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cleanness, is made clear by the 18th verse : " Also thou shalt not approach a woman to uncover her nakedness, as long as she is put apart for her uncleanness.” In the 20th ch. the words are used in the same sense, in the denunciation of the punishments for the particular offences there specified. It is observable that in the 20th chapt. the word adultery is only made use of in the case of its commission with a neighbour's wife : the other expression is applied to the same offence with


relation. The term uncleanness is general, the “ matter of nakedness is special, it is one species of uncleanness. Adultery is again a sub-denomination, or one species of the matter of nakedness. Fornication, by which is understood carnal knowledge of an unmarried person, is another. Thus it is apparent, that the term uncleanness, and the expression “.matter of nakedness," are not coextensive, but of very different extent in signification: every matter of nakedness, it is true, is an uncleanness, but every act of uncleanness is not necessarily a so matter of nakedness. Uncleanness comprehends every species of impurity, in body and mind, and it has a peculiar signification, in the old Testament, in the denominations of clean and unclean, pronounced by the Law as to persons, diseases, actions, things, and animals.

Taking then the original expression in the Hebrew in its true in. terpretation, its sense in the passage in the 24th of Deut. must be confined to the conveyance of the idea of " carnal intercourse," and not extended to other species of uncleanness, such as leprosy, an issue of blood, &c. as enumerated in the law. This being granted, it only remains to be considered, whether that which the husband found fell under the description of fornication, from having taken place before the marriage, or adultery, from having taken place subsequently to the marriage.

As to this, it is material to observe, that there is a striking similitude between the two passages in Deuteronomy in relation to the point of time of the discovery in each case, as well as in the circumstance, that each treats of it as a personal discovery by the husband upon the coming in to his wife.

In the airst case the husband alleges that, when he came to her, he found her not a maid.

In the other, “ because he hath found some uncleanness in her, and the point of time is equally mentioned. The words are," when a man taketh a wife and marries her, and it comes to pass that she find, &c. because he hath found some uncleanness in her, then let him write a bill, &c.”

These words, when and then, in both cases fix the time of the discovery, as well as the nature of it, and the consequential steps directed to be pursued.

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By the law in the 22d chap., the giving out in speech by the husband, gives right to the parents of the wife to pursue the course directed, by which she is to be cleared and the husband punished, if she was calumniated; or she was to be punished with death, if guilty, by that of the 24th. The discovery itself was the time which called for and justified the putting away.'

It is possible that the law of the 24th, was designed as a relief to the husband in the case put in the 22d, enabling him to avoid the necessity of bringing his wife to trial and capital punishment at the peril of subjecting himself to punishment, if he should fail in his evidence,

It is obvious, that it might be wholly out of the power of the husband to obtain proof of the fact of the wife's previous guilt of fornication, though he should have no reason to doubt it; and on the other hand, the want of that proof which her parents were directed to produce might not in all cases be conclusive evidence of the wife's guilt. It was therefore a merciful provision to prevent extreme injustice, as well as unhappiness, that the husband should have the option of a milder course, although it might in some cases be abused to the prejudice of the wife, viz. that prescribed by the 24th chap., by which law the husband did not appear to be required to resort to any judicial tribunal, or to give any evidence, but was bound or entitled to give a bill of divorcement, and to put his wife away without assigning any cause on the face of the instrument; leaving the sufficiency as well as the nature of the cause to his own conscience.

It was the wide door thus opened which gave scope to the abuses which had been in practice, and to the different opinions which had arisen on the true construction of the law before notice ed. As the terms of the law left the husband to be governed by his conscience in availing himself of it, our Lord addresses himself to the consciences of his auditors in his discourses upon it. In the 5th of St. Matthew, he does not appear to question the right of the husband to put away his wife, so far as respects any legal prohibition of it; he does not even say that the act of putting away was in itself a sin; but he points out to their consciences the probable consequences hazarded by it, in the temptation to which the wife would be exposed to commit adultery, by a second marriage, the

* The point of time is again marked by the words, " and it come to pass that she find no favor in his eyes,” which imply that she had never done so in the character of a wife; it is saying, upon coming to the knowledge of her as such, he disliked her. This excludes the possibility of adultery as the cause. The word find being in the present tense, allows no interval since the marriage for having gained or lost favor, antecedent to that; at which his dislike commences.

drawing in the second husband to the commission of the same offence, and the commission of it by the husband himself in marrying another.

To guard against such consequences of a divorce not warranted by the strict letter of the law, our Lord declares that the only case in which the putting away, and bill of Divorcement, would authorise the parties to contract other marriages without committing adultery, was that of fornication, and in this declaration he must be understood to be expounding the true meaning of the law.

If then the term uncleanness, i.e. matter of nakedness, and fornication, mean the same thing; and if, in the law, the former did not denote adultery, neither can it be construed to be denoted by the term fornication by the latter : and so, vice versa, if it meant something distinct from adultery in the passages in St. Matthew, so must the term uncleanness mean something else in Deuteronomy.

If the construction we have put upon the term uncleanness in Deuteronomy is well founded, all the passages are reconcilable to each other, which they do not appear to be on any other supposition. The term fornication is strictly and exclusively applicable to the case of the wife having had commerce with a man, while she was single, and therefore its application to the married woman . must be the charging her with what she had done before marriage. The injury to her husband was that described in the 22d of Deut., and it was such as would necessarily excite his hatred. In imposing herself on him as a virgin, it was a fraud on the marriage contract, and might therefore justly be considered to invalidate it ab initio ; and it must be for that reason, that under a bill of divorcement given for that cause a subsequent marriage by either of the parties would not be adultery.

The language of 24th Deut. excludes the idea or possibility of adultery. The discovery being manifestly intended to be, that which took place upon the marriage or coming together, there was no intervention of time for the possibility of the commission of adultery with another man.

There is some obscurity in the case of Joseph and Mary, which it is not easy to clear up. It certainly did not come within the letter of the law, because, by that, the marriage must precede the divorce, whereas Joseph and Mary were only espoused when he made the discovery. At the same time laying that objection out of the case, the matter discovered, as it appeared to Joseph till the revelation by

This construction is confirmed by the language of the 19. and 14. verses of the 21st. Deut.:“ And after that thou shalt go in unto her, and be her husband, and she shall be thy wife, and it shall be that thou have no delight in her, then thou shaltlet her go, &c. .

the Angel, was, that which our Lord declares to be the only allowable ground of divorce and legitimate subsequent marriage, viz. fornication, which to all human appearance must have taken place before the espousal, though not discovered till after it had taken place. This, therefore, as far as it goes, is a distinct and undeniable confirmation of the construction we have been considering

The case may admit of this explanation. It does not appear that there was any restraint upon the liberty of the husband, to put his wife away; the restraint was


the dissolution of the marriage so as to capacitate the parties to marry again, without incurring the guilt of adultery, which our Saviour declares could only take place when the divorce was granted on the cause of for nication.

By the term putting away privily, under the circumstances in which Joseph considered himself to stand, when he contemplated that step, it was not a divorce, which required the presence of ten witnesses, besides two others to the signature of the bill of divorce, and, therefore, was a measure of great publicity, but a private and silent separation, so that the marriage itself should not take place; and the conduct of Mary should not be divulged. In this. determination Joseph, as a just and merciful man, would have been warranted, had the case been such as he supposed. In foro consciéntiæ he would have a right to consider the contract of espousal annulled, for the fraud and iniposition practised on him ; as that of marriage would have been if it had taken place; and that he was entitled equally to put her away under the then circumstances without a divorce, as he would have been if inarried, by bill of divorcement. It was in his power to have exposed her to shame by divulging her conduct, or bringing her to trial and punishment. The private separation was probably meditated to be arranged with Mary's relations who had the care of her, for the preservation of her character.

An able commentator, Dr. Whitby, interprets the word fornication in the manner above intimated, “ although (he says) all the commentators he has met with, by' fornication, do understand adultery!" The passage is to be found in his annotations on the 5th of St Matth. v. 9.

He considers that Christ's doctrine restored marriage to its original institution, and that the transgressing woman was to be dismissed, because she had become one flesh with the man, with whom she had carnal intercourse before her marriage with another, and therefore she could not become so with the man she so married, and the marriage was on that account void ab initio.

The interpretation still leaves a difficulty, which cannot distinctly be seen through: if the woman was the wife of the man whom she first knew, does it not follow, that she committed adultery in marrying the husband ? If so, although the husband would be justified in putting her away, could it be the meaning of the law or its sacred interpreter, that her crime should become the ground of a privilege to marry another? A privilege she had not at the time of her first marriage. Would not a second marriage be equally adulterous, equally a violation of the original law of marriage as the first, unless indeed it should be with the man she first knew? but the terms of the law or the declaration of our Lord do not thus confine her. It is not easy to reconcile such inconsistencies with the perfect purity and wisdom of our Lord's doctrines, and it is therefore fair to conjecture ihat we still are wide of the true construction.

The word in Deuteronomy, doxýpov, comprehends every species of impurity, as the use of the word koxmuosúvn, in the 23d Deut. v. 14. proves.

If the word progveic should admit of the same extension, and in both the law and the exposition, the two words shall be construed to signify some involuntary species of impurity, and consequent cause of disgust and hatred, undiscovered by the husband till the coming together, (such as an issue of blood, or other offensive disease, imperfection, or imbecility of body, or cause of barrenness, &c.) they would harmonise, and be reconcilable to justice, as well as each other,

If the cause of hatred should be such as to justify the putting away, the bill of divorce was a condition interposed in the woman's favor, in order to restore her, as far as possible, to the condition, from which she was taken by the marriage; she was therefore to be put in possession of her goods, as well as to be freed from any impediment the vacated marriage would have raised to a second marriage. The allowance of putting away must have been founded on the idea, that the marriage was vitiated ab initio by the concealment of the impurity or defect; and therefore consistently with the original law of marriage, the woman was free to marry, having never become one flesh with the husband. It may be also taken for granted, that the cause of offence prevented the consummation, and on that account the marriage was incompletein other words, no marriage at all. The only inquiry, therefore, remaining to be pursued is, whether topveice will admit of the proposed extension ?

It is not difficult to discover that in the parallel passages in St. Mark and St. Luke, the declaration that “ he that puts away his wife and marries another commits adultery,” is unqualified by the exception of the cause of fornication,

It is observable that in the discourses in the 10th of St. Mark,

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