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innocent party is no longer bound to live with the guilty. The common property is so disposed of, also, as to furnish provision for the wants of both. The Children, at the same time, are distributed by public justice in the best manner, which the case will admit. Here, all the means are furnished, which can be furnished, for the relief, and future safety, of the aggrieved Party; and incomparably better means than any, which Divorce can offer. Thirdly. Divorce, instead of remedying, enhances these evils bebyond comprehension. 4 Law, permitting Divorces, except where personal worth and wisdom prevent, produces an immediate separation of interests among all the married persons in a community. With a complete conviction of their liability to Divorce, for the causes alleged, every married pair begin their connection. For this event, then, common prudence requires them to make such provision, as may be in their power. The wife, the feebler and more dependent party, strongly realizing, from the beginning, her danger of being left to precarious means of subsistence, at a time always uncertain, and therefore always felt to be near, will be driven by common prudence, and powerful necessity, to lay up something in store against the evil day. The husband, aware of this state of things from the beginning, will be irresistibly led to oppose it in every part of its progress. This he will do by placing his property, so far as it may be in his power, beyond the reach of his wife; and by contending strenuously for the preservation of the remainder. A separation of interests is, in all Intelligent beings, necessarily a separation of affections. Heaven itself would cease to be a world of love, were its inhabitants no longer to feel a common interest. Oneness of interests makes their oneness of mind, life, and labours. Separate the interests of a married pair; and you separate, at once, all their affections. Show them the probability, or even the possibility, of a future Divorce; and you show them its certainty. From this moment a separation of interests is begun. From this period, however affectionate they may originally have been, their affection will cease. The consciousness, that their interests are opposed, will immediately
beget coldness, alienation, jealousy, and in the end, riveted hatred.
Between persons, living together, causes of dispute can never fail frequently to arise. Among persons, whose interests generally harmonize, and who are governed by principle and moderation, such causes produce little effect. But between persons in the situation, which I have described, they never fail to operate with their fullest efficacy. Their minds are ready to take fire on every occasion, and to construe in the worst manner every real, or supposed, provocation; every seeming neglect; every slight word; every unpleasant look. They are dissatisfied with almost every thing, that is done, or left undone. A spark will kindle such combustible materials into a flame.
Among persons, thus circumstanced, dispositions, naturally kind, soon become unkind: tempers, before sufficiently compatible, soon become utterly incompatible. Where offices of kindness would have naturally multiplied, and flourished, jars are multiplied; bitterness flourishes; disputes are generated; personal violence follows; and, not unnaturally, murder itself. Thus the very evils, which Divorce professes to relieve, it only creates; and creates them in millions of instances, where it designs to relieve them in one. Thus plain is it, to use the language of Dryden, that
* God never made his work for man to mend.”
Were a Divorce impossible; the interests of every married pair would be one, through life. This fact would so far unite their af. sections, as to prevent a great part of the debates, of which I have been speaking; and in most cases to terminate the rest without any serious difficulty. Persons, who know that their contentions are hopeless, and that, however desirable their separation might seem, it is impossible to effect it, will, almost always, so far make the best of their circumstances, as to sit down in a tolerable state of content. The absolute union of their interests cannot fail to recur, unceasingly, to their minds; nor to operate on them with powerful efficacy. Their affection, though occasionally intermitted, will return with its former strength. The necessity, which each feels of the other's good offices, will daily be
realized. The superior happiness of former harmony will be remembered. Their children also, for whom their cares have been so often kindly mingled, will plead in the most interesting manner for the continuance of their mutual good-will. Thus life, although not without its alternations of disquiet, will, in the main, go on pleasantly, where, in millions of instances, the knowledge, that Divorce was attainable, would have produced discord, hatred, separation, and ruin. It is well known to every observer of human nature, that a prominent part of this nature is the love of novelty and variety, in all its pursuits. In no case is this propensity more predominant, than in the case in hand. Polygamists have endeavoured to satisfy this propensity by replenishing their harams with a multitude of wives. Profligates have attempted to compass the same object by a promiscuous concubinage. The endeavours of both, however, have been equally fruitless. David by this disposition was seduced to adultery. Solomon, in the multiplication of wives and concubines, has shown, that it knows no limits; and that its effects are nothing but corruption and ruin. By Divorce, this disposition is let loose; and the spirit of licentiousness has the sign given to roam, and ravage, without control. The family, which all the causes of wretchedness, already mentioned, would not have made unhappy, will be ruined by this cause: a cause sufficiently powerful, and sufficiently malignant, to ruin a world. To the Children, such a state of things is a regular source of absolute destruction. During the contentions of the Parents, which will usually be generated by the mere attainableness of a Divorce, and which become ultimately the occasion of granting it, the children will either be forgotten, or forced to take sides with the parents. In both cases, their whole education to useful purposes will be neglected. Particularly, they will never be trained up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Jarring parents: and there will be millions of such parents wherever Divorce prevails, to one where it does not; can never teach their children religion, either by precept, or example. Amid their own irreligious contentions, the farce would be too gross for impudence itself to act, and too ridiculous to be received seriously even by children. They would be left, therefore, to grow up Atheists, or Nihilists, without religion, without a God, without a hope. In the former case, all their other interests; their support, their comfort, their preparation for business, and their hopes of future usefulness, reputation, and enjoyment; would be neglected. Parents, whose minds were in a continual state of irritation, and hostility, could never unite in any thing of this nature: and nothing of this nature, in which they did not unite, would ever be done to any purpose. An the latter case, the children would be taught to join one Parent in contending against the other. Here, they would be taught, some to dishonour their father, and some to dishonour their mother; in direct opposition to the Moral Law; and taught by those, whom God had appointed to teach them this law. Filial impiety is the most unnatural and monstrous wickedness, of which children are ordinarily guilty. We cannot wonder therefore, that it should conduct them to every other wickedness; that it should end in impiety to God, or injustice to mankind. The children, here, are directly taught by one parent to hate and despise the other. Their contentions and calumnies, their mutual scorn and hatred, will force the children to despise both. Children, who regard their parents with habitual disrespect, will soon respect neither man, nor God. Devoid of principle, destitute of every good habit, trained up to insubordination and rebellion, and witnesses, from their infancy, of discord only, malignity, abuse, and slander; they are prepared to be mere villains, nuisances, and pests, in the world. I have all along supposed the parents to continue together, until the children have grown up to some degree of maturity and reflection. This, however, would by no means be the common case; and would exist less and less frequently, as Divorces multiplied. The consequences of an earlier separation, such as would generally take place, would be still more dreadful. Such of the children, as followed the mother, however affectionate might be her disposition, would share in all the calamities, necessarily springing from her unprotected, suffering condition. Women are constitutionally unfitted to encounter the rude, toilsome, and discouraging scenes, every where presented by this unkind, untoward world, and allotted by the Creator only to the robust hardihood of man. A divorced female is almost necessarily an outcast. Her children, who follow her fortunes, must be outcasts also. Defenceless herself, she cannot defend them. Unable to support herself, she will be still more unable to support them. Even the spirit of moderation will regard her as unworthy and disgraced. The common feelings of the world will mark her as the mere butt of scorn and infamy. Why was she divorced 2 “Because she was unfit to sustain the character of a wife,” will be the answer, every where hissed out by the tongue of contempt. In all this contempt, and in all the evils, which this wolfish spirit draws in its train, the children will necessarily share; and will be regarded, like the spurious offspring of beggars, born under a hedge, and buried in a ditch. Such of them, as survived their multiplied sufferings; and these would be comparatively few; would be solitary, deserted beings; without a home; without a father; without education; without industry: without employment; without comforts; and without hopes; residing no where, and related to nobody. Like the wild men, said to be found at times in the Forests of Germany and Poland, and supposed to be nursed by bears, they would sustain the character of mere animals. At war with every thing, and by every thing warred upon ; when out of sight, forgotten; and when seen, regarded only with horror; they would live without a friend; without a name; nay, sunk beneath the cattle wandering in the same deserts, without a mark. to denote to whom they belonged. Thus they would prowl through life; and putrefy on the spot, where they were seized by death. JNor would the children, who followed the father, in most instances, be at all more comfortable. The cold-hearted cruelty of step-mothers is proverbial. Palpable injustice has, I doubt not, been extensively done by the unkind opinions of the public to persons of this denomination. I have myself known multitudes of persons fill this station with great integrity, tenderness, and excellence. Yet even in this enlightened, refined, and Christianized country, I believe there are few mothers, who leave the world, while their families are young, without very serious anxieties concerning the treatment, which their children