Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

it was a usual practice to do it; for from the practice only, he could pretend to an observation of this event; yet as to the event of the thing itself, it is a very great experience which the world hath, by which his observation is confuted.

6. But the best reason given against the convenience of it, for none pretends higher, is, that it were better if cousinsgerman should not intermarry“ propter multiplicandas affinitates," as St. Austin expresses it, “ ut conjugiis augeant necessitudines," “ that so they might scatter friendships and relations in more families for the dissemination and extension of charity.”-For cousins being already united and loving, it were well by marriage to endear others which are not so loving, not so united. Of this every one makes use that is pleased to dissuade these marriages. But to this I answer, 1. That suppose this were well, and without objection as to the material part, yet this does no ways prove it unlawful, and indeed is not, by the contrivers of it, intended it should; as appears in Philo and Plutarch, from whom St. Chrysostom and St. Austin did borrow it. 2. There may be one inconvenience in it, and yet many conveniences and advantages, which may outweigh that one; and that there are so, will appear in the sequel. 3. This very reason, when Philo, the Jew, had urged in general, for the scattering friendships, and not limiting alliances to one family, he adds, “ Quod respiciens Moyses alias etiam multas propinquorum nuptias vetuit:" meaning, that this argument is sufficiently provided for by the restraints that Moses made,-and if we marry out of those limits, the friendship is enough scattered. For beyond brother and sister, uncles and nieces, the relation is far enough off to be receptive of, and to need the renovation or the arrests of friendship.

7. It were well if cousins-german did not marry, lest, by reason of their usual familiarity, converse, and natural kindness, fornications should be secretly procured; it being too ready for natural love to degenerate into lust.- I answer, that therefore let them marry as the remedy. For it were a hard thing that cousins, who do converse and are apt to love, should, by men, be forbidden to marry when by God they are not. For this aptness to love being left upon them, together with their frequent conversation, is a snare; which because God knew, he permitted them to their remedy; and

с

if men do not, they will find that their prohibition of marriage will not be sufficient security against fornication. For brothers and sisters, where the danger is still greater, God hath put a bar of positive law, and nature hath put the bar of a natural reason and congruity, and the laws of all mankind have put a bar of public honesty and penalties, and all these are sufficient to secure them against the temptation; and this was observed by a wise man long since in this very instance: αυτίκα ουχ έρα αδελφός αδελφής, άλλος δε ταύτης" ουδέ πατήρ θυγατρός, άλλος δε ταύτης: 66 The father is not in love with the daughter; nor a brother with his sister:" the reason is, xai γαρ φόβος και νόμος ικανός έρωτα κωλύειν, « fear and the laws are restraint enough for this love:” but because to cousins this bar is not set, the greater propensity they have to love, the more need there is they should be permitted to marry. And this very thing was observed by Rabanus, in his epistle to Humbert. “ Hujusmodi prohibitiones adulterii occasionem præbere;" “ such laws of restraint are occasions of adultery;" and, therefore, he infers from thence, “ Bonum esse ut, prætermissis illis prohibitionibus, legis divinæ servetur constitutio.”-It were good, if standing in the measures of the divine law, we should lay a snare for no man's foot by putting fetters upon his liberty, without just cause, but not without great danger.

I know of no more reasons pretended against this affair; I think these are all; and, I am sure, they are the most considerable. But then on the other side, although it were hard to require any more reason for the marriage of cousinsgerman, than we do for any other marriage, that is, that we love the person, that she be virtuous and fitted for our condition, yet I say ex abundanti,' that there are conveniences and advantages which are not contemptible, nor yet are so readily to be found in the marriage of other persons.

1. There is the advantage of a great and most perfect parity of condition, that is regularly to be expected. There is no upbraiding of kindred, greatness or weakness of fortune occasioned by the difference of elder or younger brothers,

[ocr errors]

© Xenoph. Cyrop. lib. v. c. 1. sec. 10. Schneider, p. 314.

(for this being in all families, is not a reproach to any); and here is the greatest probability of a similitude of passions, humours, and affections; and they that have experience in economical affairs, know that these things are not contemptible.

2. It is observable, that, when God intended to bless a family and a nation, there he permitted, and, in some cases, commanded, the marriage of cousins-german, as in the families of Israel. And although it was lawful for one tribe to marry, into another, as appears in David, who married Michal, Saul's daughter, of the tribe of Benjamin; and the Benjamitish families were restored by the intermarriages of the other tribes, after that sad war about the Levite's concubine; and Hillel, the Pharisee, was of the tribe of Benjamin by his father, and of Judah by his mother;--yet this was done so seldom, that it was almost thought not lawful; but the most general practice was to marry in their own nearer kindred, in their own tribe.

3. In the case of the trixanpoi, or heiresses,' it was commanded, both in the Hebrew and in the Attic laws, that cousins-german should marry, lest the inheritance should go from the family, of which I have already given an account; but now I only observe the reasonableness and advantage. St. Austin's “ largius sparge amicitias" is nothing ; for when any considerable advantage is to be done, certainly our own are to be preferred before strangers. And the same also is true in proportion, when any one of the family is, passionately and to pious purposes, in love with his cousin.

4. In the case of an aunt's daughter to be married to her cousin by her mother's brother, there is this advantage to be gotten to the female side; she preserves her father's name in her own issue, which she had lost in her own person and marriage.

5. In the accidents of household conversation, and in the satieties of a husband's love, the stock of kindred comes in by way of auxiliary forces, to establish a declining or tempted love: and they understood this well, who made it an objection against the marriage of kindred, lest the love, being upon two accounts, should be too violent--as Aristotle, in the second book of his Politics, seems to intimate. But I suppose that they who are concerned in such marriages, will not fear the objection; but they have reason to value the advantage.

pietas geminato crescit amore d. While the marital love is supported with the cognation.

6. St. Austin’se argument is to me highly considerable: “ Fuit antiquis patribus religiose curæ, ne ipsa propinquitas se paulatim propaginum ordinibus dirimens longius abiret, et propinquitas esse desisteret, eam nondum longe positam rursus matrimonii vinculo colligare, et quodammodo renovare fugientem:”—“ The dearness of kindred will quickly wear out, and cousins will too soon grow strangers, therefore the patriarchs had a religious care to recall the propinquity which was dividing and separating too fast; and as it were, to bind it by the ties of marriage, and recall it when it was flying away." And indeed there is no greater stability to a family, no greater band to conjugal affections than the marriage of cousins.

I should now speak no more to this question, but that I have often met with a trifling objection, concerning which I could never find any reasonable pretence, or ground of probability to warrant it: • Second cousins may

not marry,

but are expressly forbidden; therefore, much rather first cousins, though they be not named.'—To this I answer, that I never knew the marriage of second cousins forbidden, but by them who at the same time forbade the marriage of the first; and indeed I have searched and cannot fix my eye upon any thing, that I can imagine to be the ground of the fancy: therefore, I can say no more to it; but that the law of God does not forbid either, nor the laws of our church or state, nor the laws of nature or nations, or right reason, but these marriages have advantages in all these. And we find that Isaac married his second cousin, and that was more for it than ever could be said against it. Abraham was careful, and Rebeccah was careful that their children, respectively, should marry

within their own kindred: for it was so designed, because those families were to be greatly and specially blessed; and they called one another into the participation of it. I conclude this question with as much warranty to the marriage of cousins-german, as can derive from the premises ; they may without scruple own it, and say,

a Ovid. M. x. 333. Gierig. vol. ii. p. 100. • Lib. xv, c. 16. de civit, Dei.

Viderit amplexus aliquis, laudabimur ambo. I know no other pretences of any instance obliging Christians derived only from the judicial law. These two do not oblige; and, therefore, the rule is true in its direct affirmation.

RULE IV.

The Ten Commandments of Moses, commonly called the Moral

Law, is not a perfect Digest of the Law of Nature. The Jews in their Cabala say, that the law of God was made before the creation of the world two thousand years, and written in black burnt letters on the backside of a bright shining fire; according to that of David, “ Thy word is a lantern unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” — Their meaning is (for under fantastic expressions they sometimes intended to represent a material truth), that the decalogue, or their system of moral precepts, was nothing but an express of the tables of the law of nature; long before Moses' time given and practised by their fathers. But this was not a perfect system; it was the best that ever was since Adam broke the tables of the natural law, and let sin and weak principles into the world; and it was sufficient in the present constitution of the world; but even this also was but like “a pædagogue to bring us to Christ.” In the schools of Moses they practised the first rudiments of perfection; but Christ was the last, and therefore the most perfect, lawgiver; and they that did commence under Moses, the servant of God, were to proceed under Jesus Christ the Son of God: and, therefore, the apostle a calls Christ Téños TOū vopou: and if we will acknowledge Christ to be our lawgiver, and the Gospel

. Rom. vii. 14.

« AnteriorContinuar »