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in the eye of God; to be beloved by the monarch of the universe ; to be admitted, if I may use the phrase, as so many fair and shining pillars into his temple below ; while he contemplates each with a pleasing aspect, and purposes to remove them in due time to his sanctuary on high, where they shall remain his everlasting delight, as well as the never ceasing admiration of surrounding cherubim Great Creator! what can equal such exaltation and felicity? And can any of you, my hearers, be so destitute of every nobler sentiment as not to aspire after privileges like these ? Unmored by such ideas, can you turn away with impatience, and run to scenes of dress and show with the same little inglorious passions as before ; preferring to the approbation of the Eternal the slightest regards from the silliest mortals ? Go, thou senseless creature, and boast of being admired by the butterflies of a day : See what they will do for thee, when he whose favour thou neglectest, and for such things, shall cause thy “ beauty to consume like a moth," and thy heart to sink within thee like a stone. Imagination shudders at the thought of that day, when thou shalt enter, trembling, forsaken and forlorn, those dismal regions which the voice of adulation cannot reach, where nothing shall be heard but sounds of reproach, and blasphemy, and wo; where, stript of every ornament that now decks thy body, and stript of that body itself, thy mind must appear without shelter or covering, all deformed and ghastly, mangled with the wounds of despairing guilt, and distorted by the violence of envenomed passions, while demons shall mock at thy misery. Save us, almighty Redeemer, save these young people from a doom so dreadful!
Would you concur to prevent it ? Begin with restraining the love of ornament; or rather, turn
that dangerous affection into a higher channel, and let it flow : it will then become safe, useful, noble. Here you will have scope for the largest fancy. To the adorning of your character we wish you to set no bounds. In dressing the soul for the company of saints, of angels, of God himself, you cannot employ too much timne or thought. In studying and cultivating “ the hidden man of the heart,
will every day discover new charms, that will improve with age, bloom in sickness, live in death, survive the desolation of the grave, ascend triumphant to the world of perfect beauty, and continue to brighten under the smile of heaven for eyer. In a word, all the best beings in the creation, together with the Creator himself, concur in loving and honouring a beauteous mind.
Nor is this a distinction, for which you must contend with too many competitors. Carry the passion for dress almost ever so high, you will still have the mortification to find some one or other outshine you in taste, or in magnificence; but the palm of wisdom you may bear away from the greater part unenvied, if you will only allow them the $uperiority of fashion. Oh! that I knew how to awaken on this subject the spirit of ambition in those who are so prone to indulge it on a thousand others. Happy, preacher, couldst thou behold thy hearers filled with emulation to excel one another, in all the modest graces and mild accomplishments that can adorn their sex! Happy Britain, were this the æra in which religion, with her whole train of virtues, might rise into repute amongst thy children ; in which thy sons might be "
as plants grown up in their youth," and thy daughters as cor
ner-stones and polished after the similitude of a 6 palace !"
THE preacher can readily suppose, that many things advanced on the subject of Women, in the course of these Sermons, will be deemed by the generality of his own sex too soothing, while by the majority of yours many will be judged too severe ; such is the force of prejudice on both sides. That he himself is quite impartial, it is impossible for him to be certain. He can only say, that he has honestly endeavoured, according to the best of his capacity, to hold the balance even. Throughout the whole, he had but one single point to study ; which was, to advance what he believed to be true, and what he' hoped at the same time might be useful. He knew, and considered, that he is accountable at a higher tribunal than any upon earth. If he has wished to please, it was from a solicitude “ for your good to edifica* tion.” If he has happened to offend, it was without malignity or design. He should be sorry to be counted your enemy, for telling you the truth. But his concern in that case would be for you, not for himself; he is ambitious of your approbation, but he is much more so of his own.
His happiest days having been chiefly past in the conversation of women of worth and understanding, it is certain, that for such he has ever entertained a peculiar esteem. He pretends not indeed, that even amongst them he has found any jewel without a flaw. But notwithstanding their imperfections, justice ex. acts from him this testimony, that, when they have
in any tolerable degree approached to the standard of whai we have so often styled female excellence, they have appeared to him, with a few exceptions in favour of the other sex, by far the devoutest worshippers, the warmest friends, and the most sentimental as well as entertaining companions. What he has principally to lament is his meeting with so small a number, who have had elevation enough to practise an entire simplicity of manners, sense enough wholly to forget their persons in the company of men, and meekness enough to be quite content when not the objects of immediate attention.
If the preacher has endeavoured, upon the principles of candour, to account for some passions in the sex that seem at first sight less innocent, or less excusable ; it was under the sanction and impression of that great evangelical law, “ Judge not, that ye "be not judged. For with what judgment ye
judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure
ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.” If he has addressed those young persons who formed his audience, in a style of peculiar tenderness, the reason, in plain terms, was because he felt it ; nor does he think, that either as a man, or as a preacher, he ought to suppress, if he could, an affection which nature has implanted, and which, kept within proper bounds, religion does not prohibit.
If he has attempted to insinuate instruction under the smiles of complacence, or to enforce admonition with the fervours of friendship; say, ye censors of the age, is he really to blame? Is an austere countenance the proper face of zeal, or a distant forma. lity the genuine inark of holiness? To disgust by rudeness, or to discourage by rigour-is that the
way to win souls? Was it the way of the Apostles, or of their Master'? Merciful Saviour! what words
can paint thy benignity, into whose lips grace was poured, who didst “not break the bruised reed, i nor quench the smoking flax," whose character was like that of thy Father, love! I touched before on the spirit that breathed in his teaching :- let me just add here, that his parables, which made so great a part of it, were pointed to the imagination no less than to the heart ; presenting the strongest pictures of life and nature, at the same time that by these very means they impressed the noblest lessons of piety and truth. To speak in general, will any one say, that the severity of censure must never be softened, nor the awfulness of solemnity tempered ; not even when the preacher has the youthful and the gay
for his hearers? Those surely are strangers to true wisdom, who suppose her monitions incompatible with cheerful images or joyful ideas ; surely those are unacquainted with the human mind, who hope to reform its errors, without conciliating its affections, or think that the tutoring of terror alone will produce the love of goodness.
In some sentiments which I have offered to your consideration, I should not be surprised if I have been taxed with idle refinement. We live in an age when whatever is held by the few most solid and valuable, is by the many derided as visionary, or decried as insignificant. In the present age an accomplished female is apt to be shunned under the notion of a learned lady ; and the virtuous woman of the Proverbs would be in danger of being ridiculed as a composition of affectation. In this age the subject of dress and ornament, I am ready to acknowledge, is better understood than formerly; but in these how often are modesty, frugality, and simple elegance, given up to levity or fashion, to vain competition or mistaken appearance ! In this