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gument is used by the apostle Paul, “ I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve." 1 Tim. ii. 12. 13. “ The man is not of the woman, but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman ; but the woman for the man." 1 Cor. xi. 8, 9. Nature also teaches the same, by the superior strength and courage which the man possesses which indicate that he should be the head. Alluding to this the apostle Peter (1 Pet. iii. 7.) calls the woman “ the weaker vessel.” But the Scriptures are full and express on this head. In the sentence which was pronounced upon the woman after the fall, God told her, “ thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee." Gen. iii. 16. In Paul's Epistles we read, 1 Cor. xi. 3. “ The head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is the man.” 1 Cor. xiv. 34. “ Let your women keep silence in the churches : for it is not permitted unto them to speak ; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law." Eph. v. 22, 23, 24, 33. “ Wives submit yourselves unto your own husbands as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church. Therefore, as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband." Tit. ii. 3, 4. “ That they may teach the young women to be obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.” And in our text, “ wives submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as is fit in the Lord.” To the same purpose Peter speaks, 1 Pet. ii. 1–6. - Likewise, ye wives be in subjection to your own husbands, that if any obey not the word, they may also without the word be won by the conversation of the wives ; while they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear : whose adorning &c. For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands ; even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord.”
This authority of the husband, he is to exercise for the good of the wife. Love to her is to be the governing principle. Hence it is that the whole of his duties are so
frequently summed up in love ; as in our text, " husbands love your wives, and be not bitter against them." His authority is by no means that of a master over a slave, as many husbands practically suppose ; nor is it that of a father over his child ; but as the Scriptures represent, it is like that of the head over the members, and of Christ over his church. He is to remember that she is his own flesh. or as it were a part of himself; and it becomes him ever to treat her as such ; to treat her as his companion, to exercise his government with meekness, love, and wisdom; to conduct towards her with tenderness; and to nourish and cherish her and supply her wants.
The peculiar duties of wives are in our text summed up in submission ; “ Wives submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as is fit in the Lord.” The same duty as we have seen from texts already quoted is frequently enjoined. It is the duty of the wife to respect the authority of the husband, and cheerfully submit to it as commanded by God himself. Nor is she to do this from servile fear, as the slave does to his master ; but out of love, and respect to her husband, as the church obeys Christ. She ought to be careful to please him, and to endeavour to promote his interest, honour and happiness ; for in so doing she will best promote her own.
Husband and wife thus living together, and fulfilling their duty towards each other according to the word of God, will make each other happy. And it is the transgression of the laws of God respecting the duties of this relation that makes so many married people unhappy; or that at least impairs the happiness which they otherwise might enjoy in this relation. If the man rules with capriciousness, or without that high love directing all his conduct, which the Scriptures require, or is bitter against his wife, or tyrannizes over her, he greatly transgresses ; or if the woman usurps authority over the man, or refuses to submit to his lawful authority, she greatly transgresses. And if she succeed in establishing her authority she not only sins ; but she generally, if not always, lessens her husband's respectability, and with it her own ; and having obtained her end, she most generally despises him for his weakness. The way for a wife to support her own respectability and happiness, is, to support and cheerfully submit to the authority of her husband ; and in so
doing she will generally acquire such an influence over her husband, as will lead him to act according to her wishes. But she is bound to submit only in the Lord. When her husband requires her to break the law of God, or prohibits her from doing those things which God commands, she is to obey God rather than her husband, and trust consequences with him; for the authority of God is paramount to every other.
Thus I have endeavoured to point out the duties of the marriage relation, as they are taught by reason and the word of God. Let us in view of this subject, be humbled if we have come short of our duty, and repent, that we may
obtain the remission of these as well as other sins. Let us take the word of God as our rule, and set ourselves implicitly to follow its directions ; and then we shall have happy families, and enjoy that felicity which the married state is eminently calculated to afford.
EPHESIANS VI. 5-9.
"Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ : Not with eye-service, as men-pleasers ; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart ; with good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men : Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free. And, ye masters, do the same things unto them forbearing threatening : knowing that your master also is in heaven ; neither is there respect of persons with him."
The relation ot master and servant has existed in society from the earliest ages of the world. A servant is one, who in a family, is under the authority of a master, and owes him subjection and obedience. Persons may be brought into this state of subjection in several ways. Some become servants by voluntary compact or agreement. Be- . ing originally free, they either indent themselves, or are bound by their parents for a certain term of years, to do a certain service, that they may receive a certain benefit. Such are apprentices. Some become servants by hiring . themselves a certain time, for a certain compensation. Others again, through poverty, have become servants, by selling themselves, or being sold by their parents for support. And, in some nations, persons have been sold against their will. In this way persons sometimes became servants among the Jews. For the Mosaic law contained rules for the treatment of such servants. As we read, Lev. xxv. 39, 40 ; “ If thy brother that dwelleth by thee be waxen poor, and be sold unto thee ;, thou shalt not compel him to serve thee as a bond-servant : but as an hired servant, and as a sojourner he shall be with thee, and shall serve thee unto the year of Jubilee.” That this custom, of reducing persons to servitude for debt, was practised among the Jews, we further learn, from a fact, stated 2 Kings iv. 1. “ There cried a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets unto Elisha, saying, thy servant my husband is dead; and the creditor is come to take unto him my two sons to be bond-men.” And also from one of the parables of our Saviour ; Mat. xviii: In which the servant who owed ten thousand talents, and had nothing to pay, was commanded to be sold, with his wife and children to make payment.
Again, liberty is sometimes forfeited, and persons are reduced to a state of servitude, as a punishment for crimes committed by them. Another way in which persons become servants, is by captivity in war. In ancient times, it was a general practice, when prisoners of war were not put to death, to make slaves of them. Barbarous nations still continue the practice ; but among civilized nations, under the light of Christianity, this mode of making slaves is not tolerated.
Another way in which persons are brought into a state of servitude is, invading by force, and without provocation, the territories of an independent power, and seizing upon its inhabitants, and carrying them away captive; or alluring them away under the mask of peace and friend
ship, and thus reducing them and their posterity to perpetual slavery. In this way have many, now in our own country become slaves. Avarice may make pleas to justify this mode of making slaves ; but both reason and the word of God condemn it. The slave trade by which slavery was introduced into this country, is an exceedingly wicked practice. The origin of the slavery which is found in this country is altogether wrong, and indefensible. But when persons are found to be in this state without the act of their present owners, it is more difficult to say what is duty. On this subject, I shall not in this place, at present express an opinion. The relation of master and servant does exist, and from whatever cause this relation may arise, the Scriptures point out the duties of those who sustain this relation. Our object at present is to ascertain these duties.
I. As servants are first mentioned in the text, let us first attend to their duties. And let it be kept in mind, that by servants are meant, all who are under subjection to another as a master, whatever the means may have been, by which they were brought into this subjection.
1. It is the duty of servants to be obedient to their masters. This is enjoined in the text : “ Servants, be obedident to them that are your masters according to the flesh.” The same duty is enjoined in the following texts: “Servants obey in all things your masters according to the flesh ;" Col. iii. 22 : “ Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things ;" Iit. ii. 9.
And here I would observe, that in masters, mistresses are included, and that servants owe to them the same duties as to masters; and that the duties which are binding on masters towards their servants are also binding on mistresses ; and that when in this discourse we use the word master, we mean mistresses also.
Servants owe to their masters obedience. This obedience they should render from a regard to the authority of God, who has in his word pointed out the duties of those in this station, and who in his providence has permitted them to be brought into this condition, and has thereby signified his pleasure, that they should fulfil the duties of this station.
These are reasons why they should obey even unrea