Page:Tetrachordon - Milton (1645).djvu/98

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[But God hath called us to peace. ] To peace, not to bondage, not to brabbles and contentions with him who is not pleas'd to live peaceably, as mariage and christianity requires. And where strife arises from a cause hopelesse to be allayd, what better way to peace then by separating that which is ill joyn'd. It is not divorce, that first breaks the peace of a family, as som fondly comment on this place, but it is peace already brok'n, which, when other cures fail, can only be restor'd to the faultles person by a necessary divorce. And Saint Paul heer warrants us to seeke peace, rather then to remain in bondage. If God hath call'd us to peace, why should we not follow him, why should we miserably stay in perpetual discord under a servitude not requir'd?

[For what knowest thou O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband, &c. ] St. Paul having thus clear'd himselfe, not to goe about the mining or our christian liberty, not to cast a snare upon us, which to doe hee so much hated, returnes now to the second reason of that law, to put away an infidel for feare of seducement, which hee does not heer contradict with a command now to venture that; but if neither the infirmity of the Christian, nor the strength of the unbeleever be fear'd, but hopes appearing that he may be won, he judges it no breaking of that law, though the beleever be permitted to forbeare divorce, and can abide, without the peril of seducement, to offer the charity of a salvation to wife or husband, which is the fulfilling, not the transgressing of that law; and well worth the undertaking with much hazard and patience. For what knowest thou whether thou shalt save thy wife, that is, till all meanes convenient and possible with discretion and probability, as human things are, have bin us'd. For Christ himselfe sends not our hope on pilgrimage to the worlds end; but sets it bounds, beyond which we need not wait on a brother, much lesse on an infidell. If after such a time we may count a professing Christian no better then a heathen, after less time perhaps wee may cease to hope of a heathen, that hee will turne christian. Otherwise, to binde us harder then the law, and tell us wee are not under bondage, is meere mockery. If till the unbeleever please to part, we may not stirre from the house of our bondage, then certain this our liberty is not grounded in the purchas of Christ, but in the pleasure of a miscreant. What knowes the loyal husband whether he may not save the adulteresse, he is not therefore bound to receive her. What knowes the wife but shee may reclaim her husband who hath deserted her? yet the reformed Churches doe not enjoyn her to wait longer then after the contempt of an Ecclesiastical