Matt. 5:31,32 (Part 3)

JUSTIN MARTYR: A certain woman lived with an intemperate husband; she herself, too, having formerly been intemperate. But when she came to the knowledge of the teachings of Christ she became sober-minded, and endeavored to persuade her husband likewise to be temperate, citing the teaching of Christ, and assuring him that there shall be punishment in eternal fire inflicted upon those who do not live temperately and conformably to right reason. But he, continuing in the same excesses, alienated his wife from him by his actions. For she, considering it wicked to live any longer as a wife with a husband who sought in every way means of indulging in pleasure contrary to the law of nature, and in violation of what is right, wished to be divorced from him. And when she was persuaded by her friends, who advised her still to continue with him, in the idea that some time or other her husband might give hope of amendment, she did violence to her own feeling and remained with him.

But when her husband had gone into Alexandria, and was reported to be conducting himself worse than ever, she—that she might not, by continuing in matrimonial connection with him, and by sharing his table and his bed, become a partaker also in his wickednesses and impieties—gave him what you call a bill of divorce, and was separated from him. But this noble husband of hers,—while he ought to have been rejoicing that those actions which formerly she unhesitatingly committed with the servants and hirelings, when she delighted in drunkenness and every vice, she had now given up, and desired that he too should give up the same,—when she had gone from him without his desire, brought an accusation against her, affirming that she was a Christian. And she presented a paper to you, the Emperor, requesting that first she be permitted to arrange her affairs, and afterwards to make her defense against the accusation, when her affairs were set in order. And this you granted. And her former husband, since he was now no longer able to prosecute her, directed his assaults against a man, Ptolemaeus, whom Urbicus punished, and who had been her teacher in the Christian doctrines. Second Apology, 1.188-189.

JUSTIN MARTYR: And Joseph, the spouse of Mary, who wished at first to put away his betrothed Mary, supposing her to be pregnant by intercourse with a man, i.e., from fornication, was commanded in a vision not to put away his wife; and the angel who appeared to him told him that what is in her womb is of the Holy Ghost. Then he was afraid, and did not put her away. Dialogue With Trypho, A Jew, 1.238.

THEOPHILUS OF ANTIOCH: And Adam having been cast out of Paradise, in this condition knew Eve his wife, whom God had formed into a wife for him out of his rib. And this He did, not as if He were unable to make his wife separately, but God foreknew that man would call upon a number of gods. And having this foreknowledge, and knowing that through the serpent error would introduce a number of gods which had no existence,—for there being but one God, even then error was striving to disseminate a multitude of gods, saying, “You shall be as gods;”—in case, then, it would be supposed that one God made the man and another the woman, therefore He made them both; and God made the woman together with the man, not only that thus the mystery of God’s sole government might be exhibited, but also that their mutual affection might be greater. Therefore said Adam to Eve, “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh.” And besides, he prophesied, saying, “For this cause shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they two shall be one flesh;” which also itself has its fulfillment in ourselves. For who that marries lawfully does not despise mother and father, and his whole family connection, and all his household, cleaving to and becoming one with his own wife, fondly preferring her? So that often, for the sake of their wives, some submit even to death. To Autolycus, 2.105.

THEOPHILUS OF ANTIOCH: “And he that marries,” says the Gospel, “her that is divorced from her husband, commits adultery; and whosoever puts away his wife, except for the cause of fornication, causes her to commit adultery.” Because Solomon says: “Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? Or can one walk upon hot coals, and his feet not be burned? So he that goes in to a married woman shall not be innocent.” To Autolycus, 2.115.

ATHENAGORAS: Therefore, having the hope of eternal life, we despise the things of this life, even to the pleasures of the soul, each of us reckoning her his wife whom he has married according to the laws laid down by us, and that only for the purpose of having children. For as the husbandman throwing the seed into the ground awaits the harvest, not sowing more upon it, so to us the procreation of children is the measure of our indulgence in appetite. Rather, you would find many among us, both men and women, growing old unmarried, in hope of living in closer communion with God. But if the remaining in virginity and in the state of an eunuch brings nearer to God, while the indulgence of carnal thought and desire leads away from Him, in those cases in which we shun the thoughts, much more do we reject the deeds. For we bestow our attention, not on the study of words, but on the exhibition and teaching of actions,—that a person should either remain as he was born, or be content with one marriage; for a second marriage is only a deceptive adultery. “For whosoever puts away his wife,” says He, “and marries another, commits adultery;” not permitting a man to send her away whose virginity he has brought to an end, nor to marry again. For he who deprives himself of his first wife, even though she be dead, is a cloaked adulterer, resisting the hand of God, because in the beginning God made one man and one woman, and dissolving the strictest union of flesh with flesh, formed for the intercourse of the race. A Plea For The Christians, 2.146-147.

IRENAEUS: That erring Samaritan woman did not remain with one husband, but committed fornication by contracting many marriages.38 Against Heresies, 1.445.

TATIAN: And he arose from there, and came to the borders of Judaea beyond Jordan: and great multitudes went to him from there, and he healed them; and he taught them also, according to his custom. And the Pharisees came to him, tempting him, and asking him, “Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife?”

He said, “What did Moses command you?”

They said, “Moses made it allowable for us, saying, 'Whosoever will, let him write a writing of divorcement, and put away his wife.'”

Jesus answered and said to them, “Have you not read, 'He that made them from the beginning made them male and female,' and said, 'For this reason shall the man leave his father and his mother, and cleave to his wife; and they both shall be one body?' So then they are not two, but one body; the thing, then, which God has joined together, let no man put asunder.”

And those Pharisees said to him, “Why did Moses consent that a man should give a writing of divorcement and put her away?”

Jesus said to them, “Moses because of the hardness of your hearts gave you permission to divorce your wives; but in the beginning it was not so. I say to you, Whoever puts away his wife without fornication, and marries another, has exposed her to adultery.”

And his disciples, when he entered the house, asked him again about that. And he said to them, “Every one who puts away his wife, and marries another, has exposed her to adultery. And any woman that leaves her husband, and becomes another’s, has committed adultery. And whoever marries her that is divorced has committed adultery.”

And his disciples said to him, “If there be between the man and the woman such a case as this, it is not good for a man to marry.”

He said to them, “Not every man can endure this saying, except him to whom it is given. There are eunuchs who were born so from their mother’s womb; and there are eunuchs which through men became eunuchs; and there are eunuchs which made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. He that is able to be content, let him be content.” The Diatessaron, 9.82-83

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