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Wickliff, that Englishman honoured of God to be the first preacher of a general reformation to all Europe, was not in this thing better taught of God, than to teach among his chiefest recoveries of truth," that divorce is lawful to the Christian for many other causes equal to adultery." This book indeed, through the poverty of our libraries, I am forced to cite from "ArniSus of Halberstad on the Rite of Marriage," who cites it from Corasius of Toulouse, c. 4. Cent. Sect. and he from Wickliff, 1. 4. Dial. c. 21. So much the sorrier, for that I never looked into an author cited by his adversary upon this occasion, but found him more conducible to the question than his quotation rendered him. Next, Luther, how great a servant of God! in his book of "Conjugal Life" quoted by Gerard out of the Dutch, allows divorce for the obstinate denial of conjugal duty; and "that a man may send away a proud Vashti, and marry an Esther in her stead." It seems, if this example shall not be impertinent, that Luther meant not only the refusal of benevolence, but a stubborn denial of any main conjugal duty; or if he did not, it will be evinced from what he allows. For out of question, with men that are not barbarous, love, and te peace, and fitness, will be yielded as essential to marrage, as corporal benevolence. "Though I give my body to be burnt," saith St. Paul," and have not charity, it profits me nothing." So though the body prostitute itself to whom the mind affords no other love or peace, but constant malice and vexation, can this bodily benevolence deserve to be called a marriage between Christians and rational creatures?

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Bucer, (whom our famous Dr. Rainolds was wont to prefer before Calvin,) in his comment on Matthew, and in his second book " of the Kingdom of Christ," treats of divorce at large, to the same effect as is written in "the Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce" lately published, and the translation is extant: whom, lest I should be thought to have wrested to mine own purpose, take something more out of his 49th chapter, which I then for brevity omitted. "It will be the duty of pious princes, and all who govern church or commonwealth, if any, whether husband or wife, shall affirm their want of such, who either will or can tolerably perform the necessary duties of married life, to grant that they may seek them such, and marry them; if they make it appear that such they have not." This book he wrote here in England, where he lived the greatest admired man; and this he dedicated to Edward the VIth.

Melancthon, the third great luminary of reformation, in his book " concerning Marriage," grants divorce for cruel usage, and danger of life, urging the authority of that Theodosian law, which he esteems written with the grave deliberation of godly men; "and that they who reject this law, and think it disagreeing from the gospel, understand not the difference of law and gospel; that the magistrate ought not only to defend life, but to succour the weak conscience; lest, broke with grief and indignation, it relinquish prayer, and turn to some unlawful thing." What if this heavy plight of despair arise from other discontents in wedlock, which may go to the soul of a good man more than the danger of his life, or cruel using, which a man cannot be liable to? suppose it be ingrateful usage, suppose it be perpetual spite and disobedience, suppose a hatred; not the magistrate free him from this disquiet which interrupts bis prayers, and disturbs the course of his service to God and his country all as much, and brings him such a misery, as that he more desires to leave his life, than fears to lose it? Shall not this equally concern the office of civil protection, and much more the charity of a true church, to remedy? Erasmus, who for learning was the wonder of his age, both in his Notes on Matthew, and on the first to the Corinthians, in a large and eloquent discourse, and in his answer to Phimostomus, a papist, maintains (and no protestant then living contradicted him) that the words of Christ comprehend many other causes of di


vorce under the name of fornication.

Fagius, ranked among the famous divines of Germany, whom Frederic, at that time the Palatine, sent for to be the reformer of his dominion, and whom afterwards England sought to, and obtained of him to come and teach her, differs not in this opinion from Bucer, as his notes on the Chaldee Paraphrast well testify.

The whole church of Strasburgh in her most flourishing time, when Zellius, Hedio, Capito, and other great divines, taught there, and those two renowned magistrates, Farrerus and Sturmius, governed that commonwealth and academy to the admiration of all Germany, hath thus in the 21st article: "We teach, that if according to the word of God, yea, or against it, divorces happen, to do according to God's word, Deut. xxiv. 1. Matt. xix. I Cor. vii. and the observation of the primitive church, and the christian constitution of pious Cæsars."

Peter Martyr seems in word our easy adversary, but is indeed for us: toward which, though it be something when he saith of this opinion," that it is not wicked, and can hardly be refuted," this which follows is much more; "I speak not here," saith he, " of natural impediments, which may so happen, that the matrimony can no longer hold:" but adding, that he often wondered "how the ancient and most christian emperors established those laws of divorce, and neither Ambrose, who had such influence upon the laws of Theodosius, nor any of those holy fathers found fault, nor any of the churches, why the magistrates of this day should be so loth to constitute the same. Perhaps they fear an inundation of divorces, which is not likely; whenas we read not either among the Hebrews, Greeks, or Romans, that they were much frequent where they were most permitted. If they judge christian men worse than Jews or pagans, they both injure that name, and by this reason will be constrained to grant divorces the rather; because it was permitted as a remedy of evil, for who would remove the medicine, while the disease is yet so rife ?" This being read both in "his Commonplaces," and on the first to the Corinthians, with what we shall relate more of him yet ere the end, sets him absolutely on this side. Not to insist that in both these, and other places of his commentaries, he

|ing, but in the unsufferable conditions of staying, a man may as well deduce the lawfulness of divorcing from any intolerable conditions, (if his grant be good, that we may divorce thereupon from a heretic,) as he can deduce it lawful to divorce from any deserter, by finding it lawful to divorce from a deserting infidel. For this is plain, if St. Paul's permission to divorce an infidel deserter infer it lawful for any malicious desertion, then doth Beza's definition of a deserter transfer itself with like facility from the cause of religion, to the cause of malice, and proves it as good to divorce from him who intolerably stays, as from him who purposely departs; and leaves it as lawful to depart from him who urgently requires a wicked thing, though professing the same religion, as from him who urges a heathenish or superstitious compliance in a different faith. For if there be such necessity of our abiding, we ought rather to abide the utmost for religion, than Hemingius, an author highly esteemed, and his works for any other cause; seeing both the cause of our stay printed at Geneva, writing of divorce, confesses that is pretended our religion to marriage, and the cause of learned men 66 vary in this question, some granting our suffering is supposed our constant marriage to rethree causes thereof, some five, others many more;"ligion. Beza therefore, by his own definition of a dehe himself gives us six," adultery, desertion, inability, serter, justifies a divorce from any wicked or intolerable errour, evil usage, and impiety," using argument" that conditions rather in the same religion than in a different. Christ under one special contains the whole kind, and under the name and example of fornication, he includes other causes equipollent." This discourse he wrote at the request of many who had the judging of these causes in Denmark and Norway, who by all likelihood followed his advice.

grants divorce not only for desertion, but for the seducement and scandalous demeanour of an heretical consort.

Musculus, a divine of no obscure fame, distinguishes between the religious and the civil determination of divorce; and leaving the civil wholly to the lawyers, pronounces a conscionable divorce for impotence not only natural, but accidental, if it be durable. His equity it seems, can enlarge the words of Christ to one cause more than adultery; why may not the reason of another man as wise enlarge them to another cause?

Gualter of Zuric, a well-known judicious commentator, in his homilies on Matthew, allows divorce for "leprosy, or any other cause which renders unfit for wedlock," and calls this rather " a nullity of marriage than a divorce." And who, that is not himself a mere body, can restrain all the unfitness of marriage only to a corporeal defect?

Hunnius, a doctor of Wittenberg, well known both in divinity and other arts, on the 19th of Matt. affirms, "That the exception of fornication expressed by our Saviour, excludes not other causes equalling adultery, or destructive to the substantials of matrimony; but was opposed to the custom of the Jews, who made divorce for every light cause."

Felix Bidenbachius, an eminent divine in the duchy of Wirtemberg, affirms, "That the obstinate refusal of conjugal due is a lawful cause of divorce;" and gives an instance," that the consistory of that state so judged."

Gerard cites Harbardus, an author not unknown, and Arnisæus cites Wigandus, both yielding divorce in case of cruel usage; and another author, who testifies to "have seen, in a dukedom of Germany, marriages disjointed for some implacable enmities arising."

Beza, one of the strictest against divorce, denies it not "for danger of life from a heretic, or importunate solicitation to do aught against religion:" and counts it “all one whether the heretic desert, or would stay upon intolerable conditions." But this decision, well examined, will be found of no solidity. For Beza would be asked why, if God so strictly exact our stay in any kind of wedlock, we had not better stay and hazard a murdering for religion at the hand of a wife or husband as he and others enjoin us to stay and venture it for all other causes but that? and why a man's life is not as well and warrantably saved by divorcing from an orthodox murderer, as an heretical? Again, if desertion be confessed by him to consist not only in the forsak

Aretius, a famous divine of Bern, approves many causes of divorce in his "Problems,” and adds, “ that the laws and consistories of Switzerland approve them also." As first," adultery, and that not actual only, but intentional;" alleging Matthew v. "Whosoever looketh to lust, hath committed adultery already in his heart. Whereby," saith he, " our Saviour shews, that the breach of matrimony may be not only by outward act, but by the heart and desire; when that hath once possessed, it renders the conversation intolerable, and commonly the fact follows." Other causes to the num ber of nine or ten, consenting in most with the imperial laws, may be read in the author himself, who avers them" to be grave and weighty." All these are men of name in divinity; and to these, if need were, might be added more. Nor have the civilians been all so blinded by the canon, as not to avouch the justice of those old permissions touching divorce.

Alciat of Milain, a man of extraordinary wisdom and learning, in the sixth book of his "Parerga," defends those imperial laws, "not repugnant to the gospel," as the church then interpreted. "For," saith he, "the ancients understood him separate by man, whom passions and corrupt affections divorced, not if the provincial bishops first heard the matter, and judged, as of the council of Agatha declares:" and on some part the Code he names Isidorus Hispalensis, the first com puter of canons," to be in the same mind." And in the former place gives his opinion, “that divorce might be more lawfully permitted than usury."

Corasius, recorded by Helvicus among the famous lawyers, hath been already cited of the same judgment.

Wesembechius, a much-named civilian, in his comment on this law defends it, and affirms, "That our Saviour excluded not other faults equal to adultery ; and that the word fornication signifies larger among the Hebrews than with us, comprehending every fault,

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which alienates from him to whom obedience is due, | mittee of two and thirty chosen men, divines and lawand 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 confirm-wariness and deliberation, from which that discourse

yers, 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 ec-
clesiastical laws, that might be instead of what was
abrogated. The work with great diligence was finish-
ed, 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 en-
suing, 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 parlia-
ment 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 like-
wise for evil and fierce usage:" nay the twelfth chap-
ter of that title by plain consequence declares, “that
lesser contentions, if they be perpetual, may obtain di-
vorce:" which is all one really with the position by
me held in the former treatise published on this argu-
ment, herein only differing, that there the cause of
perpetual strife was put for example in the unchange-
able discord of some natures; but in these laws in-
tended 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

ation and a welcome. But God (I solemnly attest
him withheld from my knowledge the consenting
jadgment of these men so late, until they could not be
my instructors, but only my unexpected witnesses to
partial men, that in this work I had not given the worst
experiment of an industry joined with integrity, and
the free utterance, though of an unpopular truth.
yet to the people of England may, if God so
please, prove a memorable informing; certainly a bene-edly
fit which was intended them long since by men of
highest repute for wisdom and piety, Bucer and Eras-
mus. Only this one authority more, whether in place
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 re-
tord 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 com-

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 il 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 unexpect

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 church-times 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.





Prov. xxvi. 5. "Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit."


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AFTER many rumours of confutations and convictions, | be entered a bold and impious accusation against God forthcoming against the Doctrine and Discipline of himself; who did not for this abuse withhold it from Divorce, and now and then a by-blow from the pulpit, his own people. It will be just therefore, and best for 2 y feathered with a censure strict indeed, but how true, the reputation of him who in his Subitanes hath thus more beholden to the authority of that devout place, censured, to recall his sentence. And if, out of the which it borrowed to be uttered in, than to any sound abundance of his volumes, and the readiness of his reason which it could oracle; while I still hoped as for quill, and the vastness of his other employments, espe a blessing to see some piece of diligence, or learned cially in the great audit for accounts, he can spare us discretion, come from them, it was my hap at length, aught to the better understanding of this point, he shall lighting on a certain parcel of queries, that seek and be thanked in public; and what hath offended in the find not, to find not seeking, at the tail of anabaptistical, book shall willingly submit to his correction. Provided antinomian, heretical, atheistical epithets, a jolly slan- he be sure not to come with those old and stale suppoder, called “Divorce at Pleasure." I stood awhile and sitions, unless he can take away clearly what that diswondered, what we might do to a man's heart, or what course hath urged against them, by one who will expect anatomy use, to find in it sincerity; for all our wonted other arguments to be persuaded the good health of a marks every day fail us, and where we thought it was, sound answer, than the gout and dropsy of a big mar we see it is not, for alter and change residence it can- gin, littered and overlaid with crude and buddled quonot sure. And yet I see no good of body or of mind tations. But as I still was waiting, when these lightsecure to a man for all his past labours, without per- armed refuters would have done pelting at their three petual watchfulness and perseverance: whenas one lines uttered with a sage delivery of no reason, but an above others, who hath suffered much and long in the impotent and worse than Bonnerlike censure, to burn defence of truth, shall after all this give her cause to that which provokes them to a fair dispute; at length leave him so destitute and so vacant of her defence, as a book was brought to my hands, intitled “ An Answer to yield his mouth to be the common road of truth and to the Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce." Gladly I falsehood, and such falsehood as is joined with a rash received it, and very attentively composed myself to and heedless calumny of his neighbour. For what book read; hoping that now some good man had vouchsafed hath he ever met with, as his complaint is," printed the pains to instruct me better, than I could yet learn in the city," maintaining either in the title, or in the out of all the volumes, which for this purpose I had whole pursuance," Divorce at Pleasure?" It is true, visited. Only this I marvelled, and other men have that to divorce upon extreme necessity, when through since, whenas I, in a subject so new to this age, and so the perverseness, or the apparent unfitness of either, hazardous to please, concealed not my name, why this the continuance can be to both no good at all, but an author, defending that part which is so creeded by the intolerable injury and temptation to the wronged and people, would conceal bis. But ere I could enter three the defrauded; to divorce then, there is a book that leaves into the pamphlet, (for I defer the peasantly writes it lawful. And that this law is a pure and rudeness, which by the licenser's leave I met with afterwholesome national law, not to be withheld from good wards,) my satisfaction came in abundantly, that it men, because others likely enough may abuse it to their could be nothing why he durst not name himself, but pleasure, cannot be charged upon that book, but must the guilt of his own wretchedness. For first, not to

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speak of bis 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 shew, 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 shews it first from the judaical practice, which he himself disallows, and next from the practice of canon law, which the book he would confate 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; or if it were, this parliament he might know hath now damned that judicature. So that whether his meaning were to mform his own party, or to confute his adversary, instead of shewing us the true doctrine and discipline of divorce, he shews 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 legers 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 mispending a reply to the buz 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 tainting : 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 a 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 apprebended, as if they disallowed only to divorce for com

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