of the present question principally depend, it claims particular attention.
Two extremes are here to be avoided. The union, whatever it may be, must not be so far exaggerated,
as to absorb personal identity, or change the moral responsibility of the individuals. The former
involves a contradiction, and the latter is equally absurd. But on the other part, it must not be reduced
to a mere metaphorical term, expressive of nothing more than a community of affections, cares,
and interests, or at most, a federal compact.
Mankind is united by many different bonds. They all partake of the same nature, and thus far
they are all one. In societies connections are formed of every description, and an union, as far as it
respects the objects of such associations, is thereby produced. By covenants also, persons unite in various
ways, and for different purposes. But there is no union effected by any or all of these, that can
produce such an essential change, or fix a source of new relations similar to that which marriage creates.
Civilians, who view marriage simply as it respects society and affects the rights of citizens, content
themselves with considering, it as only a civil contract; and define it to be "a covenant made between
a man and a woman, and a continual care to promote the comfort and happiness of each other." This
may be proper and sufficient for civilians; yet religion gives a more exalted view of the institution.
It admits such a covenant, but inculcates something more than by any covenant can be effected, while it
predicates an union, so complete, that those who were formerly two are now no longer twain but ONE.
The sacred scriptures, from whence we derive our only infallible information respecting divine ordances,
1. That the union produced by marriage is not merely nominal, but real and perfect. It constitutes
what unerring wisdom denominates, without reserve, to be ONE, and designates it by the strongest
terms language can express. "This now is bone of my bones, and flesh of MY FLESH. therefore