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warnings given throughout this service, that what she declares, is the whole counsel of God, by himself declared from the beginning, and ordained to endure unto the end. What the Lord Jehovah spake to our first parents in Paradise when He joined them together in marriage; what the Lord Jesus spake when He also declared the sanctity of marriage; that she speaks; that she declares. The ordinance is, not of man, but of God; and therefore, an ordinance holy for ever!

The argument of St. Paul upon this point is conducted with his usual skill. Since the marriage-bond is indissoluble-for "therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother and be joined to his wife, and they two shall be one flesh"-it follows of necessity, that "he who loveth his wife, loveth himself;" since "no man hateth his own flesh." Consequently selflove is enlisted on the side of duty, and a man so loveth his wife, even as Christ his spouse, the Church, united thereto for ever. Nay, the Apostle enlarges this view of his subject, and illustrates it by the same comparison. Does Christ forbear with his Church in love, even if sometimes she be insensible to his love, and disregard the duties she has undertaken? Even so, if the wife fail even in affection, and study not the comfort of the partner of her life, he is still "not to be bitter against her" in reproaches. Think of the love of Christ to his Church, who gave himself even to death for it; shall love and kindness ever fail between those who are liable to mutual errors and infirmities, and who must expect, in a world like this, that much there will ever be to forgive and be forgiven. St. Peter, himself a married man, carries still further St. Paul's view of this subject, requiring on

the husband's part, a calm endurance of waywardness, or even occasional unkindness, if so it happen; the rather, "giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel." Thus pride is relieved of its burden, for where there is acknowledged inferiority, there forbearance is easily exercised. St. Peter adds, moreover, a motive for this forbearance far higher than any earthly consideration could supply. "Are not husband and wife heirs together of the grace of life?" and shall they by bickerings, which lead to ill-will; by bitter words, which lead to slight and disregard; shall they thus hinder their prayers for the attainment of this grace? - The thought is at all times worthy of the Christian's serious meditation; how important then must it be, impressed by the circumstances under which it is heard in this solemn service! If it abide, it may spring up in the time of need; and may oft, in after years, check the first risings of anger, calm an agitated spirit, and preserve what else a bitter word had broken-peace and love and joy.

The happiness of married life, however, depends far more than at first sight may appear, upon the continued affection of the wife toward her husband. That is the silken cord which binds together a Christian family by a bond, as firm as it is gentle : yet is it indissoluble. Her duties also are therefore plainly set forth in Holy Scripture. And the first great duty which St. Paul enjoins, is that which from the beginning was enjoined by our great Creator '—obedience according to the marriage-vow; and upon the principle already laid down for the regulation of the husband's

1 Gen. iii. 16.

duty towards his wife; for his love must never weaken, but be evidenced by uniform kindness, "as unto the Lord." And is the husband thus uniformly, amid all the variety of trial and circumstances which chequer life, to love his wife, as Christ loved the Church? With no less power comes the injunction upon the wife, that "she submit herself unto her own husband, as unto the Lord;"" reverencing her husband," because the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the Church:" and it is clear from the illustration thus presented to us, that, as the head, He is likewise "the Saviour of the body." "It is then fit in the Lord "-so the Apostle concludes his argument that "wives submit themselves unto their own husbands." St. Peter's counsel is given in a tone of peculiar tenderness and affection, and evidences that he speaks from experience of the high and beneficial influence of Christian principles in promoting the happiness of married life, temporally and spiritually. Holding this view of the subject, he guards the wife against diminishing her kindness, in cases where perhaps neither the husband's temper nor his conduct might justly claim continuance of regard. Still the vow is not thereby weakened. And that the force of this bond seldom loses its power on wives, is evidenced by the experience of life. Nay, such is naturally the noble and generous character of woman's heart, that many a time and oft the man, who either from unavoidable ill-success or recklessness of conduct, has made shipwreck of fortune and of fame; forsaken of friends, and disregarded of all besides; finds in his home a shelter, and in his wife a friend, whose love rekindles with adversity; prompt to cheer

him in his sadness, to soothe him in his pain, to reconcile him, if haply so it be, even to himself; no reproaches for the past, no complaining at the present, no despairing for the future; the past is forgotten, the present cheerfully endured, the future well hoped for. Such is woman's love, sanctified by her vow unto God. The Apostle, however, gives to the wife a still higher motive than any which even the strongest natural affection can supply, that under all the varied trials of married life which the husband's unkindness or ill conduct may cause, she never weary in welldoing, but persevere; humbly trusting, that by the assistance of divine grace she may be made the means of bringing him to a life of christian duty and christian peace. And who knows not the quiet but prevailing influence of example in the self-denying and patient wife! One can hardly imagine a heart so hard as not to acknowledge and yield to its power; not 66 to be won by the life and conversation of the christian wife," who, by "subjection to her own husband" according to her vow, so brightly exemplifies her faith in carrying out her principles. Nor can the imagination picture to itself a feeling of greater joy than that which she attains, who, through long years perhaps of patient endurance from a husband's neglect or unkindness or other ill-conduct, has so borne meekly her cross; so endured her grief, suffering wrongfully; so met the trial; that at last the weary darkness passes away, the morning of joy returns, for her husband is won to virtue; and she, the happy means of his return! Perhaps some wife, thus struggling in her wretchedness, thinks within herself:-"0 that it were mine to recall the wanderer from his

God, to a sense of love and duty! O that I could win him back to a life of Christian faith and Christian conduct!" To such the Apostle points out, in a word, the means of accomplishing their wish. Let them put on "the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit." That spirit "is in the sight of God of great price," as we know from the blessing declared by a voice from heaven upon the humble and meek'. Well saith the

wise man, speaking of a wife thus adorned; "if there be kindness, meekness, and comfort in her tongue, then is not her husband like other men2;" he is thrice blessed. Indeed, so much is the happiness of the husband dependent upon the continued kindness of a wife, exercised in this spirit of meekness and quietness, that she cannot, without being chargeable in God's sight with error, fail therein. It is lamentable, when the husband, worn perhaps in spirit by his intercourse with a hard and selfish world, unsuccessful it may be in his industry, and goaded by disappointments, which the very tenderness of his anxiety for others' welfare renders still more galling,—it is sufficiently lamentable when he loses gentleness of manner, and is tempted, if not to indifference, yet to occasional harshness; but woman was intended by her Maker for man's gentle help; a help-meet to aid him in a due regulation of his life, by sharing his sorrows and participating his joys, lessening the one and brightening the other; she was framed to soothe him in his cares, counsel him in his difficulties, and by her own attachment to him win for him the regard of others; if, therefore, setting herself up above the state she

1 Matth. v. 5, and xi. 29.

2 Ecclesiasticus xxxvi. 23.

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