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THE CHRISTIAN MARRIAGE CEREMONY has been for some years out of print. I was unwilling that another edition of it should issue until I should have made upon it certain alterations and additions. The result is this, in effect, new book with a changed name. The changes will sufficiently appear in the body of the text as well as in the notes. More than twenty years' further study of the Holy Word, of the great Rituals, of the History of the Church and of Christendom, has modified my earlier judgment, especially in regard to the position which the Christian Church must hold concerning the indelibility of her own function.
The Preface to the former edition has been omitted. An Introduction which should lead to a clearer comprehension of the argument has been written. The whole text has been carefully revised, enlarged, and corrected to date. Two
more Appendices have been added; one upon a point which has been much discussed since the publication of the former edition, and the other upon a now burning question infinitely important in all ages and always new.
J. F. B.
In this self-trusting, restraint-hating, bond-breaking age, when the true meaning of Liberty is so widely ignored and so often misunderstood, it need not be said that the conception of the Marriagetie, as most generally current among the masses of men to-day, has not escaped a certain degree of obscurity, not to say falsity; and with the spread of the democratic sentiment in all lands and the increasing exaltation of the individual, both this obscurity and this misunderstanding, even under our brightening Christian civilization, appear rather to be deepening than clearing away.
It seems therefore necessary to observe here that there are three aspects of Marriage, each of which in its sphere is very real and very true, and has its own important bearing on the nature of the engagement and the indelibility of the union. These aspects are, that which appears from the point of view of the State; that which appears from the point of view of the Church; and that which appears from the point of view of Personal Sentiment, or natural Love, so-called.
The first of these has regard mainly, if not exclusively, to the legitimacy of children, to the suc
cession to inheritances, to the decencies of civil order, and to the other various civil rights, privileges, and duties of secular life-all with a view to the well-being and happiness which flows, or ought to flow, therefrom to the community at large.
The second aspect refers mainly, if not exclusively, to the behests of a so-called, rightly socalled, higher law which deals with moral sentiments and judgments and an order of the invisible life which has a special regard to the well-being and happiness of the individual, as owing a supreme obedience to, and as existing in absolute dependence upon, the Creator and Rewarder of all, man by man.
The third aspect depends upon and is colored by those universal, or nearly universal, sentiments of human nature which, with a well-nigh irresistible force, impel every son of Adam and every daughter of Eve to seek in each other repose from an implacable uneasiness in solitude and a solace for a more or less distressful sense of self-insufficiency.
That is to say, the law of Nature being so almost exclusively invitatory it only remains for the office of both the State and the Church to be almost exclusively restrictive. The sexes by the fiat of their Creator may, must, will, come together. The State, as the appointed Curator of secular and temporal concerns, undertakes to say, for the general and