Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

NUMBER VI.

OF THE PAPAL RESCRIPT FROM THE COURT OF FASHION, INDIRECTLY

FORBIDDING TO MARRY.

The injunction of celibacy, or of the monastic life, by the Romish Church, being directly in opposition to the order and ordination of nature, has, more than any other single cause whatever, produced a huge mass of evils, both moral and physical, in those countries that have been under the papal dominion; evils too obvious to need pointing out, and too flagitious, some of them, to name. With prophetic reference, as we Protestants fully believe, to the doings of that corrupted church, St. Paul, in his second epistle to Timothy, expresses himself as follows:"Now the spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times, some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of demons."--And immediately after he particularizes the unnatural and monstrous rescript, "Forbidding to marry," as of the same infernal family, or nearly allied with “the doctrines of demons," aforementioned.

!וון

If, however, there were no " forbidding to marry” except in the Romish Church, we might hope that a full cure of the deadly evil is at hand. But this diabolical prohibition,—to wit, forbidding to marry,--has been enjoined and enforced even more extensively, in one other way, than it ever was by the canons of the Vatican.--I will explain my meaning by sketching a fragment of ancient history.

The ancient Romans were republicans after their kind, and continued such for a considerable number of centuries. Though they were pagan idolaters, and their worship was deplorably corrupt, yet, previous to their imbibing the atheism of Epicurus, they generally believed in a future retribution of rewards and punishments; which belief operated so powerfully upon them, that they were truly exemplary in some few of their social virtues. In particular perjury was scarcely known among them, and infidelity in the connubial state was no less uncommon. The Roman republicans were plain men and women, accustomed to daily labor, and quite unaccustomed to finery of apparel or luxury of living. A Roman, of even noble blood, tilled his little field with his own hands, and was proud of tilling it with superior industry and skill; whilst his wife made it her chief ambition to be an excellent housewife. While this state of things lasted, and a very long while it did last, the Romans were eager enough to get themselves wives. They married generally, and they married young; for they thought, and well they might, that whoso found a wife, found a good thing,--a real helpmeet, as well as a dear and faithful companion. And what is singularly remarkable, if true, it is recorded by a Roman historian, that there had not been known in the city of Rome, a single

once

instance of divorcement during the whole space of five hundred years; though the law had put it in the power of the husband to repudiate his wife almost at pleasure.

Unfortunately for the Roman Republic, and more especially for the female part of it, a great and splendid event quite changed the morals, the taste, the habits, and the whole face of the country. One hundred and ninety years before the Christian era, the Romans, for the first time, entered Asia with an army, which, under Scipio, defeated and conquered Antiochus the Great, of Syria : and from hence they brought home such a taste for the luxuries of the East, as promoted and hastened the ruin of their commonwealth ; and in no way more directly, than by a practical forbiddance of marriage. The Roman women, so plain, frugal, and industrious, became enamored of the costly finery that was brought from the East. One of them, named Lollia Paulina, when dressed in all her jewels, is said to have worn the value of three hundred and thirty-two thousand pounds sterling. And though this was the most extraordinary instance of the time, yet it is reasonable to suppose that of the rest of the ladies, every one strove to get as near the top of the fashion as she could; and that with all the females, who thought any thing of themselves, the rage was to be fine and fashionable. This new order of things, while it precipitated the republic down the abyss of ruin, brought marriage almost into disuse : insomuch that Augustus, the first Roman Emperor, finding among the men a general disinclination to marry, was fain to pass severe penal laws, to force them, as it were, into the marriage bonds. But it was all to little purpose. Despot and tyrant as he was, he found it as impossible to compel the bachelors to marry, as

Peter the First long since did, to compel the Russians to shave off their beards. Was it owing to the licentiousnesss of the men ? In part it was, no doubt; but not altogether. It was partly owing to their prudence. A Roman bachelor, naturally enough, would commune with himself thus :-" These extravagant flirts, of whose attire a single article costs more than one of them would earn in her whole lifetime, are fit only for show. I like mighty well to be in their company at courts and assemblies; but the gods save me from a union with them! If I marry, un. less my wife bring me a fortune, she will quickly devour mine. Wherefore, I will look out only for number one, in spite of the edicts of the Emperor.”

Consider, ye American Fair, that, in all times and countries, the like causes will produce the like effects.

NUMBER VII.

ON THE ELEVATION OF THE CONDITION AND CHARACTER OF WOMEN

BY MEANS OF CHRISTIANITY.

In all ages of the world, the greatest portion of sorrow and hardship has fallen to the lot of the female part of our race. Amongst all the numerous tribes of savages and barbarians, in what ever quarter of the earth, or in the islands of the seas, females are despised and degraded, and a wife is but little better conditioned than a bond slave. " While the man passes his days in idleness and amusement, the woman is condemned to incessant toil. Tasks are imposed upon her without mercy, and services are received without complacence or gratitude.” The laws and customs of Mohammedanism, as well as of Paganism, degrade and enslave the women; a degradation and slavery of vast extent, since by far the greater number of the human kind are either Mohammedans or Pagans.

It is only in Christian countries that women rise to their

« ZurückWeiter »