A Wedding-ring fit for the finger

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A Wedding-ring fit for the finger  (1840-1850) 
by William Secker

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WEDDING-RING,

FIT FOR THE FINGER:

LAID OPEN IN A SERMON,

PREACHED AT A WEDDING IN ST. EDMOND’S.

By WILLIAM SECKER,

LATE PREACHER OF THE GOSPEL.

Genesis ii. 18.

And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.


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GLASGOW

PRINTED FOR THE BOOKSELLERS.

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WEDDING-RING,

FIT FOR THE FINGER.


A Sermon on Genesis ii. 18.

And the Lord God said, it is not good that the man should be alone: I will make him a help-meet for him.

Human misery is to divine mercy, as a black soil to a sparkling diamond; or as a sable cloud to the sun-beams, Psalm viii. 4.—Lord, what is man, that thou art mindful of him?

Man is, in his creation, angelical; in his corruption, diabolical; in his renovation, theological; in his translation, majestical.

There were four silver channels in which tho chrystal streams of God’s affection ran to man in his creation.

1. In his preparation. 2. In his Assimilation. 3. In his coronation. 4. In his Association.

1. In his preparation. Other creatures received the character of their beings by a simplo fiat; but there was a consultation at his forming; not for the difficulty, but for the dignity of the work. Tho painter is most studious about that which he intends to make his master-piece. Tho four elements were taken out of their elements to make up the perfection of man’s complexion: the firo was purified, the earth was refined. When man was moulded, heaven and earth was married; a body from the one was espoused to a soul from the other.

2. In his assimilation. Other creatures were made like themselves, but man was made like God, as the wax hath the impression of the seal upon it. It is admirable to behold so fair a picture in such coarse canvas, and so bright a character in so brown paper.

3. In his coronation. He that made man, and all the rest, made man over all the rest; he was a littlo lord of a great lordship: this king was crowned in his craddle.

4. In his association. Society is the solace of humanity; the world would be a desert, without a comfort.

Most of man’s parts are made in pairs; now he that was double in his perfection, must not be single in his condition.

And the Lord said, &c. These words are like the iron gate that opened to Peter of its own accord, dividing themselves into threo parts:—

1. An Introduction: And the Lord God said. 2. An Assertion: It is not good that man should be alone. 3. A Determination: I will make an help-meet for him.

In the first there is a majesty proposed. In the second there is a malady presented. In the third there is a remedy provided.

Once more let me put these grapes into the press.

l. The sovereignness of the expression: And the Lord God said. 2. The solitaryness of the condition: It is not good, &c. 3. The suitableness of the provision; I will make, &c

In the first there is the worth of veracity. In the second, thero is the want of society. In the third, there is the work of divinity. Of these in their order. And first of the first.

1. The sovereignness of the expression: And the Lord God said, &c.

Luko i. 70. “As he spoke by the mouths of his prophets.” In other scriptures he used their mouths, but in this instance he makes use of his own; they were the organs, and he the breath; they the streams, and he the fountain. How he spake, it is hard to determine: whether eternally, internally, or externally. We are not to inquire into the manner of speaking, but into the matter that is spoken; which leads me, like a directing star, from the suburbs to the city, from the porch to the palace, from the founder of the mine, to the treasure that is in it: It is not good, &c.

In which we have two things:—

1. The Subject. 2. The Predicate.

Tho subject, Man alone. The predicate, It is not good, &c. 1. The subject, Man alone. Take this in two branches.

1. As it is limited to one man.

2. As it is lengthened to all men.

First, As it is limited to one man: And so it is taken particularly: Man, for the first man. When all other creatures had their mates, Adam wanted his; though ho was the emperor of the earth, and the admiral of the seas, yet in Paradise without a companion; though he was truly happy, yet he was not fully happy; though he had enough for his board, yet he had not enough for his bed; though he had many creatures to serve him, yet he wanted a creature to solace him; when he was compoundod in creation, he must be completed by conjunction; when he had no sin to hurt him, then he must have a wife to help him: It is not good that man should be alone.

Secondly, As it is lengthened to all men: And so it is taken universally, Heb. xiii. 4. Marriage is honourable unto all. It is not only warrantable, but honourable. The whole trinity hath conspired together to set a crown of glory upon the head of matrimony.

1. God the Father. Marriage was a tree planted within tho walls of Paradise; the flower first grew in God’s garden.

2. The Son. Marriage is a crystal glass, wherein Christ and the saints do seo each other’s faces.

3. Tho Holy Ghost, by his overshadowing of tho blessed virgin. Well might tho world when it saw her pregnancy, suspect her virginity; but her matremonial condition was a gravo to that suspicion: without this, her innocency had not prevented her infamy; sho needed a shield to defend that chastity abroad which was kept inviolable at home.

Too many that have not worth enough to preservo their virginity, havo yet will onough to cover their unchastity; turning tho medicine of frailty into the mantle of filthiness. Certainly she is mad that cuts off her leg to get her a crutch; or that venoms her face to wear a mask.

Paul makes it one of the characters of those that should cherish tho faith, 1 Tim. iv. 3. not to forbear marriage; which is not only lawful but also honourable; to forbid which, is damnally sinful, and only taught by the influence of devils. One of the Popes of Rome sprinkles this unholy and impure drop upon it, Carnis pollutionem et immundiliem.

It is strange that should be a pollution which was instituted before corruption; or that impurity which was ordained in the state of innocency: or that they should make that to be a sin, which they make to bo a sacrament; strange stupidity!—But a bastard may be laid at the door of chastity, and a leaden crown set upon a golden head. Bellarmine (that mighty atlas of tho Papal power) blows his stinking breath upon it: "Better wero it for a priest to defile himself with many harlots, than to be married to one wife."—These children of tho purple whore prefer monasteries beforo marriages, a concubino before a companion.—They use too many women for their lusts, to choose any for their love.—Their tables are so largely spread that they cannot feed upon one dish. As for their exalting of a virgin-state, it is like him that commanded fasting, when he had filled his belly. Who knows not, that virginity is a pearl of a sparkling lustro? but the one cannot be set up, without the other be thrown down: No oblation will pacify the former, but the demolishing of the latter. Though wo find many enemies to tho choice of marriage, yet it is rare to find any enemies to the use of marriage. They would pick the lock that wants the key, and pluck the fruit that do not plant the trec. The Hebrews have a saying, "that he is not a man that hath not a wife." Though they climb too high a bough, yet it is to be feared that such flesh is full of imperfoction, that is, not tending to propogation: though man alone may be good, yet, It is not good that man should be alone. Which leads mo from the subject to the predicate, It is not good.

Now, it is not good that man should be in a single condition on a threefold consideration.

1. In respect of sin, which would not else be prevented: Marriago is like water, to quench the sparks of lust’s fire, 1 Cor. vii. 2. Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, &c. Man needed no such physic when he was in perfect health. Temptations may break nature's best sense, and lay its Paradise waste; but a single lifo is a prison of unruly desires, which is daily attempted to be broken open. Some, indeed force themselves to a single life, merely to avoid the charges of a married state; they choose rather to live in their own sensuality, than to extinguish those flames with an allowed remedy: It is better to marry than to burn:—to be lawfully coupled, than to be lustfully scorched. It is best to feed these flames with ordinate fuel.

2 It is not good in respect of mankind, which then would not be propagated. The Roman historian, relating tho ravishing of the Sabine women, excused them thus, ‘Without them mankind would fall from the earth, and perish.’ Marriages do turn mutability into the image of eternity: it springs up new buds when the old are withered. It is a great honour for a man to be the father of one son, than to be the master of many servants. Without a wife, children cannot be had lawfully; without a good wife, children cannot be had comfortably. Man and woman, as the flock and the scion, being grafted in marriage, are trees bearing fruit to the world. Augustine says, ‘They are the first link of human society, to which all the rest are joined.’ Mankind had long ago decayed, and been like a taper fallen into the socket, if those breaches which are made by mortality were not repaired by matrimony.

3. It is not good in regard of the church, which could not then have been expatiated. Where there is no generation, there can be no regeneration. Nature makes us creatures before grace makes us christians. If the loins of men had been less fruitful, the death of Christ would have been less successful. It was a witty question that one put to him that said, “Marriage fills the earth, but virginity fills the heavens:" How can the heavens be full if the earth be empty? Had Adam lived in innocency without matrimony, there would have been no servants of God in the church militant, nor no saints with God in the church triumphant. But I will not sink this vessel by the over-burthen of it, nor press this truth to death by laying too great a load upon its shoulders. There is one knot which I must untie, before I make a farther progress, viz.

1 Cor. vii. 1. It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Do all the scriptures proceed out of the same mouth; and do they not all speak the same truth? The God of unity will not indite discord; and tho God of verity cannot assert falsehood. If good and evil be contraries, how contrary then are these two scriptures? Either Moses mistakes God, or Paul mistakes Moses, about the point of marriage. To which I shall give a double answer.

1. There is a public and a private good. In respect of one man, it may be good not to touch a woman; but in respect of all men, It is not good that man should be alone.

2. Moses speaks of the state of man created; Paul of tho stato of man corrupted: Now, that which by institution was a mercy, by corruption may become a misery; as pure water is tainted by running through a miry channel, or as the sunbeams receive a tincture by shining through a coloured glass. There is no print of evil in the world, but sin was the stamp that made it. They that seek nothing but weal in its commission, will find nothing but woe in the conclusion. Which leads me from the solitariness of tho condition, Man alone, to the suitableness of the provision, I will make an help-meet for him.

In which we have two parts, 1. The Agent, I will make. 2. Tho Object, An help.

1. The Agent, I will make. We cannot build a house without tools, but the Trinity is at liberty. To God's omniscience there is nothing impossible. We work by hands, without; but he works without hands. He that made man meet for help, makes a meet-help for man. Marriages are consented above, but consumated below, Prov. xviii. 22. Though man wants supply, yet man cannot supply his wants, James i. 17. Every good and perfect gift comes from above, &c. A wife, though sho be not a perfect gift, yet she is a good gift. Theso beams are darted from the Son of Righteousness. Hast thou a soft heart? It is of God's breaking. Hast thou a sweet wife? Sho is of God's making. Let me draw up this with doublo application.

1. When thou layest out for such a good on earth, look up to the God of heaven; let him make thy choice for thee, who mado his choice of thee. Look above you, beforo you, about you; nothing makes up the happiness of a married condition, like the holiness of a mortified disposition: account not those tho most worthy, that aro tho most wealthy. Art thou matched to tho Lord? Match in tho Lord. How happy are such marriages where Christ is at the wedding! Let none but those who havo found favour in God's eyes, find favour in yours.

2. Givo God tho tribute of your gratulation for your good companions. Take head of paying your rent to a wrong landlord: when you taste of the stream, reflect upon the spring that feeds it. Now thou hast four eyes for thy speculation, four hands for thy operation, four feet for thy abulation, and four shoulders for thy sustentation. What the sin against tho Holy Ghost is, in point of divinity, that is unthankfulness, in point of morality, an offenco unpardonable. Pity it is, but that moon should bo ever in an eclipse, that will not acknowledgo her beams to be borrowed from the sun. He that praises not the giver, prizes not tho gift. And so I pass from the Agent to the Object, A help.

She must be so much, and no less; and so much, and no more. Our ribs were not ordained to be our rulers. They aro not made of tho head, to claim superiority; but out of the side, to be content with equality. They desert the Author of nature, who invert the order of nature. The woman was made for the man's comfort, but tho man was not made for the woman's command. Those Shoulders aspiro too high, that content not themselves with a room below their heads. It is between a man and his wife in tho house, as it is between the sun and tho moon in the heavens, when the greater light goes down tho lesser light gets up; when the one ends in setting, the other begins in shining. The wifo may bo a sovereign in her husband's absenco, but sho must be subject in her husband's presenco. As Pharaoh said to Joseph, so should tho husband say to his wife, thou shalt bo over my house, and aceording to thy word shall all my peoplo bo ruled, only on the throno will I be greater than thou,” Gen. xli. 40. Tho body of that household can nover mako any good motion, whose bones are out of placo The woman must be a help to the man in these four things :—1. To his piety. 2. To his society. 3. To his progeny. 4. To his prosperity. To his piety, by the ferventness of her excitation. To his society, by the fragrantness of her conversation. To his progeny, by the fruitfulness of her education. To his prosperity, by her faithful preservation.

1. To his piety, by the ferventness of her excitation, 1 Pet. ii. 7. Husband and wife should be as the two milch-kine, which were coupled together to carry the ark of God; or as the two cherubims, that looked one upon another, and both upon the mercy-seat; or as the two tables of stone, on each of which were engraven the laws of God. In some families married persons are like Jeremiah's two basket of figs, the one very good, the other very evil; or like fire and water, whilst the one is flaming in devotion, the other is freezing in corruption. There is a two-fold hinderance of holiness: 1. On the right side. 2. On the left. On the right side; when the wife would run in God's way, the husband will not let her go; when the forehorse in a team will not draw, he wrongs all the rest; when the general of an army forbids a march, all tho soldiers stand still. Sometimes on the left: How did Solomon's idolatrous wife draw away his heart from heaven? A sinning wife was Satan's first ladder, by which he scaled the wall of Paradise, and took away the fort-royal of Adam's heart from him. Thus she, that should have been the help of his flesh, was the hurt of his faith; his nature's under-proper, became his grace's underminer; and she that should be a crown on the head, is a cross on the shoulders. The wife is often to the husband as the ivy is to the oak, which draws away his sap from him.

2. A help to his society, by the fragrantness of her conversation. Man is an affectionate creature; now tho woman's behaviour should be such towards the man, as to requite his affection by increasing his delectation; that the new-born lovo may not be ruined before it be rooted. A speuse should carry herself so to her husband, as not to disturb his love by her contention, nor to destroy his love by her alineation. Husband and wife should be like two candles burning together, which makes the house mere lightsome; or like two fragrant flowers bound up in one nosegay, that augments its sweetness; or like two well-tuned instruments, which sounding together, make the more melodious music. Husband and wife, what are they but as two springs meeting, and so joining their streams, that they make but one curreut? It is an unpleasing spectacle to view any contention in that conjunction.

3. To his progeny, by the fruitfulness of her education; that so her children in the flesh may be God's children in the spirit, 1 Sam. i. 11. Hannah she vows, if the Lord will give her a son, she would give him to the Lord, to serve him. A spouse should be more careful of her children's breeding, than she should be fearful of her children's bearing. Take heed, lest these flowers grow in the devil's garden.—Though you bring them out in corruption, yet do not bring them up to damnation!—Those aro net mothers but monsters, that whilst they should be teaching their children the way to heaven with their lips, aro leading them the way to hell with their lives. Good education is the bost livery you can give them living; and it is the best legacy you can leave them dying. You let out your cares to make them great, O lift up your prayers to make them good, that before you die from them, you may see Christ live in them. Whilst these twigs are green and tender, they should be bowed towards God. Children and servants aro in a family, as passengers in a boat; husband and wife, they aro as a pair of oars, to row them to their desired haven. Let these small pieces of timber be hewed and squared for the celestial building. By putting a sceptre of grace into their hands, you will set a crown of glory upon their heads.

4. A help to his prosperity, by her faithful preservation, being not a wanderer abroad, but a worker at home. One of the ancients speaks excellently: She must not bo a field-wife, liko Dinah; nor a street wife, liko Thamar; nor a window-wife, like Jezabel. Phildeas, when he drew a woman, painted her under a snail-shell; that she might imitate that little creature, that goes no further than it can carry its house upon its head. How many women are there, that are not labouring bees, but idle droncs; that take up a room in the hive, but bring no honey to it; that are moths to their husbands' estates, spending when they should be sparing. As tho man's part is, to providc industriously, so tho woman's is, to preserve discreetly; the one must not be carelessly wanting, the other must not be causelessly wanting; the man must be seeking with diligence, tho woman must be saving with prudence. The cock and hen both scrape together in tho dust-heap, to pick up something for tho little chickens. To wind up this on a short bottom,

1. If tho woman be a help to the man, then let not the man cast dirt on tho woman.

Secundus being asked his opinion of a woman, said, Viri naufragium, domus tempestas, quietus impedimentum, &c. But surely he was a monster and not a man; fitter for a tomb to bury him, than a womb to bear him. Some have styled them to be like clouds in the sky; liko motes in tho sun; like snuffs in the candle; like weeds in the garden. But it is not good to play the butcher with that naked sex, that hath no arms but for embraces. A preacher should not be silent for those who are silent from preaching: because they are the weaker vessels, shall they be broken all to pieces? Thou that sayest women aro evil, it may bo thy expression flows from thy experience; but I shall never take that mariner for my pilot, that hath no better knowledgo than the splitting of his own ship. Wilt thou condemn the frame of all, for tho fault of one? As if it were true logic, because somo are evil therefore none are good. He hath ill eyos that disdains all objects. To blast thy helper is to blamo thy Maker. In a word, we took our rise from their bowels, and may tako our rest in their bosoms.

2. Is tho woman to be a help to the man? Then let tho man be a help to the woman. What makes some debtors to be such ill pay-masters, but because they look at what is owing to them, but not at what is owing by them. If thou wouldst havo thy wife's reverenco, let her have thy respect. To force a tear from this relation, is that which neither benefits the husband's authority to enjoin nor tho wife's duty to perform. A wife must not be sharply driven, but sweetly drawn. Compassion may bend her, but compulsion will break her. Husband and wife should act towards each other with consent, not by constraint. There are four things wherein the husband is a meet-help to the wifo.

1. In his protection of her from injuries. It is well observed by one, that the rib of which woman was made, was taken from under his arm: As the use of the arm is to keep off blows from the body, so the office of the husband is to ward off blows from the wife. The wife is the husband's treasury, and the husband tho wife's armoury. In darkness he should be her sun, for direction; in danger he should be her shield for protection.

2. In his providing for her necessities. The husband must communicate maintenance to tho wifo, as the head conveys influence to the members; thou must not bo a drone, and sho a drudge. A man in a married estate, is liko a chamberlain in an inn, there is knocking for him in every room. Many persons in that condition, waste that estate in luxury, which should supply their wife's necessity; They have neither the faith of a Christian, nor tho love of a husband! It is a sad spectacle to see a virgin sold with her own monoy unto slavery, when services are better than marriages; tho one receives wages, whilst the other buy their fetters.

3. In his covering of her infirmities. Who would trample upon a jewel, because it is fallen in the dirt, or throw away a heap of wheat for a little chaff, or despiso a golden wedge, because it retains some dross? These roses have somo prickles. Now husbands should spread a mantle of charity over their wives' infirmities. They be ill birds that defile their own nests. It is a great deal better you should fast than feast yourselves upon their failings. Some husbands are never well longer than they are holding their fingers in their wife's sores. Such are like crows, that fasten only upon carrion. Do not put out the candle because of the snuff. Husbands and wives should provoke oneanother to love; and they should love one-another notwithstanding of provocation. Take heed of poisoning those springs from whence the streams of your pleasure flow.

4. By his delighting in her society: a wife takes sanctuary not only in her husband's house, but in his heart. The tree of love should grow up in the family, as the tree of lifo grew up in tho garden of Eden. They that choose their love, should love their choice. They that marry where they affect not, will affect where they marry not. Two joined together without love, are but tied together to make one another miserable. And so I pass to the last stage of the text, A help-meet.

'A help,' thero is her fallness; 'A meet-help,' there is her fitness. The angels were too much above him; the inferior creatures too much below him; he could not step up to the former, nor could he stoop down to the latter; the one was out of his reach, the other was out of his raco; but tho woman is a parallel line drawn equal with him. Meet she must be in three things.

1. In the harmony of her disposition. Husband and wife should be like the image in a looking-glass, that answers in all properties to the face that stands before it; or like an echo, that returneth the voice it receiveth. Many marriages are like putting new wine into old bottles. An old man is not a meet-help for a young woman: He that sets a grey head upon green shoulders, hath ono foot in the grave and another in the cradle: Yet, how many times do you see the spring of youth wedded to tho winter of old age?—A young man is not a meet-help for an old woman; raw flesh is but an ill plaister for rotten bones. He that in his non-age marries another in her dotage, his lust hath one wife in possession, but his love another in reversion.

2. In heraldry of her condition. Some of our European nations are so strict in their junctions, that it is against their laws for the commonality to couplo with the gentry. It was well said by one, “If the wife be too much above her husband, she either ruins him by her vast expenses, or reviles him with her base reproaches; if sho be too mueh below her husband, oither her former condition makes her too generous, or her present mutation makes her too imperious."—Marriages are styled matches, yet amongst those many that are married, how few are thero that are matched! Husbands and wives are like locks and keys, that rather break than open, except the wards be answerable.

3. In the holiness of her religion. If adultery may seperate a marriage contracted, idolatry may hinder a marriage not perfected. Cattle of divers kinds were not to ingender. 2 Cor. vi. 14. Be not unequally yoked, &c. It is dangerous taking her for a wife, who will not tako God for a husband. It is not meet that one flesh should be of two spirits. Is there never a tree thou likest in the garden but that which bears forbidden fruit? Thero are but two channels in which the remaining streams shall run:—1. To those men that want wives, how to choose them. 2. To thoso women who have husbands, how to use them.

Marriago is the tying of such a knot, that nothing but death can unloose. Common reason suggests so mueh, that wo should be long a-doing that whieh can but once be done. Whero one design hath been graveled in tho sands of delay thousands havo been split on tho rock of precipitance. Rash adventures yield gain. Opportunities are not liko tides, that when ono is past, another returns; but yet take heed of flying without your wings; you may breed such agues in your bones, that may shake you to your graves. 1. Let me preserve you from a bad choice. 2. Present you with a good one. To preservo you from a bad choico, take that in threo things: 1. Choose not for beauty. 2. Choose not for dowry. 3. Choose not for dignity. He that loves to beauty, buys a picture; he that loves for dowry, makes a purchase; he that leaps for dignity, matches with a multitudo at once. The first of theso is too blind to be directed; the second too base to be accepted; the third too bold to be respected. 1. Chooso not by your eyes. 2. Chooso not by your hands. 3. Choose not by your ears.

1. Choose not by your eyes, looking at the beauty of the person. Not but this is lovely in a woman; but that this is not all for which a woman should be beloved. He that had the choice of many faces stamps this character upon them all, favour is deceitful and beauty is vain. The sun is moro bright in a clear sky, than when tho horizon is clouded; but if a woman's flesh hath more of beauty than her spirit hath of christianity, it is like poison in sweet-meats, most dangerous: “The sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were fair," Gen. vi. 2. One would have thought that they should rather have looked for graco in tho heart, than for beauty in the face: take care of running at the fairest signs; the swan hath black flesh under her white feathers.

2. Choose not by your hands, for tho bounty of the portion. When Cato's daughter was asked why sho did not marry? she thus replied, she could not find the man that loved her person above her portion. Men lovo curious pictures, but they would have them set in golden frames. Some are so degenerate as to think any good enough, who have but goods enough. Take heed, for sometimes the bag and baggage go together. The person should be a figure, and the portion a eypher, which added to her, advances the sum, but alone signifies nothing. When Themistoeles was to marry his daughter, two suitors courted her together, the one rieh and a fool, tho other wise but poor; and being asked whieh of the two he had rather his daughter should have? he answered Mallem virum fine pecuni: 'I had rather she should have a man without money, than money without a man.'

2. Choose not by your ears, for tho dignity of her parentage. A good old stoek may nourish a fruitless braneh. Thero are many children who are not the blessings, but the blemishes of their parents; they are nobly deseended, but ignobly minded: Sueh was Aurelius Antonious, of whom it was said, that he injured his country of nothing, but being the father of sueh a child. There aro many low in their deseents, that are high in their deserts; such as the eobler's son, who beeame a famous captain; when a great person upbraided the meanness of his original, “My nobility, said he, began with me, but thy nobility ends with thee." Piety is a greater honour than parentage. She is the best gentlewoman that is heir of her own deserts, and not the degenerato offspring of another's virtue. To present you with a good choice in three things.

1. Choose such a ono as will be a subject to your dominion. Tako heed of yoking yourselves with untamed heifers.

2. Chooso such a one as may sympathize with you in your affliction. Marriage is just like a sea voyage, ho that enters into this ship, must look to meet with storms and tempests, 1 Cor. vii. 20. They that marry shall have trouble in the flesh. Flesh and trouble are married together, whether we marry or no; now a bitter cup is too much to be drunk by one mouth. A heavy burthen is easily earried by assistaneo of other shoulders. Husband and wifo should neither be proud flesh, nor dead flesh. You are fellow-members, therefore you should have a fellow-feeling. While one stands safe on the shore, pity should be shown to him that is toast on the sea. Sympathy in suffering is like a dry house in a wet day.

3. Choose such a one as may be serviceable to your salvation. A man may think he hath a saint, when he hath a devil; but tako heed of a harlot, that is false to thy bed; and of a hypocrite, that is false to thy God.

2. To those women who havo husbands, how to use them. In two things.

1. Carry yourselves towards them with obedience. Let their power command you, that their praise may commend you. Though you may have your husband's heart, yet you should lovo his will Till the husband leaves commanding, the wife must never leave obeying. As his injunctions must be lawful, so her subjection must bo loyal.

2. With faithfulness. In creation, God made not woman for many men, or many women for one man. Every wife should be to her husband as Eve was to Adam, a whole world of women; and every husband should be to his wife as Adam was to Eve, a whole world of men. When a river is divided into many channels, the main current starves.

To conclude, Good servants are a great blessing; good children a greater blessing; but a good wife is the greatest blessing: And such a help let him seek for her that wants one, let him sigh for her that hath lost one, let him take pleasure in her that enjoys one.

Where there is nothing but a picture of virtue, or a few shadowy qualities that may subsist without any real excellency, death will hide them for ever in the night of despair. The blackness of darkness will close upon the naked and wandering ghost; whilst its loathsomo remains are consigned to oblivion and putrefaction in the prison of the grave, with the prospect of a worse doom hereafter. But where there is a living image of truo goodness begun in this state, death will deliver it with safety into the finishing hand of eternity, to bo produced with every mark of honour in the open view of heaven; where its now mortal partner, rescued from tho dishonours of the dust, and brightened into the graces of eternal youth, shall rejoin it in triumph, to suffer the pangs of separation no more. Everlasting Jehovah! what a crown of joy will it confer on the preacher in that day, if this littlo service shall be rewarded with tho reflection of having contributed to tho salvation or improvement of any of these young persons whom he now addresses! If ever thine ear was open to my cry, hear me, O Lord! hear me in their behalf. What cannot thy spirit perform, perform by tho weakest hand? May that spirit seal them to tho day of redemption. At that glorious period, may I meet you all amongst the redeemed of tho Lord, happy to see you shining with immortal splendour in tho general assembly and church of tho first born, transported to think that I shall livo with you for over, and joining in the gratulations of your fellow-angels around the throne of God, when He shall, in tho sight of all, clotho you with the garment of salvation, and cover you with the robe of righteousness as a bridegroom is decked with ornaments, and as a bride is adorned with her Jewels. Amen


LADY FRETFUL,

A SKETCH FROM REAL LIFE.

Her general style of conversation runs on the inconveniences to be expected from this or that circumstance, and no one is so ingenious in extracting unsuspected evil from plans of the fairest promise. Is the weather fine, and a walk mentioned—It is hot—it is dusty—the wind is in tho east—there was rain in the morning—it will be dirty—or it will rain before wo reach home. Is she to go out in the carriage; one road is too long for the horses—another is unpleasant—another unsafe—and, in short, nono are exactly right. Yot sho goes on these proposed expeditions, after all possibility of pleasure has been reasoned and anticipated away. If she is going out to dinner, sho is sure tho company will be unpleasant—the servants will get drunk—sho shall bo robbed, or overturned in coming home. If she is to have a party at home, she knows every thing will go wrong—nobody will be amusing—the time will hang heavy—tho people will go away, execrating the stupidity of the visit. If sho sees any lady employed about a piece of work, sho prognosticates it will be unfashionable before it is finished. I she sees any one reading, she never new any good come of reading, but to make young people unfit for conversation. If her husband is going a hunting she hates hunting, it is so dangerous. If he goes for a ride, she is surprised he can take pleasure in sitting on his horse for hours together. If he is in his library, she never saw such a book-worm. If he sits in the parlour, she hates men always at their wive's apron strings. Thus does she sour every common occurance of life by the most in genious optical delusion, looking at every thing in the worst point of view.

What absurdity to imbitter one's alloted portion of happiness by so obstinately persisting to anticipate inconvenience! Why not be disposed to think fair appearances promise fair conclusions? Why, if the sun shines in the morning, be unwilling to enjoy it then? And, if it rains, why not be always inclined to hope the weather will brighten?


This work was published before January 1, 1926, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.