And so to every man who breaks out into this mad blasphemy, the Lord Jesus in the gospel Himself repeats what He said to the Pharisees, and declares: “What God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” 2529 For although where it was originally spoken by God it seems to be in answer to another matter, yet the deep wisdom of God which was speaking not more of carnal than of spiritual things, would have this to be taken of that subject indeed, but even more of this: for when the Jews of that day believed with you that Jesus was only a man without Divinity, and the Lord was asked a question about the union in marriage, in His teaching He not only referred to it, but to this also: though consulted about matters of less importance His answer applied to greater and deeper matters, when he said, “What God hath joined together, let not man put asunder,” i.e., Do not sever what God hath joined together in My Person. Let not human wickedness sever that which the Divine Glory hath united in Me. But if you want to be told more fully that this is so, hear the Apostle talking about these very subjects of which the Saviour was then teaching, for he, as a teacher sent from God that his weak-minded hearers might be able to take in his teaching, expounded those very subjects which God had proclaimed in a mystery. For when he was discussing the subject of carnal union, on which the Saviour had been asked a question in the gospel, he repeated those very passages from the old Law on which He had dwelt, on purpose that they might see that as he was using the same authorities he was expounding the same subject: besides which, that nothing may seem to be wanting to his case, he adds the mention of carnal union, and puts in the names of husband and wife whom he exhorts to love one another: “Husbands, love your wives even as Christ also loved the Church.” And again: “So also ought men to love their wives even as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever hated his own flesh, but nourisheth and cherisheth it, as Christ also doth the Church, for we are members of His body.” 2530 You see how by adding to the mention of man and wife the mention of Christ and the Church, he leads all from taking it carnally to understand it in a spiritual sense. For when he had said all this, he added those passages which the Lord had applied in the Gospel, saying: “For this cause shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife, and they twain shall be one flesh.” And after this with special emphasis he adds: “This is a great mystery.” He certainly altogether cuts off and gets rid of any carnal interpretation, by saying that it is a Divine mystery. And what did he add after this? “But I am speaking of Christ and the Church.” That is to say: “But that is a great mystery. But I am speaking of Christ and the Church,” i.e., since perhaps at the present time all cannot grasp that, they may at least grasp this, which is not at variance with it, nor different from it, p. 589 because both refer to Christ. But because they cannot grasp those more profound truths let them at least take in these easier ones that by making a commencement by grasping what lies on the surface, they may come to the deeper truths, and that the acquisition of a somewhat simple matter may open the way in time to what is more profound.
S. Matt. xix. 6.588:2530