A Reply to a nameless Answer against the
Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce.
AFter many rumors of confutations and convictions forth comming against The Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce, and now and then a by-blow from the Pulpit, featherd with a censure strict indeed, but how true, more beholding to the autority of that devout place which it borrowd to bee utterd in, then to any sound reason which it could oracle, while I still hop'd as for a blessing to see som peece of diligence, or lerned discretion come from them, it was my hap at length lighting on a certain parcel of Quæries, that seek and finde not, to finde not seeking, at the taile of Anabaptistical, Antinomian, Heretical, Atheistical epithets, a jolly slander, call'd Divorce at pleasure: I stood a while and wonder'd, what wee might doe to a mans heart, or what anatomie use, to finde in it sincerity; for all our wonted marks every day fail us, and where wee thought it was, wee see it is not, for alter and change residence it cannot sure. And yet I see no good of body or of minde secure to a man for all his past labours without perpetual watchfulnes and perseverance. When as one above others who hath suffer'd much and long in the defence of Truth, shall after all this, give her cause to leav him so destitute and so vacant of her defence, as to yeild his mouth to bee the common road of Truth and Falshood, and such falshood as is joyn'd with the rash and heedles calumny of his neighbour. For what book hath hee ever met with, as his complaint is, Printed in the City, maintaining either in the title, or in the whole persuance, Divorce at pleasure? Tis true, that to divorce upon extreme necessity, when through the perversnes, or the apparent unfitnes of either, the continuance can bee to both no good at all, but an intolerable injury and temptation to the wronged and the defrauded, to divorce then, there is a book that writes it lawfull. And that this Law is a pure and wholsom national Law, not to be with-held from good men, because others likely anough may abuse it to thir pleasure, can not bee charg'd upon that book, but must bee enterd a bold and impious accusation against God himself; who did not for this abuse withhold it from his own people. It will bee just therfore, and best for the reputation of him who in his Subitanes hath thus censur'd, to recall his sentence. And if, out of the abundance of his volumes, and the readiness of his quill, and the vastness of his other imploiments, especially in the great audit for accounts, hee can spare us ought to the better understanding of this point, hee shall bee thankt in public, and what hath offended in the book, shall willingly submitt to his correction. Provided he bee sure not to come with those old and stale suppositions, unless hee can take away cleerly what that discours hath urg'd against them, by one who will expect other arguments to bee perswaded the good health of a sound answer, then the gout and dropsy of a big margent, litter'd and overlaid with crude and huddl'd quotations. But as I still was waiting, when these light arm'd refuters would have don pelting at thir three lines utterd with a sage delivery of no reason, but an impotent and wors then Bonner-like censure to burn that which provokes them to a fair dispute, at length a book was brought to my hands, entitl'd An Answer to the Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce. Gladly I receiv'd it, and very attentively compos'd myself to read; hoping that now som good man had voutsaft the pains to instruct mee better, then I could yet learn out of all the volumes which for this purpos I had visited. Only this I marvel'd, and other men have since, when as I, in a Subject so new to this age, and so hazardous to please, conceal'd not my name, why this Author defending that part which is so creeded by the people, would conceal his? But ere I could enter three leaves into the Pamflet, (for I deferr the peasantly rudenes, which by the Licencers leav I met with afterwards) my satisfaction came in abundantly, that it could bee nothing why hee durst not name himself, but the guilt of his own wretchednes. For first, not to speak of his abrupt and bald beginning, his very first page notoriously bewraies him an illiterat, and arrogant presumer in that which hee understands not; bearing us in hand as if hee knew both Greek and Ebrew, and is not able to spell it; which had hee bin, it had bin either writt'n as it ought, or scor'd upon the Printer. If it bee excus'd as the carelesnes of his deputy, bee it known, the lerned Author himself is inventoried, and summ'd up, to the utmost value of his Livery cloak. Who ever hee bee, though this to som may seem a slight contest, I shall yet continue to think that man full of other secret injustice, and deceitfull pride, who shall offer in public to assume the skill, though it bee but of a tongue which hee hath not, and would catch his readers to beleeve of his ability, that which is not in him. The Licencer indeed, as his autority now stands, may licence much; but if these Greek Orthographies were of his licencing; the boyes at School might reck'n with him at his Grammar. Nor did I finde this his want of the pretended Languages alone, but accompanied with such a low and home-spun expression of his Mother English all along, without joynt or frame, as made mee ere I knew furder of him, often stop, and conclude, that this Author could for certain bee no other then som mechanic. Nor was the stile flat and rude, and the matter grave and solid, for then ther had bin pardon, but so shallow and so unwary was that also, as gave sufficiently the character of a gross and sluggish, yet a contentious and overweening pretender. For first, it behooving him to shew, as hee promises, what divorce is, and what the true doctrine and Discipline therof, and this beeing to doe by such principles and prooffs as are receav'd on both sides, hee performes neither of these; but shews it first from the Judaical practice, which hee himself disallows, and next from the practice of Canon Law, which the Book hee would confute, utterly rejects, and all Laws depending theron; which this puny Clark calls The Laws of England, and yet pronounces them by an Ecclesiastical Judge: as if that were to bee accounted the Law of England, which depended on the Popery of England; or if it were, this Parlament hee might know hath now damn'd that judicature. So that whether his meaning were to inform his own party, or to confute his adversary, instead of shewing us the true Doctrin and Discipline of Divorce, hee shews us nothing but his own contemptible ignorance. For what is the Mosaic Law to his opinion, and what is the Canon utterly now antiquated, either to that or to mine? Yee see already what a faithfull definer wee have him. From such a wind egg of definition as this, they who expect any of his other arguments to bee well hatcht, let them enjoy the vertu of thir worthy Champion. But one thing more I observ'd, a singular note of his stupidity, and that his Trade is not to meddle with Books, much less with Confutations. When as the Doctrin of Divorce had now a whole year bin publisht the second time, with many Arguments added, and the former ones better'd and confirm'd, this idle pamflet comes reeling forth against the first Edition only; as may appear to any by the pages quoted. Which put me in minde of what by chance I had notice of to this purpos the last Summer, as nothing so serious but happns oft times to bee attended with a ridiculous accident, it was then told mee that the Doctrin of divorce was answerd, and the answer half Printed against the first Edition; not by one, but by a pack of heads; of whom the cheif, by circumstance, was intimated to mee, and since ratifi'd to bee no other, if any can hold laughter, and I am sure none will guess him lower, then an actual Serving-man. This creature, for the Story must on, (and what though hee bee the lowest person of an interlude, hee may deserv a canvasing,) transplanted himself, and to the improvment of his wages, and your better notice of his capacity, turn'd Solliciter. And having convers'd much with a stripling Divine or two of those newly fledge Probationers, that usually come scouting from the University, and ly heer no lame legers to pop into the the Bethesda of som Knights Chaplainship, where they bring grace to his good cheer, but no peace or benediction els to his house; these made the Champarty, hee contributed the Law, and both joynd in the Divinity. Which made mee intend, following the advice also of freinds, to lay aside the thought of mis-spending a Reply to the buzze of such a Drones nest. But finding that it lay, what ever was the matter, half a year after unfinisht in the press, and hearing for certain that a Divine of note, out of his good will to the opinion, had takn it into his revise, and somthing had put out, somthing put in, and stuck it heer and there with a clove of his own Calligraphy, to keep it from tainting, and furder when I saw the stuff, though very cours and thred-bare, garnisht and trimly fac't with the commendations of a Licencer, I resolv'd, so soon, as leisure granted mee the recreation, that my man of Law should not altogether loose his solliciting. Although I impute a share of the making to him whose name I find in the approbation, who may take, as his mind servs him, this Reply. In the mean while it shall bee seen, I refuse no occasion, and avoid no adversary, either to maintane what I have begun, or to give it up for better reason.
To begin then with the Licencer and his censure. For a Licencer is not contented now to give his single Imprimatur, but brings his chair into the Title leaf; there sits and judges up or judges down what book hee pleases; if this bee suffer'd, what worthles Author, or what cunning Printer will not bee ambitious of such a Stale to put off the heaviest gear; which may in time bring in round fees to the Licencer, and wretched mis-leading to the People. But to the matter: he approves the publishing of this Book, to preserv the strength and honour of Mariage against those sad breaches and dangerous abuses of it. Belike then the wrongfull suffering of all those sad breaches and abuses in Mariage to a remediless thraldom, is the strength and honour of Mariage; a boistrous and bestial strength, a dis-honourable honour, an infatuated Doctrine, wors then the salvo jure of tyrannizing, which wee all fight against. Next hee saith, that common discontents make these breaches in unstaid mindes, and men given to change. His words may be apprehended, as if they disallow'd only to divorce for common discontents in unstaid mindes, having no cause, but a desire of change, and then wee agree. But if hee take all discontents on this side adultery, to bee common, that is to say, not difficult to endure, and to affect only unstaid mindes, it might administer just cause, to think him the unfittest man that could bee, to offer at a comment upon Job; as seeming by this to have no more true sense of a good man in his afflictions, then those Edomitish Freinds had, of whom Job complains, and against whom God testifies his anger. Shall a man of your own coat, who hath espous'd his flock; and represents Christ more, in beeing the true husband of his Congregation, then an ordnary man doth in beeing the husband of his wife, and yet this representment is thought a cheif cause why Mariage must bee inseparable, shall this spiritual man ordnarily for the increase of his maintenance, or any slight cause forsake that wedded cure of souls, that should bee dearest to him, and marry another, and another, and shall not a person wrongfully afflicted, and persecuted eevn to extremity, forsake an unfit, injurious, and pestilent mate, ty'd only by a civil and fleshly covnant? If you bee a man so much hating change, hate that other change; if your self bee not guilty, counsel your brethren to hate it; and leav to bee the supercilious judge of other mens miseries and changes,that your own bee not judg'd. The reasons of your licen't pamflet, you say are good; they must bee better then you own them, I shall wonder els how such a trivial fellow was accepted and commended, to bee the confuter of so dangerous an opinion as yee give out mine.
Now therfore to your Atturney, since no worthier an adversary makes his appearance, nor this neither his appearance, but lurking under the safety of his nameles obscurity: such as yee turn him forth at the Postern, I must accept him, and in a better temper then Ajax, doe mean to scourge this Ramme for yee, till I meet with his Ulysses.
Hee begins with Law, and wee have it of him as good cheap, as any hucster at Law, newly set up, can possibly afford, and as impertinent; but for that hee hath receiv'd his hansel. Hee presumes also to cite the Civil Law, which, I perceav by his citing never came within his dormitory; yet what hee cites, makes but against himself.
His second thing therfore is to refute the advers position, and very methodically, three pages before hee sets it down; and sets his own in the place, that disagreement of minde or disposition, though shewing it self in much sharpnes is not by the Law of God, or man, a just cause of divorce.
To this position I answer, that it lays no battery against mine, no, nor so much as faces it, but tacks about, long ere it come neer, like a harmles and respectfull confutement. For I confess that disagreement of minde or disposition, though in much sharpnes, is not alwaies a just cause of divorce; for much may bee endur'd. But what if the sharpnes bee much more then his much? To that point it is our mis-hap wee have not heer his grave decision. Hee that will contradict the positive which I alleg'd, must hold that no disagreement of minde, or disposition, can divorce, though shewn in most sharpnes; otherwise hee leaves a place for equity to appoint limits, and so his following arguments will either not prove his own position, or not disprove mine.
His first Argument, all but what hobbles to no purpos is this. Wher the Scripture commands a thing to bee don, it appoints when, how, and for what, as in the case of death or excommunication. But the Scripture directs not what measure of disagreement or contrariety may divorce; Therfore the Scripture allows not any divorce for disagreement.
Answer; First I deny your major, the Scripture appoints many things, and yet leaves the circumstance to mans discretion, particularly, in your own examples; Excommunication is not taught when, and for what to bee, but left to the Church. How could the Licencer let pass this childish ignorance and call it good. Next, in matter of death, the Laws of England, wherof you have intruded to bee an opiniastrous Sub advocate, and are bound to defend them, conceave it not enjoyn'd in Scripture, when or for what cause they shall put to death, as in adultery, theft, and the like; your minor also is fals, for the Scripture plainly sets down for what measure of disagreement a man may divorce, Deut. 24. 1. learn better what that phrase means, if shee finde no favour in his eyes.
Your second Argument, without more tedious fumbling is breifly thus. If diversity in Religion, which breeds a greater dislike then any natural disagreement may not cause a divorce, then may not the lesser disagreement: but diversity of Religion may not; Ergo.
Answer, First, I deny in the major, that diversity of Religion, breeds a greater dislike to mariage duties, then natural disagreement. For between Israelite, or Christian and Infidel more often hath bin seen too much love: but between them who perpetually clash in natural contrarieties, it is repugnant that ther should bee ever any maried love or concord. Next, I deny your minor, that it is commanded not to divorce in diversity of Religion, if the Infidel will stay: for that place in St. Paul, commands nothing, as that book at large affirm'd, though you over-skipt it.
Secondly, if it doe command, it is but with condition, that the Infidel bee content, and well pleas'd to stay, which cuts off the supposal of any great hatred or disquiet between them; seeing the Infidel had liberty to depart at pleasure; and so this comparison avails nothing.
Your third Argument is from Deut. 22. If a man hate his wife, and raise an ill report, that hee found her no virgin, if this were fals, he might not put her away, though hated never so much.
Answer, This was a malicious hatred, bent against her life, or to send her out of dores without her portion. Such a hater looses by due punishment that privilege, Deut. 24. 1. to divorce for a natural dislike, which though it could not love conjugallly, yet sent away civilly, and with just conditions. But doubtles the Wife in that former case had liberty to depart from her fals accuser, lest his hatred should prove mortal; els that Law peculiarly made to right the woman, had turn'd to her greatest mischeif,
Your fourth Argument, One Christian ought to bear the infirmities of another, but cheifly of his Wife.
Answer, I grant, infirmities, but not outrages, nor perpetual defraudments of truest conjugal society, not injuries and vexations as importunat as fire. Yet to endure very much, might doe well an exhortation, but not a compulsive Law. For the Spirit of God himself by Solomon declares that such a consort the earth cannot bear, and better dwell in a corner on the house top, or in the Wildernes. Burdens may bee born, but still with consideration to the strength of an honest man complaining. Charity indeed bids us forgive our enemies, yet doth not force us to continue freindship and familiarity with those freinds who have bin fals or unworthy towards us; but is contented in our peace with them, at a fair distance. Charity commands not the husband to receav again into his bosom the adulterous Wife, but thinks it anough, if he dismiss her with a beneficent and peaceful dismission. No more doth Charity command, nor can her rule compell, to retain in neerest union of wedloc, one whose other grossest faults, or disabilities to perform what was covnanted, are the just causes of as much greevance and dissension in a Family, as the private act of adultery. Let not therfore under the name of fulfilling Charity, such an unmercifull, and more then legal yoke, bee padlockt upon the neck of any Christian.
Your fifth Argument, If the husband ought love his Wife, as Christ his Church, then ought shee not to bee put away for contrariety of minde.
Answer, This similitude turnes against him. For if the husband must bee as Christ to the Wife, then must the wife bee as the Church to her husband. If ther bee a perpetual contrariety of minde in the Church toward Christ, Christ himselfe threat'ns to divorce such a Spouse, and hath often don it. If they urge this was no true Church, I urge again, that was no true Wife.
His sixth Argument is from the 5 of Matthew 32. which hee expounds after the old fashion, and never takes notice of what I brought against that exposition; Let him therfore seek his answer there. Yet can hee not leav this Argument, but hee must needs first shew us a curvett of his madnes, holding out an objection, and running himself upon the point. For, saith hee, if Christ except no Cause but Adultery, then all other causes as frigidity, incestuous mariage, &c. are no causes of divorce; and answers, that the speech of Christ holds universally, as hee intended it namely to condemn such divorce; as was groundlesly practiz'd among the Jews, for every cause which they thought sufficient; not checking the law of consanguinities or affinities, or forbidding other cause which makes mariage void, Ipso facto.
Answ. Look to it now you be not found taking fees on both sides, for if you once bring limitations to the universal words of Christ, another will doe as much with as good autority, and affirm, that neither did hee check the Law Deut. 24. 1. nor forbid the causes that make mariage void actually; which if any thing in the world doth, unfitnes doth, and contrariety of minde; yea, more then adultery, for that makes not the mariage void, not much more unfit, but for the time, if the offended party forgive; but unfitnes and contrariety frustrates and nullifies for ever, unless it bee a rare chance, all the good and peace of wedded conversation; and leaves nothing between them enjoyable, but a prone and savage necessity, not worth the name of mariage, unaccompanied with love. Thus much his own objection hath don against himself.
Argu. 7. Hee insists, that man and wife are one flesh, therfore must not separat. But must bee sent to look again upon the 35. pag. of that book, where hee might have read an answer, which hee stirrs not. Yet can hee not abstain, but hee must doe us another pleasure ere hee goes; Although I call the Common Pleas to witness, I have not hir'd his tongue, whatever men may think by his arguing. For besides adultery, hee excepts other causes which dissolv the union of beeing one flesh, either directly, or by consequence. If only adultery bee excepted by our Saviour, and hee voluntarily can adde other exceptions that dissolv that union both directly and by consequence, these Words of Christ, the main obstacle of divorce, are open to us by his own invitation to include what ever causes dissolv that union of flesh, either directly or by consequence. Which, till hee name other causes more likely, I affirm to bee don soonest by unfitness and contrariety of minde. For that induces hatred, which is the greatest dissolver, both of spiritual and corporal union, turning the minde and consequently the body to other objects. Thus our doubty adversary, either directly, or by consequence yeilds us the question with his own mouth, and the next thing hee does, recants it again.
His eighth Argument shivers in the uttering, and hee confesses to bee not over confident of it; but of the rest it may bee sworn hee is. St. Paul, 1 Cor. 7. saith, that the married have trouble in the flesh, therfore wee must bear it, though never so intolerable.
I Answer, If this bee a true consequence, why are not all troubles to bee born alike? why are wee suffer'd to divorce adulteries, desertions, or frigidities? Who knows not that trouble and affliction is the decree of God upon every state of life? follows it therfore, that though they grow excessive, and insupportable, wee must not avoid them? if wee may in all other conditions, and not in mariage, the doom of our suffering ties us not by the trouble, but by the bond of mariage; and that must bee prov'd inseparable from other reasons, not from this place. And his own confession declares the weaknes of this Argument, yet his ungovern'd arrogance could not bee disswaded from venting it.
His ninth Argument is, That a husband must love his wife as himself, therfore hee may not divorce for any disagreement, no more then hee may separat his soul from his body.
I Answer, if hee love his wife as himself, hee must love her so farre as hee may preserv himself to her in a cherfull and comfortable manner, and not so as to ruin himself by anguish and sorrow, without any benefit to her. Next, if the husband must love his wife as himself, shee must bee understood a wife in som reasonable measure, willing, and sufficient to perform the cheif duties of her Covnant, els by the hold of this Argument, it would bee his great sin to divorce either for adultery, or desertion. The rest of this will run circuit with the union of one flesh, which was answer'd before. And that to divorce a relative and Metaphorical union of two bodies into one flesh, cannot bee likn'd in all things to the dividing of that natural union of soul and body into one person, is apparent of it self.
His last Argument hee fetches from the inconveniences that would follow upon this freedom of divorce, to the corrupting of mens mindes, and the overturning of all human society.
But for mee, let God and Moses answer this blasphemer, who dares bring in such a foul endightment against the divine Law. Why did God permit this to his people the Jewes, but that the right and good which came directly therby, was more in his esteem, then the wrong and evil which came by accident. And for those weak supposes of Infants that would be left in their mothers belly, (which must needs bee good news for Chamber-maids, to hear a Serving-man grown so provident for great bellies) and portions, and joyntures likely to incurr imbezlement heerby, the ancient civil Law instructs us plentifully how to award, which our profound opposite knew not, for it was not in his Tenures.
His Arguments are spun, now follows the Chaplain with his Antiquities, wiser if hee had refrain'd, for his very touching ought that is lerned, soiles it, and lays him still more and more open, a conspicuous gull. There beeing both Fathers and Councels > more ancient, wherwith to have serv'd his purpos better then with what hee cites, how may we doe to know the suttle drift that mov'd him to begin first with the twelfth Council of Toledo? I would not undervalue the depth of his notion, but perhaps he had heard that the men of Toledo had store of good blade-mettle, and were excellent at cuttling; who can tell but it might bee the reach of his policy, that these able men of decision, would doe best to have the prime stroke among his testimonies in deciding this cause. But all this craft avails him not; forseeing they allow no cause of divorce but fornication, what doe these keen Doctors heer but cut him over the sinews with thir Toledo's, for holding in the precedent page other causes of divorce besides, both directly, and by consequence. As evil doth that Saxon Councel, next quoted, bestead him. For if it allow divorce precisely for no cause but fornication, it thwarts his own Exposition: and if it understand fornication largely, it sides with whom hee would confute. However, the autority of that Synod can bee but small, beeing under Theodorus, the Canterbury Bishop, a Grecian Monk of the Tarsus, revolted from his own Church to the Pope. What have wee next? The Civil Law stufft in between two Councels, as if the Code had bin som Synod; for that hee understood himself in this quotation is incredible; where the Law, Cod. l. 3. tit. 38. leg. 11. speaks not of divorce, but against the dividing of possessions to divers heires, wherby the maried servants of a great family were divided perhaps into distant Countries, and Colonies, Father from Son, Wife from Husband, sore against their will. Somwhat lower hee confesses, that the Civil Law allows many reasons of divorce, but the Canon Law decrees otherwise. A fair credit to his Cause; and I amaze me, though the fancy of this doubt bee as obtuse and sad as any mallet, how the Licencer could sleep out all this, and suffer him to uphold his opinion by Canons, & Gregorical decretals, a Law which not only his adversary, but the whole reformation of this Church and state hath branded and rejected. As ignorantly, and too ignorantly to deceav any Reader but an unlerned, hee talks of Justin Martyrs Apology, not telling us which of the twain; for that passage in the beginning of his first, which I have cited els-where, plainly makes against him: So doth Tertullian, cited next, and next Erasmus, the one against Marcion, the other in his Annotations on Matthew, and to the Corinthians. And thus yee have the List of his choice Antiquities, as pleasantly chosen as yee would wish from a man of his handy Vocation, puft up with no luck at all, above the stint of his capacity.
Now he comes to the Position, which I sett down whole; and like an able text man, slits it into fowr, that hee may the better come at it with his Barbar Surgery, and his sleeves turn'd up. Wherin first, hee denies that any disposition, unfitness, or contrariety of minde, is unchangeable in nature, but that by the help of diet and physic, it may be alterd.
I mean not to dispute Philosophy with this Pork, who never read any. But I appeal to all experience, though there bee many drugs to purge these redundant humours and circulations that commonly impair health, and are not natural, whether any man can with the safety of his life bring a healthy constitution into physic with this designe, to alter his natural temperament and disposition of minde. How much more vain, and ridiculous would it bee, by altering and rooting up the grounds of nature, which is most likely to produce death or madnes, to hope the reducing of a minde to this or that fitnes, or two disagreeing mindes to a mutual sympathy. Suppose they might, and that with great danger of thir lives and right senses, alter one temperature, how can they know that the succeeding disposition will not bee as farre from fitnes and agreement? They would perhaps change Melancholy into Sanguin, but what if fleam, and choler in as great a measure come instead, the unfitnes will be still as difficult and troublesom. But lastly, whether these things be changeable, or not, experience teacheth us, and our Position supposes that they seldom doe change in any time commensurable to the necessities of man, or convenient to the ends of mariage; and if the fault be in the one, shall the other live all his daies in bondage and misery for anothers perversnes, or immedicable disaffection? To my freinds, of which may fewest bee so unhappy, I have a remedy, as they know, more wise and manly to prescribe: but for his freinds and followers (of which many may deserv justly to feel themselvs the unhappines which they consider not in others) I send them by his advice to sit upon the stool and strain, till their cross dispositions and contrarieties of minde shall change to a better correspondence, and to a quicker apprehension of common sense, and thir own good.
His second Reason is as heedless; because that grace may change the disposition, therfore no indisposition may cause divorce.
Answ. First, it will not bee deniable that many persons, gracious both, may yet happen to bee very unfitly marryed to the great disturbance of either. Secondly, what if one have grace, the other not, and will not alter, as the Scripture testifies ther bee of those, in whom we may expect a change, when the Blackamore changes his colour, or the Leopard his Spots, Jer. 13. 23. shall the gracious therfore dwell in torment all his life, for the ungracious? Wee see that holiest precepts, then which there can no better physic bee administerd to the minde of man, and set on with powerfull preaching, cannot work this cure, no not in the family, not in the wife of him that Preaches day and night to her. What an unreasonable thing it is, that men, and Clergy-men especially, should exact such wondrous changes in another mans house, and are seen to work so little in thir own?
To the second point of the position, that this unfitnes hinders the main ends, and benefits of mariage, hee answers, if I mean the unfitnes of choler, or sullen disposition, that soft words, according to Solomon, pacify wrath.
But I reply, that the saying of Solomon is a Proverb, frequently true, not universally, as both the event shews, and many other sentences writtn by the same Author, particularly of an evill woman, Prov. 21. 9, 19. and in other Chapters, that shee is better shunn'd then dwelt with, and a desert is preferr'd before her society. What need the Spirit of God put this chois into our heads, if soft words could alwaies take effect with her? How frivolous is, not only this disputer, but hee that taught him thus, and let him come abroad.
To his second answer I return this, that although there bee not easily found such an antipathy, as to hate one another like a toad or poison, yet that there is oft such a dislike in both, or either, to conjugal love, as hinders all the comfort of Matrimony, scars any can be so simple as not to apprehend. And what can be that favour, found or not found, in the eyes of the Husband, but a natural liking or disliking; wherof the Law of God, Deut. 24. beares witnes, as of an ordnary accident, and determins wisely and divinely therafter. And this disaffection happning to bee in the one, not without the unspeakable discomfort of the other, must hee bee left like a thing consecrated to calamity and despair without redemption?
Against the third branch of the position, hee denies that solace, and peace, which is contrary to discord and variance, is the main end of mariage. What then? Hee will have it the solace of male and female. Came this doctrin out of som School or some stie? Who but one forsak'n of all sense and civil nature, and cheifly of Christianity, will deny that peace, contrary to discord, is the calling and the general end of every Christian, and of all his actions, and more especially of mariage, which is the dearest league of love, and the dearest resemblance of that love which in Christ is dearest to his Church; how then can peace and comfort, as it is contrary to discord, which God hates to dwell with, not bee the main end of mariage? Discord then wee ought to fly, and to pursue peace, farre above the observance of a civil covnant already brokn, and the breaking dayly iterated on the other side. And what better testimony then the words of the institution it self, to prove that a conversing solace, & peaceful society, is the prime end of mariage, without which no other help or office can bee mutual, beseeming the dignity of reasonable creatures, that such as they should be coupl'd in the rites of nature by the meer compulsion of lust, without love or peace, wors then wild beasts. Nor was it half so wisely spokn as some deem, though Austin spake it, that if God had intended other then copulation in Mariage, he would for Adam have created a Freind, rather then a wife, to convers with; and our own writers blame him for this opinion; for which and the like passages, concerning mariage, hee might bee justly taxed of rusticity in these affairs. For this cannot but bee with ease conceav'd, that there is one society of grave freindship, and another amiable and attractive society of conjugal love, besides the deed of procreation, which of itself soon cloies, and is despis'd, unless it be cherisht and re-incited with a pleasing conversation. Which if ignoble and swainish mindes cannot apprehend, shall such merit therfore to be the censurers of more generous and vertuous Spirits?
Against the last point of the position, to prove that contrariety of minde is not a greater cause of divorce then corporal frigidity, hee enters into such a tedious and drawling tale of burning, and burning, and lust and burning, that the dull argument it self burnes to, for want of stirring; and yet all this burning is not able to expell the frigidity of his brain. So long therfore as that cause in the position shall bee prov'd a sufficient cause of divorce, rather then spend words with this fleamy clodd of an Antagonist, more then of necessity and a little merriment, I will not now contend whether it bee a greater cause then frigidity, or no.
His next attempt is upon the Arguments which I brought to prove the position. And for the first, not finding it of that structure as to bee scal'd with his short ladder, hee retreats with a bravado, that it deservs no answer. And as I much wonder what the whole book deserv'd to bee thus troubl'd and sollicited by such a paltry Sollicitor. I would hee had not cast the gracious eye of his duncery upon the small deserts of a pamflet, whose every line meddl'd with, uncases him to scorn and laughter.
That which he takes for the second Argument, if hee look better, is no argument, but an induction to those that follow. Then hee stumbles that I should say, the gentlest ends of Mariage, confessing that he understands it not. And I beleev him heartily: for how should hee, a Servingman both by nature and by function, an Idiot by breeding, and a Sollicitor by presumption, ever come to know, or feel within himself what the meaning is of gentle? He blames it for a neat phrase, for nothing angers him more then his own proper contrary. Yet altogether without art sure hee is not; for who could have devis'd to give us more breifly a better description of his own Servility?
But what will become now of the busines I know not; for the man is suddenly taken with a lunacy of Law, and speaks revelations out of the Atturneys Academy only from a lying spirit: for hee saies, that where a thing is void, ipso facto, there needs no legal proceeding to make it void. Which is fals, for mariage is void by adultery or frigidity, yet not made void without legal proceeding. Then asks my opinion of John a Nokes and John a Stiles; and I answer him, that I for my part think John Dory, was a better man then both of them: for certainly they were the greatest wranglers that ever liv'd, and have fill'd all our Law-books with the obtunding story of their suits and trials.
After this hee tells a miraculous peece of antiquity, how two Romans, Titus and Sempronius, made feoffments, at Rome sure, and levied Fines by the Common Law. But now his fit of Law past, yet hardly come to himself, hee maintains, that if Mariage bee void, as beeing neither of God nor nature, there needs no legal proceeding to part it, and I tell him that offends not mee; Then, quoth hee, this is no thing to your book, beeing the Doctrin and Discipline of Divorce. But that I deny him; for all Discipline is not legal, that is to say, juridical, but som is personal, som Economical, and som Ecclesiastical. Lastly, if I prove that contrary dispositions are joyn'd neither of God nor nature, and so the mariage void, hee will give mee the controversy. I have prov'd it in that book to any wise man, and without more adoe the Institution proves it.
Where I answer an Objection usually made, that the disposition ought to bee known before mariage, and shew how difficult it is to choose a fit consort, and how easie to mistake; the Servitor would know what I mean by conversation, declaring his capacity nothing refin'd since his Law-puddering, but still the same it was in the Pantry, and at the Dresser. Shall I argue of conversation with this hoyd'n, to go and practice at his opportunities in the Larder? To men of quality I have said anough; and experience confirms by daily example that wisest, sobrest, justest Men are somtimes miserably mistak'n in their chois. Whom to leav thus without remedy, tost and tempested in a most unquiet sea of afflictions and temptations, I say is most unchristianly.
But hee goes on to untruss my Arguments, imagining them his Maisters points. Only in the passage following, I cannot but admire the ripenes, and the pregnance of his native trechery, endeavouring to bee more a Fox then his wit will suffer him. Wheras I breifly mention'd certain heads of Discours, which I referr'd to a place more proper according to my method, to bee treated there at full with all thir Reasons about them, this Brain-worm against all the Laws of Dispute, will needs deal with them heer. And as a Country Hinde somtimes ambitious to shew his betters that hee is not so simple as you take him, and that hee knows his advantages, will teach us a new trick to confute by. And would you think to what a pride hee swells in the contemplation of his rare stratagem, offering to carp at the language of a book, which yet hee confesses to be generally commended; while himself will bee acknowledg'd by all that read him, the basest and the hungriest endighter, that could take the boldnes to look abroad. Observ now the arrogance of a groom, how it will mount. I had writt'n, that common adultery is a thing which the rankest Politician would think it shame and disworship that his Law should countenance. First, it offends him that rankest should signify ought but his own smell; who that knows English would not understand mee, when I say a rank Serving-man, a rank petti-fogger, to mean a meer Serving-man, a meer and arrant petti-fogger, who lately was so hardy, as to lay aside his buckram wallet, and make himself a fool in Print, with confuting books which are above him. Next, the word Politician is not us'd to his maw, and therupon he plays the most notorious hobbihors, jesting and frisking in the luxury of his non-sense with such poor fetches to cog a laughter from us, that no antic hobnaile at a Morris, but is more hansomly facetious.
Concerning that place Deut. 24. 1. which he saith to bee the main pillar of my opinion, though I rely more on the institution then on that. These two pillars I doe indeed confess are to mee as those two in the porch of the Temple, Jachin and Boaz , which names import establishment and strength; nor doe I fear who can shake them. The exposition of Deut. which I brought, is the receav'd Exposition, both ancient and modern, by all lerned men, unless it be a monkish papist heer and there: and the gloss which hee and his obscure assistant would perswade us to, is meerly new, and absurd, presuming out of his utter ignorance in the Ebrew, to interpret these words of the Text, first, in a mistakn sense of uncleanness, against all approved Writers. Secondly, in a limited sense, when as the original speaks without limitation, some uncleanness, or any; and it had bin a wise Law indeed to mean itself particular, and not to express the case which this acute Rabbie hath all this while bin hooking for. Wherby they who are most partial to him may guess that somthing is in this doctrin which I allege, that forces the adversary to such a new & strained Exposition, wherin hee does nothing for above foure pages, but founder himself to and fro in his own objections; one while denying that divorce was permitted, another while affirming that it was permitted for the wives sake. and after all distrusts himself. And for his surest retirement, betakes him to those old suppositions, that Christ abolisht the Mosaic Law of divorce; that the Jews had not sufficient knowledge in this point, through the darknes of the dispensation of heavenly things; that under the plenteous grace of the Gospel, wee are ty'd by cruellest compulsion to live in mariage till death, with the wickedest, the worst, the most persecuting Mate. These ignorant and doting surmises he might have read confuted at large, eevn in the first Edition, but found it safer to pass that part over in silence. So that they who see not the sottishness of this his new and tedious Exposition, are worthy to love it dearly.
His Explanation done, hee charges mee with a wicked gloss, and almost blasphemy, for saying that Christ in teaching, meant not always to bee tak'n word for word; but like a wise Physician, administring one excess against another, to reduce us to a perfect mean. Certainly to teach thus, were no dishonest method: Christ himself hath often us'd hyperbolies in his teaching; and gravest Authors, both Aristotle in the second of his Ethics to Nichomachus, and Seneca in his seventh De Beneficiis, advise us to stretch out the line of precept oft times beyond measure, that while wee tend furder, the mean might bee the easier attain'd. And who-ever comments that fifth of Matthew, when hee comes to the turning of cheek after cheek to blows, and the parting both with cloak and coat, if any please to bee the rifler, will bee forc't to recommend himself to the same Exposition, though this chattering Law-monger bee bold to call it wicked. Now note another precious peece of him; Christ, saith hee, doth not say that an unchast look is adultery, but the lusting after her; as if the looking unchastly could bee without lusting. This gear is Licenc't for good reason: Imprimatur.
Next hee would prove that the speech of Christ is not utter'd in excess against the Pharises, First, Because hee speaks it to his Disciples, Matth. 5. which is fals, for hee spake it to the multitude, as by the first vers. is evident, among which in all likelihood were many Pharises, but out of doubt, all of them Pharisean disciples, and bred up in their Doctrin; from which extremes of error and falsity, Christ throughout his whole Sermon labours to reclaim the people. Secondly, saith he, Because Christ forbidds not only putting away, but marrying her who is put away. Acutely, as if the Pharises might not have offended as much in marrying the divorc'd, as in divorcing the maried. The recept may bind all, rightly understood; and yet the vehement manner of giving it, may be occasion'd only by the Pharises.
Finally, hee windes up his Text with much doubt and trepidation; for it may bee his trenchers were not scrap'd, and that which never yet afforded corn of savour to his noddle, the Salt-seller was not rubb'd: and therfore in this hast easily granting, that his answers fall foule upon each other, and praying, you would not think he writes as a profet, but as a man, hee runns to the black jack, fills his flagon, spreds the table, and servs up dinner.
After waiting and voiding, hee thinks to void my second Argument, and the contradictions that will follow, both in the Law and Gospel, if the Mosaic Law were abrogated by our Saviour, and a compulsive prohibition fixt instead: and sings his old song, that the Gospel counts unlawfull that which the Law allow'd, instancing in Circumcision, Sacrifices, Washings. But what are these Ceremonial things to the changing of a morall point in houshold dutie, equally belonging to Jew and Gentile; divorce was then right, now wrong, then permitted in the rigorous time of Law, now forbidd'n by Law, eevn to the most extremely afflicted, in the favourable time of grace and freedom. But this is not for an unbutton'd fellow to discuss in the Garret at his tressle, and dimension of candle by the snuffe; which brought forth his cullionly paraphrase on St. Paul, whom he brings in, discoursing such idle stuff to the Maids, and Widdows, as his own servile inurbanity forbeares not to put into the Apostles mouth, of the soules conversing: and this hee presumes to do, being a bayard, who never had the soul to know, what conversing means, but as his provender, and the familiarity of the Kitchen school'd his conceptions.
Hee passes to the third Argument, like a Boar in a Vinyard, doing nought els, but still as hee goes champing and chewing over, what I could mean by this Chimera of a fit conversing Soul, notions and words never made for those chopps; but like a generous Wine, only by overworking the settl'd mudd of his fancy, to make him drunk, and disgorge his vileness the more openly. All persons of gentle breeding (I say gentle, though this Barrow grunt at the word) I know will apprehend, and bee satisfy'd in what I spake, how unpleasing and discontenting the society of body must needs be between those whose mindes cannot bee sociable. But what should a man say more to a snout in this pickle, what language can be low and degenerat anough?
The fourth Argument which I had, was, that Mariage beeing a Covnant, the very beeing wherof consists in the performance of unfeigned love and peace, if that were not tolerably perform'd, the Covnant became broke and revocable. Which how can any in whose minde the principles of right reason and justice are not cancell'd, deny; for how can a thing subsist, when the true essence therof is dissolv'd? yet this hee denies, and yet in such a manner as alters my assertion, for hee puts in, though the main end bee not attain'd in full measure: but my position is, if it be not tolerably attain'd, as throughout the whole Discours is apparent.
Now for his Reasons; Heman found not that peace and solace which is the main end of communion with God, should hee therfore break off that communion?
I answer, that if Heman found it not, the fault was certainly his own: but in Mariage it happns farre otherwise: Somtimes the fault is plainly not his who seeks Divorce: Somtimes it cannot be discern'd whose fault it is: and therfore cannot in reason or equity be the matter of an absolute prohibition.
His other instance declares, what a right handicrafts man hee is of petty cases, and how unfitt to be ought els at highest, but a hacney of the Law. I change houses with a man; it is suppos'd I doe it for my own ends; I attain them not in this house; I shall not therfore goe from my bargain. How without fear might the young Charinus in Andria now cry out, what likenes can bee heer to a Mariage? In this bargain was no capitulation, but the yeilding of possession to one another, wherin each of them had his several end apart: in Mariage there is a solemn vow of love and fidelity each to other: this bargain is fully accomplisht in the change; In Mariage the covnant still is in performing. If one of them perform nothing tolerably, but instead of love, abound in disaffection, disobedience, fraud, and hatred, what thing in the nature of a covnant shall bind the other to such a perdurable mischeif? Keep to your Problemes of ten groats, these matters are not for pragmatics, and folkmooters to babble in.
Concerning the place of Paul, that God hath call'd us to peace, 1 Cor. 7. and therfore certainly, if any where in this world, wee have a right to claim it reasonably in mariage, it is plain anough in the sense which I gave, and confess'd by Paræus, and other Orthodox Divines, to bee a good sense, and this Answerer, doth not weak'n it. The other place, that hee who hateth, may put away, which, if I shew him, he promises to yeild the whole controversie, is, besides, Deut. 24. 1. Deut. 21. 14. and before this, Exod. 21. 8. Of Malachy I have spok'n more in another place; and say again that the best interpreters, all the ancient, and most of the modern translate it, as I cited, and very few otherwise, wherof perhaps Junius is the cheif.
Another thing troubles him, that mariage is call'd the mystery of Joy. Let it still trouble him; for what hath hee to doe either with joy or with mystery? He thinks it frantic divinity to say, It is not the outward continuance of mariage, that keeps the covnant of mariage whole, but whosoever doth most according to peace and love, whether in mariage or divorce, hee breaks mariage lest. If I shall spell it to him, Hee breaks mariage lest, is to say, hee dishonours not mariage; for least is tak'n in the Bible, and other good Authors, for, not at all. And a particular mariage a man may break, if for a lawfull cause, and yet not break, that is, not violate, or dishonour the Ordnance of Mariage. Hence these two questions that follow, are left ridiculous; and the Maids at Algate, whom hee flouts, are likely to have more witt then the Servingman at Addlegate.
Wheras hee taxes me of adding to the Scripture in that I said, Love only is the fulfilling of every Commandment, I cited no particular Scripture, but spake a general sense, which might bee collected from many places. For seeing love includes Faith, what is ther that can fulfill every Commandment but only love? And I meant, as any intelligent Reader might apprehend, every positive and civil commandment, wherof Christ hath taught us that man is the Lord. It is not the formal duty of worship, or the sitting still, that keeps the holy rest of Sabbath; but whosoever doth most according to charity, whether hee work or work not; he breaks the holy rest of Sabbath least. So Mariage beeing a civil Ordinance made for man, not man for it; hee who doth that which most accords with charity, first to himself, next to whom hee next ows it, whether in mariage or divorce, hee breaks the Ordinance of mariage least. And what in Religious prudence can bee charity to himself, and what to his Wife, either in continuing, or in dissolving the mariage knot, hath bin already oft anough discours'd. So that what St. Paul saith of circumcision, the same I stick not to say of a civil ordinance, made to the good and comfort of man, not to his ruin; mariage is nothing, and divorce is nothing, but faith, which worketh by love. And this I trust none can mistake.
Against the fifth Argument, That a Christian in a higher order of Priest-hood then that Levitical, is a person dedicat to joy and peace; and therfore needs not in Subjection to a civil Ordinance, made to no other end but for his good, (when without his fault he findes it impossible to bee decently or tolerably observ'd) to plunge himself into immeasurable distractions and temptations, above his strength; against this hee proves nothing, but gadds into silly conjectures of what abuses would follow, and with as good reason might declaim against the best things that are.
Against the sixth Argument, that to force the continuance of mariage between mindes found utterly unfit and disproportional, is against nature, and seems forbidd under that allegorical precept of Moses, Not to sow a field with divers seeds, lest both bee defil'd, not to plough with an Oxe and an Ass together, which I deduc'd by the pattern of St. Pauls reasoning what was meant by not muzzling the Oxe, hee rambles over a long narration, to tell us that by the Oxen are meant the Preachers: which is not doubted. Then hee demands, if this my reasoning bee like St. Pauls: and I answer him, yes. Hee replies, that sure St. Paul would bee asham'd to reason thus. And I tell him, No. Hee grants that place which I alleg'd, 2 Cor. 6. of unequal yoking, may allude to that of Moses, but saies, I cannot prove it makes to my purpos, and shews not first how hee can disprove it. Waigh Gentlemen, and consider, whether my affirmations, backt with Reason, may hold balance against the bare denials of this ponderous confuter, elected by his ghostly Patrons to bee my copes-mate.
Proceeding on to speak of mysterious things in nature, I had occasion to fit the language therafter, matters not for the reading of this odious fool, who thus ever when he meets with ought above the cogitation of his breeding, leavs the noysom stench of his rude slot behind him, maligning that any thing should bee spoke or understood above his own genuine basenes; and gives sentence that his confuting hath bin employ'd about a frothy, immeritous and undeserving discours. Who could have beleevd so much insolence durst vent it self from out the hide of a varlet, as thus to censure that which men of mature judgement have applauded to bee writ with good reason. But this contents him not, hee falls now to rave in his barbarous abusivenes; and why? a reason befitting such an Artificer, because he saith the Book is contrary to all human lerning; When as the World knows that all, both human and divine lerning, till the Canon Law, allow'd divorce by consent, and for many causes without consent. Next, he dooms it, as contrary to Truth; when as it hath been disputable among lerned men, ever since it was prohibited: and is by Peter Martyr thought an opinion not impious, but hard to bee refuted; and by Erasmus deem'd a Doctrin so charitable and pious, as, if it cannot bee us'd, were to be wisht it could; but is by Martin Bucer, a Man of dearest and most religious memory in the Church, taught and maintain'd to bee either most lawfully us'd, or most lawfully permitted. And for this, for I affirm no more then Bucer, what censure doe you think, Readers, he hath condemn'd the Book to? To a death no less infamous then to be burnt by the hangman. Mr. Licencer, for I deal not now with this caitif, never worth my earnest, & now not seasonable for my jest, you are reputed a man discreet anough, religious anough, honest anough, that is, to an ordinary competence in all these. But now your turn is, to hear what your own hand hath earn'd ye, that when you suffer'd this nameles hangman to cast into public such a despightfull contumely upon a name and person deserving of the Church and State equally to your self, and one who hath don more to the present advancement of your own Tribe, then you or many of them have don for themselvs; you forgot to bee either honest, Religious, or discreet. What ever the State might doe concerning it, suppos'd a matter to expect evill from, I should not doubt to meet among them with wise, and honourable, and knowing men. But as to this brute Libel, so much the more impudent and lawless for the abus'd autority which it bears, I say again, that I abominat the censure of Rascals and their Licencers.
With difficulty I return to what remains of this ignoble task, for the disdain I have to change a period more with the filth and venom of this gourmand, swell'd into a confuter. Yet, for the satisfaction of others, I endure all this.
Against the seventh Argument, that if the Canon Law and Divines allow divorce for conspiracy of death, they may as well allow it to avoid the same consequence from the likelihood of naturall causes;
First, hee denies that the Canon so decrees.
I Answer, that it decrees for danger of life, as much as for adultery, Decret. Gregor. l. 4. tit. 19. and in other places: and the best Civilians who cite the Canon Law, so collect, as Schneidewin in Institut. tit. 10. p. 4. de divort. and indeed, who would have deny'd it, but one of a reprobate ignorance in all hee meddles with.
Secondly, hee saith, the case alters; for there the offender, who seeks the life, doth implicitly at least act a divorce.
And I answer, that heer nature, though no offender, doth the same. But if an offender by acting a divorce, shall release the offended, this is an ample grant against himself. Hee saith, nature teacheth to save life from one who seeks it. And I say she teaches no less to save it from any other cause that endangers it, Hee saith, that heer they are both actors. Admit they were, it would not be uncharitable to part them; yet somtimes they are not both actors, but the one of them most lamentedly passive. So hee concludes, Wee must not take advantage of our own faults and corruptions to release us from our duties. But shall wee take no advantage to save our selvs from the faults of another, who hath annull'd his right to our duty? No, saith hee, Let them die of the sullens, and try who will pitty them. Barbarian, the shame of all honest Atturneys, why doe they not hoise him over the barre, and blanket him?
Against the eighth Argument, that they who are destitute of all marriageable guifts, except a body not plainly unfit, have not the calling to marry, and consequently married and so found, may bee divorc'd, this, hee saith, is nothing to the purpose, and not fit to bee answer'd. I leav it therfore to the judgment of his Maisters.
Against the ninth Argument, that mariage is a human society, and so cheifly seated in agreement and unity of minde: If therfore the minde cannot have that due society by mariage, that it may reasonably and humanly desire, it can bee no human society, and so not without reason divorcible: heer he falsifies, and turnes what the position requir'd of a reasonable agreement in the main matters of society, into an agreement in all things, which makes the opinion not mine, and so he leavs it.
At last, and in good howr, we are come to his farewell, which is to bee a concluding taste of his jabberment in Law, the flashiest and the fustiest that ever corrupted in such an unswill'd hogshead.
Against my tenth Argument, as he calls it, but as I intended it, my other position, that Divorce is not a thing determinable by a compulsive Law, for that all Law is for som good that may be frequently attain'd without the admixture of a wors inconvenience; but the Law forbidding divorce, never attains to any good end of such prohibition, but rather multiplies evill; therfore, the prohibition of divorce is no good Law. Now for his Atturneys prise: but first, like a right cunning and sturdy Logician, hee denies my Argument, not mattering whether in the major or minor: and saith, there are many Laws made for good, and yet that good is not attain'd, through the defaults of the party, but a greater inconvenience follows.
But I reply, that this Answer builds upon a shallow foundation, and most unjustly supposes every one in default, who seeks divorce from the most injurious wedloc. The default therfore will bee found in the Law itself; which is neither able to punish the offender, but the innocent must withall suffer; nor can right the innocent in what is cheifly sought, the obtainment of love or quietness. His instances out of the Common Law, are all so quite beside the matter which hee would prove, as may bee a warning to all clients how they venture thir busines with such a cock-braind Sollicitor. For beeing to shew som Law of England, attaining to no good end, and yet through no default of the party, who is therby debarr'd all remedy, hee shews us only how som doe loos the benefit of good Laws through their own default. His first example saith, It is a just Law that every one shall peaceably enjoy his estate in Lands or otherwise. Does this Law attain to no good end? the Barr will blush at this most incogitant woodcock. But see if a draft of Littleton will recover him to his senses. If this Man having Fee simple in his Lands, yet will take a Leas of his own Lands from another, this shall be an Estoppel to him in an Assise from the recovering of his own Land. Mark now and register him. How many are there of ten thousand who have such a Fee simple in their sconce, as to take a Leas of their own Lands from another? So that this inconvenience lights upon scars one in an age, and by his own default; and the Law of enjoying each man his own, is good to all others. But on the contrary, this prohibition of divorce is good to none, and brings inconvenience to numbers, who lie under intolerable greevances without their own default, through the wickednes or folly of another; and all this iniquity the Law remedies not, but in a manner maintains? His other cases are directly to the same purpos, and might have bin spar'd, but that hee is a tradsman of the Law, and must be born with at his first setting up, to lay forth his best ware, which is only gibbrish.
I have now don that, which for many causes I might have thought, could not likely have bin my fortune, to bee put to this under-work of scowring and unrubbishing the low and sordid ignorance of such a presumptuous lozel. Yet Hercules had the labour once impos'd upon him to carry dung out of the Augean stable. At any hand I would bee ridd of him: for I had rather, since the life of man is likn'd to a Scene, that all my entrances and exits might mixe with such persons only, whose worth erects them and their actions to a grave and tragic deportment, and not to have to doe with Clowns and Vices. But if a man cannot peaceably walk into the world, but must bee infested, somtimes at his face with dorrs and horsflies, somtimes beneath with bauling whippets and shin-barkers, and these to bee set on by plot and consultation with a Junto of Clergy men and Licencers, commended also and rejoyc't in by those whose partiality cannot yet forgoe old papisticall principles, have I not cause to bee in such a manner defensive, as may procure mee freedom to pass more unmolested heerafter by those incumbrances, not so much regarded for themselvs, as for those who incite them. And what defence can properly bee us'd in such a despicable encounter as this, but either the flap or the spurn? If they can afford mee none but a ridiculous adversary, the blame belongs not to mee, though the whole Dispute bee strew'd and scatter'd with ridiculous. And if hee have such an ambition to know no better who are his mates, but among these needy thoughts, which though his two faculties of Serving-man and Sollicitor should compound into one mongrel, would bee but thin and meager, if in this penury of Soul hee can bee possible to have the lustiness to think of fame, let him but send mee how hee calls himself, and I may chance not fail to endorse him on the backside of posterity, not a golden, but a brazen Asse. Since my fate extorts from mee a talent of sport, which I had thought to hide in a napkin, hee shall bee my Batrachomuomachia, my Bavius, my Calandrino, the common adagy of ignorance and over-weening. Nay, perhaps, as the provocation may bee, I may bee driv'n to curle up this gliding prose into a rough Sotadic, that shall rime him into such a condition, as instead of judging good Books to bee burnt by the executioner, hee shall be readier to be his own hangman. Thus much to this Nuisance.
But as for the Subject it self which I have writt and now defend, according as the opposition beares; if any man equal to the matter, shall think it appertains him to take in hand this controversy, either excepting against ought writt'n, or perswaded hee can shew better how this question of such moment to bee throughly known, may receav a true determination, not leaning on the old and rott'n suggestions wheron it yet leanes; if his intents bee sincere to the public, and shall carry him on without bitternes to the opinion, or to the person dissenting, let him not, I entreate him, guess by the handling, which meritoriously hath bin bestowd on this object of contempt and laughter, that I account it any displeasure don mee to bee contradicted in Print: but as it leads to the attainment of any thing more true, shall esteem it a benefit; and shall know how to return his civility and faire Argument in such a sort, as hee shall confess that to doe so is my choise, and to have don thus was my chance.