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medicine, and so to refuse it, or to cast it up. If common reproofs to strangers must all be offered in love, much more between the nearest relations.
Direct. vI. Be sure that you keep up true conjugal love to one another, and that you grow not to disaffect the persons of each other.' For if you do, you will despise each other's counsels and reproofs. They that slight, or loathe, or are weary of each other, will disdain reproofs, and scorn advice from one another; when entire affection greatly disposeth to the right entertainment of instruction.
Direct. VII. Discourage not each other from instruction or reproof by taking it ill, or by churlish reflections, or by obstinate unreformedness.' When you will not learn, or will not amend, you discourage your instructor and reprover. Men will be apt to give over, when they are requited with ingratitude, and snappish retortions, or when they perceive that their labour is all in vain. And as it is the heaviest judgment of God that befalleth any upon earth, when he withdraweth his advice and help, and leaveth sinners wholly to themselves; so it is the saddest condition in your relations, when the ignorant and sinning party is forsaken by the other, and left to their own opinions and ways; though indeed it should not be so, because while there is life there is hope.
Direct. vIII. So far as you are able to instruct or quicken one another, call in for better helps: engage each other in the reading of the most convincing, quickening books, and in attendance on the most powerful ministry, and in profitable converse with the holiest persons.' Not so as to neglect your duty to one another ever the more, but that all helps concurring may be the more effectual. When they find you speak to them but the same things which ministers and other Christians speak, it will be the more easily received. Direct. IX. Conceal not the state of your souls, nor hide your faults from one another.' You are as one flesh, and should have one heart and as it is most dangerous for a man to be unknown to himself, so is it very hurtful to husband or wife to be unknown to one another, in those cases wherein they have need of help. It is foolish tenderness of yourselves, when you conceal your disease from your physician, or your helpful friend; and who should be so tender
of you, and helpful to you, as you should be to one another? Indeed in some few cases, where the opening of a fault or secret will but tend to quench affection, and not to get assistance from another, it is wisdom to conceal it; but that is not the ordinary case. The opening your hearts to each other is necessary to your mutual help.
Direct. x. Avoid as much as may be, contrariety of opinions in religion:' for if once you be of different judgments in matters which you take to be of great concernment, you will be tempted to disaffect, contemn, or undervalue one another; and so to despise the help which you might receive and if you fall into several sects, and follow several teachers, you will hardly avoid that contention and confusion, which will prove a great advantage to the devil, and a great impediment to your spiritual good.
Direct. x1. If difference in judgment in matters of religion do fall out between you, be sure that it be managed with holiness, humility, love, and peace, and not with carnality, pride, uncharitableness, or contention.' 1. To manage your differences holily, is to take God for the judge, and to refer the matter to his Word, and to aim at his glory, and the pleasing of his will, and to use his means for the concord of your judgments; which is, to search the Scripture, and consult with the faithful, able pastors of the church, and soberly and patiently to debate the case, and pray together for the illumination of the Spirit. On the contrary your differences are carnally managed, when carnal reasons breed or feed them; and when you run after this or that sect or party, through admiration of the persons, and value not the persons for the sake of the truth, but measure truth by the opinion and estimate of the persons; and when you end your differences by selfish, carnal principles and respects and hence it comes to pass, that if the husband be a Papist or otherwise erroneous, it is two to one that the wife becometh of his erroneous religion, not because of any cogent evidence, but because he is of the stronger parts, and hath constant opportunity to persuade, and because love prepareth and inclineth her to be of his opinion: and thus man instead of God, is the master of the faith of many. 2. Your differences are managed in humility, when you have a just and modest suspicion of your own understandings, and debate
and practise your differences with meekness and submission; and do not proudly overvalue all your own apprehensions, and despise another's reasons as if they were not worthy of your consideration. 3. Your differences must be so far managed in love, not that mere love should make you turn to another's opinion be it true or false, but that you must be very desirous to be of the same mind, and if you cannot, must take it for a sore affliction, and must bear with the tolerable mistakes of one another, as you bear with your own infirmities; that they cool not love, nor alienate your hearts from one another, but only provoke you to a tender, healing, compassionate care, and endeavour to do each other good. 4. And you must manage your differences in quietness, without any passionate wranglings and dissentions, that no bitter fruits may be bred by it in your families, among yourselves. Thus all true Christians must manage their differences in matters of religion; but married persons above all.
Direct. x11. Be not either blindly indulgent to each other's faults, nor yet too censorious of each other's state, lest satan thereby get advantage to alienate your affections from one another.' To make nothing of the faults of those whom you love, is to love them foolishly, to their hurt, and to shew that it is not for their virtues that you love them. And to make too great a matter of one another's faults, is but to help the tempter to quench your love, and turn your hearts from one another. Thus many good women that have husbands that are guilty of too much coldness in religion, or worldly mindedness, or falling into ill company, and misspending their time, are first apt to overlook all possibility of any seed of grace that ma be in them, and then looking on them as ungodly persons, to abate too much their love and duty to them. There is great wisdom and watchfulness requisite in this case, to keep you from being carried into either of the extremes.
Direct. XIII. If f you are married to one that is indeed an infidel, or an ungodly person, yet keep up all the conjugal love which is due for the relation's sake.' Though you cannot love them as true Christians, yet love them as husband or wife. Even heathens are bound to love those that are thus related to them. The apostle hath determined the
case, 1 Cor. vii. that Christians must perform their duties to husbands or wives that are unbelievers. The faults of another discharge you not from your duty. As satan hath deceived some by separating principles about church communion, to deny almost all God's ordinances to many, to whom they are due; so doth he thus deceive some persons in family relations, and draw them from the duties which they owe for one another's good.
Direct. XIV. Join together in frequent and fervent prayer.' Prayer doth force the mind into some composedness and sobriety, and affecteth the heart with the presence and majesty of God. Pray also for each other when you are in secret, that God may do that work which you most desire, upon each other's hearts.
Direct. xv. Lastly,' Help each other by an exemplary life.' Be that yourselves which you desire your husband or wife should be: excel in meekness, and humility, and charity, and dutifulness, and diligence, and self-denial, and patience, as far as you do excel in profession of religion. St. Peter saith, that even those that will not be won by the Word, may be won without it by the conversation of their wives: that is, the excellency of religion may so far appear to them, by the fruits of it in their wives' conversations, as may first incline them to think well and honourably of it, and so to inquire into the nature and reason of it, and to hearken to their wives; and all this without the public ministry. A life of undissembled holiness, and heavenliness, and self-denial, and meekness, and love, and mortification, is a powerful sermon; which, if you be constantly preaching before those that are still near you, will hardly miss of a good effect. Works are more palpably significant and persuasive, than words alone.
Direct. VII. Another great conjugal duty is, to be helpful to each other for the health and comfort of their bodies"." Not to pamper each other's flesh, or cherish the vices of pride, or sloth, or gluttony, or voluptuousness in each other; but to further the health and cheerfulness of the body, to fit it for the service of the soul and God. Such cherishing or pleasing of the flesh, which is unlawful in each person to himself, is also unlawful (ordinarily) to use to another. But "Rom. xiii, 13, 14. Ephcs. v. 29. 31. Gen. ii. 18.
such as you may use for yourself, you may use also for your wife or husband. Not to live above your estates, nor as servants to your guts, to serve the appetites of one another by delicious fare; but to be careful of that health, without which your lives will be made unserviceable or uncomfortable: and this must proceed from such a love to one another as you have to yourselves: and that both in time of health and sickness.
1. In health, you must be careful to provide for each other (not so much pleasing as) wholesome food, and to keep each other from that which is hurtful to your health; dissuading each other from gluttony and idleness, the two great murderers of mankind. If the bodies of the poor, in hunger, and cold, and nakedness must be relieved, much more of those that are become as your own flesh.
2. Also in sickness, you are to be tenderly regardful of each other; and not to be sparing of any costs or pains, by which the health of each other may be restored, or your souls confirmed, and your comforts cherished. You must not loathe the bodies of each other in the most loathsome sickness, nor shun them through loathing; no more than you would do your owny. "A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity:" much more those that are so nearly bound for sickness and health, till death shall separate them. It is an odious sin to be weary of a sick or suffering friend, and desirous that God would take them, merely that you may be eased of the trouble. And usually such persons do meet with such measure as they measured to others; and those that they look for help and comfort from, will perhaps be as weary of them, and as glad to be rid of them.
Direct. VIII. Another duty of husbands and wives is to be helpful to each other in their worldly business, and estates. Not for worldly ends, nor with a worldly mind; but in obedience to God who will have them labour, as well as pray, for their daily bread, and hath determined that in the sweat of their brows they shall eat their bread; and that six days they shall labour and do all that they have to do; and that he that will not work must not eat. The care of
x Gen. xxvii. 14. y Eph. v. 29. 31.
Job. xix. 17. ii. 9.
z Prov. xvii. 17. v. 8.