This law is intelligible and decisive, and could not fail of being understood by the Jews as absolutely
forbidding any man to marry the sister of his deceased wife. It is also equally obvious upon the part of the woman, to whom the law of Deut.
xxv, cannot possibly apply, that she may not, in any case, conformably to rules 6. 7. marry the husband of her deceased sister. And if she may not marry him, he,
most assuredly, cannot lawfully marry her.
To endeavour to elucidate this precept is unnecessary, the law cannot be rendered more perspicuous or convincing. It enacts
in the most positive terms: "Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy brother's wife;" that is, thou shalt not marry
thy sister in law, neither the widow of thy brother, nor the sister of thy wife.
IV. In this construction all are unanimous, all agree that the precept is plain and positive as it respects the Jews. None have ever denied that God
has forbidden an Israelite, to marry his sister in law, whether it be the wife of his deceased brother, or
the sister of his deceased wife. The only point, upon which any question can arise, relates to the nature
and EXTENT of the precept. It is asked, whether this law be not ceremonial and, in its nature and
object, exclusively intended for the Jews only? Or whether it be a moral law, applicable to all mankind, and as binding
under the New-Testament dispensation as it was under the old? To these enquiries, the following observations will suggest a sufficient answer.
1. There is nothing ceremonial in this law; nothing that has any immediate connection with the external
Church, or the civil government of the Jews; nothing that has any relation to the sacred rituals,
typical purifications and solemn sacrifices introduced in Israel, or adapted to the period when the
Church was governed by a Theocracy; all of which are the distinguishing properties of a ceremonial
law. - Will any one pretend, that the law which forbids a man to approach a person who is near of kin
has the least respect or any shadow of reference to rites, types or sacrifices? Is there any thing in the
object of this law peculiar to the Jews? Is not marriage an institution for all mankind? Is there not
the same nearness of kin subsisting throughout the whole world? Is not the moral turpitude of