Marriage Index
Van Deusen/Kosinski Collection

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documents of importance to the Reformed Dutch Church.

In several Ecclesiastical COUNCILS it was decreed, "That all marriages within the prohibited degrees were incestuous and void; and that the contracting parties should be cast out of the communion of the Church." The marriage with a sister in law was expressly mentioned and included within the prohibted degrees. In this decision the Church was supported by the civil law of the Roman Empire after it became Christian, which expressly interdicted such marriages, and pointedly forbade a man to marry the wife of a deceased brother, or the sister of a deceased wife. See inter alia, "Fratris uxorem ducendi, vel duabus seroribus conjungendi penitus licentiam summovemus, &c. we absolutely withhold the liberty of marrying the wife of a brother, or joining in wedlock with two sisters." Caesar. Cod. Lib. v. Tit. v. de Incest. nupt. Leg. 5.

Among the FATHERS IN THE GREEK CHURCH, as they are called ORIGEN upon Levit. 20. CHRYSOSTOM Homil. 71 on Mat. 22.; and BASIL, unite in asserting the universal and unchangeable

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obligation of the law of Leviticus against Incest. Basil, who lived in the fourth century and for his learning and piety was distinguished by the title of THE GREAT, has expressed his sentiments upon this subject, with a precision, zeal and force of argument, which reflect honour upon his understanding and his heart. He is decided, and lays it down as a foundation, that the laws in Levit. 18. and 20. respecting marriages are moral and still in force. Only a few paragraphs can be here extracted and translated from his epistle to Diodorus. - "Letters were brought to us under the signature of Diodorus, but excepting the name, there was nothing of Diodorus in them. It seems your name was prefixed to add weight to the question, whether it is lawful for a man to marry the sister of his deceased wife. And by this forgery, to recommend and support an obscene transaction. I would have sent you the Letters, if they had been at hand, to enable you to vindicate both yourself and the truth, but as the person who had those letters is absconded, and is making a bad use of them, I now write to you, that we may detect this spurious work and prevent its proving injurious to any. - We might in the first instance object, and in matters of this kind, such objection is


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