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sanguinity or affinity forbidden in the word; nor can such incestuous marriages ever be made lawful by any law of man, or consent of parties, so as those persons may live together as man and wife. The man may not marry any of his wife's kindred nearer in blood than he may of his own, nor the woman of her husband's kindred nearer in blood than of her own.k
V. Adultery, or fornication, committed after a contract, being detected before marriage, giveth just occasion to the innocent party to dissolve that contract.1 In the case of adultery after marriage, it is lawful for the innocent party to sue out a divorce,m and, after the divorce, to marry another, as if the offending party were dead."
IV. h (Lev. xviiith chapter.) 1 Cor. v. 1. It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father's wife. Amos ii. 7. That pant after the dust of the earth on the head of the poor, and turn aside the way of the meek; and a man and his father will go in unto the same maid, to profane my holy name.
i Mark vi. 18. For John had said unto Herod, It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother's wife. Lev. xviii. 24 to 28. Defile not ye yourselves in any of these things: for in all these the nations are defiled, which I cast out before you. And the land is defiled: therefore I do visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants. Ye shall, therefore, keep my statutes and my judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations; neither any of your own nation, nor any stranger that sojourneth among you: (For all these abominations have the men of the land done, which were before you, and the land is defiled:) That the land spue not you out also, when ye defile it, as it spued out the nations that were before you.
k Lev. xx. 19, 20, 21. And thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy mother's sister, nor of thy father's sister: for he uncovereth his near kin they shall bear their iniquity. And if a man shall lie with his uncle's wife, he hath uncovered his uncle's nakedness: they shall bear their sin, they shall die childless. And if a man shall take his brother's wife, it is an unclean thing: he hath uncovered his brother's nakedness, they shall be childless.
V. Mat. i. 18, 19, 20. Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When, as his mother, Mary, was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph, her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary, thy wife: for that which is conceived in her, is of the Holy Ghost.
m Mat. v. 31, 32. It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement. But I say unto you, that whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced, committeth adultery.
VI. Although the corruption of man be such as is apt to study arguments, unduly to put asunder those whom God hath joined together in marriage; yet, nothing but adultery, or such wilful desertion as can, no way, be remedied by the church or civil magistrate, is cause sufficient of dissolving the bond of marriage; wherein a public and orderly course of proceeding is to be observed, and the persons concerned in it not left to their own wills and discretion in their own case.P
OF THE CHURCH.
THE Catholic or universal church, which is invisible, consists of the whole number of the elect, that have been, are, or shall be gathered into one, under Christ the head thereof; and is the spouse, the body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all,a
n Mat. xix. 9. And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her which is put away, doth commit adultery. Rom. vii. 2, 3. For the woman, which hath an husband, is bound, by the law. to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. So then, if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man."
VI. o Mat. xix. 8, 9. He saith unto them, Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. (See letter n.) 1 Cor. vii. 15. But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace. Mat. xix. 6. Wherefore, they are no more twain, but one flesh. What, therefore, God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
p Deut. xxiv. 1 to 4. When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favour in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her, then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house. And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man's wife. And if the latter husband hate her, and write her a bill of divorcement, and giveth it in her hand, and sendeth her out of his house; or if the latter husband die, which took her to be his wife; her former husband, which sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after that she is defiled; for that is abomination before the Lord, and thou shalt not cause the land to sin, which the Lord, thy God, giveth thee for an inheritance.
I. a Eph. i. 10, 22, 23. That in the dispensation of the fulness of
II. The visible church, which is also Catholic, or universal under the gospel, (not confined to one nation, as before under the law,) consists of all those throughout the world that profess the true religion,b together with their children; and is the kingdom of the Lord, Jesus Christ,d times, he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth, even in him. And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all. Eph. v. 23, 27, 32. For, the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the Saviour of the body. That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy, and without blemish. This is a great mystery but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Col. i. 18. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the first-born from the dead; that in all things he might have the pre-eminence.
II. b 1 Cor. i. 2. Unto the church of God, which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord, both theirs and ours. 1 Cor. xii. 12, 13. For, as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For, by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. Psal. ii. 8. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. Rev. vii. 9. After this I beheld, and lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands. Rom. xv. 9 to 12. And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name. And again he saith, Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with his people. And again, Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles, and laud him all ye people. And again, Esaias saith, There shall be a root of Jesse, and he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles, in him shall the Gentiles
c1 Cor. vii. 14. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy. Acts ii. 39. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord, our God, shall call. Ezek. xvi. 20, 21. Moreover, thou hast taken thy sons and thy daughters, whom thou hast born unto me, and these hast thou sacrificed unto them to be devoured is this of thy whoredoms a small matter, that thou hast slain my children, and delivered them to cause them to pass through the fire for them? Rom. xi. 16. For, if the first fruit be holy, the lump is also holy; and, if the root be holy, so are the branches. Gen. iii. 15. And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed: it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. Gen. xvii. 7. And I will establish my covenant between me and thee, and thy seed after thee in their generations, for an everlasting covenant; to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.
the house and family of God,e out of which there is no ordinary possibility of salvation.f
III. Unto this Catholic visible church Christ hath given the ministry, oracles, and ordinances of God, for the gathering and perfecting of the saints in this life, to the end of the world; and doth, by his own presence and Spirit, according to his promise, make them effectual thereunto.g
IV. This Catholic church hath been sometimes more, sometimes less visible.h And particular churches, which are members thereof, are more or less pure, according as the doctrine of the gospel is taught and embraced, ordi
d Mat. xiii. 47. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind. Isa. ix. 7. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment, and with justice, from henceforth even for ever: the zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.
e Eph. ii. 19. Now, therefore, ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, end of the household of God. Eph. iii. 15. Of whom the whole family of heaven and earth is named.
f Acts ii. 47. Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
III. g 1 Cor. xii. 28. And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. Eph. iv. 11, 12, 13. And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ; till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ. Mat. xxviii. 19, 20. Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have cominanded you: and Io, I am with you alway even unto the end of the world. Amen. Isa. lix. 21. As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the Lord. My Spirit that is upon thee, and my words, which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed's seed, saith the Lord, from henceforth and for ever.
IV. h Rom. xi. 3. 4. Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life. But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal. Rev. xii. 6, 14. And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days. And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place: where she is nourished for a time and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.
nances administred, and public worship performed more or less purely in them.i
V. The purest churches under heaven are subject both to mixture and error ;k and some have so degenerated, as to become no churches of Christ, but synagogues of Satan.1 Nevertheless, there shall be always a church on earth, to worship God according to his will m
VI. There is no other head of the church but the Lord, Jesus Christ; nor can the Pope of Rome, in any sense, be head thereof, but is that antichrist, that man of sin, and son of perdition, that exalteth himself in the church against Christ, and all that is called God.
i (Rev. ii and iii. chapters throughout.) 1 Cor. v. 6, 7. Your glorifying is not good: know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? Purge out, therefore, the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For, even Christ, our passover, is sacrificed for us.
V. & 1 Cor. xiii. 12. For, now, we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. (Rev. ii. and iii. chapters.) Mat. xiii. 24— 30. 47. Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man, which sowed good seed in his field; but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also, &c. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind.
I Rev. xviii. 2. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. Rom. xi. 18 to 22. Boast not against the branches; but if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee. Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in. Well, because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not high-minded, but fear: for, if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee. Behold, therefore, the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but towards thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.
m Mat. xvi. 18. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. Psal. lxxii. 17. His name shall endure for ever: his name shall be continued as long as the sun and men shall be blessed in him: all nations shall call him blessed. Psal. cii. 28. The children of thy servants shall continue, and their seed shall be established before thec. Mat. xxviii. 19, 20. (See in letter g.)
VI. n Col. i. 18. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the first born from the dead; that in all things he might have the pre-eminence. Eph. i. 22. And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the
o Mat. xxiii. 8, 9, 10. But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your