thinks to a Christian to do so, should be no hard thing; for many servants will die for their masters, and many gentlemen will die for their friend; but the examples are not so many of those, that are ready to do it for their dearest relatives, and yet some there have been. Baptista Fregosa tells of a Neapolitan, that gave himself a slave to the Moors, that he might follow his wife; and Dominicus Catalusius, the prince of Lesbos, kept company with his lady, when she was a leper; and these are greater things than to die.

But the cases in which this can be required, are so rare and contingent, that Holy Scripture instances not the duty in this particular; but it contains in it, that the husband should nourish and cherish her, that he should refresh her sorrows and entice her fears into confidence and pretty arts of rest; for even the fig-trees that grew in paradise, had sharp-pointed leaves, and harshnesses fit to mortify the tooforward lusting after the sweetness of the fruit. But it will concern the prudence of the husband's love to make the cares and evils as simple and easy as he can, by doubling the joys and acts of a careful friendship, by tolerating her infirmities* (because by so doing, he either cures her, or makes himself better), by fairly expounding all the little traverses of society and communication, by taking every thing by the right handle,' as Plutarch's expression is; for there is nothing but may be misinterpreted, and yet if it be capable of a fair construction, it is the office of love to make it.

Εὖ λέγειν δ ̓, ὅτ' ἄν τι λέξῃ, χρὴ δοκεῖν, κἂν μὴ λέγῃ.
Κᾀκπονεῖν, ἃ ἐν τῷ ξυνόντι πρὸς χάριν μέλλῃ λέγειν.†

Love will account that to be well said, which, it may be, was not so intended; and then it may cause it to be so, another time.

3. Hither also is to be referred that he secure the interest of her virtue and felicity by a fair example; for a wife to a husband is a line or superficies, it hath dimensions of its own, but no motion or proper affections; but commonly puts on such images of virtues or vices as are presented to her by her husband's idea: and if thou beest vicious, com

* Uxoris vitium tollas opus est, aut feras:

Qui tollit vitium, uxorem commodiusculam sibi præstat;
Qui fert, sese meliorem facit. Varro.

† Eurip, Beck. t. 2. p. 490.

plain not that she is infected that lies in thy bosom; the interest of whose loves ties her to transcribe thy copy, and write after the characters of thy manners. Paris was a man of pleasure, and Helena was an adulteress, and she added covetousness upon her own account. But Ulysses was a prudent man, and a wary counsellor, sober and severe; and he efformed his wife into such imagery as he desired; and she was chaste as the snows upon the mountains, diligent as the fatal sisters, always busy, and always faithful; 7λãooɑv μέν ἀρχὴν, χεῖρα δ ̓ εἶχεν ἐργάτην· “ she had a lazy tongue, and a busy hand.'

4. Above all the instances of love let him preserve towards her an inviolable faith, and an unspotted chastity;* for this is the marriage-ring, it ties two hearts by an eternal band; it is like the cherubim's flaming sword, set for the guard of paradise; he that passes into that garden, now that it is immured by Christ and the church, enters into the shades of death. No man must touch the forbidden tree, that in the midst of the garden, which is the tree of knowledge and life. Chastity is the security of love, and preserves all the mysteriousness like the secrets of a temple. Under this lock is deposited security of families, the union of affections, the repair of accidental breaches.

-Καί σφ ̓ ἄκριτα νείκια λύσω·
Εἰς εὐνὴν ἀνέσαιμι ὁμωθῆναι φιλότητα

This is a grace that is shut up and secured by all arts of heaven, and the defence of laws, the locks and bars of modesty, by honour and reputation, by fear and shame, by interest and high regards; and that contract that is intended. to be for ever, is yet dissolved, and broken by the violation of this; nothing but death can do so much evil to the holy rites of marriage, as unchastity and breach of faith can. The shepherd Cratis falling in love with a she-goat, had his brains beaten out with a buck as he lay asleep; and by the laws of the Romans, a man might kill his daughter or his wife, if he surprised her in the breach of her holy vows, which are as sacred as the threads of life, secret as the privacies of the sanctuary, and holy as the society of angels. "Nullæ sunt inimicitiæ nisi amoris acerbæ ;" and God that commanded us

• Καὶ ἀνόθευτον τηροῦσι τὸν γάμον.

+11. č. 205.

to forgive our enemies, left it in our choice, and hath not commanded us to forgive an adulterous husband or a wife; but the offended party's displeasure may pass into an eternal separation of society and friendship. Now in this grace it is fit that the wisdom and severity of the man should hold forth a pure taper, that his wife may, by seeing the beauties and transparencies of that crystal, dress her mind and her body by the light of so pure reflections; it is certain he will expect it from the modesty and retirement, from the passive nature and colder temper, from the humility and fear, from the honour and love, of his wife, that she be pure as the eye of heaven and therefore it is but reason that the wisdom and nobleness, the love and confidence, the strength and severity, of the man, should be as holy and certain in this grace, as he is a severe exactor of it at her hands, who can more easily be tempted by another, and less by herself.


These are the little lines of a man's duty, which, like threads of light from the body of the sun, do clearly describe all the regions of his proper obligations. Now concerning the woman's duty, although it consists in doing whatsoever her husband commands, and so receives measures from the rules of his government, yet there are also some lines of life depicted upon her hands, by which she may read and know how to proportion out her duty to her husband.

1. The first is obedience; which because it is no where enjoined that the man should exact of her, but often commanded to her to pay, gives demonstration that it is a voluntary cession that is required; such a cession as must be without coercion and violence on his part, but upon fair inducements, and reasonableness in the thing, and out of love and honour on her part. When God commands us to love him, he means we should obey him; "This is love, that ye keep my commandments;" and "if ye love me," (said our Lord,) "keep my commandments:" now as Christ is to the church, so is man to the wife: and therefore obedience is the best instance of her love; for it proclaims her submission, her humility, her opinion of his wisdom, his pre-eminence in the family, the right of his privilege, and the injunction in posed by God upon her sex, that although in sorrow she bring forth children, yet with love and choice she should obey. The man's authority is love, and the woman's love is obedience;



and it was not rightly observed of him that said, when the woman fell, God made her timorous, that she might be ruled,' apt and easy to obey; for this obedience is no way founded in fear, but in love and reverence. "Receptæ reverentiæ est si mulier viro subsit," said the law; unless also that we will add, that it is an effect of that modesty which like rubies adorns the necks and cheeks of women. "Pudicitia est, pater, Eos magnificare, qui nos socias sumpserunt sibi,”+ said the maiden in the comedy: "it is modesty to advance and highly to honour them, who have honoured us by making us to be the companions" of their dearest excellences; for the woman that went before the man in the way of death, is commanded to follow him in the way of love; and that makes the society to be perfect, and the union profitable, and the harmony complete.

Inferior matrona suo sit, Prisce, marito ;
Non aliter fuerint fœmina virque pares.

For then the soul and body make a perfect man, when the soul commands wisely, or rules lovingly, and cares profitably, and provides plentifully, and conducts charitably that body which is its partner, and yet the inferior. But if the body shall give laws, and, by the violence of the appetite, first abuse the understanding, and then possess the superior portion of the will and choice, the body and the soul are not apt company, and the man is a fool, and miserable. If the soul rules not, it cannot be a companion; either it must govern, or be a slave; never was king deposed and suffered to live in the state of peerage and equal honour, but made a prisoner, or put to death; and those women, that had rather lead the blind than follow prudent guides, rule fools and easy men than obey the powerful and wise, never made a good society in a house: a wife never can become equal but by obeying; but so her power, while it is in minority, makes up the authority of the man integral, and becomes one government, as themselves are one man." Male and female created he them, and called their name Adam," saith the Holy Scripture;§ they are but one: and therefore, the several parts of this one man must stand in the place where God appointed, that the lower parts

C. alia D. se. lut. Matrim.
Mart. 8. 12.

+ Plautus in Sticho. 1. 2. 43.
§ Gen. v. 2.

may do their offices in their own station, and promote the common interest of the whole. A ruling woman is intolerable.

-Faciunt graviora coacta

Imperio sexus.

But that is not all; for she is miserable too: for,

Τὰ δευτερεῖα τὴν γυναῖκα δεῖ λέγειν,

Τὴν δ ̓ ἡγεμονίαν τῶν ὅλων τὸν ἄνδρ ̓ ἔχειν.†

It is a sad calamity for a woman to be joined to a fool or a weak person; it is like a guard of geese to keep the capitol; or as if a flock of sheep should read grave lectures to their shepherd, and give him orders where he shall conduct them to pasture. "O vere Phrygiæ, neque enim Phryges:" it is a curse that God threatened sinning persons; "Devoratum est robur eorum, facti sunt quasi mulieres. Effoeminati dominabuntur eis;"" to be ruled by weaker people;" daûλov yevéoJai Tagapgovoürtos deorúrou, "to have a fool to one's master," is the fate of miserable and unblessed people: and the wife can be no ways happy, unless she be governed by a prudent lord, whose commands are sober counsels, whose authority is paternal, whose orders are provisions, and whose sentences are charity.


But now concerning the measures and limits of this obedience, we can best take accounts from Scripture; iv avi, saith the Apostle, "in all things ;""ut Domino," "as to the Lord;" and that is large enough; as unto a lord,'' ut ancilla domino;' so St. Jerome understands it, who neither was a friend to the sex, nor to marriage; but his mistake is soon confuted by the text; it is not "ut dominis," be subject to your husbands "as unto lords," but as Kugiw, that is, in all religion,' in reverence and in love, in duty and zeal, in faith and knowledge; or else s τ Kugiw may signify,

' wives be subject to your husbands; but yet so, that at the For that is the measame time be subject to the Lord.' ye sure of iv Tavri, "in all things;" and it is more plain in the parallel place, is avñxev iv Kugíw, “as it is fit in the Lord :”¶ religion must be the measure of your obedience and subjec

Juvenal. 6. 134. $ Arist. Plut. 2.

+ Stob. floril. tit. 74.
| Ephes. v. 24.

Isa. iii. 4.

¶ Col. iii. 18.

« VorigeDoorgaan »