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by this hope! And it is only where religion is found, that the union can be unclouded, or this happiness be known : only then that mutual confidence can be fully established, and the conduct of those who are so united can afford a living illustration of “how good and how pleasant a thing it is for such to dwell in unity ?"
MATRIMONY AND CELIBACY CONTRASTED.
• The world was sad, the garden was a wild,
AMONG the gracious provisions of an all-wise and boun. tiful Creator for the happiness of his creatures, there is none that seems more eminently to demand our attention, and to deserve our gratitude, than the institution of marriage. According to holy writ, after Adam had been formed, God said, “ It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a help meet for him.” This help was woman, given unto man as the companion and partner of his life. An after command was given unto them, to increase and multiply and replenish the earth."
Thus then, on the authority of scripture, we may recog. nise the establishment of the marriage state by God, and of course its adaptation to the nature of man. From the second command may be inferred the perpetuation of this state among the successive generations proceeding from our common parents, and the obligation of men to enter into it in order to fulfil that command.
Putting aside the inspired volume, and judging of matrimony by the light of nature and the dictates of reason, we shall still come to the same conclusion. In all
and climates, among all people, nations, and tongues, the marriage state and the establishment of domestic relations are looked
upon with honour, as the object and consummation of manhood, and as a necessary ingredient in the cup of human felicity. This universal consent is the voice of nature, the language of the heart, the law of our being impressed upon it by the finger of God, when he fashioned man from the dust of the earth, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, so that he became a living soul. It was from this conformation that it was not good for man to be alone; and deeply and darkly as sin and suffering have wrought upon the race, the thousands of years that have passed have only established more convincingly the divine origin of this inter. nal law. The fashions of the world have countlessly changed, empires have risen and fallen, dynasties have been forgotten, even nations and races have been lost, and barba. rism and civilization have successively and alternately held their sway ; but in all conditions of man, from the highest pitch of pride and sovereignty to the lowest state of servitude,
* Yoked with the brutes and fettered to the soil,"
has the state of marriage or some connexion of the sexes equivalent thereto, been the fondest of the aims and the objects of man, a crown of happiness to his glory, and a solace to his degradation and wretchedness.
On the authority therefore both of scripture and natural religion, it seems justifiable to assert, that marriage is in conformity to the will of God, and voluntary celibacy of course opposed to it. That there may not be reasons to justify the last in some instances, we will not deny ; but they must be founded upon something more than caprice, than subservience to selfish gratifications, or to the conventional decrees, or fancied requisitions of the fashions of the world. Serious hereditary defects of body or mind, or inability to rear an offspring to usefulness and with reasonable comfort, are all that seem valid.
In the fine passage, the concluding lines of which form the motto of this essay, Campbell has beautifully depicted the unhappiness of our great progenitor in his single state. Though placed amid the beauties of Eden-amid the magnificence, the wonders, and attractions of a new creation, himself alike new and but just called into being, in the prime of manhood and the perfection of all his faculties ; with senses not blunted in their perceptions by use or habit, nor weakened by disease or excess; with mental powers, over which neither education nor artificial excitement had thrown the pall of satiety and disgust; while all around was novel and marvellous, and his own feelings, perceptions, and consciousness most novel and marvellous of all; though thus placed in a state for gratification, and with means of it, that no one of his descendants has ever possessed, yet the happiness of Adam was not complete. Though blessed even with the power of direct communing with his God, and with the spiritual messengers and performers of his will, still a being was wanted of nature kindred with his own; who might feel as he felt, and think as he thought ; enjoy with him the pleasures and wonders of creation, receive and repay the communication of his sentiments, and by this ex. change complete his gratification.
In contrast with the description above referred to are the various passages of Milton, describing the happiness of the united pair, while, yet unstained by transgression, they enjoy. ed the pleasures of the nuptial state amid the fragrant shades of their native abode. Whether purusing their light labours, rather a recreation than a task, in the care of the garden, indulging in the hours of rest and refreshment, or paying their spontaneous and fervent homage to their Maker, the great and perpetual source of their felicity, in addition to the high gifts and glorious state of their being, is the community of feeling and affection, the participation of each, as it were, in the soul of the other, modified by the distinction of sex and the peculiar gifts and graces of each.
These descriptions may indeed be said to be the fictions of poetry, but they are fiction in its noblest sense, not the em. bodying of the viewless forms pictured by the imagination, but the giving to unseen and long departed scenes of reality the eternal lineaments of truth and nature. They are the attempts of two of our purest and most highly gifted minds to portray the feelings of humanity, as it existed in its pristine nobleness, in the two states of singleness and union. The sources of their materials were in their own hearts, and what they have thence drawn, is but that, which, more or less gross or refined, more or less developed, is to be found in the unperverted hearts of all mankind.
If, pure and holy as he came from the hands of his Maker, if, even in Paradise, it was not good for man to be alone,” that as we must understand it, to be single ; if it comported not with the will of his Creator, nor with his own natu:e, how can it be thought that it should be good and ad. missable now in his fallen and sinful estate ! Suffering as man is under his own weaknesses, faults, and follies, and under those of his race, or their consequences, transmitted from generation to generation, surely he has need of all the means of good, of all the help and solace that his nature ever required or could admit, and while that first given as part of himself has been perpetuated with him by the same law of nature, an unerring finger points him to its use and enjoy. ment.
Even a more widely extended sense of the truth, that "it is not good for man to be alone,” will yet confirm the ne. cessity and importance of marriage to his happiness. He is pre-eminently a social being, and in consorting with his kind are to be found the sources of his true and highest pleasures. Society is the element of his life through all his various states and diversities of character ; without it the feelings of his nature could not have gratification, and his virtues and his capac ties would remain undeveloped and inert. His reason, the glorious distinction above the brute races of the earth, would be useless and idle, but for the wants, the pleasures, and the stimulus of social intercourse, and we might almost say that his very immortal soul would stagnate, and become as it were not.
The very link however that holds society together, that