Christian Marriage : An Historical and Doctrinal Study
Overview - CHRISTIAN MARRIAGE AN HISTORICAL AND DOCTRINAL STUDY - GEORGE HAYWARD JOYCE -- 1933 -- INTRODUCTION -- THE civilization of Christendom-the civilization of which we are the heirs-was founded on Christian Marriage. The religion of Christ had lifted family life onto a new plane. Read more...
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More About Christian Marriage by Hayward Joyce George Hayward Joyce; George Hayward Joyce
CHRISTIAN MARRIAGE AN HISTORICAL AND DOCTRINAL STUDY - GEORGE HAYWARD JOYCE -- 1933 -- INTRODUCTION -- THE civilization of Christendom-the civilization of which we are the heirs-was founded on Christian Marriage. The religion of Christ had lifted family life onto a new plane. It taught that marriage is sacred, God being the agent Who establishes and ratifies the union between husband and wife that the bond thus divinely blessed is indissoluble until death that the wife is no mere chattel, but a party to a contract between equals and that all sexual relations outside marriage, whether on the part of the husband or the wife, are grievously sinful. These truths gave to the union a dignity, a purity, and a sanctity hitherto undreamed of. Where they held sway in mens minds the foundations of society were secure it could never suffer complete ruin. For in the social organism the true units are not isolated individuals, but families. And where the Christian ideal of marriage prevails, the family, strengthened by supernatural sanctions, will hold good through every crisis, and even in the greatest political convulsions provides the principle of eventual recovery. The early Middle Ages afford an instance in point. When in the West the Roman Empire went down before the barbarians, and civilization seemed threatened with complete and permanent dissolution, it is not disputed that the rebuilding of the social order was in chief measure the work of the Catholic Church. It was the Church, which fused into one the alien races, which gave to a broken world hope and courage for the future, which not merely saved mens moral standards from total collapse, but ennobled and purified them. The preservationof civilization did not, it is true, enter directly and explicitly into the Churchs aims. Her primary object was to spread the knowledge of God, and to lead men to keep His law. When the Northern tribes accepted the faith of Christ, she strove alike by exhortation and by a rigid ecclesiastical discipline to make them conform their lives to the code of the Gospel. But her efforts for that end were directed in large measure to enforcing the law of Christian Marriage. The Penitentials and the decrees of local councils afford abundant evidence of this and many examples wiU occur in the pages of this book. Little by little her teaching took effect. And though her aims were primarily spiritual, they were also fruitful for good in the temporal sphere. By giving to the world the Christian family, she provided the basis of a new and better social order. She rebuilt society from its foundations. Indeed she did more than rebuild she re-fashioned the very material of its construction. The centuries during which the renewal took place were an age of violence and lawlessness. The gravest abuses abounded both in ecclesiastical and civil life. Yet this does but render it the more wonderful that in the course of this period the Church succeeded in substituting the lofty and supernatural ideal of Christian Marriage for the debased standards which prevailed in both sections of the population. Christianity had, it is true, been the official religion of the Roman empire since the days of Constantine...