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The Reign of Christ. Book Two. Chapter Forty Seven: Conclusion Of The Entire Tract on Marriage

It has seemed good, Most Serene King, to cite these things, both in order to explain for what causes, according to the Word of God, Christian princes and governors of states can grant that unhappy but sometimes very necessary aid of divorce and admission to remarriage, and also in order to demonstrate how the words of the Lord are related to each other in regard to this concession. The things which I have cited are indeed many and have been treated rather elaborately, with frequent quotation of the oracles of God and of first principles in this treatise (especially when it seemed required in order to make the opinions that I propose more easily understandable). These oracles and principles ought always to be held fixed in the mind of him who on this subject would know with certainty and be sure what must be done and allowed according to the judgment of the Lord. But if we consider to what an extent Antichrist has obscured this subject, and how strongly a great number of people still persist in this pernicious contempt of holy marriage and in this admiration of celibacy, even those who have by no means been called to it by God, I fear that all that has been said may not be enough to persuade many so that they would cease to make themselves wiser and holier than Gocf himself in showing themselves so severe in allowing lawful marriages but so easy in conniving not only for all the wickedness of fornication (although among God’s people no fornicator or fornication should be tolerated [Deut. 23:17] but also of rape and adultery.

Our Lord Jesus Christ, who came to us to destroy all the works of Satan (I John 3:8), wants to give his Spirit to all Christians, and especially to Christian rulers, both in the administration of the Church and of the state (and, certainly, about Your Majesty’s judgment I have no doubt, since he so assiduously, religiously, and with such judgment reads the Holy Scriptures); Christ wants them to acknowledge how much it provokes the wrath of God against us that in such a wicked and pernicious way every kind of unchastity is not only tolerated but also fostered. Thus frequent and abominable ravishings and adulteries are winked at, but, by the mere persuasion of Antichrist, holy and honorable marriage is forbidden to men who without this remedy cannot save themselves from eternal death.

For no one who has even a speck of honesty will deny that it must be a primary concern of pious princes and governors of states to bring it about that genuine purity and decency obtain and prevail among all men, and that if this is neglected, plainly all righteousness will also fail, all fear of God will be struck down, and true religion will become entirely obsolete.

Who would deny that chastity and sanctity of life cannot be publicly restored or retained unless they first find their place and prevail in individual homes whence citizens must be born and come forth. But to accomplish this, no one who is wise and a lover of an honorable life has ever doubted that it is completely necessary for princes and governors of states, first, by utmost severity and just penalties to cut off and strike down not only seductions and adulteries but also all wandering lusts, all illegitimate unions of males and females. Then they must exercise as vigilant a care as possible in this matter, that marriages be first contracted responsibly and in the Lord and then preserved in good faith. When unhappiness demands it, let them be dissolved, but only legitimately, and allow remarriage, as the law of God and of nature as well as the sanctions of pious princes have decreed, as I have demonstrated from the evident authority of Scriptures and other testimonies and memorials of the holy fathers. May the Lord grant that we may have the will to prefer his eternal Word, always righteous and wholesome for us, to those inventions of Antichrist (too deeply rooted in many) and his false and blasphemous interpretation of the words of the Lord. Amen.

This is what I have to say about the purification and the conserving in purity of holy matrimony, the seedbed of the human race and font of good citizens. Now let us see about the fruitful civil education of youth.