Page:Tetrachordon - Milton (1645).djvu/67

This page needs to be proofread.

TETRACHORDON.

47

higher straine, but to bee ty'd in marriage by the meere material cause thereof, since their owne licence testify'd that nothing matrimonial was in their thought but to be male and female. Next, it might be don to discover the brute ignorance of these carnall Doctors, who taking on them to dispute of marriage and divorce, were put to silence with such a slender opposition as this, and outed from their hold with scarce one quarter of an argument. That we may beleeve this, his entertainment of the young man soon after may perswade us. Whom, though he came to preach eternall life by faith only, he dismisses with a salvation taught him by workes only. On which place Paræus notes, That this man was to be convinc'd by a false perswasion; and that Christ is wont otherwise to answer hypocrites, otherwise those that are docible. Much rather then may we thinke that in handling these tempters, he forgot not so to frame his prudent ambiguities and concealements, as was to the troubling of those peremtory disputants most wholsome. When therefore we would know what right there may be, in ill accidents, to divorce, wee must repaire thither where God professes to teach his servants by the prime institution, and not where we see him intending to dazle sophisters: Wee must not reade he made them Male and Female, & not understand he made them more intendedly a meet helpe to remove the evill of being alone. We must take both these together, and then we may inferre compleatly as from the whole cause why a man shall cleave to his wife, and they twaine shall be one flesh: but if the full and cheife cause why we may not divorce, be wanting heer, this place may skirmish with the rabbies while it will, but to the true christian it prohibits nothing beyond the full reason of it's own prohibiting, which is best knowne by the institution.

Vers. 6. [Wherefore they are no more twaine, but one flesh.] This is true in the generall right of marriage, but not in the chance medley of every particular match. For if they who were once undoubtedly one flesh, yet become twain by adultery, then sure they who were never one flesh rightly, never helps meete for each other according to the plain prescript of God, may with lesse adoe then a volume be concluded still twaine. And so long as we account a Magistrate no Magistrate, if there be but a flaw in his election, why should we not much rather count a Matrimony no Matrimony, if it cannot be in any reasonable manner according to the words of Gods institution?

[What therefore God hath joyned, let no man put asunder. ] But heare the christian prudence lies to consider what God hath joyn'd; shall wee say

H 2

that