« AnteriorContinuar »
tion would be about £400, one half of which were convened to consider the measures sum was immediately promised by a few of necessary to be adopted in consequence of the Naunton friends themselves. The meet- his determination, on the 26th and 29th of ing was afterwards addressed by the Rev. J. June. At the latter it was resolved to conAcock of Stow, who for upwards of twenty vene a special meeting of the Council for the years sustained the office of pastor of the 6th of July. The Rev. John Jordan prechurch, and also by Rev. Messrs. Dunn of sided (Sir Culling E. Eardley being unwell). Winchcomb, Hall of Arlington, Statham of The chairman read Psalm xlvi., the Rev. Bourton-on-the-Water, Cherry of Milton, Dr. Hamilton offered prayer, the Rev. W. and Amery of Campden, and all present had Bevan stated the reasons which had influreason to acknowledge, “ It is good to be enced him in resigning his office, whereupon bere.” It is hoped that such pecuniary it was resolved :assistance will be rendered by the denomina
“I. That the Rev. W. Bevan having resigned his tion generally as to justify the commencement
office as Secretary to the British Organization of the of the building as early as possible in the Evangelical Alliance, such resignation to take effect ensuing spring, inasmuch as the object has from the 1st of August next, this Council cannot been long in contemplation, and a house and
part with their much beloved brother as their
Secretary without expressing their gratitude to him garden were purchased and paid for by the
for his faithful discharge of the duties of his office, Naunton friends upwards of six years since, and his valuable services therein, and also its best as a site upon which to raise the intended wishes for his future bappiness and usefulness. erection.
“II. That the Revg. Dr. Steane, Edward Craig, and J. P. Dobson, be affectionately requested gratuitously to undertake the duties of the official
secretariat, from the 1st of August to the time of COLLECTANEA.
the third Annual Conference."
The Rev. Dr. Cox was added to the Board EVANGELICAL ALLIANCE.
of Advice. After prayer by Dr. Cox, the In consequence of the failure of the funds Council adjourned. Communications on the expected from some of the divisions of the business of the Alliance are, in future, to be organization, the Rev. W. Bevan has felt it addressed to the Rev. Dr. Steane, Adam to be his duty to resign the office of secretary. Street, Strand, London.--Evangelical ChrisTwo meetings of the Committee of Council I tendom.
MARRIAGE WITH A SISTER OF A DECEASED, many other thoughtful and conscientious
persons profess to be satisfied that the rela.
tion in question is not within the degrees of To the Editor of the Baptist Magazine.
affinity prohibited from intermarriage by the
scriptures. I am not extensively acquainted Dear Sir,- In your Magazine for the with what has been written on this subject, or present month are some rather decided ob- perhaps I should be so well informed as not servations, in the review department, on the to trouble you with this letter. I have read desirableness of repealing the law which pro- a pamphlet in favour of the connexions in hibits marriage with the sister of a deceased question by the Rev. J. F. Denham, but all wife. I beg permission to say a few words the main positions of that respectable clergyto your readers on this subject.
man I had seen very carefully examined, The Commission of Inquiry, it appears, has and, to my apprehension, plainly proved to ascertained the fact, which no one can ques- be untenable, in a work which I beg to retion, that such connexions, under the form of commend to the perusal of any one interested marriage, or without it, do exist to a consi- in this subject. It is called, " The Hebrew derable extent. From this fact the Reviewer Wife: or, the Law of Marriage Examined,” thinks it very expedient and desirable that &c., by S. E. Dwight. Glasgow : Gallie, the prohibition should be removed, and that 99, Buchanan Street. The writer is an Amesuch marriages should be sanctioned by law. rican lawyer, son, I believe, of the celebrated It is not of course lost sight of, that in morals Dr. Dwight. The British edition is edited and religion there is a higher priciple of con- and strongly recommended by Dr. Wardlaw, duct than mere expediency. With every no mean judge of literary merit and biblical conscientious person the first question will be criticism. As I have never seen this work “ what is righi ? do the scriptures in any way referred to, I fear it is but little known in determine this subject ?" The Reviewer, and this country.
Within a small space the intelligent and These and other positions appear to be learned writer gives a very interesting “Essay firmly established by the clear and powerful on Polygamy,” in which he clearly shows that reasoning of Mr. Dwight ; if, therefore, perthe supposition that polygamy was allowed sons under the influence of such convictions, in the patriarchal and Levitical economies is petition Parliament on the subject at all, it a popular error. Then, by a careful exami- will be, not to alter the present prohibitory nation of the Levitical code, and of numerous law, believing, as they must, that it is in harother portions of scripture, he gives clear and mony with the law of God. satisfactory information on all subjects con
I am, Sir, nected with this interesting controversy. In
Yours respectfully, a very careful examination of Levit. xviii. 18, March, July 13th.
J. Jones. a verse of the greatest importance in this question, he shows by evidence amounting to
The Reviewer's Reply. demonstration, that the reading inserted in the margin of our bible is the correct im- The work to which your correspondent report of the inspired writer. Not, “ Neither fers—"Dwight's Hebrew Wife"-although shalt thou take a wife to her sister to vex her, not a part of the most recent controversy on -beside the other in her life time," but, the subject to which it relates,* is a perfor“ Neither shalt thou take one wife to another," mance of undoubted ability and merit. It is &c. As it stands in the text, it is a kind of not every able work, however, that is conclupermission of polygamy, but not with the sive ; and we must be permitted to say that sister of the first wife, because that would vex a careful perusal of the Hebrew Wife has not her, but with any other woman, as if that | been satisfactory to us. would not vex her, and you may take the According to Mr. Jones, the author has sister of the first wife after her death. In this “clearly shewn that the supposition that absurd and incorrect sense the passage seems to polygamy was allowed in the patriarchal or be taken by many, making it a direct sanction Levitical dispensation is a popular error.” for polygamy and for marrying the sister of a That it is not without authority of learned deceased wife. But, by an examination of men, however, may appear from the following every other place in the Hebrew bible, in words of Michaelis, in his Commentaries on which the phrase used occurs, Mr. Dwight the Laws of Moses :shows that it is an idiomatic expression, mean- “How much soever some may have denied ing the uniting of one to another. Thus he it, nothing is more certain than that by the rescues this passage, pressed as it has been civil laws of Moses, a man was allowed to into the service of polygamy and incest. By have more wives than one. No doubt all the a chain of reasoning compact and strong, but proofs of this fact which it is usual to adduce which is incapable of much abridgment, the are not valid ; and to the maintainers of the learned and pious writer appears to have es- opposite opinion it may be an easy matter to tablished, among others, the following propo- controvert such as are weak and inaccurate.” sitions :
The last observation explains a part of Mr. 1. That polygamy was forbidden as immo- Dwight's apparent success. Some of his ar. ral in its tendency, under both the patriarchal guments fail, however, for a different reason. and the Levitical dispensations; and that We give one case as an example. After an under both it involved the crime of adultery. historical review of polygamy among the
2. That Levit. xviii. 18, is merely a prohi- Israelites, he sums up in these terms :bition of polygamy under the Levitical dis- “ These, if I mistake not, are all the inpensation.
stances of polygamy on record among the 3. That incest was a crime before the Israelites. They amount, if we include Levitical law was given.
Joash, to only thirteen single instances, be4. That the law of incest forbids all mar- side that of the children of Uzzi, in a period riages both of lineals and of collaterals of the of more than twelve hundred years.”—Hefirst and second degrees by affinity and by con- brew Wife, p. 23. sanguinity, therefore of a husband's brother, And then follows an argument founded on or a wife's sister, or a niece, or aunt.
the assumed fact that among the Israelites 5. That either the whole of the law of in- there actually were only thirteen cast of cest is in force, or that no part of it is in force ; polygamy in twelve hundred years. and, of course, that if it is lawful to contract Now, in the first place, if only thirteen any one of the prohibited marriages, it is cases had been recorded, it would not have equally lawful to marry an uncle, a nephew, followed that only thirteen lad occurred. a sister, a daughter, or a mother.
But, in the second place, many more than 6. That the law of incest was not a part of thirteen are recorded-many thousands more. the ceremonial law, nor one of the local statutes of the Levitical code ; and that the fact of its being one of the general statutes of that code,
* It was originally published in America, and was
A notice of it furnishes no evidence that it is not still in re-published in Glasgow, in 1837.
may be found in the Eclectic Review for February, full force and obligatory on all mankind.
For this case of "the children of Uzzi," at least, of the arguments employed. We whom, although the author mentione, he content ourselves, however, with referring to thrusts out of his argument, is that of a tribe the high authority of that distinguished orienof six and thirty thousand men: see the mentalist, Sir William Jones,* in favour of the tion of them in 1 Chron. vii. 3, 4.
latter opinion, and with extracting from the And, in the third place, he entirely over- evidence presented before the Commissioners looks the fact, which is strongly put by the following statement of the Rev. T. Maelis as showing “how very common Binney :-po gemy must have been at th- very time "The verbally expressed marriage laws of when vioses lived, and gave hislier," that the the Hebrews are contained, or are supposed number of the first-born, is stated in Numb. to be contained, in the 18th and 20th chapters iii. 43, gives only one first-born among 42 of Leviticus. On these it is to be remarked, children. “Sothat,"adds this eminent scholar, first, that a question may be raised whether “ had the Israelites lived in monogamy, it these laws are laws regulating marriage, or would follow that every marriage had given whether they are only prohibitions of the birth to 42 children, whereas if every Israelite grosser forms of irregular sexual intercourse. had four or more wives, it was very possible it is not enough perhaps to say, that they that of every father that number might have were unnecessary in the latter sense, since they sprung."
were forbidden in the general and compreThe structure of Mr. Dwight's general ar- hensive law of the Seventh Commandment. gument on polygamy exhibits a palpable The particulars noticed, their being exceedfallacy, by which the whole is vitiated.
ingly gross and abominable forms of dis“ We find as the result of our inquiries," obedience, might warrant their distinct specisays he," that the original law of marriage fication. To which may be added, that they forbade polygamy to mankind ; that no re- were the crying offences of the Canaanites, peal of that law is found in the scriptures ; against which the Israelites were to be warned, and that polygamy was not lawful, either that in the 20th chapter, 19th verse, the among the patriarchs, or under the Levitical Seventh Commandment itself is repeated, hacode.”—Hebrew Wife, p. 39.
ving added to it the punishment of death, as “ Not lawful” – that is, not expressly denounced against its violation. In this list sanctioned by statute. Certainly not: why also (that is, in the 20th chapter), it is to be should it be? But it was, in the words of observed, that several of the prohibitions of Michaelis, “allowed," not forbidden, but con- the first list are repeated, with the addition of nived at, as a fact of actual prevalence and a denounced punishment, mostly that of long-established habit, which could not well be death, which looks much more like the proabruptly interfered with, but was rather to be hibition itself being the prohibition of a gross indirectly discouraged and gradually eradi- crime, than the regulation for a possible concated.
templated marriage. It might be further Mr. Dwight's argument on the question of added, that if the first list be taken as prohipolygamy failing, the principal argument fails bitory of marriages, and not of criminal acts by which he endeavours to establish his inter- without marriage, it prohibits such a marriage, pretation of Leviticus xviii. 18. That this is as that which was contracted by Abraham, neither new, nor unconsidered by learned and and would have been sanctioned by David ; judicious men, may appear from the following and one which is expressly enjoined or reguing extract from Scott's Commentary on the lated by another law, a marriage bearing on place :
the question before us."— Report, p. 88. “ Some think that this verse contains an As to the obligation of the Mosaic law of express prohibition of polygamy, supposing incest, should it be held to relate to the questhe sister merely to signify a wife which the tion of marriage, we should quite agree with person spoken of had already married. But Mr. Dwight in separating it altogether from though the Mosaic law contains no explicit the Levitical code. It is clearly necessary, allowance of polygamy, yet there is no other as he lays it down at p. 124, that all laws passage which favours the interpretation of intended to regulate an institution common to this text as a direct law against it, and many mankind should have been given at a time, things in the whole subsequent history imply and in a manner, rendering it at least possible annivance at it. The context also seems that mankind should become acquainted with to require a more literal interpretation, name- them. From hence it follows that the Lely, the marrying of two sisters together." vitical precepts respecting marriage have,
In treating of the law of incest as given in as such, no general obligation at all; and the 18th and 20th chapters of Leviticus, Mr. that they can present no claim to our regard, Dwight argues strongly that these passages unless as being either a collection of anrelate to marriage, and not, as has been as- ciently promulgated statutes not otherwise serted by others, to criminal acts without recorded, or an expression of the instinctive marriage. To us, nevertheless, this still seems feelings of mankind in their most just and debateable ground, and it would be easy, did our space permit, to show the fallacy of some, * Cited in the Eclectic Review, for February, 1841. VOL. XII.-FOURTH SERIES.
complete development, that is, of the law of chievous to uphold it as law while public nature in its perfect form. To us it appears sentiment runs so strongly counter to it. impossible to regard the Levitical precepts It should be repealed, if it were only in order in either of these lights. The former suppo- to allow the proper feeling respecting it to be sition manifestly wants proof, and is indeed developed. Believing, however, as we do, a begging of the whole question; while the that the sentiment adverse to it is correct, latter, if it were true, ought to be demon- and that the marriages in question are not strated by a much more consentanerus re- condemned either by our natural sentiments sponse from the bosom of human natire ay by sacred sc: pture, w, are cczzvinced that universally than has ever yet been given to ' liv ought to be finally repealed. The it. For our own part, we look on the legis- | nativii cannot be at rest till it is so. lation of Moses respecting unchastity in all
THE REVIEWER. its forms as intended for the Israelites, and as modified by their circumstances at the
AN EARNEST MINISTRY time. Their own condition as a people was
To the Editor of the Baptist Magasine. not good, while that of the nations surrounding them was dreadfully corrupt; and the SIR,—The “ Commercial Traveller ” de. intention of Moses appears to have been, at serves our thanks for the candour of his once to guard them from deterioration by complaint as to the general want of earnestness pollution from without, and to lead to their in the ministry. We will not ask how far improvement by institutions which should in the excitement of travelling and bustle of gradually operate within.
business he is in a fit frame of mind to judge The law of Moses being thrown aside, what of the earnestness of those he occasionally then remains in the matter before us for hears; nor whether his idea of the approprithe guidance of mankind ? Two elements. | ate manifestations of earnestness may not be First, the morality of the case; since from the incorrect; but supposing him to be a capable nature of the matrimonial relation itself it judge, and his testimony to be indisputable, may with sufficient clearness be deduced that we would then ask one or two questions. incest, like fornication and adultery, is a 1. Must not our hope for an earnest minismoral crime. And, secondly, the instinctive try be in an earnest and watchful church ? and social feelings of mankind, under the 2. What efforts are made by our churches practical guidance of Divine providence. It to cheer and stimulate their ministers in their is for the combined influence of these to work ? determine what marriages shall be deemed 3. Are not ministers allowed, in some incestuous, that is, inconsistent with the true places, to toil on from year's end to year's design and beneficial working of the primary end without one word to encourage, or one institute. God has practically prohibited act to aid ? some marriages by evidently setting his ban 4. Is not the earnestness of many a youthupon their issue; while mankind also have ful minister chilled by the cold indifference in all ages revolted at some, and, as society has and dogged conservatism with which his advanced, have come to revolt at others, which efforts are met by the more influential memonce must have been both honourable and bers? pleasing. To the influence of these causes 5. Do the churches in general feel any our Creator seems to have left the determina- interest in the ministry beyond the qualification of the vexed question of “prohibited tions of their own pastor ? degrees."
6. Do they watch for the indications of the Our conclusion is, that while every person Spirit as to who amongst them is called to who feels a restriction binding on him, should the work; and willingly assist such in all act out the conviction of his own judgment necessary preparation ? in his own case, the law of every country 7. Do they cultivate towards the rising should embody the general sentiments of the ministry sentiments of esteem and love; people among whom it is to prevail. It is or are “students” listened to with impaclearly a case in which every people are tience, and treated with indifference ? entitled to legislate for themselves, as well as 8. Is it in the nature of things that any one in which the harmony of a law with the deep earnestness can continue to be felt sentiments of the people is the only executive when thrice or four times in the week the principle by which obedience can be secured. same subjects must be treated before the If changes are to take place in the law, it same auditors ? is by antecedent changes of public opinion We must remember that ministers and that they should be prepared for. One of the churches act and re-act upon one another. great faults we have found with the law of A few earnest souls may arise through God's 1835 is, that public opinion was not in any grace who shall be superior to surrounding way consulted before its enactment, so that influences. But, in general, the ministers the national habit has been violently inter- will be the exponents of the spirit of the fered with. Even if it could be shown that churches. If it be true that an earnest the law as it is is best, it would be mis- minister will create an earnest church, it is much more true, because the many can act stead of, That every beneficiary member“shall make," upon the one more than the one upon the &c., and a circular will be forwarded to every memmany, that a worldly, indifferent church will ber before June, 1850, in order that this important soon reduce its minister to its own level. Let matter may then be finally and satisfactorily deterthose, then, who feel a want of earnestness in mined, according to the 19th rule of the Society. A their minister, become earnest themselves in sub-committee has also been appointed to consider, prayer and action, and in kind and wise whether any alteration can be judiciously made in efforts to arouse their pastor; and they will
the 15t rule, so as to increase the amount of the soon find that the fire is within, and that it
an nual income to be distributed among the claimants. only neede their orn encouraging bisath to
This sub-committee will present their report at the blow it to a fal.
next general meeting. Bristol.
V. D. M.
To promote yet further the welfare and usefulness of this institution, the committee strongly recommend that those ministers who are not at present
connected with it should be reminded of its existSOCIETY FOR THE RELIEF OF AGED AND IN
ence and advantages, and that all our churches FIRM MINISTERS,
should have set before them its character and claims. To the Editor of the Baptist Magazine.
A small sum either paid as entrance-money (when re
quired by the society's rules), or subscribed annually, DEAR SIR,—May I ask the favour of your by any Christian society for its pastor (if needing inserting in an early number of the maga
such pecuniary help), would, by constituting him a zine the accompanying extracts from the last beneficiary member of this institution, be at once a Report of the Society for the Relief of Aged pleasing testimonial of respect, and a considerable and Infirm Baptist Ministers. It is much means of assistance in the season of old age, or of to be desired, that our regard and interest as earlier infirmity. The committee more earnestly a Christian community may be more fully urge these matters upon the attention of the awakened in behalf of this important insti- churches, as it must, they think, be allowed that tution. If our ministers generally could be hitherto the interests of our aged and infirm minisconstituted its beneficiary members, either ters, as a religious community, havo been greatly by their own payment, or that of the disregarded, and as, by means of this institution, churches over which they respectively pre- their comfort and welfare may be easily and happily side, an often deplored and grievous deficien- promoted. In the judgment of the committee, cy now existing among us, would be in some therefore, it is much to be desired that, while other measure provided for, and the interests of sections of the Christian church have some regular pastors and of people, be alike promoted. provision for those in age or infirmity, who have An increase of congregational collections and been their servants for Jesus' sake, this society may annual subscriptions in support of the society become a source of benefit to the denomination at would, also, greatly subserve its usefulness.
large. And they think that when it is remembered
that the institution has funded property to the I am, dear Sir, Yours very truly,
amount of £5700 (the interest received on which CHARLES DANIELL, Secretary.
very considerably exceeds the subscriptions of the
beneficiary members), that more than a hundred Melksham, August 20, 1849.
baptist ministers, now living, are connected with it, Report.
that its rules are formed upon equitable principles, The character and operations of this society are
and that a much larger sum than at present would
be distributed among the claimants, if a comparasuch, as to furnish only a small amount of information, to its different members, with their various
tively small increase could be secured to its disposkind supporters and friends. During the past year,
able income; all must see that it would be for the twenty-six of our ministerial brethren, have been advantage of our ministers generally, to enrol themclaimants upon the funds of the institution; and
selves as beneficiary members of this society, and at the recent annual meeting it appeared that twen
that our churches would do well to give it their
constant and liberal support. ty-seven beneficiary members had applied to share in its disposable income this year; although two of
Ministers wishing to join the society are respectthese have requested the committee to appropriate fully referred to the rules which may be obtained on to others the greater part of the sum to be allotted application to the treasurer or secretary; and friends to them. Three members, who received as claimants
desiring of sending subscriptions or donations will last year, have been removed by death, viz., Rev. T.
please to forward the same to either of the underTilly of Porton, Rev. W. Gray of Bristol, and Rev.
mentioned R. Harness of Bridlington. The committee gratefully acknowledge several
JOHN LEDYARD PHILLIPS, Esq., Melksham, congregational and other contributions, made in fa- Treasurer. vour of the society, and earnestly ask the continu
Rev. CHARLES DANIELL, Melksham, Secretary. ance of this very desirable and effective mode of WILLIAN LEPARD SMITH, Esq., Denmark Hill. assisting its funds. By one of the resolutions passed HENRY KELSALL, Esq., Rochdale. at the recent annual meeting, it is proposed to alter ROBERT LEONARD, Esq., Bristol. the third rule, to the effect, that every beneficiary Rev, THOMAS WINTER, Bristol. member" shall be requested to make " a public or Rev. JOSEPH ANGUS, M.A., Mission House, private collection annually in aid of its funds, in- Moorgate Street, London.