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please God, and not fail to secure for themselves a portion in the bliss of his glorious kingdom.
They will take care to model their whole conduct hy the word of God; doing what he commands, avoiding whatever he forbids, and cherishing holy and pious affections in each other, by the powerful influence of a good example: and, finally, they will pray with, and for each other, that the Divine blessing may rest upon them, and render their attempts successful to advance each other's happiness.
Were husbands and wives thus to seek the salvation of their souls, who can tell what benefit they would derive from each other's kind remonstrances and solicitations ? Such endeavours would certainly honour God, by a mutual dischargeof their respective duties; and prove the spiritual nature and extent of their love; which, when founded on the fear of God, would be sure to be equally constant, in affliction or prosperity, in sickness or health, in indigence or plenty, in youth or old age ; durable as their continuance together; and conducive to their advancement in eternal glory after death, when the union of the pious will be cemented in bonds neverto be broken.
4. Besides those which have been stated, there are several peculiar duties which devolve on married persons--some incumbent on the husband, others on the wife a strict regard to which is necessary for the preservation of order and peace. It is the province of the husband to preside: “for the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the Head of the Church'.” When he yields up his proper authority to his wife, he betrays the trust which God has reposed in him, and introduces disorder and confusion. He must not, however, abuse
'Eph. v. 23.
his right to govern, for arbitrary or cruel purposes; but use it solely for the benefit of his wife ; which was the design of God in vesting him with it. So far from regarding his pre-eminence over her as a pretext for treating her rudely and harshly, he will think himself bound, by the command of God, to exercise his authority with the utmost tenderness and moderation; “ giving all due honour to the wife, as the weaker vessel";” the delicacy of her constitution requiring gentleness, humanity, and affection. When the power thus lodged with the husband is exerted in this mild and Christian spirit; instead of being grievous to the wife, it is produc tive of peace to her, and advantage to them both.
Further ;-it is manifestly the duty of the husband to employ his time and talents for the maintenance of his wife, that he may provide for her wants, and furnish her with things suitable to her station in life. He will express much pleasure in sharing with her the comforts which he possesses, and in seeing her use them with moderation.
Though he will consult her feelings, and grant all her reasonable requests, yet he must, by no means, countenance her in any sinful gratification ; whether it be too great a love of worldly splendour and vanity, or extravagance in the management of his affairs.
5. It is the peculiar duty of the wife to live in subjection and obedience to her husband, as enforced by the word of God. "Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the Head of the Church. Therefore, as the Church is subject unto Christ, so let wives be to their own husbands in every thing.” H Pet. iii. 7.
& Eph. v. 23—25.
The Scripture states the reasons of this appointment to be, the first formation of the man, and the too-easy compliance of Eve, with the temptation of Satan. Her ambition “ of being as the gods” was the cause of her degradation. Hence Jehovah declared, respecting her and every one of her sex,
Thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.”
The wife, therefore, cannot usurp the reins of government, or refuse to submit to the just authority of her husband, without resisting the ordinance of God, than which nothing can be more presumptuous.
But this obedience of the wife extends no further than to the lawful commands of her husband. Should any thing be enjoined upon her which clashes with her duty to God, both reason and Scripture, in this case, direct her “to obey God rather than man.' ' But, in every instance where compliance with the request of her husband is not contrary to the will of God, she must comply without a murmur. the wife see that she reverence her husbandi.'
Another duty which devolves on the wife, is to afford him every comfort and assistance in her power. She will shew invariable kindness to him, be attentive to his wants, cherish him tenderly in sickness, soothe him in trouble, lighten his cares, assist him in the religious education of his children, and, by a pious example, strive to make them subjects of Christ's kingdom
She will not imitate those mothers who neglect the care of their families, in order that they may indulge a culpable fondness for dress, visiting, and pleasure ; “ but will look well to the ways of her hGen, iii, 16.
i Eph. v. 33.
household, and will not eat the bread of idleness k. She will avoid every kind of extravagance, and, by a prudent use of her husband's income, repay him for those assiduities to business by which his family is supported.
Finally, when both parties are real Christians, their mutual duties will be easy and pleasant. But, if either of them reinain under the power of unbelief, in this trying situation, wisdom and grace must be sought from above, to enable the other to bear the tross cheerfully. A pious and circumspect behaviour, mingled with unabated kindness, will often, with the blessing of God, win over the mind disaffected to the truth. In all such cases, it is advisable to bear unkind treatment and neglect; and frequently to pray, that, being joined in matrimonial bonds, they may both become one spirit in the Lord, and thus be prepared for everlasting life.
k Prov. xxxi. 27.
ON THE DUTY OF PARENTS TO THEIR CHILDREN.
Ephesians vi. 4. Bring up your children in the nurture and
admonition of the Lord. Both reason and religion point out parents as the proper guardians of their offspring ; whose present and future welfare they ought invariably to consult. Their attention to the happiness of their children must begin with their birth, and can only cease with death itself, which dissolves the obligation.
The common light of nature teaches us that there are certain duties to be performed towards
children, which kind and conscientious parents will not neglect.
1. It is incumbent on them to cherish the most genuine affection for their children, whom they must regard as they do themselves. They will inanifest their love towards them, by the most tender care to promote their health and comfort, during the help less
years of infancy, and by doing nothing which may, in the least degree, endanger their life, or in: jure their constitution.
2. Parents will be anxious, when they reflect that their children must be completely happy or miserable to all eternity, to preserve their morals from injury and dellement. They will not encourage in them
any vice or evil temper; nor commit them to the care of such persons as are likely to hurt their infant minds by improper words or actions..
As the good or bad seed which is sown at this season will soon spring up, and produce corresponding fruits in the life, it is of great importance for parents to attend to every thing which relates to the minds of their children, as far as their situation will adınit, and not leave them totally under the guidance of 'those who may give them a wrong and sinful bias. By an early attention to this duty, many of those wayward tempers and inclinations, which occasion so much grief and trouble afterwards, might be checked, if not subdued; and thus their children, instead of corrupting others by bad habits contracted in infancy, would prove a real blessing to their parents, and to the community of which they are members.
3. It is the duty of parents to govern and correct their children, during their tender years, by mild restraints and chastisements. Without this disci