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THE MARRIAGE RING







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THE MARRIAGE RING

BY THE RIGHT REVEREND JEREMY TAYLOR,D.D.
BISHOP OF DOWN AND CONNOR, AND OF
DROMORE: A REPRINT FROM THE FOURTH
EDITION OF HIS ENIAYT02 PUBLISHED IN 1673
EDITED WITH NOTES BY FRANCIS COUTTS
WITH A PHOTOGRAVURE FRONTISPIECE
AFTER PERUGINO'S MARRIAGE OF THE VIRGIN




LONDON JOHN LANE THE BODLEY HEAD
NEW YORK JOHN LANE COMPANY MCMVII



LOAN STACK



T37



PREFACE

IT is hoped that a reprint of our British F^ndon's
Sermon on JMarriage, with a diminished reproduction
of the Arundel Society's copy of Perugino's Mar-
riage of the Virgin (for which I am indebted to the kind
permission of the S.P.C.K.), will be acceptable to those
who would present an appropriate gift to their friends
about to be married ; and that no cursory inspection of
the volume will affright them with its aspect of learned
quotation, since the Bishop's meaning is always plainly to
be understood without the translation of any of the Greek
and Latin with which it is tessellated.

The present text is an exact reprint of the eighteenth
sermon of the Bishop's Eniautos : A Course of Sermons for
all the Sundays of the Year, published in 1673, except in
the following respects : —

1. The designation of Sermon xviii, recurring on every
page, has been omitted.

2. The quotations have been corrected, so far as grammar
and context demanded.

3. The Greek is printed in the modern character.

4. A few slight variations in wording and punctuation
have been introduced, for reasons explained in the notes.

F. C.



^'7



THE

MARRIAGE RING:

OR

The Mysterlousness and Duties of Marriage.
Part I.



Ephes. 5. 32, 33.

This is a great mystery, Btit I speak concerning Christ and
the Church. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular
so love his Wife even as himself, and the Wife see that she
reverence her Husband.

He first Blessing God gave to man, was Society :
and that society was a Marriage, and that marriage
was confederate by God himself, and hallowed by a
blessing : and at the same time, and for very many
descending ages, not only by the instinft of Nature, but by a
superadded forwardness (God himself inspiring the desire) '''' 2£";™'
the world was most desirous of Children, impatient of Barren- minem mi
ness, accountmg smgle life a Curse, and a childless person uxor, mi-
hated by God. The world was rich and empty, and able to Z"',)"em ;
provide for a more numerous posterity than it had. Tn'scrip'"

, , tura di-

- E|et? iyovfiiiPie reKva catur,

XuXkov e'xajy TTTWXo'i S' ovSe rci rexva ^iXei. &^Ae'm''"'

You that are rich Numeiiius, you may multiply your laniily ;

u poor




nam crea-



The Marriage Ring.



vit COS, 5f poor men are not so fond of Children, but when a family
'tomen could drive their Herds, and set their children upon Camels,

eorum
Adam seu



'Tdamseu ^^^ lead them till they saw a fat Soil watered with Rivers,
^T'Eiu-'er ^""^ there sit down without paying rent, they thought of
dixit in nothing: but to have gfreat Families, that their own relations

GeiH Bah.

Quiainq; ' might swell up to a Patriarchate, and their children be
'pfit'aftum enough to possess all the Regions that they saw, and their
piicatime grand-childrcn become Princes, and themselves build Cities
humani ^^^ ^^\\ xh&m by the name of a Child, and become the

generis, ^ c ^ a

habendum fountain of a Nation. This was the consequent of the first

homi- blessing, Increase and multiply. The next blessing was, the

promise of the Messias. and that also increased in men and

women a wonderful desire of marriage : for as soon as God

had chosen the family of Abraham to be the blessed line,

from whence the worlds Redeemer should descend according

to the flesh, every of his Daughters hoped to have the honour

to be his Mother, or his Grand-mother, or something of his

Christiani Kindred : and to be childless in Israel was a sorrow to the

Athenas, Hebrew women great as the slavery of Egypt, or their

wfT/Tai dishonours in the land of their Captivity.

o>7a/i<ou But when the Messias was come, and the Dottrine was

diKos rejert

Julius published, and his Ministers but few, and his Disciples were

Pollux /. 3. ^ , r 11111- J

Trepi a.16.- to suffer persecution, and to be of an unsetled dwellmg, and

'diamLac'l the Nation of the Jews, in the bosome and society of which

'I^X^. the Church especially did dwell, were to be scattered and

^tlmverb broken all in pieces, with fierce calamities, and the world was

UxoHum apt to calumniate and to suspe6l and dishonour Christians

Jos. Seal, upon pretences and unreasonable jealousies, and that to all

these purposes the state of marriage brought many incon-

veniencies ; it pleased God in this new Creation to inspire into

the Hearts of his servants a Disposition and strong Desires

to live a single Life, lest the state of marriage should in that

conjunction



The Marriage Ring.



conjunftion of things become an accidental Impediment to
the dissemination of the Gospel, which call'd men from a con-
finement in their domestick charges to Travel, and Flight,
and Poverty, and Difficulty, and Martyrdom : upon this
necessity the Apostles and Apostolical men published Doc-
trines, declaring the advantages of single life, not by any
commandment of the Lord, but by the spirit of Prudence,
8ta 7y\v ivea-Toia-av dvdyKrjv, for the present and then incumbent
necessities, and in order to the advantages which did accrew
to the publick Ministeries and private Piety.

, JTJ\U Etiam yud(zi, qui pntcep-

There are some (said our blessed Lord) who tum esse vins TaiSoTroieii'

, , , T- 1 r ^1 !/■ • J _ <■ ci""t, "110 ore conccdimt,

make themselves Lunuchs tor the Kmgdom ot lamen dispensatum esse
Heaven that is, for the advantages and the """,."' i"' "'f"' ''f&

i. j.ca.v<-ii, uiicii. ij, i\ji i-uv- CIV* . ij.w.,ujjv-^ studio vacare voluiit, alius

ministry of the Gospel, non ad vitcs bonce meri- ethim immunibusab acri-

' '^ ^ ^ on carnis stirmdo. Mai-

turn (as S. Austin in the like case) not that it is a mon. 15. Haiach. ishoth.
better service of God in itself, but that it is use-
ful to the first circumstances of the Gospel and ^aKtpiomMJyll.^°"pol
the infancy of the Kingdom, because the unmar- g^;;^"' JrlffoT toC
ried person ueptura to. tov kvolov, is apt to fiVftf^s.'^pj's ™s 'V'^"
spiritual and Ecclesiastical imployments : first .nXfi?, us 'A/SpadM. ^ai

/ ■ f / 1 1 • U • 'lo-adK, rai laKwjS. us "lu-

ayio?, and then ayta^Ojaet-o?, holy m his own <r,i0, Kai 'Uaaiov Kai tu.-
person, and then sanctified to publick iviinisteries ; ^ai naiAou, rai ru^dxw
and it was also of ease to the Christians them- ""^'i)"";: ^/>^,y„y,/^/,.
selves, because as then it was, when they were to
flee, and to flee for ought they knew, in Winter, and they
were persecuted to the four winds of Heaven ; and the nurses
and the women with child were to suffer a heavier load of
sorrow because of the imminent persecutions ; and above all,
because of the great fatality of ruine upon the whole nation
of the Jews, well it might be said by S. Pan/ 6\L^i.v rfj crapKi
i^ova-iv 01 ToiovTot,, Such shall have trouble in the Jlesh, that
is, they that are married shall, and so at that time they had :

I! 2 ;uul



The Marriage Ring.



and therefore it was an a6l of charity to the Christians to
o-ive that counsel, eyw Se u/iajv ^ei8oju,at, / do this to spare
you, and deku> v/xa? a;aept/xvous dva.i : for when the case was
alter'd, and that storm was over, and the first necessities of
the Gospel served, and the sound ivas gone out into all
nations; in very many persons it was wholly changed, and
not the married but the unmarried had dXi^iv iv aapKi trouble
in the flesh ; and the state of marriage returned to its first
blessing, & non erat bomwi homini esse solitaritun, and it was
not good for man to be alone.

But in this first interval, the publick Necessity and the
private Zeal mingling together did sometimes over-a6l their
love of single Life, even to the disparagement of Marriage,
and to the scandal of Religion ; which was increased by the
occasion of some pious persons renouncing their contraft of
marriage, not consummate, with unbelievers. For when Flavia
Domitilla being converted by Nereus and Achilleus the
Eunuchs, refused to marry Aurelianus to whom she was con-
trafted ; if there were not some little envy and too sharp
hostility in the Eunuchs to a married state, yet Aurelianus
thought himself an injur'd person, and caus'd S. Clemens who
vail'd her and his spouse both to die in the quarrel. St.
Thecla being converted by St. Paul grew so in love with Vir-
ginity, that she leaped back from the marriage of Tamyris,
where she was lately ingaged. S. Iphigenia denied to marry
King Hirtacus, and it is said to be done by the advice of
St. Mattlieiv. And Susanna the Niece of Diocletian refus'd
the love of Maxiviiamis the Emperor ; and these all had been
betrothed ; and so did St. Agnes, and St. Felicula, and divers
others then and afterwards ; insomuch, that it was reported
among the Gentiles, that the Christians did not only hate all
that were not of their perswasion, but were Enemies of the

chast



The Marrias'e Rins;.



chast Laws of Marriage ; And indeed some that were called

Christians were so ; forbidding to luai-ry, and connnanding to
abstain from meats. Upon this occasion it grew necessary for
the Apostle to state the Question right, and to do honour
to the holy Rite of Marriage, and to snatch the Mystery from
the hands of zeal and folly, and to place it in Christs right
hand, that all its beauties might appear, and a present con-
venience might not bring in a false Dodrine, and a perpetual
Sin, and an intolerable Mischief The Apostle therefore who
himself '"-had been a Married man, but was now a Widower, *-a^iii-
does explicate the mysteriousness of it, and describes its '^^Zxm Kai
honours, and adorns it with rules and provisions of Religion, ^"^^j^J""^^
that as it beo-ins with Honour, so it may proceed with Piety, t^^m""
and end with Glory. <Tai'Twv,oix

virb trpoffv-
/u'os TTJ! 7rc/)i ris irpayixa, oXV iir ivvolai ^avruv toC yimvi ((rxo" (kcIvovs. Ignatius epistol. ad Philadelph.
Et Clemens idem ait apiid Etiscbium hist. Eccles. lib. 3. sed tamen cam non circiimdiixit sicut Petrus:
probat a litem ex Pliilip. 4.

For although single life hath in it privacy and simplicity of
affairs, such solitariness and sorrow, such leisure and unadive
circumstances of living, that there are more spaces for religion
if men would use them to these purposes ; and because it may
have in it much Religion and Prayers, and must have in it a
perfeft Mortification of our strongest appetites, it is therefore
a state of great excellency ; yet concerning the state of Mar-
riage we are taught from Scripture and the Sayings of wise
men great things and honourable. Marriage is honourable in
all men, so is not single life ; for in some it is a snare and
a TTvpwo-i';, a trouble in the flesh, a prison of unruly desires
which is attempted daily to be broken. Celibate or single life
is never commanded ; but in some cases marriage is ; and he
that burns, sins often if he marries not; he that cannot contain
must marry, and he that can contain is not tied to a single

life,



The Marriage Ring.



life, but may marry and not sin. Marriage was ordained by
God, instituted in Paradise, was the relief of a natural Neces-
sity, and the first blessing from the Lord ; he gave to Man not
a Friend, but a Wife, that is a Friend and a Wife too : (for a
good woman is in her soul the same that a man is, and she is
a woman only in her body ; that she may have the excellency
of the one, and the usefulness of the other, and become
amiable in both ;) it is the seminary of the Church, and daily
brings forth sons and daughters unto God ; it was ministred
to by Angels, and Raphael waited upon a young man that he
might have a blessed Marriage, and that that marriage might
repair two sad Families, and bless all their Relatives. Our
blessed Lord, though he was born of a Maiden, yet she was
vail'd under the cover of marriage, and she was married to a
Widower ; for Joseph the supposed Father of our Lord had
children by a former wife. The first Miracle that ever Jesus
did, was to do honour to a wedding ; Marriage was in the
world before sin. and is in all ages of the world the greatest
and most effeftive Antidote against sin, in which all the world
had perished, if God had not made a remedy : and although
Sin hath sour'd marriage, and struck the mans head with
Cares, and the womans bed with Sorrows in the produftion of
children ; yet these are but throws of Life and Glory, and she
shall be saved in child-bearing, if she be found in faith and
righteousness. Marriage is a School and Exercise of vertue ;
and though Marriage hath cares, yet the single life hath desires,
which are more troublesome and more dangerous, and often
end in sin. while the cares are but instances of Duty and
exercises of Piety : and therefore if single Life hath more
privacy of Devotion, yet marriage hath more Necessities and
more Variety of it, and is an exercise of more Graces. In
two vertues, celibate or single life may have the advantage of

degrees



The Marriage Ring.



degrees ordinarily and commonly, that is, in chastity and
devotion : but as in some persons this may fail, and it does in
very many, and a married man may spend as much time in
devotion as any Virgins or Widows do ; yet as in marriage
even those vertues of chastity and devotion are exercised : so
in other instances, this state hath proper exercises
and trials for those graces, for which single life can f^-lf^'I^Tlesaf."-
never be crown'd ; Here is the proper scene of ?"'"f«'-«M'''°''".''4''v'''^'('
Piety and Patience, of the duty of Parents and the "'^""o'- ^laio.
charity of Relatives; here Kindness is spread Addajuod Eunuchu$ nui-
abroad, and Love is united and made firm as a Jel ^n^'lmti^? cava :
centre: Marriage is the nursery of Heaven; the 'ic'i'^'ttia cumtts

o ■' In similes, anttitosqi4e It-

Virgin sends prayers to God, but she carries but S""' consortia damtU.

, , . , ^ . Claudian.

one Soul to hrni ; but the state of marriage fills up

the numbers of the Elect, and hath in it the labour of Love,

and the delicacies of Friendship, the blessing of Society, and

the union of Hands and Hearts ; it hath in it less of beauty,

but more of safety than the single life ; it hath more care, but

less danger; it is more merry, and more sad; -is

tuller ot sorrows, and killer ot joys ; it lies under x,,,. ^apSew^ si rbv fHof

more burdens, but is supported by all the strengths f^'^^" ""■ ''"'" ^'^"""■

of love and charity, and those burdens are delight-

-,.,. .. , ^ . , , . Sii/iiis patriain majoreiit

tul. ivlarnage is the mother oi the world, and parenum exHngiiU, in co
preserves Kingdoms, and fills Cities, and Churches, "slapnrtl Ijllt s/eumichat
and Heaven itself Celibate, like the Flie in the tl!'di0/^rn',r^^.
Heart of an apple, dwells in a perpetual sweet- 'if>"->>j- Varro in lege
ness, but sits alone, and is confin'd and dies in
Singularity ; but Marriage, like the useful Bee, builds a house
and gathers sweetness from every flower, and labours and
unites into Societies and Republicks, and sends out Colonies,
and feeds the World with delicacies, and obeys their King,
and keeps order, and exercises many Vertues, and promotes

the




The Marriage Ring.



the Interest of mankind, and is that state of good things
to which God hath designed the present constitution of the
world.

Ao? /3/30TOI/ AvtI aidev. <f>eOye Be na-)(\o(7vvr)v.
Single life makes men in one instance to be like Angels,
but Marriage in very many things makes the chast pair to be
like to Christ. This is a great mystery, but it is the symbolical
and sacramental representment of the greatest mysteries of
our Religion. Christ descended from his Father's bosom,
and contrafted his Divinity with flesh and bloud, and married
our Nature, and we became a Church, the spouse of the
Bridegroom, which he cleansed with his Bloud, and gave her
his holy Spirit for a dowry, and Heaven for a joynture ; be-
getting children unto God by the Gospel. This Spouse he
hath joyn'd to himself by an excellent Charity, he feeds her at
his own Table, and lodges her nigh his own Heart, provides
for all her Necessities, relieves her Sorrows, determines her
Doubts, guides her Wandrings, he is become her Head, and
she as a Signet upon his right hand ; he first indeed was
betrothed to the Synagogue and had many children by her
but she forsook her love, and then he married the Church
of the Gentiles, and by her as by a second venter had a more
numerous Issue, atqne una domus est omnium filiorum ejus,
all the Children dwell in the same house, and are Heirs of the
same promises, intituled to the same Inheritance. Here is
the eternal Conjundion, the indissoluble knot, the exceeding
love of Christ, the obedience of the Spouse, the communicating
of Goods, the uniting of Interests, the fruit of Marriage, a
celestial Generation, a new Creature ; Sacramentum hoc mag-
num est; this is the Sacramental mystery, represented by the
holy Rite of Marriage ; so that Marriage is divine in its

Institution,



The Marriage Ring.



Institution, sacred in its Union, holy in the Mystery, sacra-
mental in its Signification, honourable in its Appellative,
religious in its Imployments : It is Advantage to the societies
of men, and it is Holiness to the Lord. Dico autevi in Christo
& Ecclesia, It must be in Christ and the Church.

If this be not observed, Marriage loses its mysterlousness :
but because it is to it^&di much of that which it signifies,
it concerns all that enter into those golden fetters to see
that Christ and his Church be in at every of its periods,
and that it be intirely conduced and over-rul'd by Religion ;
for so the Apostle passes from the sacramental rite to the real
duty ; Nevertheless, that is, although the former Discourse
were wholly to explicate the Conjunftion of Christ and his
Church by this similitude, yet it hath in it this real Duty, that
the man love his wife, and the wife reverence her husband :
and this is the use we shall now make of it, the particulars of
which precept I shall thus dispose :

I. I shall propound the Duty as it generally relates to
Man and Wife in conjundion. 2. The duty and power of
the Man. 3. The rights and priviledges, and the duty of
the Wife.

I . In Christo & Ecclesia] that begins all, and there is
great need it should be so : for they that enter into the state
of marriage, cast a dye of the greatest contingency, and yet of
the greatest interest in the world, next to the last throw
for Eternity.

NOi/ yap hrj irdvTecrcnv eVi ^vpov 'laTaTat, dKfji,r]<;,
*H fidXa \u7p0s u\edpo<; 'Aj^atot?, Tje ^imvai.
Life or death, felicity or a lasting sorrow are in the power
of marriage. A woman indeed ventures most for she hath no
Sanctuary to retire to from an evil Husband ; she must dwell
upon her Sorrow, and hatch the Eggs which her own Folly or

c Infelicity



The Marriage Ring.



Infelicity hath produced ; and she is more under it, because
her tormentor hath a warrant of prerogative, and the Woman
may complain to God as Subje61;s do of tyrant Princes, but
otherwise she hath no appeal in the causes of unkindness.
And though the man can run from many hours of his sadness,
yet he must return to it again, and when he sits among his
neighbours, he remembers the objeftion that lies in his bosom,
and he sighs deeply.

All tuni te niiserum, nialique fatt
Qtieni attraElis pedibus patente porta
Percurrent mugilesque raphanique.

The boys, and the pedlers, and the fruiterers shall tell of this
man, when he is carried to his grave, that he lived and died a
poor wretched person. The Stags in the Greek Epigram,
whose Knees were clog'd with frozen Snow upon the mountains,
came down to the Brooks of the valleys, x^t^i^at vorepois aad-
fiaa-Lv wKv yoi'i;, hoping to thaw their joynts with the waters of
the stream ; but there the Frost overtook them, and bound
them fast in Ice, till the young Heards-men took them in
their stranger snare. It is the unhappy chance of many men,
finding many inconveniences upon the mountains of single
life, they descend into the valleys of ''■marriage to
»''Axpiso>'5sawo5,Nou- ^gfj-gsh their troubles, and there they enter into
'El' j(? f^i' cWi TUK a7a- fetters, and are bound to sorrow by the cords of
Eie' orav eiaiKerj yafxeT^, a mans or womans peevishness : and the worst
•E"S'f?iari<i"a .a- of the evil is, they are to thank their own follies ;
•A\xlxi-'t.c..,&c. for they fell into the snare by entering an im-
proper way : Christ and the Church were no in-
gredients in their choice : but as the Indian Women enter
into folly for the price of an Elephant, and think their Crime
warrantable ; so do men and women change their liberty for



The Marriage Ring.



a rich fortune (like Eriphyle the Argive, *H ^vcrov ^i\ov av-
Sp6<; iBd^aro TtfirjevTa, she preferr'd gold before a good man)
and shew themselves to be less than money by overvaluing
that to all the content and vi^ise felicity of their lives : and
when they have counted the Money and their Sorrows toge-
ther, how willingly would they *buy with the Loss * j^ToncgoiiiammiMdotcvi
of all that money, Modesty, or sweet Nature to ^^^'^^ '''' ?«^ '^'" '^'"•
their relative ! the odd thousand pound would Sed pidkUiam, &■ pudo-

'■ . rem, Ss' sedaiiim ctiptai-

gladly be allowed in good nature and fair man- ncm,

. T- 1 • 1 1 1 r Dcihn metum, parentum

ners. As very a tool is he that chuses tor amorcm, &- cognatHm

'■■Bea.uty principaWy ; cui stmi ertediii ocu/i, & shdfa Xmphir'""

mens (as one said,) whose Eyes are witty, and

their Soul sensual; It is an ill band of affecuons

to tie two hearts together by a little thread of red and white.

OvBefiiav, (fiTjalv r] Tpa'yathia,
"^Ivrjae KnX\o<; et? Tvoaiv ^vvaopov.

And they can love no longer but until the next Ague comes, ^^^^^f^
and they are fond of each other but at the chance of fancy, or ^ ^« "'■

-' ^ ^ its anda

the small Pox, or Child-bearing, or Care, or Time, or any laxet,
thing that can destroy a pretty Flower. But it is the basest obscun
of all when lust is the Paranymph and solicites the suit, and ocuHqtie
makes the contra6l, and joyns the hands ; for this is commonly coiii'gTmr-
the effefl of the former, according to the Greek proverb, ^'iut"

Wtol (lev TTpwTicTTa Xemv yeveT r^vyeveio'!, ^ exi

AvTap eirena Spi'iKeov, rj ■TrapSa\l<;, ijBe fji,eya<; av'i, Juven. Sat.

At first for his fair cheeks and comely Beard, the beast
is taken for a Lion, but at last he is turn'd to a Dragon, or
a Leopard, or a Swine. That which is at first Beauty on the
face may prove Lust in the manners.

AvTOt? Se TOt? BeoicTi rrjv KepKOV fiovrfv
Kal firjpov tiaTrep irai.hepacrral'; Overe,

C 2 So



The Marriage Ring.



So Enlmlus wittily reprehended such impure contrafts ; they
offer in their marital Sacrifices nothing but the Thigh, and
that which the Priests cut from the Goats when they were
laid to bleed upon the Altars. 'Eav ets KaXXos crw/Aaros fi^exjjr)
Tis (o Aoyos (f>i)(rl) Koi avTW tj crap^ etvat Kar ivLdvfJiiau 80^17
/caXi), aapKLKtos 'Stiiv koX dfiapTr]TLKa<; Sl ov redavixaKe, /cpiVerai,
Said S. Clement. " He or she that looks too curiously upon
"the beauty of the body, looks too low, and hath flesh and cor-
"ruption in his Heart, and is judg'd sensual and earthly in
"his Affections and Desires." Begin therefore with God ;
Christ is the President of marriage, and the holy Ghost is the
Fountain of purities and chast loves, and he joyns the hearts ;
and therefore let our first Suit be in the court of Heaven, and
with designs of Piety, or Safety, or Charity ; let no impure
spirit defile the virgin purities and castifications of the soul,
(as S. Peters phrase is ;) let all such Contra6ls begin with reli-
gious affe6lions.

Conjugium petimus, partumque uxoris ; at illis
Notum, qui pueri qualisve futura sit uxor.

We sometimes beg of God, for a Wife or a Child, and he
alone knows what the wife shall prove, and by what dis-
positions and manners, and into what fortune that child shall
enter : but we shall not need to fear concerning the Event of
it, if Religion, and fair Intentions, and Prudence manage, and


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