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TETRACHORDON.

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flourishing in knowledge and pious government since the Apostles. But to returne to this law of Theodosius, with this observation by the way, that still as the Church corrupted, as the Clergie grew more ignorant, and yet more usurping on the Magistrate, who also now declin'd, so still divorce grew more restrain'd; though certainly if better times permitted the thing that worse times restrain'd, it would not weakly argue that the permission was better, and the restraint worse. This law therefore of Theodosius wiser in this then the most of his successors, though not wiser then God and Moses, reduc't the causes of divorce to a certain number which by the judiciall law of God, and all recorded humanitie, were left before to the brest of each husband, provided that the dismisse was not without reasonable conditions to the wife. But this was a restraint not yet come to extreames. For besides adultery and that not only actual, but suspected by many signes there set down, any fault equally punishable with adultery, or equally infamous might bee the cause of a divorce. Which informes us how the wisest of those ages understood that place in the Gospel, whereby, not the pilfering of a benevolence was consider'd as the main and only breach of wedloc, as is now thought, but the breach of love and peace, a more holy union then that of the flesh; and the dignity of an honest person was regarded, not to bee held in bondage with one whose ignominy was infectious. To this purpose was constituted Cod. l. 5. tit. 17. and Authent. collat. 4. tit. 1. Novell. 22. where Justinian added three causes more. In the 117. Novell. most of the same causes are allow'd, but the liberty of divorcing by consent is repeal'd: but by whom? by Justinian, not a wiser, not a more religious emperor then either of the former, but noted by judicious writers for his fickle head in making and unmaking lawes; and how Procopius a good historian, and a counselor of state then living deciphers him in his other actions, I willingly omitt. Nor was the Church then in better case, but had the corruption of a 100. declining yeare swept on it, when the statute of consent was call'd in; which as I said, gives us every way more reason to suspect this restraint, more then that liberty: which therfore in the reign of Justin the succeeding Emperor was recall'd, Novell. 140. & establisht with a preface more wise & christianly then for those times, declaring the necessity to restore that Theodosian law, if no other meanes of reconcilement could be found. And by whom this law was abrogated, or how long after, I doe not finde; but that those other causes remain'd in force as long as the Greek empire subsisted, and were assented by that Church, is to bee read

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