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Sermons & Study Guides

Directory For The Publick Worship Of God Pt. 11 - The Solemnization Of Marriage.

James Dodson

Directory For The Publick Worship Of God

The Solemnization Of Marriage.

Question 1.—Is marriage a sacrament or peculiar to the church of God? Answer.—No.  Mark  10:6-8.    Marriage  is  a  creation  ordinance,  not  a  sacrament.    It  is common  to  mankind  and  of  public  interest  in  every  commonwealth.    The  essence  of marriage  lies  in  a  mutual  compact  between  a  man  and  a  woman,  whereby  they  bind themselves to an indissoluble society, as long as they both live, Rom. 7:2, 3. Question  2.—Do  Christians,  who  are  to  marry  only  in  the  Lord,  have  special  need  of instruction, direction and exhortation, from the word of God upon entering the estate of marriage? Answer.—Yes.  1  Cor.  7:39.    Though  marriage  be  honorable  in  all  (believers  and unbelievers), yet believers bear a special responsibility in this estate, Eph. 5:22-33. Question  3.—Is  it,  therefore,  expedient  that  the  marriage  be  solemnized  by  a  lawful minister of the word, that he may accordingly counsel them, and pray for a blessing upon them? Answer.—Yes. Tit. 2:4-6.  Counsel is important in any undertaking, Prov. 12:15; 20:18; how  much  more godly counsel between those professing the Christian faith in the matter of marriage?  The blessing of God belongs to those that swear not deceitfully, Ps. 24:4, 5. Question 4.—Is marriage between one man and one woman only? Answer.—Yes.  Gen.  2:24.    God  has  so  ordained  for  its  proper  ends  and  uses,  Mal. 2:15. Question  5.—Should  they  be  such  as  are  not  within  the  degrees  of  consanguinity  or affinity prohibited in the word of God? Answer.—Yes.  Lev.  18:6-18.    Scripture  lays  down  a  number  of  forbidden  degrees based upon both blood relation and marriage relation, Deut. 22:30; 1 Cor. 5:1; Mark 6:18. Question  6.—Should the parties be of such years of discretion that they are fit to make their own choice, or, upon good grounds, to give their mutual consent? Answer.—Yes.  1  Cor.  7:36-38.    The  estate  of  marriage  is  not  forbidden  to  them  that can give their consent and know the truth, 1 Tim. 4:3. Question  7.—Is it proper, before solemnizing the marriage, that the purpose of such be published by the minister three several sabbath-days, in those places wherein the parties are in most usual or constant abode; and should the minister solemnizing have sufficient testimony of this? Answer.—Yes. Ruth 4:9, 10.  The proclamation of the contract—called proclamation of marriage  banns,  is  to  prevent  clandestine  marriages  and  to  insure  that  those  who  know the  parties  to  be  married  best  have  sufficient  opportunity  to  present  reasons  why  they should not be wed. Question 8.—Before the publication of their purpose, should the consent of the parents or guardians be made known unto the congregation, to be recorded, both in the case the parties be under age or, though of age, for their first marriage? Answer.—Yes.  Deut.  7:3.    God  himself  has  given  the  pattern  in bringing  the  first woman to the first man, Gen. 2:22.  The practice of God’s saints, in this matter of consent, shows that they were wont to have it, Gen. 24:67; 28:2; 29:18; Judg. 14:2; 21:1. 
Question 9.—Should they, in after marriages, be exhorted not to contract marriage without first acquainting their parents with it, endeavouring to obtain their consent? Answer.—Yes.  Deut.  5:16.    Though  by  marriage  children  are  put  from  their  parents, Gen. 2:24; yet, it is still part of the honoring of the parents to obtain their consent, in case of subsequent marriages, if convenient. Question 10.—Ought parents to force their children to marry without their free consent, or deny their own consent without just cause? Answer.—No.  Gen.  24:56,  57.    Parents  ought  to  be  careful  to see  that  their  children freely  consent  to  marry.    Additionally,  they  should  take care  not  to  abuse  their  parental power  by  denying  consent  without  just  cause;  God  gives  authority  for  edification  not destruction, 2 Cor. 10:8. Question 11.—After the purpose or contract of marriage has been thus published, should the marriage be long deferred? Answer.—No.  Prov.  13:12.    The  purpose  to  marry  being  settled,  there  should  be  no long delay lest the parties be tempted to sin, 1 Cor. 7:9. Question  12.—Should the minister publicly solemnize it, before a competent number of credible witnesses, at some convenient hour of the day, at any time of year, except on a day of public humiliation or Lord’s day? Answer.—Yes.  Matt.  22:9;  John  2:2.    Marriages  are  to  be  conducted  publicly,  and conveniently.    Days  of  public  humiliation  are  not  fit  for  such  joyous  occasions.    Nor  is  it proper to the work of the Lord’s day. Question 13.—Should the minister pray for a blessing upon them? Answer.—Yes.  1  Tim.  4:5.    Like  all  that  believers  do,  the  estate  of  marriage  is sanctified by the word of God and prayer. Question 14.—The prayer being ended, should the minister declare, out of the Scriptures, the institution, use and ends of marriage? Answer.—Yes. Matt. 19:5, 6.  The minister is to declare the true intent of marriage and confute erroneous notions of it while avoiding the sacramental superstitions of Romanism. Question  15.—Should the minister next charge the parties before God, to discover any cause which might hinder them from lawfully proceeding to marriage? Answer.—Yes.  Prov.  28:13.    Those  unions  which  are  inherently  sinful  will  never  be made lawful by any law of man or the consent of the parties, Matt. 14:3, 4; therefore any cause which might hinder them should be declared beforehand. Question 16.—Ought the parties to be married exchange vows? Answer.—Yes.   Prov.   31:2.      There   is   in   the   establishing   of   marriage   an   act   of covenanting, Mal. 2:14.  It behooves the parties themselves to exchange vows. Question   17.—Should  the  matter  be  concluded  with  the  minister  pronouncing  them husband and wife, and praying for them in this estate of marriage? Answer.—Yes. Gen. 2:25.  So was the conclusion of the marriage of the first man. Question  18.—Should a register be kept, wherein the names of the parties so married, with the time of their marriage, for the perusal of all whom it may concern? Answer.—Yes.  Lev.  18:6.    Such  is  the  interest  of  the  church  to  see  that  future marriages  contracted  are  kept  blameless  that  it  ought  to keep  a  public  recording  of  all marriages for the inspection of those whom it may concern.