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fort in the present world, are overcast with the blackness of darkness. Life, to him, is changed into a lingering death, his house is turned into an empty dreary cavern. Himself is widowed, his children are orphans, robbed of all their peculiar blessings, the blessings of maternal care and tenderness, the rich blessings of maternal instruction and government, the delightful and persuasive blessings of maternal example; and, this not by the righteous providence of God, but by the murderous villany of man. Clouded with woe, and hung round with despair, his soul becomes a charnel house, where life, and peace, and comfort, have expired; a tomb, dark and hollow, covering the remains of departed enjoyment, and opening no more to the entrance to the living.”
With respect to Divorce, it is clear, that it is not a remedy to be hastily resorted to, and indeed its exclusive parent ought to be the commission of this crime, or some other equally destructive of the purposes of marriage.
Man's judgment may be seen peculiarly in the Jewish and Roman States; the latter of whom, when in the possession of their most uncontrolled liberty, were most the
prey of civil feuds. The judgment of God is to be found in that sentence of the Prophet's, “ He hateth putting away."*
There has indeed been a gradation in the penal visitation of the crime under consideration, some nations requiring its expiation (in the human sense of that term) by death, others deeming whipping a sufficient punishment, others regarding fine an adequate compensation, while only in savage countries, and those not universally, it is regarded otherwise than in the light of a crime. It may, in general, be remarked, however, that where the punishment has been vested in the laws of the country, it is usually characterized by less severity, than when lodged in the hands of the party offended ; and in the latter case, its severity varied according to the ideas entertained of women, and to the power assumed over the female sex.
By the Jewish law, it is clear, that Adultery was followed by capital punishment. That Divorce was permitted to the men, but limited to causes which defeated the end of marriage. That the increasing corruption of men extended this afterwards to signify slighter
* Mal. ii. 16.
causes of dislike, and that it was afterwards grasped by the women; that the other nations of the world, not possessing the same restraints which curbed originally the Jewish nation, surrendered themselves up to a greater liberty of Divorce ; but that all regarded Adultery as a frightful offence against the peace of society and the happiness of men; “ Turpis Adultera”* being the voice of all their sentiments.
That, amidst the confusion of opinions and
* That is a fine passage in Cicero, wherein he says, “ Maximè admonendus, quantus sit furor amoris. Omnibus enim ex animi perturbationibus est profectò nulla vehementior; ut si jam ipsa illa accusare nolis, stupra dico, et corruptelas et Adulteria, quorum accusabilis est turpitudo.” &c.
Tusc. Quæst. lib. 4. 35. Lessius cites a supposition of some ingenious author, that the very animal creation have indicated an abhorrence of this crime; and relates an instance of a stork convicted of Adultery, “ per olfactum masculi sui,” having convened a flock of other storks, who first deplumed, and then destroyed the adulterous female. We may smile at the fable, but we must concur in the sentiment of the relater, that, “ if the report seems improbable, yet the moral is very applicable.”
Pliny, however, states, that the elephant knows no such thing as copulation with any but his own proper mate; that the dove does not, as he expresses it, ever violate the faith of wedlock; and that lions do, in a very severe manner, punish the adulteries of the lioness.
“ Elephantis mirus pudor est. Nunque nisi habito coeunt. Nec Adulteria novere.” Nat. Hist. lib. viii. cap. 5. “ Columirregularity of licentious freedom prevailing among the nations of the world, the Saviour of mankind appeared. That the publication of his new law from heaven was the period when the restoration of the former divinely dictated regulations to their original purity and strictness took place, and additional restraints, equally necessary, but not before practicable, were superinduced. Divorce was restricted to one cause, the single crime of Adultery; or, if the wider interpretation of the Saviour's words be received, to causes equivalent in their effects to Adultery, equally subversive of the marriage bond.
This last interpretation, however, demands the most scrupulous examination before it be allowed as just; and it has been inquired, with much earnest and forcible reasoning, whether there can be any equivalent to such a crime as this. Both the nature of things, and
barum mores simili ratione spectantur, pudicitia illis prima, et neutri nota Adulteria. Conjugii fidem non violant.”
Lib. x. cap. 34. Le Clerc, in his notes on Grotius, remarks this conjugal fidelity of the ringdove. Evid. Sect. xiii. vide Porph. iii. lib. de vesc. carn.
“ Odore pardi coitum sentit in Adulterå Leo : totaque vi consurgit in pænam. Idcirco aut culpa flumine abluitur, aut longius comitatur." Plin. Lib, viii. cap. 16.
the doctrine of Scripture, point against it. The nature of things, for no crime nor injury is equally destructive of the bond and intent of matrimony, nor so pernicious in its result to domestic peace : and the doctrine of Scripture, for, as the Divine Legislator has in no place mentioned, or even intimated such an equivalent, it cannot be assumed by us. We cannot suppose, that, had he intended it, he would have maintained so unbroken a silence when he restricted the permission to one cause, particularly as the question of the Pharisees was directly inclusive of the causes to which we now advert.
It has further appeared, that, by Christ, both sexes were alike laid under the obligations of his laws: that, in every nation, where the doctrines of Christianity have been received, there also this equitable parallelism has prevailed; but that, in others, we have often had to notice an unjust, invidious, tyrannical, and oppressive distinction, in favour of the stronger sex. That, in our own country, the laws and practices of the people have undergone several changes ; but that the rule of the Saviour now obtains, though certain forms must be observed in the attainment of the full remedy which, it is argued, that he intended for the injured party, and from which