John Rainolds on divorce and Christ’s marriage to the church

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Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
Modern advocates of the "permanence marriage" viewpoint often appeal to Christ's indissoluble marriage to the church as an argument against the remarriage of the innocent party in a divorce. Our forebears anticipated and refuted this popish argument, which fails to understand that the analogy between Christ's marriage to the church and a human marriage is not a univocal likeness:

For although the Papists have some glimpse of light & see more then the Heathens, as the Pharisees did whose words (I am afraid) they will use likewise: are we also blind? yet as the Pharisees were overseen foully in many of their arguments grounded upon reason, so the Papists may be. And that they not only may be overseen, but are in the reasons which their puddle-water hath yielded unto Bellarmine’s cisterns in this point: the beams of reason lightened from above shall open & descrie; let such as love not darkness more then light be judges. For he reasoneth first thus: The Marriage of the faithful is a sign of Christ’s conjunction with the Church, as St. Paul teacheth. But that Conjunction is indissoluble, and cannot be loosed, The band of Marriage is therefore indissoluble too. As if a rebel should say. The joining of the Head with the Body in man resembleth the Conjunction of Christ with the Church as St. Paul teacheth.

But Christ & the Church can never be parted, there fore the head may never be cut from the body. A happy conclusion for Traitors, if it were true. But if it bee false where then is Bellarmine’s reason? which will take the greater overthrow by this because look how Christ is the head of the Church, semblably the husband is the wives head. So that notwithstanding the similitude of Christ’s head-ship, the joint whereby a traitorous head is knit unto his body may feel the axe of Justice, as Bell. will grant: the marriage band that coupleth a man to an adulterous wife may be loosed by the like reason, notwithstanding marriage is a sign of Christ’s conjunction with the Church. And if this suffice not to make him acknowledge the looseness & fondness of his sophistical syllogism, let him observe farther that the separation which themselves allow in case of adultery is condemned by it. ...

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