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tution of matrimony, wherein his native preeminence ought most to shine. Although if we consider that just and natural privileges men neither can rightly-feek, nor dare fully claim, unless they be allied to inward goodness and stedfast knowledge, and that the want of this quells them to a servile sense of their own conscious unworthinefs; it may save the wondering why in this age many are fo opposite both to human and to christian liberty, either while they understand not, or envy others that do; contenting, or rather priding themselves in a specious humility and strictness bred out of low ignorance, that never yet conceived the freedom of the gospel; and is therefore by the apostle to the Colossians ranked with no better company than will worship and the mere show of wisdom. And how injurious herein they are, if not to themselves, yet to their neighbours, and not to them only, but to the all-wise and bounteous grace offered us in our redemption, will orderly appear.

“In the image of God created he him.”] It is enough determined, that this image of God, wherein man was created, is meant wisdom, purity, justice, and rule over all creatures. All which, being loft in Adam, was recovered with gain by the merits of Christ. For albeit our first parent had lordship over sea, and land, and air, yet there was a law without him, asa guard fet over him. But Christ having cancelled the handwriting of ordinances which was against us, Coloff. ii, 14, and interpreted the fulfilling of all through charity, hath in that respect fet us over law, in the free custody of his love, and left us victorious under the guidance of his living spirit, not under the dead letter; to follow that which most edifies, most aids and furthers a religious life, makes us holiest and likest to his immortal image, not that which makes us most conformable and captive to civil and subordinate precepts: whereof the strictest observance may ofttimes prove the destruction not only of many innocent persons and families, but of whole nations. Although indeed no ordinance human or from Heaven can bind against the good of man; so that to keep them strictly against that end, is all one with to break them. Men of most renowned virtue have sometimes by transgresling most truly


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kept the law; and wifest magistrates have permitted and dispensed it; while they looked not peevithly at the letter, but with a greater fpirit at the good of mankind, if always not written in the characters of law, yet engraven in the heart of man by a divine impression. This Heathens could fee, as the well-read in story can recount of Solon and Epaminondas, whom Cicero in his first book of “ Invention" nobly defends. “ All law,” faith he, “ we ought to refer to the common good, and interpret by that, not by the scroll of letters. No man observes law for law's sake, but for the good of them for whom it was made.” The rest might serve well to lecture these times, deluded through belly doctrines into a devout flavery. The Scripture also affords us David in the showbre Hezekiah in the pasfover, found and safe tranfgressors of the literal command, which also dispensed not seldom with itself; and taught us on what juft occasions to do fo: until our Saviour, for whom that great and godlike work was reserved, redeemed us to a state above prescriptions, by diffolving the whole law.into charity. And have we not the soul to understand this, and must we against this glory of God's transcendent love towards us be still the servants of a literal indictment?

“ Created he him.”] It might be doubted why he faith, “In the image of God created he him," not them, as well as “ male and female” them; especially since that image might be common to them both, but male and female could not, however the Jews fable, and please themselves with the accidental concurrence of Plato's wit, as if man at first had been created hermaphrodite: but then it must have been male and female created he him. So had the image of God been equally common to them both, it had no doubt been said, in the image of God created he them. But St. Paul ends the controverfy, by explaining, that the woman is not primarily and immediately the image of God, but in reference to the man, “ The head of the woman,” faith he, 1 Cor. xi, “is the man:” “ he the image and glory of God, she the glory of the man;" he not for her, but the for him. Therefore his precept is, “ wives be subject to your husbands as is fit in the Lord,” Coloff. iii, 18; “ In every thing,',


Eph. v. 24. Nevertheless man is not to hold her as a servant, but receives her into a part of that empire, which God proclaims him to, though not equally, yet largely, as his own image and glory: for it is no small glory to him, that a creature so like him thould be made subject to him. Not but that particular exceptions may have place, if the exceed her husband in prudence and dexterity, and he contentedly yield: for then a superior and more natural law comes in, that the wiser ihould govern the less wife, whether male or female. But that which far more easily and obediently follows from this verfe is, that, feeing woman was purposely made for man, and he her head, it cannot stand before the breath of this divine utterrance, that man the portraiture of God, joining to himself for his intended good and folace an inferior sex, should so become her thrall, whose wilfulness or inability to be a wife frustrates the occasional end of her creation; but that he may acquit himself to freedom by his natural birthright, and that indelible character of priority, which God crowned him with. If it be urged, that sin hath lost him this, the answer is not far to feek, that from her the fin first proceeded, which keeps her justly in the same proportion still beneath. She is not to gain by being first in the transgreffion, that man should further lose to her, because already he hath loft by her means. Oft it happens, that in this matterhe is without fault; fo that his punishment herein is causeless : and God hath the praise in our speeches of him, to fort his punishment in the same kind with the offence. Suppose he erred; it is not the intent of God or man, to hunt an errour fo to the death with a revenge beyond all measure and proportion. But if we argue thus, this affliction is befallen him for his fin, therefore he must bear it, without seeking the only remedy: first, it will be false, that all affliction comes for sin, as in the case of Job, and of the man born blind, Joh. ix, 3, was evident : next, by that reason, all miseries coming for fin, we must let them all lie upon us like the vermin of an Indian Catharist, which his fond religion forbids him to molest. Were it a particular punishment inflicted through the anger of God upon å person, or upon a land, no law


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hinders us in that regard, no law but bids us remove it if we can; much more if it be a dangerous temptation withal; much more yet, if it be certainly a temptation, and not certainly a punishment, though a pain. As for what they say we must bear with patience; to bear with patience, and to seek effectual remedies, implies no contradiction. It may no less be for our disobedience, our unfaithfulness, and other fins against God, that wives become adulterous to the bed; and questionless we ought to take the affliction as patiently as Christian prudence would wish: yet hereby is not lost the right of divorcing for adultery. No, you say, because our Saviour excepted that only. But why, if he were fo bent to punish our fins, and try our patience in binding on us a disastrous marriage, why did he except adultery? Certainly to have been bound from divorce in that cafe also had been as plentiful a punishment to our fins, and not too little work for the patienteft. Nay, perhaps they will fay it was too great a fufferance ; and with as slight a reason, for no wise man but would sooner pardon the a&t of adultery once and again committed by a person worth pity and forgiveness, than to lead a wearifome life of unloving and unquiet conversation with one who neither affects nor is affected, much less with one who exercises all bitterness, and would commit adultery too, but for envy left the perfecuted condition fhould thereby get the benefit of his freedom. It is plain therefore, that God enjoins not this supposed strietness of not divorcing either to punish us, or to try our patience.

Moreover, if man be the image of God, which consists in holiness, and woman ought in the same respect to be the image and companion of man, in such wise to be loved as the church is beloved of Christ; and if, as God is the head of Christ, and Christ the head of man, so man is the head of woman; I cannot see by this golden dependance of headship and subjection, but that piety and religion is the main tie of Christian matrimony: so as if there be found between the pair a notorious disparity either of wickedness or heresy, the husband by all manner of right is disengaged from a creature, not made and inflicted on him to the vexation of his righteousness; the wife also, as her subjection is terminated in the Lord, being herself the redeemed of Chrift, is not still bound to be the vallal of him, who is the bondslave of Satan: The being now neither the image nor the glory of such a person, nor made for him, nor left in bondage to him; but hath recourse to the wing of charity, and protection of the church, unless there be a hope on either side: yet such a hope must be meant, as may be a rational hope, and not an endless fervitude. Of which hereafter.

But usually it is objected, that if it be thus, then there can be no true marriage between misbelievers and irreligious persons. I might answer, let them fee to that who are such; the church hath no commission to judge those without, 1 Cor. v. But this they will say perhaps, is but penuriously to resolve a doubt. I answer therefore, that where they are both irreligious, the marriage may be yet true enough to them in a civil relation. For there are left fome remains of God's image in man, as he is merely man; which reason God gives against the shedding of man's blood, Gen. ix, as being made in God's image, without expressing whether he were a good man or a bad, to exempt the slayer from punishment. So that in those marriages where the parties are alike void of religion, the wife owes a civil homage and subjection, the husband owes a civil loyalty. But where the yoke is misyoked, heretic with faithful, godly with ungodly, to the grievance and manifest endangering of a brother or fifter, reasons of a higher strain than matrimonial bear sway; unless the gospel, instead of freeing us, debase itself to make us bond-men, and suffer evil to control good.

“Male and female created he them.”] This contains another end of matching man and woman, being the right and lawfulness of the marriage-bed; though much inferior to the former end of her being his image and help in religious society. And who of weakest insight may not fee, that this creating of them male and female cannot in any order of reason, or christianity, be of such moment against the better and higher purposes of their creation, as to enthral husband or wife to duties or to sufferings, unworthy and unbeseeming the image of God

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