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COME to shew the duties more peculiar to
. 1. The duties of the husband of this sort may be reduced to this one, viz. that he carry himself towards her as a head for her good, ruling her in the fear of the Lord. It is not a name of power only, but of duty; for he must be such a head to her as Christ is to the church, Eph. v. 23. whoso reckon upon the authority of that name without eyes ing the duty of it, put asunder what God has joined in his grant, and will join when he calls men to an account.
2. The duties of the wife may be reduced to this one, viz. submitting herself to her husband as her head, Eph. v. 22, 28. She is not to lord it over him, but to be subject to him. And in this respect there is a reverence and fear of the husband enjoined the wife, Eph. v. 33. i Pet iii. 2. which is a due regard in the heart to his character as a husband, seeing in that God has put of his own name upon him, God himself being called our husband; a fear to offend him, flowing from love, venting itself in speaking and carrying respectfully to him, i Pet. iii. 6.
Now, the husband as the head of the wife owes her,
1. Protection, so as she may be as safe and easy under the covert of his relation to her as he can make her. For this .cause God has given the husband as a head to the weaker vessel; and therefore it was an ancient ceremony in marriage for the husband to spread his skirt over his wife, Ruth. iii. 9. He is to protect her to the ụtmost of his power from the in. Vol. III,
juries of others, 1 Sam. xxx. 18. and particularly from the insults, whether of children or servants in the family, as well as neighbours, Gen. xvi. 6. And if so, surely he himself is not to bear hard upon her, but to shew her a peculiar tenderness as the weaker vessel, a tenderness to her body and spirit too; and not to suffer her, far less to oblige her, to distress herself above measure.
On the other hand, she owes him obedience, a submission to, and compliance with, his admonitions. It is observed of Job's wife, for as ill as she was, when he calls her a fool, she does not give him the same epithet again. Reason itself teaches, that whoso puts himself under the protection of another, must be ruled by that other, and not by himself.
2. Provision, 1 Tim. v. 8. The husband ought to provide for his wife, and cheerfully furnish her with what is needful and convenient, according to his station and ability; and lay out himself by all lawful means for her comfortable through. bearing. And this he should have an eye to, not only for the time of his life, but even after his decease.
And, on the other hand, the wife ought to be helpful to her husband by her frugal management, Prov. xxxi. 27. And God's word and frequent experiments plainly shew, that a man's thriving or not thriving has a great dependence on his wife's management, Prov. xiv. 1. While he, then, is busy without doors, she should be careful within; and therefore it is recommended to women to be much at home, Tit. ii. 5, Yet she may well go abroad when her business calls her, as Abigail did, 1 Sam. xxv.
3. Lastly, Direction, with calmness instructing her, how she should carry in every thing, both with respect to things of this life and of the other, Prov. ii. 17. He ought to be as eyes to her, which have their place in the head, and so should be capable to guide, 1 Pet. iii. 7.
On the other hand, the wife should be pliable and teachable, 1 Tim. ii. 11. yea, and be ready to seek instruction from her husband, i Cor. xiv. 35. She should be obedient to his commands and directions, ver. 34. for in every thing wherein the law of God has not bound her up, the husband's will ought to be complied with, Eph. v. 24. Gen. iii. 16.
The reasons of the husband's duty are these.
Christ is to the church, Eph. v. 25. And if men would reflect on this, it would make them very dutiful, and bear with many things as Christ doth, else we would be ruined.
2. Because thy wife is thy own flesh, thy second self, ver. 28, 29; and so undutifulness is monstrous.
3. Because she is the weaker vessel, 1 Pet. iii. 7; for it hath pleased the Lord to exercise the woman with a special measure of infirmity, both natural and moral.
The reasons of the woman's duty are these.
1. Because the woman was created for the man, 1 Tim. ü. 13. compare 1 Cor. xi. 9.
2. Because the woman was the first that sinned, 1 Tim. ii. 14. compare Gen. iii. 16.
3. Because she is the weaker vessel.
Use 1. Let all such as have been, or are in that relation, be humbled under a sense of their sin in that point, and fly to the blood of Christ for pardon. And let every one look on that relation as a serious matter, in which people must walk with God, and under which they are bound to so many duties, of which they must give an account to the Lord.
Let husbands and wives study to make conscience of their duty one to another, and frame their life accordingly. For motives, consider,
(1.) God lays them on. Nature may storm at them, but they are God's commands; and whoso breaketh over the hedge, the serpent will bite,
(2.) Your marriage-vows and voluntary covenant engage to these, Though we forget them, God does not, and will not.
(3.) Your own comfort depends upon them; and so does the happiness in that relation.
Lastly, Death comes, and that will dissolve the relation. Therefore, before that awful event, let every one make con. science of performing their respective duties, that they may
die in peace.
As to the relation betwixt parents and children, see Col. ii. 20, 21, Children obey your parents in all things; for this is well-pleasing unto the Lord, Fathers provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.'
In the first of these, we have, 1. The duty that children owe to their parents; and that is obedience in all things lawful. The word rendered obey, points at obedience flowing
consent of both is necessary, and that the parent must neither force the child, nor the child rob the parent.
8. Readiness to requite their parents when they are in need of it; that as they did for them when young, so they must do for them when old, or reduced to poverty. This God requires of children, 1 Tim. y. 4. It is a piece of that honour to parents which the fifth command enjoins, Matt. XV. 4, 5, 6. So did Joseph, Gen. xlvii. 12. This was a piece of duty which the Lord performed to his mother while he hung on the cross, John xix. 27.
Lastly, In a word, children should so live as they may be an honour to their parents; for according as they are, their parents are either credited or ashamed. Yea, and when they are dead and gone, they should be reverently remembered, their wholesome advices religiously followed, and their debts satisfied, so as no body may get occasion to reproach them when they are away,
Use 1. This may serye for conviction and humiliation to us all, who either have had parents since we came to the years of discretion, or yet have them. Who can say in this, I have made my heart clean :
2. I exhort such as have parents, whether one or more, to be dutiful to them, according to the word. There is indeed a great difference betwixt children in their father's family, and those forisfamiliated, who, by tacit or express consent, are left to their own disposal; but the duty of filial affection, reverence, and gratitude, abideth. For mo. tives, consider,
(1.) That parents with respect to their children, do in an especial manner bear an image of God, as he is our Creae tor, Provisor, and Ruler. So are parents those from whom, under him, we had our being, by whose care and govern. ment God provided for us, when we could neither provide for nor rule ourselves.
(2.) Hence it is evident, that do what we can to them, or for them, we can never make a full recompence, but, after all, must die in their debt. But how little is this con, sidered by many, who look on what they do for their parents in a magnifying glass, while they are blind to what their parents have done for them!
(3.) Lastly, Consider, that God takes special notice how ye carry to your parents, Col. üi. 20. It is a piece of duty
which God readily regardeth according to his promise ; and the neglect thereof useth not to be overlooked, but as it disposeth to an ill life otherwise, so God readily pays it home, so as the sin may be read in the punishment.
Secondly, I come to consider the duty of parents to their children; and I may take up this under five heads, viz. while they are yet in the womb, while in their infancy, from the time they come to the use of reason, at all times, and when a dying.
1. The duty which parents owe to their children while yet in the womb.
1st, Parents are obliged to use all care for the preservation of the child, to beware of any thing that may harm the child in the belly, and especially that may procure abortion, Judg. xiii. 4.
2dly, Dealing with God in behalf of the child, praying for its preservation, and for its soul, as soon as it is known to be a living soul. I think that no sooner should the mother or father know a living soul to be in the womb, but as soon with Rebekah, they should go to God for it, Gen. xxv. 21, 22. If Hannah could devote her child to God before it was conceived, 1 Sam. i. 11. Christian parents may and ought to devote their children to God when quickened in the womb. Whoso neglect this, consider not that then the child is a sinful creature, under the wrath of God, and the curse of the law; that it is capable of sanctification, must live for ever in heaven or hell, and that possibly it may never see the light.
Lastly, Labouring by all means that it may be born within the covenant; which is to be done by parents making sure their own being within the covenant; for so runs the promise, I will be thy God, and the God of hy seed.'
2. The duty they owe to them in their infancy.
1st, Parents should bless God for them when they are born, Luke i. 67. &c. Children are God's heritage; the key of the womb is in his hand; he gives them to some, and withholds them from others; and they should be received with thankfulness from the Lord's hand.
2dly, Giving them up to the Lord as soon as they are born, renewing the dedication of them to God, and accepting of the covenant for them; and procuring to them the seal of the covenant without any unnecessary delay. Under