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have the garments always white, and the head lacking no ointment.
3. The third direction which the wise man gives to a believer, to manifest his confidence in God's government, is,“ Live joy
fully with the wife whom thou lovest, all “ the days of the life of thy vanity which “ he hath given thee under the sun, all the
days of thy vanity.” The former directions were of a personal nature. This relates to domestic life, and exhibits the manner in which it ought to be enjoyed by him whose works the Lord hath blessed.
That the husband and wife may live joyfully with each other, each ought to know their respective duties. The apostle, in specifying the duties of husbands, says, “ Love
your wives“.” In this command, protection of them from violence; cherishing them as their own flesh; comforting them under their trials, and affording them temporal support, are all included. The duties of wives, the same apostle sums up
sums up in this, “ Let-the “ wife see that she reverence her husbandi." This teaches them to pay deference to the
h Eph. v. 25.
i Eph. v. 33,
opinions of their husbands; to counsel with them in all things, and to cheer them in discharging their duties, by their smiles. Another apostle is more specific, and I quote his words, however discordant they may be with those used in novels and romances.
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 conversa“tion coupled with fear: whose adorning, “ let it not be that outward adorning of
plaiting the hair, and of wearing of 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 “ themselves, being in subjection unto their
own husbands; even as Sarah obeyed
Abraham, calling him lord: whose daugh• ters 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 together of the grace
of life, that your prayers be not hinderedk.” On these words comments are useless. They definitely describe the duties of the married state. Such a state ought ever, by all who know the truth, to be entered into in the fear of God; and the parties ought mutually to bear each other's burdens, and forbear with each other's weaknesses. Without understanding the duties of this state, the believer cannot live joyfully with the wife whom he loves. These duties are precisely stated in the Scriptures, and neither the one nor the other can possibly mistake them. If a conscientious and scrupulous regard was paid in every instance to the Scriptures, there never would occur difficulties between a believing husband and his believing wife. As this relation is calculated to produce the greatest temporal happiness, the duties of it ought to be well understood, that ignorance does not produce any obstacle to the continuance of affection.
k 1 Pet. iii. 1-7.
The direction of the wise man to live joyfully with the wife who is loved, teaches us, that marriage is honourable in all. Hence, they who sin against it, God shall judge. The husband and wife must cultivate mutual cheerfulness, and discountenance every thing calculated to destroy this. Home must, therefore, be to both the most desirable place, and the enjoyment of each other's company the highest and greatest delight. They ought to assimilate to each other's sentiments and habits as much as possible, and strive to keep out of view, or conquer
each other's foibles. Nothing is so unfriendly to domestic happiness as idle visits "incessantly repeated, or the bustle and
parade of company; not for social happiness, but for social folly. Where is the time or opportunity amidst all this for mutual improvement? where for reflection, or for enjoying each other's company ?
This direction of the wise man is hostile to fashionable life, as it is called, which by its magic influence makes the husband and wife comparatively strangers to each other when they appear in public. It teaches the persons connected in marriage, to consult
each other's happiness by understanding each other's duty, and seeking the enjoyment of each other's company with care.
This is to live joyfully with the wives whom we love, all the days of our vanity.
4. The fourth and last direction the wise man gives to the believer to manifest his confidence in God's government, is,“ What
soever thy hand findeth to do, do it with " thy might.”
The two first directions were personal, and the other relative. All three of them relate to time. This, more particularly to eternity.
There is no such thing in our world as chance. What is contingent to us, is part of God's settled plan of conduct. When the wise man therefore
16 Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do,” he does not mean to insinuate that duty, or what must be done, is contingent or accidental, so that we may find or not find it. But whatsoever God in his providence clearly determines to, we must perform.
Duty, God has plainly and largely defined in his word. He who runs may read and understand the same. It is threefold in