Archibald Forbes.

The Christian library: a weekly republication of popular religious ..., Volume 6 online

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without slavery; it should, in short,* be the tender-
ness of love, supported by esteem, and guided by )
politeness. )Ana then, we must maintain our mu-
tual respectability before others ; strangers, friends^
servants, children, must all be taught to reroect tnt,
from what they see in oar own behavior, it is in
the highest degree improper, for either party to d»
an action, to say a worn, or assume a lodr, that
shall have the remotest tendency to lower the other
in sublic esteem. ^


is a common duty of husband and wife.

We are united to be companions ; to live tc«ethery
to walk together, to talk together. The husband is
commanded " to dwell witti the wife according to
knowledge." "This," says Mr. Jay, "intends no-
thing less than residence, opposed to absence and
roving. It is absurd, for those who have no promct
of dwelling together, to enter this state ; and those
who are already in it, should not be unnecessarily
abroad. Circumstances of various kmds will doubt-
less render occasional excursions unavoidable; but
let a man return as soon as the design of his absence
is accomplished, and let him always travel with
the words of Solomon in his mind, ^ As a bird that
wandereth tram her nest, so is a man that wander-
eth from his place.' Can a man while fhmi home^
discharge the duties he owes to his housdiold 1 Can
he discipline his children 1 Can he maintain the
worship of Qod in his ftmilyl I know it is the
duty or the wife to lead the devotion in the absence
of the husband ; and she should take it up as a cross^
if not for the time as a privilege. Few, however,
are thus disposed, and hence one of the sanctuaries
of God for weeks and months togeUier is shut up. —
I am sorry to say, that there are some husbuids
who seem fonder of any society than the company
of their wives. It appears in the dvtposal of their
leisure hours. How few of these are appropri-
ated to the wife ! ' The evenings are the most do-
mestic periods of the day. To these the wife is pe-
culiarly entitled— she is now most free firom her nu-
merous cares, and most at liberty to enjoy reading
and conversation. It is a sad reflection upon a man
when he is fbnd of qsending his evenings abroad. —

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It imptiet someUuikg bad, and it predicts somethiiig

And then to ensure as far as possible, the society
of her husband, at his own fire side, let the wife be
" a keeper at nome," and do all in her power to
render that fire side as attractive as- gooa temper,
neatness, and cheerful, affectionate conyersation can
moke it; let her strive to make his own home, the
soft ffreen on which his heart loves to repose in the
sunshine of domestic enjoyment We can easily
imagine, that even in Paradise, when man had no
apparition of gnilt, no visions of crime, no spectral
voice fraui a troobled conscience, to make him
dread sditnde, and flee from it, that even then,
Adam liked not, on his retam finom the labor at
dreasihff the garden, to find Eve absent from their
bower, but wanted the smile of her countenance to
light np his own, and the music of her voice to be
tM melody of his soul. Think, then, how much
more in his Ihllen estate, with guilt upon his con-
science, and care pressing upon his heart, does man
now, on coming from the scenes of his anxious toil,
need the aid of woman's companionship, to drive
awav the swarm of buzzing cares, that light upon
the heart to sting it^ to soothe the brow mflled with
sadness; to tranquillize the bosom agitated with
paasioii ; and at once to reprove and comfort the
mind that has in some measure yielded to tempta-
tion. O, woman 1 thou knowest the hour wnen
** the good man of the house" will return, at mid-
day, while the sun is yet bowing down the laborer
with the fierceness <n his beams, or at evening,
wiien the heat and burden of the day are past; do
not let him, at such a time, when he is weary with
exertion^ and faint with discouragement, find, upon
his commg to his habitation, that the foot which
should hasten to meet him, is wandering at a dis-
tance, that the soft hand which should wipe away
the sweat from his brow, is knocking at the door of
other houses : nor let him find a wilderness, where
he should enter a garden; conftision, where he
ooght to see order; or filth that disgusts, where he
might hope to behold neatness, that delights and at-
tracts. If this be the case, who can wonder, that in
the anguish of disappointment, and in the bitterness
of a neglected and heart stricken husband, he turns
away from his door, for that comfort which he
wished to cDioy at home, and that socienr which he
hoped to fina in his wife, and put up with the sub-
stitutes for both which he finds in the houses of
other men, or in the company of other women.

United to be associates then, let man and wife be
■B much in each other's society as possible: and
there must be something wrong in domestic life.
when they need the aid of balls, routs, plays, caro
parties, to relieve them firom the tedium produced
oy home pursuits. I thank Gkxl, I am a stranger
to that taste, which leads a man to flee from his own
comfortable parlor, and the society of his wife,
from the instruction and recreation contained in a
wen stored library, or the evening rural walk, when
the business of the day is over, to scenes of public
amnsement for enjoyment; to mjr judgment, the
pleasures of home, and of home society, when home
and home society, are all that could be desired, are
such as never cicrf , and need no change, biit ftorn
ooe kindred scene to another. I am sighing and
longing, perhaps in vain, for a period, when society
afaau be so elevated, and so puiifled : when the love
of knowledge will be so intense, and the habits of
life will be so simple; when religion and morality
will be 80 generally dlflused that men's homes will
be the seat and circle of their pleasnres : when in
the society of an a^tionate and intelligent wife,
and of well educated children, each will find his
matest earthly delight ; and when it will be felt to
be no more necessary to happbiess, to quit their own

fire side fbr the ban room or the concert, than it is
to go fVom the wen spread table, to the public feast,
to satisfy the cravio||s of a healthy appetite : then
will it be no longer imposed upon us to prove, that
public amusements aie improper ^ for they wiU be-
found tobe MfMMMSsery.

But the pleasures of home must not be aUowed to
interfbre with the calls and claims of public duty.
Wives must not ask, and husbands must not give. '
that time which is demanded for the cause of Goa
and man. This is an age of active charity, and the
great public institutions which are set up, cannot be
kept in operation, without great sacrifices of time
and leisure by very many persons. Those, who by
their wisdom, talents, rank, or property, receive the
confidence of the public, must stand prepared to fiU
up and oonduct the executive departments of our
societies ; nor should they allow the soft allurements
of their own houses, to draw them away from what
is obviously the post of dnt^r. We have known
some, who, tiU they entered into wedded life, were
the props and pillars of our institutions, jrield so
far to tne solicitations of their new and dearest
earthly ftiend, as to vacate their seat at the board
of management, for ever after. It is, indeed, a
costlv way of contributing to the cause of relinon
and humanity, to give those evening hours which
could be spent so pleasantly in a country walk, or
in the joint perusai of some interesting volume : but
who can do good, or ought to wish to do it, without
sacrifices'? I know an eminently holy and usefU
minister, who told the lady to whom he was about
to be imited. that one of tbe conditions of their mar-
riage was, that she should never ask him for that
time, which, on any occasion, he felt it to be his
dutv to give to God. And surely, any woman might
feel herself more blessed in having sometimes to en-
dure the loss of a husband's society, whose presence
and talents were coveted by aU public institutions,
than in being left to the unmolested enjoyment of
the company of one, whose assistance was coveted
by none.
4. MoiVAi, POBBtABiNCB is another duty.
This we owe to all, not excepting the stranger,
or an enemy ; and most certainly it must not be de-
nied to our nearest and dearest earthly friend. For
the charity that suflereth long and is kind ; that en*
vieth not : vaimteth not itsen, is not puflbd up ; that
doth not behave itself unseemly; seeketh not her
own ; is not easily provoked ; thinketh no evil ; re-
joiceth not in iniquity, but rcjoiceth in the truth ;
that covereth all things; belie veth all things: hop-
eth all thinffs ; endureth all things : for this charity
there is both need and room in every relation d
life. Wherever sin or imperfection exists, there is
scope for the forbearance of love. There is no per-
fecuon upon earth. Lovers, it is true, often ftgrncy
they have found it ; but the more sober judgment
of husbands and wives, generallv corrects the mis-
take; and first impressions of this kind, generally
pass away with first love. We should all enter the
marriage state, remembering that we are about to
be united to a fallen creature ; and as in every case,
as Mr. Bolton remarks, it is not two angels that
have met together, but two sinful children of Adam,
from whom must oe looked for much weakness and
wa3rwardness, we must make np our minds to some
imperfection; and remembering that we have no
smaU share of our own that calls for the forbear-
ance of tbe other party, shaU exercise the patience
that we ask. where botli have infirmities, and '
they are so constantly together, innumerable ooea«
sions will be famished, if we are eager, or even
willing to avail ourselves of the opportunities fbr
those contentions, which, if they do not prodaee a
permanent suppression of kyve, lead to its tempo-
imry interruption. Many things we ahoold eoniuri

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at. oChen w« iifaoold paaR t^ with aa nnpfOToked
nuad, and ia all thiaga most eareftiUy avoid even
what at first may seem to be an innocent dispata-
tioa. Action does not forbid, but actoally de-
aandu that we shoald mumally point oat oar iaalta ;
bat this should be done in all the meekness of wis-
dom, onitad with all the tenderness of love, lest we
only increase the evil we intoid to jemove, or sab-
stitate a |:reater one in its place. Justice, as well as
wisdom, re()oire6 that in every case, we set the
good qualities again&t the bad ; and in most cases
we shall find some redeeming excellences which,
if they do not reconcile as to the failings we de-
j^re, shoald at least teach us to bear them with pa-
tience : and the more we contemplate these better
aspects of the character, the brighter will they ap-
pear, for it is an indubitable fact, that while faults
dimiaisfa, virtaes maA:nify, in proportion as they are
steadily contemplatecU As to bitterness of langaage,
and violence of conduct, this is so atterly disgrace-
M^ and in the circle which I am accustomed to in-
struct, altogether so rare and onosnal, that it
scarcely neeid be Introduced even by wa^ of cao-
tiooing agaiast it The ancients, we are mformed,
took the gall from their nuptial sacrifices, and cast
it behind the altar, to intimate the removal <^ all
bitterness from the marriage state.

5. MaTOALAasMTANCB is the duty of husbands and

This applies to tMe carea of Uft. Wonwn are not
naaally very conversaat with matters of trade, bat
still their coansel mav be sooght in a thoosand cases
with propriety and advantage. The hosband shoald
never andertake aay thing of importance, without
commanicating the matter to his wife ; who, on her
part, instead of shriaking Arom the responsibility of
a counsellor, and leaving him to strujEgle alone with
his difficalties and perplexities, should iavite him to
communicate freely aQ his anxieties : for if she can-
not coansel, she can comfort ; if she cannot relieve
bis eares, she can help to bear them ; if she cannot
direct the coarse of his trade, she may the current
of his feelings ; if she cannot open any source of
earthly wisdom, she can spread the matter before
the Father and fountain of lights. Many men on-
der the idea of delicacy to their wives, k^p all their
difi&calties to themselves, which only prepares them
to fte\ the stroke the heavier when it does coma.

And then, as the wife shoald be willmg to help
the husband, in matters of business, he shoald be
wilHnff to share with her, the burden of doonestic
anxieties and fatiffue. Some go too far, and atterly
degrade the female head of the &mily, bv treating
her a^ if her honesty or ability could not be trusted
ia the management of the domestic economy. They
keep the money, and dole it out as if they were part-
ing with their life's blood, grudging every shilling
they dispense, and requiring an account as rigid as
they would (rom a suspected servant; they take
charge of every thmg, give oat every thing, inter-
fere IB every thing. This is to despoil a woman of

her authoritv, to thrust her ttook her proper places
to insult and degrade her before her children and
servants. Some, on the other hand, go to the oppo-
site extreme, and take no share in any thiitf . My
heart has ached to see the slavery of some aevoted,
hard working, and ill osed wives ; after laboring
all day amidst the ceatieless toils of a yoiug and na-
marooB family, they have had to pass the hours of
evening in solitude, while their husbands, instead
of eommg home to cheer them by their society, or
to relieve them for only half an hoar of their fatigae,
have been either at a party or a sermon : and then
have these hapless women had to wake and watch
the live long night, over a sick or restless babe,
while the men whom they accepted as the partner
of their sorrows, w«re sleeping by their side, onwiU-

ing to give a sin^ hoar of their slumber, thoogh
it was to allow a little repose to their toil-worn wives.
Why, even the irrationfli creatures shame such men;
for It is a well known fact^ that the male bird takes
his torn upon the nest dunng the season of incuba-
tioiL to allow the fomale time to renew her stren^
by (ood and rest : and with her, also, goes in dili-
gent quest of food, and feeds the young ones when
they cry. No man shoald think of marrying, who
does not staad prepared to share, as far as he can do
it with his wife, the burden of domestic cares.

They should be helpful to each other m» tk* c#»-
cmms ojfirsofuU rtUgum. This is clearly implied
in the apostle^s language. " For what knowest thou,
O wife, whether thou shalt save thy hosband 1 Or
how knowest thou,"^ man, whether thou shalt save
thy wife 1"* Where both parties are unconverted,
or only one of them is yet a partaker of true piety,
there should be the most anxious, judicious, and al-
fiBcdonate efforts for their salvation. How heathen-
ish a state is it, to enjoy together the comforts of
marriage, and then travel In company to eternal
perdition ; to be mutual' comforters on earth, and
then mutual tormentors in hell ; to be companjons ia
felicity in time, and companions in torment through
eternity. And where both parties are real Chna-
tians, there shoald be the exercise of a constant re>
ciprocal solicitude, watchfulneos and care, in refer-
ence to their spiritual and eternal welfare. One of
the ends which every believer shoald propose to
himself, on entering the marriage state^ is to secure
one feithful friend, at least, who will be a helpmate
for him in reference to another world, and to aasial
him in the great business of his soul's nlvation, aiMl
that will pray for him and with him; one that will
affectionately tell himof his sins and his defects,
viewed in the light of a Christian ; one thid will
stimulate and draw him by the power of a holy ex-
ample, and the sweet force of persoasive words;
one that will warn him in temptation, comfort him
in dejection, and in every way assist him in his pil-
grimage to the skies. The hi^iest end of the con*
nubial state is lost, if it be not rendered helpful to
our piety ; and yet this end is too generally neglect-
ed, even by professors of religion. Do we converse
with each other as we ought on the high themes of
redemption by Christ, and eternal salvation 1 Do
we study each other's disponitioiis, snares, troubles,
decays m piety, that we may apply suitanle reme-
dies! Do we exhon one another daily, lest we
should be hardened throuj^h the deoeitfolness of sin 1
Do we practice fidelity without eensoriousness ; and
administer praise without flattery 1 Do we invite
one another to the most quickening and edifying
means of a public nature, and recommend the pern-
sal of such instructive and improving books as we
have found beneficial to ourselves 1 Do we mu-
tually lay open the state of our minds on the subject
of personal religion, and state our perplexities, oar
joys, our fears, our sorrows 1 Alas, alas, who most
not blush at their neglects in these particulars t^
And yet, such neglect is as criminal, as it is com-
mon. Fleeing from the wrath to come, and yet not
doin^ all we can to aid each otherVi escape ! Con-
tending side by side for the crown of glory, honor,
immortality, and eternal life» and yet not ilomg all
we can to ensure each other's soccess I Is this love 1
Is this the tenderness of connubial afifection 1

This mtuual help shoald extend to tks maiMUnamct
The husband is to be the propnet, priest, and kinr
of the family, to instract tneir minds, to lead the^
devotions, and to govern their tempers ; but in sll
that relates to these important objects, the wife is to
be of one mind with him. They are in these mat-

• 1 Corinthians, vii I6L

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t6£ F'AMtLT MONI<^0R.

ters, to be wofkeis together, neither of them leaving
the other to labor alone, much less opposing or
thwarting what is done. " When the sun shmes.
the moon disappears ; when he sets, she appears ana
shines ; so when the hteband is at home, he leads
domestic worship, when he is absent, the wife most
ever take his place." Some men refer the instrac^
tion of yoong children exclusively to their wives,
and some wives, as soon as the children are too ola
to be taaght npon the knee, think that they are ex-
closiveljr the subjects of faUnud tofre. This is a
mistake in the important economy of the family, the
members of which are pever too young to be taught
and disciplined by the father, nor too old to be ad-
nwoished and warned by the mother : kt may some-
times have a great influence in awing the rude spi-
rits of the younger branches : while ker soft persuar
sive accents may have deligntful power to melt or
break the hard and stubborn hearts of older ones. —
Thus they who have a joint interest in a iamily,
must attend to them in the exercise of a joint labor.

The|^ must be helpful to each other tn loorks of
hmmamtiif and religious benevolence.

Their mutual influence should be exerted, not in
restraining, but in stimulating zeal, compassion, and
ISwrality. What a beautiful picture of domestic life
is drawn bv the pen of the Old Testament historian.
** And it fell on a day that Elisha passed to Shunem.
where was a great woman: and she constiainea
him to eat bread. And so it was, that as oft as he
passed by, he turned in thither to eat bread. And
she said unto her husband. Behold now, I perceive
that this is a. holy man of God. which passeth by us
continuallv. Let us make a little chamber on the
wall, and let us set for him there a bed, and a table,
and a stool, and a candlestick, and it shall be, that
when he cometh to us, he shall turn in thither.—
And it fell on a day that he came thither, and he
tamed into the chamber, and lay there.*** Every
part of this scene is lovely. The generous and
pious wish of the wife, to provide accommodations
for a destitute and dependant prophet ; her prompt
and prudent effort to interest her husband in the
scheme of her benevolence ; her discreet and mo-
dest keeping of her place in not acting without his
permission j her dignified claim of a nght to be as-
sociated with him in this work of mercy, for said
she, let us make a little chamber on the wall ; all is
delightful, and as it should be, on her part : and no
less so on the part of the man ; for there was no
sarlv refusal, no proud rejection of the plan, because
it did not originate with him, no covetous plea for
setting it aside, on the ground of expense. Delight-
ed, as every husband should be, to gratify the be-
nevolent wishes, and support the liberal schemes of
his wife, so far as prudence will allow, he consent-
ed ; the little chamber was erected, and furnished
by this holy pair, and soot^ occupied by the prophet :
and never was a generous action more speedilv or
more richly rewarded. Elisha had no means of his
own, by which to acknowledge the kindness; but
he who said in after times, "he that receiveth a
prophet in the name of a prophet, shall receive a
prophet's reward/* took upon himself, as he does in
every instance, the cause of his necessitous servant,
and most munificently repaid the generous deed.

A lovelier scene iinot to be found on earth, than
that of a pious couple, employinf^ their mutual influ-
ence, and the hours of their retired companionship,
in stirring up each other's hearts to deeds of mercy
and religious benevolence ; not Adam and Eve in
Paradise, with the unspotted robes of their inno-
cence about them, engaged in propping the vine, or
trailing the rose of that holy garden, presentea to
the eyes of angeb a more imeresting spectacle than

• 9 Kings It. 8-11.

this.'' What a contrast does such a cpuple present,
to the pairs which are almost every where to be
found, whose calculations are not what they can
save trom unnecessary expense to bestow upon the
cliuse of God and humanity, but what they can ab-
stract or withhold firom the claims of benevolence,
to lavish upon splendid furniture, or domestic luxu-
ries. Are there no wives who attempt to chill the
ardor, to limit the beneficence, to stint the charities
of their husbands ; who, by their incessant and que-
rulous, and almost quarrelsome suggestions, that he
is doing too much for others, and too little for his
own family, drive the good man, notwithstanding
he is lord of his own property, to exercise his lib^
rality in secret, and bestow his charities by stealth 1
And what is oftentimes the object of such women 1
nothing more than the pride of ambition, or the folly
of vanity. Only that they might have these taxa-
tions and parings of chanty, to spend upon dress,
furniture, and parties.

Perhaps the Question will be asked, whether it ih
proper for a wife to give away the property of her
husoand in acts of humanity, or religious benevo-
lence 1 Such an inquiry ou^ht to be unnecessary ;
for no woman should be driven to the alternative
of either doing nothing for the cause of God and
man, or doing whkt she can by stealth. A sufficient
sum ought to be placed at her dinxis^ to enable
her to enjoy the luxury of doing good. Why should
not she appear in her own name upon the honorable
list of benefactors, and shine forth in her peculiar
and separate elory, instead of being always lost in
the radiance of out recorded mercy i Why should
she have no sphere of benevolent effort 1 Why
shoiUd we monopolize to ourselves the blessinp of
those that are ready to perish t It is degrading a
married female to allow her no discretion in tnis
matter, no liberty of distribution, no power to dis-
pense, even in cases that concern her sex, but to
compel her to beg first of a husband, that which
others come to beg of her. If, however, she be un-
happily united to a Nabal^ a churl, whose sordid,
graspin/i^, covetous disposition, will yield nothing to
Uie claims of humanity or religion, may she then
make up for the deficiency of her husband, and
diffuse his property unknown to him 1 I am strongs
Iv tempted to answer this question in the afilrmative ;
for if m any instance we may deviate from the or-
dinary rule, and taking the man at his own word,
which he uttered, when in the sdeifin act of matri-
mony, he said, " with all my worldljr ^oods I thee
endow," may invest the wife with a jomt proprie-
torship, and a right of appropriation, it is in such a
case as this. B ut still, we must not sacrifice general
principles, to special cases ; and therefore, I say to

Online LibraryArchibald ForbesThe Christian library: a weekly republication of popular religious ..., Volume 6 → online text (page 26 of 121)