Page images

cation sinneth against his own body, against that proper body of which he is the member, and Christ is the head 9.

The appropriation of the word one body to the body of the Church, is not inconsistent with the interpretation of the word translated harlot, in a sense remote indeed from ordinary apprehension, and neglected by modern commentators, but familiar to the ancient expositors, and agreeable to the use of the Hellenistic writers, who understand by Togveld, or fornication', not whoredom, commonly so called, but alienation, or apostacy, and especially alienation by marriage of the faithful with the unbelieving. In the first sense the apostle maintains, that the body or church of Christ was not designed for apostacy, but for devotion and faithfulness to the Lord: in the second sense he adverts to the forbidden marriages of the believer with the unbeliever. Shall I take the members of Christ, and make them by marriage the members of an unbelieving woman? God forbid! The Corinthians might object, that, as such marriages were unlawful, they could not have the effect supposed: and the apostle in reply to the objection would argue, Shall I not do this, if I marry an unbelieving woman ; for he who is joined to a woman in marriage is one body with her, according to the authority of him who hath instituted

9 Χριστος κεφαλη εστι της εκκλησιας ως ειναι εν σωμα Χριστον και την εκIngrids. Origen, c. Celsum, 1. vi. sect. 79. See also Clem. Rom. Ep. ad Cor. i. c. 46. Clem. Alex. Strom. I. vii. c. 14. and other authorities on the text, recited in Appendix, No. I.

See Appendix, No. I. s Clem. Alex. ubi supra.



marriage, and who hath said, The two shall be one flesh. This respects my personal union with the unbelieving wife, and my becoming one body with her; and I am already by a spiritual union the member of Christ; for he that is joined to the Lord is one spirit. Flee therefore such forbidden marriage. Every other sin that a man commits is without the body, and does not defile the Church, but he that marrieth an unbelieving wife sins against that sacred body. This is called by Tertullian a violation of the temple of God, a confusion of the members of Christ with the members of a forbidden wife: and by Cyprian, a joining of the bond of marriage with the unbelieving, a prostitution of the members of Christ to the heathen ; and he presses the text as an authority for the proposition, that marriage should not be contracted with the heathen'. This exposition, while it gives even to a forbidden marriage the authority of the divine institution, rests not upon any tradition, however primitive, but is demanded by the context, which cannot otherwise be explained. If fornication and the body both bear their ordinary sense, it is difficult to conceive upon what ground it is said of fornication, more than of any other sensual indulgence, that the body is not made for fornication ; that every other sin besides fornication is without the body; and that he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body: even if the body be understood of the Church, and fornication retains its ordinary sense, still it may be

· Tert. ad Ux. I. ii. s. 3. Cyprian Lib. de Lapsis, Lib. Test. I. iii. s. 62. See Appendix, No. I.

asked, how fornication, more than any other sin, brings scandal upon the Church. But by the proposed revival of the ancient interpretation the chief difficulties are removed. The Church is not made for apostacy: and every disciple, by making an unbeliever one with him in marriage, offends against the Church, of which he is a member, by bringing the unbeliever with whom he is matrimonially incorporated into communion with Christ, with whom he is also united in a spiritual relation. The order in which the apostle treats first of food offered to idols, and then of fornication, interpreted of some specific act of idolatry, is not unusual with the sacred writers in other passages": and there is a striking correspondence between the text thus interpreted and the parallel passage*, in which the apostle reverts to the same subject: and the making the members of Christ the members of an alien coincides with being unequally yoked together with unbelievers ; the being joined to an alien in one body, and to the Lord in one spirit, with the concord between Christ and Belial, and the portion possessed in common between him that believeth and the unbeliever; the knowledge that the body is the temple of the Holy Ghost, with the agreement of the temple of God with idols ; and the conclusion of glorifying God in the body and in the spirit, with the purification of all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. The coin

e Rev. ii. 14, 20.

* 2 Cor. vi. 14—18, vii. 1. See Leslie's Sermon concerning marriages in different communions, prosecuted by Dodwell, sect. 22-29.

cidence between the two passages is such as the most inattentive reader can hardly overlook : the context, the order of the apostle's discourse, and the parallel passage, all agree in demanding the exposition, which is justified by the primitive and apostolical use of the words in question : and whether the text of Moses be applied, as in the Epistle to the Ephesians, to the mystical union of Christ with his Church, or, as the immediate context requires, to the actual marriage of the man with the woman, it is satisfactory to know, that the sacred text may be vindicated from a very unworthy application, and may be made to bear a clear and decisive testimony to the divine institution of marriage.

To the authority of the Scriptures in favour of the divine institution of marriage, should be added some of the testimonies of the Church, received in uninterrupted tradition from the apostles. In the first century the apostolical father Ignatius thus instructs the Church of Antioch: Let husbands love their wives, remembering that at the creation one woman was given to one man, not many to one man: let wives honour their husbands as their own flesh, nor let them venture to call them familiarly and by name, or without acknowledgment of their preeminence: let them also be chaste, considering those only to be their consorts, to whom they have been united according to the will or institution of God'.

In the second century Clemens of Alexandria

y Ep. ad Antiochen, sect. 9. xxTO grouens Osov, q. d. secundum ordinationem Dei. Vet. ver. apud Coteler. v. ii. p. 152. see not. in loc.

calls marriage the appointment or ordinance of God”. Theophilus, with a direct reference to the Mosaic history, affirms, that Adam knew Eve his wife, whom God made out of his side for his wife. ... He made her, and said, The two shall be one flesh; and the same thing is shewn to be fulfilled in ourselves a Tertullian also undertook the defence of matrimony, when it was accused by an enemy under the name of debauchery to the prejudice of the Creator, who gave his blessing to marriage according to its honour for the increase of mankind, and generally for good and perfect uses. . . . It is not the institution, but the abuse, which requires reproof, according to the sentence of him who instituted it, who both said, Increase and multiply; and, Thou shalt not commit adultery. ... Although bounds must be set to marriage, which among us are defended by spiritual reasons under the authority of the Paraclete, prescribing one marriage to the faith. ful, it must be for him who gave the liberty to fix the limitation ... the end and the beginning belong to the same power....O heretical deity of Marcion, you would be grateful if you had counteracted the ordinance of the Creator, in uniting man and woman'.

In the third century Origen expressly ascribes the matrimonial union to the interposition and ordinance of God: It is God who joineth the two together

2 Strom. 1. iii. s. 12.

* Ad Autolyc. 1. ii. s. 28. If part of the passage be read in a parenthesis, the primary law of marriage will be referred immediately to God, and uninterruptedly follow the creation of the woman. Adv. Marcion, I. i. s. 29.

« PreviousContinue »