Of Marriage and Divorce.
I. 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.a
a Gen. 2:24; Matt.
19:5,6; Prov. 2:17.
II. Marriage was ordained for
the mutual help of husband and wife;b for the increase of mankind with a legitimate issue, and of
the church with an holy seed;c
and for preventing of uncleanness.d
b Gen. 2:18.
c Mal. 2:15.
d 1 Cor. 7:2,9.
III. It is lawful for all sorts
of people to marry who are able with judgment to give their consent:e
yet is it the duty of Christians to marry only in the Lord.f And therefore such as profess the true reformed religion
should not marry with infidels, Papists, 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
e Heb. 13:4; 1 Tim.
4:3; 1 Cor. 7:36-38; Gen. 24:57,58.
f 1 Cor. 7:39.
g Gen. 34:14; Exod.
34:16; Deut. 7:3,4; 1 Kings 11:4; Neh. 13:25-27; Mal. 2:11,12; 2 Cor. 6:14.
IV. Marriage ought not to be
within the degrees of consanguinity or affinity forbidden in the word;h
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.i
The man may not marry any of his wifeís kindred nearer in blood than he may
of his own, nor the woman of her husbandís kindred nearer in
blood than of her own.k
h Lev. chap. 18; 1
Cor. 5:1; Amos 2:7.
i Mark 6:18; Lev.
k Lev. 20:19-21.
V. Adultery or fornication
committed after a contract, being detected before marriage, giveth just
occasion to the innocent party to dissolve that contract.l
In the case of adultery after marriage, it is lawful for the innocent party to
sue out a divorce,m
and, after the divorce, to marry another, as if the offending party were dead.n
l Matt. 1:18-20.
m Matt. 5:31,32.
n Matt. 19:9; Rom.
VI. 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:o
wherein, a publick 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.p
o Matt. 19:8,9; 1
Cor. 7:15; Matt. 19:6.
p Deut. 24:1-4.
Confession of Faith (index)