Page:Tetrachordon - Milton (1645).djvu/77

This page needs to be proofread.

TETRACHORDON.

57

end the controversy. But if it be plaine that the whole juridical law and civil power is only suffer'd under the Gospel, for the hardnes of our hearts, then wherefore should not that which Moses suffer'd, be suffer'd still by the same reason?

In a second signification hardnes of heart is tak'n for a stubborne resolution to doe evil. And that God ever makes any law purposely to such, I deny; for he voutsafes not to enter cov'nant with them, but as they fortune to be mixt with good men, and passe undiscover'd; much lesse that he should decree an unlawfull thing only to serve their licentiousnes. But that God suffers this reprobate hardnes of heart I affirm, not only in this law of divorce, but throughout all his best and purest commandements. He commands all to worship in singlenes of heart according to all his Ordinances; and yet suffers the wicked man to performe all the rites of religion hypocritically and in the hardnes of his heart. He gives us generall statutes & privileges in all civil matters, just & good of themselves, yet suffers unworthiest men, to use them, & by them to prosecute their own right, or any colour of right, though for the most part maliciously, covetously, rigorously, revengefully. He allow'd by law the discreet father and husband to forbidd, if he thought fit, the religious vows of his wife or daughter: Num. 30. and in the same law suffer'd the hard heartednes of impious and covetous fathers or husbands abusing this law to forbidd their wives or daughters in their offrings and devotions of greatest zeal. If then God suffer hardnes of heart equally in the best laws as in this of divorce, there can be no reason that for this cause this law should be abolisht. But other lawes, they object, may be well us'd, this never. How often shall I answer both from the institution of mariage, and from other general rules in Scripture, that this law of divorce hath many wise and charitable ends besides the being suffer'd for hardnes of heart; which is indeed no end, but an accident happning through the whole law; which gives to good men right, and to bad men who abuse right under false pretences, gives only sufferance. Now although Christ express no other reasons here, but only what was suffer'd, it nothing followes that this law had no other reason to be permitted but for hardnes of heart. The Scripture seldome or never in one place sets down all the reasons of what it grants or commands, especially when it talks to enemies and tempters. St. Paul permitting mariage, I Cor. 7. seems to permit even that also for hardnes of heart only, lest we should run into fornication; yet no intelligent man thence concludes mariage allow'd in the Gospel

I 3

only