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Chapter V.—Of the Love of Offspring as a Plea for Marriage.

Further reasons for marriage which men allege for themselves arise from anxiety for posterity, and the bitter, bitter pleasure of children.  To us this is idle.  For why should we be eager to bear children, whom, when we have them, we desire to send before us (to glory)388388    Comp. c. iv. above “præmissis maritis;” “when their husbands have preceded them (to glory).” (in respect, I mean, of the distresses that are now imminent); desirous as we are ourselves, too, to be taken out of this most wicked world,389389    Sæculo. and received into the Lord’s presence, which was the desire even of an apostle?390390    Phil. i. 23; comp. de Pa., c. ix. ad fin.  To the servant of God, forsooth, offspring is necessary!  For of our own salvation we are secure enough, so that we have leisure for children!  Burdens must be sought by us for ourselves which are avoided even by the majority of the Gentiles, who are compelled by laws,391391    i.e., to get children. who are decimated392392    Expugnantur. by 42abortions;393393    “Parricidiis.”  So Oehler seems to understand it. burdens which, finally, are to us most of all unsuitable, as being perilous to faith!  For why did the Lord foretell a “woe to them that are with child, and them that give suck,”394394    Luke xxi. 23; Matt. xxiv. 19. except because He testifies that in that day of disencumbrance the encumbrances of children will be an inconvenience?  It is to marriage, of course, that those encumbrances appertain; but that (“woe”) will not pertain to widows.  (They) at the first trump of the angel will spring forth disencumbered—will freely bear to the end whatsoever pressure and persecution, with no burdensome fruit of marriage heaving in the womb, none in the bosom.

Therefore, whether it be for the sake of the flesh, or of the world,395395    Sæculi. or of posterity, that marriage is undertaken, nothing of all these “necessities” affects the servants of God, so as to prevent my deeming it enough to have once for all yielded to some one of them, and by one marriage appeased396396    “Expiasse”—a rare but Ciceronian use of the word. all concupiscence of this kind.  Let us marry daily, and in the midst of our marrying let us be overtaken, like Sodom and Gomorrah, by that day of fear!397397    Luke xvii. 28, 29.  For there it was not only, of course, that they were dealing in marriage and merchandise; but when He says, “They were marrying and buying,” He sets a brand398398    Denotat. upon the very leading vices of the flesh and of the world,399399    Sæculi. which call men off the most from divine disciplines—the one through the pleasure of rioting, the other though the greed of acquiring.  And yet that “blindness” then was felt long before “the ends of the world.”400400    Sæculi.  Comp. 1 Cor. x. 11; but the Greek there is, τὰ τέλη τῶν αιώνων.  By the “blindness,” Tertullian may refer to Gen. xix. 11.  What, then, will the case be if God now keep us from the vices which of old were detestable before Him?  “The time,” says (the apostle), “is compressed.401401    Or, “short” (Eng. ver.); 1 Cor. vii. 29ὁ καιρὸς συνεσταλμενος, “in collecto.”  It remaineth that they who have wives402402    “Matrimonia,” neut. pl. again for the fem., the abstract for the concrete.  See c. ii., “to multiply wives,” and the note there.  In the Greek (1 Cor. vii. 29) it is γυναῖκας:  but the ensuing chapter shows that Tertullian refers the passage to women as well. act as if they had them not.”


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