What then is marriage? It is a divine institution which honours and dignifies, defends and consoles the
human family - which raises men above the brutes, and preserves them from pernicious passions - provides for the identity, education and prosperity of every
succeeding generation - divides the cares, increases the comforts, and cements society by the most precious and perpetual ties. - And, what distinguishes
this institution from all others, is that it produces an union, whereby two persons become ONE - not merely as to legitimate commerce, but one in regard
to themselves, and the new relations thereby formed with others. God pronounces them one. Men account them one. They consider themselves to be one.
So completely are they one that the respective relatives and families are constituted equally near of kin to both husband and wife.
Hail wedded love, MYSTERIOUS LAW, true source|
Of human offspring, sole propriety
In Paradise, of all things common else;
By thee adul'trous lust was driv'n from men,
Among the bestial herds to range; by thee
Founded in reason, loyal, just and pure,
Relations dear, and all the charities
Of father, son, and brother, first were known.
Perpetual fountain of domestic sweets,
Whose bed is undefil'd and chaste pronounc'd.
"The law of marriage is POSITIVE. No general principle can of itself, establish with a binding
force upon the conscience, the doctrine that the conjugal union is, in all cases, to subsist between
one man and one woman only; and, with the exception of conjugal infidelity, is to last during the joint
lives of the parties. Nothing but a divine institution could subject them to this condition;
nothing but a divine revelation communicated the
knowledge of it."
In every question, therefore, which regards the parties who may lawfully marry, no maxims or customs sanctioned among men, nor
any dispensations of civil or ecclesiastical governments, can ever be admitted. The divine law has fixed the standard,
and must decide the inquiry, God himself is the judge. "To the law and to the testimony" is the only appeal.
An institution so venerable in its origin, so interesting in its consequences and valuable to the human family,
has an imperious claim upon the
See a brief inquiry into the lawfulness of marrying a deceased wife's sister, in the CHRISTIAN'S MAGAZINE, vol. 4 page 30 &c.
The author of that inquiry understood the subject; and had the limited pages of a periodical publication permitted him to trace
the question to its first principles, he would have superceded the necessity of any further discussion.