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The duty of ruling elders and people
Of the reason annexed to this command
OF THE FIFTH COMMANDMENT, CONTINUED.
COME to shew the duties more peculiar to each party.
1. The duties of the husband of this sort may be reduced to this one, viz. that he carry himself towards her as a head for her good, ruling her in the fear of the Lord. It is not a name of power only, but of duty; for he must be such a head to her as Christ is to the church, Eph. v. 23. And whoso reckon upon the authority of that name without eyeing the duty of it, put asunder what God has joined in his grant, and will join when he calls men to an account.
2. The duties of the wife may be reduced to this one, viz. submitting herself to her husband as her head, Eph. v. 22, 23. She is not to lord it over him, but to be subject to him. And in this respect there is a reverence and fear of the husband enjoined the wife, Eph. v. 33. 1 Pet iii. 2. which is a due regard in the heart to his character as a husband, seeing in that God has put of his own name upon him, God himself being called our husband; a fear to offend him, flowing from love, venting itself in speaking and carrying respectfully to him, 1 Pet. iii. 6.
Now, the husband as the head of the wife owes her,
1. Protection, so as she may be as safe and easy under the covert of his relation to her as he can make her. For this .cause God has given the husband as a head to the weaker vessel; and therefore it was an ancient ceremony in marriage for the husband to spread his skirt over his wife, Ruth. iii. 9. .He is to protect her to the utmost of his power from the in
juries of others, 1 Sam. xxx. 18. and particularly from the insults, whether of children or servants in the family, as well as neighbours, Gen. xvi. 6. And if so, surely he himself is not to bear hard upon her, but to shew her a peculiar tenderness as the weaker vessel, a tenderness to her body and spirit too; and not to suffer her, far less to oblige her, to distress herself above measure.
On the other hand, she owes him obedience, a submission to, and compliance with, his admonitions. It is observed of Job's wife, for as ill as she was, when he calls her a fool, she does not give him the same epithet again. Reason itself teaches, that whoso puts himself under the protection of another, must be ruled by that other, and not by himself.
2. Provision, 1 Tim. v. 8. The husband ought to provide for his wife, and cheerfully furnish her with what is needful and convenient, according to his station and ability; and lay out himself by all lawful means for her comfortable throughbearing. And this he should have an eye to, not only for the time of his life, but even after his decease.
And, on the other hand, the wife ought to be helpful to her husband by her frugal management, Prov. xxxi. 27. And God's word and frequent experiments plainly shew, that a man's thriving or not thriving has a great dependence on his wife's management, Prov. xiv. 1. While he, then, is busy without doors, she should be careful within; and therefore it is recommended to women to be much at home, Tit. ii. 5, Yet she may well go abroad when her business calls her, as Abigail did, 1 Sam. xxv.
3. Lastly, Direction, with calmness instructing her, how she should carry in every thing, both with respect to things of this life and of the other, Prov. ii. 17. He ought to be as eyes to her, which have their place in the head, and so should be capable to guide, 1 Pet. iii. 7.
On the other hand, the wife should be pliable and teachable, 1 Tim. ii. 11. yea, and be ready to seek instruction from her husband, 1 Cor. xiv. 35. She should be obedient to his commands and directions, ver. 34. for in every thing wherein the law of God has not bound her up, the husband's will ought to be complied with, Eph. v. 24. Gen. iii. 16.
The reasons of the husband's duty are these.
1. Because husbands are appointed to be such heads as