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greatest maintainer of this sin, and the most notable service to the devil: for then abundance will plead this for this sinful curiosity and pride, and say, 'I shall else be accounted base or sordid; even such and such will speak against me.' Take heed, if you will needs be such yourselves, that you prate not against others that are not as vain and curious as you : for the nature of man is more prone to pride and vanity, than to humility, and the improvement of their time and cost in greater matters; and while you think that you speak but against indecency, you become the devil's preachers, and do him more service than you consider of. You may as wisely speak against people for using to eat or drink too little, when there is not one of a multitude that liveth not ordinarily in excess ; and so excess will get advantage by it.
Direct. x. ' Be specially careful in the government of your tongues; and let your words be few, and well considered before you speak them.' A double diligence is needful in this, because it is the most common miscarriage of your sex: a laxative, running tongue, is so great a dishonour to you, that I never knew a woman very full of words, but she was the pity of her friends, and the contempt of others; who behind her back will make a scorn of her, and talk of her as some crack-brained or half-witted person; yea, though your talk be good, it will be tedious and contemptible, if it be thus poured out, and be too cheap. “In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin; but he that refraineth his lips is wisef.” You must answer in judgment for your “idle words g." You will take it ill to be accounted fools, and made the derision of those that talk of you: judge by the Scripture what occasion you give them.
" A dream cometh by the multitude of business, and a fool's voice is known by a multitude of words: in the multitude of dreams, and many words, there are divers vanities.” “The words of a wise man's mouth are gracious; but the lips of a fool will swallow up himself. The beginning of the words of his mouth is foolishness; and the end of his talk is mischievous madness: a fool also is full of words h.” Whereas a woman that is cautelous and sparing of her words, is commonly reverenced and supposed to be wise. So that if
8 Matt. xii. 36. Eccles. v. 3. 7. h Eccles. x. 12-14.
f Prov. x. 19.
you had no higher design in it, but merely to be well thought of, and honoured by men; you can scarcely take a surer way, than to let your words be few and weighty; though the avoiding of sin, and unquietness, should prevail with you
much more. - Direct. XI. 'Be willing and diligent in your proper part, of the care and labour of the family. As the primary provision of maintenance belongeth most to the husband, so the secondary provision within doors belongeth specially to the wife. Read over and over the thirty-first chapter of Proverbs; especially the care of nursing your own children, and teaching them, and watching over them when they are young; and also watching over the family at home; when your husbands are abroad, is your proper work
. Direct. xii. ‘Dispose not of your husband's estate, without his knowledge and consent.' You are not only to consider, whether the work bę good that you lay it out upon, but what power you have to do it. Quest. But may a woman give nothing, nor lay out nothing in the house, without her husband's consent? Answ. 1. If she have his general or implicit consent, it may suffice; that is, if he allow her to follow her judgment; or, if he commit such a proportion to her power, to do what she will with it. Or, if she know, that if he knew it, he would not be against it. 2. Or, if the law, or his consent, do give her any propriety in any part of his estate, or make her a joint-proprietor, she may proportionably dispose of it in a necessary case. The husband is considerable, either as a proprietor, or as her governor. As a proprietor, he only may dispose of the estate, where he is the sole proprietor: but where consent or the law of the land doth make the woman joint-proprietor, she is not disabled from giving for the want of a propriety. But then no law exempteth her from his government; and therefore she is not to give any thing in a way of disobedience, though it be her own: except when he forbiddeth that which is her duty, or which he hath no power to forbid. So that in case of joint-propriety she may give without him, so be it she exceed not her proportion, and also if it be in a case of duty, where he may not hinder her. As to save the lives of the poor in extreme necessity, i See :Dr. Gouge on Family Relations, who saith the most against women's giving.
famine, or imprisonment, or the like. 3. But if the thing be wholly her own, excepted from his propriety, and she be sole proprietor, then she need not ask his consent at all, any other way than as he is her guide, to direct her to the best way of disposing of it: which, if he forbid her, instead of directing her to it, she is not thereby excusable before God, for the abusing of her trust and talent. 4. I conceive that ad aliquid' as to certain absolutely necessary
relation maketh the woman as a joint-proprietork: as if her husband will not allow her such food and raiment as is necessary to preserve the lives and health of herself, and all her children ; she is bound to do it without or against his will (if she can, and if it be not to a greater hurt, and the estate be his own, and he be able) rather than let her children contract such diseases, as apparently will follow to the hazard of their lives. Yea, and to save the life of another that in famine is ready to perish: for she is not as a stranger to his estate. But out of these cases, if a wife shall secretly waste or give, or lay it out on bravery or vanity, or set her wit against her husband's; and because she thinks him too strait or penurious, therefore she will dispose of it, without his consent. This is thievery, disobedience, and injustice.
Quest. 1. ‘But as the case standeth with us in England, hath the wife a joint-propriety, or not?
Answ. Three ways (at least) she may have a propriety. 1. By a reserve of what was her own before; which (however some question it) may in some cases be done in their agreement at marriage. 2. By the law of the land. 3. By the husband's consent or donation. What the law of the land saith in case, I leave to the lawyers: but it seemeth to me, that his words at marriage With all my worldly goods I thee endow,' do signify his consent to make her a jointproprietor : and his consent is sufficient to the collation of a title, to that which
Unless any can prove that law or custom, doth otherwise expound the words (as an empty formality), and that at the contract, this was or should be known to her to be the sense. And the law's al
Hos, vi. 6. Matt. ix. 13.
k 2 Sam. xxv. 18. 29,30. Prov. xxxi. 11–13. 20. xii. 7.
2 Kings iv. 9. 22.
lowing the wife the third part upon death or separation, doth intimate a joint-propriety before,
Quest. II. 'If the husband live, upon unlawful gain, as cheating, stealing, robbing by the highway, &c. is not the wife guilty as a joint-proprietor, in retaining such ill-gotten goods, if she know it? And is she bound to accuse her husband, or to restore such goods?'
Answ. Her duty is first to admonish her husband of his siņ and danger, and endeavour his repentance, in the mean time disclaiming all consent, and reception of the goods. And if she cannot prevail for his repentance, restitution, and reformation, she hath a double duty to perform; is to help them to their goods whom he hath injured and robbed (by prudent and just means): the other is to prevent his robbing of others for the time to come. But how these must be done is the great difficulty.
1. If she foresee (or may do) that either by her husband's displeasure, or by the cruel revenge of the injured party, the hurt of discovering the fraud or robbery, will be greater than the good, then I think that she is not bound to discover it. But by some secret, indirect way, to help the owner to his own; if it may be done without a greater hurt.
2. To prevent his sin and other men's future suffering by him, she seemeth to me to be bound to reveal her husband's sinful purposes to the magistrate, if she can no other way prevail with him to forbear. My reasons are, because the keeping of God's law, and the law of the land, and the public order and good, and the preventing of our neighbours' hurt by robbery or fraud ; and so the interest of honesty and right, is of greater importance than any duty to her husband, or preservation of her own peace, which seemeth to be against it. But then I must suppose that she liveth under a magistrate, who will take but a just revenge. For if she know the laws and magistrate to be so unjust, as to punish a fault with death, which deserveth it not, she is not to tell such a magistrate, but to preserve her neighbours' safety by some other way of intimation.
If any one think that a wife may in no case, accuse a husband, to the hazard of his life or estate, let them, 1.
Remember what God obliged parents to do against the lives of incorrigible children, Deut. xxi. 2. And that the honour of God, and the lives of our neighbours, should be preferred before the life of one offender, and their estates before his estate alone. 3. And that the light of reason telleth us, that a wife is to reveal a treason against the king, which is plotted by a husband; and therefore also the robbing of the king's treasury, or deceiving him in any matter of great concernment. And therefore in due proportion, the laws and common good, and our neighbours' welfare, are to be preserved by us, though against the nearest relation: only all due tenderness of the life and reputation of the husband is to be preserved, in the manner of proceedings, as far as will stand with the interest of justice, and the common good.
Quest. 111. 'May the wife go hear sermons when the husband forbiddeth her?'
Answ. There are some sermons which must not be heard ; there are some sermons which may be heard, and must when no greater matter doth divert us; and there are some sermons which must be heard, whoever shall forbid it. Those which must not be heard are such as are heretical (ordinarily) and such as are superfluous, and at such times when greater duties call us another way. Those which may be heard, are either occasional sermons, or such lectures as are neither of necessity to ourselves, nor yet to the owning of God and his public worship. One that liveth where there are daily or hourly sermons, may hear them as oft as suiteth with their condition, and their other duties : but in this case, the command of a husband, with the inconveniences that will follow disobeying him, may make it a duty to forbear. But that we do sometimes publicly own God's worship, and church ordinances, and receive ministerial teaching for our edification, is of double necessity; that we deny not God, and that we betray not, or desert not our own souls. And this is especially necessary (ordinarily) on the Lord's days, which are appointed for these necessary uses.
And here the husband hath no power to forbid the wife, nor should she (formally) obey his prohibition. But yet as affirmatives bind not ‘ad semper,' and no duty is a duty at every season; so it is possible that on the Lord's day, it may extra