John Rainolds on divorce, remarriage, and the exception clause in Matthew 19:9

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
The proof here of is evident if Christ’s words be weighed in the nineteenth Chapter of S. Matthew’s gospel. For when the Pharisees asking him a question, whether it were lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause, received answer that it was not, and thereupon said unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a bill of divorcement and to put her a way: Our Saviour said unto them; Moses suffered you because of the hardness of your heart to put away your wives: But from the beginning it was not so. And I say unto you, that, whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for whoredom, and shall marry another, doth commit adultery: and who so marrieth her that is put away, doth commit adultery.

Now in this sentence, the clause of exception [except it be for whoredom] doth argue that he commiteth not adultery, who, having put away his wife for whoredom marrieth another.

But he must needs commit it in doing so unless the band of marriage be loosed and dissolved. For who so marrieth another as long as he is bound to the former, is an adulterer. The band then of marriage is loosed & dissolved between that man and wife who are put asunder and divorced for whoredom.

And if the band beloosed, the man may marry another: seeing it is written Art thou loosed from a wife? If thou marry thou sinnest not. Therefore it is lawful for him who hath put away his wife for whoredom to marry another.

This argument doth firmly and necessarily conclude the point in question, if the first part & proposition of it be proved to be true. For there is no controversy of any of the rest: being all grounded on such undoubted principles of scripture & reason, that our adversaries themselves admit and grant them all. ...

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