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would add to it still greater sanctity and greater effect, anu make of it a “ Sacrament.”
Another inference I would draw is this : Except a person be incapacitated for marriage by reason that he cannot support a family, or by any other reason that renders it positively wrong for him to enter upon the marriage state, he is wrong in not being married.
Marriage is, by its very nature, and by the very nature and being of man, a better state than singleness, a more moral state, a more natural and useful state; and except, as. I have above said, there is some impediment that makes it positively wrong to marry, ALL are bound to marry, and are better mentally, morally, and physically, because of it.
And thereby, to remain unmarried merely for expediencysake, or for mere Self-Will, or capricious motives, this is wrong and evil, from the nature of man and of society. So that, save one actually is disqualified for marriage so that it shall be wrong for him to marry, he is naturally in a better situation marrying than not so.
But there is one exception made by our Saviour; that is, for Religion's sake."
“Some are eunuchs. made of men, and some have made themselves eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven's sake." “He that is able to receive it, let him receive it."
“For the Kingdom of Heaven's sake”-for a religious motive, our Lord permits men to remain unmarried; and not only permits, but requests and desires them so to do.
For a religious motive :-Say that thou art a son with a widowed and helpless mother and her feeble little children, left with only thyself to look to; thou canst marry, have a family of thine own, enjoy comfort and satisfaction. Surrender all these; give thyself up to be the support of the feeble mother and her helpless children, and to be a father to them; and this, done in faith and trust in God and his Christ--this shall be for thee a blessedness, permitted and sanctified, to remain unmarried for Christ and his kingdom's sake.
Daughter! the last child of a widowed mother, who thinkest whether it would not be better to comfort her declining years than to be at the head of thine own family : this the first to do, is to remain unmarried for the Kingdom of Heaven's sake. And so of a multitude of other cases of the same kind, among which come possibly cases of missionary labour,* in which particular men may feel that to preach among the heathen is a duty so bound upon them, that for it, through Christ, they are to remain unmarried. Such was St. Paul.
But in all such cases, it is a duty of which, first, the individual is to judge himself: “He that is able to receive it, let him receive it." For that Self-denial that is compelled by Law is not Self-denial at all, but compulsion.
And, secondly, the person must be able to receive it, that is, be a person such by nature and by Grace that he can remain as moral unmarried as married.
With these two qualifications, Self-denial for religion's sake is an exception made by Christ himself, and blessed of him. But this case and that exception above stated are the only ones that at all exempt men from the principle that says, “Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled.”
* There is a great deal of good sense in the following passage from the works of Dr. Miller, of Princeton, an eminent Presbyterian. Although I must say that I think “Itinerancy” has done almost all the good it can do, and the sooner it is replaced by a settled parochial clergy, (who, according to the deliberate opinion and primitive usage of the Greek Church, ought always to be a married clergy,) the better. I must say, also, that of all institutions, I believe an unmarried Itinerancy to be the worst. Still, however, on a delicate subject, the following extract contains a great deal of good
The small capitals are his : the italics inserted by me. “1. In reference to this subject, my first leading suggestion is, THAT THERE ARE SOME CLERGYMEN THAT OUGHT NEVER TO MARRY. While I firmly believe that the doctrine which enjoins celibacy on the clergy generally is, as the apostle styles it, 'a doctrine of devils,' and that it has led and must always lead to the most enormous evils, I have at the same time no doubt that the minister who deliberately resolves to spend his days as an evangelical itinerant, ought, if he can be happy in a single state, to continue in that state. *
There ought to be a few such ministers in every church of large extent. Yet no one ought to be constrained or even persuaded to choose this plan of life. Nor should any one adopt it unless it be the object of his deliberate and devout preference. And even after having adopted it, he ought to feel himself at liberty to retract and assume the conjugal bond whenever he is persuaded that he can serve the Church better by doing so." Miller's Clerical Manners, let. xii. sect. 1.
Laws of Marriage:—I. Permanence.-The Scripture Doctrine of Divorce
discussed.—The Uses of Permanence.-Causes of frequency of Divorce. St. Paul's Advice in regard to Marriage.--Adultery a Crime: Nature and the Divine Law forbid it.--Its evil Consequences. The Causes of Marriage unhappiness.-II. Law of Mutualness.—Marriage a Moral Good in itself.--Highest motive for Marriage is affection.-- Children should not marry without consent of Parents.—Third Law: The Supremacy in Marriage belongs to the Husband. This doctrine is made tolerable by Chris tianity.
We come now to the laws of Marriage—those principles, namely, of the ordinance, which arise, first, from its nature, as an institution of God in our very being and the being of society; and, secondly, from the Laws of God concerning it.
And of these principles the first is its permanence" that it shall be an union for life, capable of being dissolved only for one cause, that of Adultery.”
This is plainly asserted in the words of our Lord: “The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? And he said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning, made them male and female, and said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall become one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give her a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. 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."
* Matt. xix. 3-9.
Here is the word of the Scripture plainly: “He that made them in the beginning, made them Male and Female.”
God made man-He was the author of man's constitution and being: and in that being and constitution they were made by him, first, male and female-adapted by their very nature as man and woman to union in marriage ;-and, secondly, they were only two.
“And because of this”-arising from this harmony of nature originally established by God, so that in every way the one should be the aid and counterpart to the other, the male to the female and the female to the male, by natural being and constitution,-upon this is founded the law of God, "for this reason, a man shall leave his father and mother, and shall be united to his wife, and they two shall become one flesh."
“He shall leave father and mother,"—the dearest ties shall be left of him; those that by nature are the closest being superseded by one still dearer and closer. And this in consequence of the mystery of his own being, as so made in the beginning.
“And shall be closely joined unto his wife,'* united in such a way as to void even the closest natural ties, and to take their place in priority of obligation: so close the bond.
“And they two shall become one flesh,”—not “they shall be," but “they shall be unto," "they shall become.”
“Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh.” The effect of their marriage union shall be an inseparable union into one humanity. So that as in a Son all the elements of his being come from the Father and the Mother, and the Father and Mother in him are inseparable and indiscernible, 80 mysteriously are the husband and the wife united into “one flesh," or "one humanity.”
“What God therefore has joined together, let not man put asunder.” God has united them “in one flesh” by the original constitution of their nature as made by him, and by his express and positive law in accordance with that nature. Therefore, let no human legislation separate them.
And then He shows that only in reference to the hardness and brutality of the national heart was the liberty of divorce politically permitted; but that originally it was not so.
*“Cleave unto,” in our version. The word is in the passive in the original. It signifies the closest pernianent union.
And the conclusion from these premises is, “Whosoever putteth away his wife, except for fornication, and marries another, commits adultery.”
Although human legislation may permit divorce, or even decree and enjoin it, for many causes, still the man who is divorced for any other cause than the adultery of his wife; or the woman who is divorced for any other cause than the adultery of her husband, and then marries again, that man or that woman, notwithstanding man's legislation and human law, is, by the law of his own being as man, by the law under which Society is of the Almighty constituted, by the law of God from the beginning, and by that law as again declared and promulgated by Christ, the Word Incarnate-AN ADULTERER OR ADULTERESS. And he that marries a wife so divorced, divorced by the law of man, but still married by the law of God, is an ADULTERER.
THIS IS THE LAW OF CHRIST, WHATSOEVER BE THE LAW OF MAN, AND, AS SUCH, IS TO BE OBEYED BY ALL CHRISTIANS.
And, by a parity of reasoning, since the clause "save for fornication," excludes him or her who, because of this sin in his or her partner, is divorced and marries again, from the sentence of adultery; it is manifest that he who, because of the adultery of his wife, is divorced from her, is legally separated so as to be entirely free from all fault, even if he do marry again.
Upon this ground we place the Christian law of marriage,—upon nature first, as originally made of God, ----and secondly, upon the express law of God as cited and re-enacted by Christ. And we believe that as in all cases of the express law of God, so in this, obedience to the express command of the Almighty, even although human law and human wisdom sanction disobedience, shall be found ultimately to confer the greatest amount of lasting and permanent happiness. And more than this, the sincerest wisdom of man shall be ultimately driven to re-enact and re-establish the Law of God.
But still, although upon the Law of God and upon the Nature of man, we found the obligation of permanence, and not upon expediency, yet still it may be advantageous to show the uses of this permanence. We quote, therefore, from a writer* whose principles of morality we dislike, but whose logical acuteness was very great, who, in tracing out the advantages of permanence, says: