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others, keep only to her as long as they both shall live.” Now, whoever is unkind to his wife,mor neglects her,—or is unfaithful to her, or who does not comfort her in her sickness, or exert himself to support her in her health, is not only doing a very cruel thing, but is behaving in a manner quite dishonourable, and breaking a very solemn vow.
W. What think you, Thomas, of a man spending his time and his money at the ale-house, whilst his poor wife at home is almost breaking her heart for his absence, and counting every moment till he comes home again ?
T. I don't like to call names, William ; but there is hardly any name bad enough for such a man. But our neighbour Jack Simkins says that his wife is so cross, and every thing is so miserable at his own house, that he can't bear home.
W. Yes; but whose fault is that? If Jack would be more careful, and bring his money home for his family, his wife could get things more nice and comfortable, and make his house as tidy as other people's.
T. I think so too; he does not put it in her power to have things as they should be; and then he grumbles because things are wrong. But then he says that his wife always looks so cross and melancholy when he goes home, that he has no pleasure there.
W. Ah, poor thing ! she has enough to make her melancholy. However, it is her duty to try to make home agreeable to her husband as far as she can. If he is cross with her, she should still try to behave well to him : a kind and cheerful look, as if she was glad to see him, might do him good. She, perhaps, does not do her best in trying to please him; there may be faults on both sides.
T. O yes : and, you know, the woman is bound as well as the man ;-she is “to obey him and to serve him," as well as to “ love and honour him.”
I do not understand, by this, that a wife is to be the slave of her husband ;—but, to prevent disputes, and to promote peace and harmony, it is needful that one should submit,-and God hath decided which it shall be.
W. Yes; and, if the husband be a Christian man, he will never require any thing but what it would bé the pleasure of a Christian wife to do.
T. To be sure. Well, I assure you, all the service seemed to me this morning to come with great power, and to be full of very important meaning: I don't know how it was, but no part of it seemed to escape me; it certainly is a very affecting service. But
you know it, and we need not therefore go through it together, as we have done some of the other services.
W. Why it is so plain to any person who: will give good attention to it, that it requires only to be read with proper thoughtfulness, and its true meaning will presently be seen.
T. I was wonderfully struck with the solemn prayer to the Almighty as soon as the ring was put on; it is a prayer to the “ Eternal God, the creator and preserver of all mankind, the giver of all spiritual grace, the author of everlasting life, that he would send his blessing upon these his servants,-that they may perform and keep the vow and covenant betwixt them made, and may ever remain in perfect love and peace together, and live according to God's laws, through Jesus Christ.”
W. Yes, and how beautiful, and how solemn, and Christian-like is the blessing which the Minister gives to the married couple,-or I should rather say, that he begs of God to give them !
« God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Ghost, bless, preserve, and keep you;—the Lord mercifully look upon you; and so fill you with all spiritual benediction and grace, that ye may so live together in this life, that, in the world to come, ye may have life everlasting."
1. Yes, that is noble! And then the Psalm, and the Lord's Prayer, and the petitions that are offered to the Almighty to give his blessing to his Co servant and his handinaid !" --All this makes it what I call a truly religious service, and ought certainly to be considered as such, and to be very highly regarded and respected.
W. Certainly: and, if we are in earnest in what we pray for, we shall try to cultivate that Christian disposition of love and affection which we beg of God to bestow upon us. The Priest offers up this prayer, that God would " pour upon those, whom he has joined together in marriage, the riches of his grace, that he would sanctify and bless them, that they may please him both in body and soul, and live together in holy love unto their lives end."
T. This is beautiful! And, how excellent is the exhortation, or sermon, that the Minister reads to the married couple before they leave the Church. It is full of spiritual instructions how a man ought to behave himself to his wife, and how the wife ought to behave herself towards her husband. And we here find a consideration mentioned, which it concerns us all very seriously to think of; that the
good conversation;" the religious disposition and behaviour of the wife, may be the means of winning an ungodly husband to the faith and fear of God. And, in like mamer, that a religious husband may be the means of leading an ungodly wife to the knowledge and the love of the truth.
W. Yes; these are important considerations indeed! And, if both are brought to a real love of that which is good, what an effect. this must have upon their children after them! There is no seeing the end of the good which religious parents may be the means of doing !
T. Very true ;-nor of the harm which bad pa. rents may do! The good or the larm may, and probably will, run through many generations. But I must now leave you, William, and I wish every married couple would take these matters into con. sideration. The advice which ends the Marriage service (from St. Peter), would be useful to many of the young women of our day-“Whose adorn ing, let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on 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."
W. Yes, this is excellent. And pray, Thomas, did you look at what the rubrick says, at the end of the Marriage service :--recommending the married couple to receive the sacrament of the Lord's Supper " the first opportunity, after their mar.
T. Yes : and I have had some conversation both with Richard and his wife on that very point. They both seemed to think that it was right: and they both, I know, intend to do it. They scemed as if they should consider it as a great comfort thus to dedicate themselves to the Almighty together, and thus to seek for his blessing.
W. Yes.. Whatever we begin, in the faith and fear of God, we may reasonably look for his blessing upon--and upon eo important an event in our lives, what can we hope for without his blessing?
ON THE SACRAMENT OF THE LORD'S SUPPER,
Let no man plead this, or that, in excuse for not coming to the Lord's table; but resolve hereafter carefully to perform so necessary a duty:
Let the sinner quit his state of sin and death, and so come and eat of the bread of life.
Let the ignorant come into the school of Christ; and proceed till they come to the highest form, to the upper room, where this feast is celebrated.
Let those that are at enmity with their neighbours also come; let them only first go and be reconciled to their brethren, and so let them offer their gift.
Let those that have a multitude of worldly employments come; only let them leave them, as Abraham did his asses, at the bottom of the mount, and so let them ascend to heaven in their thoughts, and converse with God.
Let the weak come, that they may grow in strength; and let the strong come, that they may not grow weak.
Let them who have fears come, that their hearts may be settled by the acts of a more lively faith ; and let them come who have hopes, that they may rise to greater degrees of a humble confidence.
Let those who have leisure accept this invitation, because they have no excuse; and let those who have but little leisure accept it also, that they may the more sanctify their business and their employments.
Let the sad and sorrowful approach, that their hearts may be filled with the joy of the Lord; and let those that rejoice in the Lord always, approach, that their joy may be full.