Marriage Index
Van Deusen/Kosinski Collection

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PAGE 156

marrying his sister in law was a dispensation of God to his own law, which dispensation belonged only to the Jews." - Similar citations might be made from the writings of Beza, Bullinger, Ursinus, Musculus, and others, who were eminent for their profound erudition and exemplary piety, in the reformed Cantons of Switzerland, in Geneva, and on the Rhine.

It has already been noticed, section vi. that the ROMAN CATHOLICS, corrupted as they are in doctrines, modes of worship, and government, have always acknowledged the extent and universal obligation of the law of Levit. respecting incest. - That notwithstanding the shameful dispensations which for political purposes, have frequently been made; many of their universities and dignifified prelates have boldly disputed the authority of the Popes, and contradicted their right to dispense with the law of God. Beside the citations referred to above, there is a singular anecdote mentioned by Johannes Turrae Cremata, which he says happened while he was Cardinal; "That a king of France applied for permission to marry the sister of his deceased wife, but was refused."

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All the PROTESTANT CHURCHES have uniformly considered and unequivocally maintained, a marriage with a sister in law to be incestuous. A few documents respecting the principle denominations, will abundantly illustrate and confirm this assertion.

The sentiments of the LUTHERAN CHURCH are accurately expressed by those celebrated divines, who, in the name of their Church replied to the inquiry, made by Henry VIII. whether it was lawful for a man to marry his sister in law? In their famous Letter, they prove the Law of Levit. xviii. to be of universal obligation, and adopt the most forcible language in reprobating such marriages. They close by saying: "It is manifest and cannot be denied, that the law of Levit. xviii. prohibits a marriage with a sister in law. - this is to be considered as a divine, a natural, and a moral law, against which no other law may be enacted, or established. Agreeably to this, the whole Church has always retained this law, and judged such marriages to be incestuous. Agreeably to this also, the decrees of Synods, the celebrated opinions of the most holy Fathers, and even the civil laws, prohibit such marriages, and pronounce them to be incestuous. Wherefore we also judge that this


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