thing declared to us as a fact, and therefore to be received upon the evidence of Almighty God, and yet the reasons and causes of which are hidden from us.” So is the Incarnation," the fact that God was born of a woman and assumed flesh,—this is a “mystery,” a fact declared and shown, and for which, on natural grounds, the grounds of mere reason, we cannot account.
Thus marriage is a “Mystery,” and the Mystery is, that as “ Christ and the Church” are actually one, so should the husband and wife be one,--that as we, having mortal bodies here upon earth, are united with his Spiritual and Immortal Humanity upon the throne, and are thus one with him, so should these two, the Man and the Woman, being two, become and be one flesh.
And hence that, as the church obeys Christ, so should the wife obey the husband: not through compulsion, force, or fear, but through love, because obedience in love is the natural consequence of her position; and so should the husband love the wife, as Christ loved the church, because this is the natural consequence of his position, and because “she is his flesh, and no one hateth his own flesh.”
Here is the mystery. The apostle takes it for granted that they are actually and really one, and argues therefrom as it is 80; but the ground and the reason of the union that makes it so he does not declare-only that it is.
From this fact, then, we shall deduce several consequences.
1st. Marriage is not an institution of the Law, so that the Law institutes it as it institutes a Savings Bank, a Senate, a
has remarked, “there are two kinds of translation, literal and idiomatic;" and to translate an idiom literally is no translation, but is nonsense.
This Greek idiom, then, “this I speak of,” or concerning,” is used idiomatically for “I apply unto,” or in “illustration of.” of this, any scholar that may think it worth while, as I have done, to search through Stephens's Greek Thesaurus upon the point, may easily satisfy himself.
The translation, then, that gives the full sense of the idiom is, “ And this” (that is, the mystery of the union of man and woman in marriage assumed as a fact) “I apply to” (illustrate that vital and equally real union of) “ Christ and the church."
School, or an Observatory, and then can unmake it and reach the same end by another institution of a different kind. This it is not, but an institution of man's being, a law of his nature as created, a fact antecedent to all Human Law. So is marriage in Society, a law before all laws; and therefore the work of human law and man's legislation is to enforce upon the citizen these two laws, the innate law of nature, the outward law of God's revelation ; but not to dream that they shall be able to make and unmake, form anew and remould that which is superior to them all, and to them all antecedent.
Another conclusion we would draw from this : As marriage is a Mystery of our nature antecedent to all law, and Law has, as we have said, the power only to enforce, to regulate, and to protect; hence all marriages wherein the individuals legally declare their desire and intention, before authorities constituted and established by law, to live together in the state of matrimony, are legal and valid* marriages; the individual thereby enabling the State to maintain and enforce that contract and agreement then made.
But marriage contracted with prayer and religious rites, and the blessing of God's church, and solemn and appropriate services--this marriage is legal also and valid, and more than this, is blessed, being in accordance with the precept, “Whether ye eat or drink, or whatever ye do, do all to the honour and glory of God.”
And this in accordance with the doctrine of the Church, which holds marriage not to be a Sacrament of the church and instituted by Christ, but to be a mystery of man's being, an adaptedness of his nature as originally created.
And this in opposition to the Romanists, who declare marriage to be a Sacrament; and therefore, seeing that among themselves they think the only valid sacraments are, do in effect declare all marriages except those among themselves invalid, and bastardize all offspring save their own. Because, instead of being content with the Scripture doctrine, “that marriage is a mystery," they
* Provided always the law of the State do not contradict the law of God. A Turkish marriage to a second or third living wife may be very legal according to the Mohammedan law: in the law of God it is adultery, or concubinage.