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fails, for that is a cause of severance which is not of man's devising, but is the special provision of God, and that under both the Mosaic and the Christian dispensations; and the contract which He made originally, He made with this exception, and that contract He now declares to be severed. What God had joined, God also puts asunder. " Ergo ex justâ causâ est marito jus divertendi atque aliam ducendi : non enim hos (propter Adulterium) homo separat, sed Deus."
We see, then, clearly, that the Saviour has never abrogated the liberty of Divorce, as granted by the Mosaic law. The difference in his enactment is not in the kind, but in the degree of the liberty which it affords. Under the former it was considerable, under the latter it is contracted, and brought into a small compass; but still the restriction is far from declaring the indissolubility of the contract. This was not the doctrine of the Old Testament, and it is not the doctrine of the New. Greater impediments are made to surround and encumber the permission of Divorce under the latter dispensation, and that for the wisest and most beneficial purposes: the probability of countenancing a vicious use of this liberty is thereby diminished, but still the permission of Divorce is granted, and the complete liberty
of marrying again must, we contend, attend it as a necessary and unvarying result.
Indeed, the very nature of the crime to which Christ has limited the power of Divorce, repugnant as it is to the constitution of the marriage compact, would lead to this conclusion :-What is marriage? It consists in two becoming one flesh. Adultery destroys this unity. We infer it dissolves the compact, at least, that the separation which follows, should be of this character.
And, now, another consideration opens upon us; it is that of the identity of rights, liberties, restraints, and remedies, which the law of Christ affords to both sexes in this matter. This was another proof of the religious superiority of the Saviour's code. The Jews did not allow the woman the liberty of Divorce at all, extensive as was the indulgence granted to the man. had, indeed, been in later
Cases of the kind
times witnessed ;
but Josephus, who relates them, considers them as an usurpation of an exclusive prerogative pertaining to his own sex; but the Saviour establishes an identity of interests, and an equality of rights. The innocent wife has the same remedy as the injured husband. This mode of reasoning, which places the parties on the same footing, is not unaptly
termed a rule of reciprocal positions, and is manifestly more accordant with the dictates of natural justice. And, in reference to this, the unforced interpretation of the Saviour's law is as complete and satisfactory as can be desired.
These sentiments cannot be better expressed, than in the forcible language of Dr. (now Sir Alexander) Croke, in a very excellent pamphlet, addressed by him in the year 1801, to the two Houses of Parliament, on this subject; when the Bill for the punishment and prevention of the crime of Adultery, was made the subject of so much discussion, but, at last, unhappily thrown out in the Lower House.* On this reciprocity of circumstances he argues to this effect. The law of Christ describes the married persons under the same penalties for the com
To that pamphlet the Author of this Essay feels himself indebted in the investigation of this part of the subject; and he takes this opportunity of acknowledging the respect he entertains for the talents and principles of its writer. That pamphlet, published twenty years ago, has, it is to be feared, together with the intended alteration of the law on the subject, been for a time forgotten. Happy will the present writer be, if his own inferior production should be instrumental in reviving the attention of the public to a subject of so much interesting importance.
mission of an equal crime under equal circumstances, and possessing also a reciprocal remedy: Whosoever shall put away his wife, except for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth Adultery." Here is the case of the man. "And whosoever marrieth her which is put away," (except for fornication,) "doth commit Adultery." Here is the parallel case of the woman, involved in that of him who marries her thus illegally put away. The husband of the second wife commits Adultery with her; the wife of the second husband commits Adultery with him. The description is complete, and the unity of sense preserved in both situations; and the precept respecting the woman was necessary. Chrysostom reasons well upon it: if divorced on other grounds, comparing her innocence with her ejection, she would feel a self-satisfaction, and others no reluctance to receive her; and she might hasten to a second marriage. But the law stops her; she cannot marry again. Why? Because she is not divorced; she is merely sent away, and the tie of the first marriage still continues in force. She was no adulteress ; she had not committed fornication; if so, the marriage would have been dissolved, but it remains in force. But take now the presumption of her guilt,
What is the situation of the man? Does his tie of matrimony with his first wife remain unbroken? Clearly not. He can therefore be legally united to a second. Then, what is the situation of the wife? Clearly, she also is at liberty; for, how can she, by any remarriage, continue to commit Adultery against one who has not only ceased to be her husband, but is now the proper husband of another? Marriage is continually necessary to the very notion of Adultery. Take away this, and the very nature and name of the offence are gone. How then can a woman, thus legally divorced, commit Adultery? She may be guilty of fornication before she marries again; but any other name would suppose a perpetual Adultery against a husband no longer existing; and this would be equally repugnant to the rules of sound criticism. The essential relation of the propositions in the law of Christ would be destroyed: the first clause of his statement would be read with a restriction, the last, without one; and this, as Doddridge carefully remarks, is an incorrectness ever to be avoided, because it occasions the necessity of supposing the term (μoyeuw) to be used in two different senses so near together The reservation clause (except for fornication) is not