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Westminster Confession of 1646: Of Marriage and Divorce

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Chapter XXIV. 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, (Gen 2:24; Mat 19:5-6; Pro 2:17).

II. Marriage was ordained for the mutual help of husband and wife, (Gen 2:18); for the increase of mankind with a legitimate issue, and of the Church with an holy seed, (Mal 2:15); and for preventing of uncleanness, (1Co 7:2, 9).

III. It is lawful for all sorts of people to marry, who are able with judgment to give their consent, (Hbr 13:4; 1Ti 4:3; 1Co 7:36-38; Gen 24:57-58). Yet is it the duty of Christians to marry only in the Lord, (1Co 7:39). 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 heresies, (Gen 34:14; Exd 34:16; Deu 7:3-4; 1Ki 11:4; Neh 13:25-27; Mal 2:11-12; 2Co 6:14).

IV. Marriage ought not to be within the degrees of consanguinity or affinity forbidden by the Word, (Lev 18; 1Co 5:1; Amo 2:7). 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, (Mar 6:18; Lev 18:24-28). The man may not marry any of his wife’s kindred, nearer in blood than he may of his own: nor the woman of her husband’s kindred, nearer in blood than of her own, (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, (Mat 1:18-20). In the case of adultery after marriage, it is lawful for the innocent party to sue out a divorce, (Mat 5:31-32): and, after the divorce, to marry another, as if the offending party were dead, (Mat 19:9; Rom 7:2-3).

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, (Mat 19:8-9; 1Co 7:15; Mat 19:6): wherein, a public 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, (Deu 24:1-4).



DISCLAIMER: Creeds, catechisms, and confessions do not replace Scripture, nor the authority of Scripture. The creeds, catechisms and confessions are included herein for purposes of reference. Blue Letter Bible aims to provide resources that cover a range of traditional, orthodox, conservative Christianity, for the benefit of all of our users. The inclusion of the creeds, catechisms, and confessions does not necessarily mean that the ministry agrees with each and every point in each, since some are coming from different Christian perspectives of faith, practice and worship. The user may find them useful as tools to assist in understanding or teaching the Scriptures, since they were drafted based upon Scripture. Used in their proper context, they can continue to aid us as much today as they did for our forefathers in centuries past.

CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.


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