« AnteriorContinua »
Quest. XII. But what if one do purposely commit adultery, to be separated from the other?'
Answ. It is in the other's power and choice, whether to be divorced and depart, or not, as they find the good or evil consequents preponderate.
Quest. XIII. Doth not infidelity dissolve the relation or obligation; seeing there is no communion between light and darkness, a believer and an infidel??
Answ. It maketh it unlawful for a believer to marry an infidel (except in case of true necessity); because they can have no communion in religion. But it nullifieth not a marriage already made, nor maketh it lawful to depart or divorce: because they may have mere conjugal communion still. As the apostle purposely determineth the case, in 1 Cor. vii.
Quest. XIV. Doth not the desertion of one party, disoblige the other?'....
Answ. 1. It must be considered what is true desertion. 2. Whether it be a desertion of the relation itself for continuance, or only a temporary desertion of co-habitation, or congress. 3. What the temper and state of the deserted party is. It is sometimes easy, and sometimes hard to discern which is the deserting party. If the wife go away from the husband unwarrantably, though she require him to follow her, and say that she doth not desert him, yet it may be taken for a desertion, because it is the man who is to rule and choose the habitation. But if the man go away, and the woman refuse to follow him, it is not he that is therefore the deserter.
Quest. But what if the man have not sufficient cause to go away, and the woman hath great and urgent reasons not to go? As suppose that the man will go away in hatred of an able preacher, and good company, and the woman if she follow him, must leave all those helps, and go among ignorant, profane, heretical persons, or infidels; which is the deserter then?'
Answ. If she be one that is either like to do good to the infidels, heretics, or bad persons whom they must converse with, she may suppose that God calleth her to receive good by doing good: or if she be a confirmed, well-settled Christian, and not very like, either by infection, or by want of
helps, to be unsettled and miscarry, it seemeth to me to be the safest way to follow her husband. She must lose indeed God's public ordinances by following him: but it is not imputable to her, as being out of her choice; and she must lose the benefits, and neglect the duties of the conjugal ordinance, if she do not follow him. But if she be a person under such weaknesses, as make her remove apparently dangerous as to her perseverance and salvation, and her husband will by no means be prevailed with to change his mind, the case then is very difficult what is her duty, and who is the deserter. Nay, if he but lead her into a country where her life were like to be taken away, (as under the Spanish Inquisition,) unless her suffering were like to be as serviceable to Christ as her life. Indeed these cases are so difficult, that I will not decide them: the inconveniences, (or mischiefs rather) are great, which way soever she take: but I most incline to judge as followeth: viz. It is considerable first, what marriage obligeth her to, simply of its own nature; and what it may do next, by any superadded contract, or by the law or custom of the land, or any other accident. As to the first, it seemeth to me, that every one's obligation is so much first to God, and then to their own souls and lives; that marriage as such, which is for mutual help, as a means to higher ends, doth not oblige her to forsake all the communion of saints, and the place or country where God is lawfully worshipped, and to lose all the helps of public worship, and to expose her soul both to spiritual famine and infection, to the apparent hazard of her salvation (and perhaps bring her children into the same misery); nor hath God given her husband any power to do her so much wrong, nor is the marriage-covenant to be interpreted to intend it. But what any human law or contract, or other accident which is of greater public consequence, may do more than marriage of itself, is a distinct case, which must have a particular discussion.
Quest. But what if the husband would only have her follow him, to the forsaking of her estate, and undoing herself and children in the world, (as in the case of Galeacius Caracciolus, Marquis of Vicum;) yea, and if it were without just cause?'
Answ. If it be for greater spiritual gain, (as in his case,)
she is bound to follow him: but if it be apparently foolish, to the undoing of her and her children without any cause, I see not that marriage simply obligeth a woman so to follow a fool in beggary, or out of a calling, or to her ruin. But if it be at all a controvertible case, whether the cause be just or not, then the husband being governor must be judge. The laws of the land are supposed to be just, which allow a woman by trustees to secure some part of her former estate from her husband's disposal: much more may she beforehand secure herself and children from being ruined by his wilful folly: but she can by no contract except herself from his true government.
Yet still she must consider, whether she can live continently in his absence: otherwise the greatest sufferings must be endured, to avoid incontinency.
2. Moreover, in all these cases, a temporary removal may be further followed, than a perpetual transmigration, because it hath fewer evil consequents.
And if either party renounce the relation itself, it is a fuller desertion, and clearer discharge of the other party, than a mere removal is.
Quest. xv. 'What if a man or wife know that the other in hatred doth really intend by poison or other murder, to take away their life? May they not then depart?'
Answ. They may not do it upon a groundless or rash surmise; nor upon a danger which by other lawful means may be avoided; (as by vigilancy, or the magistrate, or especially by love and duty.) But in plain danger, which is not otherwise like to be avoided, I doubt not, but it may be done and ought. For it is a duty to preserve our own lives as well as our neighbours. And when marriage is contracted for mutual help, it is naturally implied that they shall have no power to deprive one another of life: (however some barbarous nations have given men power of the lives of their wives.) And killing is the grossest kind of desertion, and a greater injury and violation of the marriage-covenant than adultery; and may be prevented by avoiding the murderer's presence; if that way be necessary. None of the ends of marriage can be attained, where the hatred is so great.
Quest. xvI. If there be but fixed hatred of each other,
is it inconsistent with the ends of marriage? And is parting lawful in such a case?'
Answ. The injuring party is bound to love and not to separate; and can have no liberty by his or her sin. And to say, I cannot love, or my wife or husband is not amiable, is no sufficient excuse; because every person hath somewhat that is amiable, if it be but human nature; and that should have been foreseen before your choice. And as it is no excuse to a drunkard to say, I cannot leave my drink; so it is none to an adulterer, or hater of another, to say, I cannot love them for that is but to say, I am so wicked, that my heart or will is against my duty. But the innocent party's case is harder (though commonly both parties are faulty, and therefore both are obliged to return to love, and not to separate). But if hatred proceed not to adultery, or murder, or intolerable injuries, you must remember that marriage is not a contract for years, but for life, and that it is possible that hatred may be cured (how unlikely soever it may be). And therefore you must do your duty, and wait, and pray, and strive by love and goodness to recover love, and then stay to see what God will do; for mistakes in your choice will not warrant a separation.
Quest. XVII. What if a woman have a husband that will not suffer her to read the Scriptures, nor go to God's worship public or private, or that so beateth or abuseth her, as that it cannot be expected that human nature should be in such a case kept fit for any holy action; or if a man have a wife that will scold at him when he is praying or instructing his family, and make it impossible to him to serve God with freedom, or peace, and comfort?'
Answ. The woman must (at necessary seasons, though not when she would) both read the Scriptures, and worship God, and suffer patiently what is inflicted on her. Martyrdom may be as comfortably suffered from a husband, as from a prince. But yet if neither her own love, and duty, and patience, nor friend's persuasion, nor the magistrate's justice, can free her from such inhuman cruelty, as quite disableth her for her duty to God and man, I see not but she may depart from such a tyrant. But the man hath more means to restrain his wife from beating him, or doing such intolerable things; either by the magistrate, or by denying
her what else she might have, or by his own violent restraining her, as belongeth to a conjugal ruler, and as circumstances shall direct a prudent man. But yet in case that unsuitableness or sin be so great, that after long trial, there is no likelihood of any other co-habitation, but what will tend to their spiritual hurt and calamity, it is their lesser sin to live asunder by mutual consent.
Quest. XVIII. 'Who be they that may or may not marry again when they are parted?'
Answ. 1. They that are released by divorce upon the other's adultery, &c. may marry again. 2. The case of all the rest is harder. They that part by consent, to avoid mutual hurt, may not marry again: nor the party that departeth for self-preservation, or for the preservation of estate, or children, or comforts, or for liberty of worship, as aforesaid: because it is but an intermission of conjugal fruition, and not a total dissolution of the relation: and the innocent party must wait to see whether there be any hope of a return. Yea, Christ seemeth to resolve it, Matt. v. 31, 32., that he is an adulterer that marrieth the innocent party that is put away; because the other living in adultery, their first contracted relation seemeth to be still in being. But Grotius and some others think, that Christ meaneth this only of the man that over-hastily marrieth the innocent divorced woman, before it be seen whether he will repent and re-assume her. But how can that hold, if the husband after adultery free her? May it not therefore be meant, that the woman must stay unmarried in hope of his reconciliation, till such time as his adultery with his next married wife doth disoblige her. But then it must be taken as a law for Christians: for the Jew that might have many wives, disobligeth not one by taking another.
A short desertion must be endured in hope: but in case of a very long, or total desertion or rejection, if the injured party should have an untameable lust, the case is difficult. I think there are few but by just means may abstain. But if there be any that cannot, (after all means,) without such trouble as overthroweth their peace, and plainly hazardeth their continence, I dare not say that marriage in that case is unlawful to the innocent.
Quest. Is it lawful to suffer or tolerate, yea, or contri