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is the fulfilling of every commandment, I cited no particular scripture, but spake a general sense, which might be collected from many places. For seeing love includes faith, what is there that can fulfil every commandment but only love? and I meant, as any intelligent reader might apprehend, every positive and civil commandment, whereof Christ hath taught us that man is the lord. It is not the formal duty of worship, or the sitting still, that keeps the holy rest of sabbath; but whosoever doth most according to charity, whether he works or works not, he breaks the holy rest of sabbath least. So marriage being a civil ordinance, made for man, not man for it; he who doth that which most accords with charity, first to himself, next to whom he next owes it, whether in marriage or divorce, he breaks the ordinance of marriage least. And what in religious prudence can be charity to himself, and what to his wife either in continuing or in dissolving the marriageknot, hath been already oft enough discoursed. So that what St. Paul saith of circumcision, the same 1 stick not to say of a civil ordinance, made to the good and comfort of man, not to his ruin; marriage is nothing, and divorce is nothing "but faith which worketh by love." And this I trust none can mistake.
Against the fifth argument, that a Christian, in a higher order of priesthood than that Levitical, is a person dedicate to joy and peace; and therefore needs not in subjection to a civil ordinance, made to no other end but for his good, (when without his fault he finds it impossible to be decently or tolerably observed,) to plunge himself into immeasurable distractions and temptations, above his strength; against this he proves nothing, but gads into silly conjectures of what abuses would follow, and with as good reason might declaim against the best things that are.
Against the sixth argument, that to force the continuance of marriage between minds found utterly unfit and disproportional, is against nature, and seems forbid under that allegorical precept of Moses, "not to sow a field with divers seeds, lest both be defiled; not to plough with an ox and ass together," which I deduce by the pattern of St. Paul's reasoning what was meant by not muzzling the ox; he rambles over a long narration, to tell us that "by the oxen are meant the preachers:" which is not doubted. Then he demands, " if this my reasoning be like St. Paul's." And I answer him, Yes. He replies, that sure St. Paul would be ashamed to reason thus. And I tell him, No. He grants that place which I alleged, 2 Cor., vi. of unequal yoking, may allude to that of Moses, but says "I cannot prove it makes to my purpose," and shows not first how he can disprove it. Weigh, gentlemen, and consider whether my affirmations, backed with reason may hold balance against the bare denials of this ponderous confuter, elected by his ghostly patrons to be my copesmate.
Proceeding on to speak of mysterious things in nature, I had occasion to fit the language thereafter; matters not, for the reading of this odious fool, who thus ever, when he meets with aught above the cogitation of his breeding, leaves the noisome stench of his rude slot behind him, maligning that any thing should be spoke or understood above his own genuine baseness; and gives sentence that his confuting hath been employed about a frothy, immeritous, and undeserving discourse. Who could have believed so much insolence durst vent itself from out the hide of a varlet, as thus to censure that which men of mature judgment have applauded to be writ from good reason? But this contents him not; he falls now to rave in his barbarous abusiveness; and why? a reason befitting such an artificer, because he saith the book is contrary to all human learning; whenas the world knows, that all both human and divine learning, till the canon law
allowed divorce by consent, and for many causes without consent. Next, he dooms it as contrary to truth; whenas it hath been disputable among learned men, ever since it was prohibited: and is by Peter Martyr thought an opinion not impious, but hard to be refuted; and by Erasmus deemed a doctrine so charitable and pious, as, if it cannot be used, were to be wished it could; but is by Martin Bucer, a man of dearest and most religious memory in the church, taught and maintained to be either most lawfully used, or most lawfully permitted. And for this, for I affirm no more than Bucer, what censure do you think, readers, he hath condemned the book to? To a death no less impious than to be burnt by the hangman. Mr. Licenser, (for I deal not now with this caitiff, never worth my earnest, and now not seasonable for my jest,) you are reputed a man discreet enough, religious enough, honest enough, that is, to an ordinary competence in all these. But now your turn is, to hear what your own hand hath earned ye; that when you suffered this nameless hangman to cast into public such a despiteful contumely upon a name and person deserving of the church and state equally to your self; and one who hath done more to the present advancement of your own tribe, than you or many of them have done for themselves; you forgot to be either honest, religious, or discreet. Whatever the state might do concerning it, supposed a matter to expect evil from, I should not doubt to meet among them with wise, and honourable, and knowing men: but as to this brute libel, so much the more impudent and lawless for the abused authority which it bears; I say again, that I abominate the censure of rascals and their licensers.
With difficulty I return to what remains of this ignoble task, for the disdain I have to change a period more with the filth and venom of this gourmand, swelled into a confuter; yet for the satisfaction of others I endure all this.
Against the seventh argument, that if the canon law and divines allow divorce for conspiracy of death, they may as well allow it to avoid the same consequence from the likelihood of natural causes.
First, he denies that the canon so decrees.
I answer, that it decrees for danger of life, as much as for adultery, Decret. Gregor. 1. 4, tit. 19, and in other places: and the best civilians, who cite the canon law, so collect, as Schneidewin in Instit. tit. 10, p. 4, de Divort. And indeed, who would have denied it, but one of a reprobate ignorance in all he meddles with?
Secondly, he saith the case alters; for there the offender, "who seeks the life, doth implicitly at least act a divorce.'
And I answer, that here nature, though no offender, doth the same. But if an offender, by acting a divorce, shall release the offended, this is an ample grant against himself. He saith, nature teaches to save life from one who seeks it. And I say, she teaches no less to save it from any other cause that endangers it. He saith, that here they are both actors. Admit they were, it would not be uncharitable to part them; yet sometimes they are not both actors, but the one of them most lamentedly passive. So he concludes, we must not take advantage of our own faults and corruptions to release us from our duties. But shall we take no advantage to save ourselves from the faults of another, who hath annulled his right to our duty? "No," says he, "let them die of the sullens, and try who will pity them." Barbarian, the shame of all honest attorneys! why do they not hoist him over the bar and blanket him?
Against the eight argument, that they who are destitute of all marriageable gifts, except a body not plainly unfit, have not the calling to marry,
and consequently married and so found, may be divorced: this, he saith, is nothing to the purpose, and not fit to be answered. I leave it therefore to the judgment of his masters.
Against the ninth argument, that marriage is a human society, and so chiefly seated in agreement and unity of mind: if therefore the mind cannot have that due society by marriage, that it may reasonably and humanly desire, it can be no human society, and so not without reason divorceable: here he falsifies, and turns what the position required of a reasonable agreement in the main matters of society into an agreement in all things, which makes the opinion not mine, and so he leaves it.
At last, and in good hour, we are come to his farewell, which is to be a concluding taste of his jabberment in law, the flashiest and the fustiest that ever corrupted in such an unswilled hogshead.
Against my tenth argument, as he calls it, but as I intended it, my other position, "That divorce is not a thing determinable by a compulsive law, for that all law is for some good that may be frequently attained without the admixture of a worse inconvenience: but the law forbidding divorce never attains to any good end of such prohibition, but rather multiplies evil; therefore the prohibition of divorce is no good law." Now for his attorney's prize but first, like a right cunning and sturdy logician, he denies my argument, not mattering whether in the major or minor: and saith, "there are many laws made for good, and yet that good is not attained, through the defaults of the party, but a greater inconvenience follows."
But I reply, that this answer builds upon a shallow foundation, and most unjustly supposes every one in default, who seeks divorce from the most injurious wedlock. The default therefore will be found in the law itself; which is neither able to punish the offender, but the innocent must withal suffer; nor can right the innocent in what is chiefly sought, the obtainment of love or quietness. His instances out of the common law are all so quite beside the matter which he would prove, as may be a warning to all clients how they venture their business with such a cockbrained solicitor. For being to show some law of England, attaining to no good end, and yet through no default of the party, who is thereby debarred all remedy, he shows us only how some do lose the benefit of good laws through their own default. His first example saith, "it is a just law that every one shall peaceably enjoy his estate in lands or otherwise." Does this law attain to no good end? The bar will blush at this most incogitant woodcock. But see if a draught of Littleton will recover him to his senses. "If this man, having fee simple in his lands, yet will take a lease of his own lands from another, this shall be an estopple to him in an assize from the recovering of his own land."
Mark now and register him! How many are there of ten thousand who have such a fee simple in their sconce, as to take a lease of their own lands from another? So that this inconvenience lights upon scarce one in an age, and by his own default; and the law of enjoying each man his own is good to all others. But on the contrary, this prohibition of divorce is good to none, and brings inconvenience to numbers, who lie under intolerable grievances without their own default, through the wickedness or folly of another; and all this iniquity the law remedies not, but in a manner maintains. His other cases are directly to the same purpose, and might have been spared, but that he is a tradesman of the law, and must be borne with at his first setting up, to lay forth his best ware, which is only gibberish.
I have now done that, which for many causes I might have thought could not likely have been my fortune, to be put to this underwork of scouring
and unrubbishing the low and sordid ignorance of such a presumptuous lozel. Yet Hercules had the labour once imposed upon him to carry dung out of the Augean stable. At any hand I would be rid of him: for I had rather, since the life of man is likened to a scene, that all my entrances and exits might mix with such persons only, whose worth erects them and their actions to a grave and tragic deportment, and not to have to do with clowns and vices. But if a man cannot peaceably walk into the world, but must be infested; sometimes at his face with dors and horseflies, sometimes beneath with bawling whippets and shin barkers, and these to be set on by plot and consultation with a junto of clergymen and licensers, commended also and rejoiced in by those whose partiality cannot yet forego old papistical principles; have I not cause to be in such a manner defensive, as may procure me freedom to pass more unmolested hereafter by those encumbrances, not so much regarded for themselves, as for those who incite them? And what defence can properly be used in such a despicable encounter as this, but either the slap or the spurn? If they can afford me none but a ridiculous adversary, the blame belongs not to me, though the whole dispute be strewed and scattered with ridiculous. And if he have such an ambition to know no better who are his mates, but among thos needy thoughts, which, though his two faculties of serving-man and solici tor should compound into one mongrel, would be but thin and meagre, if in this penury of soul he can be possible to have the lustiness to think of fame, let him but send me how he calls himself, and I may chance not fail to indorse him on the backside of posterity, not a golden, but a brazen ass. Since my fate extorts from me a talent of sport, which I had thought to hide in a napkin, he shall be my Batrachomuomachia, my Bavius, my Calandrino, the common adagy of ignorance and overweening: nay, perhaps, as the provacation may be, I may be driven to curl up this gliding prose into a rough sotadic, that shall rhyme him into such a condition, as instead of judging good books to be burnt by the executioner, he shall be readier to be his own hangman. Thus much to this nuisance.
But as for the subject itself, which I have writ and now defend, according as the opposition bears; if any man equal to the matter shall think it appertains him to take in hand this controversy, either excepting against aught written, or persuaded he can show better how this question, of such moment to be throughly known, may receive a true determination, not leaning on the old and rotten suggestions whereon it yet leans; if his intent be sincere to the public, and shall carry him on without bitterness to the opinion, or to the person dissenting; let him not, I entreat him, guess by the handling, which meritoriously hath been bestowed on this object of contempt and laughter, that I account it any displeasure done me to be contradicted in print: but as it leads to the attainment of any thing more true, shall esteem it a benefit; and shall know how to return his civility and fair argument in such a sort, as he shall confess that to do so is my choice, and to have done thus was my chance.
TENURE OF KINGS AND MAGISTRATES:
PROVING THAT IT IS LAWFUL, AND HATH BEEN HELD SO THROUGH ALL AGES, FOR ANY, WHO HAVE THE POWER, TO CALL TO ACCOUNT A TYRANT, OR WICKED KING; AND, AFTER DUE CONVICTION, TO DEPOSE, AND PUT HIM TO DEATH; IF THE ORDINARY MAGISTRATE HAVE NEGLECTED, OR DENIED TO DO IT.
AND THAT THEY, WHO OF LATE SO MUCH BLAME DEPOSING, ARE THE MEN THAT DID IT THEMSELVES.
[FIRST PUBLISHED 1648-9.]
If men within themselves would be governed by reason, and not generally give up their understanding to a double tyranny, of custom from without, and blind affections within; they would discern better what it is to favour and uphold the tyrant of a nation. But being slaves within doors, no wonder that they strive so much to have the public state conformably governed to the inward vicious rule, by which they govern themselves. For indeed none can love freedom heartily, but good men: the rest love not freedom, but license: which never hath more scope, or more indulgence than under tyrants. Hence is it, that tyrants are not oft offended, nor stand much in doubt of bad men, as being all naturally servile; but in whom virtue and true worth most is eminent, them they fear in earnest, as by right their masters; against them lies all their hatred and suspicion. Consequently neither do bad men hate tyrants, but have been always readiest, with the falsified names of Loyalty and Obedience, to colour over their base compliances. And although sometimes for shame, and when it comes to their own grievances, of purse especially, they would seem good patriots, and side with the better cause, yet when others for the deliverance of their country endued with fortitude and heroic virtue, to fear nothing but the curse written against those "that do the work of the Lord negligently," would go on to remove, not only the calamities and thraldoms of a people, but the roots and causes whence they spring; straight these men, and sure helpers at need, as if they hated only the miseries, but not the mischiefs, after they have juggled and paltered with the world, bandied and borne arms against their king, divested him, disanointed him, nay, cursed him all over in their pulpits, and their pamphlets, to the engaging of sincere and real men beyond what is possible or honest to retreat from, not only turn revolters from those principles, which only could at first move them, but lay the strain of disloyalty, and worse, on those proceedings, which are the necessary consequences of their own former actions; nor disliked by them
This tract, which was first published in February 1648-9, after the execution of king Charles, and is a defence of that action against the objections of the Presbyterians, was, in the year 1650, republished by the author with considerable additions, all which, omitted n every former edition of the author's works, are here carefully inserted in their proper places. The copy which I use, after the above title, has the following sentence; "Pubished now the second time with some additions, and many testimonies also added out of the best and learnedest among Protestant divines, asserting the position of this book." The passages here restored are marked with single inverted commas.
† Jer. xlviii. 1.