A New-Years-Gift FOR WOMEN. Being a true Looking-Glass Which they seldom have in their own Closets, where (for the most part) are none but flat­tering ones: But hereby, and herein, they may truly, plainly, and directly, see their duties, both towards God, and their own Husbands.

With an Epistle Dedicatory, directed to the Feminine Gender (never done before) nor the like extant in no Printed Book. However, many have dedicated to one or two vertuous Ladies, upon some good Reasons moving the Author thereunto. But never any (as this is) to the whole Sex of Women, of what rank or quality soever they be.

LONDON: Printed by T. N. for the Author, 1666.

THE EPISTLE DEDICATORY being made for, and directed onely to those of the Feminine Gender.

GEntlewomen, of what degree or condition soever, whe­ther high or low, rich or poor, nobly descended, or sprung out of the Beg­gars Cottage, I beseeeh you call to remembrance (be some of you never so [Page]great and eminent) That ye are all the Daughters of Eve, who was the Author of much more evil to mankinde, in se­ducing her Husband to eat of the forbidden Fruit, then Judas was in betraying our Saviour; for thereby, not onely Adam, and all his Poste­rity became accursed, as ever since, to eat their Bread in the sweat of their Brows; but also the [Page]very Earth was cursed for his sake to bring forth Thorns and Thistles; and all Creatures ever since, even to this present day, have, do, and will to the end of the World, groan under the burthen there­of; which I have thought fit to premise to work in you poverty of spirit, and that excellent and adorn­ing Grace of Humility, which is the first, second, and third step to Heaven [Page](yet doth not abound in most Women:) But however, that foundati­on being laid, ye will be the better fitted and pre­pared, patiently, and without prejudice to read the ensuing Treatise, e­specially if ye call to re­membrance, that into­lerable Pride, that high and transcendent Pre­sumption, and that un­parallel'd Disobedience against the Mighty God, [Page]committed by Eve in eating of the forbidden Fruit; whereas in very few days before (if not the same day) she was made but of one of the crooked Ribs of her Hus­band, and he himself but of the dust of the Earth: And not to be content to live in that pleasant Gar­den, and to eat of all the rare Fruits therein (one Tree onely excepted) but to aspire to be as God him­self, [Page]knowing good and evil; and yet she was ex­presly forbidden by her Eternal Creator not to eat thereof, telling her, That the same day she did eat, she should die; yet she hark­ned to a lie told her by the Serpent, that old de­ceiver, who was a lier from the beginning, being the ruthless enemy of man­kinde: And thereupon seeing that the Tree was good for meat, and plea­sant [Page]to the eye, did eat and gave to her Hus­band; preferring the voice of the Devil, be­fore the voice of Almighty God.

And good Women, let me humbly entreat you to search your hearts, Whether from that accursed example, ye are not to this day more prone to give ad­mission and entertain­ment to the dictates, and [Page]cunning insinuations of Satan, then to the blessed Motions of Gods holy Spirit.

I have often read over the whole Book of God, and taken several Notes, and many Collections out of the same, and thereby am as well pre­pared to express the du­ties of Husbands towards Wives, as of Wives towards Husbands, for the Scripture is full of [Page]both; which service I will readily do for any of your Sex, who shall de­sire it, and will be pleased to signifie so much unto the Printer hereof, who will soon give me notice accordingly.

But I am loath to leave you sad and melancholy, for notwithstanding this great transgression, com­mitted by your Grand­mother, there remains comfort to your self, [Page]and to your Off-spring: To your selves in that thorow-bearing of Chil­dren, ye shall be saved: to your off-spring, in that God telleth the Devil thus, Thou shalt break his head, and he shall bruise thy heel.

Moreover, Cornelius Agrippa writing in com­mendation of Women, hath four notable Ar­guments to prove the nobleness of Women.

1. From the more excel­lent Name which God (who knew all Creatures before he named them) gave to the first Woman thus. Adam had his name from Earth, but Eve hers from Life.

2. From the order of time, for God made Wo­man last, and with her fi­nished his work, leaving off at his best, and most perfect­ed piece.

3. From the place of [Page]her Creation, Man was made without, and was afterwards brought into the Garden of Eden, but Eve was created even within Paradise it self.

4. From the Matter, Adam was formed out of Matter inanimate (vile Clay) but his Wife of a Matter purified and ani­mated.

But I will draw to a conclusion, and humbly entreat a favorable, and [Page]charitable construction to be made of what I have here conceived; and that I may not be so un­happy as to be stiled (or so much as thought) to be an enemy unto Wo­men, whom I love and honor, and from whom I had my beginning, sucking the Paps of my own Natural Mother; and having been the Husband of two Wives, and the Father of many [Page]Children, both Sons and Daughters yet living.

Lastly, I must ac­knowledge that I entred into the consideration of these things, upon obser­vation of the lives, dispo­sition, and conversation of two Gentlewomen nearly related to me, and both of my intimate ac­quaintance for divers years last past.

And therefore as some Almanack-makers write [Page]thus, That their Book was calculated for the Meridian of such a place, but may serve generally for all Great Britain, so I hope, and pray, That this poor work of mine (being principally in­tended only for the good of the two particular Gentlewomen before men­tioned) may speed as well, and be useful in all places; and then this Widows mite being ac­cepted, [Page]and having that operation, will encourage me to publish another Work of a far higher concernment (almost ready for the Press.) So commending it, and all of you to Gods blessing, I take leave and rest

Your much devoted Servant WILLIAM HILL.

THE WOMANS Looking-Glass.

I Must crave leave (for me­thod sake) to rank Wo­men into three sorts, and to discourse of them in order, one after another.

1. Good and vertuous Women, those I admire and adore, confessing their price is above Solomons Rubies; as being loving and obedient to their Husbands, and being as fruitful Vines on the Walls of their Houses; and their Children as Olive Plants round about their Tables; and such who do their Husbands good and not evil, all the days of their lives.

2. Marthaes, who cumber them­selves about many things, and for­get [Page 2]that (unum necessarium) that one thing which is necessary, and are onely for the things of this World; and by Worldlings deemed and ac­counted the best Wives.

3. Leud and vitious Women, who are neither good for this World, nor for the World to come.

To these of the first and best rank, I have little to say more, then to commend their Vertues, and to pray for their Perseverance, that God will be pleased to perfect that good work which he hath begun in them.

Yet for their comfort, encourage­ment and imitation, I will mention some good Women whom we finde recorded in holy Scripture, and will begin with Sarah, Sarah. the Wife of faith­ful Abraham (who is stiled the Friend of God, and of her great love and obedience to her Husband, in calling him Lord: And what was [Page 3]her reward? God opened her womb when she was old, and she conceiv­ed, and brought forth a Son, in whom all the Families of the earth were blessed.

Next in order comes Rebecca thus;Rebecca. when Abraham had sent his servant to seek out a Wife for his Son Isaac, charging him to take one of his kindred, and of his Fathers house, by special providence, Rebecca came accidently to water her Fathers Cat­tle, and she was so kinde, that she drew water, to make Abrahams ser­vant drink, and his Camels also; so she brought him home to her Fa­thers house, where he was most kind­ly entertained, (her Father being brother to his Master Abraham) to whom he revealed his message, say­ing unto them; If ye will deale mer­cifully and kindly with my Master, tell me, and if not, tell me, that I may turne me to the right hand or to the left; To which they made this [Page 4]divine answer, saying; This thing is proceeded of the Lord, we cannot there­fore say unto thee, neither evil or good; but thus conclude; Behold, Rebecca is before thee, take her and goe, that she may be thy Masters sons Wife, even as the Lord hath said; Then the Ser­vant took forth Iewels of silver and Iewels of gold, and rayment, and gave to Rebecca, also unto her brother, and to her Mother he gave gifts, and they did both eate and drink, and he tar­ried there all night, and when he rose in the morning, he said let me depart unto my Master but her mother, and her brother answered, let the maid abide with us at least ten days, and then shall she go, which was referred unto Re­becca her self, who made choice to go presently, whereby she became a notable pattern, and worthy example to all Women, to prefer their Hus­bands, before Mother or Brother, or any friends or near relations what­ever.

Now when she came near to A­brahams house, she shewed abun­dance of humility, for seeing Isaac coming forth to meet her, she took a vail, and covered her, and so they became man and wife, and Isaac loved her, and thus he was comfor­ted after his mothers death.

Next you may take notice of her singular wisdom, for she loving Ja­cob her son, better then his brother Esau, and so did Almighty God, who said, Jacob have I loved, and Esau have I hated, and when her husband Isack was old, and his sight dim (for he could not see) she heard him call for his Son Esau to him, tel­ling him that he was old and knew not the day of his death, and so de­sired him to take his Bowe, and go into the field and take him some Venison, and to make him savory meat thereof, and bring it to him, that he might eat, and that his soul might bless him before he died, [Page 6]wherewith Rebecca acquainted Jacob and charged him to go to the flocks, and bring her thence two good Kids of the Goats, that she might make pleasant meat of them for his Fa­ther, such as he loved; telling him, that then he should bring it to his Father, whereof he should eat, to the intent that he might bless him before his death, which he did ac­cordingly. Then Rebecca took some clothes of her eldest son Esau, and put them upon Jacob, and she co­vered his hands, and the smooth of his neck with the skins of the Kids, afterward she put the pleasant meat which she had prepared, into the hands of her Son Jacob, who brought the same unto his Father, and told him that he was Esau his first born, and had done as he had bid him, de­siring him to eat, that his Soul might bless him. But Jsaac being somewhat jealous and suspitious, bid him come near him, that he might [Page 7]feel him, and ther by know whether he was his son Esau or not; and when he had felt him, he said, the voice is Ja­cobs voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau. Afterwards he bid him again come near him, and kiss him, and he did so, then he smelled the savour of his garment and blessed him; there­fore Esau hated Jacob, and thought in his mind, The days of mourning for my Father will come shortly, then will I stay my brother Jacob, which words were told to Rebecca, and there, with she acquainted her Son Jacob, advising him to flee to Haran, to her brother Laban, and to tarry with him a while, untill his Brothers fierceness were swaged, and till his wrath were turned away from him, and he had forgot those things which Jacob had done unto him, promi­sing, that she would send and fetch him from thence, so soon as it was covenient.

Next I come to Hannah the MotherHannah. [Page 8]of Samuel, who had the like success and reward as Sarah, and brought forth her Son, and gave him suck, and after he was weaned (according to a vow which she had made) when she prayed earnestly for him with many tears, yet her voice was not heard, only her lips moved, she brought him and offered him to the Lord, in whose service he continued all the days of his life.

Widow of Sareptath Then we come to the good Wid­dow of Sareptath, who though she had only but a handful of meale, and a little oyle, and she was gather­ing, a few sticks to dress it for her, and her Son that they might eat it, and die, for the famine was sore, and all their victuals spent. And yet when Elias the Prophet came unto her (being very hungry) and desi­red her first of all to make him a lit­tle cake, which she did accordingly; and what was her reward, the meale in the barrels wasted not, neither [Page 9]was the oyle in the cruse diminished, but both lasted and continued, and thereby they lived and subsisted even miraculously, untill God sent plenty upon the earth.

Also her only Son being dead, was by the Prophet restored unto life.

Next followeth the good Shuna­mite, Shuna­mite. who was one of the Wives of the Sons of the Prophets, and came to Elisha, saying, Thy Servant mine Husband is dead, and thou knowest that thy Servant did fear the Lord, and the Creditors are come to take my two Sons, and to make them Bond-men, and what did the Propher for her; thus, she having in her house a pitcher of Oyle, he bid her get empty Vessels and borrow some, which she did, and shut the doors upon her and her two sons, and poured the oyle from Vessel to Vessel, till all were full, and called to her Sons for another Ves­sel, they answered, there was none [Page 10]left, and then and not before the oyle ceased running: Then she came, and told the man of God, and he said, Go and sell the oyle, and pay them that thou art in debt unto, and live thou, and thy children of the reft. Also in the same Chapter, ye may read of a Woman (whose name we find not) but she is described to be of great estimation, who was so kind to the Prophet Elisha, that when he passed by that way she constrained him to come in, and eat bread; and she said unto her husband; Behold, I know now that this is a holy man of God, let us make him a little chamber with walls, and let us set him there a Bed, and a Table, and a Stool, and a Can­dle-stick, that he may turn in thither, when he cometh to us; which the Pro­phet took so kindly, that he said unto her, Behold, thou hast had all this care for us, what shall we do for thee, is there any thing to be spoken for thee to the King, or to the Captain of the [Page 11]Hoste, To which she answered, I dwell amongst my own people. Then Gehazi, the Prophets Servant, told his Master, That she had no son, and that her Husband was old. So the Prophet called her, and told her, saying, At the time appointed, and ac­cording to the course of life thou shalt embrace a son: And she conceived and bear a son at that same season, according to the time of life that Elisha had told her.

And in process of time, when the Childe was grown up, he went out to his Father, and to the Reap­ers; and he complained to his Fa­ther, saying, Mine head, mine head; who commanded one of his ser­vants to carry him to his Mother, and she sate him on her knees till noon, and then he died.

Now follows a most remarkable story, and all both precedent and subsequent springs from the good [Page 12]disposition of a vertuous, godly, and most faithful Woman.

And what did she, she went up, and laid her dead Childe upon the Bed of the Man of God, and shut the door upon him, and desired her Husband (not telling him the Childe was dead) to send one of his yong men with an Ass with her, telling him, She would haste to the Man of God; and her Husband an­swered, Wherefore wilt thou go to him this day, it is neither new Moon, nor Sabbath day: Yet she went present­ly, and came to him to Mount Car­mel; and when she was near him, for joy she had met him, and in token of humility, she caught him by the feet, and his servant Gehazi went to thrust her away; but the Man of God said, Let her alone, for her Soul is vexed within her, and the Lord hath hid it from me, and hath not told it me. Then perceiving by her that her Childe was dead, he [Page 13]said to Gehazi, Gird thy loyns, and take my staff in thy hand, and go thy way: If thou meet any, salute him not; and if any salute thee, answer him not, and lay my staff upon the face of the childe: To which his Mother thus replied, saying, As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee; therefore he arose, and followed her, but Gehazi was gone before, and had laid his staff upon the face of the Childe, but it nei­ther spake nor heard; whereupon he went back to meet them, telling them, That the Childe was not waked. Then came Elisha into the Chamber, and behold the Childe was dead; then he shut the door, and prayed unto the Lord: And after went up, and lay up­on the Childe, putting his mouth on his mouth, and his eyes upon his eyes, and his hands upon his hands, and stretched himself upon him, and the flesh of the Childe waxed warm. Then the Childe sneezed seven times, and [Page 14]opened his eyes; then the Mother be­ing called, came in, and fell at his feet, and bowed her self to the ground and took up her son.

Next I come to the story of Abi­gail, Abigail unequally yoked to Churlish Nabal, yet a man exceeding mighty, for he had Three thousand Sheep, and a Thousand Goats: But Abi­gail was a Woman of singular wis­dom, and beautiful, whereby ye may by the way observe by the se­quel of the business, That it is bet­ter to be wise, then to be rich: For David hearing that Nabal did that day shear his Sheep, he sent ten of his yong men unto him to visit him; and for salutation, to ask, Whether he and his house, and all that he had, were in Peace, Wealth, and Prosperity; and to put him in minde, That when his Shepherds were with David, they did them no hurt, neither did they miss any thing; and so desired some of his [Page 15]good cheer. But Churlish Nabal answered and said, Who is David? and who is the son of Jesse? there be many servants now adays that run a­way from their Masters: Shall I then take my Bread, and my Water, and my Flesh that I have killed for my Shearers, and give it unto men, whom I know not whence they be? Which answer Davids Servants told him, whereupon David grew angry, and commanded them to gird their Swords about them, and he himself also girded on his Sword, and about Four hundred men went up with him to be revenged upon Nabal: But now behold a miracle, the wit of a Woman; for Abigail being told of all passages, by one of her servants, she made haste and took with her Two hundred Cakes, and two Bottles of Wine; five Sheep ready dressed, and five measures of Parched Corn, a hundred Frails of Raisins, and two hundred of Figs, [Page 16](all unknown to her Husband) and went with it to meet David; and meeting with him, she lighted off her Ass, and fell before him on her face, and bowed her self to the ground, and fell at his feet; and thus said, Let not my Lord, I pray thee, regard this wicked man Nabal; for as his name is, so is he; Nabal is his name, and folly is with him: But I thine Hand-maid saw not the yong men of my Lord, whom thou sentest. Then David said to Abigail, Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; and blessed be thy Counsel; and blessed be thou, which hast kept me this day from com­ing to shed blood: For as the Lord of Israel liveth, except thou hadst hasted, and met me, furely, here had not been lest unto Nabal, by the dawning of the day, any that pisseth against the Wall. And then David received her pre­sents, and bad her go in peace to her house. So Abigail came to Na­bal, and behold he made in his house [Page 17]a feast, like the feast of a King, and his heart was merry within him, for he was very drunken: Wherefore she told him nothing, neither less nor more, until the morning arose; and then when the Wine was gone out of Nabal, his wife told him all passages, and his heart died within him, and he was like a stone; and about ten days after the Lord smote Nabal, that he died. Now when David heard that Nabal was dead, and that the Lord had recompenced his wickedness upon his own head. Then David sent to commune with Abigail touching being his wife; and when Davids servants came, and acquainted her with it, she arose, and bowed her self on her face to the earth, saying, Behold, let thine hand-maid be a servant to wash the feet of the servants of my Lord; and she went with her five Maids, and shortly after became his Wife.

Next I think fit to speak of Mi­chal the Daughter of King Saul, Michal. and Davids wife; who though she were a Woman bad enough of all con­science; for she mocked David, being both her King and Husband, for dancing before the Ark of the Lord, &c. Yet it is pity to omit any good done by a Woman. And thus much I finde recorded of her, That Saul intending to kill David, thrust at him with his Spear, but he turning aside, it missed him, and fell into the Wall: Then Saul sent. Messengers to Davids house to watch him, and to stay him in the morning; whereof Michal gave him notice, and so she let him down through a Window, whereby he escaped and fled: And she took an Image and laid it in his Bed, and put a Pillow stufft with Goats hair un­der the head of it, and covered it with a cloth, and then told Sauls Messengers (who failed not to [Page 19]come) That her Husband was sick; who returned with this answer: But Saul (full of malice) sent them a­gain, charging them to bring him in the Bed, that he might slay him. So God made this wicked Woman the instrument to preserve Davids life, who otherwise had undoubtedly perished.

And now I come to the Noble Queen of Sheba, Queen of Sheba. who came from far, hearing the fame of Solomon, concerning the name of the Lord, and to prove him with hard questi­ons, and brought with her abun­dance of very rich presents; as Gold, pretious Stones, sweet Oders, &c. Then when she saw Solomons Wisdom, and the House which he had builded, and the Meat of his Table, and the sitting of his Ser­vants, she told the King, That it was a true Record which she heard in her own Lands; howbeit, she believed not the report, until she [Page 20]came and saw it; and then she con­fessed, That the one half was not told her, proclaiming, That happy were his men, and happy were his servants, who stood before him to hear his wisdom: And blessed God who had set him on the Throne of Israel to do Equity and Righteous­ness. And Solomon gave her very great gifts, and she departed.

Next,Ruth. most memorable is the kindness of Ruth towards Naomi, being onely her Mother-in-Law, yet she would not leave her, but travel with her into a far Countrey, saying thus unto her, Whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou dwel­est, there will I dwell: Thy people shall be my people; and thy God, my God. Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: The Lord do so to me, and more also, if ought but death do part thee, and me.

And upon this resolution, they travel together, and Ruth came in [Page 21]the Harvest time, to gleane Corn in the field of Boaz, who took notice of her, and used her kindly) and shortly after married her (she being then a Widow) and her Mother-in-law Naomi became Nurse unto it, of whom according to the flesh came Christ, for the Text saith that Boaz begat Obed of Ruth, and Obed begat Jesse, and Jesse begat David.

Then follows the story of the thrice noble Queen Esther, Esther. who was so happy that she found favor in the sight of all that looked upon her; and King Ahashuerus loved Esther above all the Women, and she found grace and favor in his sight more then all the Virgins, and when all the people of the Jews, were in apparent danger of utter destruction, she commanded all the Jews to fast three nights and three days, promising that she and her maids would also fast, which they did, and she put on this hero­ick [Page 22]disposition and resolution; say­ing, I will go into the King, though it be contrary to the Law, and if I perish I perish, and so she preserved all the Nation (being her own people) and caused Haman their enemy, and the Plotter of all mischief, to be hanged upon the same gallows, which he had prepared for Mordecai her Uncle.

Now Gentlewomen of the first and best rank, give me leave, before we depart, and before I bid you farewell, to take you by the hand, and lead you to the 31. Chapter of the Proverbs, for I would have you (and so would God) to be as well good Hus-wives, as good Wives, and there ye are taught your duty thus, taking notice of the preamble before it, which runs thus; What my son, and what the Son of my womb, and what O son of my desires; Give not thy strength unto Women, &c. Then she comes to a vertuous Woman, confessing her price is far above the [Page 23]Pearles, and that the heart of her husband trusteth in her, and that she will do him good and not evil all the days of her life, and that she will seek for Wool and Flax, and labor cheerfully with her hands; and how she, like the ships of Merchants bringeth her food from afar, and how she riseth when it is yet night, and giveth the portion to her Houshold, and the ordinary to her maids; and how with the fruit of her hands, she planteth a Vineard, and how her Candle is not put out by night, and how she putteth her hands to the Wheele, and her singers to the spindle; and how she feareth not the snow to her Family, for they are clothed in Scarlet; and how she maketh ber self Carpets, and fine Linnen and Purple, also Sheets and Girdles, and how she overseeth the walls of her Houshold, and eateth not the bread of idleness; and how her Children rise up, and call her [Page 24]blessed; and her Husband doth daily praise her, saying, Many Daughters have done vertuously, but thou surmountest them all: Con­cluding, that Favor is deceitful, and Beauty is vanity; but a Woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised. And that the fruit of her hands shall be given her, and her own works praise her in the Gates; for she so adorneth her Husband, that she maketh him to be known in the Gates, and when he sitteth with the Elders of the Land.

Neither dare I leave out of my Catalogue [...] Elizabeth, Eliza­beth. the Wife of Zacharias, and both esteemed just before God: And she was the Mother of John the Baptist, who was great in the sight of the Lord, and so highly honored, as to Baptise our Saviour in his own person in the River of Jordan, when he was Thirty years of age. A man that neither drank Wine, nor strong [Page 25]drink; his Rayment being made of Camels Hair, and his diet being Locusts and wilde Honey. And I shall desire of you (by way of pa­renthesis) to observe with me, what a wicked and perverse people the Jews were, and no way to be plea­sed: For our Saviour came Eating and drinking, and they said of him, Behold, a Wine bibber, a friend of Publicans and Sinners: And this John came neither eating nor drink­ing, and they said, Behold he hath a Devil.

Now to proceed in the story,Anna. At the Dedication of our Saviour, there was in the Temple a Prophetess one Anna, who was of a great age, and had lived seven years with an Hus­band from her Virginity; and she was a Widow of about Eighty four years, and went not out of the Tem­ple, but served God with Fastings and Prayers night and day; who confessed likewise the Lord, and [Page 26]spake of him to all that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.

And presently follows, That as he came to a City called Naim, Be­hold, there was a dead man carried out, the onely son of his Mother, and Jesus had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not; and he onely touched the Beer, and said unto the yong man, Arise, and he rose up and began to speak, and he delivered him to his Mother.

Also our Saviour so tendered the poor Widow, That he over ruled the wicked heart of the unrighte­ous judge, who neither feared God, nor reverenced Man, to do her right to avoid her importunity.

Christ beheld the rich men which cast their gifts into the Treasury, and withall took notice of a poor Wid­dow, who cast in there two Mites, and he said thus of her: Of a truth this poor Widdow hath cast in more then they all; for they out of their super­fluity [Page 27]cast into the offerings of God, but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had.

As our Saviour was going to be crucified, there followed him a great multitude of Women, who bewailed and lamented him, and he took no­tice of them, and said unto them, Daughter of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for your selves and your Children, for the days will come, when men shall say, Blessed are the Barren, and the Wombs that never bare, and the Paps that never gave suck.

Now I come to the good Woman of Canaan, Good Wo­man of Cannan. who had a very great measure of Faith; for, her Daugh­ter being miserably vexed with a Devil, she came unto Jesus and cri­ed, saying unto him: Have mercy on me O Lord, thou Son of David, but he answered her not a word: Then came his Disciples to him, and be­sought him saying, send her away for she crieth after us, (whereby it is ap­parent [Page 28]that her faith wrought this importunity) to which our Saviour answered, that he was not sent, but unto the lost Sheep of the House of Is­rael; yet she came and worshipped him, saying, Lord help me; and he answered and said, It is not good to take the Childrens bread and cast it to dogs, to which she (being fu [...]l of Faith) replied thus; Truth Lord, yet indeed the dogs eate of the crums, which fall from their Masters table; Then Jesus answered and said unto her. O Woman great is thy Faith, be it un­to thee as thou beleevest, and her daughter, was made whole at that hour.

But for examples of good Wo­men,Mary Magda­len. I will conclude with Mary Mag­dalen, out of whom Christ had cast seven Devils, for in her youth, she was a most lewd and vitious woman, but afterwards proved an exempla­ry Convert, who a little before our Saviours Passion, having a Box of [Page 29]very costly oyntment powred it on his head as he sate at the Table; at which his Disciples took excepti­ons, Why (being so costly) it was not sold and given to the poor. To which our Saviour made this an­swer, saying, Why trouble ye the Woman, for she hath wrought a good work upon me; for ye have the poor always with you, but me shall ye not have always. Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this Gospel shall be preach­ed throughout all the World, there shall also this that she hath done, be spoken of for a remembrance of her.

How then durst I leave it out. Also ye know how she washed his feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head.

Lastly and chiefly, consider her zeal and devotion, how upon the first day of the week early, while it was yet dark (for she came to seek when there was no light to finde) yet she came unto the Sepulchre; [Page 30]and seeing the stone taken away from the Tom be what haste she made; for she ran to call Peter and John, and albeit both these Disciples (after a search by them made) and not find­ing, returned to their own home, yet she stood without at the Sepul­chre weeping, whereupon a great Divine noted and collected four ob­servations worthy of Memory. Thus,

  • 1. Mary, that is her Appellation or Nomination.
  • 2. Stood, that is her station.
  • 3. Without at the Sepulchre, that is her desolation.
  • 4. Weeping, that is her lamen­tation.

And shee sees Gods love unto her being thus alone, for two Angels ap­peared to her in white, the one sit­ting at the head, the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus was laid, to whom she spake thus, saying, They have taken away the body of my [Page 31]Lord, and I know not where they have laid him. And immediately Jesus himself appeared to her, but she thought he had been the Gardner; and so communed with her: But then Jesus spake unto her, saying, Mary. Then she knew his voice, and turned her self, and said unto him, Rabboni, which is to say, Master. Je­sus saith unto her, Touch me not, for I am not yet ascended to my Father, but go to my Brethren and acquaint them. So she went and told the Dis­ciples, that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her.

The last Cordial I have to give unto vertuous Women, is a good one, and very comfortable, and that is to shew you, That the Lord hath made choice of your weak Sex, to be instrumental in these particular eminent and remarkable things following.

  • 1. As when he was pleased to see [Page 32]forth the excellent grace of Love, he compares it far surpassing the love, not of Men but of Women, who are most apt and prone to a­bound therein.
  • 2. Likewise, when he would ex­press matter of Sorrow and Lamen­tation, he also compares that to Women, thus, As a Woman mourn­ing for the Husband of her youth; as if there were no greater mourn­ing.
  • 3. But lastly and chiefly to your Immortal Glory and Everlasting Honor, Take notice that Women were made the Witnesses, and the first and onely Witnesses of our Sa­viours Resurrection, and therein preferred before Peter and John, who was that beloved Disciple.

Thus much touching good and andvertuous Women, for their Di­rection, Encouragement, Imitation, and Consolation.

Now concerning the Marthaes [Page 33]of the world, or the worldly Mar­thaes, I could wish them with Mary, to chuse the better part, and not cumber themselves about many things, and neglect that unum ne­cessariums, That one thing which is necessary. And that they would be wise to think of their latter end, and to provide for eternity, knowing, that they dwell here in Houses made of Clay, whose foundation is the Dust. And so labor to attain the peace of a good Conscience, to be unto them a continual feast, and to believe that god liness is great gain; for it hath the promise, both of this life, and of the life to come: And to be able to distinguish between things terrene, momentary, and transitory, and things durable, eternal, and cele­stial; and to consider, that the body is but a base Countrey Churl, but the Soul is a very great Lord; and if they had two such guests to en­tertain in their Houses, they would [Page 34]blush and be ashamed to provide for the Churl all fitting accommodations, and to neglect the great Lord, making little or slow provisi­on for him.

Also to consider, That the World it self must Wax old, as doth a Gar­ment, and a time will come, and that shortly, when the Sun shall be darkned, and the Moon shall not give her light; when the stars shal fall from Heaven, and the powers of Heaven shall be shaken; and when ye shall hear the sound of the Trum­pet in your ears, saying, Arise ye dead, and some to judgment; and then the Graves shall be opened, and the dead shall arise; the Sea also shall yield up her dead, and all flesh shall appear naked before Gods tri­ou [...] seat, then and there to re­ceive a recompence and reward (not for, but) according to the works which they have done, be they good [...].

And these things being so, as most certainly they are, what manner of persons ought ye to be in holy Conversations, and in Godliness. How ought ye to give all diligence to make your Calling and Election sure; that ye be in the number of Christs little flock, for whom he hath prepared a Kingdom before the foundation of the world was laid, that so whensoever it shall please him to summon you to appear be­fore him, whether in the morning, or in the eveving, the Cock crow­ing, or the dawning of the day, ye may with the wise Virgins, have your Oyl burning in your Lamps (even the fruit of a pure Conversa­tion) and so may enter into your Masters joy: And having been found faithful in little, ye may be made ruler, and over much, and then ye must be content to make your Bed in the darkness, and to say to Corruption, Thou art my Mother; [Page 36]and to the Worms, Ye are our sisters, and our brethren.

Therefore it is high time for you to give over reading the 31 Chapter of the Proverbs, which teacheth onely matter of good Houswivery, and be more careful to read and study other places of the Scripture, which do put you in minde of the Immortality of the Soul, that so ye may make timely provision for it, and cry out with the Goaler in the Acts, saying, Men and Brethren, what shall we do to be saved.

By this time, I doubt not, but ye have a desire to go to Heaven; and for your furtherance in so happy a journey, I will be bold to acquaint you with three ways leading there­unto.

First, there be some that steale into Heaven, by works of Mercy, and deeds of Charity, when they feed the hungary, and clothe the naked, and suffer none to perish for want of [Page 37]clothing, nor no poor to be without co­vering, but rather that their Loines may bless them, being warned with the Fleece of their sheep; and yet all this to be so performed, that the right hand shall not know what the left hand doth.

Secondly, there be some who are driven and beaten as 'twere into Heaven; as by trouble, affliction, persecution, poverty, sickness or the like, for then you know what is spo­ken in the Psalmist; In their afficti­on they will seek me diligently.

Thirdly, there are others who take or seize the Kingdom of Hea­ven, by force and violence, as it is spoken in the Scripture, the Kindom of Heaven suffereth violence; as when it is gotten by earnest importunity; as the poor importunate Widdow, who overcame the unrighteous Judge, and even forced him to grant her request; or as Jacob contending all night with Christ himself, telling [Page 38]him, that unless he blessed him, he would not let him go.

So if it please God to make you so happy as to find out either of these three ways, ye will then at­taine the end of your hopes, which is the salvation of your Souls; which is of far greater price and value then all the things in the World, nay, then ten thousand Worlds; for then ye shall come to live and raigne with the Eternal God, Father, Son and Holy Ghost, and with his glo­rious Quire of Heavenly Angels, and of the Spirits of just and holy men, who have departed this life in the fear of his blessed name; and there shall ye enjoy fulness of joy, and that for evermore.

Now I come to my last and worst sort of Women, namely, lewd and vitious women, who as I told you in the beginning, are neither good for this World, nor for the World to come; and therefore I take the least [Page 39]care of them, and will bestow the least pains upon them, and the book of God makes mention of too many of them.

For there we reade of the mon­strous impiety and horrid lust of Po­tiphars Wife, so often assaulted the chastity of vertuous Joseph, and that with impudency after deni­all.

Yee read also of the intollerable pride of Queen Vasthi, in not obey­ing the command of the King her husband, and what became of her.

And of painted Jezabel, whose blood the very Dogs licked up.

Also of Jobs Wife, who gave her husband no better councel, then to curse God and die; and after­wards in his greatest misery, how her breath was strange unto him, though he intreated her for the fruit of her body.

And here I may not omit what [Page 40]experience almost every Assizes bringeth forth, both in our days and the days of our Fore-fathers, that seldome any notable Robberies or cruel Murthers have been com­mitted, but a woman or more had a hand in it, and were the chief Con­trivers and Actors thereof, destroy­ing the Mother with her sucking Babe, and that without any pitty, compassion or remorse; and seldom any Assizes pass, but some of them are indicted, convicted, and justly condemned and executed for killing and most unnaturally destroying the fruit of their own bodies.

But I call to remembrance a Book heretofore written by one Greene, to teach men to beware of Cutpurses, and discovering all their cunning se­crets, and underhand practises, where, by in the judgment of wise men, he did much more harm then good, and taught divers to becom Cutpur­ses, who before had no thought to [Page 41]bend their studies that way: There­fore I will forbear divers particular most wicked and barbarious actions (which I could mention) done and committed by Women, which not­withstanding condemns not the ge­nerality of that Sex (God forbid) but shews that Passion and Affection in them, either in love or hatred, is much more extream and violent then in Men, according to the verse of the Poet.

Aut te vehementer amat vel te capitaliter odit.

Either they will love intirely, or hate deadly.

Lastly, Taking notice that al­most in every particular County of the Nation, where there are Hus­bands and Wives who live a sunder, and do not cohabite yet not for the act of Adultery, which is the (and [Page 42]the onely) cause of Separation; but for other sinister respects, whereby it is evident, that they live in sin, and provoke God to wrath and in­dignation against them, and their posterity.

Therefore I much pitying their cases, and having therein in some measure, my self, been a suffer, I shall endeavor by the assistance of Almighty God to open their eyes, and convince their judgments of the unlawfulness thereof, and manifold inconveniencies arising thereby; for it had been better they had never one seen another. But I come to my proofs, and that out of the Word of God, which are both satisfactory and unanswerable.

First, We are to call to minde the solemn promises and engage­ments they made to their Husbands at the time of their marriage, for then the Minister asked them thus.

Wilt thou have this man to thy wed­ed Husband, to live together in the holy estate of Matrimony. Wilt thou obey him, and serve him, love, honor, and keep him in sickness and in health, and forsaking all other, keeping thee only unto him so long as ye both shall live.

To which the Woman answered, I will.

Here is an absolute, not a condi­tional promise, and that for term of life to live together, else there is no obedience, nor love, &c.

Next they took their Husbands by the right hand, saying after the Minister these words.

J. A. take thee B. to my wedded Husband: To have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer; in sickness and in health: To love, cherish and to obey, till death us depart accord­ing [Page 44]to Gods holy Ordinance, and there­to I give thee my troth.

A sacred Obligation and a Knot inviolable, during life, though sick­ness or poverty should intervene, or any other disaster.

Moreover, the Minister did joyn their right hands together, using these words. Those whom God hath joyned together, let no man put a­sunder.

If no man can do it, then they themselves cannot, much less one of them.

Also the Minister gave them this Blessing.

God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost bless you, &c. and so fill you with all spiritual benediction and grace, that ye may so live together in this life, that in the world to come, ye may have life everlasting.

No benediction nor grace, unless they live together, not asunder.

Then observe the Prayer after­wards, one running thus.

O eternal God, Creator and Pre­server of all mankinde, send thy bless­ing upon this Man and this Woman, that as Isaac and Rebecca lived faith­fully together so these persons may surely perform the Vow and Covenant-between them made.

The Scripture declareth, That cursed is he or she, who maketh a Vow, and performeth it not.

Another Prayer is thus.

O God, who didst appoint, that out of Man, Woman should take her begin­ing; and by knitting them together, didst teach, That it should never be lawful to put asunder those, whom thou by Matrimony haste made one. Grant that this Woman may be loving and [Page 46]amiable to her Husband [...] Rachel, wise as Rebecca, faithful and obedi­ent as Sarah, and in all quietness, so­briety, and peace, be a follower of holy and godly Matrons.

Here is likewise a living toge­ther, and not putting asunder, and obedience prayed for on the Wives behalf, as likeliest to Rebecca.

More out of the Holy Scripture.

Genesis, Chap. 3. It was part of the punishment which God imposed upon you for the transgression of your Grand-Mother Eve, [...] re [...]ing you, that your desire shall be subject to your Husband, and they shall reigne over you.

If God hath so appointed, and that justly, who dare disobey.

Gen. 24. Chap. verse 55. Rebec­caes Mother and Brother desired that she might stay with them at least ten days, before she went to Isaac, and [Page 47]the matter being referred unto her, she made choice to go presently.

Whereby, it is apparent that the company of a Husband, is to be preferred before Mother or Brother, or any Friends or Relations whatso­ever.

Numb. 13.8. The husband hath power to disallow the vow of the Wife, and make it of none effect.

Whereby it is manifest that his power is very great, and much more to intreate or command her Com­pany.

Deut. 28.56. The delicate Woman who could not set the sole of her foot to the ground for tenderness, the Text saith, her eye shall be evil toward the husband of her Bosome.

So that an evil eye towards the Husband is peculiar to a proud wife.

Job 19.17. Holy Job complained, that his breath was strange to his VVife though he intreated, &c.

Job would not have complained [Page 48]for nothing, therefore it was a great Judgment.

Prov. 31.10, 12. Who can find a vertuous Woman, for her price is above Rubies; the heart of her husband doth safely trust in her; she will do him good, and not evil all the days of her life.

This cannot be done if they live asunder, for then there is doing nei­ther of good nor evil in relation each to other.

Jer. 3.20. A woman treacherously departeth from her husband; so have ye deabt treacherously with me, O house of Israel, saith the Lord.

So that no departing can be with­out being guilty of Treachery.

New Testament.

Mat. 19.6. Our Saviour speak­ing of Man and Wife, saith, They are no more twaine, but one flesh; what therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

A fearful thing to untie Gods knot, and them impossible for one to have, and the other to want.

Rom. 7.2. The Woman which hath a Husband, is bound by the Law to her Husband so long as he lives.

So that it is as lawful for an Ap­prentice to run away from his Ma­ster, as for a Wife to depart from her Husband without his consent.

1 Cor. 7.4. The Wife hath not power of her own body, but the Hus­band.

How then can the Wife dispose of any thing which is not her own.

Verse 16. What knowest thou O Wife, whether thou shalt save thy Hus­band.

A strange Salvation likely to be wrought when they live many miles asunder.

Verse 34. The married Woman careth for the things of the World, how she may please her Husband.

Which is done in nothing more, [Page 50]then to live with him if he desire it.

Verse 10. The Apostle saith, I command, and yet not I, but the Lord: Let not the Wife depart from her Hus­band.

If the high God command, who dare disobey.

Verse 13. The Woman which hath an Husband that believeth not, if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him.

If unbelief be not a cause of sepa­ration, what then can be (except Fornication) I am sure neither pover­ty, sickness, &c.

1 Cor. 9.5. St. Paul saith, Have we not power to lead about a Wife, as well as other Apostles.

It seems in those days, that good Wives should follow their Husbands where ever they went.

1 Cor. 11.3. The Head of the Woman is the Man.

A strange thing to have the Head [Page 51]and the Body many miles asunder.

Verse 8, 9. The Man is not of the Woman, but the Woman of the Man; neither was the Man created for the Man.

A fearful thing for the Wife to separate, not regarding the end of her Creation, for whom she was made.

Verse 12. The Woman is of the Man, but the Man is by the Woman.

If of the Man, how can they part stakes and withdraw?

Col. 3.18. The Apostle commands Wives to submit to their own husbands.

Then certainly must dwell with them, if they desire it, else it is not submission but rebellion, the Wife not having power of her own body.

Eph. 5.23. The Husband is the Head of the Wife, even as Christ is the Head of the Church: Therefore as the Church is subject unto Christ, so let Wives be unto their Husbands in every thing.

Oh that the great God of Hea­ven and Earth, should compare the tye between Husband and Wife, to the Mystical Union between Christ and his Church!

1 Pet. 3.1. Wives, be in subjection to your own Husbands; that if any obey not the Word, they may without the Word be wone by the conversation of the Wives.

Conversation and Cohabitation, are inseparable companions: For how can they converse, unless they cohabite.

FINIS.

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