Page:Tetrachordon - Milton (1645).djvu/85

This page needs to be proofread.

TETRACHORDON.

65

shameles as the Bordello, but signifies also any notable disobedience, or intractable cariage of the wife to the husband, as Judg. the 19. 2. Whereof at large in the Doctrin of Divorce, l. 2. c. 18. Secondly signifies the apparent alienation of mind not to idolatry, (which may seeme to answer the act of adultery) but farre on this side, to any point of will worship, though to the true God; some times it notes the love of earthly things, or worldly pleasures though in a right beleever, some times the least suspicion of unwitting idolatry. As Num. 15. 39. willfull disobedience to any the least of Gods commandements is call'd fornication, Psal. 73. 26, 27. A distrust only in God, and withdrawing from that neernes of zeal and confidence which ought to be, is call'd fornication. We may be sure it could not import thus much less then Idolatry in the borrow'd metaphor between God and man, unless it signifi'd as much less then adultery in the ordinary acceptation between man and wife. Adde also that there was no need our Saviour should grant divorce for adultery, it being death by law, and law then in force. Which was the cause why Joseph sought to put away his betrothed wife privately, least he should make her an example of capitall punishment, as lernedest expounders affirm, Herod being a great zelot of the Mosaic law, and the Pharises great maisters of the text, as the woman tak'n in adultery doubtless had cause to fear. Or if they can prove it was neglected, which they cannot doe, why did our Saviour shape his answer to the corruption of that age, and not rather tell them of their neglect? If they say he came not to meddle with their judicatures, much less then was it in his thought to make them new ones, or that divorce should be judicially restrain'd in a stricter manner by these his words, more then adultery judicially acquitted by those his words to the adultres. His sentence doth no more by law forbidd divorce heer, then by law it doth absolve adultery there. To them therefore, who have drawn this yoke upon Christians from his words thus wrested, nothing remaines but the guilt of a presumption and perversenes, which will be hard for them to answer. Thus much that the word fornication is to be understood as the language of Christ understands it, or for a constant alienation and disaffection of mind, or for the continual practice of disobedience and crossnes from the duties of love and peace, that is in summ, when to be a tolerable wife is either naturally not in their power, or obstinatly not in their will, and this opinion also is St. Austins, least it should hap to be suspected of novelty. Yet grant the thing heer meant were only adultery, the reason of things will afford more to our asserti-

on,