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an abuse. That origin marked the union as one of a character the most close, intimate, and permanent; if not indissoluble, yet as near the verge of indissolubility, as possible, and certainly not dissoluble on frivolous pretences. "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 his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and they twain shall be one flesh?" "Wherefore," (this is the Saviour's conclusion,) they are no more twain, but one flesh;" that is, as Leigh remarks, in that sense of the term which implies not the gross and carnal, but the union of the purest chastest love. "What, therefore, God hath joined together, let not man put asunder."+
The reply of Christ is thus far clear, and
Leigh's Critica Sacra, on the word, par, Gen. ïï. 24. In strict accordance with this view is Dr. Clarke's derivation of the term husband. "It comes," he says, "from the two Anglo-Saxon terms, hus and band; the bond of the house, anciently spelt housebond." And he adds ; "lamentable is it, when he; who should be the bond of union of the family, scatters and ruins it by his dissipation, riot, and excess."
+ Man; the term in the original is avρwros; the article is not prefixed; intending, thereby, man, in the abstract and universal acceptation of the term, no exception by reason
conclusive against the Pharisees. To this they immediately objected the regulations of the Mosaic law, which admitted the separation of the married parties.
It is necessary to blend here the two narratives of St. Matthew and St. Mark.*"They say unto him, why then did Moses command” (EVETEIXOTO) (for the corrupt and licentious glosses of the Jewish interpreters had extended the privilege to imply an obligation) "to give her a writing of Divorcement," (the form of that Bill has already been stated,)" and to put her away? And he said unto them," as if to rebuke their perversion of his expressions, "What did Moses command you?" How is it you read his words? The Pharisees repeat their statement, though with a little alteration, which, perhaps, the manner of the Saviour, indignant at the gross misapplication of the permission, had compelled. They said,
of sex or condition. Neither the will of the individual, nor the operation of the laws, can dissolve a bond like this, unless where the permission originates from the very source by which the bond itself was sealed. No judicial tribunal, on earth, however wise; no custom, however prevalent; no act of legislature, however imperative, can sever a compact, which the God of all has ratified, save for causes which he has intimated, as demanding and justifying the measure.
* Matt. xix. 3-9., and Mark x. 2-12.
Moses suffered (ETETρEVE) to write a Bill of Divorcement, and to put her away." The reply of Christ contains the explanation already given. Now you state the matter more correctly; it was only a permission, and this was the reason; 66 Moses, for the hardness" (προς την σκληροκαρδίαν υμων επέτρεψεν υμιν, hardness, i. e. such an obstinate and unalterable obduracy of disposition, as to beget its certain offspring bitterness and cruelty towards such as stand in the way of a man's wishes) "for the hardness of your hearts, wrote unto you this precept, and suffered you to put away your wives, but from the beginning it was not so." These separations are a deviation from the spirit of the original institution, and that spirit I mean to revive and restore. Because politic laws are constrained to bear with some things, it followeth not that God alloweth them.'t This sufferance of Divorce was so far from
* Dr. Clarke interprets this, Brashith. The Jews named the books of their law from the first word in each. Genesis they termed Brashith, from the first word in it, n'w^^a, which signifies beginning; and that Christ spake in this way here. In Brashith it was not so; intimating, that the account given in Genesis was widely different, and that there was no divorce nor polygamy in the first family.
+ Beza in loco.
a command, that it was merely an exemption from the punishment which the magistrate might otherwise have inflicted on such breaches of contract, and contempt of sacred rites. The creation of but one man and one woman, (He that made them at the beginning made them male and female,") admitted neither Divorce nor Polygamy. This is beautifully stated by the Prophet Malachi : "Did he not make one?" (one woman,-one wife ;) yet had he the residue of the Spirit.” He could, with the same facility, have created many, if he had pleased.† "And wherefore one?" The benefit of the assigned cause : "That he might seek a holy seed. The union and bond of marriage was thus evidently of so sacred a kind as to be incapable of being dissolved by any thing which does not make them cease to be
offspring is the
* Mal. ii. 15. In this passage it is observable, that the Prophet, although speaking of all the wives of the nation of Israel, yet mentions the word in the singular number only.
Tertullian has the same idea; Adam et manus infatigabiles in Deo."
"Plures costæ in
Exhort. ad Castitatem.
one flesh, by making that of the one common to some third person.
On these three several grounds did Christ rest his argument against the Pharisees; the divine origin and institution itself; the example of the first pair, and the evils of separations; and, by a reference to these, explained away all the objections of his opposers. The conversation had been commenced by them with their usual subtlety and malice ; they were tempting Christ, and watching for an occasion to commit him, by some inadvertent expression, to the fury of the prejudiced multitude. They knew well enough what his sentiments were on the subject of Divorce, (we have before mentioned them as delivered on the Mount,) and how opposed they were to the 'generally received interpretation of the word "uncleanness," as given by the School of Hillel, on which we have before remarked, (Divorce for trivial causes,) and they hoped to expose him to popular resentment for retrenching a liberty which the law, as interpreted by custom, appeared to sanction. They knew that which way soever he decided the matter, it would ex
Whitby in loco.