HOMILY ON THE STATE OF MATRIMONY

from Short-Title Catalogue 13675.
Renaissance Electronic Texts 1.2.
© 1994, 1997 Ian Lancashire (ed.)
University of Toronto

UTEL Home Page.


AN HOMILIE OF the state of Matrimonie

[II:18.1-1]  THE word of Almightie GOD doth te­
[II:18.1-2]  stifie and declare, whence the originall
[II:18.1-3]  beginning of Matrimony commeth, and
[II:18.1-4]  why it is ordained. It is instituted of
[II:18.1-5]  GOD, to the intent that man and wo­
[II:18.1-6]  man should liue lawfully in a perpetuall
[II:18.1-7]  friendship, to bring foorth fruite, and to
[II:18.1-8]  auoide Fornication. By which meane a
[II:18.1-9]  good conscience might bee preserued on
[II:18.1-10]  both parties, in brideling the corrupt in­
[II:18.1-11]  clinations of the flesh, within the limites
[II:18.1-12]  of honestie. For GOD hath straitly for­
[II:18.1-13]  bidden all whoredome and vncleannesse,
[II:18.1-14]  and hath from time to time taken grieuous punishment of this inordi­
[II:18.1-15]  nate lust, as all stories and ages haue declared. Furthermore it is also
[II:18.1-16]  ordained, that the Church of GOD and his kingdome might by this
[II:18.1-17]  kinde of life be conserued and enlarged, not onely in that GOD giueth
[II:18.1-18]  children by his blessing, but also in &that: they be brought vp by the Parents
[II:18.1-19]  godly, in the knowledge of GODS word, that thus the knowledge of
[II:18.1-20]  GOD and true Religion might bee deliuered by succession from one to
[II:18.1-21]  another that finally many might enioy that euerlasting immortalitie.
[II:18.1-22]  Wherefore, forasmuch as Matrimonie serueth vs as well to auoide sinne
[II:18.1-23]  and offence, as to encrease the kingdome of GOD: you, as all other
[II:18.1-24]  which enter the state, must acknowledge this benefit of GOD, with pure
[II:18.1-25]  and thankefull minds, for that he hath so ruled your hearts, that yee fol­
[II:18.1-26]  low not the example of the wicked world, who set their delight in filthi­
[II:18.1-27]  nesse of sinne, but both of you stand in the feare of GOD, and abhorre
[II:18.1-28]  all filthinesse. For that is surely the singular gift of GOD, where the
[II:18.1-29]  common example of the world declareth how the diuell hath their
[II:18.1-30]  hearts bound and entangled in diuers snares, so that they in their
[II:18.1-31]  wiuelesse state runne into open abominations, without any grudge of
[II:18.1-32]  their conscience. Which sort of men that liue so desperately, and filthy,
[II:18.1-33]  what damnation tarieth for them, Saint Paul describeth it to them, say­
[II:18.1-34]  ing: Neither whoremonger, neither adulterers, shall inherite the king­

[margin]
1.Cor.5.
[margin]

[II:18.1-35]  dome of GOD. This horrible iudgement of GOD yee bee escaped
[II:18.1-36]  through his mercie, if so bee that yee liue inseparately, according to
[II:18.1-37]  GODS ordinance. But yet I would not haue you carelesse without
[II:18.1-38]  watching. For the deuill will assay to attempt all things to interrupt
[II:18.1-39]  and hinder your hearts and godly purpose, if ye will giue him any entry.
[II:18.1-40]  For hee will either labour to breake this godly knot once begun betwixt
[II:18.1-41]  you, or else at the least hee will labour to encumber it with diuers griefes
[II:18.1-42]  and displeasures.

[II:18.1-43]  And this is the principall craft, to worke dissension of hearts of the one
[II:18.1-44]  from the other: That whereas now there is pleasant and sweet loue be­
[II:18.1-45]  twixt you, he will in the stead thereof, bring in most bitter & vnpleasant
[II:18.1-46]  discord, And surely that same aduersarie of ours, doeth, as it were from
[II:18.1-47]  aboue, assault mans nature and condition. For this folly is euer from
[II:18.1-48]  our tender age growne vp with vs, to haue a desire to rule, to thinke
[II:18.1-49]  highly of our selfe, so that none thinketh it meet to giue place to another.
[II:18.1-50]  That wicked vice of stubborne will and selfe loue, is more meet to breake
[II:18.1-51]  and to disseuer the loue of heart, then to preserue concord. Wherefore
[II:18.1-52]  married persons must apply their minds in most earnest wise to concorde,
[II:18.1-53]  and must craue continually of GOD the helpe of his holy Spirit, so to
[II:18.1-54]  rule their hearts, and to knit their minds together, that they be not disse­
[II:18.1-55]  uered by any diuision of discord. This necessitie of prayer, must be oft in
[II:18.1-56]  the practise and vsing of married persons, that oft times the one should
[II:18.1-57]  pray for the other, lest hate and debate doe arise betwixt them. And be­
[II:18.1-58]  cause few doe consider this thing, but more few doe performe it (I say to
[II:18.1-59]  pray diligently) we see how wonderfull the diuell deludeth and scorneth
[II:18.1-60]  this state, how few Matrimonies there be without chidings, braw­
[II:18.1-61]  lings, tauntings, repentings, bitter cursings, and fightings. Which
[II:18.1-62]  things whosoeuer doth commit, they doe not consider that it is the insti­
[II:18.1-63]  gation of the ghostly enemie, who taketh great delight therein: For else
[II:18.1-64]  they would with all earnest endeauour, striue against these mischiefes,
[II:18.1-65]  not onely with prayer, but also with all possible diligence. Yea they
[II:18.1-66]  would not giue place to the prouocation of wrath, which stirreth them
[II:18.1-67]  either to such rough and sharpe words, or stripes, which is surely compas­
[II:18.1-68]  sed by the diuell, whose temptation, if it be followed, must needs beginne
[II:18.1-69]  and weaue the web of all miseries, and sorrowes. For this is most cer­
[II:18.1-70]  tainely true, that of such beginnings must needs ensue the breach of true
[II:18.1-71]  concord in heart, whereby all loue must needes shortly be banished. Then
[II:18.1-72]  can it not be but a miserable thing to behold, that yet they are of necessity
[II:18.1-73]  compelled to liue together, which yet can not bee in quiet together.
[II:18.1-74]  And this is most customably euery where to bee seene. But what is
[II:18.1-75]  the cause thereof? Forsooth because they will not consider the craftie
[II:18.1-76]  traines of the diuell, and therefore giue not themselues to pray to
[II:18.1-77]  GOD, that hee would vouchsafe to represse his power. Moreo­
[II:18.1-78]  uer, they doe not consider how they promote the purpose of the diuell, in
[II:18.1-79]  that they follow the wrath of their hearts, while they threat one another,
[II:18.1-80]  while they in their folly turne all vpside downe, while they will neuer
[II:18.1-81]  giue ouer their right as they esteeme it, yea, while many times they will
[II:18.1-82]  not giue ouer the wrong part in deed. Learne thou therefore, if thou de­
[II:18.1-83]  sirest to be void of all these miseries, if thou desirest to liue peaceably and
[II:18.1-84]  comfortably in wedlocke, how to make thy earnest prayer to GOD, that
[II:18.1-85]  he would gouerne both your heartes by the holy Spirit, to restraine
[II:18.1-86]  the Diuels power, whereby your concorde may remaine perpetu­
[II:18.1-87]  ally. But to this prayer must bee ioyned a singular diligence, whereof

[margin]
1.Pet.3.
[margin]

[II:18.1-88]  Saint Peter giueth this precept, saying, You husbands, deale with your
[II:18.1-89]  weaker vessell, and as vnto them that are heires also of the grace of life,
[II:18.1-90]  that your prayers bee not hindered. This precept doth particularly per­
[II:18.1-91]  taine to the husband: for hee ought to be the leader and authour of loue,
[II:18.1-92]  in cherishing and increasing concord, which then shall take place, if hee
[II:18.1-93]  will vse moderation and not tyranny, and if he yeelde some thing to the
[II:18.1-94]  woman. For the woman is a weake creature, not indued with like
[II:18.1-95]  strength and constancie of minde, therefore they be the sooner disquieted,
[II:18.1-96]  and they be the more prone to all weake affections & dispositions of mind,
[II:18.1-97]  more then men bee, & lighter they bee, and more vaine in their fantasies &
[II:18.1-98]  opinions. These things must bee considered of the man, that hee be not
[II:18.1-99]  too stiffe, so that he ought to winke at some thinges, and must gently ex­
[II:18.1-100]  pounde all things, and to forbeare. Howbeit the common sort of men
[II:18.1-101]  doeth iudge, that such moderation should not become a man: For they
[II:18.1-102]  say that it is a token of womanish cowardnesse, and therefore they thinke
[II:18.1-103]  that it is a mans part to fume in anger, to fight with fiste and staffe.
[II:18.1-104]  Howbeit, howsoeuer they imagine, vndoubtedly Saint Peter doth bet­
[II:18.1-105]  ter iudge what should be seeming to a man, and what he should most rea­
[II:18.1-106]  sonably performe. For he saith, reasoning should be vsed, and not figh­
[II:18.1-107]  ting. Yea hee saith more, that the woman ought to haue a certaine
[II:18.1-108]  honour attributed to her, that is to say, shee must bee spared and borne
[II:18.1-109]  with, the rather for that she is the weaker vessell, of a fraile heart, incon­
[II:18.1-110]  stant, and with a word soone stirred to wrath. And therefore considering
[II:18.1-111]  these her frailties, shee is to be the rather spared. By this meanes, thou
[II:18.1-112]  shalt not onely nourish concord: but shalt haue her heart in thy power and
[II:18.1-113]  will. For honest natures will sooner bee reteined to doe their dueties, ra­
[II:18.1-114]  ther by gentle words, then by stripes. But hee which will doe all things
[II:18.1-115]  with extremitie and seueritie, and doeth vse alwayes rigor in words and
[II:18.1-116]  stripes, what will that auaile in the conclusion? Verely nothing, but
[II:18.1-117]  that hee thereby setteth forward the diuels worke, hee banisheth away
[II:18.1-118]  concord, charitie, and sweete amity, and bringeth in dissension, hatred,
[II:18.1-119]  & yrkesomnesse, the greatest griefes that can be in the mutuall loue and fe­
[II:18.1-120]  lowship of mans life. Beyond all this, it bringeth another euill there­
[II:18.1-121]  with, for it is the destruction and interruption of prayer: For in the time
[II:18.1-122]  that the minde is occupied with dissention and discord, there can bee no
[II:18.1-123]  true prayer vsed. For the Lords prayer hath not onely a respect to particu­
[II:18.1-124]  lar persons, but to the whole vniuersall, in the which wee openly pro­
[II:18.1-125]  nounce, that we will forgiue them which haue offended against vs, euen
[II:18.1-126]  as we aske forgiuenesse of our sinnes of GOD, Which thing how canne
[II:18.1-127]  it be done rightly, when their hearts be at dissension? How can they pray
[II:18.1-128]  each for other, when they bee at hate betwixt themselues? Now, if the
[II:18.1-129]  ayde of prayer bee taken away, by what meanes can they sustaine them­
[II:18.1-130]  selues in any comfort? For they cannot otherwise either resist the deuill,
[II:18.1-131]  or yet haue their heartes staide in stable comfort in all perills and necessi­
[II:18.1-132]  ties, but by prayer. Thus all discommodities, as well worldly as ghostly,
[II:18.1-133]  follow this froward testines, and cumbrous fiercenesse, in maners, which
[II:18.1-134]  bee more meete for bruite beastes, then for reasonable creatures. Saint
[II:18.1-135]  Peter doeth not allow these things, but the diuell desireth them gladly.
[II:18.1-136]  Wherefore take the more heede. And yet a man may be a man, although
[II:18.1-137]  hee doeth not vse such extremitie, yea although hee should dissemble some
[II:18.1-138]  things in his wiues manners. And this is the part of a Christian man,
[II:18.1-139]  which both pleaseth GOD, and serueth also in good vse to the comfort
[II:18.1-140]  of their mariage state. Now as concerning the wiues duety. What shall
[II:18.1-141]  become her? shall she abuse the gentlenesse and humanity of her husband
[II:18.1-142]  and, at her pleasure, turne all things vpside downe? No surely. For that

[margin]
1.Pet.2.
[margin]

[II:18.1-143]  is far repugnant against GODS commandement, For thus doeth Saint
[II:18.1-144]  Peter preach to them, Yee wiues, be ye in subiection to obey your owne
[II:18.1-145]  husbands. To obey, is another thing then to controle or command,
[II:18.1-146]  which yet they may doe, to their children, and to their family: But as for
[II:18.1-147]  their husbands, them must they obey, and cease from commanding, and
[II:18.1-148]  performe subiection. For this surely doth nourish concord very much,
[II:18.1-149]  when the wife is ready at hand at her husbands commandement, when
[II:18.1-150]  she will apply her selfe to his will, when shee endeuoureth her selfe to seeke
[II:18.1-151]  his contentation, and to doe him pleasure, when shee will eschewe
[II:18.1-152]  all things that might offend him: For thus will most truely bee verified
[II:18.1-153]  the saying of the Poet, A good wife by obeying her husband, shall beare
[II:18.1-154]  the rule, so that he shall haue a delight and a gladnesse, the sooner at all
[II:18.1-155]  times to returne home to her. But on the contrary part, when the wiues
[II:18.1-156]  bee stubborne, froward, and malipert, their husbands are compelled
[II:18.1-157]  therby to abhorre and flee from their owne houses, euen as they should
[II:18.1-158]  haue battaile with their enemies. Howbeit, it can skantly be, but that
[II:18.1-159]  some offences shall sometime chance betwixt them: For no man doth liue
[II:18.1-160]  without fault, specially for that the woman is the more fraile partie.
[II:18.1-161]  Therefore let them beware that they stand not in their faultes and wil­
[II:18.1-162]  fullnesse: but rather let them acknowledge their follies, and say, My hus­
[II:18.1-163]  band, so it is, that by my anger I was compelled to doe this or that for­
[II:18.1-164]  giue it me, and hereafter I will take better heede. Thus ought the wo­
[II:18.1-165]  man more readily to doe, the more they be ready to offend. And they shall
[II:18.1-166]  not doe this onely to auoyd strife and debate: but rather in the respect of
[II:18.1-167]  the commandement of GOD, as Saint Paul expresseth it in this forme

[margin]
Ephes.5.
[margin]

[II:18.1-168]  of words, Let women bee subiect to their husbands as to the Lorde:
[II:18.1-169]  for the husband is the head of the woman, as Christ is the head of
[II:18.1-170]  the Church. Here you vnderstand, that GOD hath commanded that
[II:18.1-171]  ye should acknowledge the authoritie of the husband, and referre to him
[II:18.1-172]  the honour of obedience. And Saint Peter saith in that place before re­
[II:18.1-173]  hearsed, that holy matrons did in former time decke themselues, not
[II:18.1-174]  with gold and siluer, but in putting their whole hope in GOD, and in
[II:18.1-175]  obeying their husbands, as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose
[II:18.1-176]  daughters ye bee (saith he) if yee follow her example. This sentence is
[II:18.1-177]  very meete for women to print in their remembrance. Trueth it is, that
[II:18.1-178]  they must specially feele the griefe and paines of their Matrimonie, in
[II:18.1-179]  that they relinquish the liberty of their owne rule, in the paine of their
[II:18.1-180]  trauailing, in the bringing vp of their children. In which offices they be
[II:18.1-181]  in great perils, and be grieued with great afflictions, which they might
[II:18.1-182]  bee without if they liued out of Matrimonie. But S. Peter sayth, that
[II:18.1-183]  this is the chiefe ornament of holy matrons, in that they set their hope
[II:18.1-184]  and trust in GOD, that is to say, in that they refused not from mariage
[II:18.1-185]  for the businesse thereof, for the giftes and perils thereof: but committed
[II:18.1-186]  all such aduentures to GOD, in most sure trust of helpe, after that they
[II:18.1-187]  haue called vpon his ayde. O woman, doe thou the like, and so shalt thou
[II:18.1-188]  be most excellently beautified before GOD and all his Angels & Saints,
[II:18.1-189]  and thou needest not to seeke further for doing any better workes. For,
[II:18.1-190]  obey thy husband, take regard of his requests, and giue heede vnto him
[II:18.1-191]  in perceiue what he requireth of thee, and so shalt thou honour GOD and
[II:18.1-192]  liue peaceably in thy house. And beyond all this, GOD shall follow thee
[II:18.1-193]  with his benediction, that all things shall well prosper, both to thee and
[II:18.1-194]  to thy husband, as the Psalme saith: Blessed is the man which feareth
[II:18.1-195]  GOD, and walketh in his wayes, thou shalt haue the fruit of thine owne
[II:18.1-196]  hands, happy shalt thou be, and well it shall goe with thee. Thy wife shal
[II:18.1-197]  be as a vine, plentifully spreading about thy house. Thy children shalbe
[II:18.1-198]  as the young springs of the Oliues about thy table. Loe thus shall that
[II:18.1-199]  man be blessed (saith Dauid) that feareth the Lord. This let the wife haue
[II:18.1-200]  euer in minde, the rather admonished thereto by the apparell of her head.
[II:18.1-201]  whereby is signified, that she is vnder couert or obedience of her husband.
[II:18.1-202]  And as that apparell is of nature so appointed, to declare her subiection:
[II:18.1-203]  So biddeth Saint Paul that all other of her rayment should expresse both
[II:18.1-204]  shamefastnesse and sobriety. For if it be not lawfull for the woman to haue
[II:18.1-205]  her head bare, but to beare thereon the signe of her power, wheresoeuer
[II:18.1-206]  she goeth: more is it required that she declare the thing that is ment ther­
[II:18.1-207]  by. And therefore these ancient women of the old world called their
[II:18.1-208]  husbands lords, and shewed them reuerence in obeying them. But perad­
[II:18.1-209]  uenture shee will say, that those men loued their wiues indeede. I know
[II:18.1-210]  that well ynough, & beare it well in minde. But when I doe admonish you
[II:18.1-211]  of your dueties, then call not to consideration what their dueties be. For
[II:18.1-212]  when we our selues doe teach our children to obey vs as their parents, or
[II:18.1-213]  when we reforme our seruants, and tell them that they should obey their
[II:18.1-214]  masters, not only at the eye, but as the Lord: If they should tell vs againe
[II:18.1-215]  our dueties, we should not thinke it well done. For when we be admoni­
[II:18.1-216]  shed of our dueties and faults, wee ought not then to seeke what other
[II:18.1-217]  mens dueties be. For though a man had a companion in his fault, yet
[II:18.1-218]  should he not thereby be without his fault. But this must be onely looked
[II:18.1-219]  on, by what meanes thou mayest make thy selfe without blame. For Adam
[II:18.1-220]  did lay the blame vpon the woman, and she turned it vnto the serpent: but
[II:18.1-221]  yet neither of them was thus excused. And therefore bring not such excuses
[II:18.1-222]  to me at this time: but apply all thy diligence to heare thine obedience to
[II:18.1-223]  thine husband. For when I take in hand to admonish thy husband to loue
[II:18.1-224]  thee, and to cherish thee: yet will I not cease to set out the law that is ap­
[II:18.1-225]  pointed for the woman, aswell as I would require of the man what is
[II:18.1-226]  written for his law. Goe thou therefore about such things as becommeth
[II:18.1-227]  thee only, & shew thy selfe tractable to thy husband. Or rather if thou wilt
[II:18.1-228]  obey thy husband for GODS precept, then alledge such things as be in
[II:18.1-229]  his duty to doe, but performe thou diligently those things which the law­
[II:18.1-230]  maker hath charged thee to doe: For thus is it most reasonable to obey
[II:18.1-231]  GOD, if thou wilt not suffer thy selfe to transgresse his law. He that lo­
[II:18.1-232]  ueth his friend, seemeth to doe no great thing: but he that honoureth that
[II:18.1-233]  is hurtfull & hatefull to him, this man is worthy most commendation:
[II:18.1-234]  Euen so think you, if thou canst suffer an extreme husband, thou shalt haue
[II:18.1-235]  a great reward therefore: But if thou louest him only because he is gentle
[II:18.1-236]  & courteous, what reward will GOD giue thee therefore? Yet I speake
[II:18.1-237]  not these things that I would wish the husbands to bee sharpe towards
[II:18.1-238]  their wiues: But I exhort &the; women that they would patiently beare the
[II:18.1-239]  sharpnesse of their husbands. For when either partes doe their best to per­
[II:18.1-240]  forme their duties the one to the other, then followeth thereon great pro­
[II:18.1-241]  fite to their neighbours for their examples sake. For when the woman is
[II:18.1-242]  ready to suffer a sharpe husband, & the man will not extremely intreate his
[II:18.1-243]  stubborne & troublesome wife, then be all things in quiet, as in a most sure
[II:18.1-244]  hauen. Euen thus was it done in old time, that euery one did their owne
[II:18.1-245]  duety and office, and was not busie to require the duetie of their neigh­
[II:18.1-246]  bours. Consider I pray thee that Abraham tooke to him his brothers
[II:18.1-247]  sonne, his wife did not blame him therefore. He commanded him to goe
[II:18.1-248]  with him a long iourney, she did not gainesay it, but obeyed his precept.

[II:18.1-249]  Againe, after all those great miseries, labours and paines of that iour­
[II:18.1-250]  ney, when Abraham was made as lord ouer all, yet did he giue place to Lot
[II:18.1-251]  of his superioritie: which matter Sara tooke so little to griefe, that she
[II:18.1-252]  neuer once suffered her tongue to speake such wordes as the common
[II:18.1-253]  manner of women is woont to doe in these dayes, when they see their
[II:18.1-254]  husbands in such roomes, to bee made vnderlings, and to bee put vnder
[II:18.1-255]  their yongers, then they vpbrayd them with combrous talke, and call
[II:18.1-256]  them fooles, dastards, and cowards for so doing. But Sara was so farre
[II:18.1-257]  from speaking any such thing, that it came neuer into her minde and
[II:18.1-258]  thought so to say, but allowed the wisedome & will of her husband. Yea,
[II:18.1-259]  besides all this, after the said Lot had thus his will, and left to his vncle
[II:18.1-260]  the lesse portion of land, hee chanced to fall into extreme perill: Which
[II:18.1-261]  chance when it came to the knowledge of this said Patriarch, he inconti­
[II:18.1-262]  nently put all his men in harnesse, and prepared himselfe with all his fa­
[II:18.1-263]  milie & friends, against the host of the Persians. In which case, Sara did not
[II:18.1-264]  counsaile him to the contrary, nor did say, as then might haue beene said:
[II:18.1-265]  My husband, whither goest thou so vnaduisedly? Why runnest thou
[II:18.1-266]  thus on head? Why doest thou offer thy selfe to so great perilles, and art
[II:18.1-267]  thus ready to ieopard thine owne life, and to perill the liues of all thine,
[II:18.1-268]  for such a man as hath done thee such wrong? At the least way, if thou re­
[II:18.1-269]  gardest not thy selfe, yet haue compassion on me, which for thy loue haue
[II:18.1-270]  forsaken my kinred & my countrey, and haue the want both of my friends
[II:18.1-271]  and kinsesfolkes, and am thus come into so farre countreys with thee,
[II:18.1-272]  haue pitie on mee, and make me not here a widow, to cast mee into such
[II:18.1-273]  cares and troubles. Thus might she haue said: but Sara neither said nor
[II:18.1-274]  thought such words, but she kept herselfe in silence in all things. Further­
[II:18.1-275]  more, all that time when she was barren, and tooke no paines, as other
[II:18.1-276]  women did, by bringing foorth fruit in his house? What did he? He com­
[II:18.1-277]  plained not to his wife, but to Almighty GOD. And consider how either
[II:18.1-278]  of them did their duties as became them: for neither did hee dispise Sara,
[II:18.1-279]  because shee was barren, nor neuer did cast it in her teeth. Consi­
[II:18.1-280]  der againe how Abraham expelled the handmaid out of the house, when
[II:18.1-281]  she required it: So that by this I may truely prooue, that the one was
[II:18.1-282]  pleased and contented with the other in all things: But yet set not your
[II:18.1-283]  eyes onely on this matter, but looke further what was done before this,
[II:18.1-284]  that Agar vsed her mistresse dispitefully, and that Abraham himselfe was
[II:18.1-285]  somewhat prouoked against her, which must needes bee an intolerable
[II:18.1-286]  matter, and a painfull, to a free hearted woman & a chaste. Let not there­
[II:18.1-287]  fore the woman be too busie to call for the duty of her husband, where shee
[II:18.1-288]  should be ready to performe her owne, for that is not worthy any great
[II:18.1-289]  commendations. And euen so againe, let not the man only consider what
[II:18.1-290]  belongeth to the woman, and to stand too earnestly gazing thereon, for
[II:18.1-291]  that is not his part or duty. But as I haue said, let either party be ready
[II:18.1-292]  and willing to performe that which belongeth especially to themselues.
[II:18.1-293]  For if wee be bound to hold out our left cheeke to strangers which will
[II:18.1-294]  smite vs on the right cheeke: how much more ought wee to suffer an ex­
[II:18.1-295]  treme and vnkind husband? But yet I meane not that a man should beat
[II:18.1-296]  his wife, GOD forbid that, for that is the greatest shame that can be, not
[II:18.1-297]  so much to her that is beaten, as to him that doth the deed. But if by such
[II:18.1-298]  fortune thou chancest vpon such an husband, take it not too heauily, but
[II:18.1-299]  suppose thou, that thereby is laid vp no small reward hereafter, & in this
[II:18.1-300]  life time no small commendation to thee, if thou canst be quiet. But yet to
[II:18.1-301]  you that be men, thus I speake, Let there bee none so grieuous fault to
[II:18.1-302]  compell you to beat your wiues. But what say I, your wiues? no, it is
[II:18.1-303]  not to be borne with, that an honest man should lay hands on his maide
[II:18.1-304]  seruant to beat her. Wherefore if it be a great shame for a man to beat his
[II:18.1-305]  bondseruant, much more rebuke it is, to lay violent hands vpon his free­
[II:18.1-306]  woman. And this thing may be well vnderstood by the lawes which the
[II:18.1-307]  Panims haue made, which doth discharge her any longer to dwell with
[II:18.1-308]  such an husband, as vnworthy to haue any further company with her
[II:18.1-309]  that doeth smite her. For it is an extreme point, thus so vilely to entreat
[II:18.1-310]  her like a slaue, that is fellow to thee of thy life, and so ioyned vnto thee be­
[II:18.1-311]  fore time in the necessary matters of thy liuing. And therfore a man may
[II:18.1-312]  well liken such a man (if he may be called a man, rather then a wild beast)
[II:18.1-313]  to a killer of his father or his mother. And whereas wee be commanded
[II:18.1-314]  to forsake our father and mother, for our wiues sake, and yet thereby
[II:18.1-315]  doe worke them none iniurie, but doe fulfill the Law of GOD: How
[II:18.1-316]  can it not appeare then to bee a point of extreame madnesse, to en­
[II:18.1-317]  treate her dispitefully, for whose sake GOD hath commaunded thee
[II:18.1-318]  to leaue parents? Yea, who can suffer such despite? Who can worthi­
[II:18.1-319]  ly expresse the inconuenience that is, to see what weepings and way­
[II:18.1-320]  lings bee made in the open streetes, when neighbours runne together to
[II:18.1-321]  the house of so vnruly an husband, as to a Bedlem man, who goeth about
[II:18.1-322]  to ouerturne all that hee hath at home? Who would not thinke that it
[II:18.1-323]  were better for such a man to wish the ground to open, and swallow him
[II:18.1-324]  in, then once euer after to bee seene in the market? But peraduenture
[II:18.1-325]  thou wilt obiect, that the woman prouoketh thee to this point. But con­
[II:18.1-326]  sider thou againe that the woman is a fraile vessel, and thou art therefore
[II:18.1-327]  made the ruler and head ouer her, to beare the weakenesse of her in this
[II:18.1-328]  her subiection. And therefore studie thou to declare the honest commen­
[II:18.1-329]  dation of thine authoritie, which thou canst no way better doe, then to
[II:18.1-330]  forbeare to vrge her in her weakenesse and subiection. For euen as the
[II:18.1-331]  King appeareth so much the more noble, the more excellent and noble hee­
[II:18.1-332]  maketh his officers and lieuetenants, whom if hee should dishonour, and
[II:18.1-333]  despise the authoritie of their dignitie, he should depriue himselfe of a great
[II:18.1-334]  part of his owne honour: Euen so, if thou doest despise her that is set in
[II:18.1-335]  the next roome beside thee, thou doest much derogate and decay the excel­
[II:18.1-336]  lencie and vertue of thine owne authoritie. Recount all these things in
[II:18.1-337]  thy minde, and be gentle and quiet. Vnderstand that GOD hath giuen
[II:18.1-338]  thee children with her, and art made a father, and by such reason appease
[II:18.1-339]  thy selfe. Doest thou not see the husbandmen what diligence they vse to
[II:18.1-340]  till that ground which once they haue taken to farme, though it be neuer
[II:18.1-341]  so full of faults? As for an example, though it be dry, though it bringeth
[II:18.1-342]  forth weedes, though the soyle cannot beare too much wette, yet he tilleth
[II:18.1-343]  it, and so winneth fruit thereof: Euen in like manner, if thou wouldest
[II:18.1-344]  vse like diligence to instruct and order the minde of thy spouse, if thou
[II:18.1-345]  wouldest diligently apply thy selfe to weede out by little and little the noy­
[II:18.1-346]  some weedes of vncomely maners out of her minde, with wholesome pre­
[II:18.1-347]  cepts, it could not bee, but in time thou shouldest feele the pleasant fruit
[II:18.1-348]  thereof to both your comforts. Therefore that this thing chance not so,
[II:18.1-349]  performe this thing that I doe here counsaile thee: Whensoeuer any dis­
[II:18.1-350]  pleasant matter riseth at home, if thy wife hath done ought amisse, com­
[II:18.1-351]  fort her, & increase not the heauines. For though thou shouldest be grieued
[II:18.1-352]  with neuer so many things, yet shalt thou finde nothing more grieuous
[II:18.1-353]  then to want the beneuolence of thy wife at home. What offence soeuer
[II:18.1-354]  thou canst name, yet shalt thou finde none more intolerable, then to be at
[II:18.1-355]  debate with thy wife. And for this cause most of all oughtest thou to haue
[II:18.1-356]  this loue in reuerence. And if reason moueth thee to beare any burden at a­
[II:18.1-357]  ny other mens hands, much more at thy wiues. For if she be poore, vpbraid
[II:18.1-358]  her not, if she be simple, taunt her not, but be the more curteous: for she is
[II:18.1-359]  thy body, and made one flesh with thee. But thou peraduenture wilt say
[II:18.1-360]  that she is a wrathfull woman, a drunkard, and beastly, without wit and
[II:18.1-361]  reason. For this cause bewayle her the more. Chafe not in anger, but
[II:18.1-362]  pray vnto Almighty GOD. Let her bee admonished and helped with
[II:18.1-363]  good counsaile, and doe thou thy best endeuour, that she may be deliuered
[II:18.1-364]  of all these affections. But if thou shouldest beate her, thou shalt encrease
[II:18.1-365]  her euill affections: For frowardnesse and sharpnesse, is not amended
[II:18.1-366]  with frowardnesse, but with softnesse and gentlenesse. Furthermore, con­
[II:18.1-367]  sider what reward thou shalt haue at GODS hand: For where thou
[II:18.1-368]  mightest beate her, and yet, for the respect of the feare of GOD, thou wilt
[II:18.1-369]  absteine and beare patiently her great offences, the rather in respect of
[II:18.1-370]  that Law which forbiddeth that a man should cast out his wife what
[II:18.1-371]  fault soeuer shee bee made the combred with, thou shalt haue a very great reward,
[II:18.1-372]  and before the receit of that reward, thou shalt feele many commodities.
[II:18.1-373]  For by this meanes she shall bee more obedient, and thou for her
[II:18.1-374]  sake shalt be made the more meeke. It is written in a storie of a certaine
[II:18.1-375]  strange Philosopher, which had a cursed wife, a froward and a drunkard.
[II:18.1-376]  When he was asked for what consideration hee did so beare her euill man­
[II:18.1-377]  ners? He made answere, By this meanes (sayd hee) I haue at home
[II:18.1-378]  a Schoolemaster, and an example how I should behaue my selfe abroad:
[II:18.1-379]  For I shall (saith hee) bee the more quiet with others, being thus dayly
[II:18.1-380]  exercised and taught in the forbearing of her. Surely it is a shame that
[II:18.1-381]  Panims should be wiser then we, we I say, that be commanded to resem­
[II:18.1-382]  ble angels, or rather GOD himselfe through meekenesse. And for the
[II:18.1-383]  loue of vertue, this sayd Philosopher Socrates would not expell his wife
[II:18.1-384]  out of his house. Yea, some say that hee did therefore mary his wife, to
[II:18.1-385]  learne this vertue by that occasion. Wherefore, seeing many men bee
[II:18.1-386]  farre behinde the wisedome of this man, my counsell is, that first and be­
[II:18.1-387]  fore all things, a man doe his best endeuour to get him a good wife, en­
[II:18.1-388]  dued with all honestie and vertue: But if it so chaunce that he is decei­
[II:18.1-389]  ued, that hee hath chosen such a wife as is neither good nor tolerable,
[II:18.1-390]  then let the husband follow this Philosopher, and let him instruct his
[II:18.1-391]  wife in euery condition, and neuer lay these matters to sight. For
[II:18.1-392]  the Marchant man, except hee first bee at composition with his fac­
[II:18.1-393]  tour to vse his interfayres quietly, hee will neither stirre his shippe
[II:18.1-394]  to sayle, nor yet will lay handes vpon his marchandize: Euen so, let
[II:18.1-395]  vs doe all things, that we may haue the fellowship of our wiues, which
[II:18.1-396]  is the factour of all our doings at home, in great quiet and rest. And by
[II:18.1-397]  these meanes all things shall prosper quietly, and so shall we passe through
[II:18.1-398]  the dangers of the troublous sea of this world. For this state of life will
[II:18.1-399]  bee more honourable and comfortable then our houses, then seruants,
[II:18.1-400]  then money, then landes and possessions, then all things that can bee
[II:18.1-401]  told. As all these with sedition and discord, can neuer worke vs any com­
[II:18.1-402]  fort: So shall all things turne to our commoditie and pleasure, if wee
[II:18.1-403]  draw this yoke in one concord of heart and minde. Whereupon doe your
[II:18.1-404]  best endeuour, that after this sort ye vse your Matrimony, and so shall yee
[II:18.1-405]  be armed on euery side. Yee haue escaped the snares of the deuill, and the
[II:18.1-406]  vnlawfull lustes of the flesh, yee haue the quietnesse of conscience by this
[II:18.1-407]  institution of Matrimony ordeined by GOD: therefore vse oft prayer to
[II:18.1-408]  him, that hee would bee present by you, that hee would continue concord
[II:18.1-409]  and charitie betwixt you. Doe the best yee can of your partes, to cu­
[II:18.1-410]  stome your selues to softnesse and meekenesse, and beare well in worth
[II:18.1-411]  such ouersights as chaunce: and thus shall your conuersation bee most
[II:18.1-412]  pleasant and comfortable. And although (which can no otherwise bee)
[II:18.1-413]  some aduersities shall follow, and otherwhiles now one discommodity,
[II:18.1-414]  now another shall appeare: yet in this common trouble and aduersity, lift
[II:18.1-415]  vp both your hands vnto heauen, call vpon the helpe and assistance of
[II:18.1-416]  GOD, the authour of your mariage, and surely the promise of releefe is
[II:18.1-417]  at hand. For Christ affirmeth in his Gospel, Where two or three be gathe­
[II:18.1-418]  red together in my name, and bee agreed, what matter soeuer they pray
[II:18.1-419]  for, it shalbe granted them of my heauenly father. Why therefore shouldest
[II:18.1-420]  thou be afrayd of the danger, where thou hast so ready a promise, and so
[II:18.1-421]  nigh an helpe? Furthermore, you must vnderstand how necessary it is
[II:18.1-422]  for Christian folke to beare Christs crosse: for else we shall neuer feele how
[II:18.1-423]  comfortable GODS helpe is vnto vs. Therefore giue thanks to GOD
[II:18.1-424]  for his great benefit, in that yee haue taken vpon you this state of wed­
[II:18.1-425]  locke, and pray you instantly, that Almighty GOD may luckily defend
[II:18.1-426]  and maintaine you therein, that neither yee bee ouercome with any temp­
[II:18.1-427]  tations, nor with any aduersity. But before all things, take good heede
[II:18.1-428]  that yee giue no occasion to the diuell to let and hinder your prayers by
[II:18.1-429]  discord and dissension : for there is no stronger defence and stay in all
[II:18.1-430]  our life, then is prayer, in the which wee may call for the helpe of
[II:18.1-431]  GOD and obtayne it, whereby we may win his blessing,
[II:18.1-432]  his grace, his defence, and protection, so to continue
[II:18.1-433]  therein to a better life to come: Which grant
[II:18.1-434]  vs he that died for vs all, to whom bee
[II:18.1-435]  all honour and prayse, for euer
[II:18.1-436]  and euer, Amen.