adulterers God will judge;” and so long as men have it in their power to marry, if they cannot otherwise remain pure, there is no just ground of complaint against this condition of celibacy. Such then is the judgment which the omniscient God has promulgated concerning the force of the strongest and most necessary of the natural passions, and to such an extent has he allowed indulgence to be innocent. Marriage is held forth as the universal method of such indulgence, and it is clear that the recommendation has to do with feelings and situations that will occur in every state of society, whether the population be full or scanty; that it applies to the inhabitants of crowded cities as well as to the village peasant: therefore it is to be presumed (as the principles of this work maintain) that God hath pro vided the means of a sufficient supply of food for any increase of people which the compliance with such permission will ever be found to produce. The precise and positive rule is one of the most universal application, and therefore, in the case supposed, may universally be complied with without reference to any other circumstance. Moreover, marriage being permitted in the cases just stated, it follows most clearly that it is permitted to the young among the lower orders, as soon as they are emancipated from the paternal superintendance, and find their temporal circumstances in such a state as to induce them to suppose that their comforts would be increased by matrimony. “Let the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give mone occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully :” (1 Tim. v. 14.) And here we have one among a thousand instances, that the method appointed by Providence for preserving and improving one virtue is made the indispensable condition, and the means of practising, many others; for without early marriage, how can a parent hope properly to fulfil the various duties of education, maintenance, and provision for his children. “Ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath, but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord; having them in subjection with all gravity: ” (Ephes. vi. 4.) “If any provide not for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel:” (1 Tim. v. 8.) There are many other commands to the same purpose given to parents, a compliance with which requires much of the undivided attention of a great portion of life, and can hardly be performed by those who marry when they have yet but few active years remaining. Enough, however, has been said to prove the positive nature of the scripture doctrine upon this subject, and to show that there is no room to misapply the opinion* quoted from Dr. Paley, (Mor. Phil. b. ii. c. 4.) by stating that, according to the genuine principles of moral science, “the methodof coming at the will of God by the light of nature is, to inquire into the tendency of an action to promote or diminish the general happiness.” Indeed this passage should never have been quoted, without the qualification given to it in an early part of the same chapter of the “Moral Philosophy,” that such a method is merely recommended as the best remaining to discover the will of God, when we cannot come at his express declarations, which must always guide us when they are to be had, and which must be sought for in Scrip

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ture. (Paley, Mor. Phil. b. ii. c. 4.) When these are express, as we find in the case before us, there is no further room for controversy. Nor can a more dangerous road to scepticism be marked out, than to set up against them, or in explanation of them, any thing so very variable and doubtful as the opinion of philosophers concerning “ the tendency of an action to promote or diminish the general happiness.” The arguments of this treatise, for example, and those to which they are opposed, arrive at precisely contrary conclusions as to this tendency in the case before us. How far the latter can stand the test of that criterion by which, according to Dr. Paley they should be tried, it is for the candid reader to determine. I will only remark in confirmation of my own reasoning that, during a long and attentive observation of the habits and manners of the poor in England, I have never observed a moral and prudent young man, of whatever number of children he may have been the father, in a state of misery. On the contrary, I have generally found the numerous families of moral, healthy, and youthful parents in a satisfactory state as to external circumstances, and greatly superior in these respects to the peasantry of any of the foreign countries in which it has been my lot to travel, or of whom I can obtain any authentic account. So strictly true in politics is the saying of the Psalmist: “I have been young, and now am old; and yet saw I never the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging their bread.” In the mean time, I think myself justified in remarking that, such being the difficulties and inconsistencies of the opinions respecting population which I am now opposing, when connected with the subject

of marriage, it may be worth while to inquire how far the system adopted in this treatise will alter the conclusions to be drawn, and bring them more into unison with the apparent equity of the Divine dispensations, with our sense of natural justice, and with the express commands and unqualified permissions of Scripture on the subject:—and whether this combined inquiry will not prove that every man, in every station of life, has equally the option of contracting matrimony, if upon a due consideration of his temporal circumstances and moral feelings he may think proper to do so, without any necessary injury, from the principle of population, to the society in which he lives. We have seen that, as civilization advances, the number of those who spontaneously prefer the advantages of celibacy to those of the married state continually increases; and that the power of propagating their species in many of those who choose the other alternative is at the same time continually diminishing. We have seen that, in proportion as these effects arise, the necessity increases that the re-productive part of the people should remain at least as fruitful as before. The re-productive part of the people are principally the lower orders, who, while the agricultural state of society existed, married early, and reared as large families as they could procreate, because progeny in that state of society is equivalent to wealth: they must, therefore, do the same now in order to make up for the deficiencies left by the non-reproductive part of the people. Put the lower orders are precisely the persons who, in a well-regulated government, would most wish to enter early into the contract of marriage, because the blessings arising from it are almost the only innocent enjoyments within their reach. According to the system of this treatise, therefore, it is not only possible for the lower orders generally to marry early, without any evil consequence from the principle of population; but it is absolutely necessary that many of them should follow their natural inclimations in this respect, in order to produce that salutary increase of people which is connected with the prosperity and industry of a nation. Therefore to leave without inquietude “every man to his own free choice,” though evidently insufficient to guard against evil, according to the opposite principles, is fully so according to those maintained in these pages. I venture to assert as a general position that, in a well constituted and industrious community, every man who chooses it may marry without prejudice to the state, as soon as he can procure a decent habitation, and perceives a fair probability that the regular fruits of his exertions will enable him to maintain a wife and two children at the least; and I will further express my belief that, in no stage of society through which such a community passes, will the reasonable exertions of an industrious youth fail of affording him such an average return. Occasional fluctuations in the demand for labour must of course be allowed for, and temporary relief provided by laws enacted for that purpose. To give any positive encouragement to marriage further than to point it out to the people as their legitimate resource against irregular indulgence, must depend upon the particular situation of polity in which a country may happen to be placed ; but never to discourage it directly or indirectly appears as


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