The third Treatise. Of wiues particular duties.
§. 1. Of the generall heads of this treatise.
EPHES. 5. 22.
IN the particular declaration of wiues du∣ties, the Apostle noteth two points,
- 1. The dutie required.
- 2. The reason to enforce it.
In setting forth the dutie, he declareth
- 1. The matter wherin it consisteth.
- 2. The manner how it is to be per∣formed.
In the matter we may note,
|The manner respecteth,||1. The qualitie||of that subiection.|
|2. The extent|
Page 268 To declare the qualitie of wiues subiection to their hus∣bands, two rules are set downe.
1. That it be such a subiection, as c should be performed to Christ.
2. That it be such a subiection as the d Church performeth vnto Christ.
The extent of wiues subiection doth stretch it selfe verie farre, euen to eall things.
The reason to enforce all these points is taken from that place of eminencie and authoritie, wherein the husband is set aboue his wife: which is,
1. Propounded vnder the metaphor of an head (for the hus∣band is the head of the wife.)
2. Amplified by that resemblance which therein he hath vnto Christ.
In which resemblance two points are noted.
1. That the husband, by vertue of his place, carrieth the verie image of Christ (euen as Christ is the head of the Church.)
2. That the husband by vertue of his office is a protector of his wife (and he is the sauiour of the body.)
§. 2. Of a wiues*subiection in generall.
The first point to be handled in the treatise of wiues parti∣cular duties is the generall matter of all (Subiection) vnder which all other particulars are comprised, for it hath as large * an extent as that Honour which is required in the first com∣mandement, being applied to wiues. When first the Lord declared vnto woman her dutie, he set it downe vnder this phrase, Thy desire shall be subiect to thine husband, Gen. 3. 16.
Obiect. That was a punishment inflicted on her for her transgression?
Answ. And a law too, for triall of her obedience, which if it be not obserued, her nature will be more depraued, and her fault more increased. Besides, we cannot but thinke that the woman was made before the fall, that the man might rule ouer her. Vpon this ground the Prophets and Apostles haue oft vrged the same. Sarah is commended for this, that she was subiect to her husband (1. Pet. 3. 6.) Hereby the holy Ghost would teach wiues, that Subiection ought to be as salt to season Page 269 euery dutie which they performe to their husband. Their ve∣ry opinion, affection, speech, action, and all that concerneth the husband, must sauour of subiection. Contrary is the dispo∣sition of many wiues, whom ambition hath tainted and cor∣rupted within and without: they cannot endure to heare of subiection: they imagine that they are made slaues thereby. But I hope partly by that which hath beene before deliuered concerning those common duties which man and wife doe mutually owe each to other, and partly by the particulars which vnder this generall are comprised, but most especially * by the duties which the husband in particular oweth to his wife, it will euidently appeare, that this subiection is no seruitude. But were it more then it is, seeing God requireth subiection of a wife to her husband, the wife is bound to yeeld it. And good reason it is that she who first drew man into sin, should be now subiect to him, lest by the like womanish weaknesse she fall againe.
§. 3. Of an husbands*superioritie ouer a wife, to be acknow∣ledged by a wife.
The subiection which is required of a wife to her husband implieth two things.
- 1. That she acknowledge her husband to be her superiour.
- 2. That she respect him as her superiour.
|That acknowledgement of the husbands superioritie is twofold,||1. Generall of any husband.|
|2. Particular of her owne husband.|
The generall is the ground of the particular: for till a wife be informed that an husband, by vertue of his place, is his wiues superiour, she will not be perswaded that her owne hus∣band is aboue her, or hath any authoritie ouer her.
First therefore concerning the generall, I will lay downe * some euident and vndeniable proofes, to shew that an husband is his wiues superiour, and hath authoritie ouer her. The proofes are these following.
1. God of whom, bthe powers that be ordained, are, hath po∣wer to place his Image in whom he will, and to whom God giueth superioritie and authority, the same ought to be ac∣knowledged Page 270 to be due vnto them. But God said of the man to the woman, he shall rule ouer thee, (Gen. 3. 16.)
2. Nature hath placed an eminencie in the male ouer the * female: so as where they are linked together in one yoake, it is giuen by nature that he should gouerne, she obey. This did the heathen by light of nature obserue.
3. The titles and names, whereby an husband is set forth, doe implie a superiority and authority in him, as cLord, (1 Pet. 3. 6.) dMaster, (Est. 1. 17.) eGuide, (Prou. 2. 17.) fHead, (1 Cor. 11. 3.) gImage and glory of God, (1 Cor. 11. 7.)
4. The persons whom the husband by vertue of his place, and whom the wife by vertue of her place, represent, most euidently proue as much: for an husband representeth Christ, and a wife, the Church, (Eph. 5. 23.)
5. The circumstances noted by the holy Ghost at the wo∣mans creation implie no lesse, as that she was created after man, for mans good, and out of mans side, (Gen. 2. 18, &c.)
6. The very h attire which nature and custome of all times and places haue taught women to put on, confirmeth the same: as long haire, vailes, and other couerings ouer the head: this and the former argument doth the Apostle himselfe vse to this very purpose, 1 Cor. 11. 7, &c.
The point then being so cleere, wiues ought in conscience to acknowledge as much: namely that an husband hath supe∣riority * and authoritie ouer a wife. The acknowledgement hereof is a maine and principall dutie, and a ground of all o∣ther duties. Till a wife be fully instructed therein and truly perswaded thereof, no dutie can be performed by her as it ought: for subiection hath relation to superioritie and autho∣ritie. The very notation of the word implieth as much. How then can subiection be yeelded, if husbands be not acknow∣ledged superiors? It may be forced, as one King conquered in battell by another, may be compelled to yeeld homage to the conqueror, but yet because he still thinketh with himselfe, that he is no whit inferiour, he will hardly be brought willingly to yeeld a subiects dutie to him, but rather expect a time when he may free himselfe and take reuenge of the conqueror.
§. 4. Of a fond conceit, that husband and wife are equall.
Contrary to the forenamed subiection is the opinion of ma∣ny wiues, who thinke themselues euery way as good as their husbands, and no way inferiour to them.
The reason whereof seemeth to be that small inequalitie * which is betwixt the husband and the wife: for of all degrees wherein there is any difference betwixt person and person, there is the least disparitie betwixt man and wife. Though the man be as the head, yet is the woman as the heart, which is the most excellent part of the body next the head, farre more excellent then any other member vnder the head, and almost equall to the head in many respects, and as necessary as the head. As an euidence, that a wife is to man as the heart to the head, she was at her b first creation taken out of the side of man where his heart lieth; and though the woman was at first cof the man created out of his side, yet is the man also by the woman. Euer since the first creation man hath beene borne and brought forth out of the womans wombe: so as neither the man is without the woman, nor the woman without the man: yea, asdthe wife hath not power of her owne body, but the husband, so the husband hath not power of his owne body, but the wife. They are also eheires together of the grace of life. Besides, wiues are mothers of the same children, whereof their husbands are fa∣thers (for God said to both, fmultiplie and increase) and mi∣stresses of the same seruants whereof they are masters (for Sa∣rah is called gmistresse) and in many other respects there is a common equitie betwixt husbands and wiues; whence many wiues gather that in all things there ought to be a mu∣tuall equalitie.
But from some particulars to inferre a generall is a very weake argument.
1. Doth it follow, that because in many things there is a common equitie betwixt Iudges of Assise, Iustices of peace, and Constables of townes, that therefore there is in all things an equalitie betwixt them?
2. In many things there is not a common equitie: for the husband may command his wife, but not she him.
3. Euen in those things wherein there is a common equity, Page 272 there is not an equality: for the husband hath euer euen in all things a superioritie: as if there be any difference euen in the forenamed instances, the husband must haue the stroake: as in giuing the name of Rachels youngest childe, where the wife would haue one name, the husband another, that name which the husband gaue, stood, (Gen. 35. 18.)
Though there seeme to be neuer so little disparitie, yet God hauing so expresly appointed subiection, it ought to be ac∣knowledged: and h though husband and wife may mutually serue one another through loue: yet the Apostle suffereth not a woman to rule ouer the man.
§. 5. Of a wiues acknowledgement of her*owne husbands superioritie.
The truth and life of that generall acknowledgement of husbands honour, consisteth in the particular application ther∣of vnto their owne proper husbands.
The next dutie therefore is, that wiues acknowledge their *owne husbands, euen those to whom by Gods prouidence they are ioyned in mariage, to be worthy of an husbands honour, and to be their superiour: thus much the Apostle intendeth by that particle of restraint (bowne) which he vseth very often: so likewise doth cS. Peter, exhorting wiues to be in subiecti∣on * to their owne husbands: and hereunto restraining the com∣mendation of the ancient good wiues, that they were in sub∣iection to their owne husbands.
Obiect. What if a man of meane place be maried to a wo∣man of eminent place, or a seruant be maried to his mi∣stresse, or an aged woman to a youth, must such a wife acknow∣ledge such an husband her superiour?
Answ. Yea verily: for in giuing her selfe to be his wife, and * taking him to be her husband, she aduanceth him aboue her∣selfe, and subiecteth her selfe vnto him. It booteth nothing what either of them were before mariage: by vertue of the matrimoniall bond the husband is made the head of his wife, though the husband were before mariage a very begger, and of meane parentage, and the wife very wealthy and of a noble stocke; or though he were her prentise, or bondslaue; which also holdeth in the case betwixt an aged woman and a youth: Page 273 for the Scripture hath made no exception in any of those cases.
2. Obiect. But what if a man of lewd and beastly conditi∣ons, as a drunkard, a glutton, a profane swaggerer, an impi∣ous swearer, and blasphemer, be maried to a wife, sober, religi∣ous Matron, must she account him her superiour, and worthy of an husbands honour?
Answ. Surely she must. For the euill qualitie and disposi∣tion * of his heart and life, doth not depriue a man of that ci∣uill honour which God hath giuen vnto him. Though an husband in regard of euill qualities may carrie the Image of the deuill, yet in regard of his place and office he beareth the •mage of God: so doe Magistrates in the common-wealth, Ministers in the Church, parents and masters in the familie. Note for our present purpose, the exhortation of S. Peter to Christian wiues which had infidell husbands, dBe in subiecti∣on to them: let your conuersation be in feare. If Infidels carrie •ot the deuils Image, and are not, so long as they are Infidels, •assals of Satan, who are? yet wiues must be subiect to them, and feare them.
§. 6. Of wiues denying honour to their owne husbands.
Contrary thereunto is a very peruerse disposition in some * wiues, who thinke they could better subiect themselues to any husband, then their owne. Though in generall they acknow∣ledge that an husband is his wiues superiour, yet when the application commeth to themselues they faile, and cannot be brought to yeeld, that they are their husbands inferiours. This is a vice worse then the former. For to acknowledge no husband to be superiour ouer his wife, but to thinke man and wife in all things equall, may proceed from ignorance of hinde, and error of iudgement. But for a wife who knoweth and acknowledgeth the generall, that an husband is aboue his wife, to imagine that she her selfe is not inferiour to her hus∣band, ariseth from monstrous selfe-conceit, and intolerable •rrogancy, as if she her selfe were aboue her owne sex, and •ore then a woman.
Contrary also is the practise of such * women, as purposely •ary men of farre lower ranke then themselues, for this very Page 274 end, that they may rule ouer their owne husbands: and of others who being * aged, for that end mary youths, if not ve∣ry boyes. A minde and practise very vnseemely, and cleane¦th warting Gods ordinance. But let them thinke of ruling * what they list, the truth is, that they make themselues subiects both by Gods law and mans: of which subiection such wiues doe oft feele the heauiest burden. Salomon noteth this to be one of the things for which the earth is disquieted, when*a seruant reigneth. Now when can a seruant more dominere, then when he hath maried his mistresse? As for aged women who are maried to youths, I may say (as in another case it was said) woe to thee ô wife whose husband is a childe. Vnmeet it is * that an aged man should be maried to a young maid, but much more vnmeet for an aged woman to be maried to a youth.
§. 7. Of a wiues*inward feare of her husband.
Hitherto of a wiues acknowledgement of her husbands supe∣rioritie. It followeth to speake of that answerable respect which she ought to beare towards him.
|A wiue-like respect of her hus∣band consisteth in two points:||1. Reuerence.|
|The reuerence which she oweth to him is *||1. Inward.|
Inward reuerence is an awfull respect which a wife in her heart hath of her husband, esteeming him worthy of all ho∣nour for his place, and office sake, because he is her husband. Doubtlesse Sarah had in her heart a reuerend respect and ho∣nourable esteeme of her husband, when a being alone, and thinking of him in her very thought she gaue him this title Lord. This inward reuerence the Scripture compriseth vnder this word Feare: as where our Apostle saith, bLet the wife see that she feare her husband: and where cS. Peter exhorteth wiues to haue their conuersation in Feare. It is no slauish feare of her husband which ought to possesse the heart of a wife, dreading blowes, frownes, spightfull words, or the like; but such an awfull respect of him as maketh her (to vse the Apostles word) dcare how she may please him. This wiue-like Feare is mani∣fested Page 275 by two effects: one is Ioy, when she giueth contentment to her husband, and obserueth him to be pleased with that which she doth: the other is griefe, when he is iustly offended and grieued, especially with any thing that she her selfe hath done.
Vnlesse this inward reuerence and due respect of an hus∣band * be first placed in the heart of a wife, either no outward reuerence and obedience will be performed at all, or if it be performed, it will be very vnsound, only in shew, hypocriti∣call and deceitfull: so that as good neuer a whit as neuer the bet∣ter. For according to ones inward affection and disposition will the outward action and conuersation be framed. eMichal first despised Dauid in her heart, and thence it followed that she f vtteredmost vnreuerend and vile speeches of him, euen to his face. Wherefore after the iudgement of a wife is rightly informed of an husbands superioritie, and her will perswaded to account her owne husband her head and guide, it is very needfull that her heart and affection be accordingly seasoned with the salt of good respect, and high esteeme, which bree∣deth feare: and that thus her heart may be seasoned, she ought oft and seriously to meditate of his place and office, and of that honour which the Lord by vertue thereof hath planted in him. And if he haue gifts worthie his place, as knowledge, wisdome, pietie, temperance, loue, and the like, she ought to take notice thereof, and to thinke him worthie of double honour.
§. 8. Of a wiues base esteeme of her husband.
Contrary to this inward reuerence of the heart is a base and wile esteeme which many haue of their husbands, thinking no better of them then of other men; nay worse then of o∣thers; despising their husbands in their heart, like Michal, of whom we heard before. This, as it is in it selfe a vile vice, so is •t a cause of many other vices, as of presumption, rebellion, * yea and of adultery it selfe many times: and it is also a maine hinderance of all dutie.
It commonly riseth either from selfe-conceit (whereby wiues ouerweene their owne gifts, thinking them so excellent * is they need no guide or head, but are rather fit to guide and Page 276 rule both their husband and all the houshold: of which proud and presumptuous spirit Iezabel seemeth to be, who with an audacious and impudent face said to Ahab her husband, gDost thou now gouerne the kingdome of Israel? Up, I will giue thee the vineyard of Naboth. So also all those wiues which are noted to draw away their husbands hearts from the Lord, as the wiues of hSalomon,iIehoram, and others: which they learned of their great grandmother kEuah:) or else from some infirmi∣ties of minde or body, or of life, which they behold in their * husbands (whence it commeth to passe, that many husbands who are highly honoured and greatly accounted of by others, are much despised by their wiues, because their wiues alwaies conuersing with them are priuie to such infirmities as are con∣cealed from others:) or, which is worst of all, from vniust sur∣mizes * and suspicions, suspecting many euill things of their husbands whereof they are no way guiltie, and misinterpre∣ting, and peruerting things well done, as lMichal peruerted Dauids holy zeale.
For redresse of this enormous vice, wiues ought first in re∣gard * of themselues to purge out of their hearts pride, and selfe-conceit, thinking humbly and lowly of themselues, and that euen in regard of their sex and the weaknesse thereof: and if the Lord haue endued them with any gift aboue the ordinary sort of women, to note well their owne infirmities, and to lay them by their eminent gifts: thus by looking on their blacke feet, their proud-peacock-feathers may be cast downe. Yea also when they behold any infirmities in their husbands, they ought to reflect their eies on their owne infirmities, which it may be are euen as many and as grieuous, if not more in num∣ber, and more hainous in their nature and kinde: at least let them consider that they are subiect to the same, if God leaue them to the sway of their owne corruption.
Secondly, wiues ought in regard of their husbands to sur∣mize no euill whereof they haue not sure proofe and euidence: but rather interpret euery thing in better part: and follow the rule of loue, mwhich beareth all things, beleeueth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. If they note any defects of nature, and deformity of body, or any enormous and notorious vices Page 277 in their husband, then ought they to turne their eies and thoughts from his person to his place, and from his vicious qualities to his honourable office (which is to be an husband) and this will abate that vile esteeme which otherwise might be occasioned from the forenamed meanes.
§. 9. Of*wiue-like sobriety.
A wiues outward reuerence towards her husband is a ma∣nifestation of her inward due respect of him. Now then see∣ing * the intent of the heart, and inward disposition cannot be discerned by man simply in it selfe, that the husband may know his wiues good affection towards him, it is behouefull that she manifest the same by her outward reuerence.
|A wiues outward reuerence consisteth in her reuerend||Gesture.|
For the first, that a reuerend gesture & carriage of her selfe to * her husband, and in her husbands presence, beseemeth a wife, was of old implied by the vaile which the woman vsed to put on, when she was brought vnto her husband, as is noted in the a example of Rebekah: whereunto the Apostle alludeth in these words, bthe woman ought to haue power on her head. That couer on the womans head, as in generall it implied subiection, so in particular this kinde of subiection, viz. a reue∣rend carriage and gesture. But most expresly is this dutie set downe by c Saint Peter who exhorteth wiues to order their conuersation before their husbands, so as it be pure, with re∣uerence.
This reuerend conuersation consisteth in a wiue-like sobrie∣tie, mildnesse, courtesie, and modestie.
By sobriety I meane such a comely, graue, and gratious car∣riage, as giueth euidence to the husband that his wife respect∣eth his place & the authority which God hath giuen him. So∣briety in generall is required of all women by reason of their sexe; and surely it doth well become them all: but much more doth it become wiues: most of all, in their husbands presence. d The Apostle in particular enioyneth it to Deacons wiues, yet not so as proper vnto them, but in a further respect appertai∣ning to them not only as wiues, but as the wiues of Deacons.
Contrary to this sobriety is lightnesse and wantonnesse: Page 278 which vices in a wife, especially before her husband, argueth little respect, if not a plaine contempt of him.
Obiect. Thus shall all delightfull familiarity betwixt hus∣band and wife be taken away.
Answ. Though the forenamed sobriety be opposed to light∣nesse * and wantonnesse, yet not to matrimoniall familiarity: which is so farre permitted to man and wife, as if any other man and woman should so behaue themselues one towards another as an husband and wife lawfully may, it might iustly be counted lightnesse and sinne: instance the example of Isaak and Rebekah, who so sported together, as Abimelech,* knowing them to be such as feared God, gathered by that spor∣ting that they were man and wife: for he thought that other∣wise they would not haue beene so familiar together.
* This familiarity argueth both liking and loue: and sheweth that the man and wife delight in one anothers person. But the lightnesse here condemned in a wife, is not so much a mutuall familiarity with her husband by his good liking, as a wanton dallying with others to his griefe and disgrace.
§. 10. Of*wiue-like mildnesse.
Mildnesse in a wife hath respect also to the ordering of her countenance, gesture, and whole cariage before her husband, whereby she manifesteth a pleasingnesse to him, and a conten∣tednesse and willingnesse to be vnder him and ruled by him. Excellently is this set forth in the spouse of Christ whose eies are said to be as doues eies, her lips to drop as honie combs, and * she her selfe euery way pleasant: whereupon it is noted that she appeared to her husband as the bright morning, and that his heart was wounded with her. Assuredly the cleere skie is not more pleasant in time of haruest, then a milde and amiable countenance and carriage of a wife in her husbands presence. * And though her husband should be of an harsh and cruell dis∣position, yet by this means might he be made meeke and gen∣tle. For the keepers of Lions are said to bring them to some tamenesse by handling them gently and speaking to them fairely.
Contrary to this mildnesse is a frowning brow, a lowring eie, a sullen looke, a powting lip, a swelling face, a deriding Page 279 mouth, a scornefull cast of the armes and hands, a disdainfull turning of this side and that side of the body, and a fretfull flinging out of her husbands presence: all which and other like contemptuous gestures are as thicke clouds ouerspreading the heauens in a Summers day, which make it very vncomfor∣table. They oft stirre vp much passion in the man, and bring much mischiefe vpon the wife her selfe.
§. 11. Of*wiue-like courtesie and obeysance.
Courtesie is that vertue whereby a wife taketh occasion to testifie her acknowledgement of her husbands superiority by some outward obeysance to him. Rebekah, so soone as she saw Isaak, whom she had taken for her husband, lighted from her Camell and came to him on foot, which was a kinde of obey∣sance. This is not so to be taken as if no difference were to be made betwixt the carriage of a seruant, or childe, and a wife: or as if a wife should bow at euery word that she speaketh to her husband. Though in the kinde and extent of many duties the same things are required of wiues which are required of chil∣dren and seruants, because God hath made them all inferiours, and exacted subiection of all: yet in the manner and measure of many duties there is great difference: as in this, the obey∣sance of children and seruants ought to be more submissiue, and more frequent. Yet because God hath placed authority in the husband ouer his wife, she is euery way to testifie her reue∣rend respect of her husband, and therefore at some times, on some occasions (as when he is going on a iourney for a time from her, or when he returneth home againe, or when she hath a solemne and great sute to make vnto him, or when he offe∣reth an especiall and extraordinary fauour vnto her, or (as I haue obserued such wiues as know what beseemeth their place, and are not ashamed to manifest as much) when she sit∣teth * downe or riseth vp from table) to declare her reuerence by some obeysance. This cannot but much worke on the heart of a good and kinde husband, and make him the more to respect his wife, when he beholdeth this euidence of her re∣spect to him. Yea it cannot but be a good patterne to chil∣dren * and seruants, and a motiue to stirre them vp to yeeld all submissiue obeysance both to her husband and to her selfe. Page 280 For it may make them thus to reason with themselues, shall * we scorne or thinke much to yeeld that to our father or ma∣ster which our mother or mistresse thinketh not much to yeeld to her husband? shall-she bow to him, and shall not we much more bow to her? Thus a wiues honouring of her husband by yeelding obeysance to him, maketh both him and her selfe to be more honoured of others.
Contrarily minded are they, who not only altogether omit * this dutie, but also gibe and scoffe at the very hearing thereof, saying, thus wiues shall be made no better then children or seruants. But though scornefull dames deride these outward euidences of their subiection, yet such wiues as feare the Lord ought not to be hindered thereby from doing their dutie: for by such euill examples they might be discouraged from euery good dutie. It is sufficient that such holy women as trusted in God so behaued themselues. But for this particu∣lar, we know that equals scorne not vpon occasions to per∣forme this kinde of courtesie in making obeysance one to ano∣ther: how much lesse ought wiues, who are their husbands inferiours?
§. 12. Of*wife-like modestie in apparell.
Modestie appertaining to a wife is much manifested in her apparell. S. Paul requireth this modestie in generall of all sorts of women: but S. Peter presseth it in particular vpon wiues. For as it well beseemeth all women, so wiues after a peculiar manner, namely, in attiring themselues, to respect ra∣ther their husbands place and state, then their owne birth and parentage, but much rather then their owne minde and hu∣mour. A wiues modestie therefore requireth that her appa∣rell be neither for costlinesse aboue her husbands abilitie, nor for curiousnesse vn beseeming his calling. As a poore mans wife must not affect costly apparell, so neither Ministers, graue Counsellours, sage Magistrates, no nor conscionable Profes∣sours wiues, hunt after new fashions, or in light and garish ap∣parell attire themselues. It is a token of great reuerence in a wife towards her husband, to haue an eye to his place and state in her apparell.
On the contrarie, such proud daines as must haue their Page 281 owne will in their attire, and thinke it nothing appertaineth * to their husbands to order them therein, who care not what their husbands abilitie, or what his place and calling be, they shew little respect and reuerence to their husbands. Such are they, who are no whit moued with their husbands example: but though the mans apparell be plaine and graue, yet the wiues shall be costly and garish. Yea many there be that stand in some more awe of their husbands sight, but shew little more respect vnto him, who haue their silken gownes, Beauer hats, and other like attire not agreeable to their place and state, lie in the countrey, if they be of the citie; or in the citie, if they be of the countrey, in a friends house where their husbands shall * not know it, and when their husbands are not with them, weare them, and paint their faces, lay out their haire, and in euerie thing follow the fashion. What can they which behold this thinke, but that such a wiues care is more to please other light vaine persons, then her graue, discreet husband: or that her husband can nothing at all preuaile with her: which as it staineth her owne credit, so it leaueth a blot of dishonour euen vpon him. If the care of a wife were to giue euidence of the re∣uerence which she beareth to her husband, his desire and ex∣ample would in this respect more preuaile with her, then the humour of her owne heart.
§. 13. Of a wiues*reuerend speech to her husband.
As by gesture, so by speech also, must a wiues reuerence be manifested: this must be answerable to that. For by words as well as by deeds, the affection of the heart is manifested, aOut of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A wiues reue∣rence is manifested by her speech, both in her husbands pre∣sence, and also in his absence. For this end in his presence her words must be few, reuerend and meeke. First few: For the * Apostle enioyneth bsilence to wiues in their husbands presence, and inforceth that dutie with a strong reason in these words: I permit not the woman to vsurpe authoritie ouer the man, but to be in silence: the inference of the latter clause vpon the former sheweth that he speaketh not only of a womans silence in the Church, but also of a wiues silence before her husband: which is further cleared by another like place, where the same Apostle Page 282 enioyneth wiues to clearne of their husbands at home. The rea∣son before mentioned for silence, on the one side implieth a reuerend subiection, as on the other side too much speech im∣plieth an vsurpation of authoritie.
Obiect. Then belike a wife must be alwayes mute before her husband.
Answ. No such matter: for silence in that place is not op∣posed to speech, as if she should not speake at all, but to loqua∣citie, to talkatiuenesse, to ouer-much tatling: her husbands presence must some what restraine her tongue, and so will her verie silence testifie a reuerend respect. Otherwise silence, as it is opposed to speech, would imply stoutnesse of stomacke, and stubbornnesse of heart, which is an extreme contrarie to lo∣quacitie. But the meane betwixt both, is for a wife to be spa∣ring in speech, to expect a fit time and iust occasion of speech, to be willing to hearken to the word of knowledge comming out of her husbands mouth. This argueth reuerence. dElihu manifested thereuerend respect, which as a younger he bare to his elders, by for bearing to speake while they had any thing to say. How much more ought wiues in regard both of their sex and of their place?
Contrarie is their practise, who must and will haue all the * prate. If their husbands haue begun to speake, their slipperie tongues cannot expect and tarrie till he haue done: if (as verie hastile and forward they are to speake) they preuent not their husbands, they will surely take the tale out of his mouth be∣fore he haue done: Thus-they disgrace themselues, and disho∣nour their husbands.
§. 14. Of the*titles which wiues giue their husbands.
Reuerence hath respect to the titles whereby a wife nameth her husband. Meeknesse to the manner of framing her speech to him. *
For the titles which a wife in speaking to her husband, or naming him, giueth vnto him, they must be such as signifie Page 283 superioritie, and so sauour of reuerence. Such are the titles wherewith husbands are named in the Scripture; * they are ti∣tles of honour. Such also are the titles which the Church (who by our Apostle is made a patterne for wiues in all subiection) giueth to her Spouse Christ Iesus, as may be gathered out of the Song of songs. It is likely that Sarah did vsually giue this title Lord to her husband. For hauing occasion to thinke of him, presently this title bLord was in her heart: which would not so suddenly haue risen vp, if she had not ordinarily vsed it. According to the vsuall titles which we giue to any, doe we in our hearts name them, when we haue occasion to thinke of them. Among all other titles the name husband, as it is the most vsuall, so it is the fittest and meetest title. It intimateth re∣uerence, and sauoureth not of nicenesse & singularitie, as these titles, Head, Guide, Master, Man, and the like doe: which though they be lawfull titles, because the Scripture attributeth them to husbands, and they signifie superioritie, yet because they are vnusuall and sauour of singularitie, they are not so meet. Common vse and practise hath made the addition of the husbands surname to this title Master, more meet.
c Saint Peter by this argument proueth that Sarah obeyed Abraham, because she called him Lord.
Contrarie are those compellations which argue equalitie or inferioritie rather then superioritie, as Brother, Cosen, Friend, Man, &c. if a stranger be in presence, how can he tell by this manner of compellation, that he whom thou speakest vnto is thy husband? If he espie any matrimoniall familiaritie betwixt you, what can he iudge of it otherwise to be, lightnesse and wantonnesse? Remember the fearefull issue that had like to haue fallen out by reason of such compellations giuen by dSarah and eRebekah to their husbands. Not vnlike to those are such as these, Sweet, Sweeting, Heart, Sweet-heart, Loue, Ioy, Deare, &c. and such as these, Ducke, Chicke, Pigsnie, &c. and husbands Christian names, as Iohn, Thomas, William, Henry, &c. which if they be contracted (as many vse to contract them thus, Iack•, Tom, Will, Hall) they are much more vnseemly: seruants are vsually so called.
But what may we say of those titles giuen to an husband by Page 284 his wife, not seldome in passion, but vsually in ordinarie speech, which are not fit to be giuen to the basest men that be, as Grub, Rogue, and the like, which I am euen ashamed to name, but that the sins of women are to be cast as dirt on their faces, that they may be the more ashamed?
Obiect. Many of the forenamed titles are titles of amitie and familiaritie.
Answ. Subiection is that marke which wiues are directed to aime at in their thoughts, words, deeds, and whole conuersa¦tion towards their husband. Such tokens of familiaritie as are not withall tokens of subiection and reuerence, are vnbesee∣ming a wife, because they swerue from that marke.
§. 15. Of wiues*meeknesse in their speeches.
Meeknesse in a wiues manner of framing her speech to her husband, doth also commend her reuerend respect of him. This is an especiall effect of that meeke and quiet spirit which S. Peter requireth of wiues; which dutie he doth strongly in∣force by this weighty argument, awhich is before God a thing much set by. Is a wiues meeknesse much set by before God, and shall not wiues hold it both a bounden dutie, and comely or∣nament, and grace vnto them? As the forme of words which a wife vseth in asking or answering questions, or any other kinde of discourse which shee holdeth with her husband, so her moderation in persisting, arguing and pressing matters, yea and the milde composition of her countenance in spea∣king, declare her meeknesse. If she be desirous to obtaine any thing of him, fairely she must intreat it, as the bShunemite: If she would moue him to performe a bounden dutie, mildly she must perswade him. If she would restraine and keepe him from doing that which is euill, euen that also she must doe with some meeknesse, as cPilats wife: If she haue occasion to tell him of a fault, therein she ought to manifest humilitie and reuerence, by obseruing a fit season, and doing it after a gentle manner as dAbigail: who as she wisely behaued her selfe in this respect with her husband in obseruing a fit season, so also with Dauid by intimating his fault vnto him, rather then plainly reprouing him, when she said, It shall be no griefe nor offence vnto my Lord, that he hath not shed bloud causelesse. This Page 285 meeknesse requireth also silence and patience, euen when she is reproued.
Contrary is the waspish and shrewish disposition of many * wiues to their husbands, who care not how hastily and vnad∣uisedly they speake to them, like eRahel; nor how angerly and chidingly, like fIezabel; nor how disdainfully, and spight∣fully, like gZipporah; nor how scoffingly, and frumpingly, like hMichal; nor how reproachfully and disgracefully, like iIobs wife. If they be reproued by their husbands, their husbands shall be reproached by them: & they are ready to answer again, not only word for word, but ten for one. Many wiues by their shrewish speeches, shew no more respect to their husbands, then to their seruants, if so much. The least occasion moueth them not only inwardly to be angry and fret against them, but also outwardly to manifest the same by chiding and brawling. The very obiect whereupon many wiues vsually spit out their venomous words, is their husband; when their stomacks are full, they must needs ease them on their husbands: wherein their fault is doubled.
Let wiues therefore learne first to moderate their passion, and then to keepe in their tongues with bit and bridle, but most of all to take heed that their husbands taste not of the bitternesse thereof, no not though they should by some ouer∣sight of their husbands be prouoked. It is to be noted how Salomon calleth the iarres which are betweene man and wife, the contentions of a wife, whereby he intimateth that she com∣monly * is the cause thereof, either by prouoking her husband, or not bearing with him.
§. 16. Of a wiues speech of her husband*in his absence.
The reuerence which a wife beareth to her husband, must further be manifested by her speeches of him in his absence. So did Sarah manifest her reuerence, and so must all such as de∣sire * to be accounted the daughters of Sarah. The Church speaking of her Spouse, doth it with as great reuerence, as if she * had spoken to him. It was for honour and reuerence sake, that the Virgin Mary called Ioseph the Father of Iesus, when she * spake of him.
This sheweth that a wiues reuerend speeches in presence of Page 286 her husband and to his face, are not in flatterie to please him and fawne vpon him, but in sinceritie to please God and per∣forme her dutie.
Contrary therefore to their dutie deale they, who in pre∣sence * can afford the fairest and meek est speeches that may be to their husbands face, but * behinde their backs speake most re∣proachfully of them.
§. 17. Of a wiues obedience in generall.
Hitherto of a wiues reuerence, it followeth to speake of her obedience: The first law that euer was giuen to woman since her fall, laid vpon her this dutie of Obedience to her husband, in these words, aThy desire shall be to thine husband, and he shall rule ouer thee. How can an husband rule ouer a wife, if she obey not him? The principall part of that submission which in this b text, and in many other places is required of a wife, consisteth in obedience: and therefore it is expresly commen∣ded vnto wiues in the example of Sarah who cobeyed Abra∣ham. Thus by Obedience doth the Church manifest her sub∣iection to Christ.
The place wherein God hath set an husband; namely, to be an dhead; the authoritie which he hath giuen vnto him, to be a eLord and fMaster; the duty which he requireth of him g to rule, doe all require obedience of a wife. Is not obedience to be yeelded to an Head, Lord, and Master? Take away all authori∣tie from an husband, if ye exempt a wife from obedience.
Contrary is the stoutnesse of such wiues as must haue their * own will, and doe what they list, or else all shall be out of quiet. Their will must be done, they must rule and ouer-rule all, they must command not only children and seruants, but husbands also, if at least the husband will be at peace. Looke into fami∣lies, obserue the estate and condition of many of them, and then tell me if these things be not so. If an husband be a man of courage, and seeke to stand vpon his right, and maintaine his authoritie by requiring obedience of his wife, strange it is to behold what an hurly burly she will make in the house: but if he be a milke-sop, and basely yeeld vnto his wife, and suffer her to rule, then, it may be, there shall be some outward quiet. The ground hereof is an ambitious and proud humour in Page 287 women, who must needs rule, or else they thinke themselues slaues. But let them thinke as they list: assuredly herein they thwart Gods ordinance, peruert the order of nature, deface the image of Christ, ouerthrow the ground of all dutie, hinder the good of the family, become an ill patterne to children and seruants, lay themselues open to Satan, and incurre many other mischiefes which cannot but follow vpon the violating of this maine duty of Obedience, which if it be not performed, how can other duties be expected?
§. 18. Of the cases wherein a wife hath power to order things of the house without her husbands consent.
|A wiues obedience requireth||Submission.|
Submission in yeelding to her husbands minde and will.
*Contentment in resting satisfied and content with his estate and abilitie.
That Submission consisteth in two things.
First, in abstaining from doing things against her husbands minde.
Secondly, in doing what her husband requireth. The for∣mer of these requireth that a wife haue her husbands consent for the things which she doth. For the better cleering whereof we are to consider,
1. What kinde of husbands they must be whose consent is required.
2. How many waies his consent may be giuen.
3. What are the things whereabout his consent is to be expected.
For the first, as on the one side it oft falleth out that a wife, * prouident, and religious man is maried to a foolish woman, a very ideot, that hath no vnderstanding, of whom there can be no question, but that such a wife is to doe nothing of her selfe, and of her owne head, but altogether to be ordered by her husband: So on the other side, it oft falleth out that a wise, vertuous, and gratious woman, is maried to an husband de∣stitute * of vnderstanding, to a very naturall (as we say) or a •renzy man, or to one made very blockish, and stupid, vnfit to manage his affaires through some distemper, wound, or sick∣nesle. Page 288 In such a case the whole gouernment lieth vpon the wife, so as her husbands consent is not to be expected.
Quest. What if the husband be a wicked and prophane man, and so blinded and stupified in his soule, doth not this spirituall blindnesse and blockishnese giue a religious wife as great libertie as naturall stupiditie?
Answ. No verily: For S. Peter exhorteth faithfull wiues * that were maried to Infidell husbands to be subiect to them, and that in feare.
The reason is cleare: For spirituall blindnesse disableth not from ciuill gouernment: indeed nothing that such a man doth is acceptable to God, or auailable to his owne saluation; but yet it may be profitable to man: a wicked man may be proui∣dent enough for wife, children, and whole family in outward temporall things.
Againe, it oft falleth out, that an husband is a long time 2 farre off absent from the house: sometimes by reason of his calling, as an Ambassadour, Souldier, or Mariner; sometimes also carelesly or wilfully neglecting house, goods, wife, chil∣dren and all: and in his absence hath left no order for the or∣dering of things at home: in this case also there is no questi∣on, but that the wife hath power to dispose matters without her husbands consent: prouided that she obserue those rules of Gods word concerning iustice, equitie, truth and mercie, which an husband in his disposing of them ought to obserue.
The first of these cases declareth an impotencie in the hus∣band: the other an impossibilitie for him to order matters: wherefore the wife being next to the husband, the power of ordering things is diuolued on her: she is not bound to haue his consent.
§. 19. Of diuers kindes of consent.
II. A consent may be generall or particular. A generall * consent is giuen, when without distinct respect to this or that particular, libertie is granted to a wife by her husband to doe all things as seemeth good in her owne eyes. a That excellent good wife, and notable good house-wife that is set forth by the Wise-man, had such a consent. For first, it is said, bThe heart of her husband trusteth in her; and then it is inferred, that Page 289 she ordereth all the things of the house, whereof many particu∣lars are there specified. Whence I gather, that her husband obser∣uing her to be a godly, wise, faithfull, and industrious woman, gaue her power and liberty to doe in the house-hold affaires, what she thought good, (he being a publike magistrate, for che was knowne in the gates, sitting among the Elders of the land) and ac∣cordingly she vsed her liberty.
A particular consent is that which is giuen to one or more par∣ticular * things, as that consent d which Abraham gaue to Sarah about Hagar; and e that which Elkanah gaue to Hanna about tarrying at home till her childe was weined.
This particular consent may be expressed or implied. An ex∣pressed consent is when the husband manifesteth his good liking by word, writing, message, or signe, and that whether his con∣sent be asked (as was noted in the example of Elkanah) or freely offered.
An implicit consent, when by any probable coniecture it may be gathered that the husbands will is not against such a thing, * though he haue not manifested his minde concerning that very particular. This implicit consent may be gathered either by his silence when he is present to see a thing done, or otherwise hath knowledge thereof: or else when he is absent, by his former ca∣riage or disposition in other like cases. The Scripture accounteth an husbands silence, when he knoweth a thing and may, but doth not forbid it, to be a consent: as f in the case of a wiues vow. For any thing we read to the contrary g the Shunemite had no other consent to prepare a chamber for the Prophet, and to goe vnto him, then her husbands silence, and not forbidding it when he knew it.
As for the other kinde of implicit consent, it may be set forth in this following instance: suppose a good wife hath an husband whom she knoweth by his former cariage and disposition to be a pittifull and charitable man, taking all occasions to shew mercy, and in his absence there falleth out a fit and needfull occasion of shewing mercy; if she take that occasion to shew mercy, she hath an implicit consent, for she may well thinke that if her husband knew it he would approue what she doth. It is to be supposed that hAnnah vpon some such ground vowed her childe to God. Page 290 For it is not likely that she who would not tarry at home to weine her childe without her husbands consent, would much lesse vow him to the Lord (which was a farre greater matter) without some perswasion of her husbands good liking there∣of. Now that a wife may shew she dealeth vprightly in this case vpon a true perswasion of her heart concerning her husbands minde, she ought (when conueniently she can) to make known to her husband what she hath done: as without all question Annah did; and so much may be gathered out of these words which Elkanah vttered to Annah,ithe Lord establish his word.
§. 20. Of the things whereabout a wife must haue her hus∣bands consent.
The things whereabout an husbands consent is to be ex∣pected, are such as he by vertue of his place and authoritie hath power to order: as for example, ordering and disposing the goods, cattell, seruants, and children of the family, entertai∣ning strangers; yea, also ordering euen his wiues going abroad, and making of vowes, with the like: now then distinctly to lay downe a wiues dutie in this first branch of obedience, it is this:
A wife must doe nothing which appertaineth to her husband authoritie simply without, or directly against his consent. Doe not these words of that old law (thy desire shall be to thy husband)* imply as much? I deny not but that there may be sundry things proper and peculiar to a wife, wherein I will not re∣straine her libertie: and therefore I vse this phrase (which ap∣pertaineth to her husbands authoritie.) And I grant the fore∣named generall and implicit consent, to be a true consent, so as there needeth not an expresse particular consent for euery thing, and therefore I haue added these clauses (simply without, or directly against consent.)
That is done simply without consent which is done without all warrant from the husband, and that so couertly as she is afraid it should come to his notice, imagining he would by no meanes like it: As Rahels taking her fathers idols without all * consent of Iaakob.
That is done directly against consent which is expresly for∣bidden and disclaimed by the husband.
Page 291 But to descend to the particulars before mentioned: First concerning the goods of the family: It is a question contro∣uerted whether the wife haue power to dispose them without or against the husbands consent.
Before I determine the question, I thinke it needfull to declare, 1. What goods, 2. What occasion of giuing the question is about.
§. 21. Of the things which a wife may dispose without her husbands consent.
1. For the goods, some are proper and peculiar to the wife: * others are common. Goods proper to the wife are such as be∣fore mariage she her selfe, or her friends except from the hus∣band to her sole and proper vse and disposing, whereunto he also yeeldeth: or such as after mariage he giueth vnto her to dispose as she please: suppose it be some rent, annuity, fees, •ailes, or the like.
These kindes of goods are exempted out of the question * in hand; the wife hath liberty to dispose them as she please without any further consent then she had by vertue of her hausbands former grant.
To these I may referre other goods, but of another nature, namely such as some friend of hers, suppose father, mother, brother, or any other, obseruing her husband to be a very •ard man, not allowing sufficient for her selfe, much lesse to distribute on charitable vses, shall giue vnto her to dispose as •e please, charging her not to let her husband know thereof. How because it is in the power of a free doner to order his •ift as he please, and because he so ordereth this gift as he will not haue her husband know of it, I doubt not but she may of her selfe according to the doners minde without her hus∣bands consent, dispose such goods. She is herein but as a •offee in trust.
Againe of common goods some are set forth by the hus∣band to be spent about the family, other he reserueth for a •ocke, or to lay forth as he himselfe shall see occasion.
Concerning those which are set forth to be spent, I doubt •ot but the wife hath power to dispose them; neither is she •ound to aske any further consent of her husband. For it Page 292 is the wiues place and dutie to guide or gouerne the house,* by vertue whereof, prouiding sufficiently for the family, she may, as she seeth good occasion, of such goods as are set apart to be spent, distribute to poore, or otherwise.
This I haue noted for such tender consciences as thinke they cannot giue a bit of bread, or scarp of meat to a poore body, or make a messe of broth or caudle for a sicke body, ex∣cept they first aske their husbands consent.
Prouided that if her husband expresly forbid this liberty, she take it not except necessity require it.
But our question is concerning such goods as the husband hath not set apart, but reserued to his owne disposing.
§. 22. Of a wiues liberty in extraordinary matters.
II. For the occasion of disposing goods it may be ordinary or extraordinary. Extraordinary for the good of the husband himselfe, and others in the family, or such as are out of the fa∣mily. If there fall out an extraordinary occasion whereby the wife by disposing the goods without or against the con∣sent of her husband may bring a great good to the family, or preuent and keepe a great mischiefe from it, she is not to stay for his consent; instance the example of aAbigail. Thus a faithfull prouident wife obseruing her husband to riot, and to spend all he can get in carding, dicing, and drinking, may without his consent lay vp what goods she can for her husbands, her own, her childrens, and whole housholds good. This is no part of disobedience, but a point wherein she may shew her selfe a great good helpe vnto her husband; b for which end a wife was first made.
Concerning such as are out of the family, if they be in great need, and require present releefe, though the wife know her husband to be so hard-hearted, as he will not suffer her to re∣leeue such an one, yet without his consent she may releeue him. The ground of this and other like cases is that rule laid downe by the Prophets, and by Christ himselfe, viz. cI will haue mercie and not sacrifice. If God in case of mercie dis∣penseth with a dutie due to himselfe, will he not much more dispense with a dutie due to an husband?
§. 23. Of a wiues*restraint in disposing goods without consent of her husband: and of the ground of that restraint.
Out of all these things thus premised I gather the true state * of the question in controuersie concerning the power of wiues in disposing the goods of the family to be this,
Whether a wife may priuily and simply without, or openly and directly against her husbands consent distribute such common goods of the family as her husband reserueth to his owne disposing, there being no extraordinary necessity?
The most ancient and common answer vnto this question hath beene negatiue, namely, that a wife hath not power so to doe: whereunto I for my part subscribe.
The ground of this answer is taken from that primary law of the wiues subiection, aThy desire shall be vnto thine husband. How is her desire subiect to her husband, if in the case pro∣pounded she stand not vpon his consent? It is further con∣firmed both by the b forenamed, and also by all other proofes that might be produced out of the Scripture concerning the subiection of wiues vnto their husbands. If in ordering the goods of the family she yeeld not subiection, wherein shall she yeeld it?
Against this ground-worke some obiect that c the same law of subiection is imposed vpon a younger brother in the very same words, and yet a younger brother was not therby bound * to haue his elder brothers consent in disposing his goods.
Answ. The law of the regality (as I may so speake) and preheminency of the first borne was vnder those words ordai∣ned: and therfore a younger brother was made a subiect to his elder, while he remained in the family, as a sonne to the fa∣ther. The elder brother was as a lord ouer his other bro∣thers: whereupon when Isaak conferred the right of the first borne vpon Iaakob (thinking he had beene his eldest sonne Esau) he vsed these words, Be lord ouer thy brethren, and let thy*mothers sonnes bow downe to thee. Which being so, questionlesse the younger brother might not simply without or directly against the elder brothers consent dispose the goods of the family: so as this obiection more strongly establisheth the fore∣named argument.
Page 294 Againe it is obiected that that old law is to be expounded of weighty matters.
Answ. The Apostle who was guided by the spirit of the * law-maker, extendeth that law to euery thing: But is not this matter of disposing goods a weighty matter? The conse∣quences which I shall by and by note to follow hereupon will shew it to be a matter of moment.
§. 24. Of the example of the Shunemite in asking her hus∣bands consent.*
As another reason may be alleged the Shunemites patterne who asked her husbands consent before she prepared the things that were thought meet for the Prophets entertain∣ment: and before she vsed the things which were meet for her iourney.
Obiect. It is indeed commendable for wiues to seeke their husbands consent as she did, but where such consent cannot be had, it is not necessary.
Answ. This example being grounded vpon a law (as we shewed * before) it doth not only declare what may be done, but also what ought to be done. And if a wife be bound to haue her husbands consent for doing of a thing, by consequence it followeth that she is bound from doing it, without her hus∣bands consent.
2. Answ. They that except against this reason taken from example, vse themselues the like reason in other points, as the examples of Abigail, Ioanna, and Susanna for the con∣trarie.
2. Obiect. In the Shunemites example there was more then a mercifull releefe of the Prophet, namely bringing him into the house to diet and to lodge, wherein the husband must haue a chiefe stroake.
Answ. The word of God maketh not that difference be∣twixt releeuing and entertaining: it extendeth a wiues sub∣iection to euery thing: wherefore the husband hath a chiefe stroake as well in the one, as in the other.
§. 25. Of the law of a wiues vow.
A third reason is taken from the law of a wiues vow: where∣by * in generall is implied, that a wife might not make a vow Page 295 without her husbands consent: whence it followeth as an ar∣gument taken from the greater to the lesse, that she may not dispose the goods without his consent. Yea, b the Law further expresly saith, that though she hath vowed, yet her husband hath power to disanull her vow. Note here, how the Lord will rather depart from his owne right (as I may so speake) then haue that order which he hath appointed betwixt man and woman broken. The Lords right, was to haue what was vowed to him performed: the order which he appointed, was to haue the wife subiect to her husband: rather then the wife should doe that which the husband would not haue done, the Lord remitted a wiues vow in case her husband would not con∣sent to haue it performed. Now then I demand, is the dispo∣sing of goods a greater matter then the performing of a vow? or hath a wife in these dayes more libertie then in former? if she haue, by what law? was there euer vnder the Law a straiter charge laid vpon wiues then this, Let wiues be subiect to their husbands in euerie thing.
Obiect. That point of a womans subiection in performing her vow, is a particular ruled case: but not this of disposing goods.
Answ. The Scripture by particular Lawes and examples teacheth directions for other cases like to them: and argu∣ments drawne by iust and necessarie consequence, are counted as sound as expresse testimonies. Whereas it is said, that this particular in question is not expresly decided, I take the reason thereof to be this, that in former times they so well marked the extent of the generall law of a wiues subiection, as they made no question of doing this or other like things without their husbands consent. Neither did good wiues take that libertie, neither had they any patrons of such libertie.
2. Obiect. The case of a wiues disposing goods is vnlike to that of vowes, because vowes are voluntarie, but disposing goods, as a worke of mercie, is necessarie.
Answ. Though it were a voluntarie thing to make, or not to make a vow: yet a vow being made, it was not in the power of the partie that made it, not to performe it: it was a c necessa∣rie dutie to performe a vow, euen expresly commanded. As Page 296 for the pretended worke of mercie, I will * hereafter shew, that a wife is not necessarily tied thereunto.
§. 26. Of humane lawes which restraine wiues from disposing goods, without or against their husbands consent.
A fourth is taken from the lawes of men whereunto we are subiect, and which we must obey euen for conscience sake, so farre as they thwart not Gods Law, which in this case they doe not, as the reasons before gathered out of Gods word doe shew.
Now our Law saith, that a euerie gift, grant, or disposition of goods, lands, or other thing whatsoeuer made by a woman * couert, and all and euerie obligation and feoffment made by her, and recouerie suffered, if they be done without her hus∣bands consent, are void. Yea, b if she doe wrong to another, she hath not any thing to make satisfaction during couerture: either her husband must doe it, or by imprisonment of her person must it be done. And c though she haue inheritance of her owne, yet can she not grant any annuitie out of it during her couerture, without her husband: if any deed be made to that purpose without his consent, or in her name alone, it is void in law. Yea, d if there be debate betweene the husband and his wife, whereby certaine lands of the husbands be assig∣ned to the wife with his consent, if out of such lands she grant an annuitie to a stranger, the grant is void. And e if he coue∣nant to giue her yeerely such and such apparell, she cannot dis∣pose it as she list without his consent, but only vse and weare it her selfe. f Neither can she lease her owne land for yeeres, for life, &c. if she doe, it is void, and the Lessee entring by force thereof, is a Disseisor to the husband, and Trespassor. And g if she sell any thing, the sale is void, except she be a merchant, where by the custome she is enabled to merchandize. Finally, h she cannot make executors without the consent of her hus∣band, nor a deuise, or will. i If she make a will, and thereby de∣uise her owne inheritance, and her husband die, and she after die without any new publication of it, it is of no force, because it was void at first. These and many other like cases which might be alleaged euidently shew that by law a wife hath not Page 297 power of her selfe, without her husband, to dispose the com∣mon goods of the familie.
§. 27. Of the inconueniences which may follow vpon a wiues disposing goods without or against her husbands con∣sent.
A fit reason may be taken from the mischiefes which would * fall out if this liberty were giuen vnto women: which are these that follow:
1. The estate of the family might be wasted before any re∣dresse could be thought of: for if the wife may dispose the goods without her husbands consent, it must also be granted without his knowledge: for it is to be supposed that if he knew of the disposing of that which he liketh not, he would hinder it: if without his knowledge, then may that which he thinketh to be remaining as a stocke for the family, be laid out by the wife, and nothing left: whereas if he knew of the spend∣ing of that stocke, it might be he would be more thrifty and sparing in other expences.
Obiect. This liberty is not granted to wiues beyond their husbands ability.
Answ. Wiues cannot alwaies know their husbands ability: for their husbands may be much indebted, and yet to main∣taine his credit, whereby he hopeth to raise his estate, may al∣low liberall maintenance for his house, if thereupon his wife shall gather that he is very rich, and accordingly be very boun∣tifull in her gifts, she may soone goe beyond his ability, and so increase his debt, as he shall neuer be able to recouer himselfe.
2. Persons of contrary religions and dispositions being * out of the family, might be maintained by the goods of the same family: for if the husband were of one religion, and the wife of another, he without her knowledge might maintaine those of his religion, and she without his knowledge might maintaine them of her religion.
Obiect. This liberty of disposing goods giuen to the wife is limited within the bounds of the houshold of faith.
Answ. If Diuines grant them this liberty, they will them∣selues iudge and determine who be of the houshold of faith: Page 298 Popish wiues will say (say we what we can to the contrary) that Iesuites, Priests, and Friers, are of the houshold of faith, principall members thereof.
3. Many iarres and contentions would thence arise betwixt * husband and wife: for if a wife shall persist to doe that which her husband will not consent vnto, assuredly one of a thousand will not well brooke it, but will rather seeke all the wayes he can to crosse her; thinking himselfe despised, if she, whether he will or no, haue her minde.
Obiect. Wiues must vse this libertie with all due respect vn∣to their husbands authoritie.
Answ. If the husband peremptorily stand vpon his au∣thoritie, and by all the faire meanes that can be vsed, will not yeeld this libertie, I know not what better respect she can shew to this authoritie, then to forbeare and abstaine from doing that which otherwise she would most gladly doe: But if when it commeth to the vttermost point, and she shall say it is her right, and if she cannot haue his consent, she will doe it with∣out his consent, she therein sheweth no great respect.
Many other inconueniences might be reckoned vp, but I will not longer insist on them, only from these let it be well con∣sidered, whether it were not better for a familie, that the hus∣band should be bard from disposing the goods without consent of his wife (so as there might be according to the prouerbe, but * one hand in the purse) then both husband and wife to haue libertie to dispose them without each others consent.
§. 28. Of propertie in goods, whether it giue libertie to dispose them as a wife will.
To iustifie a wiues libertie in disposing the common goods * of the family without her husbands consent, it is said, that she hath a true right and propertie in those goods.
1. Answ. Though it were granted that a wife hath a true property in the goods, yet this conclusion would not follow thereupon, that she hath power of her selfe to dispose the goods without her husbands consent: for the authoritie which God hath giuen an husband, and subiection which he hath laid on a wife, restraine her power and libertie in that Page 299 which is her owne: as for example, suppose * that a woman at the time of her mariage haue a lease for yeeres, or the ward∣ship of the body and lands of an infant, or haue it by gift or * purchase after mariage, she cannot giue it away whatsoeuer the extremitie be: but her husband may any time during couer∣ture, dispose of it: and such his disposition shall cut off the wiues interest. Or suppose that the only childe of her father be an inheretrix of land, and haue in her selfe (her father be∣ing dead) the full possession thereof: or that a widow haue the right vnto, and possession of her husbands estate, and thus possessed be maried to an husband, hath she being a wife liberty to dispose that estate which she brought with her with∣out or against her husbands consent? I thinke none will say it. Sure I am that what she giueth, lendeth, selleth, or otherwise disposeth without his consent, he if he will, may for his life∣time recouer againe: and yet no man will denie but that she hath the truest interest and propertie in the forenamed lands and inheritance.
Obiect. May she not as well dispose of her owne inheri∣tance, as of those goods, or reuenues which her husband gi∣ueth her?
Answ. No, for the gift of the husband is a generall con∣sent of his for her to dispose that which is giuen her as she seeth meet.
§. 29. Of the reasons against a wiues propertie in the common goods of the family.
2. Answ. It may safely be denied that a wife hath a proper∣tie in the common goods of the family whereof she is no heire, for property in goods is a ciuill matter, and to be limited ac∣cording to the law of man vnder which we liue. Where the law, or custome of the place, make all the children coheires, all haue an equall right to their seuerall parts: where the eldest only is made heire, he hath a right to all: where the youngest only is made heire, he hath a right to all: but neither the law of nations, nor of the land where we liue giue the wife a pro∣perty. a By the common law mariage is a gift of all the goods and chattels personall of the wife to her husband, so that no kinde of propertie in the same remaineth in her. b And all Page 300 personall goods and chattels during mariage giuen to the wife are presently ipso facto transferred (as to the property of them) to the husband. So that by our law she is so farre from gaining any property by her mariage in her husbands goods, as she loseth all the property she formerly had in her owne goods. Yea c her necessary apparell is not hers in property. While she remaineth a wife she is (to vse the law-phrase) vnder couert baron.d She can neither let, sell, alien, giue, nor otherwise of right make any thing away, no nor yet make a will so to dis∣pose any goods while her husband liueth without his con∣sent: which yet an husband may while his wife liueth, and that without or against her consent.
Obiect. The law states a wife in a great part of the husbands goods, prouiding for her iointer or thirds which the husband cannot make away without her consent.
Answ. This prouision is only for the time of her widowhood in case she ouerliue him: but for the time that she remaineth his wife he may make away all, and she can recouer none, till he be dead.
Obiect. This restraint of wiues is only in the court of men.
Answ. Seeing it is not against the law of God, it must also hold good in the court of Conscience. Nay it is agreeable to the law of God and grounded thereupon.
For (to omit the proofes before alleaged) what might be the reason that the daughters of Zelophehad, who were heires to their father, were forbidden to mary out of their fathers tribe, and that a law was made that no daughters that posses∣sed any inheritance should mary out of their fathers tribe, but because all that a woman had before mariage, passed vpon the husband and became his by vertue of mariage? This also for that purpose is by some not vnfitly, nor without probabilitie noted, that it is the common phrase of Scripture to terme hus∣bands * (but not wiues) rich, implying thereby that riches by a property appertaine to husbands: yea vsually in Scripture goods and lands are said to be the husbands.
Obiect. The wiues of Iaakob doe terme the goods which their husbands had theirs, saying, the riches which God hath taken from our Father is OVRS, Gen. 31. 16.
Page 301Answ. They vse the word Ours in opposition to their fa∣thers house, and in relation not to their persons, but to their * husbands family, and therefore they adde and our childrens: So as by that place no greater right can be proued for wiues, then for children. When the holy Ghost speaketh of the same goods, he saith not in relation to husband and wiues both, their flockes, their substance, but only in relation to the hus∣band, his flockes, his substance. For as in mixture of wine and water, though the greater quantitie be water, yet we call the whole, wine: so in the common goods of the family, though the wife should bring the greater part, we call all the husbands.
§. 30. Of answers to the reasons for a wiues property.
To proue a wiues property in the common goods of the family the reasons following are alledged.
1. Obiect. Mariage giuing a wife right of her husbands bo∣dy, * doth much more of his goods.
Answ. I denie the consequence. For the vse of the body is a proper act of the matrimoniall bond, wherein the difference betwixt superioritie and subiection appeareth not: the wife hath as great a power ouer the husbands body as the husband ouer the wiues: which is not so in the goods: no one thing can be named, wherein the power and authoritie of the husband more consisteth, then in the goods.
2. Obiect. In the forme of mariage the man saith to his wife, with all my worldly goods I thee indow.
Answ. 1. Those words are to be taken of the vse of his goods, and not of a property in them.
2. If an husband shall intend a property by them, that property which she hath thereby, she hath not by vertue of the generall law of mariage, but of his particualar free do∣nation.
3. In all countries those words are not vsed in the forme of mariage. If those words giue the wife her property, then such wiues as are maried without those words vsed, haue no pro∣perty: so as this cannot be a generall ground of liberty for all wiues.
3. Obiect. A wife hath as good an estate in her husbands Page 302 goods as the Church in Christs bloud: but there the Church hath a property.
Answ. Neither of those points can be proued. But if a wiues right in her husbands goods be as the Churches in Christs bloud, what is gotten thereby? The Church hath not power without or against Christs consent to dispose his bloud: The Church of Rome is counted a proud vsurping strumpet for taking vpon her so to doe.
§. 31. Of the priuiledges of wiues aboue Children and seruants in and about the goods of the familie.
Quest. Where then is the preferment of the wife aboue ser∣uants and children, if she haue not a property?
I answer, Much euery manner of way.
1. a There is due to her a more free and plentifull vse of all the goods, then vnto them.
2. By her place she hath the ordering and disposing of the goods allotted for the common vse of the familie: as was b before granted.
3. Her husband ought to giue her a portion to dispose as she shall see good, c as we shall after shew, when we come to the husbands duties.
4. She is a ioint gouernour with her husband ouer the children and seruants, as was shewed d before.
Againe I answer, that this argument might as well be al∣ledged against that feare, subiection, and obedience which the Scripture expresly requireth of wiues, and it might be de∣manded, if wiues must feare and obey their husbands and be subiect vnto them, where is their preferment aboue their chil∣dren and seruants. But e it hath beene shewed that though the same things for matter be required of wiues which are requi∣red of children and seruants, yet there is a great difference in the manner of performing them.
§. 32. Of examples and other reasons alleadged for libertie of wiues to dispose goods.
2. Abigails example is alleadged for a wiues libertie: and * the example of the good house wife described by Salomon.
Answ. 1. Abigails example was extraordinary; besides, who can tell whether the heart of her husband so trusted not in her Page 303 as he referred the whole gouernment of the house to her, and so she had a generall consent for what she did.
2. It is cleere that the other good-wife had her husbands consent for what she did: for besides that it is said the heart of her husband trusted in her, it is also said, that he praised her. Therefore he was neither ignorant of that which shee did, nor vnwilling she should doe it: it was neither without nor against his consent.
3. It is alleadged that wiues haue as great a care in getting * goods, or in preseruing them for the good of the familie: therefore it is iust and equall, that they should haue a like power in disposing them.
Answ. Though question may be made of the former part, at least for the greater sort and number of wiues, yet for answer to this reason I need not question it; for the consequence doth not follow, though that be granted. The right of disposing goods doth not simply rise from the care and paines of get∣ting and preseruing them: but from that order that the Lord hath beene pleased to set downe. A wise and industrious childe may be a meanes to raise and increase his fathers estate, when his father taketh little care and paines about it: yea a faithfull and wise steward or other seruant (as Iaakob and Io∣seph were) may doe much more by his paines and care in get∣ting and preseruing the goods of the familie, then his master: yet will it not thereupon follow, that such a childe, or such a seruant hath as great a right and power to dispose such goods as his father or his master.
4. The neere coniunction betwixt man and wife is allea∣ged: * they are said to be yoake-fellowes, and thence is inferred that they haue a like power in disposing goods.
Answ. They are yoak-fellowes in mutuall familiaritie, not in equall authoritie; and in relation to others as children and seruants, not in opposition each to other. In this respect she is subiect, not equall. If therefore he will one thing, and she another, she may not thinke to haue an equall right and power, she must giue place and yeeld.
§. 33. Of the*subiection of wiues in distributing goods to charitable vses.
Some that grant that a wife is so subiected to her husband in a ciuill manner, as she may not dispose any part of his goods at her pleasure to any ciuill vse, denie this subiecti∣on to extend to giuing of almes, and such like charitable vses.
Before I come to determine this question, let it be remem∣bred, that it was before granted, that a ordinarie dutie must giue place to extraordinarie need, so that releefe in present necessitie is not controuerted. Let it be also remembred that b a wife may haue goods proper to her selfe, yea c it shall be shewed that an husband ought according to his abilitie to commit something to her discretion and disposition: of these and such like goods she is as much bound as her husband to expend something to charitable vses: and (as God offe∣reth occasion) dto reach forth her hand to the poore and needy.
Yea further let this be premised, that in case a wife be for∣bidden or restrained by her husband, she ought to vse all the good meanes she can by her selfe and her friends to moue her husband to grant her some libertie, that she may haue some triall of her mercifull and charitable disposition: if herein she cannot preuaile, then she ought to make knowne vnto her husband such persons cases as she thinkes meet to be relee∣ued, and vse all the motiues she can to perswade him to afford them some releefe.
But put the case a wise, religious, mercifull wife, be maried * to a couetous worldling, who though he haue wit, and vnder∣standing enough to manage ciuill affaires, and to prouide for the outward temporall estate of the house, yet hath no heart to releeue the poore, and is not only vnwilling himselfe to doe good in that kinde, but will not suffer his wife to doe it, whether may a wife priuilie take of such goods as he hath re∣serued to his owne disposing, and simply without any kinde of consent distribute them to charitable vses, or though he expresly forbid her, yet directly against his consent dis∣pose them?
Page 305 With reuerend respect to better iudgements, I thinke she may * not (except before excepted.) For it being before proued in ge∣nerall, that she had no such liberty in disposing goods, I cannot see how this particular end of giuing almes can dispence with her generall subiection in euery thing, except there were some particular warrant for it in Gods word.
§. 34. Of generall exhortations to works of mercy. How far they binde wiues.
Obiect. The many generall exhortations vnto workes of mer∣cy, which without limitation to any particular persons, are inde∣finitely directed to all, doe giue sufficient warrant to wiues: such as these, aGiue almes.bLet vs doe good.cTo distribute forget not, &c.
Answ. All these are strong motiues to prouoke wiues to be mercifull and charitable in such things as they may, by any means with their husbands consent, or in such things as by their hus∣bands are giuen to them. Yea also they are strong motiues to pro∣uoke husbands to allow them liberty to giue almes. But in the case propounded they giue no liberty to wiues: for it is a ruled case laid downe by Christ himselfe, that workes of charity must be done, and almes must be giuen of such things das we haue, or which are in our power to giue. Now if the husband will not giue her that power, she hath not power to giue, and so is excu∣sed. * In this case her true will, and her faithfull and earnest desire shall be accepted for the deed, according to that which the Apo∣stle saith, if there be first a willing minde, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not. Many cases may be giuen wherein inferiours are restrained from workes of mercy; as suppose a sonne or seruant be desirous to visit one sicke •r in prison, but his Parent or Master (though leaue be asked) will not suffer him, but charge him not to stirre out of doores, or •o goe with him another way, shall this sonne or seruant not∣withstanding that charge, doe that worke of mercy?
§. 35. Of obedience to an husband in such things as he sinfully forbiddeth.
Obiect. 2. This restraint is not in the Lord, but rather against him and his word, therefore a wife is not bound thereunto.
Answ. Though the husband sinne in restraining his wife, yet Page 306 shee in that restraint may obey, and that in the Lord: because the Lord who hath commanded her to be subiect in euery thing, hath no where warranted her not to be subiect in this particular. It is expresly said in the law concerning a wiues vowes, that if her hus∣band breake them after he hath heard them, he shall beare her ini∣quity.* Did not he then sinne in restraining her, and was not she guiltlesse though she yeelded to his restraint? The condition be∣twixt husbands and wiues in this case, is not vnlike the case be∣twixt other superiours in authority, and their inferiours in subie∣ction. But other inferiours may lawfully abstaine from such things as their gouernours doe sinfully charge them to abstaine from. For suppose a sonne growen to be a man, liue in his fathers house at his fathers finding, and haue no set portion of his owne, and his father will not giue him leaue to bestow any thing on chari∣table vses, is he now bound to giue almes? shall the curse be exe∣cuted on him if he giue not? A crosse indeed I acknowledge it to be, both to such a sonne, and also to a wife to be so restrained: but not a curse or sinne; the sinne and curse lieth on their head, who restraine them by vertue of their authority, wherein they abuse their authority: as other gouernours may do and oft do, and yet neither liberty granted thereby to subiects, nor authority taken from gouernours. In this resemblance betwixt a sonne and a wife I desire not to be mistaken; for I alleadge it not to make the state of a wife and a sonne all one: but to shew that those generall precepts of giuing almes, may haue their exceptions, as they which in particular handle that point, giue other examples. There must therefore be a further ground then the generall commande∣ment of almes-giuing to proue the forenamed liberty of wiues.
§. 36. Of Zipporahs case in circumcising her sonne.
Obiect. 3. A wife was made to be an helpe to her husband: in those things therefore wherein he faileth, she must make sup∣ply, as Zipporah who performed a duty which belonged to her * husband, and not vnto her.
Answ. She may be an helpe in many other things, though this be out of her power: yea and in this also by counsell, perswasion, and other like meanes she may be a great helpe. The case of Zip∣porah was extraordinary, and of an vrgent present necessity, euen to saue the life of her husband. Besides, Moses was of himselfe Page 307 vnable to doe it, but willing that she should doe it. Now what is this to ordinarie cases, and such cases as husbands are able enough themselues to doe, but altogether vnwilling that it should be done by their wiues? *
But what if Zipporahs example herein be not warrantable? for it doth not appeare that it was simply approued of God: God doth oft remoue temporary iudgements for the very workes sake that is done, though in the manner it be sinfully done. Instance the repentance of Ahab, 1. King. 21. 29.
§. 37. Of the wife of Chuzas case in ministering to Christ.
4. Obiect. Ioanna the wife of Chuza, Herods steward, mini∣stred vnto Christ of her substance without her husbands con∣sent.
Answ. If this could be proued it were somewhat to the purpose; but this clause without her husbands consent (wherein the maine state of the question consisteth) is not in the text, nor by any good probabilitie can be gathered out of it. All the shew of probabilitie that can be shewed for it is, that Ioanna is there said to be the wife of Chuza, Herods steward. But to shew that that is nothing, let it be noted,
1. That phrase doth not imply that Chuza was then liuing. It is said that Dauid begat Salomon of the wife of Vriah, but *Vriah was not then liuing: therefore the translators for perspi∣cuitie sake doe insert these words (her that had beene) the wife of Vriah. So likewise Onan is commanded to goe in to his *brothers wife, yet doth not this imply that his brother was then liuing.
Obiect. Why should mention be made of Chuza, Herods steward, if he were not then liuing?
Answ. To shew that Ioanna was a woman of great place, whereby this fruit of her faith in following Christ was the more commended. Thus in another kinde Matthew is intitled *the Publican, after he had cleane relinquisht that office, the more to commend his faith.
I doe not here directly affirme that Chuza was then dead, but for ought that this phrase doth imply, he might be dead.
2. Some gather that this steward was that Ruler whose * sonne Christ healed, who thereupon beleeued with all his house.Page 308 Which if he were, then it cannot be doubted, but that his wife followed Christ with his good liking and consent.
3. Chuza being Herods steward, and so a man of great place, and publike imploiment, might, if he were then liuing, depute the managing of all affaires at home to his wife, as the * husband of the good wife commended by Salomon, and so she might haue at least a generall consent.
I doe not certainly determine any of these expresly to be so, I doe but note them as probabilities, yet such as doe suffici∣ently ouerthrow the surmised libertie of a wife in giuing almes without any consent of her husband: for this of all other pro∣babilities seemeth to be most improbable. Into my heart it can neuer enter to imagine that Christ would giue such an occasion of slander vnto his enemies, as to say he caried about with him other mens wiues, without or against the consent of their husbands, and suffered them to spend the goods of their hus∣bands vpon him. I had much rather thinke that either such women as followed him had no husbands liuing, or if they had, that they did that which they did with the consent of their husbands.
§. 38. Of the*restraint of wiues about allowance for them∣selues or families without their husbands consent.
That which hath hitherto beene deliuered concerning a wiues subiection in disposing goods, may also be applied to other things concerning her selfe, children, seruants, &c. whereof I will giue some examples.
A wife hath not power to appoint what she list her selfe without or against her husbands consent, either for her owne allowance, or for her family; she must rather rest satisfied with that which he appointeth: for he being the head, must haue the ouer-ruling stroake therein. Besides he better knoweth what may be afforded.
Quest. What if an husband make himselfe poorer then he is: and the allowance which he appointeth be meaner then his meanes, and vnbeseeming his place and state?
Answ. She ought, if possiby she can by her owne instant perswasion, or any other faire meanes, moue him to that which tendeth to his honour and reputation: but if she can Page 309 no way preuaile, her subiection requireth contentment and patience.
§. 39. Of a wiues*subiection to her husband about children.
A wife may not simply without, or directly against her hus∣bands consent, order and dispose of the children in giuing them names, apparelling their bodies, appointing their cal∣lings, places of bringing vp, mariages, or portions.
1. For giuing names to children, besides that it is through∣out * the Scripture for the most part enioyned to the husband, as to aAbraham, to bZacharias, and to others, and that accor∣dingly husbands haue ordinarily done, as cAdam,dLamech,eAbraham, and others. It is to be noted that when there was a difference betwixt the man and his wife in giuing a childes name, he giuing one name, she another, the name which he gaue, stood; though fRachel named her youngest sonne Ben∣oni, yet Beniamin (which name Iaakob gaue) was the childes name. So also when gElizabeth told her friends that her childes name must be Iohn, they would not rest therein, till Zacharias had ratified that name. Yea though Ioseph were but the supposed father of Iesus, yet because he was the hus∣band of Mary the mother of Iesus,h he had this honour gi∣uen him, to giue the name vnto her childe.
2. For appointing place and mariage it is noted that lRe∣bekah* asked the consent of her husband: though she told her sonne Iaakob that he should goe to Haran to his vncle Laban to be there kept in safety from the fury of Esau, yet she would not send him till mIsaak had giuen his consent for his abode there, and taking a wife from thence.
3. For deputing vnto a calling, it is noted of nAnnah, that * though before her childe was borne she had by solemne vow dedicated him to the Lord, yet when the childe was borne * she asked her husbands consent about it. *
4. That which is noted of pAnnahs carrying a little coat toPage 310her sonne yeare by yeare when she went vp with her husband, sheweth that she did it not without her husbands consent. Women are for the most part prone to pranke vp their chil∣dren aboue their husbands place and calling, and therefore good reason that therein they should be gouerned by their husbands.
What if husbands be more forward to haue their children attired vainly and vnseemely, then wiues?
Answ. A wife must doe what she can to hinder it: if she can no way preuaile with him, she by reason of her subiection is much more excused, then he could be, if he would suffer his wife therein to haue her will.
5. The law that layeth the charge vpon husbands to giue * such and such portions to his children, and the answerable practise of husbands from time to time, shew that the wife of her selfe hath not power to order them.
§. 40. Of a wiues*subiection to her husband about ordering seruants and beasts.
If wiues must haue their husbands consent in ordering and disposing of their children which come out of her wombe, much more of their seruants.
They may not take in, or thrust out seruants against their husbands minde. In this point, as in many other, Sarah ma∣nifested her wiue-like obedience; in that a she would not deale roughly with her maid though she were prouoked: much lesse b put her out of doores till she had made the matter knowne to her husband. Though she failed in the manner, yet in the thing it selfe she is a good example. It is further noted and approued in the c Shunemite that she asked her husbands consent about sending a seruant with her.
My meaning is not that such wiues as haue seruants allowed them to attend vpon them should aske their husbands con∣sent whensoeuer they haue occasion to vse them; for their husbands by allowing them men for their attendance manifest their will and consent that they may vse them as they see occasion: but that they should not vse and imploy their ser∣uants in such things as they know their husbands would dislike, except they can gaine their husbands consent.
Page 311 Against those particulars of children and seruants it may be obiected, that wiues are parents of their children as well as husbands, and mistresses of seruants as well as they masters, and therefore haue altogether as great power ouer them as their husbands.
Answ. Indeed if the authority of the husband come not betweene, that may be granted in relation betwixt her and them: but her power being subordinate to her husbands in relation to him she hath not so great a power: the power of a wife that now we speake of is directly in relation to her husband.
The like may be said of their beasts and cattell, a particular point noted also in the example of the Shunemite, who ha∣uing occasion to vse a beast went to her husband, and said, send I pray thee with me one of the asses.*
§. 41. Of a wiues*subiection in entertaining strangers iourny∣ing abroad, and making vowes.
If wiues may not at their pleasure vse the things appertai∣ning to the house, much lesse may they bring strangers into the house and entertaine them without or against their hus∣bands consent. The good Shunemite so often named as a pre∣sident * for good wiues, first asked her husbands consent, before she lodged a Prophet of the Lord.
The same patterne is also commended vnto wiues to moue them not to iourney abroad without their husbands consent. For though that good wife had a very weighty and iust oc∣casion * to goe vnto the Prophet, yet she would not before she knew her husbands minde.
As for a wiues power to make vowes, in that the law giueth an husband power to disanull her vow when he knoweth it, it implieth that she ought to haue his consent in making it, if * at least she desire to haue it established, which she ought to de∣sire, or else she mocketh God.
I haue thought good to mention these particular points for illustration of a wiues subiection, because they are all of them grounded on Gods word: many other might be added to them, but these are sufficient.
§. 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.
§. 43. Of a wiues actiue Obedience.
It is a good proofe and triall of a wiues obedience, to abstaine from doing such things as otherwise she would doe, if her hus∣bands contrarie will did not restraine her: but yet that is not suf∣ficient, there must be an actiue, as well as a passiue obedience yeel∣ded. That old Law before mentioned (thy desire shall be subiect to thine husband, and he shall rule ouer thee) implieth so much al∣so. If she refuse to doe what he would haue her to doe, her desire is not subiect to him, but to her selfe, neither doth he rule ouer her.
This actiue part of her obedience hath respect
1. To his commandements, readily to doe what he lawfully * commands.
2. To his reproofes, carefully to redresse what he iustly bla∣meth.
For the first, so farre ought a wife to be from thinking scorne to be commanded by her husband, that the very knowledge which by any meanes she hath of her husbands minde and will, •ought to haue the force of a straight commandement with her. This readinesse to obey is commended in the wiues of Iaakob, to whom when Iaakob had declared what motiues he had to depart from their fathers house, intimating thereby that he meant to de∣part, and would haue them to goe with him, yet before he parti∣cularly expressed his will, they readily answered, Whatsoeuer God*hath said vnto thee, doe: whereby they gaue him to vnderstand that they were ready to yeeld vnto whatsoeuer he would haue done.
§. 44. Of a wiues willingnesse to*dwell where her husband will.
To make this part of a wiues obedience somewhat more cleare, I will exemplifie it by two or three particular instances, recorded and approued in Gods word.
The first is, that a wife ought to be willing to dwell where her husband will haue her dwell.
The wiues of Abraham, Isaak, and Iaakob, herein manifested their wiue-like obedience: though their husbands brought them from their owne countrey, and from their fathers house, yet they refused not to goe with them, but dwelt in a strange countrey, and that in tents.
Page 316 Note in particular what Iaakobs wiues say to their husband in this case, Is there any portion or inheritance for vs in our fathers*house? implying thereby, that seeing it was their husbands plea∣sure to be gone, they would not any longer tarry in their fathers house, to looke for any more portion or inheritance there.
These examples doe further shew that if an husband haue iust occasion to remoue from one country to another, and in those countries from place to place, his wife ought to yeeld to goe with him, if he require it at her hands. Note what the Apostle saith, haue we not power to lead about a wife? That interrogation * implieth a strong asseueration. The husband then hauing power to lead about a wife from place to place, she ought to submit her selfe to that power. This clause (as well as other Apostles, and as the brethren of the Lord and Cephas) sheweth, that this was not only a power which might be vsed, but which was vsed by hus∣bands, and yeelded vnto by wiues.
Obiect. The forenamed examples are extraordinary, and that vpon extraordinary occasions.
Answ. Yet they may be patternes for ordinary occasions which are lawfull and warrantable. Was it not an extraordi∣nary fact of Eliah to pray first that there might be no raine, and * then againe that there might be raine? yet is this propoun∣ded as a generall patterne to moue vs to pray for things law∣full.
Now in laying downe this dutie I added the clause and ca∣ueat of iust occasion, to meet both with such as vpon discon∣tent, or superstition, leaue the land where the true Gospell is maintained, and preached, and goe into idolatrous places: and also with such wandring giddy heads as only to satisfie their owne humour, and to see fashions, as we speake, can ne∣uer rest in a place, but are continually remouing from countrey to countrey, and from place to place: I thinke (to vse the words of the Apostle) a wife is not vnder bondage in such cases.*
But if a man be sent of an ambassage by his Prince, or coun∣trey: or if a Preacher or Professor be called into another countrey, as Bucer and Peter Martyr were into England in King Edwards daies (which to this day is vsuall in other coun∣tries) or if a man be adiudged vnto long imprisonment, and Page 317 vpon these and other like occasions shall require his wife to be with him, she ought in dutie to yeeld vnto his demand.
Contrary is the minde and practise of many wiues, who * being affected and addicted to one place more then another, as to the place where they were bred and brought vp, where their greatest, best, and most friends dwell, and where they haue good acquaintance, refuse to goe and dwell where their husbands calling lieth, though he require, and desire them ne∣uer so much. Thus many husbands are forced to their great dammage for peace sake to yeeld vnto their wiues, and so either to relinquish their calling, or to haue two houses; whence it followeth, that sometimes they must neglect their seruants and calling, and sometimes be absent from their wiues, if not from their children also. Some wiues pretend that they can∣not endure the smoake of the citie, other that they cannot en∣dure the aire of the countrie: whereas indeed their owne hu∣mour and conceit stuffes them more then either citie smoake or countrie aire. I cannot call such the daughters of Sarah herein: * they are not like those forenamed holy women that trusted in God, and were subiect to their husbands, but rather like to that light housewife of the Leuite, who would not dwell in her hus∣bands * house at mount Ephraim, but at her fathers house in Beth-lehem Iudah. Such wiues as I speake of, in matrimoniall chastitie may be more honest, but in wiuelike subiection are little more dutifull. Let this be taken for a fault, and it will be the sooner amended.
§. 45. Of a wiues*readinesse to come to her husband when he requires it.
Another particular instance of a wiues readinesse to yeeld vnto her husbands commandement is, to come to her husband when her husband requireth it, either by calling her, or sending for her. The forenamed a wiues of Iaakob being sent for to their husband in the field where he was, made no excuse, but came presently. So farre ought wiues herein to subiect their wills to their husbands, that though it may seeme to them some disparagement to come, yet if their husbands will haue it so they must yeeld, otherwise they seeme euen to bdespise their husbands.
Page 318 Contrary is Vashtie-like stoutnesse, when wiues thinke and * say, it is a seruants part to come when they are called or sent for, and they will neuer yeeld to be their husbands seruants, to come at his command. By the same reason may all duties of subiection be reiected. But for this particular, let such stout * dames note the issue of Vashties stubbornnesse. As many excuses might be alleaged for her as I thinke for any: for First, she was * royally descended, being the daughter of a King. Secondly, she was then among the honourable women of the kingdome. Thirdly, the King was in drinke when he sent for her. Fourth∣ly, he sent for her to shew her beautie before multitudes of men, which was not seemely. But all these were not sufficient to excuse her fault, and free her from blame. First, though she were of royall parentage, yet she was a wife, and her husband sent for her. Secondly, being among the noble women of the kingdome, she should the rather haue shewed her selfe a pat∣terne of subiection in this kinde. Thirdly, though he were in drinke, yet remained he an husband: and the thing which he commanded was not such but that she might haue done it without sinne. Fourthly, if she thought the thing vnseemely, she should first haue vsed all the faire meanes she could to haue beene spared; but if by all she could not haue preuailed, then (the thing being not simplie vnlawfull and a sinne) she should haue yeelded.
Obiect. Her fault was not in that as a wife she came not to her husband, but in that as a subiect she came not to her Soueraigne.
Answ. Her fault was in both: and in the iudgement passed against her, that former was most vrged, namely that by her * example all women might learne to despise their husbands.
2. Obiect. Her fact is so censured but by heathen men, that had no vnderstanding of Gods word.
Answ. 1. The holy Scripture by the seuerall circumstances so distinctly noted intimateth that her rebellious fact was a notorious fault: and accordingly both * iudicious commen∣ters, and also Preachers doe taxe her of sinfull disobedience to her husband.
2. Though they were heathen, yet they shewed what sub∣iection Page 319 is required of wiues to their husbands by the very light of nature, whereby this sinne is aggrauated.
3. Abimelech was but a heathen man, yet his sentence con∣cerning a womans subiection in these words, he is to thee a*couering of the eyes, is taken to be iudicious, and being appro∣ued by the holy Ghost, to be a good proofe. As for that parti∣cular of Uashtie, why is it so largely recorded in the Scrip∣ture but for instruction, and admonition vnto wiues?
§. 46. Of a wiues readinesse to*doe what her husband re∣quireth.
A third particular instance of a wiues readinesse to yeeld vn∣to her husbands commandement, is, to performe what businesse he requireth of her. When of a sudden there came three men to Abram, and he was desirous to entertaine them, he bid his wife make readie quickly three measures of meale, &c. and she * did it accordingly. Ieroboam hauing a weightie occasion to send to Ahijah the Prophet, thought it meet to send by his * wife, she accordingly (though a Queene) went: she did as her husband would haue her.
Contrary is the humour of many wiues who will not doe * any thing vpon command. If such a wiues husband being desirous to entertaine a friend on the sudden, shall vse Abrams phrase, make readie quickly, &c. she will say, let him come and doe it himselfe, if he will haue it so quickly done, I will not be his drudge: or if, hauing a matter of moment and se∣crecie, he will his wife her selfe to doe it, she will reply, I am none of your seruants; cannot you put it to one of them, or doe it your selfe? Yet will such wiues be ready to command their husbands to doe euery toy, and if he doe it not, they can reply, is this such a matter? and may not a wife speake to her husband? Were the point of obedience well learned, it would cast such wiues into another mould.
These few particulars may serue for direction in many hundreds. I proceed to the other part of a wiues actiue obe∣dience, which respecteth the reproofes of her husband.
§. 47. Of a wiues*meeke taking a reproofe.
The husband hauing authoritie ouer his wife, by vertue thereof he hath power, yea it is his dutie as there is needfull Page 320 cause to rebuke her: By iust consequence therefore it follow∣eth, * that it is her dutie to yeeld obedience thereunto. Which ought the rather to be done because the chiefest triall of sound obedience lieth herein. For nothing goeth so much against ones stomach as reproofe: she that yeelds when she is rebuked, will much more when she is intreated. This point of obedi∣ence is manifested two waies.
1. By meeknesse in taking a reproofe.
2. By endeuour to redresse what is iustly reproued. The very point of obedience especially consisteth in this latter: the former is as a good preparatiue thereunto, without which it will hardly be done, at least not well done.
Meeknesse in this case is one of the most principall fruits of * that meeke and quiet spirit which S. Peter commendeth vnto wiues. Howsoeuer Rachel iustly deserued blame for comming in a fuming chafe, and with an imperious command to her husband, yet in that she meekly tooke his sharpe reproofe (for she replied not against it, but meekly gaue a direction for the better accomplishment of her desire) her example is commen∣dable: commendable I say, not in the matter of her directi∣on, but in her patient bearing of reproofe.
Much wisdome may be learned hereby: for when any * meekly take a reproofe, thereby they suppresse their passion, and keepe it from rising as a cloud before their vnderstan∣ding and darkning it, and so may they better iudge of the matter reproued whether it be iust or no: and whether it need redresse or no: whereof they who are impatient of reproofe, and fret and fume against it, cannot so well iudge. The virgin Mary made good vse of Christs reprouing her, and thereby * learned and taught a good point of wisdome, namely so to referre our affaires to Christ as we expect his pleasure; and not prescribe time, meanes, manner, or any other like circumstan∣ces vnto him.
Quest. What if the husbands reproofe be bitter? *
Answ. He therein forgets his place, yet thereupon she must not forget her duty. If Iaakobs reproofe be well noted, we shall finde it very tart, for it is expresly said that his anger was kindle• against her, (Gen. 30. 2.) so as he spake in anger: the manner Page 321 and forme of his words being with an interrogation, and the * matter also, am I in Gods stead, &c. declare tartnesse: yet (as was declared before) she shewed meeknese.
Quest. What if his reproofe be vniust?
2. Answ. Yet may not meeknesse be forgotten. In such a case a wife may make a iust apologie to cleare her owne innocencie, and manifest her husbands error: but if he refuse to heare her, or will not beleeue her, then (as S. Peter speaketh in another * case) she must endure griefe for conscience toward God.
The two reasons which there he rendreth in that other case may not vnfitly be applied to this.
1. In generall this is thank-worthy, it is a grace, a glory to * her: a matter that deserueth praise and commendation.
2. In particular it is acceptable to God: howsoeuer their hus∣bands * may deale roughly and vntowardly with them, yet God will graciously respect them, if they shall patiently in obedi∣ence to his ordinance beare their husbands vniust reproofes.
3. I may adde this reason also, that thus they shall shew themselues good Christians indeed, in that they are not ouer∣come*of euill.
Contrary is their minde who by no meanes will brooke a rebuke at their husbands hands: it skills not whether it be iust or vniust: if their husbands reproue them, they shall be sure to haue the reproofe rebounded backe againe vpon their faces, and that with greater violence then euer it came from them. There be some that seeme to be very good wiues till they be tried by the touch-stone of reproofe: but then though the re∣proofe be for matter most iust, for manner most milde, and that in priuate betwixt their husbands and themselues, yet they grow so impatient, or rather mad, as they forbeare not to giue their husbands the most scornfull speeches that they can inuent, vsing withall bitter imprecations and execrations, and threaten to drowne or hang themselues if they be crossed of their wills. Yea further, if wise husbands shall forbeare them in their passion, and after it is allaied tell them how vnbesee∣ming their places they carried themselues, they will seeke to iustifie themselues, and lay all the blame on their husbands for crossing them in their will: or if they cannot but see their Page 322 fault, yet they will only say, it is my infirmitie: but yet euer continue in that infirmitie: and though they make shew of fearing God, yet labour not to purge this corrupt humour out of their hearts. Hence is it for the most part that contentions arise betwixt man and wife. If wiues would learne in this point to be subiect, many iarres, which from time to time a∣rise betwixt them, would be allaied, if not preuented. Mi∣chal* the wife of Dauid, and Iobs wife (though they gaue iust occasion to be most sharply reproued, yet) shall rise vp in iudgement against these wiues, because they were silent after they were reproued, and replied not. Salomon oft titles such as cannot beare rebuke scorners: so as hereby wiues shew that * they are very scornfull.
§. 48. Of a wiues*readinesse to redresse what her husband iustly reproueth in her.
A further degree of obedience in bearing reproofe is, that *a wife readily redresse what is iustly reproued by her husband: I say iustly, because where no fault is, there needs no amend∣ment: patience may be needfull (as was before shewed) but no repentance of that which is not amisse. But where any thing is amisse, there must be a redresse. Rachel did amisse in a brin∣ging Idols into her husbands house: her husband in b bid∣ding her among others to put away their strange gods, repro∣ued them all. Whereupon she with all the rest gaue to him all their strange gods. This was a good redresse.
A reproofe may be iustly giuen either for a good dutie omit∣ted; or for an euill thing committed: and accordingly must the redresse or amendment be. A dutie formerly omitted must after the reproofe be more carefully obserued and performed, if it be a continuall dutie, and may be againe performed: otherwise the redresse is a testification of true sorrow for that fault. When an euill is committed, if any meanes can be vsed to make vp the hurt, and redresse the mischiefe that fol∣lowed thereupon, it must be done: if not, sorrow as before, must be testified, and care taken that the same, or the like be not committed againe.
As a good conscience requireth as much of all Christians by whomsoeuer they be reproued, so the respect which a wife Page 323 oweth to an husband doth after an especiall manner require it. Otherwise her fault is doubled, 1. by continuance in her sin;
2. by disobedience to her husband.
Contrary is their spirit who for reproofe waxe the worse: * being like those scorners (of whom Salomon speaketh) that hate those that reproue them. It is the speech of some wiues, that if their husbands would let them alone they would doe the better: but vpon rebuke they will neuer amend: the more their husbands finde fault, the more will they goe on, in doing what they doe. What other iudgement can be giuen of such, then that which the wise man giueth, there is more hope*of a foole then of them.
§. 49. Of a wiues*contentment with her husbands present estate. Of submission hitherto.
Contentment is also a part of obedience: it hath respect to a mans outward estate and abilitie, in and with which a wife must rest satisfied and contented, whether it be high or low, great or meane, wealthy or needy, aboue, equall, or vnder that estate wherein she was before mariage: yea though a man haue beene sometimes great in estate, yet, if he decay therein, and be brought to a meane estate, she ought to rest content. Thus much Iob implieth in his replie to his wife, saying, shall we re∣ceiue*good at the hand of God, and not receiue euill? The euill he speaketh of was the losse of his goods, seruants, and children, to∣gether with other miseries that Satan through Gods permissi∣on inflicted vpon him: the receiuing of euill which he speaketh of was a resting content with it, and a patient bearing of it. Euill may be laid on any, and so they forced to beare it: but they on∣ly receiue it, who are content with it. Now in that he vseth the plurall number (WE) and speaking to his wife saith (shall not we receiue euill) he sheweth that his wife ought as well as he to haue rest contented in that poore and miserable estate: For
1. Man and wife being one flesh, by vertue of their matri∣moniall vnion, both his aduancement, and also his abasement is hers: as she riseth with him, so she falleth with him. Where∣fore as she is willing to be aduanced with him, so she must be content to be abased with him.
2. If at the time of mariage her husband was of meaner estate Page 324 then she, she voluntarily put her selfe into that meane estate: for a wife taketh her husband (as he her) for better for worse, for richer for poorer. And shall she not be content with her own act? If after mariage his estate decay, and wax meaner then it was, she is to be perswaded that by God it was so ordered, and that God aimed at her humiliation as well as his: and thereupon she ought in her dutifull submission to Gods ouer-ruling proui∣dence to be patient and content: this Iob implieth vnder this phrase, shall we not receiue euill at the hand of God? and vnder this, The Lord taketh away.
3. A wiues contentment is a great ease to her husband lying vnder a crosse: and it maketh the burden seeme much lighter then otherwise it would, if at least he be a kinde husband, and affected with his wiues passion, as he ought to be. For a louing husband in euery distresse is more perplexed for his wife, then for himselfe.
§. 50. Of wiues discontent at their husbands estate.
Contrary is the impatiencie, and discontent of wiues at * the meannesse, and (as they thinke) basenesse of their husbands estate: which is many waies manifested.
1. Some when they are maried finding their husbands estate * weaker then they imagined, repent their mariage, and sticke not to tell their husbands, that if they had before knowne them to be no better men then they finde them to be, they should haue beene no husbands for them. Wherein first they bewray their foolish indiscretion by saying, when it is too late, if I had*thought this; and withall they manifest their own rashnesse and vnaduisednesse, in that they gaue their hands and plighted their troth to those whom they knew not. If they say, they were deceiued by their friends whom they put in trust, I answer that mariage is too weightie a matter to be wholly referred ouer to the trust of friends: euery one that yeeldeth to be ma∣ried, ought wel to know the party vnto whom in this case they yeeld: and aboue all they ought to seeke direction, helpe, and blessing from God. If notwithstanding all the meanes which possibly they could vse, they be deceiued, they are to looke vnto God, and to behold his prouidence therein: and duly to weigh whether the Lord haue crossed their desire for their Page 325 humiliation, or for triall of their patience, wisdome and other like graces, or else to weine them from some vaine and world∣ly delights, whereunto they were too much addicted.
2. Others obseruing their husbands estate to be decaied * and wasted, neuer search after the occasion, but lay all the blame vpon their husbands, and with their discontented lookes, passionate words, and impatient cariage, so vex their hearts, as they make the crosse much more heauy then other∣wise it could be. Though the estate should be ouerthrowne by the vnthriftinesse of an husband, yet ought a wife to looke vnto Gods prouidence therein, as was noted before.
3. Others scorning to stoope, and to come downe to their * husbands present condition, through their pride and vaine∣glory are a great means to make his estate much the worse: for they, so long as by any meanes they can get it, will not abate any thing of their braue apparell, dainty cheere, rich furniture, and other like things, which are causes of great expence to their husbands: hereby also it commeth oft to passe that hus∣bands are thought to be wealthier then indeed they are, and so greater taxations and charges then they can beare are laid vp∣on them for King, Countrey, Church, Poore, and the like.
4. Others, through discontent lie long lazing in their beds, * or idly sit still when they are vp, and will not take any whit the more paines to raise vp and increase their husbands estate: whereby God is prouoked more and more to weaken their estates, that so he may the more punish such pride and lazinesse in wiues.
§. 51. Of*cases wherein a wife ought not to forbeare what her husband forbiddeth.
So much of the distinct branches of a wiues subiection. The limitation and manner of performing it next followeth.
To know the limitation of a wiues obedience, and the man∣ner how she ought to yeeld subiection vnto her husband, two things must be considered:
- 1. The place of an husband.
- 2. The place of a wife.
The husbands place is noted in this phrase, as to the Lord:* whereby is shewed that the husband euen by vertue of his Page 326 place is to his wife in Christs stead: which is further more plainly laid downe in these words following, the husband is*the head of the wife, as Christ is the head of the Church.
The wiues place is intimated in these words, as the Church*is subiect vnto Christ, so let wiues be to their owne husbands: whereby it is cleere that the obedience which a wife perfor∣meth to her husband must be such an obedience as the Church performeth to Christ.
From the place of an husband, I gather this generall ground concerning a wiues subiection, that
Subiection must be yeelded to the husband as to Christ, whence will follow two conclusions, one negatiue, which is this,
The wife must yeeld no other subiection to her husband then what may stand with her subiection to Christ.
The other affirmatiue, which is this,
The wife must subiect her selfe to her husband in that manner that she would or should subiect her selfe to Christ.
The former is a necessary condition required of all inferi∣ours in their subiection, and obedience (as I shewed * before) much more in a wiues subiection to her husband, because there is of all vnequals * the least disparity betwixt husbands and wiues.
Hence for our present purpose, I gather these two other more particular conclusions, The first whereof is this,
1. If God expresly command the wife any duty, and her hus∣band will not by any meanes giue consent that she shall doe it, but for∣bid her, she may and ought to doe it without, or against his consent.
Two cautions are warily to be obserued about this con∣clusion: *
1. That the wife be sure that God hath commanded her that which she doth without or against her husbands consent. If she doubt, then she must stay, and for beare till she gaine his consent. When two opposite cases meet together, and the one be doubtfull, the other plaine and expresse: the doubt∣full case must giue place to the more euident. Now the law of subiection is indefinite, thy desire shall be subiect to thine hus∣band;* the extent of it is generall, in euery thing; the only re∣seruation and exception is in the Lord; wherefore if the wife Page 327 be not sure that that which her husband forbiddeth her is against the Lord, she must forbeare to doe it.
The second caution is that she vse all good meanes she can to gaine her husbands consent, before she doe, euen that which is commanded, against his consent. Thus shall she testifie her subiection both to God and her husband. To God, in that nothing can keepe her from doing his expresse commande∣ment: she will rather offend her husband then God, when one of them must needs be offended. To her husband, in that she putteth it to the vttermost push, and vseth all the meanes she can to auoid his offence, in so much as he himselfe might see (if the god of this world blinded not his eies) that the of∣fence is no way giuen on her part, but meerely taken on his.
For proofe of this, it is without all contradiction true, that the wife is not bound to greater subiection vnto her hus∣band then the subiect is vnto the magistrate: but a subiect ought not to forbeare a bounden duty commanded of God, be∣cause his gouernour forbids him. Instance the example of Da∣niel,* who daily made his praiers to God, though the King had made a solemne decree that none should aske any petition of God or man within thirty daies but of the king. Instance also the Apostles, * who preached the Gospel, thogh they were expresly forbiddē.
Though the Scripture be plentifull in affording examples of wiues subiection, yet it is very sparing in recording exam∣ples of those who in such warrantable cases refused to be sub∣iect, lest wiues from thence should take too great liberty.
Some are recorded, but such as are either extraordinary, or not euery way instifiable. Abigails example was extraordinary, * and therfore not imitable but in such like extraordinary cases.
The example of Rebekah, which may seeme somewhat more * pertinent, is not euery way to be iustified. For though the thing which she intended were for the substance of it very good, and ought to haue beene done, namely the blessing of Iaakob, (for God foreshewed that the blessing appertained to Iaakob, in that he said, The elder shall serue the younger) yet * because she put not her husband in minde of Gods word, nor laboured to perswade him to fulfill the same, but went about the matter deceitfully, she cannot therein be iustified. But in Page 328 the generall this example sheweth that Gods word must be yeelded vnto rather then an husbands will.
For better application of this point I will lay downe some particular instances agreeable to Gods word. Suppose a wife well instructed in the true religion be maried to an idola∣trous or profane husband, and he without any iust cause for∣bid her to goe to the Church, especially on the Lords daies, to pray in English, to read the word, to teach her children the principles of religion, to restore that which she hath vniustly and fraudulently gotten, with the like, she may, and must doe them notwithstanding.
Obiect. Why may not giuing of almes be reckoned among these?
Answ. 1. Because the husband hath a greater power ouer the goods, then ouer these things.
2. Because almes-giuing is not simply commanded to all, but to such as haue wherewithall to giue: but these things are simply commanded to all.
§. 52. Of cases wherein a wife ought to forbeare what her husband requireth.
The other particular conclusion is this, that
If an husband require his wife to doe that which God hath forbidden she ought not to doe it.
Two cautions like the former are likewise to be obserued * about this point.
First, that she be sure (being truly informed by Gods word) that that which she refuseth to doe at her husbands command, is forbidden by God.
Secondly, that she first labour with all meekenesse and by all good meanes that she can to disswade her husband from vr∣ging and pressing that vpon her, which with a good consci∣ence she cannot doe.
A like proofe may be brought for this as was for the for∣mer: for we know that a wife is not bound vnto greater sub∣iection to her husband then a sonne is vnto a father: but a sonne may in the case propounded forbeare to doe that which his father requireth and commandeth him to doe: instance the approued example of Ionathan, who refused to bring Da∣uid*Page 329 vnto Saul to be slaine, though his father commanded him so to doe. I might also instance the same in Sauls subiects and * seruants, who refused to slay the Priests of the Lord at his command. Though an husband be not reckoned in particu∣lar among those to whom we are forbidden to hearken if they * intice vs to idolatry, yet by the rule of relation he is implied, and by iust consequence gathered from this clause, thy friend which is as thine owne soule; for who so deare as an husband?
To exemplifie this in some particulars as I did the former, If an husband shall command his wife to goe to Masse, to a stage play, to play at dice, to prostitute her body to vncleannes, to goe garishly and whorishly attired, to sell by scant weights, short measures, or the like, she ought not to doe so.
§. 53. Of wiues faults in shewing more respect to their hus∣bands then to God.
Contrary to this limitation is on the one side a fawning flattering disposition of such wiues as seeke to please their husbands, so as they care not to displease God, (Iezabel was such an one; to please her husband most lewdly she did * practise Naboths death) and on the other side a fainting timo∣rous heart which maketh them feare their husbands more then they feare God. Good Sarah, that worthy president of * good wiues in other things, somewhat failed herein. Did wiues duly consider, and alwaies remember that they haue an husband (namely Christ) in heauen, as well as on earth, and that there is greater difference betwixt that and this husband, then betwixt heauen and earth, and that both in giuing re∣ward, and taking reuenge, there is no comparison betwixt them, their care of pleasing, or their feare of offending their husband in heauen would be much more then of pleasing, or offending their husband on earth: if any thing were comman∣ded or forbidden them by their husbands on earth against Christ, they would say, If I doe this, or forbeare that, I should worke falshood against mine owne soule; for nothing can be hid from mine husband in heauen: yea I should herein obey Satan, rather then God.
§. 54. Of the manner of a wiues subiection to her husband.
The second generall conclusion concerning the manner of a Page 330 wiues subiection, which was gathered from the place of an husband, was this, that
The wife must subiect her selfe to her husband in that manner, that she would or should subiect her selfe to Christ. The particle As in this clause (as vnto the Lord) importeth so much.
This verie conclusion is also inferred out of the place of a wife: In the same place that the Church is to Christ, a wife is to an husband: therefore such subiection as the Church yeel∣deth to Christ, must a wife yeeld to her husband; which the verie words of the Apostle doe expresly affirme. Now we * know that euerie Christian wife in her particular ought to yeeld that obedience to Christ which the Church in generall doth: therefore also she must yeeld such subiection to her hus∣band as she should to Christ.
Quest.* What if an husband be an enemie of Christ? must such subiection be yeelded to an enemie of Christ as to Christ himselfe?
Answ. Yea: because in his office he is in Christs stead, though in his heart an enemie. In this case will the wisdome, patience, and obedience of a wife be best tried. It is noted of the Church, that she is a Lilly among thornes. She remaineth * Lilly-like, white, soft, pleasant, amiable, though she be ioyned with thornes, which are scraggie, prickly, sharpe: so a wife must be milde, meeke, gentle, obedient, though she be mat∣ched with a crooked, peruerse, profane, wicked husband: thus shall her vertue and grace shine forth the more clearely, euen as the stars shine forth most brightly in the darkest night. Among wiues Abigail deserueth great praise, that forgot not her dutie, though she were maried to a churlish, couetous, drunken sot, a verie Nabal in name and deed. As for those who take occasion from the wickednesse of their husbands to neglect their dutie, they adde to their crosse a curse: for a crosse it is to haue a bad husband, but to be a bad wife is a sinne, which pulleth downe a curse. Let wiues therefore remoue their eyes from the dispo∣sition of their husbands person, to the condition of his place: and by vertue thereof, seeing he beareth Christs image, be sub∣iect to him as vnto Christ.
This generall conclusion might be applied to the matter of Page 331 subiection as well as to the manner, for the Church acknow∣ledgeth Christ her superiour, feareth him inwardly, reueren∣ceth him outwardly, obeyeth him also both by forbearing to doe what he forbiddeth, and also by doing what he comman∣deth, which points hauing beene before distinctly and largely handled and applied to wiues, I will not repeat them againe. Wherefore now to insist in the manner only, there are foure * vertues which are especially needfull hereunto, whereby the Church seasoneth her subiection to Christ, and wiues also may and must season their subiection to their husbands.
These are the foure,
1. Humilitie, 2. Sinceritie, 3. Cheerefulnesse, 4. Con∣stancie.
§. 55. Of wiues*humilitie in euery duty.
Humility is that grace that keepes one from thinking high∣ly of himselfe aboue that which is meet: and in regard of that meane conceit which he hath of himselfe maketh him thinke reuerendly, and highly of others: so as if humility be placed in a wiues heart, it will make her thinke better of her husband then of her selfe, and so make her the more willing to yeeld all subiection vnto him. The Apostle requireth it of all * Christians as a generall sawce to season all other duties: but af∣ter a peculiar maner is it needfull for inferiours: most of all for wiues, because there are * many prerogatiues appertaining to their place, which may soone make them thinke they ought not to be subiect, vnlesse they be humbly minded. That the Church doth herewith season her subiection, is cleare by the booke of Canticles, where oft she acknowledgeth her owne meannesse, and the excellency of her spouse.
Therefore as the Church is humbly subiect to Christ, so let wiues be to their husbands.
§. 56. Of wiues pride.
Contrary is pride, which puffeth vp wiues, & maketh them thinke there is no reason they should be subiect to husbands, they can rule themselues well enough, yea and rule their hus∣bands too, as well as their husbands rule them. No more pesti∣lent vice for an inferiour, then this: it is the cause of all rebelli∣on, disobedience, & disloyalty: only by pride, commeth contention.*
§. 57. Of Wiues*sinceritie in euery dutie.
II. Sincerity is that grace that maketh one to be within euen in truth, what without he appeareth to be in shew. This is that aSinglenesse of heart which is expresly required of seruants, and may be applied to wiues, for indeed it appertaineth to all sorts. Because it is only discerned by the Lord, who is the bsearcher of all hearts, it will moue a wife to haue an eye to him in all she doth, and to endeuour to approue her selfe to him aboue all: therefore vprightnesse and walking before God are oft ioyned together: he that is vpright will assuredly walke before God, that is, endeuour to approue himselfe to God, as cNoah did, and as d God commanded Abraham to doe.
Though there were no other motiue in the world to moue her to subiection, yet for conscience sake to Christ she should yeeld it. eS. Peter testifieth of holy women, that they trusted in God and were subiect to their husbands: implying thereby, that their conscience to God made them be subiect to their hus∣bands. Was not Sarahs subiection seasoned with sinceritie, when fwithin her selfe, in her heart she called her husband Lord?
Great reason there is that wiues should in sincerity subiect * themselues: for
1. In their subiection euen to their husbands they haue to * doe with Christ, in whose roome their husbands stand: so as, though their husbands who are but men, see only the face and outward behauiour, yet Christ seeth their heart and inward disposition: though their husbands see only the things which they doe before their faces, and can heare only of such things as are done before others: yet Christ seeth and knoweth the things that are done in the most secret places that can be, when no creature beside themselues is priuie thereunto: Now let it be granted that in their outward carriage they giue very good contentment vnto their husbands, and please them euery way, yet if sinceritie haue beene wanting, with what face can they appeare before Christ? he will take another manner account of them: before Christ all their outward complement will stand them in no stead at all.
Page 333 2. Herein lyeth a maine difference betwixt true, Christian, * religious wiues, and meere naturall women: these may be sub∣iect on by-respects, as namely, that their husbands may the more loue them, or liue the more quietly and peaceably with them, or that they may the more readily obtaine what they de∣sire at their husbands hands, or for feare of their husbands displeasure and wrath, knowing him to be an angry, furious man, so as otherwise it might be worse with them, they might want many needfull things, or carry away many sore blowes if they were not subiect. But the other haue respect to Christs ordinance, whereby their husbands are made their head, and to his word and will, whereby they are commanded subiecti∣on. Thus g holy women subiected themselues; they cannot be holy that doe not thus subiect themselues: for this is a sweet perfume that sendeth forth a good sauour into Christs nostrils, and maketh the things we doe pleasant and acceptable to him.
3. The benefit of this vertue being planted in a wiues heart * is very great, and that both to her husband, and also to her selfe.
To her husband, in that it will make her manifest her respect of him before others, behinde his backe, as well as before him∣selfe in his presence: and also will make her faithfull to him, and carefull to doe his will wheresoeuer he be, with her, or from her.
To her selfe, in that it will minister inward sweet comfort vnto her, though her husband should take no notice of her subiection, or mif-interpret it, or ill requite it; for she might say as Hezekiah did, nRemember ô Lord how I haue walked be∣fore thee in truth, and with a perfect heart, and haue done that which is good in thy sight.
That the Church doth season all her subiection with since∣ritie is cleare, in that she is said to be iall glorious within: (there is no glory within, without sinceritie) and in that she is oft said kto seeke him whom her soule loued: if her soule loued him, in sinceritie of heart she was subiect to him: Therefore as the Church is sincerely subiect to Christ, so let wiues be to their hus∣bands.
§. 58. Of wiues complementall subiection.
Contrary to sinceritie is dissimulation, and meere outward, complementall subiection: when a wife doth euen despise her husband in her heart, as Michal did Dauid and yet carry a faire * face before him, as that adulterous woman, who eateth, and wipeth her mouth, and saith I haue not committed iniquitie. Salomon maketh it a note of a lewd wife to flatter with her words.* Though such a wife should performe all the duties named be∣fore, yet would those all be nothing to God, if they were done with a double heart, and not in singlenesse of heart. For as ma∣ny outward imperfections are pardoned by God, where since∣ritie is, so no outward actions are accepted of him though they seeme neuer so faire, where there is no sinceritie.
§. 59. Of wiues*cheerefulnesse in euery dutie.
III. Cheerefulnesse is more apparant then sinceritie, and maketh subiection the more pleasing not only to God, but also to man, who by the effects thereof may easily discerne it.
For God, as he doth himselfe all things willingly and cheere∣fully, so he expecteth that his children should therein follow him, and thereby shew themselues his children. God loueth a*cheerefull giuer: not only a cheerefull giuer of almes, but of all dutie to God and man.
For men, it maketh them also much better accept any dutie when they obserue it to be done cheerefully: this did euen ra∣uish Dauid with ioy, to see his people offer their gifts willingly* vnto the Lord: when an husband seeth his wife willingly and cheerefully performe her dutie, it cannot but raise vp loue in him. This cheerefulnesse is manifested by a ready, quicke, and speedy performance of her duty. Sarahs readinesse to obey, * sheweth that what she did, she did willingly.
That thus the Church subiecteth her selfe to Christ is eui∣dent by that which Dauid saith, They shall be willing in the day*of thy power. Therefore as the Church is cheerefully subiect vnto Christ, so let wiues be to their husbands.
§. 60. Of wiues sullen and forced obedience.
Contrary to this cheerefulnesse is the sullen disposition of some wiues, who will indeed be subiect to their husbands, and obey, but with such a lowring and sowre countenance, Page 335 with such powting and muttering, as they grieue their hus∣bands more in the manner, then they can be pleased with the thing it selfe that they doe: herein they shew themselues like to a curst cow, which hauing giuen a faire soape of milke, ca∣steth all downe with her heele, and so verifie the prouerbe, A good neuer a whit as neuer the better. Such subiection is in truth no subiection, it can neither be acceptable to God, nor pro∣fitable to their husbands, nor comfortable to their owne soules.
§. 61. Of wiues*constancy in doing their dutie.
IIII. Constancy is a vertue which maketh all the rest per∣fect, and setteth the crowne vpon them; without which they are all nothing. This is in those who after they haue begun well, continue to doe well vnto the end, and thereby reape the fruit of all. It hath respect both to continuance without intermission, and also to perseuerance without reuolting, and giuing cleane ouer. So as it is not enough to be subiect by starts and fits: one while yeelding all good obedience, another while stout and rebellious: neither is it sufficient in former times to haue beene a good wife, and after proue bad: but there must be daily proceeding and holding on from time to time, so long as husband and wife liue together. This grace was in her of whom it is said, She will doe him good, and not euill all the daies of her life. Such were all the holy wiues commended in Scripture: among other particulars, mention is made of the wife of Phinehas, who on her death-bed shewed the reuerend * good respect she bare to her husband, though he were a wic∣ked and lewd man. This grace doth the Church adde to all her other vertues, she in all parts of her subiection remaineth con∣stant, & faithfull vnto the death, whereby it commeth to passe, that at length she receiueth the reward of her holy obedience, which is full and perfect communion and fellowship with her spouse Christ Iesus in heauen. In regard of her vnmoueable constancy it is said, that the gates of hell shall neuer preuaile a∣gainst*her. Therefore as the Church is constantly subiect vnto Christ, so let wiues be to their husbands.
§. 62. Of wiues repenting their former goodnesse.*
Contrary to this Constancie is first intermission of duty, a re∣turning Page 336 to it, and a leauing it off by turnes: like one that is sicke of an ague, sometimes well, sometimes ill, one while hot, another while cold. That sometimes ceasing taketh away all the vertue, grace and glory, from sometimes doing. Besides, it is twenty to one that through the corruption of nature, that di∣uersitie and entercourse of fits at length will cease, and end in the worse. It is very likely that Michal was such an one: for one while she shewed her selfe so full of respect to Dauid, as * for his sake she incurred the King her fathers displeasure: an∣other while in her heart she despised him, and with her tongue * taunted him.
Contrary also to the forenamed Constancy is Apostasie,* that is, a cleane relinquishing of the former good course, as if a wife repented her of her former good beginning. Such an one is she that is said to for sake the guide of her youth, and forget the*couenant of her God. For ought we reade to the contrary, Iobs wife was such an one. And such are many who in their youn∣ger yeares, while their religious parents liued (as Ioash while * old good Iehoiada liued) haue behaued themselues very well like good dutifull wiues, but being grown to elder yeeres, haue growne also so stout and rebellious, as if they cleane repented themselues of their former good beginning. This reuolt ariseth sometimes from the euill counsell of wicked Gossips, and some∣times from their owne proud humour. I may say of these wiues subiection, as the Prophet saith of the righteousnesse of reuolters, *their subiection shall not be remembred, but in their rebellion they shall die. Therefore as the Church is subiect to Christ, let wiues be to their husbands.
§. 63. Of the*extent of a wiues obedience.
The extent of a wiues subiection (which remaineth now to be handled) is set downe vnder these generall termes (in euery thing) which are not so generally to be taken as if they admit∣ted no restraint or limitation, for then would they contradict such cautions as these, in the feare of the Lord, as to the Lord, in*the Lord. For man is so corrupt by nature, and of so peruerse a disposition, that oft he willeth and commandeth that which is contrary to Gods will and commandement: which when he Page 337 doth, that Christian principle laid downe as a ruled case by the Apostle must take place, we ought rather to obey God then men.*
Quest. Why then is this extent laid downe in such generall termes?
Answ. 1. To teach wiues that it is not sufficient for them to obey their husbands in some things, as they themselues thinke meet, but in all things whatsoeuer they be wherein the husband by vertue of his superioritie and authoritie hath power to com∣mand his wife. Thus this generall extent excludeth not Gods will, but the wiues will. Shee may doe nothing against Gods will; but many things must she doe against her owne will if her husband require her.
2. To shew that the husbands authoritie and power is very large: it hath no restraint but Gods contrary command, whereof if a wife be not assured, she must yeeld to her husbands will.
§. 64. Of a wiues*labouring to bring her iudgement to the bent of her husbands.
From that extent I gather these two conclusions:
1. A wife must labour to bring her iudgement and will to her husbands.
2. Though in her iudgement she cannot thinke that most meet which her husband requireth, yet she must yeeld to it in practise.
In the former of these, I say not simply that a wife is bound to bring her iudgement to the bent of her husbands; for he may be deceiued in his iudgement, and she may see his error, and then vnlesse her vnderstanding should be blinded, she cannot conceiue that to be true which he iudgeth so: but I speake of endeuour (when she hath not sure and vndeniable grounds to the contrary) to suspect her iudgement when its contrary to her husbands, and to thinke she may be in an error, and thereupon not be too per∣emptory and resolute in contradicting her husbands opinion. This submission euen of her iudgement respecteth not only things necessarie, for which her husband hath an expresse deter∣minate warrant out of the Scripture, but also things doubtfull & indifferent: for euen so farre doth this clause (in euery thing) extend: and the subiection of a wife respecteth not her practise only, but her iudgement and opinion also: which if she can bring to the lawfulnesse and meetnesse of that which her husband re∣quireth, Page 338 she will much more cheerefully performe it. To this purpose (as I take it) may be applied that exhortation of the Apo∣stle vnto women, that they learne in silence with all subiection:* which though it be principally meant of learning in the Church, yet it excludeth not her learning at home of her husband: for in the next words he addeth, I suffer not a woman to vsurpe authori∣tie ouer the man, but to be in silence.
§. 65. Of wiues ouerweening conceit of their owne wisdome.
Contrary is the presumption of such wiues as thinke them∣selues wifer then their husbands, and able better to iudge matters then they can. I denie not but that a wife may haue more vnder∣standing then her husband: for some men are very ignorant and blockish; and on the other side, some women well instructed, who thereby haue attained to a great measure of knowledge, and discretion; but many though they haue husbands of sufficient and good vnderstanding, wife and discreet men, yet thinke that that which they haue once conceiued to be a truth, must needs be so: and such is their peremptorinesse, that they wil not be brought to thinke that they may erre: but say they will neuer be brought to thinke otherwise then they doe, though all the husbands in the world should be of another opinion: not much vnlike to the Wisemans foole, who thinketh himselfe wiser then seuen men * that can render a reason.
§. 66. Of a wiues*yeelding to her husband in such things as she thinketh not to be the meet est.
The latter conclusion concerning a wiues yeelding in practise to that which her husband requireth, though she cannot bring her iudgement to thinke as he doth about the mee•nesse of it, * hath respect to indifferent things, namely, to such as are neither in their particulars commanded, nor forbidden by God: as the outward affaires of the house, ordering it, disposing goods, en∣tertaining guests, &c.
Quest. May she not reason with her husband about such mat∣ters as she thinketh vnmeet, and labour to perswade her husband not to persist in the pressing thereof, yea endeuour to bring her husband to see the vnmeetnesse (as she thinketh) of that which she seeth?
Answ. With modesty, humilitie, and reuerence, she may so Page 339 doe: and he ought to hearken vnto her, as the husband of the Shunemite did, 2. King. 4. 23, 24. but yet, if notwithstanding all that she can say, he persist in his resolution, and will haue it done, she must yeeld.
First, her subiection is most manifested in such cases: herein she apparantly sheweth, that what she doth, she doth in respect of her husbands place, and power: were it not for that, she would not doe it. Other things are not so euident proofes of her sub∣iection to her husband: for if he command her to doe that which God hath expresly commanded, and so she ought to doe it, whe∣ther her husband commanded it or no, it may be thought she doth it on Gods command, and not on her husbands. If her husband command her to doe that which God hath expresly forbidden, then ought she by no meanes to yeeld vnto it: if she doe, it may rather be termed a ioint conspiracie of husband and wife toge∣ther against Gods will (as S. Peter said to Sapphira the wife of Ananias, How is it that ye haue agreed together to tempt the*spirit of the Lord?) then subiection to the image of God in her husband.
Secondly, her yeelding in indifferent things tendeth much to the peace of the family, as subiects yeelding to their Magistrates in such cases maketh much to the peace of the Common wealth. For in differencies and dissentions one side must yeeld, or else great mischiefe is like to follow: now of the two, who should yeeld but the inferiour?
§. 67. Of wiues making their owne will their law.
Contrary is the custome of many wiues, who neuer will doe any more then they themselues thinke meet, though their hus∣bands require it neuer so much: surely they come farre short of this Apostolicall extent (in euery thing) though in their own eies they may seeme to be very much subiect. But when wiues will no further be subiect, then their owne iudgments, wils and affections concurre with their husbands, what can be thought but that they are subiect rather to their owne wils, then to the will of their hus∣bands? Many such wiues, from the least difference in iudgement & opiniō, euen in the smallest matters, take occasion to refuse sub∣iection, and thinke they haue warrant enough so to doe: whence oftentimes there ariseth much contention, the fault whereof li∣eth Page 340 especially on the wiues necke, though the occasion may arise from the husband: and I thinke that wiues themselues would so iudge of the like cases betwixt them and their children.
§. 68. Of care in choosing such husbands as wiues may without*griefe be subiect vnto.
Obiect. If the case be such betwixt man and wife, it is not good to marry.
Answ. This is no good inference; for all the seeming hard∣nesse of a wiues case is in the lewdnesse of an husband, who abu∣seth his place and power: and not in that subiection which is re∣quired by God. For if an husband carry himselfe to his wife as * God requireth, she will finde her yoke to be easie, and her sub∣iection a great benefit euen vnto her selfe. Wherefore I would exhort parties that are vnmaried, whether maidens or widowes, to be very carefull in their choise of husbands: and in their choise to respect aboue all, their good qualities and conditions, therein bearing the image of Christ, as well as in their office, and authoritie: so as their wiues may with ioy and comfort, not with griefe and anguish, be subiect vnto them: then will subiection proue a vexation, when the husband is an ignorant, profane, ido∣latrous, worldly, wicked man: wiues of such husbands are oft brought into many straits. Ye widowes and maidens who are free, be not too free and forward in giuing your consent to whom you know not: among other motiues, oft thinke of this point of subiection, to which all wiues are bound: this I say, both of the seuerall branches, and also of the extent thereof. After you are maried it is in vaine to thinke of freedome from subiection. By taking husbands, and giuing your selues to be wiues, you binde your selues to the law of the man, as long as he liueth. Then as you desire to be accepted of God, and to finde mercy and com∣fort from him, you must beare this yoke, how heauy and grie∣uous soeuer it seeme to be.
§. 69. Of the reasons to moue wiues to doe their duties.
Hitherto of wiues duties: The reasons noted by the Apo∣stle to enforce those duties now follow. They are laid downe in these words.
THe maine ground of all the reasons which the Apostle here intimateth, is taken from the place wherin God hath set an husband, which is first by consequence implied in these words, as to the Lord: and then more plainly and directly ex∣pressed in these, the husband is the head of the wife. The particle prefixed before these words (for) being a causall coniunction, doth shew, that they are here set downe as a reason, which is first propounded vnder a metaphor (head) and then amplified by that resemblance which an husband hath therein vnto Christ (euen as Christ, &c.) which resemblance is further com∣mended by the vertue and benefit that proceedeth from the head-ship of Christ properly, and of an husband also by con∣sequence, in these words (and is the Sauiour of the bodie.) Vpon an husbands resemblance vnto Christ, he inferreth that a wife should haue a resemblance vnto the Church, and so concludeth, Therefore as the Church is in subiection to Christ, so let wiues be to their husbands.
Out of the forenamed ground of a wiues subiection, and the seuerall amplifications thereof, and the inference thereup∣on made, fiue seuerall and distinct reasons may be gathered to enforce a wines subiection to her husband.
The first is taken from an husbands place: he is in the Lords stead to his wife (as to the Lord.)
The second from his office: he is an head to his wife.
The chird from the image he beareth, or from the resemblance betwixt him and Christ (euen as Christ &c.)
Page 342 The fourth from the benefit that his wife receiueth from him (he is the Sauiour &c.)
The fift from the example and patterne of the Church (as the Church is in subiection, &c.)
§ 70. Of an husbands place.
The place wherein God hath set an husband as it serueth * to direct a wife in the manner of her subiection, whereof I haue spoken * before, so also it serueth to moue a wife to yeeld such subiection as is required: which will euidently appeare by these two conclusions following from thence.
1. A wife by subiecting her selfe to her husband, therein is sub∣iect vnto Christ.
2. A wife by refusing to be subiect vnto her husband, therein refuseth to be subiect vnto Christ.
That these two conclusions are rightly and iustly gathered from the forenamed ground I proue by like conclusions which the holy Ghost inferreth vpon the like ground. It is euident that Christ Iesus, euen incarnat and made flesh, was in the roome and stead of his father, whereupon Christ said to Philip that desired to see the father, he that hath seene me hath seene the father: Now marke what Christ thence inferreth both on * the one side (he that receiueth me receiueth him that sent me) and on the other (he that honoureth not the sonne, honoureth not the father that sent him.) It is also euident that Ministers of the Gospell stand in the roome and stead of Christ: for thus saith the Apostle of himselfe and other Ministers, we are am∣bassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by vs, we pray you in Christs stead, &c. Now marke againe the conclusions inferred thereupon by Christ, on the one side, he that heareth*you, heareth me, and on the other, he that despiseth you, despiseth me. On this ground it was that God said to Samuel concer∣ning the people that reiected his gouernment, they haue not cast thee away, but they haue cast me away.*
To apply this reason, I hope such wiues as liue vnder the Gospell haue so much religion and piety in them as to ac∣knowledge, it becommeth them well to be subiect vnto the Lord Christ Iesus: here then learne one especiall and prin∣cipall part of subiection vnto Christ, which is to be subiect Page 343 vnto your husbands: thus shall you shew your selues to be the wiues of the Lord Christ, as the Apostle saith of obedient seruants, they are the seruants of God.*
Againe I hope none are so void of all religion and piety as to refuse to be subiect vnto Christ: here then take notice, that if wilfully yee refuse to be subiect to your husbands, yee wilfully refuse to be subiect to Christ: fitly on this ground may I apply that to wiues, which the Apostle speaketh of sub∣iects, whosoeuer resisteth the power and authority of an husband,*resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receiue to themselues iudgement.
A strong motiue is this first motiue. If it were duly consi∣dered of wiues, they would more readily, and cheerefully be subiect, then many are; they would not so lightly thinke of their husbands place, nor so reproachfully speake against Gods Ministers who plainly declare their duty vnto them, as many doe.
§. 71. Of an husbands office.
The second reason is like vnto this taken from an husbands * office, he is the wiues head: which is also vrged to this very pur∣pose in other places.
This metaphor sheweth that to his wife he is as the head of a naturall body, both more eminent in place, and also more excellent in dignity: by vertue of both which, he is a ruler and gouernour of his wife. Nature teacheth vs that this is true of the head of a naturall body: and the Apostle by intituling an husband, an head, teacheth vs that it is as true of an husband: whence it followeth, that it standeth with common equity, and with the light of nature, that the wife should be subiect to her husband. This argument doth the Apostle in plaine termes vrge in another place, saying, doth not nature teach you, &c.*
Goe therefore, ô wiues, vnto the schoole of nature, looke vp∣on the outward parts and members of your bodies. Doe they desire to be aboue the head? are they loth to be subiect vnto the head? Let your soule then learne of your body. Were it not monstrous for the side to be aduanced aboue the head? If the body should not be subiect to the head, would not de∣struction Page 344 follow vpon head, body, and all the parts thereof? As monstrous, and much more monstrous is it for a wife to be aboue her husband: and as great, yea and greater disturbance and ruine would fall on that family. The order which God hath set therein would be cleane ouerthrowne thereby: and they that ouerthrow it would shew themselues oppugners of Gods wisdome in establishing order. This reason drawne from nature is of force to moue very Pagans, and Sauages to yeeld subiection, how much more Christian wiues, it being also agreeable to Gods word, and ratified thereby?
§. 72. Of the resemblance betwixt Christ and an husband.
The third reason taken from an husbands resemblance vnto * Christ herein, addeth an edge vnto that former reason: in being an head, he is like Christ. So as there is a kinde of fel∣lowship and copartnership betwixt Christ, and an husband: they are brethren in office, as two kings of seuerall places.
Obiect. There is no equality betwixt Christ the Lord from heauen, and an earthly husband: the disparity betwixt them is infinite.
Answ. Yet there may be similitude, resemblance, and fel∣lowship: inequality is no hinderance to these. Two kings may be more different in estate then a subiect and a king; yet those two kings brethren and fellowes in office. There may be a resemblance where there is no parity, and a likenesse where there is no equality. The glorious and bright Sunne in the firmament, and a dimme candle in an house, haue a kinde of fellowship, and the same office, which is to giue light: yet there is no equality betwixt them. So then an husband re∣sembleth not only the head of a naturall body, but also the glorious image of Christ, and is that to his wife which Christ is to his Church.
To apply this point, marke how from it two positions (wor∣thy to be noted) doe arise.
1. Subiection is due to an husband as well as to Christ.*
I say not as great, because of the difference in glory: but as well, because of the likenesse in office. A Constable (though a poore meane man) must be obeyed as well as an high sherife: A beggars childe must obey his father, as well as a kings Page 345 childe. Such wiues therefore who are not subiect, wrong their husbands, as well as they wrong Christ who are not subiect to him.
2. They who by their subiection maintaine the honour of their husbands place, maintaine thereby the honour of Christs place: and againe by the rule of contraries, They who by refusing to be subiect impeach the honour of their husbands place, impeach there∣by the honour of Christs place.
The obedience of a poore mans childe or seruant iustifieth that obedience which kings children and seruants owe their father and soueraigne: and so on the contrary, disobedience in meane ones, dishonoureth the place of great ones.
The argument of Memucan drawne from the greater to the * lesse (in these words, Vashty the Queene hath not done wrong to the king only, but also to all the princes, and all the people) may be applied from the lesse to the greater. Disobedient wiues doe wrong not only to their owne particular husbands, but also to all heads, euen to Christ the head of the Church.
If a naturall body, and the Church were flexible, and could be seduced, and drawne to presume, and rebell against their heads, the ill example of wiues were enough to moue them thereunto, for, as much as in them lieth, they by example se∣duce them.
From the last forenamed positions (viz. that the obedience of a good wife maintaineth the honour of Christs place, and on the contrary side that the disobedience of an ill wife impaireth the honour thereof) I may iustly inferre two other conclusions.
1. That Christ will assuredly reward the good subiection of*good wiues: for he hath said (and what he hath said he can and will performe) them that honour me will I honour.
2. That he will sorely reuenge the rebellion of euill wiues: for againe he hath said, they that despise me, shall be despised.
We know that fellowes in office are ready to stand for the * credit of one anothers place, and to maintaine the honour thereof: and that not without good reason: for thereby they maintaine their owne honour and credit.
Wherefore as good wiues may well expect a reward at Christs hands, howsoeuer their husbands respect their obe∣dience, Page 346 whether well or ill: (a great incouragement for wiues to performe their duties, though their husbands be neuer so ill) so euill wiues haue iust cause to feare reuenge at Christs hand, how soeuer their husbands beare with them.
They who duly weigh this reason taken from that resem∣blance which is betwixt Christ and the Church, cannot but hold it to be a motiue of great moment.
§. 73. Of the benefit which a wife hath by an husband.
The fourth reason taken from the benefit which a wife recei∣ueth * from her husband, doth yet further presse the point in hand. Though Christ be properly the Sauiour of the bodie, yet euen herein an husband carieth a resemblance of Christ, and is after a manner a Saniour: for by vertue of his place and office he is on the one side her protector, to defend her from hurt, and preserue her from danger; and on the other side, a pronider of all needfull and necessarie things for her: in which respect she is taken from her parents and friends, and wholly committed * to him: (as Iaakobs wiues said, Haue we any more portion or in∣heritance in our fathers house?) yea she her selfe, and all she hath is giuen to him: and he againe communicateth what soeuer he hath to her good, and for her vse. Dauid compareth a wife to * a Vine, in relation to her husband: intimating thereby, that by him she is raised to that height of honour she hath, as a vine by the tree, or frame neere vnto which it is planted. By his ho∣nour is she dignified, by his wealth is she enriched. He is, vn∣der God, all in all to her; in the family he is a King to gouerne and aid her, a Priest to pray with her and for her, a Prophet to teach and instruct her. As the head is placed in the highest place ouer the bodie, and vnderstanding placed in it, to go∣uerne, direct, protect, and euerie way seeke the good of the bodie, and as Christ is vnited to the Church as a spouse, and made her head, that she might be saued, maintained, and pro∣uided for by him; so for this end was an husband placed in his place of superioritie; and his authoritie was committed to him, to be a Saniour of his wife. Wherefore if none of the for∣mer motiues preuaile with wiues, and moue them to be sub∣iect to their husbands, yet ought this.
For from this reason flow these two conclusions.
- Page 347 1. The subiection required of a wife is for her owne good.
- 2. In refusing to obey she sheweth her selfe both vngratefull to her husband, and also iniurious to her selfe.
That her subiection is for her owne good, is euident by this * end for which an husband is made an head, to be a Saniour: not to puffe him vp, to make him insult and tyrannize ouer his wife. So as if she be subiect vnto him, she may reape much good from him. As the Church is wisely gouerned, and safely protect∣ed by subiecting her selfe to her head Christ Iesus; and as the bo∣dy partaketh of much good, and is preserued from much euill by subiecting it selfe to the head, so if a wife be subiect to her hus∣band, she will fare much the better thereby, all the ease, profit, and benefit thereof will be hers. If therefore she tender her owne good, this is a way and meanes ordained of God for this end; let her herein seeke it.
If notwithstanding this she refuse to be subiect vnto her hus∣band, doth she not (as we say) stand in her owne light? She be∣ing by her sex the weaker, and the more vnable to helpe her selfe, •f she shall reiect this good helpe which God hath prouided for her, is she not most iniurious to her owne selfe? And conside∣ring * the care and pains her husband vndergoeth for her sake, is it not most vnnaturall and monstrous ingratitude, inwardly to de∣•pise, or outwardly to scorne such an head? No better testimony •f a gratefull heart can be giuen by a wife to her husband, then •heerefull and ready subiection: and no greater ingratitude can •e shewed, then rebellion, and disdaine. Now among vices in∣•ratitude is one of the most odious to God and man: so as both •o auoid the blacke spot of ingratitude, and to carry away the •ame of gratefulnesse, ought wiues to be subiect.
§. 74. Of the example of the Church set before wines.
The last reason taken from the example of the Church is also *•f good force to perswade wiues vnto subiection. Example more •reuailes with many then precept. If any example may be of •orce, then this most of all: for it is not the example of one only, •ut of many; not of many ignorant, and wicked persons, but of understanding, wise, holy and righteous persons, euen all the •aints that euer were, are, or shall be: for the Church compriseth ••l vnder it, euen that whole society of Saints, which are chosen Page 348 of God in his eternall counsell, redeemed of Christ by his preci∣ous bloud, and effectually called by the Gospell of faluation, Gods spirit working inwardly and powerfully vpon them, those very soules of iust and perfect men now triumphing in heauen, not excepted: note how this Church is described in the 26, and 27. verses. Let this example therefore be oft thought of: it will neuer repent any to follow it: for it treadeth the only right path to eternall glory, whereunto they shall assuredly come that follow it.
But to shew the force of this reason a little more distinctly, note these two conclusions following from it.
1. Wiues are as much bound to be subiect to their husbands, as the Church to Christ. Else why should this example be thus set before them, and pressed vpon them? why are husbands set in Christs stead, and resembled to him?
2. A wiues subiection to her husband, answerable to the Chur∣ches subiection vnto Christ, is an euidence that she is of the Church, guided by the same Spirit that the Church is. For it cannot be performed by the power of nature, it is a supernaturall worke, and so an euidence of the Spirit.
Wherefore, ô Christian wiues, as your husbands by their place resemble Christ, so doe you by your practise resemble the Church. Of the two this is the more commendable: for that is a dignitie, this a vertue: but true vertue is much more glorious then any dignitie can be.
These reasons being well poised, and the force of them all ioyned together, they cannot but worke on the stoutest sto∣macke that is: wherefore if this point of subiection seeme to be too bitter a pill to be well digested, let it be sweetned with the syrupe of these reasons, and it will much better be swallowed, and haue the more kindly worke.