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SECT. XIII. About the conjunction of male and female.

THE conjunction of man and woman, whereby mankind is propagated, is a thing that highly deserves to be taken care of by law; which that the heathen neglected is no wonder, when they relate stories of the whoredom and adulteries of those gods which they worshipped.286286   See Euripides’s Ione:— “I can’t forbear The lewdness of Apollo to reprove, Who forces virgins to his nuptial bed, And murders his own children privately: Is this to practise virtue you enjoin? If mortals sin, you gods revenge the wrong; And is it just that you, who laws prescribe To all mankind, should live by none yourselves? Though it will never be, yet I must speak; If Phœbus, Neptune, and the King of gods, Should punish all unlawful marriages, None would remain to worship at their shrines.”
   See this matter fully handled by Clemens, in his hortatory discourse; by Athenagoras, Tatian, Arnobius, book iv. Nazianzen, in his first against Julian, and Theodoret, discourse iii.
And, which 105is worse, the conjunction of males with one another is defended by the examples of their gods;287287   See this also, in the fore-mentioned places of Clemens and Theodoret. in the number of which, Ganymedes of old, and Antinous afterwards, were reckoned upon this account:288288   Mentioned by Justin in his second Apologetic; by Clemens In his hortatory discourse; by Origen in his second and eighth books against Celsus; by Eusebius in his ecclesiastical history, iv. 8. by Theodoret, 8. and the historians of those times. which horrid crime is also often esteemed lawful amongst the Mahometans, Chinese, and other nations. The Greek philosophers seem to take great pains to put a virtuous name upon a vicious thing.289289   So indeed it was thought, not only by Lucian, in his little book concerning love but by Gregory Nazianzen, orat. iii. against Julian; and by Elias Cretensis, and Nonnus, upon him. And also by Cyril in his sixth book against Julian; and by Theodoret, very largely, in his thirteenth book to the Greeks. I cannot omit a place of Philo’s, who had a great opinion of Plato, out of his book concerning a contemplative life: “Plato’s feast is spent almost wholly upon love, not only of men eager after women, and women eager after men; for such desires may be satisfied by the law of nature; but of men after men, differing from themselves only in age; and if any thing be speciously said concerning love and heavenly Venus, those names are used only for a cover.” Tertullian, concerning the soul, preferring the Christian wisdom to that of Socrates, adds, “Not bringing in new demons, but driving out the old; not corrupting youth, but instructing them in all the goodness of modesty.” The most eminent of which same Greek philosophers, recommending intercourse with women,290290   See Plato, as in other places, so more particularly in his fifth Republic. what did they do else but turn a whole city into one common stew, when even brute creatures observe some sort of conjugal league?291291   See Pliny, book x. chap. 34. “The actions of doves are mightily taken notice of by these, upon the same account; their customs are the same, but the highest degree of modesty belongs specially to them; adulteries are not known to either of them; they do not violate the fidelity of wedlock.” Concerning the conjugal chastity of ring-doves, see Porphyry in his third book against eating living creatures. How much more reasonable is it then, that man, who is 106 the most divine creature, should not be born from an uncertain original, whereby the mutual affection betwixt parents and children is destroyed? The Hebrew law indeed forbade all uncleanness, but a man was allowed to have more wives than one at a time,292292   This appears from Deut. xvii. 16, 17. xxi. 15. 2 Sam. xii. 8. So the Hebrews understood the law; and Chrysostom, 1 Cor. xi. and Augustine, book iii. chap. 12. concerning the Christian doctrine; and others of the ancients. Josephus, who best understood the law, says in the seventeenth of his Antiquities, “It was due custom of our fathers to have many wives.” and the husband had a power to put away his wife for any cause whatsoever;293293   Deut. xxiv. 1, 2, 3, 4. Levit. xxi. 14. which is the custom at this day among the Mahometans: and formerly the Greeks and Latins took so great a liberty, that the Laconians and Cato permitted others to have their wives for a time.294294   See Herodutus, book vi. and Plutarch, in his Cato Uticensis, and Lycurgus. But the law of Christ, which is most perfect, strikes at the very root of vice, and accounts him guilty before God (who can see into and judge the hearts or men) that lusts after, though he has not committed, the crime;295295   Matt. v. 28. or that attempts the chastity of any woman, or looks upon her with such desires. And, because all true friendship is lasting, and not to be broke, it would, with very good reason, have that to be so which contains the union of their bodies, as well as the agreement of their minds;296296   Matt. v. 32. xix. 9. and which, without doubt, is more convenient for a right education of their children. Among the heathen, some few nations were content with one wife, as the Germans and Romans; and in this they are followed by the Christians:297297   Paul the apostle, 1 Cor. vii. 4. Lactantius’s Institutions, vi. 22. Hieronymus against Oceanus. namely, that the wife, having resigned herself 107entirely to her husband, may be recompensed with a like return;298298   Sallust well expresses it in his Jugurthine war. “Amongst those that have many wives there is but little affection, because the mind is distracted with a multitude, so as to have none of them for an intimate companion; but they are all equally esteemed of no value.” Ammianus, concerning the Persians, book xxiii. “By means of various lusts, divided love grows faint.” And Claudian, in his Gildonic war:—    ——” They have a thousand marriages,
For they regard no ties, no sacred pledge,
But their affection is in number lost.”
that the government of the family may be better managed by one governor, and that different mothers might not bring a disturbance in amongst the children.299299   Euripides, in his Andromache, rightly apprehends and expresses them both.

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