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who wanted more authorities and citations, have not | though unconfuted, must therefore be mistrusted, therebeen bere unthought of. If all this attain not to satisfy fore not received for the industry, the exactness, the lathem, as I am confident that none of those our great bour in it, confessed to be more than ordinary; as if controversies at this day hath had a more demonstrative wisdom had now forsaken the thirsty and laborious inexplaining, I must confess to admire what it is: for quirer, to dwell against her nature with the arrogant doubtless it is not reason now-a-days that satisfies or and shallow babbler; to what purpose all those pains suborns the common credence of men, to yield so and that continual searching required of us by Soloeasily, and grow so vehement in matters much more mon to the attainment of understanding? Why are disputable, and far less conducing to the daily good men bred up with such care and expense to a life of and peace of life. Some whose necessary shifts have perpetual studies? Why do yourselves with such enlong eaured them to cloak the defects of their unstudied deavour seek to wipe off the imputation of intending years, and hatred now to learn, under the appearance to discourage the progress and advance of learning? of a grave solidity, (which estimation they have gained He therefore, whose heart can bear him to the high among weak perceivers,) find the ease of slighting pitch of your noble enterprises, may easily assure himwhat they cannot refute, and are determined, as I self, that the prudence and far-judging circumspectbear, to hold it not worth the answering. In which ness of so grave a magistracy sitting in parliament, and be number I must be forced to reckon that doctor, who have before them the prepared and purposed act who in a late equivocating treatise plausibly set afloat of their most religious predecessors to imitate in this against the Dippers, diving the while himself with a question, cannot reject the clearness of these reasons, more deep prelatical malignance against the present and these allegations both here and formerly offered state and church-government, mentions with ignominy them; nor can overlook the necessity of ordaining "the Tractate of Divorce;" yet answers nothing, but more wholesomely and more humanely in the casualinstead thereof (for which I do not commend his marties of divorce, than our laws have yet established, if shalling) sets Moses also among the crew of his Ana- the most urgent and excessive grievances happening baptists; as one who to a holy nation, the commonin domestic life be worth the laying to heart; which, unless charity be far from us, cannot be neglected. And that these things, both in the right constitution, and in the right reformation of a commonwealth, call for speediest redress, and ought to be the first considered, enough was urged in what was prefaced to that monument of Bucer, which I brought to your remembrance, and the other time before. Henceforth, except new cause be given, I shall say less and less. Others, which is their courtesy, confess that wit and For if the law make not timely provision, let the law, Ithers may do much to make that seem true which is as reason is, bear the censure of those consequences, not; as was objected to Socrates by them who could which her own default now more evidently produces. Bot resist his efficacy, that he ever made the worst And if men want manliness to expostulate the right of cause seem the better; and thus thinking themselves their due ransom, and to second their own occasions, discharged of the difficulty, love not to wade further they may sit hereafter and bemoan themselves to have into the fear of a convincement. These will be their neglected through faintness the only remedy of their excuses to decline the full examining of this serious sufferings, which a seasonable and well-grounded point. So much the more I press it and repeat it, speaking might have purchased them. And perhaps lords and commons! that ye beware while time is, ere in time to come, others will know how to esteem what this grand secret, and only art of ignorance affecting is not every day put into their hands, when they have tranny, grow powerful, and rule among us. For if marked events, and better weighed how hurtful and sound argument and reason shall be thus put off, either unwise it is, to hide a secret and pernicious rupture unby an undervaluing silence, or the masterly censure of der the ill counsel of a bashful silence. But who railing word or two in the pulpit, or by rejecting the would distrust aught, or not be ample in his hopes of face of truth, as the mere cunning of eloquence and your wise and christian determinations? who have the sophistry; what can be the end of this, but that all prudence to consider, and should have the goodness, good learning and knowledge will suddenly decay? like gods, as ye are called, to find out readily, and by Ignorance, and illiterate presumption, which is yet just law to administer those redresses, which have of but our disease, will turn at length into our very conold, not without God ordaining, been granted to the sitation, and prove the hectic evil of this age: worse adversities of mankind, ere they who needed were put to be feared, if it get once to reign over us, than any to ask. Certainly, if any other have enlarged his fifth monarchy. If this shall be the course, that what thoughts to expect from this government, so justly unwas wont to be a chief commendation, and the ground dertaken, and by frequent assistances from Heaven so of other men's confidence in an author, his diligence, apparently upheld, glorious changes and renovations his learning, his elocution, whether by right or by ill both in church and state, he among the foremost might meaning granted him, shall be turned now to a disad- be named, who prays that the fate of England may Vintage and suspicion against him, that what he writes, tarry for no other deliverers.
of Israel, gave laws "breaking the bonds of marriage to inordinate lust." These are no mean surges of blasphemy, not only dipping Moses the divine lawgiver, but dashing with a high hand against the justice and purity of God himself: as these ensuing scriptures plainly and freely handled shall verify, to the launching of that old apostemated errour. Him therefore I leave now to his repentance.
UPON THE FOUR CHIEF PLACES IN SCRIPTURE WHICH TREAT OF MARRIAGE, OR NULLITIES IN MARRIAGE.
contenting, or rather priding themselves in a specious humility and strictness bred out of low ignorance, that never yet conceived the freedom of the gospel; and is therefore by the apostle to the Colossians ranked with no better company than will worship and the mere 28. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, shew of wisdom. And how injurious herein they are, Be fruitful, &c.
if not to themselves, yet to their neighbours, and not to them only, but to the all-wise and bounteous grace offered us in our redemption, will orderly appear.
"In the image of God created he him."] It is enough determined, that this image of God, wherein man was created, is meant wisdom, purity, justice, and rule over all creatures. All which, being lost in Adam, was re covered with gain by the merits of Christ. For albeit our first parent had lordship over sea, and land, and air, yet there was a law without him, as a guard set over him. But Christ having cancelled the handwriting of ordinances which was against us, Col. ii 14, and interpreted the fulfilling of all through charity, hath in that respect set us over law, in the free custody of his love, and left us victorious under the guidance of his living spirit, not under the dead letter; to follow that which most edifies, most aids and furthers a reli gious life, makes us holiest and likest to his immortal image, not that which makes us most conformable and captive to civil and subordinate precepts: whereof the strictest observance may ofttimes prove the destruction not only of many innocent persons and families, but of whole nations. Although indeed no ordinance human or from heaven can bind against the good of man; se that to keep them strictly against that end, is all one with to break them. Men of most renowned virtue have sometimes by transgressing most truly kept the law; and wisest magistrates have permitted and dis pensed it; while they looked not peevishly at the letter, but with a greater spirit at the good of mankind, if always not written in the characters of law, yet engraven in the heart of man by a divine impression. This hea thens could see, as the well-read in story can recount of Solon and Epaminondas, whom Cicero in his first book
GENESIS i. 27.
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them,
GEN. ii. 18.
And the Lord God said, It is not good that man should
24. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife, and they shall be one flesh.
GEN. i. 27.
"So God created man in his own image."] To be informed aright in the whole history of marriage, that we may know for certain, not by a forced yoke, but by an impartial definition, what marriage is, and what is not marriage: it will undoubtedly be safest, fairest, and most with our obedience, to inquire, as our Saviour's direction is, how it was in the beginning. And that we begin so high as man created after God's own image, there want not earnest causes. For nothing now-a-days is more degenerately forgotten, than the true dignity of man, almost in every respect, but especially in this prime institution of matrimony, wherein his native pre-eminence ought most to shine. Although if we consider that just and natural privileges men neither can rightly seek, nor dare fully claim, unless they be allied to inward goodness and stedfast knowledge, and that the want of this quells them to a servile sense of their own conscious unworthiness; it may save the wondering why in this age many are so opposite both to human and to christian liberty, either while they understand not, or envy others that do;
EXPOSITIONS ON THE FOUR CHIEF PLACES IN SCRIPTURE, &c.
of “ Invention" nobly defends. "All law," saith he, "we ought to refer to the common good, and interpret by that, not by the scroll of letters. No man observes law for law's sake, but for the good of them for whom it was made." The rest might serve well to lecture these times, deluded through belly doctrines into a devout slavery. The Scripture also affords David in the shewbread, Hezekiah in the passover, sound and safe transgressors of the literal command, which also dispensed not seldom with itself; and taught us on what just occasions to do so: until our Saviour, for whom that great and godlike work was reserved, redeemed #s to a state above prescriptions, by dissolving the whole law into charity. And have we not the soul to understand this, and must we against this glory of God's transcendent love towards us be still the servants of a literal indictment?
Created he him."] It might be doubted why he saith, "In the image of God created he him," not them, as well as "male and female" them; especially since that image might be common to them both, but male and female could not, however the Jews fable and please themselves with the accidental concurrence of Plato's wit, as if man at first had been created hermaphrodite: but then it must have been male and female created he him. So had the image of God been equally common to them both, it had no doubt been said, in the image of God created he them. But St. Paal ends the controversy, by explaining, that the Wema is not primarily and immediately the image of Ged, but in reference to the man, "The head of the woman," saith he, 1 Cor. xi. " is the man ;"" he the mage and glory of God, she the glory of the man;" he not fer her, but she for him. Therefore his precept is, Wives, be subject to your husbands as is fit in the Lord, Col. iii. 18; in every thing," Eph. v. 24. Nevertheless man is not to hold her as a servant, but receives ber into a part of that empire, which God proclaims him to, though not equally, yet largely, as his own image and glory: for it is no small glory to him, that a creature so like him should be made subject to i. Not but that particular exceptions may have plate, if she exceed her husband in prudence and dextenty, and he contentedly yield: for then a superior and more natural law comes in, that the wiser should ver the less wise, whether male or female. But that which far more easily and obediently follows from this verse is, that, seeing woman was purposely made far man, and he her head, it cannot stand before the breath of this divine utterance, that man the portraiture f God, joining to himself for his intended good and wlace an inferior sex, should so become her thrall, whose wilfulness or inability to be a wife frustrates the erasional end of her creation; but that he may acquit bewelf to feedom by his natural birthright, and that andelible character of priority, which God crowned him with. If it be urged, that sin hath lost him this, the answer is not far to seek, that from her the sin first proceded, which keeps her justly in the same proportoen till beneath. She is not to gain by being first in the transgression, that man should further lose to her,
because already he hath lost by her means. Oft it happens, that in this matter he is without fault; so that his punishment herein is causeless: and God hath the praise in our speeches of him, to sort his punishment in the same kind with the offence. Suppose he erred; it is not the intent of God or man, to hunt an errour so to the death with a revenge beyond all measure and proportion. But if we argue thus, this affliction is befallen him for his sin, therefore he must bear it, without seeking the only remedy: first, it will be false, that all affliction comes for sin, as in the case of Job, and of the man born blind, John ix. 3, was evident: next, by that reason, all miseries coming for sin, we must let them all lie upon us like the vermin of an Indian Catharist, which his fond religion forbids him to molest. Were it a particular punishment inflicted through the anger of God upon a person, or upon a land, no law hinders us in that regard, no law but bids us remove it if we can; much more if it be a dangerous temptation withal; much more yet, if it be certainly a temptation, and not certainly a punishment, though a pain. As for what they say we must bear with patience; to bear with patience, and to seek effectual remedies, implies no contradiction. It may no less be for our disobedience, our unfaithfulness, and other sins against God, that wives become adulterous to the bed; and questionless we ought to take the affliction as patiently as christian prudence would wish: yet hereby is not lost the right of divorcing for adultery. No, you say, because our Saviour excepted that only. But why, if he were so bent to punish our sins, and try our patience in binding on us a disastrous marriage, why did he except adultery? Certainly to have been bound from divorce in that case also had been as plentiful a punishment to our sins, and not too little work for the patientest. Nay, perhaps they will say it was too great a sufferance; and with as slight a reason, for no wise man but would sooner pardon the act of adultery once and again committed by a person worth pity and forgiveness, than to lead a wearisome life of unloving and unquiet conversation with one who neither affects nor is affected, much less with one who exercises all bitterness, and would commit adultery too, but for envy lest the persecuted condition should thereby get the benefit of his freedom. It is plain therefore, that God enjoins not this supposed strictness of not divorcing either to punish us, or to try our patience.
Moreover, if man be the image of God, which consists in holiness, and woman ought in the same respect to be the image and companion of man, in such wise to be loved as the church is beloved of Christ; and if, as God is the head of Christ, and Christ the head of man, so man is the head of woman; I cannot see by this golden dependance of headship and subjection, but that piety and religion is the main tie of christian matrimony: so as if there be found between the pair a notorious disparity either of wickedness or heresy, the husband by all manner of right is disengaged from a creature, not made and inflicted on him to the vexation of his righteousness: the wife also, as her subjection is terminated in the Lord, being herself the redeemed of
shall be given in due place.
Christ, is not still bound to be the vassal of him, who | be briefest with them who came to tempt him, account is the bondslave of Satan: she being now neither the image nor the glory of such a person, nor made for him, nor left in bondage to him; but hath recourse to the wing of charity, and protection of the church, unless there be a hope on either side: yet such a hope must be meant, as may be a rational hope, and not an endless servitude. Of which hereafter.
But usually it is objected, that if it be thus, then there can be no true marriage between misbelievers and irreligious persons. I might answer, let them see to that who are such; the church hath no commission to judge those without, I Cor. v. But this they will say perhaps, is but penuriously to resolve a doubt. I answer therefore, that where they are both irreligious, the marriage may be yet true enough to them in a civil relation. For there are left some remains of God's image in man, as he is merely man; which reason God gives against the shedding of man's blood, Gen. ix. as being made in God's image, without expressing whether he were a good man or a bad, to exempt the slayer from punishment. So that in those marriages where the parties are alike void of religion, the wife owes a civil homage and subjection, the husband owes a civil loyalty. But where the yoke is misyoked, heretic with faithful, godly with ungodly, to the grievance and manifest endangering of a brother or sister, reasons of a higher strain than matrimonial bear sway; unless the gospel, instead of freeing us, debase itself to make us bond-men, and suffer evil to control good.
"Male and female created he them."] This contains another end of matching man and woman, being the right and lawfulness of the marriage-bed; though much inferior to the former end of her being his image and help in religious society. And who of weakest insight may not see, that this creating of them male and female cannot in any order of reason, or Christianity, be of such moment against the better and higher purposes of their creation, as to enthral husband or wife to duties or to sufferings, unworthy and unbeseeming the image of God in them? Now whenas not only men, but good men, do stand upon their right, their estimation, their dignity, in all other actions and deportments, with warrant enough and good conscience, as having the image of God in them, it will not be difficult to determine what is unworthy and unseemly for a man to do or suffer in wedlock: and the like proportionally may be found for woman, if we love not to stand disputing below the principles of humanity. He that said, "Male and female created he them," immediately before that said also in the same verse, “in the image of God created he him," and redoubled it, that our thoughts might not be so full of dregs as to urge this poor consideration of male and female, without remembering the nobleness of that former repetition; lest when God sends a wise eye to examine our trivial glosses, they be found extremely to creep upon the ground: especially since they confess, that what here concerns marriage is but a brief touch, only preparative to the institution which follows more expressly in the next chapter; and that Christ so took it, as desiring to
Ver. 28. "And God blessed them, and God sail unto them, Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth," &c.
This declares another end of matrimony, the propagation of mankind; and is again repeated to Noah and his sons. Many things might be noted on this place not ordinary, nor unworth the noting; but I undertook not a general comment. Hence therefore we see the desire of children is honest and pious; if we be not less zealous in our Christianity than Plato was in his heathenism; who in the sixth of his laws, counts offspring therefore desirable, that we may leave in our stead sons of our sons, continual servants of God: a religious and prudent desire, if people knew as well what were required to breeding as to begetting; which desire perhaps was a cause, why the Jews hardly could endure a barren wedlock: and Philo, in his book of special laws, esteems him only worth pardon, that sends not barrenness away. Carvilius, the first recorded in Rome to have sought divorce, had it granted him for the bar renness of his wife, upon his oath that he married to the end he might have children; as Dionysius and Gellius are authors. But to dismiss a wife only fot barrenness, is hard: and yet in some the desire of chil dren is so great, and so just, yea sometimes so necessary that to condemn such a one to a childless age, the faul apparently not being in him, might seem perhaps mott strict than needed. Sometimes inheritances, crowns and dignities are so interested and annexed in thei common peace and good to such or such lineal descent that it may prove of great moment both in the affair of men and of religion, to consider thoroughly wha might be done herein, notwithstanding the wayward
ness of our school doctors.
GEN. II. 18.
“And the Lord said, It is not good that man should
be alone; I will make him a help meet for him." Ver. 23. “And Adam said," &c. Ver. 24. “Therefo shall a man leave," &c.
THIS second chapter is granted to be a commentar on the first, and these verses granted to be an exposi tion of that former verse," Male and female create he them :" and yet when this male and female is by the explicit words of God himself here declared to b not meant other than a fit help, and meet society; who would engross to themselves the whole trade interpreting, will not suffer the clear text of God to di the office of explaining itself.
"And the Lord God said, It is not good."] Ama would think, that the consideration of who spake shoul raise up the intention of our minds to inquire better? and obey the purpose of so great a speaker: for as order the business of marriage, that which he be speaks is all made vain; and in the decision of matri mony, or not matrimony, nothing at all regarded. O 1à presumption hath utterly changed the state and com
"It is not good for man to be alone."] Hitherto all things, that have been named, were approved of God to be very good: loneliness is the first thing, which God's eye name not good: whether it be a thing, or the want of something, I labour not; let it be their tendance, who have the art to be industriously idle. And bere" alone" is meant alone without woman; otherwise Adam had the company of God himself, and deangels to converse with; all creatures to delight him God seriously, or to make him sport. God could have created wedhim out of the same mould a thousand friends and brother Adams to have been his consorts; yet for all this, har till Eve was given him, God reckoned him to be alone. "It is not good."] God here presents himself like a man deliberating; both to shew us that the matter sters of high consequence, and that he intended to found it according to natural reason, not impulsive command; that that the duty should arise from the reason of it, not the reason be swallowed up in a reasonless duty. *Not good," was as much to Adam before his fall, as not pleasing, not expedient; but since the coming of sin into the world, to him who hath not received the Jetontinence, it is not only not expedient to be alone, but se plainly sinful. And therefore he who wilfully abstains from marriage, not being supernaturally gifted, and he who by making the yoke of marriage unjust and intolerable, causes men to abbor it, are both in a diabolical sin, equal to that of Antichrist, who forbids to try. For what difference at all whether he abstain
dition of this ordinance: God ordained it in love and helpfulness to be indissoluble, and we in outward act and formality to be a forced bondage; so that being subject to a thousand errours in the best men, if it prove a blessing to any, it is of mere accident, as man's law bath handled it, and not of institution.
"For man to be alone."] Some would have the sense hereof to be in respect of procreation only: and Austin contests that manly friendship in all other regard had been a more becoming solace for Adam, than to spend so many secret years in an empty world with one woman. But our writers deservedly reject this crabbed opinion; and defend that there is a peculiar comfort in the married state beside the genial bed, which no other society affords. No mortal nature can endure either in the actions of religion, or study of wisdom, without sometime slackening the cords of intense thought and labour: which lest we should think faulty, God himself conceals us not his own recreations before the world was built; "I was," saith the eternal wisdom, "daily his delight, playing always before him." And to him indeed wisdom is as a high tower of pleasure, but to us a steep hill, and we toiling ever about the bottom: he executes with ease the exploits of his omnipotence, as easy as with us it is to will: but no worthy enterprise can be done by us without continual plodding and wearisomeness to our faint and sensitive abilities. We cannot therefore always be contemplative, or pragmatical abroad, but have need of some delightful intermissions, wherein the enlarged soul may leave off a while her severe schooling; and, like a glad youth in wandering vacancy, may keep her holidays to joy and harmless pastime : which as she cannot well do without company, so in no company so well as where the different sex in most resembling unlikeness, and most unlike resemblance, cannot but please best, and be pleased in the aptitude of that variety. Whereof lest we should be too timorous, in the awe that our flat sages would form us and dress us, wisest Solomon among his gravest Proverbs countenances a kind of ravishment and erring fondness in the entertainment of wedded leisures; and in the Song of Songs, which is generally believed, even in the jolliest expressions, to figure the spousals of the church with Christ, sings of a thousand raptures between those two lovely ones far on the hither side of carnal enjoyment. By these instances, and more which might be brought, we may imagine how indulgently God provided against man's loneliness; that he approved it not, as by himself declared not good; that he approved the remedy thereof, as of his own ordaining, consequently good : and as he ordained it, so doubtless proportionably to our fallen estate he gives it; else were his ordinance at least in vain, and we for all his gifts still empty handed. Nay, such an unbounteous giver we should make him, as in the fables Jupiter was to Ixion, giving him a cloud instead of Juno, giving him a monstrous issue by her, the breed of Centaurs, a neglected and unloved race, the fruits of a delusive marriage; and lastly, giving him her with a damnation to that wheel in hell, from a life thrown into the midst of temptations and disorders. But God is no deceitful giver, to bestow that on us for a remedy of loneliness, which if it bring not a sociable mind as well as a conjunctive body, leaves us no less alone than before; and if it bring a mind perpetually averse and disagreeable, betrays us to a worse condition than
men from marrying, or restrain them in a marriage bappening totally discommodious, distasteful, dishonest, and pernicious to him, without the appearance of his fault? For God does not here precisely say, I make a female to this male, as he did before; but expounding himself here on purpose, he saith, because it is not good fer man to be alone, I make him therefore a meet help. God supplies the privation of not good, with the perfest gift of a real and positive good: it is man's percooking, who hath turned this bounty of God la scorpion, either by weak and shallow construcor by proud arrogance and cruelty to them who either in their purposes nor in their actions have offended against the due honour of wedlock.
Now whereas the apostle's speaking in the spirit,