Page:Tetrachordon - Milton (1645).djvu/49

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.



permit heer the giver to recall no petty guift, but the guift of himself from one who most injuriously & deceitfully uses him against the main ends and condition of his giving himself, exprest in Gods institution.

Sixthly, Although ther bee nothing in the plain words of this Law, that seems to regard the afflictions of a wife, how great so ever; yet Expositors determin, and doubtles determin rightly, that God was not uncompassionat of them also in the framing of this Law. For should the rescript of Antoninus in the Civil Law give release to servants flying for refuge to the Emperours statue, by giving leav to change their cruel Maisters, and should God who in his Law also is good to injur'd servants, by granting them thir freedom in divers cases, not consider the wrongs and miseries of a wife, which is no servant. Though heerin the counter sense of our Divines, to me, I must confesse seems admirable; who teach that God gave this as a mercifull Law, not for Man whom hee heer names, and to whom by name hee gives this power; but for the wife whom hee names not, and to whom by name hee gives no power at all. For certainly if man be liable to injuries in mariage, as well as woman, and man be the worthier person, it were a preposterous law to respect only the less worthy; her whom God made for mariage, and not him at all for whom mariage was made.

Seventhly, The Law of mariage gives place to the power of Parents: for wee hold, that consent of Parents not had may break the wedlock, though els accomplisht. It gives place to maisterly power, for the Maister might take away from an Hebrew servant which hee gave him, Exod. 21. If it bee answer'd that the mariage of servants is no matrimony: tis reply'd, that this in the ancient Roman Law is true, not in the Mosaic. If it bee added, she was a stranger, not an Hebrew, therfore easily divorc't, it will be answerd that strangers not beeing Canaanites, and they also beeing Converts, might bee lawfully maryed, as Rahab was. And her conversion is heer suppos'd; for an Hebrew maister could not lawfully give an Heathen wife to an Hebrew servant. However, the divorcing of an Israelitish woman was as easy by the Law, as the divorcing of a stranger, and almost in the same words permitted, Deut. 24. and Deut. 21. Lastly, it gives place to the right of warr, for a captiv woman lawfully maryed, and afterward not belov'd, might bee dismisst, only without ransom, Deut. 21. If mariage may bee dissolv'd by so