THE STATE OF HOLY WEDLOCK.
It is a sign of our times that the institution of holy marriage is so generally disparaged. So great has the moral ruin become that the knowledge of the holiness of marriage and of the sacredness of its obligations has been lost. The most distorted views of the relation of the sexes inside and outside of marriage are freely circulated by means of cleverly written articles in periodicals, novels of the prevailing degenerate type, and the abomination of the average moving-picture show. To enter into marriage without the consent of the parents has become the usual thing. Many a young man seeks a speedy marriage with the first pretty face that catches his fancy, for the mere gratification of his sexual desires and with no idea of establishing a home and maintaining a family. Or he deliberately sets about to marry a wealthy girl, in order to take his ease in a parasite's life. And the cold-blooded planning that characterizes the matrimonial ventures of many a modern girl leaves the sanctity of marriage sullied beyond all hopes of cleansing. Unfit and unwilling to be true helpmates and wives, many of these girls permit themselves to be married, that is, the formality of a wedding ceremony is still observed, but they do not intend to become either wives or mothers. Their motive is convenience, selfishness, they marry to be supported in a style which they deem fitting their beauty and accomplishments. And motherhood is a lost and despised art in the eyes of the majority.
We Christians remember at all times what Scriptures say of the state of holy wedlock. It was instituted by God Himself, whose wisdom deemed it best to create a woman and give her to Adam as his wife. The state of holy marriage with its resulting family life is the basis of all true soundness in society and of the stability of the state. Throughout the Bible, the matrimonial state is spoken of always in a tone of the highest respect, while the sins which are committed against its sanctity are condemned with an openness and incidentally with a sense of righteous wrath which leaves no doubt as to the meaning of God's will. The highest praises of the wedded state are sung in the two psalms of degrees, Ps. 127 and 128. The Bible indicates plainly what the purpose of marriage is and should be to the end of time. The Lord Himself stated: "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him," Gen. 2, 18. To be the husband's true and faithful companion, helpmate, and partner the Lord has destined every wife; the married state is a partnership of mutual love and helpfulness. The Lord also willed that the human race should be propagated through marriage, through the lawful procreation of children in holy wedlock, Gen. 1, 27. 28. He has, therefore, expressly and emphatically forbidden all fornication and adultery. Since the fall of man the original pro-creative instinct has become perverted, making it necessary that marriage have also a preventive reason, namely, that of avoiding immorality, the specific act of the married state being permitted and enjoined in holy wedlock, whereas it is strictly forbidden in any of its manifestations outside of marriage, 1 Cor. 7, 2. In accordance with such institution and blessing of God, the duties of husband and wife are plainly prescribed. The husband will consider his wife as a gift of the Lord, Prov. 18, 22; 19, 14; 31, 10. He will give her the honor due her as the weaker vessel, 1 Pet. 3, 7, always remembering that the wife, who is to partake with him of the glories of heaven, must be treated even here on earth with the respect which the Lord demands, 1 Cor. 13, 4. 7. He will love her and live with her according to knowledge, always remembering that the state of wedlock is God's institution, that every one should know how to possess his vessel in Sanctification and honor, 1 Thess. 4, 4. The husband will at all times be conscious of his position as the head of the wife, Eph; 5, 23; 1 Cor. 11,3, not in a legalistic way, as a tyrant, but in a true evangelical manner. There are some fine examples in Scripture, 1 Sam. 1,5. 8; Gen. 25, 21. Self-evident it is that the husband will cherish and take care of his wife, Eph. 5, 29; 1 Tim. 5, 8.
But even as the husband will thus truly and sincerely love his wife, Col. 3, 19; Eph. 5, 25—33, so the wife will, in turn, love and respect her husband. He is indeed, by the order of God, her head, 1 Tim. 2, 13. 14; 1 Cor. 11, 7—9; Gen. 3, 16. But it is not a question of superiority, but of headship, by the order of God, and therefore no punishment, no degradation for the woman, Eph. 5, 23. It is not a disgrace for a woman to be obedient to her husband in the Biblical sense, but an honor, since it is a willing, glad obedience based upon mutual agreement according to the infallible rule of God, Col. 3, 18; 1 Pet. 3, 1. 6. The wife will be a true helpmate of her husband and a happy mother of the children which come to her as the blessing of the Lord, if she will at all times keep the commandments and the examples of the Lord before her eyes. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life, Prov. 31, 12. She will not be contentious and brawling, Prov. 19, 13; 21, 9; 25, 24; 27, 15; 30, 21. 23. She will heed the praises which the Bible bestows upon the diligent, sensible, virtuous, gracious, modest woman, Prov. 11, 16; 12, 4; 14, 1; 19, 14; 31, 10; 1 Tim. 2, 9. 10. She will be a true mother in her home, knowing that she is serving the Lord in a state which is well pleasing to Him.45)