π1r

Reflections
upon
Marriage.

omitted

The Third Edition.

To which is Added
A Preface, in Answer to some
Objections.

“If a Virgin Marry, she hath not sinned; nevertheless
such shall have trouble.
The Wife is bound by the Law so long as her Husband
liveth, but if her Husband be dead she
is at liberty to be Married to whom she will,
only in the Lord. But she is happier if she
so abide after my Judgment. ”
INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that regMe is unmatched.1 Cor. 7. 28,
39, 40.

London:
Printed for R. Wilkin, at the King’s Head
in St. Paul’s Church-Yard, 17061706.

π1v π2r

The
Preface.

These Reflections being made in the Country,
where the Book that occasion’d them came
but late to Hand, the Reader is desir’d to
excuse their Unseasonableness as well as other Faults;
and to believe that they have no other Design than to
Correct some Abuses, which are not the less because
Power and Prescription seem to Authorize them. If any
is so needlesly curious as to enquire from what Hand
they come, they may please to know, that it is not good
Manners to ask, since the Title-Page does not tell
them: We are all of us sufficiently Vain, and without
doubt the Celebrated Name of Author, which most
are so fond of, had not been avoided but for very good
Reasons: To name but one; Who will care to pull
upon themselves an Hornet’s Nest?
’Tis a very
great Fault to regard rather who it is that Speaks,
than what is Spoken; and either to submit to Authority,
when we should only yield to Reason; or if Reason
press too hard, to think to ward it off by Personal
Objections and Reflections. Bold Truths may pass
while the Speaker is Incognito, but are not endur’d when
he is known; few Minds being strong enough to bear
what contradicts their Principles and Practices without
Recriminating when they can. And tho’ to tell
the Truth be the most Friendly Office, yet whosoever is
so hardy as to venture at it, shall be counted an Enemy
for so doing.

π2v

Thus far the old Advertisement, when the Reflections
first appear’d, 1700A.D. 1700.


But the Reflector, who hopes Reflector is not bad
English, now Governor is happily of the Feminine
Gender, had as good or better have said nothing; For
People by being forbid, are only excited to a more curious
Enquiry. A certain Ingenious Gentleman (as
she is inform’d) had the Good-Nature to own these
Reflections, so far as to affirm that he had the
Original M. S. in his Closet, a Proof she is not able
to produce; and so to make himself responsible for all
their Faults, for which she returns him all due Acknowledgment.
However, the Generality being of Opinion,
that a Man would have had more Prudence and Manners
than to have Publish’d such unseasonable Truths,
or to have betray’d the Arcana Imperii of his Sex,
she humbly confesses, that the Contrivance and Execution
of this Design, which is unfortunately accus’d of
being so destructive to the Government, of the Men I
mean, is entirely her own. She neither advis’d with
Friends, nor turn’d over Antient or Modern Authors,
nor prudently submitted to the Correction of such as are,
or such as think they are good Judges, but with an
English Spirit and Genius, set out upon the Forlorn
Hope, meaning no hurt to any body, nor designing any
thing but the Publick Good, and to retrieve, if possible,
the Native Liberty, the Rights and Privileges
of the Subject.

Far be it from her to stir up Sedition of any sort,
none can abhor it more; and she heartily wishes that
our Masters wou’d pay their Civil and Ecclesiastical
Governors the same Submission, which they themselves
exact from their Domestic Subjects. Nor can she imaimaginegine A1r
how she any way undermines the Masculine
Empire, or blows the Trumpet of Rebellion to the Moiety
of Mankind. Is it by exhorting Women, not to expect
to have their own Will in any thing, but to be entirely
Submissive, when once they have made choice of
a Lord and Master, tho’ he happen not to be so Wise,
so Kind, or even so Just a Governor as was expected?
She did not indeed advise them to think his Folly Wisdom,
nor his Brutality that Love and Worship he promised
in his Matrimonial Oath, for this required a Flight
of Wit and Sense much above her poor Ability, and
proper only to Masculine Understandings. However she
did not in any manner prompt them to Resist, or to
Abdicate the Perjur’d Spouse, tho’ the Laws of God
and the Land make special Provision for it, in a
case wherein, as is to be fear’d, few Men can truly
plead Not Guilty.

’Tis true, thro’ Want of Learning, and of that Superior
Genius which Men as Men lay claim to, she
was ignorant of the Natural Inferiority of our Sex,
which our Masters lay down as a Self-Evident and
Fundamental Truth. She saw nothing in the Reason of
Things, to make this either a Principle or a Conclusion,
but much to the contrary; it being Sedition at
least, if not Treason to assert it in this Reign. For if by
the Natural Superiority of their Sex, they mean that
every Man is by Nature superior to every Woman,
which is the obvious meaning, and that which must
be stuck to if they would speak Sense, it wou’d be a Sin
in any Woman to have Dominion over any Man, and
the greatest Queen ought not to command but to obey her
Footman, because no Municipal Laws can supersede
or change the Law of Nature; so that if the Dominion
of the Men be such, the Salique Law, as unjust as English
Men
have ever thought it, ought to take place A over A1v
over all the Earth, and the most glorious Reigns in
the English, Danish, Castilian, and other Annals,
were wicked Violations of the Law of Nature!

If they mean that some Men are superior to some
Women, this is no great Discovery; had they turn’d
the Tables they might have seen that some Women
are Superior to some Men. Or had they been pleased to
remember their Oaths of Allegiance and Supremacy,
they might have known that One Woman is superior
to All the Men in these Nations, or else they
have sworn to very little purpose. And it must not
be suppos’d, that their Reason and Religion wou’d
suffer them to take Oaths, contrary to the Law of Nature
and Reason of things.

By all which it appears, that our Reflector’s Ignorance
is very pitiable, it may be her Misfortune but not
her Crime, especially since she is willing to be better inform’d,
and hopes she shall never be so obstinate as to
shut her Eyes against the Light of Truth, which is not to
be charg’d with Novelty, how late soever we may be
bless’d with the Discovery. Nor can Error, be it as
Antient as it may, ever plead Prescription against
Truth. And since the only way to remove all Doubts,
to answer all Objections, and to give the Mind entire
Satisfaction, is not by Affirming, but by Proving, so
that every one may see with their own Eyes, and
Judge according to the best of their own Understandings,
She hopes it is no Presumption to insist on this
Natural Right of Judging for her self, and the rather,
because by quitting it, we give up all the Means of
Rational Conviction. Allow us then as many Glasses as
you plese to help our Sight, and as many good Arguments
as you can afford to Convince our Understandings:
But don’t exact of us we beseech you, to affirm
that we see such things as are only the Discovery of Men A2r
Men who have quicker Senses; or that we understand
and Know what we have by Hear-say only; for to be so
excessively Complaisant, is neither to see nor to understand.

That the Custom of the World has put Women, generally
speaking, into a State of Subjection, is not deny’d; but
the Right can no more be prov’d from the Fact, than
the Predominancy of Vice can justifie it. A certain
great Man has endeavour’d to prove by Reasons not
contemptible, that in the Original State of things the
Woman was the Superior, and that her Subjection to
the Man is an Effect of the Fall, and the Punishment
of her Sin. And that Ingenious Theorist Mr. Whiston
asserts, That before the Fall there was a greater equallity
between the two Sexes. However this be, ’tis certainly
no Arrogance in a Woman to conclude, that she
was made for the Service of God, and that this is her
End. Because God made all Things for Himself, and
a Rational Mind is too noble a Being to be Made for
the Sake and Service of any Creature. The Service she
at any time becomes oblig’d to pay to a Man, is only a
Business by the Bye. Just as it may be any Man’s Business
and Duty to keep Hogs; he was not Made for this,
but if he hires himself out to such an Employment, he
ought conscientiously to perform it. Nor can any thing
be concluded to the contrary from St. Paul’s Argument,
INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that regMe is unmatched.1 Cor. II. For he argues only for Decency
and Order, according to the present Custom and State
of things. Taking his Words strictly and literally, they
prove too much, in that Praying and Prophecying in
the Church
are allow’d the Women, provided they do
it with their Head Cover’d, as well as the Men; and
no inequality can be inferr’d from hence, neither from
the Gradation the Apostle there uses, that “the Head of
every Man is Christ, and that the Head of the WomanA2 man A2v
is the Man, and the Head of Christ is God”
;
It being evident from the Form of Baptism, that
there is no natural Inferiority among the Divine
Persons, but that they are in all things Coequal. The
Apostle indeed adds, that the Man is the Glory of
God, and the Woman the Glory of the Man
, &c.
But what does he infer from hence? he says not a word
of Inequality, or natural Inferiority, but concludes, that
a Woman ought to Cover her head, and a Man
ought not to cover his, and that even Nature it self,
teaches
us, that if a Man have long hair it is a
shame unto him
. Whatever the Apostle’s Argument
proves in this place, nothing can be plainer, than
that there is much more said against the present
Fashion of Men’s wearing long Hair, than for that
Supremacy they lay claim to. For by all that appears
in the Text, it is not so much a Law of Nature,
that Women shou’d Obey Men, as that Men shou’d
not wear long Hair. Now how can a Christian Nation
allow Fashions contrary to the Law of Nature,
forbidden by an Apostle, and declared by him to be a
shame to Man? Or if Custom may make an alteration
in one Case it may in another, but what then becomes
of the Nature and Reason of things? Besides, the
Conclusion the Apostle draws from his Argument concerning
Women, viz. that they shou’d have power on
their heads because of the Angels
, is so very obscure
a Text, That the Ingenious Paraphrast who pleads so
much for the Natural Subjection of Women, Ingenuously
confesses, that he does not understand it. Probably
it refers to some Custom among the Corinthians,
which being well known to them the Apostle only hints at
it, but which we are ignorant of, and therefore apt to
mistake him. ’Tis like that the False Apostle whom
St. Paul writes against, had led Captive some of their Rich A3r
Rich and Powerful but silly Women, who having as
mean an Opinion of the Reason God had given them, as
any Deceiver cou’d desire, did not, like the noble minded
Bereans, search the Scriptures whether those things
were so
, but lazily took up with having Men’s Persons
in admiration, and follow’d their Leaders Blindfold,
the certain Rout to Destruction. And it is also
probable, that the same cunning Seducer imploy’d these
Women to carry on his own Designs, and putting them
upon what he might not think fit to appear in himself,
made them guilty of Indecent Behaviour in the Church
of Corinth. And therefore St. Paul thought it necessary
to reprove them so severly in order to humble
them, but this being done, he takes care in the Conclusion
to set the matter on a right Foot, placing the
two Sexes on a Level, to Keep Men as much as might
be, from taking those advantages which People who
have strength in their hands, are apt to assume over
those who can’t contend with them. For, says he, Nevertheless,
or notwithstanding the former Argument,
the Man is not without the Woman, nor the Woman
without the Man, but all things of God
.
The Relation between the two Sexes is mutual, and the
Dependance Reciprocal, both of them Depending intirely
upon God, and upon Him only; which one wou’d
think is no great Argument of the natural Inferiority
of either Sex.

Our Reflector is of Opinion that Disputes of this
kind, extending to Human Nature in general, and not
peculiar to those to whom the Word of God has been
reveal’d, ought to be decided by natural Reason only.
And that the Holy Scriptures shou’d not be Interessed
in the present Controversy, in which it determines nothing,
any more than it does between the Copernican
and Ptolomean Systems. The Design of those Holy Books A3v
Books being to make us excellent Moralists and Perfect
Christians, not great Philosophers. And being writ for
the Vulgar as well as for the Learned, they are accommodated
to the common way of Speech and the
Usage of the World; in which we have but a short
Probation, so that it matters not much what part we
Act, whether of Governing or Obeying, provided we
perform it well with respect to the World to come.

One does not wonder indeed, that when an Adversary
is drove to a Nonplus and Reason declares against him,
he flies to Authority, especially to Divine, which is infallible,
and therefore ought not to be disputed. But Scripture
is not always on their side who make parade of it, and
thro’ their skill in Languages and the Tricks of the
Schools, wrest it from its genuine sense to their own
Inventions. And supposing, not granting, that it were
apparently to the Woman’s Disadvantage, no fair and
generous Adversary but wou’d be asham’d to urge this
advantage. Because Women without their own Fault,
are kept in Ignorance of the Original, wanting Languages
and other helps to Criticise on the Sacred Text,
of which they know no more, than Men are pleas’d to
impart in their Translations. In short, they shew their
desire to maintain their Hypotheses, but by no means
their Reverence to the Sacred Oracles who engage them in
such Disputes. And therefore the blame be theirs, who
have unnecessarily introduc’d them in the present Subject,
and who by saying that the Reflections were not agreeable
to Scripture, oblige the Reflector to shew that those
who affirm it must either mistake her Meaning, or the
Sense of Holy Scripture, or both, if they think what
they say, and do not find fault merely because they resolve
to do so. For had she ever writ any thing contrary
to those sacred Truths, she wou’d be the first in
pronouncing its Condemnation.

A4r

But what says the Holy Scripture? It speaks of
Women as in a State of Subjection, and so it does of
the Jews and Christians when under the Dominion of
the Chaldeans and Romans, requiring of the one as
well as of the other a quiet submission to them under
whose Power they liv’d. But will any one say that these
had a Natural Superiority and Right to Dominion?
that they had a superior Understanding, or any Preeminence,
except what their greater Strength acquir’d?
Or that the other were subjected to their Adversaries
for any other Reason but the Punishment of their sins,
and in order to their Reformation? Or for the Exercise
of their Vertue, and because the Order of the
World and the Good of Society requir’d it?

If Mankind had never sinn’d, Reason wou’d always
have been obey’d, there wou’d have been no struggle
for Dominion, and Brutal Power wou’d not have prevail’d.
But in the laps’d State of Mankind, and now
that Men will not be guided by their Reason but by
their Appetites, and do not what they ought but what
they can, the Reason, or that which stands for it, the
Will and Pleasure of the Governor is to be the Reason
of those who will not be guided by their own, and
must take place for Order’s sake, altho’ it shou’d not be
conformable to right Reason. Nor can there be any
Society great or little, from Empires down to private
Families, without a last Resort, to determine the Affairs
of that Society by an irresistible Sentence. Now
unless this Supremacy be fix’d somewhere, there will be
a perpetual Contention about it, such is the love of
Dominion, and let the Reason of things be what it may,
those who have least Force, or Cunning to supply it,
will have the Disadvantage. So that since Women are
acknowledg’d to have least Bodily strength, their being
commanded to obey is in pure kindness to them, and for A4v
for their Quiet and Security, as well as for the Exercise
of their Vertue. But does it follow that Domestic
Governors have more Sense than their Subjects, any
more than that other Governors have? We do not
find that any Man thinks the worse of his own Understanding
because another has superior Power; or concludes
himself less capable of a Post of Honour and
Authority, because he is not Prefer’d to it. How much
time wou’d lie on Men’s hands, how empty wou’d the
Places of Concourse be, and how silent most Companies,
did Men forbear to Censure their Governors, that is
in effect to think themselves Wiser. Indeed Government
wou’d be much more desirable than it is, did it
invest the Possessor with a superior Understanding as
well as Power. And if mere Power gives a Right to
Rule, there can be no such thing as Usurpation; but a
Highway-Man so long as he has strength to force, has
also a Right to require our Obedience.

Again, if Absolute Sovereignty be not necessary in a
State, how comes it to be so in a Family? or if in a
Family why not in a State; since no Reason can be alledg’d
for the one that will not hold more strongly for
the other? If the Authority of the Husband so far as
it extends, is sacred and inalienable, why not of the
Prince? The Domestic Sovereign is without Dispute
Elected, and the Stipulations and Contract are mutual,
is it not then partial in Men to the last degree, to
contend for, and practise that Arbitrary Dominion in
their Families, which they abhor and exclaim against
in the State? For if Arbitrary Power is evil in it self,
and an improper Method of Governing Rational and
Free Agents, it ought not to be Practis’d any where;
Nor is it less, but rather more mischievous in Families
than in Kingdoms, by how much 100000 Tyrants
are worse than one. What tho’ a Husband can’t depriveprive a1r
a Wife of Life without being responsible to the
Law, he may however do what is much more grievous
to a generous Mind, render Life miserable, for which
she has no Redress, scarce Pity which is afforded to
every other Complainant. It being thought a Wife’s
Duty to suffer every thing without Complaint. If all
Men are born free, how is it that all Women are
born Slaves? as they must be if the being subjected to
the inconstant, uncertain, unknown, arbitrary Will
of Men, be the perfect Condition of Slavery? and
if the Essence of Freedom consists, as our Masters
say it does, in having a standing Rule to live by?
And why is Slavery so much condemn’d and strove against
in one Case, and so highly applauded, and held
so necessary and so sacred in another?

’Tis true that God told Eve after the Fall that
her Husband shou’d Rule over her: And so it is
that he told Esau by the mouth of Isaac his Father,
that he shou’d serve his younger Brother, and shou’d
in time, and when he was strong enough to do it, break
the Yoke from off his Neck
. Now why one Text
shou’d be a Command any more than the other, and not
both of them be Predictions only; or why the former
shou’d prove Adam’s natural Right to Rule, and
much less every Man’s, any more than the latter is a
Proof of Jacob’s Right to Rule, and of Esau’s to Rebel,
one is yet to learn? The Text in both Cases foretelling
what wou’d be; but neither of them determining
what ought to be.

But the Scripture commands Wives to submit
themselves to their own Husbands
. True; for which
St. Paul gives a Mystical Reason INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that regMe is unmatched.(Eph 5.22, &c)
and St. Peter a Prudential and Charitable one INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that regMe is unmatched.(1 St.
Pet. 3.)
but neither of them derive that Subjection
from the Law of Nature. Nay St. Paul, as if he foresawa saw a1v
and meant to prevent this Plea, giving directions
for their Conduct to Women in general, INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that regMe is unmatched.1 Tim. 2,
when he comes to speak of Subjection, he changes his
Phrase from Women which denotes the whole Sex, to
Woman which in the New Testament is appropriated
to a Wife.

As for his not suffering Women to speak in the
Church, no sober Person that I know of pretends to it.
That Learned Paraphrast indeed, who lays so much
stress on the Natural Subjection, provided this Prerogative
be secur’d, is willing to give up the other.
For he endeavours to prove that Inspir’d Women as well
as Men us’d to speak in the Church, and that St. Paul
does not forbid it, but only takes care that the Women
shou’d signifie their Subjection by wearing a Veil. But
the Apostle is his own best Expositor, let us therefore
compare his Precepts with his Practice, for he was all
of a piece, and did not contradict himself. Now by
this Comparison we find, that tho’ he forbids Women to
teach in the Church, and this for several Prudential
Reasons, like those he introduces with an I give my
Opinion, and now speak I not the Lord
, and not
because of any Law of Nature, or Positive Divine Precept,
for that the words they are Commanded
INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that regMe is unmatched.(1 Cor. 14. 24.) are not in the Original, appears
from the Italic Character, yet he did not found this
Prohibition on any suppos’d want of Understanding in
Woman, or of ability to Teach; neither does he confine
them at all times to learn in silence. For the
Eloquent Apollos who was himself a Teacher, was instructed
by Priscilla as well as by her Husband Aquila,
and was improv’d by them both in the Christian Faith.
Nor does St. Paul blame her for this, or suppose that
she Usurp’d Authority over that great Man, so far
from this, that as she is always honourably mention’d in a2r
in Holy Scripture, so our Apostle in his Salutations,
INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that regMe is unmatched.Rom 16. places her in the Front, even before her
Husband, giving to her as well as to him, the Noble
Title of his Helper in Christ Jesus, and of one to
whom all the Churches of the Gentiles
had great
Obligations.

But it will be said perhaps, that in INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that regMe is unmatched.1 Tim. 2. 13,
&c. St. Paul argues for the Woman’s subjection from
the Reason of things. To this I answer, that it must be
confess’d that this (according to the vulgar Interpretation)
is a very obscure place, and I shou’d be glad to see a
Natural, and not a Forc’d Interpretation given of it by
those who take it Literally. Whereas if it be taken Allegorically,
with respect to the Mystical Union between
Christ and his Church, to which St. Paul frequently accommodates
the Matrimonial Relation, the difficulties
vanish. For the Earthly Adam’s being Form’d before
Eve, seems as little to prove her Natural Subjection to
him, as the Living Creatures, Fishes, Birds and Beasts
being Form’d before them both, proves that Mankind
must be subject to these Animals. Nor can the Apostle
mean that Eve only sinned; or that she only was
Deceiv’d, for if Adam sinn’d wilfully and knowingly,
he became the greater Transgressor. But it is very
true that the Second Adam, the Man Christ Jesus,
was first form’d, and then his Spouse the Church. He
was not in any respect Deceiv’d, nor does she pretend
to Infallibility. And from this second Adam, promis’d
to Eve in the Day of our first Parent’s Transgression,
and from Him only, do all their Race, Men as well
as Women, derive their Hopes of Salvation. Nor is it
promis’d to either Sex on any other Terms besides Perseverance
in Faith, Charity, Holiness and Sobriety.

If the Learned will not admit of this Interpretation,
I know not how to contend with them. For Sense a2 is a2v
is a Portion that God Himself has been pleas’d to distribute
to both Sexes with an Impartial Hand, but
Learning is what Men have engross’d to themsevles,
and one can’t but admire their great Improvements!
For after doubting whether there was such a thing as
Truth, and after many hundred years Disputes about
it, in the last Century an extraordinary Genius arose,
(whom yet some are pleas’d to call a Visionary) enquir’d
after it, and laid down the best Method of
finding it. Not to the general liking of the Men of
Letters, perhaps, because it was wrote in a vulgar
Language, and was so natural and easy as to debase
Truth to Common Understandings, shewing to plainly
that Learning and true Knowledge are two very different
things. “‘For it often happens (says that Author)
that Women and Children acknowledge the Falshood of
those Prejudices we contend with, because they do not
dare to judge without examination, and they bring all the
attention they are capable of to what they reade. Whereas
on the contrary, the Learned continue wedded to their own
Opinions, because they will not take the trouble of examining
what is contrary to their receiv’d Doctrines.’”

Sciences indeed have been invented and taught
long ago, and, as Men grew better advis’d, new
Modell’d. So that it is become a considerable piece of
Learning to give an account of the Rise and Progress of
the Sciences, and of the various Opinions of Men
concerning them. But Certainty and Demonsration
are much pretended to in this present Age, and being
obtain’d in many things, ’tis hop’d Men will never
Dispute them away in that which is of greatest Importance,
the Way of Salvation. And because there is not
any thing more certain than what is delivered in the
oracles of God, we come now to consider what they
offer in favour of our Sex.

Let a3r

Let it be premis’d, (according to the Reasoning of a
very Ingenious Person in a like Case) that One Text
for us, is more to be regarded than many against us.
Because that One being different from what Custom has
establish’d, ought to be taken with Philosophical Strictness;
whereas the Many being express’d according to
the vulgar Mode Of Speech, ought to have no greater stress
laid on them, than that evident Condescension will
bear. One place then were sufficient, but we have
many Instances wherein Holy Scripture considers Women
very differently from what they appear in the common
Prejudices of Mankind.

The World will hardly allow a Woman to say any
thing well, unless as she borrows it from Men, or is assisted
by them: But God Himself allows that the
Daughters of Zelophehad spake right, and passes
their Request into a Law. Considering how much the
Tyranny shall I say, or the superior Force of Men,
keeps Women from Acting in the World, or doing any
thing considerable, and remembring withal the conciseness
of the Sacred Story, no small part of it is bestow’d in
transmitting the History of Women famous in their
Generations: Two of the Canonical Books bearing the
Names of those great Women whose Vertues and Actions
are there recorded. Ruth being call’d from among the
Gentiles to be an Ancestor of the Messiah, and Esther
being rais’d up by God to be the great Instrument
of the Deliverance and Prosperity of the Jewish Church.

The Character of Isaac, tho’ one of the most blameless
Men taken notice of in the Old Testament, must give
place to Rebecca’s, whose Affections are more Reasonably
plac’d then his, her Favourite Son being the
same who was God’s Favourite. Nor was the Blessing
bestow’d according to his but to her Desire; so that if you a3v
you will not allow, that her Command to Jacob superseded
Isaac’s to Esau, his desire to give the Blessing
to this Son, being evidently an effect of his Partiality:
You must at least grant that she paid greater
deference to the Divine Revelation, and for this Reason
at least, had a Right to oppose her Husband’s Design;
which it seems Isaac was sensible of, when upon
his Disappointment he trembled so exceedingly. And
so much notice is taken even of Rebecca’s Nurse, that
we have an account where she Died and where she was
Buried.

God is pleas’d to record it among His Favours to
the Ingrateful Jews, that He sent before them His
Servants Moses, Aaron, and Miriam; who was
also a Prophetess, and Instructed the Women how to bear
their part with Moses in his Triumphal Hymn. Is
she to be blam’d for her Ambition? and is not the
High Priest Aaron also? who has his share in the
Reproof as well as in the Crime; nor cou’d she have
mov’d Sedition if she had not been a considerable Person,
which appears also by the Respect the People paid
her, in deferring their Journey till she was ready.

Where shall we find a nobler piece of Poetry than
Deborah’s Song? or a better and greater Ruler than
that Renowned Woman whose Government so much excell’d
that of the former Judges? And tho’ she had a
Husband, she her self Judg’d Israel and consequently
was his Sovereign, of whom we know no more than the
Name. Which Instance, as I humbly suppose, overthrows
the pretence of Natural Inferiority. For it is
not the bare Relation of a Fact, by which none ought to
be concluded, unless it is conformable to a Rule, and
to the Reason of things: But Deborah’s Government
was confer’d on her by God Himself. Consequently
the Sovereignty of a Woman is not contrary to the Law a4r
Law of Nature; for the law of Nature is the Law of
God, who cannot contradict Himself; and yet it was
God who Inspir’d and Approv’d that great Woman,
raising her up to Judge and to Deliver His People Israel.

Not to insist on the Courage of that valiant Woman
who deliver’d Thebez by slaying the Assailant; nor upon
the preference which God thought fit to give to Sampson’s
Mother, in sending the Angel to her, and not to
her Husband, whose vulgar Fear she so prudently answer’d,
as plainly shews her superior Understanding:
To pass over Abigail’s wise Conduct, whereby she preserv’d
her Family and deserv’d David’s acknowledgments,
for restraining him from doing a Rash and unjustifiable
Action; the Holy Penman giving her the
Character of a Woman of good Understanding,
whilst her Husband has that of a Churlish and Foolish
Person, and a Son of Belial: To say nothing of the
wise Woman (as the Text calls her) of Tekoah;
or of her of Abel who has the same Epithet, and who
by her Prudence deliver’d the City and appeas’d a
dangerous Rebellion: Nor of the Queen of Sheba’s,
whose Journey to hear the Wisdom of Solomon, shews
her own good Judgment and great share in that excellent
Endowment. Solomon does not think himself too
Wise to be Instructed by his Mother, nor too great
to Record her Lessons, which if he had follow’d he
might have spar’d the trouble of Repentance, and been
deliver’d from a great deal of that Vanity he so deeply
Regrets.

What Reason can be assign’d why the Mothers of the
Kings of Judah, are so frequently noted in those very
short accounts that are given of their Reigns, but the
great Respect paid them, or perhaps their Influence on
the Government, and share in the Administration? This a4v
This is not improbable, since the wicked Athaliah had
power to carry on her Intrigues so far as to get possession
of the Throne, and to keep it for some Years. Neither
was there any necessity for Asa’s removing his Mother
(or Grandmother) from being Queen, if this were
merely Titular, and did not carry Power and Authority
along with it. And we find what Influence Jezabel
had in Israel, indeed to her Husband’s and her
own Destruction.

It was a Widow-Woman whom God made choice
of to sustain his Prophet Elijah at Zarephah. And
the History of the Shunamite is a noble Instance of the
Account that is made of Women in Holy Scripture.
For whether it was not the Custom in Shunem for the
Husband to Dictate, or whether her’s was conscious
of her superior Vertue, or whatever was the Reason,
we find it is she who Governs, dwelling with great
Honour and Satisfaction among her own People.
Which Happiness she understood so well, and was so
far from a troublesome Ambition, that she desires no
Recommendation to the King or Captain of the Host
when the Prophet offer’d it, being already greater than
they cou’d make her. The Text calls her a “Great
Woman,”
whilst her Husband is hardly taken notice of,
and this no otherwise than as performing the Office of a
Bailiff. It is her Piety and Hospitality that are Recorded,
She invites the Prophet to her House; who
Converses with and is entertain’d by her. She gives
her Husband no account of her Affairs any further
than to tell him her Designs that he may see them
Executed. And when he desires to know the reason of
her Conduct, all the Answer she affords is, “Well,” or
as the Margin has it from the Hebrew, “Peace”. Nor
can this be thought assuming, since it is no more than
what the Prophet encourages, for all his Addresses are to b1r
to her, he takes no Notice of her Husband. His benefits
are confer’d on her, ’tis she and her Houshold
whom he warns of a Famine, and ’tis she who appeals
to the King for the Restitution of her House and
Land. I wou’d not infer from hence that Women generally
speaking, ought to govern in their Families
when they have a Husband, but I think this Instance
and Example is a sufficient Proof, that if by Custom or
Contract, or the Laws of the Country, or Birth-right
(as in the Case of Sovereign Princesses) they have the
supreme Authority, it is no Usurpation, nor do they
Act contrary to Holy Scripture, nor consequently to
the Law of Nature. For they are no where that I know
of forbidden to claim their Just Right: The Apostle
’tis true wou’d not have them usurp Authority where
Custom and the Law of the strongest had brought them
into Subjection, as it has in these parts of the World.
Tho’ in remoter Regions, if Travellers rightly inform
us, the Succession to the Crown is entail’d on the Female
Line.

God Himself who is no Respecter of Persons,
with whom there is neither Bond nor Free, Male
nor Female, but they are all one in Christ Jesus
,
did not deny Women that Divine Gift the Spirit of
Prophecy, neither under the Jewish nor Christian Dispensation.
We have nam’d two great Prophetesses
already, Miriam and Deborah, and besides other Instances,
Huldah the Prophetess was such an Oracle that
the good King Josiah, that great Pattern of Vertue,
sends even the Hight Priest himself to consult her, and
to receive directions from her in the most arduous Affairs.
“It shall come to pass,” saith the Lord, “that I
will pour out my Spirit upon all Flesh, and your
Sons and your Daughters shall Prophesy,”
which
was accordingly fulfill’d by the Mission of the Holy b Ghost b1v
Ghost on the day of Pentecost, as St. Peter tells us.
And besides others, there is mention of four Daughters
of Philip, Virgins who did Prophesy. For as in the Old,
so in the New Testament, Women make a considerable
Figure; the Holy Virgin receiving the greatest Honour
that Human Nature is capable of, when the Son of
God vouchsafed to be her Son and to derive his Humanity
from her only. And if it is a greater Blessing
to hear the Word of God and keep it, who are
more considerable for their Assiduity in this than the
Female Disciples of our Lord? Mary being Exemplary,
and receiving a noble Encomium from Him, for her
Choice of the better Part.

It wou’d be thought tedious to enumerate all the
excellent Women mention’d in the New Testament,
whose humble Penitence and ardent Love, as Magdalen’s;
their lively Faith and holy Importunity, as
the Syrophenician’s; extraordinary Piety and Uprightness,
as Elizabeth’s; Hospitality, Charity and Diligence,
as Martha’s, Tabitha’s; &c. (see INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that regMe is unmatched.St. Luc. 8)
frequent and assiduous Devotions and Austerities, as
Anna’s; Constancy and Courage, Perseverance and ardent
Zeal, as that of the Holy Women who attended
our Lord to His Cross, when His Disciples generally
forsook, and the most Courageous had deny’d, Him; are
Recorded for our Example. Their Love was stronger
than Death, it follow’d our Saviour into the Grave.
And as a Reward, both the Angel and even the Lord
Himself appears first to them, and sends them to Preach
the great Article of Resurrection to the very Apostles,
who being as yet under the Power of the Prejudices
of their Sex, esteem’d the Holy Women’s “Words
as idle Tales and believed them not.”

Some Men will have it, that the Reason of our
Lord’s appearing first to the Women, was their being least b2r
least able to keep a Secret; a Witty and Masculine
Remarque, and wonderfully Reverent! But not to
dispute whether those Women were Blabs or no, there
are many Instances in Holy Scripture of Women who
did not betray the Confidence repos’d in them. Thus
Rahab tho’ formerly an ill Woman, being Converted
by the Report of those Miracles, which tho’ the Israelites
saw, yet they “believ’d not in God, nor put
their Trust in his Word,”
She acknowledges the God
of Heaven, and as a Reward of her faithful Service
in concealing Joshua’s Spies, is with her Family exempted
from the Ruine of her Country, and also has
the Honor of being nam’d in the Messiah’s Genealogy.
Michal to save David’s Life exposes her self to the
Fury of a Jealous and Tyrannical Prince. A Girl
was trusted by David’s Grave Councellors to convey
him Intelligence in his Son’s Rebellion; and when a
Lad had found it out and blab’d it to Absalom, the
King’s Friends confiding in the Prudence and Fidelity
of a Woman were secur’d by her. When our Lord
escap’d from the Jews, he trusted Himself in the hands
of Martha and Mary. So does St. Peter with another
Mary when the Angel deliver’d him from Herod,
the Damsel Rhoda too was acquainted with the Secret.
More might be said, but one wou’d think here is enough
to shew, that whatever other Great and Wise Reasons
Men may have for despising Women, and keeping
them in Ignorance and Slavery, it can’t be from their
having learnt to do so in Holy Scripture. The Bible
is for, and not against us, and cannot without great
violence done to it, be urg’d to our Prejudice.

However, there are strong and prevalent Reasons
which demonstrate the Superiority and Pre-eminence of
the Men. For in the first place, Boys have much
Time and Pains, Care and Cost bestow’d on their b2 Education b2v
Education, Girls have little or none. The former
are early initiated in the Sciences, are made acquainted
with Antient and Modern Discoveries, they Study
Books and Men, have all imaginable encouragement;
not only Fame, a dry Reward now adays, but also
Title, Authority, Power, and Riches themselves which
purchase all things, are the Reward of their Improvement.
The latter are restrain’d, frown’d upon, and
beat, not for but from the Muses; Laughter and
Ridicule that never-failing Scare-Crow is set up to
drive them from the Tree of Knowledge. But if in
spite of all Difficulties Nature prevails, and they
can’t be kept so ignorant as their Masters wou’d have
them, they are star’d upon as Monsters, Censur’d, Envy’d,
and every way Discourag’d, or at the best they
have the Fate the Proverb assigns them, “Vertue is
prais’d and starv’d.”
And therefore since the coursest
Materials need the most Curing, as every Workman
can inform you, and the worst Ground the most elaborate
Culture, it undeniably follows, that Men’s Understandings
are superior to Women’s, for after many
Years Study and Experience they become Wise and
Learned, and Women are not Born so!

Again, Men are possess’d of all Places of Power,
Trust and Profit, they make Laws and exercise the
Magistracy, not only the sharpest Sword, but even all
the Swords and Blunderbusses are theirs, which by
the strongest Logic in the World, gives them the best
Title to every thing they please to claim as their Prerogative;
who shall contend with them? Immemorial
Prescription is on their side in these parts of the World,
Antient Tradition and Modern Usage! Our Fathers
have all along both Taught and Practis’d Superiority
over the weaker Sex, and consequently Women are by
Nature inferior to Men, as was to be Demonstrated. An b3r
An Argument which must be acknowledg’d unanswerable,
for as well as I love my Sex, I will not pretend
a Reply to such Demonstration!

Only let me beg to be inform’d, to whom we poor
Fatherless Maids, and Widows who have lost their Masters,
owe Subjection? It can’t be to all Men in general,
unless all Men were agreed to give the same
Commands; do we then fall as Strays to the first who
finds us? By the Maxims of some Men, and the Conduct
of some Women one wou’d think so. But whoever
he be that happens to become our Master, if he allows
us to be Reasonable Creatures, and does not merely
Compliment us with that Title, since no man denies
our Readiness to use our Tongues, it wou’d tend, I shou’d
think, to our Master’s advantage, and therefore he may
please to be advis’d to teach us to improve our Reason.
But if Reason is only allow’d us by way of Raillery, and
the secret Maxim is that we have none, or little more
than Brutes, ’tis the best way to confine us with Chain
and Block to the Chimney-Corner, which probably might
save the Estates of some Families and the Honor of others.

I do not propose this to prevent a Rebellion, for
Women are not so well united as to form an Insurrection.
They are for the most part Wise enough to
Love their Chains, and to discern how very becomingly
they set. They think as humbly of themselves as their
Masters can wish, with respect to the other Sex, but
in regard to their own, they have a Spice of Masculine
Ambition, every one wou’d Lead, and none will
Follow. Both Sexes being too apt to Envy, and too
backward in Emulating, and take more delight in detracting
from their Neighbour’s Vertue than in improving
their own. And therefore as to those Women who find
themselves born for Slavery, and are so sensible of their
own Meanness as to conclude it impossible to attain to any b3v
any thing excellent, since they are, or ought to be best
acquainted with their own Strength and Genius, She’s
a Fool who wou’d attempt their Deliverance of Improvement.
No, let them enjoy the great Honor and Felicity
of their Tame, Submissive and Depending Temper!
Let the men applaud, and let them Glory in, this
wonderful Humility! Let them receive the Flatteries
and Grimaces of the other Sex, live unenvy’d by
their own, and be as much Belov’d as one such Woman
can afford to Love another! Let them enjoy the Glory
of treading in the Footsteps of their Predecessors, and
of having the Prudence to avoid that audacious attempt
of soaring beyond their Sphere! Let them Huswife
or Play, Dress and be pretty entertaining Company!
Or which is better, relieve the Poor to ease their
own Compassions, reade Pious Books, say their Prayers
and go to Church, because they have been Taught and
Us’d to do so, without being able to give a better Reason
for their Faith and Practice! Let them not by
any means aspire at being Women of Understanding,
because no Man can endure a Woman of Superior Sense,
or wou’d treat a reasonable Woman civilly, but that he
thinks he stands on higher ground, and that she is so
Wise as to make exceptions in his Favour, and to
take her Measures by his Directions; they may pretend
to Sense indeed, since mere Pretences only render
one the more Ridiculous! Let them in short be what
is call’d very Women, for this is most acceptable to
all sorts of Men; or let them aim at the Title of
Good Devout Women, since some Men can bear with
this; but let them not Judge of the Sex by their own
Scantling. For the great Author of Nature and Fountain
of all Perfection, never design’d that the Mean
and Imperfect, but that the most Compleat and Excellentcellent b4r
of His Creatures in every Kind, shou’d be the
Standard to the rest.

To conclude, if that Great Queen who has
subdu’d the Proud, and made the pretended Invincible
more than once fly before her; who has Rescu’d an Empire,
Reduc’d a Kingdom, Conquer’d Provinces in as
little time almost as one can Travel them, and seems to
have Chain’d Victory to her Standard; who disposes of
Crowns, gives Laws and Liberty to Europe, and is
the chief Instrument in the Hand of the Almighty to
pull down and to set up the Great Men of the Earth;
who Conquers every where for others, and no where for
her self but in the Hearts of the Conquer’d, who are
of the number of those who reap the benefit of her Triumphs;
whilst she only reaps for her self the Lawrels
of Disinteressed Glory, and the Royal Pleasure of doing
Heroically; if this Glory of her own Sex and Envy
of the other, will not think we need, or does not
hold us worthy of, the Protection of her ever Victorious
Arms, and Men have not the Gratitude for her sake
at least to do Justice to her Sex, who has been such a
universal Benefactress to theirs: Adieu to the Liberties
not of this or that Nation or Region only, but of
the Moiety of Mankind! To all the great things that
Women might perform, Inspir’d by her Example, Encourag’d
by her Smiles, and supported by her Power!
To their Discovery of New Worlds for the Exercise of
her Goodness, New Sciences to publish her Fame, and
reducing Nature it self to a Subjection to her Empire!
To their destroying those worst of Tyrants
Impiety and Immorality, which dare to stalk about even
in her own Dominions, and to devour Souls almost within
view of her Throne, leaving a stench behind them
scarce to be corrected even by the Incense of her Devotions!
To the Women’s Tracing a new Path to Honor, in b4v
in which none shall walk but such as scorn to Cringe
in order to Rise, and who are Proof both against giving
and receiving Flattery! In a word, to those Halcyon,
or if you will Millennium Days, in which the Wolf
and the Lamb shall feed together, and a Tyrannous
Domination which Nature never meant, shall no longer
render useless if not hurtful, the Industry and Understandings
of half Mankind!

Errata.

  • In the Preface P. 1. l. 8. r. are.
  • p. 2. l. 7. r. Ingenuous

  • p. 6. l. 22. r. Men.
  • p. 8. l. 17. r. Women.
  • p. 11. l. 28.
    r. in neither.
  • p. 17. l. 22. r. Sheba.

  • In the Book p. 1. l. 16. for had read once.
  • p. 5. l. 22 for meer r. mixt.
  • p. 19. l. 15. for like r. as.
  • p. 32. l. 27 for but r. and.
  • p. 33. l. 19. r. is to receive.
  • p. 35. l. 26. for of r. for.
  • p. 42. l. 4. r. Women.
  • p. 56. l. 5. r. the.
  • p. 77 l. 2. deledelete to.

B1r 1


Some
Reflections
Upon
Marriage.

Curiosity, which is sometimes an
occasion of Good, and too frequently
of Mischief, by disturbing
either our Own, or our
Neighbour’s Repose, having put me upon
reading the Duke and Dutchess of Mazarine’s
Case
; I thought an Afternoon wou’d
not be quite thrown away in pursuing
some Reflections that it occasion’d. The
Name of Mazarine is considerable enough
to draw the Eyes of the Curious, and
when one remembers what a noise it had
made in Europe, what Politick Schemes
have been laid, what vast Designs brought
about by the Cardinal that bore it; how
well his measures were concerted for the
Grandeur of that Naton into which he
was transplanted, and that he wanted neither
Power nor Inclination to establish his
own Family and make it as considerable as B any B1v 2
any Subject’s could possible be, and what
Honours and Riches he had heap’d together
in order to this; one cannot but enquire
how it comes about that he should
be so defeated in this last design? and that
those to whom he intrusted his Name and
Treasure, should make a figure so very
different from what might have been expected
from them? And tho’ one had not
Piety enough to make a Religious Reflection,
yet Civil Prudence would almost enforce
them to say, that “Man being in Honour
has no Understanding, but is compar’d
unto the Beasts that perish.”
He blesseth his
Soul, and thinks himself a happy Man,
imagining his House will endure for ever,
and that he has establish’d his Name and
Family. But how wise soever he may be
in other respects, in this he acts no better
than the Ignorant and Foolish. For as he
carries nothing away with him when he
dies, so neither will his Pomp and Glory
descend as he intended. Generous and
Worthy Actions only can secure him from
Oblivion, or what is worse, being remembred
with Contempt; so little reason have
we to Envy any Man’s Wealth and Greatness,
but much to Emulate his Wisdom
and Vertue.

The Dutchess of Mazarine’s Name has
spread perhaps as far as her Uncle’s, and one B2r 3
one can’t help wishing that so much Wit
and Beauty, so much Politeness and Address,
had been accompany’d and supported
by more valuable and lasting Qualities;
one cannot but desire that her Advocate
instead of recriminating had clear’d
the imputations laid on her, and that she
her self, who says enough in her Memoirs
to shew she was unfortunate, had said more
to prove her self discreet. They must be highly
ill-natur’d who do not pity her ill Fortune
at the same time that they must blame
her Conduct, and regret that such a Tresure
should fall into his hands who was not
worthy of it, nor knew how to value and
improve it; that she who was capable of
being a great Ornament to her Family and
blessing to the Age she liv’d in, should only
serve (to say no worse) as an unhappy
Shipwrack to point out the dangers of an
ill Education and unequal Marriage.

Monsieur Mazarine is not to be justified,
nor Madam his Spouse excus’d. It is no
question which is most Criminal, the having
no Sense, or the abuse of a liberal
Portion; nor any hard matter to determine
who is most to be pity’d, he whom
Nature never qualify’d for great things,
who therefore can’t be very sensible of
great Misfortunes; or she, who being capable
of every thing, must therefore sufferB2 fer B2v 4
more and be the more lamented. To
be yok’d for Life to a disagreeable Person
and Temper; to have Folly and Ignorance
tyrannize over Wit and Sense; to be contradicted
in every thing one does or says,
and bore down not by Reason but Authority;
to be denied ones most innocent desires,
for no other cause but the Will and
Pleasure of an absolute Lord and Master,
whose Follies a Woman with all her Prudence
cannot hide, and whose Commands
she cannot but despise at the same time
she obeys them; is a misery none can have
a just Idea of, but those who have felt it.

These are great Provocations, but nothing
can justify the revenging the Injuries
we receive from others, upon our selves:
The Italian Proverb shews a much better
way; “If you would be reveng’d of your
Enemies, live well.”
Had Madam Mazarine’s
Education made a right Improvement
of her Wit and Sense, we should not
have found her seeking Relief by such imprudent,
not to say scandalous Methods, as
the running away in Disguise with a spruce
Cavalier, and rambling to so many Courts
and Places, nor diverting her self with
such Childish, Ridiculous, or Ill-natur’d
Amusements, as the greatest part of the
Adventures in her Memoirs are made up
of. True Wit consists not meerly in doing or B3r 5
or saying what is out of the way, but in
such surprizing things as are fit and becoming
the person from whom they come.
That which stirs us up to Laughter most
commonly excites our Contempt; to please
and to make Merry are two very different
Talents. But what Remedies can be administred,
what Relief expected, when Devotion,
the only true Support in Distress, is
turn’d into Ridicule? Unhappy is that
Grandeur which makes us too great to be
good; and that Wit which sets us at a distance
from true Wisdom. Even Bigotry
it self, as contemptible as it is, is preferable
to Prophane Wit; for that only requires
our Pity, but this deserves our Abhorrence.

A Woman who seeks Consolation under
Domestic troubles from the Gaieties of a
Court, from Gaming and Courtship, from
Rambling and odd Adventures, and the
Amusements meer Company affords, may
Plaister up the Sore, but will never heal it;
nay, which is worse, she makes it Fester beyond
a possibility of Cure. She justifies the
Injury her Husband has done her, by shewing
that whatever other good Qualities she
may have, Discretion, one of the Principal,
is wanting. She may be Innocent, but
she can never prove she is so; all that Charity
can do for her when she’s Censur’d is B3 only B3v 6
only to be silent, it can make no Apologies
for suspicious Actions. An ill Husband may
deprive a Wife of the comfort and quiet of
her Life; may give her occasion of exercising
her Virtue, may try her Patience and
Fortitude to the utmost, but that’s all he
can do: ’tis her self only can accomplish
her Ruin. Had Madam Mazarine’s Reserve
been what it ought to be, Monsieur
Herard
needed not to have warded off so
carefully, the nice Subject of the Lady’s
Honour, nor her Advocate have strain’d so
hard for Colours to excuse such Actions as
will hardly bear ’em; a Man indeed shews
the best side of his Wit, tho’ the worst of
his Integrity, when he has an ill Cause to
manage. Truth is bold and vehement; she
depends upon her own strength, and so she
be plac’d in a true Light, thinks it not necessary
to use Artifice and Address as a Recommendation;
but the prejudices of Men
have made them necessary: their Imagination
gets the better of their Understanding,
and more judge according to Appearances,
than search after the Truth of Things.

What an ill Figure does a Woman make
with all the Charms of her Beauty and
Sprightliness of her Wit, with all her good
Humour and insinuating Address; tho’ she
be the best Œconomist in the World, the
most entertaining Conversation; if she remitmit B4r 7
her Guard, abate in the Severity of her
Caution and Strictness of her Vertue, and
neglect those Methods which are necessary
to keep her not only from a Crime, but
from the very suspicion of one.

Are the being forbid having Comedies in
her House, an ill natur’d Jest, dismissing of
a Servant, imposing Domestics, or frequent
changing them, sufficient Reasons to
Authorize a Woman’s leaving her Husband
and breaking from the strongest Bands, exposing
her self to Temptations and Injuries
from the Bad, to the contempt, or at the
best to the pity of the Good, and the just
Censure of all? A Woman of sense one
would think should take little satisfaction in
the Cringes and Courtship of her Adorers,
even when she is single; but it is Criminal
in a Wife to admit them: interested Persons
may call it Gallantry, but with the
modest and discreet it is like to have a harder
Name, or else Gallantry will pass for a
scandalous thing, not to be allow’d among
Vertuous Persons.

But Madam Mazarine is dead, may her
Faults die with her; may there be no more
occasion given for the like Adventures, or
if there is, may the Ladies be more Wise
and Good than to take it! Let us see then
from whence the mischief proceeds, and
try if it can be prevented; for certainly B4 Men B4v 8
Men may be very happy in a Married State;
’tis their own fault if they are at any time
otherwise. The wise Institutor of Matrimony
never did any thing in vain; we are
the Sots and Fools if what he design’d for
our Good, be to us an occasion of falling.
For Marriage, notwithstanding all the loose
talk of the Town, the Satyrs of Ancient or
Modern pretenders to Wit, will never lose
its due praise from judicious Persons. Tho’
much may be said against this or that Match,
tho’ the Ridiculousness of some, the Wickedness
of others and Imprudence of too many,
too often provoke our wonder or scorn,
our indignation or pity, yet Marriage in
general is too sacred to be treated with
Disrespect, too venerable to be the subject
of Raillery and Buffonery. It is the Institution
of Heaven, the only Honourable
way of continuing Mankind, and far be it
from us to think there could have been a
better than infinite Wisdom has found out
for us.

But upon what are the Satyrs against
Marriage grounded? Not upon the State
it self, if they are just, but upon the ill
Choice, or foolish Conduct of those who
are in it, and what has Marriage, considered
in its self, to do with these? Let
every Man bear his own Burden: If
through inordinate Passion, Rashness, Humour,mour, B5r 9
Pride, Covetousness, or any the like
Folly, a Man makes an Imprudent Choice,
Why should Marriage be exclaim’d against?
Let him blame himself for entring
into an unequal Yoke, and making
Choice of one who perhaps may prove a
Burthen, a Disgrace and Plague, instead
of a Help and Comfort to him. Could
there be no such thing as an happy Marriage,
Arguments against Marriage would
hold good, but since the thing is not only
possible, but even very probable, provided
we take but competent Care, Act like Wise
Men and Christians, and acquit our selves
as we ought, all we have to say against it
serves only to shew the Levity or Impiety
of our own Minds; we only make some
flourishes of Wit, tho’ scarce without Injustice;
and tho’ we talk prettily it is but
very little to the purpose.

Is it the being ty’d to One that offends
us? Why this ought rather to recommend
Marriage to us, and would really do
so, were we guided by Reason, and not by
Humour or brutish Passion. He who does
not make Friendship the chief inducement
to his Choice, and prefer it before any
other consideration, does not deserve a
good Wife, and therefore should not complain
if he goes without one. Now we
can never grow weary of our Friends; the longer B5v 10
longer we have had them the more they
are endear’d to us; and if we have One
well assur’d, we need seek no further, but
are sufficiently happy in Her. The love
of Variety in this and in other cases, shews
only the ill Temper of our own Minds, in
that we seek for settled Happiness in this
present World, where it is not to be found,
instead of being Content with a competent
share, chearfully enjoying and being thankful
for the Good that is afforded us, and
patiently bearing with the Inconveniences
that attend it.

The Christian Institution of Marriage
provides the best that may be for Domestic
Quiet and Content, and for the Education
of Children; so that if we were not under
the tye of Religion, even the Good of Society
and civil Duty would oblige us to
what that requires at our Hands. And since
the very best of us are but poor frail Creatures,
full of Ignorance and Infirmity, so
that in Justice we ought to tolerate each
other, and exercise that Patience towards
our Companions to Day, which we shall
give them occasion to shew towards us to
Morrow, the more we are accustom’d to
any one’s Conversation, the better shall
we understand their Humour, be more able
to comply with their Weakness and less offended
at it. For he who would have every one B6r 11
one submit to his Humours and will not
in his turn comply with them, tho’ we
should suppose him always in the Right,
whereas a Man of this temper very seldom
is so, he’s not fit for a Husband, scarce fit
for Society, but ought to be turn’d out of
the Herd to live by himself.

There may indeed be inconveniencies
in a Married Life; but is there any Condition
without them? And he who lives
single that he may indulge Licentiousness
and give up himself to the conduct of wild
and ungovern’d Desires, or indeed out of
any other inducement, than the Glory of
God and the Good of his Soul, through
the prospect he has of doing more Good,
or because his frame and disposition of
Mind are fitted for it, may rail as he
pleases against Matrimony, but can never
justifie his own Conduct, nor clear it
from the imputation of Wickedness and
Folly.

But if Marriage be such a blessed State,
how comes it, may you say, that there are
so few happy Marriages? Now in answer
to this, it is not to be wonder’d that
so few succeed, we should rather be surpriz’d
to find so many do, considering how
imprudently Men engage, the Motives they
act by, and the very strange Conduct they
observe throughout.

For B6v 12

For pray, what do Men propose to
themselves in Marriage? What Qualifications
do they look after in a Spouse?
What will she bring is the first enquiry?
How many Acres? Or how much ready
Coin? Not that this is altogether an unnecessary
Question, for Marriage without
a Competency, that is, not only a
bare Subsistence, but even a handsome
and plentiful Provision, according to the
Quality and Circumstances of the Parties,
is no very comfortable Condition. They
who marry for Love as they call it, find
time enough to repent their rash Folly,
and are not long in being convinc’d, that
whatever fine Speeches might be made in
the heat of Passion, there could be no real
Kindness
between those who can agree to
make each other miserable. But as an
Estate is to be consider’d, so it should not
be the Main, much less the Only consideration,
for Happiness does not depend on
Wealth, that may be wanting, and too
often is, where this abounds. He who Marries
himself to a Fortune only, must expect
no other satisfaction than that can bring
him, but let him not say thate Marriage,
but that his own Covetous or Prodigal
Temper, has made him unhappy. What
Joy has that Man in all his Plenty, who
must either run from home to possess it, con- B7r 13
contrary to all the Rules of Justice, to the
Laws of God and Man, nay, even in
opposition to Good nature, and Good
breeding too, which some Men make more
account of than all the rest; or else be
forc’d to share it with a Woman whose
Person or Temper is disagreeable, whose
presence is sufficient to sour all his Enjoyments,
so that if he has any remains
of Religion, or Good manners, he
must suffer the uneasiness of a continual
watch, to force himself to a constrain’d
Civility!

Few Men have so much Goodness as to
bring themselves to a liking of what they
loath’d, meerly because it is their Duty
to like; on the contrary, when they Marry
with an indifferency, to please their
Friends or encrease their Fortune, the
indifferency proceeds to an aversion, and
perhaps even the kindness and complaisance
of the poor abus’d Wife shall only serve
to encrease it. What follows then? There
is no content at home, so it is sought
elsewhere, and the Fortune so unjustly
got, is as carelessly squander’d. The Man
takes a loose, what shou’d hinder him?
He has all in his hands, and Custom has
almost taken off that small Restraint Reputation
us’d to lay. The Wife finds too
late what was the Idol the Man adored, which B7v 14
which her Vanity perhaps, or it may be
the Commands and importunities of Relations,
wou’d not let her see before;
and now he has got that into his possession,
she must make court to him for a little
sorry Alimony out of her own Estate.
If Discretion and Piety prevails upon her
Passions she sits down quietly, contented
with her lot, seeks no Consolation in the
Multitude of Adorers, since he whom
only she desir’d to please, because it was
her duty to do so, will take no delight in
her Wit or Beauty: She follows no Diversion
to allay her Grief, uses no Cordials
to support her Spirit, that may sully
her Vertue or bring a Cloud upon her
Reputation, she makes no appeals to the
mis-judging Croud, hardly mentions her
Misfortunes to her most intimate Acquaintance,
nor lays a load on her Husband
to ease her self, but wou’d if it
were possible conceal his Crimes, tho’
her Prudence and Vertue give him a
thousand Reproaches without her Intention
or knowledge; and retiring from
the World; she seeks a more solid Comfort
than it can give her, taking care to
do nothing that Censoriousness or even
Malice itself can misconstrue to her prejudice.
Now she puts on all her Reserves,
and thinks even innocent Liberties scarce allow- B8r 15
allowable in her Disconsolate State;
she has other Business to mind: Nor
does she in her Retirements reflect so
much upon the hand that administers this
bitter Cup, as consider what is the best
use she can make of it. And thus indeed
Marriage, however unfortunate in other
respects, becomes a very great Blessing to
her. She might have been exposed to all
the Temptations of a plentiful Fortune,
have given up her self to Sloth and Luxury,
and gone on at the common rate even
of the better sort, in doing no hurt, and
as little good: But now her kind Husband
obliges her to Consider, and gives
opportunity to exercise her Vertue; he
makes it necessary to withdraw from those
Gaities and Pleasures of Life, which do
more mischief under the Shew of Innocency,
than they cou’d if they appear’d
attended with a Crime, discomposing and
dissolving the Mind, and making it uncapable
of any manner of good, to be sure
of any thing Great and Excellent. Silence
and Solitude, the being forc’d from
the ordinary Entertainments of her Station,
may perhaps seem a desolate condition
at first, and we may allow her, poor
weak Woman! to be somewhat shock’d at
it, since even a wise and courageous Man
perhaps would not keep his ground. We would B8v 16
would conceal if we could for the Honour
of the Sex, Men’s being baffled
and dispirited by a smaller Matter, were
not the Instances too frequent and too notorious.

But a little time wears off all the uneasiness,
and puts her in possession of Pleasures,
which till now she has unkindly
been kept a stranger to. Affliction, the sincerest
Friend, the frankest Monitor, the
best Instructer, and indeed the only useful
School that Women are ever put to, rouses
her understanding, opens her Eyes, fixes
her Attention, and diffuses such a Light,
such a Joy into her Mind, as not only Informs
her better, but Entertains her more
than ever her Ruel did tho’ crouded by
the Men of Wit. She now distinguishes
between Truth and Appearances, between
solid and apparent Good; has found out
the instability of all Earthly Things, and
won’t any more be deceiv’d by relying on
them; can discern who are the Flatterers
of her Fortune, and who the Admirers
and Encouragers of her Vertue; accounting
it no little blessing to be rid
of those Leeches, who only hung upon
her for their own Advantage. Now sober
Thoughts succeed to hurry and impertinence,
to Forms and Ceremony, she
can secure her Time, and knows how to Improve C1r 17
Improve it; never truly a Happy Woman
till she came in the Eye of the World to
be reckon’d Miserable.

Thus the Husband’s Vices may become
an occasion of the Wife’s Vertues, and
his Neglect do her a more real Good than
his Kindness could. But all injur’d Wives
don’t behave themselves after this Fashion,
nor can their Husbands justly expect it.
With what Face can he blame her for
following his Example, and being as extravagant
on the one Hand, as he is on
the other? Tho’ she cannot justifie her
Excesses to God, to the World, nor to
her self, yet surely in respect of him they
may admit of an excuse. For all the rest
of his Absurdities, (for Vice is always unreasonable,)
he adds one more, who expects
that Vertue from another which he
won’t practise himself

But suppose a Man does not Marry for
Money, tho’ for one that does not, perhaps
there are thousands that do; let him Marry
for Love, an Heroick Action, which
makes a mighty noise in the World, partly
because of its rarity, and partly in regard
of its extravagancy, and what does his
Marrying for Love amount to? There’s no
great odds between his Marrying for the
Love of Money, or for the Love of Beauty,
the Man does not act according to ReasonC son C1v 18
in either Case, but is govern’d by irregular
Appetites. But he loves her Wit
perhaps, and this you’ll say is more Spiritual,
more refin’d; not at all if you examine
it to the Bottom. For what is that
which now adays passes under the name
of Wit? A bitter and ill-natur’d Raillery,
a pert Repartée, or a confident talking
at all, and in such a multitude of
Words, it’s odds if something or other
does not pass that is surprizing, tho’ every
thing that surprizes does not please; some
things being wonder’d at for their Ugliness,
as well as others for their Beauty.
True Wit, durst one venture to describe
it, is quite another thing, it consists in
such a Sprightliness of Imagination, such
a reach and turn of thought, so properly exprest,
as strikes and pleases a judicious Tast.
For tho’ as one says of Beauty, “’tis in no
Face but in the Lover’s Mind,”
so it may
be said of some sort of Wit, it is not in
him that speaks, but in the Imagination
of his Hearer, yet doubtless there is a true
Standard-Wit, which must be allow’d for
such by every one who understands the
Terms, I don’t say that they shall equally
like it; and it is this Standard-Wit that
always pleases, the Spurious does so only
for a Season.

Now C2r 19

Now what is it that strikes a judicious
Tast? Not that to be sure which injures
the absent, or provokes the Company, which
poisons the Mind under pretence of entertaining
it, proceeding from or giving Countenance
to false Ideas, to dangerous and
immoral Principles. Wit indeed is distinct
from Judgment, but it is not contrary to
it; ’tis rather its Handmaid, serving to awaken
and fix the Attention, that so we
may Judge rightly. Whatever Charms, does
so because of its Regularity and Proportion;
otherwise, tho’ it is extraordinary
and out of the way, it will only be star’d
on like a Monster, but can never be lik’d.
And tho’ a thought is ever so fine and new,
ever so well exprest, if it suits not with
Decorum and good Manners, it is not just
and fit, and therefore offends our Reason,
and consequently has no Charms, nor
should afford us any entertainment.

But it must not be suppos’d that Women’s
Wit approaches those heights which Men
arrive at, or that they indulge those Liberties
the other take. Decency lays greater
restraints on them, their timorousness
does them this one, and perhaps this only
piece of Service, it keeps them from breaking
thro’ those restraints, and following
their Masters and Guides in many of their
daring and masculine Crimes. As the C2 World C2v 20
World goes, your Witty Men are usually
distinguish’d by the Liberty they take
with Religion, good Manners, or their
Neighbour’s Reputation: But, God be
thank’d, it is not yet so bad, as that Women
should form Cabals to propagate Atheism
and Irreligion. A Man then cannot
hope to find a Woman whose Wit is of a
size with his, but when he doats on Wit
it is to be imagin’d he makes choice of
that which comes the nearest to his own.

Thus, whether it be Wit or Beauty that
a Man’s in Love with, there’s no great
hopes of a lasting Happiness; Beauty with
all the helps of Art is of no long date,
the more it is help’d the sooner it decays,
and he who only or chiefly chose for Beauty,
will in a little time find the same reason
for another Choice. Nor is that sort
of Wit which he prefers of a more sure
tenure, or allowing it to last, it will not
always please. For that which has not a
real excellency and value in it self, entertains
no longer than that giddy Humour
which recommended it to us holds; and
when we can like on no just, or on very
little Ground, tis certain a dislike will arise,
as lightly and as unaccountably. And
it is not improbable that such a Husband
may in a little time by ill usage provoke
such a Wife to exercise her Wit, that is, her C3r 21
her Spleen on him, and then it is not hard
to guess how very agreeable it will be to
him.

In a word, when we have reckon’d up
how many look no further than the making
of their Fortune, as they call it; who
don’t so much as propose to themselves
any satisfaction in the Woman to whom
they Plight their Faith, seeking only to
be Masters of her Estate, that so they may
have Money enough to indulge all their irregular
Appetites; who think they are as
good as can be expected, if they are but
according to the fashionable Term, Civil
Husbands
; when we have taken the number
of your giddy Lovers, who are not
more violent in their Passion than they
are certain to Repent of it; when to these
you have added such as Marry without
any Thought at all, further than that it is
the Custom of the World, what others
have done before them, that the Family
must be kept up, the ancient Race preserv’d,
and therefore their kind Parents and Guardians
chuse as they think convenient, without
ever consulting the Young ones Inclinations,
who must be satisfied or pretend
so at least, upon pain of their displeasure,
and that heavy consequence of it, forfeiture
of their Estate: These set aside, I
fear there will be but a small remainder to C3 Marry C3v 22
Marry out of better considerations, and
even amongst the few that do, not one in
a hundred takes care to deserve his
Choice.

But do the Women never chuse amiss?
Are the Men only in fault? that is not
pretended; for he who will be just, must
be forc’d to acknowledge, that neither Sex
are always in the right. A Woman indeed
can’t properly be said to Choose, all that
is allow’d her, is to Refuse or Accept what
is offer’d. And when we have made such
reasonable allowances as are due to the Sex,
perhaps they may not appear so much in
fault as one would at first imagine, and
a generous Spirit will find more occasion
to pity, than to reprove. But sure I transgress
―― it must not be suppos’d that the
Ladies can do amiss! he is but an ill-bred
Fellow who pretends that they need amendment!
They are no doubt on’t always
in the right, and most of all when
they take pity on distressed Lovers! whatever
they say carries an Authority that no
Reason can resist, and all that they do must
needs be Exemplary! This is the Modish
Language, nor is there a Man of Honour
amongst the whole Tribe that would not
venture his Life, nay and his Salvation too
in their Defence, if any but himself attempts
to injure them. But I must ask pardondon C4r 23
if I can’t come up to these heights, nor
flatter them with the having no faults, which
is only a malicious way of continuing and
encreasing their Mistakes.

Women, it’s true, ought to be treated
with Civility; for since a little Ceremony
and out-side Respect is all thier Guard, all
the privilege that’s allow’d them, it were
barbarous to deprive them of it; and because
I would treat them civilly, I would
not express my Civility at the usual rate.
I would not under pretence of honouring
and paying a mighty Deference to the Ladies,
call them fools to their faces; for
what are all the fine Speeches and Submissions
that are made, but an abusing
them in a well-bred way? She must be a
Fool with a witness, who can believe a
Man, Proud and Vain as he is, will lay
his boasted Authority, the Dignity and
Prerogative of his Sex, one Moment at
her Feet, but in prospect of taking it up
again to more advantage; he may call
himself her Slave a few days, but it is only
in order to make her his all the rest of
his Life.

Indeed that mistaken Self-Love that
reigns in the most of us, both Men and
Women, that over-good Opinion we have
of our selves, and desire that others should
have of us, makes us swallow every thing C4 that C4v 24
that looks like Respect, without examining
how wide it is from what it appears
to be. For nothing is in truth a greater
outrage than Flattery and feign’d Submissions,
the plain English of which is this,
“I have a very mean Opinion both of your
Understanding and Vertue, you are
weak enough to be impos’d on, and vain
enough to snatch at the Bait I throw;
there’s no danger of your finding out
my meaning, or disappointing me of my
Ends. I offer you Incense ’tis true, but
you are like to pay for’t, and to make
me a Recompence for your Folly in Imagining
I would give my self this trouble,
did I not hope, nay were I not sure,
to find my own account in it. If for
nothing else, you’ll serve at least as an
exercise of my Wit, and how much soever
you swell with my Breath, ’tis I deserve
the Praise for talking so well on so
poor a Subject. We who make the Idols,
are the greater Deities; and as we set
you up, so it is in our power to reduce
you to your first obscurity, or to somewhat
worse, to Contempt; you are therefore
only on your good behaviour, and
are like to be no more than what we
please to make you.”
This is the Flatterer’s
Language aside, this is the true sense
of his heart, whatever his Grimace may be
before the Company.

Not C5r 25

Not but that ’tis possible, and sometimes
matter of Fact, to express our selves
beyond the Truth in praise of a Person,
and yet not be guilty of Flattery; but
then we must Think what we Say, and
Mean what we Profess. We may be so
blinded by some Passion or other, especially
Love, which in Civil and Good-natur’d
Persons is apt to exceed, as to believe
some Persons more deserving than really
they are, and to pay them greater Respect
and Kindness than is in strictness due
to them. But this is not the present Case;
for our fine Speech-makers doat too much
on themselves to have any great passion
for another, their Eyes are too much fixt
on their own Excellencies, to view another’s
good Qualities through a magnifying
Glass; or at least, if ever they turn
that end of their Perspective towards their
Neighbours, ’tis only in respect and reference
to themselves. They are their own
Centres, they find a disproportion in every
line that does not tend thither, and in
the next visit they make, you shall hear
all the fine things they had said repeated
to the new Object, and nothing remembred
of the former but her Vanity, or something
else as Ridiculous, which serves for
a foil, or a whet to Discourse. For let
there be ever so many Wits in the Company,pany, C5v 26
Conversation would languish, and
they would be at a loss, did not a little
Censoriousness come in at a need to help
them.

Let us then treat the Ladies as Civilly
as may be, but let us not do it by Flattering
them, but by endeavouring to make
them such as may truly deserve our hearty
Esteem and Kindness. Men ought really
for their own sakes to do what in them
lies to make Women Wise and Good, and
then it might be hoped they themselves
would effectually Study and Practise that
Wisdom and Vertue they recommend to
others. But so long as Men have base and
unworthy Ends to serve, it is not to be expected
that they should consent to such
Methods as would certainly disappoint
them. They would have their own Relations
do well, it is their Interest; but it
sometimes happens to be for their turn that
another Man’s should not, and then their
Generosity fails them, and no Man is apter
to find fault with another’s dishonourable
Actions, than he who is ready to do, or
perhaps has done the same himself.

And as Men have little reason to expect
Happiness when they Marry only for the
Love of Money, Wit or Beauty, as has
been already shewn, so much less can a
Woman expect a tolerable life, when she goes C6r 27
goes upon these Considerations. Let the
business be carried as Prudently as it can be
on the Woman’s side, a reasonable Man
can’t deny that she has by much the harder
bargain. Because she puts her self entirely
into her Husband’s Power, and if the
Matrimonial Yoke be grievous, neither
Law nor Custom afford her that redress
which a Man obtains. He who has Sovereign
Power does not value the Provocations
of a Rebellious Subject, but knows
how to subdue him with ease, and will
make himself obey’d; but Patience and
Submission are the only Comforts that are
left to a poor People, who groan under
Tyranny, unless they are Strong enough
to break the Yoke, to Depose and Abdicate,
which I doubt wou’d not be allow’d
of here. For whatever may be said against
Passive-Obedience in another case, I suppose
there’s no Man but likes it very well
in this; how much soever Arbitrary Power
may be dislik’d on a Throne, not Milton
himself wou’d cry up Liberty to poor
Female Slaves, or plead for the Lawfulness
of Resisting a Private Tyranny.

If there be a disagreeableness of Humours,
this in my mind is harder to be
born than greater faults, as being a continual
Plague, and for the most part incurable;
other Vices a Man may grow weary of, C6v 28
of, or may be convinced of the evil of
them, he may forsake them, or they him,
but his Humour and Temper are seldom,
if ever put off, Ill-nature sticks to him
from his Youth to his grey Hairs, and a
Boy that’s Humorous and Proud, makes a
a Peevish, Positive and Insolent Old Man.
Now if this be the case, and the Husband
be full of himself, obstinately bent on his
own way with or without Reason, if he be
one who must be always Admir’d, always
Humour’d, and yet scarce knows what
will please him, if he has Prosperity enough
to keep him from considering, and
to furnish him with a train of Flatterers
and obsequious Admirers; and Learning
and Sense enough to make him a Fop in
Perfection; for a Man can never be a complete
Coxcomb, unless he has a considerable
share of these to value himself upon;
what can the poor Woman do? the Husband
is too wise to be Advis’d, too good
to be Reform’d, she must follow all his
Paces, and tread in all his unreasonable
steps, or there is no Peace, no Quiet for
her, she must obey with the greatest exactness,
’tis in vain to expect any manner of
Compliance on his side, and the more she
complies the more she may; his fantastical
humours grow with her desire to gratifie
them, for Age encreases Opiniatry in some, C7r 29
some, as well as it does Experience in others.
Of such sort of folks as these it was
that Solomon spake, when he said, “Seest
thou a Man wise in his own conceit, there
is more hope of a Fool than of him”
; That is,
the profligate Sinner, such a one being always
a Fool in Solomon’s Language, is in
a fairer way of being convinc’d of his
Folly, and brought to Reason, than the
Proud Conceited Man. That Man indeed
can never be good at heart, who is full of
himself and his own Endowments. Not
that it is necessary because it is not possible
for one to be totally ignorant of his
own good Qualities. I had almost said he
ought to have a Modest sense of ’em, otherwise
he can’t be duly thankful, nor make
the use of them that is required, to the
Glory of God, and the good of Mankind;
but he views them in a wrong light, if he
discerns any thing that may exalt him above
his Neighbours, make him over-look
their Merit, or treat them with Neglect
or Contempt. He ought to behold his Advantages
with fear and trembling, as Talents
which he has freely receiv’d, and for
which he is highly Accountable, and therefore
they shou’d not excite his Pride, but
his Care and Industry.

And if Pride and Self-conceit keep a
Man who has some good Qualities, and is not C7v 30
not so bad as the most of his Neighbours,
from growing better, it for certain confirms
and hardens the Wicked in his
Crimes, it sets him up for a Wit, that is,
according to Modern acceptation, one
who rallies all that is serious, a Contemner
of the Priests first, and then of the Deity
Himself. For Penitence and Self-condemnation
are what his Haughtiness cannot
bear, and since his Crimes have brought
upon him the reproaches of his own Mind,
since he will not take the regular way to
be rid of them, which is by Humbling
himself and making his Peace with Heaven,
he bids defiance to it, and wou’d if
he could believe there is no future State,
no after Retribution, because he knows
that a heavy lot is in justice due to him.

If therefore it is a Woman’s hard Fate
to meet with a disagreeable Temper, and
of all others the Haughty, Imperious and
Self-conceited are the most so, she is as
unhappy as any thing in this World can
make her. For when a Wife’s Temper
does not please, if she makes her Husband
uneasie, he can find entertainments abroad,
he has a hundred ways of relieving himself,
but neither Prudence nor Duty will
allow a Woman to fly out, her Business
and Entertainment are at home, and tho’ he C8r 31
he makes it ever so uneasie to her she must
be content and make her best on’t. She
who Elects a Monarch for Life, who gives
him an Authority she cannot recall however
he misapply it, who puts her Fortune
and Person entirely in his Power; nay even
the very desires of her Heart according to
some learned Casuists, so as that it is not
lawful to Will or Desire any thing but
what he approves and allows; had need be
very sure that she does not make a Fool her
Head, nor a Vicious Man her Guide and
Pattern, she had best stay till she can meet
with one who has the Government of his
own Passions, and has duly regulated his
own Desires, since he is to have such an
absolute Power over hers. But he who
doats on a Face, he who makes Money
his Idol, he who- is Charm’d with vain
and empty Wit, gives no such Evidence,
either of Wisdom or Goodness, that a Woman
of any tolerable Sense shou’d care to
venture her self to his Conduct.

Indeed, your fine Gentleman’s Actions
are now adays such, that did not Custom
and the Dignity of his Sex give Weight
and Authority to them, a Woman that
thinks twice might bless her self, and say,
is this the Lord and Master to whom I am
to promise Love, Honour and Obedience?
What can be the object of Love but amiableable C8v 32
Qualities, the Image of the Deity
impress’d upon a generous and God-like
Mind, a Mind that is above this World,
to be sure above all the Vices, the Tricks
and Baseness of it; a Mind that is not full
of it self, nor contracted to little private
Interests, but which in Imitation of that
glorious Pattern it endeavours to Copy after,
expands and diffuses it self to its utmost
capacity in doing Good? But this fine
Gentleman is quite of another Strain, he is
the reverse of this in every Instance. He
is I confess very fond of his own Dear Person,
he sees very much in it to admire;
his Air and Mien, his Words and Actions,
every Motion he makes declares it; but
they must have a Judgment of his size, every
whit as Shallow, and a Partiality as great
as his own, who can be of his Mind. How
then can I Love? And if not Love, much
less Honour. Love may arise from Pity or
a generous Desire to make that Lovely
which as yet is not so, when we see any
hopes of Success in our Endeavours of improving
it; but Honour supposes some
excellent Qualities already, something
worth our Esteem, but alas there is nothing
more contemptible than this trifle of a Man,
this meer Out-side, whose Mind is as base
and Mean as his external Pomp is Glittering.
His Office or Title apart, to which some D1r 33
some Ceremonious Observance must be paid
for Order’s sake, there’s nothing in him
that can command our Respect. Strip
him of Equipage and Fortune, and such
things as only dazle our Eyes and Imaginations,
but don’t in any measure affect
our Reason, or cause a Reverence in our
Hearts, and the poor Creature sinks beneath
our Notice, because not supported
by real Worth. And if a Woman can
neither Love nor Honour, she does ill in
promising to Obey, since she is like to have
but a crooked Rule to regulate her Actions.

A meer Obedience, such as is paid only
to Authority, and not out of Love and a
sense of the Justice and Reasonableness of
the Command, will be of an uncertain
Tenure. As it can’t but be uneasie to the
Person who pays it, so he who receives it
will be sometimes disappointed when he
expects to find it; for that Woman must
be endow’d with a Wisdom and Goodness
much above what we suppose the Sex
capable of, I fear much greater than e’re
a Man can pretend to, who can so constantly
conquer her Passions, and divest
her self even of Innocent Self-Love, as to
give up the Cause when she is in the
right, and to submit her enlightned Reason,
to the Imperious Dictates of a blind
Will, and wild Imagination, even when D she D1v 34
she clearly perceives the ill Consequences
of it, the Imprudence, nay Folly and Madness
of such a Conduct.

And if a Woman runs such a Risque
when she Marries Prudently according to
the Opinion of the World, that is, when
she permits her self to be dispos’d of to a
Man equal to her in Birth, Education
and Fortune, and as good as the most of
his Neighbours, (for if none were to
Marry, but Men of strict Vertue and
Honour, I doubt the World would be but
thinly peopled) if at the very best her
Lot is hard, what can she expect who is
Sold, or any otherwise betray’d into mercenary
Hands, to one who is in all, or
most respects unequal to her? A Lover
who comes upon what is call’d equal
Terms, makes no very advantageous Proposal
to the Lady he Courts, and to whom
he seems to be an humble Servant. For
under many founding Compliments,
Words that have nothing in them, this is
his true meaning, he wants one to manage
his Family, an House-keeper, a necessary
Evil, one whose Interest it will be
not to wrong him, and in whom therefore
he can put greater confidence than in
any he can hire for Money. One who
may breed his Children, taking all the
care and trouble of their Education, to preserve D2r 35
preserve his Name and Family. One whose
Beauty, Wit, or good Humour and agreeable
Conversation, will entertain
him at Home when he has been contradicted
and disappointed abroad; who will
do him that Justice the ill-natur’d World
denies him, that is, in any one’s Language
but his own, sooth his Pride and Flatter
his Vanity, by having always so much
good Sense as to be on his side, to conclude
him in the right, when others are so Ignorant,
or so rude as to deny it. Who will
not be Blind to his Merit nor Contradict
his Will and Pleasure, but make it her
Business, her very Ambition to content
him; whose softness and gentle Compliance
will calm his Passions, to whom
he may safely disclose his troublesome
Thoughts, and in her Breast discharge
his Cares; whose Duty, Submission and
Observance, will heal those Wounds other
Peoples opposition or neglect have given
him. In a word, one whom he can intirely
Govern, and consequently may form her
to his will and liking, who must be his
of Life, and therefore cannot quit his Service
let him treat her how he will.

And if this be what every Man expects,
the Sum of his violent Love and Courtship,
when it is put into Sense and rendred
Intelligible, to what a fine pass does D2 she D2v 36
she bring her self who purchases a Lord
and Master, not only with her Money,
but with what is of greater Value, at the
price of her Discretion? Who has not so
much as that poor Excuse, Precedent and
Example; or if she has, they are only
such as all the World condemns? She will
not find him less a Governor because she
was once his Superior, on the contrary the
scum of the People are most Tyrannical
when they get the Power, and treat their
Betters with the greatest Insolence. For as
the wise Man long since observ’d, a Servant
when he Reigns is one of those things
for which the Earth is disquieted, and
which no body is able to bear.

It is the hardest thing in the World for
a Woman to know that a Man is not Mercenary,
that he does not Act on base and
ungenerous Principles, even when he is
her Equal, because being absolute Master,
she and all the Grants he makes her are
in his Power, and there have been but
too many instances of Husbands that by
wheedling or threatning their Wives, by
seeming Kindness or cruel Usage, have
perswaded or forc’d them out of what has
been settled on them. So that the Woman
has in truth no security but the Man’s
Honour and Good-nature, a Security that
in this present Age no wise Person would ven- D3r 37
venture much upon. A Man enters into
Articles very readily before Marriage,
and so he may, for he performs no more
of them afterwards than he thinks fit.
A Wife must never dispute with her Husband,
his Reasons are now no doubt on’t
better than hers, whatever they were before;
he is sure to perswade her out of
her Agreement, and bring her, it must
be suppos’d, Willingly, to give up what she
did vainly hope to obtain, and what she
thought had been made sure to her. And
if she shews any Refractoriness, there are
ways enough to humble her; so that by
right or wrong the Husband gains his Will.
For Covenants betwixt Husband and
Wife, like Laws in an Arbitrary Government,
are of little Force, the Will of the
Sovereign is all in all. Thus it is in Matter
of Fact, I will not answer for the
Right of it; for if the Woman’s Reasons
upon which those Agreements are grounded
are not Just and Good, why did he
consent to them? Was it because there
was no other way to obtain his Suit, and
with an Intention to Annul them when
it shall be in his Power? Where then is
his Sincerity? But if her Reasons are
good, where is his Justice in obliging her
to quit them? He neither way acts like
an equitable or honest Man.

D3 But D3v 38

But when a Woman Marrys unequally
and beneath her self, there is almost Demonstration
that the Man is Sordid and
Unfair, that instead of Loving her he
only Loves himself, trapans and ruines
her to serve his own Ends. For if he had
not a mighty Opinion of himself, (which
temper is like to make an admirable Husband,)
he cou’d never imagine that his
Person and good Qualities should make
compensation for all the advantages she
quits on his account. If he had a real
Esteem for her or valu’d her Reputation,
he wou’d not expose it, nor have her
Discretion call’d in Question for his sake;
and if he truly Lov’d her he wou’d not
reduce her to Straits and a narrow Fortune,
nor so much as lessen her way of
Living to better his own. For since God
has plac’d different Ranks in the World,
put some in a higher and some in a lower
Station, for Order and Beauty’s sake, and
for many good Reasons; tho’ it is both
our Wisdom and Duty not only to submit
with Patience, but to be Thankful
and well-satisfied when by his Providence
we are brought low, yet there is no manner
of Reason for us to Degrade our
selves; on the contrary, much why we
ought not. The better our Lot is in this
World and the more we have of it, the greater D4r 39
greater is our leisure to prepare for the
next; we have the more opportunity to
exercise that God-like Quality, to tast
that Divine Pleasure, Doing good to the
Bodies and Souls of those beneath us. Is it
not then ill Manners to Heaven, and an
irreligious contempt of its Favours, for a
Woman to slight that nobler Employment,
to which it has assign’d her, and thrust
her self down to a meaner Drudgery, to
what is in the very literal Sense a caring
for the things of the World, a caring
not only to please, but to maintain
a Husband?

And a Husband so chosen will not at
all abate of his Authority and Right to
Govern, whatever fair Promises he might
make before. She has made him her Head,
and he thinks himself as well qualify’d
as the best to Act accordingly, nor has
she given him any such Evidence of her
Prudence as may dispose him to make an
Act of Grace in her Favour. Besides,
great Obligations are what Superiors cannot
bear, they are more than can be return’d;
to acknowledge, were only to reproach
themselves with ingratitude, and
therefore the readiest way is not to own
but overlook them, or rather, as too many
do, to repay them with Affronts and
Injuries.

D4 What D4v 40

What then is to be done? How must
a Man chuse, and what Qualities must
encline a Woman to accept, that so our
Marry’d couple may be as happy as that
State can make them? This is no hard
Question; let the Soul be principally consider’d,
and regard had in the first Place
to a good Understanding, a Vertuous
Mind, and in all other respects let there
be as much equality as may be. If they
are good Christians and of suitable Tempers
all will be well; but I should be
shrewdly tempted to suspect their Christianity
who Marry after any of those
ways we have been speaking of, I dare
venture to say, that they don’t Act according
to the Precepts of the Gospel, they
neither shew the Wisdom of the Serpent,
nor the Innocency of the Dove, they have
neither so much Government of themselves,
nor so much Charity for their
Neighbours, they neither take such care
not to Scandalize others, nor to avoid
Temptations themselves, are neither so
much above this World, nor so affected
with the next, as they wou’d certainly be
did the Christian Religion operate in their
Hearts, did they rightly understand and
sincerely Practise it, or Acted indeed according
to the Spirit of the Gospel.

But D5r 41

But it is not enough to enter wisely into
this State, care must be taken of our Conduct
afterwards. A Woman will not want
being admonish’d of her Duty, the custom
of the World, Œconomy, every
thing almost reminds her of it. Governors
do not often suffer their Subjects to forget
Obedience through their want of demanding
it, perhaps Husbands are but too forward
on this occasion, and claim their
Right oftner and more Imperiously than
either Discretion or good Manners will
justifie, and might have both a more chearful
and constant Obedience paid them if
they were not so rigorous in Exacting it.
For there is a mutual Stipulation, and
Love, Honour, and Worship, by which
certainly Civility and Respect at least are
meant, are as much the Woman’s due, as
Love, Honour, and Obedience are the
Man’s, and being the Woman is said to
be the weaker Vessel, the Man shou’d be
more careful not to grieve or offend her.
Since her Reason is suppos’d to be less, and
her Passions stronger than his, he shou’d
not give occasion to call that supposition
in Question by his pettish Carriage and
needless Provocations. Since he is the
Man, by which every word Custom wou’d
have us understand not only greatest
strength of Body, but even greatest firmnessness D5v 40
and force of Mind, he shou’d not play
the little Master so much as to expect to be
cocker’d, nor run over to that side which
the Woman us’d to be rank’d in; for according
to the Wisdom of the Italians,
“Will you? Is spoken to sick Folks.”

Indeed Subjection, according to the common
Notion of it, is not over easie, none
of us whether Men or Women but have so
good an Opinion of our own Conduct as
to believe we are fit, if not to direct others,
at least to govern our selves. Nothing but
a sound Understanding, and Grace the
best improver of natural Reason, can correct
this Opinion, truly humble us, and
heartily reconcile us to Obedience. This
bitter Cup therefore ought to be sweetned
as much as may be; for Authority may be
preserv’d and Government kept inviolable,
without that nauseous Ostentation of
Power which serves to no end or purpose,
but to blow up the Pride and Vanity of
those who have it, and to exasperate the
Spirits of such as must truckle under it.

Insolence ’tis true is never the effect of
Power but in weak and cowardly Spirits,
who wanting true Merit and Judgment to
support themselves in that advantageous
Ground on which they stand, are ever appealing
to their Authority, and making a
shew of it to maintain their Vanity and Pride. D6r 43
Pride. A truly great Mind and such as is
fit to Govern, tho’ it may stand on its Right
with its Equals, and modestly expect what
is due to it even from its Superiors, yet it
never contends with its Inferiors, nor makes
use of its Superiority but to do them Good.
So that considering the just Dignity of
Man, his great Wisdom so conspicuous on
all occasions! the goodness of his Temper
and Reasonableness of all his Commands,
which make it a Woman’s Interest as well
as Duty to be observant and Obedient in
all things! that his Prerogative is settled
by an undoubted Right, and the Prescription
of many Ages; it cannot be suppos’d
that he should make frequent and insolent
Claims of an Authority so well establish’d
and us’d with such moderation! nor give
an impartial By-stander (cou’d such an one
be found) any occasion from thence to suspect
that he is inwardly conscious of the
badness of his Title; Usurpers being always
most desirous of Recognitions and
busie in imposing Oaths, whereas a Lawful
Prince contents himself with the usual
Methods and Securities.

And since Power does naturally puff up,
and he who finds himself exalted, seldom
fails to think he ought to be so, it is more
suitable to a Man’s Wisdom and Generosity,
to be mindful of his great Obligationsons D6v 44
than to insist on his Rights and Prerogatives.
Sweetness of Temper and an
obliging Carriage are so justly due to a
Wife, that a Husband who must not be
thought to want either Understanding to
know what is fit, nor Goodness to perform
it, can’t be suppos’d not to shew them.
For setting aside the hazards of her Person
to keep up his Name and Family, with all
the Pains and Trouble that attend it, which
may well be thought great enough to deserve
all the respect and kindness that may
be, setting this aside, tho’ ’tis very considerable,
a Woman has so much the disadvantage
in most, I was about to say in all
things, that she makes a Man the greatest
Compliment in the World when she condescends
to take him for Better for Worse.
She puts her self intirely in his Power,
leaves all that is dear to her, her Friends
and Family, to espouse his Interests and
follow his Fortune, and makes it her Business
and Duty to please him! What acknowledgments,
what returns can he make?
What Gratitude can be sufficient for such
Obligations? She shews her good Opinion
of him by the great Trust she reposes
in him, and what a Brute must he be who
betrays that Trust, or acts any way unworthy
of it? Ingratitude is one of the
basest Vices, and if a Man’s Soul is sunk so D7r 45
so low, as to be guilty of it towards her
who has so generously oblig’d him, and
who so intirely depends on him, if he
can treat her Disrespectfully, who has so
fully testify’d her Esteem of him, she must
have a stock of Vertue which he shou’d
blush to discern, if she can pay him that
Obedience of which he is so unworthy.

Superiors indeed are too apt to forget
the common Privileges of Mankind;
that their Inferiors share with them the
greatest Benefits, and are as capable as
themselves of enjoying the supreme Good;
that tho’ the Order of the World requires
an Outward Respect and Obedience from
some to others, yet the Mind is free, nothing
but Reason can oblige it, ’tis out of
the reach of the most absolute Tyrant.
Nor will it ever be well either with those
who Rule or those in Subjection, even
from the Throne to every Private Family,
till those in Authority look on themselves
as plac’d in that Station for the good and
improvement of their Subjects, and not
for their own sakes; not as the reward of
their Merit, or that they may prosecute
their own Desires and fulfil all their Pleasure,
but as the Representatives of God
whom they ought to imitate in the Justice
and Equity of their Laws, in doing good
and communicating Blessings to all beneath them: D7v 46
them: By which, and not by following the
imperious Dictates of their own will, they
become truly Great and Illustrious and
Worthily fill their Place. And the Governed
for their part ceasing to envy the
Pomp and Name of Authority, shou’d respect
their Goverunours as plac’d in God’s
stead, and contribute what they can to ease
them of their real Cares, by a chearful,
and ready compliance with their good endeavours,
and by affording them the Pleasure
of success in such noble and generous
Designs.

For upon a due estimate things are
pretty equally divided; those in Subjection
as they have a less Glorious, so they
have an easier task and a less account to
give, whereas he who Commands has in
a great measure the Faults of others to
answer for as well as his own. ’Tis true
he has the Pleasure of doing more good
than a Private Person can, and shall receive
the Reward of it when Time shall
be no more, in compensation for the hazards
he runs, the difficulties he at present
encounters, and the large Account he
is to make hereafter, which Pleasure and
Reward are highly desirable and most worthy
our pursuit; but they are Motives
which such as usurp on their Governors,
and make them uneasie in the due discharge of D8r 47
of their Duty, never propose. And for
those other little things that move their
Envy and Ambition, they are of no Esteem
with a just Considerer, nor will
such as violently pursue, find their Account
in them.

But how can a Man respect his Wife
when he has a contemptible Opinion of
her and her Sex? When from his own
Elevation he looks down on them as void
of Understanding, and full of Ignorance
and Passion, so that Folly and a Woman
are equivalent Terms with him? Can he
think there is any Gratitude due to her
whose utmost services he exacts as strict
Duty? Because she was made to be a Slave
to his Will, and has no higher end than
to Serve and Obey him! Perhaps we arrogate
too much to our selves when we
say this Material World was made for our
sakes; that its Glorious Maker has given
us the use of it is certain, but when we
suppose a thing to be made purely for our
sakes, because we have Dominion over it,
we draw a false Conclusion, as he who
shou’d say the People were made for the
Prince who is set over them, wou’d be
thought to be out of his Senses as well as
his Politicks. Yet even allowing that
God who made every thing in Number,
Weight and Measure, who never acts but D8v 48
but for some great and glorious End, an
End agreeable to His Majesty, allowing
that He Created such a Number of Rational
Spirits merely to serve their fellow
Creatures, yet how are these Lords
and Masters helpt by the Contempt they
shew of their poor humble Vassals? Is it
not rather an hindrance to that Service
they expect, as being an undeniable and
constant Proof how unworthy they are to
receive it?

None of God’s Creatures absolutely
consider’d are in their own Nature Contemptible;
the meanest Fly, the poorest
Insect has its Use and Vertue. Contempt
is scarce a Human Passion, one may venture
to say it was not in Innocent Man,
for till Sin came into the World, there
was nothing in it to be contemn’d. But
Pride which makes every thing serve its
purposes, wrested this Passion from its only
use, so that instead of being an Antidote
against Sin, it is become a grand promoter
of it, nothing making us more worthy
of that Contempt we shew, than when
poor, weak, dependent Creatures as we
are! we look down with Scorn and Disdain
on others.

There is not a surer Sign of a noble
Mind, a Mind very far advanc’d towards
Perfection, than the being able to bear Con- E1r 49
Contempt and an unjust Treatment from
ones Superiors evenly and patiently. For
inward Worth and real Excellency are the
true Ground of Superiority, and one Person
is not in reality better than another,
but as he is more Wise and Good. But
this World being a place of Tryal and
govern’d by general Laws, just Retributions
being reserv’d for hereafter, Respect
and Obedience many times become due
for Order’s sake to those who don’t otherwise
deserve them. Now tho’ Humility
keeps us from over-valuing our selves or
viewing our Merit thro’ a false and magnifying
Medium, yet it does not put out
our Eyes, it does not, it ought not to deprive
us of that pleasing sentiment which
attends our Acting as we ought to Act,
which is as it were a foretast of Heaven,
our present Reward for doing what is Just
and Fit. And when a Superior does a Mean
and unjust Thing, as all Contempt of one’s
Neighbour is, and yet this does not provoke
his Inferiors to refuse that Observance
which their Stations in the World require,
they cannot but have an inward Sense of
their own real Superiority, the other having
no pretence to it, at the same time
that they pay him an outward Respect and
Deference, which is such a flagrant Testimony
of the sincerest Love of Order as E proves E1v 50
proves their Souls to be of the highest and
noblest Rank.

A Man therefore for his own sake, and
to give evidence that he has a Right to
those Prerogatives he assumes, shou’d treat
Women with a little more Humanity
and Regard than is usually paid them.
Your whiffling Wits may scoff at them,
and what then? It matters not, for they
Rally every thing tho’ ever so Sacred, and
rail at the Women commonly in very good
Company. Religion, its Priests, and those
its most constant and regular Professors, are
the usual Subjects of their manly, mannerly
and surprizing Jests. Surprizing indeed!
not for the newness of the Thought,
the brightness of the Fancy, or nobleness
of Expression, but for the good Assurance
with which such thread-bare Jests are again
and again repeated. But that your
grave Dons, you Learned Men, and which
is more, your Men of Sense as they wou’d
be thought, should stoop so low as to make
invectives against the Women, forget
themselves so much as to Jest with their
Slaves, who have neither Liberty nor Ingenuity
to make Reprizals! that they shou’d
waste their Time, and debase their good
Sense, which fits them for the most weighty
Affairs, such as are suitable to their profound
Wisdoms and exalted Understandings!ings! E2r 51
to render those poor Wretches more
ridiculous and odious who are already in
their Opinion sufficiently contemptible,
and find no better exercise of their Wit
and Satyr than such as are not worth their
Pains, tho’ it were possible to Reform them,
this, this indeed may justly be wondred at!

I know not whether or no Women are
allow’d to have Souls, if they have, perhaps
it is not prudent to provoke them too much,
lest silly as they are, they at last recriminate,
and then what polite and well-bred
Gentleman, tho’ himself is concern’d can
forbear taking that lawful Pleasure which
all who understand Raillery must tast,
when they find his Jests who insolently
began to peck at his Neighbour, return’d
with Interest upon his own Head? And
indeed Men are too Humane, too Wise to
venture at it did they not hope for this effect,
and expect the Pleasure of finding
their Wit turn to such account; for if it
be lawful to reveal a Secret, this is without
doubt the whole design of those fine
Discourses which have been made against
the Women from our great Fore-fathers to
this present Time! Generous Man has too
much Bravery, he is too Just and too Good
to assault a defenceless Enemy, and if he
did inveigh against the Women it was only
to do them Service! For since neither E2 his E2v 52
his Care of their Education, his hearty
endeavours to improve their Minds, his
wholsome Precepts, nor great Example
cou’d do them good, as his last and kindest
Essay, he resolv’d to try what Contempt
wou’d do, and chose rather to expose himself
by a seeming want of Justice, Equity,
Ingenuity and Good-nature, than suffer
Women to remain such vain and insignificant
Creatures as they have hitherto been
reckon’d! And truly Women are some degrees
beneath what I have thus far thought
them, if they do not make the best use
of his kindness, improve themselves, and
like Christians return it.

Let us see then what is their Part, what
must they do to make the Matrimonial
Yoke tolerable to themselves as well as
pleasing to their Lords and Masters? That
the World is an empty and deceitful
Thing, that those Enjoyments which appear’d
so desirable at a distance, which
rais’d our Hopes and Expectations to such
a mighty Pitch, which we so passionately
coveted, and so eagerly pursued, vanish at
our first approach, leaving nothing behind
them but the Folly of Delusion, and the
pain of disappointed Hopes, is a common
Outcry; and yet as common as it is, tho’
we complain of being deceiv’d this Instant,
we do not fail of contributing to the Cheat E3r 53
Cheat the very next. Tho’ in reality it
is not the World that abuses us, ’tis we
abuse our selves, it is not the emptiness of
that, but our own false Judgments, our
unreasonable Desires and Expectations
that Torment us; for he who exerts his
whole strength to lift a Straw, ought not
to complain of the Burden, but of his own
disproportionate endeavour which gives
him the pain he feels. The World affords
us all the Pleasure a sound Judgment can
expect from it, and answers all those Ends
and Purposes for which it was design’d,
let us expect no more than is reasonable,
and then we shall not fail of our Expectation.

It is even so in the Case before us; a
Woman who has been taught to think
Marriage her only Preferment, the Sum-
total of her Endeavours, the completion
of all her hopes, that which must settle
and make her Happy in this World, and
very few, in their Youth especially, carry
a Thought steddily to a greater distance;
She who has seen a Lover dying at her
Feet, and can’t therefore imagine that he
who professes to receive all his Happiness
from her, can have any other Design or
Desire than to please her; whose Eyes
have been dazled with all the Glitter and
Pomp of a Wedding, and who hears of nothingE3 thing E3v 54
but Joy and Congratulation; who is
transported with the Pleasure of being out
of Pupillage, and Mistress not only of her
self but of a Family too: She who is either
so simple or so vain, as to take her
Lover at his Word either as to the Praises
he gave her, or the Promises he made for
himself; in sum, she whose Expectation
has been rais’d by Court-ship, by all the
fine things that her Lover, her Governess,
and Domestic Flatterers say, will find a
terrible disappointment when the hurry is
over, and when she comes calmly to consider
her Condition, and views it no more
under a false Appearance, but as it truly is.

I doubt in such a View it will not appear
over-desirable, if she regards only the
present State of Things. Hereafter may
make amends for what she must be prepar’d
to suffer here, then will be her Reward,
this is her time of Tryal, the Season of
exercising and improving her Vertues. A
Woman that is not Mistress of her Passions,
that cannot patiently submit even when
Reason suffers with her, who does not
practise Passive Obedience to the utmost,
will never be acceptable to such an absolute
Sovereign as a Husband. Wisdom
ought to Govern without Contradiction,
but Strength however will be obey’d.
There are but few of those wise Persons who E4r 55
who can be content to be made yet wiser
by Contradiction, the most will have their
Will, and it is right because it is their’s.
Such is the vanity of Humane Nature that
nothing pleases like an intire Subjection;
what Imperfections won’t a Man over-look
where this is not wanting! Tho’ we live
like Brutes, we wou’d have Incense offer’d
us that is only due to Heaven it self, wou’d
have an absolute and blind Obedience paid
us by all over whom we pretend Authority.
We were not made to Idolize one another,
yet the whole strain of Courtship is little
less than rank Idolatry: But does a Man
intend to give, and not to receive his share
in this Religious Worship? No such matter;
Pride and Vanity and Self-love have
their Designs, and if the Lover is so condescending
as to set a Pattern in the time of
his Addresses, he is so Just as to expect his
Wife shou’d strictly Copy after it all the
rest of her life.

But how can a Woman scruple intire
Subjection, how can she forbear to admire
the worth and excellency of the Superior
Sex, if she at all considers it? Have not
all the great Actions that have been perform’d
in the World been done by Men?
Have not they founded Empires and overturn’d
them? Do not they make Laws and
continually repeal and amend them? Their E4 vast E4v 56
vast Minds lay Kingdoms wast, no bounds
or measures can be prescrib’d to their Desires.
War and Peace depend on them, they
form Cabals and have the Wisdom and
Courage to get over all these Rubs which
may lie in the way of their desired Grandeur.
What is it they cannot do? They
make Worlds and ruine them, form Systems
of universal Nature and dispute eternally
about them; their Pen gives
worth to the most trifling Controversie;
nor can a fray be inconsiderable if they
have drawn their Swords in’t. All that
the wise Man pronounces is an Oracle,
and every Word the Witty speaks a Jest.
It is a Woman’s Happiness to hear, admire
and praise them, especially if a little Ill-
nature keeps them at any time from bestowing
due Applauses on each other! And
if she aspires no further, she is thought to
be in her proper Sphere of Action, she is
as wise and as good as can be expected
from her!

She then who Marrys ought to lay it
down for an indisputable Maxim, that
her Husband must govern absolutely and
intirely, and that she has nothing else to
do but to Please and Obey. She must not
attempt to divide his Authority, or so
much as dispute it, to struggle with her
Yoke will only make it gall the more, but must E5r 57
must believe him Wise and Good and in
all respects the best, at least he must be so
to her. She who can’t do this is no way fit
to be a Wife, she may set up for that peculiar
Coronet the ancient Fathers talk’d of,
but is not qualify’d to receive that great
reward, which attends the eminent exercise
of Humility and Self-denial, Patience
and Resignation, the Duties that a Wife is
call’d to.

But some refractory Woman perhaps
will say, how can this be? Is it possible
for her to believe him Wise and Good who
by a thousand Demonstrations convinces
her and all the World of the contrary?
Did the bare Name of Husband confer
Sense on a Man, and the mere being in
Authority infallibly qualifie him for Government,
much might be done. But since
a wise Man and a Husband are not Terms
convertible, and how loth soever one is
to own it, Matter of Fact won’t allow us
to deny, that the Head many times stands
in need of the Inferior’s Brains to manage
it, she must beg leave to be excus’d from
such high thoughts of her Sovereign, and
if she submits to his Power, it is not so
much Reason as Necessity that compels her.

Now of how little force soever this
Objection may be in other respects, methinks
it is strong enough to prove the necessitycessity E5v 58
of a good Education, and that Men
never mistake their true Interest more than
when they endeavour to keep Women in
Ignorance. Cou’d they indeed deprive them
of their Natural good Sense at the same
time they deny them the due improvement
of it, they might compass their End; otherwise
Natural Sense unassisted may run into
a false Track, and serve only to punish
him justly, who wou’d not allow it to be useful
to himself or others. If Man’s Authority
be justly establish’d, the more Sense a
Woman has, the more reason she will find
to submit to it; if according to the Tradition
of our Father, (who having had
Possession of the Pen, thought they had
also the best Right to it,) Women’s Understanding
is but small, and Men’s Partiality
adds no Weight to the Observation, ought
not the more care to be taken to improve
them? How it agrees with the Justice of
Men we enquire not, but certainly Heaven
is abundantly more equitable than to enjoyn
Women the hardest Task and give them
the least Strength to perform it. And if
Men Learned; Wise and Discreet as they
are, who have as is said all the advantages
of Nature, and without controversy have,
or may have all the assistance of Art, are
so far from acquitting themselves as they
ought, from living according to that Reasonson E6r 59
and excellent Understanding they so
much boast of, can it be expected that a
Woman who is reckon’d silly enough in her
self, at least comparatively, and whom Men
take care to make yet more so, can it be expected
that she shou’d constantly perform so
difficult a Duty as intire Subjection, to
which corrupt Nature is so averse?

If the Great and Wise Cato, a Man, a
Man of no ordinary firmness and strength
of Mind, a Man who was esteem’d as an
Oracle, and by the Philosophers and great
Men of his Nation equall’d even to the
Gods themselves; If he with all his Stoical
Principles was not able to bear the sight of
a triumphant Conqueror, (who perhaps
wou’d have Insulted and perhaps wou’d not,)
but out of a Cowardly fear of an Insult,
ran to Death to secure him from it; can it
be thought that an ignorant weak Woman
shou’d have patience to bear a continual
Out-rage and Insolence all the days of her
Life? Unless you will suppose her a very
Ass
, but then remember what the Italians
say, to Quote them once more, since being
very Husbands they may be presum’d to
have Authority in this Case, “an Ass tho’
slow if provok’d will kick.”

We never see or perhaps make sport
with the ill Effects of a bad Education, till
it come to touch us home in the ill conduct of E6v 60
of a Sister, a Daughter, or Wife. Then
the Women must be blam’d, their Folly is
exclaim’d against, when all this while it
was the wise Man’s Fault, who did not set
a better Guard on those who according to
him stand in so much need of one. A young
Gentleman, as a celebrated Author tells
us, ought above all things to be acquainted
with the State of the World, the Ways
and Humours, the Follies, the Cheats, the
Faults of the Age he is fallen into, he
should by degrees be inform’d of the Vice
in Fashion, and warn’d of the Application
and Design of those who will make it their
Business to corrupt him, shou’d be told the
Arts they use and the Trains they lay, be
prepar’d to be Shock’d by some and caress’d
by others; warn’d who are like to oppose,
who to mislead, who to undermine, and
who to serve him. He shou’d be instructed
how to know and distinguish them, where
he shou’d let them see, and when dissemble
the Knowledge of them and their Aims
and Workings. Our Author is much in the
right, and not to disparage any other Accomplishments
which are useful in their
kind, this will turn to more account than
any Language or Philosophy, Art or Science,
or any other piece of Good-breeding
and fine Education that can be taught him,
which are no otherwise excellent than as they E7r 61
they contribute to this, as this does above
all things to the making him a wise, a vertuous
and useful Man.

And it is not less necessary that a young
Lady shou’d receive the like Instructions,
whether or no her Temptations be fewer,
her Reputation and Honour however are
to be more nicely preserv’d; they may be
ruin’d by a little Ignorance or Indiscretion,
and then tho’ she has kept her Innocence,
and so is secur’d as to the next World, yet
she is in a great measure lost to this. A Woman
cannot be too watchful, too apprehensive
of her danger, nor keep at too great
a distance from it, since Man whose Wisdom
and Ingenuity is so much Superior to
hers! condescends for his Interest sometimes,
and sometimes by way of Diversion,
to lay Snares for her. For tho’ all Men are
Virtuosi, Philosophers and Politicians, in
comparison of the Ignorant and Illiterate
Women, yet they don’t all pretend to be
Saints, and ’tis no great Matter to them if
Women who were born to be their Slaves,
be now and then ruin’d for their Entertainment.

But according to the rate that young
Women are Educated, according to the
way their Time is spent, they are destin’d
to Folly and Impertinence, to say no worse,
and which is yet more inhuman, they are blam’d E7v 62
blam’d for that ill Conduct they are not
suffer’d to avoid, and reproach’d for those
Faults they are in a manner forc’d into;
so that if Heaven has bestowed any Sense
on them, no other use is made of it, than
to leave them without Excuse. So much
and no more of the World is shewn them,
as serves to weaken and corrupt their Minds,
to give them wrong Notions, and busy
them in mean Pursuits; to disturb, not to
regulate their Passions; to make them timorous
and dependant, and in a word, fit
for nothing else but to act a Farce for the
Diversion of their Governours.

Even Men themselves improve no otherwise
than according to the Aim they take,
and the End they propose; and he whose
Designs are but little and mean, will be
the same himself. Tho’ Ambition, as ’tis
usually understood, is a Foolish, not to
say a Base and Pitiful Vice, yet the Aspirings
of the Soul after true Glory are so
much its Nature, that it seems to have forgot
it self and to degenerate, if it can forbear;
and perhaps the great Secret of Education
lies in affecting the Soul with a lively
Sense of what is truly its Perfection, and
exciting the most ardent Desires after it.

But, alas! what poor Woman is ever
taught that she should have a higher Design
than to get her a Husband? Heaven will E8r 63
will fall in of course; and if she makes but
an Obedient and Dutiful Wife, she cannot
miss of it. A Husband indeed is thought
by both Sexes so very valuable, that scarce
a Man who can keep himself clean and
make a Bow, but thinks he is good enough
to pretend to any Woman, no matter for
the Difference of Birth or Fortune, a Husband
is such a Wonder-working Name as
to make an Equality, or something more,
whenever it is pronounc’d.

And indeed were there no other Proof
of Masculine Wisdom, and what a much
greater Portion of Ingenuity falls to the
Men than to the Women’s Share, the Address,
the Artifice, and Management of an
humble Servant were a sufficient Demonstration.
What good Conduct does he shew!
what Patience exercise! what Subtilty
leave untry’d! what Concealment of his
Faults! what Parade of his Vertues! what
Government of his Passions! How deep is
his Policy in laying his designs at so great
a distance, and working them up by such
little Accidents! How indefatigable is his
Industry, and how constant his Watchfulness,
not to slip any Opportunity that may
in the least contribute to his Design! What
a handsome Set of Disguises and Pretences
is he always furnish’d with! How conceal’d
does he lie! how little pretend, till he E8v 64
he is sure that his Plot will take! And at
the same time that he nourishes the Hope
of being Lord and Master, appears with
all the Modesty and Submission of an humble
and unpretending Admirer.

Can a Woman then be too much upon
her Guard? Can her Prudence and Foresight,
her early Caution, be reckon’d unnecessary
Suspicion, or ill-bred Reserve,
by any but those whose Designs they prevent,
and whose Interest it is to declaim
against them? it being a certain Maxim
with the Men, tho’ Policy or Good Breeding
won’t allow them to avow it always,
that the Women were made for their Sakes
and Service, and are in all respects their
Inferiors, especially in Understanding; so
that all the Compliments they make, all
the Address and Complaisance they use, all
the Kindness they profess, all the Service
they pretend to pay, has no other Meaning,
no other End, than to get the poor
Woman into their Power, to govern her
according to their Discretion. This is all
pure Kindness indeed, and therefore no
Woman has Reason to be offended with it;
for considering how much she is expos’d in
her own, and how safe in their Keeping,
’tis the wisest thing she can do to put her
self under Protection! And then if they
have a tolerable Opinion of her Sense, and not F1r 65
not their Vanity but some better Principle
disposes them to do something out of the
way, and to appear more generous than the
rest of their Sex, they’ll condescend to
dictate to her, and impart some of their
Prerogative Books and Learning! ’Tis fit
indeed that she should entirely depend on
their Choice, and walk with the Crutches
they are pleas’d to lend her; and if she is
furnished out with some Notions to set her
a prating, I should have said to make her
entertaining and the Fiddle of the Company,
her Tutor’s Time was not ill bestowed:
And it were a diverting Scene to
see her stript like the Jay of her borrowed
Feathers, but he, good Man, has not ill Nature
enough to take Pleasure in it! You
may accuse him perhaps for giving so much
Encouragement to a Woman’s Vanity, but
your Accusation is groundless, Vanity being
a Disease the Sex will always be
guilty of; nor is it a Reproach to them,
since Men of Learning and Sense are overrun
with it.

But there are few Women whose Understandings
are worth the Management,
their Estates are much more capable of
Improvement. No Woman, much less a
Woman of Fortune, is ever fit to be her
own Mistress, and he who has not the
Vanity to think what much finer things F he F1v 66
he could perform had he the Management
of her Fortune; or so much
Partiality and Self-love, as to fancy it can’t
be better bestow’d than in making his;
will yet be so honest and humble as to
think that ’tis fit she should take his Assistance,
as Steward at least. For the Good
Man aspires no further, he would only take
the Trouble of her Affairs off her hand;
and the Sense of her Condescention and
his great Obligations, will for ever secure
him against acting like a Lord and Master!

The Steps to Folly as well as Sin are
gradual, and almost imperceptible, and
when we are once on the Decline, we go
down without taking notice on’t; were it
not for this, one cou’d not account for
those strange unequal Matches we too often
see. For there was a time no doubt,
when a Woman could not have bore the
very thought of what she has been afterwards
betray’d into, it would have appear’d
as shocking to her as it always does
to other People; and had a Man been so
impolitic as to discover the least intimation
of such a Design, he had given her a sufficient
Antidote against it. This your Wise
Men are well satisfy’d of, and understand
their own Interest too well to let their
Design go bare-fac’d, for that would effectually
put a barr to their Success. So innocentnocent F2r 67
are they, that they had not the
least Thought at first of what their Good
Fortune afterwards leads them to! They
would draw upon him, (if they wear a
Sword) or fly in her Face who should let
fall the least hint that they had such Intentions;
and this very Eagerness to avoid
the Suspicion, is a shrewd Sign that there
is occasion for’t.

But who shall dare to shew the Lady her
Danger, when will it be seasonable to give
her friendly Notice? If you do it e’re she
is resolv’d, tho’ with all the Friendship
and Tenderness imaginable, she will hardly
forgive the Affront, or bear the Provocation;
you offer her an Outrage, by entertaining
such a Thought, and ’tis ten to
one if you are not afterwards accus’d for
putting in her Head what otherwise she
could ne’er have dreamt of. And when no
direct Proof can be offer’d, when matter
of Prudence is the only thing in Question,
every Body has so good an Opinion of their
own Understanding as to think their own
way the best. And when she has her Innocence
and fair Intentions to oppose to your
Fears and Surmises, and you cannot pretend
to wish her better than she does her
self, to be more disinteress’d and diligent
in your Watchfulness, or to see farther in
what so nearly concerns her, what can be F2 done? F2v 68
done? Her ruin is commonly too far advanc’d
to be prevented, e’re you can in
Good-breeding reach out a hand to help
her. For if the Train has took, if she is
entangled in the Snare, if Love, or rather
a Blind unreasonable Fondness, which
usurps the Name of that noble Passion, has
gain’d on her, Reason and Perswasion may
as properly be urg’d to the Folks in Bethlem
as to her. Tell her of this World, she is
got above it, and has no regard to its impertinent
Censures; tell her of the next, she
laughs at you, and will never be convinc’d
that Actions which are not expresly forbid
can be Criminal, tho’ they proceed
from, and must necessarily be reduc’d to
ill Principles, tho’ they give Offence, are
of ill Example, injure our Reputation,
which next to our Innocence we are obliged
as Christians to take the greatest care
of, and in a word do more mischief than
we can readily imagine. Tell her of her
own Good, you appear yet more ridiculous,
for who can judge of her Happiness but her
self? And whilst our Hearts are violently
set upon any thing, there is no convincing
us that we shall ever be of another Mind.
Our Passions want no Advocates, they are
always furnish’d with plausible Pretences,
and those very Prejudices, which gave rise
to this unreasonable Passion, will for certaintain F3r 69
give her Obstinacy enough to justifie
and continue in it. Besides, some are so
ill advis’d as to think to support one Indiscretion
with another, they wou’d not have
it thought they have made a false Step, in
once giving countenance to that which is
not fit to be continued. Or perhaps the
Lady might be willing enough to throw
off the Intruder at first, but wanted Courage
to get above the fear of his Calumnies,
and the longer she suffers him to buz about
her, she will find it the harder to get rid of
his Importunities. By all which it appears
that she who really intends to be secure,
must keep at the greatest distance from
Danger, she must not grant the least Indulgence,
where such ill uses will be made of it.

And since the case is so, that Woman
can never be in safety who allows a Man
opportunity to betray her. Frequent Conversation
does for certain produce either
Aversion or Liking, and when ’tis once
come to Liking, it depends on the Man’s
Generosity not to improve it farther, and
where can one find an Instance that this
is any security? There are very many indeed
which shew it is none. How sensible
soever a Woman may appear of another’s
Indiscretion, if she will tread in the same
Steps, tho’ but for a little way, she gives
us no assurance that she will not fall into F3 the F3v 70
the same Folly, she may perhaps intend
very well, but she puts it past her Power
to fulfil her good Intentions. Even those
who have forfeited their Discretion, the
most valuable thing next to their Vertue,
and without which Vertue it self is but
very weak and faint, ’tis like were once
as well resolv’d as she, they had the very
same Thoughts, they made the same Apologies,
and their Resentment wou’d have
been every whit as great against those
who cou’d have imagin’d they shou’d so far
forget themselves.

It were endless to reckon up the divers
Stratagems Men use to catch their Prey,
their different ways of insinuating which
vary with Circumstances and the Ladies
Temper. But how unfairly, how basely
soever they proceed, when the Prey is once
caught it passes for lawful Prize, and other
Men having the same hopes and projects
see nothing to find fault with, but
that it was not their own Good Fortune.
They may exclaim against it perhaps in a
Lady’s hearing, but it is only to keep
themselves from being suspected, and to
give the better Colour to their own Designs.
Sometimes a Woman is cajol’d, and
sometimes Hector’d, she is seduc’d to Love
a Man, or aw’d into a Fear of him: He
defends her Honour against another, or assumes F4r 71
assumes the Power of blasting it himself;
was willing to pass for one of no Consequence
till he cou’d make himself considerable
at her Cost. He might be admitted
at first to be her Jest, but he carries on
the humor so far till he makes her his; he
will either entertain or serve her as occasion
offers, and some way or other gets
himself intrusted with her Fortune, her
Fame, or her Soul. Allow him but a frequent
and free Conversation, and there’s
no manner of Question but that his Ingenuity
and Application will at one time or
other get the Ascendant over her.

And generally the more humble and undesigning
a Man appears, the more improbable
it looks that he should dare to pretend,
the greater Caution shou’d be us’d
against him. A bold Address and good
Assurance may sometimes, but does not
always, take. To a Woman of Sense an
artificial Modesty and Humility is a thousand
times more dangerous, for he only
draws back to receive the more Encouragement,
and she regards not what Advances
she makes towards him, who seems to understand
himself and the World so well, as
to be incapable of making an ill use of
them. Wou’d it not be unreasonable and a
piece of Ill-breeding to be shy of him who
has no Pretentions, or only such as are F4 Just F4v 72
Just and Modest? What hurt in a Visit?
Or what if Visits grow a little more frequent?
The Man has so much discernment,
as to relish her Wit and Humour,
and can she do less than be Partial to him
who is so Just to her? He strives to please
and to render himself agreeable, or necessary
perhaps, and whoever will make it
his Business may find ways enough to do
it. For they know but little of Human
Nature, they never consulted their own
Hearts, who are not sensible what advances
a well-manag’d Flattery makes,
especially from a Person of whose Wit and
Sense one has a good Opinion. His Wit at
first recommends his Flatteries, and these in
requital set off his Wit; and she who has
been us’d to this high-season’d Diet, will
scarce ever relish another Conversation.

Having got thus far to be sure he is not
wanting to his good Fortune, but drives
on to an Intimacy, or what they are pleas’d
now a-days, tho’ very unjustly, to call a
Friendship; all is safe under this sacred
Character, which sets them above little
Aims and mean Designs. A Character that
must be conducted with the nicest Honour,
allows the greatest Trusts, leads to the
highest Improvements, is attended with
the purest Pleasures and most rational Satisfaction.
And what if the malicious World, F5r 73
World, envious of his Happiness, shou’d
take Offence at it, since he has taken all
due Precautions, such unjust and ill-natur’d
Censures are not to be regarded; for
his part the distance that is between them
checks all aspiring desires, but her Conversation
is what he must not, cannot
want, Life is insipid and not to be endur’d
without it; and he is too much the
Lady’s Friend, has too just a Value for
her to entertain a Thought to her disadvantage!

Now if once it is come to this, God
help the poor Woman, for not much Service
can be done her by any of her Friends
on Earth. That Pretender to be sure will
be the Darling, he will worm out every
other Person, tho’ ever so kind and disinterested.
For tho’ true Friends will endeavour
to please in order to serve, their
Complaisance never goes so far as to prove
injurious; the beloved Fault is what they
chiefly strike at, and this the Flatterer always
sooths; so that at last he becomes
the most acceptable Company, and they
who are conscious of their own Integrity
are not apt to bear such an unjust Distinction,
nor is it by this time to any purpose
to remonstrate the Danger of such an Intimacy.
When a Man, and for certain
much more when a Woman, is fallen into this F5v 74
this Toyl, that is, when either have been
so unwary and indiscreet as to let another
find out by what Artifices he may manage
their Self-love, and draw it over to his
Party, ’tis too late for any one who is really
their Friend, to break the Snare and disabuse
them.

Neither Sex cares to deny themselves
that which pleases, especially when they
think they may innocently indulge it; and
nothing pleases more than the being admir’d
and humour’d. We may be told of
the Danger, and shown the Fall of others,
but tho’ their Misfortunes are ever so often
or so lively represented to us, we are
all so well assur’d of our own good Conduct,
as to believe it will bring us safe off
those Rocks on which others have been
Shipwrackt. We suppose it in our Power
to shorten the Line of our Liberty when
ever we think fit, not considering that the
farther we run, we shall be the more unwilling
to Retreat and unable to judge when
a Retreat is necessary. A Woman does not
know that she is more than half lost when
she admits of these Suggestions; that those
Arguments she brings for continuing a
Man’s Conversation, prove only that she
ought to have quitted it sooner; that Liking
insensibly converts to Love, and that
when she admits a Man to be her Friend, ’tis F6r 75
’tis his Fault if bhe does not make himself
her Husband.

And if Men even the Modestest and the
Best, are only in pursuit of their own Designs,
when they pretend to do the Lady
Service; if the Honour they wou’d seem
to do her, tends only to lead her into an
Imprudent and therefore a Dishonourable
Action; and they have all that good Opinion
of themselves as to take every thing
for Encouragement, so that she who goes
beyond a bare Civility tho’ she meant no
more than Respect, will find it Interpreted
a Favour and made ill Use of, (for Favours
how Innocent soever, never turn to a Lady’s
advantage;) what shadow of a Pretence
can a Woman have for admitting an
intimacy with a Man whose Principles
are known to be Loose and his Practices
Licentious? can she expect to be safe with
him who has ruin’d others, and by the
very same Methods he takes with her? If
an Intimacy with a Man of a fair Character
gives Offence, with a Man of an ill One,
’tis doubly and trebly Scandalous. And
suppose neither her Fortune nor Beauty
can Tempt him, he has his ill-natur’d
Pleasure in destroying that Vertue he will
not Practise, or if that can’t be done, in
blasting the Reputation of it at least, and
in making the World believe he has made
a Conquest tho’ he has found a Foil.

If F6v 76

If the Man be the Woman’s Inferior,
besides all the Dangers formerly mention’d,
and those just now taken notice of,
she gives such a Countenance to his Vices
as renders her in great measure partaker
in them, and it can scarce be thought in
such Circumstances, a Woman cou’d Like
the Man if she were not reconcil’d to his
Faults. Is he her Equal and no unsuitable
Match, if his Designs are fair, why don’t
they Marry, since they are so well pleas’d
with each other’s Conversation, which in
this State only can be frequently and safely
allow’d? Is he her Better, and she hopes
by catching him to make her Fortune,
alas! the poor Woman is neither acquainted
with the World nor her self, she neither
knows her own Weakness nor his
Treachery, and tho’ he gives ever so much
Encouragement to this vain Hope, ’tis only
in order to accomplish her ruin. To be
sure the more Freedom she allows, the
more she Lessens his Esteem, and that’s not
likely to encrease a real, tho’ it may a pretended
kindness; she ought to fly, if she
wou’d have him pursue, the strictest Vertue
and Reserve being the only way to
secure him.

Religion and Reputation are so sure a
Guard, such a security to poor defenceless
Woman, that whenever a Man has ill Designssigns F7r 77
on her, he is sure to make a Breach
into one or both of these, by endeavouring
either to corrupt her Principles to
make her less strict in Devotion, or to
lessen her value of a fair Reputation, and
wou’d perswade her that less than she imagines
will secure her as to the next World,
and that not much regard is to be given to
the censures of this. Or if this be too
bold at first, and will not pass with her,
he has another way to make even her
Love to Vertue contribute to its ruin, by
perswading her it never Shines as it ought
unless it be expos’d, and that she has no
reason to Boast of her Vertue unless she
has try’d it. An Opinion of the worst
consequence that may be, and the most
mischievous to a Woman, because it is
calculated to feed her Vanity, and tends
indeed to her utter Ruin. For can it be fit
to rush into Temptations when we are
taught every day to pray against them? If
the Trials of our Vertue render it Illustrious,
’tis such Trials as Heaven is pleas’d
to send us, not those of our own seeking.
It holds true of both Sexes, that next to
the Divine Grace, a Modest Distrust of
themselves is their best Security, none being
so often and so shamefully Foil’d, as
those who depend most on their own
Strength and Resolution.

As F7v 78

As to the Opinion of the World, tho’
one cannot say it is always just, yet generally
it has a Foundation; great regard
is to be paid to it, and very good use to be
made of it. Others may be in fault for
passing their Censures, but we certainly
are so if we give them any the least just
occasion. And since Reputation is not only
one of the Rewards of Vertue, that which
always ought, and generally does attend it,
but also a Guard against Evil, an Inducement
to Good, and a great Instrument in
the Hand of the Wise to promote the
common cause of Vertue, the being Prodigal
of the one, looks as if we set no great
value on the other, and she who abandons
her good Name is not like to preserve her
Innocence.

A Woman therefore can never have too
nice a Sense of Honour, provided she does
not prefer it before her Duty; she can
never be too careful to secure her Character,
not only from the suspicion of a
Crime, but even from the shadow of an
Indiscretion. ’Tis well worth her while
to renounce the most Entertaining, and
what some perhaps will call the most Improving
Company, rather than give the
World a just occasion of Suspicion or Censure.
For besides the Injury that is done
Religion, which enjoyns us to avoid the very F8r 79
very Appearance of Evil, and to do nothing
but what is of good Report, she puts
her self too much in a Man’s Power who
will run such a risque for his Conversation,
and expresses such a value for him, as
cannot fail of being made use of to do her
a mischief.

Preserve your distance then, keep out of
the reach of Danger, fly if you wou’d be
safe, be sure to be always on the Reserve,
not such as is Morose and Affected, but
Modest and Discreet, your Caution cannot
be too great, nor your Foresight reach
too far; there’s nothing, or what is next
to nothing, a little Amusement and entertaining
Conversation lost by this, but
all is hazarded by the other. A Man understands
his own Merit too well to lose
his time in a Woman’s Company, were it
not to divert himself at her cost, to turn
her into a Jest or something worse. And
wherever you see great Assiduities, when
a Man insinuates into the Diversions and
Humors of the Lady, Liking and Admiring
whatever she does, tho’ at the same
time he seems to keep a due Distance, or
rather exceeds in the profoundest Respect,
Respect being all he dare at present pretend
to; when a more than ordinary deference
is paid; when something particular
appears in the Look uand Address, and such F8v 80
such an Obsequiousness in every Action,
as nothing cou’d engage a Man to, who
never forgets the Superiority of his Sex,
but a hope to be Observ’d in his turn:
Then, whatever the Inequality be, and how
sensible soever he seems to be of it, the
Man has for certain his Engines at work,
the Mine is ready to spring on the first
opportunity, and ’tis well if it be not
too late to prevent the poor Lady’s Ruin.

To wind up this matter, if a Woman
were duly Principled and Taught to know
the World, especially the True Sentiments
that Men have of her, and the Traps
they lay for her under so many gilded
Compliments, and such a seemingly great
Respect, that disgrace wou’d be prevented
which is brought upon too many Families,
Women would Marry more discreetly,
and demean themselves better in a
Married State than some People say they
do. The foundation indeed ought to be
laid deep and strong, she shou’d be made
a good Christian, and understand why she
is so, and then she well be every thing else
that is Good. Men need keep no Spies
on a Woman’s Conduct, need have no fear
of her Vertue, or so much as of her Prudence
and Caution, were but a due sense
of true Honour and Vertue awaken’d in
her, were her Reason excited and prepar’d to G1r 8381
to consider the Sophistry of those Temptations
which wou’d perswade her from her
Duty; and were she put in a way to know
that it is both her Wisdom and Interest to
observe it; She would then duly examine
and weigh all the Circumstances, the
Good and Evil of a Married State, and not
be surpriz’d with unforeseen Inconveniencies,
and either never consent to be a
Wife, or make a good one when she does.
This would shew her what Human Nature
is, as well as what it ought to be, and
teach her not only what she may justly expect,
but what she must be Content with;
would enable her to cure some Faults, and
patiently to suffer what she cannot cure.

Indeed nothing can assure Obedience,
and render it what it ought to be, but the
Conscience of Duty, the paying it for
God’s sake. Superiors don’t rightly understand
their own Interest when they attempt
to put out their Subjects Eyes to
keep them Obedient. A Blind Obedience
is what a Rational Creature shou’d never
Pay, nor wou’d such an one receive it did
he rightly understand its Nature. For
Human Actions are no otherwise valuable
than as they are conformable to Reason,
but a blind Obedience is an Obeying
without Reason, for ought we know against
it
. God himself does not require our G Obedi- G1v 8482
Obedience at this rate, he lays before us
the goodness and reasonableness of his
Laws, and were there any thing in them
whose Equity we could not readily comprehend,
yet we have this clear and sufficient
Reason on which to found our Obedience,
that nothing but what’s Just and
Fit, can be enjoyn’d by a Just, a Wise
and Gracious God, but this is a Reason
will never hold in respect of Men’s Commands,
unless they can prove themselves
Infallible, and consequently Impeccable
too.

It is therefore very much a Man’s Interest
that Women should be good Christians,
in this as in every other Instance,
he who does his Duty, finds his
own account in it. Duty and true Interest
are one and the same thing, and he
who thinks otherwise is to be pitied for
being so much in the Wrong; but what
can be more the Duty of the Head, than
to Instruct and Improve those who are
under Government? She will freely leave
him the quiet Dominion of this World,
whose Thoughts and Expectations are
plac’d on the next. A Prospect of Heaven,
and that only, will cure that Ambition
which all Generous Minds are fill’d
with; not by taking it away, but by placing
it on a right Object. She will discernscern G2r 8583
a time when her Sex shall be no bar
to the best Employments, the highest
Honour; a time when that distinction, now
so much us’d to her Prejudice, shall be no
more, but provided she is not wanting to
her self, her Soul shall shine as bright as
the greatest Heroe’s. This is a true, and
indeed the only consolation, this makes
her a sufficient compensation for all the
neglect and contempt the ill-grounded
Customs of the World throw on her, for
all the Injuries brutal Power may do her,
and is a sufficient Cordial to support her
Spirits, be her Lot in this World what
it may.

But some sage Persons may perhaps object,
that were Women allow’d to Improve
themselves, and not amongst other
discouragements driven back by those
wise Jests and Scoffs that are put upon
a Woman of Sense or Learning, a Philosophical
Lady as she is call’d by way
of Ridicule, they would be too Wise
and too Good for the Men; I grant it,
for vicious and foolish Men. Nor is it to
be wonder’d, that he is afraid he shou’d
not be able to Govern them were their
Understandings improv’d, who is resolv’d
not to take too much Pains with his
own. But these ’tis to be hop’d are no
very considerable Nmumber, the foolish at least; G2v 8684
least; and therefore this is so far from
being an Argument against Women’s
Improvement, that it is a strong one for
it, if we do but suppose the Men to be
as capable of Improvement as the Women,
but much more if according to
Tradition we believe they have greater
Capacities. This, if any thing, wou’d
stir them up to be what they ought, and
not permit them to wast their Time and
abuse their Faculties, in the Service of
their irregular Appetites and unreasonable
Desires, and so let poor contemptible
Women who have been their Slaves,
excel them in all that is truly Excellent.
This wou’d make them Blush at employing
an immortal Mind no better than in
making Provision for the Flesh to fulfil
the Lusts thereof, since Women by a Wiser
Conduct have brought themselves to
such a reach of Thought, to such exactness
of Judgment, such clearness and
strength of Reasoning, such purity and
elevation of Mind, such Command of
their Passions, such regularity of Will
and Affection, and in a word, to such a
pitch of Perfection, as the Human Soul
is capable of attaining in this Life by
the Grace of God, such true Wisdom,
such real Greatness, as tho, it does not
qualifie them to make a Noise in this World, G3r 7885
World, to found or overturn Empires,
yet it qualifies them for what is infinitely
better, a Kingdom that cannot be mov’d,
and incorruptible Crown of Glory.

Besides, it were ridiculous to suppose
that a Woman, were she ever so much
improv’d, cou’d come near the topping
Genius of the Men, and therefore why
shou’d they envy or discourage her?
Strength of Mind goes along with
Strength of Body, and ’tis only for some
odd Accidents which Philosophers have
not yet thought worth while to enquire
into, that the Sturdiest Porter is not
the Wisest Man! As therefore the Men
have the Power in their Hands, so there’s
no dispute of their having the Brains
to manage it! Can we suppose there is
such a thing as good Judgment and Sense
upon Earth, if it is not be found among
them? Do not they generally
speaking do all the great Actions and considerable
Business of this World, and
leave that of the next to the Women?
Their Subtilty in forming Cabals and
laying deep Designs, their Courage and
Conduct in breaking through all Tyes
Sacred and Civil to effect them, not only
advances them to the Post of Honour, and
keeps them securely in it for twenty or
thirty Years, but gets them a Name, and G4G3 conveys G3v 8886
conveys it down to Posterity for some
Hundreds, and who wou’d look any further?
Justice and injustice are administred
by their Hands, Courts and Schools
are fill’d with these Sages; ’tis Men who
dispute for Truth as well as Men who argue
against it; Histories are writ by
them, they recount each others great Exploits,
and have always done so. All famous
Arts have their Original from Men,
even from the Invention of Guns to the
Mystery of good Eating. And to shew
that nothing is beneath their Care, any
more than above their Reach, they have
brought Gaming to an Art and Science,
and a more Profitable and Honourable
one too, than any of those that us’d to be
call’d Liberal! Indeed what is it they
can’t perform, when they attempt it?
The Strength of their Brains shall be
every whit as Conspicuous at their Cups
as in a Senate-House, and when they
please they can make it pass for as sure
a Mark of Wisdom, to drink deep as to
Reason profoundly; a greater proof of
Courage and consequently of Understanding,
to dare the Vengeance of Heaven it
self, than to stand the Raillery of some of
the worst of their fellow Creatures.

Again, it may be said, if a Wife’s
case be as it is here represented, it is not good G4r 8987
good for a Woman to Marry, and so
there’s an end of Human Race. But this
is no fair Consequence, for all that can
justly be inferr’d from hence, is that a
Woman has no mighty Obligations to the
Man who makes Love to her, she has no
reason to be fond of being a Wife, or to
reckon it a piece of Preferment when she
is taken to be a Man’s Upper-Servant; it
is no advantage to her in this World, if
rightly manag’d it may prove one as to
the next. For she who Marries purely to
do Good, to Educate Souls for Heaven,
who can be so truly mortify’d as to lay
aside her own Will and Desires, to pay
such an intire Submission for Life, to one
whom she cannot be sure will always deserve
it, does certainly perform a more
Heroic Action than all the famous Masculine
Heroes can boast of, she suffers a
continual Martyrdom to bring Glory to
God and Benefit to Mankind, which
consideration indeed may carry her through
all Difficulties, I know not what else can,
and engage her to Love him who proves
perhaps so much worse than a Brute, as
to make this Condition yet more grievous
than it needed to be. She has need of a
strong Reason, of a truly Christian and
well-temper’d Spirit, of all the Assistance
the best Education can give her, and ought to G4v 9088
to have some good assurance of her own
Firmness and Vertue, who ventures on
such a Trial; and for this Reason ’tis less
to be wonder’d at that Women Marry off
in hast, for perhaps if they took time to
consider and reflect upon it, they seldom
wou’d Marry.

To conclude, perhaps I’ve said more
than most Men will thank me for, I cannot
help it, for how much soever I may
be their Friend and humble Servant, I am
more a Friend to Truth. Truth is strong,
and sometime or other will prevail, nor is
it for their Honour, and therefore one
wou’d think not for their Interest, to be
Partial to themselves and Unjust to others.
They may fancy I have made some discoveries
which like Arcana Imperii, ought
to be kept secret, but in good earnest, I
do them more Honour than to suppose their
lawful Prerogatives need any mean Arts
to support them. If they have Usurpt,
I love Justice too much to wish Success
and continuance to Usurpations, which
tho’ submitted to out of Prudence, and
for Quietness sake, yet leave every Body
free to regain their lawful Right whenever
they have Power and Opportunity.
I don’t say that Tyranny ought, but we
find in Fact, that it provokes the Oppress’dpress’d G5r 9189
to throw off even a Lawful Yoke
that fits too heavy: And if he who is
freely Elected, after all his fair Promises
and the fine Hopes he rais’d, proves a Tyrant,
the consideration that he was one’s
own Choice, will not render more Submissive
and Patient, but I fear more Refractory.
For tho’ it is very unreasonable,
yet we see ’tis the course of the World,
not only to return Injury for Injury, but
Crime for Crime; both Parties indeed are
Guilty, but the Aggressors have a double
Guilt, they have not only their own,
but their Neighbours ruin to answer for.

As to the Female Reader, I hope she
will allow I’ve endeavour’d to do her
Justice, nor betray’d her Cause as her Advocates
usually do, under pretence of defending
it. A Practice too mean for any
to be Guilty of who have the least Sense
of Honour, and who do any more than
meerly pretend to it. I think I have held
the Ballance even, and not being conscious
of Partiality I ask no Pardon for it.
To plead for the Oppress’d and to defend
the Weak seem’d to me a generous undertaking;
for tho’ it may be secure, ’tis
not always Honourable to run over to the
strongest Party. And if she infers from
what has been said that Marriage is a very G5v 9290
very Happy State for Men, if they think
fit to make it so; that they govern the
World, they have Prescription on their
side, Women are too weak to dispute it
with them, therefore they, as all other
Governours, are most, if not only accountable,
for what’s amiss, for whether other
Governments in their Original, were or
were not confer’d according to the Merit
of the Person, yet certainly in this case,
if Heaven has appointed the Man to Govern,
it has qualify’d him for it: So far
I agree with her. But if she goes on to
infer, that therefore if a Man has not
these Qualifications where is his Right?
That if he misemploys, he abuses it? And
if he abuses, according to modern Deduction,
he forfeits it, I must leave her there.
A peaceable Woman indeed will not carry
it so far, she will neither question her
Husband’s Right nor his Fitness to Govern;
but how? Not as an absolute Lord
and Master, with an Arbitrary and Tyrannical
sway, but as Reason Governs and
Conducts a Man, by proposing what is Just
and Fit. And the Man who acts according
to that Wisdom he assumes, who wou’d
have that Superiority he pretends to, acknowledg’d
Just, will receive no Injury by
any thing that has been offer’d here. A
Woman will value him the more who is so G6r 9391
so Wise and Good, when she discerns how
much he excels the rest of his noble Sex;
the less he requires, the more will he Merit
that Esteem and Deference, which
those who are so forward to exact, seem
conscious they don’t deserve. So then the
Man’s Prerogative is not at all infring’d,
whilst the Woman’s Privileges are secur’d;
and if any Woman think her self Injur’d,
she has a Remedy in reserve which few
Men will Envy or endeavour to Rob her
of, the Exercise and Improvement of her
Vertue here, and the Reward of it hereafter.

The End.

G6v

Books Printed for Richard Wilkin at
the King’s Head in St. Paul’s ChurchYard.