Book: THE OBEDIENCE OF A CHRISTIAN MAN & How Christian Rulers Ought to Govern

MATRIMONY, or wedlock, is a state or a degree ordained of God, and an office wherein the husband serveth the wife, and the wife the husband. It was ordained for a remedy, and to increase the world; and for the man to help the woman, and the woman the man, with all love and kindness; and not to signify any promise, that ever I heard or read of in the scripture.

Therefore ought it not to be called a sacrament. It hath a promise, that we sin not in that state, if a man receive his wife as a gift given to him of God, and the wife her husband likewise: as all manner meats and drinks have a promise that we sin not, if we use them measurably with thanksgiving. If they call matrimony a sacrament, because the scripture useth the similitude of matrimony to express the marriage, or wedlock, that is between us and Christ; (for as a woman, though she be never so poor, yet when she is married, is as rich as her husband; even so we, when we repent and believe the promises of God in Christ, though we be never so poor sinners, yet are as rich as Christ; all his merits are ours, with all that he hath;) if for that cause they call it a sacrament, so will I mustard-seed, leaven, a net, keys, bread, water, and a thousand other things, which Christ and the prophets and all the scripture use, to express the kingdom of heaven and God’s word withal. They praise wedlock with their mouth, and say, ‘It is an holy thing,’ as it is verily; but had lever [rather] be sanctified with a whore, than to come within the sanctuary.