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THE Honour and Happiness OF THE VERTUOUS WOMAN; More especially Considered in the two Relations Of a Wife and Mother. Meditated upon the lamented Death OF Mrs. Elizabeth Hirst, the Vertuous Consort of Grove Hirst, Esq Who departed this Life, July 10. 1716. In the 35 Year of Her Age.

By BENJAMIN COLMAN, Pastor of a Church of CHRIST in Boston. N.E.

Boston: Printed by B. Green. 1716.

[Page i]

To my Honoured Friend, GROVE HIRST, Esq

SIR,

IN a tender Sympathy with You, as becomes my Pastoral Relation and that particular Friendship you favour me with on the best Accounts, I was naturally led into the following ME­DITATION, upon the Death of your Ex­cellent & Gracious Consort. As GOD has bless'd you with many Lovely Children by Her, so few MOTHERS have better an­swer'd the Character of Solomons rare & In­valuable Vertuous Woman, or more Merited that her Children should rise up & call Her Blessed I know how dear her Memory will ever be unto you, nor need you Praise her to them that know her. I wish your Children, who are too Young almost to know their loss, may as they grow up Inherit & Exhibit a double Portion of Her Gracious Spirit.

[Page ii] Remember (Sir) how happily you have liv'd together, Her comfortable End, and how well She finish'd; and Support your Self on the Blessed Hope of a Joyful Meeting again, never to part more.

I wish you all that Increase of Wisdom & Grace you need, (which is very much, and which only GOD the Father of Lights can Supply you with) whereby you may bear Exemplarily and improve Religiously the present Providence, do your double Duty to your tender Brood, who have lost the other warm Wing they us'd to gather under, and still go on to discharge Faithfully the Du­ties of your Publick Trusts, to the Honour of GOD and the Good of your Country.

Mrs. HIRST has made no small Additi­on to the Honour of Her Family, and to the Name of SEW ALL; And now what living Pattern of profound Resignation to the Will of GOD in Her Death, can I so Pro­perly and Decently commend to You, or can You with equal Pleasure and Reverence [Page iii]desire to learn of, as that which Her own FA­THER (the Honourable Judge SEW ALL) has been Enabled by the Grace of GOD to give You? I pray GOD to teach All that are Related that Difficult but Ne­cessary and Reasonable Lesson, and to Sanctifie their Bereavement to their Spiritual and Everlasting Advantage.

And may GOD please to add to the many Bright Examples of Sincerity and true Devotion, which are to be found thro' the Town both of Elder and Younger Women, and make them more in Behaviour as becometh Holiness: Particularly may He please so to Adorn that Church whereof the DECEASED was so great an Orna­ment.

I am SIR, Your most Obliged Friend and Unworthy Pastor, BENJAMIN COLMAN.
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The Honour and Happiness OF THE Vertuous Woman.

PROVERBS XXXI. 28.

Her Children arise up, and call her blessed; her Husband also, and he praiseth her.

THIS Chapter is an Appendix to the Proverbs of Solomon. They are the Words of King Lemuel, the Prophecy that his Mother taught him. Inter­preters are generally of Opinion, that Le­muel is no other than Solomon himself. At least, like Solomon, he was a Wise and Re­ligious King, under the Inspiration and Di­rection of GOD in what is here wrote. [Page 2]He had likewise a Religious and Wise Mo­ther, who took great Care to Instruct and Charge Him from GOD; as Solomon was tender and Only-beloved in the sight of his Mother. The Gracious Mother of Lemuel was Inspir'd of GOD in these Admonitions which She gave to her Son; and so has the Honour to stand on Record here as a Pro­phetess as well as a Princess. She first In­structs the Prince her Son in his Duty, how to behave himself as becomes his high Place and Dignity; and then she Instructs her Dau'ters what they should be; more especi­ally in the Relation of Wives. Or it may be she gave this Description of a VERTU­OUS WOMAN to the Prince her Son, as a Direction to him in the Choice of a Wise.

SO then a Wise Inspired WOMAN is our Teacher to Day, and her happy Son pre­serves her Wise Sayings in Writing. Her Instructions will be the more Acceptable and Powerful I hope to her Sex, and we all must with equal Reverence hear the HOLY GHOST speaking to us, as when His In­spirations rested on the Holy Men of GOD.

IN short, this Holy Mother,

  • [Page 3]1. DECLARES the Price and Rarity of the Vertuous Woman, whom she describes, v. 10.
  • 2. SHE gives her Character in many Par­ticulars, in the following Verses; her Chastity and Modesty, Diligence and Fru­gality, Discretion and Prudence, and in all her Piety and Conscientiousness.
  • 3. SHE tells the Felicities of this Excel­lent Person; what a Blessing she is to her Husband, what a Confidence he puts in her; how she does him Honour, and is Valued and Esteemed by him: And in particular in the Words of my Text, How her Children rise up and call her Blessed, &c.

IT is supposed here, that she have a Hus­band, and have Children. It is a Gracious Wife & a Mother in Israel, that is spoken of. For there may be the same Excellent Wo­men in neither of these Relations, and equal­ly is she then Accepted of GOD, and Vene­rable among His People.

MOREOVER, It is supposed, that both the Husband and the Children be in some measure Good as she is. She will not else [Page 4]be so Blessed in their Eyes; nor Praised by them for her Piety and Excellencies. Tho' indeed the Wicked are often forc'd to Praise and call them Blessed, whom they do not Imitate and learn of.

BUT let us suppose the best here; I mean that the whole Family be Wise and Vertu­ous: Let us suppose the Vertuous Wife hap­py in a Gracious and Wise Husband, that knows how to Prize and Praise her; and happy in Wise and Pious Children, who un­derstand the Blessing they have, or have had, in such a Mother. And that they may the better do so, who are blessed with such a Relative, I will enlarge a little in opening the several Parts of the Text.

I. HER Children rise up. And this may signify and import,

  • 1. THE Reverence that her Children bear to her, & are ever ready to express in all their Carriage towards her, in all their Deportment and Behaviour in her Presence, in all their Words and Actions before her. They Ho­nour her in their Hearts, and do her Honour [Page 5]always; such as her Superiour Relation to them, her Age, her Wisdom and Gravity, her Authority by Nature, her Benefits to them, and all her Persenal Excellencies do com­mand from them. They do this from Incli­nation and Love, and also from Principle and a sense of Duty. Even Nature teaches them, and the Law of God requires it of them, for it is the first Commandment with Promise, Honour thy Father and thy Mother. In Obe­dience therefore unto GOD, Pious Chil­dren will Reverence and rise up before their Parents, and it is the least external Act of Fi­lial Respect, in the Letter of the Text, that Children can think due unto their Parents. They will rise up when their Parents come into the Room where they are, to bow down to them. They will rise up before them when they speak, to hear their Wisdom, to receive their Will, and in order to the doing what they require or direct. Especially Parents that are Exemplary for Wisdom, Pi­ety, and the good Government of their Housholds, are worthy of double Honours. Solomon, tho' he were a King, yet when his [Page 6] Mother came into his Presence, he rose up to meet her, and bowed himself unto her, and sat down upon his Throne, and caused a seat to be set for the Kings Mother, and she sat on his right hand, 1 Kings 2.19. Be we grown up, and grown Great, yet we are never too big to rise up and bow down to our Parents And not only do we at Mens Estate owe this unto our Fathers, if they are yet alive, but also to our Aged Mothers; remembring how they have born us in the Womb and from the Womb, their many Tender Cares for us, and Good Offices to us from our Infancy. He is a Foolish Son (says Solomon) that de­spiseth his Mother: And in the Wisdom of GOD he charges us not to despise her when she is Old; which too many scornful and inso­lent Young People are apt to do; they make light of what the Old Woman says, tho' she warns them in the Wisdom of GOD, Prov. 23.22. We are bid to rise up before the hoary Head, & to honour the Face of the [...] Man. Much more shou'd we do this to our Parents in their Age. But this is the first Sense, her Children rise up in Reverence in her Presence.
  • [Page 7] 2. HER Children rise, i. e. Grow up in her sight; say some. Her Reward, her Joy and her Crown She sees them as Olive Plants growing round her Table and her House. It may be she is so happy as to have her Quiver full of them; and they are rising up about her to be her Defence in times to come, as well as her present Ornament & Guard, that she may speak even with the Enemy in the Gate, by them Fighting for her. Or it may be she sees her Childrens Children, and Peace upon Israel. Her Sons and her Sons Sons add to the Numbers of Israel and their Valiant Men, which are the Security and Safeguard of the Nation. Her Sons are as Plants grown up in their Touth, her Daughters as corner Stones, polished after the similitude of a Palace. ‘Plants, not Weeds. Grown up, not Withered and Blasted, but likely to bring forth Fruit in their Day. Families are Connected also by the Daugh­ters, as the parts of a fine Building are by the Corner Stones: And as the Polished Stones of a Palace, so are they in the Families united by them, when they are Graceful and Beauteous in Body & Mind.’
  • [Page 8] 3. HER Children rise up in her place, & fill it after her Decease. The Excellent Mother Dies it may be as they are Growing up, but her Children, and especially her Daughters, partaking of her Excellent Spirit soon come to Shine as she once did. The Gracious Parent Revives in her Offspring; her Graces are seen in them, they tread in her Steps, exhibit her Vertues, as the Branches agree unto the Stock. They are Grave and Ver­tuous, Meek and Humble, Benevolent and Courteous, Devout and Gracious, full of all Goodness; so as to bring the Deceased Mother to the Minds of them that knew her, and now see the Chaste Conversation of her Daughters. Children worthy of such a Pa­rent, and worthy to bear her Name, and fill up her Place; whose Daughters they are so long as they do well; but if otherwise, no Bo­dy would drink that they came of her, or ever belong'd to her. The Mother will ne­ver Die, we say, so long as these live; they are the living Monument that bear the In­scription of her Vertues and Praises: They Transcribe them in their own Lives.
  • [Page 9] 4. HER Children rise up—, It notes, (says one and another of our Expositors) that they set themselves purposely & industri­ously to what follows; i. e. To Praise & Bless her. They Seriously apply themselves to the Work of setting forth her Praises, and doing her Honour. So Men rise up, when they set themselves about any Work which they are Intent and Earnest upon. The Wise Children of Excellent Parents shou'd have their Hearts Intent and Earnest upon this, to do Honour to their Names, and shew forth their Vertues. This is a good and pleasant Work which they are always ready to rise up & engage in.

BUT so much for the first thing; Her Children rise up—.

II. IT follows, And call her Blessed. They have been the constant Eye witnesses of her whole Carriage; they have seen her Exem­plary life, her personal Excellencies, and hap­pily experienced her Relative Goodness in a thousand Instances; and are under so many Obligations to call her Blessed.

[Page 10] THERE is a Generation indeed that cur­seth their Father, & doth not bless their Mo­ther, Prov. 30.11. But it is not this sordid, graceless, profane and unnatural Crew, that I have now to do with; save only as they stand condemned & detected by our Doctrine. And by the way Observe, that the Generation that do not bless their Mother, are little better, if not the very same, with them that curse their Father. Let none of us be of this Seed of the Serpent, this Generation of Vipers. How unlike they are the Vertuous Children of the Vertuous Woman in our Text? Her Children rise up & call her Blessed.

THAt is,

  • 1. SUCH is the Inward Esteem, Affection & Gratitude of their Souls towards her, that they inwardly & secrely bless her in their hearts, as often as they see her or think of her. As often as they rise up in her Presence, this is the language of their hearts concerning her and toward her. O what a blessed Wo­man is She in her Self! (says their Judici­ous Esteem) What a blessing has She been to us! What a blessing in the World! How [Page 11]much are we and others the better for her! How happy her Family, how happy her Friends and Nei'bours in her! and how hap­py She in her self in being what She is Were you within her gracious Children you would see and hear this in their retired tho'ts and real sentiments; Lord, what a Blessing have we in such a Parent!
  • 2. WHEN ever they Speak of her, it is with high Reverence & Honour. In so many Words they call her Blessed. They do not Name her but with the utmost respect. When they have occasion to commend her behind her back, then they utter their High Opinion and Esteem of her. They can't bear that any should Speak evil of her. It is to them as if one Spake against the Light, or threw dirt in their Eyes, and next to the Blaspheming God in their hearing. With the Mouth bless we God, and with the Mouth we bless Men; and some are so Excellent Persons that when the Eye sees'em and the Ear hears them, the Mouth must needs bless them.
  • 3. THEIR whole Deportment before & to­ward Her speak the Sentiments of their hearts [Page 12]concerning her. And this is more than all words. You may see it in their Eyes, which bear wit­ness to her. There the Esteem of the Soul sits visible & shines out. You may see by their whole Carriage and Behaviour what their Veneration is: with what delight they hear her Speak, with what Pleasure they re­ceive her Will; how they listen to her Wis­dom, how they submit reverently to her rebukes, with what Joy they see her smile on them. So when Job went to the Gate thro' the City, when he prepared his Seat in the Street, the young men-saw him & hid them­selves, the aged arose & stood up; the Princes refrained Talking, & the Nobles held their peace: Unto him they gave ear & waited, & kept silence at his counsel; if he laughed on'em they believed it not, &c. That is to say, They did by every external sign Express the high Reverence which in their Souls they bare him. And this was indeed to bear wit­ness to him, and more than in words to call him blessed.
  • 4. HER Children rise up & call her Bles­sed, It may mean that they are Themselves her [Page 13]best Praise & Commendation. Their own Ver­tues, and verrous Deeds praise their Pa­rent. Their Good Manners, their good Breed­ing, their Modesty and Humility, Sobriety, Charity & Godliness; Their good Conversa­tion in Christ, as becomes the Gospel; these declare the Pains she took in their Education, the Example she gave them, the Instructions and Charges they had from her, her Prayers and Vows for them. See the blessed Fruit of her Fidelity, the Travel of her Soul for theirs, to see Christ formed in them! So when a Woman saw the Grace of God in our SAVIOUR, and heard his Divine Discour­ses, she blessed the Womb that bare him, and the Paps that he had sucked. And blessed in­deed the Womb and the Breasts are, where in a good Sense Partus sequitur ventrem, and the Excellent Children, do but exhibit the Vertues and Graces of a good Mother. Blessed the Mother that bears and brings up Children for Christ, and they live to Him as she has taught them. So the Graces of Children do sometimes call to our Minds the Graces of Parents even after their De­cease; [Page 14]2 Tim. 1.5. When I call to remembrance the unfeigned Faith that is in thee; which dwelt first in thy Grandmother Lois, and in thy Mother Eunice, and I am perswaded that in thee also.
  • 5. HER Children rise up & bless God for her. In their Secret Devotions they do so daily, and in the Family Prayers, and often in a Day may they do so in their Secret Ejaculations, and the upliftings of their Soul to God, in Company or out of Company, in the Parents Presence and while she is Speaking, or otherwise. A Parent is to her Children what God makes her to be; and a Gracious Parent is a singular Gift and Blessing of God unto a Family of Children; wherefore to be sure every Gracious Child will Bless and Praise God for such a Parent; and in doing that they call her Blessed. What we bless God for, owning it to have been a Blessing to us, we do abundantly call Blessed.
  • 6. HER Children ever Pray for her; bless her, and ask the Blessings of Heaven on her. So she is ever Blessing her Children, in her [Page 15]Prayers for them; in which she has remem­brance of them Day and Night, without ceasing. And thus Children may bless their Parents, and Inferiours their Superiors, by Praying for them, as well as Blessing God for them. For have we not all one Father? And has not one God created us? And are not all Souls alike His? The Souls of Pa­rents and the Souls of Children? And as Parents can't do their Duty to their Chil­dren without commending them to the Grace and Blessing of God in their Daily Prayers, as Job and David bless'd their Houses; So neither can Children render the Love and Reverence due to their Parents, without Praying for them Daily. For Pa­rents do as much need God's Blessing on them as their Children do; and Children therefore ought to implore God's Blessing on their Father and Mother, as much as Pa­rents ought to ask it for their Children. And that Child never will Devoutly and a­right rise up and call his Parent Blessed, who does not Beg of God in Solemn Prayer, that HE would bless them: Whose Blessing it is that makes us Blessings.
  • [Page 16] 7. THE Memory of the Gracious Mother is Blessed with her Children after her Decease. They call her Blessed after she is Dead. The Memory of the Just is Blessed, Prov. 107. Especially ought it to be so to their Sur­viving Relatives. Then they freely rise up and speak what they would not do so freely when their Relative was alive. As when Dorcas was laid out, they stood about her Weeping; telling her good Deeds, and re­hearsing one Excellency and another that made her lov'd and desir'd in her Life. ‘'Tis a Blessing to leave a blessed Name behind one. Blessings come upon the Head of the Just after they are laid in the Grave, out of Sight and out of Hearing.’ A blessed Parent thou wert to me, may the good Child devoutly say; a singular Blessing had I in Her; her Blessed Counsels and Instructions, her Blessed and Holy Walk with God, shall never be forgotten by me.
  • 8. And Lastly, HER Pious Children Com­fort themselves that she is among the Blessed. And indeed on this side Death we must call no One Blessed. They that are Holy and [Page 17]so Happy after Death, they are the Blessed. There is a State of Future and Eternal Bles­sedness, into which the Spirits of the Just do go: "Being made perfect in Holiness they do immediately pass into Glory. Rev. 14.13. Blessed are the Dead which die in the Lord. They that are fallen Asleep in Christ are unspeakably, infinitely, unchangeably and Eternally Blessed. They are the Blessed of the Father: Mat. 25.34. Come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the Kingdom. The Mouth of Chirst will pronounce them Bles­sed, and whom he blesses are Blessed indeed. They are Blessed in Him and with Him for ever; in His Presence, Love and Favour; and in the full Enjoyment of Him unto all Eternity. They are gone to a Blessed Place, the Paradise of God; to Blessed Company, the Holy Angels; and are employed in Blessed Work, the Praises of God for ever and ever. And this is the best Sense of all wherein the Children of a Holy Parent De­ceased can call her Blessed; they rise up and wipe away their Tears with this refreshing Thought,—My Gracious Parent is among [Page 18]the Blessed, that see the Face of God; Per­fectly, Immensely, Everlastingly Blessed. Thus they call her Blessed.

III. HER Husband also & he Praiseth her. Her Husband: He the Happy Man in her Life; He the most Afflicted in her Death; He the most Obliged to do her Justice and Honour; He that best knew her Worth and how to Praise her; He whose Praises she wou'd most desire and prefer; He whose Esteem and Testimony is her great­est Honour. He Praiseth her: Because she highly Deserves it of him; it is but a Tribute Due to her Memory: Had she been an ill Wife, or an undeserving One, he wou'd have Wept silently over her: For Vertuous Praise is an Enemy to Falshood or Flattery.

HER Husband also: It is supposed that he be a good One; No Morose Person; no Careless, Negligent and Inobservant Man. He is Obliging eno' to bestow Praises where they are due, and Wise eno' to know when he has received a Good Thing of the LORD.

HE Praiseth her; scil. In the following [Page 19]Words, v 29. Many Dau'ters have done Ver­tuously, but thou excellest them all. He gives her justly the Preference to all others, know­ing more of her Goodness and Excellency than of any other.

HER Husband also & he praiseth her. ‘It is no Indecency at all, but a laudable In­stance of Conjugal Love for Husbands and Wives to give one another their due Praises.’ But then they shou'd be very Discreet in it: Reserv'd, Cautious, Prudent; knowing when, where, to whom, and on what Occasion to do it. Wisdom is necessary to Direct and to Restrain. Wise Consorts will [...] Lusci­ous & Foolish in their Praises of one another; Not every where, in all Companies, on the most trivial Occasion, be telling of one ano­thers Excellencies. We shou'd not ordina­rily make our selves not our own Things the Subject of our Conversation. Prov. 27.2. Let another man praise thee and not thy own mouth, a stranger & not thy own lips. This Self-Admiration is a sickly Thing. Lock not every one to his own things. Least of all in bestowing our Praises. These we [Page 20]must bestow in Publick on our Neighbour.

NOT but that a Husband may Prudently eno' praise the Conduct of his Wife, and let her know his Esteem for her; and where he can be Free and in a way of Confidence he may declare it to others.

A GOOD Wife shou'd be always spoken well of; that's the least that can be due to her. She ought to be convinced of her Husbands Esteem for her. In Private he may well and often declare it to her; Not to puff up: No, her Piety and Vertue, her Wisdom and Discretion, her Conduct and Fidelity, her Care and Diligence, her Humility and Mo­desty are the Praise. w. 30. Favour is de­ceitful & Beauty is vain, but a Woman that feareth the Lord she shall he praised.

ON some particular Occasions there may be special Reasons for Praise; and for some particular Excellency One Person may merit Praise, and Another for another. v. 31. Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her own Works Praise her in the Gates.

TO have done, When she is Dead he may give her her Character, his Mouth may be [Page 21]then opened in her Commendation. His Tears will utter his Esteem and Value for her, his great Affection and Delight in her. His Affliction in her Death is a much more Substantial Praising her, however silent his deep Grief may be, than any Words can reach. So Abraham came to mourn for Sarah and to weep for her, Gen. 23.2.

THE Decent continuance of his Mourning will be one way of Praising her. He will not easily or soon Forget her, will not be in haste to Marry again, for it is not easy to find where to fill her Place. He will tell her Praises to her Children when she is in her Grave, that they may retain her in mind and honour her Memory; that they may learn of her and be like her.

USE. AND thus I have gone thro' the Text in a very free & copious Paraphrase up­on it: And what has been said wou'd teach us,

I. To Infer the Invaluable Blessing of having Dear & Lovely, Wife & Faithful, Vertuous & Gracious Relatives. Our present Comfort [Page 22]and Happiness does very much depend up­on it, and our Everlasting Well-Being is very much promoted by it. What a Blessing is a good Consort, a good Father or Mother, a good Child, and so a good Brother or Sister? Yea, a good Servant in a Family is an un­speakable Benefit and Comfort; and so is a good Master or Mistress unto. Servant. He that finds one or other of these Mercies finds much Good, and has obtained Favour of the Lord. How are our Worldly Cares eased, our Burdens lightned, our Lives sweetnea and made Pleasant by these Gifts of God.

II. LET us be Excited & Exhorted there­fore to be very Good in our respective Relations; that we may be Blessings while we Live, & that we may leave a blessed Name behind us when we Die. Let us so live together as Heirs of Grace as to constrain the Esteem, and en­deared Affection of our dear Relatives, to be an Honour to them, as well as a Comfort, their Joy and their Crown; to leave a fra­grant and precious Name behind us that may live with them that Survive, and have their Praises, as long as they shall continue after us.

[Page 23] FOR Instance, What a Price shou'd a Mo­ther put upon the Reverence of her Children, and the Praises of her Husband? How De­sirable and truly Valuable is it for her to be a Crown to her Husband, and an Honour to her Posterity? If a Person be not desolate of all Greatness & Goodness of Spirit, & Sense of Honour and Reputation, this alone will appear a worthy and sufficient Motive to do Vertuously.

BUT not to confine my self to One Rela­tion only,

  • 1. LET Parents be excited to Educate and Instruct well their Children; to give them good Examples, & to treat them with Wisdom and Tenderness, so as to form them for Vertue (un­der the Blessing of God) & to command their Reverence & Affection to the utmost. It is not to be expressed what Honours and Com­forts they may then be to you; and this is the way to make them Honour you, to ren­der you Dear & Venerable to them for Ever. Prov. 20.7. Ajust Man walketh in his Integri­ty, his Children are blessed after him. We shou'd every one of us be Emulous of that [Page 24]Character, 1 Tim. 3.4. One that ruleth his own house well, having his Children in Sub­jection with all Gravity. By this means Bath­sheba commanded the high Reverence of her Son Solomon, and saw him excel in Wis­dom under the peculiar Favour of God to him.
  • 2. LET Children be Exhorted to honour their Wise & Gracious Parents, which is the first Commandment with Promise, that their Lives may be long and happy on the Earth. CHILDREN, Love your Parents, Reve­rence, Obey and Learn of them now; that you may be an Honour and Comfort to them hereaster. Prov. 1.8. My Son, hear the Instruction of thy Father, & forsake not the Law of thy Mother; for they shall be an Or­nament of Grace unto thy Head, & Chains a­bout thy Neck. This is to be to their Parents what the Church is to Christ: My Dove, my Undefiled is but One, she is the only One of her Mother, the choice One of her that bare her; the Dau'ters saw her & blessed her, the Queens & the Concubines & they praised her. There are ill Parents and ill Children. Parents like the Mother of Ahaziah, who was his Counsel­ler [Page 25]to do wickedly; and Children that belong to Agurs wicked Crew, Prov. 30.11. There is a Generation that curseth their Father, & doth not bless their Mother. Vicious Parents are a Dishonour to their Children, and no won­der their Children left to themselves bring them to further Shame. But you that have Vertuous and Tender Parents, see that you Requite them by being Vertuous and Obedi­ent to them, that you Reverence them in your Hearts, and live so as to Honour them in your Lives.
  • 3. LET the Wife see that she do her Duty to her Husband, that she may merit & have the high Reward of his Esteem and just Praises. This seek, after the Honour that cometh from above, yea as a part thereof. It was the wise Persian Decree of old, That all Wives shall give to their Husbands Honour, both great & small, Esth. 1.20. But we have a greater and more Immutable Law than that of the Medes and Persians, even CHRIST's: Let the Wise see that she reverence her Hus­band; Wives, submit your selves unto your own Husbands as unto the Lord. &c. Our Wives [Page 26]shou'd be Ambitious of that Character, 1 Tim. 3.11. Even so must their Wives be Grave, not Slanderers, Sober, Faithful in all things. This is the way for them to bear away the Blessing of their Children, and the Praises of their Husbands.
  • 4. LET the Husband be just unto his Ver­tuous, Prudent and Faithful Wife, to Honour, Esteem and Praise her. An Excellent Wife deserves a singular Respect, and the most Ho­nourable Treatment in the World. The Ex­pressions of the Love of Christ to His Church in the Book of Canticles is the best Account how the Husband ought to regard her and treat her. And indeed this is the Rule which Christ has given to the Christian Husband: Eph. 5.25. Husbands, love your Wives, even as Christ also loved the Church, and gave him­self for it; that he might Sanctifie it and pre­sent it Glorious. What a Word is this? As the Holy Soul, and as the Purchased Church is Fair and Lovely in the Eyes of GOD, and Dignified by Him; so let the deserving Wife be Esteemed by her happy Spouse.

LET us therefore be Excited to be very [Page 27]Good in our Relations, that we may bear a­way so much honour & praise from our Ob­liged Correlates. Which was the Second Use.

III. THE last USE may be in a word or two of Counsel & Direction, proper to the present Discourse.

  • 1. LET them that are happy in their Rela­tives, in their Consorts or Children, in their Parents, &c. be very thankful to GOD who has chosen so graciously for them, & Serve Him with the more Alacrity & Chearfulness, especi­ally in the discharge of the Duties of their re­spective Relations. If there be any Vertue, if there be any Praise, think of it in your Re­latives, observe it, but do not ascribe it to them, nor love them only for it; but give God the Glory of it, receive from Him, im­prove it for Him, and love Him the Giver. Every Creature is what God makes it, and what He makes it to us. He gave the Ex­cellencies which thy dear Relation is Adoin'd with, and then He gave the Person to thee. So He form'd Eve for Adam, and gave to them their Gracious Abel and Seth. Hast [Page 28]thou then obtain'd favour of the LORD, give Him the thanks. Prov. 19.14. A Prudent Wife is of the Lord. His gracious Gift to thee, His Kind and Merciful Care of thee, His fatherly Providence directing thy Choice and prospering thy pure Desire; Wherefore bless Him for it. So again, Children are an Heritage of the Lord, & the fruit of the Womb is his Reward, Psal. 117.3. They are the Chil­dren which God hath graciously given thy Ser­vant; said Jacob concerning his Sons. We should never look upon our good and plea­sant Relations but our hearts should be full of holy Gratitude to God for them. And our Gratitude to God on this account should give us Alacrity & Chearfulness in our whole Conversation. As our cares are lessened and our lives sweetned, so let our hearts be En­larged & list up in the way of our Duty. Eccl. 97, 8, 9, 10. Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, & drink thy wine with a merry heart, for God now accepteth thy works. Let thy garments be always white, & let thy head lack no oynt­ment. Live joyfully with the Wife whom thou lovest, all the dayes of the life of thy vanity, [Page 29]which he hath given thee under the sun, all the days of thy vanity: for that is thy portion in this life, & in thy labour which thou takest under the sun. Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might: for there is no work, nor device, nor knowlege, nor wisdom in the grave, whither thou goest.
  • 2. LET us bear humbly & improve fruit­fully the want or the loss of such a Blessing as we have been Meditating. The Wife and the Mother which the Text speaks of does not fall to every ones Lot. Sometimes the Wise & Vertuous themselves are ill-match'd and related. Solomon tells of the Contenti­ons that are a continual dropping, & of the angry & brawling woman, whom one had better dwell in the wilderness than live with. If the Mother be leud, prophane, a scold, fierce, cruel; if she be foolish, fond, indulgent, ignorant, careless, lavish, negligent, idle, good for no­thing: This is a Grief and must be born, heavily eno'. It is a living Sorrow, and a sore Rebuke from God, which calls to Hu­miliation. Her Children cannot rise up and call her Blessed, nor is it lawful for the Hus­band [Page 30]to Praise. Love and Duty must silent­ly cover a multitude of Faults, and they must take up their Crass daily. And happy the Person in that case who has learnt this Lesson.

BUT then there are Others who have been Blessed with such Excellent Relatives whom they could not but Esteem and Praise, Re­joyce in, and Bless God for; but God takes them away, they Dye, we are Bereaved and call'd to Mourning and Weeping under the Blow of Gods Hand, whereby He takes a­way the desire of our Eyes with a Stroke. This also we must desire humbly to bear, fruitfully to improve, and get the Spiritual Good of.

How often are Pious Children thus Be­reaved of their Parents, and bowed down hea­vily, Mourning for their Mother? How of­ten are Happy Consorts rent by Death from one anothers Arms, and the Surviver left among the most Afflicted & Desolate. Here moderate your Mourning, and Resign to God what He gave and what He takes. Shall we receive Good from the Hand of the Lord? and shall we not receive Evil? The Lord gave & the Lord hath taken away, & Blessed be the Name of the Lord.

[Page 31] LET the CHILDREN rise up & bless the Memory of their Deceased Mother, and Bless God who gave them such a Mother, & spared her so long to them; and now commit them­selves to God as their Father, beseeching Him to Bless them, and make them His Children.

LET the HUSBAND also now rehearse the Vertues of his Deceased CONSORT; let him (if he can) give her the deserved Praises of her Modesty and Chastity, of her Humi­lity and Meekness, of her Prudence and Wis­dom, of her Sweet Temper and Good Nature, of her Diligence and Frugality, her Care of her Family and wise Education of her Chil­dren; and above all of her Piety and De­votion toward God: Let him tell how safe­ly his heart trusted in her, how much Good she has done him and no Evil all the Dayes of his Life; how she lookt to the wayes of her Houshold, & did not eat the Bread of Idleness; how she opened her mouth with wisdom, and in her tongue was the Law of kindness; how she stretched out her hands to the poor, & reach'd [Page 32]forth her hands to the needy, &c. Let him tell how good a Wife she was to him, how good a Mother to his Children, how good a Child to her Honourable and Aged Parents, how good a Sister, how good a Nei'bour, how good a Friend she was; and to Crown all how she walk'd with God in Secret, how she lov'd the Habitation of His House, how she Gladly walk'd with him in the way to Heaven, a meet Help to him toward a better Life, as well as thro' the Troubles of this—: But when the most Afflicted Heart has said all this, (too small a Tribute of Praise to the Deceased) he must Resign to the Soveraign GOD who form'd the Clay, and form'd the Spirit within it, and has now parted them.

LET Those therefore that are Bless'd with the most Excellent Relatives be as tho' they had none: And they that weep as though they wept not: & those that rejoyce, as tho' they rejoiced not: & they that buy, as though they possessed not: & they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away, 1 Cor. 7.29, 30, 31. Let us [Page 33]get our Souls as a weaned Child, let us look to part, let us prepare to go first, let us bear the Sorrow of being left, and be getting ready to follow after, from the sure & certain hope of a comfortable meeting of all Gracious & Ver­tuous Souls in the future World, where we shall be as the Angels, indissolubly united to one another in the Presence of CHRIST, made "perfect in Holiness, and Blessed in the full "Enjoyment of God to all Eternity.

FINIS.

ERRATA.

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