Friday, May 6, 2011

1696 Gentlewomen Behaving Dutifully Towards Parents

Abraham van den Tempel (1622-1672) 1660s Family

The Accomplished Ladies Rich Closet OF Rarities
John Shirley [J. S. (John Shirley), fl. 1680-1702.]
LONDON Printed by W Wilde for n. Bodington in Duck Lane; and J. Blare on London-Bridge. 1696.

Instructions for Young Gentlewomen in Behaving themselves dutifully towards their Parent.

AS our Parents are those from whom, next God, we have our Being, and by whose tender Care and inseparable Love we are nourished and preserved from innumerable Dangers and Hazards; therefore observe,

In the first place, your Reverence, Love, and Obedience, is strictly required, not only by the Tyes of Nature, but by God's Holy Word, as sundry places in Scripture manifest; nor can their Infirmities in any wise absolve you, or dispense with your non-performance; but in such a case you ought to double your observance, that thereby, as much as in you lies, you may hide their Weakness and Defects from the Eyes of others.

You must observe at all times to obey the Will of your Parents (if it be in your power, and not contrary to God's Command) without repining, or entring into dispute, performing what you do with cheerfulness, shewing by your willing mind your ready Obedience, and by your quick dispatch, demonstrating the Pleasure you rake in the performance, shunning all occasions of giving them any disquiet, pacifying their Anger, if it at any time arise, with submission either in Words or by Behaviour, tempering your Anions with a moderate sweetness of Disposition and Silence, for too much Ostentation or Loquacity is displeafing: When your Parents greve be you sad; when they rejoice, be you pleasant, as sympathizing with them in Heaviness and Joy; yet |be not over inquisitive into the cause; but if you are desirous to know it, wait their leisure to reveal it, or learn it from some other Hand.

Forget not to pray for your Parents as often as you put your Vows to Heaven, beseeching the Almighty to shower his Blessings upon them; which is one great advance by which a Child endeavours to make his Parents restitution for their Care and Tenderness; for nothing without calling God to your assistance can in that nature be effectual; the diffarence being otherwise so vast between what has been done for you, and what you can do to deserve it.

Let not the hopes of Riches, no, nor the seveity of your Parents, imprint in your mind a desire of their Death, let the Almighty be offended, and shorten your Days.

Shun those that speak ill of your Parents and would make them seem contemptible in your Eyes: Nor let their Poverty, should you be advanced by any means to Riches or Honour, render your Duty and Obedience less, for they cannot be but the same in all condition: If they be poor, you ought to relieve them; if they are weak of Understanding, you. must assist them with your Counsel: If they be injured or oppresed, endeavour to succour and redress them; for no Years can exempt you from observing your Duty to your Parents; nor ought you to dispose of your self in Marriage, nor otherwise, without their allowance and content, your Person being indispensibly theirs in a lawful way to dispose of. And so it was under the Law of Moses in relation to a Virgin's Vow; the which, though the had made, yet if her Father approved it not, it was void, But if her Father disallow her in the day that be heareth, not any of her Vows, nor her Bonds- wherewith she hath bound her Soul shall stand; and the Lord shall forgive her, because her Father disallowed her. By this we see the great Power that Parents had over their Children, even to a degree of cancelling, and rendring of none effect the obligation of a Vow, which Power was given by God himself.

Certain it is, that no poverty, fault, or unkindness of Parents, can dispense with that Duty and Obedience, which, by the Law of God and Nature, Children owe their Parents, for the tender care, labour, and cost, bestowed on them: Nay, though Parents should prove unnatural, and expose them, even in their Infancy, to a desperate Fortune of Hazard and Danger; yet still those Children are bound to perform their Duty, and look for their Reward from him who is the Author of all Blessings.