« PreviousContinue »
ate, faithful, prayerful, and persevering discharge acter, temper, and conduct, are wanting! Where of the duties of parental government and instruc- there is neither sincere attachment, nor good tion; and may be open the understandings and principle, where there is nothing but alienation, hearts of their offspring, giving them an humble distrust, suspicion, strife, hatred, confusion, and and teachable disposition, and creating a clean every evil work, what a complication of miseries heart, and renewing a right spirit within them. is there! What wretchedness for life! and what
danger of making shipwreck of faith and a good conscience for ever!
And how may these dreadful evils be evaded, ELEVENTH DAY.—MORNING.
and the opposite advantages secured in the mar
ried state ? Plainly, by the conscientious disHusbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gare himself for it,' duties are mutual, though we are, at present,
charge of its duties on both sides. Most of theso Eph. v. 25.
concerned chiefly with conjugal duties as they How intimate and endearing the conjugal rela- relate to the husband. These duties are sumtion! If things are as they ought to be, and as med up in the one word 'love: Husbands, lovo they often are, husband and wife are one in your wives.' This should include what is comresidence, in property, in feeling, in desire, in monly called love. Such love, in the rational affection. They are to each other the most valued sense of decided preference and cordial attachsociety; and absence only makes them more ment, (though not in any foolish and romantic sensible of the strength of the chain that binds sense), is necessary to the true happiness of the them together. They contrive and act together, married state. But in addition to this, there for each other's advantage and happiness. They should be Christian love, enlightened benevolence, do all they can to ward off evil, and to secure good a wishing well in every way. Now, one peculiar for each other. They mutually make known feature of Christian love is that it takes the soul their secrets, and unbosom their cares. What into account, and desires to promote the spiritual is lost to the one, is lost to the other; and what and eternal welfare of its object. This love in the is gained to the one, is gained to the other. most extensive sense, once kindled, should be Their hopes and fears, their joys and sorrows, carefully cherished. Married
should their comforts and bereavements, are mutual. guard against whatever would destroy, or damp Fach would willingly undergo pain to relieve the it. They should “leave off strife before it be other
. Their distresses are alleviated by each meddled with;' and, if any slight misunderstandother's sympathy; and their enjoyments are ing unhappily arise, they should not follow out doubled by the circumstance of their being keenly the cause of dispute, but should drop it, and shared with the object whose happiness is dearer be thoroughly reconciled, as soon as possible. to each party than its own. They commune The duty of love especially requires on the together, and read together, and pray together, part of the husband, as well as of the wife, faithfor their soul's eternal welfare; they take sweet fulness to the marriage vow. Let no man deal counsel together, and go into the house of God treacherously against the wife of his youth; she is
company. Nor is the attachment lessened by his companion, and the wife of his covenant. time, or change of circumstances; it rather grows Supposing husbands to be faithful and inwardly according to the time it has existed; and the very affectionate, their love should be manifested in inroads of age and of increasing infirmities only their words and actions, in the whole way in render it more certain and more tender. And which they treat their wives. Let not the head then, with what affecting interest is this relation become a tyrant, and quarrel with his partner invested by the consideration that it is for life! for every trifle, and deny her reasonable comforts, What God hath joined together, let not man and abuse, or grieve her, by opprobrious or unput asunder.' A tie is formed by marriage which kind language, and act so overbearing a part to is only dissolved by the dissolution of one of the her, as shall at all events, render her life unhappy, parties. When two thus join hands and hearts, and as may even break her heart, and shorten her on together they go, till death come in between days. Where is he that is guilty of conduct so them, and bid them part.
inhuman? Let him stand forward, if not to the As, however, this connection is productive of hiss and execration of the community, at least as so much happiness, where things are as they a beacon to others; and let the husband that canought to be, so, on the other hand, how great the not now bear even to think of such conduct misery which it occasions when the proper char-beware of all approaches to it.
This love requires that instead of acting with the same as not to require any separate considerabitterness and severity, the husband should treat tion. This is the case, for example, with the his wife with the greatest positive kindness, and duty of faithfulness to the marriage vow. The show her the most substantial, practical proofs of duty of love, too, is equally incumbent on the his high regard. He should attend to whatever wife, and it should be carefully cherished by her, is agreeable and serviceable to her, and calculated and should manifest itself in those peculiar forms to promote her external comfort ; and he should which are called for by the place she occupies in above all, (as has been already noticed), be studi- the household. It is her duty, also, as well as ous to advance her spiritual good. His love his, to avoid all bitterness, and to be placid, should also appear in doing well-meant actions gentle, contented, forbearing, and kind, in temin a kind manner. And if he desire to make his per, language, and conduct. As it is his to show wife happy, he must be very circumspect in his her every practical proof of regard, so it is hers to conduct. He must be industrious, prudent, do all she can to make him comfortable and happy economical, temperate, pious.
in his house at home. As it is his diligently to So intimate, so delightful, and so endearing is provide the means of support for his wife and this relation, that it has no parallel in ordinary family, so it is hers frequently to do more or less life. Its like is only to be found in the connec- for the same objects, and always to economize these tion which subsists between Christ and his church. means in the domestic arrangements. In the great The love of the husband to the wife cannot, indeed, majority of cases, it is the duty of the wife, as equal that of Christ to the church, nor can it in any mistress of the family, diligently, wisely, frugally, degree be of the same kind in respect of meritorious and charitably, to contrive, direct, superintend, and mediatorial nature; but there are some features and manage, the expenditure, the food, the clothin which it should be like it. It should resemble ing, and the general affairs of the household. She his in sincerity and tenderness, and in being ready who does all this well is indeed a great treasure to do and suffer any thing for the welfare of its to her husband. Of such a “virtuous woman, object; and it should resemble his in its faithfulness Solomon gives the following beautiful and inand duration, for 'having loved his own, he loved structive description: “The heart of her husband them unto the end! Happy pair, where such doth safely trust in her. She will do him good, the enlightened and Christian love on the one side, and not evil, all the days of her life. She and such the dutiful attachment on the other! stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she Mutual blessings in this life, they are connected reacheth forth her hand to the needy. She openeth together by a tie stronger and more lasting than her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is that of marriage, a tie which death itself cannot the law of kindness. She looketh well to the dissever, even the tie of grace which will be ways of her household, and eateth not the bread acknowledged in the world of spirits, where they of idleness. Her children rise up and call her neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. as the angels of God in heaven.'
Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou
Lord, she shall be praised.'
Peculiar, however, to one party in this rela*Wides, submit yourselves unto your own hus- tion, there is one duty, the idea of which, it is to • Wides, submit yourselves unto your own hus- be feared, is not always agreeable to the natural bands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is
pride and self-will of that party, but which canthe head of the wife, even as Christ is the head not be denied by any conscientious and Christian of the church, and he is the Sariour of the
woman, and that is the duty, on the part of the body,' Eph. v. 22, 23.
wife, of obedience, or submission to the will of IMPORTANT to the prosperity and happiness of her husband. Not to insist on the natural foundomestic life as is dutiful conduct on the part of dation laid for this in the superior strength and the husband, dutiful conduct on the part of the enterprise of the men—the word of God is quite wife is no less so. Unless the example and exer- explicit on the subject. Wives, submit yourselves tions of the former be met by those of the latter, unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the good effect will be entirely destroyed, or much the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ weakened. Of the duties of the married state, is the head of the church: and he is the Saviour of as was noticed under the preceding article, many the body. Therefore, as the church is subject unto are quite mutual; and, indeed, some are so much Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.' See 1 Cor. xi. 3, 9; Eph. v. 22, maineth that both they that have wives,' (and by &c.; Col. iii. 18; 1 Pet. iii. 1, 2, 5, 6.
parity of reason, they that have husbands, or Unquestionably, this duty of obedience is not other connections), “be as though they had none; without limitation. It is binding only in the for the fashion of this world passeth away. Let Lord,' -in conformity with Christian principles, them seriously consider and suitably improve this and in so far as what is required is not inconsis- affecting and awakening thought, and they will be tent with the commandments of the Lord Jesus blessings to each other. Indeed as long as they Christ, who is the head of both parties. Neither sojourn together here below, they will be lovely of the parties is to yield to the other in any thing and pleasant in their lives; and if death should sinful. The husband should stand firm against divide them for a time, they will soon meet again the solicitations of the wife, when they would to part no more for ever. draw him away from the Lord. See Deut. xiii. 6; Judg. xiv. 16; 1 Kings xxi. 25; Acts v. 111. With the exception of things sinful, howcver, the wife should conscientiously and cheer
TWELFTH DAY:-MORNING. fully comply with the known and declared will of the husband. Nor need she fear that this
Masters, gire unto your servants that which is will lower her true dignity, or happiness; for, it
just and equal; knowing that ye also have a will exalt, not degrade her, and will go far to
Master in heacen,' Col. iv, 1. secure for her contentment and peace. The duty LET masters, all who have any persons in the she owes him is represented as bearing some capacity of servants in their house, or in any resemblance in reverence, strength, and faithful- employment under them, take heed to this solemn ness, to the duty the church owes to Christ, who admonition to conduct themselves towards them is not only the head of the church, but the head as the dictates of common justice and the sacred of all relations, in whom they have all their obligations of the Christian religion require. Be sweetness and gracious efficacy.
it remembered, too, that, making allowance for Husbands and wives are mutually and equally obvious differences in some circumstances, under bound to study to promote, in every scriptural the duties of masters those of mistresses are to way, each other's spiritual welfare and salvation. be ranked. With this leading end, they should come together, One duty which masters owe to their servants, and continue to live together. They should read and that which seems to be here most directly together, and converse together, on the things of intended, is the duty of giving them reasonable God: they should encourage each other in all wages. According to the nature and value of the piety and goodness: and they should pray services, the wants of those who serve, and also, together for those influences of the Holy Spirit in some respects, the ability of the employer, the without which no union and no care can secure remuneration should be, not in a cruel and nigpiety, virtue, and peace. As the apostle Peter gardly way, screwed down to the lowest farthing, expresses it, they should live as being heirs but bestowed liberally and cheerfully to the together of the grace of life, that their prayers extent, and at the time promised. Thou shalt be not hindered.' The great influence which not oppress an hired servant that is poor and this most intimate connection is calculated to needy;' “at his day thou shalt give him his hire, exert for good, or for evil, should weigh power- neither shall the sun go down upon it; for he is fully, with single persons who fear the Lord, poor, and setteth his heart upon it; lest he cry against marrying those who are void of religion. against thee unto the Lord, and it be a sin unto If such an ill-sorted alliance has been contracted, thee.' he, or she, that believeth should both guard The duty of masters, however, is not completed against being drawn away from God, and also by the payment of reasonable wages as stipu-use all prudent methods to win over the other lated; there is committed to them a very compreparty.
hensive and important trust somewhat like the Finally, let husbands and wives be stirred up parental. It is their duty to consult the general to the careful performance of all their relative temporal comfort of their servants. They should duties by the thought of their coming separation treat them with humanity. They should only and final account. Let them be duly impressed require of them what is lawful in nature, and with the transitory nature of all earthly relations, reasonable in degree. They should not proudly and look forward to the hour of death and the refuse to listen to what they have to say in their day of judgment. “The time is short: it re-l own defence, or for their own benefit. If I did. despise the cause of my man-servant,' said Job, Bethel, under an oak; and the name of it was 'or of my maid-servant, when they contended called Allon-bachuth,' that is, the oak of weeping. with me; what then should I do, when God But if masters are to acquit their consciences, riseth up? and, when he visiteth, what shall I and do justice to their servants, they must also answer him ? Did not he that made me in the seek their spiritual good. Let them watch over womb make him ? and did not one fashion us?' their morals. Let them do what they can to They should not rule over them with rigour, but regulate their conversation and actions. Let them fear the Lord, Eph. vi. 9: And, ye masters, do aim at their conversion to God; or at their edificathe same things unto them,' act on similar good tion, if they are already under the influence of the principles towards your servants, forbearing truth. Let them instruct and admonish them, threatening,' abstaining from violent and menacing in a way suited to their age, character, and prolanguage. Let the account of Nabal (1 Sam. xxv.) gress. Let them read to them, and hear them serve as a beacon to warn masters against such read, the word of God, and furnish them with rudeness and violence. The man was churlish, other useful books. I know him,' said the Lord, and evil in his doings.' 'He is such a son of of Abraham, “that he will command his houseBelial,' said one of his servants, that a man can hold after him, and they shall keep the way of not speak to him.' Masters should consider what the Lord, to do justice and judgment.' They the strength of their servants is able to endure, should assemble them to family worship, like what rest and accommodation they require, and David, “who returned to bless his household.' what are their infirmities. They should be kind They should, according to the fourth commandto them when they are sick, after the beautiful ment, enjoin on them, and give them every example of the centurion mentioned in the facility to the observance of the sabbath, and seventh chapter of Luke. They should not be attendance on the sanctuary. And authoritatoo difficult to please; nor should they be con- tive injunction and affectionate entreaty should stantly finding fault. Their servants must have always be accompanied with a consistent example. uncommonly good tempers indeed, if such treat- Every head of a family should adopt and act on ment do not sour them. While masters should the principles of the Psalmist, “I will behave myself be at liberty to point out what they wish altered, wisely in a perfect way. O! when wilt thou come they should, at the same time, notice with unto me? I will walk within my house with a approbation what is right, and make reasonable perfect heart.' allowance for infirmities and occasional mistakes. Masters and mistresses should not take up vulgar and idle prejudices against servants, as if they were almost all, or even generally, unreasonable
TWELFTH DAY.-EVENING. and unprincipled. "If a ruler hearken to lies, all his servants are wicked,' Prov. xxix. 12. It
Servants, be obedient to them that are your would be well, if instead of employers dwelling
masters according to the flesh, with fear and on the faults of their servants, or servants dwell
trembling, in singleness of your heart, as anto ing on the faults of their employers, each party
Christ : not with eye-service, as men-pleasers ; would endeavour to discover and reform their
but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of own; for then would the interest and comfort
God from the heart,' Eph. vi. 5, 6. of both be indirectly indeed, but surely and HOWEVER some may ignorantly and discontentgreatly promoted.
edly complain of the inequalities of human conMasters should be sensible of the ralue of good dition, it is a wise and benevolent arrangement and faithful servants; they should reward such, of divine providence that such inequalities should proportionally to the length and value of their be found. They tend, in many ways, to promote services; and especially if they remain with them, the comfort of our kind; and it is difficult to they should not cast them off, but provide for conceive how any desirable state of society could them, if possible, in old age. In some cases, exist without them. The condition of servitnde servants have deserved to be treated, and have has arisen, in some cases from inequality of abiliactually been treated, almost like children of the ties, but in many more, from inequality of profamily. A wise servant shall have part of the perty. When a state of servitude is for life, and inheritance among the brethren,' Prov. xvii. 2. altogether independent on the will of those who And good and faithful servants should be mourned are under it, it is called slavery, than which state for when they are removed by death. “Deborah, nothing can be more subversive of the rights, Rebekah's nurse, died, and she was buried beneath I and happiness, and improvement of our species, Voluntary service, for a stipulated recompense, | ters of small value, as well as of great:— Not and for a stipulated time, is highly conducive to purloining,' or secretly keeping back, or abstractthe interest of both master and servant. In this ing, any thing, but shewing all good fidelity,' kind of service, however, as if anxious to depart Tit. ii. 10. Faithfulness also requires that they as far as possible from the justly-abhorred condi- do not waste, abuse, or neglect the property comtion of slavery, or perpetual servitude, many are mitted to their care, but manage and husband it too ready to run into the extreme of frequent well. Servants should exert themselves to conchanges. When, indeed, parties are so ill-assorted duct their employers' affairs to the best advanthat they cannot be comfortable, the best thing tage; and they should not knowingly suffer them they can do is to part in peace: but to change to be wronged by others. Faithfulness requires needlessly, from caprice, or merely for the sake servants to take a general interest in the welfare of change, is unfeeling and injudicious. A con- and comfort of the family in which they serve. siderable time is, in general, necessary for the The passage at the head of this exercise enjoins formation, on either side, of that attachment' singleness,' or sincerity, of heart;' and cautions which may afterwards prove very useful. If against "eye-service.' Servants must not be servants would consult their own advantage and satisfied with exerting themselves and doing well happiness let them seek, at all events, a safe em- when the eye of their earthly masters or misployment, and, if possible, a situation favourable tresses is upon them: but they must sincerely to their religious character; let them be contented study to fulfil their duties at all times, and with their lot and provision suited to it; and whether any human eye see them or not. They let them set themselves to the zealous discharge should also go about all this service with cheerof its duties.
fulness :—not as a painful drudgery, or as forced, One of their leading duties is obedience. “Ser- but with readiness and alacrity, with good will vants, be obedient to them that are your masters.' doing service,' Eph. vi. 7. Such servants greatly That is, they should obey, to the utmost of their promote the temporal prosperity and comfort of ability, all their lawful commands; for, if any families. thing sinful be required, it should by no means It is of importance to notice that servants are be yielded to. Servants, like all others, should bound to be obedient, respectful, and faithful, act on the principle of obeying God rather than whatever be the character of their masters, or
They should obey “ with fear and tremb- their behaviour towards them. Servants, be ling,'--pot with slavish terror, but with a fear subject to your masters with all fear; not only of doing wrong,—with the utmost care to avoid to the good and gentle, but also to the froward. displeasing them, and as feeling the inferiority of For this is thank-worthy, if a man for conscience their own station. Another duty they owe to toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully,' their masters is a respectful carriage. “Let as 1 Pet. ii. 18. Doubtless, meek submission in many servants as are under the yoke count such cases, is very difficult; but it is very comtheir own masters worthy of all honour,' 1 Tim. mendable, and instead of justifying such bad vi. 1.
An assuming and haughty behaviour treatment, renders it more inexcusable. It should, would be very unbecoming in them, as would however, and will, by every ingenuous mind, be disrespectful language. Though they may calmly felt to be peculiarly pleasant to comply with the state whatever can be truly advanced in vindica- desires and study to promote the happiness of tion of themselves; they should never give rude pious and kind masters. and surly replies: this is the meaning of the pro- In reference more directly to spiritual things, hibition in Tit. ii. 9, Not answering again.' it is the duty, as it is the interest, of servants, to A third duty of servants is diligence. The sloth-value and improve the means of religious benefit ful servant is a wicked servant; Matt. xxv. with which they may be favoured in the house in 26. The master requires a property in the time which they reside. The obligation on their of the servant; and if the servant do not employ masters to use endeavours to promote their souls' it and improve it for his master's benefit, he is good, implies an obligation on their part to meet guilty of injustice. Again, faithfulness is one of these endeavours with corresponding desires. the leading duties of servants, and includes several things. It includes perfect freedom from positive dishonesty. Servants have often much of their masters' property in their power, and they cannot be too careful in preserving integrity. This principle should be carried out by them in mat