תמונות בעמוד

tately and silthy, what damnation tarrieth for them! St. Paul describeth it to them, faying, Neither whoremongers, vi- neither adulterers, shall inherit the kingdom of God. This horrible judgment of God ye be eicaped through his mercy, if so be that ye live inseparately, according to God's ordinance. But yet I would not have you careless without watching. For the Devil will affay to attempt all things to interrupt and hinder your hearts and godly purpose, if ye will give him any entry. For he will either labour to break this godly knot once begun hetwixt you, or else at the least lie will labour to incumber it with divers griefs and displeasures.

And this is the principal craft, to work diffension of hearts of the one from the other; that whereas now there is pleafant and sweet love betwixt you, he will in the siead thereof bring in most bitter and unpleafant discord. And surely that lame adverfary of ours doth, as it were from above, affault man's nature and condition. For this folly is ever from our tender age grown up with us, to have a desire to rule, to think highly of ourselves, so that none thinketh it meet to give place to another. That wicked voice of stubborn will and self-love is more meet to break and to diffever the love of heart, than to preserve concord. Wherefore married persons must apply their minds > in most earnest wise to concord, and must crave continually of God the help of his holy Spirit, so to rule their hearts and to knit their minds together, that they be not .diffevered by any division or dilcord. This neceffity of praver must be oft in the practice and using of married persons, that ofttimes the one mould pray for the other, lest hate and debate do arise betwixt them. And because sew do consider this thing, but more sew do perform it, (I lay, to pray diligently,) we see how wonderfully the Devil deludeth and scorneth this state, how sew matrimonies there be without chidings, brawlings, tauntings, repentings, bitter cursings, and sightings. Which things whosoever doth commit, they do not consider that it is the instigation of the ghostly enemy, who taketh great delight therein; for else they would with all earnest endeavour strive against these mischiefs, not only with prayer, but also with all possible diligence. Yea, they would not give place to the provocation of wrath, which stirreth them either to fuch rough and sharp words of stripes, which is furely compaffed by the Devil, whole temptation, if it be followed, must needs begin and weave the web of all miseries and sorrows. For tiils is most

certainly certainly true, that of such beginnings must needs ensue the breach of true concord in heart, whereby all love must needs shortly be banished. Then can it not be but a miserable thing to behold, that yet they are of necessity compelled to live together, which yet cannot be in quiet together. And this is most customably every where to be seen. But what is the cause thereof? Forsooth, because they will not consider the crafty trains of the Devil, and therefore give not themselves to pray to God, that he would vouchfase to repress his power. Moreover, they do not consider how they promote the purpose of the Devil, in that they follow the wrath of their hearts, while they threat one another, while they in their folly turn all upside down, while they will never give over their right, as they esteem it; yea, while many times they will not give over the wrong part indeed. Learn thou therefore, if thou desirest to be void of all these miseries, if thou desirest to live peaceably and comfortably in wedlock, how to make thy earnest prayer to God, that he would govern both your hearts by the holy Spirit, to restrain the Devil's power, whereby your concord may remain perpetually. But to this prayer must be joined a singular diligence, whereof St. Peter giveth this precept, faying, You busbands, deal with your wives according to kno-zuledge, giving honour to the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as unto them that are heirs also of the grace of lise, that your prayers he not hindered. This precept doth particularly pertain to the husband: for he ought to be the leader and author of love, in cherishing and increasing concord; which then shall take place, if lie will use moderation, and not tyranny, and if he yield something to the woman. For the woman is a weak creature, not endued with like strength and constancy of mind; therefore they be the sooner disquieted, and they be the more prone to all weak affections and depositions of mind, more than men be; and lighter they be, and more vain in their fantasies and opinions. These things must be considered of the man, that he be not too stiff, so that he ought to wink at some things, and must gently expound all things, and to forbear. Howbeit, the common fort of men do judge that such moderation should not become a man; for they fay, that it is a token of womanish cowardness, and therefore they think that it is a man's part to fume in anger, to sight with sift and staff. Howbeit, howsoever they imagine, undoubtedly St. Peter doth better judge what mould be seeming to a man, and what he

should should most reasonably perform. For he faith, Reasoning should he used, and not fighting. Yea, he faith more, that the woman ought to have a certain honour attributed to her; that is to fay, she must be spared and borne with, the rather for that she is the weaker veffel, of a frail heart, inconstant, and with a word soon stirred to wrath. And therefore, considering these her frailties, she is to be the rather spared. By this means thou shalt not only nourish concord, but shalt have her heart in thy power and will. For honest natures will sooner be retained to do their duties, rather by gentle words than by stripes. But he which will do ull things with extremity and severity, and doth use always rigour in words and stripes, what will that avail in the conclusion? Verily nothing, but that he thereby setteth forward the Devil's work, he banisheth away concord, charity, and sweet amity, and bringeth in diffension, hatred, and irkfomeness, the greatest griefs that can be in the mutual love and sellowship of man's lise. Beyond all this, it bringeth another evil therewith, for it is the destruction and interruption of prayer: for in the time that the mind is occupied with dissension and discord, there can be no true prayer used. For the Lord's Prayer hath not only a respect to particular persons, but to the whole univerfal; in the which we openly pronounce, that we will forgive them which have offended against us, even as we ask forgiveness of our sins of God. Which thing how can it be done rightly, when their hearts be at diffension? How can they pray each for other, when they be at hate betwixt themselves? Now, if the aid of prayer be taken away, by what means can they sustain themselves in any comfort? For they cannot otherwise either resist the Devil, or yet have their hearts staid in stable comfort in all perils and necessities, but by prayer. Thus all discommodities, as well worldly as gholtly, follow this froward testiness, and cumbrous sierceness in manners, which be more meet for brute beasts than for reasonable creatures. St. Peter doth not allow these things; but the Devil desireth them gladly. Wherefore take the more heed. And yet a man may be a man, although he doth not use such extremity, yea, although he should diffemble some things in his wise's manners. And this is the part of a Christian man, which both pleaseth God, and lerveth also in good use to the comfort of their marriage state. Now as concerning the Wire's duty. What shall become her? shall she abuse the gentleness and humanity of her husband, and, at her pleasure, sure, turn all things upside down? No, surely; for that is far repugnant againsi God's commandment; tor thus doth St. Peter preach to rhem, 11' wives, he ye in subjection to ' pci. u. ohey your otvn bushands. To obey is another thing than to control or command, which yet they may do to their children, and to their family: but as for their husbands, them must: they obey, and cease from commanding, and perform subjection. For this surely doth nourish concord very much, when the wise is ready at hand at her husband's commandment, when she will apply herself to hi* will, when she endeavoureth herself to seek his cementation, and to do him pleasure, when she will eschew all things that might offend him: for thus will most truly b© veritied the faying of the Poet, A good wife by oheying her husband shall hear the rule, so that he shall have a delightand a gladness the sooner at all limes to return horne to her. But, on the contrary part, when the wives he jlubbern, fro' ward, and malapert, their busbands are compelled thereby to abhor and stee from their own houses, even as they should have battle with their enemies. Howbeit, it can lcantly be, but that some ofsences shall sometime chance betwixt them: for no man doth live without fault, lpecially, for tlttt the woman is the more frail party. Therefore let them beware that they stand not in their faults and wilfulnefs; but rather let them acknowledge their follies, and fay, My husband, so it is, that by my anger I was compelled to do this or that: forgive it me, and hereafter I will take better heed. Thus ought the woman more readily to do, the more they be ready to ofsend. And they shall not do this only to avoid strise and debate, but rather in the respect of the commandment of God, as St.. Paul expresseth it in this form of words: Let women he Ephes. v. subjeel to their busbands, as to the Lord: for the busband is' the head of the woman, as Chrijl is the head of the eburcb. Here you understand, that God hath commanded that ye should acknowledge the authority of the husband, and reser to him the honour of obedience. And St. Peter faith in that place before rehearsed, that holy matrons did in former time deck themselves, not with gold and silver, but in putting their whole hope in God, and in obeying their husbands; as Sarah obeyed Abraham, casing him Lord; whofe daughters ye he, laith he, if ye follow her example. This sentence is very meet for women to Print in their remembrance. Truth it is, that they must specially seel the grief and pains of their matrimony, in that they relinquish the liberty of their own rule, in the

pain of their travelling, in the bringing up of their children. In which ossices they be in great perils, and be grieved with great afflictions, which they might be without, if they lived out of matrimony. But St. Peter faith, that this is the chies ornament of holy matrons, in that thy set their hope and trujl in God; that is to fay, in that they refused not from marriage for the business thereof, for the gifts and perils thereof; but committed all such adventures to God, in most sure trust of help, after that they have called upon his aid. O woman, do thou the like, and so shalt thou be most excellently beautisied besore God and all his angels and faints, and thou needed nor to seek further for doing any better works. For, obey thy husband, take regard of his requests, and give heed unto him to perceive what be requireth of thee, and lo slialt thou honour God, and live peaceably in thy house. And beyond all this, God shall follow thee with his benediction, that all things shall well prosper, both to thee and to thy husband, as the Pfalm faith, Blessed is the man which fearetb God, and -walkcth in his ways; thou shalt havi the fruit of thine own hands; happy shalt thou he, and well it shall go with thee. Tby wife /hall he as a vine, plentifully spreading ahout tby house. Tby children shall he as the young springs of the olives abeut tby table. Lo, tbus shall that man he blessed, faith David, that fcareth the Lord. This let the wise have ever in mind, the rather admonished thereto by the apparel of her head, whereby is signisied, that she is under covert or obedience of her busband. And as that apparel is of nature so appointed, to declare her subjection; lo biddeth St. Paul, that all other of her raiment should express both shamefacedness and sobriety. For if it be not lawful for the woman to have her head bare, but to bear thereon the sign of her power, wheresoever she goeth; more is it required that (he declare the thing that is meant thereby. And therefore those ancient women of the old worm called their busbands Lords, and shewed them reverence in obeying them. But peradventure she will fay, that those men toved their wives indeed. I know that well enough, and hear it well in mind. But when I do admonish you of your duties, then call not to consideration what their duties be. For when we ourselves do teach our children to obey us as their parents; or when we reform our servants, and tell them that they should obey their mailers, not only at the eye, but as the Lord; if they should tell us again our duties, we should not think it well done. For when we

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