Marriage duties briefely couched togither out of Colossians, 3. 18, 19. By Thomas Gataker Bachelar of Diuinitie and pastor of Rotherhith.
Gataker, Thomas, 1574-1654.
Page  1


Coloss. 3.18, 19.
Wiues, submit your selues vnto your Husbands; as it is cmely in the Lord.
Husbands, loue your Wiues; and bee not bitter to them.

WIthout Faith,a saith the Apostle Paul, it is impossible to please God. And, (b)Faith, saith the Apostle Iames, Is but dead with∣out workes. There bee two things therefore necessarily re∣quired of euery Christian, *true Faith and good Life. A man can∣not liue but by a liuely Faith; and Faith is not liue∣ly without hoy Life.

The Apostle therefore accordingly spendeth this, as he doth (c) other of his Epistles, (d) partly in deli∣uering the grounds and doctrine of Faith,(e) and Page  2 partly in directing the faithfull for the manner of their Life.

Now because euery man ordinarily hath (f) two seuerall Callings, a Generall and a Speciall: the Gene∣rall calling of a Christian; and some Speciall calling in that particular estate that God hath assigned each one vnto: the Apostle giueth Rules here, as (g) else-where, for our behauiour in either (h) some generally concerning all men generally, as they are Christians, in the former part of this Chapiter: (i) some speciall concerning seuerall persons in their seuerall estates, as they are inferiours or supe∣riours, tyed by naturall or ciuill bands either to o∣ther; in the words of my text, and so forward.

And in this part the Apostle deliuereth the Du∣ties.

  • (k) 1. Of Husband and Wife.
  • (l) 2. Of Parents and Children.
  • (m) 3. Of (n)Masters and (o)Seruants.

The Duties of Husband and Wife are in the words of my Text. (p) the Wiues dutie in the former verse,(q) the Husbands in the latter.

In handling whereof we will, obserue, first the Order, then the Matter,

*For the Order, the Apostle is here, as euer vsually, exact.

*Before, he began (r) first with Faith, and (s) then came to Life: because Faith is the Roote and good Life the Fruit: and without the Roote there can be no Fruit: in regrd whereof it is well said, that The whole life of the Faithlesse is nothing but sinne, and Page  3 there can nothing be good without the chiefe good. For it is no lesse true of speciall Faith, which is spoken by the Apostle of the generall Faith, that (t)whatsoeuer is not of Faith, is sinne.

He began (u) first with rules of Life generall, and (x) then came to Rules speciall: because howsoeuer * the Heathen man thought that A man might be a good Man and yet not a good citizen, or he might be a good Magistrate, or a good Master, and yet not a good Man: yet indeed a man can not be a good Hus∣band, or Parent, or Master, vnlesse he first be a good Christian: at least not so good as to reape comfort or benefit thereby himselfe, or to performe offices to others in that manner as he ought.

Here likewise (y) he beginneth first with the du∣ties of married persons; and of them (z) first with the wiues.

First, at the duties of married persons of man and wife the Apostle beginneth here, as (a) else-where; and so proceedeth to the duties (b) of Children and Parents in the second place, and * of Seruants and Masters in the third place.

First, (c) because this societie it is the first that euer was in the world: and therefore as it was * the first in nature, so it is the first here in order: the A∣postle beginneth first with that which in course of nature is first.

Secondly, because this is (d) the fountaine from whence the rest flow: and the streames can not flow pure and cleare vnlesse the fountaine be first clensed and kept cleane. The Apostle therefore Page  4 wisely beginneth at the Head-spring, that a good course being setled in this principall societie, it may be the better kept and continued in others that is∣sue and flow from it.

And this point thus obserued may first serue to shew what is one maine cause of much neglect of dutie in many families, in children towards parents, in seruants toward Master and Mistres; because the gouernours are not carefull of mutuall duties be∣twixt themselues, of concord and agreement the one with the other, of loue and fidelitie the one to the other, of respectfull and regardfull carriage the one towards the other. And so neglect of dutie and difference betweene them is a meanes to breed a contempt of one or both in those that should be guided by them: making seruants and children to take occasion of libertie and faile in their duty to them, as they faile in dutie either to other. Yea it is a iust iudgement oft with God to punish the one by the other: as *rebellion against the Creator by re∣bellion in the creature; so neglect in rulers of duties enioynd them of God, by neglect of dutie to∣ward them in those that should be ruled by them.

Secondly, it may admonish married folke, that are heads of houses, if they desire to haue things go wel' in the family that they haue a speciall care of those duties that God hath enioyned them in re∣gard either of other. That will be a meanes to make duties passe more orderly both from them to o∣thers, and from others to them, as the contrarie prooueth ordinarily a great hindrance to either. Page  5 For as in a clocke or a watch, if the spring be faul∣tie, the wheeles can not goe, or if they mooue not either other, the hammer can not strike: so here, where dutie faileth betweene man and wfe it cau∣seth a neglect of all other good duties in the family that dependeth vpon them, yea (e) of dutie oft euen to God himselfe in them. And therefore married persons, if they desire to haue duties performed to them by others, they must first performe what is fit and conuenient either to other: remembring that the due performance of mutuall duties to either, shall both make them fitter for the performance of good offices to others, and others readier in perfor∣mance of theirs vnto them.

Now in the next place as the Apostle beginneth with Married persons, Man and wise; so of the twaine here he placeth (f)the wiues dutie in the first place. A course constantly obserued both by (g)Pe∣ter and (h)Paul, as here lo else-where, that they be∣gin first with the wiues dutie and so (i) passe on to the husbands; and that for two causes.

First to shew the inferioritie of the wife in regard of the husband; for we may obserue that the Apo∣stle beginneth euer with the dutie of the inferiour: (k) first the childrens,(l) then the Parents: first (m)the Seruants,(n) then the Masters: and so first the wiues then the Husbands: the womans first, then the Mans.

Secondly, to shew where dutie is to begin, on the wiues part; it is to begin at the inferiour and so to ascend to the superiour. For *Loue goeth downe∣ward: dutie commeth vpward. It beginneth with the Page  6 inferiour and so goeth vp to the superiour. The wiues dutie is as the base or ground that the hus∣band dutie is built vpon. It is that that must draw dutie and respect from the husband. (a)Likewise, saith the Apostle Peter, Let the men liue with their wiues, &c. Hauing spoken of the wiues behauiour toward her husband before. Not that it is lawfull for the superiour to omit his dutie, if the inferiour be slacke or faultie in the performance of hers, but to shew in course of nature whither should begin to shew dutie.

And this first serueth to admonish the wife to be forward in performance of such good duties as God requireth on her part; and not to straine courtesie and stand vpon tearmes, as to say, Let him doe what he should doe, and then I will doe what is befitting me. Wouldest thou haue him to doe that that is his du∣tie? there is no way more agreeable to the word and will of God, more consonant to the course and order of nature, more likely to prooue successefull and effectuall to that purpose and to haue a blessing of God goe with it, then the carefull performance of thy dutie to him, then which nothing is more forcible to draw dutie from him. In a word the wiues maine dutie here is subiection, the mans principally Loue; * and there is nothing more a∣uaileable with a good nature, to extract from it loue and all duties of loue, then a willing subiection and yeelding issuing from loue in the partie to bee loued.

Againe this sheweth, if any breach or occasion of Page  7 offence shall arise betweene man and wife, whither is to seeke to other: Howsoeuer the husband in discretion; (being that he is or ought to be the wi∣ser, and the woman held to be the weaker; as (b)A¦braham sought to Lot, though beeing euery way (c) the better:) yet the wife is in duty rather to seeke reconcilement: (as the Apostle impleth when hee saith, (d)Let her be reconciled to her husband, and as we see it held in all estates, that the inferiour doth euer seeke and sue to the superiour) and so to breake of first on her side that vacancie and intermission of duties that thereupon hath ensued.

And thus much for the Order: we come now to the Matter. Wherein concerning the wiues dutie first propounded obserue we two things: the maine dutie, and the manner of it.

The maine dutie, on the wiues part is Submission; or Subiection. That the Apostes of Christ both (e)Paul and (f)Peter exact euer, on her part.

For the reason whereof in generall no other need be rendred, then that which the Apostle Paul pro∣poundeth in this place, that it is a matter of Comeli∣nesse and Decency.

(g)God is the God as of order and peace, so of Come∣linesse and Decencie: and therefore will haue (h)All things done in decencie and in order: but that the wife should submit and subiect her selfe to her husband, it is a thing comely, and the contrary vncomely.

Which point shall further the more plainely ap∣peere, if we shall consider, that the Husband is the su∣periour, and the wife the inferiour; that the Husband Page  8 is as the head, the wife as the body or the rib.

For the first, there can bee no ordinary enter∣course and commerce or conuersing betweene per∣son and person, but there must be a precedencie on the one part, and a yeelding of it on the other. Now where they be equals, there may be some question, some difficultie, whither shall haue the prioritie, and they take it commonly, as it falleth out, or by turnes. But where there is an apparent inequalitie, there it is without question that the inferiour is to yeeld to the superiour.

Now here the Husband is the Superiour, and the wife the Inferiour, as the Apostle else-where proo∣ueth, both from the Creation, and since the transgres∣sion.

From the Creation, as appeareth by the

  • Order.
  • Maner,
  • End,
of it.

By the order of it; in that (a)The man was first crea∣ted, and not the woman, and therefore the man hath the *Birth-right, as the first borne in the family; in regard whereof God speaketh (b) of Eue to Adam, as (c) of Abel to Cain, Thy desire shall be subiect to his; and he shall rule ouer thee. By the manner of it; in that (d)The woman was made of the man, and not the man of the woman:* she had her being at first (e) from him, as their children now haue from them: and in that regard (f) is the woman said to be the image and glo∣ry of the man, as man is the image and glory of God: By the end of it; in that (g)The woman was made for the man, and not the man for the woman:(h) Shee was Page  9 made to be as an helpe vnto him: and it is a rule ge∣nerall, that *The end is more excellent then that which tendeth thereunto.

Neither was this Order reuersed but i confirmed by the Fall: in regard that the woman was as kthe latter in creation, so lthe former intransgression; as the Apostles words are to be expounded where hee speaketh of that point; and so m was an instru∣ment to draw the man on vnto euill.

Againe, the Man is as the Head, and the woman as the body. ThenMan is the womans head; and Christ the mans head; and God Christs head. As oChrist therefore is subiect to God, and the man vnto Christ, so the woman to the man.pThe Man is the womans head, as Christ is the Churches head. And q therefore the wife is to be subiect to her husband, as the Church is to Christ: And the husband to rule the wife as the head or soule doth the body. And as it is against the order of nature that the body should rule the head: so is it no lesse against the course of all good order, that rthe woman should vsurpe authoritie to her selfe ouer her husband, her head.

Yea the place, whence shee was taken, may teach as much. * Shee was taken from the side; she was framed of the ribbe. In regard whereof it is said of Lamech,s who first brought in Polygamie, that *he diuided one rib into twaine: and of the deuill t temp∣ting Iob by his wife, that he sought to make passage through the Rib to the Heart.* As it were therefore a thing prodigious and monstrous in nature for the rib in the body to stand either equall with or aboue Page  10 the head: so wee may well say here, that a * man∣kinde woman or a masterly wie is euen a monster in nature.

The vse of this point may bee partly for Repre∣hension, and partly for Admonition.

For reprehension, to reprooue and taxe those wo∣men that affect mastership; seeke to rule and ouer∣rule those, whom God hath not committed onely, but submitted and subiected them vnto; and so violate that order, which God himselfe hath esta∣blished in nature: a course that bringeth common∣ly, through the iust iudgement of God, disgrace and contempt vpon both parties, yea vtter ruine ot of the family and of their whole estate. For howsoeuer women may thinke it an honour to them, yet * it is indeede rather a dishonour. A ma∣sterly wife is as much despised and derided for ta∣king rule ouer her husband, as he for yeelding it to her; and that not onely among those that be god∣ly and religious, but euen among those that be but meere naturall men and women. Yea it is the next way to bring all to wrack. For * where the wie maketh head against the husband; there is nothing but doing and vndoing, and so all things goe back∣ward, and th e whole house runneth to ruine, as by lamentable experience too often appeareth.

Which may serue therefore, for Admonition, to admonish euery Christian woman in holy wise∣dome and godly discretion to * learne to know her place and her part; and to fashion her minde and her will, her disposition and her practise accor∣dingly Page  11 thereunto: yea though she be her selfe of a greater spirit, and in some respect of better parts, though she bring much with her, though the maine estate come by her, yet to acknowledge her hus∣band, as God hath appointed him, to be her superi∣our as he is her husband and her head: (which ac∣knowledgement is the ground of the dutie here vr∣ged; as the contrarie conceite cutteth of all con∣scionable carriage in this kinde) that she be willing a to weare the yoake and beare the burden that God in his ordinance hath imposed on her: and not onely auoide and forbeare, but euen hate and ab∣horre the contrary, as a course abominable in Gods sight, odious in mans eyes, and preiudiciall to them both.

Now that this may be the better performed: it shall not bee amisse more distinctly to entreate of such particular duties as spring from the Subiection or Submission vrged by the Apostle on this part.

We must not therefore conceiue it, that this Sub∣mission consisteth in a complementall crowching and courtesing, or the like, as b hypocrites place re∣ligion onely in ceremoniall obseruances: but rather in a faithfull and carefull, in a constant and conscio∣nable performance of such duties as issue and flow from the inward acknowledgement of that superio∣ritie of power and place, that God hath giuen to the husband in regard of the wife.

And these duties may bee re∣ferred, or reduced to three heads

  • Reuerence,
  • Obedience,
  • Assistance.

Page  12The first dutie is Reuerence; which comprehendeth two things,

  • Honour,
  • Feae.

First Honour, the c generall dutie of all inferiours required in the fift precept; (wherein as all inferi∣ours are comprised vnder one kinde, so all their du∣tie vnder this one tearme) more specially applied to this particular, in d that edict of Assuerus, that all women, high or low, doe giue honou to their hus∣bands: and it consisteth in a reuerent and respect∣full carriage towards them: (commended e in Sara her behauiour towards Abraham, that thought re∣uerently of him as her head, f spake reuerently of him as her Lord,) that neither when they are kinde and familiar together, they grow into grosse tearms; nor if any iarre or offence fall out, they rush into tart and soure words; but take heede of all vnre∣uerent and vnsauoury language of them, of all vn∣seemely and vncomely carriage toward them; like that of Iesabel to Ahab,gDoest thou iudge Israel? or of hMical to Dauid telling him, that he plaid the foole in dauncing before Gods Arke: which speech of hers as i it argued a contempt of him in her heart; so it was k iustly plagued in her by God with bar∣rennesse as a breach of his ordinance, she had no childe for it to her dying day.

Secondly, aFeare, not a seruile or slauish dread, but a liberall, free and ingenuous feare; (like that feare that the godly beare vnto God:) as the Apo∣stle Peter implieth when excluding the one, he yet b exacteth the other: c a feare springing from loue, and ioyned with loue; consisting in a desire Page  13 to doe euery thing so as may please their husband and giue him contentment, and a care to shun and auoid whatsoeuer may dsplease him, or minister discontentment vnto him.

Where those wues come to be taxed and not vn∣iustly condemned, that regard not at all their hus∣bands pleasure, but their owne selfe will onely: If he will be pleased, let him: if he will not, choose him; it is a oe to them, he hath his mends in his hands. This is * not to cut out the worke by the role, but the rule by the worke: to make the wiues will the rule of the husbands will: whereas d God hath appointed the husbands will to be the rule & square of the wiues will, not the wiues of his. And as ePeter saith of seruants that they are to apply themselues euen to their crooked masters: so here though the huband will shall be crooked, so it be not wicked, the wiues will is not straight in Gods sight, if it be not pliable to his.

What shall we say of them that loue to swim, as we say, with the trout, against the streame, that will doe things of purpose to crosse their husbands; what they know that they can not, or will not like of? This is not to cut out the worke according to the rule, but to cut out the worke directly against the rule. Nothing more likely to breede heart-burning betweene them; and to make a man carry a stiffer & streighter hand ouer them: as we see that * a man letteth his garments hang loose about him in a calme, which he girdeth closer to him when the winde is boistrous and high. Such women Page  14 should remember that f a meeke and a quiet spirit is a thing pretious in Gods sight: and on the other∣side a froward and vnquiet spirit in a wife is a thing odious and detestable both with God and man.

The second dutie is Obedience; g propounded by Peter in the example of Sara; as Sra obeied Abr∣ham: and it hath reference to two things

  • Admonition,
  • Aduice.
and so consequently consisteth in being content to be admonished of him, to be aduised by him.

First for Admonition, in being content to be ad∣monished by him: and taking his admonitions in good parts; and being willing to reforme and a∣mend what he admonisheth her of as amisse. Not ready to returne a snappish answer againe, and to giue one angry word againe for another; nor to be pouting and lowring vpon it, (as the manner is of many, when they are told of ought,) for a long time togither, as if they would make him weary of ad∣monishing ought any more; but hearing it with mildnesse, and hearkening to it with meekenesse: remembring that when the husband admonisheth, God admonisheth in him; and hearkning to him, she hearkeneth to God in him: as h on the other side contemning him, shee contemneth God and Gods ordinance in him. Yea though the husband should chance to blame and finde fault without cause, (as euen the best and the wisest sometime may doe,) it shall be a wise and discreete womans part i rather to take it quietly and patiently, as if there were iust cause of it, thē to giue any vnkind or Page  15 vncomely language againe: remembring that *It is, as one saith wel, the propertie of an ingenuous dis∣position; to acknowledge a fault sometime, euen where there is none: not*by lying or dissembing, (for that is altogether vnlawfull:) but by patient bearing and for∣bearing, being as ready to alter what is done, as if it had beene done otherwise then it ought.

Secondly, For Adute, in suffering her selfe to be aduised of him; in taking aduice of him, and fol∣lowing aduice giuen by him: in being willing k to be directed and aduised by him for her selfe, her at∣tire, her behauiour, her carriage, her company, the marshalling and managing of domesticall affaires. As lSara would not put away her maide Hagar without Abrahams consent; nor mRebekkah send away her sonne Iacob without Isaaks aduice. In re∣gard whereof the husband is called the wiues nguide: as the person by whom she is mainely to be directed and guided.

Which yet we are not so to vnderstand as if the wife might not either admonish the husband on some occasions, or aduse him in some cases. For what a a seruant may sometime doe; a wife may much more.

But there must be an holy wisedome and discre∣tion vsed herein. That admonition be giuen sea∣sonably, (not as physicke in a fit,) as b by Abigail to Nabal; and with due respect and regard of the husbands person and place. That in aduice giuing the wife, euer remember what is properly her part; and therefore mooue the matter rather by way of Page  16 question, or as cre•••••uice, as cRebekka see∣meth to mooue the master a farre of vnto Isaak, submit her aduce and opnion to his iudgement and discrtion, as dster to Assuerus his. Shew her selfe willing to obey, if he shall thinke good o∣therwise: and withall so carry the matter that euen in those things that are done by her aduice to good purpose, her husband be honoured and not con∣temned either by others or her: that whatsoeuer is done by their mutuall consent, may seeme rather to come from him; as eIesabel sealed all with Ahabs seale, and fEster wrote all in Assuerus his name. For that as the * trumpeters owne voice is nothing so loud or so strong, as the sound that it yeeldeth when it passeth through the trumpet: so euery a∣ction in the family shall gaine it selfe more weight and procure more them both more credit, and car∣ry more authoritie with it, when it passeth through the husbands hands and is ratified and sealed as it were with his seale.

And here commeth to bee condemned the cu∣stome of those women that will do all of their owne head, that will haue things as they list themselues, and after their owne minde: that refuse and thinke scorne either to aske of their husbands aduice what to doe, or to follow it in such things as they are ad∣uised vnto. And so disobedience breedeth a con∣tempt of the husband in them, and contempt in them causeth wrath in him, which openeth a gap to many grieuous euils. Such must know that in disobeying them they disobey God in them and Page  17 prouoke him against themselues: besides that they procure nothing vnto themselues but an euill re∣port abroad, and an vnquiet life at home.

And therefore a wise and discreete woman ought to choose rather; when the thing enioyned or ad∣uised shall import some difficultie, or carry with it some inconueniencie; howsoeuer she may in good tearmes propound it by way of excuse, yet if the husband shall persist in his minde that he will haue it so; she ought, I say, to choose rather, and account it better (so long as it import no euill) to buy her owne peace and the peace of a good conscience, to purchase peace with God and man by meeke and quiet obseruance, then to breake or hazard the breach of either by her peeuish resistance.

But of all others the course of those is most vaine that will take to themselues the whole commenda∣tion of things done by mutuall consent and aduice: and so seeke to honour themselues by discrediting their husbands whom God hath commanded them to honour, and whose honour they should account as their owne. For when God saith, that gThe woman is the glory of the man: and that hA vertu∣ous or industrious wife is the crowne of hr husband; he implieth that the wife should vse all the gifts and graces of God bestowed on her for the honour of him. And on the coutrary she is the contempt and dishonour of him, when shee striueth and conten∣deth to seeme wiser then he.

And here by the way let the Husband learne his dutie in part, ere we come directly vnto it. For if Page  18 the wife be to submit and to subiect her selfe vnto him; it to be admonished by him and to take ad∣uice of him: then is he to gouerne and admonish, to giue counsell and aduice.

And therefore considering that he is called to be a guide to his wife) he must labour for holy wise∣dome and spirituall discretion, that hee may be fit and able to guide and gouerne in good manner and to good purpose. And hee had neede be wise and discreete himselfe, that is to be guide to another. Otherwise as the Apostle, e How is he fit to go∣uerne Gods house that can not gouerne well his owne house, so how shal he be fit to guide another, that is not able to guide himselfe?

In regard whereof parents also, as they must not be ouerhasty to ioyne their children in that estate, ere they be come to some staiednesse: So they must be carefull, (especially where they perceiue some want that way,) to further them with all conueni∣ent helps in that kinde: that so by their diligent care and furtherance that may be supplyed that is defectiue on their parts.

Now this then condemneth the preposterous practise of some men, that in a kinde either of foo∣lish statelinesse or fond remissenesse will seeme to referre all to the wife athe weaker, without infor∣ming or acquainting them with their minde, in what manner they wish or thinke fit to haue things ordered in the family; and yet will storme and take on, or grow pettish and impatient, if euerything bee not done to their owne minde. Which as it Page  19 breedeth much disquiet & distraction in the wiues minde, when shee knoweth not what wil please, but must goe all by guesse so it taketh away that alacritie and cheereulnsse that should be in per∣formance of such duties, and maketh her to goe a∣bout her businesse with hanging of the wings; since it is vncertaine, when shee hath taken all possible paines, and done her best endeauour, how in the end it will be accepted.

As also it condemneth such peeuish and froward persons, as if anything be demanded of them, or their aduice asked in ought, are ready by and by to grow into heate and rage, to complaine of and cry out on the folly and vnwisenesse of their wiues, that know not how such and such things should be ordered. For to what end hath God giuen her thee for a bGuide, but because the woman ordinarily needs the mans aduice? As therefore cthe priests lips should preserue knowledge for the people, and they are to aske the law of him: so the husbands head should preserue wisedome and counsell for his wife, and d she is to take aduice of him. Besides, that things in the family many times are to bee done, not for the best or the wisest simply, but after the husbands best liking and to his best content∣ment. And therefore a wise and discreete husband should rather reioyce that his wife is so carefull to know his minde, and to doe euery thing to his minde, then contemne her or miscall her for her carefulnesse in that kinde.

The third and last dutie on the wines part is Assi∣stance.Page  20 For she was made to be can Helper or an assi∣stant to her husband: and that especially in two kinds, in his Trauels, and in his Troubles.

First in his labour and in his businesse; f in do∣mesticall affaires, things especially within the house. In regard whereof the Apostle Paul willeth that women be house-keepers, or keepers at home, as we call them hous-wiues: and the heathen for that one respect among others made the Snaile or the Tor∣teis* an embleme of womanhood. And the Apostle Peter seemeth to imply no lesse, when he willeth ra∣ther, that the hhusbands dwell with their, wines, then their wiues with them.

Of this kinde of affaires that the wife is to bee imployed in are:

First, a the diligent and carefull education of such children as it may please God to blesse them with all.

Secondly, the vigilant and watchfull b ouer∣sight of the whole family c instructing and admo∣nishing them, as occasion requireth; assigning them their worke and allotting them their allow∣ance.

Thirdly, the prouident and faithfull keeping and preseruing of prouisions made and brought in by the man, that they bee not imbecilled or made a∣way, that eno waste be made of them, that they be not spoiled and misspent.

Fourthly, a constant and painefull endeauour of doing something, as abilitie, leisure and opportu∣nitie shall giue leaue, toward the supporting and Page  21 vpholding, or the raising and aduancing of their e∣state, and the further enlarging of their meanes. For fa wise woman, saith Salomon, helpeth to build vp the house: and the good hous-wife, as his mother describeth her to him, griseth before day, and sitteth vp late at night: As i she suffereth none to be idle in the house, so k shee is not idle her selfe: Shee thinketh not scorne to soile her hands; but girdeth vp her loines, and setteth her selfe to some profitable worke: m getteth her wooll and flax a∣bout her, and putteth her hand to the wheele, and her fingers to the spindle, n maketh such things as may serue for the apparelling of her husband her selfe and her houshold, or may be of vse other∣wise about the house: or if no neede of it in the house, p to sell and make merchandise of; and that no discredit or discommendation at all to her neither: or if neither of both bee needfull, q to helpe to releeue, as good rDorcas did, the poore seruants of God with.

Where commeth to bee condemned, first the sondnesse of such parents as ioyne their daughters to heads before they are able thus to bee helpers, yea ost match them to an head, ere they are able to dresse their owne head, much lesse to affoord any good helpe to their married head.

As also of those that bring them vp so in idlenes and dissolutenesse, that they are good for nothing when they are married, but to sit in the shop as a babe on a stall, to see and be seene, or as an image in the house, that hath lims without vse; being alto∣gether Page  20 vnfit to doe ought about the house, or to manage any thing that appertaineth thereunto.

Againe, here commeth to bee condemned the practise of such wiues as are gadders abroad; least acquainted with, or delighting in ought at their owne home: rather in that regard the daughters of fDinah then sSarah; whom we know t what befell vpon her wandring abroad. And surely as the Apostle ioyneth uchastitie and home keeping toge∣ther, as the one a meanes of preseruing the other: so x the wise man maketh such gadding abroad a note of a light and a lewd houswise.

Or such as though they keepe within, yet sit idle at home: must haue y their gossips come and sit with them to tell tales and newes, that they may not be idle without company: little weighing with themselues, that time the meane while runneth on, and worke about the house goeth but vntowardly forward, while there is none to ouersee, or looke after it.

As also the practise of such as are wasters, spen∣ders and spoilers of their husbands wealth, and of that they bring in; * that therein indeed like the Torteis, carrie their whole house on their backe, which though they feele not the weight of, yet ma∣keth the husbands backe ake, yea and cracke too, breaketh the backe of their estate: (as * in that sexe commonly there is no ho, when a wastfull humour is once in:) so farre are they from helping to fur∣ther or aduance their estate. Such should remem∣ber the saying of Salomon, that z as the wise woman Page  21 helpeth to build vp the house: so shee is a foole that thus pulleth the house downe with her owne hands.

Secondly, the wife is to be an assistant and (a)a yoke fellow to her husband, as in his trauels and la∣bours, so in troubles and crosses, if any befall 〈◊〉; (as no mans life lightly is free from them: *No larke without an hele, nor course of life without some crosse or other:) and that two waies.

By bearing part with him.

And by being a comfort vnto him.

First, by bearing part with him. For whereas married persons are subiect to many more crosses and casualties then those that leade a single life, in regard their charge is the greater: howsoeuer the women themselues are not exposed to so many per∣sonall encumbrances as men, because their life is more priuate: Yet, as the Apostle saith of the faith∣full Christiās, that they were bfellow-partners with him in his afflictions, so ought the wife to bee with the husband in those afflictions that befall him. And surely if all Christians in generall, much more married folkes in speciall ought to cbeare either o∣thers burdens; If * all Christians must haue a fellow-feeling of one anothers suffrings, because d they are all members of one bodie; much more man and wife that are both but e one flesh.

Contrary whereunto is the practise of those wiues that leaue and forsake their husbands when they are fallen into troubles: are like swallowes and other sommer-birds, content to reape and en∣ioy with them, the pleasant fruits of prosperitie, but Page  24 vnwilling to beare and endure with them the bitter brunt and blasts of aduersitie; care not, nor regard what their husbands do, or what becomes of them, what hardnesse they endure, what miserie they a∣bide, so long as by helpe of friends or other proui∣sions they are able themselues, to shift for them∣selues. Very vnnaturall are they that haue no fel∣low-feeling of what their owne flesh suffereth: vn∣like f our Sauiour Christ, who retaineth still *com∣passion, though free from personall passion; and though freed now from feeling, hath still yet a fellow-feelingg of those euils that befall * his here. Yea worse then many heathen women, * that haue shewed worthy precedents on this part and in this kinde; and shall therefore h rise in iudgement at the last day against all such Christian women as be faultie this way.

The like is to be said of the practise of such as are a meanes themselues to bring their husbands into decay and distresse, and so procure trouble to them, by their inordinate courses and excessiue expences; whereby they cast them behind hand, and that to their vtter ouerthrow and vndoing oft times: and so in stead of helping to beare his burden with him, are a meanes to bring such a burden vpon him, as neither of them both is well able to beare.

Secondly, by being a cheerer and a comforter; a meanes of comfort and cheerefulnesse to him: as iIacobs children were to Iacob; and so kRebekkah to Isaak. And surely if it be the dutie of children to comfort their parents in their heauinesse: much Page  25 more the wiues to comfort her husband in like ca∣ses. If la wise childe is a ioy to his father: much more will a good and a wise wife striue to be so to her husband: to be to him as mDauids harpe was to Saul: as a physitian to tend him in his sicknes, as a a musitian to cheere him vp in his heauinesse.

But what a wretched and lamentabe case is it then, when shee that should be a comfort, prooueth a discomfort, that her husband may say of her as nIob of his friends, A miserable comforter art thou indeede. As in Eue, that shee, that o was giuen to be an helper to good, p should prooue a tempter to euill: so here when shee that should bee q the ioy and the delight of a mans eyes, prooueth a corra∣siue to his heart and corruption in his bones. And surely as there is no estate more comfortable where things are wisely ordred according to Gods will and word: so none more discomfortable, where things are crossely and crookedy carried. *Inward euils are most grieuous:r in regard whereof * one of the ancients compareth not amisse an euill and a guilty conscience to an vnto ward yoke fellow: For that is common to either, (then which what can bee more grieous?) that that prooueth with a man the greatest crosse, that should be a comfort to him a∣gainst other crosses. Such women forget or at least are farre from that, which Salomon saith of a good wife, sShee will doe her husband good, and not euill, all the daies of her life: that which euery good wo∣man vndoubtedly will endeauour her selfe vnto.

Hitherto we haue spoken of the Maine dutie on Page  26 the wiues part, namely, Submission or Subiection, to∣gither with the particulars or at least the prncipall of those that thence issue.

We come now to the manner of the performance of all the former, and that is, saith our Apostle, In the Lord: a phrase vsed by the Apostle a in the like case else-where: and it may be taken two waies, as a note of Direction, or as a note of Limitation.

1. As a note of direction, prescribing the ground and manner of this submission; that it bee done in obedience of God and the commandement of God, in conscience of the order and ordinance of God.

2. As a note of limitation, describing the bounds and limits of this submission, assistance, reuerence, and obedience; that it extend not it selfe to any¦thing against the will and word of God.

In the former sense it seemeth to be vsed by the Apostle, where b he speaketh of childrens dutie; in the latter, c where he applieth it to widdowes marri∣age. And the latter followeth vpon the former. For a man can not doe ought against Gods will or word out of obedience to his will and word: it implieth a manifest contradiction. And therefore whatso∣euer is done in obedience to Gods will must needs so farre forth be done according to, and not against his word or will. The former I take here to be the direct meaning of the words; the latter by way of consequence is deduced from it. And so this branch affordeth two points concerning the dutie here enioyned.

First, that this Submission for the ground of it Page  27 must be a godly, a religious, a conscionable submission; perfored not for wordly respects, or fordfeare of wrath, but as e the Apostle saith of good sub∣iects, for conscience sake; in conscience of Gods or∣dinance, and in obedience to Gods command.

For first, it is fGodlinesse alone that hath the pro∣mises both of this life and the life to come: and there∣fore, there is no reward for ought that proceedeth not from it.

Secondly; as Luther saith well that *the first com∣mandement in the Decalogue comprehendeth the whole: because therein is the bond that bindeth vs to the obedience of the whole: so it is no lesse true that the Apostle Iames telleth vs that greligion or god∣linesse, which is the ground and * bond of all obedi¦ence, is to be exercised and practised through the whole course of our liues: that as all ciuill duties are to h proceede from loue vnto man, so they are likewise to be done in obedience to God.

Which point serueth, First to shew a difference betweene a godly and a worldly wise, a Christian woman & an heathen, a faithfull and an infidel. For an heathen woman may doe all outward duties that a Christian wife doth, out of a naturall or carnall loue to her husband, or out of a desire of her owne ease and quiet that dependeth thereupon, or out of other naturall and ciuill respects, as feare of anger at home, and of euill report abroad: But the Chri∣stian wife doth all on a further ground; (though these and the like considerations also may make her the more carefull:) out of obedience to God and Page  28 the will and word of God; out of a desire to please God, & to approue her self & her courses vnto God. As the heathen subiect serueth God for his Prince, the Christian subiect serueth his prince for God: so the heathen wife obeieth God but for man, whereas the Christian wise obeyeth her husband for God.

Againe it may teach women how to behaue thē∣selues in these duties that they may therby gaine as well fauor with God, as loue with their husbands at home, and a good report abroad: if they shall do all in obediēce of God, if they shall do all aas vnto God: as a Christian seruant bserueth God and not man, so submitting themselues to God, not to man: while they regard God in their husbāds, as c he doth God in his master, and so doe all d as vnto God, because they do e all for God, and for conscience of God. Else though they performe all outward duties, they go no further then heathen: if they do not so much, they come short of them: and f if they expect & de∣sire to be accepted with God, they must go beyond them they must not onely do all that they doe; but do it * as they should do: do all for God, & then they doe it to God. For as g they releeue Christ in the poore, when they releeue them for Christ: so they o∣bey Christ in their husbands, when they obey them for Christ. Not regard so much what their hus∣bands deserue from them, as what God requireth of them: and as Christian subiects submit them∣selues *to good gouernours as vnto God, to euill gouer∣nours for God, or rather vnto either of them both as vnto God and in God: so submit themselues to their husbands bee they good or badde, de∣serue Page  29 they well or euill of them, as for God, and in God, and vnto God, in regard of the precept and enioynment of God. h So doing, as the Apostle saith, ithey shall be sued by child-bearing, so they shall be saued by Christian submission and obedience. As kthe seruant that serueth not man but the Lord, shall from the Lord receiue the inhe••tance of a sonne: so the woman that submitteth her selfe to her husband for God, shall for such her submission be eternally rewarded of God. And this withall may againe serue well to take away that obiection of faultie perfor∣mance on the other part: If he doe not his dutie to me, why should I doe min to him? True: if thou oughtest it to him onely, or principal'y to him. But it is in the Lord, and for him that this dutie is required of thee. Him thou owest it vnto, whither thy hus∣band doe his or no; w hither he deserue it, or no, at thine hands. Neither shall his faultinesse excuse thy fault, if thou shalt refuse to performe what God hath imposed on thee, and so shalt faile in thy duty that thou owest vnto God, because man faileth in his, that he likewise oweth vnto God, whither thou doest thine, or no, to him.

Secondly this Submission, for the extent of it, must not bee in ought against God. And therefore when the Apostle maketh it generall, lin all thing; it must bee conceiued by way of opposition be∣tweene her owne will and her husbands will; (as m the Apostle is said to please all men in all things, that is, euen to the displeasing of himselfe: n not regarding his owne profite, but respecting their Page  30 pleasure:) not by way of opposition betweene Gods will and mans will. For when they crosse, oGod is rather to be obeyed then man: his will is ra∣ther to be regarded then mans will

And the reason is apparent: for

  • 1. This submission is Gods ordnance; and Gods ordinance cannot be against God, but for God.
  • 2. The husbands power, as p of all superiours, is subordinate to Gods power: and the subordi∣nate power ought euer to yeeld to the supreme power.

And therefore first let men looke vnto it and take heede how they take vpon them to aduise, per∣swade, induce or vrge their wiues to ought against God and godlinesse or good conscience. For by so doing they shall but abuse their power and place, and lessen their authoritie and credite, as euery one doth that goeth beyond the bounds and limits of his office.

As also women must know that it shall be no suffi∣cient excuse for them, if they shall suffer themselues to be led by their husbands vnto ought that is euill: no more then it was for qAdam to be seduced and misled by Eue: or for rAhab to be prouoked and egged on by Iezabel vnto euill: Neither will it serue to alleadge, that sthe woman is the weaker. But they must consider who it is from whom the man hath his right, his power, and his place, euen he that hath power equally ouer either, and will vndoubtedly punish either, if either the one shall perswade, or the other vpon perswasion yeeld to ought against his will.

Page  31Hitherto we haue entreated of the former part concerning the wiues dutie, wee come now to the a latter part concerning the Husbands.

And the Husbands dutie is propounded partly in the affirmatiue, and partly in the negatiue.

  • 1. In the affirmatiue, Husbands loue your wiues.
  • 2. In the negatiue, And be not bitter vnto them.

The maine dutie required on the mans part is Loue: that which the Apostle b euer inculcateth when he entreateth of the Husbands dutie:

The equitie whereof we may easily conceiue, if wee shall but consider the precept of Loue and in what tearmes it runneth.

c Thou art commanded therefore by God to Loue thy neighbour as thy selfe. And what neerer neighbour then thy wife, who is taken by thee into the societie and communion of thy whole lie, to be a perpetuall d companion with thee at boord and in bed; to dwell and abide with thee continually, to conuerse with thee most inwardly; yea, as our Sauiour himsele speaketh, eto be glewed vnto thee inseparably, and that f by Gods owne appoint∣ment and ordinance.

Againe thy neighbour, thou art commanded to louegas thysefe, But the Apostle goeth further and saith, hHe that luth his wife, he loueth him∣selfe. So that th wife is thy selfe, not as thy selfe one∣ly. iOur flesh, say the poore speaking of the rich, is as their f••h: and therefore k a man should nt, saith the prophet, turne his face from his owne flesh. But here man and wife they make but lone flesh:Page  32 this * knot being once knit, they are no more twaine, but one flesh, And mno man, saith the Apostle, euer hated his owne flesh; but loueth and cheerisheth it, as Christ doth his Church.

n What more naturall then for parents to loue the children that come of them? What more e∣quall then for children to loue their parents that bred and bare them? But behold a neerer coniun∣ction betweene married persons man and wife, then betweene children and parents: in regard whereof God saith, that a man shall leaue the one, yea, if he cannot helpe both, he shall neglect the one, to ad∣here, and cleaue to the other. oFor this cause shall a man leaue father and mother too, and shall cleaue to his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

For childrē indeed are *part of their parents, because pthey come out of their bowels: they are part of their flesh, but seuered from them. But man & wife, they are one flesh, conioyned not seuered. By originall creation, as q shee came of the man, r shee is part of his flesh, flesh of his flesh, and bone of his bone, but seuered as it were now from him: but * by nuptiall coniunction being ioyned to him as his wife, shee becommeth not onely part of his flesh as taken from him, but sone flesh conioyned with him. For as *bodie and head, or flesh and soule make one man; so man and wife make one flesh.

Againe children are said to be part of their parents; but parents cannot bee said properly to bee part of their children. But here reciprocally the wife is part of the husband; and the husband is part of the wife: both Page  33 parts of the same flesh, because both making but one flesh. Parents are as a fountaine or the body of a riuer; children as streames deriued from it, and flowing apart: Man and wife are as two springs meeting and so ioyning their streames, that they make but one current,* and runne both in one chan∣nell, that the water of the one and the other can∣not be seuered. Parents are as a stemme or a stocke; children as grifts or slips taken from it, and engraf∣fed or planted else-where. Man and wife are as t those two branches in the Prophets hand, * enclosed in one barke, & so * closing togither that they make but one peice, & the same fruit commeth of either.

If neerenesse of bond therefore be a good ground of loue; there being such a neerenesse betweene man and wife, as none betweene man and man can goe neerer: it must needs binde the husband not onely to loue, but to loue his wife with a loue a∣boue all other loue.

To make vse then of this point.

First, if a man be thus to loue his wife, then the wife is no lesse to loue her husband. For *Loue, we say, is Loues loade-stone: and there is the like rea∣son for either. There is no action or affection so reciprocall as loue; as betweene God and man; so betweene man and man. For example. If God be angry with vs, * we are not to bee angry with him againe: * hee may haue iust cause to be angry with vs, wee can haue no iust cause to bee angry with him: If God hate vs, yet wee ought not to hate him: he may iustly hate vs, we cannot iustly Page  34 hate him: if he shew mercy on vs, we cannot shew mercy to him: we stand in neede of his mercy, he hath no neede of our mercy, for he is subiect to no misery: If he be good to vs, we can not be good a∣gaine to him; for all aour goodnesse is nothing to him: But God loueth vs, and we are to loue him againe: we stand bound to loue him though hee hate vs: but are bound in a double bond to loue him, when he loueth vs: In like manner here: if the husband be angry with the wife, shee is not by and by to be hastie and angry againe with him: if hee controle her, shee is not therefore to controle him: but he is to loue her, and shee is likewise to loue him: yea though he should hate her, yet ought she to loue him: (for she may not faile in her duty, because he faileth in his,) how much more when he loueth her is shee to loue him? For cloue re∣quireth loue: and *loue must requite lue. Yea there∣fore is shee to loue him, b the rather to drawe loue from him. That which the Apostle also d some∣time expresseth, though for the most part he presu∣meth it;* as the loue of parents to their children, a thing grounded in nature, as is also the other: in re∣gard whereof the Apostle Paul hath e coupled them together. Now as things often inculcated should make vs more ca refull: so things taken for gran∣ted should make vs more fearefull. As the husband therefore must f see to it that he loue his wife, because he is so oft called vpon for it: so the wife must take heede how she bee faultie and defectiue that way, when God taketh it as graunted; and therefore Page  35 accounteth them as monsters in nature that are wanting in it; as those that want bowels of loue to∣ward their owne birth.

Secondly, if a man be bound to loue his wife in this sort, then men must take heed how they match with those whom they cannot thus loue and affect; whom they cannot thus linke their hearts and af∣fections vnto. g For h there is no * affection freer then loue: as there is nothing more forcible, so * no∣thing that can be lesse forced. This is a fault in ma∣ny, who to satisfie friends,i or to aduance their e∣states, or for some other worldly by-respects, match in that manner; and so cast themselues foolishly in∣to a fearefull snare, which they are neuer able after to wind themselues out of againe. Men and wo∣men therefore are to be admonished here that they looke ere they leape: and that they remember that *one had neede to deliberate long, and aduise well on that which but once can be determined: to pause through∣ly vpon that that but once can be concluded; that being once concluded concludeth them; beeing once done cannot bee vndone againe. And those that haue already ouershot themselues in this kind, they must now striue euen to enforce their affecti∣ons; and craue grace at Gods hand, * whereby they may be enabled to bring themselues to that disposi∣tion, that God now requireth of them. In a word, he that is free, may frame his choise to his minde but he that hath chosen must frame his heart to his choise: Before hee might conforme his actions to his affection; now hee must endeuour to frame his Page  36 affection to his action. *

Thirdly, If the husband must in this manner loue his wife, then must hee draw home his affecti∣ons from louing any other in that sort. For if such a singularitie of loue be here required, then it can be but one that in this sort is affected. As wee reason well, that there can not be two Gods, because there cannot be *two chiefe goods: so here there ought not to be two wiues of two husbands, because two can not haue the principalitie & chiefety in our loue; or rather, because such loue as this is, is or ought to be peculiar and proper to one: But the branches and streames of loue are dispersed among many; where∣as * the whole current of it runneth one way be∣tweene twaine.

This may further be confirmed vnto vs▪

By the law of nature. a God at the first tooke but *one rib from the man, * and therefore he, as wee said, that b first tooke two wiues, is said to haue *cut one rib into twaine.c He made of that one rib, but one woman; though d he had spirit enough to haue made more: e he brought but one wife, Eue, to Adam: g he reserued each man but one in the flood: And therfore hLet euery man, saith the Apostle, haue*his owne peculiar wife: and each woman e her husband.

By the analogie of faith▪ iMy beloued is but one; saith Christ in the Canticles. Though naturally ma∣ny and of many sorts, yet they make but kone seede: they are mystically lall one in him. The mwife is to her husband, as the Church is to Christ: Christ hath Page  37 but *one Church: and hee must haue but one wife: Choose whither Adam thou wil to imitate, saith one of the ancients, the old or the new: the one had bu one wife, the other hath but one Church.

The married man therefore is to take heede not onely n of imbracing the bosome of a stranger, but of admitting or giuing way now to any raunging af∣fections. He must know that that which was law∣full for him before, is now no more lawfull. Not that any sinfull act or desire was euer lawfull: but that such desire was not sinfull in thee then: as is sin∣full in thee now, because it is by God now determi∣ned and restrained to an obiect.

Fourthly, let the husband take heede of being faultie in this dutie of loue in this inward and en∣tire affection toward his wife, which the Apostle of Christ and by him the Spirit of God in so speciall manner requireth and exacteth of him. Some du∣ties there are though generally required of all, yet in more speciall sort of some: and so this dutie of loue of all in generall, but of married persons more spe∣cially: who are therefore more faultie, if therein they faile. Yea such therefore must take heede not onely of ceasing simply to loue, but of oleauing their first loue: of suffring theiLouepto grow luke-warme, not key cold onely, that was seruent at the first. Howsoeuer as complements abate betweene friend and friend, the more familiar they grow; so some kinde of daliance betweene new married folkes may after be lesse vsuall: yet their loue is to be no lesse, rather to encrease then decrease; as wee see it is in Page  38 parents towards children, who the longer they haue them, the more they affect them, and the loa∣ther they are to leaue and forgoe them; though it may be they are not so fond on them, as at first.

And heere the better to further the practise of this duty: it shall not bee amisse, taking the same course we did in the former, to lay downe some par∣ticular effects and fruites of this loue.

The first is aCohabitation, liuing and dwelling peaceably and quietly together. Friends we know loue to be oft together, and are loath to be sundred, Loue as it lincketh in heart, so it b longeth after the bodily presence of them whom the heart is thereby lincked vnto. And it is ca sweete sight, saith the Psalmist, to see brethren dwell together in one: how much more man and wife? They make but one body; and * it is against nature for one body to bee in two places at once. For the man is the d head, the woman is as the body: for head and body to be sundered, e it is present death vnto either. Not that a man may not be absent, yea and long absent too sometime, from his wife, vpon necessary occasions; but that there bee no giuing of way to vnnecessary. And surely where loue is, there griefe will be that occasions of long or oft absence should be offered. And where griefe is that such occasi∣ons though necessary should be offered; there will be no taking of occasions, but such as are necessarily offered.

Where commeth to bee taxed the foolish and preposterous course that is taken by diuers parents, Page  39 who match their sonnes young to wiues, and then send them a trauailing: so that they part as soone as they meete, * ere their affections be wel fastened; and so oft either returne with them estranged on their part, or at returne finde them estranged on the the other part; while their f absence hath made way for some strangers enticement.

As also the practise of those commeth here iustly to be condemned, who after marriage vpon euery light iarre or discontent are ready by and by to se∣quester themselues either from other, to breake vp house and part families and so to liue apart. Take heede, Oh man, how thou f leauest the wife of thy youth, and breakest a bond knit by thy God: take heede, g O woman, how thou forsakest the guide of thy youth, and forgettest the couennt of thy God.

Yea, but will some say, her behauour is such as can not be endured. And we may serue God asun∣der better then wee can being togither: I am the quiete▪ in my conscience, the further I am from her.

To this I answer: First with the Apostle, hArt thou married? seeke not to bee loosed: iabide in the calling God hath called thee in. Thou must keepe thy k station that God hath placed thee in: as the souldiour must keepe the place that his generall hath assigned him, though it prooue an hot piece of seruice, yea though he thinke he might do more good else-where. It is but lthe diuell turning him∣selfe into an Angel of light, that perswadeth thee in this sort. For *if cohabitation be of God, then the contrary vnto it separation is of Satan. He that m for∣biddeth Page  40 thee to leaue an infidel, an idoater, as long as she is willing to liue with thee, and keepeth her selfe loyall to thee, whom will he licence thee to leaue?

Secondly, I answer further with the Apostle, (and so come to the second dutie of Loue, the Con∣cealing and couering of the wiues infirmities, and bea∣ring patiently with them:) nLoue is long-suffring: and oLoue couereth, much more pferuent loue, a multitude of offences.* There is no man or woman without infirmities, as no life without troubles. And this is one special act & exercise of loue, to loue those that we beare, and toqbeare with those that we loue: to seeke to couer and conceale their infirmities, though they be many: remembring with all that God hath called vs, as torpeacesin Christ, so to t patience u in the world, and to the exercise of patience; which therefore in these cases men must earnestly craue.*

Where they are also to be taxed that are so farre from couering & concealing the infirmities of their wiues, that they delight in nothing more then in blasing them abroad and that euen to strangers. Had they some loathsome soare about their owne body, they would be loath to disclose it, vnlesse it were to some speciall friend for aduice, or to the Surgion for helpe: and surely as loath would they be to dis∣close their wiues infirmities, did they esteeme them as their own flesh, or if, as loue requires they should, they held their wiues reputation as deere to them as their owne, and they were as tender of her credite as they are of their owne.

Page  41Now further if morall defaults must not diminish loue, much lesse naturall defects. If children be sicky, we are the more tender ouer them: if any part of the body be euil-affected, we are the more charie ouer it. a Neither is the weakely wife therefore the lesse to be regarded; but the rather to be tendred & tenderly en∣treated in regard of her weakenes, as the more britle a Venice glasse is, the more gingerly we handle it, and the more tender-edged a knife is, the more chariy we vse it.bIacob may not forbeare Leahs company because she is blere-eyed: neither must Elkana loue Hanna the lesse,c because she is barren and beareth not; d neither loued he Rachel lesse when shee grew aged & was now decaied with yeeres, and broken with beaing, then he did when she was fresh at first: e no more then he lesse affected the last childe she bare, then the first.

Which condemneth their practise that f cast of the wife of their youth, when she growes aged or diseased: are content to enioy the floure of their fresh yeeres, but as fauour & freshnes decaieth in them by age or disease, so abateth their fauour and loue toward them withal. Such loue shewes it self to haue bin neuer well grounded. For had it beene grounded on conference of Gods ordinance and gtheir owne couenant, & not vp∣on naturall, worldly, or fleshly respects, it would con∣tinue as Gods ordinance and their couenant continueth, and not cease or abate as such by-respects faile.

The third dutie of Loue is * mutuall Concord and agreement, and to this purpose a condescending to the wife in things equall and fit. The Husband must not think that, because h the wife is to submit her will to his will; therefore he is not to regard her pleasure Page  42 and contentment: he may say,*That that liketh me, must content her: and there is an end. For thy wife is not with thee as a seruant or a slaue, but as ia companion, as a kyoake-fellow, standing on euen ground with thee, though drawing on the least side. A master may well make his businesse be done after his owne minde, not regarding his seruants pleasure, because it is his owne busines, not his seruant. But it is not so with thy wife: thou art to regard her pleasure as well as thine owne will: because the businesse is as wel hers as thine. And surely as lLoue seeketh the things of others, as well as a mns owne: yea oft before a mans own; m it seeketh an other mans gaine with a mans owne losse: so n it will make a man regard the will, and pleasure & content∣ment of another as wel as his owne, yea o preferre it sometime euen before his owne. And vndoubtedly if thou louest thy wife & accountest her one flesh with thee, the same with thy selfe; her pleasure wll be thy pleasure, her contentment will be thy contentment; thou wilt to account it: there will be no true content∣ment to thee, while thou perceiuest discontentment in her: and therefore wilt not needlesly crosse her, to cause discontentment to her.

The fourth dutie of Loue is (that which the Apostle here expresseth in the negatiue, and we haue put of to this place;) athe anishing of all Bitternes. And surely if all bitternes must be abandoned & put away among Christians, much more among Christian man & wife. bLet all bitternes, and strife, and wrath, & l mor, & euill language be put away from you, saith the Apostle. Ifcno roote of gall & bitternes must be endured among Chri∣stians in the Church,d that is the house of God: no more between man and wife in the house or family e that is Page  43 to be as a Church of God. And therfore among the hea∣thn * the gall of the sacrifice, that was slaine & offred at weddings, was throwen out at doores; therby to sig∣nifie, that the maried folks should be either to other as Doues*, without gal. And surely if among Christian men fAll things must be done in Loue: much more must al things be done in Loue, & much Loue, betweene Chri∣stian man and wife, that are tyed by a double, yea by a triple band of loue either to other; a naturall band as g neighbours and nigh in nature; a spirituall bond h as fellow-members of the mysticall body of Christ Iesus; and a ciuill, but yet i an holy and khonourable bond, as lone flesh by marriage. And therfore the husband when he admonisheth, he must admonish in loue & louing manner; when he aduiseth, he must aduise in loue and louing manner: if he reproue, he must do that likewise out of loue and in louing fort; with as much sweetnes and mildnesse, and with as little seueritie and harshnes as may be: but in any wife without bitternesse, know∣ing that there is nothing more cōtrary to loue then it.

The fift dutie of Loue toward the wife is Ioy & dligt in her.mDriake, faith the wise man, the wter of tme owne isterne: Let thy fountaine be blessed: (esteme it as a blessing of God: for so a good wife is indeede, a good bles∣sing and a great,) and reioyce in the wife of thy youth: Let her be vnto thee as th louing Hand, and the pleasant R••e: Let her brests or her bosome content thee at ll times: and delight continually, or as the word there is, euen * doate on the Loue of her. As if the holy Ghost did allow some such priuate daliance & behauiour to married persons between themselues as to others might seeme dotage: such as it may be was nIsaacks sporting with Rebekka; Page  44 which Abimelech vnawares to them ouerlooked. In this regard as the wife is said to be vnto her husband ohis eyes deligt, and his hearts-ioy and desire: So p the bidegroome is said to reioyce in his bride; as God doth in his chosen Children and in his Church.

And this is a necessarie effect of loue. For what a man loueth most, he desireth most; and what he desi∣reth and affecteth most, that he most delighteth in. Which that a man may the better do, he must remem∣ber that as euery Christian man may assure himselfe that q his present estate, what eue it be, is best & sic∣test for him: so a Christian married man is bound to beleeue and to perswade himselfe, not that his wife is the wisest, or the fairest, or the best conditioned wo∣man in the wrld; but that she is the si••est wife for him, that God hath allotted him, and therefore rest himself contented in her & satisfied with her, and liue with as much alacrity & cheerefulnes with he as may be. And as parents loue and delight in their children, not because they are faire or wise and witty, but * be∣cause they are their children& and therfore how soeuer seeing better parts in others, they could be content to change quality for quality, yet they wl not exchange childe for childe: so a man is to loue & delight in his wife euen for this cau•• because see is his wife, and howsoeuer it may be he could wish some of her parts bttered, yet to reioyce in her as they are.

Wherein those are to be taxed that a delight rather in the company of others then of their owne wiues: * thinke *what they haue at home is all too omely, and * what is vsual with them is vnsauory: like children, that thinke the bread and butter they get abroad sweeter and better then that, though indeed better, that they Page  45 are fed withal at home: or like queasie-stomacked per∣sons that growing weary of their daily dyet, delight more in some fond trile though neither so tooth∣some nor whole-some. Such must know that this is an vnwarrantable and a preposterous affection in them: and b such preposterous affections commonly as they argue an euill humour, so they breede no good bloud.

The sixth dutie of Loue is the allowance of all necessa∣ries that her neede shall require & their estate may af∣ford. It is that honour, as some vnderstand it, & it may well be one part of it, that is, *honest meanes and main∣tenance, that the Apostle exacteth for them. For d so is the word oft taken, and e vnder that tearme doth our Sauiour Christ shew it to bee comprehended else∣where. And surely if f he be condemned as worse thn a infidel, that prouideh nt for his family: then vndoub∣ted he that prouideth not for his wife the chiefe in the family next himselfe, is no bette〈◊〉 a brstn man therfore must labour that he may h••e wherwith to releeue other; ••ch more that he may haue wher∣with to maintaine himselfe and his 〈◊〉, that is and ought to be one with himselfe. In regard whereof as h the wife is compared to the vi; so the husband ought to be as the Elme to vphold her: and 〈◊〉Moone shineth with light recued from the Sun••e, so i she to be furnished with fit supplies allowed hr by him. And surely where loue is abounding, there will nothing be wanting that may be for her cōfort & ne∣cessary cōtentment, that their ability may well afford.

And here are such to be cōdemned as being blessed by God with a liberall estate, carry to strict & igard∣ly an hand toward their wiue; think al lost that i be∣stowed Page  46 on thē; to whom God hath giuen an equal in∣terest in the things of this life with thē. For how hath she not all thine with thee,*when she hath thee? And there∣fore as denying to the poore, whom God hath enioy∣ned vs to releeue, what we may spare, & their necessi∣ty requiring i it giueth them a kinde of interest vnto it, k we deny them their own: so much more in deny∣ing her what is needfull for her, * thou deniest her her own, thou with-holdest from her her own; that which the mariage bond hath giuen her a special right vnto.

Againe those are here to be condemned, that liue, like drones, on their wiues labours, wasting all that is gathered togither by their industrie. Of whom wee cannot say, that the Moone shineth with the Suns light: but the Sun shineth with the Moones light; that is, the hus¦band shines with the spoiles of his wife,* whom he ought to maintaine as the Sunne enlighteneth the Moone.

As also those that spend riotously the portion they haue with their wiues, & then leaue them to the wide world to shift for themselues: like those that climbe & take paines to get nuts, which hauing crackt & ea∣ten the kernell out of, they cast the shels vnder-bord.

And generally all that mispend that though earned with their owne hands, or left them by friends, that should maintaine house & wife with. Such must know that they robbe wife and children and themselues of what they wast in that sort, and so are no better then such as rob by the high way side. For it is no lesse sin to rob them, then to rob a meere stranger whom a man is more neerely tied vnto then he is to any stran∣ger. And therefore as lhe that robbeth his father and mother, so he that robs wife & children, and saith it is no sin, is companion to a destroyer, or * next neighbour to Page  47 a murtherer, as m the word vsed there may wel signifie

The last but not the least Office of loue is the diligent endeuouring of the wiues spirituall good: which if he loue her as he ought, he cannot, nor will not neglect. In re∣gard hereof the Apostle saith, that ahusbands must loue their wiues, as Christ loueth his Church; b whose loue to his Church tendeth to this, to sanctifie & purifie it by water and the word, to make it grations here, & glorious without spot or wrinckle hereafter. And therfore this is a special thing that the husband should aime at in his loue & in all duties of loue to his wife, to bring her on vnto God, or to help her on in the good waves of God.

cHow knowest thu, O woman, saith Paul, but that thou maist win thine husband: and dwomen, saith Peter, must so behaue themselues, that by their hol chursati their hus∣bands may be won And surely if the wife must seeke to win her husband being averse; how much more e the husbād to win her in like case; f whose office it is more specially to teach and instruct her. Or if they be both won, & in a good way already, they must gliue togi¦ther, saith the Apostle Peter, as felow-heies of saluation: and so, as fellow-furtherers either of other in the way thereunto. Else what difference that there be between Christian and heathen married persons, if they be not furtherers either to other; is in the things of life, so in things tending to a better life?

Besides, h Faith & the Feare of God and godlinesse are to be exercised, as well in the speciall duties of our seuerall callings, as in the generall duties of Christia∣nitie; and to run through our whole life, as the woofe through the web: and so among other, through all offices of the married estate.

Lastly, iwhatsouer we doe, saith the Apostle, we must Page  48 do all to Gods glory. Now then are things done to Gods glory, when they are referred to a spirituall end, to a further end then the fruition of some corporall good. And to here married persons then loue and liue togi∣ther to the glory of God, when they haue a further end of their mutuall conuersation,* their louing and liuing togither, then their outward ••lace and con∣tentment onely, or their furtherance in the things of the world and this present life alone.

But alas how approue they themselues in this kind and their carriage in this estate vnto God, that neuer dreame once of this ayme, neuer ayme once at this end; neuer haue once any thought at all tending this way k He that regardeth not the temporall good of his family, is worse then an infidel: he that goeth no u∣ther, is no better. So those maried persons that liue to∣gither vntowardly, discontentedly, impatiently, in gal & bitternes, in dissentiō & discord, in want of mutuall and natural loue, refusing to be helpful either to other in the things of this life, are worse then infidels. On the other side those that bee neuer so carefull of per∣forming the former duties and of shunning and auoi∣ding the contrary euis, but haue no care and consci∣ence of the helping forward and furthering either o∣ther in the good waies of God, they are no better then infidels, they goe no further then they.

In a word to conclude, if Christian mn are to l ob∣serue one another, that they may wht on either othr to godlinesse and good workes: then much more should Christian man & wife so doe: that hauing liued togi∣ther for a time as m copartners in grace here, they may reigne togither for euer as co-heires in glory hereafter.

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