Page:Tetrachordon - Milton (1645).djvu/99

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TETRACHORDON.

79

Summons. Beza himselfe heer befriends us with a remarkable speech, what could be firmly constituted in human matters if under pretence of expecting grace from above, it should be never lawfull for us to seeke our right. And yet in other cases not lesse reasonable to obtain a most just and needfull remedy by divorce he turnes the innocent party to a taske of prayers beyond the multitude of beads and rosaries, to beg the gift of chastity in recompence of an injurious mariage. But the Apostle is evident anough, we are not under bondage, trusting that he writes to those who are not ignorant what bondage is, to let supercilious determiners cheat them of their freedome. God hath call'd us to peace, and so doubtlesse hath left in our hands how to obtaine it seasonably; if it be not our own choise to sit ever like novices wretchedly servile.

Thus much the Apostle in this question between Christian and Pagan, to us now of little use; yet supposing it written for our instruction as it may be rightly apply'd, I doubt not but that the difference between a true beleever and a heretic, or any one truely religious either deserted or seeking divorce from any one groslly erroneous or profane may be referr'd hither. For St. Paul leaves us heer the solution not of this case only, which little concernes us, but of such like cases, which may occurr to us. For where the reasons directly square, who can forbid why the verdit should not be the same? But this the common writers allow us not. And yet from this text which in plaine words gives liberty to none unlesse deserted by an infidel, they collect the same freedom though the desertion bee not for religion, which, as I conceive, they neede not doe; but may without straining reduce it to the cause of fornication. For first they confesse that desertion is seldome without a just suspition of adultery: next it is a breach of mariage in the same kind, and in some sort worse: for adultery though it give to another, yet it bereaves not al; but the deserter wholly denies all right, and makes one flesh twain, which is counted the absolutest breach of matrimony, and causes the other, as much as in him lies, to commit sin, by being so left. Neverthelesse those reasons which they bring of establishing by this place the like liberty from any desertion, are faire and solid: and if the thing be lawfull, and can be prov'd so, more waies then one, so much the safer. Their arguments I shall heer recite, and that they may not com idle, shall use them to make good the like freedome to divorce for other causes; and that we are no more under bondage to any hainous default against the main ends of matrimony, then to a desertion: First they allege that to Tim. 1. 5. 8. If any provide not for

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those