§. 7. Of the difference of adultery in a man, and in a wife.
Quest. Is the bond of mariage as much violated on the * mans part when he committeth adulterie as on the womans when she doth so?
Answ. Though the ancient Romans and Canonists haue aggrauated the womans fault in this kinde farre aboue the mans, and giuen the man more priuiledges then the woman, yet I see not how that difference in the sinne can stand with the tenour of Gods word. I denie not but that more incon∣ueniences may follow vpon the womans default then vpon the mans: as, greater infamy before men, worse disturbance * of the family, more mistaking of legitimate, or illegitimate children, with the like. The man cannot so well know which be his owne children, as the woman; he may take base chil∣dren to be his owne, and so cast the inheritance vpon them; and suspect his owne to be basely borne, and so depriue them of their patrimony. But the woman is freed from all such mistakings. Yet in regard of the breach of wedlocke, and trans∣gression against God, the sinne of either partie is alike. Gods word maketh no disparity betwixt them. At the beginning God said of them both, athey two shall be one flesh: not the wo∣man only with the man, but the man also with the woman is made one flesh.b Their power also ouer one another in this respect is alike. If on iust occasion they abstaine, c it must be with mutuall consent. If the husband leaue his wife, d she is as free, as he should be, if she left him. Accordingly the punish∣ment * which by Gods law was to be inflicted on Adulterers is the same, whether the man or the woman be the delinquent, (Deut. 22. 22.) If difference be made, it is meet that adulterous husbands be so much the more seuerely punished, by how much the more it appertaineth to them to excell in vertue, and to gouerne their wiues by example.