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Chapter VIII.—If It Be Granted that Second Marriage is Lawful, Yet All Things Lawful are Not Expedient.

Let it now be granted that repetition of marriage is lawful, if everything which is lawful is good.  The same apostle exclaims:  “All things are lawful, but all are not profitable.”546546    1 Cor. x. 23.  Pray, can what is “not profitable” be called good?  If even things which do not make for salvation are “lawful,” it follows that even things which are not good are “lawful.”  But what will it be your duty rather to choose; that which is good because it is “lawful,” or that which is so because it is “profitable?”  A wide difference I take to exist between “licence” and salvation.  Concerning the “good” it is not said “it is lawful;” inasmuch as “good” does not expect to be permitted, but to be assumed.  But that is “permitted” about which a doubt exists whether it be “good;” which may likewise not be per55mitted, if it have not some first (extrinsic) cause of its being:—inasmuch as it is on account of the danger of incontinence that second marriage, (for instance), is permitted:—because, unless the “licence” of some not (absolutely) good thing were subject (so our choice), there were no means of proving who rendered a willing obedience to the Divine will, and who to his own power; which of us follows presentiality, and which embraces the opportunity of licence.  “Licence,” for the most part, is a trial of discipline; since it is through trial that discipline is proved, and through “licence” that trial operates.  Thus it comes to pass that “all things are lawful, but not all are expedient,” so long as (it remains true that) whoever has a “permission” granted is (thereby) tried, and is (consequently) judged during the process of trial in (the case of the particular) “permission.”  Apostles, withal, had a “licence” to marry, and lead wives about (with them547547    See 1 Cor. ix. 5.).  They had a “licence,” too, to “live by the Gospel.”548548    See vers. 4, 9–18.  But he who, when occasion required,549549    In occasionem. “did not use this right,” provokes us to imitate his own example; teaching us that our probation consists in that wherein “licence” has laid the groundwork for the experimental proof of abstinence.


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