Page:Tetrachordon - Milton (1645).djvu/109

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That the Popes Canon law incroaching upon civil Magistracy abolisht all divorce eevn for adultery. What the reformed Divines have recover'd; and that the famousest of them have taught according to the assertion of this booke.

But in these western parts of the empire it will appeare almost unquestionable that the cited law of Theodosius and Valentinian stood in force untill the blindest and corruptest times of Popedom displac't it. For that the volumes of Justinian never came into Italy, or beyond Illiricum, is the opinion of good Antiquaries. And that only manuscript thereof found in Apulia by Lotharius the Saxon, and giv'n to the state of Pisa for their aid at sea against the Normans of Sicily, was receav'd as a rarity not to bee matcht. And although the Gothes, and after them the Lombards and Franks who over-run the most of Europ except this Island, (unlesse wee make our Saxons and Normans a limm of them) brought in their owne customes, yet that they follow'd the Roman laws in their contracts and mariages, Agathias the historian is alleg'd. And other testimonies relate that Alaricus & Theodoric their Kings writ their statutes out of this Theodosian Code which hath the recited law of Divorce. Neverthelesse while the Monarchs of Christendome were yet barbarous, and but halfe Christian, the Popes tooke this advantage of their weake superstition, to raise a corpulent law out of the canons and decretals of audacious preists; and presum'd also to set this in the front; That the constitutions of princes are not above the constitutions of clergy, but beneath them. Using this very instance of divorce as the first prop of their tyranny; by a false consequence drawn from a passage of Ambrose upon Luke where hee saith, though Mans law grant it, yet Gods law prohibits it. Whence Gregory the Pope writing to Theoctista, inferrs that Ecclesiasticall Courts cannot be dissolv'd by the Magistrate. A faire conclusion from a double error. First in saying that the divine law prohibited divorce, for what will hee make of Moses; next supposing that it did, how will it follow, that what ever Christ forbids in his Evangelic precepts, should be hal'd into a judicial constraint against the patterne of a divine law: Certainely the Gospel came not to enact such compulsions. In the meane while wee may note heere that the restraint of divorce was one of the first faire seeming pleas which the Pope had, to step into secular authority, and with his Antichristian rigor to abolish the permissive law of Christian princes conforming to a sacred lawgiver. Which if we consider, this papal and un-

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