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Date: 02 Aug 2006
Time: 18:06:30 -0400
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THE PEACE MAKER
by Udney Hay Jacobs
Nauvoo, Ill. 1842
[Ed. note: The Peacemaker was published by the Times & Seasons. Its authorship has been attributed by some to be Joseph Smith under the pen name, Udney Hay Jacobs. Even if the Prophet Joseph Smith was not its author, he was certainly the editor and printer of the Times & Seasons at the time, thus giving his approval to its contents.]
And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he who made man at the beginning made them male and female.
And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave unto his wife, and they twain shall be one flesh?
Wherefore, they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore, God hath joined together, let no man put asunder.
They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement and to put her away?
He saith unto them, Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, suffered you to put away your wives, from the beginning it was not so.
And I say unto you, whosoever shall put away his wife, except for fornication, and shall marry another committeth adultery; and whoso married her which is put away doth commit adultery. (Matthew 19:4-9)
Fornication as it is generally understood, is the lewdness of unmarried persons. But you will say that in this case you have always understood it to mean the same as adultery. But what propriety is there in thus understanding it?
When Christ here teaches that the body of a married woman must first be prostituted, or joined to another, or again married, and the former marriage bed defiled before adultery is committed. Fornication cannot defile the marriage bed. The nature of marriage is such, that it cannot be perfected until the bodies are actually joined, hence saith Christ, for this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and cleave unto his wife, and they twain shall be one flesh. Paul perfectly illustrates this thing when he saith,
Shall I take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. (1 Cor.: 6:15)
Hence it is clear that Christ teaches that the body of a married woman must be first prostituted before adultery is committed; and that a man has a right to put away his wife for fornication only, and she is then free. But if a man should put away his wife for the crime of adultery; would the man who should afterwards marry her, or the woman either be less guilty of adultery by that marriage, than if the woman had not been before guilty of that crime? Can one crime clear a person from the same crime afterwards? Observe, Christ does not call fornication a crime in a married woman; but a justifiable cause for putting her away. It does not read, if a man put away his wife except it be for the crime of adultery. But it reads, if a man put away his wife, except for the cause of fornication; he thereby causeth her to commit adultery by a second marriage.
Now it is evident that the cause why a man might put away his wife, could not be the consequence of putting her away without the existence of that cause. The one is fornication, the other adultery. The truth is this; the spiritual law of marriage is binding upon both the body and mind of the wife equally. The prostitution of the body after marriage constitutes adultery; but the alienation of the mind or affections from her husband constitutes fornication in a married woman.
The sexual cohabitation of unmarried persons is not adultery but fornication. Because although their minds may be united in the closest ties of affections and love; yet she is not given in marriage by the marriage covenant. Therefore it is fornication. But after the body and mind are both obligated by the marriage covenant; if the mind of the wife which was equally bound with the body to obey, and to be in subjection in all things, by the spiritual nature of that covenant, becomes alienated from her husband, she commits fornication against her husband; because the mind of the wife was bound to yield obedience and submission to her husband in all things as well as the body, by the spiritual nature of that covenant.
In this latter case the mind of the married woman is prostituted; in the former, that is of the unmarried woman the body was prostituted: in either case it is fornication and in case of the married woman the only proper and legal cause of divorce. And the wife can commit fornication against her husband in no other possible way. For if she prostitute her body after marriage, it is adultery. There is a spiritual fornication as well as a spiritual adultery. When a woman apostatizes in spirit from her husband, she then commits fornication against the spiritual law of marriage, and in no other way can a married woman commit fornication.
If she prostitutes her body, it is adultery. There is also a spiritual adultery as well as adultery of the body which may be committed by the man.
If a man looks on another man's wife and lusts after her; he has committed adultery already in his heart. (Matthew 5:28)
If he carries his unlawful desires into effect, it is adultery of the body. Adultery signifies simply the act which adulterates, legally, that which defiles the marriage bed. But fornication can be committed without defiling the marriage bed; in fact, it cannot defile the marriage bed in any case whatever. They are entirely two different things. It is impossible to understand this word fornication to mean adultery in this case, because Christ makes the most clear, and positive distinction; and expressly declares that fornication is the only lawful cause for which a man may put away his wife; and that adultery is the consequence of putting her away without the existence of that cause.
You might as well suppose that he meant covetousness, by the word fornication, as to suppose that he meant adultery. There is not so great a distinction between covetousness and fornication as there is between adultery and fornication. But a misunderstanding in this important point is the root of this great evil. Again, adultery by the law of God, was punishable with death. This would have been a divorce with a lasting witness. With our eyes upon the law of God we can by no means admit the common and erroneous understanding of this matter. Some may have supposed no doubt that Christ, in the case of the woman who was accused before him of adultery; softened or entirely disannulled this law. If he entirely disannulled this law, then there is no law against adultery; for he did not enact a substitute; and no gentile legislature, has a right to meddle with the law of Jehovah. But the above idea is no doubt, an incorrect understanding of the matter. We should recollect the office in which Christ acted.
The law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. (John 1:17)
Christ did not act in the capacity of a legislator, but an illustrator of the law, a teacher, a servant. It was incompatible with his mission to even act as a judge in legal matters. Hence he would condemn no sinner. It was not consistent that he, who came to redeem sinners from the condemning power of the law with his own blood; should condemn them by the law. The Jews knew this to be his profession; hence they brought the woman before him, thinking to entrap him in this case. But with what wisdom he frustrated their design, is manifest.
Stone her said he, I do not teach the violation of the law; but let him who has not violated it, cast the first stone. (John 8:7)
None but the Son of God, situated as he was, could have escaped from this trap.
You recollect the young man who applied to him to settle the division of inheritance between him and his brother. But Christ refused to interfere in the matter at all.
Said he, who made me ruler and judge over you? Had he proceeded to pass sentence upon sinners, it would have forever put out the candle of the Lord in our minds; and we could not have come to the knowledge of the truth, the glorious redemption that is in Christ Jesus by the means which God hath appointed.
Therefore he condemned no man neither did he condemn the woman, but told her to go in peace, and sin no more. If he had repealed the law which stood against her; such an act of which she was accused, would thenceforth have been no sin.
But God has ordained a proper power to execute wrath upon the transgressor; upon him that doeth evil. And this power the true teacher never crippled in the least. Did he make void the law in any particular? No verily. He established the sacred authority of the law, by submitting to it himself in all things in his own name, and in the name of the everlasting God; the unchangeable Jehovah, the author of that law.
But you have made it void by your ignorance and traditions. We should recollect that the marriage relation is clearly illustrated to us by the relation that exists between Christ and his Church. When the church ceases to obey Christ, and to love him, they then commit fornication against him, and thus is the term used when speaking of a bride, throughout the scriptures.
When the church rebels against her lawful husband and master Jesus Christ, and will not submit to him in all things; she then commits fornication against him and this is the plain sense of the matter. So in the case of the wife, when she refuses to submit cheerfully to her husband in all things; (a broad commandment this, but limited by reason and love only,) when she ceases to reverence her husband, to be submissive to him; trusting in her husband, and believing in him, then she commits fornication against the law of marriage, and against him; even as the false church has against Christ. And in no other possible way can she commit this act and it then becomes the right of her husband to write her a bill of divorcement according to the strict letter of the law of God given by Moses: and to put her away unless she repent.
A right understanding of this matter, and a correct law properly executed, would restore this nation to peace and order; and man to his true dignity, authority and government of the earthly creation. It would soon rectify the domestic circle, and establish a proper head over the families of the earth, and be the means of driving Satan; together with the knowledge arid restitution of the whole penal law of God and the glorious and everlasting gospel; yea, of driving Satan from the human mind and, setting a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more until his time. And by no other means can order and peace be restored to man. And by no other means can the heart of the fathers be turned to their children, and the heart of the children be turned to their fathers.
The spirit of God and Christ will then return to deliver us from all evil, and to guide the mind of happy and exalted man into all truth. Length of days, peace and blessings foretold shall be ours. Man shall then cease committing fornication against his head and husband Jesus Christ.
For the head of the woman is the man, and the head of the man is Christ, and the head of Christ is God. It is the disorganization and disobedience of these eternal laws of order, and of God, that has ruined us.
A schism in the body. Gentlemen, the ladies laugh at your pretended authority. They, many of them hiss, at the idea of your being the lords of the creation. Even in the public prints they have styled you, the would be lords, etc. Nothing is further from the minds of our wives in general, than the idea of submitting to their husbands in all things, and of reverencing their husbands.
They will boldly ridicule the idea of calling them sincerely in their hearts lords and masters. But God' has positively required this of them. See 1 Pet. 3:6. Even as Sarah of old that excellent woman having now no parallel on Earth. And under existing circumstances our wives can never become the daughters of Sarah in the spirit, or enjoy the inheritance with her in a glorious immortality. Alas! The ruin is unbounded even to them. But gentlemen legislators, it now devolves upon you to open the gates of glory and blessedness; both for time and eternity, to a ruined world. Alter your imperfect, and wicked law of divorcement; make it according to the law of God, and the ladies will laugh at you no more.
They will soon reform, and nothing in all this world will they esteem higher than your affections. They will respect your authority sincerely; and you will command their kindest attention every where. Then will you love your wives indeed, for they will be worthy. And then will the health of the daughters of my people be recovered. Then shall come to pass what is spoken by Isaiah the Prophet,
When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof, by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning. (Isaiah 4:2-4)
It might be under our circumstances requisite, to compel the husband who thought of putting away his wife, to go before the magistrate, and there affirm the fact, that he was about to divorce his wife; stating under oath the true cause, or causes; such as willful disobedience to his reasonable commands, disrespectful language; a refusal to submit to him in all reasonable things; and make it the duty of the magistrate to record the oath, and testimony thus given. The magistrate exercising no other judgment or supervision in the case, than that the evidence did prove that the true cause, or causes did exist as described by the law, and that no abuse or battery, had been offered by the husband against the wife; and that persuasion had been used kindly, and gently, and space given her to repent, and she repented not. This would be precisely the law of Christ on the subject. And in essence the very way he hath proceeded with his own rebellious bride.
Then let the husband write her a bill of divorcement, and put her away, and she may then go, and be married to another man; the bill which should also be a of record, signifying a freedom from her former husband.
Thus does the law of God declare, and the explanation given by Christ clearly signifies the same thing. Because he makes this exception, saying, if a man put away his wife save for the cause of fornication, by an after marriage she commits adultery, and he that marries her committeth adultery. If the word fornication here used by Christ, means adultery; and a woman is put away for that crime; it would follow that she is thereby free, and that by an after marriage she would not commit adultery; neither would the man that married her commit adultery. But if she is put away innocently, without committing adultery; then an after marriage is adultery. Thus it is necessary according to such a definition of the word fornication; that the woman should commit adultery in the first place; in order to protect her from that crime by an after marriage.
This is absurd for any rational being to believe. That Christ did not mean adultery by the word fornication is therefore absolutely decided beyond the possibility of error; for the following irrefutable reasons, if no other did exist, 1st. Because it is impossible that the crime of adultery committed by the wife, should be the means of exonerating her from the same offence afterwards. 2d. Because the crime of adultery was by the law of God punished with death; and with no other penalty; and Christ has declared that he in no case made void the law of God, although the truth, which came by Christ is; that he has redeemed the spirits of men from the condemning power of the law, with his own blood; as we have before abundantly proven; glory and honor be to his name, yet the natural earthly man is under the law and liable to its penalties in the flesh; and by right ought so to be.
These are great hail stones of truth that cannot be resisted: beating with destructive violence upon the foundation of mystery Babylon; and I am persuaded as we advance in the investigation of these things, that the storm will thicken. But you may enquire if the husband becomes alienated towards his wife, while she remains sincerely attached to him; has he not a right to put her away'? No, by no means. He shall not drive his affectionate and faithful wife from him, while she remains pure in heart and sincerely attached to him. This is that putting away which the Lord hates, which he hath forbidden and in which he has not set the example.
This was the principle reason why the disciples being bred Jews, thought it was not good to marry. Moses for the hardness of their hearts suffered them to do this, for some fancied uncleanness, or personal dislike on the part of the husband, (see Deu. 24:1). But from the beginning it was not so, and there is a legal reason, which is that a man shall not take advantage of his own wrong.
But more especially the cruelty of the act, forbids it: but if a woman be alienated in her heart the case is different. There is then a serious reason why she must be put away. Children begotten and born of an alienated woman, are born of fornication in the spirit or mind. This is a great injury to the minds of such children. It injures their intellectual powers and disposition of mind. Hence we have often observed that children born of young women in an unmarried state, the production of an illicit love, are often the most bright and active, and possessed of greater natural gifts than many other children. God who knows the nature of his own work has therefore forbidden the propagating our species from an alienated woman.
But in the case of the affectionate girl, saith Paul, there is no sin, let them marry, and so saith the law of God expressly. But a bastard, that is a child born of fornication, or of an alienated woman, shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord to the tenth generation.
Here we are taught that the injury is so great as to disqualify them from becoming saints to the tenth generation! What do you think of this my countrymen? How many bastards have we in these states completely disqualified from entering into the congregation of the Lord, to the tenth generation? It is evident that minds or souls are propagated by natural generation as well as bodies. No marvel that wise man are so rare in Christendom. And that they have read the scriptures for ages, without understanding the plainest facts. And have consequently constituted so many jarring sects, from the same authority, all in confusion like the builders of Babel.
The woman is the producer, and while she remains pure, truly attached in spirit to her husband, her children are pure, and born in honor, but not otherwise.
An idea from this root is alluded to by Paul, where he saith,
The husband is sanctified by the believing wife; and the wife is sanctified by the believing husband, else were your children unclean but now are they holy. (1 Corinthians 7:14)
But in all cases the natural affections of the wife must be towards her husband, or it is fornication. She must be pleased to live with him as saith the apostle, else he must put her away.
But there is a sanctifying power in the belief, and knowledge of Christ taught in this book; which is indeed the balm of Gilead to the children of suffering humanity, and if it be not received by this nation at this time, wo, wo be to them. -- Cannot a man put away his wife for the crime of adultery? Answer, this crime was punished by the law of God with death, it is therefore absurd to talk of divorce in such a case.
There is no act that can be named under heaven for which a man can lawfully put away his wife, save for the cause of fornication. But if the husband commit fornication, shall not the wife be entitled to a bill against him? Impossible. Did Christ say a woman shall not put away her husband saving for the cause of fornication? Here is a wrong idea in your head; an idea of a woman divorcing her husband. How can, she do this for any offence? The man is not under the law of marriage to his wife. But the wife is bound by the law of her husband as long as her husband liveth. A divorced man is a creature nowhere recognized in the scriptures, or in the law of God.
Where did you ever read in the law of God, or in the holy book, such a false idea? or the least allusion to the righteousness of such a thing on any account whatever? How can property put away its owner? The bible must become as absurd, and as foolish as the gentiles themselves; and its whole phraseology entirely changed to make it read according to our perverted ideas and laws upon this subject. The wife is given to her husband, and is bound by the law of her husband, and the husband cannot legally be put under the law of his wife. Unless you should thereby indeed fulfill literally; as in fact you have done, the saying of the Prophet Isaiah.
Children are the oppressors of my people, and women rule over them. (Isaiah 3:12)
But if you have understood the true cause of divorcement to be adultery; yet you have not formed your laws upon that principle altogether. You have been compelled by your experience to deviate from it in several of the states.
What, although a woman is not known to be an adulteress; yet she may be a perfect devil to her husband, treat him in the most imperious manner, despise him in her heart, abuse him before his children, drive him like a menial slave where she pleases; and he must tamely submit to the ungodly law of his wife, must hug the serpent to his bosom, and love her as he does his own body! Impossible, and degrading to the nature of man.
It is altogether unlawful and ruinous to the families of the nation. The means which your ungodly law, puts into the hands of a proud, determined, and alienated woman of torturing her husband, and ruining all his affairs as well as his soul, and his children to the tenth generation, cannot be written on paper. The evils that this nation now suffer by this erroneous law cannot be enumerated; neither shall we comprehend them until the law of God is restored, and true order, and righteous government is established in the land. Then will we discover the contrast, and not till then. And then will the smoke of the torment of those who now bow to the beast, or false government, ascend up forever and ever. That is, it will be discovered by the contrast, and the remembrance thereof remain forever. Order and government must, and should exist, and God only knows where the power should be placed to effect it. And he has placed it in the hands of the man. And how is it possible that it ever should be effected, by placing two powers of equal force in direct opposition to each other? This power of the man over the woman does not consist in the right of abuse and corporal punishment, which does violence to the nature of the marriage relation; but in the true law of divorcement established by God himself for the purpose of righteous government and peace. Neither has any legislature in Christendom a right to alter, amend, or change it in the least; only to appoint the means, and order the execution thereof. For what God has joined together, let not man put asunder. Bills of divorcement according to our laws of the Gentiles are therefore unlawful.
They cannot by their acts separate lawfully what God has joined together; he hath forbidden it. And many are now living in fornication and adultery in the sight of God. In which they, and all those who thus cause the violation of the law of God must give an account to him, who is ready to judge the quick and the dead at his appearing, and in his kingdom. The ceremony or covenant of marriage should be according to the law of God.
The officiating officer should say to the man; you hereby take this woman which you hold by the right hand to be your wedded wife according to the law of God. He should answer I do. Then the officer should say to the woman you do hereby agree to become the wedded wife of this man which you hold by the right hand according to the law of God. She should answer I do. Then the officer should say; according to the law of God I pronounce you husband and wife.
The idea of a woman taking a man to be her husband is not found in the word of God. But the man marries the woman; and the woman is given in marriage. She is therefore the property of the husband in marriage. But the husband is not the property of the wife in any sense of the word. It is not said even in the holy Decalogue when Mount Sinai was all on fire; and trembled at the presence of Jehovah, in that solemn exhibition of the power and glory of God; in the holy Decalogue, written with the finger of God himself, it is not said; thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's husband, no verily, she has no such property. But thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife, nor his man servant, nor his maid servant, his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing thy neighbor possesses.
Here the wife is pronounced the husband's property, as much so as his man servant, his maid servant, his ox, or his horse. Although she is a different kind of property, very precious near and dear to him as his own body. For she is the glory of a man, and if a virtuous woman, her price is above rubies. A different kind of property, and held. by a different tenure according to law being bound to the husband, and cannot be sold. By the law a man had a right to sell men servants and maid servants. Yet if he took a maid servant to be a concubine; she was under the same law to her master as was the wife; but the master then could not sell her, after she had been thus taken: but he could let her go out free, and she was then a free woman. But the man is in no sense of the word the property of his wife. How can property possess its owner? How can the owner be put under the law and government of his property? When God made the woman he gave her to the man; but he never gave the man to the woman. Therefore the woman has no power to divorce the man. How can property divorce its owner? Think of these things my countrymen seriously. For Zion shall be redeemed with Judgement, and her converts with righteousness; and the destruction of the transgressors and the sinners shall be together; and they that forsake God shall be consumed. Isa. 1:27. Thus you see my countrymen, how the old harlot Rome, the old mother of harlots has committed fornication against Christ, and then has taught our wives to commit fornication against us with impunity. And has thus
...made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication. (Rev. 13:3)
This, was in the first place most infamously and wickedly done by the Priesthood, by the aid of the old dragon; that is Paganism. The converts to professed Christianity having been brought up in Paganism, were by that means, that is by the power of their education, and the fraud of the priests; deceived, as it is written.
The dragon gave the beast his power, and seat, and great authority. (Rev. 13:2)
And they worshipped the dragon who gave power to the beast. The authors, the Roman Priesthood knew better than this; hence they forbid their own class to marry at all: and under the pretence of sanctity. O shame! And their object was to degrade and enslave the world; while they preserved their own dignity and power by not coming under the unnatural yoke of the woman. For they well knew that putting the man under the woman, would degrade his mind. and that of his posterity in many cases wretchedly: and produce imbecility of mind, disorder and confusion therein, like intoxicating wine; and render them finally their passive slaves.
In the mean time to justify their natural wants the nunnery was invented; for they chose to degrade and prostitute their bodies rather than their minds. No doubt the whole scheme of the Priests was never carried into full prosecution, which part that failed, was the manner of bringing forward successors to perpetuate their noble order. But poor souls they must now bear their degradation forever. There is no help for them now, as they vainly imagined by the means of purgatory. They turned the grace of God into lasciviousness, and their foolish minds became darkened. But heaven smiles on us, a glorious day is now opening. The harvest has come, and in the time of the harvest will the Lord send forth his angels and gather his elect from the four winds; from under the whole heavens; and they shall bear rule over those wicked Priests forever. In ancient times under the law of God, the permission of a plurality of wives had a direct tendency, to prevent the possibility of fornication in the wife. For the law of divorcement, and all the law on the subject sustained the lawful and independent power of the husband over the wife; and his dignity of character was thereby supported. The interest, the hopes, the prospects of the wife, were all turned in the opposite direction by the law; where indeed her mind always should be.
Her main object was to win, and retain the affections of her husband. And there was no means more successful for this purpose, than to bear him many children; for reasons which will hereafter appear.
Hence wives were so grieved at the idea of barrenness. The ruinous evil of a woman's being jealous of her husband, could not then exist under the law, and this is almost the only source of fornication in a wife. This fruitful source of evil was not then in existence. And the wife was perfectly passive, submissive and non-resisting towards her husband.
The existence of fornication in a married woman, that destructive evil, even to her posterity; was then hardly possible. It was not therefore defined or even mentioned in the law. It was improper so to do: as it would have had a tendency to create an unknown evil. As the woman was then perfectly governed in righteousness: nothing as it respected law on this subject was further necessary, but proper laws to govern the man.
But when Christ came they had by being under the Babylonians, and afterwards the Romans, and mingling with the Pagan nations; and from various other causes in many respects corrupted the law. It now became necessary to define the proper cause of divorce, to fit the law to the circumstances of the age and to all future generations, not really to change the law at all; but to illustrate its spirit and real nature. This is all the Saviour did at that time.
A knowledge of the proper cause of divorcement would in this new case, be sufficient when duly appreciated, to maintain the proper dignity and authority of the man and submission of the woman, and consequently the natural excellency of the children. The first law ever made upon this subject of marriage is contained in these words,
And unto the woman he said, In sorrow shalt thou bring forth children and thy desire shall be unto thy husband; and he shall rule over thee. (Gen. 3:16)
This shows that the desire of wives cannot be maintained towards their husbands; unless they do absolutely reign over them by the strong, and righteous arm of the law. Because these propositions are both pronounced by God himself in connection; and they must be connected, or neither will exist. And it is so, in the nature of things. It is evident that the sovereignty of the husband, over his wife, herein bestowed by God himself; cannot righteously be supported by any other means, than by the law, neither can prosperity attend the human family upon any other principles.
But suppose a married man entice a maid; shall not the wife be entitled to a bill of divorce against him? This is not an offence against his wife; neither is it against the maid; but altogether in the maid's favor. It is not against the wife, for the man is not under the law of marriage to his wife in any sense whatever; neither can he be put under the law of the woman, without disorganizing the whole system of the law of God, and of righteousness. If he has addressed the maid without her father's consent, it is against the father, for which the law of God expressly provides. And the wife has no concern, or control in this matter. The wife cannot put away the husband for any cause.
As well might a servant put away his master, or a child his father. A divorced man is a creature, not known in the whole canon of scriptures. Here lies your error: and the law of him who made man must rule, and you my countrymen must and shall understand it; either in this life, to your advantage or in that which is to come to your everlasting loss.
But if a man commits adultery with another man's wife; it has a direct tendency to produce the great evil of alienation in the wife; which is murder to her posterity in its nature: and he robs the husband of his most precious rights, violates the interest of his life and family in the most sacred points of man's existence. He therefore, and the adulteress shall be put to death.
God now calls us to peace, and purity and order; for his house is a house of order, and not of confusion. This is the object of the whole law. But your laws upon this subject, lays the ax at the root of the tree of peace and order, and good government in the earth. And the fruits of disorder and cruelty and wickedness that have prevailed this thousand years, even with the gospel in your hands, is a demonstration of this fact. Now then make the reasonable law of God your guide; instead of your own misguided vain imaginations of what is fitting and best for mankind; and a glorious reward, both in time and eternity, will be the blessed consequences. The families of the earth are the root of all righteous government among men. And unless order, a perfect and independent head is here established by law, wretchedness, and confusion in the very nature of things will, and must be the certain consequences.
The honor, the affections, the prosperity of the father and the husband, are powerful checks to his becoming a tyrant. The fatherly government has in all ages where it has been supported, been found the most virtuous and just. Besides, the law can easily, and completely control any disposition of a tyrannical nature in the supreme head of a family; without bringing him under the unlawful, and ruinous bondage of a woman.
If he require any thing of his wife which love and reason would not dictate; or if he inflict blows upon his wife; it is of the nature of assault and battery. And if he is convicted of such an offence; it is the law of God that he be publicly whipped, not to exceed forty stripes; according to the aggravation of the offence. And where, I enquire, would such a man go to get a wife, after he was known? Such men, if any there be among us, ought not to be the fathers of the rising generation: for we now enter the Millennium. For by the law of Christ; a man is bound to be kind to his wife, and he is under the law to Christ who is his lawful head: but not under the law to his wife. The wife has no right to teach, admonish, reprove, rebuke, or to exercise any kind of dictation whatever. He is her head, and she should be guided by the head. If the wife wants to know any thing, let her ask her husband at home. She hath therefore the right of petition. And this is a right that all who are governed should possess.
If she will seek any other guide depending on something else besides her husband, (except it be the Lord who is head of all,) she must be miserable; she is out of the order which God has established in the creation, and wretchedness is the inevitable fruit. Therefore the law should confine her completely under her husband's power for good, but not for evil.
Has the church a right to admonish or dictate Christ? But the head of the woman is the man, and the head of the man is Christ.
I suffer not a woman to teach, or to usurp authority over the man, but to be in subjection.
Here we are informed that an attempt, even to teach her husband is an usurpation of power forbidden by the holy spirit. But the church have the free right of respectful petition, and Christ encourages the use of that right in his bride.
Some men argue that it is in vain to petition the Lord in any case, for say they the plans of the Lord are immutable, and cannot change to accommodate our petitions, without imperfection in him. But such persons do not consider, that it is one of the grand objects of the Creator in creating rational beings, to bring them acquainted with himself: and there is in the head of man a design of creating a communion between himself and them. Therefore the thing petitioned for by us, might as well be foreknown by him as any other thing; and to constitute the blessings of communion and society with God, all those right petitions are included in the original design, without supposing any change in our Lord and Master. While we may enjoy the comfort and consolation of beholding our petitions granted, and our faith is thus strengthened, and we may enjoy society and communion with God.
But to return. Let be remembered that the law of God cannot be changed without bringing down ruin, misery and eternal degradation upon the heads of those who change it. If a woman does commit fornication against her husband and does not reform, it is his indispensable duty to put her away. And how is it possible that a reasonable woman could desire to live with a man, when in her heart she is alienated from him? Surely she would much rather be free, that she might lawfully unite with some man whom she could respect and love. It is therefore a privilege to a wife in such a case, to be legally freed. If a wife desire a bill in any case, it is a proof positive by her confession that she is alienated in heart from her husband.
And the law then, should compel the husband to give her a bill, whatever the husband's feelings or affections towards her might be notwithstanding. Thus it is the woman that can break this covenant, not the man, because the woman is the subject of this law, and not the ruler by the law. So neither can Christ Jesus himself break the covenant of promise that binds the church to him. But the church can apostatize as she has done, and whereby she has been put away. Yet the law however fixes a check upon the light versatility of the mind of the woman by her not being allowed any dowry in such case; and no control over her children if she have any.
The support and education of the children belong to the father, and all his substance to perform those duties within the law. The law, therefore, in all respects is calculated to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children; and the hearts of the children to their fathers. Not only in this instance, but by exalting their authority, influence and dignity of character might be perpetuated in the earth and calamity might be averted. Even so let it be, saith the Lord; lest I come and smite the earth with a curse. (Malachi 4:6) The father of a family is the image of God, and it is not well pleasing to him that his particular image on earth, should be degraded by law of man, unlawfully.
The wife in the above case takes nothing but her own property unless the husband is pleased to give, for the law allows of no schism in the body, or ground of contention, and there is none. And the divorced wife after being married to another cannot return to her former husband. The highest signification of the term law, is governing power. And the perfect penal law of God should be the governing power of all nations. All nations being thus brought under one and the same system of perfect government, would soon have no cause of war; and with a clear illustration of the rational truth of God, they would soon beat their swords into plough shares, and their spears into pruning hooks; and learn war no more. So may it be.
We have been treating of the governing power of marriage, and we clearly show that it is placed in the hands of the husband as cheif executive; and no where else under heaven. And that he is not a subject of that power. To suppose that this governing power is placed in the husband, and wife equally, is an absurdity. In the name of common sense, who then would be the subject? If the governing power of marriage was placed equally in the hands of the husband and the wife, there would be no subject, consequently no possibility of violating the power of the government, for it is the subject only that can violate a law; and therefore there could be no possibility of divorcement.
For I cannot possibly hold a governing power over one, that holds a governing power over me in the same case. If I hold the power as a father, to govern my son; he cannot at the same time hold the legal power of governing me. But you may object, that you place the governing power of marriage in neither of the parties, but in the Court. But the law of God never placed this power in the hands of the Pope, nor Court. Do you not perceive that this opens a door of unlawful litigation between the husband and the wife; and places the power we speak of equally in the hands of both; separating in open hostility what God has joined together.
And thus your absurd unrighteous law, binds the husband by the law of the wife as long as the wife lives; and at the same time binds the wife by the law of the husband as long as the husband lives? what folly then to talk of divorce at all? For a righteous power cannot be constituted to violate another righteous power in any case.
If thus they are wedded together, no power but death can righteously part them. And in fact you have no settled principle of divorcement: but Popes and Courts do as they please with the bodies and souls of mankind. Nothing but death, could possibly dissolve such a covenant. Do you not ever blush, at your own absurdity? This is not the nature of the true marriage covenant by any means, for that admits of divorcement, executed by the husband; who holds the power of this law in his hands, and to exercise it for the fornication of the wife, and for no other cause whatever. So saith the Lord Jesus Christ amen.
Hence it is written of me. That kings shall shut their mouths at him; for that which has not been told them shall they see; and that which they have not heard shall they consider. (Isaiah 52:15)
Is Christ under the law to the Church in any sense of the word? impossible. So neither is the husband under the law of marriage to his wife in any sense of the word. But is he not bound to love his wife and provide for her by the law of marriage? Truly he is thus bound, but not by the law of marriage, but by the law of Christ, which also binds him even to love his enemies; consequently to provide for his own, and especially them of his own household. So also by the law of his head and husband he is bound, to give his wife a bill of divorcement when she becomes alienated from him.
God anciently said unto his church, I am married unto thee, (Jer. 3:14)
If the law of marriage places the husband under any government whatever, or if he is thereby laid under any obligation whatever; then was God under the law and government of his church; and under the same obligations to her, by being married to her. The fact is, the man is under the law to Christ, but not under the law of marriage to his wife: or in any sense obligated by it.
Moreover the covenant of marriage is, or ought to be conditioned according to the law of God, which admits of divorcement; but not according to the absurd law of the gentiles, which consistent with itself admits of no divorcement.
According to this latter law the kingdom of marriage has but two subjects, and both of them are equally sovereigns over each other: and consequently in reality there are no subjects at all: therefore no possibility of violating the sovereign authority; hence there can he no divorcement, and at the same time no possibility of exercising sovereignty, and finally no kingdom or government; but a tyrannical state of anarchy, whereby the families of the earth are filled with confusion, and held together, only by a principle similar to that which the goats, and wild beasts herd together.
Hence it is termed in scripture the government of the beast. But according to the law of Christ there is but one supreme governor only; who is bound by Christ to govern according to law; and who has power thereby, if his subjects rebel to banish them from his dominions, and at the same time absolve them from their allegiance. And then to supply his government with other subjects, that it may be a house of order and peace. The former is a kind of mongrel imitation of the latter; that amounts to a solemn absurdity and confusion.
It establishes a positive ground of contention unlawfully between the parties; (as among the beasts,) to determine which shall be master. As two oxen will not work peaceably together in the yoke until this point is settled: so in the marriage yoke, there is no peace, until this matter is determined; which often remains a continual jar, and confusion through life; begetting coldness and contempt for each other, and sowing seeds of ruin in the family. Because the strong arm of the law is the only thing that can peaceably settle this matter.
The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof, because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant. (Isaiah 24:5)
That is the ordinance and covenant of marriage; spoken of in the singular number and definite manner: because there is no other everlasting ordinance that man ever had the power to change. The everlasting covenant of the gospel found first in Gen. 3:15 -- is ordered in all things and sure. It is the covenant of life beyond the grave. That found in the next verse is the ordinance that regulates the introduction of man into this life, and provides for his childhood. This we have changed, on which account sorrow and affliction prevails on the earth.
All the laws of our country, and decisions of courts upon this subject, have a direct tendency to establish the weaker vessel as the lead, and head of the family. Many men of the best talents that this generation affords, remain bachelors, or are totally ruined; and in their course are the ruin of many females; for the better the intellect the less willing, is he to be a slave: and especially under the tyranny of an unnatural yoke of bondage.
But the law of God settles this matter at once, and declares that the head of the woman is the man, and the head of the man, is Christ. And fixes the governing power accordingly.
In ninety-nine instances out of an hundred no doubt, where the woman is naturally of a mild and submissive make, families live in peace. And where it is otherwise, it is reason, that the law should enforce peace; so great and important object should be effected. If the law of God was established, and faithfully executed in this important matter, it is manifest that peace in all families of the nation would be the inevitable result: and the marriage state would become a paradise. And this would be the greatest blessing in its effects and consequences ever yet conferred upon any people.
And as we have already shown the law of Christ, who is the proper head of man, has power effectually to correct any disposition in the present wicked generation of men, to act the tyrant. The practice of courts and legislative bodies in granting bills of divorcement, is an assumption of power and tyranny in its nature; not authorized by the scriptures.
There is only one true authority upon this subject. His authority was imitated by the Pope of Rome, who formally assumed all power, and from whom this wicked and unlawful assumption of power has manifestly been derived. And it was first effected, when the beast made war with the saints and overcame them; and power was given him over all nations. Rev. 13:7.
Then did the dreadful divorcement take place, called the apostasy, in consequence of which we have gone astray, and run into disorder and confusion, wretchedness, ignorance, misery, bloodshed, wars, and cruelties: which have prevailed even among Christians ever since. And we have lived in continual fornication and adultery, in every sense of those words.
Hence the prophets and apostles, speaking by the Spirit, and when referring prophetically to these days; continually use such language. No doubt many persons in reading the prophets have passed over this kind of language lightly; considering it indelicate in them; and supposing the reason why they used such language so much, was because of the unpolished age in which they lived: and in fact, have thought it strange that they could not find better figures to express their ideas, supposing it all to be figurative.
But they spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost and we now discover my beloved brethren and sisters, that the eyes of those holy men of old were upon us, upon the Christian nations since the apostasy; and upon the latter days: and they have foretold in the only language that could foretell our real situation.
Hence old Rome is styled correctly Mystery Babylon, the mother of harlots, and the abominations of the earth. And she has made all nations drink of the wine, of the wrath of her fornication. And hence the confused state of our minds, as if inebriated with wine. And this wine is the poison of the dragon, and the cruel venom of the asp. (see Deu. 32:33)
Sin is the transgression of the law. But we transgress the law of God, by law. This is a national abomination, and from this great evil, by its very nature, a nation must be recovered and born at once; (if recovered at all) as the Prophet Isaiah more than two thousand years ago, hath foretold. (Isa. 66:7-8)
Before she travailed, (that is before Zion travailed) she brought forth: before her pain came she was delivered of a man child (even the author of this book). Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such a thing? shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be born at once? For as soon as Zion travailed she brought forth her children. Rejoice ye with Jerusalem and be glad with her all ye that love her: that ye may suck and be satisfied with the breasts of her consolations; that ye may milk out, and be delighted with the abundance of her glory.
Behold, I will send my messenger and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord whom ye seek shall suddenly come to his Temple; even the messenger of the covenant whom ye delight in: Behold, he shall come saith the Lord of hosts.
But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? For he is like a refiners fire, and like fuller's soap.
And he shall set as a refiner and purifier of silver. And he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver; that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.
Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord as in the days of old, and as in former years.
And I will come near unto you in judgment, and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers. and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow and the fatherless, and turn aside the stranger from his right; and hear not me saith the Lord of Hosts. (Malachi 3:1-5)