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age the strictness of female decorum, and the retirings of female reserve, must expect to be construed into ignorance of the world, if not into hypocritical airs of female sanctity. In this polite age. I had almost asked, where is the man that believes any woman to be modest at heart ; and where is the woman that dares to be superior to the follies of her sex? A passion exalted by generosity, and refined by sentiment, in which the man, not the equipage, was regarded, in which the highest gratifications of sense were the lowest objects of affection such a passion is now considered by the generality as romance. Such lovers might exist in the days of old, or possibly may be yet found in the obscurity of retreat ; but in the gay world, where all is tainted with sensuality, and sacrificed to show, they would appear too ungenteel to be respectable, and too insipid to be happy. Here, alas, how few have the fortitude to live to their own hearts, the worth to cultivate the joys of friendship, or the soul to seek conjugal felicity in conjugal esteem ! Amidst the hurry and dissipation of diversions the profligacy or insignificance of play, the futility or frivolousness of formal visiting; what regard or what room is left for self-possession or mutual confidence, for rational conversation or improving study, for the pleasing cares of a family, or that amiable mixture of minds without which social life is modish disguise or mean indulgence? Is it necessary to add, how scanty a portion of time is now given to private devotion ; how little the sabbath is made a day of rest from the toil of pleasure, or the tumult of passion; and to what banter from the licentious of both sexes she is exposed, who would fill up the duties of that day with seriousness, reverence, and constancy? Let me only subjoin,
that the modes of breeding now established for young women are such, that composure and softness are hardly deemed consistent, that a demeanour perfectly attentive is in hazard of passing for want of vivacity, and a temper thoroughly meek for want of spirit.
But what are you to infer froin all this? That you must “ follow a multitude to do evil,” or relinquish wisdom, because she is renounced by fools? No. She still continues to be “ justified of her “ children ;” and be assured, my dear auditory, that those very fools shall be forced one day to acknowledge her worth. A few short years rolled away, and this gaudy scene will disappear. Where are now many of the miserable flutterers, that we have seen fret their hour on the stage of vanity ? Doctrine like this they too once despised as idle refinement, or disrelished as nauseous dulness. Do ye imagine they are of the same mind still ? How, think ye, will it appear to yourselves in the decrepitude of age, and on the bed of death?
By what standard shall you then wish to have regulated yourselves ; by that of reasonable women and virtuous believers, or by the manners and maxims of a distracted and de generate age?
Against the latter let me warn you, by every thing that is prudent and good, by all that can promote the importance of your sex, the reformation of ours, and the happiness of both ; let ine warn you, in the name of your country, in the name of
your posterity, in the name of God! Suffer not folly to deceive or flattery to abuse you. The time cannot be very distant, at which beauty shall fade as a flower, by the course of nature : the period may be near at hand, when it shall shrink at once, under the violence of disease. However
you may try to forget it, life is all uncertain : and when those eyes, now full of lucid spirit shall sink in darkness; when that complexion, now bright and bloouing, shall die away into a livid hue, and men "shall turn with horror from those features which they behold at present with delight ; what will the world avail you, or the world's applause ? Death, my dear hearers, death is no courtier ; he will show you to yourselves as you really are, devested of every external decoration and skin-deep allurement. If destitute of mental acquisitions and moral graces, the unfading lustre of an enlightened soul, " the "hidden and incorruptible man of the heart ;" what will it avail you that you are now fair and flattered ? The reputation of wit, the popularity of politeness, the profession of piety itself, will in that c njuncture be alike ineffectual. It is only the retrospect of capacity well employed, the consciousness of benevolence worthily exerted, and the principles of faith and hope possessing the mind, that will then support and gladden it.
Where there is nothing but a picture of virtue, or a few shadowy qualities that may subsist without any real excellence, death will hide them forever in the night of despair. The lackness of darkness will close upon the naked and wandering ghost; while its loathsome remains are consigned to oblivion and putrefaction in the prison of the grave, with the prospect of a worse doom hereafter. But where there is a living image of true goodness begun in this state, death will deliver it with safety into the finishing hand of eternity, to be produced with every mark of honour in the open view of heaven ; where its now mortal partner, rescued from the dishonours of the dust, and brightened into the graces of eternal youth, shall rejoin it in
triumph, to suffer the pang of separation no more Everlasting Jehovah! what a crown of joy will it confer upon the preacher in that day, should this little service be rewarded with the reflexion of having contributed to the salvation or improvement of any of these young persons whom he now addresses ! If ever thine ear was open to my cry, hear me, Lord, hear me, in their behalf. What cannot thy spirit perform, perform by the weakest hand? May that spirit" seal them unto the day of redemption !" -At that glorious period, may I meet you all amongst
" the redeemed of the Lord;" happy to see you shining, with immortal splendour, in “ the * general assembly and church of the first born;" transported to think, that I shall live with you for ever ; and joining in the gratulations of your fellow angels around the throne of God, when he shall in the sight of all “ clothe you with the garments of
salvation, and cover you with the robe of right
eousness, as a bridegroom is decked with orna“ments, and as a bride is adorned with her jewels.” Amen.