Thursday, October 21, 2010

Puritan Classic on Marriage Reprinted After 350 Years

Ruling Elder John Uselding of Liberty and Grace Reformed Church in Warrenton, Virginia, has done the church a valuable service by republishing a Puritan classic on marriage that has long been out of print and difficult to find. Matrimonial Honor by Daniel Rogers was completed in 1634, but first published in 1642. Along with William Gouge's Of Domestical Duties (1622); Matthew Griffith's Bethel (1633); and William Whateley's A Bride Bush (1616); it is considered to be one of the most highly regarded of the English Puritan domestic conduct books.

Chilton Latham Powell, English Domestic Relations, 1487-1653: A Study of Matrimony and Family Life in Theory and Practice as Revealed by the Literature, law, and History of the Period, p. 138, writes:

Daniel Rogers' Matrimonnial Honovr is interesting for several reasons. It was written by a minister of the Church of England; like Gouge's book, it is an exposition of life rather than the Scriptures; it is extremely human in its attitude, kindly towards the much abused weaknesses of mankind, and respectful towards people whose beliefs differed from the author's own. Were it not for the fact that it covers but a small part of the field, although 389 pages in length, it would surely outrank all others of the type. Rogers discusses only two main subjects, the honor of matrimony and the duties of husband and wife, but digresses at times to speak of parental consent to child marriages, of contracts of marriage, and, in an appendix, of chastity and the lack of it.

Daniel Rogers (1573–1652), the son of Richard Rogers (1550?-1618), was married twice, first to Margaret Bishop, and later to Sarah Evered. His first marriage, from which he had one son, Daniel, who became a minister himself, seems to have been a difficult one. From the second marriage, he had four more children: Hannah, Samuel, Mary and (named for his first wife) Margaret. Margaret married Renatus Jordain, a French Huguenot refugee, and was the mother of John Jortin, the English church historian. Mary became the wife of Puritan William Jenkyn.

In an age when marriage is lightly esteemed, and greatly trampled upon, Rogers' defense of the honor of matrimony is needed more than ever. He wrote:

Marriage is the Preservative of chastity, the Seminary of the Common-wealth, seed-plot of the Church, pillar (under God) of the world, right-hand of providence, supporter of laws, states, orders, offices, gifts and services: the glory of peace, the sinewes of war, the maintenance of policy, the life of the dead, the solace of the living, the ambition of virginity, the foundation of Countries, Cities, Universities, succession of Families, Crownes and Kingdoms.

Edification Press has made Matrimonial Honor available at both Amazon and Barnes & Noble. This is a book which I am very pleased to see in print once again, and that I highly recommend. Elder Uselding notes that Barnes & Noble has the best price:

Currently Barnes & Noble is offering the book at a much lower price than Amazon. Receive an additional 15% off at using coupon code U3D8B4J. The coupon code is valid until October 28, 2010 at 2:59 a.m. Eastern Time.

Elder Uselding also plans to republish future Puritan works, Lord willing, including Robert Bolton's A Three-Fold Treatise.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for informing us of this valuable reprint, Andrew. May God use it to help restore the honor of matrimony to our society sorely in need of that. Let us hope for lots more Puritan reprints from Elder Uselding.