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Our Master understood the distinction well, and was not afraid to show that he understood it. In the capacity of a teacher he conversed freely with publicans and sinners; he treated them tenderly; he came not, as he himself said, “ to call the righteous < but sinners to repentance. What gentleness did he not display to the poor creature taken in adultery! What forgiveness of the well-known female penitent, who but a little before had been plunged in disorder and shame! Such he declared should enter into the kingdom of heaven more readily than the Scribes and Pliarisees, in spite of all their ablutions and prayers, their frequent fastings and specious demeanour ; a proud self-justifying, and most unmerciful set of men, whom he scrupled not for these reasons to pronounce
66 the children of the devil.” Let me persuade you, from the example of your Saviour, to learn pity towards such as have gone astray. How ungracious in women not to show mercy to women! Let me prevail with you never to express a supercilious contempt, or unforgiving severity, on the subject of those hapless beings whose misery pleads for commiseration yet louder than their crimes call for censure. Which of you can be sure that
you would not have yielded to the same temptations which overcame them? Where are those perfect characters that can answer for their own stability ? Who made you to differ from the wretchedest of human kind? Believe me, christians, the most genuine virtue is always the most humble, and the most charitable.Merciful heaven, may the best gifts of thy providence, and the sweetest influence of thy grace, descend evermore on that blessed establishment, which has opened a sanctuary for wretched females weary of vice, and willing to reform. May all its benefactors obtain
merey in the day of the Lord. What superior honour does such an establishment, with its sister institution, that happy asiium for the helpless young creatures of your sex who are yet uncorrupto ed, reflect on this nation! They are truly the most distinguishing glory of Britain ; the fairest flowers, if I may so say, in all the garland of English humanity.
But let me recommend to you candour with regard to your sex in general, as well as compassion towards the unhappy part of it. Ah, my fair clients, what shall we say in your behalf to those men who are always telling us of your ill-natured remarks, or illiberal insinuations to the disadvantage of one another ? Such as resign themselves, without control, to this accursed passion, we give up at once with indignation and abhorrence. Those wilful and deliberate destroyers of reputation are of their “ fa“ther the devil, who was" an accuser, and a $ murderer from the beginning ;” nor, while they do his works, will it avail them aught, though like him they could in other respects “ transform them, “selves into angels of light.” No lustre of beauty, no brilliancy of understanding, can, even among the warmest friends of the sex, make compensation for the spirit of censoriousness in a female. For my own part, I consider good nature and candid sentiments as so peculiarly indispensable in every woman, that, when I want to estimate the character of any young lady, I take the first opportunity of commending highly some person of her own sex, and about her own age, but rather younger, whom she knows, and who is deservedly a favourite with the men. If without hesitation, rescrve, or a single But, if with apparent pleasure and cordiality she joins in the praise ; I am willing from that mo
ment to form a favourable opinion of her heart. I may be mistaken: it may be all artifice; but, for the most part, I think not. If on the contrarybut I need not express the rest. Inform us, ye students of human nature, what it is in the female mind that, without the restraints of superior worth, inclines it so strongly to the love of scandal: I am disposed to hope that, besides the competitions formerly explained, it may be often owing to the acrimony produced by disappointment, and often to the habits contracted by associating with those who, having no fund of entertainment in themselves, are forced to seek it at the expense of others. Be it owing however to what it will, one thing is certain, that a proneness to indulge it is always detestable; as on the other hand, she who has the generosity to approve most, will have always the satisfaction of being most approved ; and for the best of qualities, an amiable temper. -No, my fair ones, nothing can make amends for the want of that. It is like wisdom ; “ It cannot be valued with the gold
of Ophir, with the precious onyx or the sapphire.
The gold and the crystal cannot equal it; and the “ exchange of it shall not be for jewels of fine gold. “ No mention shall be made of coral or of pearls : “ for the price of it is above rubies. The topaz of “ Ethiopia shall not equal it.” Preserve it, dearly beloved, and cherish it forever.
Let “.the law of kindness" be in your tongue. " A froward inouth and perverse lips put far from “ you.” Guard against every word, against every hint that would give pain unnecessarily to any crea
Beware of mistaking pertness for vivacity, or petulance for spirit. Tremble at the thought of sacrificing friendship to a jest. Indulge in no case propensity to contradiction, or the itch of criti
cism. Be not hasty to draw characters, in general companies especially. Whenever you do, be sure to touch on what is praiseworthy: something praiseworthy there is in every character. Over what is culpable throw the veil of charity as often as you can.
As well in this as in other respects, charity shall hide a multitude of sins." When the absent are condemned, justify their conduct, if possible ; extenuate it, if not: some circumstance of extenuation may be almost always found. If in your judgment of human actions you must frequently err, let it ever be on the favourable side, and remember, that one of a noble nature had much rather be thought humane than witty, simple than severe. Show yourselves pleased, as often as you really are so ; and you will seldom fail of pleasing. Join to all the rest the magnanimity of applauding freely in other women that beauty, and those accomplishments, which you yourselves may chance not to possess, or to possess only in an inferior degree.--How lovely and great will you appear by an unaffected attention to such maxims! The sparkling of wit, or the splendour of fortune in others, they amuse and dazzle for a time; but you shall secure solid and lasting esteem. Your society will be sought, as easy and safe ; your friendship will be prized, as sincere and affectionate ; in your tender bosoms your acquaintance will long to repose their hearts; and from your sympathetic manner of entering into their concerns, they will receive consolation.
But is there no danger of sinking into insi-pidity by such a behaviour ? Not the least; if it be accompanied with those other qualities which women ought to cultivate. And what should hinder the softest spirit of your sex from acquiring, if she
will, any one virtue or accomplishment proportionate to her capacity? It is possible indeed, that such a cast of mind may be attended with less resolution in difficulties, with less endurance of affliction, with less acuteness of wit, or less force of understanding ; but by due pains taken with her seif a woman of this sort will, I apprehend, beyond all others, improve into that form of character which we would willingly convince you is the most beautiful in a female. There are, I will acknowledge, , now and then in some of a different mould, certain little caprices, or lively sallies and starts of humour, that are not unpleasing on particular oc casions. But then they require to be bounded by decency, and blended with sense ; nor' must the great principles of good affection be ever forgot
Amongst the many other advantages resulting from female meekness, I must not omit to mention how much it will conduce to personal attraction, As it commonly implies calm passions, so it naturally produces, or happily promotes, that serene man ner which is always engaging, (a flutter never is,) and which, meeting a sentimental mind, refines very readily into a gracefulness of mien, more real than any that is acquired in gay assemblies, and to an observant eye much more alluring. Imagine a circle of handsome young women, where one is distinguished above the rest by a flowing yet composed affability ; by a meek look, and modest cara riage, in which there appears no consciousness of beauty, no return upon herself, no study to become the object of the company, no visible attention to her dress or person, but a recollected air, and steady regard to those about her ; what superior pleasure and respect will her presence necessarily inspire !