Of Marriage and Divorce.

  1. MARRIAGE is to be between one man and one woman: neither is it lawful for any man to have more than one wife, nor for any woman to have more than one husband at the same time.[1]

  2. Marriage was ordained for the mutual help of husband and wife; [2] for the increase of mankind with a legitimate issue, and of the church with an holy seed; [3] and for preventing of uncleanness. [4]

    [2] Gen 2:18.
    [3] Mal 2:15.
    [4] 1Cor 7:2, 9.

  3. It is lawful for all sorts of people to marry who are able with judgement to give their consent; [5] yet it is the duty of Christians to marry only in the Lord. [6] And therefore such as profess the true reformed religion should not marry with infidels or other idolaters; neither should such as are godly be unequally yoked, by marrying with such as are notoriously wicked in their life, or maintain damnable heresies. [7]

  4. Marriage ought not to be within the degrees of consanguinity or affinity forbidden in the word; [8] 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. [9]

  5. Adultery or fornication committed after a contract, being detected before marriage, giveth just occasion to the innocent party to dissolve that contract. [10] In the case of adultery after marriage, it is lawful for the innocent party to sue out a divorce, [11] and, after the divorce, to marry another, as if the offending party were dead. [12]

    [10] l Matt 1:18-20.
    [11] m Matt 5:31-32.
    [12] n Matt 19:9; Rom 7:2-3.

  6. 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; [13] 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. [14]