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Chapter XVI.—Weakness of the Pleas Urged in Defence of Second Marriage.

But I smile when (the plea of) “infirmity of the flesh” is advanced in opposition (to us:  infirmity) which is (rather) to be called the height of strength.  Iteration of marriage is an affair of strength:  to rise again from the ease of continence to the works of the flesh, is (a thing requiring) substantial reins.  Such “infirmity” is 72equal, to a third, and a fourth, and even (perhaps) a seventh marriage; as (being a thing) which increases its strength as often as its weakness; which will no longer have (the support of) an apostle’s authority, but of some Hermogenes—wont to marry more women than he paints.  For in him matter is abundant:  whence he presumes that even the soul is material; and therefore much more (than other men) he has not the Spirit from God, being no longer even a Psychic, because even his psychic element is not derived from God’s afflatus!  What if a man allege “indigence,” so as to profess that his flesh is openly prostituted, and given in marriage for the sake of maintenance; forgetting that there is to be no careful thought about food and clothing?684684    See Matt. vi. 25–34.  He has God (to look to), the Foster-father even of ravens, the Rearer even of flowers.  What if he plead the loneliness of his home? as if one woman afforded company to a man ever on the eve of flight!  He has, of course, a widow (at hand), whom it will be lawful for him to take.  Not one such wife, but even a plurality, it is permitted to have.  What if a man thinks on posterity, with thoughts like the eyes of Lot’s wife; so that a man is to make the fact that from his former marriage he has had no children a reason for repeating marriage?  A Christian, forsooth, will seek heirs, disinherited as he is from the entire world!  He has “brethren;” he has the Church as his mother.  The case is different if men believe that, at the bar of Christ as well (as of Rome), action is taken on the principle of the Julian laws; and imagine that the unmarried and childless cannot receive their portion in full, in accordance with the testament of God.  Let such (as thus think), then, marry to the very end; that in this confusion of flesh they, like Sodom and Gomorrah, and the day of the deluge, may be overtaken by the fated final end of the world.  A third saying let them add, “Let us eat, and drink, and marry, for to-morrow we shall die;”685685    See 1 Cor. xv. 32. not reflecting that the “woe” (denounced) “on such as are with child, and are giving suck,”686686    Matt. xxiv. 19; Luke xxi. 23.  Comp. ad Ux., l. i. c. v. will fall far more heavily and bitterly in the “universal shaking”687687    Concussione.  Comp. Hag. ii. 6, 7; Heb. xii. 26, 27. of the entire world688688    Mundi. than it did in the devastation of one fraction of Judæa.  Let them accumulate by their iterated marriages fruits right seasonable for the last times—breasts heaving, and wombs qualmish, and infants whimpering.  Let them prepare for Antichrist (children) upon whom he may more passionately (than Pharaoh) spend his savagery.  He will lead to them murderous midwives.689689    Comp. Ex. i. 8–16.

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