Divorce; Question on Desertion of Marriage

Matthew 19:3-9
In general the work is going on happily, and people's hearts are in it. Souls are converted, brought to peace, added to the saints quietly, and if we would desire more spiritual power, still we cannot but thankfully see the Spirit of God working.... Here, the world even says, Christianity is put in quite a new way. It is simply that salvation is preached.
The case you mention* has occurred before.... It is a very trying and sorrowful case, and calls for a lowly and retired walk in the person concerned. The refusal of divorce is the only additional circumstance. Did the woman refuse it, or how came it to be refused? It must be recent, as the court is. This may modify the case, because it may have been a recognition of the bond by her conscience. But this apart, I judge the church must take her as she is when converted. I suppose a heathen, who had been married and separated, and had ever such a long history, and then was married, converted and baptized-I should certainly take him as I found him. I look upon the man's act as a breach of the tie before God, namely—the tie as broken (Matt. 19:99And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery. (Matthew 19:9)); and that the church must take the person as it finds them when converted.
(* Namely, "the position of a woman whose husband left her and his child, and went and married another; she, some while after, unconverted, marries a man who takes her and her child and cares thoroughly for them. She becomes converted, and wishes to break bread. Is she to be dealt with as an adulteress now the case is known? Or, the husband having broken the tie and set her free by marrying another woman, can her present position of wife to another be recognized by the church of God? Her present walk is of good report before the world; and when her husband tried to get a divorce, it was refused him by reason of his misconduct towards her.")
The only other question connected with it is, the state of her own conscience when she married the last time. Did she consider herself free, or as then committing a sin? This may affect the present state of her conscience. But I should take her, as before the church, as married to her present husband. But she should walk softly.
Affectionately yours.
I think the truth has come out more clearly here in Canada, in contrast with mixed law and world and gospel, than anywhere.
February 26th, 1863.