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ly gathered ; let him hasten to be acquainted with that noble volume written by our learned Selden, Of the Law of Nature and of Nations,' a work more useful and more worthy to be perused by whosoever studies to be a great man in wisdom, equity, and justice, than all those, decretals and sumless sums, which the pontifical clerks have doted on, ever since that unfortunate mother famously sinned thrice, and died impenitent of her bringing into the world those two misbegotten infants, and for ever infants, Lombard and Gratian, him the compiler of canon iniquity, the other the Tubalcain of scholastic sophistry, whose overspreading barbarism hath not only infused their own bastardy upon the fruitfullest part of human learning, not only dissipated and. dejected the clear light of nature in us, and of nations, but hath tainted also the fountains of divine doctrine, and rendered the pure and solid law of God unbeneficial to us by their calumnious dunceries. Yet this law, which their unskilfulness hath made liable to all ignominy, the purity and wisdom of ihis law shall be the buckler of our dispute. Liberty of divorce we claim not, we think not but from this law; the dignity, the faith, the authority thereof is now grown among Christians, O astonishment! a. labour of no mean difficulty and

That it should not be counted a faultering dispense, a flattering permission of sin, the bill of adultery, a snare, is the expense of all this apology. And all that we solicit is, that it may be suffered to stand in the place where God set it, amidst the firmament of his holy laws, to shine, as it was wont, upon the weaknesses and errors of men, perishing else in the sincerity of their honest purposes : for certain there is no memo-ry of whoredoms and adulteries left

among us now, when. this warranted freedom of God's own giving is made

envy to defend.

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dangerous and discarded for a scroll of licence. be your suffrages and votes, O Englishmen, that this exploded decree of God and Moses may scape and come off fair, without the censure of a shameful abrogating : which, if yonder sun ride sure, and means not to break. word with us to morrow, was never yet abrogated by our Saviour. ****

Let not therefore the frailty of man go on thus inventing needless troubles to itself, to groan under the false imagination of a strictness never imposed from above; enjoining that for duty, which is an impossible and vain supererogating. Be not righteous overmuch,' is the counsel of Ecclesiastes ; 'why shouldst thou destroy thyself? Let us not be thus overcurious to strain at atoms, and yet to stop every vent and cranny permissive liberty, lest nature wanting those needful pores' and breathing-places, which God hath not debarred our weakness, either suddenly break out into some wide rupture of open vice and frantic heresy, or else inwardly fester with repining and blasphemous thoughts, under an unreasonable and fruitless rigor of unwarranted law. ****

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The four chief places in Scripture which treat of Marriage,

or Nullities in Marriage.

On GEN. I, 27, 28, compared and explained by Gen. ii. 18, 23, 24;

DEUT. XXIV, 1, 2..
MATT. V, 31, 32, with Matt. xix. from ver. 3, to 11.
i Cor. VII. from ver, 10, to 16,

Wherein the Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce, as was.

lately published, is confirmed by explanation of scripture, by testimony of ancient fathers, of civil laws in the primitive church, of famousest reformed dirines ; and lastly, by an intended act of the parliament and church of England in the last year of Edward the Sixth.

Σκαιούσι καινα προσφέρων σοφα
Δοξεις αχρείο», κά σοφος πεφυκέναι:
Των δ' αυ δοκώντων ειδέναι τι ποικίλον,
Κρείσσων νομισθεί; εν πόλει, λυαρός φανή.

Euripid. Medea.


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Although it be generally known, how and by whom ye have been instigated to a hard censure of that former book, entitled, “ The Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce,” an opinion held by some of the best among reformed writers without scandal or confutement, though

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now thought new and dangerous hy some of our severe Gnostics, whose little reading, and less meditating, holds ever with hardest obstinacy that which it took up

with easiest credulity ; I do not find yet ihat aught, for the furious incitements which have been used, hath issued by your appointment, that might give the least interruption or disrepute either to the author, or to the book. Which he who will be better advised than to call your neglect or connivance at a thing imagined so perilous, can attribute it to nothing more justly, than to the deep and quiet stream of your direct and calm deliberations, that gave not

way either to the fervent rashness, or the immaterial gravity of those who ceased not to exasperate without cause. For which uprightness and incorrupt refusal of what ye were incensed to, lords and commons! (though it were done to justice, not to me, and was a peculiar demonstration how far your ways are different from the rash vulgar) besides those allegiances of oath and duty, which are my public debt to your public labours, I have yet a store of gratitude laid up,

which cannot be exhausted ; and such thanks perhaps they may live to be, as shall more than whisper to the next ages. **** It was preached before ye, lords and commons ! in August last upon a special day of humiliation, that "there was a wicked book abroad," and ye were taxed of sin that it was yet

uncensured, the book deserve ing to be burnt ;" and "impudence” also was charged upon the author, who durst “ set his name to it, and dedicate it to yourselves !" **** Certainly to subscribe 'my name at what I was to own, was what the state had ordered and requires. And he who lists not to be malicious, would call it ingenuity, clear conscience, willingness to avouch what might be questioned, or to be better instructed, *** But if only to have writ my

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name must be counted “impudence,” how doth this but justify another, who might affirm with as good warrant, that the late discourse of “Scripture and Reason,” which is certain to be chiefly his own draught, was published without a name, out of base fear, and the sly avoidance of what might follow to his detriment, if the party at court should hap to reach him? And I, to have set my name, where he accuses me to have set it, am so far from recanting, that I offer my hand also if need be, to make good the same opinion which I there maintain, by inevitable consequences drawn parallel from his own principal arguments in that of " Scripture and Reason :" which I shall pardon him if he can deny, without shaking his own composition to pieces. The “ impudence” therefore, since he weighed so little what a gross revile that was to give his equal, I send him back again for a phylactery to stitch upon his arrogance, that censures not only before conviction, so bitterly without so much as one reason given, bat censures the congregation of his governors to their faces, for not being so hasty as himself to censure.

And whereas my other crime is, that I addressed the dedication of what I had studied to the parliament; how could I better declare the loyalty which I owe to that supreme and majestic tribunal, and the opinion which I have of the high entrusted judgment, and personal worth assembled in that place? With the same affections therefore, and the same addicted fidelity, parliament of England! I here again have brought to your perusal on the same argument these following expositions of scripture. ***

Doubtless it is not reason now a days that satisfies or suborns the common credence of men, to yield so easily, and grow so vehement in matters much more

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