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(2.) As for the Benefits of Peace, if we were not cloyed with them by their long continuance, we could not but be heartily sensible of them; and know, that all the comforts we enjoy, either for earth or for heaven, we owe to this unspeakable blessing of peace. Whereto if we add the late accession of further strength, by the union of our warlike neighbours, and the force of a strong and inviolable league for the perpetuation of our peace and unity, there will need no further incitements to a celebration of this day, and to our hearty thankfulness unto the God of Peace; who, while he hath made woeful desolations in all the earth besides, yet hath caused wars to cease unto our ultima the ends of our earth; and hath broken the bow and cut the spear in sunder. Oh, then, praise the Lord, ( Jerusalem; praise thy God, O Sion: for he hath strengthened the bars of thy gates, and blessed thy children within thee. He maketh peace within thy borders, and filleth thee with the finest of the wheat ; ' Psalm cxlvii, 12, 13, 14. To that good God of all glory, peace, and comfort; Father, Son, Holy Ghost, One Infinite God, in Three most glorious Persons, be given all praise, honour, and glory, as is due from heaven and earth, from angels and men, from this time forth and for evermore. Amen.
THE WOMEN'S VAIL:
OR A DISCOURSE CONCERNING THE NECESSITY, OR EXPEDIENCE, OF
THE CLOSE-COVERING OF THE HEADS OF WOMEN.
INTENDED TO HAVE BEEN
PREACHED IN THE CATHEDRAL AT EXETER, UPON I COR. XI. 10.
OCCASIONED BY AN OFFENCE UNJUSTLY TAKEN AT A MODEST DRESS.
For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head, because
of the Angels. As the Sacred Councils of the Church had wont to have their opes, and diarážeis; “ substantial canons,” and “ ritual constitutions ; so hath our blessed Apostle : as in all his Epistles, so in this; and as in other parts of it, so in this chapter. Here are main Canons for the essence of God's service, in the matter of the Eucharist : here are Rules of order, for the outward fashion of praying and prophesying. These may be as variable, as the other are constant: it is no more possible, to fit all Churches and Countries with one form, than to fit all bodies with one suit, or all limbs with one size.
Neither can I, with learned Beza and Cappellus, think, that prophesying here is taken for the hearing of prophecies. These things were extraordinarily done, till they were restrained.
In those primitive times, there were some women extraordinarily gifted by God's Spirit, who took upon them to preach and pray publicly ; which, afterwards, St. Paul forbad to his Timothy; i Tim. ii, 12. They, exercising these manly functions, presumed to take upon them manly fashions : whereas, therefore, bare-headedness was in Corinth, as also in all Greece and Rome, a token of honour and superiority, and covering the head a token of subjection; these forward women usurp, upon the fashions of their husbands, and will have their faces seen as well as their voices heard : as the Jesuitesses of late time dared both to attempt and practise, till the late restraint of Pope Urban curbed and suppressed them. Our holy Apostle, who was zealously careful to reform even solecisms in the outward deportment of God's service, controls this absurd disorder; and, as the great master of holy ceremonies, enjoins a modest vail to the women, when they will show themselves in these acts of public devotion : For this cause the women ought to have power on their head, because of the angels.
Wherein yourselves, without me, observe Two remarkable heads of our discourse: 1. An APOSTOLICAL CANON : 2. The CARRIAGE or, GROUNDS OF IT. The Canon is fully and home-charged; The women ought to have power on their head. The Grounds are double : one precedent, For this cause; the other subsequent, Because of the angels, which, in the Vulgate, and in St. Ambrose, is brought in by a copulative, et or etiam propter Angelos.
1. From the CANON itself in the generality, you would, of yourselves, in my silence, easily infer, That spiritual superiors must take care not only of the substantial parts of God's worship, but of the circumstantial appendances of it. What is a merer ceremony, than our clothes ? what can seem of less consequence, than a vail left off or put on ? the head may be as good, and as full of holy thoughts, bare or covered : what is that, you would think, to the heart of our devotion? Yet, the Chosen Vessel fears not to seem too scrupulous, in laying weighty charges upon us in so small
, and, as we might imagine, unimporting a business. Certainly, my Beloved, though the King's daughter be all glorious within, and there lies her chief beauty ; yet her clothing is of wrought gold too. And if, in the Tabernacle, God's first dwellingplace upon earth, it pleased him to give order for the principal stuff of the vals, and curtains, and frame; for the matter and form of the ark, and altars, and tables of the face-bread: yet he thought good, not to neglect the punctual directions for the taches, snurfers, snuff-dishes, besoms, and the meanest requisites of that sacred fabric. Justice and judgment, which are the main businesses of the Law, must be chiefly regarded; but yet, even the tithing of mint, and anise, and cummin may not be neglected. Had not Simon the Pharisee meant a hearty welcome to our Saviour, he had never undergone the envy of inviting him to his house : but yet, our Saviour finds him short of his due compliments; of the hospital kiss of washing, and anointing. Let no man say,
" What matter is to be made of stuffs, or colours, or postures ? God is a spirit, and will be worshipped in spirit and truth: these bodily observations are nothing to that Spiritu: i and Infinite Essence.” What Corinthian gossip might not have said so to our Apostle ? Yet he sees the respect of these circumstances so necessary, that the neglect of them may, yea will, mar the substance: and, surely, in all experience, were it not for ceremonies, what would become of state, government, conversation, religion ? And yet, of these there is great difference: some ceremonies are no less than substance to others : and, beside the latitude of their nature, they have one aspect as they look toward an imposing authority, and another as they look toward an arbitrary use. It is one thing, what men take up out of will or custom; another thing, what they conform to out of duty and obedience: so as what our superiors, to whom we must leave to see further than ourselves, think fit to enjoin us, out of their estimation of decency and order, is not now
left to the freedom of our election. It is for them to judge: it is for us to obey. Neither have we the like reason to censure them, for imposing things indifferent, which are found by them to conduce unto holy ends; that they have to censure us, for not observing them: herein they are wise and just, while we are conceitedly refractory. I know how little I need to press this to a people, where I can find nothing but an universal conformity : only this touch was needful, if but to second and revive those late meet and expedient orders, which we lately commended to your careful and Christian observation.
This from the general and confused view of this apostolical charge. Cast your eyes now upon the particular injunction; The woman ought to have power on her head. What is this power, but a signification of her husband's power over her for it is worth observing, that the Hebrew word, which signifies a vail, 777, signifies alsó power, &žecía; being derived from a root of that sense : so as the meaning plainly is, The woman ought to wear that on her head, which may iniport and testify, that she is under her husband's power; which is, as the Valentinians read it not amiss in Irenæus, nákupio, “a vail," or " covering."
Here, therefore, ye have an evident metonymy: the thing signified, which is the husband's power, is put for that, which signifies it, which is the woman's vail: so as this proposition then lies open to a double consideration; the one, in reference to the thing signfied, which is the husband's power over the wife; the other, in reference to the sign implying it, which is the wife's vail or covering of the head : of both briefly.
1. The first, that THE HUSBAND HATH POWER OVER THE WIFE, is so clear, both in nature and reason, that I shall willingly save the labour of a proof. It is enough, that, by her Creator, she was made for a helper; and a helper doth necessarily argue a principal: it is enough, for matter of institution, that he, who gave her a will
, appointed it should be subject to the will of her husband; which, how deep an impression it took in very Heathens, appears clearly enough in the Persian sages' censure of Vashti; Esther i.
And, that it may appear the liberty of the Gospel doth no whit alter the case, how do the blessed Apostles St. Paul and St. Peter redouble the charge of wives be subject to your husbands; Col. ii. 13. 1 Peter iii. 1. And, indeed, how is the husband the head, if he be not both more eminent, and furnished with the faculty of directing the whole body? A virtunes woman, saith Solomon, is the crown, or diadem, of her husband; Prov. xii. 4. Lo, she is the crown, for the ornament of his head; but, if she be virtuous, she doth not affect to be the head : and, if the crown be set upon
the head, as the husband may give honour to the weaker vessel, yet it is a pitiful head, that is not better than the crown that adorns it. But why urge I this ? None, but some mamish monsters, can ques tion it, and if there be any such, that would fain read the words amiss, that the wife hath power over her head, they are more worthy to be punished by the whip of authority, than by their neighbours' shame, or my censure. But, to say as it is, they are rare complaints, that we hear of in this kind. I would the contrary were not more frequent. The man hath power over the wife; and he knows it too well, and uses it too boisterously. This sweet, gentle, and familiar power, which he should exercise over his other seif, is degenerated in the practice of too many, into a stern tyranny; according to the old barbarian fashion in Aristotle's time, which holds even still, Their wives are their slaves. This is not for the woman to have power on her head; but for the man to have power in his hand, for the hand to have power on the body : an unmanly and savage power, to the very destruction of itself. This kind of cruelty cries unto me daily for redress: and give me leave to cry out against it, as the most odious and abominable oppression, that is incident into him, that would be called a man. For the dearness of the relation aggravates the violence: to strike a beast cause. lessly, is unmerciful; a slave, unchristian; a stranger, furious; a child, unmanly: but our own flesh, monstrous: this is to do that, which no man does, saith our Apostle; Eph. v. 29.
There was, in the ime of Gregory Xth, about 1275, as our histories tell us, a brood of mad heretics, which arose in the Church; whom they called Flagellantes, “ the whippers;" which went about, through France and Germany, lashing themselves to blood : a guise, which, though at the first cried down, is since taken up by some mis-zealous penitents of the Romish Church; who do not only take pleasure, but place merit, in blood : a lesson taken out by both of them, from the Baalites; 1 Kings xviii. 28 : men, rather more prodigal of their flesh, than the lavishest of these late zealots. Surely, what those bigots did and do out of falsely named religion, these husbands of blood, as Zipporah miscalled Moses, do out of a crabbed and imperious cruelty ; even draw blood of those bodies, which a several skin cannot difference from their own.
Far, far be this, more than Turkish, more than Paganish inhu.manity, from those, that would pass for Christians. For you, my Dear Brethren, let it be enough, for me to mention that gracious and needful charge of our blessed Apostle ; My Fispalveoge, 7/usbands love your wives, and be not bitter to them; Col. ii. 19. While their heads confess your power, take you heed, lest your power be abused to vex their hearts, and to tyrạnnize over their bodies.
This for the power here signified, of the husband over the wife.
2. We descend to the SIGNIFICATION OF THAT POWER BY THE COVERING OF THE HEAD : an ancient custom; and that, which was practised among all civil nations. Hence the Romans expressed the woman's marriage, by nubere, which signifies “ to vail :" whereupon a cloud is termed nubes, because it is, as a vail, drawn betwixt heaven and our sight. Neither doubt I but, before all Latinity was hatched, this was alluded to by Abimelech ; Genesis xx. 16: O'Y MIDI m; he is the covering of thine eyes ; said that heathen king to Sarah, concerning her husband : a covering, which both protects and limits the eye.