Marriage Index
Van Deusen/Kosinski Collection

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Christian may marry his sister in law, nay, he may marry his nearest relatives by consanguinity. There is no law in the book of God to bind him to the contrary. If the precept respecting one relation be ceremonial, then all the precepts are ceremonial - a discrimination is impossible. The Jews then were restrained from committing abominable crimes, but Christians may perpetrate those very sins with impunity. - Is it possible for men to advance such an objection, and look at the unavoidable conclusions, without blushing at their prejudice and rashness? Will not the nature of the law, the subject it contemplates, the style in which it is expressed and the connection in which it is introduced, convince any person, capable of understanding the question, that the law against Incest cannot be ceremonial, but is as much a moral law, as the law of marriage, or the seventh precept of the Decalogue? - that it is therefore of universal obligation, binding upon Christians and all men, equally with the Jews? But a full reply to this unfounded objection has already been anticipated in section V.

II.  It is objected that "there is no intrinsic evil in the marriage of a wife's sister; that there is nothing

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in the principle relating to the connection itself, or in its consequences, with respect to the individuals and their families, that is repugnant to any moral obligation or injurious to the interests of society." - But this is no objection, it is a rash assumption of the fact, an absurd petitio principii. Objections in the same style, and with equal propriety, might be made in regard to any marriage, even with the nearest relatives. But, when restricted to a sister in law, let it be remembered, that God himself has decided the question. His express command determines whether such a connection be intrinsicially evil or not; and as to what regards the consequences of such marriages, a sufficient answer is found in section VI, under the title of decency.

III.  An objection, upon which high confidence is placed, is taken from the law in Deut. xxv. 5-10, where it is enacted; that "if brethren dwell together, and one of them die, and have no child, the wife of the dead shall not marry without unto a stranger; her husband's brother shall go in unto her, and take her to wife, &c." From this dispensation it is argued; "that the Law in Levit. forbidding Incest, must be considered as ceremonial,


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