« VorigeDoorgaan »
DOCTRINES of the CHRISTIAN RELIGION, with respect to both Faith and PRACTICE,
V PON THE PLAN OF
The AsseMBLY'S SHORTER CATECHISM.
Of the fifth Commandment, continued.
THIS is a weighty point, (viz. married per
т sons concern for one another's eternal happi배
ness], which few lay to heart. I shall lay
before you these few things with respect to it. (1.) Married persons, for this end that they may be helpful to one another's fouls welfare, ought to walk fo together as they may have in each other's consciences a testimony of their integrity, 2 Kings iv. I: They should take heed they lay not stumbling-blocks before one another, nor carry so as to engender hard thoughts of one another that way. The testimony of God is above all, the testimony of conscience next, but the testimony of a yoke-fellow's conscience after that.
(2.) They should labour to beget and advance the fear of God in one another, to bring them to and carry them on in the truth of religion, i Cor. vii. 16. They are not meet helps that are only helpful for the body and temporal concerns; for in that case the better part has no help of them. Interest as well as duty Vol. III.
engageth to this; for the better a man be, the better husband will he be, &c. No wonder that those who fear not God, regard not man.
(3.) They should entertain communion in prayer and addresses to the throne of grace, praying for one another, and praying with one another, i Pet. iii. 7. The husband should hold up his wife's case to God with liis own, and the wife the case of the husband ; and help them by prayers with them and for them, which is true Christian help. They know one another's weaknesses, temptations, and difficulties, bet, ter than any one else, and therefore ought to be the more particular in this.
(4.) They should be acquainted with one another's cale, and therefore inquire into the same, and observe it, that they may the better suit the help to the case, i Sam. i. 8. And what a happiness is it for one to have one that is their own flesh, to whom they may freely unbofom themselves! And what a fad thing is it where religious conference is not observed betwixt such parties?
(5.) They should watch over one another. This is living as being heirs together of the grace of life, 1 Pet. iii. 7. They should stir up one another to duties and good works; and happy are they that so prove monitors to one another, 2 Kings iv. 9. 10. They fhould warn one another of what appears fin. ful in their way, and fo not suffer fin upon them, Eccl. iv. 9. 10. If men fee a spot on their face, they will tell them of it; but spots in the conversation are more dangerous. But withal special care must be taken that there be no bitterness mixed with it, for that mars the operation ; the season must be observed when it will take beft, i Sam. xxv. 36. 37. and it fhould be mixed with love. Yea, fometimes entreaties should be used racher than rebukes, especially from the wife to the husband, as prudence itself may teach, and may be gathered from 1 Tim. v. 1. Rebuke not an ela der, but entreat him as a father. And such warnings
should be kindly taken and readily complied with, as the best evidences of love.
(6.) Lastly, A joint care for the religious govern. ment of the family. The one ought not to devoive that entirely on the other, but each take their share ; otherwise it cannot miss to be mismanaged. Each of them owes a duty to the souls of their children and servants; and therefore should watch over them, admonish, and rebuke, and stir them up to duty; and fee that God be worshipped in the family, that it be not neglected for the husband's absence, or any thing else; for though the wife be the weaker vessel, she is the head of the family under her husband.
Secondly, I come to Thew the duties more peculiar to each party.
1. The duties of the husband of this fort 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. And whoso reckon upon the authority of that name without eying 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. 23. She is not to lord it over hiin, 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. 1 Pet. iji, 2. which is a due regard in. the heart to his character as a husband, feeing in that God has put of his own name upon him, God himself being called our husband ; a fear to offend hin, 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 fafe 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 vefsel ; 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 utmost of his power from the injuTies of other, 1 Sam. xxx. 18. and particulaaly 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 fhew her a peculiar tenderness as the weaker veffel, a tenderness to her body and spirit too; and not to suffer her, farless 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 fame 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 chearfully furnish her with what is needful and convenient according to his ftation and ability; and lay out himself by all lawful means for her comfortable throughbearing. And this he should have an eye to not only for the time of his life, but even after his deceafe.
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. I, 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, 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