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The Reign of Christ. Book Two. Chapter Twenty One: The Preservation Of Holy Marriage

Since marriages legitimately agreed upon and reverently entered into should be preserved with no less care than that with which they are piously and deliberately contracted, it will be worth the effort to appoint to every church singularly important and godly men whose task it will be properly to be on watch and investigate whether husbands are showing themselves wholesome guides and guardians of their wives, really love their spouses, and faithfully keep, cherish, and help them, especially in all piety, and also provide for them the conveniences of this life; and if wives are truly subject to their husbands and eager to offer themselves to help them, especially in all piety, and also in the rest of the activities of life (Eph. 5:22-33; Col. 3:18-19). And if these guardians of matrimony discover that anything different prevails among spouses, either that they do not eagerly render the duties of matrimony to each other or one is absent from the other for a long time without a just and urgent reason or give suspicion of an irresponsible and impure life or fall into manifest wickedness, they should seriously and in a timely manner admonish those whom they have noticed to be delinquent in their duty and in every way exhort them to do their duty. 

But if any should despise their authority, these guardians of matrimony should defer their names to the ordinary magistrates so that by the inflicting of punishments they may compel this kind of violators of matrimony to fulfill their matrimonial pledge and restrain and guard themselves from wickedness and probable suspicions of wickedness. And if any have admitted suspicious consorting with others, the magistrates ought to enjoin them from such associations, and if any do not avoid them, punish them as adulterers, according to the law of Justinian. For unless this fountain and nursery of good citizenship, holy marriage, is most vigilantly preserved from every failing and disturbance, what, as I have said before, can be hoped for the coming generations of good citizens and the desired ordering and sanctification of the state? We certainly know that it is not enough for Christians to abstain from wicked affairs and deeds but that they also must avoid as earnestly as possible every appearance of evil (I Thess. 5:22).

(No Translation Available for Chapters 22 Through 46)

Chapter 22 – What the Ancient Churches Thought About Legitimate Divorce

Chapter 23 – The Ancient Fathers Allowed Marriage Even After the Vow of Celibacy

Chapter 24 – Who of the Ancient Fathers Allowed Marriage After Divorce

Chapter 25 – A Discussion of the Sayings of Our Lord And Of the Holy Spirit Through the Apostle Paul Concerning Divorce

Chapter 26 – God in His Law Did Not Only Grant But Also Command Divorce to Certain Men

Chapter 27 – What the Lord Permitted and Commanded To His Ancient People Concerning Divorce Applies Also to Christians

Chapter 28 – Our Lord Christ Intended Not to Make New Laws Of Marriage and Divorce or of Any Civil Matters 

Chapter 29 – It Is Wicked to Strain the Words of Christ Beyond Their Intent

Chapter 30 – All Narrations of the Gospels Must Be Connected With One Another

Chapter 31 – Whether the Lord in His Words Which the Evangelists Matthew, Mark, and Luke Record Allowed Final Divorce Because of Fornication

Chapter 32 – A Manifest Adulteress Ought to Be Divorced And Cannot Be Retained in Marriage By Any True Christian

Chapter 33 – Adultery Must Be Punished by Death

Chapter 34 – Whether it Is Permissible for Wives to Leave Their Adulterous Husbands and to Marry Someone Else 

Chapter 35 – An Exposition of the Words of the Holy Spirit Concerning Divorce Given to Us in Writing Through the Apostle Paul

Chapter 36 – Although in the Gospels Our Lord Appears to Allow Divorce Only in Case of Adultery, He Nevertheless Allowed Divorce Also for Other Causes

Chapter 37 – To Which Men and Women Divorce Is Granted In the Code of Civil Law

Chapter 38 – An Exposition of Those Passages of Holy Scripture Wherein God Explains to Us the Nature of Holy Wedlock

Chapter 39 – A Definition of the Characteristics of Holy Wedlock

Chapter 40 – Whether the Crimes Listed in Civil Law (cf. Chapter 37) Dissolve Matrimony in the Sight Of God

Chapter 41 – Whether a Deserted Husband or Wife May Marry Someone Else

Chapter 42 – Incurable Inability to Perform the Duties of Marriage Is a Just Ground for Divorce

Chapter 43 – To Grant Divorce for All the Causes Which Have So Far Been Listed Agrees With the Words Christ Has Spoken Against Divorce

Chapter 44 – To Those Who Are Legally Divorced A Second Marriage Ought to Be Permitted

Chapter 45 – There Are Some Men So Destined for Marriage By the Lord That it Is Repugnant to God’s Decree That Anyone Should Forbid Them Marriage For Any Reason

Chapter 46 – An Exposition of the Words of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 7) in Praise of Celibacy