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woman behaves to her parents in a manner particularly tender and respectful, I mean from principle as well as nature, there is nothing good or gentle that may not be expected from her, in whatever condition she is placed. Of this I am so thoroughly persuaded, that were I to advise any friend of mine as to his choice of a wife, I know not whether my very first counsel would not be, . Look out for one distinguished by her attention " and sweetness to her parents.' The fund of worth and affection indicated by such a behaviour, joined to the habits of duty and consideration thereby contracted, being transferred to the married state, will not fail to render her a mild and obliging companion.
Your situation in life, which keeps you more at home than sons, together with the turn of your education, and the softness of your frame, that fit you for a thousand little soothing offices, as well as domestic services, which they cannot properly perform, seems to point out to you a peculiar sphere of filial excellence.--And here I please myself with the thought, that some of your bosoms are at this moment throbbing with tenderness towards a sick or aged parent, whom heaven, willing to furnish a field for the exercise of all your gratitude and zeal, has at last thrown upon your care. I think I see you, my charming friend, like some guardian angel, tending day and night the bed of an honoured father, who has lost your mother, and who is worn out with toil, and years, and pain. I see you listening, in deepest silence, to catch the least intimation of his wishes. I see you watching eagerly every look, to learn his wants before he speaks them; now gently raising his languid head to smooth the pillow, or minister some reviving
cordial ; and then wiping from his reverend face the cold sweats that begin perhaps to announce the approach of his end:
His groans are answered by the sighs stealing from you, but suddenly suppressed, for fear of adding to his anxiety on your account. To be the instrument of imparting to him a minute's ease is rapture.
Mean while the good old man's eyes are now turned to you, with all the unutterable fondness of parental love, melted by those marks of duty ; anon they are lifted to heaven in thanksgiving for such a child, and supplication for everlasting blessings on your head.--Great God! what must a mind like yours experience in this conjuncture? Where is the daughter of disobedience or folly that ever felt in the gayest hour, a satisfaction, a transport to be compared with that, which conscious piety diffuses through your bleeding heart? Nor will these exalted sensations be at all diminished, 'if (Providence having denied the supplies which affluence gives) your virtue has prompted you by your labour or ingenuity, or, it may be, by parting with some admired ornament worn in your better days, to procure for a parent in those circumstances, necessary support or seasonable refreshment.
Let me next say somewhat concerning sisterly affection. “ Behold how good and how pleasant it " is for brethren," and sisters, “ to dwell together s in unity !” Precious ointment is not more grateful to the smell, nor morning dew more refreshing to the sight, than domestic love is to the soul. Represent to yourselves a numerous young family, free from care and animosity, full of reverence for their Maker and their parents, ambitious to please and to excel; in a word, pious, dutiful, friendly, happy ; where the good humour and good sense of each cor.
tribute to the ease and entertainment of all; while chose agreeable diversities of temper and understanding that take place amongst them serve, like discords in music, to carry on the intellectual harmony:
Who would not wish to be acquainted in such a house; who would not consider it as the abode of felicity? I hope, I paint - no unusual
Where the members are but few, felicity perhaps is not so often found ; unless it be in the more shady walks of life, where love and innocence delight to frequent. And why is it not? When I see two sisters, both of them pleasing and both esteemed, living together without jealousy or envy, yielding to one another without affectation, and generously contending who shall do most to advance the consequence and happiness of her friend, I am highly delighted : dare I add the more highly, that such characters are not very common! And why are they not? The love of a sister for her brothers is inuch more usual. Whence does this too proceed? Examine your own hearts on these several points. Possibly they can explain to you the difference, so observable where there is a competition, and where there is none, or where any tendencies towards it are happily lost in the involutions of a larger number.
Martha of Bethany was on the whole a worthy woman,
She certainly loved her Saviour with sincere devotion. Her solicitude to entertain him in the best manner she could devise, was the result of her respect. But it was carried to an extreme ; and her sister's conduct should have taught her wisdom. Instead of this, she grows peevish, and complains of that sister. She is admonished of her fault, while Mary is commended for her better
behaviour. 56 Martha, Martha, thou art careful
and troubled about many things : but one thing " is needful; and Mary hath chosen that good part. 66 which shall not be taken away from her." What pity that any tincture of ill humour, under whatever disguise, should have place in any breast where Jesus is revered! Surely there is nothing more beautiful in a christian woman than good temper and kind affection upon all occasions.
I was once acquainted with a lady, who seemed to be held up by Providence, as an example of the joint power of these and of divine principle. She lost her father early. Her mother's want of health made it necessary for her to exert herself with dou. ble assiduity and attention, in a family by no means small, of which she was the eldest child. She was naturally active, to a degree very uncommon in one of her disposition, which was the softest and meekest that can be conceived. She had imbibed from her infancy the deepest sense of devotion, that I have ever known.
a devotion of that kind, which meeting with a heart originally upright, produces uniform excellence. Such excellence was hers. When, in the course of a few years, her extraordinary character recommended her to the choice of a young man of singular worth, and good fortune ; she did not, with the selfishness common on such occasions, forget her mother or the family she had left behind her ; but continueda with the entire approbation and cordial concurrence of her husband, to manifest her filial and sisterly regards in the most effectual manner. none of those parrow-souled women, who no sooner step into houses of their own, than they seem to have all their affections and ideas absorbed in their new condition ; relinquishing at once the best
companions of their youth ; dropping the pen of friendly correspondence, and shrinking up into a little wretched circle of anxieties, that exclude every liberal sentiment, and every enlarged connexion. When the mother of this lady died, which happened not long after, she became a mother to the helpless orphans, superintended their education, watched over their deportment, promoted their settlement in the world, and sympathised with them in all their distresses. When they also spread out into families, she acted like a parent to their children.--To her own, of whom she had many, blessed Lord, what a parent! Was it possible for them not to love one another, with such a pattern before them, and with such instructions as she gave them! For they too were deprived of their father, while the greater part were very young.
Her instructions were pious and wise: but it was her example, it was that ineffable charm of humble worth and modest dignity, of maternal complacence and mildness almost unparalleled, which rendered them irresistible, and diffused amongst all about her the spirit of amity and the smile of happiness. You will not be surprised if I subjoin, that there were many other families who shared in her labours of love, and among the rest a very large one, the Poor ; whose blessings attended her through life, and whose tears followed her to the grave ; for, when she died, they also had lost a mother. It is hard to say upon the whole, whether she was most beloved, or venerated, by those who knew her. But I used to think, that wherever she appeared, her presence inspired sensations somewhat like those we should probably feel, if we beheld a good angel.
And thus I come naturally to speak of Good Works in a comprehensive view; that is, those