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nate marriages, considering that the balance of earthly happiness or misery rested principally on this institution."
For, if we examine the several causes of divorce enumerated in the law, we shall find that wherever divorce was permitted, it was not in compliance with the hardness of the human heart, but on grounds of the highest equity and justice. The first passage is Exod. xxi. 1-4. "these are the judgments which thou shalt set before them: if thou buy an Hebrew servant.... in the seventh year he shall go out free for nothing.... if he were married, then his wife shall go out with him if his master have given him a wife, and she have born him sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall be her master's, and he shall go out by himself." Nothing could be more just than this law, which, so far from conceding anything to the hardness of their hearts, rather restrained it; inasmuch as, while it provided against the possibility of any Hebrew, at whatever price he might have been purchased, remaining more than seven years in bondage, it at the same time established the claim of the master as prior to that of the husband. Again, v. 10, 11. "if he take him another wife, her food, her raiment, and her duty of marriage shall he not diminish and if he do not these three unto her, then shall
fore having to answer these tempting Pharisees, according as his custom was, not meaning to inform their proud ignorance what Moses did in the true intent of the law, which they had ill-cited, suppressing the true cause for which Moses gave it, and extending it to every slight matter, tells them their own, what Moses was forced to suffer by their abuse of his law.' Doctrine, &c. Prose Works, III. 233. See also p. 253. 'Moses had granted-contentious cause whatsoever.' Again: This was that hardness of heart, and abuse of a good law, which Moses was content to suffer, rather than good men should not have it at all to use needfully.' Ibid. p. 260. 'Why did God permit this to his people the Jews, but that the right and good which came directly thereby, was more in his esteem than the wrong and evil which came by accident?" Colasterion. Prose Works, III. 444.
2 Quandoquidem in iis tantum vitæ momentum vel beatæ vel miseræ positum esse judicavit ; an expression which will be best illustrated by the author himself:
each on himself relied, As only in his arm the moment lay Of victory.
Paradise Lost, VI. 237.
she go out free without money. This law is remarkable for its consummate humanity and equity; for while it does not permit the husband to put away his wife through the mere hardness of his heart, it allows the wife to leave her husband on the most reasonable of all grounds, that of inhumanity and unkindness. Again, Deut. xxi. 13, 14. it was permitted by the right of war, both to take a female captive to wife, and to divorce her afterwards; but it was not conceded to the hardness of their hearts, that she should be subsequently sold, or that the master should derive any profit from the possession of her person as a slave.3
The third passage is Deut. xxiv. 1. "when a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favour in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her, then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house." There is no room here for the charge of hardness of heart, supposing the cause alleged to be true, and not a fictitious one. For since, as is evident from the institution itself, God gave a wife to man at the beginning to the intent that she should be his help and solace and delight, if, as often happens, she should eventually prove to be rather a source of sorrow, of disgrace, of ruin, of torment, of calamity, why should we think that we are displeasing God by divorcing such a one? I should attribute hardness of heart rather to him who retained her, than to him who sent her away under such circumstances; and not I alone, but Solomon himself, or rather the Spirit of God himself speaking by the mouth of Solomon;5 Prov. xxx. 21, 23. "for three things the earth is disquieted, and for four which it cannot bear; for an odious woman when she is married-." On the contrary, Eccles. ix. 9." live joyfully with the wife whom
Lastly, it gives place to the right of war, for a captive woman, lawfully married, and afterwards not beloved, might be dismissed, only without ransom; Deut. xxi.' Tetrachordon. Prose Works, III. 357.
4' Cleave to a wife, but let her be a wife, let her be a meet help, a solace, not a nothing, not an adversary, not a desertrice; can any law or command be so unreasonable, as to make men cleave to calamity, to ruin, to perdition ?' Tetrachordon. Prose Works, III. 339.
This law the Spirit of God by the mouth of Solomon, Prov. xxx. 21, 23. testifies to be a good and necessary law, by granting that a hated woman (for so the Hebrew word signifies rather than odious, though it come all to one) that a hated woman, when she is married, is a thing that the earth cannot bear!' Doctrine, &c. Prose Works, III. 233.
thou lovest all the days of the life of thy vanity, which he hath given thee;" the wife therefore "which he hath given thee" is she "whom thou lovest," not she whom thou hatest: and thus Mal. ii. 16. "whoever hateth," or, "because he hateth, let him dismiss her,' as all before Junius explain the passage. God therefore appears to have enacted this law by the mouth of Moses, and reiterated it by that of the prophet, with the view, not of giving scope to the hard-heartedness of the husband, but of rescuing the unhappy wife from its influence wherever the case required it. For there is no hard-heartedness in dismissing honourably and freely her whose own fault it is that she is not loved. That one who is not beloved, who is, on the contrary, deservedly neglected, and an object of dislike and hatred; that a wife thus situated should be retained, in pursuance of a most vexatious law, under a yoke of the heaviest slavery (for such is marriage without love) to one who entertains for her neither attachment nor friendship, would indeed be a hardship more cruel than any divorce whatever.
6 'If Solomon's advice be not overfrolic, live joyfully, saith he, with the wife whom thou lovest, all thy days, for that is thy portion. Yea, God himself commands us in his law more than once, and by his prophet Malachi, as Calvin and the best translations read, that he who hates, let him divorce, that is, he who cannot love.' Doctrine, &c. Prose Works, III. 195. 'Although this place also hath been tampered with, as if it were to be thus rendered-The Lord God saith, that he hateth putting away. But this new interpretation rests only on the authority of Junius; for neither Calvin, nor Vatablus himself, nor any other known divine so interpreted before,' &c. Tetrachordon, III. 348. Sibi odio esse dimissionem ait Jehova Deus Israelis. Junius. Si odio habueris, dimitte, ait Dominus Deus Israelis. Lat. Vulg. It appears from Poole's Synopsis that the version of Piscator is the only one which agrees with Junius.
7 To retain still, and not be able to love, is to heap up more injury.' Doctrine, &c. of Divorce. Prose Works, III. 193. And again- not to be beloved, and yet retained, is the greatest injury to a gentle spirit.'-Ibid. 'Not he who after sober and cool experience, and long debate with himself, puts away whom, though he cannot love or suffer as a wife with that sincere affection that marriage requires, yet loves at least with that civility and goodness, as not to keep her under a neglected and unwelcome residence, when nothing can be hearty, and not being, it must be both unjoyous and injurious to any perceiving person so detained, and more injurious than to be freely and upon good terms dismissed.' Tetrachordon, III. 393. Upon utter dislike the husband divorces: which liberty no doubt they received first into their religion from the Greek church, and the imperial laws.' Description of Moscovia, Chap. I. For the imperial laws on this subject, see Tetrachordon, III. 420.
God therefore gave laws of divorce, in their proper use most equitable and humane; he even extended the benefit of them to those whom he knew would abuse them through the hardness of their hearts, thinking it better to bear with the obduracy of the wicked, than to refrain from alleviating the misery of the righteous, or suffer the institution itself to be subverted, which, from a divine blessing, was in danger of becoming the bitterest of all calamities.
The two next passages, Ezra x. 3. and Nehem. xiii. 23, 30. do not merely tolerate divorce on account of the people's hardness of heart, but positively command it for the most sacred religious reasons. On what authority did these prophets found their precept? They were not the promulgators of a new law; the law of Moses alone could be their warrant. But the law of Moses nowhere commands the dissolution of marriages of this kind; it only forbids the contracting of such: Exod. xxxiv. 15, 16. Deut. vii. 3, 4. whence they argued, that the marriage which ought never to have been contracted, ought, if contracted, to be dissolved. So groundless is the vulgar maxim, that what ought not to have been done, is valid when done."
Marriage therefore gives place to religion; it gives place, as has been seen, to the right of the master;' and the right of a husband, as appears from the passages of Scripture above quoted, as well as from the whole tenor of the civil law, and the custom of nations in general, is nearly the same as that of the master. It gives way, finally, to irresistible antipathies, and to that natural aversion with which we turn from whatever is unclean; but it is nowhere represented as giving way to hardness of heart, if this latter motive be really alleged as the sole or
sThis command thus gospellized to us, hath the same force with that whereon Ezra grounded the pious necessity of divorcing. Neither had he other commission for what he did, than such a general command in Deuteronomy as this, nay not so direct, for he is bid there not to marry, but not bid to divorce,' &c. Doctrine, &c. Prose Works. III. 200.
9 But,' saith the lawyer, 'that which ought not to have been done, once done, avails.' I answer, this is but a crotchet of the law, but that brought against it is plain Scripture.' Doctrine, &c. Prose Works, I. 202.
1 The law of marriage gives place to the power of parents; for we hold that the consent of parents not had may break the wedlock, though else accomplished. It gives place to masterly power, for the master might take away from a Hebrew servant the wife which he gave him, Exod. xxi.’ Tetrachordon. Prose Works, III. 357.
principal reason for enacting the law. This appears still more evidently from Deut. xxii. 19. “because he hath brought up an evil name upon a virgin of Israel, she shall be his wife; he may not put her away all his days :" and v. 29. "she shall be his wife, because he hath humbled her; he may not put her away all his days." Now if the law of Moses did not give way to his hardness of heart who was desirous of putting away the. virgin whom he had humbled, or to his who was willing to put away the wife against whom he had brought up an evil report, why should we imagine that it would give way to his alone who was averse from uncleanness, supposing that such aversion could properly be included under the definition of hardness of heart? Christ therefore reproves the hardness of heart of those who abused this law, that is, of the Pharisees and others, when he says, on account of the hardness of your hearts he permitted you to put away your wives;" but he does not abrogate the law itself, or the legitimate use of it; for he says that Moses permitted it on account of the hardness of their hearts, not that he permitted it wrongfully or improperly. In this sense almost the whole of the civil law might be said to have been given on account of the hardness of their hearts: whence St. Paulreproves the brethren, 1 Cor. vi. 6. because they had recourse to it, though no one argues from hence that the civil law is, or ought to be abrogated. How much less then can any one who understands the spirit of the Gospel believe, that this latter denies what the law did not scruple to concede, either as a matter of right or of indulgence, to the infirmity of human nature??
The clause of the eighth verse, "from the beginning it was not so," means nothing more than what is more clearly intimated above in the fourth verse, "he which made them at the beginning, made them male and female;" namely, that marriage in its original institution was not capable of being dissolved even by death, for sin and death were not then in existence. If however the purpose of the institution should be violated by the offence of either, it was obvious that death, the consequence of that offence, must in the course of things
2 'O perverseness! that the law should be made more provident of peacemaking than the gospel: that the gospel should be put to beg a most necessary help of mercy from the law, but must not have it!' Doctrine, &c. Prose Works, III. 195. See also Book II. chap. vii. But if those indulgencies, &c. work of our redemption.' II. 231, 232.