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Wine discovers more than the rack, and he that will be drunk is not a person fit to be trusted : and though it cannot be expected men should be kinder to their friend, or their prince, or their honour, than to God, and to their own souls, and to their own bodies; yet when men are not moved by what is sensible and material, by that which smarts and shames presently, they are beyond the cure of religion, and the hopes of reason; and therefore they must “lie in hell like sheep, death gnawing upon them, and the righteous shall have dominion over them in the morning" of the resurrection.
Seras tutior ibis ad lacernas :
Cum regnat rosa, com madent capilli 9. Much safer it is to go to the severities of a watchful and a sober life; for all that time of life is lost, when wine, and rage, and pleasure, and folly, steal away the heart of a man, and make him go singing to his grave.
I end with the saying of a wise man: He is fit to sit at the table of the Lord, and to feast with saints, who moderately uses the creatures which God hath given him : but he that despises even lawful pleasures, ου μόνον συμπότης των θεών allà kaì ovváoxwv, 'shall not only sit and feast with God, but reign together with him,' and partake of his glorious kingdom.
THE MARRIAGE RING; OR, THE MYSTERIOUSNESS AND
DUTIES OF MARRIAGE.
This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the
church. Nevertheless, let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself, and the wife see that she reverence her
husband.—Ephes. v. 32, 33. The first blessing God gave to man, was society: and that society was a marriage, and that marriage was confederate
9 Mart. 10. 19. 18.
by God himself, and hallowed by a blessing: and at the same time, and for very many descending ages, not only by the instinct of nature, but by a superadded forwardness (God himself inspiring the desire), the world was most desirous of children, impatient of barrenness, accounting single life a curse, and a childless person hated by God". The world was rich and empty, and able to provide for a more numerous posterity than it had.
-“Εξεις, Νουμήνιε, τέκνα,
Χάλκον έχων πτωχός δ' ουδε τα τέκνα φιλεϊ 6. You that are rich, Numenius, you may multiply your family; poor men are not so fond of children, but when a family could drive their herds, and set their children upon camels, and lead them till they saw a fat soil watered with rivers, and there sit down without paying rent, they thought of nothing but to have great families, that their own relations might swell up to a patriarchate, and their children be enough to possess all the regions that they saw, and their grandchildren become princes, and themselves build cities and call them by the name of a child, and become the fountain of a nation. This was the consequent of the first blessing, ‘increase and multiply.' The next blessing was, 'the promise of the Messias,' and that also increased in men and women a wonderful desire of marriage : for as soon as God had chosen the family of Abraham to be the blessed line, from whence the world's Redeemer should descend according to the flesh, every of his daughters hoped to have the honour to be his mother, or his grandmother, or something of his kindred : and to be childless in Israel was a sorrow to the Hebrew women great as the slavery of Egypt, or their dishonours in the land of their captivity:
But when the Messias was come, and the doctrine was published, and his ministers but few, and his disciples were to suffer persecution, and to be of an unsettled dwelling, and the nation of the Jews, in the bosom and society of
r Quemlibet hominem cui non est uxor, minimè esse hominem ; cum etiam in scriptura dicatur, “ Masculum et fæminam creavit eos, et vocavit nomen eorum Adam sea hominem.” R. Eliezer dixit in Gen. Bab. Quicunque negligit præceptum de multiplicatione humani generis, habendam esse veluti homicidam.
* Brunck. Anal. ii. 342.
ι Christiani et apud Αthenas, τας του αγαμίου και οψιγαμίου δίκας refert Julius Pollux 1. 3. Tepi árápisov. Idem etiam Lacedæmone et Romæ. ride Festum verb. Uxorium atque ibi Jos. Scal.
which the church especially did dwell, were to be scattered and broken all in pieces with fierce calamities, and the world was apt to calumniate and to suspect and dishonour Christians upon pretences and unreasonable jealousies, and that to all these purposes the state of marriage brought many inconveniences; it pleased God in this new creation to inspire into the hearts of his servants a disposition and strong desires to live a single life, lest the state of marriage should in that conjunction of things become an accidental impediment to the dissemination of the Gospel, which called men from a confinement in their domestic charges to travel, and flight, and poverty, and difficulty, and martyrdom : upon this necessity the Apostles and apostolical men published doctrines, declaring the advantages of single life, not by any commandment of the Lord, but by the spirit of prudence, δια την ενεστωσαν ανάγκην, for the present and then incumbent necessities, and in order to the advantages which did accrue to the public ministries and private piety“. “ There are some (said our blessed Lord) who make themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven,” that is, for the advantages and the ministry of the Gospel, “non ad vitæ bonæ meritum” (as St. Austin in the like case); not that it is a better service of God in itself, but that it is useful to the first circumstances of the Gospel and the infancy of the kingdom, because the unmarried person does repuuvąv tà toū Kvplov, ' is apt to spiritual and ecclesiastical employments’: first äyros, and then aylasóuevos, ' holy in his own person, and then sanctified to public ministries ;' and it was also of ease to the Christians themselves, because, as then it was, when they were to flee, and to flee for aught they knew in winter, and they were persecuted to the four winds of heaven; and the nurses and the women with child were to suffer a heavier load of sorrow because of the imminent persecutions; and above all, because of the great fatality of ruin upon the whole nation of the Jews, well it might be said by St.Paul, θλίψιν τη σαρκι έξουσιν οι τοιούτοι, « Such shall have
u Etiam Judæi, qui præceptum esse viris maidoToteTv ajant, uno ore concedant, tamen dispensatum esse com in qui assiduo legis studio vacare volunt, alias etiam immunibus ab acriori carnis stimulo. Maimon. 15. Halach. Ishoth.
* Ου ψέγω δε τους λοιπούς μακαρίους, ότι γάμοις προσωμίλησαν ών εμνήσθην άρτι εύχομαι γαρ άξιος θεού ευρεθείς προς τοίς ίχνεσιν αυτών ευρεθήναι εν τη βασιλεία ως 'Αβραάμ, και Ισαάκ, και Ιακώβ, ως Ιωσηφ, και Ιεσαίου και των άλλων προφητών, ως Πέτρου και Παύλου, και των άλλων αποστόλων, άο. Epist. ad Philadelph.
trouble in the flesh,” that is, they that are married shall, and so at that time they had : and therefore it was an act of charity to the Christians to give that counsel, εγώ δε υμίν φείδομαι, I do this to spare you,' and θέλω υμάς άμερίμνους είvai: for when the case was altered, and that storm was over, and the first necessities of the Gospel served, and the sound was gone out into all nations;' in very many persons it was wholly changed, and not the married but the unmarried had
lítiv ềv sapki, "trouble in the flesh;” and the state of marriage returned to its first blessing, “ et non erat bonum homini esse solitarium," "and it was not good for man to be alone.”
But in this first interval, the public necessity and the private zeal mingling together did sometimes overact their love of single life, even to the disparagement of marriage, and to the scandal of religion; which was increased by the occasion of some pious persons renouncing their contract of marriage, not consummate, with believers. For when Flavia Domitilla being converted by Nereus and Achilleus the eunuchs, refused to marry Aurelianus, to whom she was contracted; if there were not some little envy and too sharp hostility in the eunuchs to a married state, yet Aurelianus thought himself an injured person, and caused St. Clemens, who veiled her, and his spouse both, to die in the quarrel. St. Thecla being converted by St. Paul, grew so in love with virginity, that she leaped back from the marriage of Tamyris, where she was lately engaged. St. Iphigenia denied to marry king Hyrtacus, and it is said to be done by the advice of St. Matthew. And Susanna the niece of Dioclesian refused the love of Maximianus the emperor; and these all had been betrothed; and so did St. Agnes, and St. Felicula, and divers others then and afterward: insomuch, that it was reported among the Gentiles, that the Christians did not only hate all that were not of their persuasion, but were enemies of the chaste laws of marriage; and indeed some that were called Christians were so; "forbidding to marry, and commanding to ab'stain from meats.” Upon this occasion it grew necessary for the Apostle to state the question right, and to do honour to the holy rite of marriage, and to snatch the mystery from the hands of zeal and folly, and to place it in Christ's right hand, that all its beauties might appear, and a present con
venience might not bring in a false doctrine, and a perpetual sin, and an intolerable mischief. The Apostle, therefore, who himselfy had been a married man, but was now a widower, does explicate the mysteriousness of it, and describes its honours, and adorns it with rules and provisions of religion, that, as it begins with honour, so it may proceed with piety, and end with glory.
For although single life hath in it privacy and simplicity of affairs, such solitariness and sorrow, such leisure and inactive circumstances of living, that there are more spaces for religion if men would use them to these purposes; and because it may have in it much religion and prayers, and must have in it a perfect mortification of our strongest appetites, it is therefore a state of great excellency; yet concerning the state of marriage, we are taught from Scripture and the sayings of wise men, great things are honourable. Marriage is honourable in all men;" so is not single life; for in some it is a snare and a túpwors, “a trouble in the flesh,' a prison of unruly desires, which is attempted daily to be broken. Celibate or single life is never commanded; but in some cases marriage is; and he that burns, sins often if he marries not; he that cannot contain must marry, and he that can contain is not tied to a single life, but may marry and not sin. Marriage was ordained by God, instituted in Paradise, was the relief of a natural necessity, and the first blessing from the Lord; he gave to man not a friend, but a wife, that is, a friend and a wife too (for a good woman is in her soul the same that a man is, and she is a woman only in her body; that she may have the excellency of the one, and the usefulness of the other, and become amiable in both): it is the seminary of the church, and daily brings forth sons and daughters unto God; it was ministered to by angels, and Raphael waited upon a young man that he might have a blessed marriage, and that that marriage might repair two sad families, and bless all their relatives. Our blessed Lord, though he was born of a maiden, yet she was veiled under the cover of marriage, and she was married to a widower; for Joseph the supposed father of our Lord had children by a former wife.
» Ως Πέτρου και Παύλου και των Αποστόλων των γάμους προσομιλησάντων ούν υπό προθυμίας της περί το πράγμα, αλλ' επ' εννοίας έαυτών του γένους έσχον εκείνους. Ignatius epistol, ad Philadelph. Et Clemens idem ait apud Eusebium Hist. Eccles. lib. 3. sed tamen eam non circumduxit sicut Petrus : probat aulem ex Pbilip. 4.