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Bible Dictionaries

Charles Buck Theological Dictionary


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A convenant between a man and a woman, in which they mutually promise cohabitation, and a continual care to promote the comfort and happiness of each other. By Grove thus: "A society formed between two persons of different sexes, chiefly for the procreation and education of children." this union is very near and strict, and indeed indissoluble but by death, excepting in one case; unfaithfulness in the one or the other by adultery or fornication, Romans 7:2 . Matthew 5:32 . It is to be entered into with deliberation at a proper age, and with mutual consent, as well as with the consent of parents and guardians, under whose care single persons may be. It is a very honourable state, Hebrews 13:4 . being an institution of God, and that in Paradise, Genesis 2:1-25 : Christ honoured marriage by his presence, and at such a solemnity wrought his first miracle, John 2:1-25 : Moreover, it is honourable, as families are formed and built up, the world peopled with inhabitants; it prevents incontinence and fornication, and, where the various duties of it are attended to, renders life a blessing. The laws of revelation, as well as most civilized countries, have made several exceptions of persons marrying who are nearly related by blood. The marriage of parents and children appears, at first view, contrary to nature, not merely on account of the disparity of age, but of the confusion which it introduces into natural relations, and its obliging to inconsistent duties; such as reverence to a son, and the daughter to be equal with the father.

Nor can the son or daughter acquit themselves of such inconsistent duties as would arise from this unnatural union. The marriage of brothers and sisters, and of some other near relations, is likewise disapproved by reason on various accounts. It frustrates one design of marriage, which is to enlarge benevolence and friendship, by cementing various families in a close alliance. And, farther, were it allowed, young persons instead of entering into marriage upon mature consideration, with a settled esteem and friendship, and a proper concern and provision for the support and education of children, would be in danger (through the intimacy and affection produced by their near relation, and being bred together) of sliding in their inconsiderate years into those criminal familiarities which are most destructive of the great ends of marriage. Most nations have agreed to brand such marriages as highly criminal, who cannot be supposed to have derived their judgment from Moses and the Israelites. It is probable God expressly prohibited these marriages in the beginning of mankind, and from the first heads of families the prohibition might be transmitted as a most sacred law to their descendants.

See INCEST. Some have supposed from those passages, 1 Timothy 3:2 . Titus 1:6 . that bishops or pastors ought never to marry a second wife.

But such a prohibition would be contrary to natural right, and the design of the law itself; neither of which was ever intended to be set aside by the Gospel dispensation. It is more probably designed to guard against polygamy, and against divorce on frivolous occasions; both of which were frequent among the Jews, but condemned by our Lord, Matthew 19:3-9 . The duties of this state are on the part of the husband, love, superior to any shown to any other person; a love of complacency and delight, Proverbs 5:18-19 . Chaste and single. Provision for the temporal good of the wife and family, 1 Timothy 5:3 . Protection from abuse and injuries, Ruth 3:9 . 1 Sam 35: 5, 18. Doing every thing that may contribute to the pleasure, peace, and comfort of the wife, 1 Corinthians 7:33 .

Seeking her spiritual welfare, and every thing that shall promote her edification and felicity. the duties on the part of the wife are, reverence, subjection, obedience, assistance, sympathy, assuming no authority, and continuance with him, Ephesians 5:32-33 . Titus 2:5 . 1 Timothy 5:11-12 . Ruth 1:16 .

See articles DIVORCE, PARENT. Grove's Mor. Phil. vol. 2: p. 470; Paley's Mor. Phil. ch. 8: vol. 1: p. 339; Bean's Christian Minister's Advice to a New-married Couple; Guide to Domestic Happiness; Advantages and Disadvantages of the Marriage State; Stennett on Domestic Duties; Jay's Essay on Marriage; Doddridge's Lect. 225, 234, 265, . vol. 1: oct. ed.

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Bibliography Information
Buck, Charles. Entry for 'Marriage'. Charles Buck Theological Dictionary. 1802.

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