Page:Extractfromlatec00chur.djvu/12

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joined together in lawful matrimony. And what is lawful or unlawful according to God's word, in the judgment of the Church, is distinctly told us in the table of degrees affixed to our Prayer Books, "wherein," it is said, "whosoever are related are forbidden in Scripture and our laws to marry together." Where is the civil contract here? I am aware that an attempt is made to assign this table of degrees to the authority of Archbishop Parker only. But the marriages forbidden by this table had always been held unlawful by the Church of England, and for fifteen centuries such marriages were held unlawful in the Church at large. To return to the marriage service. Every part of it, especially the two solemn benedictions and the invitation to receive Holy Communion "at the time of marriage, or at the first opportunity after marriage," prove that it is no mere civil contract which the Church owns as marriage. If, then, persons married "otherwise than God's word doth allow are not joined together by God, neither is their matrimony lawful," and what God's word doth not allow is assured to us by our Church in the table of degrees, and in the 99th Canon; if we, as Canadian clergy and laity, have acknowledged the Book of Common Prayer (which contains the table of degrees) to be "a true and faithful declaration of the doctrines contained in Holy Scripture;" if, moreover, a resolution of both houses of our Provincial Synod declares, that no clergyman of this Ecclesiastical Province shall knowingly solemnize a marriage forbidden by the 99th Canon of 1803, how can we deny the force of such solemn obligations? I do not hesitate to say that if a clergyman of our Church do not consider himself bound by them, I cannot conceive any other that would bind his conscience, and I should distrust his declarations on any subject whatever. Besides, are we going to stop in this downward course of license? Already our legislators propose to go beyond the demands of agitators of the question in England. Our bill proposes to sanction the marriage of a woman to a deceased husband's brother. "Why then," as Lord Hatherly says, "should not a man's own brother desire his daughter in marriage, or look even to the reversion of his wife." We may be sure that