Marriage Index
Van Deusen/Kosinski Collection

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PAGE 108

offence. It was thus when the Pharisees, through unbelief and malice, were offended at our Lord; and such may also possibly happen, when persons of contracted information, are grieved at transactions, with the principles and consequences of which, they are wholly unacquainted.

But all offences are not of this description. Those against which the divine Saviour denounces a wo, are corrupt opinions and evil practices which are injurious and afflictive, discouraging and ensnaring to his people. Considering the depravity of mankind, and the innumerable temptations which abound, it is morally impossible, but that, under the divine permission, such things will happen; yet, however light the sinner may esteem the transgression, he may rest assured that awful punishment awaits the man, whoever he may be, whose rash and pernicious conduct proves an occasion to pervert others, to grieve them, or draw them into sin.

The marriage of a sister in law is an evil of this class. It grieves and offends the Church of Christ. It will not avail to boast, that "in our enlightened age, it is proper to break the fetters of inveterate

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prejudice and dispel the cloud of ancient ignorance." That it is "magnanimous, by bold efforts, to convince the world and especially Christians, that they have been hitherto mistaken in the meaning of the divine law and the extent of their liberty." Such language is characteristic of scoffers who fear not language is characteristic of scoffers who fear not God nor regard man; but it is arrogant and insufferable in those who make a profession of religion. - What claim have such presuming reformers to the attention or gratitude of the public? With what depth of investigation, with what force of argument do they support their pretensions? Is not their whole plea for marrying a sister in law founded intirely upon frivolous evasions and trifling objections? Do they enter at all into the merits of the question, or make any reference to the principles upon which its decision depends?

The divine law has not been obscured in a cloud, nor are prejudice and ignorance to be ascribed to believers, either under the Old or New-Testament dispensation. Throughout every economy of the Church, they understood the genuine institution of marriage, and knew the precise meaning of the prohibitions. They never could be impeached for


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