Archibald Forbes.

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

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every female m such circumstances, obtam if yon
can, a separate and fixed allowance for charitable
distribuuon ; but if even this be not possible, obtain
one for personal expenses, and by a most rigid fru-
gality, save all tou can from dress and decoration,
for the hallowed purpose of relieving the miseries ot
your fellow creatures.

6. MoruAL 8TMPATHT is required.

Sickness may call for this, and females seem both
formed and incline by nature to yield it.

'* O woman ! in our hoars ofease,
Uncertain, coy, and hard to pleasti
And variable as the shade
By the light quivering aspen madet
When pam and anguish wring tbt b
A minartering angel thou I"

Unwilling, and, indeed, unable to subscribe to tha
former part of this descriptionf I do most readily
assent to the truth of the latter. If we coMdowidi'
oat her and be happy in h«alth, what art Wf la

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stcloiess withont her presence and her tender of-
fices 1 Can we smootn, as woman can, the pillow
on which the sick man laj^s his headi No. We
cannot administer the medicine or the food as she
can. There is a sofhiess in her touch, a lightness
in her step, a skill in her arrangements, a sympathy
looking down upon as from her beaming e)^e, which
oars wants. Many a female, by her devoted and
kind attentions in a season of sickness, has drawn
back to herself that cold and alienated neartj which
neither her charms coald hold, nor her claims re-
cover. I entreat you, therefore, married females,
to pat forth all your power to soothe and please in
the season of your husband's sickness. Let him see
ypu willing to make anv sacrifices of pleasure, ease,
ot sleep, to minisier to his comfort Let there be a
tenderness in your manner, a wakefbl attention and
sympathy in yoar look, a something that seems to
say, your only comfort in his affliction, is to employ
yourselves in alleviating it. Hearken with patience
and kindness to the tale of his lighter, and even of
his imaginary woes. A cold, heartless, awkward,
unsymparhismg woman, is an exception fVom the

funeral rale, and, therefore, the severer libel upon
er sex.

Nor is this sympathy exclusively the dutyof the
wife I but belongs eaually to the hdsband. He can-
notj It is true, perform the same offices for her,
whidi she can discharge for him ; bat much he can
do, and all he can he should do. Her sicknesses
are ^erally more numerous and heavy than his;
she IS likely, therefore, to make more frequent calls
upon his tender interest and attention. Many of her
ailments are the conseauence of becoming his wife ;
•he was, perhaps, in full vigor, till she became a
mother, and from that time, never had a moment's
perfect ease or strength again. That event which
•ent mto his heart the joys of a parent, dismisijed
iVom her frame the comforts of health. And shall
he look with discontent, and indifierence, and in-
sensibility, upon that delicate flower, which, before
he transplanted it to Ms garden, glowed in beauty
and in fragrance, to the admiration of every spec-
tator? Shall he now cease to regard it with any
pleasure^ or sympathy, and seem as if he wished it
gone, to make room ror another, forgetting that it
was he that sent the worm to the root, and caused
its head to droop, and its colors to fadel Hus-
bands, I call upon YOU for all the skill and tender-
ness of love, on benalf of your wives, if they are
weak and sickly. Watch by their couch, talk with
them, pray with them, walk with them, wake with
them. In all their affiietions, be you afflicted. Ne-
ver listen heedlessly to their complaints ; and, oh,
by all that is sacred in conjugal anection, I implore

phantom of a fear, that the disease which has de-
stroyed their health, has done the same for your af-
fection. Oh! spare their bosom the agonizing
pangs of supposing, that they are living to be a bur-
den to your disappointed heart. The cruelty of that
man wants a name^ and I know of none sufficiently
emphatic, who denies his sympathy to a suffering
woman, whose only sin is a oroken constitution,
and whose calamity is the result of her marriage.
Sach a man does the work of a murderer, without
his punishment, and in some instances, without his
reproach ; but not alwajrs without his design or his

Bat sympathy should be exercised by man and
wife, not only in reference to their sicKuesses, but
to all their afflictions, whether personal or relative ;
all their sorrows should be common: like two
strififfs in unison, the chord of grief should never be
ttrucK in the heart of one, without caasing a corres-

ponding vibration in the heart of the other; or, like
the surface of the lake answering to the heaven, It
should be impossible for calmness and sunshine to
be upon one, while the other is agitated and cloudy:
heart should answer to heart, and face to face.

Such are the duties common to both : the obliga-
tions peculiarly enjoined upon each, will be the rab-
ject of the next chapter. ,



'' Wives, submit younelves unto your own bad>ands,
as unto the Lord. For the husband is the bead of
the wife, even as Christ is the head of the cbarcfa ;
and he is the Saviour of the body. Therefore, aa
the church it subject unto Christ, so let the wivea
be to their own husbands in every thine. Hus-
bands, love your wives, even as Christ uso loved
the church, and gave himself for it ; that he might
sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by
the word, that he might present it to himself a glori-
ous church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such
thing ; but that it should be holy aod without ble-
mish. So ouffht men to love then- wives a« their own
bodies. He that loveth his wife, loveth himself. For
no man ever vet hated his own flesh, but nourisfaeth
and cherishetn it, even as the Lord the chaich : For
we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of bis

^ bones. For this cause shall a man leave his fiither
and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and
they two shall bo one flesh. This is a great mys-
tery: but I speak ooncemiug Christ and the
church."->EpBXsiAirs v. 22—^.

Obsrve the sublime and transcendently interesting
fact, which stands amidst the duties of domestic
life, as stated by the apostle, in the language quoted
above, like the sun in the centre of the planets, il-
luminating, impelling, and uniting them all. Every
part of this most comprehensive and beautiful pas-
sage is inimitably striking. The design of the
whole, is to magnify Christ^s love to the church ; in
order to this, the moral condition of the church, pre-
vious to the transforminff work of redeemin|r grace»
is supposed to be that of loathsome impunty ; yet,
notwithstanding this, he exercises the tenderesc
compassion for her welfare, and is not repelled by
excessive defilement. To effect her redemption, he
does not merely employ the operations of his power
and of his wisdom, out sarrendered himself into the
hands of divine justice, that, as a sacrifice of atone-
ment, he might ransom the object of his regard, at
the price of his blood ; thus manifesting an flection
stronger than death, and " which many waters could
not quench." The ultimate design of this act of
mysterious humiliation, is, to render her in som'*
measure worthy of his iep;ard, and meet for that in-
dissoluble union with himself, into which, as his
illustrious bride, she was about to be received : for
this purpose, the efficient influences of the Holy
Ghost were to be poured upon her mind, that, in
the cordial reception of the truth, she might be puri-
fied f)rom iniquity, have the germ of every virtue
implanted in her heart, and the robe of righteous-
ness spread over her rrame ; till, at length, under
the dispensations of his providence, the means of his
grace, and the sanctifying agency of his Spirit, the
last spot of moral defilement might be eflfaced, the
last wrinkle of spiritual decay removed, and, like
" the kin^r's daugnter, all glorious within." and with
her clothincr of wrought gold, she might be present-
ed, covered with the boiaties of holiness, to the
Lord Jesni, in that day, " when he shall come to be

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Admired in his saints, and glorified in all them that
believe." Behold, what manner of love is thisl—
And it is tJUs most amazing, this vmparaUeled act
of mercy, that is employed by the apostle, as the
motive of all Christian conduct. He Imew nothing
of moral philosophy, if hj this ezpresBioQ be meant
the abstract principles of ethics. He left as he (band
them, the groondi of moral obligations, but he did
not enforce virtae by a mere reference to our rela-
tions to God as creatares, bat by a reference to oar
relation to Chrisr, as redeemed sinners. He fetched
his motives to good works, from the cross ; he made
the power of that to be felt, not only on the con-
science, as supplying the means of pardon, but opon
the heart, as tucnishing the most cogent, and at the
same time, the moot insinaating argomeat for sano-
tification : he not only irradiates the gloom of de-
spondency, or melts the stobbom obstinacy of onbe*
lidT, or stavs the reckless progress of despair, by in-
spiring a reeling of hope ; no, hot by the death of a
cmciaed Saviour, and an exhibition of his most
wiboanded compassion, he attacks the vices of the
depraved heart, and inculcates all the virtues of the
rone wed mind. The doctrine of the cross is the
anbstance of Christian truth, and the great support
of Christian morals: and tae apostle's mind and
heart were full of it. Does he enforce humility 1 —
U is thus: *' Let the mind be in you which was in
Christ Jesus." An unreserved devoCedness to Qodi
It is thus : " Ye are not your own ; for ye are bought
with a price ; therefl»re glorifV GknI with your b^y
and in your nirit, which are his." Brotherly lovel
It is thus: '* Herein is love, not that we loved God,
bat that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the pro-
pitiation for our sins. Beloved, if Gtod so loved us,
we ought also to love one another." A forgiving
temper 1 It is thus : " Be ye kind one to another,
tender hearted, forgiving one another, even as God
for Christ's sake hath fornven you." Benevolence
to the poor 1 It is thus : "For ye know the grace of
our Lord Jesus Christ, who, though he was rich, for
oar sakes became poor, that we. through his pover-
ty miffht be made rich." * And who but an apostle
would have thought of enforcing conju^ afiection
bv a reference to the love of Christ to his church.—
And he has done this; and has thus represented re-
deeming love, as a kind Of holy atmosphere, sur-
rounding the Christian on all sides, accompanying
him every where, sustaining his spiritual existence,
the very element in which his religion lives, moves,
and has its being. And this, indeed, is religion ;—
not a name, not a creed, not a form, not an abstract
feeling, not an observance of times and places, not
a mere mental costume or holy dress which we pot
oo exclusively for certain seasons and occasions;—
no, bot a moral habit, a mental taste, the spirit of
the mind, which will spontaneously appear in our
language, feeling, and behavior, l^* a reference to
Jesus Christ, as the ground of hope, and the model
•f imitation.

In stating the duties especially enjoined on the
two parties m the conjugal union, I sludl begin with
those of the mmuND. He is commanded to lovi

As we have already shown that this is a duty of
both parties, the question very naturally arises, "For
what reason is it so specially enjoined upon the hus-
band 1" Why is As so particularly boimd to the ex-
ercise of affection % Perhaps for the following rea-
sons : 1. Because, in the very nature of things, he
is most in danger of failing m this doty. Placed
by the Creator as " the head of the wife " and in-
vested with a certain right to govern his household,
he is more in peril of merging the tender sensibili-

• PhiL ii. 5.
Ephes. iv. 33.

1 Cor. vi. 90. 1 John iv. 10, II.

2 Cor. viii. 9.

ties in the predominant consciousness of superiori->

2r. S. Because he is actually more deficient |n this
uty than the other party. This has ever been the
case in Pagan and Mohammedan countries. In
barbarous nations, especially, conjugal aflection
has ever been exceedin^y weak, and it is probaMe,
that even in the more civillaed countries of Greece
and Rome it was not so generally stron^c and steady,
as it has since been made by Christianity. But
wirhoot even going beyond the limits of Cnristen-
dom, it may be truly said, that husbands are usual*
ly more deficient in love than wives; the latter, in
my opinion, excel the former in tenderness, in
strength, in constancy of affection. 3. Because a
want of love on the part of the man, is likely to be
attended with more misery to the other party: he
can go to greater excesses in violence, in cruelty, ia
depravity. The want of this tender passion in him
is likely to have a still worse effect upon his own
character, and the peace of the wife, than the want
of it in her : in either case, a destitution oi this
kind is a melancholy thing; but in him, it is on se-
vertU accounts, the most to be dreaded.

The apostle lays down two models or rules, for a
husband's afiection; the one is, ikt Uv€ ^okUk Ckritt
haswumifutedforkUchtink} and the otlMr, (As Imw
wkiek a mtm bean for himeUf.

In directing your attention to the first, I shall ex*
hibit the properties of Christ'ft love, and show in
what way ew affi^tion should be conformed to his.

ChristiB love was snrciaB. He did not love in
word only, bat in deed and in truth. In him there
was no dissimulation; no epithets of endearment
going forth out of feigned lips ; no actions varnish-
ed over with a mere covering of love. We mtist
be like him, and endeavor to maintain a principle
of true reeard in the heart, as well as a show oi it
in the conduct It is a miserable thing to have to'
act the part of love, without feeling it Hjrpoorisy
is base in every thing, but next to relicfon, is most
base in affection. Besides, how difficult is it to act
the part well, to keep on the mask, and to support
the character so as to escape detection I Oh, the
misery of that woman's heart, who at length finds
out to her cost, that what she has been accustomed
to receive and value as the attentions of a lover,
are but the tricks oi a cunning dissembler.

The love (^ the Redeemer was ardeht.

Let us, if we would form a correct idea of what
should be the state of our hearts towards the woman
of our choice, think of that afiection which glowed
in the bosom of the Saviour, when he lived and
died for bis people. We can possess, it is true,
neither the same kind, nor the same degree of re-
gard, but surely when we are referred to such an
mstance. if not altogether as a model, yet as a mo-
tive, it does teach us, that no weak affection is doe,
or should be offered to the wife of our bosom. We
are told by the Saviour himself, that if he laid down
his life for us, it is our duty to lay down ours for the
brethren ; how much more for the " fHend that
sticketh closer than a brother." And if it be our
duty to laef dewn emir life^ how moch more to employ
it'while it lasts, in all the ofllces of an affixtion,
strong, steady, and inventive. She that for our
sake has forsaken the comfortable home^ and the
watchful care, and the warm embrace of her pa-
rents, has a right to expect in eeyr regard, that which
shall make her "forget her fkfher's house," and
cause her to feel that with respect to happiness, sha
is no loser by the exdmnge. Happy the woman,
and such should every husband strive to make bui
wife, who can look liack without a sigh upon the
moment, when she ouitted for ever, the guardians,
the companions, ana rhe scenes of her childhood I

The love of Christ to his church was supiinii.
He giiws to the world his benevolence, but to the

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ckiirch Ms comptaoescT. " The Lord tbj God in
the midtt of thee," aaid the {NPophet, '* is mighij ;
he wiU save thee, he will rdoice o^er thee, with
joqr : he will rest in hiM lore: he will joy over thee
wun singing." So mnst the hnabmd regard his
wife, above all else ; he must " rest in his love."-^
Be should regard her not only above all i^^tM^vt his
house, but above all wiikim. She must take prece-
dence both in his heart and conduct, not only of all
strangers, but of all relatives, and also of all his
ohiidren ; he ought to love hia children for her sake,
rather than her for theirs. Is this always the case 1
On the contrary, have we not often seen men^ who
appear to be far more interested in thdr children
than in their wives; and who have paid £ur less at^
tention to the latter than to grown-up dauahters 1
How espedaUy unseemly is it. for a man to be seen
fonder of the society of any other woman, than that
of his wife, even where nothing more may be in-
tended than the pleasure of her ceinpany. Nor
ought he to fornike her, in his leisure hours,
for any companions of his own sez^ however in-
teresting might be theii manners or their conver-

The love of Christ is umifobil Like himself, it
ia the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever. Con-
jugal affection should nave the same character; it
should be at all times, and in all plaees alike ; the
josM a^ kcw^t at abrtad $ in other persons' houses,
as in our own. Has not many a wife to sigh and
exclaim, " Oh that I were treated in my own house,
with the same tenderness and attention as I receive
in company." With what almost loathing and dis-
gust must such a woman inm from en d ea rm ents,
which, under such circumstances, she can consider
as nothing but hypocrisy. Home is the chief place
for fond and minute attention ; and she who has not
to complain of a want of it there, will seldom feel
the need or the inclination to complain of a want
of it abroad, except it be those silly women, who
would degrade their husbands, by exacting, not
merely what is really kind, but what is actually

The love of the Redeemer was practical and
LABORIOUS. Hejprovided every thinff by his media-
tion for the welfare and comfort of the church, and
at a cost and by exertions of which we can form no
idea. It has been already declared, that both par-
ties are to assist in the cares of life. A g90d wife
cannot be an idle one. Beautiful is her portraiture,
as drawn by the wise man. " Who can find a vir-
tuous woman 7 for her price is fsix above rubies.—
The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her,
so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do
him ffood and not evil all the days of her life. She
layeth her hands to the roindle, and her hands hold
the distaff She stretchetn out her hand to the poor,

fea, she reaoheth forth her hand to the needy. —
ler huid>and is known in the gates, when he sitteth
amongst the elders of the land. She openeUi her
mouth with wisdom, and in her tongue is the law
Of kindness. She looketh well to the ways of her
household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. —
Her children rise up and call her blessed : her hus-
band, also, and he praiseth her. Bfany daughters
have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.
Favor is deceitful, and beauty is vain ; but a wo-
man that feareth the Lord she shall be praised.—
Qive her the fruit of her hands, and let her own
works praise her in the gates." Provebbs xxxi^ —
This exauisite picture, combining as it does indus-
try, prudence, aignity, meekness, wisdom and pie-
S, cannot be too frequently or nunutely studied, by
ose who would attain to high degrees of female
excellence. The business of providing for the fa-
mily, however, belongs chiefly to the husband. It
is yours, my brethren, to rise up early, to sit up

late, to eat the bread of careAilness, and to drink,
if necessary, the waters of affliction, that you may
earn by the sweat of your brow, a comfortable sup-
port for the domestic circle. Tnis is probably what
the apostle meant, when he enjoined us to give ho-
HOR to the wife as to the weaker vessel ; the honor
of maintenance, which she, in consequence of the
weakness of her fhune, and the frequent infirmities
which the maternal relation brings upon her, is not
so well able to procure for heraelf . in most barba-
rous countries, and in some half-civilized ones, the
burden of manual labor falls upon the female, while
her tyrant lord lives in indolence, feeding upon the
industry oi the helpless being whom he calls his
wife, but treats as a slave. And are there no such
idle tyrants in our age and country, who, so &s they
can live in indolence, and natify their appetites,
care not how they oppress Uieir wives') wretches
who do little or nothing for the support of the fami-
ly 1 How utterly lost to every notue and generous
sentiment must that man be whose heart cannot be
moved by the entreaties or tears of an interesting
woman, and who can hear in vain her pleadings
for his child at her breast, and his child by her
side, and who by such appeals cannot be induced to
give up his dailv visits to the tavern, or his habits
of satmtering idleness, to attend to his neglected bu-
siness, and stay the approaching tide of poverty and
ruin. Such a creature is worse than a orute, he is
a monster ; and it seems a pity, that there is no
law. and no convict ship to bear him away to a
land, where if he will not work, so neither coul4
he eat

In general, it ii for the benefit of a Ihmily, that n
married woman should devote her time and atten-
tion almost exclusivelv to the ways of her house-
hold : her place is in the centre of domestic cares.
What is gained by Aer in the sh&p^ is oftentimes lociC
in the house, for want of the judicious superintend-
ence of a mother and mistress. Comfort and order,
as well as mon^, are domestic wealth ; and cm
these be rationally expected in the absence of fe-
male arrangement 1 The children always want a
mother's ejre and hand, and should always hava
them. Let the husband then have the care of pro-
viding ; the wife, that of distributing ; forthis is the
rale U>th of reason and revelation.

And as Christ labored for his church, not only
during his abode upon earth, but made provision
for its welfitre when he departed fhnn our world,
in like manner should the husband take care of his
wife. I never could understand that custom, which
is but too common, of providing by their wills so
much better for the children than tbey do for the
mother. Does this look like a jMTrfwr lovel—
Every man who raises a woman to the rank of his
wife, should take care, however inferior she might
have been in circumstances before their marriage,
to leave her in the situation into which he brought
her : for it is indeed most cruel, to leave her to be
deprived at once, not only of ner dearest earthly
friend, but of her luual means of comfortable sul^

A practical affection to a wife extends, however,
to every thing; it should manifost, itself in the most
delicate attention to her comfort and her feelings ;
in conaultti^ her tastes ; in concealing her failings ;
in never doing any thing to degrade her, but every
thing to exalt ner Wore her children and servants ;
in acknowledging her excellences, and commend-
ing her efforts to please him ; in meeting, and even
anticipating all her reasonable requests; in short in
doing all that ingenuity can invent for her subttan-
tial happiness and general comfort.

Christ's love to bis church was dctrablb and un-
chamobablb. "Having loved lus own, he Joved
them to the end," without abatement or alteration ;

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so ought husbands to love their wives, not only at
the bqpnning but to the end of their UQion } when
the cbArms of beaaty have fled before the wither-
iag iaftaeBce of disease ^ when the vigoroos and
spriffhtly frame has lost its elasticity, and the step
has Decome slow and faltering ; when the wrinkles
of a^ have succeeded to the bloom of youth, and
the whole person seems rather the monument, than
the resemblance, of what it once was. Has she not
gained in mind what she has lost in exterior iasci-
mations 1 Have not her mental graces flourished
amidst the ruins of personal charms 1 If the rose
smd the lily have fouled on the cheek, ha¥e not the
Anits of righteousness e rown in the soul 1 If those
blossoms lutve departed, on which the eye of youth-
ful passion gazed with so much ardor^ has it not
been to give way to the ripefruit of Christian excel-

Online LibraryArchibald ForbesThe Christian library: a weekly republication of popular religious ..., Volume 6 → online text (page 27 of 121)