« ПретходнаНастави »
in their own way. How many evils to the community, to private families, and to individuals, would be prevented! If in some of the most expensive parts of female decoration fewer hands were employed, a much greater number on the other side would find exercise in cultivating an elegant - propriety, and a beautiful diversity, through all the
The public taste would be improved in a thousand articles. And is there not reason to hope, that the appearance, the manners, and the minds of the Fair, would gain by the change ?
They would be less showy indeed ; but they would be more engaging. Our gay assemblies, for gay assemblies there will always be, would glitter less in the -gaze of foolish wonder ; but they would shine more in the eye of just discernment. And what honour would it reflect on your understandings, when in company, to see you superior to your dress, entirely forgetting that, and every other advantage you may possess, in an obliging attention to all present, and lending lustre to each ornament, instead of borrowing it merely from thence! Or will any
of you say, that a woman on the contrary is likely to be more esteemed, for appearing attentive to herself alone, or trying to catch by so poor a bait, as a little gay clothing? She who does either, piques our pride, and offends our judgment, at the same instant. We are hurt by her bad breeding, in the one case ; and in the other, we are provoked to think she should pay us such a sorry compliment, as to fancy we can be entangled in a cobweb 7 When "shall women, in general, understand thoroughly the effect of a comely habit, that, independent of pomp fand despising extravagance, is worn as the sober, yet transparent veil of a more
comely mind? | Be assured, my young friends, it is thus that you will captivate most and please longest. By pursuing this plan, you will preserve an equality in that great indispensable article of neatness. You will be clean, and you
easy; nor will you be in danger of appearing butterflies one day, and slatterns the next.
You will be always ready to receive your friends, without seeming to be caught, or being at all disconcerted on account of your dress. How seldom is that the case amongst the flutterers of the age! I wish we could say, amongst them only. For young ladies of more sobriety to be found so often slovenly, I might have said downright squalid and nasty, when no visitors are expected, is most peculiarly shameful. I cannot express the contempt and the disgust I feel, when I think of it. I will not think of it.
I proceed to observe, that what you take from tinsel trappings you will gain in time, in saving, and in real loveliness. The less vanity you betray, the more merit we shall be always disposed to allow you. We shall be doubly charmed, first with finding young women that are not slaves to show, and next with your putting so much respect on our heads and hearts, as to suppose we are only to be gained by better qualities.
Add to this, that men of ordinary fortunes, and proper sentiments, will not be afraid of connecting themselves with persons too prudent to be profuse, and too wise, as well as too worthy, when married, to court the admiration of all but their Husbands.
The unbounded and undistinguishing love of admiration, has been thought the most common, the rankest, and the most noxious weed, that grows in the heart of a female. It is nourished by nothing
more than by the love of finery. In effect, they depend on each other. But if you will begin by crushing the latter ; the former, I am persuaded, will quickly decay, and at last fall to the ground. The love of finery naturally prompts the passion to be seen, that is, to be admired; for between these a conceited young creature, makes no distinction. Alas! what woman is there at any age, who, if de voted to dress, burns not with impatience to display in public a new fashion, or a new any thing, which she has been told by those about her, or by her own imagination, looks exceeding fine? And of this impatience what is the source, but that very passion which I just now called the unbounded and undistinguishing love of admiration? The mischiefs flowing from thence have been touched upon in part. They will be farther traced hereafter, At present I shall only add, what ought to alarm women of decency, that an immoderate fondness for external embellishment is a strong temptation to a light and lascivious mind.
From the passage of Isaiah before quoted, compared with the verse immediately preceding, it appears that, in the case there pointed to, an indecent deportment was closely connected with an excessive vanity in apparel. And from the whole of that discourse it is manifest, the behaviour of the daughters of Zion at that time was highly displeasing to the Almighty; which could only proceed from the influence their behaviour had upon their dispositions, or reciprocally from the latter as giving birth to the former. How applicable the observation to the case of many females at this day!
But has it not been too much the manner amongst preachers of every age, to decry that in which they
lived, as having remarkably degenerated from those that went before, and to denounce peculiar judgments accordingly? It often has, no doubt. And so far certainly they have forgotten the caution of Solomon ; Say not thou, What is the cause that “ the former days were better than these ? For “ thou dost not inquire wisely concerning this. A mistake we would willingly avoid. Such complaints, when indulged indiscriminately, are either the dictates of a gloomy querulous temper, or the trite and unmeaning declamation of mere popular preaching I trust, we shall be charged with neither in saying, that to this nation there can accrue no good from the spirit of luxury, of levity, and of vice, so prevalent, and so spreading, in a sex that leads the world,
ON FEMALE RESERVE.
1 Tim. ii. 8, 9.
I will—that women adorn themselves with Shamefacedness.
MANY of you, my honoured hearers, have been addressed in the style of love and admiration. I have taken the liberty to address
in that of zeal and friendship; a style not less sincere, or the less worthy of your attention, for being sober and impartial. Will you permit me to proceed in the same manner? Suppose me speaking to you as a brother, It will be more than a supposition. Have we not all one father by creation, even the great God; and by religion, is not the New Jerusalem the mother of us all ? With a brother's affection then I will go on to lay before you some (better ornaments than wealth can purchase, in which I wish my beloved sisters to shine, that they may appear as becomes their high birth, and the nobie expectations they are encouraged to entertain.
After modest apparel our apostle mentions Shamefacedness. it I will that women adorn " themselves in modest apparel, with Shame“ facedness.” This lovely quality, in its largest extent, and in its most pleasing effect on female manners, shall be the subject of our present medita