Page:Tetrachordon - Milton (1645).djvu/24

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[It is not good.] God heer presents himself like to a man deliberating; both to shew us that the matter is of high consequence, and that he intended to found it according to naturall reason, not impulsive command; but that the duty should arise from the reason of it, not the reason be swallow'd up in a reasonlesse duty. Not good, was as much to Adam before his fall, as not pleasing, not expedient; but since the comming of sin into the world, to him who hath not receiv'd the continence, it is not only not expedient to be alone, but plainly sinfull. And therefore he who wilfully abstains from mariage, not being supernaturally gifted, and he who by making the yoke of mariage unjust and intolerable, causes men to abhorr it, are both in a diabolicall sin, equall to that of Antichrist who forbids to marry. For what difference at all whether he abstain men from marying, or restrain them in a mariage hapning totally discommodious, distastfull, dishonest and pernicious to him without the appearance of his fault? For God does not heer precisely say, I make a female to this male, as he did briefly before; but expounding himselfe heer on purpos, he saith, because it is not good for man to be alone, I make him therefore a meet help. God supplies the privation of not good, with the perfect gift of a reall and positive good; it is mans pervers cooking who hath turn'd this bounty of God into a Scorpion, either by weak and shallow constructions, or by proud arrogance and cruelty to them who neither in their purposes nor in their actions have offended against the due honour of wedlock.

Now whereas the Apostle speaking in the Spirit, I Cor. 7. pronounces quite contrary to this word of God, It is good for a man not to touch a woman, and God cannot contradict himself, it instructs us that his commands and words, especially such as bear the manifest title of som good to man, are not to be so strictly wrung, as to command without regard to the most naturall and miserable necessities of mankind. Therefore the Apostle adds a limitation in the 26 v. of that chap. for the present necessity it is good; which he gives us doubtlesse as a pattern how to reconcile other places by the generall rule of charity.

[For man to be alone.] Som would have the sense heerof to be in respect of procreation only: and Austin contests that manly friendship in all other regards had bin a more becomming solace for Adam, then to spend so many secret years in an empty world with one woman. But our Writers deservedly reject this crabbed opinion; and defend that there is a peculiar comfort in the maried state besides the genial bed, which no other society affords. No mortall nature can endure either in the actions