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able, hindering, and ever likely to hinder, the main benefits of conjugal society, which are solace and peace, is a greater reason of divorce than natural frigidity, especially if there be no children.” In confirmation of this, he quotes, with approbation, “ what learned Fagius” hath said upon this law :-“The law of God,' says he, 'permitted divorce for the help of humane weak
For every one that of necessity separates cannot live single. That Christ denied divorce to his own, hinders us not; for what is that to the unregenerate, who hath not attained such perfection? Let not the remedy be despised, that was given to weakness. And when Christ saith, who marries the divorc't commits adultery, it is to be understood, if he had any plot in the divorce.
In the second chapter he says:—“And what this chief end was of creating woman, to be joined with man, his own instituting words declare, and are infallible to inform us what is marriage, and what is no marriage, unless we can think them set there to no purpose. It is not good,' said he, “that man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.' From which words, so plain, less cannot be concluded, than, that in God's intentions, a meet and happy conversation is the chiefest and noblest end of marriage.” The inference which he draws from this, is, that the
want of a suitable disposition of mind in a wife, preventing her from being an “help meet,” is a sufficient cause, according to the law of Moses, for giving her a bill of divorcement, and putting
In chapter the third, he says:-“But some are ready to object, that the disposition ought seriously to be considered before. But let them know again, that, for all the wariness that can be used, it may befal a discreet man to be mistaken in his choice, and we have plenty of examples. Whereas the sober man may easily chance to meet with a mind, to all other due consideration inaccessible, and to all the more estimable and superior purposes of matrimony useless, and almost lifeless: and what a solace, what a fit help such a consort would be, through the whole life of a man, is more painful to conjecture than to have experienced.”
In the fourth chapter he attempts to prove, that, if a man has, by mistake, taken for his wife
a mute and spiritless mate,” who cannot, as "a speaking help,” be such “a ready and reviving associate in marriage, as shall soothe all the sorsows and casualties of life," he is fully justified in putting such an one away, and taking one who is suitable for “the note which now directs him, and the loneliness which leads him still powerfully to seek a fit help, hath not the least grain of a
sin in it, if he be worthy to understand himself.”
In chapter the fifth, he pursues his argument in showing the temptations to which a man would find himself exposed, who having “not neglected that sure entrance which was to be obtained, to the comforts and enjoyments of a contented marriage.”—“When he shall find himself bound fast to an uncomplying discord of nature, or as it often happens to an image of earth and fleam, with whom he looked to be the co-partner of a sweet and gladsome society, and sees withal that this bondage is now inevitable, though he be almost the strongest christian, he will be ready to despair in virtue, and mutiny against Divine Providence.”
In chapter the sixth he is quite metaphorical: “ And of matrimonial love, no doubt but that was chiefly meant, which by the ancient sages was thus parabled : That love, if he be not twin born, yet hath a brother named Anteros; whom, while he seeks all about, his chance is to meet with many falls and feigning desires that wander singly, up and down in his likeness, &c.—shewing us that love in marriage cannot subsist without being mutual; and where love cannot be, there can be left of wedlock nothing but the empty husk of an outside matrimony, as undelightful and unpleasing to God, as any other kind of
hypocrisie. So far is his command from tying men to the observance of duties, which there is no help for, but they must be dissembled.” In this chapter he gives a fifth reason that an unsuitable disposition in a wife “hinders and disturbs the whole life of a christian.”—“Who sees not therefore how much more christianly it would be to break by divorce that which is more broken by undue and forcible keeping, rather than to cover the altar of the Lord with continual tears, so that he regardeth not the offering any more ; rather that this, the whole worship of a christian man's life should languish and fade away beneath the weight of an incurable grief and discouragement. He then shews that the reason which was given for divorcing an “Idolatress," which was, “ lest his heart should be alienated from the true worship of God," applies with all its force, in the case of an unsuitable disposition in a wife: " for in the account of God it comes all to one, that the wife looses him a servant, and therefore, by all the united force of the Decalogue, she ought to be disbanded, unless we must set marriage above God and charity, which is a doctrine of devils, no less than forbidding to marry.
In the eighth chapter he undertakes to prove (from 1 Cor. chap. vii.) that “an idolatrous heretick wife ought to be divorced after a convenient time given for convenience.” With what a
vehemence (he says) Job, the patientest of men, rejected the desperate councils of his wife; and Moses, the meekest, being throughly offended with the profane speeches of Zipporah, sent her back to her father! But if they shall perpetually, at our elbow, seduce us from the true worship of God, or defile and daily scandalize our conscience by their hopeless continuance in misbelief, then even, in the due progress of reason, and that ever equal proportion which justice proceeds by, it cannot be imagined that this cited place commands less than a total and final separation from such an adherent, at least that no force should be used to keep them together; while we remember that God commanded Abraham to send away his irreligious wife and son, for the offences which they gave in a pious family: and it may be guest that David for a like cause disposed of Michal in such sort, as little differed from dismission.”
In the tenth chapter he undertakes to show, " that Adultery is not the greatest breach of Matrimony--that there may be other violations as great. ” _“I now,” says he,
“having shewn that disproportion, contrariety, or meanness of mind, may justly be divorced, by proving clearly that the prohibition thereof opposes the express end of God's institution,” &c. In this chapter he attempts to prove, “ that to prohibit divorce