Page:Tetrachordon - Milton (1645).djvu/102

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somthing first. But I deferr not what I undertooke to shew, that in the Church both primitive and reformed, the words of Christ have bin understood to grant divorce for other causes then adultery; and that the word fornication in mariage hath a larger sense then that commonly suppos'd.

Justin Martyr in his first Apology writt'n within 50. yeares after St. John dy'd, relates a story which Eusebius transcribes, that a certain matron of Rome, the wife of a vitious husband, her selfe also formerly vitious, but converted to the faith, and persuading the same to her husband, at lest the amendment of his wicked life, upon his not yeilding to her daily entreaties and persuasions in this behalf, procur'd by law to be divorc't from him. This was neither for adultery, nor desertion, but as the relation saies, Esteeming it an ungodly thing to be the consort of bed with him, who against the law of nature and of right sought out voluptuous waies. Suppose he endeavour'd som unnaturall abuse, as the Greek admitts that meaning, it cannot yet be call'd adultery; it therefore could be thought worthy of divorce no otherwise then as equivalent, or wors; and other vices will appear in other respects as much divorsive. Next tis said her freinds advis'd her to stay a while; and what reason gave they? not because they held unlawfull what she purpos'd, but because they thought she might longer yet hope his repentance. She obey'd, till the man going to Alexandria, and from thence reported to grow still more impenitent, not for any adultery or desertion, wherof neither can be gather'd, but, saith the Martyr, and speaks it like one approving, lest she should be partaker of his unrighteous and ungodly deeds, remaining in wedloc, the communion of bed and board with such a person, she left him by a lawfull divorce. This cannot but give us the judgement of the Church in those pure and next to Apostolic times. For how els could the woman have bin permitted, or heer not reprehended; and if a wife might then doe this without reprooff, a husband certainly might no less, if not more.

Tertullian in the same age, writing his 4. book against Marcion witnesses that Christ by his answer to the Pharises protected the constitution of Moses as his own, and directed the institution of the creator, for I alter not his Carthaginian phrase; he excus'd rather then destroi'd the constitution of Moses; I say he forbidd conditionally, if any one therefore put away, that he may marry another: so that if he prohibited conditionally, then not wholly; and what he forbadd not wholly, he permitted otherwise, where the cause ceases for which he prohibited: that is when a man makes it not the cause of