The Dancing Puritan

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

William Gouge on Marriage

William Gouge is our guest blogger today.  The quote below is from The Puritan Board. I am scheduled back tomorrow.

An husband's affection to his wife must be answerable to his opinion of her: he ought therefore to delight in his wife entirely, that is, so to delight in her as wholly and only delighting in her. In this respect the Prophet's wife is called the "desire" (Ez.24:16), or delight, or pleasure of his eyes: that wherein he most of all delighted, and therefore by a propriety so called. Such delight did Isaac take in his wife as it drove out a contrary strong passion, namely the grief which he took for the departure of his mother: for it is noted that "he loved her, and was comforted after his mother's death." (Gen.24:67)

This kind of affection Solomon doth elegantly set forth in these words, "Rejoice with the wife of thy youth: Let her be as the loving Hind, and pleasant Roe, and be thou ravished always with her love." (Prov.5:18 & 19) Here note both the metaphors,also ravished always with her love." (Prov. 5:18 & 19) Here note the metaphors, and also the hyperbole which are used to set forth an husband's delight in his wife. In the metaphors again note both the creatures whereunto a wife is resembled, and also the attributes given to them. The creatures are two, an Hind and a Roe, which are the females of an Hart and a Roe-Buck: now it is noted of the Hart and Roe-Buck, that of all other beasts they are most enamored (as I may so speak) with their mates, and even mad again in their heat and desire after them. 

These metaphors hath Solomon used to set forth that unfained and earnest, entire and ardent affection which an husband ought to bear unto his wife: which being taken in a good sense, and rightly applied, so as they exceed not the bounds of Christian modesty and decency, are very fit, and pertinent to the purpose: if we stretch them beyond modesty, we wrong the pen-man of them, or rather the Holy Ghost that directed him, and propound a pernicious pattern unto husbands.

The attributes given to the forenamed creatures much amplify the point: the former is termed a "loving" Hind, the latter a "pleasant" Doe, word for word "an Hind of Loves, a Roe of favor," that is, exceedingly loved and favored: for to set forth the extent of God's love unto his Son, Christ is called the "son of his love". (Col.1:13)

These comparisons applied to a wife, do lively set forth that delight which an husband ought to take in her, and yet is it much further amplified by the hyperbole used in this phrase, "be thou ravished with her love," word, for word, "err thou in her love," by which no sinful error, or dotage is meant, but a lawful earnest affection: implying two things especially: First so far to exceed, as to make a man overlook some such blemishes in his wife, as others would soon espy and mislike; or else to count them no blemishes, delighting in her never a whit the less for them. For example, if a man has a wife, not very beautiful, or proper, but having some deformity in her body, some imperfection in her speech, sight, gesture, or any part of her body, yet so to affect her, and delight in her, as if she were the fairest, and in every way most complete woman in the world. Secondly, so highly to esteem, so ardently to affect, so tenderly to respect her, as others may think him even to doat on her. An husbands affection to his wife cannot be too great if it kept within bounds of honesty, sobriety and comeliness. The wife's affection ought to be great to her husband, yet because of the husbands place of authority, he must especially take all occasions to manifest this his inward affection.