Of domesticall duties eight treatises. I. An exposition of that part of Scripture out of which domesticall duties are raised. ... VIII. Duties of masters. By William Gouge.
Gouge, William, 1578-1653.
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§. 42. Of aberrations contrary to a wiues subiection in doing things without or against their husbands consent.

Now consider we the vsuall vices and aberrations contrary to those duties: the generall summe of all is, for a wife to take on her to doe what she list, whether her husband will or no, either not willing that he should know what she doth, or not caring though it be against his minde and will. Of this sort are

1. Such as priuily take money out of their husbands clo∣sets, * counters, or other like places where he laieth it, neuer tel∣ling him of it, nor willing that he should know it: likewise such as after the like manner take ware out of the shop, corne out of the garner, sheepe out of the flocke, or any other goods to sell and make money of: or to giue away, or otherwise to vse so as their husbands shall neuer know, if they can hinder it. Such wiues herein sinne hainously, and that in many respects.

First they disobey the ordinance of God in a maine branch of their particular calling, which is subiection.

2. They ill repay the care and paines which their husbands take for their good. Many such wiues recompence euill for good, which is a deuillish qualitie.

3. They are oft a meanes to impaire and impouerish their husbands estate.

4. They shew themselues no better then a pilfring theeues thereby. All that can be iustly and truly said for their right in the common goods, cannot defend them from the guilt of theft: they are the more dangerous by how much the more they are trusted, and lesse suspected: and their fact is so much the more hainous by how much the more deere their husbands ought to be vnto them.

5. They are a verie ill example to other inferiours in the house, for seldome hath a man a deceitfull wife, but some of the children or seruants, are made accessarie thereunto, being made her instruments to take the goods, and bestow them as she or∣dereth, and so are made vnfaithfull.

6. They make themselues slaues to their owne children and Page  313 seruants, whom they dare not displease, lest they should tell what was done.

7. They teach their children and seruants to be theeues: for besides that such as are vsed by their mistresses to purloine for them, are thereby made accessarie to their sinne, they will also purloine for themselues, when their mistresses shall not know. So as what with the wiues purloining one way, and the childrens or seruants another way, a mans estate may be wasted as dew before the Sunne, and he not know which way.

2. Such as will haue what allowance they thinke best for * themselues and family, and scornfully say, They will not be at their husbands finding: they know best what allowance is fittest for the family, and that it shall haue. Many will make their hus∣bands eare tingle againe, yea and make the whole house (if not the street also) ring of it, if they thinke their allowance be not answerable to the vttermost extent of their husbands estate. This impatiencie and insolencie, as it crosseth Gods ordinance, so it maketh both their liues vncomfortable.

3. Such as cocker, attire, or any way bring vp their chil∣dren * otherwise then their husbands would, euen to the griefe and dishonour of their husbands: keeping them at home when their husbands, for their better education, would haue them abroad: as these sinne in hindring the good of their children, so also in not yeelding to their husbands. *

4. Such as will haue their owne will about seruants, taking in, and putting out whom they please, and when they please: vsing some seruants whom they finde for their turne to the preiudice of their husbands: and carying themselues so sharp∣ly * and shrewishly to others that are for their husbands turne, as a good, trustie, faithfull seruant cannot long stay in the house.

5. Such as secretly lend out their husbands horses, or other * like cattell, more respecting to pleasure a vaine friend, then to please a good husband. This fault is so much the greater, when it is done to the dammage and preiudice of the husband.

6. Such as are then most frolicke and iolly, when their hus∣bands are furthest off and cannot know it. Salomon sets it downe as a note of a strumpet, a then to tricke vp her house and to seeke for guests, when her husband is gone a iourney farrePage  314off. Then ought she to be most solitarie, and by abstaining from merrie meetings, to shew that there can be no greater dampe to her mirth, then the absence of her husband.

7. Such as thinke their houses a prison vnto them, that can∣not * long tarrie at home: they thinke they haue power to goe when and whither they will, and to tarrie out as long as they list, thinke their husbands of it what they will. b The Apostle layeth downe this as a marke of a wanton wife, and an idle house-wife, being idle (saith he) they goe about from house to house: therefore in c another place he exhorteth them to be keepers at home. The Wise-man goeth further, and maketh this to be an∣other note of a strumpet, that dher feet cannot abide in the house: which we may see verified in ethe Leuites adulterous wife, whose fearefull end was a stampe of Gods iudgement on such loose lewdnesse.

8. Such as care not how or what they binde themselues vnto * without their husbands consent, or knowledge: Herein especi∣ally offend such as being seduced by Iesuites, Priests, or Friers, take the Sacrament, and thereupon by solemne vow and oath binde themselues neuer to read an English Bible, nor any Prote∣stants bookes, no nor to goe to any of their Churches, or to heare any of their Sermons: and such most of all as enter into some Po∣pish Nunnery, and vow neuer to returne to their husbands againe.

Obiect.fAnnah vowed her childe to God without her hus∣bands consent, why may not they much more vow themselues to God?

Answ. Assuredly she was perswaded that her husband would not be against it, and so had an implicit consent: which may well be gathered, because afterwards she made it knowne to him, as both the * name giuen to the childe, and g that speech of Annah, I will bring him that he may appeare before the Lord, and there abide for euer, and the answer of her husband, hThe Lord establish his word, and i his going vp with her when he was dedicated to the Lord, doe all shew.

Thus farre of the first branch of a wiues submission in abstai∣ning from doing things without her husbands consent. The second followeth, in doing the things which here∣quireth.