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disputable, and far less conducing to the daily good and peace of life. Some whose necessary shifts have long enured them to cloak the defects of their unstudied years, and hatred now to learn, under the appearance of a grave solidity (which estimation they have gained among weak perceivers,) find the ease of slighting what they cannot refute, and are determined, as I hear, to hold it not worth the answering. * ***
Others, which is their courtesy, confess that wit and parts may do much to make that seem true which is not; as was objected to Socrates by them who could not resist his efficacy, that he ever made the worst cause seem the better; and thus thinking themselves discharged of the difficulty, love not to wade further into the fear of a convincement. These will be their excuses to decline the full examining of this serious point. So much the more I press it and repeat it, lords and commons! that ye beware while time is, ere this grand secret, and only art of ignorance affecting tyranny, grow powerful and rule among us. For if sound argument and reason shall be thus put off, either by an undervaluing silence, or the masterly censure of a railing word or two in the pulpit, or by rejecting the force of truth, as the mere cunning of eloquence and sophistry; what can be the end of this, but that all good learning and knowledge will suddenly decay? Ignorance, and illiterate presumption, which is yet but our disease, will turn at length into our very constitution, and prove the hectic evil of this age; worse to be feared, if it get once to reign over us, than any fifth monarchy. If this shall be the course, that what was wont to be a chief commendation, and the ground of other men's confidence in an author, his diligence, his learning, his elocution whether by right, or by ill meaning granted him,
shall be turned now to a disadvantage and suspicion. against him, that what he writes, though unconfuted, must therefore be mistrusted, therefore not received for the industry, the exactness, the labour in it, confessed to be more than ordinary; as if wisdom had now forsaken the thirsty and laborious inquirer to dwell against her nature with the arrogant and shallow babbler; to what purpose all those pains and that continual searching required of us by Solomon to the attainment of understanding? Why are men bred up with such care and expense to a life of perpetual studies? Why do yourselves with such endeavour seek to wipe off the imputation of intending to discourage the progress and advance of learning? He therefore, whose heart can bear him to the high pitch of your noble enterprises, may easily assure himself, that the prudence and farjudging circumspectness of so grave a magistracy sitting in parliament, who have before them the unprepared and purposed act of their most religious predecessors to imitate in this question, cannot reject the clearness of these reasons, and these allegations both here and formerly offered them; nor can overlook the necessity of or daining more wholesomely and more humanely in the casualties of divorce, 'than our laws have yet established, if the most urgent and excessive grievances happening in 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. For if the law make not
timely provision, let the law, as reason is, bear the censure of those consequences, which her own default now more evidently produces. And if men want manliness to expostulate the right of their due ransom, and to second their own occasions, they may sit hereafter and bemoan themselves to have neglected through faintness the only remedy of their sufferings, which a seasonable and wellgrounded speaking might have purchased them. And perhaps in time to come, others will know how to esteem what is not every day put into their hands, when they have marked events, and better weighed how hurtful and unwise it is, to hide a secret and pernicious rupture under the ill counsel of a bashful silence. **** JOHN MILTON.
The four chief places in Scripture which treat of Marriage, or Nullities in Marriage.
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.
28. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, &c.
Gen. II, 18.
And the Lord God said, It is not good that man should be alone, I will make him a help meet for him.
And Adam said, this is now bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman, because she was taken out of man.
24. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife, and they shall be one flesh.
No ordinance human or from Heaven can bind against the good of man; so 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 dispensed 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 Heathens could see, as the well read in story can recount of Solon and Epaminondas, whom Cicero in his first book of" Invention" nobly defends. "All law," saith he, (6 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.” ****
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. ****
Carvilius, the first recorded in Rome to have sought divorce, had it granted him for the barrenness 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 for barrenness, is hard: and yet in some the desire of children is so great, and so just, yea sometime so necessary, that to condemn such a one to a childless age, the fault apparently not being in him, might seem perhaps more strict than needed. Sometimes inheritances, crowns, and dignities, are so interested and annexed in their common peace and good to such or such lineal descent, that it may prove of great moment both in the affairs of men and of religion, to consider thoroughly what might be done herein, notwithstanding the waywardness of our school doctors. ****
There is a peculiar comfort in the married state bèside the genial bed, which no other society affords. No