Page:Tetrachordon - Milton (1645).djvu/91

This page needs to be proofread.

TETRACHORDON.

71

Gospel: a work not to perish by the vaine breath or doome of this age. Our next industry shall bee, under the same guidance, to try with what fidelity that remaining passage in the Epistles touching this matter, hath bin commented.

I Cor. 7. 10, &c.

10. And unto the maried I command, &c.

11. And let not the husband put away his wife.

THis intimates but what our Saviour taught before, that divorce is not rashly to be made, but reconcilement to be persuaded and endevor'd, as oft as the cause can have to doe with reconcilement, & is not under the dominion of blameles nature; which may have reason to depart though seldomest and last from charitable love, yet somtimes from friendly, and familiar, and somthing oftner from conjugal love, which requires not only moral, but natural causes to the making and maintayning; and may be warrantably excus'd to retire from the deception of what it justly seeks, and the ill requitals which unjustly it finds. For Nature hath her Zodiac also, keepes her great annual circuit over human things as truly as the Sun and Planets in the firmament; hath her anomalies, hath her obliquities in ascensions and declinations, accesses and recesses, as blamelesly as they in heaven. And sitting in her planetary Orb with two rains in each hand, one strait, the other loos, tempers the cours of minds as well as bodies to several conjunctions and oppositions, freindly, or unfreindly aspects, consenting oftest with reason, but never contrary. This in the effect no man of meanest reach but daily sees; and though to every one it appeare not in the cause, yet to a cleare capacity, well nurtur'd with good reading and observation, it cannot but be plaine and visible. Other exposition therefore then hath bin given to former places that give light to these two summary verses, will not be needfull: save onely that these precepts are meant to those maried who differ not in religion.

[But to the rest speake I, not the Lord; if any brother hath a wife that beleeveth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away.

Now followes what is to be done, if the persons wedded be of a different faith. The common beleef is, that a christian is heer commanded not to divorce, if the infidel please to stay, though it be but to vexe, or to deride, or to seduce the christian. This doctrin will be the easie worke of a refutation. The other opinion is, that a christian is heer conditionally

L 2

permitted