of kin, as it is stated in God's word: for by this rule of theirs, if the marriage of a brother and fifter, where the blood is not mixed upon any fide, be not lawful, it is made more hainous than the marriage of grandfather with his grandchild, or any of his pofterity, where the blood of the family is unmixed only upon one fide; and yet the Lord declares, That their nakedness is his own, which he does not declare as to the brother and his fifter, betwixt whom no fuch thing takes place. And further, by this one rule of trying the degrees, and knowing the nearness of kin, it is made the fame thing for a granduncle to marry his brother's or fifter's grandchildren as for a grandfather to marry his own grandchildren, or their pofterity, and yet the law of God makes an express distinction, Lev. xviii. 10. 12. 13. 14. But by this rule there is no manner of diftinction; for in both cafes, a person that hath in him the unmixed blood of a family, does neither more or lefs but marry another that derives part of the blood from that family; and fo the uncle and niece are nearer of kin than the brother and fifter, because they are as near of kin as the grandfather and grandchild, or any that defcend from him, which the Lord makes a greater nearness than that of brother and fifter; r; and yet the uncle and niece are made near of kin in the word of God, only by virtue of the nearness of brother and fifter, which is prefupposed to it, 12. 13. 14. Is not this therefore a strange confufion of the degrees? And this is the prefbytery's most just and easy rule. They also seem to confound affinity and confanguinity in fuch a manner, as to make J. B. who is J. M.'s granduncle by affinity, to be in the place of a parent to her by right of blood; and this is evidently beyond all law and common fenfe. And thus men that would be wife above what is written, are left to become vain in their imaginations.


The question is grofsly miftated, when it is put upon this footing, whether the inftances exprefsly mentioned in the 18th chapter of Leviticus do fo exhaust the general prohibition, y 6. that it may be lawful for any perfons to marry together that are not exprefsly mentioned in the Levitical law.

J. B. never made a queftion of this; but it is constantly affirmed on his part, that the degrees of confanguinity and affinity, clearly pointed out in thefe inftances, and in the reafons of the prohibitions, do fo exhauft the general precept, 6. that marriage cannot be unlawful upon degrees not pointed out in the following verfes; and that it is an ufur3 R 2


pation upon the divine authority, to prohibit upon any degree upon which he has not prohibited.

To this agrees the Proteftant definition of inceft, and the decree of the council of Trent is pointed against this as the doctrine of Proteftants; and this is according to the definition of incest in the law of Scotland, James VI. parl. 1. act 19. "Therefore our Sovereign Lord, with advice and confent "of my Lord Regent, and the three eftates of this prefent "parliament, ftatutes and ordains, That whatfomever perfon 66 or perfons, that commits the faid abominable crime of in

ceft, that is to fay, whatfomever perfon or perfons they "be, that abufes their bodies with fik perfons in degree as "God in his word has exprefsly forbidden, in any time co"ming, as contained in the xviiith chapter of Leviticus, "fhall be punished to the death."

And, at 15. "Item, Our Sovereign Lord, with advice "and confent of my Lord Regent, and three estates of this "prefent parliament, has ftatute and ordained, That the "halie band of marriage, made be all eftates and forts of << men and women, to be als lawful and als free as the law "of God has permitted the famen to be done without ex"ception of perfon or perfons; and has declared and de"clares, That fecunds in degrees of confanguinity and affi "nity, and all degrees outwith the famen, contained in the "word of the eternal God, and that are not repugnant to "the faid word of God, might and may lawfully marry at "all times, fen the 8th day of March, &c. and ratifies and "approves all the faid marriages done, fen the faid day, &c.”

And this was the thing ftated in the ancient difcipline of the evangelical churches in the valleys of Piemont, feveral hundreds of years before Luther. "Articles of marriage ought to "be performed according to the rules prefcribed by God, "and not within thofe degrees which he hath forbidden; "and there need no fcruple of conscience be made con"cerning what the Pope has forbidden, although we give "him no money for a difpenfation; for that which God "hath not forbidden, may very well be done without his "permiffion." Morland's hiftory, book 1. chap. 5. p.87. It is true, that Luther at firft reftricted inceft to the inftances exprefsly mentioned in the Levitical law, but afterward he went upon the degrees upon which thefe inftances are given, as do the Proteftant divines against the Papifts. Brochmand, a Lutheran divine, thus ftates the Proteftant argument against the Papilts, Princeps et palmarium argumentum eft hoc; alla


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

tum a Luth. de Capt. Babyl. viz. Rectius noviffe Deum quæ perfonæ ad conjugium aptæ fint, et quoufque fe extendant cognationis gradus, quam ullus homo. Deus vero non prohibuit conjugia nifi ufque ad fecundum gradum in linea inæquali, Leviticus 8. et 20. Quocirca conjugia in reliquis gradibus a Deo non probibitis inita, non possunt nec debent cenferi conjugia incefta. Brochmand de conjugia, quæftio 53.

They that have given their judgment in this cafe against J. B. have laboured under another remarkable mistake in confounding the unequal or oblique line, as it is commonly called, with the direct line, and in overlooking this, viz. that the line is as direct from the common parent to his posterity, by one of his children as by the other.

The Levitical law, though it fpeaks nothing of these lines, makes a very clear distinction betwixt what we call the direct line, and the unequal or oblique, and that clearly founded in the nature of the thing. The Lord forbids the grandfather to marry the grand-daughter, or the grandfon to marry the grandmother, because of their own nakedness, or because there is a communication and derivation of blood betwixt them, and one of them is a part of the other's flesh, and fo makes it unlawful for all them to marry together, among whom this takes place, or where this may be faid, as where the Lord fays it, "Theirs is thine own nakedness ;" and this is perhaps infinuated in the general prohibition,

6. if we look to the import of the original word: but this does not take place in the cafe of fifter and brother, betwixt whom there is no fuch communication or derivation of blood, nor is there any fuch communication of blood from the fister to them that are defcended of her brother; and therefore there can be no way of reckoning the nearnefs of kin in that cafe, but by the generations or degrees, while all that are on the direct line are unto one another as in the fame degree, and fo near of kin, that the nakedness of any one of them is the other's own nakedness, which is the highest degree of nearness of kin. This plain distinction is much overlooked, and a loose way of arguing is gone upon, making an inference from the mother to the grandmother, as from the aunt to the grandaunt; though it be most evident the nature of the relation in the cafes of grandmother and grandaunt is vaftly different, and the reafon of the prohibition in God's law as to the grandmother, viz. "their own "nakedness," will never apply either to the aunt or grandaunt. Though the relation be the fame, as to the matter of


inceft, in the cafe of the grandchild or greatgrandchild, yet it will never follow from this, that the relation is the fame in the cafe of niece and grandniece: and though the grandfather, and the afcendants on the direct line, be confidered as one with the defcendants on that line; yet this is only with refpect to one another, and not with respect to any of them on another line, whofe nakedness is not their own, otherwise it were most easy to demonftrate every marriage inceftuous: and therefore this reason for prohibiting a man to marry his aunt, "She is thy father's near kinfwoman," will never apply to the grandaunt, the grandfather's near kinf. woman, as has been with fome confidence afferted, under the influence of the forefaid mistake.

The reafonings upon the 14th verfe of the 18th chapter of Leviticus against J. B. look liker the forming of the word of God according to mens judgments, than the forming of their judgment, according to that word. The reason given in that 14th verfe, with refpect to the uncle's wife," she is "thine aunt," does indeed fhew, that the Lord carries the prohibition as far in affinity as he does in confanguinity, but cannot extend to the grandaunt, whether we confider the fense and scope of the text, or the nature of the relation.

The text declares, as it is unlawful for a man to uncover the nakedness of his father's fifter, his father's near kinfwoman, or the nakedness of his mother's fifter, his mother's near kinfwoman; fo it is unlawful for a man to uncover the nakedness of his father's or mother's brother, who is in the fame nearness of kin with the father or mother's fifter; and then shews how a man in this case uncovers the nakedness of his father's brother, which is by approaching unto his wife, whofe nakednefs is thus declared to be her husband's nakedness; and fo fays the Lord, "Thy father's brother's wife is thine aunt, "thy father's fifter." Thus it is plain, that as in the other cafes of this law, the Lord carries the affinity along with the confanguinity, fo he does in this cafe. And this is the only thing we have in the 14th verfe beyond what is contained in the 12th and 13th; fo that if an inference cannot be drawn from the father's fifter to the grandfather's fifter, y 12.; neither can an inference be from the father's brother's wife unto the grandfather's brother's wife: but from the father's fifter his near kinfwoman, unto the grandfather's fifter his near kinfwoman, there is not an inference, because the grandnephew is at a farther diftance of kin from the grandaunt than the nephew is from the aunt; and fo the relation is not


[ocr errors]

the fame: for though the father's pofterity be not fet at a diftance from him in this cafe by generations, feeing their nakedness is still his own, and thus they ftand in the greatest nearness of kin to him, yet every generation fets them at a farther distance from his fifter, whose nakedness theirs is not, otherwise the aunt's daughter, and daughter's daughter, &c. would be as near of kin to the nephew, and at no greater di ftance from him than is his aunt, whofe nakedness theirs is. And it is certain, that they who defcend from a common parent by the fifter his daughter, are in a direct line from him and his daughter, as well as they that defcend from him by the brother his fon, are in a direct line from him, and from that fon, and to thousands of generations, they stand every one of them with the common parent, and the brother or fi fter of whom they are defcended, upon the direct line; so that none of them can be fet at fuch a distance from the common parent, or from these by whom they are defcended from him but that ftill their nakedness is their own: but these that defcend from the common parent upon the one line, are set at a distance from them that defcend from him upon the other line, and that by every generation; for even in the firft the brother is at a greater distance from the fifter than he is from his father. And now let it be determined by them that can tell whether two and three make five, let it be determined whether they that defcend from a common parent upon one line be fet at a greater distance of relation from them that descend from him upon another line, by two generations upon one line, or by one upon each line; and then the great question will be determined, whether the uncle and grandniece be nearer of kin to one another than are coufin-germans. Thus, neither by the aforefaid text, nor by the nature of the relation as stated in the law of God, can any inference be drawn against the lawfulness of marrying the grandaunt, from the unlawfulness of marrying the aunt: and more must be said upon the law of God for making out this inference than lawyers or divines have yet produced, before they can fatisfy any impartial judge of the juftness of it. It is owned, that the general statute upon the fubject of inceft is contained in y 6. "None of you fhall approach to any that is near of kin to " him." And if this nearness of kin be not stated to us in the following verfes by the Lord himself, what is the design of thefe following verfes? And, if we be not to ftand on the utmost uncertainty, must we not reft in the Popish law, where only we find a pretence of infallibility? But if we


[ocr errors]
« VorigeDoorgaan »