Page:Tetrachordon - Milton (1645).djvu/79

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there is nothing more violent and boistrous then a reverend ignorance in fear to be convicted, rushes brutely and impetuously against all the principles both of nature, piety, and moral goodnes; and in the fury of his literal expounding overturns them all.

[But from the beginning it was not so.] Not how from the beginning doe they suppose, that men might not divorce at all, not necessarily, not deliberatly, except for adultery, but that som law, like canon law, presently attacht them both before and after the flood, till stricter Moses came, and with law brought licence into the world? that were a fancy indeed to smile at. Undoubtedly as to point of judiciall law, divorce was more permissive from the beginning before Moses then under Moses. But from the beginning, that is to say, by the institution in Paradice it was not intended that matrimony should dissolve for every trivial cause, as you Pharises accustome. But that it was not thus suffer'd from the beginning ever since the race of men corrupted, & laws were made, he who will affirme, must have found out other antiquities then are yet known. Besides, we must consider now, what can be so as from the beginning, not only what should be so. In the beginning, had men continu'd perfet, it had bin just that all things should have remain'd, as they began to Adam & Eve. But after that the sons of men grew violent & injurious, it alter'd the lore of justice, and put the goverment of things into a new frame. While man and woman were both perfet each to other, there needed no divorce; but when they both degenerated to imperfection, & oft times grew to be an intolerable evil each to other, then law more justly did permitt the alienating of that evil which mistake made proper, then it did the appropriating of that good which Nature at first made common. For if the absence of outward good be not so bad as the presence of close evil, & that propriety, whether by cov'nant or possession, be but the attainment of some outward good, it is more natural & righteous that the law should sever us from an intimat evil, then appropriate any outward good to us from the community of nature. The Gospel indeed tending ever to that which is perfetest, aim'd at the restorement of all things, as they were in the beginning. And therefore all things were in common to those primitive Christians in the Acts, which Ananias & Sapphira dearly felt. That custome also continu'd more or less till the time of Justin Martyr, as may be read in his 2nd Apology, which might be writt after that act of communion perhaps some 40. yeares above a hunder'd. But who will be the man that shall introduce this kind of common wealth, as christianity now goes? If then mariage must