of great importance, that among us Christians, there is no such custom, and custom has the authority of law. -
But I am far from allowing that the divine Lawgiver has been silent upon this subject; on the
contrary, I assert that he has most severely and pointedly interdicted such marriages - for that alone,
thou shalt not approach to any who is near of kin, certainly includes this species of relation; for what
is so near to a man as his wife, are they not one flesh? By the wife therefore, her sister becomes
nearly related to the husband. For as he may not marry the mother of his wife, or the daughter of his wife,
so for the same reason that he may not take the mother or the daughter, he may not take the sister of his wife; yea,
no more than he may take his own sister by blood. - If they cannot contain, let them marry, even so, but it is not
said they may contract unlawful marriages - doth not nature herself frown upon such indecent connections, which
obliterate the very appellations of relatives? By what name of alliance can those be designated who are born
in such wedlock? will you call them brothers, or cousins? the confusion has rendered them both. O
man, do not make the aunt become the mother of your former babes; nor raise implacable rivalships
in your family. In fine, if any man wishes to enter into a lawful marriage, the whole world is before him. -
But I must close, and I pray my warnings may check this inordinate concupiscence; or that it be limited
to places where it is tolerated, and that such wickedness may never be suffered to progress in our country."
HESYCHIUS on Levit. xviii. and xx. proves that these prohibitions were universally obligatory, because
both the Egyptians and Canaanites are taxed for marrying within those degrees; from when he infers,
"that they are of moral and eternal obligation."
Of the LATIN FATHERS; TERTULLIAN, who lived within a century after the Apostles, expressly
declares, "that the law forbidding to marry a sister in law is still binding upon Christians." Lib. iv.
contra Marcionem; and AMBROSIUS Lib. viii. Epist. 66; JEROME contra Helvidium; and AUGUSTINUS
contra Faustum, Cap. 8, 9, 10. quest. 64.
de Civitate Dei. cap. xvi. &c. All held to the
moral nature and universal extent of the law of Leviticus; they particularly refuted the objections urged