Friday, August 17, 2007

More On Marriage

Here is more of the teaching on Marriage from Richard Baxter, a Puritan preacher.

Direct. V. It is your solemn duty to live in quietness and peace. To avoid every occasion of fierce anger and discord.

[I. Directions showing the great necessity of avoiding dissension.]

1. The duty of your marriage ­union requires unity. Can you not agree with your own flesh?

2. Division with your spouse will pain and upset your whole life ... Just as you do not wish to hurt your own self and are quick to care for your own wounds; so you should take notice of any break in the peace of your marriage and quickly seek to heal it. 3. Fighting chills love, fighting makes your spouse undesirable to you in your mind. Wounding is separating; to be tied together through marital bonds while your hearts are estranged is to be tormented. To be inwardly adversaries, while outwardly husband and wife turns your home and delight into a prison. (11)

4. Dissension between the husband and the wife disrupts the whole family life; they are like oxen unequally yoked, no work can be accomplished for all the striving with one another.

5. It greatly makes you unfit for the worship of God; you are not able to pray together nor to discuss heavenly things together, nor can you be mutual helpers to each other's souls. (12)

6. Dissension makes it impossible to manage your family properly.(13)

7. Your dissension will expose you to the malice of Satan, and give him advantage for many, many temptations. (14)

[II. Directions for avoiding dissensions.]

1. Keep alive your love for one another. Love your spouse dearly and fervently. Love will suppress wrath; you cannot be bitter over little things with someone you dearly love; much less will you descend to harsh words, aloofness, or any form abuse. (15)

2. Both husband and wife must mortify their pride and strong self­ centered feelings. (16 ) These are the feelings which cause intolerance and insensitivity. You must pray and labour for a humble, meek, and quiet spirit. A proud heart is troubled and provoked by every word that seems to assault your self ­esteem.(17)

3.Do not forget that you are both diseased persons, full of infirmities; and therefore expect the fruit of those infirmities in each other; and do not act surprised about it, as if you had never known of it before. Decide to be patient with one another; remembering that you took one another as sinful, frail, imperfect persons, and not as angels, or as blameless and perfect. (18)

4. Remember still that your are one flesh; and therefore be no more offended with the words or failings of each other, than you would be if they were your own. Be angry with your wife for her faults no more than you are angry with yourself for your own. Have such an anger and displeasure against a fault, as will work to heal it; but not such as will cause festering and aggravation of the diseased part. This will turn anger into compassion, and will cause you to administer care for the cure. (19)

5. Agree together beforehand, that when one of you is sinfully angry and upset the other shall silently and gently bear it until you have come to your sanity. (20)

6. Have an eye to the future and remember that you must live together until death, and must be the companions of each other's lives, and the comforts of each other's lives, and then you will see how absurd it is for you to disagree and upset each other.(21)

7. As far as you are able, avoid all occasions of wrath and quarreling, about the matters of your families.(22)

8. If you are so angry that you cannot calm yourself at least control your tongue and do not speak hurtful and taunting words, talking it out hotly fans the fire, and increases the flame; (Do not ventilate your anger as you only feed your fleshly vengenance) Be silent, and you will much sooner return to your serenity and peace.(23)

9. Let the calm and rational spouse speak carefully and compellingly reason with the other (unless it be with a person so insolent as will make things worse). Usually a few sober, grave admonitions, will prove as water to the boiling pot. Say to your angry wife or husband, "You know this should not be between us; love must put it to rest, and it must be repented of. God does not approve of it, and we shall not approve of it when this heat is over. This frame of mind is contrary to a praying frame, and this language contrary to a praying language; we must pray together; let us do nothing contrary to prayer now: sweet water and bitter come not from one spring", etc. Some calm and condescending words of reason, may stop the torrent, and revive the reason which passion had overcome.(24)

10. When you have sinfully acted towards your spouse confess to one another; and ask for forgiveness of each other, and join in prayer to God for pardon; and this will act as a preventative in you the next time: you will surely be ashamed to do that which you have confessed and asked forgiveness for of God and man.(25)

Direct. VI. One of the most important duties of a husband to his wife and a wife to her husband is to carefully, skillfully, and diligently help each other in the knowledge and worship, and obedience of God that they might be saved and grow in their Christian Life.

1. This is not love, when you neglect each other's soul.(26 ) Do you believe that you have immortal souls, and an endless life of joy or misery to live? Then you MUST know that your great concern and business is, to care for those souls, and for the endless life. Therefore if your love does not help one another in this which is your main concern, it is of little worth, and of little use. Every thing in this world is as valuable as it is useful. A useless or unprofitable love, is a worthless love. It is a trifling, or a childish, or a beastly love, which helps you but in trifling, childish, or beastly things. Do you love your wife, and will leave her in the power of Satan, or will not help to save her soul? What! love her, and yet let her go to hell? and rather let her be damned than you will be at the pains to endeavor her salvation? Never say you love them, if you will not labour for their salvation.

What then shall we say of them that do not only deny their help, but are hinderers of the holiness and salvation of each other! [1Kings 11.4, Acts 5.2, Job 2.9] And yet (the Lord have mercy on the poor miserable world!) how common a thing is this among us! If the wife be ignorant and ungodly, she will do her worst to make or keep her husband in the same state as she is herself; and if God put any holy inclinations into his heart, she will be like water to the fire, to quench it or to keep it subdued; and if he will not be as sinful and miserable as herself, he shall have little rest. And if God open the eyes of the wife of a bad man, and show her the necessity of a holy life, and she resolves to obey the Lord, and save her soul, what an enemy and tyrant will her husband be to her ( if God does not restrain him); so that the devil himself will do no more to prevent the saving of their souls than ungodly husbands and wives do against each other.

2. Consider also that you are not living up to the design of marriage, if you are not helping each other's souls.(27)

3. Consider also, if you neglect each other's souls, what enemies you are to one another, and how you are preparing for your everlasting sorrows: when you should be preparing for your joyful meeting in heaven, you are laying up for yourselves everlasting horror.

11 Pro 19:13
12 Mat 5:23; 1Sam 15:22
13 Mat 12:25; Mar 3:25; Luk 11:17
14 Jam 1:13; 1Cor 7:5; Job 2:9
15 Lev 19:8; Psa 133:1; Pro 15:17; Rom 12:10; Rom 14:19; Rom 15:1; 1Cor 13:4­7
16 Luk 9:23; Psa 101:5; Prov 16:5; Prov 21:4; Prov 28:25; Mat 23:12; 1Pet 5:6
17 Psa 10:4; Hos 7:10; Prov 13:10; Prov 28:25
18 Jer 17:9; Rom 7:24; 1Joh 1:8
19 Eph 4:26; Eph 4:32; Jam 1:19
20 Eph 4:2; 1Cor 13:4
21 Ecc 9:9; Rom 7:2
22 Gen 2:24
23 Gal 5:15; Jam 3:5,6,8
24 Pro 15:18; Mat 5:9; Psa 85:8
25 Eph 4:32; Jam 5:16
26 2Cor 2:4; 2Cor 12:15; 1The 2:8
27 Gen 2:18 1The 5:11; Eph 4:16; Heb 12:15; 1cor 7:5; Col 2:19; Gen 35:2; Gen 35:4; Lev 19:17; Num 16:27; Num 16:32

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