תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

the importance and fanctity which he had assumed, and calm and collected amidst the profusion of authorities with which he. had been furnished.

As to Mr. Madan's own charge against his numerous opponents, viz. that he hath not been understood ;' we shall only. reply, that the accusation, if true, reflects more on himself than on them. It rather betrays his own want of perspicuity, than their want of understanding. It thews--not that they have read his work carelessly--but that he hath penned it unfairly.

If its good principles lurk in obscurity, and its pernicious ones. i appear in open day-light, who is most to be blamed--the Au

thor or his answerers ?-he, who hides what he chinks to be useful, or they who oppose what they know to be prejudicial ?

But the fact is, Mr. Madan's accufation is groundiess. However cumbered his work may be with needlels repetitions, and vague, impertinent digreffions :-however dcbased by vulgar ftories, and low, unregenerate wit, his main object is so perspicuous that he who runs may read. In short, his whole system may be reduced to two general heads : and it is for the support of thesc heads, that every subordinate .division, digreffion, quotation, anecdote, tale, pun, and what not, were ultimately defigner, and introduced into his elaborate performance : -viz. “ that marriage is fimply nothing more than copulation ;-and. « any married man copulating with any single woman, makes her 6 his own property and lawful wife, by that very act, in the “ sight of God and conscience; and that such an union ought « to be ratified as sacred and indiffoluble by the canons of every “ ecclefiaftical, and the laws and fanctions of every political, " establishment upon carth.” . ;

This is Mr. M.'s system of marriage and polygamy: and this is the very system which we, and all his other answerers, have opposed. .

But how doth this Writer attempt to make good bis charge? How doth he prove that he hath been misunderstood, and misrepresented? We are sorry to say, that he hath recourse to the most difingenuous subterfuge that the supporter of a bad cause can fly to, in the moment when truth, and the faireft deduc. . tions of the plainest arguments, press hard upon him. It is this

_" that the Author of Thelyphthora doth not, as his opponents. would insinuate, recommend the indiscriminate practice of po- -lygamy.”Indiscriminate! What a delusive equivoque! But how would he define the word? Where would he draw the line between lawful and unlawful polygamy? What limitations. would. he fix to the practise of it, without overthrowing the very au, thorities by which he labours to support it? When is it to be regarded as a duty: and when ought it to be avoided as a crime? and further,—who is to decide the point for individuals ? with

whom

whom is the appeal to be ultimately lodged ? — Till he answers these questions, we shall not retract our affertion respecting the leading principle of this work; and that is," the lawfulness of polygamy, without restriction.We say the lawfulness of it; for Mr. M. must be understood to mean this in the application of all his leading arguments from the Old Testament: and particularly from the celebrated case of David, where Nathan is represented as delivering him this message from God :-" I gave thee thy master's house, and thy master's wives into thy bofom, and I gave thee the house of Israel and Judah, and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given thee such and such things :" i. e. as some of the Rabbins interpret it, “ If Saul's “ wives, together with those thou had it before, had not been « sufficient, the number should have been doubled, that thy “ wishes might have been gratified to their utmost extent." Now Mr. Madan, reasoning very gravely on this infrance, asks, If we can suppose that God would have given more wives than one into David's bofom, who already had more than one, if it was a sin in David to take them?' Strenuously maintaining the negative, in opposition to all who have put a more delicate construction on this passage than it was for the interest of Thelyphthora to acquiesce in, the Rev. Author asserts with his usual decisiveness, that · David's ingratitude to God, and to his worthy Uriah, were not so marked by Nathan, because David had a number of women whom he could not enjoy; but because he might have enjoyed them whenever he pleased. In this very case, however, Mr. Madan finds a difficulty which a little checks the vanity of his triumph, by reducing him to the mortification of making a concession.' Saul's wives were in too close an af. finity with David, to admit of that enjoyment which Mr. Madan is ro ready to grant him. They were the wives of his own father-in-law ! But this circumstance is easily reconciled by Mr. Madan; • I have carefully examined,' says he, the degrees of affinity and consanguinity wherein marriage is forbidden, and do find that a man must not marry his own mother-in-law; but as to his wife's mother-in-law, there is not a trace of such an impediment!' Then how shall we dispose of David's wiie's own mother? Was he also to be given into David's bosom to be enjoyed whenever he pleased ? No,-Mr. Madan finds this union forbidden in the Table of Afinity and Consanguinity, (Vid. Lev. xviii, 17.) - She muft (lays Mr. M.) if living, be put out of the question ! Now, there is no exception made in the text: and this might have given Mr. M. some suspicion of the general comment he hath put upon it. But the man is at least confiftent with himself. He takes matters literally and fully; or allegorically and restrictively, just as they best happen to suit the purpose of Thelyphthora! :

From

From our Author's reasonings on this instance of David and the wives of Saul, we may justly inser that he doth not regard indiscriminate polygamy as a fin, either against the law of Revelation, or the rights of human nature :-if by indiscriminate he means as many wives as a man hath the capacity of providing for. Here then the matter that had been so artfully shaded grows perfe&tly clear; and equivocation' itself vanishes. Mr. M. doth not recommend indiscriminate polygamy. Why?-not that it is sinful in any; but because it may be imprudent in fome. The man who marries three wives, when he can support but two; or who marries two, when he can support but one, is at the utmost to be considered as indiscreet; and only ta be blamed in the same proportion as we in these days blame a man for marrying one wife when he hath but barely the means of fupporting himself. We tax his prudence, but we spare his principles. He may be a good man, though a bad economist, He hath brought so guilt upon his conscience: he hath only brought an incumbrance on his family, and if he can reconcile his conduct to the latter, he need be under no concern about the former.

This is the ultimate scope of Mr. M.'s reasonings; and in bis remarks on the case of * Mahlon who refused to marry

Ruth,

• In commenting on this case, Mr. M. betrays a species of disen. genuity for which we have no precise word, and can only express it by a Periphrafis; for it is compounded of several qualities which carry with them both imposition and insult. The learned Dr. Delany had observed froin Şelden's Uxor Hebr. that " the Chaldee paraphraft, " the Midrash, and Josephus agree, that this was the reason why “ Mahlon's next kinsman refuled to redeem Ruth his widow, viz. because it was not lawjul for him to marry ber, having a wife of his • own." Now, says Mr. M. “I have looked into Bishop Patrick on Ruth, 4, 6, who mentions the passage alluded to in the Chalave Pas rapbrasi and the Midrash ; and so far from their appearing to say what she Dean would make them, there is not a word of any such thing: they put a quite different sense upon the words;'- We have no. thing more to do than to produce the passage itself from Mr. Şelden, and let our Readers judge for themselves whether our reflection be well or ill founded. Ego non poflum uti jure propinquitatis feu redimendi ; ne miruar feu corrumpan hæreditatem mciiplius Sed ibi para. phrasis Chaldæus. Ego non poljum mihi reaimere, quoniam jam ante mihi sxor. Neque licet mibi aliam ei superinducere, ne inde rixa in domo mea ariatur, ac ne lædam pofitionem mean. Redine igitur illi, quoniam 14 neutiquam uxorem habes, et ego redimere nequeo.' i. e. “ I cannot redeem " it for myself, left I'mar my own inheritance. (Ruili, 4,6.) On which a paloge ibe Chaldee Paraphralibus comments, It is out of my power " to redeem it, because I have a wife already: nor would it be law. “ ful for me to marry another, lest life should arise in my fainily,

Ruth, because he was unwilling to mar his own inheritance, he makes use of these reasonings without reserve; artrully applying to his purpose a text from St. Paul, which any bad man with equal justice might apply to any bad account:-“ All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient."

In our former criticism on Thelyphthora, we have attempted to prove, not only that its position respecting the rites of marriage is politically dangerous, but theologically false. It is even false on the ground of the Levitical law-which is Mr. M.'s dernier refort.

We will add one remark to strengthen our preceding arguments, in opposition to the loose and pernicious maxims which Mr. M. hath laboured to establish. It is this. Betrothment constituted a woman the lawful wife of the man to whom the had pledged herself; and as his wife she was considered before consummation had taken place. She was expressly called his wife; and the violation of a betrothed woman was regarded in the same heinous light as adultery; and punished precisely in the same degree. Now betrothment must have been founded on some formal agreement: that agreement-how made or by what mode or ceremony ratified, is no part of the argument-but that agreement, however stipulated, gave marriage a sanction, and constituted the right which a man might claim to the woman aş his own property, prior to, and independent of, the carnak knowledge of each other's persons. If the latter took place without the intervention of any previous stipulations, or with, out a compliance with the common and established forms, the law graciously condescended to provide a remedy for the sake of the woman. If The had been seduced, and inviegled by the professions and infinuating address of the man, ihe was allowed to claim him as her future husband; nor could he refuse to acknowledge the claim. But if a father's authority interfered, no marriage could take place. The woman dropt her claim; and the man, on paying a fine, as some compensation for his guilt, was released from the obligation of marriage. This single exception to the validity of a union that had only been ratified ty what Mr. Madan gravely calls · God's holy and simple ordinance,' overturns the whole system of Thelyphthora even to the foundation. We have already challenged Mr. M. with this exception; and would readily join issue with him on the ground it prepares. We have brought him to an unwilling concession

" and my poffeffions be injured. Do thou therefore redeem it, fince thou bafi no wife. I am unable to redeem it.” Now this is the passage which doch not even appear to say one word favourable to Dr. Delany's representation; and even puts quite a diferent Jerse on ihe pallage!- Oh, Mr. Madan! Mr. Madan?

in behalf of our argument ; and have reduced him to this pere plexing alternative, viz. either to give up the authority of the parent in the disposal of a child under the Mosaic law, as what might have been violated without any punishment, or the incurring of any extraordinary fine; or to renounce his own darlino tenet, and consider something more than the simple act of carnal knowledge as necessary to constitute a legal, and a holy marriage. He cannot give up the former without breaking in on the first and fundamental principles of the Jewish polity: and if he renounces the latter, he abandons the glorious work of refore mation which Thelyphthora was sent abroad to accomplish!

As a confirmation of our former remarks on Exod. xxii. 16, 17. P“ If a man entice a maid that is not betrothed, and lie " with her, he shall surely endow her to be his wife. If her " father utterly refuse to give her unto him, he shall pay money “ according to the dowry of virgins.”] we will produce a pala Sage from Jofephus as explanatory of the text. OO Berpos napθενον μηπω κατεγκυημηνην αυτ γαμείτω. ην δε τω πατρι της κορης μη δοξη συνοικιζειν αυτω, πεντηκοντα σικλες την τιμην της υβρεως, 20.7alah netw. [Orig. lib. 4. cap. 8.] i. e. “ If any man should « debauch a virgin not espoused or betrothed to another, let him 66 marry her. But if the father should not think it proper to « give her to him for cohabitation, let him lay down fifty then “ kels, as a recompence for the injury he hath done her;" or more literally, " as the reward of her disgrace.Thus all the ancient Jews understood the text; and indeed every commentator on the Old Testament, till Mr. M. arose to make one part of it utterly disagree with the other; and the whole with the general system of the Mosaic law.

Now, in order to impress the Reader's mind afresh with Mr. Madan's absurdity, and to place his argument in a light that will fairly expose itself, we think it proper to give the substance of his comment on the above text. “If a man entice a maid. « he, by the very act which he enticed her to, really and truly 66 made her his wife ; since NOTHING more was required in the " sight of God than the act itself, to make her so. But what if e her father should refuse to give her for a wife :- doth not his rea fusal disannul the union? By no means. She was a wife. in. " dependent of the father. What had been done, muft for ever « ftand good. It is out of his power to vacate God's SIMPLE " ORDINANCE. But what becomes of the parent's authority? « That must yield to the higher obligation of the SIMPLE OR" DINANCE. But is neither the man nor the woman to be pu. 66 nilbed? No. The dowry is to be paid. But was not THAT us to have been paid in case the father's confent had been gained ? « Yes. Then where lies the difference in point of fin, or name, or punishment, between obeying and disobeying the parent? There

Hand good ce. But the higher man nor the But was no

« הקודםהמשך »