Page:Tetrachordon - Milton (1645).djvu/92

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72

TETRACHORDON.

permitted to hold wedloc with a misbeleever only upon hopes limited by christian prudence, which without much difficulty shall be defended. That this heer spoken by Paul, not by the Lord cannot be a command, these reasons avouch. First the law of Moses, Exod. 34. 16. Deut. 7. 3. 6. interpreted by Ezra, and Nehemiah two infallible authors, commands to divorce an infidel not for the feare onely of a ceremonious defilement, but of an irreligious seducement, fear'd both in respect of the beleever himselfe, and of his children in danger to bee perverted by the misbeleeving parent. Nehem. 13. 24. 26. and Peter Martyr thought this a convincing reason. If therefore the legal pollution vanishing have abrogated the ceremony of this law, so that a christian may be permitted to retaine an infidel without uncleannes, yet the moral reason of divorcing stands to eternity, which neither Apostle nor Angel from heaven can countermand. All that they reply to this, is their human warrant, that God will preserve us in our obedience to this command against the danger of seducement. And so undoudtedly he will, if we understand his commands aright; if we turn not this evangelic permission into a legal, and yet illegal command: if we turne not hope into bondage, the charitable and free hope of gaining another, into the forc't and servile temptation of loosing our selves; but more of this beneath. Thus these words of Paul by common doctrin made a command, are made a contradiction to the morall law.

Secondly, not the law only, but the Gospel from the law, and from it selfe requires even in the same chapter, where divorce between them of one religion is so narrowly forbidd, rather then our christian love should come into danger of backsliding, to forsake all relations how neer so ever, and the wife expresly, with promise of a high reward, Mat. 19. And he who hates not father or mother, wife, or children hindring his christian cours, much more, if they despise or assault it, cannot be a Disciple, Luke 14. How can the Apostle then command us, to love and continue in that matrimony, which our Saviour bids us hate, and forsake? They can as soon teach our faculty of respiration to contract and to dilate it selfe at once, to breath and to fetch breath in the same instant, as teach our minds how to doe such contrary acts as these, towards the same object, and as they must be done in the same moment. For either the hatred of her religion, & her hatred to our religion will work powerfully against the love of her society, or the love of that will by degrees flatter out all our zealous hatred and forsaking and soone ensnare us to unchristianly compliances.

Thirdly, In mariage there ought not only to be a civil love, but such a

love