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tbein in Prayer, that they, who are not sufficient of Ehemselves, may, by that Sufficiency, which is of God, be made able Ministers of the New Testament, and, in a due Discharge of their Office, fave both themselves, and those, that bear them.
3. Between Husband and Wife.
HE Rights and Duties which arise from a
married State, may be considered, either, 1. As they belong to the Man and Woman promiscuously ; or, 2. As they more peculiarly belong to cach of them, considered diftinétly.
1. Since Marriage then is a Conjunction of Man and Woman, after the most strict and indiffoluble Manner, and for their mutual Happiness, as long as they both shall live ; 'tis most agreeable to the Nature, and absolutely requisite to this End of it, that they should entirely love one another ; because it is impossible, that, where this Passion is not strong and reciprocal, either the Unity foould be preserved, or the Happiness attained, which is propofed by both Parties, when they contract to enter into it. And this Reflection may serve to discover to us the imprudent Conduct of those, who, upon Motives of Interest, or any temporal Views whatever, marry without consulting their Inclination, or perhaps, in fome Respects, contrary to it, and so involve themselves in Inconveniencies, greater than the Advantages, which they could propose, are capable of balancing. By this Means it comes to pass, that many Times People of great Degree and Rank are made miserable, and more miserable than their Inferiors. Respect is generally had either to Birth and Quality, or to Fortune and Alliance, without any Regard to Virtue, and good Qualities, and other Endowments, profer to engage and detain the Affections : And
hence they become splendidly and exemplarily un. happy, as if it were the Sport of Fortune to level Mankind, and, by fome odd Difafter, or their own Folly, to reduce the greatest
. People to an Equa. lity of Misery and Trouble with their Inferiors.
Those therefore, that propose Happiness to themselves in the Conjugal Ştate, must be sure to Jay the Foundation thereof in Love ; and, as their Love is to continue unto their Lives End, must needs be obliged to take fuch Courses, as are proper to confirm and strengthen it ; and to avoid all Manner of Occasions, that may any ways impair, or weaken it. Some of the ancient Christians would allow the Wives to employ more Art and Cost, in decking and adorning themselves, than they did single Women ; because they judged it absolutely necessary to the Peace and Happiness of their Lives, to preserve and secure to themselves the Affections of their Husbands : And, in like Manner, Husbands should take more Care than ordinary to continue their Affections to them
; and, to this End,' should not suffer Error or Mis: takes, Miscarriages or light Offences, Infirmities and Indiscretions, to alienate their Hearts, or give chem a mean Opinion of their Understanding or Management. They, who cannot bear with many Failings and Defects, and cannot make a great many Allowances, are but badly fitted for Society and Friendship in general, and much less for a Society fo constant and continued, as the married State requires; and therefore, if those, that are engaged therein, will not consider with themselves the Imperfections of human Nature; if they will not remember their own Mistakes and Miscarriages ; it they will be unreasonable, take Advantages, and make ill-natured Obtervations and Reflections on the Follies and Weaknefles of their Partners ; if they will treasure them up in Memory, and make them Occasions of Distrust, and Topics of Upbraiding, and unseemly Revilings; they will quickly fee an End of Peace and Quietness, and foon find that their Love will cool and grow languid.
2. Another Duty, common to Husband and Wife, is Fidelity, or a juft Observation of their Engagements, and solemn Vows; and this is a Duty 1o effentially necessary to the Marriage-State, that any notorious Breach and Violation of it, not only invalidates the most religious Contracts, and fers the innocent Party at full Liberty, but even diffolves the Marriage-Band itself immediately before God. It is indeed the Ground and Foundagion of all Marriage-Promises, and the Supposition, upon which all such Engagements are built ; and therefore, when this Supposition fails, when this Ground and Foundation of the Contract and Engagement is removed and overturned, the Contract is itself no longer binding to the innocent and unoffending Party. They may proceed in their Engagements indeed, if they please; but the Transgression of the other Side sets them at Liberty, notwithstanding the most serious and most folemn Promises.
And as Perfidy in this kind is the Diffolution of the Band of Matrimony, so is it a Crime of lo deep a Guilt, as can never be attoned in this World, and of such horrible Injustice, as can admit of no Reparation or Amendment. And therefore how careful should all married Persons be, not only to adhere ftritly to the Letter of their Marriage-Vow, so as never to falsify it by any direct Violation, but to forbear, as much as possible, all Advances, and avoid all Occasions, that may
be tray them into so heinous a Crime! And to this Purpose, the best and safest Way will be, to keep their Heart with all Diligence, so as to admit no foreign Inclination, or Defire ; but if they cannot
always always shut their Eyes against those Objects, which are apt to affect them ; if, through Inadvertency, or Surprise, it cannot be helped, but that some ,irregular Emotions must unavoidably arise in their Minds, their next and immediate Care should be, to repel, and, as soon as they can, totally to suppress them; left by Degrees they gather Strength, and get the Dominion over them ; which has poffibly been the Case of many Persons, who, in the first Esays of their Inclination, apprehended nothing dangerous, nor designed any Thing criminal.
3. Another Duty, commop to both, is their taking all such prudent Methods in their Behaviour, as may remove all Occasions of Jealousy and Distrust. For as all private Advances towards other Persons, by Way of criminal Address, are highly culpable, and to be avoided with the greatest Caution ; fo, when they are made in an open or more undisguised Manner, when they break out into Indecencies too notorious to be concealed, even from the offended Party, this is provoking to the last Degree, and apt to excite a Paffon, of all others the most difficult to be restrained, and called by Solomon the Rage of a Man, though the other Sex are sometimes transported with it beyond the Nature, the Mildness, and Modesty of their Temper. And therefore all Freedoms and Familiarities with others, that may give an untoward Umbrage, must be declined ; and all Discourses, that may allure into Sin, rejected with Abhor
The Eye, the Tongue, and the Ears must be all kept chaste; the Garb and Apparel be modeft and unaffected, and the whole Carriage honest and inoffensive, and void of Suspicion, as well as Blame. Nor are the Occasions of Jealousy and Distrust to be mutually avoided only in the tender Point of matrimonial Chastity, but even in all others, wherein either their common, or their separate Interests (so far as they can be supposed to have any separate) are concerned. They ought, particularly, to concur in all the Methods of Frus gality and prudent Management, and, in lower Life, of Labour and Industry, towards acquiring a competent Subsistence; and though it be ordinarily incumbent on the Husband to have the Direction of Affairs relating to this End; yet, as Circumstances sometimes require, that he should commit it to the Wife, so every Neglect in this Case, every Extravagance, every unnecessary Expence, wherein his Concurrence is not implied, is at once a Breach of Trust, and a Violation of her Conjugal Love : For Love will always consult the Inclination and Interest of those, who are the true Objects of it, and regulate itself accordingly.
4. I mention but one Duty more, which is mutually incumbent upon them, viz. that they should promote the Spiritual Good and Edification of one another, by recommending each other to God's Grace and Protection in their Prayers, and by admonishing and instructing each other in the Principles of Religion. The Business of Admonition and Instruction, by the Superiority of his Sex, seems more especially to belong to the Man, but when it so happens, (as it sometimes does) that the Woman is superior in all the Advantages of Knowledge and a good Understanding, and that the Man is either guilty of such Errors, or liable to such Dangers, as both deserve and require Admonition, the Woman is indulged the Liberty of speaking in such a Cafe : But then she must intreat, rather than dietate, and insinuate her Advice, rather than asume, on any Occafion indeed, but especially in the Presence of others, such magisterial Airs, as are neither agreeable to the Character of her Sex, nor the Relation, wherein the stands, as are both a L