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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 CONVERSATION OF THE WIVES,
WHILE THEY BEHOLD YOUR CHASTE CONVERSATION COUPLED WITH FEAR.
WHOSE ADORNING, LET IT NOT BE THAT OUTWARD ADORNING, OF PLAITING THE HAIR, AND OF WEARING 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 OF GREAT PRICE.
FOR AFTER THIS MANNER IN THE OLD TIME, THE HOLY WOMEN ALSO WHO TRUSTED IN GOD ADORNED THEM
SELVES, 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 UNTO THE WIFE AS UNTO THE WEAKER VESSEL, AND AS BEING HEIRS TOGE THER OF THE GRACE OF LIFE; THAT YOUR PRAYERS BE NOT HINDERED.1 Pet. iii. 1—7.
Governor of the universe is perpetually varying, and determining our duties by the difpenfations of his providence, the conditions in which he fixes us, and
the connections, which fometimes by a train of marvellous occurrences, he leads us to form. Thus the whole fcripture is examined in fucceffion, and every truth of the gospel obtains an application appropriate and impreffive.
Marriage is an inftitution 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 diforders of licentioufness, and cherishes the fweetest affections of the heart. There is no union, the quality of which is fo intimate, the obligation of which is fo binding, the confequences of which are so momentous: it even furpaffes natural relation, "and for this cause fhall a man leave his father and his mother, and "shall cleave unto his wife, and they two "fhall be one flesh; what therefore God "hath joined together let not man put "afunder."
Hence the opinion of those who would either banish or degrade marriage, has always been held by the wife and the virtuous, as a fentiment the most vile and injurious, equally deftructive of morals, and of focial
happiness. Hence many of the philofophers and legiflators, even in the heathen world, were peculiarly folicitous to establish, to fanction, to encourage, and to regulate this inftitution. But in this, as well as in every other inftance favourable to the welfare of mankind, the "gospel of our falvation" has the pre-eminence. It claffes the prohibition of the ordinance with "the doctrine of devils-affures us marriage is honourable in all"-leads us back to its commencement in paradife-renders the bond indissoluble— places 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 fubject of particular inftruction. It has given us advice, it has given us law-and where is this law fo beautifully and largely expreffed as in the paffage I hold up to view this morning?
PART I. In the delineation of the duties refulting from marriage, our divine Infructor begins with the WIVES-and to animate their attention to the rules he preferibes, he reminds them of the probability of their usefulness to their hufbands in a cafe of all others the most interefting: "If any obey
"not the word, they MAY, without the word, "be won."
Religion is not always univerfal, even in fmall detached portions of fociety. In the fame house there may be an heir of glory, and a fon of perdition, natural alliance and fpiritual disunion, perfons 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 defign? Do not hiftory, experience, and obfervation favour the probability? Have not women in all denominations, in all ages, in all countries, in all ranks, been more difposed to religion than men ?-From how many vices are females restrained by confiderations which bear much less forcibly on the minds of men?-- Who depends fo much on opinion and esteem, or feels fo many motives to preferve reputation unblemished ?-Denied fo often the liberty of divulging their emotions, who fo ready to feize the privilege of prayer, and to " pour
out the heart before GOD?"-Who so sufceptible of lively impreffions?-Who feels fo powerfully the thrilling of fympathy, or melts down fo eafily into all the tendernesses of benevolence?-While we think, they feel
-while we deliberate, they relieve. What woman was ever deftitute of commiferation?-They were not women who unfeel"looked on," or
lingly paffed by on the "other fide," when the poor traveller lay wounded, bleeding, half-dead.- Who fo accustomed to self-denial, the first, the last leffon in the fchool of CHRIST?-Who feels fuch viciffitudes of health, or paffes through scenes of pain and hazard so adapted to excite an entire dependence upon GOD, and to awaken folemn thought by bringing another world nearer the view?— Lefs occupied in the distracting concerns of business, fhe has more time for folitude. 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 tendereft cares of nature charm as well as employ. The mother is happy to prefs to her lips and to her bosom the babe she has borne -to feel the ftroking hand of her fuckling 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 tafk, to rear the tender thought,
To teach the young idea how to fhoot,