Such was the actual state of Europe and of this country at the time when, the Puritan says, "a great advance of the public mind towards the truth was developed." Was it truth or was it error, towards which the advance was made? Certainly the state of things was not favorable to religious truth. While the public mind was thus shrouded with darkness, and the public eye shut against the light of divine revelation, the minds of men were not prepared for discerning religious duty, and enacting laws for protecting the sanctity of marriage, and securing domestic purity. The removal of restraints on sensual passions by human legislators, in such circumstances, a wise man would naturally look upon with a suspicious eye. Indeed, what the Puritan regards as a great advance of the public mind towards the truth, we regard as a retrograde movement towards error. And judging merely from the actual state of things when it commenced, we think there is better ground for our opinion, than the actual state of things in the early period of Christianity furnished our brother for his opinion about the Popish origin of the prohibition against which he contends.
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