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and striving to thwart one another, married Per-
Since our Saviour has left such a Blot on that sort of Uncleanness committed by married Persons, that on Account thereof he permits the Difsolution of the Marriage, let this Doctrine deter us from all Approaches to those Sins. Let Hufbands and Wives beware of every thing that may in the least create any Dryness or Alienation of Affection from one another. Let them beware of those pretended Friends, but really worst Enemies, that bring Oil to inflame, instead of Water to quench the Fire of Strife and Contention, when it is kindled between them and the Companion of their Life. Let every Approach of criminal Address, so soon as it is perceived, be rejected with Abhorrence. As this is true Honour, so I am sure it is their true Interest, both with relation to this World, and that which is to come.
So much for the first Thing I observed from our Saviour's Doctrine of Divorce, namely, That it is totally prohibited to us Christians, except in case of Adultery. The other Things I observed from the Words, I must refer to another Opportunity.
Now God bless what ye have heard, that it may take Root in your Hearts, and bring forth Fruit in your Lives, to his Glory and and Salvation, through Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour, To whom, &c.
SE R M O N XXII.
MATT. V. 31. It hath been said, Whosoever Mall put away his
Wife, let him give her a Writing of Divorce
Ver. 32. But I say unto you, that whosoever shall
put away his Wife, saving for the cause of Fornication, causėth her to commit Adultery : 'and whosoever shall Marry her that is Divorced, committeth Adultery.
The Second Sermon on this Text.
AVING, at the last Occasion, discoursed
to you from these Words, there were two Things I observed to be contained in them.
I. The Doctrine of Divorce, as taught by many of the Jewish Doctors.
II. Our Saviour's Correction, and further Explication of that Doctrine:
After I had spoke to the first, the Doctrine of Divorce as taught by the Jewish Doctors, I came to the second, our Saviour's Correction and further Explication of that Doctrine. And in it, there were four Things I observed as worthy of our Consideration,
1. That our Saviour totally prohibits the Parting of Man and Wife, except in the Case of Infidelity to the Marriage-Bed.
2. That he charges all the evil Consequences of such a Parting, except in the Case aforesaid, upon the Husband that turns away the innocent Wife; be causeth her to commit Adultery.
3. That notwithstanding the Strictness of the Marriage Bond, the Foundation of it being the Conjugal Fidelity they promise to one another, where that is broken, the Marriage may be diffolved.
4. That it is unlawful to marry the Divorced Wife; who, if innocent, ought to return to her Husband ; if guilty, is to be deprived of the benefit of Marriage, while her Husband lives.
Now having at that time spoke to the first of these, our Saviour's prohibiting the Parting of Man and Wife, except in the Case of Infidelity to the Marriage-Bed; I intend now to consider the other Three as they lie in order : Which, together with some Practical Inferences, shall be the Subject of my present Discourse.
II. The Second Thing then contained in the Words, is, that our Saviour charges the evil Consequences of Putting away the Wife, except in the Case of Infidelity to the Marriage-Bed, upon the Husband that turns her away. But I say unto you, that whosoever fall put away his Wife, saving for the Cause of Fornication, caufeth her to commit Adultery. From which Part of my Text, there are two Things we may observe. And I think they are both of great Use in a Christian Life.
i. The First is more general ; namely, that whosoever commits any Sin, he is answerable,
not only for all the Necessary, but for all the Probable Consequences of that Sin.
2. The Second is more Particular ; namely, that those Quarrels of Man and Wife, which are attended with Parting, have very Terrible Consequences.
1. First, I say, whosoever commits any Sin, is answerable not only for all the necessary, but for all the Probable Consequences of that Sin. This I think is plain from the Words ; for the Woman that was unjustly Divorced, might, notwithstanding, have abstained from Adultery; but yet, because by the turning her away
from her Husband she was exposed to the visible Danger of that Sin, my Text faith, he causeth her to commit Adultery. We see here what Consequences of our Sins we are responsible for ; not all the casual Consequences which no Forecast could foresee or prevent, but the natural and probable Consequences attending them. This, if duly considered, would be a mighty Preservative against all manner of Sin ; for every Sin is attended with a great Train of evil Confequences, though at the
fame Time we are so blinded that we cannot see, at least cannot see beforehand, the Connexion between our Sins, and those evil Consequences. For Instance, in the Sin of Drunkenness, who can reckon up all the imprudent Words, and foolish indiscreet Actions, and dangerous Accidents that attend it; yet the Drunkard is answerable for them all. Nay, whether they do all actually happen or not; forafmuch as the Drunkard exposeth himself to them all, he is responsible for all: And in this Sin of the Text, he that by ill Usage, and Turning away, exposes a Wife to all the most desperate Shifts, though
by her own Virtue, and the Grace of God, she may be preserved from many of those Temptations, yet forasmuch as he does what in him lies to expose her to them, they may well be charged to his Account. And in this Sense it may well be said in my Text, he causeth her to commit Adultery: that is, he doth what in him lies to make her an ill Woman, though, by the Grace of God, the may chance to be preserved from it.
2. The Second Thing I observe from this Part of my Text, is, that those Quarrels of Man and Wife, which are attended with parting, have commonly very terrible Consequences. Our Saviour mentions one here of driving the Wife upon ill Courses, and desperate wicked Shifts. But some may perhaps reply, that though the Husband abandons and turns her away, he does not defire her to commit Adultery, but had rather, perhaps, that she should abstain from it. Yet while it is through his Means that she is driven into such Temptations, as are incident to one in her Circumstances, he is in a great Measure the Cause of both her Sin and Misery; not that she is to be excused from any Sin The is guilty of, but that he is Accessory to the chief part of the Criminalness of it. It is no hard Matter to Account how the unjust Husband, who turns away his Wife, is thus Accessory to the Crimes which commonly follow upon such an abandoned State: For, 1. The Dishonour and Disgrace of it, is apt to throw her into Despair, that she does not care what becomes of her ; and is consequently tempted to lay aside that Vigilance and Guard The had formerly upon her Honour. 2. The Excess of Injuries and ill Usage perhaps is greater than any ordi