¶ As concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man, not to touch a woman. Nevertheless to avoid fornication, let every man have his wife: and let every woman have her husband. Let the man give unto the wife due benevolence. Likewise also the wife unto the man. The wife hath not power over her own body: but the husband: And likewise the man hath not power over his own body: but the wife. Withdraw not your selves one from another except it be with consent for a time, for to give yourselves to fasting and prayer, and afterward come again to the same thing, lest Satan tempt you for your incontinency.
¶ This I say of favour, not of commandment. For I would that all men were as I my self am: but every man hath his proper gift of god, one after this manner, another after that. I say unto the unmarried men, and widows: it is good for them if they abide even as I do: but and if they cannot abstain, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn.
¶ Unto the married command not I, but the Lord: that the wife separate not herself from the man. If she separate herself, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled unto her husband again. And let not the husband put away his wife from him.
¶ To the remnant speak I, and not the Lord: if any brother have a wife that believeth not, if she be content to dwell with him, let him not put her away. And the woman which hath to her husband an infidel, if he consent to dwell with her, let her not put him away. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife: and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband. Or else were your children unclean: but now are they pure. But and if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not in subjection to such. God hath called us in peace. For how knowest thou o woman, whether thou shalt save thy husband or not? Other how knowest thou o man, whether thou shalt save the wife or not? but even as god hath distributed to every man.
¶ As the Lord hath called every person, so let him walk: and so ordain I in all congregations. If any man be called being circumcised, let him add nothing thereto. If any be called uncircumcised: let him not be circumcised. Circumcision is nothing, uncircumcision is nothing: but the keeping of the commandments of god is altogether. Let every man abide in the same state wherein he was called. Art thou called a servant? care not for it. Nevertheless if thou mayst be free, use it rather. For he that is called in the Lord being a servant, is the Lord's freeman. Likewise he that is called being free, is Christe's servant. Ye are dearly bought, be not men's servants. Brethren let every man wherein he is called, therein abide with god.
¶ As concerning virgins, I have no commandment of the Lord: yet give I counsel as one that hath obtained of the Lord to be faithful. I suppose that it is good for the present necessity. For it is good for a man so to be. Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be lowsed. Art thou lowsed from a wife? seek not a wife. But and if thou take a wife, thou hast not sinned. Likewise if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned: nevertheless such shall have trouble in their flesh: but I favor you.
¶ This say I brethren, the time is short. It remaineth that they which have wives, be as though they had none: and they that weep, be as though they wept not: and they that rejoice, be as though they rejoiced not: And they that buy, be as though they possessed not: And they that use this world, be as though they used it not: For the fashion of this world goeth away.
¶ I would have you without care, the single man careth for the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord: but he that hath married, careth for the things of the world, how he may please his wife. There is difference between a virgin and a wife. The single woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be pure both in body and also in spirit: but she that is married, careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband. This speak I for your profit, not to tangle you in a snare: but for that which is honest and comely unto you And that ye may quietly cleave unto the Lord without separation.
¶ If any man think that it is uncomely for his virgin if she pass the time of marriage, and if so need require, let him do what he listeth, he sinneth not: let them be coupled in marriage. Nevertheless, he that purposeth surely in his heart, having none need: but hath power over his own will: and hath so decreed in his heart that he will keep his virgin, doth well. So then he that joineth his virgin in marriage doth well. And he that joineth not his virgin in marriage doth better. The wife is bound to the law as long as her husband liveth. If her husband sleep, she is at liberty to marry with whom she will only in the Lord. But she is happier if she so abide, in my judgement. And I think verily that I have the spirit of God.
© Faith of God
William Tyndale 1526