« PreviousContinue »
LIKEWISE, YE WIVES, BE IN SUBJECTION TO YOUR OWN
HUSBANDS, THAT IF ANY OBEY NOT THE WORD, THEY ALSO MAY WITHOUT THE WORD BE WON BY THE con.
VERSATION OF THE WIVES, WHILE THEY BEHOLD YOUR CHASTE CONVERSATION COU
PLED WITH FEAR. WHOSE ADORNING, LET IT NOT BE THAT OUTWARD ADORN
ING, OF PLAITING THE HAIR, AND OF WEARING OF GOLD, OR OF PUTTING ON OF APPAREL : BUT LET IT BE THE HIDDEN MAN OF THE HEART, IN THAT WHICH IS NOT CORRUPTIBLE, EVEN THE ORNAMENT OF A MEEK AND QUIET SPIRIT, WHICH IS IN THE SIGHT OF GOD OP GREAT PRICE. FOR AFTER THIS MANNER IN THE OLD TIME, THE HOLY
WOMEN ALSO WHO TRUSTED IN GOD ADORNED THEMSELVES, BEING IN SUBJECTION UNTO THEIR OWN HUS
BANDS: EVEN AS SARAH OBEYED ABRAHAM, CALLING HIM LORD :
WHOSE DAUGHTERS YE ARE AS LONG AS YE DO WELL,
AND ARE NOT AFRAID WITH ANY AMAZEMENT. LIKEWISE, YE HUSBANDS, DWELL WITH THEM ACCORDING
TO KNOWLEDGE, GIVING HONOUR UN TO THE WIFE AS UNTO THE WEAKER VESSEL, AND AS BEING HEIRS TOGETHER OF THE GRACE OF LIFE; THAT YOUR PRAYERS BE NOT HINDERED. Pet. iii. 1-7.
THE Governor of the universe is perpe
tually varying, and determining our duties by the dispensations of his providence, the conditions in which he fixes us, and
the connections, which sometimes by a train of marvellous occurrences, he leads us to form. Thus the whole scripture is examined in succession, and every truth of the gospel obtains an application appropriate and im
Marriage is an institution of peculiar importance. It is of divine ordination, and almost coeval with the existence of the human race. It is the origin of families—the fource of the continuance and welfare of nations. It distinguishes man from the brute creation, excludes the disorders of licentiousness, and cherishes the sweetest affections of the heart. There is no union, the quality of which is so intimate, the obligation of which is so binding, the consequences of which are so momentous : it even surpasses natural relation, “and for this cause shall a “ man leave his father and his mother, and “ shall cleave unto his wife, and they two “ shall be one flesh; what therefore God “ hath joined together let not man put 6 asunder.”
Hence the opinion of those who would either banish or degrade marriage, has al. ways been held by the wise and the virtuous, as a sentiment the most vile and injurious, equally destructive of morals, and of social happiness. Hence many of the philosophers and legislators, even in the heathen world, were peculiarly solicitous to establish, to fan&tion, to encourage, and to regulate this institution. But in this, as well as in every other instance favourable to the welfare of mankind, the “ gospel of our salvation” has the pre-eminence. It classes the prohibition of the ordinance with “ the doctrine of devils-assures us“ marriage is honourable in all”-leads us back to its commencement in paradise-renders the bond indissolubleplaces it under the jurisdiction of heaven
-takes from it an image to prefigure the union of Christ and his people—and often makes it the subject of particular instruction. It has given us advice, it has given us law—and where is this law so beautifully and largely expressed as in the passage I hold up to view this morning ?
Part I. In the delineation of the duties resulting from marriage, our divine Instructor begins with the wives and to animate their attention to the rules he prescribes, he reminds them of the probability of their usefulness to their husbands in a case of all others the most interesting: “ If any obey “ not the word, they may, without the word, “ be won."
Religion is not always universal, even in small detached portions of society. In the fame house there may be an heir of glory, and a son of perdition, natural alliance and spiritual disunion, persons living together in this world between whom in eternity there will be “ a great gulph fixed.”
The instance of infidelity and ungodliness is taken from the man; and the apostle marks the piety of the wife rather than of the husband.-Is this mentioned without design? Do not history, experience, and observation favour the probability ? Have not women in all denominations, in all ages,
in all countries, in all ranks, been more dif· posed to religion than men ?- From how
many vices are females restrained by considerations which bear much less forcibly on the minds of men ?-- Who depends so much on opinion and esteem, or feels sa many motives to preserve reputation unblemished ?-Denied so often the liberty of divulging their emotions, who so ready to seize the privilege of prayer, and to " pour “ out the heart before God?"—Who so sufceptible of lively impressions ?-Who feels so powerfully the thrilling of sympathy, or melts down so easily into all the tendernesses of benevolence ?-While we think, they feel
—while we deliberate, they relieve. What woman was ever destitute of commiseration?—They were not women who unfeellingly " looked on,” or “ passed by on the “ other side,” when the poor traveller lay wounded, bleeding, half-dead.— Who so accustomed to self-denial, the first, the last lesson in the school of Christ?_Who feels such vicissitudes of health, or passes through scenes of pain and hazard so adapted to excite an entire dependence upon God, and to awaken - solemn thought by bringing another world nearer the view ?Less occupied in the distracting concerns of business, she has more time for solitude and reflection. Her general sphere of action is much more propitious to innocency and devotion. Her joys are more immediately derived from her virtues. Home is the chief place of her amusements--the tenderest cares of nature charm as well as employ. The mother is happy to press to her lips and to her bosom the babe she has borne --to feel the stroking hand of her suckling at her breast--to fit by the cradle of her infant daughter—to view from the window the manly exploits of her boy-or - Delightful task, to rear the tender thought,
To teach the young idea how to shoot,