Tvvo mariage sermons the former on Prov. 19. 14. By Thomas Gataker B. of D. and pastor of Rotherhith. The latter on Iohn 2. 1--12. By that learned and judicious divine Mr William Bradshaw some time fellow of Sidney Colledge in Cambridge.
Gataker, Thomas, 1574-1654., Bradshaw, William, 1571-1618. aut
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A GOOD WIFE GODS GIFT.


PROVERBS 19. 14.
Houses and Riches are the Inheritance of the Fathers: But a prudent Wife is of the Lord.

THERE be two things especially that commend a worke,athe Autor, and the Matter. Both of them conspire to commend this Booke, as in the Title of it they are both expressed.

b The Proverbs, or Parables of Sa∣lomon, the Sonne of Dauid, King of Israel.

For the Autor,* (to omit the Principall,cGods Spi∣rit: for,dAll Scripture is inspired of God:) the Pen∣man of it was Salomon,e the wisest meere man that euer was in the world since Adam, by the testimonie euen of wisedome it selfe.

For the Matter;* it is Prouerbs or Parables, (as the Page  2 word in the Originall signifieth)fMaster-sentences, such as rule or sway, and are or may be of principall vse in mans Life.

Now consisting for the most part of such Apho∣risms and short Sentences, from the beginning espe∣cially of the tenth Chapter; it is not necessary, that they should haue any coherence one with an other; neither indeed for the most part haue they.*

Yet this and the next before it, haue some con∣nexion: g the former being of the inconuenience that commeth by a bad wife;

h This latter of the benefit that a good wife, that a wise and a discreet woman bringeth with her.

There Salomon compared two grand euils togi∣ther, and made a bad wife the worse of the twaine:

Here he compareth two great benefits togither, and maketh a good wife the better of the two.

For the former;iA foolish Sonne, saith Salomon, is his Fathers sorrow: and a brawling wife as a continuall dropping.

kMala intestina grauissima. Euils are the more greiuous, the neerer, and the more inward they are; as diseases in the entrailes. Andlmala domestica, do∣mesticall euils, vex a man most, whenma mans ene∣mies, as our Sauiour speaketh,*are those of his owne house.

* It is no small inconuenience to dwell neere a bad neigbour; were such a one further of vs, he would be lesse troublesome to vs. And surely if to haue good neighbours be a matter of no small mo∣ment, Page  3 then somwhat also it must needs be for a man to want such, and much more for a man to haue them that dwell neere him euill-affected toward him. An euill at the next dore may be bad enough, and may proue ouer troublesome; an euill within dores, at home, in a mans owne house much more.

But againe within dores there are degrees also: in a mans owne familie there are some neerer then others. A sonne is neerer then a seruant, and a wife then a sonne.n It is a sore crosse to be troubled, and it be but with bad seruants. It is no small vexation to finde vntoward and vnfaithfull cariage toward himoin those that eat his bread, that feed at his bord; much more to sustaine it at the hands of her, that ta∣keth vp the same bed with him,pthat lieth in his bo∣some. No euill to a bad bed-fellow,q to a bosome-euill, to that euill that lieth within or about the breast.

Though true mercy and compassion in some measure extend it self vnto all those, whose miseries and calamities we are acquainted with: yet the misfortunes of our deere frends affect vs more then of meere strangers: Andr the wrongs and iniuries offered vs by professed and pretended frends we are wont to take more to heart.sIt was not mine enemy, saith Dauid, that did me this wrong; for then I could haue borne it. But it was thou, ô Man, my companion, my guide, and my familiar frend.

But Brethren are neerer then Frends. And how∣soeuer Salomon truly saith, thatta Frend sometime sticketh closer to a man then a Brother: yet in nature a Page  4u Brother is neerer then any Frend is or can be. There is a ciuill knot onely betweene Frend and Frend; there is a naturall band betweene Brother and Brother. And therefore,xA Brother offended is harder to win then a strong Citie; and their conten∣tions are asybarres of brasse. It is easier glewing of bords togither, that haue bin vnglewed, againe; then healing vp the flesh that is gashed and diuided: and the reason is, becausez there was but an artificiall connexion before in the one, there was a naturall conjunction in the other.

But Children they are yet neerer then either Frends or Brethren. They areapartes nostri, viscera nostra; they are asbour very bowels, and part of our selues. And therefore no maruaile if Salomon say, thatcA foolish Sonne is a sorrow to his Father, and an heauinesse to his Mother. And,dHe that begetteth a Foole, begetteth himselfe sorrow: and the Father of a Fooleeshall haue no ioy.

But behold here a further euill then any of the former. An euill wife, a contentious woman worse then any of them all. Husband and Wife are neerer then Frends, and Brethren; or then Parents and Children. Children, though they spring from their Parents, yet they abide not alwayes with them. They are asf riuers rising from one head, but taking seuerall wayes, making seuerall streames, and run∣ning apart in seuerall Channels. But man and wife must bide by it. They are as two streames, that rising from seuerall heads, fall the one into the other, Page  5* mingle their waters togither, and are not seuered againe till they are swallowed vp in the Sea. Chil∣dren are asg branches shooting out of one stemme, diuided and seuered either from other, or as grifts and siences cut of, or boughes and branches clipped of from their natiue stocke, and either planted or engraffed els-where. Man and Wife are as the stock and sience, the oneh ingraffed into the other, and so fastned togither, that they cannot againe be sun∣dred, or asi those two peeces in the Prophets hand inclosed in one barke, and making both but one branch. AndkTherefore, saith the Holy Ghost, shall a man leaue Father and Mother, andlbe glewed vnto, or*cleaue fast to his wife: and Theyotwo shall be one flesh.

The neerer the bond then, the greater the euill, where it falleth out otherwise then it ought.pA foolish Sonne, saith Salomon, is the calamitie of his Fa∣ther. And how is he his calamitie? He isqfilius pudefaciens, such an one as shameth his Parents, and maketh them glad to hide their heads in the house. Butr an euill wife is as the raine dropping in through the tiles, that maketh him weary of the house, that vexeth him so that it driueth him out of dores.

Yeasas a dropping in a rainy day, when it is foule without and it droppeth within. So that it maketh a man at his wits end, vncertaine whither it be better for him to be abroad in the raine, or to bide within dores in the dropping. And for this cause Augustine compareth an euill Conscience to a badwife, (and it may seeme that he pleased himselfe somewhat in the similitude,t he maketh vse so oft of it:) which Page  6 when a man hath many troubles & afflictions from without, and would looke home, hoping for some comfort from within, is much more troublesome to him then any of those outward crosses are; is as a rocke or a shelf to Sea-men in a storme, where they hoped to haue found harbor and shelter against it.

Yea further, not as a dropping onely that driueth a man from his house and home, and that when it raineth; butuas a continuall dropping in such a day: So that a bad wife is worse then a quartane ague, wherein a man hath two good dayes for one euill. He that hath an euill wife, is as one that hath an euill soule, a guilty conscience, that euermore sticketh by him, that euery-where accompanieth him, is a con∣tinuall euill companion with himx at bed and bord, y such as he cannot shift of or shun. And no mer∣uaile therefore if it be deemed the greatest temporall euill, because the most continuall, and the most in∣ward, for a man to be matched with an euill wife, or a woman with an euill husband: For what is said of the one, is as true of the other, the relation be∣tweene them being alike.

To draw all to an head then. An vnkind Neigh∣bour is a crosse: but an vnfaithfull Frend is a great crosse; an vnnaturall Brother a greater: an vngra∣tious Childe yet a greater: but a wicked, vnquiet, or disloyall wife is the2 greatest of all, and if we be∣leeue Salomon, goeth beyond them all. In regard whereof he also els-where pronounceth, thatzit is better to abide on a corner of the house top without, then to continue with such a one in a wide house: yea that3it is better to liue in the wildernes with the wilde beasts, then with such.

Page  7 But to leaue this that is without my Text, and yet next dore to it, (so neere her do good and bad neighbour togither,) and to come neerer home: Some it may be hearing Salomon speake on this manner, might say, as our Sauiours Disciples some∣time said,aIf the case so stand betweene man and wife, it is good then not to mary.

Now to such Salomon seemeth to answer in the words of my Text, that It is not euill to mary, but it is good to be wary: that it is not the abuse or badnes of some, that ought to make Gods ordinance the lesse valued, or the lesse esteemed, being in it selfe and of it selfe a matter of great benefit: that as the inconueni∣ence is great and grieuous that a bad wife bringeth with her; so the benefit on the other side is no lesse that com∣meth by a good wife, by a wise and a discreet woman: who is therfore here commended as a speciall Gift, as a principall Blessing of God, such as goeth be∣yond any other temporall Blessing whatsoeuer. And surelyb as there is no greater temporall crosse or curse then the one; so is there no greater tempo∣rall blessing then the other.c

Now this Salomon to shew, as before he compa∣red two great euils togither, and found a bad wife to be the worse: so here he compareth two great benefits togither, and affirmeth a good wife to be the greater.

House and possessions, wealth and riches, land and liuing isd that, that most men regard, and looke Page  8after: yea men are wont to seeke wiues for wealth. But saith Salomon, ase a good name, so a good wife, a wise and a discreet woman is better then wealth; her price is far aboue pearles: For House and possessions are the inheritance of the Fathers; but a prudent wife is of the Lord.

Which yet we are not so to vnderstand,* neither the former part, as if worldly wealth, and riches and possessions were not Gods gifts: forfIt is the bles∣sing of God that maketh a man rich:gvnles he build the house it will neuer be built: andhit is he that gi∣ueth men power to gather wealth togither.

Nor yet againe the latter part; as if Parents had no hand, right or power in disposing of their Chil∣dren, or in aduising them and prouiding in that kinde for them.iSampson requireth his Parents consent. Andk God chargeth his people not to make matches betweene their Children and the Canaanites, either by giuing their Daughters vnto the Sonnes of the Canaanites, or by taking the Canaanites Daughters vnto their Sonnes: which he would not doe, were not they at all to deale in the disposing of them. And many, no doubt, would they take aduice of their Parents, and not follow their owne fancies, and make their wanton eye, or their wandring lust, their chooser and counsailer in such cases, might do much better then for want hereof they doe.

But the meaning of Salomon is this onely, that the one is a more speciall gift of God then the o∣ther; that there is a more speciall hand of God in the one then in the other. As that is a lesse benefit Page  9 then this: so that is in mans power more then this.

So that two points then here in Solomons words offer themselues vnto vs:

The former, that A good Wife is Gods gift.

The latter, that Gods prouidence is more speciall in a Wife then in Wealth.

For the former. A good wife is Gods gift.* For a prudent wife, saith Solomon, is of the Lord. AndlHe that findeth a wife, (that is, a good wife, as, amname for a good name,n as if an euill wife were no wife, de∣serued not the name of a wife:) hath found a good thing; and hath obtained a speciall fauour from God.

It was one of the first reall and royall gifts that * God with his owne hand bestowed vpon Adam. And it must needs be no small matter that God giueth with his owne hand.* The Kings Almoner may cast small siluer about: but if the King giue a man somewhat with his owne hand out of his purse or pocket, it is expected it should be a peece of gold at least. The woman was Gods owne gift to Adam. And shee was Gods gift bestowed on himo to consummate and make vp his happinesse. Though he were at the first of himselfe happy, yet not so happy as he might be, vntill he had one to partake with him in his happines.

It was God that at first gaue Adam his wife; and it is God that giueth euery man his wife to this day.pGod, saith Abraham to his seruant, will send his Angell along with thee, and will prosper thee in thy iourney; when he sent him about a wife for his Son Isaak. AndqThose that God hath ioyned togither,Page  10 saith our Sauiour, let not man seuer. As Augustine saith, thatrHe that at the first created man without man, doth now procreate man by man: so he that gaue man a wife at the first immediately, doth still giue men wiues by meanes;s good ones in mercy,t euill ones in wrath; the one for solace and comfort, the other for tryall, cure, correction, or punishment. No mariages are consummate on earth▪ that were not first concluded and made vp in heauen: and none are blest here, that were not in mercy made there.

For the latter;*There is a more speciall prouidence of God in a Wife then in Wealth. Humane wisedome and fore-cast, endeuour and industry may strike a greater stroke and haue a more speciall hand in the one then in the other. Men of wealth may leaue their heires land and liuings but* they cannot so easily prouide fit wiues for them.

For first,* they may be deceiued in their choise. Many haue good skill in choosing of wares, in va∣lewing of lands, in beating a bargaine, in making a purchase, that are yet but blind buzards in the choise of a wife. Yea the wisest that are may be soone here ouer-reached▪ Since all is not gold as we say, that glistereth.nThe heart of man, saith the Prophet, is deceitfull aboue all things. And,xNone can tell what is in man or woman▪ but their owne Spirit that is within them.

Secondly, they cannot lincke hearts as they list. A Father may finde out a fit wife, and thinke such a one a meete match for his Sonne▪ and her Parents may be also of the same minde with him, as willing Page  11 to entertaine the motion as he is to make it; and yet it may be, when they haue done all they can, they cannot fasten their affections. AsyFaith, so zLoue cannot be constrained.a As there is no affe∣ction more forcible; so there is none freer from force and compulsion. The very offer of enforce∣ment turneth it oft into hatred. There are secret lincks of affection, that no reason can be rendred of: asb there are inbred dislikes, that can neither be resolued, nor reconciled. When Parents haue a long time beaten the bush, an other oft, as we say, catcheth the bird: affections are set some other way, and cannot be remoued. And things fall out many times so vnexpectedly, such strong liking ta∣ken to some sodainly not once thought on before, and such strange alienation of affections, where there hath bin much labouring to linck them, and that where outward inducements of person estate, yeeres &c. haue concurred, that euen a naturall mans dimme eye may easily see & discerne a more speciall prouidence of God oft carying things in these cases: And the tongues euen of such are enforced sometime to confesse, as the Aegyptian Magitians of Moses his miracles,cDigitus Dei hic est, There is a finger of God here; so with Rebekkaes prophane frends, in such Mariage matches;dA Do∣mino factum est istud; This is euen Gods owne doing; and there is no contradicting of it.

To make some Use of these Points.

First,* Is a good wife such a speciall gift of God? then is Mariage questionles a Blessing, and no small one, of it self: one of the greatest outward Blessings Page  10〈1 page duplicate〉Page  11〈1 page duplicate〉Page  12 that in this world man enioyeth.eBlessed is euery one, saith the Psalmist, that feareth God, and that wal∣keth in his wayes. For thou shalt eat of the labour of thine hands: happy art thou, and it shall goe well with thee. Thy wife shall be as the fruitfull vine by the sides of thine house: and thy Children like the Olive plants round about thy table. Lo, thus shall the man be blessed that feareth God. In the first place commeth the Wife as the first and principall blessing, and the Children in the next. And surely to reason back∣ward to that the Apostle doth:fIf the roote, saith he, be holy, the branches also be holy: and, If the branches, say I, be holy then the roote that beareth them much more. So here, If the branches be blessed, the roote that beareth them much more. If Children be a Blessing, theng the roote whence they spring ought much more to be so esteemed.hBehold, Children and the fruit of the wombe, are the gift of God, saith iSalomon. Children are the gift of God; but the Wife is a more speciall gift of God: shee commeth in the first place, they in the second: And gifts are vsually answerable to the greatnes of the Giuer. It was a witty answer of a great Prince, when he was disposed to be rid of a bold begging Philosopher: he asked a groat of him, and the King told him,kIt was too litle for a Prince to giue; he requested the King then to giue him a Talent, and the King told him,lIt was too much for a Begger to craue. And surely God indeed in his speciall gifts to vs, is wont m to regard not so much what is fit for vs to aske or to expect, as what standeth with his goodnes and greatnes to giue.

Page  13nGod, saith Moses, looked vpon all that he had made and behold all was very good. AndoEuery creature, or ordinance of God, saith the Apostle, (and he had spoken of Meat and Mariage in the words before-going:) is good. All Gods Creatures and Ordi∣nances are good then;* but some are more excel∣lent then others. And Mariage being of this latter sort, it is not holy onely, but euen honorable also. pMariage, saith the Apostle) is honourable among all men: and no disgrace then to any man. So are we to esteeme of it, and not to contemne what God hath graced, or to dishonor what he hath honoured. We shall but wrong the giuer in debasing his gift.

Againe, is a good Wife such a speciall gift of God? Then if we finde in mariage, inconueniences, hinde∣rances, distractions, disturbances: Let vs learne what we are to ascribe it vnto: Not to Gods gift or ordinance, butq to mans corruption abusing Gods gift, peruerting Gods ordinance, and turning that to his owne euill, that God hath giuen him for his good. Forr there is nothing but is good as it commeth from God. But ass pure water may take a taint from the pipe that conveigheth it, andt the Sunne beames receiue a tincture from the coloured glasse that they passe through: so our foule hands and filthy fingers oft soile and sully Gods Ordinan∣ces, and our filth and corruption doth oft so taint and infect them, that they loose not onely much of their natiue grace, and so strangely transformed, thatu God himselfe can scarcely discerne his owne in them, but they misse also of their fruit and effi∣cacie, Page  14 and3 of good and commodious, through our owne default, become euill and incommodious vnto us. And as4 Tyrannie in gouernment is not the fault of Gods Ordinance, but of mans corru∣ption abusing it: so in these cases, the euill and in∣conuenience is not the fruit of Gods Ordinance, but of mans corruption accompanying it.

If we shall finde then in the maried estate trou∣bles and distractions, &c. (asx the single life is com∣monly commended for quietnes;)y let vs not ac∣cuse God; as Adam sometime closely did;zThe woman, saith he, that Thou gauest me; shee gaue me of the tree, and I ate: as if he had said, If thou hadst not giuen me the woman, shee had not giuen me of the fruit; and if shee had not giuen me it. I had not eaten of it.a Gods gifts are all good. But let vs lay the fault where it is; vpon our selues and our owne corruption, thatb turneth honie into gall, and good nutriment,c as the foule stomacke into choler, or, d as the spider and toade, into venime and poyson. Els shall we be like those of whom Solomon saith; eThe folly of a man perverteth his way, and his foolish heart fretteth against God.

Secondly, Is a good wife Gods gift? then let those that want them, learne how and where to Page  15 seeke them. Doest thou want a wife? and wouldest haue one, and such a one, as thou maist haue com∣fort in? Seeke her of God, seeke her with God.

Seeke her,* I say, first at Gods hands, seek her where shee is to be had. Humble thy selfe in the sight of God, and betake thy selfe by prayer and supplica∣tion vnto God.fEuery good gift, saith Iames, is of God from aboue: and to be sought therefore at his hands: and if euery good gift, this more specially, that is so speciall a gift, and of so principall vse. And,gEuery Creature or Ordinance, saith Paul, is to be sanctified by prayer. And if euery Ordinance of God should be sanctified by prayer; and it oughthto vshter all our actions, be they ciuill or sacred▪ then this also among others, yea this aboue and before others,* as that which (through the blessing of God vpon it) may proue a matter of the greatest benefit vnto vs, and without it a meanes of the greatest euill.

Yea, seeke her as of God, so with God.* Aske counsell at the mouth of God, when thou goest a∣bout any such businesse.iThe Ordinances of God, saith the Apostle, are sanctified vnto vs, as well by the word of God, as by prayer. Then are they sanctified vnto vs by prayer, when we craue leaue for the vse of them, and a blessing vpon the vse of them by prayer at Gods hands. Then are they sanctified vn∣to vs by the word of God, when we haue warrant, and take direction, for what we do in them, out of Gods word, when we aske counsell at Gods mouth. Then we seeke them with God, when we seeke them by good meanes, when we seeke them in due manner.

Page  16 For when it is said that a good wife is of God; we are not so to conceiue it, that we are in such cases to vse no meanes at all; but we are to vse none but good and lawfull meanes, such as God hath appoin∣ted, either prescribed or permitted.kThe wife is bound, saith the Apostle, while her husband liueth: but if her husband be dead, shee is at liberty to marry where she will, but yet,lin Domino, in the Lord.

Wherein they offend, either that goe too neere, matching within those degrees thatm God hath in∣hibited: or that go too far of, matchingn with such as they are by religion prohibited to mary; and so transgressing those rules and directions that the word of God giueth.

As also those that be vnder the gouernment of others, or that desire those that be in the power of others to dispose of; they then seeke in the Lord, when they aduise with, and are content to be dispo∣sed of by those, whom God hath giuen power ouer them; or when they seeke not to them in the first place, but to those, by whom God will haue them to be disposed. That which not Gods people alone, buto the Heathen also, by the light of Nature, saw to be equall and right. When they take other cour∣ses, they seeke beside God, and cannot hope or ex∣pect any blessing from God, whose order and ordi∣nance therein they breake. In a word, wouldst thou be blessed in thy wooing, in thy wiuing? Take God▪ with thee in wooing, invite him to thy wedding. He, if he be pleased, will turne thy water into wine; if he be displeased, he will turne thy wine into vinegar.

Page  17 Thirdly,* learne hence what principally to aime at in the choise of a wife: to wit, at virtue and wis∣dome, discretion and godlines: for that is indeed true wisedome.

Solomon saith not, a faire wife is the gift of God. And yet isp beauty Gods gift; andq a gift of good regard. Neither saith he, a wealthy wife is the gift of God: And yet isr wealth also Gods blessing, where it is accompanied with well-doing. But, a discreet, or a wise woman is the gift of God.

Many indeed there are, that choose their wife by the eye:sThe Sonnes of God saw the Daughters of Men to be faire: and they tooke them wiues of them where they liked: as if they were to buy a picture or an image to hang vp in the house, or to stand some∣where for a shew. ButtBeauty, saith the Heathen man, without virtue, is like a baite floating without an hooke; it hath a baite to entice, but no hooke to hold. And,uA faire woman, saith Salomon, without discretion is like a gold ring in a swines snout.xFauour is deceitfull, and beauty is butyvanitie: but a woman that feareth God is praise-worthy indeed.

Others againe regard wealth onely; as if they went about a purchase, as if they were to mary not them but their money, as if they were to wed not the wife, but her wealth. But Solomon, when he saith, Page  18Houses and Riches are the inheritance of the Fathers: but a prudent Wife is of the Lord: he implieth that these things may bee seuered, the one may bee without the other. Lands may come by inheri∣tance; whena virtue may not.bGoods they are wherewith men may do good, but not such as make those good that haue them.cBetter it is, said the Heathen man, to haue a man without money, then to haue money without a man: so better it is to haue a wife without wealth, then to haue wealth without a wife. And surely, what comfort can a man haue of wealth with such a wife, that shall be as a corrosiue to his heart,das corruption and rottennesse in his bones?

Againe, let Parents learne here what to aime at in the education of their Children, whom they de∣sire to dispose of,* and to dispose of so as they may be a blessing, not a crosse or a curse to those that shall haue them: Not studie onely how to prouide portions for them: though an honest care also is to be had in that kinde.eParents, saith the Apostle, ought to lay vp for their Children. And,fHe that pro∣uideth not for his issue, is worse then an Infidell. Nor how to trim them vp, and set them out, in whorish or garish manner, to make them baites to catch fooles with; but labour to traine them vp in true wisedome, and discretion, in the feare of God, and such graces as may make them truly amiable, as g well in Gods sight as in mans eyes; in houswifry, and industry, and skill to manage houshold affaires: that so they may be helpers to their Husbands, (and not hinderers;) ash to that end they were made at first.

Page  19 Yea hence let the wife learne what she is to striue to,* and labour for, that she may be indeed a good gift of God:i Not so much to decke and tricke her selfe vp to the eye, as to haue her inner man a∣dorned with holy skill and discretion, whereby to cary her selfe wisely and discreetly in that place and condition that God hath called her vnto: That she may with the wise woman,kbuild vp the house; and bela crowne andm a grace to him that hath her. Thatn her Husband and Children may haue cause to blesse her, and to blesse God for her; and count it a blessed time when they came first to∣gither.

Let her consider what a fearefull thing it is to be otherwise. For her that waso made for a helpe, to proue not an helpe but an hurt: for her that was giuen for a blessing, to proue a crosse and a curse. As one saith of Eve,preaft from Adam as a rib,*and shot by Satan at him as a shaft: bestowed on him by God to consummate his felicitie, but made by Sa∣tans slight and her owne default, the meanes of his extreame misery.

Fourthly, let men be admonished hence, whom to ascribe it vnto, if ought haue bin done in this kinde for them: euen to God himselfe principally, whose speciall gift a good wife is. Let vs take Page  20 heede how in this caseq we sacrifice to our yearne, or burne incense to our net. Ascribe not what is done for thee, to the mediation of frends, or to thine owne plots and policies, smoothnes of language, fairenes of looke, or the like. No: acknowledge God to haue bin the principall agent in the busines: regard man and thine owne meanes, but as his In∣struments. Of him shee is, saith Salomon: notr as a Creature onely made of him, bnt ass one matched vnto thee by him: nor as knit to thee by his ordi∣nance,* but ast assigned thee by his prouidence: For that is it, that Solomon here principally aimeth at.

Yea let them hence learne what they owe vnto God, whom God hath vouchsafed such a blessing vnto. Hath God bestowed such a Wife on thee, as Salomon here speaketh of? It is a pretious Iewell; such as thy Father could neuer leaue thee. It is a greater Treasure then the greatest Prince on earth, then the mightiest Monarch in the world is able to bequeath to his Heire. We see how Parents are oft troubled in making search for their Sonnes, and yet when they haue done their best endeuour, misse of that they desire. We might here rise by degrees on the better side, as we did before on the worse. As euils, so good things, the more inward the greater. At trusty seruant is no small blessing; au kinde neighbour is a great one;x a faithfull frend a grea∣ter; Page  21y a wise sonne yet a greater; and a prudent wife the greatest of all: a greater blessing then any of the former, that yet for temporall blessings may seeme of the greatest. And how do maried persons then stand engaged to God aboue others, whom he hath blessed in their choise? A great measure of thankfulnes owe they vnto him, proportionable in some sort to the blessing bestowed on them.

Yea as there is a greater measure of thankfulnesse required of them, then of others whom God hath not blessed in that manner: so there is a peculiar kinde of thankfulnes required on their part. All Gods fauours require thankfulnes: and the more fauours the more thankfulnes: but some speciall fauours require some peculiar kinde of acknow∣ledgment, proportioned to the quality of the fauour receiued.a Children are Gods gift: and our thank∣fulnes to him for them is to be shewed in such du∣ties, as he requireth of vs in the behalfe of them, b in the carefull education and training them vp in good courses. In like manner: Thy Wife thou hast of Gods gift: and thy thankfulnes to him for her, must be shewed in the performance of such duties, as he requireth of thee in regard of her,c of loue, of kindnes, of concord, counsell, contentment &c.

Fiftly,* Is the Wife giuen vnto her Husband by God? then must shee resolue to giue her self wholy to him as her Owner, on whom God hath bestow∣ed her, to whom he hath assigned her. When Pa∣rents haue put out their Children, the Children must be content to be guided by those to whom they commit them: and when God hath giuen a Page  22 Daughter, she must be content to liue with him, and be guided by him, whom God hath giuen her vnto. Neither is she to forsake him. Ford they are not to be sundred, nor seuered, whom God hath conjoy∣ned and made one. And there is a foule brand there∣fore vpon her,ethat forsaketh the guide of her youth, and forgetteth the Couenant of her God. Nor to refuse to be ruled by him: butfsubmit and subiect her self vnto him, vnto whom God hath giuen her: for gthat is comely, saith the Apostle, in the Lord: and to be imbraced therefore of her, as her Lot by God assigned her.

Yea,* is the Wife giuen the Husband by God? then should he esteeme her as a gift of God: and hliue with her, as with one giuen him and bestowed vpon him by God. We cannot abide to see any thing that we haue giuen an other euill-vsed. And it be but a dog, an hound, or a whelp, if we see it ne∣glected, where we bestowed it, we are wont to take it euill. But if we should see a jewell of some value, bestowed by vs on a frend as a token of our loue toward him, set light by him, or should finde it cast aside in some corner, would we not much more be grieued at it, and iudge that he set as light by our loue, as he doth by our loue-token. And hath not God then iust cause to take it euill at thy hands, when he shall see his gift abused, euill entertained, and worse vsed; when he shall see her misused of thee, whom he hath as a speciall fauour bestowed on thee, and hath therefore giuen theei a speciall charge well and kindly to vse? How are we wont to be grieued, when we see matters fall our amisse, Page  23 where we haue bin meanes to make the match? If the wife be misused, that we haue holpen one to, we are wont to count it a wrong to our selues. And no maruaile then, if God himselfe take to heart the wrongs done by vs, to those that he hath joyned to vs, ifk he haue a quarrell against him that shall trans∣gresse against her, whom he hath inseparably joyned to him, to be his Companion and his wife byla Coue∣nant of Salt.

Lastly,* if a good Wife be such a speciall gift of God, then a good Husband is no lesse. For the Husband is as needfull for the Wife, as the Wife is for the Husband.mThy desire, saith God, shall be vnto him. And if the Husband then be so to esteem of his Wife, and to be thankfull to God for her; then is the Wife no lesse to esteeme so of her Hus∣band, and to be thankfull likewise to God for him.

In a word, let both man and wife so esteeme ei∣ther of other, as joyned by Gods counsell, as giuen by Gods hand; and so receiue either other as from God, be thankfull either for other vnto God, seek the good either of other in God; and then will God vndoubtedly with his blessing, accompanie his gift, to his owne glory, and their mutu∣all good.

FINIS.