« PreviousContinue »
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. * ***
Yet now there is nothing in the life of man, through our misconstruction, made more uncertain, more hazardous and full of chance than this divine blessing, **
which if we do but err in our choice, the most unblameable error that can be, err but one minute, one moment after those mighty syllables pronounced, which take upon, them to join Heaven and Hell together unpardonably. till death pardon: this divine blessing that looked but now with such a humane smile upon us, and spoke such gentle reason, straight vanishes like a fair sky, and brings on such a scene of cloud and tempest, as turns all to shipwreck without haven or shore, but to a ransomless captivity. ****
Having inquired the institution how it was in the beginning, both from the 1 chap. of Gen., where it was only mentioned in part, and from the second, where it was plainly and evidently instituted; ** we shall now fix with some advantage, and by a short view backward gather up the ground we have gone, and sum up the strength we have, into one argumentative head, with that organic force that logic proffers us. All arts acknowledge, that then only we know certainly, when we can define; for definition is that which refines the pure essence of things from the circumstance. If therefore we can attain in this our controversy to define exactly what marriage is, we shall soon learn when there is a nullity thereof, and when a divorce. *** *
But to proceed in the pursuit of an accurate defini-, tion, it will avail us something, and whet our thoughts, to examine what fabric hereof others have already reared. Paræus on Gen. defines marriage to be" an indissoluble conjunction of one man and one woman to an individual and intimate conversation and mutual benevolence," &c. Wherein is to be marked his placing of intimate conversation before bodily benevolence ; for bodily is meant, though indeed "benevolence" rather sounds will than body. Why then shall divorce
be granted for want of bodily performance, and not for want of fitness to intimate conversation, whenas corporal benevolence cannot in any human fashion be without this? Thus his definition places the ends of marriage in one order, and esteems them in another. His tautology also of indissoluble and individual is not to be imitated; especially since neither indissoluble nor individual hath aught to do in the exact definition, being but a consectary flowing from thence, as appears by plain scripture, "Therefore shall a man leave," &c. For marriage is not true marriage by being individual, but therefore individual, if it be true marriage. No argument but causes enter the definition: a consectary is but the effect of those causes. Besides, that marriage is indissoluble, is not catholicly true; we know it dissoluble for adultery and for desertion, by the verdict of all reformed churches. Dr. Ames defines it " vidual conjunction of one man and one woman, to com munion of body and mutual society of life:" but this perverts the order of God, who in the institution places meet help and society of life before communion of body. And vulgar estimation undervalues beyond comparison all society of life and communion of mind beneath the communion of body; granting no divorce, but to the want, or miscommunicating of that. Hemingius, an approved author, Melancthon's scholar, and who, next to Bucer and Erasmus, writes of divorce most like a divine, thus comprises," Marriage is a conjunction of one man and one woman lawfully consenting, into one flesh, for mutual help's sake, ordained of God." And in his explanation stands punctually upon the conditions of consent, that it be not in any main matter deluded, as being the life of wedlock, and no true marriage without a true con"Into one flesh" he expounds into one mind, as
well as one body, and makes it the formal cause: herein only missing, while he puts the effect into his definition instead of the cause which the text affords him.
one flesh" is not the formal essence of wedlock, but one end, or one effect of "a meet help :" the end ofttimes being the effect and fruit of the form, as logic teaches else many aged and holy matrimonies, and more eminently that of Joseph and Mary, would be no true marriage. And that maxim generally received, would be false, that "consent alone, though copulation never follow, makes the marriage." Therefore to consent lawfully into one flesh, is not the formal cause of matrimony, but only one of the effects. The civil lawyers, and first Justinian or Tribonian defines matrimony a "conjunction of man and woman containing individual accustom of life." Wherein first, individual is not so bad as indissoluble put in by others and although much cavil might be made in the distinguishing between indivisible and individual, yet the one taken for possible, the other for actual, neither the one nor the other can belong to the essence of marriage; especially when a civilian defines, by which law marriage is actually divorced for many causes, and with good leave, by mutual consent. Therefore where "conjunction" is said, they who comment the Institutes agree, that conjunction of mind is by the law meant, not necessarily conjunction of body. That law then had good reason attending to its own definition, that divorce should be granted for the breaking of that conjunction which it holds necessary, sooner than for the want of that conjunction which it holds not necessary. And whereas Tuningus, a famous lawyer, excuses individual as the purpose of marriage, not always the success, it suffices not. able to constitute the essence of a thing.
Purpose is not
self, the universal mother, intends nothing but her own perfection and preservation; yet is not the more indissoluble for that. The Pandects out of Modestinus, though not define, yet well describe marriage "the con junction of male and female, the society of all life, the communion of divine and human right:" which Bucer also imitates on the fifth to the Ephesians. But it seems rather to comprehend the several ends of marriage than to contain the more constituting cause that makes it what it is. ***
I suppose that marriage by the natural and plain order of God's institution in the text may be more demonstratively and essentially defined." Marriage is a divine institution, joining man and woman in a love fitly disposed to the helps and comforts of domestic life." divine institution." This contains the prime efficient cause of marriage: as for consent of parents and guardians, it seems rather a concurrence than a cause; for as many that marry are in their own power as not: and where they are not their own, yet are they not subjected beyond reason. Now though efficient causes are not requisite in a definition, yet divine institution hath such influence upon the Form, and is so a conserving cause of it, that without it the Form is not sufficient to distinguish matrimony from other conjunctions of male and female, which are not to be counted marriage. Joining man and woman in a love," &c. This brings in the parties consent; until which be, the marriage hath no true being. When I say consent," I mean not error, for error is not properly consent: and why should not consent be here understood with equity and good to either part, as in all other friendly covenants, and not be strained and cruelly urged to the mischief and destruction of both? Neither do I mean that singu