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3. The reference which this law has to the original law of marriage, and its evident connexion with it, points out its obligation, as resting on the same foundation; and that as the one is, so must the other be, of a general nature, relating to, and binding on all. It appears to be evidently founded upon, and explanatory of that original law. The law of marriage was declared by Adam, Gen. ii. 24. “ Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife; and they twain shall be one flesh.” The last words are, in the original, lebasar ehad; literally rendered, from our Saviour's words, by St. Matthew (xix. 5.) ús océexce pencev, (and also in Eph. v. 31.) i. e. they shall be in, or come into one flesh. Now, what the real meaning and effect of this is, does not appear from that law. This explains it, as meaning kin, and shows the effect which it is to have, with respect to others. The word basar is the proper term for flesh (animal flesh), but it is used also to signify kindred, which is the meaning here; and and when Judah says of Joseph, Gen. xxxvii. 27,“ he is our brother, our flesh.” Ahinu besarenu. The same words are used, Neh. v. 5. when the poor Israelites complained of the extortion of their rich brethren, they say, our flesh is the flesh of our brethren, i. e. our kindred is the same, with our brethren, who spoil us, and therefore they should forbear to make us slaves.
Another word (shëēr) is used here, which is synonymous with the former, but more commonly signifies kin (cognatus, propinquus). And it is observable, that in the sixth verse, which contains the substance of the law, upon that subject, both words are used, shëēr besaro, literally the flesh of his flesh; to signify, his near of kin, or nearest kin. In the 12th, 13th and 17th verses, it is plainly seen that this is the meaning, and that it is to be applied equally to the kin, by affinity, as by consanguinity. This law makes no difference; the shëēr besaro, (his near of kin,) applies to the one equally with the other. It may be further observed, that the two synonymous words, used in the sixth verse, amount to a reduplication, which, according to the Ilebrew idiom, will signify a special nearness, or nearest kin; the meaning and exterit of which are to be explained by the particulars of the following precepts. Hence it may be observed,
1. That it appears to be the design of God, the lawgiver, that the law of marriage shall constitute, in the married pair, one indi. vidual and distinct kin; and that it establishes the rule, that a man and his wife are, by virtue of that union, each equally related to each other's kin, as if they were so by blood. They are to be considered as one
2. That the kin, hereby constituted, is to be of determinate limits and specific extent, as to its influence; comprehending, besides the direct ascending and descending line, the first, or nearest collateral degree on either side ;* and it is to be unconfounded with any other kins, of the same kind arising within itself. Thus, besides the general kindred of the human race, all being of the same flesh and blood; this law is to constitute subordinate kins, every one of which shall be, as an individual self, peculiarly interested in, and concerned for the prosperity of all its parts; and by this constitution of things it is effected that the great ends of education and government are carried on by authorities of reasonable extent, supported by the supreme authority of God, and also under the influence of a special affection and attachment impressed by him, correspondent to the relation; and, consequently, the general order and happiness of the human race, will be more effectually promoted.
3. To prevent inordinate selfishness, and extend relationship and affection, this law requires, that the parties, who are thus to come into, or to constitute one kin, are not to be already of the same, but of different kins; so that every new kin shall be a bond or nexus between other kins; contributing to a more general benevolence, and operating, in a certain degree, against that dispersion of affection, which is the native consequence of a confusion of kindred, as well as tending to the extension of the human race.
Now, as this is a law given by divine authority; as it appears to be, not of a ceremonial cast, but of a general nature, and conducive to great and benevolent purposes; as it recognises, and is founded upon the original law of marriage, and illustrates that law, particularly upon the subject and extent of kin, created by it; and as to give it effect, the Author of nature has accompanied it with an endearing affection and attachment peculiar to the relation; nay we not justly conclude, that it is of a moral nature and binding on all?
Some objections have been made to this view of the subject, which it may be necessary to consider.
[To be continued.]
The first degree includes only brethren and sisters, uncles and aunts, nephews and nieces. It is commonly called the third degree, when we count up to the prepositus, and then collaterally,
I have shared in the pleasure which the perusal of Dr. Nott's evangelical and eloquent missionary sermon, has given to its readers. But much as I applaud it, there are in it some sentiments in which I cannot agree with the ingenious author. If the following discussions, occasioned by a perusal of that sermon, will contribute to gratify the readers of your magazine, you will please to insert them.
“ In the estimation of heaven our services are appreciated, not by the good we accomplish, but the sincerity, the strength, and constancy of our exertions” (p. 27).
This sentiment, however commonly entertained, I think incorrect. As I apprehend that it has an unfriendly influence, and damps that ardent desire to be useful, which every christian should cherish, I wish to be indulged with a few observations, to show that it is untenable and unscriptural. I admit, that no pious labours, however unsuccessful, will go unrewarded, that our reward hereafter will not be regulated wholly by the success that may attend our exertions, and that the sincerity, strength and constancy of them will be taken into consideration, and form a principal part of the rule in judgment. But I cannot believe that our success will be overlooked. I believe that scripture teaches us that happiness and glory hereafter will be distributed in exact proportion to our services and the good we accomplish in this life; and that of two men endowed with equal talents, and equally faithful in employing them, that man will sit highest in the kingdom of heaven, who, by the blessing of God, is honoured to be the instrument of doing most good to his fellow christians and fellow men. What saith the scripture? That we shall be judged according to our works, and that our works shall follow us. Here is the rule. To apply it rightly we must ascertain the meaning of the term works. Are we to understand by it, merely the sincerity, strength and constancy of our exertions in serving God? or does it include likewise the beneficial effects attending them? Certainly the latter. How will the guilt of Jeroboam, king of Israel, be determined? Merely by the wickedness of his heart and his attempts to do evil? No; in addition to this, will be considered the mischievous and dreadful effects of his im. pious actions, through many ages. Thus will his guilt be ascertained, and his punishment determined. And will the apostle Paul be rewarded merely according to the ardour of his love to Vol. II.
Christ, the fervency of his zeal for his cause, and the greatness and constancy of his efforts? Will not the success of his labours be taken into view? Will not every soul, converted by his preachiing, augment his reward, and be a jewel in his crown? “ Let him know,” saith St. James, " that he which converteth a sinner from the error of his ways, shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.” “ They that be righteous,” cries the prophet, “ shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, and they that turn many to righteousness, as the stars forever and ever."
Anticipate the last day. Behold two christian ministers ap. pearing for trial. Both, it appears, were, while on earth, entrusted with equal talents, and were equally faithful in their master's service; but it pleased God to make the one an instrument for the conversion of many souls, and to withhold his blessing from the labours of the other. Now, agreeably to the opinion of those who hold the sentiment which we controvert, the former is entitled to a reward at least equal to that of the latter, because he laboured as faithfully. but will he receive no more? What! when he shall hear the many souls converted by his instrumentality, declaring in the presence of him who sitteth on the throne, “ To this man, under God, were we indebted for the crown of life which glitters on our heads, and for the palm of victory which blossoms in our hands;" what! will he feel no higher emotions of delight than his brother, who hears only a solitary voice applauding him? Every soul converted will augment the blessedness and brighten the glory of him who is the happy instrument of turning it to God. I wish to establish my opinion, because I think it is founded in truth, and that it has a better influence than that which I oppose. It admits that unsuccessful efforts will receive a proportionable reward, and therefore cannot be supposed to operate as a discourage. ment to those who have to complain, “ Who hath believed our report, and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed ?” But it will also serve to regulate our exertions and labours. It will make us solicitous to engage in such as promise to be attended with the most good to others, and dispose us to pray fervently that our efforts may be crowned with a blessing, and that we may become instrumental in turning many to righteousness.
Dr. Nott's ideas of the duration of what is usually denoininated the millenial state of the church, appear to me incorrect. Allow me to oppose what he has advanced, by giving what I take to be a scriptural representation of the reign of Jesus Christ.
with its The reign of Jesus Christ on carth is nearly coeval with its foundations. The moment our first parents believed, he began his reign in his church, which was then first erected in this world, and has continued it through every dispensation, patriarchal, mosaical, and christian, till the present day, and will continue to reign till all his enemies shall be made his footstool. His kingdom, hitherto confined, shall extend and extend, until all the kingdoms on earth shall be subject to his government. Thus universal, it will last 1000 years. At the expiration of this period, an amazing arid general defection will take place, and Satan make a grand effort to re-establish his power over mankind. But immediately will Jesus Christ come to rescue the faithful, to overthrow his enemies, and to judge the world.
This important transaction finished, the earth will be burnt up. But from its ashes will Jesus Christ raise it, and make it more glorious than ever; and give it to his saints as an eternal inheritance. This I think is clearly taught by St. Peter, who says, “ Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for a new heaven and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness." I am aware that these words are by many considered as being figurative. But the literal sense, I conceive, agrees best with the context, and with other parts of scripture. The word of God no where teaches us to believe that the earth will be annihilated, Fire will destroy its present frame, but not its existence. Why then may we not believe that from its ashes it will be re-edified? It was formerly restored after having been overwhelmed with a deluge. What reason can be assigned for an abrupt departure from a literal to a figurative sense, in the use of the same words, by the apostle in the chapter where the text just quoted is found? We admit the literal sense in the verses preceding, and believe that the heavens and the earth shall be dissolved in flames. Why, then, should we not admit the literal sense in this text, and be. lieve that the same heavens and earth shall be recovered from the devouring element, and become new and more glorious ?
Having re-edified the earth, Jesus Christ will reign on it with his saints forever and ever. Now, his reign will commence in the plenitude of its glory. His enemies destroyed, every vestige of Satan's empire on earth swept away, bis elect gathered into the kingdom of his Father, wicked men and fallen spirits confined in hell, he shall sit a conqueror on his throne, and agreeably to prophecy,t reign over the house of Jacob, literally, forever. The present form of his kingdom will be changed, but of his kingdom itself there shall be no end.f
The righteous will possess the earth. But it does not follow that they will constantly dwell in it, and be confined to it. I pre
t Luke i. 33.