« PreviousContinue »
paip with consolation. If these., benefits, these comforts, How from recollected compositions of man; how much greater may be expected from portions of the Word of God deeply imprinted on the mind!
But it is not from books alone that a considerate young woman is to seek her improvement and her gratifications. The discharge of relative duties, and the exercise of benevolence, form additional sources of activity and enjoyment. To give delight in the affectionate intercourse of domestic society; to relieve a parent in the superintendance of family affairs; to smooth the bed of sickness, and cheer the decline of age; to examine into the wants and distresses of the female inhabitants of the neighbourhood ; to promote useful institutions for the comfort of mothers, and for the instruc: tion of children ; and to give to those institutions that degree of attention, which, without requiring either much time or much personal trouble, will facilitate their establishe ment and extend their usefulness ;--these are employments congenial to female sympathy; employments in the precise line of female duty; employments which, so far as the lot of human life allows, confer genuine and lasting kindnesses on those they are designed to benefit, and never fail, when pursued from conscientious motives, to meliorate the heart of her who is engaged in them.
In pointing out that which ought to be done, let justice be rendered to that which has been done. In the discharge of the domestic offices of kindness, and in the exercise of charitable and friendly regard to the neighbouring poor, women in general are exemplary. In this latter branch of Christian virtue, an accession of energy has been witnessed within a few years.' Many ladies have shewn, and still continue to shew, their earnest solicitude for the welfare of the wretched and the ignorant, by spontaneously establishing schools of industry and of religious instruction; and with a still more beneficial warmth of benevolence, have taken the regular inspection of them upon themselves. May they. steadfastly persevere, and be imitated by numbers !
Among the employments of time, which, though regarded with due attention by many young women, are more or less neglected by a considerable proportion, moderate exercise in the open air claims to be noticed. Sedentary confinement in hot apartments on the one hand, and public diversions frequented on the other, in buildings still more crowded and stilling, are often permitted so to occupy the time, as by degrees even to wear away the relish for the
freshness of a pure atmosphere, for the beauties and amuse ments of the garden, and for those “rural sights and rural sounds,” which delight the mind unsubdued by idleness folly, or vice. Enfeebled health, a capricious temper, low and irritable spirits, and the loss of many pure and continually recurring enjoyments, are among the consequences of such misconduct.
But though books obtain their reasonable portion of the day, though health has been consulted, though the immediate demands of duty have been fulfilled, and the dictates . of benevolence obeyed, there will be yet hours remaining unoccupied ; hours for which no specific employment has yet been provided. For such hours it is not the intention of these pages to prescribe any specific employment. What if some space be assigned to the useful and elegant arts of female industry? A well regulated life will never know a vacuum sufficient to require a large share of amusements to be sought abroad to fill it,
be th. Thoseose the rewah adorn
THE ADVANTAGES OF INDUSTRY,
The hand of the diligent maketh rich. Prov. x. 4. IF it be true that God has given nothing to man but what requires labour and industry to get, doubtless it should be the effort of every one so to labour that they may obo. tain. Those who neglect their occupation, or refuse to labour, will lose the reward.
Of all the virtues which adorn and beautify the character of a man, none sets it off to a greater admiration, or ought to be more valued by us than industry. For it is that alone which makes the artificer and labourer as useful and valuable as any members in society.
As Providence"bath'allotted to men different stations and conditions of life, and assigned them different gifts and talents to profit with, and different occupations and employ. ments for the good of the whole; to be diligent and industrious then, in the several provinces in which he hath placed us, is a duty we owe to ourselves, that we may become ser. viceable to mankind, and at the same time merit their es- * teem.
The cares and anxieties of this world are often alleviated
to profit life, and allotted to
by the hand of industry. For only let us suppose that we have in our view a-cottage, where contentment and happi. ness take up their abode, and industry is its porter. Let us now take a survey of the family, and see what its members are employed in. The first object that presents itself to us is the aged father, (who by an industrious hand has brought up his family, now able to assist him) giving orders to his sous to go and cultivate his few acres of ground; on the produce of which, perhaps, depends the whole maintenance of his family, while he, an eneiny to idleness, employs him. self at home. The next in view is the mother, no less mindful of her duty than the father, who, after having set in order the house, now employs her daughters in their respective callings of the day, while she performs her domestic concerns in providing for her family. But what a change shall we find when our attention is drawn aside to the neigh, boaring cottage, where nothing but discord and animosities are to be seen, and where no proper regulations are kept up, and no government or obedience to be found, but all libertines; in a word, industry is shut out, and idleness, anarchy, and confusion bear the sway! '
The effects of idleness often prove fatal to inconsiderate , youth, and those who appear lovers of it mușt doubtless be enemies to 'industry; but let the scene be changed, let us see youth spontaneously opening their incliuation to the embraces of it, and giving it the rule over idleness..
When the seeds of industry are well sown in the mind, and the inclination well cultivated by attentive labourers, it is like a field, although barren, nevertheless by labour and . perseverance, it will abundantly repay the industry of the husbandman.
Froin the admirable lesson which Æsop gives us in the fable of the Ants and Grasshopper, we may learn never to Jose any present opportunity of providing against the future evils and accidents of life. For as the summer is the season of the year in which the industrious husbandman gathers and lays up sucb fruits as may supply his necessities in winier; so youth and manhood are the times of life which we should employ and bestow, in laying in such a stock of all kinds of necessaries, as. may suffice for the craving demands of helpless old age. a Pir r ,'' ?
ECONOMY is so important a part of a woman's charac, ter, so necessary to her own happiness, and so essential la her performing properly the duties of a wife, and of a mother, that it ought io have ihe precedence of all other ac-, complishments, and to take its rank next to the first duties of life. Yet this is too often neglected in a young woman's education; and she is sent from the house of her father to govern a family, without that knowledge which is necessary to qualify her for it: this is the source of much inconvenience, and may be attended with unpleasant consequences. The husband's opinion of his wife's incapacity for domestic affairs may be fixed too strongly to suffer him ever to think justly of her gradual improvements. A woman, whatever other qualifications or accomplishments she may possess, who does not understand doinestic economy, is a very improper person for a wife. Young women should endeavour, in early life, to lay in a store of knowledge on this subject, even before they are called to the practice of it. They, should daily observe what passes before them; they should consult prudent and experienced mistresses of families; and should enter in a book every new piece of intelligence they acquire; they should afterwards compare these with more mature observations, and make additions and corrections as they see occasion.
The first and greatest point iq domestic economy, is to lay out your general plan of living in a just proportion to, your income. If you would enjoy real comfort in the management of your affairs, you should lay your plan considerably within your income, either to prepare for contin, gences, or to increase your funds of charity, which are in fact the true funds of pleasure.
i : In order to settle your plan, it will be necessary to make a pretty exact calculation, and if from this time you accustom yourselves to take an account of all the little exs penses entrusted to you, you will soon grow expert and ready at them, and be able to guess very nearly where certainty cannot be attained.
Regularity in paymenis and accounts is essential to economy. You should also endeavour to acquire skill in pur
chasing; and in order to this, attend to the prices of things, and take every proper opportunity of learning the real value of every thing, as well as the marks whereby you are to distinguish the good and the bad.
In your table and dress, and in all other things, aim at propriety, and neatness, avoiding all extravagances. It is impossible to enter into all the minutiæ of the table; but good sense, and observation of the best models, must form your taste, and a due regard to your circumstances must restrain it.
Needle-work is generally considered as a part of good housewifery. Many young women make almost every thing they wear; by which they can make a respectable appearance at a small expense. Absolute idleness is inexcusable in a woman, and renders her contemptible. The needle is, or ought to be, always at hand for those intervals in which she cannot be otherwise employed.
Early rising, and a proper disposing of time, are essential to economy. The necessary orders, and an examination, joto household affairs, should be dispatched early in the day. If any thing that is necessary be deferred, you may afterwards, by company or unforeseen avocations, forget or neglect to do it. There is a strange aversion in many, and particularly in youth, to regularity and punctuality. Be assured it is of more consequence than you can conceiye, to get the better of this procrastinating spirit, and to acquire early habits of constancy and order, even in the most trifling matters.
The neatness and order of your house and furniture, is a part of economy which will greatly affect your appearance and character. The decent order of the house should be designed to promote the convenience and happiness of those who are in ii, whether as domestics or as guests.
The chief end to be proposed in cultivating the ander- standing of women, is to qualify them for the practical pur
poses of life. Their knowledge is not often, like the learn
ing of men, to be reproduced in some literary composition, · nor ever in any learned profession; but it is to come into
conduct. A woman learns that she may act. She is too read the best books, not so much to enable her to talk of them, as to bring the improvement which they furnish to the rectification of her principles, and the formation of her habits. The great uses of study to a female are to enable her to regulate her own mind, and to be instrumental to the good of others. That kind of knowledge which is rather