A Refractory Wife
A man once came to the Kev. Mr. Scott, complaining of his wife. He said she was so exceeding ill-tempered, and so studiously tormented him in such a variety of ways, that she was the great burden of his life ; and notwithstanding all the kind methods he had used to bring her to a better disposition, she was not at all improved, but grew continually worse and worse. Mr. Scott exhorted him to try what a redoubled affection and kindness would do ; observing to him that the command of Scripture to husbands was, “to love their wives,” and that “even as Christ loved the church.”
This advice did not appear to satisfy the man, and he went away much dejected, resolving however, if possible, to follow it, since, though it had not yet succeeded, he could not but consider it as founded on the word of God. He accordingly increased his attention, and as an instance of his kindness, the next Saturday evening brought to his wife his whole week’s wages, and with an affectionate smile threw them into her lap, begging her entire disposal of them. This did not succeed: she threw the wages in a passion, accompanied with many bitter execrations, at his head; and afterwards continued in the practice of every spiteful and malicious trick that she could devise, or, according to the poor man’s own conclusion, that Satan himself could suggest to make his life miserable.
Some years elapsed, during which he sustained as patiently as he could this wicked and undutiful treatment, when Providence favored him with another interview with his kind friend Mr. Scott. This happened most opportunely at a time when a neighbor had been giving the man a supposed recipe for the cure of refractory wives; and, as a strong recommendation, mentioned that he had tried it on his own wife with the happiest effects. The man therefore came to Mr. Scott with a countenance bespeaking a considerable degree of confidence, which led Mr. Scott at first to hope that his former advice had proved successful but he was soon informed that, throuogh the extremely wayward disposition of the woman, it had operated in a way precisely the reverse of what was expected from it. Upon being asked why then he smiled, and looked so pleasantly, he said he believed he had really found out a remedy which, if it should meet Mr. Scott’s approbation, would not fail of effecting a cure for it had been tried by a neighbor of his on a wife, who, though she had been in all respects as bad as his, was by only one application become one of the most obedient and affectionate creatures living. ” And what is this excellent remedy ?” said Mr. Scott. ”Why, sir, it is a good whipping. You hear, sir, what good effects have been produced; do you think I may venture to try it ?”
Mr. Scott replied, “I read, my friend, nothing about husbands whipping their wives in the Bible, but just the reverse ; namely, love, which I before recommended: and I can by no means alter the word of God: but I doubt not if you persevere it will be attended with a happy result;” this advice was accompanied with exhortations to more earnest prayer.
The man, though he left Mr. Scott both with a mind and countenance very different from those with which he came, resolved to follow his directions, as his esteem for him was very great; and Providence calling Mr. Scott sometime after to preach at Birmingham, his old friend, who then resided there, came to him after he had concluded the service, and with a countenance expressive of peace and happiness, said that he should have reason to bless God through eternity for the advice he had given him; and that he had not been induced by his weak importunities to alter or relax it ; adding that his wife, who then stood smiling with approbation by his side, was not only become a converted woman, through a blessing on his kind attentions to her, but was one of the most affectionate and dutiful of wives.
From Anecdotes for the Family and Social Circle
Published by the American Tract Society.