The Wedding Ring

"The Salve of Divinity—on the Sore of Humanity"

by William Secker, 1658

"The Lord God said—It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him." Genesis 2:18

Human misery is to divine mercy, as a black foil to a sparkling diamond, or as a sable cloud to the sunbeams. "Lord, what is man, that you are mindful of him?" Man is—

In his creation, angelical;
in his corruption, diabolical;
in his renovation, theological;
in his translation, majestical.

Man is—

1. An Angel in Eden.
2. A Devil in the World.
3. A Saint in the Church.
4. A King in Heaven.

There were four silver channels in which the crystal streams of God's affection, ran to man in his creation.

1. In his Preparation.
2. In his Assimilation.
3. In his Coronation,
4. In his Association.

1. In his Preparation: Other creatures received the charter of their beings by a simple fiat—but there was a consultation at man's forming, not for the difficulty of the work—but for the dignity of the work. The painter is more studious about his masterpiece. The four elements were taken out of their elements, to make up the perfection of man's complexion; the fire was purified, the air was clarified, the water was purged, the earth was refined. When man was molded, heaven and earth were married; a body from the one was espoused to a soul from the other.

2. In his Assimilation: Other creatures were made like themselves—but man was made like God, as the wax has the impression of the seal upon it. It is admirable to behold so fair a picture—on such coarse canvas, and so bright a character—on such dark paper.

3. In his Coronation: He who made man and all the rest, made man over all the rest. He was a little lord of great lordship; this king was crowned in his cradle.

4. In his Association: Society is the solace of humanity; the world would be a desert without a consort.

Most of men's parts are made of pairs; now he who was double in his perfection, must not be single in his condition: "The Lord God said—It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him." Genesis 2:18

These words are like the iron-gate that opened to Peter of its own accord, dividing themselves into three parts.

1. An instruction, "The Lord God said"
2. An assertion, "It is not good for the man to be alone"
3. A determination, "I will make a helper suitable for him."

In the first, there is a majesty proposed.
In the second, there is a malady presented.
In the third, there is a remedy provided.

Once more, let me put these sweet grapes into the press.

1. The sovereignness of the expression, "The Lord God said"
2. The solitariness of the condition, "It is not good for the man to be alone"
3. The suitableness of the provision, "I will make a helper suitable for him."

In the first, there is the worth of Veracity,
In the second, there is the want of Society,
In the third, there is the work of Divinity.

Luke 1:70, "As he spoke by the mouth of his prophets." In other scriptures he used their mouths—but in this, he made use of his own mouth. They were the organs—and he the breath; they were the streams—and he the fountain. How he spoke—it is hard to be spoken, whether eternally, or internally, or externally. We are not to inquire into the manner of speaking—but into the matter that is spoken; which leads me like a directing star from the suburbs—to the city, from the porch—to the palace, from the founder of the mine—to the treasure that is in it. "It is not good for the man to be alone"

Take this in two branches:
1. As it is limited to one man.
2. As it is lengthened to all men.

First, as it is limited to one man, and so it is taken particularly—"man" for the first man. When all other creatures had their mates, Adam had none. Though he was the emperor of the earth, and the admiral of the seas—yet in paradise, he was without a companion. Though he was truly happy—yet he was not fully happy. Though he had enough for his board—yet he had not enough for his bed. Though he had many creatures to serve him—yet he wanted a creature to solace him. Though he was compounded in creation, he must be completed by conjunction. Though he had no sin to hurt him, then he must have a wife to help him, "It is not good for the man to be alone".

Secondly, as it is lengthened to all men, and so it is taken universally. "Marriage is honorable unto all." It is not only warrantable—but honorable.

The whole Trinity has conspired together to set a crown of glory upon the head of Matrimony.

1. God the Father; Marriage was a tree planted within the walls of paradise; this flower first grew in God's garden.

2. The Son; Marriage is a crystal-glass, wherein Christ and the saints do see each others faces.

3. The Holy Spirit; by his overshadowing of the blessed Virgin. Well might the world, when it saw her pregnancy, suspect her virginity—but her matrimonial condition was a grave to that suspicion; without this, her innocency would not have prevented her infamy. She needed a shield to defend that chastity abroad, which was kept inviolable at home.

Too many that have not worth enough to preserve that virginity—have yet will enough to cover their unchastity. Turning the medicine of frailty into the mantle of filthiness. Certainly she is mad—who cuts off her leg to get her a crutch, or who mangles her face to wear a mask.

Paul makes it one of the characters of those who deny the faith, "They forbid people to marry." 1 Tim. 4:3. Not to forbear marriage, which may be lawful—but to forbid it, which is sinful.

It is strange that the Church of Rome should make that a pollution—which was instituted before corruption; or that impurity—which was ordained in the state of innocency; or that they should make that to be a sin—which they make to be a sacrament. But a bastard may be laid at the door of chastity, and a leaden crown set upon a golden head.

Bellarmine, that mighty Atlas of the Papal power, blows his stinking breath upon marriage saying, "Better were it for a priest to defile himself with many harlots—than to be married to one wife." These children of the purple whore prefer their monasteries before our marriages; a concubine before a companion. They use too many for their lusts—to choose any for their love. Their tables are so largely spread, that they cannot feed upon one dish.

As for their exalting of a virgin-state—it is like him who commended fasting, when he had filled his belly.

Who knows not, that virginity is a pearl of sparkling luster? But cannot the one be set up—without the other being thrown down? Will no oblation pacify the former—but the demolishing of the latter? Though we find many enemies to the choice of marriage—yet it is rare to find any enemies to the use of marriage. They would pick the lock—who lack the key; and pluck the fruit—who do not plant the tree.

The Hebrews have a saying, "He is not a man—who has not a woman." Though they climb too high a bough—yet it is to be feared, that singleness is full of imperfection; that is not tending to propagation. Though man alone may be good—yet it is not good that man should be alone; which leads me to the next point, "It is not good for the man to be alone".

Now, it is not good that man should be in a single condition, upon a threefold consideration.

1. It is not good in respect of sin—which would not else be prevented. Marriage is like water, to quench the sparks of lust's fire. "Because there is so much sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman should have her own husband." Man needed no such remedy when he was in perfect health. Temptations may break nature's best fence, and lay its paradise waste—but a single life is a prison of unruly desires, which is daily attempted to be broken open.

Some indeed force themselves to a single life, merely to avoid the responsibilities of a married state. They had rather fry in the grease of their own sensuality, than extinguish those flames with an allowed remedy. "It is better to marry than to burn with passion." It is better to be lawfully coupled—than to be lustfully scorched. It is better feeding these flames with ordinary fuel.

2. It is not good in respect of mankind—which then would not be propagated. The Roman historian relating the raping of the Sabine women, excused it thus—"without them mankind would fall from the earth and perish." Marriages do turn mutability into the image of eternity. Marriage springs up new buds, when the old are withered. It is a greater honor for a man to be the father of one son, than to be the master of many servants. Without a wife, children cannot be had lawfully; without a good wife, children cannot be had comfortably. Man and woman, as the stock and the scion, being grafted by marriage—are trees bearing fruit to the world.

Marriage is the first link of human society, to which all the rest are joined. Mankind would have long ago decayed—if those breaches which are made by mortality, were not repaired by matrimony.

3. It is not good in regard of the Church—which could not then have been propagated. Where there is no generation, there can be no regeneration. Nature makes us creatures, before grace makes us Christians. If the loins of men had been less fruitful—the death of Christ would have been less successful.

One said, "Marriage fills the earth—but virginity fills the heavens." But another answered, "How can the heavens be full—if the earth is empty?"

Had Adam lived in innocency without matrimony, there would have been no servants of God in the Church militant, nor any saints with God in the Church triumphant. But I will not sink this vessel—by the over-burdening of it; nor press this truth to death—by laying too great a load upon its shoulders.

There is one knot which I must untie before I make a further progress, "It is good for a man not to marry." 1 Corinthians 7:1

Do all the scriptures proceed out of the same mouth—and do they not all speak the same truth? The God of unity—will not write discord; and the God of verity—cannot assert falsehood. If good and evil are contraries—how contrary then are these scriptures! Some say that either Moses mistakes God—or Paul mistakes Moses about the point of marriage. To which I shall give a double answer.

There is a public good—and a private good. In respect to a particular man, it may be good for him not to marry. But in respect of all men in general—it is not good that man should be alone.

Moses speaks of the state of man created—Paul of the state of man corrupted. Now that which by institution was a mercy—may by corruption become a misery; as pure water is tainted by running through a miry channel, or as the sun's beams receive a tincture by shining through a colored glass. There is no print of evil in the world—but sin has the stamp which made it. Those who seek nothing but weal in its commission, will find nothing but woe in the conclusion.

This leads me from the solitariness of the condition, "It is not good for the man to be alone"—to the suitableness of the provision, "I will make a helper suitable for him." In which you have two parts:

1. The agent, "I will make."
2. The object, "a helper."

First, the agent—"I will make." We cannot build a house without tools. But the Trinity can create without tools—and without materials. To God's omniscience there is nothing invisible; and to God's omnipotence there is nothing impossible.

We must work with our hands—but God works without hands. He who made man fit for help—makes a helper fit for man. Marriages are consented above—but consummated below. "He who finds a wife finds what is good—and receives favor from the Lord." Proverbs 18:22. Though every man needs supply—yet no man cannot supply his needs. "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights." A wife, though she is not a perfect gift—yet she is a good gift. These beams are all darted from the Sun of Righteousness.

Have you a soft heart? It is of God's breaking. Have you a sweet wife? She is of God's making. Let me draw up this expression—with a double application.

When you are looking for such a good wife on earth—look up to the God of heaven. Let him make your choice for you—who has made his choice of you. Look above you—before you look around you. Nothing makes up the happiness of a married condition—like the holiness of a godly disposition. Do not account those the most worthy women—who are the most wealthy women. Are you matched to the Lord? Match in the Lord. How happy are such marriages—where Christ is at the wedding! Let none but those who have found favor in God's eyes—find favor in your eyes!

Give God the praise for your good companion. Take heed of paying your rent—to a wrong landlord. When you taste of the stream, reflect on the spring which feeds it. Now you have four eyes for your speculation, four hands for your operation, four feet for your ambulation, and four shoulders for your sustenation. What the sin against the holy Spirit is in point of divinity, that is unthankfulness in point of morality—an unpardonable offence! Pity it is, that the moon will not acknowledge her beams to be borrowed from the sun. He who praises not the giver, prizes not the gift. I pass from the agent to

Second, the object—"a helper". She must be so much—and no less; and so much—and no more. Our ribs were not ordained to be our rulers. They are not made of the head—to claim superiority; but out of the side—to be content with equality. They desert the Author of nature—that invert the order of nature. The woman was made for the man's comfort—but the man was not made for the woman's command. Those shoulders aspire too high—which are not content with a room below their head.

It is between a man and his wife in the house, as it is between the sun and the moon in the heavens; when the greater light goes down—the lesser light gets up. When the one ends in setting—the other begins in shining. The wife may be a sovereign in her husband's absence—but she must be subject in her husband's presence. As Pharaoh said to Joseph, so should the husband say to his wife, "You shall be in charge of my palace, and all my people are to submit to your orders. Only with respect to the throne will I be greater than you." Genesis 41:40. The body of that household can never make any good motion—whose bones are out of place.

The woman must be a helper to the man in these four things:

To his Piety,
To his Society,
To his Progeny,
To his Prosperity.

To her husband's piety, by the ferventness of her sanctification.
To his society, by the fragrantness of her conversation.
To his progeny, by the fruitfulness of her education.
To his prosperity, by the faithfulness of her preservation.

1. A wife should be a helper to her husband's PIETY, by the ferventness of her sanctification. "Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight." 1 Peter 3:3-4

Husband and wife should be as the two milk cows—which were coupled together to carry the ark of God. Or as the two Cherubim, which looked upon one another, and both upon the mercy-seat. Or as the two tables of stone, on each of which were engraved the laws of God. In some families married people are like Jeremiah's two baskets of figs—the one very good, the other very evil. Or like fire and water—while the one is flaming in devotion, the other is freezing in corruption. There is a two-fold hindrance in holiness:

First, on the right side. When the wife would run in God's way—the husband will not let her go. When the fore horse in a team will not draw properly—he wrongs all the rest. When the general of an army forbids a march—all the soldiers stand still.

Secondly, on the left side. How did Solomon's idolatrous wives draw away his heart from Heaven! A sinning wife was Satan's first ladder, by which he scaled the walls of Paradise, and took away the fort royal of Adam's heart from him. Thus she who should have been the help of his flesh—was the hurt of his faith. She who should be a crown on the head—is a cross on the shoulders. The wife is often to the husband, as the ivy is to the oak—which draws away his vital sap from him.

2. A wife should be a helper to her husband's SOCIETY, by the fragrantness of her conversation. Man is an affectionate creature. Now the woman's behavior should be such towards the man, as to require his affection, by increasing his delectation; that the new-born love may not be blasted—as soon as it is blossomed; that it may not be ruined—before it be rooted. A spouse should carry herself so to her husband, as not to disturb his love by her contention, nor to destroy his love by her alienation. Husband and wife should be like two candles burning together, which make the house more lightsome; or like two fragrant flowers bound up in one bouquet, which augments its redolence; or like two well-tuned instruments, which sounding together, make the more melodious music. Husband and wife—what are they but as two springs meeting, and so joining their streams that they may make but one current? It is an unpleasing spectacle to view any contention, in this conjunction.

3. A wife should be a helper to her husband's PROGENY, by the fruitfulness of her education; so that her children in the flesh may be God's children in the spirit. "Train a child in the way he should go—and when he is old he will not turn from it." Proverbs 22:6. Hannah vows, that if the Lord will give her a son, by bearing him—she will return that son to the Lord by serving him. A mother should be more careful of her children's pious breeding, than she should be fearful of her children's worldly bearing. Take heed lest these flowers grow in the devil's garden! Though you bring them out in corruption—yet do not bring them down to damnation! Those are not mothers—but monsters—who while they should be teaching their children the way to heaven with their lips—are leading them to hell with their lives! Godly training is the best livery you can give them living; and it is the best legacy you can leave them dying.

You let out your efforts to make them great; lift up your prayers to make them godly—that before you die from them, you may see Christ live in them. While these twigs are green and tender, they should be bowed towards God. Children are in a family—as passengers are in a boat; husband and wife, they are as a pair of oars to row them to their desired haven. Let these small pieces of timber be hewed and squared for the celestial building. By putting a scepter of grace into their hands—you will set a crown of glory upon their heads!

4. A wife should be a helper to her husband's PROSPERITY, by her faithful preservation, being not a wanderer abroad—but a worker at home. "To be self-controlled and pure, to be workers at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God." Titus 2:5.

One of the ancients speaks excellently: "She must not be a field-wife, like Dinah; nor a street-wife, like Tamar; nor a window-wife, like Jezebel."

Phidias, when he drew a woman, painted her as sitting under a snail shell, that she might imitate that little creature—which goes no further than it can carry its house upon its head.

How many women are there, who are not laboring bees—but idle drones! They take up a room in the hive—but bring no honey to it! They are moths to their husband's estates, spending when they should be sparing! As the man's part is to provide industriously, so the woman's part is to preserve discreetly! The husband must not be carelessly wanting; the wife must not be causelessly waiting. The man must be seeking with diligence—and the woman must be saving with providence. The rooster and hen both scrape together in the dust-heap, to pick up something for their little chicks. "She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness." Proverbs 31:27

To wind up this section—

1. If the woman is a help to the man—then let not the man cast dirt on the woman.

Secundus treated his wife like a servant! But surely he was a monster—and not a man! He was fitter for a tomb to bury him—than a womb to bear him!

Some have styled their wives to be like clouds in the sky; like motes in the sun; like snuffs in the candle; like weeds in the garden.

It is evil to play the butcher with that gentle gender, which has no arms but for embraces. Because they are the weaker vessels—shall we break them all to pieces! You that say that your wife is evil; it may be that your expression flows from your experience—but I shall never take that mariner for my pilot, who has no better knowledge than the wrecking of his own ship! To blast your helper—is to blame your Maker. In a word, we took our birth from their bellies—and may take our rest in their bosoms.

2. Is the woman to be a help to the man? Then let the man be a help to the woman. What makes these debtors be such bad pay-masters—but because they look at what is owing to them—but not at what is owing by them? If you would have your wife's reverence, let her have your respect.

To force a wife by fear, is that which neither befits the husband's authority to enjoin, nor the wife's duty to perform. A wife must never be sharply driven—but sweetly drawn. Compassion may bend her—but compulsion will break her! Husband and wife should act towards each other with consent—not by constraint!

There are four things wherein the husband is a proper help to the wife.

1. First, in his protecting her from INJURIES. It is well observed, that the rib of which woman was made, was taken from under the man's arm. As the use of the arm is to keep off blows from the body, so the office of the husband is to ward off blows from the wife. The wife is the husband's treasury, and the husband should be the wife's armory. In darkness, he should be her sun for direction! In danger—he should be her shield for protection!

2. In his providing for her NECESSITIES. The husband must communicate maintenance to the wife—as the head conveys influence to the members. You must not be a drone—and she a drudge! A man in a married estate, is like a chamberlain in an inn—there is knocking for him in every room. Many husbands waste that money in luxury—which should supply their wives necessity! They have neither the piety of a true Christian, nor the love of a true husband. It is a sad spectacle to see a wife in slavery to a bad husband—who keeps her under his fetters.

3. In his covering her INFIRMITIES. "Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers." 1 Peter 3:7.

Who would trample upon a jewel—because it had fallen in the dirt? Who would throw away a heap of wheat—for a little chaff mixed in it? Who would disdain a wedge of gold—because it retains a little dross? These roses all have some prickles! Husbands should spread a mantle of charity—over their wives infirmities. It is a great deal better you should fast—than feast yourselves upon their failings. Some husbands are never well—any longer than they are poking their fingers in their wives sores! Such are like beastly crows—which fasten only upon vile carrion. Do not put out the candle—because of a little smoke. Allow a little dross—in your gold! Husbands and wives should provoke one another to love; and they should love one another notwithstanding of provocation. Take heed of poisoning those springs—from whence the streams of your pleasure flow!

4. By his delighting in her SOCIETY. A wife takes sanctuary, not only in her husband's house—but in his heart. The tree of love should grow up in the family—as the tree of life grew up in the garden. Those who choose their love—should love their choice. Those who marry whom they do not love—will love those who they do not marry. Two joined together without love—are but two chained together—only to make one another miserable!

And so I pass to the last portion of the text— A help-meet.

A help—there is her fullness; a meet help—there is her fitness.

The angels were too much above him—the animals were too much below him. He could not step up to the angels—nor could he stoop down to the animals. The angels were out of his reach—the animals were out of his race! But the woman is a parallel-line drawn equal with him. She must be FIT in three things:

1. In the harmony of her DISPOSITION. Husband and wife should be like the image in a looking-glass, which answers in all properties to the face that stands before it. They should be like an echo—which returns the voice it receives. Many marriages are like putting new wine—into old bottles.

An old man is not a fit help for a young woman. He who sets a grey head upon green shoulders—has one foot in the grave, and another in the cradle! Yet how many times do you see the spring of youth wedded to the winter of old age!

A young man is not a fit help for an old woman. Raw flesh is but a bad plaster for rotten bones. He who in his youth marries another in her senility—his lust has one wife in possession—but his love another in reversion.

2. In the heraldry of her CONDITION. Some of our European nations are so strict in their laws, that it is a crime for a commoner to couple with a nobleman.

It was well said by one: "If the wife is too much above her husband—she either ruins him by vast expenses, or reviles him with her base reproaches. If she is too much below her husband—either her former condition makes her too generous, or her present mutation makes her too imperious."

Marriages are styled matches! Yet among the many that are married—how few are there that are matched! Husbands and wives are often like locks and keys—which rather break than open, unless the wards be most congenial.

3. In the holiness of her RELIGION. If adultery may separate a marriage contracted, idolatry may hinder a marriage not perfected. Animals of different kinds—were not to be yoked together. "Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?" 2 Corinthians 6:14. It is dangerous taking her for a wife—who will not take God for a husband. It is not suitable, that one flesh—should be of two spirits. Is there never a tree you like in the garden—but that which bears forbidden fruit!

There are but two channels, in which the remaining streams shall run.

1. To those men who lack wives—how to choose them.
2. To those women who have husbands—how to use them.

1. To those MEN who lack wives—how to choose them.

Marriage is the tying of such a knot—which nothing but death can unloose! Common reason suggests so much—that we should be long a-doing, that which can only be once done. Where one good marriage plan has been graveled in the sands of delay; thousands of bad marriage plans have been split upon the rock of hastiness. Rash adventures, yield little gain. Marriage opportunities are not like tides, that when one is past, another returns. Take heed of flying—without your wings! A bad marriage may breed such an illness in your bones—which may shake you to your grave!

1. Let me preserve you from a bad choice.
2. Let me present you with a good choice.

1. Let me preserve you from a bad marriage choice. Do not choose a marriage partner, for these three things:

1. Do not choose for beauty.
2. Do not choose for dowry.
3. Do not choose for dignity.

He who looks for beauty—buys a picture.
He who loves for dowry—makes a purchase.
He who leaps for dignity—marries a multitude at once.

He who looks for beauty—is too blind to be directed.
He who loves for dowry—is too base to be accepted.
He who leaps for dignity—is too brash to be respected.

1. He who looks for beauty—chooses by his eyes.
2. He who loves for dowry—chooses by his hands.
3. He who leaps for dignity—chooses by his ears.

1. First, do not choose by your EYES—looking at the beauty of the person. Beauty is not all for which a woman should be beloved. Solomon, who had the choice of many faces—stamps this character upon them all, "Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last!" Proverbs 31:30. The sun is more bright in a clear sky—than when the horizon is clouded. But if a woman's flesh has more of beauty—than her spirit has of piety—it is like poison in pastries—most dangerous! "The sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose." Genesis 6:2. One would have thought, that they should rather have looked for grace in the heart, than for beauty in the face! Take heed of lodging at the inn with the most colorful signs. The swan has black flesh under her white feathers!

2. Do not choose by your HANDS—for the bounty of the portion. When Cato's wealthy daughter was asked why she did not marry; she replied that she could not find a man who loved her person—above her portion. Men love pretty pictures—but they must have them set in golden frames. Some are so degenerate, as to think any person good enough—who has but goods enough. Take heed—for sometimes the bag and baggage go together! The person should be a figure, and the portion a cipher, which added to her, advances the sum; but alone, the cipher signifies nothing. When Themistocles was to marry off his daughter, two suitors courted her. One was rich—but a fool. The other was wise—but poor. Being asked which of the two he would rather have his daughter marry, he answered, "I much rather she marry a man without money—than money without a man."

3. Do not choose by your EARS—for the dignity of her parentage. A good old stock—may nourish a fruitless branch. There are many children who are not the blessings—but the blemishes of their parents. They are nobly descended—but ignobly minded. Such was Aurelius Atoninus, of who it was said, that he injured his country in nothing—but being the father of such a wicked child. There are many low in their descents—who are high in their deserts. Such was the cobbler's son, who grew to be a famous captain. When a noble upbraided the baseness of his family, the poor man replied, "My nobility begins with me—but your nobility ends with you!"

Piety is a greater honor—than parentage. She is the noblest woman—who is heir of her own deserts—and not the degenerated offspring of another's virtue.

2. I present you with a good choice in three things:

1. Choose such a one as will be subject to your dominion. Take heed of yoking yourselves with untamed heifers.

2. Choose such a one as may sympathize with you in your affliction. Marriage is just like a sea voyage; he who enters into this ship must look to meet with storms and tempests! "Those who marry will face many troubles in this life." 1 Corinthians 7:28. Flesh and trouble married together, whether we marry or not. A bitter cup is too much to be drank by one mouth. A heavy burden is easily carried—by the assistance of other shoulders. Husband and wife should neither be proud flesh—nor dead flesh. You are fellow-members, therefore should have a fellow-feeling. While one stands safe on the shore—the other should pity the other who is tossed on the sea. Sympathy in suffering, is like a dry house on a wet day.

3. Choose such a one as may be serviceable to your salvation. A man may think he has a saint—when he has a devil! Take heed of a harlot who is false to your bed; and of a hypocrite who is false to your God.

2. To those WOMEN who have husbands—how to use them. In two things:

1. Behave towards them with subjection. Let their authority command you—that their praise may commend you. Though you may have your husbands' hearts—yet you must not have their heads. As you will his love—so you should love his will. Until the husband leaves commanding, the wife must never leave obeying. As his injunctions must be lawful—so her subjection must be loyal.

2. Behave towards them with faithfulness. In creation, God made not one woman for many men, nor many women for one man. Every wife should be to her husband, as Eve was to Adam—a whole world of women. And every husband should be to his wife, as Adam was to Eve—a whole world of men. When a river is divided into many channels, the main current starves.

To conclude: Good children are a great blessing—but a good wife is the greatest blessing! He who wants such a good wife—should seek for her. He who has lost such a good wife—should sigh for her. He who enjoys such a good wife—should take pleasure in her.

"The Lord God said—It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him." Genesis 2:18