By Will. Thomas, Minister of the Gos­pel, and Rector of the Church of Ubley.

Heb. 13. 4.

Mariage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled.

Bernard. super Cantica. Serm. 66.

Tolle de Ecclesia honorabile connubium & [...]um immaculatum, nonne reples eam concubi­nariis incestuosis, semini [...]luis mollibus, masculorum concubitoribus, & omni deniquè genere immundorum?

London, Printed for Edward Thomas at the Adam and Eve in Little Britain. 1661


THese Meditati­ons (Good Rea­der) were long since conceived and imparted for the use of one entr [...] into the Maried state▪ [Page] and comming afterward into more hands, the printing of them hath been long since desired, which (the World being full of Books, and my self of Weakness) I di­verted, and [...]ve hither­to deser'd.

Yet fearing lest being fixed among [...] few in a private place, I should be wanting to more▪ and [...]onsidering that what I have here written is so [Page] little, as that it is not like to be tedious; and of such a subject as tou­cheth upon the substance of Godliness, and so may be some way profitable, I have, at length, adven­red to let it see the light.

And that the rather, because I would have this imprinted in the harts of Christians, that Re­ligion is much seen in Relations; Hence the Apostles proceeding in [Page] their Epistles from mat­ters of doctrine to pre­scripts of practise, do therein descend, and di­sperse their directions into several Callings and Conditions, as of Ma­gistrates and Subjects, Ministers and People, Husband and Wife, Pa­rents and Children, Ma­sters and Servants; Many of which are conteined and concern­ed in the Maried estate: [Page] Even Nature and Rea­son make Offices and So­cietie-services the tryal of Vertue, Magi­stratus Virum indicat it being an easie matter to creep into a Cell, and under a pre­tence He that will prove his yoke of Oxen proves them best by putting them into the yoke, Luk. 14. 19▪ with 2 Cor. 6. 14. of Devotion to serve and satisfie Self­will: but to appear in the sight of the Sun, and to appear approved when there are many quick­sighted, and some se­vere observers; this will find work enough for the [Page] greatest grace where it is, and too much for the best nature where it is not.

This difficulty, and the excellency of walking with approbation in the works and offices belong­ing to all and every one, in their particular place and calling, I am the more willing to note, be­cause I have heard divers Godly persons complain, that having had in the Single estate much liber­ty [Page] for sweet and Soul­refreshing conversings with God, being after­wards maried, and ha­ving a Family to look to, they have been so forced from them, as to find a great losse in their ac­quaintance with God, in regard of that frequent enlarged and un-inter­rupted communion with him which they formerly enjoyed. But let not such who would fain be [Page] communing with God Gen. [...]8. 33. if they could, and at Je­sus feet Luk. 10. 39. if they might, droop or be disconsolate, much lesse dismayed, for now (being entred in­to society) they come to make use of that habit, and those helps of holy­ness, which they got and laid up in the single estate; And this may be a Rule, that the Use of all preparatory exerci­ses and assistances is bet­ter [Page] than the Using of them: They therefore that shew forth the pow­er of their former religi­ous performances, do not lose, but make a gainfull exchange, They do but come from the exercises of Religion, to the exer­cise, which is the end, ornament, perfection, and complement of all Exercises.

Its true as the Apostle saith, He that is Un­maried [Page] careth for the things belonging to the Lord, how he may please the Lord, that is, having not other things to care for, he is more free for it; He doth not say that every one that is maried taketh that care, or that if a man be once maried, he taketh it not, but onely that the Un-maried have an advantage, and may do it more and more easi­ly [Page] Again, He that is ma­ried careth for the things that are of the World, how he may please his wife, 1 Cor. 7. 32, 33, 34. but then this is to be no­ted that he performs a good office in it, his Care is not his Sin but his Duty; and every Duty hath its comfort and reward; Yea that care and sorrow which women are called to in the Mari­ed estate, hath this com­fort assured to it, that [Page] (their continuance in Faith, Charity, Holy­nesse and Sobriety being supposed) they shall be saved in Childe-bear­ing,1 Tim, 2. 15. that is, the con­scientious and patient performance of the of­fices, and undergoing the afflictions of Child-bear­ing women, is their pro­per way to Heaven; for that's the work which God hath committed to them to do, Mark 13, [...]4. and the [Page] thing wherein the reality of their Religion is to discover it self.

Yet here there is need to annex a Caution, to wit, that though the ex­ternal duties of religion be lessened by mariage (I mean to some, for divers that had lesse li­berty before mariage have more by it,) I say, though religious duties be lessened by mariage, yet they must not be left; [Page] Christians, whether ma­ried or unmaried must still acquaint their hearts with wise­dom, Eccles. 2. 2. and be provi­dent to preserve their Fellowship with God; They that can be content with an Husband, with a Wife and Children (and all Worldly accom­modations) without God, never knew what it was to enjoy God. Nay ra­ther, They that have [Page] Wives must be as if they had none, 1 Cor. [...]. 29. that is, in regard of their readinesse for the service of God. A Husband must not say, I have maried a Wife, and therefore I cannot come, Luke 14. 20. Nor the Wife, I have a Husband, there­fore God cannot have me; but though they be not able to take (as some un­maried may) every op­portunity, yet they must [Page] not neglect those they may take, nor make themselves lyable to that most sad Charge of ma­king light Mat. 22. 5. of Gods Ordinances and gracious invitations.

But the Gate growes wide for so little an House (although it may be reckoned a part of the House, I shall hasten therefore; If any re­quire why I publish this at this time, it might be [Page] enough for me so aged) to answer, Because every man should do what good he can while he hath time; yet something more may be said in regard of the present time, wherein the great God (whose Works are like Himself) by rare providences, I say, rare and admirable providences, both because so high and so dry, hath in such sort altered and bettered the state of [Page] things amongst us, that our rightfull, gracious and accomplished King is returned unto us, which, if our high sins, our broad and spreading prophaness, and deep secu­rity do not hinder, promi­seth unto us an happy Settlement. Now, as times of trouble and per­secution detain and deter from mariage, so times of peace (albeit mariage should have some further [Page] and greater reason than National rest) I say, times of peace and esta­blishment, give encou­ragement to it, and con­sequently make these and the like Scripture-dire­ctions seasonable for the rendring of it more holy, and thereby more hap­py.

And to say all, though this advice reflect on the maried estate, yet it is not so appropriated to it, [Page] but that there is use of it, as there is of that godly­ness and regular Walk­ing, that it perswades unto, in every estate: It is Christian as well as Conjugal counsell, and though it be composed for, and contrived into the maried condition, yet (that estate being so com­prehensive) much of it may serve indifferently for Christians in every Condition.

[Page]Desiring thy prayers (Christian Reader) that the Author of the Coun­sell (or rather the weak Instrument) may be Himself the Observer; I rest,

Thy Servant for Jesus sake, William Thomas.


Epistle, P. 4. concentred r. concerned.

P. 27. Christan, r. Christian.

P. 41. Col. 1. 17. r. Col. 4. 17.

P. 69. l. 8. damage, r danger.

P. 63. l. 7. comfort, r. consort.

P. 84. l. 8. rustles, r. justles.

P. 88. l. 2. it combines, r. is comliness.

The Matter of the ensuing MEDITATIONS Summ'd up, and referr'd to the several Numbers and Partitions of them: WHEREIN—

  • 1 Mariage dignity and duty is generally mentioned. N. 1, 2, 3.
  • 2 Four Requisites in Mariage.
    • 1 Zeale in Religion. N. 5.
    • 2 Patience in all Occasions. N 6. where is further declared concerning Impatience—
      • 1 The evils of it, as being an Enemy to comfortable Society,
        • 1 With God. N 9, 10.
        • 2 With Men. N. 11.
        • 3 With our own Consciences. N. 12.
      • 2 Supports for those that groan under it. N. 14, &c.
      • 3 The cure of it. N. 17. Viz.
        • 1 Consideration of Gods providence. N. 19.
        • 2 Of our own faults. N. 21.
        • 3 Communing with our own hearts. N. 22.
        • 4 Faithfull friends. N. 23.
        • 5 Prayer. N. 24.
    • 3 Wisedome: And that——
      • 1 In matters of Religion:] Particularly, in using and ordering
        • 1 Of religious Exercises. N. 26, 27.
        • 2 Of Christian and edifying conference and admonition, enlarged with divers particular directions from N. 28, to N. 41.
      • 2 In duties of Relation: Namely, relating—
        • 1 To Ministers. N. 41, to 49.
        • 2 To Neighbours and Friends. N. 49, to. 53.
        • 3 To those in the Family. N. 53. Viz.
          • 1 Equals. N. 54.
          • 2 Inferiours. N. 55.
          • 3 Man and Wife: where there are divers advertise­ments for both. N. 56, to N. 66.
          • 4 Children, to whom Parents owe
            • 1 Instruction. N. 66, to 69.
            • 2 Correction. N. 69.
            • 3 Disposition into a Calling. N. 70.
            • 4 Disposition in Mariage—to a Consort religi­ous, discreet, with respect to Person and Por­tion. N. 71, 72, 73, 74.

CHRISTIAN COUNSELL, applyed to the Maried Estate.

1. MAriage is an estate honoura­ble in all; Hebr. 13. 4. And they fall below the na­ture and worth of men, (and much more of Chri­stians) who quarrell that [Page 2] estate which God hath ordained for the comfort, benefit, and increase of mankind.

2. The honour of the maried estate is preserv­ed, while the bed is kept without being defiled either by falseness or fil­thiness.

3. But the duty of the estate is as difficult as the dignity is great, and a bu­sinesse it is of far greater vertue for any to acquit himself in the maried, then in the single estate.

4. A single and solita­ry estate is the touch­stone of sincerity, and [Page 3] they are surely good thatRequi­sites in mari­age. are good secretly, but of our wisdom, patience, and zeal, society is the truest triall.

5. Of zeal in regard of1. Zeal. religious exercises and private conversings with God; for which, to gain a competent time, and therein, to come before God with a clear heart in the multitude and num­ber of worldly busi­nesses, will undoubtedly make Christians to be­stir themselves.

6. And of patience al­so2. Pati­ence. in regard of Family­occasions, and the many [Page 4] vexations of spirit that do arise both from things and persons.

7. Its true that divers occasions of disturbance and distemper, may by providence, and prudence be prevented; and our little stock of patience bespeaks the best assist­ance of that providence; but to avoid & discharge our selves of all, is no more in our power, then to command the course of providence, Ecc'es. 1. 15. or to al­ter the nature and dis­positions of people.

8. We have need of patience therefore, that [Page 5] what we are not able to prevent we may be wil­ling to endure.

9. Nor doth patienceImpati­ence an enemy to Society endure it only, but abate and end it; and this is the common fruit of our impatience, the doubling of our disturbance.

10. And consider here (to make patience more precious) that per­turbations of spirit are great molesters of piety, and interrupt our society1▪ With God▪ with God; for the wrath of man worketh not the righteousnesse of God, Jam. 1. 20. that is, a wrathfull person, (especially in a wrath­full [Page 6] passion) is very unfit to do the will of God, either in works of Reli­gion, that require a quiet and peaceable heart; 1 Tim. 2. 8. or in works of Righteous­nesse, that require an e­qual and dispassionated judgement, 2 Chron. 16. 10.

11. Wrathfull distem­pers2. With Man. also dissweeten our society with men: Needs must others less comfor­tably come near us, and we less honourably con­verse with them, if we shall (though but in some degrees) resemble that Nabal who was so fro­ward [Page 7] (as his Servants said, and none is able to shake off what Servants say truly, Job 31. 13.) that a man could not tell how to speak to him, 1 Sam 25. 17.

12. Adde to this, that3. With our own Consci­ences. the comfortable society with our selves, and our own Consciences is hin­dred while we give way to those passionate words and carriages wherewith the Conscience, upon se­rious and sober conside­ration cannot choose but be much grieved, 1 Sam. 25. 31.

13. Now why should [Page 8] we have any fellowship with that which darkens and disturbs all fellow­ship both with God, and Men, and with our own Consciences?

14. Not that all com­fortComforts in crosse­ness of nature. is lost by the crosse­nesse and cursedness of our nature; Divers be­long to God that are very unpleasant and trouble­some to M [...]n. God hath some knotty timber in his Carmel; All that serve him are not like his Ser­vant Moses, Numb 12. 3. (you may find me [...]ker men on Earth, (haply) in Hell too, in regard of natural [Page 9] meeknesse) but some as Jonah 4. 9. Jonah. And yet to speak the truth (not to protect Perverseness, but to support those that groan under the Bur­then of it) the harshest Good-Christian is better than the sweetest either Heathen or Hypocrite; and the worst Childe God hath is better than the best the Devil hath.

15. But though sin­cerity of Heart, and sowrnesse of Carriage may stand together, yet they stand as two Ene­mies in the Field, and many sad Fights there [Page 10] be in that divided-heart that is the seat of that War, the reason where­of is, because the one E­nemy, I mean a crooked nature, is so unweariable; and the other, that is, the 2 Pet. 1. 4. divine nature, the grace of God, the Rose among the Thornes, is so uncon­querable, and so irrecon­cileable.

16. This combate, hard as it is, is often the best hold that a Christi­an hath, and is so necessa­ry a fruit of Sincerity, that they never feared God truly that endured their inordinate passions [Page 11] patiently. Impatience, with others is their fault, to bee impatient with themselves for it, is their comfort.

17. Yet trouble with our Frowardness is the more uncomfortable part of our Comfort; To God all things are possible▪ and, howsoever we can no more quite put off our Naughtiness here, than our Natures, yet by pray­erThe cure of Impa­tience. and care (Gods pow­er, and Gods course) this disease may receive some competent cure.

18. To this cure, it conduceth much; First, [Page 12] seriously to consider Gods providence. Se­condly, to call to mind our own faults. And Thirdly, to commune with our own hearts.

19. That divers mole­stations1. Con­siderati­on of Gods provi­dence. arise in our af­fairs, may be the fruit of our▪ own Improvidence, and then our anger should abide at home, but (how­soever) divers cross [...] things there are inwrapt within the course of di­vine providence, wherein (therefore) a perverse Impatience amounts to this, the▪ charging of God foolishly▪ Job 1. [...]2. That which is [Page 13] crocked cannot be made streight, Eccles. [...]. 15. the more need had we to set our selves streight, for if they be crooked and we too, though God can make their Crookednesse end in his glory, yet ours will end in our own smart.

20. Besides that, they that can bear nothing forget why they were born, for, Man is born to trouble as the sparks flie up­ward, Job 5. 7.

21. Withall, our own2. Of our own faults. faults, (both past and present) feelingly mind us of forbearance in the [Page 14] faults and wrongs of o­thers: we do not only need Patience (for) o­thers, but (in) others; if they need ours, consi­der also, that we exercise theirs, Eccles. 7. 22.

22. As the consider­ing3. A Com­muning with our own hearts. of our own faults perswades Patience, so communing with our own hearts, works it; I mean communing, not in our fits, (for then Passion is the Judge, and nothing is pleasing but what pier­ces) but on our Beds, and in cool blood, for then Reason is the Iudge; then God is the Judge, and it [Page 15] is for Patience that he passes Sentence; He is not in these windes and earthquakes, and fires, but in a soft and still voice, 1 King. 19. 11, 12. They that commune with their own hearts most, are like to chide least, for the up­shot of that is, Be still, Ps. 4. 4.

23. To these may be4. A friend to us, and an ene­my to our fro­ward­ness. added as an happy help, a patient and prudent Friend, what would Da­vid have done if Abigail had not been? If a VVo­man may prevail so much with a Superiour, why not a Man with an equal, [Page 16] with an inferiour? if not, while the fit lasts, yet that it may not last; Passion is but the turning of Rea­son out of office. Now as the Flatterer takes part with the Beast in Man, and the sensual part, so doth a true Friend with the understanding part, Plu­tarch de Adulat, & Ami­ci dis­crim. and a Christian Friend with the regenerate part. Hence, (by his help) Reason and Grace is re­stored, and Passion ex­pelled.

True it is, that Patience is an hard task in a chole­rick temper; the more need had such of greater [Page 17] care, and wiser compa­ny, and (to say all) to make the more earnest Prayers, and as faith­fullPrayers. as earnest; for what Heart is so rebellious and impetuous but He can put bounds unto it, who saies unto the Sea it­self, Hitherto shalt thou go, and no further, and here shall thy proud waves be stayed? Job 38. 11.

24. But as Society tries3. Wis­dom. our Zeale and our Pati­ence, so it puts us much to the proof of our wise­dome, and that both in matters of Religion and Relation.

[Page 18]25. And as concern­ingIn mat­ters of Religi­on. matters of Religion, both in the cariage of religious exercises, and of religious conference.

26. Religious exer­cises are as necessary as it is to depend upon God for the prosperous cariage of our affairs; for God will be depended upon in his own way; It is the base and atheistical opinion that people have of having to do with God (as if it were but so much labour lost) that makes them grudge the time for holy Duties, and make as if a day of [Page 19] humiliation would undo them. Look upon prayer as a familiar communing with the most glorious God; Gen. 18. 33. as the Supplyer of all wants; Luke 11. 9, 10. as a Shel­ter from all dangers; Ezra 8. 21, 22. as the Setler, Sanctifier, and Prosperer of all Busines­ses; Gen. 24. 12, 15, 7. and is it possible to neglect it? Worthy thoughts of better things will shift for time, and devise wayes whereby to enjoy them, onely Infi­delity abandons Duty.

27. Let it be the shame therefore of those that professe themselves Be­lievers, to think that Piety [Page 20] is against Profit, and that there is no gain in God­lynesse; yet times for our general and particu­lar Calling should be dis­creetly divided; religious1. In re­ligious exerci­ses. exercises should be fitly ordered, and those Pray­ers (in particular) that are made with others should be framed accor­ding to the State and Condition of our Family or Company; Not so hard and high as that the Simple cannot under­stand them; 1 Cor. 14. 16. not so sim­ple and insufficient as that they that have un­derstanding cannot relish [Page 21] them; Jer. 48. 10. not so long as that the weak cannot bear them; Mat. 9. 16, 17. nor so short and overly as to nourish Security, and to accom­modate Unghostly men in their aversnes from holy Duties by the sleightnesse and cursori­nesse of them.

28. As for Christian2. In Christian confe­rence. and Spiritual conference, and that continual, (as opportunitie shall offer it self) it is both the duty of men faithfull, who are called upon to exhort one another daily; Heb. 3. 12, 13. and the character and mark of men fearing [Page 22] God, who speak often one to another, Mal. 3. 16.

29. Yet difference is to be made between Per­sons and Persons; Some be Superiours in age, abi­lities, office, before whom it becomes Inferiours ra­ther to offer things to consideration, than to af­firm; Some are weaker, and of better hearts, o­thers wiser and of better parts; good and ghostly things will be accepted of those, but wiser things as well as better must be brought to these, for though they approve all holy things, yet they re­lish [Page 23] higher. Again. Some are willing and able to speak of better things, (and haply not able to speak well of other things) to these come purposely to talk of God and Heaven, and do it plentifully; but give not Weaklings more of Spi­ritual conference than they are able to accept; rather mix (as Sawces) civil, moral, pleasant, (but some way profita­ble) speeches; yea, if men be so unghostly and Ungodly, that religious conference will not be admitted, joyn with [Page 24] them in civil, to prevent prophane.

30. And distinguish also between Times and Times; between a private visit, (wherein Christi­ans shall do well to sit together on Earth as Saints in Heaven, and to poure forth themselves one to another in the ful­nesse of Spiritual dis­course) and a common feast, wherein though they ought principally to intend Gods glory, 1 Cor. 10. 31. yet they are permitted also to chear up themselves with such things and words as are suitable for [Page 25] [...] refreshing of the out­ [...]ard man in an human [...]: Gen. 43 34. Judg. 14. 12. Not but that [...]en in such meetings [...]ere should be a mixture [...] better things, (and [...]me be so happy as to [...] merry and wise too, [...]d to convey pious [...]ings with pleasure and [...]th power also) I say, [...]t but that in such mee­ [...]gs there should be a [...]ixture of better things [...]hats no Christian mee­ [...]g that shuts out Christ) [...]t in other meetings, [...] when people be more [...] both to speak and to [...] ear things spiritual) [Page 26] a greater measure.

31. Such cautions be­ing observed, they that fear God do like them­selves in speaking often one to another. Mal. 3. 16. But often is not all; Christians must be good and wise; Good­nesse speaks much, and Wisedom speaks well; and very well it should be, be­cause when they that fear God speak often, God still stands by with his book of remembrance; Mal. 3. 16. and how wise should the Speaker be when God himself is the Noter.

32. That Christians may admonish one ano­ther, [Page 27] the word of God must dwell in them; Col. 3. 16. Its the great fault (I do not say of Christan but of) Christians - conference, that they speak out of their own heads, without their books or their guide, their Bible or their Pastor, and of those things most whereof the Scripture speaks least; indeed of things curious and dispu­table, rather than neces­sary and profitable: A thing the more to be both marked and feared, because the spending and ingaging of mens time and talk, and wits, and [Page 28] zeal in niceties and more refined Speculations, tends—1. to a sleight­ing and a kind of loathing of the plaine and maine things of Scripture, as [...]oo low for so great Pro­ficients to look upon: and 2. to a separating from [...]he Churches of God, as [...]oo corrupt for men so ghostly to abide in.

33. To prevent this the better, as the word of God must dwell in us, so it must dwell in us richly, that we may not need to rove other where to make our selves rich in Religion. Now be­cause [Page 29] men may talke much of Scripture, and yet talke but little Scripture; (for Scripture is not it self unless taken and spo­ken▪ in its right sense) therefore▪ the word of God must not only dwell in us richly, but rightly, and in all wisedom, Coloss. 3. 16. that is, with a right and judi­cious interpretation and apprehension, that so we may the better, when we meet together, teach and admonish one another.

34. Withall, ChristianTo edi­fying is requi­red, Conference must not on­ly abound, and be sound, but it must (as the [Page 30] Scripture every where speaks) edifie, that is, it must be seasonable, suit­able, and so ordered and carried as shall be most for the building up of the Company before whom it is delivered.

35. He that builds1 Clear­ing the soil. must first clear the soile, that is, get some rights and interests, some good affections and estimati­ons among them to whom he speaks; or (at least) be able to produce a good calling, that he may not be diverted with this sad and sowre demand, upon what ac­quaintance [Page 31] or title do you make so bold as to build here.

36. Next, he must lay 2. A good founda­tion. a good foundation; and not reare a high and weighty frame (such as Zeale is willing to make) upon such sand and soluble matter as will not abide a Storm. Good things had need to be so much the better laid, by how much they are worse lov'd, and he that would speak hope­fully in things not plea­sing to nature, is put to it to speak convincingly, for men will never receive things against their will [Page 32] and their reason too.

37. A sound founda­tion3. A [...]ight frame. being laid, he must build, not hay and stub­ble upon it, but what will abide tryal; for as a man would be loath that all his building should fall with the foundation, so he may be very sory too that all the building should fail but the foun­dation; to wit, for want of a right and workman▪ like raising his frame up­on it. Wisedom is need­full for every Builder, though most for a Mini­ster, who, though he be not a Paul, yet may be [Page 33] called, in respect of Peo­ple, a Master-builder, 1 Cor. 3. 10.

38. The manner of Building is a material4 A meet manner of build ing. thing also; knotty timber requires the Axe much, and some must be saved with Fear, Jude, v. 23. whether they like it or no, for its sure (if they be saved) they will like it; others (hap­pily) are so meekned and made ready by the grace and hand of God, that there's no cause why hammer or axe, or any iron or harder toole should be heard, 1 Kings 6, 7. and if it be so, he hath a hard [Page 34] heart that will strike but one needless stroke, on such have compassion, Jude v. 22, 23.

39. As for the fashion of the Building, wisedom is a winner, prov. 11. 30. and the commendation of a Spi­ritual builder is, to raise upon a good foundation, a substantial frame, in an amiable form; amiable, and yet variable. All men love not to have their Houses built alike: Some love higher Hou­ses, and delight that others should set up in their hearts, a most spi­ritual and heavenly stru­cture: [Page 35] others love a lower piece, and cannot be ab­stracted from the world, and from affairs, yet in truth they are: and upon Meditation, but not in such a height, and with such devotion, either be­cause of the necessity of their Calling, or the pro­pension of their minds to secular imployments and engagements: in which respect something must be yielded, and they that would edifie, must (as our Saviour speaks) tell them of earthly things John 3. 12. that is, speak of heavenly things in a more human [Page 36] and rational, rather than in a more ghostly and spiritual way; and (with­all) so limit their Chri­stian discourse, as to let them see that as they be willing to advantage them in regard of their Souls: So they be loath to prejudice them in re­gard of their Affairs. To go on, Some there be that like a Wide house, and to be left wholly to that large room which the Scripture puts them into in its general rules; others love lesser rooms, and to have the generali­ties of Scripture drawn [Page 37] down for a regular and strict course in all parti­culars; for where grace is lesse advantaged by natural abilities, it had need be more assisted and incouraged by outward observances. Thus there being a latitude in Reli­gion, and God being pleased to dwell in Hou­ses of different Forms; Ephes 2. 22. Building-Christians may not contend to have all as one, neither stand with men that are truly wil­ling, that with them Christ should have a house to put his head in, about the fashion of the [Page 38] building; onely the foun­dation, the materials, and the maine parts of the building must be alike in all.

40. Generally, As the Constitution of the Pati­ent regulates the Physi­cians Prescript; So we should observe in all re­ligious Communications what will take, and how much: Give Christians leave to leave with an ap­petite, even when the Conference is pleasing; and if (haply) it be less gratefull, and carry a reproof with it, then, as the maine project of the [Page 39] Physician is to preserve nature, and to maintain himself a party, in the body of the Patient; so ever look to this, to pre­serve love: Be so wise at one time as to be welcome at another, yea so sweet at one time as to be sem for at another.

41. As Christian wis­domeDuties of Relation is seen in the exer­cises of Religion, so also in our ordinary relations, amongst which that of Pastors may well chal­lenge1. For Ministers the first place; con­cerning whom, the Rule is, esteem them very highly in love for their [Page 40] works sake. 1 Thess. 5. 13. Nor is due and just estimation to be entertained one­ly, but (as there is occa­sion) to be declared; for as outward expressions without inward and real respects are reputed a Flattery; so an inward estimation, not seconded by outward and answer­able acknowledgements, is in danger to be recko­ned a Dissimulation. The heart is the treasury of good affections, not the prison.

42. Yet Ministers re­quire no such respect as to debarre their People [Page 41] from being their private and modest Remembran­cers, whether of defects or faults; Col. 1. 17. for as People have from Pastors a mi­nisterial, so Pastors have from People a christian assistance; but its suffici­ent when they have to do with Ministers and men apprehensive▪ to intimate the former; and while they have to do with men consciencious and tender, to touch the lat­ter. Not that things not justifiable should be favoured in any: but Men look to have so much right done them as not [Page 42] to be worse thought of than they are. Now a frequent and importu­nate Monitor, reports himself to have either a dull or an hard-hearted▪ hearer.

43. Christian Remem­brances from People to their Pastor, as they ever require due observance, so do they relish best, when they are tendred to them (and so it is when they are tendred to any other) as acts of obedience and conscience, proceeding from them not as men affecting such an office, but as not daring to omit [Page 43] such a duty: its one thing to speak of things amiss (especially to Superiors) as those that are bound to do it, another thing to speak as those that are bent to do it.

44. Its good also to be sure things are amisse before a man signifie it, else he must needs disco­ver a want either of a good judgement, or of good will, which, though the wisedome and humi­lity of Ministers and good Christians will and should cover, yet People should provide not to discover. Two [Page 44] things are due to all good People, in particular; to a Pastor, Love and Ho­nour: Love covers a multitude of things that are truly blameable: but Honour will not so much as mention that that is questionable.

45. Such things as these are requisite, in point of prudence be­tween People and their Pastor: but the best wise­dome of a Hearer is, to make the best use of his Minister, for which pur­pose Disciples shall do well to propound, and Ministers to accept and [Page 45] countenance, usefull Que­stions: but propounded they should be at fit times without molestati­on, and urged with mo­desty, as by those whose meaning is not to main­tain an Argument (theres difference between a Disciple and a Dispu­tant) but to obtain an Answer.

46. Upon such Pro­posals, Ministers do for present (as need requires, and as occasions permit) debate the matter, and perhaps deliver their judgements, which peo­ple are reverently to re­ceive, [Page 46] and to entertain, as those that are willing to take resolution as well as to seek it; not but that they may examine any mans judgements (as the Bereans did Pauls Ser­mon) by Scripture, or by Reason; but not op­pose it by mere opinion. I grant indeed there may be some belonging to a Ministers charge of ex­traordinary parts, know­ledge, and judgement, to whom therefore more is to be granted; but (to speak of that which is ordinary) it is not equal nor modest (when Tea­chers [Page 47] and Scholars con­ferre together,) for the Scholar and Disciple to oppose judgement with judgement, nor to be high and peremptory, (though with some shew of reason) for if the Teacher have not better reason for the pre­sent, yet he may have.

47. But whatever Pa­stors and Teachers say for the present, yet as preaching is a Ministers principal task, so is it a Hearers highest help; what Hearers propound, Ministers do (perhaps) more observe than an­swer [Page 48] when they pro­pound it, and choose ra­ther to speak better in publick, than more in private; and publick Ser­mon-solutions are abso­lutely best, (unlesse in some private and perso­nal Cases) as being—1. more general; what1. satisfaction I alone should have in private, many by my means and proposals have in publick—2. more 2. full; and (by reason of study and meditation) more full of sufficiency than those can be that are delivered suddenly—3. and more effectual; 3. [Page 49] by informing the mind, and satisfying the consci­ence, as being held forth in Gods principal Ordi­nance, to which he hath promised his special pre­sence and blessing, Mat. 28. [...]0. and with the prayers of the Minister and the whole Congregation that that blessing may be bestow­ed.

48. Yet the occasi­ons, gifts, and dispositi­ons of men being diffe­rent, and some being more addicted to Dis­course than Meditation, (and more happy in it also) nothing can be [Page 50] here certainly defined, nor is it needfull; for the wise and carefull Chri­stian will quickly see what he may have, and how he may best have it, and accordingly manage the matter so as to obtain his own best assistance, with his Pastors best ac­ceptance.

49. Next to the Mi­nister,2. For Neigh­bours & Friends. our Wisedom will be well imployed in car­rying our selves com­mendably to our Neigh­bours and Friends, whe­ther called by the grace of God, and sanctified, or (as yet) uncalled.

[Page 51]50. With those that are truly good, we shall do well to converse—1. with1. more familiarity and ope­nesse of heart, as being of one houshold, Gal. 6 10. howe­ver Un-united by exter­nal allyances;—2. with2. intireness of affection as being children of one Fa­ther, 2 Cor. 6. last. whatever outward distances there be; Ps. 119. 69.—3. with respect to edifi­cation, as being Servants3. of the same Master, for whose use we ought to improve one another; In this regard, the sum of our Duty is, to assist in Persons regenerate, the [Page 52] part regenerate, and that according to that good and perfect, and acceptable will of God, whereby the renewed mind ought to be guided. Rom. 12. 2. A thing the rather to be marked, that our Zeale in the pressing of Persons well affected, may be imployed with respect to Duty, not Phan­sie▪ so as to nourish grace in them, not humour; and so as to beat down sinne in them, not civility and humanity: In brief, that that is contrary to Gods word, not our way.

51. As for those that are Un-called, the rule is, [Page 53] to carry our selves to­wards them wisely; Coloss. 4. 5. It sufficeth (in a sort) to carry our selves towards the good innocently, but as for those that be with­out, as all Un-converted persons are in a true and a sad sence; Mark 4. 11. Innocency needs Wisedoms assist­ance for the avoiding of any thing blameable, though but in appear­ance. 1 Thes. 5. 22. It belongs to our Sanctity and Sincerity, not to be Faulty, but to our Wisedom, not to seem so.

52. Particularly, we shall do well before un­regenerate [Page 54] Neighbours and Friends, to carry our1. selves,—1. Innocently, then shall not they harm us,1 Pet. 3 13. then may we the better hope to winne them.1 Pet. 2. 12.—2. Meekly, for if they be bad, so were 2. we, and if we be good, so may they.Tit. 3. 2, 3.—3. Kindly, if Barbarians shew no 3. small kindness to Christi­ans,Act 28. 2. shall Christians shew no great kindnesse to Barbarians, and Per­sons unacquainted with religion? if those that we wish were good were found to be very neigh­bourly, shall we harden [Page 55] them in their Condition by being behind with them in Kindnesse?—4.—4. Courteously, being affable, amiable, willing to keep correspondence and to comply with o­thers, not against Consci­ence, but against natural Disposition, and the bent of our Spirits; which must be so far ordered and mastered, as that we withdraw not from Neighbours and Friends, as those that be loath to look upon them; that's against humanity: nor be sowre towards them, that's against civility: nor [Page 56] refrain causlesly commō meetings with them, that's against the laws of love and humane society.5.—5. Christianly, in regard of all the former, carrying them all with an aime at their Conver­sion; and trying them whether they may be made good by any good words or wayes of love; but not tyring them in the tryal. By such cour­ses as these we shall ei­ther allure them to our Profession, and (if God will) gain them, or else honour our Profession before them.

[Page 57]53. But Friends and3. For those in the Fa­mily. Acquaintance are further off; In the Family, where our residence is most re­quired, our prudence is tyed to a continual task.

54. Therein (haply) some are Equals; and to­ward1. Equals these we must carry our selves humbly, not haughtily;Rom. 12. 10. and chear­fully, not dully and lum­pishly; one Friend is not to be a Stone to ano­ther, out of which no­thing can be gotten; but a whet stone, Prov. 27. 17. to sharpen and quicken to such con­ference and converse as is [Page 58] both pious and profita­ble, both for the advan­tage of their Souls and their affairs.

55. Others in the Fa­mily are Inferiours, to­wards [...]: Infe­riours. whom we must be carefull to exercise Reli­gion, Justice, Patience:—1. Religion in the coun­tenancing1. of that that is good, and discountenan­cing of every thing that is evil. It is not to be spoken how much good Superiours do by casting their favours upon them that fear God; and their frowns upon the Sinnes and corruptions of their Ps. 101. 4, 5, 6, 7. [Page 59] Charges.—2. Ju­stice, 2. The care of those that are not equal (but advanc'd above others) is to do that that is equal; Col. [...]. 1. trembling to abuse their power and preheminence to oppression. Job 31. 21, [...]3.—3. Pa­tience and condescend­ing,3. and that so far as to let my Servant know, that as I am his Master, so Reason is mine, and much more Religion. Job 31. 13.

56 The nearest Family­relation, and the dearest, is that of man and wife,3. Man and wife. wherein Love is the wifes due, and Subjection the husbands; Honour is a [Page 60] thing belonging to them both; 1 Pet. 3. 7. to the husband as the Worthier, to the wife as the Weaker; as a costly piece of Plate is laid up choycely, and a curious Glasse handled tenderly; the one be­cause of the value, the other because of the beauty and bricklenesse.

57. Its an easie matter for the Wife that is the lesse and the tenderer, to love the Husband; butEphe. 5. [...]5. Col. 3. 14. of greater vertue for the Husband (that is the higher) to love the Wife, and of especial efficacy also, turning all the [Page 61] wheels in the Wifes frame for the Husbands use; for Love in it self is an amiable and attract­ing Vertue, but with­all it includes an estima­tion; hence the love of eminent men is a Rarity; for they look upon what is in others as great Mer­chants upon petty Mar­kets, wherein there is no­thing but things too poor for them to prize. Now Estimation is the greatest encouragement to Acti­on and Accommodation; the Wife therefore dis­cerning her self to be a Person priz'd and her [Page 62] Husbands delight. De­lights to do that onely (and all that) that may accomplish the Hus­bands desire.

58. A Husbands love will never take away the Wifes fear: Eph. 5. 33. Vertue be­gets Reverence (especi­ally in those who do not onely behold the beauty, but enjoy the benefit of it) and love is the Hus­bands proper Vertue: Familiarity may breed Contempt in a political and civil distance, but not in a conjugal; which is not like the head poli­tique and the body, in [Page 63] which either part uses too much to shift for it self, that to maintain an honour, and this to obtain a benefit: but like the head natural, and the members that are so indeared, that the head is never in dam­mage of contempt for dealing kindly with the inferiour members. Be­sides, that God so bles­ses what he requires in the Husband, that is, intire love, that it shall never hinder him of what the same God requires in the Wife, that is, hearty and seemly respect.

59. As Love must be [Page 64] the Husbands study, so is Subjection the Wives duty, I say, Subjection; a sad word, but a thing not only easie, but sweet, if the Husband mind his duty first; The Husband loves, the Wife serves; and who are not Servants most willingly when they are lov'd most dear­ly? Love was never yet known to be a Tyrant. Besides, in him that guides and carries things by his Command the ability is required, and by him the adventure is born; the Wife hath the ease to walk onely in the [Page 65] way chaulked out, nei­ther cumbred with the managing of the busi­ness, if it be difficult, nor blamed for the successe, if it be disasterous; Adde to this, that it is the cu­stome of Love in the Husband to put the Wifes counsel into his own Command, and so to obey him, is to please her self, and to fulfill her own mind.

60. If it so fall out, that the Husband be more imperious than wise, and have more mind to rule than to love, it sends the sad Wife to [Page 66] see why she chose him, but doth not privilege her to disobey him; here her Wisedome must fa­cilitate her Subjection, which in stead of denying Obedience, prevents Com­mands; for which pur­pose, if she foresee any thing unlawfull, her piety pleads for the preventi­on; (and that so, as to take no Nay) if unrea­sonable, her wit; if unplea­sing, her interests; and by these means (but ever with prayer to God, for though it do not belong to Wives to rule their Husbands, yet to God it [Page 67] doth) I say, by these means, the matter is like to be well amended: If any thing be yet heavier▪ that will not make Diso­bedience lawfull, but it will make Obedience laudable, and much more thank-worthy: 1 Pet. 2. 19. and its like to be as profitable to the Wife, as commen­lable in her, the doing of what God requires of her, being the onely way to change and mol­lifie her hard Husband, not onely because meek­nesse and submissiveness hath a melting quality in any heart that can re­lent,Judg. 8▪ 1, 2, 3 [Page 68] but because where Gods will is performed, Gods power (that is able to alter and order all things and personsPhil. 3. 21. Prov. 21. 1.) is more hopefully expect­ed, and the more like sooner or later) to be obtained.

60. Nothing more a­lienates Maried▪ persons than the studying of each others imperfections and errours, which as they should keep as much as may be from others eyes, so from their own thoughts; the observation of them is too much for others, the meditation for themselves.

[Page 69]62. The best way to live comfortably (there­fore) is, for the Wife or Husband to look upon their own faults, but up­on the vertues or perfe­ctions of their comfort; the first of these begets Patience; the later main­tains Love.

63. Wilfullness is a fault inexcusable every where; but if a Wifes Weakness raise up stirs and debates, that's the Husbands fault, for why is he a Man (indued of God with more knowledge) but that he should dwell with his wife according to know­ledge, 1 Pet. 3. 7. [Page 74] that is, according to that knowledge that is in him, not that infir­mity that is in her, using his wit for the covering of her weaknesse? or why is he a Husband, but to put a veil over, and to cast an honour upon the weaker part of himself? and equal it is that he should be a covering tob Gen. 20. 16. her when she needs it, who, when she needs it not (and out of the case of weakness) is a crown to him.

64. To summe up all Man and Wife should live together as Fellow [Page 75] heirs of the grace of life, 1 Pet. 3. 7. and those that stand God-ward, and Heaven­ward, in an equality; if life belongs to him, so doth it to her; if grace help her to that life, so doth it him; if he be an heir of this life, in that she is his fellow. This should make the Wife bear her Subjection with much more meekness, and the Husband also to carry his Superioritie with much modesty and mildness.

65. Yea, both of them to use Mariage-content­ments with much mo­deration, [Page 72] to wit, as those that are to live together but for a while here, but hereafter for ever; and that after another fashi­on; for the fashion of this world passeth away, 1 Cor. 7. 29, 31. & no estate here affords any o­ther than a perishing com fort; and a poor also, as being of too low a nature to be heard of when once we come to Hea­ven, Lu 20 35, 36. and why should we that are appointed to heavenly glory, engage our affections in those pleasures that are alto­gether unworthy that place, and not rather en­ter [Page 73] (as much as may be) into acquaintance with those comforts which we shall never shake hands withall, but have a full fellowship with hereafter? Meat and Drink, and Mariage, are for our need (while we are here below) rather than for our honour; it becomes us not (there­fore) to lye down, and wallow in them, but to lap (with our hands) and leave, Judg. 7. 5, 7. reserving our hearts for and setling them upon the glories of that place, wherein, they neither marry, nor are gi­ven [Page 74] in mariage, but are as the Angels of God.

66. If the Family, be blessed with Children, God must be blessed for them, Gen. 33. 5. and thank­fullnesse must be shewed in carrying the course of our dealing so with them, as to sit them for1. Chil­dren. his use, from whom we have them. In this care, the whole Family (if it may be) should con­cur [...]e, (the unregenerate part gets strength, if there be but a Servant to hold with it) but (however) Father and Mother should perfectly [Page 75] agree together, that chil­dren may not take a boldnesse to themselves in things evil, by dis­cerning (which they are quick to do) a protecti­on for their Unjustifiable wayes in Parents dis­cords. Joynt Oppositi­on masters Corrupti­on, but Family-faction is the bane of Educa­tion.

67. The rule of this Education is, Teach a Childe; Prov. 22. 6. Its true, such cannot understand what is taught them in the things of God; nor did Christs Disciples under­derstand [Page 76] divers things that he taught them while he was amongst them; Joh. 2. 22. Its well that the seed is sown, and good things lodged in the heart; the fruit must be expected; and when the Spirit comes (that quickeneth all things) it will be produced from that very seed that in Childhood was recei­ved, Prov. 22. 6. nor shall they de­part from that very teaching when they be old, whereof they seemed to take no notice when they were young; Not but that (divers times) i [...] [Page 77] falls out otherwise: but the course (for all that) is Gods course, which he will make effectual ac­cording to his own coun­sel, and which (if it reach not further, yet prevails ordinarily for some good restraint, 2 King. 12. 2.

68. The best time and wayes of instruction, Parents themselves (that mind the duty) will well discern, onely the thing must be done, and nei­ther idlenesse and dullness, nor averseness from bet­ter things (when twice so much time is spent in [Page 78] impertinencies) nor an indisposition to that parti­cular duty, nor worldly­ness and business (which is so presented by Satan, as if half an hours Cate­chising were an irreco­verable impediment) I say, neither these, nor any the like things should hinder the bringing up of Children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

69. Unto instruction, correction must be added, that puts in wisedome, this drives out folly Prov. 22. 15.; of this Correction there must be,—1. a clear cause, to1. [Page 79] wit, the childes foolishness, not the correctors fro­wardness;—2. In it there2. must be a calme heart; it is not good to give a Medicine scalding hot; and—3. ejaculations3. and prayers to God do well with correction; for the rod is not onely an instrument, (fit in reason, to do a childe good) but an ordinance appointed of God for that purpose, unto which also God hath annexed a promise that it shall drive out and scatter, even Fast-bound­folly; Prov. 22. 15. now every pro­mise bespeaks a prayer. 2 Sam. 7. 27.

[Page 80]70. It belongs to Pa­rents to lay up for chil­dren, 2 Cor. 12▪ 14▪ but withall, to make them able (in a way wherein they shall glorifie God and profit others) to lay up for themselves; This is done by disposing them into a sit and usefull calling, with respect to the abili­ties God hath bestowed on them, and the inclina­tions he hath planted in them: for their condition must not appoint their calling, but their Talent; A man must not seek out such a Calling as will provide best for him, but [Page 81] wherein he shall do most for God: Not but that a man may look to live by his Calling, and ac­cording to the charge of Children he hath, to lay up with it: but first seek the kingdom of God, and the glory of God, that other things may (and then other things shall) be ministred and added. Mat. 6. 33.

71. Disposition in ma­riage is (for Parents) the highest duty, and for Children (being well discharg'd) the happiest, wherein the principal thing to be regarded is, [Page 82] the fear of God: for let the World esteem or dis­esteem Religion as they please, yet this is the Sentence of Scripture, Favour is deceitfull, and Beauty is vain, but a wo­man that feareth the Lord, (and its true of a man also) she shall be praised. Prov. 31. 30 Its not to be denyed but a good nature (if any nature were good) is a great sweetner of Socie­ty, and would do pretty well if man and wife were to live together onely in a humane way, (wherein vertuous Hea­thens will compleatly [Page 83] keep them company) but being that they are to live together, as Chri­stian and Christian, that they are to walk together with God as well as with Man, and with one ano­ther, yea and to converse together as Fellow-heirs of the grace of life; 1 Pet. 3. 7. whats a good nature (in refe­rence to these things) but the white of an egge, which hath this in it, that it offends not; but this withall, that it relisheth not? Let it be the praise of good natures, that they contradict not good­ness, but is not this a [Page 84] deep defect that they contribute nothing to it? Good they be for the six dayes, but on the Lords day, what is there plea­sant in them but their Patience? Its true that a fair nature rustles with religion in a froward, and seems to get the better; yet to them that love to live in a course beyond nature, and to see God in a Companion (not Cato, Socrates, Phocion, &c.) Grace with all its faults will be better than refined Nature: A piece of Gold is better though it needs its allowance, than the com­pleatest [Page 85] piece of Silver, and fretfull Jonas will be found more lovely than the meekest Mariner, or the sweetest Nin [...]vite.

72. The next thing to be looked at (after the religion of a Con­sort) is the good discreti­on; for Wisedom exceeds Folly, as much as Light ex­ceeds Darknesse. Eccles. [...]. 13. This is true in all, but in those especially of better parts. If a Daughter be to be disposed of (of more worth) nothing is more to be feared (next to an Ungodly) than an Unwor­thy Husband; for the duty [Page 86] of a Wife is to be sub­ject, and with what pati­ence shall wisedom be subject to Folly? It may better be born if there be eminency of gifts on the Husbands part, and infir­mity on the Wives; and yet, this is a business al­so, for a Husband ought to love his Wife, and there's such a distance be­tween Wisedome and Weaknesse, that there will be work enough for a more than ordinary Wisedom to love (with a Husbands love) a Woman of more than ordinary Weakness.

[Page 87]73. After this, Mari­age-affection requires a pleasing person, I say after this discretion, which is of the greater conse­quence (even in the matter of affection) than an external amiablenesse is; for this is the diffe­rence between Discreti­on and Beauty, that Dis­cretion is a thing still con­tinuing and still thriving; hence the love grounded upon that, both stayes and growes: but Beauty may be gone suddenly and (how­soever) is going continu­ally; hereupon, the af­fection must needs fall [Page 88] with the foundation; yet it combines on both sides (in her especially that is to be the desire of a mans eye, Ezek. 24. 16, 18.) of no small importance, which, sup­pose (erelong) it loose its lustre: yet divers things that will not abide to the last, may serve for the rooting and set­ling of affection at the first.

74. Nor is a Patrimo­ny and Portion to be con­temned where a Family and Posterity is to be raised; Fathers must not onely lay out, but lay up for their Chil­dren, 2 Cor. 11. 14. [Page 89] and it is not easie, nor a thing so likely that they should lay up much who begin with nothing: Besides, we would be willing to live so, as to expresse Vertue, and draw a just reputation from others by the beames of beneficence dispers'd from our selves; now though Wisedome and Vertue be truly, yea and eminently good in it self; yet it is evidently good with an inheri­tance, Eccles 7. 11. in which regard, howsoever a worldly portion is justly reckon­ed a very bad Leader, [Page 90] yet neglect not to look upon it as a usefull Fol­lower.

75. All these things doe in special manner concern the Parties them­selves that are towards mariage; onely Parents are to see that they doe not (out of self will and imperiousnesse, or for vain and worldly ends, or out of self-respects) hinder their Children from walking in, but rather do all they can by their counsel and authoritie, to guide and carry them in a right and regular way [Page 91] in a matter of so great importance. When God hath given Children unto them, as his Tru­stees, a chief part of their care lyes in this, to take [...]eed how they give them away, and into what hands they put them for a conti­nual, and perpetual a­bode.

76. Mariage being according to these (and the like) Rules religi­ously managed, as it is an estate honourable in it selfe, and in Gods account, so shall it be1 Pet. 3. 7. honourable also in the [Page 92] judgement of all those that do impartially ob­serve it, yea and in the Consciences of those Men that do ungroun­dedly oppose it.


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