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and trouble to the world. But humility is the health, the peace, and the ornament of the soul. “A meek and quiet spirit is in the sight of God of great price c.” (Write those words in your bed-chamber on the walls where they may be daily before your eyes.) “Put on as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercy, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering, forbearing one another, and. forgiving one another d.” If this be the duty of all to one another; much more of wives to husbands. “Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility; for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble e.” Proud women oft ruin their husbands' estates, and quietness, and their own souls.
Direct. 1x. ‘Affect not a childish gaudiness of apparel, nor a vain, or costly, or troublesome curiosity in any thing about you.' Uncleanness and nastiness is a fault, but very small in comparison of this pride and curiosity. It dishonoureth your sex and selves to be so childish, as to overmind such toyish things. If you will needs be proud, be. proud of somewhat that is of worth and proper to a man: to be proud of reason, or wisdom, or learning, or goodness, is bad enough; but this is to be proud of something. But to be proud of fashions and fine clothes, of spots and nakedness, of sumptuous entertainments, and neat rooms, is to be proud of your shame, and not your virtue; and of that which
you are not so much as commendable for. And the cost, the time (O precious time!) which themselves and their servants must lay out, upon their dressings, entertainments and other curiosities, will be the shame and sorrow. of their souls, whenever God shall open their eyes, and make them know what time was worth, and what greater matters they had to mind. If vain and empty persons like yourselves, commend you for your bravery or curiosity, so will not any judicious, sober person, whose commendation is much worth. And yet I must here with grief take notice, that when some few that in other matters seem wise and religious, are themselves a little tainted with this childish curiosity and pride, and let fall words of disparagement against those whose dress, and dwellings, and entertainments, are not so curious as their own; this proves the e 1 Pet. üi, 4. d Col, iji. 12.
e 1 Pet. v. 5.
greatest maintainer of this sin, and the most notable service to the devil: for then abundance will plead this for this sinful curiosity and pride, and say, ' I shall else be accounted base or sordid; even such and such will speak against me.' Take heed, if you will needs be such yourselves, that you prate not against others that are not as vain and curious as you : for the nature of man
to pride and vanity, than to humility, and the improvement of their time and cost in greater matters; and while you think that you speak but against indecency, you become the devil's preachers, and do him more service than you
consider of. You may as wisely speak against people for using to eat or drink too little, when there is not one of a multitude that liveth not ordinarily in excess; and so excess will get advantage by it.
Direct. x. ' Be specially careful in the government of your tongues ; and let your words be few, and well considered before you speak them.' A double diligence is needful in this, because it is the most common miscarriage of your sex: a laxative, running tongue, is so great a dishonour to you, that I never knew a woman very full of words, but she was the pity of her friends, and the contempt of others; who behind her back will make a scorn of her, and talk of her as some crack-brained or half-witted person; yea, though your talk be good, it will be tedious and contemptible, if it be thus poured out, and be too cheap. “In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin; but he that refraineth his lips is wisef.” You must answer in judgment for your “ idle words 8." You will take it ill to be accounted fools, and made the derision of those that talk of you: judge by the Scripture what occasion you give them.
“ A dream cometh by the multitude of business, and a fool's voice is known by a multitude of words: in the multitude of dreams, and many words, there are divers vanities." "The words of a wise man's mouth are gracious; but the lips of a fool will swallow up himself. The beginning of the words of his mouth is foolishness; and the end of his talk is mischievous madness : a fool also is full of words h.” Whereas a woman that is cautelous and sparing of her words, is commonly reverenced and supposed to be wise. So that if Pror. X. 19.
$ Matt. xii. 36. Eccles. v. 3. 7.
h Eccles. X. 12-14.
you had no higher design in it, but merely to be well thought of, and honoured by men; you can scarcely take a surer way, than to let your words be few and weighty; though the avoiding of sin, and unquietness, should prevail with you much more.
Direct. xi. •Be willing and diligent in your proper part, of the care and labour of the family.' : As the primary provision of maintenance belongeth most to the husband, so the secondary provision within doors belongeth specially to the wife. Read over and over the thirty-first chapter of Proverbs; especially the care of nursing your own children, and teaching them, and watching over them when they are young; and also watching over the family at home, when your husbands are abroad, is your proper w
Direct. x11. Dispose not of your husband's estate, without his knowledge and consent.' You are not only to consider, whether the work be good that you lay it out upon, but what power you have to do it. Quest. But may a woman give nothing, nor lay out nothing in the house, without her husband's consent? Answ. 1. If she have his general or implicit consent, it may suffice; that is, if he allow her to follow her judgment; or, if he commit such a proportion to her power, to do what she will with it. Or, if she know, that if he knew it, he would not be against it. 2. Or, if the law, or his consent, do give her any propriety in any part of his estate, or make her a joint-proprietor, she may proportionably dispose of it in a necessary case. The husband is considerable, either as a proprietor, or as her governor. As a proprietor, he only may dispose of the estate, where he is the sole proprietor: but where consent or the law of the land doth make the woman joint-proprietor, she is not disabled from giving for the want of a propriety. But then no law exempteth her from his government; and therefore she is not to give any thing in a way of disobedience, though it be her own: except when he forbiddeth that which is her duty, or which he hath no power to forbid. So that in case of joint-propriety she may give without him, so be it she exceed not her proportion, and also if it be in a case of duty, where he may not hinder her. As to save the lives of the poor in extreme necessity,
See Dr. Gouge on Family Relations, who saith the most against women's giving.
famine, or imprisonment, or the like. 3. But if the thing be wholly her own, excepted from his propriety, and she be sole proprietor, then she need not ask his consent at all, any other way than as he is her guide, to direct her to the best way of disposing of it: which, if he forbid her, instead of directing her to it, she is not thereby excusable before God, for the abusing of her trust and talent. 4. I conceive that ad aliquid' as to certain absolutely necessary uses, the very relation maketh the woman as a joint-proprietork: as if her husband will not allow her such food and raiment as is necessary to preserve the lives and health of herself, and all her children, she is bound to do it without or against his will (if she can, and if it be not to a greater hurt, and the estate be his own, and he be able) rather than let her children contract such diseases, as apparently will follow to the hazard of their lives. Yea, and to save the life of another that in famine is ready to perish: for she is not as a stranger to his estate. But out of these cases, if a wife shall secretly waste or give, or lay it out on bravery or vanity, or set her wit against her husband's ; and because she thinks him too strait or penurious, therefore she will dispose of it, without his consent. This is thievery, disobedience, and injustice.
Quest. I. 'But as the case standeth with us in England, hath the wife a joint-propriety, or not?'
Answ. Three ways (at least) she may have a propriety. 1. By a reserve of what was her own before ; which (however 'some question it) may in some cases be done in their agreement at marriage. 2. By the law of the land. 3. By the husband's consent or donation. What the law of the land saith in case, I leave to the lawyers: but it seemeth to me, that his words at marriage. With all my worldly goods I thee endow,' do signify his consent to make her a jointproprietor: and his consent is sufficient to the collation of a title, to that which was his own. Unless any can prove that law or custom, doth otherwise expound the words (as an empty formality), and that at the contract,' this was or should be known to her to be the sense. And the law's alk 2 Sam. xxv. 18. 29,30. Prov. xxxi. 11–13. 20. Hos. vi. 6. Matt. ix. 13.
2 Kings iv. 9. 22.
lowing the wife the third part upon death or separation, doth intimate a joint-propriety before.
Quest. II. 'If the husband live upon unlawful gain, as cheating, stealing, robbing by the highway, &c. is not the wife guilty as a joint-proprietor, in retaining such ill-gotten goods, if she know it? And is she bound to accuse her husband, or to restore such goods ?'
Answ. Her duty is first to admonish her husband of his sin and danger, and endeavour his repentance, in the mean time disclaiming all consent, and reception of the goods. And if she cannot prevail for his repentance, restitution, and reformation, she hath a double duty to perform; is to help them to their goods whom he hath injured and robbed (by prudent and just means): the other is to prevent his robbing of others for the time to come. But how these must be done is the great difficulty.
1. If she foresee (or may do) that either by her husband's displeasure, or by the cruel revenge of the injured party, the hurt of discovering the fraud or robbery, will be greater than the good, then I think that she is not bound to discover it. But by some secret, indirect way, to help the owner to his own; if it may be done without a greater hurt.
2. To prevent his sin and other men's future suffering by him, she seemeth to me to be bound to reveal her husband's sinful purposes to the magistrate, if she can no other way prevail with him to forbear. My reasons are, because the keeping of God's law, and the law of the land, and the public order and good, and the preventing of our neighbours' hurt by robbery or fraud ; and so the interest of honesty and right, is of greater importance than any duty to her husband, or preservation of her own peace, which seemeth to be against it. But then I must suppose that she liveth under a magistrate, who will take but a just revenge. For if she know the laws and magistrate to be so unjust, as to punish a fault with death, which deserveth it not, she is not to tell such a magistrate, but to preserve her neighbours' safety by some other way of intimation.
If any one think that a wife may in no case, accuse a husband, to the hazard of his life or estate, let them, 1.