Page:Againstprofanede00kebl.djvu/22

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16
AGAINST PROFANE DEALING

must say, there is scarce any thing plainer in the Bible.

But it will be said, The law of God has not left the matter so, but has virtually permitted marriage with a wife's sister, by the 18th verse of the same chapter. “Neither shalt thou take a wife to her sister to vex her, to uncover her nakedness, beside the other in her lifetime.” Now we are not quite sure that this verse is rightly translated: but for the present let us suppose it to be so. Because it is said, “In her lifetime,” people seem to think that the marriage might of course be contracted after the first wife's death. But does this follow? Might not the Holy Ghost intend to put a special case, of a sin which had been virtually forbidden before, committed under circumstances of especial aggravation? As if He should say, “Thou shalt not marry thy brother's widow, nor, by parity of reasoning, thy wife's sister: and I warn thee especially against the cruelty of doing this latter in the first wife's lifetime.”

If a reason be asked, Why this case should be specified, Saint Basil has pointed out one: the possible abuse of the precedent set by Jacob, which the licentious might plead in vin-