« PředchozíPokračovat »
darkness, and order succeeded to confusion. Amid the silence, the Almighty uttered his voice, and light dawned at his word. The broad, blue firmament spanned the earth as the arch of heaven, and suns and stars began their glittering orbits. The dry land was clothed with verdure and flowers, and teemed with life. The broad oceans and seas rolled within appointed bounds ; rapid streams flowed from every mountain side, and in earth, air and water, there were life and music. Man, too, was then made in the image and likeness of God, lord over all the earth. He was holy and happy in his new world. God himself, at each successive stage, pronounced the work good. It was good; good in design, good in execution.
Man had now a beautiful home, well stored with abundant provision for physical and intellectual enjoyment. There was everything good for food, and everything pleasant to the eye; all that appetite might crave, or taste demand. Trees loaded with fruit, flowers blooming in beauty, bright, sunny skies, and clear, rippling streams, made Eden, the garden of God. There was music, too, in the whispering wind, the rustling leaf, the rushing stream, the sweet melody of birds, and the varying tone of insects and beasts of every
The silence and darkness of chaos bad all passed away. There was active life in air, earth and sea, and man received the homage of every created thing.
Yet, as God looked on this favored creature, he saw his work was not complete. There was a craving in his nature that was not supplied. Of all the varied and beautiful creation around him, there was none like him, none equal to him. The wild dove had his mate, and each beast of the field his fellow; but for man was no help-meet found. The subordinate creation might minister to his wants, and afford much gratification to his sense, but they could not commune with him in affection, thought, or in speech. He was alone; and God had so created him, that solitude was not congenial to his nature. As the Creator looked upon his work, he saw that one more gift was essential, alike to the full development of man's nature, and to perfect the bliss of Eden. That gift was woman; made bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh; like to him in mind, affection and destiny. They twain were one flesh; of one nature, one image; one in thought, affection and sympathy; of one speech, fitted to communion and fellowship; "one heart, one soul in both.” “So Gr! created man in his own image; in the image of God cre
ated he him; male and female created he them.” And God saw everything he had made, and behold it was very good. It was finished and perfect. No creature was alone, but each had his helpmeet and fellow. The earth was the home of social life, alike to man and to all the lower orders of creation.
This is the record of the institution of marriage. It teaches clearly the end why such an institution was made, coëval with man. It was to meet the craving of intelligent being for sympathy; and sympathy is the true bond of marriage. They twain are one, as though they had but one body; one spirit, felt the pulsations of one heart, and yielded to the guidance of one will. It is a relation peculiar and distinct from all others, and holds the first and highest place in its claim to regard. 6. For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave unto his wife; and they twain shall be one flesh.” He may not part from her, for she is a part and parcel of himself. Milton has expressed this idea, with matchless beauty of language, in his description of the first transgression. Thus Eve, after she had eaten the forbidden fruit, soliloquizes, in view of meeting Adam :
“ Confirmed, then, I resolve
And Adam, when she tempts him to taste the fruit, thus expresses his oneness with her in death or in life:
6. However, I with thee have fixed my lot,
Certain to undergo like doom ; if death
They were one; one in Eden, one in transgression, one in punishment. Their history is as the record of one life in its holiness and its sin, in its bliss and its woe, in its rewards and its penalties. It is a history of married life, as it was from the beginning; and we make it the type of marriage under all conditions, and in all ages of the world.
We should far exceed the limits allotted us, should we attempt to follow out this idea of sympathy, through all the forms in which it affects and controls the marriage relation, for it enters into every duty, and is everywhere present. We can only touch upon a few more prominent points, which, however, are sufficient to establish our position, that it is the bond of marriage. Where it is wanting, the girdle is broken ; there is no union, no happiness; the parties are yet twain; they live alone, though they live together. When it is weak, the girdle sits loosely; there is no perfect communion; there may be a quiet apathy which prevents any apparent collision, but there is no blending into one nature, — no full absorption into ore being. This is found alone where sympathy is strong. Then they are indeed one; heart beats to heart, eye responds to eye, hand joins
Thought meeting thought, and will preventing will,
Can answer love, and render bliss secure. In the original institution of marriage, every provision was made to link the man and his wife in the bond of perfect sympathy. The man was made of the dust, but the woman was taken out of the man, that she might be part and parcel of himself. She was given unto him for the express reason that it was not good for him to be alone. Hence she was formed as his equal, his companion, his friend; an help-meet in all the circumstances of his life. Matthew Henry expresses the true idea of her position in a beautiful though quaint illustration. « The woman was made of a rib out of the side of Adam; not made out of his head to top him, nor out of his feet to be trampled upon by him; but out of his side, to be equal with him; under his arm, to be protected, and near his heart, to be beloved.” God smiled on the union, and blessed the happy pair, whom he had made for each other, and so united that they twain
God, as her Father,” says Henry,“ brought the woman to the man, as his second self, and an help-meet for him. When he had made her, he did not leave her to her own disposal. She was his child, and must not marry without his consent. Marriages (they say) are made in heaven, We are sure this was;
for the man, the woman and the match, were all God's own work. He, by his power, made them both, and now, by his ordinance, made them one.
This was a marriage made in perfect innocency, and so
was never any marriage since." This is a beautiful picture — the sympathetic union of two holy beings in a holy home, each made an help-meet to the other, and both married into one by God himself.
Even under the changes sin has wrought, the nature of human relations is unchanged. True marriage now, as then, is sympathy,
- the union of two hearts in one. And all the circumstances which attend its formation, or its progress, show clearly this truth. It is not the relation of infancy; for the infant is wrapped up in a mother's deep sympathies, and knows not, nor cares for, other love. Every want of its nature is met in the watchful affection which guards its cradle, and pillows its head on a mother's bosom. Nor is it the relation of childhood. The laughing child satisfies its sympathies in the companionship of sisters and brothers at home, and its chosen companions at school. But when the bonds of infancy are severed, and though a mother's love still blesses the path of life as pure sunlight, there is no more that deep, close-linking sympathy which made mother and infant as one; and when childhood's hour is passed, and the early associates, though yet dear to the heart, are no longer knit together in the guileless, trusting confidence of young affection, then man feels alone. He craves sympathy. He desires one to whom his heart may turn, and upon whom he may lean, as in infancy he reposed on a mother's love, or in childhood he turned to his mates. It is, we believe, with young men especially, the most critical period of life; and more are ruined in its passage than at any other point. They have left their early home, and have no home of their own. Craving companionship, they seek it wherever it may be found, and fall, by bad example and evil associations, into vice and crime. In such an hour, the marriage tie is formed, and, early formed, it has saved thousands from the ruin of which we have spoken. "It binds up the broken links of infancy and childhood, and by a sweeter, closer union, reünites the lone man to his kind.
Under these circumstances, marriage makes for man a home, - a new home, — dearer and more peculiarly his own than his early home. But one other shares it with him, and she, in all its weal and
woe, like himself. To them both, there is now no other home on earth. It is a thought of deep and solemn interest, how many carly associations have been given up, how many early ties have been sundered, to be all blended and united in the one mystic tie of marriage. But yesterday, the woman sat with a happy and lov
ing group around her, in the home of affection, where her infancy had been cradled, and her childhood sped its golden hours. A father's eye watched her with pride ; a mother's love blessed her path ; a band of brothers and sisters circled her with deep and true affection. It was her home, - the only home she had ever known,
rich in all the memories of many happy years. Can she leave it, - leave it forever, no more to know it as her home? To-day she sits in another home, with but one by her side. He alone shares it with her, can alone join with her in calling it home. For him and with him she has forsaken the old home and its long-tried friends, and bound up her life and her love with him. What an over-mastering sympathy, which can thus snap so many endearing ties, that they twain may share one home. And yet they are happy, if the marriage be true marriage; they need no more and ask no more than what they find in the union of heart and spirit to one home, one love, and one life, forever.
Within this home new relations are formed; but they are relations common to both husband and wife. To each the relatives of the other are now brought into kindred, and the circle of family attachments is enlarged. With a fellow-sympathy they look round upon this circle as their own, for whoever claims kindred blood to the one is linked in like relationship to the other. It is one of the blessed influences of marriage, that it binds the hearts of two to such sympathetic union, that the long-cherished affections of years are commingled and made to flow together, and there is mutual sympathy as well in the attachments of the past as in the joys of the present and the hopes of the future. The husband and the wife alike own and are owned by a new father, a new mother, and new brethren and sisters; and two households to them become as one.
A yet more endearing relation is formed in the home which unites them parents,- one relation to them both, which they alone may share. As the mother clasps the babe to her bosom and whispers, " Mine, my child,” the father bends over her, and whispers, “Mine also, my child.” No other may participate in the claim. Each sees in their child the blended image of both, and to each the little one looks for a parent's love, care and teaching. How strong and sweet this new link of union! How closely round their child bind the affections of the husband and wife; and in the common object of love they have one sympathy, and they share it alone. "No