Слике страница
PDF
ePub

“ shineth more and more unto the perfect day." Sense, spirit, sweetness, are immortal. All beside " withers like the grass.

'The power of a face to please, or indeed to displease, is diminished every time it is seen. When appetite does not predominate, and appetite cannot predominate always, the soul will seek a soul; it will refuse to be satisfied with any thing less. If it find none, in vain shall the brightest eye sparkle, in vain shall the softest smile entice. But if a mind

appear, and, wherever it resides, a mind will appear, it is recognised, admired, and embraced , even though the eye should possess no lustre, and smiles should at the moment be banished by

5

sorrow.

Mind, mind alone, bear witness earth and heaven, “ The living fountain in itself contains “ Of beauteous and sublime! Here hand in hand “ Sit paramount the GracesI cannot conclude this discourse, without taking so fair an opportunity of addressing myself to such of the men as, by directing their praises of young women wholly or chiefly to an outward appearance, turn the attention and solicitude of the little idols so strongly that way, as often to occasion the neglect of those inward perfections which can alone give them value. Have you forgotten, Sirs, that what they see you admire, and hear you applaud, they will be induced to think most worthy of admiration and applause; and that on it of course they will bestow their whole or their chief care ? If you, who ought to assist their judgments, and animate their resolutions, in what relates to the conduct of life, be accustomed to pay your main homage to their persons, their persons likewise they will adore. Beauty with them will constitute Merit ; and every other endowment will be employ

ed as a handmaid to dress that, if not as a pandar to sell it. Accordingly I fear, that to your score must be charged many errors of the sex, often less justly imputed to them. Those errors I am sure, it would become you to prevent, or to correct at the source, by pointing out to them what, in your wiser hours, you want and wish them to be ; and what, when they are, will not fail to captivate love, to command veneration, and to add permanence to both.

Consider, I beseech you, how honourable it will be for you, instead of corrupting the fair, to mend them : instead of perverting their ideas, to lead their taste to knowledge and elegance, to worth and delicacy, to humility and meekness; things, which in your inmost souls you cannot but prize, whenever you meet with them in an amiable woman, and of which you are secretly convinced the absence cannot be compensated by any advantages of form or feature, any decorations of fashion or show. How much nobler the power to save than the power to destroy! How much sweeter the praise of being esteemed men of virtue and sentiment, the friends and patrons of the sex, advocates for their true interest, and zealous to promote it, than that of being looked upon as smooth-torgued courtiers, or good-natured triflers! To flatter a giddy girl into good humour, or even tenderness, by telling her perpetually how handsome or how fine she is, requires no capacity. Every empty fellow, every frivolous dangler, every wretch of a parasite can do the same. But to engage the esteem of a woman of principle and discernment, to preserve that esteem, and even to insure in her breast a silent testimony, that you have contributed to establish this principle, and to improve this discernment --is triumph indeed ! Those coxcombs that in truth

am for

make no distinction, but yet would persuade every young thing they see, that her face, her shape, her dress, her air, surpass those of all her sex; and after throwing her into ecstasies of self complacence go away and laugh to their companions—are a detestable race.

Concerning many of you, my friends, I hope better things. Nor do I mean by aught I have said, rigidly to preclude every degree of compliment in conversation with the fair sex. I commending with moderation, what is commendable ; for acknowledging with prudence, what is pleasing. Young minds ought to be encouraged. In every young mind there is something good. An agreeable appearance is certainly engaging. Truth will never deny it: courtesy will readily own it. But then under the shelter of kind ap-. probation, salutary counsel may be admitted: Wis. dom

may be found a welcome guest, when introduced by affection—I was going to say, that vanity may be successfully turned against itself

. But why should the love of honest praise be deemed vanity? Even tell your female friends, that you do esteem them for whatever in their characters is estimable. Tell them without exaggeration, but generously at the same time, what that is. Describe with complacence the qualities and accomplishments which you have ever held most truly attractive which it is in their power to acquire, and which it will be their glory to possess. If they have beauty, be not afraid to add how alluring it appears, when illuminated by sense, and arrayed by virtue. If they have none, remind them freely that sense and virtue have often borne away the palm from the finest figure that ever Flattery deified, if destitute of those living and lasting graces.

END OF VOLUME I.

SERMON VIII.

ON FEMALE VIRTUE, WITH INTELLECTUAL

ACCOMPLISHMENTS.

1 TIM. ïi. 8, 9.

I will that women adorn themselves with Sobriety.

PROV. iv. 5, 6. 8, 9.

Get Wisdom, get Understanding.Forsake her not, and she

shall preserve thee : love her, and she shall keep thee.--Exalt her, and she shall promote thee.--She shall give to thy head an ornament of grace : a crown of glory shall she deliver to thee.

N the subject of Intellectual Accomplishments much remains to be said. At a time when they are 'neglected by so many women, who, if they read at all, read only for a little transient amusement, they cannot sure, considering their importance, be inculcated too strongly. They may, it is true, be perverted. What is there of the greatest moment, that may not? Because works fit only for the veil of darkness have been wrought in the face of day, cloes it follow that “light is not sweet, or " that it is not a pleasant thing for the eyes. to be“ hold the sun ;" or that benefits innumerable are not derived to mankind from the resplendent luminaries of Nature ? Were these extinguished, what were this world? And what, think ye, must be

Vol II.

that mind where all is enveloped in a night of ignorance? “ For the soul,” says Solomon,

to be “ without knowledge is not good.” Of so great a defect do we not see every day the unhappy consequences in the conduct of both sexes ?

With regard to yours, my beloved sisters, I am willing to impute much of the folly and misery that involve multitudes of women, not to their being altogether unacquainted with the main outlines of their duty, traced by the hand of God on every heart a little more or a little less clearly ; but to their want of that relish for knowledge, and of those attainments in it, which certainly tend to exclude many temptations, and to fortify against the influence of others. On this account, I must again and again urge the culture of your Minds. Your Virtue, your Sobriety is intimately concerned in it. That shall be my first argument: its connexion with your dignity or figure in life shall be my second ; and my third shall turn on its useful. ness to promote your comfort and felicity : considerations surely that merit your attention. I pray God to bless them for your improvement.

I begin with showing, that the Intellectual Ace complishments briefly delineated in the preceding discourse will have a tendency to exclude many temptations. To what dangerous resources are the generality of young women driven by the love of pleasure and amusement, ill directed! Having formed no taste for those that arise from reading, writing, agreeable reflexions, and rational conversation, their passions, naturally ardent, fly without previous examination to every object which fatters that ardour by promising all the vivacity of joy. In this career, it is not dificult to conceive what snares may entrap Beauty, and what

« ПретходнаНастави »