Of Domestical Duties
Of husbands and wives helping forward the growth of grace in each other.
Hereunto must be added an helping forward of the growth thereof: which man and wife must mutually endeavour to effect one in another. The care which Elkanah had to carry his wives along with himself unto the Tabernacle of the Lord year by year, sheweth that his desire was to uphold them in the fear of God: yea the gifts and portions, which at that time he used to bestow on them, imply the care that he had to encourage them to hold on in serving the Lord. It was without question the main end which the Shunammite aimed at in providing lodging for the Prophet, that both she and her husband might be built up in Grace.
This duty may be the better effected by the following means:
1. By taking notice of the beginning, and least measure of Grace: and approving the same.
2. By frequent conference about such things as concern the same: mutually propounding questions one to another thereabouts, and answering the same.
3. By their mutual practice and example: making themselves each to other a pattern of piety.
4. By performing exercises of religion, as praying, singing psalms, reading the Word, and the like together.
5. By maintaining holy and religious exercises in the family. Though this duty especially appertain to the husband, yet the wife must put her husband in mind thereof, if he forget it; and stir him up, if he be backward: Thus did the good Shunammite (2 Kings 4:9-10). No man’s persuasion in this kind, can so much prevail with a man as his wife’s.
6. By stirring up one another to go to the house of God, to hear the word, partake of the sacrament, and conscionably perform all the parts of God’s public worship.
Great need there is, that husbands and wives should endeavour to help forward the growth of grace in each other, because we are all so prone to fall away and wax cold, even as water if the fire go out, and more fuel be not put under. And of all other, husbands and wives may be most helpful herein, because they can soonest espy the beginning of decay by reason of their near, and continual familiarity together.