reprobation of all comnmerce of the sexes between near relations. Upon this principle the marriage, as well
as other cohabitation of brothers and sisters of lineal kindred, and of all, who usually live in the same family,
may be said to be forbidden by the law of nature. Restrictions which extend to remoter degrees of kindred than what this reason makes it
necessary to prohibit from intermarriage, are founded in the authority of the positive law which ordains them. - The Levitical law, from which the
rule of the Roman law differs very little, prohibits marriage between relations within three degrees of kindred;
computing the generations not from, but through the common ancestor, and accounting affinity the same as consanguinity."
[Paley's Mor. Phil. vol. 1. p.316]
If incest be a transgression, there must be a principle to which it refers; there must be a law which
fixes the standard and designates the crime; for where there is no law, there is no transgression.
The principle to which it refers is the NEARNESS OF KINDRED subsisting between the incestuous persons.
The law which establishes the
prohibition, and ascertains the degree of kindred, agreeably to which the crime is to be estimated, is the
LAW OF GOD. The universal acknowledgment of this principle and law, will be sufficiently ascertained, by observing
how incest has always been viewed by the Heathen, by Christians, and by Civil Governments.
"Many monuments of the declarations and conduct of the ancient HEATHEN, testify their attention to the law
which provides for the preservation of chastity and the integrity of marriage; especially what related to those
forbidden lusts within which marriage is prohibited. This law was known and held sacred by all the nations of the world. - There
were indeed a few exceptions, but whatever they were, they produced no argument against the decision of reason; nor ought
any prejudice against the rights of human nature to arise from such depravity. The JULIAN LAW, which our civilians
celebrate, affords a sure testimony, that the ancient Romans recognized the law of nature, and that by them,
what respected marriage was held most sacred."
[Systema Theologiae Gentilis purioris. F. Phannerii. cap. xi. 24.]