Marriage, Divorce, And Polygamy

Marriage, Divorce, and Polygamy

Article cT

It is very true that in old Israelitish times that God hated when husbands dealt treacherously with their wives and unkindly divorced them. Malachi 2:14-16 clearly speaks of such. Yet under the Mosaic Law, God still allowed marriages to be dissolved for numerous reasons. In the situation where a master gave his servant a wife, if the servant after his years of his servitude were expired wanted to depart from his master, the master was authorized to keep the servant's wife and children and thus dissolve their marriage. (Ex 21:2-4). Note, manservants were allowed to depart after seven years of service but maidservants were permanent servants (Ex 21:7, Deu 15:12). Thus, here was a God allowed and ordained marital separation based merely on preserving the masters authority and ownership of the maidservants, and really for mere business reasons. cT-1

The Bible further gives numerous situations where marriages were allowed to be dissolved if the marriage was not pleasing. Marriages involving women captives from other nations, were allowed to be dissolved if the wife was not pleasing (Deu 21:10-14). Situations wherein Masters had taken a maid servant as wife, or given his maid servant to their son to wife could be dissolved if not pleasing (Ex 21:7-11). Marriages wherein one found some uncleanness in his wife could be dissolved, afterwhich the wife in whom was found such uncleanness was allowed to marry another man (Deu 24:1-2). Note, this uncleanness quite obviously was less than adultery or fornication, as for such uncleanness the guilty one was to be put to death, rather then given liberty to marry again. Men who took a wife who previously was put away for her uncleanness, were allowed to also put her away (Deu 24:3-4). cT-2

Old Testament Scriptures give numerous laws concerning divorce and divorced people. Old Testament Scriptures teach that a priest was not to marry a divorced woman (Lev 21:14), teach that a divorced woman could eat of the Holy things of her father, if a priest's daughter (Lev 22:13), and teach that a divorced woman's vows, like a widows vows, were to be binding, since she had no husband to disallow them (Num 30:9). Old Testament Scriptures also teach that if one particularly misused his wife, he was not allowed to ever divorce her (Deu 22:18-19, Deu 22:28-29). cT-3

God had various laws surrounding dealing with divorced people. Under the Mosaic Law after a wife was put away, she was not allowed to ever return to her past husband, as the separation was to be a permanent issue (Deu 24:3, Jer 3:1). It appears our wise God did not want men in a rage chasing their wives out of the house one day and a few nights later taking them back in. If taking back a prior wife was lawful, husbands might have sent a wife away and she after leaving might have gone to a prior husband and soon after returned back to her previous hus­band, and trading wives back and forth could have resulted. It is quite clear that such is what Jeremiah 3:1 is speaking of when it says, "If a man put away his wife, and she go from him, and become another man's, shall he return unto her again? shall not that land be greatly polluted?" A divorce also had to be done in writing as it needed to be an official act rather than just a quick angry decision (Deu 24:1&3). Yet some Christians still try to claim that divorce was not allowed in old times accept for the cause of fornication or adultery, and although for such behavior the guilty woman was to be put to death rather than the husband merely being allowed to put her away. cT-4

One should here remember how God respected the order of masters being rulers over their servants above the marriage bond. Thus marriages between the master's menservants and maidservants were to be dissolved if the manservant chose to leave his master after his years of service were expired. Although God in old times for various reasons allowed divorce and further marriages, He still had restrictions about divorce and new marriages which had the good intent of preventing husbands from alluring and taking each others wives, and to prevent the disorder of wives being given back and forth, and to thus nurture family security. Yet God's restrictions about divorce were not intended to permanently bind an unhappy union or to permanently bind the husband to a contentious and contrary wife. God's laws are good and practical laws, and which King David greatly rejoiced in. cT-5

The Book of Jasher tells quite a striking story about divorce. Therein it is told how that Abraham encouraged his son Ishmael to divorce his contrary and unkind wife and seek another. In this situation Abraham had journeyed some distance to see his son Ishmael, but when he got there, Ishmael was not home but only his wife, who was very inconsiderate and was very unkind to Abraham as well as to her own children. Abraham then told Ishmael's ungenerous wife to tell Ishamel when he came home that an old man was here who said, "...When thou comest home, put away this nail of the tent which thou hast placed here, and place another nail in its stead" (Jasher 21:31). She then told Ishmael these words not knowing that she actually was telling Ishamel to put her away and take a better wife. Although she didn't understand what Abraham was talking about Ishmael did. Ishmael then put away his contrary wife and took another as Abraham had encouraged. Some time later Abraham again went to see his son Ishmael, but again he was not home. But this time he had a wife who was very kind, happy, and helpful. Abraham then told Ishmael's new wife to tell Ishmael when he came back that an old man was here which said, "...the nail of the tent which thou hast is very good, do not put it away from the tent." (Jasher 21:44). Note although this is quite an interesting account yet to know the authenticity of the book of Jasher and this story is difficult. Yet it does fit into old Jewish standards. cT-6

The Apocrypha also speaks about divorcing a contrary wife reading, "A wicked woman abateth the courage, maketh an heavy countenance and a wounded heart: a woman that will not comfort her husband in distress maketh weak hands and feeble knees. 24 Of the woman came the beginning of sin, and through her we all die. 25 Give the water no passage; neither a wicked woman liberty to gad abroad. 26 If she go not as thou wouldest have her, cut her off from thy flesh, and give her a bill of divorce, and let her go. (Sirach also called Eccl 25:23-26). cT-7

The Bible clearly reveals that a disagreeable and contentious wife is a great snare to a husband. Following are several Scriptures which reveal such; cT-8

(Prov 21:19) "It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman." cT-9

(Prov 21:9) "It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house." Note Prov 25:24 reads almost exactly the same. cT-10

(Prov 27:15) "A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike." cT-11

(Prov 12:4) "A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones." cT-12

In old times God clearly did not bind husbands for life to such a wife, but allowed husbands to put them away if their was no repentance. A vital question then remains which is; does God in the Christian era demand a husband to be bound for life to such a woman? And further in the Christian era, is the Christian husband or wife bound for life to their mate even when they are rejected by their mate because of religious beliefs, and even further separated because of a mate being united with a false religious group which is largely controlling them, and which division is almost impossible to mend because of the erroneous influence which their mate is surrounded by? These questions will be extensively considered below. cT-13

Jesus Himself said that their is no man that hath left house, wife, and family for my sake and the Gospels, but he shall already in this time receive and hundred fold houses and family (Mark 10:28-30, Matt 19:27-29). Would Jesus who promised new family blessing to the one who forsook all for his sake as these Scripture state, then demand this husband to yet be permanently bound to his past wife that might despise him, be very disagreeable and make ashamed and be as rottenness in his bones? This question should not be taken lightly. cT-14

Although Proverbs 12:4 says a wife that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in her husbands bones, yet obviously husbands can also be very contrary, and most often in troubled marriages the husband also is in some error. Jesus knowing these things and much more, when asked about putting away a wife for every cause, was not quick to allow and endorse divorce, and rather largely gave fornication as the only reason for which a man can without question put away his wife and marry another. Jesus' teaching about fornication being the only permissible reason for divorce and remarriage will now be considered. cT-15

After Jesus had told His disciples that he who puts away his wife, without her being guilty of fornication, and marries another is guilty of adultery (and seemingly no matter how contrary or contentious his wife might have been), his disciples in concerned response said, "If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry" (Matt 19:10). Note, the disciples possibly answered as such meaning "if a man then is divorced for any cause lessor than fornication it is not good to marry again", or possibly meaning "if marriage rigidly binds the husband to the wife as such then it is not good to marry at all". Jesus then answered them further with two seemingly tolerant statements saying, "All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given" and further said, "he that is able to receive it, let him receive it" (Matt 19:11-12). Jesus added these tolerant statements possibly as a leniency toward his own teaching against divorce which had seemed so strict, or added these tolerant statements as a leniency toward his disciples responding that it then is not good to marry again if divorced from a contrary wife (who yet was not guilty of fornication). Either of these two applications of Jesus tolerant statements clearly would add some leniency to Jesus' teaching about divorce and remarriage only being allowed for the cause of fornication. cT-16

Yet if Jesus' disciples in their answer in verse 10 perchance were saying if marriage rigidly binds the husband to his wife as such, it is not good to marry at all, and Jesus was answering to that in saying "all men cannot receive this saying, yet he that is able to receive it let him receive it", such still would give a very restrictive dimension not only to remarriage but even to first marriages. One should consider that it is very doubtful that Jesus' tolerant statements were merely a tolerance of marriage as such, as such portrays such a negative attitude towards marriage, which relation other Scriptures very much count as a good and honorable relation. Such would mean only those who cannot contain their feminine desires should marry, while all those who are able, should refrain from marriage, and such does not align with the many Scriptures that speak very well of marriage (Gen 2:18, 2 Sam 12:8, Prov 18:22 Eccl 9:9, Song 4:1-11, 7:1-10, Matt 19:4-6, 1 Cor 7:2-5, Hebrews 13:4). This interpretation for this reason does not seem to be appropriate. Yet the early Catholic religion which was very anti marriage took this interpretation of this Scripture, and uses this Scripture to help advocate that their leaders should not marry at all. cT-17

Considering the somewhat obscure and lenient statements with which Jesus ended His restrictive teaching about divorce and remarriage, how can one build a ridged anti divorce doctrine on this Scripture, and by it strictly bind one for life to a wife of whom the Proverbs says maketh ashamed and is as rottenness in his bones (Pro 12:4)? May mere man not think himself qualified to make all purpose or all encompassing laws, supposedly having no exceptions, and which all purpose laws even Jesus could not make. Jesus was not a legalist and advocated the spirit and intent of the law rather than the letter of it, and even said the truth makes us free. Yet it is clear that Jesus was very opposed to husbands being oppressive to their wives and putting them away without proper reason, and would not allow such to be done in the Christian society and among those who considered themselves a special people of God. cT-18

Those who advocate all purpose and without exception laws should consider that God broke the letter of His own law. God commanded that the adulterer should be put to death (Lev 20:10, Deu 22:22). Yet after King David committed adultery, God through Nathan told David, "The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die." (2 Sam 12:13). Possibly God had mercy on David because God knew David's general character, while David also before taking Bethsheba had found that Bethsheba's husband was Uriah a Hittite rather than an Israelite, and from a nation which originally was to be destroyed, when the Jews took the land of Canaan. Yet Uriah was a very devoted proselyte to the Jewish people and a very good man. cT-19

Another vital issue to consider with regards to Jesus' teaching that fornication is the only reason for divorce and remarriage, is that Jesus very much could have been establishing laws for particular application within the Christian Church and for the protection of marriages and wives therein. Jesus very well could have been saying fornication is the only error that breaks the marriage bond insomuch that the husband simply is free from it, and becomes as unresponsible towards his wife as if he never married her. And thus within the Christian society, only for the cause of fornication does the husband have a particular right to be free of his wife regardless of her later desires. Note, the Jews had bluntly asked Jesus about reasons for which one could put away his wife, afterwhich Jesus gave fornication as a particular valid reason for such. Thus it is very possible that Jesus in this limitation of divorce was not at all speaking about marriages reaching outside of the Christian society, as where one mate is not a true believer, but is rather a very disagreeing and contrary person (and who yet might be free from fornication) and meaning to bind them for life. This issue should be carefully considered. cT-20

Following is a list of things to consider with a question at the end, which needs to be soberly and honestly considered. Firstly considering how God in old times honored the master and servant relation above the marriage bond, and thus allowed marital separations merely for preserving the rights of masters over their maid servants, secondly considering the numerous permissions for divorce as in old times, thirdly considering how God's laws are designed to bless man rather than to inflict him, forthly considering how God's laws make up the perfect law of liberty and Jesus said the truth makes us free, and lastly considering how Jesus promised new family blessings to those who were rejected by their wives and family for His sake, would God then permanently bind the husband who forsook all for Jesus sake, to a contrary and erroneous wife who makes ashamed and is as rottenness in his bones, and without giving him any opportunity for a Godly and supportive wife? Note this contrary wife might neither desire the marriage. One should remember how Jesus in His teaching about divorce only being allowed for fornication, very much could have been establishing laws for particular application within the Christian Church and for the protection of marriage and wives therein, rather than trying to permanently bind Christians to contrary and non Christian mates! Within the Christian society and circle, husbands have no particular permission to divorce and take another except for the error of fornication. God has a better plan for Christians than such, which is love, kindness, and the Gospel of reconciliation. Yet outside of the Christian society involving non Christians often times repentance and reconciliation is refused and impossible. cT-21

It does not appear our God who allowed the dissolving of marriages merely for the benefit of masters ruling over their servants (which separated ones then were allowed further marriages), would then turn about and esteem the marriage bond so sacred that it cannot be dissolved in situations where it has much greater reasons to be dissolved, such as involving marriages involving disagreeable and contrary ones outside of the Christian circle and thus bind two together in an unwanted and painful union for life. One must remember that God's laws are good and practical laws designed to bless man, and are made for man rather than man made for the laws (Mark 2:27). One should also remember how Paul taught that Christians should not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers, and remember how Prophet Amos asked how can two walk together unless they be agreed (2 Cor 6:14, Amos 3:3). cT-22

Too many Christians try to force God's laws and plan that is only intended for those who are new creatures in Christ (converted) upon those who have not been changed (converted). To try to force God's new era marriage plan onto unconverted people is too much like trying to put new wine into old bottles, and that simply doesn't work (Matt 9:17). Christians might try to force two unconverted married people to live together in great strife and discord because of God's anti divorce laws, and strongly preach anti divorce to them. Yet Christians rather than attacking them with anti divorce teachings, first should focus on helping this couple to become new creatures in Christ and experience a change in their hearts and then introduce God's better than divorce plan. It may even be better for this couple to divorce if they are not new creatures in Christ, than to live together in great strife and discord. Such might even be God's secondary plan although not His initial and foremost plan. Divorce was even allowed in the old era more than in the new, and possibly because the new graces and life that is provided through Christ's government ruling from within, was not as available back then. It is quite clear that in the new era, a greater grace and power was provided for God's children through a greater outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Although circumstances in life, and people often are evil and keep one bound in an evil place, yet God's laws are not intended to afflict man or to get or keep man in a corner or an evil place, but rather are intended to provide true freedom and really make up the perfect law of liberty. cT-24

Another quite vital issue that should also be considered in understanding Jesus' teachings about divorce and additional marriages, is the subject of polygamy. It is clear that God allowed polygamy in old times. The Bible particularly says that God gave David his numerous wives (2 Sam 5:13, 12:7-8). Yet obviously polygamy was to be participated in with consideration of others and discretion. God often allowed the Jews to keep alive the women from among their enemies (although they were to slay all the males), and were allowed to marry these women, and which very much contributed to opportunity for polygamy (Deu 20:12-14, Deu 21:10-13, Num 31:17-18, 1 Sam 25:22). Many very Godly men in old times had more than one wife. Jesus in speaking to the Jews and His disciples about divorce and remarriage was speaking to a people whose strongly established religious laws very much allowed polygamy, was speaking to a people whose famous leaders as they prospered took numerous wives, and a people who according to history in Jesus time yet practiced polygamy as the population of women accommodated. cT-25

The Jews in hearing Jesus divorce and remarriage laws had a total different setting wherein to apply these laws, than we do who are so accustomed to the monogamy tradition. Jesus anti divorce and remarriage teachings when applied in the polygamy setting appear quite different. In our monogamy society, we naturally think of the one who divorces his wife afterwards being without a wife unless he remarries. Yet in the polygamy setting, putting away a wife did not necessarily leave a man without a wife because he might have had two or more wives to begin with. In the society where one could have numerous wives the issue of concern obviously wasn't so much the marrying another wife, as it was the additional marriage directly involving an improper divorce or the alluring of and taking of another man's wife. Although we naturally think of a liking for another woman to be a fore runner of divorce, yet in the polygamy setting, such had much less to do with divorce as one could have simply also married her. Thus in the polygamy setting, divorcing a wife pertained more to being dissatisfied with and disliking of her, rather than so much to liking another woman. cT-26

A change as drastic as polygamy which was sanctioned by God and freely practiced by Godly men of old, suddenly in the Christian era becoming inherently immoral and adulterous obviously is not a small change but a momentous and solemn change. This is a truth that should be carefully considered. It really seems such a great change would have been clearly revealed by Jesus and the Apostles, and possibly as in saying "it hath been said thou shall not take a woman and her sister to wife in her life time (Lev 18:18), but I say unto you, he that hath two wives commits adultery", or in saying, "It hath been said the man that takes another wife must continue to fulfill his duty of providing for his first wife (Ex 21:10), but I say unto you he that hath more than one wife commits adultery". If polygamy in the Christian era would have suddenly become inherently immoral and adulterous to reveal such would have been a most important and easy change to reveal, while also providing a vital basis for Jesus new laws about divorce and remarriage. Note, to teach new and stricter laws about divorce and remarriage and without clearly revealing a closely related change as serious and basic as polygamy suddenly becoming inherently immoral and adulterous, really seems like something that would not be done. cT-27

It is very true that Apostle Paul (the Apostle especially of the Gentiles) requested that elders be the husbands of one wife. Yet Paul in requesting elders to have one wife very much could have firstly been particularly or mostly refuting the popular old tradition that leaders had the right to have more wives than others, and secondly wanting elders to be as free as possible from marital cares and responsibilities, and such rather than portraying polygamy as inherently evil (and especially when an abundance of women were in their society). Note, Paul desired that men are not encumbered with marital responsibilities, so they could be more free to labor in the Gospel, insomuch that he even insofar encouraged having no wife at all (1 Cor 7&21-23 & 32-33). If polygamy suddenly in the Christian era became inherently sinful and adulterous, it appears firstly that Paul would have not merely focused his one wife emphasis on elders as he did, secondly appears he would have wrote more emphatically against polygamy, while thirdly it also very much appears Jesus and the other apostles would have spoken distinctly against polygamy to the Jews who were so accustomed to it. Yet our Bible records no occasion of Christ or the other Apostles, teaching the Jews (who were so accustomed to polygamy), that polygamy in the Christian era suddenly had become erroneous or adulterous. Yet as God did not design that many more women should be born than men, obviously the normal lifestyle is for each man to have one wife. Although polygamy in the Christian era obviously is not the normal family style, yet understanding the issue of polygamy does help one better understand God's real moral laws and better understand issues about divorce and remarriages. Note, the subject of polygamy is extensively considered in article cR. cT-28

In considering why both second marriages and polygamy are often so rejected and infamous in our society, one should very much be aware that in the early centuries of Christianity a very erroneous attitude towards marriage and sex developed. This false anti marriage attitude counted intimacy in marriage a shameful relation, and even restricted marital sex as being only appropriate for reproductive purposes, and thereby largely making marriage a place of sexual temptation rather than a place of blessing and intimate love. Note, if Apostle Paul would have actually believed that intimacy in marriage was permissible only for creating offspring, he instead of saying, "it is better to marry than to burn", would have said, "it is better to stay away from the marriage environment than to burn" (1 Cor 7:9)! Note, King Solomon neither would have said, "Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth. {19} Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love.", if he actually believed sex was only intended and allowed for creating offspring (Prov 5:18-19). This sad anti marriage emphasis is spoken of much further in articles bW, bU, and cE and thus is only concisely spoken of here. This false anti sex emphasis opposed all second mates and marriages and even condemned remarriages if one's wife died as specious adultery and counted the man who remarried as such a cloaked adulterer (Athenagoras, ECF Vol 2 Pages 279). Obviously such a negative emphasis toward marriages and intimacy would have vehemently despised polygamy, as well as any divorce and remarriage situations. Further it is clear this false emphasis has had a very great impact on general Christianity and it's views about divorce and remarriage as well as polygamy, and which impact is yet seen in our world today. cT-29

Likely many in our society find it hard to even imagine polygamy, but yet it also is true that many likely neither can hardly imagine eating particular meats and foods which they are not accustomed to eating, and think those foods to be totally outlandish, while yet those nationalities accustomed to those foods enjoy them. Polygamy did not seem strange to God or His people in old times. Note, yet the object of this article is not to lightly encourage divorce and remarriage, or polygamy, but rather it's intent is to understand these issues and which are vital and cannot simply be overlooked. The writer has often wondered if God's good laws, and which are made to protect and bless man, and which in old times discretely and in numerous situations allowed divorce and remarriage, would now demand one to be bound for life in an unequal marital yoke as where one is not a true believer, and rather than being a help mate as God intended be very contrary and cause shame and difficulty, and while Jesus promised new family blessings as He did to those who were rejected by their wife and family for His sake (Mark 10:28-30, Matt 19:27-29). cT-32

One should here remember how Jesus' anti divorce and remarriage teaching of Matt 19:3-12 is ended largely by saying "all men cannot receive this saying, he that is able let him receive it". Jesus was not mechanical but wanted things to be applied in the very best way. One should also remember how Jesus in His teaching about divorce being allowed only for fornication, very much could have been establishing laws particularly to be applied within the Christian Church and for the protection of marriage and wives therein, rather than trying to permanently bind Christians to contrary and non Christian mates! Within the true Christian society husbands have no particular permission to divorce and take another except for the cause of fornication. God has a better plan for Christians than such, which is love, kindness, and the Gospel of reconciliation. Yet outside of the true Christian society involving non Christians often times repentance and reconciliation is refused and impossible, and especially when a mate is closely knit with an erroneous social or religious group. One should neither forget how Jesus very nicely took the rough and harmful edges off of His law in saying, "all men cannot receive this saying, yet let him that able to receive it do so". cT-33

It is quite obvious that our God who allowed the dissolving of marriages merely for the benefit of masters ruling over their servants (which separated ones then were allowed further marriages), would not then turn about and esteem the marriage bond so sacred that it cannot be dissolved in situations where it has much greater reasons to be dissolved, such as in marriages involving disagreeable and contrary ones outside of the Christian circle and thus bind two together in a conflicting union and difficult union for life. This aspect should be carefully remembered. cT-34

Yet all this does not mean that, Christians should divorce their mate simply because their mate is not a Christian. Although Apostle Paul said that Christians should not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers, and Prophet Amos asked "how can to walk together except the be agreed (2 Cor 6:14, Amos 3:3), even such does not mean all marriages involving Christians and non Christians should be dissolved. Paul's personal advice was that Christian mates should not separate from their non Christian mates against their wishes. He wrote, "But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away. {13} And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him. {14} For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy. {15} But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace." (1 Cor 7:12-15). cT-35

With regards to a marriage between believers and unbelievers it obviously makes a lot of difference if the non Christian mate rather than disliking the marriage wants the marriage and therewith is reasonable and helpful rather than being contentious and disagreeable and a great difficulty to their mate. Yet what about situations where the unbelieving partner might not want to separate, but yet is contentious, disagreeable and a great difficulty to their mate, while possibly even being mostly controlled by an erring religious group? Many religious Jews in Christ's time were very contrary and largely impossible to help, while yet having many strict religious traditions within their society. Just because a mate might have a strong religious standard against divorce and thus might not want a divorce, by no means, means that they are a true believer who loves the truth, rather than a contentious and disagreeable mate. cT-36

Paul in advising believers to remain married to unbelievers had the particular intention that the believing mate could be a blessing and sanctification to the unbelieving mate and the children. Yet in those situations where the unbelieving mate is contrary and a real difficulty to their mate, while also seemingly being impossible to help, it is very questionable that Paul would have advised or required the believing mate to remain with the unbelieving mate simply because of their wishes. It is also true that an unbelieving and contentious mate who yet desires their mate and marriage, might change their behavior if they know their mate is not under a strict obligation to remain with them in their contentiousness, and rather might be free to marry another in the Christian society. In many issues as these it likely should be the prayerful consideration of the Church before any such weighty decisions are made. The Christian Church has the responsibility to divide the good and evil and cannot accept, contrary and unrepentant people as a valid part of the Christian society. Yet may all be kind and longsuffering, willing to go the second mile, and willing to do what is for the best in the long run. Yet may we neither think that God's marriage laws bind Christians in difficult situations wherein He does not demand them to be. Our God is not an unreasonable God, and His laws are for the good of His children, rather than His children made for His laws. May Christians be as wise as serpents and as harmless as doves in these things. God bless and farewell. cT-37

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