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and irrevocable agreement before witnesses. Inference from the holiness of marriage in favour of its religious ratification. Matrimonial rites common, with inconsiderable exceptions, among the barbarous nations of antiquity; Greeks; Romans; Hindoos; Jews, ancient and modern. Allusions in the New Testament explained by the practice of the Christian Church, until the Council of Lateran, A. D. 1216. Reasons for retaining the religious ratification.
Page 72. SECTION II. Religious Ratification in England. Religious ratification unjustly imputed to the fourth Council of Lateran. Distinction between the civil contract and religious ratification held from the earliest periods in the English law. Validity of the merely civil contract not recognized before the Toleration Act, nor by the Toleration Act, nor after the Toleration Act; and not disturbed by the Marriage Act of 1754. Exemptions under that Act. Objections of the Unitarians, and measures proposed for their relief. Protests and conduct of the Freethinking Christians. Dangers of abandoning the principle of the religious ratification of marriage. Objections to the Office for the Solemnization of Marriage, and suggestions for its revision in respect of alleged indelicacy and obscurity of expression ; and the celebration of marriage in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.
Page 130. CHAPTER III.
IMPEDIMENTS WHICH PRECLUDE AND VITIATE THE
CONTRACT OF MARRIAGE.
SECTION I. Incestuous and Micit Marriages. Restrictions upon the general freedom of marriage, agreeable to natural sense of propriety, and universally admitted. Prohibitions of marriage among Greeks and
Romans: not known among Egyptians and Canaanites :
Marriages of the Royal Family.
" especially appropriated to parties legally incorporated, and having a community of interests, secular and spiritual. Mutual society of marriage; distinct but cooperative duties ; education of common children ; perpetuity of the obligation ; inference from the doctrine of recrimination.
Page 393. CHAPTER V.
THE SINFUL AND CRIMINAL CHARACTER OF ADULTERY.
Adultery, according to the Old Testament, a sin against · God, and liable to divine judgment. How classified and denounced in the New Testament, and by the primitive writers. Adultery, a complication of fraud, perjury, and seduction, and the consummation of irreparable injury: equally criminal in the man and the woman. Penalties of adultery among the Jews, and among ancient and modern nations. The offence inadequately treated by the English law. Debates in Parliament on Lord Auckland's Bill, with recognitions of the criminal character of adultery. Suggestions for its criminal prosecution, and appropriate penalties.
DOCTRINE AND LAW
MARRIAGE, ADULTERY, AND DIVORCE.
INTRODUCTION. THERE is a passage in the Book of Wisdom, in which the author of that apocryphal treatise enters into a copious detail of the pernicious consequences and effects of idolatry, which he concludes with specifying " changing of kind, disorder in marriages, and shameless uncleanness.”
It would be one of the most useless and unsatisfactory of labours, to insist upon the tendency of a practice, which there is no temptation to commit, to enforce the testimony of a writer, to whose authority no deference is due, or to compile an elaborate comment upon an expression which has perplexed the commentators, but in the exposition of which no man feels any interest or concern. The changing of kind, and disorder in marriages, are phrases of doubtful meaning and import. The change of kind has been variously interpreted, of unnatural affections, of the counterfeiting of sex, which was usual in some of the heathen superstitions, and of the
introduction of a supposititious and illegitimate issue, by adultery and illicit intercourse, especially of Jews with Gentile women: the disorder in marriages has been supposed to denote either incestuous marriages contracted against the rules of the Levitical law, whether within the forbidden degrees, or with the forbidden nations, or, according to the translation of the Vulgate, unsettled marriages which might be dissolved at the pleasure of the parties. The latter exposition is grounded upon the former, and comprehended under it: and it is the former sense which is most agreeable to the original expression, (atašice yauwv, q. d. ataxtos yamos, marriages out of the prescribed order,) and which would most naturally occur to the mind of a Jew, especially in deducing that disorder from idolatry. In either sense it suggests an important question ; What is the order, and what is the permanent bond, of marriage? the want of which amounts to such disorder in marriages, as a Jew would ascribe to idolatry, and as is seen in the affairs of ordinary life to produce the most fatal and unhappy results.
This is a practical question, which is worthy at all times to engage the attention of the moralist and the divine, and of which, upon his own account, or for the sake of those who are dear unto him, every man is concerned to possess a clear and distinct apprehension. As the first and most ancient covenant for mutual good; as the original foundation of all human relations; as the rock upon which the goodly fabric of social happiness and social duty has been constructed ; and from the roots of which issue the salutary streams of public virtue and domestic bliss ;