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prove that to be right, which it already thinks too amiable to be wrong. To the fascinating charms of female virtue, when adorned by its highest embellishment, diffidence, the Scriptures themselves bear testimony. St. Peter, addressing himself to married women, some of whom, in those days, had been converted to the Christian religion while their husbands remained yet in idolatry, speaks in the following terms: “Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that if any obey not the word, they also, without the word, may be won by the conversation of the wives; while they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.” To every woman who, in modern times, is unhappy enough to have a husband ignorant of the evidence, unconvinced of the truth, regardless of the precepts, or destitute of the genuine spirit of Christianity, this direction of the apostle indicates an object which ought to be among the • Dearest to her heart; and at the same time describes, with
an accurate insight into the nature of the human mind, the methods from which, under the superintending control of Providence, the attainment of it is to be expected. But it speaks to married women universally. To every one who discerns in the behaviour of her husband a habit of deviation, in any respect, from the path of Christian rectitude, it speaks the language of instruction and of encouragement. If the example of a wife endearing herself to her husband by " chaste conversation,” by purity of manners and of conduct," coupled with fear,” united with modest respect and unassuming mildness, would be thus efficacious towards reclaiming a person immersed in the darkness and immoralities of paganism; shall it now be without power to detach him, who daily beholds it, from smaller errors ? Shall not the divine blessing, which heretofore enabled it to do so much, enable it now to do that which is less? Its power is neither diminished, nor forsaken of the divine blessing: It labours in secrecy and silence, unobtrusive and unseen. But it is, at this hour, performing its part throughout every quarter of the Christian world, in weaning from prejudices, io dissuading from vice, in fixing the wavering, in softening the abdurate, in rendering virtue and holiness beloved, in extending the sphere of peace and happiness, and in preparing those on whom it operates for higher felicity hereafter. Women appear to be, on the whole, more disposed to religious considerations than men. They have minds more susceptible of lively impressions, which religion is pre-eminent in producing. They are less exposed that the other sex to the temptations of gross and open vices. They bave quicker feelings of native delicacy, no inconsiderable sopports to virtue. They are more easily excited to tenderness, benevolence, and sympathy. And they are subjected, in a peculiar degree, to vicissitudes of health adapted to awaken serious thought, and to set before them the prospect and the consequences of dissolution. The sleady glow of piety excited in the mind of the wife has; id numberless instances, diffused itself through the breast of the husband; and in no instance has it diffused itself through his breast, without adding to the warmth of connubial affection :
But never let it be forgotten, that female example, if it be thus capable of befriending the cause of religion and the interests of moral, rectitnde, is equally capable of proving itself one of the most dangerous of their foes. We are al prone to copy a model, though a faulty one, which is continually before us. When the persons by whom it is exhibijed are indifferent to us, we yet conform to it imperceptibly; when ihey are esteemed and loved, we are eospared into imitation even with open eyes. She who, at present, has no piety of heart; or so far mistakes the essence of Christian piety as to regard it as a matter but of secondary importance, knows not whether she shall not have to an swer at the day of retribution for having betrayed her husbaud into a neglect of his eternal welfare. She who sets the pattern of slighting one Christian precept, contributes not only to lead her husband into the same sin, but likewise to weaken his attachment to every other Christian ordinance, and to impair the sense wbich he entertains, be it more or less strong, of the obligation and importance of the other precepts of the gospel. If you are a little capable of being, in the most important points, a beneficial companion to your husband; beware, at least, of being a noxious associate. If you are unable to forward, his course in the paths of virtue and religion; as least beware that he be not impeded and misled by failings borrowed from yourself. Be not, however, disposed to conclude that your modest endeavours to promote his best interests are in vaio. Be not weary in well doing," nor despair. Persevere in your exertions, for your husband's sake, as well as for your own. Unavailing as they have bitherto proved, at a future period they may be rendered, by the blessing of Providence, sue cessful. Even now, unpromising as appearances may be
you may have sown seed which, under the fostering influence of reflection, of sickness, and of sorrow, may spring up and bear excellent fruit hereafter.
But, whatever be the influence which the amiable virtue of a wife may obtain over her husband; let not the consciousness of it ever lead ber to seek opportunities of displaying it, nor to cherish a wish to intrude into those departments which belong not to her jurisdiction. Content with the province which reason and revelation have assigned to her, and sedulous to fulfil, with cheerful alacrity, the duties which they preseribe; let her equally guard against desiring to possess undue weight over her husband's conduct, and against exercising amiss that which properly belongs to her. Let her remember too, that the just regard which has been acquired by artless attractions, may be lost by unwarrantable and teasing competition.
To preserve unimpaired the affections of her associate, to convince him that in bis judgment of her character formed antecedently to-marriage, he was neither blinded by partiality, nor deluded by artifice, will be the uniform study of every woman who consults her own happiness and the rules of Christian duty. The strongest attachment will decline, if it suspect that it is received with diminished warmth. And the suspicion will present itself to the mind of a busband, who sees not in the behaviour of his wife a continuance of that solicitude to render herself pleasing to hin, which he had experienced at the commencement of their union. The advice which has been publicly and seriously given, that a married woman should ever conceal with care from her husband the extent of her affection for him, is happily too absurd to gain many converts among women who really love those to whom they are united ; and too dif. ficult to be frequently pot in practice by wives of that de. scription, should they blindly desire to follow it.
Next to the attractions of virtue, the qualification which contributes, perhaps, more than any other to cherish the tender feelings of regard, and to establish connubial happiness, is good temper. li is indeed itself a virtue. As far as it is the inere gift of nature, it is not in strictness entitled to that appellation. But as far as it results from conscientious cultivation and vigilance, it has a claim to the honour able distinction. Some minds are originally imbued with an ampter share of benevolence and kindness than bas beca infused into others. The difference is obvious, even in early childhood. Care, however, and exertion, founded on a 18
Christian motives, and strengthened by uniform habit, are able both to meliorate dispositions already excellent, and overcome the greatest inherent defects. But if they on whom Providence, varying the sources of moral probation in different individuals, has bestowed sweetness of temper with a sparing hand, be not strenuous and unremitting in their efforts to improve, under the divine blessing, the scanty stock; if, instead of considering a native failing as an intimation respecting the quarter on which it is their special duty to be on their guard, they convert it into an apology for captiousness, peevishness and violence: what but domestic misery can be expected: a fretful woman is her own tormentor ; but she is also a torment to every one around her, and to none so much as to her husband. No day, no hour is secure. No incident is so trifling, but it *may be wrought up into a family disturbance. The apostle's exclamation,“ Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth !" is in that house fully and continually exemplified. But the scene to which that exclamation is applicable, is not the school of conjugal affection. “ Let all bitterness and wrath, and anger, and clamour, be put away."-" It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.”—" It is better to dwell in a corner of the house-top, than with a brawling woman in a wide house."
To“ the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which in the sight of God is of great price,” and possesses an intrins sic charm to which the breast of man can scarcely be insensible, let there be added discretion. The value of this quality, in promoting and upholding matrimonial happiness, is inestimable. It is a quality which the Scriptures, as foreboding the frequent neglect of it, and the miserable consequences of that neglect, have not overlooked. St. Paul, in his epistle to Titus, after having directed that young women should be instructed “ to be sober, to love their busbands, to love their children,” enjoins farther, that they should be taught " to be discreet.” Discretion is not one of those virtues which come into practice only in singular conjunes tures, under circumstances which can happen seldom to the saine individual, and to some persons may never occur at all. It is not a robe of state, to be drawn forth from its recess on some day of festivity; or a ponderous cloak, to be put on to repel the violence of a thunder-shower. It is that to the miod which the every day clothing is to the body; requisite under every vicissitude to health, and propriety, and comfort. Its sphere embraces every season and every incident of life. At home and abroad, in the city and in the country, with intimates and with strangers, in business and in leisure, it is vigilant, active, and unwearied. It enhances the utility of virtue, and anticipates the allurements of vice. It attends to persons and feelings, to times, occasions, and situations; and "abstains from all appearance of evil." It is worthy of being inculcated with the more earnestness on married wonen, because they appear, in several respects, to be in greater danger than the single, of being led by custom, or hurried by inadvertence, into disregard of it.
To superintend the various branches of domestic management, or, as St. Paul briefly and emphatically expresses the same office, “ to guide the house,” is the indispensable duty of a married woman. The task must be executed either by the master or the mistress of the house: and reason and scripture concur in assigning it unequivocally to the latter. Custom also, which in many instances presumes to decide in plain contradiction to those sovereign rules of life, has, in this point, so generally conformed to their determination, that a husband who should personally direct the proceedings of the housekeeper and the cook, and intrude into the petty arrangements of daily economy, would appear in all eyes, except his own, nearly as ridiculous as if he were to assume to himself the habiliments of his wife, or lo occupy his mornings with her needles and work-bags. It is true, nevertheless, that in executing this office a wife is to consult the wishes of her husband, and in proportion to the magnitude of any particular points, to act the more studiously according to his ideas rather than her own.
The duty of obedience on her part extends to the province of guiding the house, no less than to the other branches of her conduct. Are you then the mistress of a family? Fulfil the charge for which you are responsible. Attempt not to transfer your proper occupation to a favourite maid, however tried may be iheir fidelity and her skill. To confide implicitly in servants, is the way to render them undeserving of contidence. Be regular in requiring, and punctual in examining, your weekly accounts. Be frugal without parsimony; save, that you may distribute. Study the comfort of all under your roof, even of the humblest inhabitant of the kitchen. Pipch not the inferior part of the family, to provide against the cost of a day of splendour. Consider the welfare of the servants of your own sex as particularly committed to you. Encourage them in religion, and be active in furnishing