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than with us, comprehending every fault, which alienates from him to whom obedience is due, and that the primitive church interpreted so."
Grotius, yet living, and of prime note among learned men, retires plainly from the canon to the ancient civility, yea, to the Mosaic law, "as being most just and undeceivable." On the 5th of Matth. he saith, "That Christ made no civil laws, but taught us how to use law: that the law sent not a husband to the judge about this matter of divorce, but left him to his own conscience that Christ therefore cannot be thought to send him ; that adultery may be judged by a vehement suspicion; that the exception of adultery seems an example of other like offences;" proves it "from the manner of speech, the maxims of law, the reason of charity, and common equity."
These authorities, without long search, I had to produce, all excellent men, some of them such as many ages had brought forth none greater: almost the meanest of them might deserve to obtain credit in a singularity; what might not then all of them joined in an opinion so consonant to reason? For although some speak of this cause, others of that, why divorce may be, yet all agreeing in the necessary enlargement of that textual straitness, leave the matter to equity, not to literal bondage; and so the opinion closes. Nor could I have wanted more testimonies, had the cause needed a more solicitous inquiry. But herein the satisfaction of others hath been studied, not the gaining of more assurance to mine own persuasion: although authorities contributing reason withal be a good confirmation and a welcome. But God (I solemnly attest him!) withheld from my knowledge the con senting judgment of these men so late, until they could not be my instruct ors, but only my unexpected witnesses to partial men, that in this work 1 had not given the worst experiment of an industry joined with integrity, and the free utterance, though of an unpopular truth. Which yet to the people of England may, if God so please, prove a memorable informing; certainly a benefit which was intended them long since by men of highest repute for wisdom and piety, Bucer and Erasmus. Only this one authority more, whether in place, or out of place, I am not to omit; which if any can think a small one, I must be patient, it is no smaller than the whole assembled authority of England both church and state; and in those times which are on record for the purest and sincerest that ever shone yet on the reformation of this island, the time of Edward the Sixth. That worthy prince, having utterly abolished the canon law out of his dominions, as his father did before him, appointed by full vote of parliament a committee of two-and-thirty chosen men, divines and lawyers, of whom Cranmer the archbishop, Peter Martyr, and Walter Haddon, (not without the assistance of Sir John Cheeke the king's tutor, a man at that time counted the learnedest of Englishmen, and for piety not inferior,) were the chief, to frame anew some ecclesiastical laws, that might be instead of what was abrogated. The work with great diligence was finished, and with as great approbation of that reforming age was received; and had been doubtless, as the learned preface thereof testifies, established by act of parliament, had not the good king's death, so soon ensuing, arrested the further growth of religion also, from that season to this. Those laws, thus founded on the memorable wisdom and piety of that religious parliament and synod, allow divorce and second marriage, "not only. for adultery or desertion, but for any capital enmity or plot laid against the other's life, and likewise for evil and fierce usage:" nay, the twelfth chapter of that title by plain consequence declares, "that lesser contentions, if they be perpetual, may obtain divorce :" which is all one really with the position by me held in the former treatise published on this argument, herein only differing, that there the cause of perpetual strife was put for example in the
unchangeable discord of some natures; but in these laws intended us by the best of our ancestors, the effect of continual strife is determined no unjust plea of divorce, whether the cause be natural or wilful. Whereby the wariness and deliberation, from which that discourse proceeded, will appear, and that God hath aided us to make no bad conclusion of this point; seeing the opinion, which of late hath undergone ill censures among the vulgar, hath now proved to have done no violence to Scripture, unless all these famous authors alleged have done the like; nor hath affirmed aught more than what indeed the most nominated fathers of the church, both ancient and modern, are unexpectedly found affirming; the laws of God's peculiar people, and of primitive Christendom found to have practised, reformed churches and states to have imitated, and especially the most pious churchtimes of this kingdom to have framed and published, and, but for sad hinderances in the sudden change of religion, had enacted by the parliament. Henceforth let them, who condemn the assertion of this book for new and licentious, be sorry; lest, while they think to be of the graver sort, and take on them to be teachers, they expose themselves rather to be pledged up and down by men who intimately know them, to the discovery and contempt of their ignorance and presumption.
TO A NAMELESS ANSWER AGAINST THE DOCTRINE AND DISCIPLINE OF
WHEREIN THE TRIVIAL AUTHOR OF THAT ANSWER IS DISCOVERED, THE LICENSER CONFERRED
Prov. xxvi. 5. "Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit."
AFTER many rumors of confutations and convictions, forthcoming against the Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce, and now and then a by-blow from the pulpit, feathered with a censure, strict indeed, but how true, more beholden to the authority of that devout place, which it borrowed to be uttered in, than to any sound reason which it could oracle; while I still hoped as for a blessing, to see some piece of diligence, or learned discretion, come from them, it was my hap at length, lighting on a certain parcel of queries, that seek and find not, to find, not seeking, at the tail of anabaptistical, antinomian, heretical, atheistical epithets, a jolly slander, called "Divorce at Pleasure." I stood awhile and wondered what we might do to a man's heart, or what anatomy use, to find in it sincerity; for all our wonted marks every day fail us, and where we thought it was, we see it is not, for alter
and change residence, it cannot sure. And yet I see no good of body or of mind secure to a man for all his past labours, without perpetual watchfulness and perseverance: whenas one above others, who hath suffered much and long in the defence of truth, shall after all this give her cause to leave him so destitute and so vacant of her defence, as to yield his mouth to be the common road of truth and falsehood, and such falsehood as is joined with a rash and heedless calumny of his neighbour. For what book hath he ever met with, as his complaint is, "printed in the city," maintaining either in the title, or in the whole pursuance, "Divorce at Pleasure?" It is true, that to divorce upon extreme necessity, when through the perverseness, or the apparent unfitness of either, the continuance can be to both no good at all, but an intolerable injury and temptation to the wronged and the defrauded; to divorce then, there is a book that writes it lawful. And that this law is a pure and wholesome national law, not to be withheld from good men, because others likely enough may abuse it to their pleasure, cannot be charged upon that book, but must be entered a bold and impious accusation against God himself; who did not for this abuse withhold it from his own people. It will be just therefore, and best for the reputation of him who in his Subitanes hath thus censured, to recall his sentence. And if, out of the abundance of his volumes, and the readiness of his quill, and the vastness of his other employments, especially in the great audit for accounts, he can spare us aught to the better understanding of this point, he shall be thanked in public; and what hath offended in the book shall willingly submit to his correction. Provided he be sure not to come with those old and stale suppositions, unless he can take away clearly what that discourse hath urged against them, by one who will expect other arguments to be persuaded the good health of a sound answer, than the gout and dropsy of a big margin, littered and overlaid with crude and huddled quotations. But as I still was waiting, when these light-armed refuters would have done pelting at thei three lines uttered with a sage delivery of no reason, but an impotent and worse than Bonnerlike censure, to burn that which provokes them to a fair dispute; at length a book was brought to my hands, entitled "An Answer to the Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce." Gladly I received it, and very attentively composed myself to read; hoping that now some good man had vouchsafed the pains to instruct me better, than I could yet learn out of all the volumes, which for this purpose I had visited. Only this I marvelled, and other men have since, whenas I, in a subject so new to this age, and so hazardous to please, concealed not my name, why this author, defending that part, which is so creeded by the people, would conceal his. But ere I could enter three leaves into the pamphlet, (for I defer the peasantly rudeness which, by the licenser's leave, I met with afterwards,) my satisfaction. came in abundantly, that it could be nothing why he durst not name himself, but the guilt of his own wretchedness. For first, not to speak of his abrupt and bald beginning, his very first page notoriously bewrays him an illiterate and arrogant presumer in that which he understands not, bearing us in hand as if he knew both Greek and Hebrew, and is not able to spell it; which had he been, it had been either written as it ought, or scored upon the printer. If it be excused as the carelessness of his deputy, be it known, the learned author himself is inventoried, and summoned up to the utmost value of his livery-cloak. Whoever he be, though this to some may seem a slight contest, I shall yet continue to think that man full of other secret. injustice, and deceitful pride, who shall offer in public to assume the skill though it be but of a tongue which he hath not, and would catch his readers to believe of his ability, that which is not in him. The licenser indeed, as
his authority now stands, may license much; but if these Greek orthographies were of his licensing, the boys at school might reckon with him at his grammar. Nor did I find this his want of the pretended languages alone, but accompanied with such a low and homespun expression of his mother English all along, without joint or frame, as made me, ere I knew further of him, often stop and conclude, that this author could for certain be no other than some mechanic. Nor was the style flat and rude, and the matter grave and solid, for then there had been pardon; but so shallow and so unwary was that also, as gave sufficiently the character of a gross and sluggish, yet a contentious and overweening, pretender. For first, it behoving him to show, as he promises, what divorce is, and what the true doctrine and discipline thereof, and this being to do by such principles and proofs as are received on both sides, he performs neither of these; but shows it first from the judaical practice, which he himself disallows; and next, from the practice of canon law, which the book he would confute utterly rejects, and all laws depending thereon; which this puny clerk calls "the Laws of England," and yet pronounceth them by an ecclesiastical judge: as if that were to be accounted the law of England which dependeth on the popery of England; if it were, this parliament he might know hath now damned that judicature. So that whether his meaning were to inform his own party, or to confute his adversary, instead of showing us the true doctrine and discipline of divorce, he shows us nothing but his own contemptible ignorance. For what is the Mosaic law to his opinion? And what is the canon, now utterly antiquated, either to that, or to mine? Ye see already what a faithful definer we have him. From such a wind-egg of definition as this, they who expect any of his other arguments to be well hatched, let them enjoy the virtue of their worthy champion. But one thing more I observed; a singular note of his stupidity, and that his trade is not to meddle with books, much less with confutations; whenas the "Doctrine of Divorce" had now a whole year been published the second time, with many arguments added, and the former ones bettered and confirmed, this idle pamphlet comes reeling forth against the first edition only; as may appear to any by the pages quoted: which put me in mind of what by chance I had notice of to this purpose the last summer, as nothing so serious but happens ofttimes to be attended with a ridiculous accident: it was then told me, that the "Doctrine of Divorce" was answered, and the answer half printed against the first edition, not by one, but by a pack of heads; of whom the chief, by circumstance, was intimated to me, and since ratified to be no other, if any can hold laughter, and I am sure none will guess him lower, than an actual serving-man. This creature, for the story must on, (and what though he be the lowest person of an interlude, he may deserve a canvassing,) transplanted himself, and to the improvement of his wages, and your better notice of his capacity, turned solicitor. And having conversed much with a stripling divine or two of those newly-fledged probationers, that usually come scouting from the university, and lie here no lame leggers to pop into the Bethesda of some knight's chaplainship, where they bring grace to his good cheer, but no peace or benediction else to his house; these made the cham-party, he contributed the law, and both joined in the divinity. Which made me intend following the advice also of friends, to lay aside the thought of misspending a reply to the buzz of such a drone's nest. But finding that it lay, whatever was the matter, half a year after unfinished in the press, and hearing for certain that a divine of note, out of his good will to the opinion, had taken it into his revise, and something had put out, something put in, and stuck it here and there with a clove of his own calligraphy, to keep it from taint
ing and further, when I saw the stuff, though very coarse and threadbare, garnished and trimly faced with the commendations of a licenser, I resolved, so soon as leisure granted me the recreation, that my man of law should not altogether lose his soliciting. Although I impute a share of the making to him whose name I find in the approbation, who may take, as his mind serves him, this reply. In the mean while it shall be seen, I refuse no occasion, and avoid no adversary, either to maintain what I have begun, or to give it up for better reason.
To begin then with the licenser and his censure. For a licenser is not contented now to give his single Imprimatur, but brings his chair into the title-leaf; there sits and judges up, or judges down, what book he pleases: if this be suffered, what worthless author, or what cunning printer, will not be ambitious of such a stale to put off the heaviest gear; which may in time bring in round fees to the licenser, and wretched misleading to the people? But to the matter: he "approves the publishing of this book, to preserve the strength and honour of marriage against those sad breaches and dangerous abuses of it." Belike then the wrongful suffering of all those sad breaches and abuses in marriage to remediless thraldom is the strength and honour of marriage; a boisterous and bestial strength, a dishonourable honour, an infatuated doctrine, whose than the Salvo jure of tyrannizing, which we all fight against. Next he saith, that "common discontents make these breaches in unstaid minds, and men given to change." His words may be apprehended, as if they disallowed only to divorce for common discontents, in unstaid minds, having no cause, but a desire of change, and then we agree. But if he take all discontents on this side adultery, to be common, that is to say, not difficult to endure, and to affect only unstaid minds, it might administer just cause to think him tr.e unfittest man that could be, to offer at a comment upon Job;* as seeming by this to have no more true sense of a good man in his afflictions, than those Edomitish friends had, of whom Job complains, and against whom God testifies his anger. Shall a man of your own coat, who hath espoused his flock, and represents Christ more in being the true husband of his congregation, than an ordinary man doth in being the husband of his wife, (and yet this representment is thought a chief cause why marriage must be inseparable,) shall this spiritual man ordinarily for the increase of his maintenances or any slight cause, forsake that wedded cure of souls, that should be dearest to him, and marry another and another? And shall not a person wrongfully afflicted, and persecuted even to extremity, forsake an unfit, injurious, and pestilent mate, tied only by a civil and fleshly covenant? If you be a man so much hating change, hate that other change; if yourself be not guilty, counsel your brethren to hate it; and leave to be the supercilious judge of other men's miseries and changes, that your own be not judged. "The reasons of your licensed pamphlet," you say, "are good;" they must be better than your own then; I shall wonder else how such a trivial fellow was accepted and commended, to be the confuter of so dangerous an opinion as ye give out mine.
Now therefore to your attorney, since no worthier an adversary makes his appearance, nor this neither his appearance, but lurking under the safety of his nameless obscurity; such as ye turn him forth at the postern, I must accept him; and in a better temper than Ajax do mean to scourge this ram for ye, till I meet with his Ulysses.
He begins with law, and we have it of him as good cheap as any huckster at law, newly set up, can possibly afford, and as impertinent; but for that
* Mr. Caryl.