CLEAVER, Robert. DOD John.


CLEAVER, Robert. DOD John. A godly forme of houshold gouernment, for the ordering of priuate families, according to the direction of Gods Word.

London, [Eliot’s Court Press for] the assignes of Thomas Man, 1630


8vo. 192 unnumbered leaves: A-Z⁸, Aa⁸, first and last blank. Roman letter, some Italic. Small woodcut initials, typographic ornaments, ‘J. Lowell 1723’ on fly, (loose) repeated on title, ‘Charles Lowell’ on f.f.e.p., book-label of Arnold Muirhead on pastedown. Age yellowing, light browning and spotting (poorish paper). A good clean copy, in contemporary calf, covers bordered with double blind and double gilt rules, spine gilt ruled in compartments, upper joint worn, restoration to head and tail of spine and corners. a.e.r.

Excellent edition, the third, of this most interesting and influential example of “conduct” literature. The authors, both English Protestant ministers, emphasise the need for good order and obedience, and make an analogy between the household and the kingdom as a whole. The work, first published in 1614, was developed by John Dod from a 1598 pamphlet by his co-author Robert Cleaver. It took material from a sermon published in 1591, ‘A Preparative for Marriage’ by Henry Smith. Dod helped to expand the work in its many later editions. The works structure and content are outlined on the title page: the duties of husband to wife and wife to husband; parental duties to children and children’s duties to parents; masters’ duties to servants and servants’ to masters. The husband’s first duty is to love his wife as his own flesh, then to govern her in all duties that properly concern the state of marriage, in knowledge, in wisdom, judgment, and justice. “The obedience that the wife oweth to her husband dependeth upon this subjection of her will and wisdom unto him.”

“In 1612, John Dod and Robert Cleaver published a lengthy guide to domestic living. ‘A godly form of household government’ .. commenced with what had become a conventional metaphor for the well-managed family unit; ‘An Householde is as it were a little common-wealth, by the good Government whereof, Gods glories may be advanced, the commonwealth which standeth of severall families benefited, and all that live in that familie receive much comfort and commodite.” There was a division of labour between the ‘Chiefe Govenour, which is the Husband’, and ‘secondly a Fellow-helper, which is the wife’. The governors role was ordained by God and in turn he possessed important spiritual responsibilities. .. The authors were not content however to sketch the formal roles and duties. They proceeded to describe the relations between husband and wife in terms which were less hierarchal than their initial model and more aware of the significance of boundaries of communication within a household and between its members and the surrounding neighbourhood. For Dod and Cleaver, a marriage was founded on an intimate exchange of physical and personal knowledge.” David Vincent. ‘Privacy: A Short History.’

“A Godly Form of Household Government, .. sold so well that it underwent nine editions in the period, and it is of particular interest to readers of Othello for the analogy it develops between the right ordering of the patriarchal family and the state, for its discussion of the potential dangers of friendship, for the details of the marital advice it offers to both wives and husbands, and for its comments on the proper response to infidelity” Jessica Slights, editor, “Othello”.

ESTC S117160. STC 5388. Hull, Chaste, Silent and Obedient.