1. AND now having conducted the virgin to the entrance of another state, I must shift the Scene and attend her thither also. And here she is lanched into a wide sea, that one relation of a wife drawing after it many others: for as she espouses the man so she does his obligations also; and wherever he by ties of nature or alliance ows a reverence or kindness, she is no less a debtor. Her marriage is an adoption into his family, and therefore she is to every branch of it to pay what their stations there do respectively require: to define which more particularly, would be a work of more length then profit. I shall therefore confine the present consideration to the relation she stands in to her husband, & (what is usually concomitant with that) her children, and her servants, and so shall consider her in the three capacities of a Wife, a Mother, and a Mistress.
2. In that of a Wife her duty has several aspects, as it relates, first to his Person, secondly to his Reputation, thirdly to his Fortune. The first debt to his person is Love, which we find set as the prime Article in the marriage vow; & indeed that is the most essential requisite; without this 'tis only a Bargain and Compact, a Tyranny perhaps on the mans part, and a Slavery on the womans. 'Tis Love only that cements the hearts, and where that union is wanting, 'tis but a shadow, a carcass of marriage. Therefore as it is very necessary to bring some degree of this, to this State; so 'tis no less to maintain and improve it in it. This is it which facilitats all other duties of marriag; makes the yoke sit so lightly, that it rather pleases then galls. It should therefore be the study of Wives to preserve this flame; that like the vestal fire it may never go out: and to that end carefully to guard it from all those things which are naturally apt to extinguish it; of which kind are all frowardness and little perversness of humor; all sullen and morose behavior, which by taking off from the delight and complacency of conversation, will by degrees wear off the kindness.
3. But of all I know nothing more dangerous then that unhappy passion of Jealousy, which tho' 'tis said to be the child of love, yet like the viper, its birth is the certain destruction of the parent As therefore they must be nicely careful to give their husbands no color, no least unbrage for it so should they be as resolute to resist all that occurs to themselves, be so far from that busy curiosity that industry to find causes of suspicion; that even where they presented themselves, they should avert the consideration; put the most candid construction upon any doubtful action. And indeed charity in this instance, has not more of the Dove then of the Serpent. It is infinitly the wisest course, both in relation to her present quiet, and her future innocence. The entertaining a jealous fancy, is the admitting the most treacherous the most disturbing inmate in the World, & she opens her breast to a fury that lets it in. 'Tis certainly one of the most enchanting frensies imaginable, keeps her alwaies in a most restless importunate search after that which she dreads and abhors to find, and makes her equally miserable when she is injured, and when she is not.
4. And as she totally loses her ease, so 'tis odds but she will part also with some degrees of her innocence. Jeolousy is commonly attended with a black train; it musters all the forces of our irascible part, to abet its quarrel; Wrath and Anger, Malice and Revenge: and by how much the female impotence to govern those passions is the greater; so much the more dangerous is it to admit that which will so surely set them in an uprore. For if Jealousy be as the wise man saies the rage of a man Prov. 6. 32. we may well think it may be the fury the madness of a woman; and indeed all ages have given tragical instances of it, not only in the most indecent fierceness and clamor but in the solemn mischeifs of actualrevenges. Nay 'tis tobedoubted there have bin some whose malice has rebounded, and have ruined themselves in spight; have bin adulterous by way of retaliation: and taken more scandalous liberties then those they complained of in their husbands. And when such enormous effects as these are the issues of jealousy; it ought to keep women on the strictest guard against it.
5. But perhaps it may be said that some are not left to their Jealousy and conjectures; but have more demonstrative proofs. In thisage 'tis indeed no strange thingfor men to publish their sin as Sodom, and the offender does somtimes not discover but boast his crime. In this case I confess 'twill be scarce possible to disbelieve him; but even here a wife has this advantage, that she is out of the pain of Suspence; she knows the utmost, and therefore is now at lesure to convert all that industry which she would have used for the discovery, to fortify her self against a known calamity; which sure she may as well do in this as in any other; a patient Submission being the one Catholicon in all distresses; and as the slightest can overwhelm us if we add our own impatience towards our sinking; so the greatest cannot, if we deny it that aid. They are therefore far in the wrong, who in case of this injury pursue their husbands withvirulencies and reproches. This is as Solomon saies Pro. 25. 20. The powring vinegar upon niter, applying corrosives when balsoms are most needed; whereby they not only increase their own smart, but render the wound incurable. They are not thunders and earthquakes, but soft gentle rains that close the scissures of the ground; and the breaches of Wedlock will never be cemented by storms and loud outcries. Many men have bin made worse, but scarce ever any better by it; for guilt covets nothing more then an opportunity of recriminating; and where the husband can accuse the wives bitterness, he thinks he needs no other apology for his own lust.
6. A Wise Dissimulation, or very calm notice is sure the likeliest means of reclaiming, for where men have not wholy put off humanity, there is a native compassion to a meek sufferer. We have naturally some regret to see a Lamb under the knife; whereas the impatient roaring of a swine diverts our pitty; so that Patience in this case is as much the interest as duty of a Wife.
7. But there is another instance wherein that vertu has yet a severer trial, and that is when a Wife lies under the causeless jealousies of the husband, (I say causeless, for if they be just 'tis not so much a season for patience, as for repentance and reformation.) This is sure one of the greatest calamities that can befall a vertuous woman, who as she accounts nothing so dear as her loialty and honor; so thinks no infelicity can equal the aspersing of those; especially when 'tis from him, towhomshe has bin the most solicitous to approve her self. Yet God who permits nothing but what he directs to some wise and gracious end, has an overruling hand in this as well as in all other events of life; and therefore it becomes every woman in that condition, to examine strictly what she has don to provoke so severe a scourge; for tho her heart condemn her not of any falseness to her husband, yet probably it may of many disloialties to her God, and then she is humbly to accept even of this traducing of her innocence, as the punishment of her iniquity, and bear it with the same temper wherewith David did the unjust revilings of Shimei 2 Kings 16. 10. Let him curse, for the Lord hath bidden him.
8. And when she hath made this penitent reflection on her real guilts, she may then with more courage encounter those imaginary ones which are charged on her; wherein she is to use all prudent and regular means for her justification, that being a debt she ows to truth, and her own fame; but if after all, the suspicion remains still fixed (as commonly those which are the most unreasonable are the most obstinate) she may still solace her self in her integrity, and Gods approbation of it. Nor ought she to think her self desolate, that has her appeal open to heaven. Therefore whilst she can look both inward and upward with comfort, why should she chuse to fix her eies only on the object of her grief; and whilst her own complaint is of defamation, why should she so dishonor God and a good conscience, as to shew any thing can be more forcible to oppress, then they are to relieve and support? And if she may not indulge to grief, much less may she to anger, and bitterness.
9. Indeed if she consider how painful a passion jealousie is, her husband will more need her pitty, who tho he be unjust to her, is yet cruel to himself; and as we do not use to hate and malign those Lunatics who in their fits beat their friends, and cut and gash themselves, but rather make it our care to put all harmful engines out of their way; so should the wife not despitefully ruminate upon the injury, but wisely to contrive to avert his temtations to more; by denying her self even the most innocent liberties, if she see they dissatisfy him. I know there have bin som of another opinion, and as if they thought jealousy were to be cured by majoration, have in an angry contemt don things to inflame it; put on an unwonted freedom and jollity, to shew their husbands how little they had secur'd themselves by their distrust. But this as it is no Christian, so I conceive it is no prudent expedient; it serves to stengthen not only the husbands suspicion, but his party too, and make many others of his mind; and 'tis a little to be feared, that by using so to brave the Jealousy, they may at last come to verify it. I have bin the longer on this theme, because as Jealousie is the most fatal pest of a married life, so I think it more ordinarily occurs among people of quality, and with the worst and most durable effects; yet what ever pretences people may take hence, the marriage vow is too fast a knot to be loosened by fancies and chimeras; let a woman therefore be the person suspecting or suspected, neither wil absolve her from that love to her husband she has sworn to pay.
10. But alas what hope is there that these greater temptations shall be resisted, when we see every the slightest disgust is now adays too strong for the matrimonial love, nay indeed it does of course fall off of it self, which is an event so much expected, that 'tis no wonder to see it expire with the first circuit of the moon; but it is every bodies admiration to see it last one of the sun; and sometimes it vanishes so cleerly, as not to leave so much as a shadow behind it, not so much as the formalities of marriage; one bed, one house cannot hold them, as if they had bin put together like case-shot in a gun, only that they might the more forcibly scatter several waies. Nay as if this were designed and intended in the first addresses unto marriage; a separate maintenance is of course aforehand contracted for, and becomes as solemn a part of the settlement, as a Jointure is. Plutarch observes of the ancient Romans, that for 230 years after founding of their state, there never was one example of any married couple that separated it is not likely they could have a more binding form of marriage then ours is, the difference must lie between their veracity and our falsness.
11. But even amongst those who desert not each other, too many do mutually fall from that entireness and affection which is the soul of marriage; and to help on the declination, there are fashionable Maxims taken up, to make men and their wives the greatest strangers to each other: Thus 'tis pronounced a piece of ill Breeding, a sign of a country Gentleman, to see a man go abroad with his own wife (I suppose those who brought up these rules are not to seek what use to make of them) and were the time of most of the modish couples computed, itwould be sound they are but few of their waking hours (I might say minutes) together; so, that if nothing else, meer desuetude and intermission of conversation must needs allay, if not quite extinguish their kindness. But I hope there are yet many who do not think the autority of a fashion greaterthenthat of a vow; & such will still think it their duty both to own and cherish that kindness and affection they have so solemnly promis'd.
12. Another debt to the person of a husband is Fidelity: sor as she has espoused all his interests, so she is obliged to be true to them, to keep all his secrets, to inform him of his dangers, yea and in a mild and gentle manner to admonish him of his faults. This is the most genuine act of friendship; therefore she who is placed in the neerest and most intimate degree of that relation, must not be wanting in it. She that lies in his bosom should be a kind of second conscience to him, by putting him in mind both of his duty and his aberrations, and as long as she can be but patiently heard 'tis her sin to omit it; 'tis the greatest treachery to his noblest, to his immortal part, and such as the most officious cares of his other interests can never expiate. Nay indeed she is unfaithful to her self in it, there being nothing that does so much secure the happiness of a Wife as the vertu and piety of the husband. Yet, tho this is to have her chiefest care, as being his principal interest, she is to neglect none of the inferior, but contribute her utmost to his advantage in all his concerns.
13. Beyond all these the matrimonial fidelity has a special notion as it relates to the Bed; & in that the wise is to be most severely scrupulous, & never to admit so much as a thought or imagination, much lesse any parly or treaty contrary to her loialty. Tis true wantonness is one of the foulest blots that can stain any of the sex; but 'tis infinitly more odious in the married, it being in them an accumulation of crimes; perjury added to uncleanness; the infamy of their family superstructed upon their own; and accordingly all lawes have made a difference in their punishments. Adultery was by Gods own award punisht with death among the Jews, Levit. 20. 10. And it seems it was so agreable to natural justice, that divers other nations did the like; and I know no reason, but the difficulty of detection, that should any where give it a milder sentence. The son of Sirach has excellently describ'd the several gradations of the guilt Ecclus. 23. 1. which I shall desire the Reader to consult: which who so does must certainly wonder at the Alchimy of this age, that from such a mass of shame and infamy can extract matter of confidence, that those who lie under so many brands and stigmas, are so far from hiding their faces, that none shew them with so much boldness; and the assurance of the guilty far exceeds that of the innocent. But impudence is a slender shelter for guilt; and serves rather to betray then hide; so that theyare not able to outface the opinions of men; much lesse can they the judgments of God; who as He was solemnly invok'd as witness to their vow, so by his omnipresence is against their wills a witness too of its violations.
14. Another duty to the person of the husband is obedience, a word of a very harsh sound in the ears of some wives, but is certainly the duty of all: and that not only by their promise of it, tho that were sufficient; but from an original of much older date, it being the mulct that was laid upon the first womans disobedience to God, that she (and all derived from her) should be subject to the husband; so that the contending for superiority, is an attemt to reverse that fundamental law, which is almost as ancient as the World. But surely God with whom there is no shadow of change, will not make acts of repeal to satisfie the petulancy of a few masterless women. That statute will stillstand in force, and if it cannot awe them into an observance, will not fail to consign them topunishment. And indeed this fault is commonly its own lictor, and does anticipate (tho not avert) its final doom. The imperiousness of a woman dos often raise those storms, wherein her self is shipwrack'd. How pleasantly might many women have lived if they had not affected dominion. Nay how much of their will might they have had, if they had not strugled for it. For let a man be of never so gentle a temper (unless his head be softer then his heart) such a usurpation will awake him to assert his right. But if he be of a sowr severe nature; if he have as great a desire of rule as she, backt with a much better title, what tempests what Hurricanes must two such opposite winds produce? And at last 'tis commonly the wives lot, after an uncreditable unjust war, to make as disadvantageous a peace; this (like all other ineffective rebellions) serving to straiten her yoke, to turn an ingenuous subjection into a slavish servitude: so that certainly it is not only the vertue, but the wisdom of wives to do that upon duty, which at last they must (with more unsupportable circumstances.) do upon necessity.
15. And as they ow these severalls to the person of the husband, so there is also a debt to his reputation. This they are to be extremely tender of, to advance it, by making all that is good in him as conspicuous, as public as they can; setting his worth in the cleerest light, but putting his infirmities in the shade; casting a veil upon those to skreen them from the eies of others, nay (as far as is possible) from their own too; there being nothing acquir'd to the wifeby contemplating the husbands weakness, but a temtation of despising him; which tho bad enough in itself, is yet renderd worse by that train of mischievous consequences which usually attend it. In case therefore of any notable imperfections in him, her safest way will be to consider them no farther then she can be instrumental to the curing them; but to divert from those, and reflect upon her own which perhaps if impartially weighed, may ballance if not overpois his. And indeed those wives who are apt blaze their husbands faults, doe shew that they have either little adverted to theirown, orelse find them so great, that they are forced to that art of diversion, and seek in his infamy to drown theirs. But that project is a little unlucky, for nothing does in sober judges create greaterprejudice to a woman, then to see her forward in impeaching her husband
16. But besides this immediate tenderness of his reputation, there is another by way of reflection, which consists in a care that she her self do nothing which may redound to his dishonor: ther is so strict union between a man and his wife, that the law counts them one person, and consequently they can have no divided interest, so that the misbehavior of the woman reflects ignominiously on the man; it therefore concerns them as well upon their husbands as their own account, to abstain even from all appearance of evil, and provide that themselves be (what Caesar is said to have requir'd of his wife) not only without guilt but without scandal also.
17 Another part of the wives duty relates to her husbands fortune, the management whereof is not ordinarily the wives province, but where the husband thinks fit to make it so, she is oblig'd to administer it with her best care and industry; not by any neglect of hers to give others opportunity of defrauding him, yet on the other side not by an immoderate tenacity or griping, to bring upon him and her self the reproch, and which is worse the curse that attends exaction and oppression. But this is not usually the wives field of action, tho he that shall consider the description which Solomon gives of a vertuous wife Prov. 31. will be apt to think her Province is not so narrow and confin'd, as the humor of the age would represent it. He tells us that she seeks wool and flax, and works diligently with her hands, that she is like the merchants ships, and brings her food from far. That she considers a field and buyes it, and with the fruit of her hands plants a vineyard, &c. And least this should be imagin'd to be the character of a mean country Dame, he addes that her houshold is clothed in scarlet, and that her husband sits among the Elders of the land. It were easy to give instances from history of the advantageous menage and active industry of wives, not only in single persons, but whole Nations. But nothing can be more pregnant, then that among the Romans: in the very height and flourish of the Empire Austus himself scare wore any thing but of the Manufacture of his Wife, his Sister, daughters, and nieces, as Suetonius assures us. Should the gay lilies of our fields, which neither sow nor spin, nor gather into barns be exemted from furnishing others, and left to cloth themselves, tis to be doubted they would reverse our Saviors Parallel of Solomons glories, and no beggar in all his rags would be araied like one of these. Luc. 12. 27.
18. But we will be yet more kind, and impose only negative thrift on the wife, not to wast and embezle her husbands estate, but to confine her expences within such limits as that can easily admit; a caution which if all women had observed; many noble families had bin preserv'd, of which there now remains no other memorial but that they sell a sacrifice to the profuse vanity of a woman; and I fear this age is like to provide many more such monuments for the next. Our Ladies, as if they emulated she Roman Luxury (which Seneca and Pliny describe with so much indignation) do sometimes wear about them the revenues of a rich family; and those that cannot reach to that, shew how much 'tis against their wills they fall lower, by the vast variety and excess of such things as they can possibly compasse; so much extravagance not only in their own dress, but that of their houses and apartments, as if their vanity like the Leprosy we read of Lev. 24. had infected the very walls. And indeed 'tis a very spreading fretting one, for the furniture oft consumes the house, and the house consumes the land: so that if som Gentlemen were to calculate their estates, they might reduce all to the inventory of Scopias the Thessalian, who profest his all lay only in such Toies as did him no good. Women are now skillfull Chymists, and can quickly turn their husbands earth into Gold: but they pursue the experiment too far, make that Gold too volatile, and let it all vapor away in insignificant (tho gaudy) trifles.
19. Nor is it ever like to be otherwise with those that immoderatly affect the town, that forge of vanity, which supplies a perpetual spring of new temtations. 'Tis true there are some Ladies who are necessarily engaged to be there: their husbands emploiments or fortunes have markt that out as their proper station, and where the ground of their stay is their duty, there is more reason to hope it will not betray them to ill, for temtations are most apt to assault stragglers, those that put themselves out of their proper road. And truly I see not who can more properly be said to be so, then those women whose means of subsistence lies in the Country, and yet will spend it no where but at London, which seems to carry something of opposition to Gods providence, who surely never caused their lot to fall, as the Psalmist speaks, in a fair ground, in goodly heritages Psalm. 16. with an intent they should never inhabit them. The 12 tribes of Israel had their peculiar Portions in Canaan assign'd them by lot Jos. 14. 2. and every one acquiesced in his part, dwelt in his own inheritance: had they bin impatient of living any where but in the Metropolis, had they all crouded to Jerusalem, all the rest of the land would have bin as desolate before the captivty as it was after; none would have bin left but such as Nabuzaradan permitted to stay Jer. 52. 16. some of the poor to dresse the vines, and to till the ground. And truly the same is like to be the fate of this nation, if this humor goes on as it has begun; which may in time prove as mischievous to the public as it daily is to private families.
20. But besides this 'tis yet farther to be consider'd, that where God gives an estate, he as the supreme landlord affixes something of duty, laies a kind of a rent charge upon it, expects it should maintain both hospitality and charity; and sure both these are fittest to be don upon the place whence the ability of them rises. All public taxes use to be levied where the estate lies, and I know not why these which are Gods assesments upon it, should not be paid there too. When a Gentlemans land becomes profitable unto him by the sweat and labor of his poor neighbors and tenants, twill be a kind of muzling of the ox 1. Cor. 9. 9. if they never tast of the fruit of their pains, if they shall never have the refreshment of a good meal, or an alms; which they are not very like to meet with, if all the profits be sent up to maintain an equipage, and keep up a parade in town. But alas 'tis often not only the annual profits that go that way, not only the crop, but the soil too; those luxuries usually pray upon the vitals, eat out the very heart of an estate, and many have stay'd in the Town 'till they have nothing left in the country to retire to.
21. Now where this proceeds from the wife, what account can she give to her husband, whose easiness and indulgence (for that must be suppos'd in the case) she has so abus'd? as also to her posterity and family who for her pride must be brought low, reduc'd to a conditiod beneath their quality, because she affected to live above it? But she will yet worse answer it to her self, on whom she has brought not only the inconvenience but the guilt. 'Tis sure a lofty mind will feelsmart enough of a fall, a diminution, much more an indigence will be sufficiently greivous to a vain and lavish humor; yet here it will farther have an additional sting, from the conscience that she ows it only to her own pride and folly; a most imbittering consideration, and such as advances the affliction beyond that of a more innocent poverty, as much as the pain of an envenom'd arrow exceeds that of another.
22. But the saddest reckoning of all is that which she is to make to God, who has declar'd he hates robbery tho for a burnt offering to himself. How will he then detest this robbery this impoverishing of the husband, when 'tis only to make an oblation to vanity and excess? It should therefore be the care of all wives to keep themselves from a guilt for which God and man, yea & themselves also shall equally accuse them, and to keep their expences within such limits, that as bees suck but do not violate or deface the flowers, so they as joint proprietaries with the husbands, may enjoy but not devour and destroy his fortune.
23. I have now run through the duties to be perfrom'd unto the Husband, wherein I have not used the exactness of a casuist in curiously anatomizing every part, and shewing all the most minute particulars reducible to each head. I have only drawn out the greater lines, and insisted on those wherein Wives-are most frequently deficient. I shall only add this caution, that whatever is duty to the husband is equally so, be he good or ill, the Apostle commands the subjection & fidelity, even to heathen Husbands, 1 Pet. 3. 12. and 'tis not now their defect, either in Piety or Morality, that can absolve the Wife. For, besides the inconvenience of making her duty precarious & liable to be substracted upon every pretence of demerit, she has by solemn Contract renounc'd that liberty, & in her Marriage-vow taken him for better for worse; & it is too late after Vows to make enquiry, Prov. 20. 25. to seek to break loose from that bond of her Soul; and how uneasie soever the perversness of the husband may render it, he cannot thereby mak it less, but more rewardable by God: for what the Apostle speaks in the case of Servants, is no less appliable to this, 1 Pet. 2. 19. for this is than worthy. if for conscience towards Godye endure grief, suffering wrongfully. Whatever duty is perform'd to Man with aspect on God, he owns as to himself; so that how unworthy soever the husband may be the Wife cannot misplace her observance, whilst she finally terminates it on that infinit Goodness and Majesty to whom no love or obedience can be enough.
24. From this relation of a Wife, there ordinarily springs another, that of a Mother, to which there belongs a distinct duty, which may bebranched into many severals: but I shall at present only reduce them to two Heads Love and Care. A Mother is a title of so much tenderness, that we find it borrowed by our common Dialect to express the most exuberant kindness; nay, even in Sacred Stile it has the same use, and is often set as the highest example our weaknes can comprehend of the Divine Compassions. So that Nature seems sufficienly to have secur'd the love of Mothers to their Children, without the aid of any positive Law; yet we find this (as other Instincts of Nature) is somtimes violated, and oftner perverted and applied to mistaken purposes: the first is by a defect of Love; the other, by an imprudent excess of t: the defect does, I presume, more rarely occur then the other; yet it doth sometimes happen, and that either from a morosesowrness of humor, or else from too vehement an intention on somthing else.
25. Some Women have such a ruggedness of nature, that they can love nothing; the ugly Passions of Anger and Envy, hav, like Pharaoh's lean Kine, eat up the more amiable, of Love and Joy. Plato was wont to advise crabbed austere tempers, to Sacrifice to the Graces; and such as these had need have a great deal of Christian Philosophy, to allay and sweeten their native Bitterness. But there are others that are not void of the affection of Love, but 'tis forestall'd by some other Object, and so diverted from their Children; and 'tis a little to be doubted, those Objects which so divert are none of the best, for the Wisdom of God has disposed all duty into such a Harmony and Consent of Parts, that one interferes not with another. If we love no prohibited thing, all the regular Objects of our kindness will agree well enough, and one need never supplant another. And indeed 'tis oft observable, that those Women who immoderatly love their own Plesures, do lest regard their Children; they look on them as Clogs to keep them within doors, and think their adverting to them, will hinder their free range abroad; those are turn'd off to the care of a Nurse or Maid, whilst perhaps a Dog or a Monkey is thought worthy their own attendance.
26. Plutarch relates it as a Sarcasm of Caesars to some Foreigners whom he saw (at Rome) strangely fond of such little Animals, that he asked them whether the women in their Country had no children; thereby intimating, how unreasonable it was for those that had, to bestow their Caresses on such Creatures. And surely he would not have given a milder reprimand to som of our Ladies, who not only please, but pride themselvs in those little Brutes, shew them to all comers, when perhaps you may converse with them divers daies, before you shall, by any mention of theirs, know that they have a Child.
27. To this defect of Love, many are apt to impute the Mothers transferring the Nursing her Child to another. I am not forward to pronounce it, being loth to involve so many as I then must in the imputation of unnaturalness; I rather think it is taken up as a piece of State and Greatness; for no other motive, but what is sounded in their Quality, could so universally prevail with all that are of it. But sure this is one of the vain Punctillio's wherwith this Age abounds; for what-ever rank the Mother is of, the Child carries proportion to it, and there is the same equality between the greatest Lady and her own Child, as is between the meanest Beggar and hers: tho indeed if there were any condescension in it, the aversions of that ought not to outweigh the impulses of Nature, and the many advantages the Child may receive by taking its nourishment whence it derived its substance. And therefore, tho I will not be too positive in asserting the necessity, yet I confess, I cannot but look with reverence upon those few Persons of Honor, who have broke through an unreasonable Custom, and preferred the good of their Children before that fantastic privilege of Greatness. And such must in all Justice be acknowledged to have given a much better evidence of their love to their Children, then the others.
28. There is in A. Gellius, in his fourteenth book so fine a Discourse on this subject, where Favorinus the Philosopher is introduced, perswading a Noble Lady, notwithstanding the usual Excuses, to Nurse her Child; that nothing besides the length, could temt me to omit the transcribing it: unless happily the little success, which a Noble Person of the same Sex here concern'd I mean the Countess of Lincoln, in the Ingenious book wrote by her, and call'd her Nursery, be a sufficient ground of despairing to convince by any thing that can be said. However let these delicate ones consider the severe words of the Prophet, Lament. 4. 3. The sea monsters draw out the breast, they give suck to their young ones, the daughter of my people is become cruel like the ostrich in the Wilderness, who is hardned against her young ones, as tho they were not hers: her labor is in vain without fear, because God hath deprived her of wisdom, neither hath he imparted to her understanding, Job. 39. 16.
29. But as there may be a fault in the defect, so there may be also in the excess of love. God is the only unlimited object of our love, towards all others 'tis easy to become inordinate, and in no instance more then in this of children. The love of a parent is descending, and all things move most violently downwards, so that whereas that of children to their parents commonly needs a spur, this of the parent often needs a bridle, especially that of the Mother, which (by strength of feminine passion) does usually exceed the love of the Father. Now to regulate this affection, she is to advert to these two rules, first that she hurt not her self by it, and secondly that she hurt not her children: of the first she is in danger if she suffer that humane affection to swell beyond its banks, so as to come in any competition with the Divine, this is to make an Idoll of her child; for every thing is so to us, which rivals the love of God in our hearts, and he who owns the title of a jealous God, may be provoked as well by the bowing our souls to a living image, as the prostration of our bodies to a dead. Accordingly we oft see the effects of his jealousy in this particular, the doting affection of the mother is frequently punish with the untimely death of the Children, or if not with that 'tis many times with a severer scourge: they live (but as it was foretold to Eli 1 Sam. 2. 33.) to grieve her eies and to consume her heart, to be ruinous to themselves, and afflictions to their friends, and to force their unhappy mothers to that sad acclamation Lu. 23. 29. Blessed are the wombs which bare not
30. And as this proves often true, when the dotage is generall upon all the children, so does oftner when 'tis more partial and fixt upon any one; that darling which she makes the only object of her joy usually becomes that of her sorrow. It is an ordinary infirmity in Parents toheap all their kindness upon one, to the defrauding of the rest, and too many times upon very undue motives: a little excelling in point of beauty turns the scales, when perhaps many more solid excellencies are the counterpoise. And surely this is not only unjust but irrational in the parent: for all peculiarity of favor in a superior, should be dispenc'd either by way of reward or encouragement; and neither of those ends can take place where 'tis only the outward form that is consider'd, for that cannot be rewardable, to which the party has contributed nothing, and the Psalmist will tell us that tis God that hath made us and not we our selves Psalm. 100. 2. and as little room is there for the other end, that of encouragement. For as our Savior tells us Ma. 6. none can adde a cubit to his statute, nor make one hair white or black: 'tis certain themselves cannot really doe either, tho by the aid of artificial hypocrisy they frequently appear to do both; but those are arts which neither deserve nor want encouragment, the natural beauty must have its increase from the same source whence it derived its being: there is therefore no reasonable account to be given why a child should be preferr'd for any such exterior excellency.
31. The only justifiable ground of partiality to children is their vertue, for to that their own choice concurs, and so may intitle them to reward, and 'tis also in their power to advance, and so encouragements are not cast away upon them: nay the influences of those may extend farther, and provone a vertuous emulation in the rest; but then the Mother must so manage it, as to evidence that 'tis no inequallity in her own inclination, but meerly the force of the others desert, not the person but the goodness, that biasses her, and when vertue is known to be the only ingratiating quality, they will at once learn the way to become hers & Gods favourites. And unless it be upon this one design, 'tis a very unsafe thing for a parent to make any partial discrimination among children, which is sure to tempt the more neglected both to repine at her, and envy her darlings; and oftentimes such seeds of rancor have bin by that means sowed in children, as have bin hard to eradicate in their riper years. Nor is the mifchief less which she does to her fondlings, who besides that they are expos'd to the malice of the rest, are usually spoild by it, made insolent & untractable perhaps their whole lives after, for where the mothers affection is unbridled, commonly the childs will is so too, her fondness superseding that discipline and correction, which should, as the wise man speaks; bow down its neck from its youth.
32. And the like may be said where the indulgence is more universal to all the Children, which is in one respect worse then the partial, because it spoils more, not one or two but all the brood. The doting love of a mother blinds her eyes, that she cannot see their faults, manacles her hands that she cannot chastise them, and so their vices are permitted to grow up with themselves: as their joints knit and gather strength, so do their ill habits, 'till at last they are confirm'd into an obstinacy; so setting them in a perfect opposition to to that pattern they should imitate, for as Christs childhood increast in wisdom, and the divine favor, Lu. 2. so do theirs in all those provoking follies, which may avert both the love of God and man. And alas what recompence can the little blandishments and caresses of a mother make her children, for such important such inestimable mischiefs? So that she that will be really kind must temper her indulgence with a prudent severity, or els she eminently violates the second rule, by which she should regulate her love, and does that to her children which Jocob fear'd from his father Gen. 27. brings a curse upon them and not a blessing.
33. Indeed the best way of approving their love, is by well discharging the other branch of their duty, that of care; without this all the most passionate rapturesof kindness, are but an airy apparition, a fantastic scene, and will no more advantage a child, then the whole shambles in picture can feed and nurish it. Now this care is not a temporary, momentary duty, for some one critical instant, but is to attend the child through the several stages of its minority, viz. Infancy, childhood, and youth. The very first part of their infancy is a season only for those cares which concern their bodies, providing for their careful attendance, and all other things conducing to the strengthening their constitutions, and laying a foundation for future health and vigor; which is their interest not only upon a bodily, but upon an intellectual account, the good temperature of the body being a great aid towards the free operations of the mind. And therefore Socrates and other Philosophers much recommend to their disciples the care of health, as that which freed the soul from many incumbrances in its pursuit of knowledg: and it was the comprehensive praier of the Poet, that the Gods would grant a sound mind in a healthful Body.
34. But this health is not always the consequent of a very nice and tender breeding but is very oft overthrown by it; and if Ladies could but find in their hearts to try it, they would, I doubt not, find, that the inuring them to moderate hardships, would much more conduce to the establishing and fortifying their constitutions.
35. Beyond all this, the care for their exterior is soon overtaken by a more important one, that of their interior, in the timing of which there seems to be a very common mistake in the World. We look upon the seven Years or infancy, as the life meerly of an Animal, to be spent only in the Entertainments of sense; and as we use not to yoak Calves, or back young Colts, so we think our children are for a while to be left at the same liberty; to have no restraint put on any of their Passions. Nay many times we excite & foment them, teach Children to be angry and envious, proud and sullen, as if we fear'd their Natural Propensions to all these were too faint, and wanted the help of Institutions. But surely this is a great and pernicions error, and this supposing Children to be so long Brutes, is the way to make them so longer. The Patrons of Atheism make it a most constant Topic in the disparagement of Religion, that 'tis owed to the prejudices infused in the first infancy: 'twer to be wisht, that this Objection might so far be complied with, that the fear of God, the love of Vertue, and hatred of Vice, might have the first possession of the Soul; and they be made to moderate their Passions, as soon as they are in a capacity to have them excited and engaged.
36. And truly, if we will observe it, we may see very early dawnings of reason in Infants, which would sooner come to a brightness, if we would betimes set to the scattering of those Passions which eclipse and darken it. A Child will quickly be taughtto knowwhat pleases ordispleases a Parent, and by a very little tast of reward or punishment, will learn to do the one, and avoid the other: and when this is don, the Parent has gain'd the fundamental Point, That of obedience; and may superstruct on it what she pleases, & then 'tis her fault if the Child be not by easie and insensible degrees moulded into a right form. 'Tis at first all one to the Child, whether he name God in an Oath or in his Praiers; but a Mother by punishing the one, and rewarding the other, will quickly bring him to know there is a difference, and so proportionably in other instances. As to the way of discipline, it may not be amiss to observe, that when thereis occasion for severity, 'tis better to awe by actual punishment then terror, and never to make use of infinite and invisible affrightments, the beloved methods of Nurses and Servants, such as are the menacing of Sprights and Mormo's, and leaving in the dark; that frequently make dastardly & timerous impressions, which a long Age scarcely wears off.
37. A sober sense of things, is to be impressed by treatable means, and this will be don with most ease, both to the Parent and Child, the sooner tis set upon. The will of a tender Infant, is like its Limbs, supple and pliant, but time confirms it, and custom hardens it; so 'tis a cruel Indulgence to the poor Creature, to let it contract such habits, which must cost him so dear the breaking; or dearer, is never broken. And if this early care be taken of the Infancy, 'twill much ease the next part, that of the Childhood; for where the Iron sinew in the neck is broken, where the native stubbornness is subdued so early, the yokewill sit easie, all succeeding parts of discipline will comewith more facility and profit. The care proper to this Age, is, the instructing in all parts of useful Knowledg, of which, as the Divine for the excellency both of its nature and its end, must be first ranked, so should it be first and most industriously cultivated, and by all endearing methods imprest, not only on the understanding, but the heart. Piety and Virtue should be propos dasthemost amiable, as well as necessary things, and they would be invited not only to know, but love them.
38. This part of Learning is equally competent to both Sexes, and therefore, when the Sons are removed from under the Mothers tuition, and sent to more public places of erudition, her Provinceis still the same as to her Daughter to whom she shouldnot only Preach, but exemplifie it inher own practice, no Precepts penetrating so much into Youth, as those that are so inforc'd. And in order to this, I should commend to Mothers, the being as much with them as they can, and taking the personal Inspection of them; not to turn them off wholly to Servants, no nor yet Governesses, but frequently themselves to examin how they proceed in the speculative part of Knowledg, and no less frequently exhort them to the practic.
39. Marcus Cato would not let his Son learn of his Slave, as disdaining a Child should owe so considerable a benefit to so servile a person; and if he thought the meer teaching of Grammar, too great a charge for such a one, surely the whole Institution of Youth is a much greater, it being that on which, not only a few outward Accomplishments, but even their Eternity depends. The great Cornelia, Mother of the Gracchi, and Aurelia the Mother of Augustus, thought it worth their pains to be Governesses. And the truth is, the Soul of a Child is a little too precious a Trust to commit wholy to the diligence & care of a mercinary servant; or if they happen not to want those Qualifications, yet 'tis very possible they may Prudence, of which there is no small degree requisite to the Instructing of Youth, too great a remissness or severity being equally destructive in that affair. And indeed, besides this immediate, there are some other collateral Benefits consequent to the Mothers performing that Office, 'twill bring her and her Children into an intimacy and conversation, give her an acquaintance with their several Capacities and Humors; for want of which, many Parents have erred in their Conduct, one sort of Treatment being not fit for all Children; and the distinguishing that depending wholy on their discerning their particular Tempers, which cannot well be don without-som converse with them.
40. Besides by this they will be witnesses how they dispose their time, that they neither lose it by doing nothing, nor yet mis-employ it by doing ill. And indeed there is scarce any part of the parents care more important then this, idlenessbeing no farther removed from vice, then a cause is from its immediate effect. Therefore if children be permitted to trifle avay their time, they will soon learn to trifle avay their innocence also: so that 'tis highly necessary that they be provided of a succession of emploiments, that by the variety they may be insensibly drawn on: nay methinkes, it might verywell be contrived that their recreationsmight somtimes consist of such ingenious exercises, that they may at once both play and learn.
41. There is yet another good effect of the mothers presence with the children (which is perhaps no less material then any of the former) 'tis, that by this associating them with her self, she prevents the danger of worse society. Children if the parents allow them not their company, are necessarily cast upon that of servants, than which there is scarce a greater danger that attends youth; for besides that that low sort of converse debases their minds, makes them mean and sordid, it often corrupts their manners too; children usually not receiving more pestilent infusions from any then such. Servants that desire to ingratiate themselvs, and having no laudable quality whereby to do it, must first endeavor to ingratiate vice to them, and then by their officious ministries in that, have a ready way of introducing themselves into favor. Perhaps this will be thought to concern only the masculin part of children, and that the female who are commonly in a distinct appartment, and converse only with their own sex, are more secure. But I would not advise mothers to depend too much on that, for they are no surer that their daughters shall not converse with men, nay men of the meaner sort too, then that their maids and attendants shall notdo so; and when 'tis consider'd, how apt those are to entertain, if not to invite amours, 'tis not very probable the rooms where they quarter shallbe inaccessible to those they affect. And it were much safer for children to bee in the most public concourse of men, then to be witnesses and observers of the private intrigues of such lovers; the memories of youth are very tenacious, & if they once be tainted with any indecent thing will be apt to recollect it, 'till at last perhaps they come to transcribe it. 'Tis therefore in this respecta very useful part of the Mothers care, to make her self company to her daughters, to prevent the dangers of a more unequal and infectious converse.
42. But if this be useful in childhood, 'tis no less then necessary in the next period of their time, when they arrive neer the growth and age of women: then indeed the mother should not only make them her companions, but her friends, allow them such a kind, yet modest, freedom, that they may have a complacence in her company, and not be temted to seek it among their inferiors; that the belief of her kindnes may supplant the pretensions of those meaner sycophants, who by litle flatteries endeavor to seru themselves into their good opinion, & become their confidents; then which there is nothing more mischievous, those private caballs that are held with such, serving only to reader them mutinous against their parents: these family incendiaries like those in the state and church, still inculcating the one grand principle of Liberty, a word so charming to our depraved nature, and especially to youth, that they should not be trusted with such Lectures. Besides those intimacies are often introductions to worse; many scandalous amours and unequal matches having had their rise from them. It should therefore be the business of Mothers to prevent all such pernicious leagues, by preingaging them in more safe familiarities, either with her self, or some other, of whose vertue she has reason to be confident.
43. But the most infallible security against this & all other mischeifs is the bringing them into an intimacy and conversation with their maker, by fixing a true sense of Religion in their hearts, if that can be effectually don, twill supersede all other expedients. She that duely considers she is allwaies in Gods presence, will want no other inspector; nor will she much need monitors, who attends to the advices of her own conscience. Neither will it only tend to the securing her innocence but her reputation too; it being one part of the Christian law to abstain from all appearance of evil 1. Thess. 22. to do things that are of good report Phil. 4. 8. so that piety is the most compleat armor to defend both their vertu and fame. And 'tis extremely necessary they should be furnisht with it, at this Age especially, when they do at first enter into the World, which we may well look on as a taking the Field, considering how many assaults they are there like to meet with; and if they go without this Armature, they may, none knows how soon, be incurably wounded, of which there want not many sad instances, some whereof might probably have bin prevented, had the Parent taken care to have better fortified them.
44. And indeed tis not a little sad to see how much this their most important concern is neglected. Many mothers who are nicely curious in other parts of their daughters breeding, are utterly inconsiderate of this; they must have all civil Accomplishments, but no Christian. Those are excluded out of the scheme of Education, & by that means lye under the prejudice of being not only unnecessary, but ungentile, below the regard of Persons of Quality. 'Tis much to be fear'd, that this neglect toward their children, is founded in a previous contemt of Piety in themselves, yet I suppose 'tis often increas'd by a little Vanity they have of seeing them excel in som of those exterior qualities, which may recommend them to the humor of the World upon the improving whereof they are so intent, that more material things are overlookt; and when those are acquired, the pride of shewing them betrays them to other in onveniencies. The mother oft not only permits, but incites the daughter to the oportunities of boasting her excellencies sends her so oft abroad on that design, that at last perhaps she cannot when she would keep her at home, as I believe too many have found experimentally true. In a word, this Interval between Childhood & Majority, is the most Critical point of a Womans Life, and therefore should be the most nicely and warily attended; and a mother had need summon not only all her care and diligence, but her prudence too, well to discharge this part of her Obligation.
45. I shall not insist more minutely upon Particulars: I have in the former Section spoken somewhat of what 'tis fit these young Virgins should do and avoid, and whatever by that, or by any more exact rule appears their interest or duty; 'tis the Mothers to see it be not neglected by them: but where Kindness alone will not prevail to employ their autority too, and by a discreet mixture of each, secure their observance by both the tenures of Love and Reverence. Yet I shall a little reflect upon one particular I mention'd before I mean that of Marrying wher they have aversion, which tho I there charg'd as the crime of the Daughter yet I must here say the Original, and more inexcusable guilt is usually in the Parents, who are sometimes such Idolaters to Wealth and Honor, that they Sacrifice their Children to them; a more barbarous Immolationthen that to Moloch; for tho that were very inhumane, yet it had this alleviation, that the pain was short: but a loathed Bed is at once an acute and a lingring Torment, nay, not only so, but a temtation too; so that 'tis a Tyranny of a most unlimited kind, extends its Effects even to Eternity; and sure that Mother must have very petrified Bowels, have lost all Natural Compassion, that can so impose on her Child.
46. I shall add no more concerning this relation of a Mother, but only one short advice, That those who groan under the frustration of their hopes, whose Children by any scandulous misbehavior become Objects of their shame and grief, would soberly consider, whether it have not bin som way owing to themselves, either by neglect in their Education, or by their own ill Example: 'Tis usually one, and sometimes both. They that upon recollection can assure themselvs 'tis neither, may bear the Affliction with much the greater cheerfulness; but they that cannot, I am sure ought to bear it with much the more patience & submission, take it as Gods Lecture of Repentance, and look on their Childrens faults as the product of their own. And because Satisfaction is an indispensible part of Repentance, they are with their utmost industry to endeavor the repairing those ruins they have made, by recalling those to Virtu, who by their means have straied from it. Tis true, the errors of Education, like a subtile Poison, do so mix with the Blood, so incorporate into the Humors and Manners, that twill be very difficult to allay their Effects; and therefore the less they are themselves able to do towards it, the more earnestly they must importune a Higher Power. He who divided the Light from the Darkness, can separate the Effects from the Causes; and as he restrained the natural property of Fire, in the case of the three Children, Dan. 3. so He only can rescu theirchildren from that destruction to which their negligence has exposed them. But as to the influence their example has had, theymay do somthing towards the redress of that, by setting them a new Copy, making their own change so visible, so remarkable, that they mayhave the very same means of reclaiming, which there was of seducing them. And this is a peice of Justice, which seems to call aloud upon many Mothers. The irregularities of Youth could hardly have grown to the present height, had they not received warmth and shelter from the practice of their Elders, which does at once give incouragement & take of restraints, the Mother loses not only her Autority, but her confidence to admonish or reprove. With what face can she require that strict and severe modesty of a young Girl, which she who should be a Matron will not practise? or tye up the giddy wandring humor of Youth, within those bounds she thinks too strait for her own? and how ready a retortion will even Scripture it self afford for such an Imposer? Thou that teachest another, teachest thou not thy self? Rom. 2. 21. Let it therefore be the care of all Mothers to live a perpetual Lecture to their Children, so to exemplifie to them all Virtu and Piety, that they may contribute somthing to their Spiritual, as wel as their natural life, that however they may at least deliver their own souls, and not have their childrens guilt recoile upon them as the unhappy originalls of it.
47. The last relation of a married woman is that of a Mistriss, the inspection of the family being usually her Province; and tho she be not supreme there, yet she is to improve her delegated autority to the advantage of all under it; and her more constant residence gives her more opportunities of it, then the frequent avocations of the husband will perhaps allow him. St. Paul sets it as the calling, and the indispensible duty of the Married women, that they guide the house, 1 Tim. 5. 18. not thinking it a point of greatness to remit the manage of all domestic concerns to a mercinary house-keeper. And indeed since it has bin a fashionable thing for the Master to resign up his concerns to the steward, and the Lady hers to the Governant, it has gon ill with most great Families, whilst these Officers serve themselves instead of those who employ them, raise fortunes on their Patrons ruines, and divide the spoil of the family, the house-keeper pilfering within doores, and the Bailiff plundering without.
48. Now to the well guiding of the house by the mistress of it, I know no better or more comprehensive rule, then for her to endeavor to make all that are hers to be Gods servants also; this will secure her of all those intermedial qualifications in them in which her secular interest is concerned, their own consciences being the best spy she can set upon them, as to their truth and fidelity, and the best spur also to diligence and industry. But to the making them such, there will need first instruction, and secondly discipline. It is a necessary part of the rulers care to provide that none in their family should want means of necessary instruction. I doe not say that the Mistress should set up for a catechist, or preacher; but that they take order they should be taught by those who are qualified for the emploiment. And that their furnishing them with knowledg, may not serve only to help them to a greater number of stripes, Luk. 12. 47. they are to give them the opportunities of consecrating it to prayer & devotion, to that end to have public divine offices in the family; and that not by starts or accidents (when a devouter guest is to be entertained, and laid by when a prophane) but daily and regularly, that the hours of praiers may be fixt and constant as those of meals, and (if it may possibly be) as much frequented; however that toward it she give both precept and example.
49. A Christian family should be the Epitome of a Church; but alas how many among us lye under a perpetual Interdict, & yet not from the usurpation of any forreign power, but from the irreligion of the domestic. One may go into divers great families, and after some stay there, not be able to say that the name of God was mentioned to any other purpose than that of blasphemy and execration, nor a text of scripture unless in burlesque & prophane Drolery. And sure we need not wonder at the universal complaint that is now made of ill servants, when we reflectupon this ill government of families. They that are suffer'd wholy to forget their duties toward God, wil not alwais remember it towards man. Servants are not such Philosophers that upon the bare strength of a few moral instincts they will be vertuous, & if by a customary neglect of all things sacred, they are once taught to look at nothing beyond this world, they will often find temtation enough here to discard their honesty, as the most unthriving trade. And indeed when the awe of religion is quite taken off from the vulgar, there will scarce any thing else be found to keep them within any tolerable bounds; so that 'tis no less impolitic then prophane to slacken that reine.
50. But it is not only the interest, but the duty of all that have families, to keep up the esteem and practice of Religion in them. 'Twas one of the greatest endearments of Abraham to God, that he would command his houshold to keep the way of the Lord Gen. 18. 19. And Joshua undertakes no less for the piety of his houshold then himself, as for me and my house we will serve the Lord Jos. 24. 15. And sure 'tis but reasonable, that where we our selves owe an homage, we should make all our dependents acknowledg the same. Besides, it is a justice in respect of them; for where we entertain a servant, we take the whole person into our care and protection, and are salse to that undertaking if we suffer his soul the most precious part of him to perish; and God who keeps account even of his meanest creatures, will not patiently resent such a neglect of those who bear his own Image, and were ransomed with as great a price as their Masters were, for there is no respect of persons with God Eph. 6. 6.
51. But when Piety is planted in a family, 'twill soon wither, if it be not kept in vigor by Discipline: nay indeed, to have servants seemingly devout in the oratory, and yet really licentious out of it, is but to convert ones house into a Theater, have a play of religion, and keep a set of actors only to personate and represent it. 'Tis therefore necessary to inquire how they behave themselves when they are off the stage, whether those hands which they elevate in praier, are at other times industriously appli'd to work; or those mouths wherewith they there bless God, are not else where filled with oaths and curses, scurrilities and revilings; in a word, whether that form of Godliness be not design'd in commutation for sobriety and honesty. Indeed the governors of families ought to make a strict inspection into the manners, of their servants, & where they find them good to affix som special mark of favor, by which they may both be encouraged to persevere and others to begin; butwher they discern them vicious there as eminently to discountenance, severely to admonish them, and use all fit means for their reclaiming, and when that seems hopeless, to dismiss them that they may not infect the rest. A little leven saith the Apostle leveneth the whole lump, Gal. 5. 9. and one ill servant (like a perisht tooth) will be apt to corrupt his fellows. 'Tis therefore the same in families that it is in more public communities, where severity to the ill is mercy and protection to the rest; and were houses thus early weeded of all idle and vicious persons, they would not be so overgrown, nor degenerate into such rude wildernesses, as many (nay I fear most) great families now are.
52. But as servants are not to be tolerated in the neglect of their duty, so neither are they to be defeated of any of their dues. Masters are to give to their servants that which is just and equal, Col. 4. 1. And sure, 'tis but just and equal that they who are rational creatures should not be treated with the rigor or contemt of brutes: a sufficient & decent provision, both in sickness and in health, is a just debt to them, besides an exact performance of those particular contracts upon which they were entertain'd. Laban had so much of natural justice, that he would not take the advantage of Jacobs relation to him, to make him serve him gratis, Because thou art my brother shouldst thou therefore serve me for nought? tel me therefore what shall thy wages be? Gen. 29, 15. But alas now a daies where servants have bin told, nay expresly articled for their wages, 'tis with many no easy thing to get it: nay 'tis thought by som Masters an insolence, a piece of ill manners to demand it; and when they have worn out a servant, they either pay him not at all, or with the same protraction and regret, which they do their Tailors for the old clothes they have cast off. I fear there are many instances of this, especially among great persons, it being a received mode with too many of them to pay no debts to those who are too mean to contest with them. But however they may ruffle it out with men, it will one day arraign them before God as most injurious oppressors; there being no crime of that kind more frequently or severely branded in Scripture, then this of detention of the wages of the servant and hireling. Besides, this examples of injustice, wherein the servant is passive, is often transcrib'd by him in acts of fraud and deceit, and he is apt to think it but an equal retaliation, to break his trust where the Master breaks his covenant, and when he once attemts to be his own pay-master, 'tis not to be doubted but he will allow himself large use for the forbearance of his wages; so that the course is no less unprofitable to the Master then unjust and dishonorable.
53. I am not sure 'tis alwaie's in the wives power to prevent this or any of the former faults in the menage of the family. For her authority being but subordinat, if the husband who is supreme suspend her power, he does by that vacating her rule take off the duty consequent to it; so that what I have said can be obligatory to none that are so impeded: but to those who either can do it themselves, or perswade their husbands to it, the omission will be their sin, all the profaneness and disorder of the family will be charg'd upon their account, if it came by their default.
54. And this methinks is a consideration that may much mortify one usual peice of vanity, I mean that of a multitude of servants. We shall all of us find burden enough of our own personal miscarriages, and need not contrive to fetch in more weight from others. And in families 'tis generally observable, that the bigger they are the worse; vice gains boldness by numbers, is hatcht up by the warmth of a full society; and we daily see people venture upon those enormities in consort and in a croud. which they would not dare did they think they stood single. Besides the wider the province is, the more difficult it is well to administer it; and in a heap of servants many faults will scape undiscerned, especially, considering the common confederacy there is usually amongthem, for the eluding of discipline: so that what the wiseman speaks of not desiring a multitude of unprofitable children, I think may very well be appli'd to servants, whose unprofitableness usually increases together with their number. I have now run through these several obligations consequent to the maried state, wherein even upon this very cursory view, there appears so many particulars, that if they were all duly attended, Ladies need not be much at a loss how to entertain themselvs; nor run abroad in a Romantic quest after forreign divertisements, when they, have such variety of engagements at home.