A GODLY FORME OF HOUSHOLD GOVERNMENT: FOR THE ORDERING OF PRIVATE FAMILIES, according to the direction of Gods Word

A
GODLIE FORME
OF HOVSEHOLDE GO-
VERNMENT: FOR THE ORDE-
RING OF PRIVATE FAMILIES,
according to the direction of
Gods word.
Whereunto is adioyned in a more particular manner,
The seuerall duties of the Husband towards his Wife: and the
Wifes dutie towards her Husband. The Parents dutie to-
wards their Children: and the Childrens towards
their Parents. The Masters dutie towards his
Seruants: and also the Seruants
dutie towards their
Masters.
Gathered by R. C.

ISIDORE.
Thou profitest much when thou readest, if thou practisest
that which thou readest.

BARNARDE.
What auaileth it thee to reade often in bookes the holy
name of thy Sauiour, except thou studie and endeuour to
haue godlinesse in thy behauiour?

CYPRIAN.
It profiteth a man (saith he) nothing at all, to professe ver-
tue in words, and to ouerthrow the trueth in his deeds.


AT LONDON
Printed by Felix Kingston, for Thomas
Man. 1598.

London.
PUBLISHED BY R. Field
PUBLISHED FOR Thomas Man
1621
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1. A GODLIE FORME OF Household Gouernment, carefully to bee practised of all Christian Householders.

A Householde is as it were a little common wealth, by the good gouernment wherof, Gods glorie may be aduaunced, the common wealth which standeth of seuerall families, benefited, and al that liue in that familie may receiue much comfort and commoditie.

But this gouernment of a familie is not very common in the world, Note in marg: The rule of good gouernment gouernment is wisedome. wisedome. Prou. 24.3.4. for it is not a thing that men can stumble on by chance, but wisdome must leade vs vnto it. Though wisedome (saith Salomon) is an house builded, and with vnderstanding it is established: and by knowledge shall the Chambers thereof bee filled with all precious pleasant riches: that is, shall obtayne all kind of[Page 14]See also Pro.28. 2 by which two places it is manifest, such families as are not ordered by hap hazard, or as it falles, but by wisedome, discretion, and counsell, do prosper in inward & outward goods, and endure long. When we speake of wisedome, we do not meane that this government can be in all points exercised by naturall reason and wisedome: for mans wisedome reacheth but unto one point, and that the least of that which family-government tendeth unto.

But the wisedome that we speake of, is not naturall, but fetched from the fountaine of all wisedome, GOD himselfe: who by his word giveth unto us pure light to walke by, not in the Church alone, nor in publike societie of men onely, but even within the secret of our owne walles, and towards such as be abiding under the same roofe. And if we desire to walke with God asEnoch did, we must set up this light for our selves to live by at home: For then we do no iniquirie, when we walke in his way. Where no wisedome is used in governing families, there all goeth to wracke, and there many enormities are to be found, as wofull breaches betweene man and wife, gracelesnesse and unthrifrinesse of children, lewdnesse of servants, and foule escapes. And where carnall pollicie ruleth, and not the wisedome which is from above, there all that is done, tendeth to the ease,[Page 15] pleasure, and profite of this life, wherein it is fitter for bruite beasts then for men to seeke their felicitie.

Now that there is a good kind of governing of a familie, which they who follow wisely, may be said to governe well, appeareth out of the first Epistle toTimothie3. verse. 4. 5.One that guideth his house well. &c.and after:He that knoweth not to governe his owne house, &c. Whereby it is evident, that there is a way of ordering the family aright, and there is no misgoverning of it.

To set downe this good government exactly, is a hard matter. Here onely we will note some things which do appertaine unto that government which we speake of. And to do it more orderly, that it may be the better understood, we must consider, that (as may also be gathered out of that place ofTimothie) there are two sorts in every perfect familie.

  1. The Governours.
  2. Those that must be ruled.

And these two sorts have speciall duties belonging to them, the one towards the other: in the carefull performance whereof, from the one to the other, consisteth thegood government of a familie.

The governours of a family, be such as have authoritie in the familie by Gods ordinance, as the father and mother, maister and mistrisse.

2.

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Now of the other part, which pertaines to the things of this life: wherein is to be considered, what is the duty of the husband and of the wife: namely to Take order for Provision, and Health.

They must take order for provision for necessaries, to the maintenance of themselves and all their charge. These necessaries are food and rayment. Also care must be had of the health of such as[Page 62] be in their families, both to preserve it by rest, and recreation if need be, and to restore it if it be hindred, by good looking to such as are fallen into sicknesse.

That the governours of the familie must make honest provision for themselves, and their charge, and not live upon the Churchalmes, nor by begging, purloyning, borrowing, or cousining. It is most evident by that saying of SaintPaultoTimothie:He that provideth not for his owne, and especially for them of his house, hath denyed the Faith, and is worse then an infidell. And Salomonsaith,The just man regardeth the life of his beast: much more of his servants and children.

And as the Spirit of God chargeth us with this dutie; so he setteth us about such things whereby this may be compassed, and forewarneth us of those things whereby it might be hindered.

The things that he teacheth us for the making of this provision, are first;That every one should have some honest and good calling, and should walke diligently in it: that it may bring in honest gaine, whereby necessaries for the family may be prepared.

That every man must applie himselfe to some studie and calling, is so knowne, that it needeth no proofe;In the sweate of thy browes thou shalt eate thy bread, &c. which condemneth all[Page 63]such as live of the labours of other men, and themselves take no paines or travaile, do no good in the world, benefite not humane societie any way, but devoure the good creatures of the earth, which indeed belong to them that take all the paines. In this ranke do a number of Gentiles in the world march, devising gay toyes, which might well be spared; who are but unprofitable burthens of the earth, that fill up number like Ciphers, who glory in their shame, that is, in their ease, pleasures, and braverie, whereof (if they knew whereto a man was borne) they would be ashamed.

These be they for whose maintenance in their jollitie, a number are faine to toyle very hardly, fare meanely, and spend their strength to the very skinne and bones, and yet can get but a slender recompence, through their unmercifull exactions; but enough of them: to returne. The good governour of a house must be none of these: but he must have a calling that is good, honest, and lawfull; not onely gainfull to himselfe, but also holy and profitable to the societie of mankind: For thus much doth SaintPaulcomprehend within the compasse of his words, Ephes. 4. 28. But let him labour the thing that is good.

It is not enough to have a calling, though it be never so good, but it must be followed: so as it may bring in maintenance for thee and thine, such as is meete for thy estate.

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But how must it be followed? First, with diligence: for as Salomon saith, Pro. 18. 9.He that caryeth himselfe slothfully, or loosely in his businesse, is the brother of a great waster: that is, he is another waster: and doth as much as an unthrist, or spend-good.

To diligence belongeth the blessing. Prov. 10. 4. The hand of the diligent maketh rich: and Chap. 12. 11. He that tilleth his land shall be satisfied with meate. Yea, and a large blessing:The soule of the diligent shall be fatted: that is; he shall have abundantly. And lest that any should say, that in some callings a man may well thrive, but not in mine: it is said, Prov. 14. 23.In all labour, that is, diligent following thy calling [...]Moreover, this diligence will bring a man to renowne. Prov. 22. 29.Thou seest that a diligent man in his businesse standeth before Kings, &c.

The better to kindle thy affection unto this diligence in following thy calling, consider what is said of the Spirit of God, of those evils that are enemies unto it.

Many a man is idle and slothfull, because labour and toile is irkesome and painfull to him, as Prov. 20. 4.The slothfull will not plough, because of Winter: but what is his reward? It followeth,Therefore shall he begge in Sommer, and have nothing. Povertie is the fruite of slothfulnesse. Prov: 10. 4.A slothfull hand maketh poore.[Page 65]And least any man should thinke that he could keepe away povertie, at least a great while: it is said in Prov. 24. 34. that it commeth violently, and with great power, and swiftly upon such a man, and he shall not withstand it: Thy poverty commeth as a light traveller, and thy necessity as an armed man. In the same place also, the meanes whereby it commeth is expressed: verse 30. He through follie neglecteth his ground, and left it unfenced, and untilled, and so it yeelded him no increase. Which being there spoken of husbandrie, may be drawne to a generall, that to let such things lye idle and unused, which should bring in commoditie, is the high-way to povertie.

The slothfull, is further described to be a great wisher and woulder, but no good householder: Proverbs 13. 4.The Sluggard lusteth, but his soule hath nought. And Proverbs:All the day long he wisheth, but his desire is not accomplished: which wasteth him with sorrow. Besides, he perswadeth himselfe that he hath some sufficient stay or let, to with-hold him from diligent labour, and so dare not go forward, as the wiseman saith, Prov. 15. 19.The way of the slothfull is a hedge of thornes. And in another place he saith; Prov. 22. 13.A Lion is in the way: but in truth it is ease and lazinesse that letteth him. As the doore turneth upon the hinges, so doth the slothfull in his bed. And to shew that[Page 66]such a man is in a down-hill to beggerie:Salomon saith, that he thinketh himselfe very wise in his doing: The Sluggard is wiser in his owne conceit, then seven men that can render a reason. What hope is there of saving of him that the begger catch him not, who pleaseth himselfe in his sloth, which doth summon him to beggerie? That also is not to be omitted, that such a sluggard, who suffereth his owne ground to be over growne with thornes and nettles, stones or thistles, serveth in the world for an example, to make other men warie. Under this, is that same luskishnesse which maketh men love their ease and sleepe, which bringeth forth the same fruite that sloth doth.The sleeper shall be clothed with ragges. Prov. 23. 21. and therefore, the wise-man laboureth to draw men from it. Prov. 20. 13. tLove not sleepe, lest thou come to povertie; open thine eyes, and thou shalt be satisfied with bread.

Another enemie to diligence, is, following of vaine and idle companie. For though a man be eager minded towards his businesse, yet by vaine and idle company, he shall be drawne away to other delights, and lose his good houres, and let go the occasion of doing some things in the fit season. ThereforeSalomon saith, Prov. 12. 11.The man that followeth the idle, is destitute of understanding.And againe, that he shall come to no better passe, then the idle man. Pro. 28. 19.He that followeth the idle, shall be filled with povertie.[Page 67]This harme getteth he by haunting vaine company, and leude persons. For as sweete waters are corrupted and spoiled, when they run into waters which are salt, bitter, or unwholsome, and so lose the vertue thereof: even so, he that joyneth himselfe in friendship, and doth couple himselfe in familiaritie with wicked and ungodly men, becommeth wicked and ungodly himselfe, and is stayned and blemished with their vices, although heretofore he had bene inclined to vertue and godlinesse. For A little leaven (saith the Apostle)doth leaven the whole lump.1. Cor. 5. 6.

Pastime also carieth many from their callings, and likewise from thrift: Pro. 21. 17.He that loveth pastime, shall be a poore man. Which being a punishment threatned of God against that evill; though a man would be warie of loosing much at play, yet the Lord might some other way bring him to povertie, and so punish him for his corrupt delight in that thing which the Scripture hath so branded.

Lastly, unto true diligence,Salomon opposeth and setteth talking & great reckoning of what they will do, Prov. 14. 23.In all labour there is abundance, but the talke of the lips bringeth only want. For commonly, such as make great account of their doings, when it commeth to doing, can find no fit time to begin.

Now to finish this point of diligence to be[Page 68]used in our calling, marke the good husbandrie which the Spirit of God teacheth, Prov.27. 23.Be diligent to know the state of thy flocke, and take heed to thy heards, for riches remaine not alwayes. Where he willeth men not to trust all to servants, for the care of their cattell & other commodities, but to looke diligently to them themselves. The reason is, for that their riches be not so glued to them, but that if they be not carefully looked unto, they will take their leave and be gone. And so we see it often comes to passe, that they which do their businesse by others, have others to thrive for them.

But here peradventure, some husbands and wives will say: Yee speake much of good husbandrie and good huswiferie, but how would you have them to be good husbands and good huswifes, that have not where with to be good husbands or good huswifes on? Whereunto we answer, that good husbandrie and good huswiferie, consisteth not so much in having much or little, as in the wise, carefull, discreet, & good fore-casting of that which God in mercie hath enabled and enriched them with, to see every thing wel ordered, and employed to a good end and use. For we by experience doe see, that some husbands and wives, can so husbandly and huswifely dispose of things, that they will make a fairer shew of a little, and cause it to stretch further, then many can do with much and can do[Page 69]as much with twenty nobles, as some other can with twenty or thirty pounds.

As a calling must be followed with diligence, so also there is wisedome, skil, and discretion to be used in it. For as in lifting of a great weight, a mightie strong man wanting cunning, cannot moove that, though he straine & busie himselfe much, which a weak man will do with a sleight. So dealing in any calling, some man shall toile exceedingly much, and yet for want of wit and discretion, not do halfe the good that another shall with more ease, Prov. 13. 23.

He that hath a trade, let him learne to be cunning in it, and able to go through with it: Prover. 16. 20. And to the end he may walke on surer ground, let him not disdaine to aske advice and counsell. For the praise of contriving matters well by his owne wit, is not so great, as is the losse and ignominy when for want of counsell a man entreth a wrong course. Besides,Salomon doth commend this wisedome unto us often, to take heed of hastinesse, headinesse, and selfe-will; and to beware of overweening in our owne reach: Proverbs, 15. 22.Without counsell, thoughts, that is, intents and purposes,come to nought:but in the multitude of counsell there is stedfastnesse. And 20. 18.Establish thy thoughts by counsell, and by counsell make warre. Whereas on the other side, Hast bringeth waste.Whosoever is hastie, that is, that[Page 70]rashly goeth about his businesse without counsell, commeth surely to povertie. Prov. 21. 5. That is notable, Proverb. 29. 20.Seest thou a man hastie in his matters, there is more hope of a foole then of him. The same is said of the conceited man,Seest thou a man wise in his owne conceit?there is more hope of a foole then of him. Prov 26. 12.

When the Spirit of God doth so carefully commend this thing to us, we must needs thereby see, that it is a matter óf great necessitie, and of excellent use. For, as the proverbe is, Two eyes see more then one. And many times, men see more cleerely in other mens matters then in their owne. In this case also, it is good to looke to the examples of others, and our owne experience in such like cases; for much light commeth into a wise mans mind by this window. And to the end that thou mayst make thy use of experience and examples, when occasion shall serve, it is good to marke things which shall fall out, to observe the beginnings, proceedings, and events of matters, and to keepe them in mind to stand thee in stead: for he that never marketh any thing, it is all one as if he had never seene or heard any thing: and such a one must alwayes be running for counsell in every light matter, or else may take a wrong course, except he can stumble on the right way by good hap. This observation, and pondering of events, with the causes that went before, is the ripener[Page 71]of wit. But idle-mindednesse, and carelesse letting passe of matters, maketh an emptinesse in the head, of such good things as make one man excell another.

3.

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The last rule is, that a good governour of a familie, for the better maintenance of his familie, must be frugal, or (to speake english) a good husband, that is, spating and saving, and that he so order and moderate himselfe, that if his goods and revenues be not sufficient for him and his[Page 77]charge, he make himselfe sufficient for his goods, and dispose of himselfe according to the old proverbe: So to cut his coate according to his cloth, and to eate within nis owne tether. Yet we would not have him pinching, or niggardly, and so dried up for liberality, that nothing should be wrong from him for good uses: that is too farre on the left hand, as prodigalitie is on the right. But where there is no just cause to spend or lay out, and it might be as well spared, there we would have him save, for his riches be the Lords goods, which God hath made him a steward of: when the Lord therfore willeth him to open his hand, there let him not be straight handed, but where nothing but unruly lusts and pompe, or vaine glory, bid him draw, there is he to hold fast: for he is an ill steward that will lay out his maisters goods where there is no need, or where lesse would serve. There be many, who of a greedy and covetous mind, will easily imbrace this precept of sparing: but as they do it with a wrong purpose so they faile in the matters wherein they should save and be sparing. Many misers pinch their servants in their meate and drinke, allowing them not enough, or not good enough, and this they take for frugalitie and thrift: whereas to pranke, and pricke up themselves in bravery, and that sometimes above their calling, they are very lavish. This is no more to be[Page 78]counted frugalitie, or good husbandry, then to roba poore man to give to the rich, is true liberalitie. When therefore thou thinkest of sparing, let not the greedy desire of gathering draw thee to it, but conscience of well using that which God hath lent thee. And this mind will draw thee to spare and save onely there, where it may be well done, and not there where in conscience thou oughtest to spend. Now the better to further out selves in this honest thriftinesse, or frugalitie, which is called of one, a great revenue: the occasions of needlesse expences must be avoided. Love not mirth and pastime, for they have oft occasion of expences. Againe, they cause losse of time, and neglect of businesse at home, yea, and often men do buy their pleasure with losse in their goods, while retchlesse maisters have either theevish or carelesse servants. TherforeSalomon telleth such their fortune, Prov. 11. 17.He that loveth mirth or pastime, will be a poore man.

Secondly, a sweete tooth, and a faire mouth, that is daintinesse, or choicenesse in diet, is an enemy to frugalitie: a needlesse charge, to delight in the taste for a moment, whereas wholesome meate and drinke, would be more ease for the purse, and more healthfull for the body. He that loveth wine and oyle, that is, sweete delicates for his senses, will not be rich, Pro. 27. 17.

In this ranke doth march gluttonte: I meane[Page 79]cramming and pampering of the body, and also drunkennesse. These dull the mind and wit, darken reason, and make a man become sottish. Besides, they stuffe the body with grosse humors, which breed diseases, & diseases bring other charges of physicke, or at least, losse of time, and neglect of businesse, which do cost a man as much as his diet wherein he was excessive: so that these evils have double expences.

To be briefe in this point, God having set the destiny of the drunkard and the glutton, namely, that many evils, and namely povertie, shall betide them, Prover. 23. 21. 29. 30. 31. by some way or other he will effect his judgement: for no one peece of his word shall fall to the ground.

A great back-friend to thrift is good fellowship, and company keeping: for it hath losse of time, and draweth thee away from thy calling, and hindereth the due overseeing of good husbands affaires: it maketh a man overslip occasions of doing good things in a due and fit season: besides, it draweth home others to thy house, or draweth thee to others houses, as tavernes, alehouses, and such like, the haunting wherof is a thing of no good report: and it maketh thee lavish in spending, or else it is no good fellowship, (as they say) & by meanes thereof thou shaltfeed the gluttons, and spend that upon[Page 80]others, which belongeth to thine owne family: whichSalomon saith, Pro. 28. 7.Is ashame to thy father.

Thy company keeping hath many other enormities:He that toucheth pitch, shalbe defiled therewith. And as he is a partie with him in his evils, so shalt thou be also in his punishment: Thecompanio of fooles shall be afflicted. Wherefore avoide such, and rather follow the wife:He that walketh with the wise, shall be wise: Who are they? Even they that have the lippes of knowledge, whose words teach good things. But such whose talke is nothing but froth, their words unsavoury, bringing no good to the hearers: though there be no outward evill in their lives, yet they must not be admitted for companions, further then upon some urgent occasion thou must deale with them: Prov. 14. 7.Depart from the foolish man, when thou perceivest not in him the lips of knowledge.

This is a selection from the original text

Keywords

beasts, decency, greed, health, pleasure, profit, theft, thrift, waste

Source text

Title: A GODLIE FORME OF HOVSEHOLDE GOVERNMENT: FOR THE ORDERING OF PRIVATE FAMILIES, according to the direction of Gods word. Whereunto is adioyned in a more particular manner, The seuerall duties of the Husband towards his Wife: and the Wifes dutie towards her Husband. The Parents dutie towards their Children: and the Childrens towards their Parents. The Masters dutie towards his Seruants: and also the Seruants dutie towards their Masters. Gathered by R. C.

Author: Robert Cleaver, John Dod

Publisher: Felix Kingston

Publication date: 1598

Edition: 2nd Edition

Place of publication: London

Provenance/location: This text was transcribed from images available at Early English Books Online: http://eebo.chadwyck.com/home Bibliographic name / number: STC (2nd ed.) / 5383 Physical description: 384 p. Copy from: Henry E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery Reel position: STC / 317:02

Digital edition

Original author(s): Robert Cleaver, John Dod

Language: English

Selection used:

  • 1 ) title page
  • 2 ) image numbers: 7-8
  • 3 ) pages 61-71
  • 4 ) pages 76-80

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