law of God. 2. That the Apostles made no new law respecting marriage, under the gospel, but left this
article as they found it. 3. That marrying within near degrees was abhorred by the Greeks and other
civilized Heathen. And, 4. That such marriages being against the law of God, ought to be dissolved.
The sentiments of CALVIN may be satisforily gathered from two of his letters. One is supposed,
from the closing paragraph, to have been written to Grineus. Of the other, it is uncertain to whom it
was addressed. They are both to be found in the collection of his epistles. In the first he writes:
"It must be maintained that the prohibition, respecting sisters in law, is one of those, which time nor
place can never abrogate. It proceeds from the very fountain of nature, and is founded upon the general
principle of all laws, which is perpetual and inviolable. - When the Emperor Claudius obtained the sanction of the senate to
remove the opprobrium of his incestuous marriage with Agrippina, there was none found to imitate his example, excepting only
one liberated slave. I mention this to show how inviolable the law of nature is, even among profane
nations. - Let the examples drawn from the heathen,
if in virtue and modesty they should appear to exceed us, make us ashamed. - Indeed to me, this single
admonition of Paul is sufficient: 'Whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things
are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue,
and if there be any praise, think on these things.'"
In the other letter, Calvin says: "It is sufficiently known in what degrees of consanguinity God in his law forbids marriage.
- What relates to the degrees of affinity is equally obvious. There are some who dispute, or rather cavil, whether it is not
lawful for a man to take the sister of his deceased wife; and they seize, as a pretext, upon the words,
Levit. xviii. 18. during her life time. But there error is refuted by the very words of that text. Because
what is there condemned by Moses, is not for Incest, but for cruelty to the wife. That text actually respects Polygamy."
ECOLAMPADIUS, in a letter dated 1531, asserted: "That the law in Leviticus did bind all mankind; and that the law
in Deuteronomy respecting a brother's