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wise , the most effectual means should be adopted to render the civil contract firm , indissoluble and easy of judicial proof , the strength and permanence of the moral tie would not be best ensured by leaving the religious ceremony to be performed in the mode most congenial to the religious sentiments of the persons themselves ? " To
this question we cheerfully reply ; first , that logically , Mr . Smith ' s supposition would make marriage not a religious ceremony and a civil contract united , but a religious ceremony and a civil contract separated , and therefore , not necessarily co-existent ; and
that the practical inference would be , that the contracting parties would take as much of either as they liked . For example , the Socinians , we believe , exist in all conceivable gradations , from Christianity , or something near it , down to no Christians at all .
There can be no reason why the latter should practise a religious ceremony enjoined by Christ , and recalled by him to primitive purity , by the restriction of single male to single female : with these , therefore , the marriage rite would lose all its solemnit 3 , and become an affair of wax and
parchment . On the contrary , the religionists of an opposite description , the enthusiasts , would make it wholly a pious rite or celebration , and limit its commencement and duration to the feeling or experience of passion ; the internal motions of what they call
godly love , directing them and giving them a right to the enjoyment of its object . With such the civil contract , affecting to bind those whom God had bound , would be superfluous , nay ,
even impious ; and we are not speaking fere by conjecture : this has been the language and the practice also of enthusiasts on the subject . Indeed we think it obvious , that if marriage were to be considered as a civil contract
° nly , there can be no reason why it should not observe the character of U civil contracts , and be dissoluble ^ the will of the parties : but as a divine ordinance , it obtains a controul over the mind itself , and can only be di rected , as to form and circumstance , ty human laws . At present the church service en-J ° ya by prescription the right of so-
leanings . Qis
s ' VOL . XII . 4 K
gleanings ; or , selections and reflections made in a course of general reading .
No . CCCXVL Magnanimity of a King of Sweden at a Public Execution . The late King of Sweden had condemned a soldier to die ; and stood at a little distance from the place of execution . The fellow , when he heard
this , was in hopes of a pardon ; but being assured he was mistaken , cried , his tongue was yet free , he would use it at his pleasure , which he tlid with great license , accusing the King most
insolently , an / 1 as loud as he could speak , of barbarity and injustice , and appealing to God for revenge of his wronged innocence . The King , not hearing him distinctly , inquired of those about him . what the soldier had
been saying ; and was told , by a general officer , who was unwilling to heighten his resentment against the miserable , that he had only repeated very often end loud , that God loves the merciful , and teaches the mighty to moderate their anger . The King
was touched by the lesson , and sent his pardon to the criminal . But a courtier , of an opposite interest , took advantage of the occasion , and repeated to the King exactly the licentiousness of the fellow ' s railing ; adding gravely when he had done , that men
of quality and trust ought never , in his opinion , to misrepresent facts to their sovereign . The King for some time stood suspended in his thoughts ; but turning at length toward the
courtier , with a face of reproof ; it is the first timey said he , that ever I have been betrayed for my advantage ! JBut the li e of your enemy pleased me better than your truth does , Plain-Dealer . JSfo . I . May 13 , 1724-
lemnizing this ceremony with most effect ; and we should think , that the respectable Dissenters of all classes would desire , as they have hitherto acquiesced in the practice , that it should not now be set aside . It is only their respectability that can suffer by the change ; the marriages of the Established Church will not be affected .
Monthly Repository (1806-1838) and Unitarian Chronicle (1832-1833), Oct. 2, 1817, page 613, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/mruc/issues/vm2-ncseproduct2469/page/41/