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DOCTRINE AND LAW
THEOLOGICAL AND PRACTICAL VIEW
• THE DIVINE INSTITUTION OF MARRIAGE;
THE RELIGIOUS RATIFICATION OF MARRIAGE;
WITH AN APPENDIX,
CONTAINING AN ESSAY ON THE HELLENISTIC AND ECCLESIASTICAL MEANING
OF THE WORD TIOPNEIA, ORDINARILY TRANSLATED FORNICATION,
Iubuyons autouo ourwpida di guya. Nonnus.
OF TRINITY COLLEGE, OXFORD;
PRINTED BY W. BAXTER,
THE reader of the following pages is earnestly entreated to suspend his judgment, until he has considered the series of argument which they contain, and of which it is the one purpose to establish the doctrine of the holiness and the indissolubility of marriage, on the basis of its divine institution. How far the Author has succeeded in the support of this doctrine, it is not his province to determine: he can ascertain and avouch no more than the honest persuasion of his own mind, and a perfect conviction, that not a thought is suggested, which can prejudice the interests of Christian righteousness. When however he has considered the high au- 2 thorities which he has ventured to oppose, the extent to which he has carried his theory, and the nature of some of the arguments, and the obsolete expositions of Scripture, by which he has endeavoured to sustain it, he is free to confess, that he has at times distrusted his own judgment, and been apprehensive
that his mind may have been unduly biassed in favour of a particular system, conceived and matured in retirement, and with contracted means and opportunities of information and research. The argument nevertheless results in such an appearance of consistency, as induces a hope that it is constructed on a just principle, and that the views which have been taken by the Author may not be unworthy of the public attention. The first desire and delight of his heart is to investigate and defend the truth, to remove the occasions of offence, to ascertain the principles and enforce the practice of private virtue, and to assist in the promotion of social improvement: but the experience and observation of life have rendered him not sanguine or precipitate in the anticipation of religious union or moral renovation; and in the slow and guarded process of theological disquisition he has learned not to ask or to give assent to any proposition which does not rest on the arguments of manly reason, or the dictates of inspired authority.
It is not necessary to state the circumstances which engaged the Author's attention in the enquiry, in the prosecution of which he first collected and weighed the several texts of Scripture whichi speak of