LESSON 7

GOD'S LAW OF MARRIAGE,—Continued.

50. God meant that human marriage should be a type of Christ's union with the Church, or "New Jerusalem," His bride. Christ laid aside all His glory with His Father and came to this earth to unite Himself to us. But marriage was not meant merely to typify Christ's first coming, but to include the thought of His second coming as well; only in both these events does the type fully represent the antitype. Every Christian marriage should celebrate these two events. The husband's renunciation of ties of kinship should offset the wife's renunciation of self-love by taking up the risks of childbearing and child rearing. This is what Paul teaches, in Ephesians 5:31, 32, where he quotes the obligation that the husband should forsake his kindred for his wife, and adds, "I speak concerning Christ and the Church." Adam and Eve were created at the same time, and were together, and then they were separated during a "deep sleep," which came upon Adam. So Christ was with us, and then separated from us by the "deep sleep" of death, while we came, as it were, from His risen side, by faith in His shed blood. Adam was separated, that he might be re-united to Eve, in greater joy than ever,—such joy that poetry burst from his lips, in celebration of the event, which Dr. R. F. Horton renders:

"She, she is bone of my bone,
And flesh of my flesh is she;
'Woman' her name, which has grown
Out of man,—out of me."

51. And one day Christ will come again, "to our joy,"—for it was "expedient" for Him to go, and return again, He told us. And one day we shall recognize, as we do not now, that Christ is our very "other self," as Adam did of Eve; "for we are members of His body," and "joined to the Lord," we are "one spirit," also. Mary Magdalene seems to have first discovered this, in experience,—for she exclaimed to the supposed gardener: "Tell me where thou hast laid Him, and I will take Him away,"—an unconscious claiming of His body as her very own property, in a love of sexless chastity. No wonder that He could but manifest Himself to such love! (John 20:11-18).

52. The custom was, when Christ was on earth, for the wedding procession of the bridegroom and his male friends to go and fetch the bride from her father's house to his own father's home. But Christ's parable of the Ten Virgins (Matthew 25 :1-13), presents no such picture of the violation of God's law. The virgins wait at the home of the bride, and at the cry that the bridegroom is coming, go forth to meet him, and fetch him and his train to a feast at the bride's home. "Ordinarily the bride was fetched by the bridegroom and his friends; but here it is the office of the virgins to fetch the bridegroom, and the wedding seems to take place in the house of the bride, as in Judges 14:10" (De Wette, quoted by Lange).  So will it be when Christ comes again.  Those who are waiting, and prepared for His coming, at the cry of His coming, will go forth to "meet the Lord in the air," and return to the earth, the Bride's home, for the marriage feast, where they will live and reign with Him a thousand years (see 1 Thessalonians 4:17; Revelation 20:6).

We have not been merely speculating as to the advantages God's marriage law would secure to women.  God's marriage law was obeyed in the earliest ages of humanity.  This fact archaeologists are now bringing to light; and we will give a short sketch (all we now have room for) of their discoveries.

53. The first, in modern times, to write on this subject, was Bachofen, a Swiss jurist, in 1861. Mr. J. F. McLennan became his exponent in English, as well as publishing his own investigations of the subject. Many others, as Tylor, Westermarck, Fraser, Lord Avebury (Sir John Lubbock), and Robertson Smith have followed. In fact, no modern history of an early people is considered complete unless it begins with the days when there were matriarchs, as well as patriarchs. In the 36th chapter of Genesis, we discover that some of the "dukes of Edom” were women.

54. Three leading features are characteristic of this early civilization: (1) The parents of a wife, together with her own kin, remain her "natural protectors" throughout life: (2) the household property is held by the women; (3) kinship is reckoned through the women, not the men, because when men marry they are detached from their kin; the children are known by the mother's family name. This form of civilization is often called by the name, "female kinship," because the 3rd point mentioned is the cause of all the rest. For instance, McLennan, in speaking of the decline in dignity of Grecian women, says: "We see that no causes could have produced it, so long as relationships through women preserved their old importance. On the other hand, we can discern a sufficient cause for degeneration in the gradually increasing preponderance of male kinship, and in the changes in the marriage system which made that preponderance."

55. We may ask, what brought about this change from female to male kinship. Modern evolutionists who will not admit a Divine revelation say that, first of all universal promiscuity prevailed; and as no man knew his own children, in consequence, therefore, female-kinship alone was recognized. But the foremost evolutionists, Darwin and Spencer, say that such promiscuity never prevailed; and that is very strong evidence against the theory, for they were the chief evolutionists. And besides, the Bible reveals the truth to us, and we need not stay to consider the evolutionists' theory. God's marriage law established female kinship, in the beginning; and why should such a hateful character as Lamech ever have been delineated in the Bible, excepting to record the violation of this marriage law, and the beginning of polygamy? A little further on, in the opening verses of the 6th chapter of Genesis, we read of the wholesale appropriation of women: "and the earth was filled with violence," the record says. Lamech's son "whetted cutting instruments," as we read, in chapter four; and the first use of weapons of warfare was for the capture of women. As these captive wives were torn from their kindred, they became identified with their husband's kin, as well as their children; and so male kinship came to pass. The flood did not exterminate the habit of capturing women, for we read, in judges, of Deborah waging war with Sisera, for his crimes against women; and Sisera's mother is represented as watching for her son's return with the spoils of war,—"to every warrior a damsel or two."

56. Dr. A. C. Dixon, in an article in the London Christian (Nov. 16, 1911) says: "Turn to this civilization which God Himself founded, and you will hear Him say: 'A man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife; and they shall be one flesh.' Woman is given the pre-eminence. It is not the woman leaving the father and the mother, and cleaving unto her husband; but it is the man leaving his mother and father, and cleaving unto his wife." At one point we disagree with Dr. Dixon. Civilization founded on this marriage law of God did not make the wife her husband's superior; but it prevented her becoming his subordinate. In this connection the story of Jacob and his wives, Leah and Rachel, is instructive. When he wishes to leave his father-in-law, he humbly asks his wives to accompany him. And they do not say: "It is our duty to follow our husband," but, "We are warranted in going for two reasons: Our father has given us no inheritance; and he has kept for himself Jacob's wages, and they should have been paid over to us, and our children" (Genesis 31:14-16). It is evident, from this, that men did not sell their daughters in marriage, where these women lived, nor did wives feel bound, by marriage, to follow their husbands to the ends of the earth. Scholars of note tell us that Abraham said to Abimelech, Genesis 20:13, concerning Sarah, "Then God caused her to wander with me," not simply, "when God caused me to wander." The difference in the meaning is this: It was not expected, in those days, that a wife would follow her husband in his wanderings, but quite the contrary. God wished Sarah and Abraham both to come out of idolatrous surroundings; therefore He gives a revelation of His will to Sarah, lest she should follow the usual custom and remain with her kin.

 

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