Page:Tetrachordon - Milton (1645).djvu/64

This page needs to be proofread.



chish drove from his presence David counterfeting madnesse. Psal. 34. the Greeke word is the same with this here, to put away. And Erasmus quotes Hilary rendering it by an expression, not so soft. Whence may be doubted, whether the Pharises did not state this question in the strict right of the man, not tarrying for the wives consent. And if our Saviour answer directly according to what was askt in the tearm of putting away, it may be questionable, whether the rigor of his sentence did not forbid only such putting away as is without mutuall consent, in a violent and harsh manner, or without any reason but will, as the Tetrarch did. Which might be the cause that those Christian Emperours fear'd not in their constitutions to dissolve mariage by mutuall consent; In that our Saviour seemes here, as the case is most likely, not to condemne all divorce, but all injury and violence in divorce. But no injury can be done to them, who seeke it, as the Ethics of Aristotle sufficiently prove. True it is, that an unjust thing may be done to one though willing, and so may justly be forbid'n: But divorce being in it selfe no unjust or evill thing, but only as it is joyn'd with injury, or lust, injury it cannot be at law, if consent be, and Aristotle erre not. And lust it may as frequently not be, while charity hath the judging of so many private greevances in a misfortun'd Wedlock, which may pard'nably seeke a redemption. But whether it be or not, the law cannot discerne, or examine lust, so long as it walkes from one lawfull terme to another, from divorce to marriage both in themselves indifferent. For if the law cannot take hold to punish many actions apparently covetous, ambitious, ingratefull, proud, how can it forbid and punish that for lust, which is but only surmis'd so, and can no more be certainly prov'd in the divorcing now, then before in the marrying. Whence if divorce be no unjust thing, but through lust, a cause not discernable by law, as law is wont to discerne in other cases, and can be no injury where consent is, there can be nothing in the equity of law, why divorce by consent may not be lawfull: leaving secrecies to conscience, the thing which our Saviour here aimes to rectifie, not to revoke the statutes of Moses. In the meane while the word To put away, being in the Greeke to loosen or disolve, utterly takes away that vaine papisticall distinction of divorce from bed, and divorce from bond, evincing plainly that both Christ and the Pharises meane here that divorce which finally disolves the bond and frees both parties to a second marriage.

[For every cause. ] This the Pharises held, that for every cause they might divorce, for every accidentall cause, and quarrell or difference