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sel, she is more liable to be disrespected. Now this is for the good of all parties, as her intercourse with the family is necessarily greater. On her principally devolves the “guiding of the house," and the training up of children in the way they should go. As she is confined more particularly to the family, familiarity has a tendency to lessen respect and reverence.
Another reason why you should perform those duties is, that you are heirs together of the grace of life—the same eternal destiny. Live together in such a manner, as to assist each other in your journey heavenward-you have not only an indissoluble union in this world, and an identity of interest, but a spiritual union to last through the ages of eternityboth being heirs to the heavenly inheritance, and as you pray God to bless you in your family relations, and in all your relations in life-let your treatment of your wife give evidence, that you live in accordance with your petitions, that your prayers be not hindered.
We heartily concur with Dr. Wayland, “that a more beautiful exhibition of the marriage relation cannot be imagined” than is given in the portion of Divine writ that we have had under consideration: each party has all the respect and honour due to them in their respective relations, and each party has the due exercise of their intellectual and moral faculties, and a wide field opened to both parties for the exercise of the Christian graces : but how it can be so beautiful an exhibition of the duties of the marriage relation, according to the Dr.'s theory, we cannot imagine. According to him, the husband possesses authority to command her submission and obedience in all things that do not “appertain to the conscience;" and yet, when speaking of the husband's duty, not the most remote allusion is made to any thing of the kind--not the most distant hint is given, that the end of her subjection is to prevent dissension.” It is a direct key for us to understand the character of an authority, if we know the end for which it is given. A
We would by no means wish to be understood as saying that it would be a man's duty always to comply with the solicitations of his wife, for in many cases it would be entirely wrong. Nor would we wish to be understood that a man would be out of his duty to pay attention to what is
called the wife's department. If a woman manifested an ignorance of her responsibilities and duties, or was a gadder abroad, and neglected the management of her family, it certainly would be a man's imperative duty to remonstrate with her, in a kind and friendly way, not as a master, but as a companion and equal, and if she was prodigal, and contracted unnecessary debts, which if continued, would result in penury and bankruptcy, it would be his duty to restrict her, and obstruct the avenue of her prodigality, if remonstrance failed to have its influence.
One of the principal motives we have in view, in the discussion of this question is, to make women feel their responsibilities. If they have equal rights, they must know they also have equal responsibilities. If they were impressed with this solemn truth, there would not be so many of them “prodigal appendages to a household, ignorant of their duties, and the manner of discharging them.” Man would find, it would be greatly to his own advantage, to consider woman his equal. On the other hand we think, if a man neglects his business, it is equally the duty of the wife to correct his delinquencies in the same manner as the man restrains hers. If by his neglect of business, or prodigality, bankruptcy and penury are portending, it is equally her imperative duty to avail herself of every facility the law gives her to arrest him in his downward course. We admit also, that although the wife has equal rights in the family capacity with the husband, and is not at liberty voluntarily to relinquish these rights, still, in many cases, it might be her duty to suffer meekly a deprivation of the exercise of these rights, rather than contend,-on the principle that “charity suffereth long, and is kind, and charity seeketh not her own,"—or “if they smite you on the one cheek, turn to them the other also.” That it is not the duty of a wife to relinquish her rights, without remonstrance, we think we have seen in the history of Sarah. As God has given us our rights, and we have corresponding duties, it is our duty, in a meek and humble manner, to show that we have those rights. Women have no right to contend in an “angry and turbulent manner;" these are claimed as masculine, not feminine weapons. Let them use persuasion and eloquence to the utmost of their ability; but, above all, let “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,” be the weapon of their warfare, and it is "mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds." It may be asked, if the wife has as much authority over the husband, as the husband has over the wife, why he is not commanded to obey her? If the wife owes the same duty to the husband as the husband owes to the wife, he would necessarily have to be obedient to her? She could not nourish and cherish him, unless he would submit, and be obedient. What is the reason that Stephanas's house, and all who helped and laboured with the apostle, were not told to be obedient to the Corinthians, as the Corinthians were to them? 1 Cor. xvi. 15, 16. The one had not a particle more authority than the other to command; their opinions were to be treated with deference for their work's sake. Stephanas's house, and all that helped with the apostle, and laboured, had a right to submit again in their turn. “Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.” The apostle says, “Be ye all subject one to another, and be clothed with humility, 1 Peter v. 5. It is as much the husband's duty to please the wife, as the wife's the husband. But the husband cannot perform his duty, except the wife submit and be obedient. For example, when Abraham was sending away his servant, to take a wife for his son Isaac, he required an oath of the servant, that he would perform the embassy according to his directions.
The servant was not willing to take the oath, for fear the woman would not follow him. Abraham informed him, that if the woman would not follow him, he should be clear of the oath. He could not bring a wife to Isaac, if the woman would not accompany him. So we say that the husband could not nourish and cherish the wife, if she were too haughty and self-sufficient to be obedient to him in his discharge of duty. Her duty, so far as that is concerned, is of a passive character, his is active. God commands him to nourish and cherish her, and he commands her to submit to that. Considering the husband's duty, as active, her commanding him would constitute him her slave. God creates neither slaves nor tyrants; slaves and tyrants are of man's device. Certainly it requires no active obedience to be loved, nourished, and cherished. That the wife's obedience is of this character, and does not abridge her liberty, and that she has as much authority over herself, and in the family, as has the husband over himself and in the family, is manifest. That husband and wife, united, are the heads and gorernors of the family, is evident from God's word, both by precept, example, and legitimate inference.
We have a history of mankind in the word of God from the creation; for a period of four thousand years, the family organization, and the duties arising out of that relation have come under review.
We have entered a great many family enclosures, in the consideration of this question, beginning with the father of mankind; and we find nothing resembling kingly authority, on the part of the husband: the wife acts as freely in all family arrangements, as the husband. We have visited the family of the father and mother of the faithful. The mother is an example for all her daughters in the capacity of wives, and she acted as freely in the family regulations, as her husband. There is not the slightest evidence that he was the “ultimate appeal.” It would be passing strange! nay, it would be an inexplicable mystery, that we should have the history of a dynasty of absolute sovereigns, acting in their sovereign capacity, for a period of four thousand years, and not one of them even enacting a law, nor giving a command, in all that period, whilst the subjects act with as much freedom, and with as much apparent authority as the sovereigns! Here is not a shadow of evidence, that they were the supreme judiciary, or ultimate appeal! On the contrary, some of their subjects and they had differed in opinion, and the opinions of the subjects prevailed. We would suppose it was rather a caricature, to call such men sovereigns, or that they had omitted their duty in not exercising their sovereignty, which is not likely, as men are so fond of doininion. We would suppose it was a country which had adopted the theory, that all men were created equal; and were governed by its principles, and that the sovereignty was vested in the people. Yes, to speak in plain language, wives acted as freely in the domestic society as did husbands. We have spoken at length of Sarah's conduct as wife. History informs us of Abigail's performing a duty belonging specially to the head and governor of a family, against the express will of her husband: her conduct was applauded by David, and he
blessed God for sending her; consequently, it was sanctioned by God.
It may be said this was an extreme case; but extreme cases test the validity of the law. The extremity of a case cannot make wrong right. If her husband was, by the Divine appointment, the ultimate appeal,” the extremity of the case would not justify her in usurpation; though the end she had in view might be good, still a good end will not sanctify wrong means. This case plainly demonstrates that the wife has as good a right to be the “ ultimate appeal” as the husband, provided she is right in her opinion. It may be asked who is to decide which is right when they differ in opinion? We have previously said, whoever loves most, and exercises the most Christian meekness and humility, will submit for the time being, provided the requirement is not immoral, and in that case neither is to submit. But, if God has thus established the wife's authority in the domestic society, He will take care of the consequences; and we see that families who are governed on the plan of the equal authority of husband and wife, enjoy peace and tranquillity. Abigail's case plainly illustrates that she was no usurper. God admits of no usurpation. “Obedience is better than sacrifice.” What sentence was passed on Saul for his usurpation, although the case seemed to be an extreme one ? 1 Sam. xii. 8–14. The Shunammite acted with entire freedom. It is said that a great woman of Shunem constrained Elisha to eat bread, 2 Kings iv. 8, 17. Her husband appears to have had no agency in the matter. Elisha gives her the whole honour of the provision which was made for his entertainment. The freedom with which women acted, and the interest they took in all matters, both public and private, are truly remarkable, considering the age of the world in which the Old Testament was written, in a period when polygamy was permitted, which was calculated to degrade woman. It appears that the wisdom of God did not see proper to relate any acts of tyranny and oppression committed by husbands, lest it might be construed into an example to sanction usurpation. There is no doubt but the Jews oppressed their wives. Our Saviour informs us, that divorce was permitted for the protection of the wife, Matt. xix. 8. Malachi reproves them sharply for the ill treatment