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the family. And farewell all hope of true reformation in the state, while such an evil as this lies undiscerned or unregarded in the house, on the redress whereof depends not only the spiritful and orderly life of our grown men, but the willing and careful education of our children.

Let this therefore be new examined, this tenure and freehold of mankind, this native and domestic charter given us by a greater Lord than that Saxon king, the Confessor. Let the statutes of God be turned over, bę scanned anew, and considered, not altogether by the narrow intellectuals of quotationists and commonplaces, but, as was the ancient right of councils, by men of what liberal profession soever, of eminent spirit and breeding, joined with a diffuse and various knowledge of divine and human things, able to balance and define good and evil, right and wrong, throughout every state of life; able to show us the ways of the Lord straight and faithful as they are, not full of cranks and contradictions, and pitfalling dispenses, but with divine insight and benignity measured out to the proportion of each mind and spirit, each temper and disposition, created so different from each other, and yet, by the skill of wise conducting, all to become uniform in virtue. To expedite these knots, were worthy a learned and memorable synod; while our enemies expect to see the expectation of the church tired out with dependencies and independencies, how they will compound, and in what calends.

Doubt not, worthy senators ! to vindicate the sacred honor and judgment of Moses, your predecessor, from the shallow commenting of scholastics and canonists. Doubt not after him to reach out your steady hands to the misinformed and wearied life of man; to restore this his lost heritage, into the household state, wherewith be sure that Peace and Love, the best sub

sistence of a christian family, will return home from whence they are now banished; places of prostitution will be less haunted, the neighbour's bed less attempted, the yoke of prudent and manly discipline will be generally submitted to; sober and well ordered living will soon spring up in the commonwealth. Ye have an author great beyond exception, Moses; and one yet greater, he who hedged in from abolishing every smallest jot and tittle of precious equity contained in that law, with a more accurate and lasting Masoreth, than either the synagogue of Ezra or the Galilæan school at Tiberias hath left us. Whatever else ye can enact, will scarce concern a third part of the British name; but the benefit and good of this your magnanimous example, will easily spread far beyond the banks of Tweed and the Norman isles. It would not be the first, or second time, since our ancient Druids, by whom this island was the cathedral of philosophy to France, left off their pagan rites, that England hath had this honor vouchsafed from heaven, to give out reformation to the world. Who was it but our English Constantine that baptized the Roman empire? Who but the Northumbrian Willibrode, and Winifred of Devon, with their followers, were the first apostles of Germany ? Who but Alcuin and Wickliffe, our countrymen, opened the eyes of Europe, the one in arts, the other in religion ? Let not England forget her precedence of teaching nations how to live.

Know, worthies ! and exercise the privilege of your honored country. A greater title i here bring ye, than is either in the power or in the policy of Rome to give her monarchs; this glorious act will style ye the defenders of charity. Nor is this yet the highest inscription that will adorn so religious and so holy a defence as this. Behold here the pure and

sacred law of God, and his yet purer and more sacred name, offering themselves to you, first of all christian reformers, to be acquitted from the long suffered ungodly attribute of patronizing adultery. Defer not to wipe off instantly these imputative blurs and stains, cast by rude fancies upon the throne and beauty itself of inviolable holiness, lest some other people, more devout and wise than we, bereave us this offered immortal glory, our wonted prerogative, of being the first asserters in every great vindication.

For me, as far as my part leads me, I have already my greatest gain, assurance, and inward satisfaction, to have done in this nothing unworthy of an honest life and studies well employed, with what event, among the wișe and right understanding handful of men, I am secure. But how among the drove of custom and prejudice this will be relished by such whose capacity, since their youth run ahead into the easy creek of a system or a medulla, sails there at will under the blown physiognomy of their unlabored rudiments, for them, what their taste will be, I have also surety sufficient, from the entire league that hath ever been between formal ignorance and grave obstinacy. Yet when I remember the little that our Saviour could prevail about this doctrine of charity against the crabbed textuists of his time, I make no wonder, but rest confident, that whoso prefers either matrimony or other ordinance before the good of man and the plain exigence of charity, let him profess papist or protestant or what he will, he is no better than a Pharisee, and understands not the gospel ; whom as a misinterpreter of Christ I openly protest against, and provoke him to the trial of this truth before all the world. And let him bethink him withal how he will sodder up the shifting flaws of his ungirt permissions, his venial and unvenial dispenses, where

with the law of God pardoning and unpardoning hath been shamefully branded for want of heed in glossing, to have eluded and baffled out all faith and chastity from the marriage bed of that holy seed, with politic and judicial adulteries.

I seek not to seduce the simple and illiterate; my errand is to find out the choicest and the learnedest, who have this high gift of wisdom to answer solidly, or to be convinced. I crave it from the piety, the learning, and the prudence which is housed in this place. It might perhaps more fitly have been written in another tongue ; and I had done so, but that the esteem I have of my country's judgnient, and the love I bear to my native language to serve it first with what I endeavour, made me speak it thus, ere I assay the verdict of outlandish readers. And perhaps also here I might have ended nameless, but that the address of these lines chiefly to the parliament of England, might have seemed ingrateful not to acknowledge by whose religious care, unwearied watchfulness, courageous and heroic resolutions, I enjoy the peace and studious lesure to remain,

The Honorer and Attendant
of their noble Worth and Virtues,

JOHN MILTON.

THE

DOCTRINE AND DISCIPLINE

OF

DIVORCE;

RESTORED TO THE GOOD OF BOTH SEXES.

BOOK FIRST.

THE PREFACE.

That Man is the Occasion of his own Miseries, in most of those Evils

which he imputes to God's Inflicting. The Absurdity of our Canonists in their Decrees about Divorce. The Christian imperial Laws framed with more Equity. The Opinion of Hugo Grotius and Paulus Fagius; and the Purpose in general of this Discourse.

Many men, whether it be their fate or fond opinion, easily persuade themselves, if God would but be pleased awhile to withdraw his just punishments from us, and to restrain what power either the devil or any earthly enemy hath to work us woe, that then man's nature would find immediate rest and releasement from all evils. But verily they who think so, if they be such as have a mind large enough to take into their thoughts a general survey of human things, would soon prove themselves in that opinion far deceived. For though it were granted us by divine indulgence to be exempt from all that can be harmful to us from

8

VOL. II.

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