Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Martin Bucer on Divorce cont.

I have taken a long break from posting on Bucer. This came about because I realized that the Latin text that Bucer used for his scripture quotes differs from the English. Once again, I was up against a difference of interpretation. However, this is an interesting document which I perused carefully noting how he read the scriptures. I hope others interested in this time period will enjoy reading it.

Here is a section in which one finds many of his conclusions about divorce.

    To this first institution did Christ recall his own;
    when answering the Pharisees, he condemn'd the
    licence of unlawful Divorce. He taught therfore by
    his example, that we, according to this first
    institution, and what God hath spoken therof, ought
    to determine what kind of Covenant Marriage is, how
    to be kept, and how far; and lastly, for what causes
    to be dissolv'd. To which Decrees of God these also
    are to be join'd, which the Holy Ghost hath taught
    by his Apostle, that neither the Husband nor the
    Wife hath power of their own body, but mutually
    each of either's. That the Husband shall love the
    Wife as his own body, yea as Christ loves his Church;
    and that the Wife ought to be subject to her
    Husband, as the Church is to Christ.

    By these things the nature of holy Wedloc is
    certainly known; wherof if only one be wanting in
    both or either party, and that either by obstinate
    malevolence or too deep inbred weakness of mind, or
    lastly, through incurable impotence of Body, it
    cannot then be said that the covenant of Matrimony
    holds good between such; if we mean that covenant
    which God instituted and call'd Marriage, and that
    wherof only it must be understood that our Saviour
    said, Those whom God hath join'd, let no Man
    separate.

    And hence is concluded, that Matrimony requires
    continual cohabitation and living together, unless
    the calling of God be otherwise evident; which union
    if the parties themselves disjoin either by mutual
    consent, or one against the other's will depart, the
    Marriage is then broken. Wherin the Papists, as in
    other things, oppose themselves against God; while
    they separate for many causes from bed and board,
    and yet will have the bond of Matrimony remain, as
    if this covenant could be other than the conjunction
    and communion not only of bed and board, but of all
    other living and helpful duties. This we may see in
    these words; I will make him a help-meet for him;
    bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh: for this cause
    shall he leave Father and Mother, and cleave to his
    Wife, and they twain shall be one flesh. By which
    words who discerns not, that God requries of them
    both so to live together, and to be united not only in
    body but in mind also, with such an affection as none
    may be dearer and more ardent among all the
    relations of Mankind, nor of more efficacy to the
    mutual offices of love and loyalty. They must
    communicate and consent in all things both divine
    and human, which have any moment to well and
    happy living. The Wife must honour and obey her
    Husband, as the Church honours and obeys Christ
    her head. The Husband must love and cherish his
    Wife, as Christ his Church. Thus they must be to
    each other, if they will be true Man and Wife in the
    sight of God, whom certainly the Churches ought to
    follow in their judgment. Now the proper and
    ultimate end of Marriage is not copulation, or
    children, for then there was not true Matrimony
    between Joseph and Mary the Mother of Christ, nor
    between many holy persons more; but the full and
    proper and main end of Marriage, is the
    communicating of all duties, both divine and human,
    each to other with utmost benevolence and affection.
Tender words, that the proper end of marriage is benevolence and affection.