Page images

Let eastern tyrants from the light of heaven
Seclude their bosom slaves meanly possessed
Of a mere lifeless violated form:
While those whom love cements in holy faith,
In equal transport, free'as nature live,
Disdaining fear. What is the world to them! 4111
Its pomp, its pleasures, and its nonsense all!
Who in each other clasps, whatever fair
High fancy forms, and lavish hearts can wish!
Something than beauty dearer should they look,
Or on the mind, or mind-illumined face,
Truth, goodness, honour, harinony, and love,

The richest bounty of indulgent heaven!
En Meantime, a smiling offspring rises round,

And mingles both their graces. By degrees,
The human blossom blows, and every day,

Soft as it rolls along, shews some new charm, 4. The father's lustre, or the mother's bloom.

The infant reason grows apace, and calls
bou. For the kind hand of an assiduous care : :

Delightful task, to rear the tender thought,
To teach the young idea how to shoot,
To pour the fresh instruction o'er the mind,
To breathe th' enlivening spirit, and to fix
The generous purpose in the glowing breast !
Oh! speak the joy! ye whom the sudden tear
Surprises often, while ye look around,
And nothing strikes your eye but sights of bliss,
All various nature pressing on the heart,
An elegant sufficiency, content,
Retirement, rural quiet, friendship, books,
Ease and alternate labour, useful life,
Progressive virtue, and approving heaven!
These are the matchless joys of virtuous love!
And thus their moments fly. The seasons thus,
As ceaseless round a jarring world they roll,
Still find'them happy, and consenting spring
Sheds her own rosy garland on their heads,
Till evening comes at last, serene and mild,
When after the long vernal day of life,
Enamoured more as more remembrance swells
With many a proof of recollected love,
Together down they siok in social sleep,
Together freed, their gentle spirïts fly,
To scenes where love and bliss immortal reign!


THE foundation of the greater portion of the unhappiness which clouds matrimonial lite, is to be sought in the unconcern so prevalent in the world as to those radical principles on which character, and the permanence of character, depend—the principles of religion. Popular language indicates the state of popular opinion. If an union about tå take place, or recently contracted between two young persons, be mentioned in conversation, the first question which we hear asked concerning it is, whether it be a good match. The very countenance and voice of the enquirer, and of the answerer, the terms of the answer returned, and the observations, whether expressive of satisfaction or of regret, which fall from the lips of the company present in the circle, all concur to shew what, in common estimation, is meant by being welt married. If a young woman be described as thus married, the terms imply, that she is united to a man whose station and fortune are such, when compared with her own or those of her parents, that in point of precedence, in point of command of finery and of inoney, she is more or less a gainer by the bargain. In high life they imply, that she will now possess the enviable advantages of taking place of other ladies in the neighbourhood; of decking here self out with jewels and lace; of inhabiting splendid apartments; rolling in handsome carriages ; gazing on numerous servants in gaudy liveries; and of repairing to London, and other fashionable scenes of resort, all in a degree somewhat higher than that in which a calculating broker, after poring on her pedigree, sumining up her property in hand, and computing, at the market price, every item which is contingent or in reversion, would have pronounced her entitled

A few slight and obvious alterations would adapt the picture to the middle classes of society. But what do the terms imply as to the character of the man selected to be her husband? Probably nothing. His character is a matter which seldom enters into the consideration of the persons who use them; unless, at length, it appears in the shape of an after-thought, or is awkwardly hitched into theit remarks for the sake of decorum. If the terms imply ang thing on this point, they mean no more than that he is not notoriously and scandalously addicted to vice. He may be covetous, he may be proud, he may be ambitious, he may be malignant, he may be devoid of Christian principles, practice, and belief; or, to say the very least, it may be totally unknown whether he does not fall, in every particular, under this description; and yet, in the language and in the opinion of the generality of both sexes, the match is excellent. In the same manner a diminution of power as to the supposed advantages already enumerated, though counterpoised by the acquisition of a companion eminent for his virtues, is supposed to constitute a bad match, and is universally lamented in polite meetings with real or affected concern, The good or bad fortune of a young man in the choice of a wife is estimated according to the same rules:

From those who contract marriages, either chiefly or in a considerable degree, through motives of interest or ambition, it would be folly to expect previous solicitude respecting piety of heart. And it would equally be folly to expect that such marriages, however they may answer the purposes of interest or ambition, should terminate otherwise than in wretchedness. Wealth may be secured; rank may be obtained; but if wealth and rank are to be the main ingredients in the cup of matrimonial felicity, the pure and sweet wine will be exhausted at once, and nothing remain but bitter and corrosive dregs.

Among various absurd and mischievous lessons which young women were accustomed iq the last age to learn from dramatic representations, one of the most absurd and mischievous was this: That a man of vicious character was very easily reformed; and that he was particularly likely, when once reformed, to make a desirable and exemplary husband. At the conclusion of almost every comedy, the hero of the piece, signalized throughout its progress by qualities and conduct radically incompatible with the existence of matimonial happiness, was introduced upon the stage as having experienced a sudden change of beart, and become a convert, as by a miracle, to the ways of virtue and religion.

Let the female sex be assured, that whenever on the stage of real life an irreligious and immoral young man is suddenly found, on the eve of matrimony, to change his ex: ternal conduct, and to recommend himself by professions of a determination to amend, the probability that the change is adopted, as in the theatre, for the sake of form and con,

venience, and that it will not be durable after the purposes of form and convenience shall have been answered by it, is one of those which approach the nearest to certainty

The truths which have been incoleated as furnishing the only foundation for rational hopes of happiness in marriage, are such as ought to be established in the mind, while the affections are yet unengaged. When the heart has received an impression, reason acts feebly or treacherously. But let not the recent impression be permitted to sink deeper, erė the habitual principles and conduct of him who has made it shall have been ascertained. On these points in particular, points which a young woman cannot herself possess adequate means of investigating, let the advice and enquiries of virtuous relatives be solicited. Let not their opinions, though the purport of them should prove unacceptable, be undervalued; nor their remonstrances, if they should remonstrate, be construed as uokindness. Let it be remembered, that, although parental authority can never be justified in constraining a daughter to marry against her will, there are many cases in which it may with reason refuse its assent to her wishes, and few in which it may not be justified in requiring her to panse. Let it be remembered, that if she should unite herself to a man who is not under the habitual influence of Christianity, but unsettled as to its principles, or careless as to some of its practical duties, she has to dread not only the risk of personal bappiness from his conduct towards her, but the dangerous contagion of intimate example. She has to dread that his irreligion may infect herself, his unsteadiness may render her unsteady, his carelessness may teach her to be careless. Does the scene appear in prospect gloomy or ambiguous ? Let her be wise, let her exert berself before it be too late. It is better to encounter present anxiety than to avoid it at the expense of greater, of durable evils. And even if affection has already acquired such force, as not to be repressed without very painful struggles ; let her be consoled and animated by the consciousness that the sacrifice is to prevent, while prevention is yet in her power, years of danger and of misery; that it is an act not only of ultimate kindness to herself, but of duty to God; and that every act of humble and persevering duty may hope, through a Redeemer, to receive, in a better world, a reward proportioned to the severity of the trial.

Io ad union so intimate as that of matrimonial life, those diversities in temper, habits, and inclinations, which in a less close connexion might not have been distinctly perceived, or would have attracted notice but seldom, unavoidably swell into importance. Hence, among the qualifications which influence the probability of connubial comfort, a general similarity of disposition between the two parties is one of especial moment. Where strong affection prevails, a spirit of accommodation will prevail also. But it isnot desirable that the spirit of accominodation should be subjected to rigorous or very frequent experiments. Great disparity in age between a husband and a wife, or a wide difference in rank antecedently to marriage, is, on this account, liable to be productive of disquietude. The sprightliness of youth seems levity, and the sobriety of maturer years to be tinctured with moroseness, when closely coni rasted. A sudden introduction to affluence, a sudden and great elevation in the scale of society, is apt to intoxicate; and a sudden reduction in outward appearance to be felt as degrading: Instances, however, are not very rare in which the force of affection, of good sense, and of good principles, shews itself permanently superior to the influence of causes, which to minds less happily attempered, and less under the guidance of religious motives, prove sources of anxiety and vexation.


THE desire of children is evidently predominant in almost every female disposition: it must be certainly owing to the wise ordination of Providence that their education is so adınirably calculated to encourage this fondness. How engaging are the childish amusements of a daughter! Let us picture an innocent little girl, fondly caressing a wasen image, dressing and undressing it with all the pomp and importance of a tender mother. What a delightful employ. ment! how amiable does the child herself appear! and so endearing is this female province, that it is justly remarked to grow up with the sex into life.

God has universally manifested that the whole human Pace are dependent upon one another, and those persons who think and act so narrowly, as to declare an aversion for children, can neither be accounted good characters in themselves, nor worthy members with respect to society. But, alas ! they are strangers to the feelings of parental fondoess.

« PreviousContinue »