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were not such a league as binds the married couple to all society of life, and communion in divine and human things, and so associated keeps them. Something indeed out of the later fathers they may pretend for this their tyranny, especially out of Austria and some others, who were much taken with a preposterous admiration of single life; yet though these fathers, from the words of Christ not riglıtly understood, taught that it was 'unlawful to marry again, while the former wife lived, whatever cause there had been either of desertion or divorce; yet if we mark the custom of the church, and the common judgment which both in their times and afterward prevailed, we shall perceive, that neither these fathers did ever catt out of the church any one for marrying after a divorce, approved by the imperial laws.

Nor only the first chriftian emperors, but the latter also, even to Juttinian and after him, did grant for certain causes approved by judges, to make a true divorce; which made and confirmed by law, it might be lawful to marry again; which if it could not have been done without displeasing Christ and his church, surely it would not have been granted by christian emperors, nor had the fathers then winked at those doings in the emperors. Hence ye may fee that Jerome also, though zealous of fingle life more than enough, and such a condemner of second marriage, though after the death of either party, yet, forced by plain equity, defended Fabiola, a noble matron of Rome, who, having refused her husband for juft caufes, was married to another. For that the fending of a divorce to her husband was not blameworthy, he affirms because the man was heinously vicious; and that if an adulterer's wife may be discarded, an adulterous husband is not to be kept. But that the married again, while yet her hulband was alive; he defends in that the apofile hath said, “ It is better to marry than to burn;" and that young widows should marry, for such was Fabiola, and could not remain in widowhood.

But some one will object, that Jerome there adds, “ Neither did the know the vigour of the gospel, wherein all cause of marrying is debarred from women, while their husbands live; and again, while the avoided many


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wounds of Satan, the received one ere she was aware." But let the equal reader mind also what went before; “ Because,” faith he, foon after the beginning, “there is a rock and form of slanderers opposed before her, I will pot praise her converted, unless I firft abfolve her guilty.” For why does he call them flanderers, who accused Fabiola of marrying again, if he did not judge it a matter of christian equity and charity, to pass by and pardon that fact, though in his own opinion he held it a fault? And what can this mean, “I will not praise her, unless I first absolve her?” For how could he abfolve her, but by proving that Fabiola, neither in rejecting her vicious husband, nor in marrying another, had committed such a fin, as could be juftly condemned ? Nay, he

proves both by evident reafon, and clear testimonies of fcripture, that the avoided fin.

This is also hence understood, that Jerome by the vigour of the gospel, meant that height and perfection of our Saviour's precept, which might be remitted to those that burn; for he adds, " But if the be accused in that the remained not unmarried, I fhall confess the fault, so I

may relate the necessity.” If then he acknowledged a necellity, as he did, because she was young, and could not live in widowhood, certainly he could not impute her second marriage to her much blame: but when he excufes her out of the word of God, does he not openly: declare his thoughts, that the second marriage of Fabiola was permitted her by the Holy Ghost himself, for the necellity which he suffered, and to shun the danger of fornication, though the went somewhat aside from the vigour of the gospel ? But if any urge, that Fabiola did public penance for her second marriage, which was not imposed but for great faults; it is answered, the was not enjoined to this penance, but did it of her own accord, “ and not till after her second husband's death.” As in the time of Cyprian, we read that many were wont to do voluntary penance for small faults, which were not liable to excommunication,


That marriage was granted by the ancient fathers, even

after the vow of single life. I omit his testimonies out of Cyprian, Gellafius, Epipha

nius, contented only to rciate what he thence collects to the present purpose.

SOME will say perhaps, wherefore all this concerning marriage after vow of single life, whenas the question was of marriage after divorce? For this reason, that they whom it so much moves, because some of the fathers thought marriage after any kind of divorce to be condemned of our Saviour, may see that this conclufion fol-' lows not. The fathers thought all marriage after divorce to be for bidden of our Saviour, therefore they thought such marriage was not to be tolerated in a Chriftian. For the same fathers judged it forbidden to marry after vow; yet such marriages they neither dissolved nor excommunicated : for these words of our Saviour, and of the Holy Ghost, flood in their way; “ All cannot receive this saying, but they to whom it is given. Every one hath his proper gift from God, one after this manner another after that. It is better to marry than to burn. I will that younger widows marry;" and the like.

So there are many canons and laws extant, whereby priests, if they married, were removed from their office, yet is ít not read that their marriage was diffolved, as the papists nowadays do, or that they were excommunicated, nay expressly they might communicate as laymen. If the consideration of human infirmity, and those testimonies of divine scripture which grant marriage to every one that wants it, persuaded those fathers to bear themselves fo humanely toward them who had married with breach of vow to God, as they believed, and with divorce of that marriage wherein they were in a manner joined to God; who doubts, but that the fame fathers held the like humanity was to be afforded to those, who after divorce and faith broken with men,


as they thought, entered into a second marriage ? For among such are also found no less weak, and no less burning,


Who of the ancient fathers have granted marriage after


THIS is clear both by what hath been said, and by that which Origen relates of certain bishops in his time, Homil.

7, in Matth., “I know some,” saith he, “which are over churches, who without scripture have permitted the wife to marry while her former husband lived. And did this against scripture, which faith, the wife is bound to her husband so long as he lives; and the shall be called an adulteress, if, her husband living, she take another man; yet did they not permit this without cause, perhaps for the infirmity of such as had not continence, they permitted evil to avoid worse.” Ye fee Origen and the doctors of his age, not without all cause, permitted women after divorce to marry, though their former husbands were living; yet writes that they permitted against scripture. But what cause could they have to do so, unless they thought our Saviour in his precepts of divorce had so forbidden, as willing to remit such perfection to his weaker ones, cast into danger of worse faults ?

The same thought Leo, bishop of Rome, Ep. 85, to the African bishops of Mauritania Cæfarienfis, wherein complaining of a certain priest, who divorcing his wife, or being divorced by her, as other copies have it, had married another, neither dissolves the matrimony, nor excommunicates him, only unpriests him. The fathers therefore, as we fee, did not simply and wholly condemn marriage after divorce.

But as for me, this remitting of our Saviour's precepts, which these ancients allow to the infirm in marrying after vow and divorce, I can in no ways admit; for whatsoever plainly confents not with the commandment,


cannot, I am certain, be permitted, or suffered in any Christian : for heaven and earth shall pass away, but not a tittle from the commands of God among them who expect life eternal. Let us therefore consider, and weigh the words of our Lord concerning marriage and divorce, which he pronounced both by himself, and by his apoftle, and let us compare them with other oracles of God; for whatsoever is contrary to these, I shall not persuade the least tolerating thereof. But if it can be taught to agree with the word of God, yea to be commanded, that most men may have permission given them to divorce and marry again, I must prefer the authority of God's word before the opinion of fathers and doctors, as they themselves teach.


The words of our Lord, and of the Holy Ghost, by the

Apostle Paul concerning divorce, are explained. The ist Axiom, that Christ could not condemn of adultery, that which he once commanded.

BUT the words of our Lord, and of the Holy Ghost, out of which Austin and some others of the fathers think it concluded, that our Saviour forbids marriage after any divorce, are these; Mat. v, 31, 32, “ It hath been faid," &c.: and Matt. xix, 7, They say unto him, why did Moses then command,” &c.: and Mark x, and Luke xvi, Rom. vii, 1, 2, 3, 1 Cor. vii, 10, 11. Hence therefore they conclude, that all marriage after divorce is called adultery; which to commit, being no ways to be tolerated in any Christian, they think it follows, that second marriage is in no cafe to be permitted either to the divorcer, or to the divorced.

But that it may be more fully and plainly perceived what force is in this kind of reasoning, it will be the best course, to lay down certain grounds whereof no Christian can doubt the truth. First, it is a wickedness to suspect, that our Saviour branded that for adultery, which himfelf, in his own law which he came to fulfil, and not to dillolve, did not only permit, but also command; for by


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