Page:Tetrachordon - Milton (1645).djvu/60

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TETRACHORDON.

law of Moses, by citing it so briefly; for in the same manner God himselfe cites a law of greatest caution, Jer. 3. They say if a man put away his wife, shall he returne to her againe, &c. Nor doth he more abolish it then the law of swearing, cited next with the same brevity, and more appearance of contradicting. For divorce hath an exception left it, but we are charg'd there, as absolutely as words can charge us, not to sweare at all: yet who denies the lawfullness of an oath, though here it be in no case permitted? And what shall become of his solemne protestation not to abolish one law, or one tittle of any law, especially of those which he mentions in this chapter. And that hee meant more particularly the not abolishing of Mosaic divorse, is beyond all cavill manifest in Luke 16. 17, 18. where this clause against abrogating is inserted immediately before the sentence against divorse, as if it were call'd thither on purpose to defend the equity of this particular law against the foreseene rashnesse of common textuaries, who abolish lawes, as the rable demolish images, in the zeale of their hammers oft violating the Sepulchers of good men, like Pentheus in the tragedies, they see that for Thebes which is not, and take that for superstition, as these men in the heate of their annulling perceive not how they abolish right, and equall, and justice under the appearance of judicial. And yet are confessing all the while, that these sayings of Christ stand not in contradiction to the law of Moses, but to the false doctrine of the Pharises rais'd from thence; that the law of God is perfect, not liable to additions or diminutions, & Paræus accuses the Jesuit Maldonatus of greatest falsity for limiting the perfection of that law only to the rudenes of the Jewes. He adds that the law promiseth life to the performers thereof; therefore needs not perfecter precepts, then such as bring to life; that if the corrections of Christ stand opposite, not to the corruptions of the Pharises, but to the law it selfe of God, the heresie of Manes would follow, one God of the old Testament, and another of the New. That Christ saith not here, except your righteousnesse exceede the righteousnesse of Moses law, but of the Scribes and Pharises. That all this may be true, whether is common sense flown asquint, if we can maintaine that Christ forbid the Mosaic divorse utterly, and yet abolisht not the law that permits it? For if the conscience onely were checkt, and the law not repeal'd, what meanes the fanatic boldnesse of this age, that dares tutor Christ to be more strict then he thought fit? ye shall have the evasion, it was a judiciall law. What could infancy and slumber have invented more childish? judiciall or not judiciall, it was one of those lawes expresly which he forewarn'd us with protestation, that his

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