ePub 版

steadily on Heaven. The grave absorbs their thoughts; they want energy to turn from the body, and contemplate the sainted spirit.

Woman needs a Moral development, corresponding to the demands of her peculiar temperament and dispositions. Her sensitive frame, unless accompanied by great self-controul, will betray her into errors, which, added to the thorns that ever beset the path of human life, will cause her continual uneasiness and pain. Let fancy be the guiding faculty of her nature, and in what sins must she inevitably be involved. Its aerial flights will bear her above the beaten, common-sense road of duty, and make her the prey of a fatal instability and its attendant mortifications, follies and sorrows. Her acute feelings, and tender affections need a moral counterpoise. The sudden sickness of the loved will else overwhelm her, and unfit her for the service she owes them. In this world of casualties, if her heart be not braced by the power of good judgment, she will yield to disaster and grief, with a hopeless inefficiency. Her virtues must be the result of reflection, inherent and not incidental. There must be a Christian dignity, a calm repose, that beautiful balance of character, in which keen sensibility is sustained by a patient and firm self-possession. So fortified, let her add one grace more and

“ The arched roof,

By its own weight, stands stedfast and immovable."

We may

not omit, in this connection, the influence of Friendship, as a soother of woman's sorrows. Always susceptible of sympathy, and alive to the voices of kindred spirits, in her trials she feels their indispensable necessity. How are her affections knit to each relative, by

adversity, disappointment, and death. In bereavement, a family build, as it were, a single monument, each placing its tribute in the mournful structure. They lean on one another, and thanks be to God, next to his own strong arm, there is none so dear in our grief, as that of a friend. Thanks for human love.

“ When cold storms
Rack the worn cordage of the heart, it breathes
A healing essence, and a strength’ning charm,
Next to the hope of heaven."

[ocr errors]

The hope of heaven,” the prospects and supports of Religion, deep piety, these I name last, because they are the greatest, indeed the only effectual solace, for the trials of woman.

Those wells of feeling,” says a female writer, hidden in the soul, upon whose surface the slightest smile of affection falls, like sunlight, but whose very depths are stirred by the breath of unkindness, are too often unvisited by the kindly influence of kindred sympathies, and go wearing their own channels deeper, in silence and in secresy, and in infinite bitterDess,-undermining health, happiness, the joy of life, and making existence one succession of burden-bearing days. It is in this species of blight, that that merciful and compassionate faith, whose words are, Come unto

ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest,' becomes a refuge and a consolation." Woman may trust to other lights, in the darkness of sorrow; but they will prove transient, the meteors of midnight. It is the Sun of righteousness alone, which can shed true peace on her troubled spirit. Jesus Christ was “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” He only can present to her, unfailing sources of consolation. She must follow him, and with him, “glory in pursuing a path of steep ascent."

me, all

Let her set to her seal, that Religion, however received by man, is a gift which she can never, with impunity, decline. When piety presents its claims to the sterner sex, they raise doubts, and questionings, and comparisons with other goods. But woman may not hesitate for a moment. So does instinct teach us the fitness of female piety, that even the irreligious of our sex expect, and require, it in her.

I cannot but feel that the discipline of her trials was intended by Providence to impress the first and most affecting lesson on her soul. It was designed that her pliant affections should twine round our divine Father, as a pillar of enduring strength. In 'almost the earliest stage of her life, and onward to its latest hour, she is upheld by a little less than visible presence. Rescued by that Power in peril, enabled to pass through what was once her chief dread, how can she turn her eye off from him ? “God has ever supported and saved me. He will do it in future.” This language is a spontaneous utterance of the true woman. Thus, like Jesus, is she “made perfect through sufferings."

In this manner does religion become, with her, the medium of continual Improvement. Mental culture is one invaluable part of female education. The social graces are a chain of pearls about her neck. But her permanent being consists of a spiritual principle. Unless that be called into action, she lives but an ephemeral life. Let her pious capabilities be awakened, let the love of God become her ruling motive, let submission to his high behest, be the joy of her heart, and she enters that path, which conducts, eternally, toward holiness in perfection.

She who has a true reverence for her nature, and who comprehends the powers of her sex, will never rest content with present attainments. She will study, and unfold her intellect, because God hath endowed her with Mind, and his glory calls for her mental progress. Her domestic duties will be discharged in the love of Him, who “setteth the solitary in families.” No event will be lost on her watchful spirit. Each day's cares and trials will nurture in her a new patience, benevolence, and active piety. Thus will she build up a character, resting, like the pyramid in the East, on a basis so broad, and of materials so solid and enduring, that the ages cannot move its foundation.

[ocr errors]



What woman has done. Zenobia, Isabella, Pocahontas. The

Catholics. Facilities for Improvement. Growing Elevation of the Sex. Illustrious catalogue. Constitutional Susceptibilities. Domestic Habits. MEANS. Self-observation. The Scriptures. Prayer. The life of the soul, how glorious.

[ocr errors]

In approaching the conclusion of these Chapters, I cannot doubt that some of my female friends will inquire, “Who is sufficient for these things ? How is it possible for me to reach the high standard now set before me?” We reply briefly, that the first thought to be presented in this place is,

That you should contemplate what your sex has actually accomplished in the Past. The Scriptures, the oldest records of our race, contain a long catalogue of female names, illustrious for the virtuous and pious associations that cluster around them. Greece and Rome abound in examples of women of intellectual, and sometimes of moral distinction. Zenobia, queen of the East, stands forth a pattern of excellence, in whom were' combined an enlarged understanding, singular refinement, courage, prudence and fortitude. Modern Europe has exhibited more than one instance of this kind. The kingdom of Spain produced that female, to whom the discovery of this continent might be almost directly traced, one who had rare talents and strength of mind, yet no arrogance, or

« 上一頁繼續 »