Europe, and by the Protestant Church, they all arrived at the same result. The Universities, without exception, regarded these statutes as referring to marriage, and prescribing the lawful degrees. Among the Reformers there was no difference of sentiment. This was the judgment of the Protestant Church of Europe; (see pp. 31–34,) and it has continued to be the judgment of the Church to this day, As there is no evidence to the contrary, we may rationally believe that this has always been the judgment of the Church of God, from the first publication of this law.
Now, has the Church, Jewish and Christian, notwithstanding the careful examination of this law, at different periods, by the ablest men, been ignorant of its true meaning and design, in every age? So thinks the Puritan. Is he, and the few who think with him, right, and the whole Church wrong? It is possible, but it is highly improbable.
2. Let us hear the Puritan. His first reliance is on the absence of the word marriage in this law, and on the meaning of the term or phrase, "Thou shall not uncover the nakedness,"