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his career, shines forth at last with a kind of vietorious splendour, that dispels the remaining damps of winter, delights the eye, and inspires the heart of every beholder.
But suppose the worst, that the erroneous multitude should continue to load you with unmerited reproach ; I am not afraid to say that you are happy still, if you know how to avail yourselves of the supports of religion, particularly a sense of the Almighty's approbation. What ought to discourage her who can triumph in this, and likewise in that which is immediately connected with it, an assurance of the Almighty's protection?
Nothing can be more certain than that your sex is, on every account, entitled to the shelter of ours. Your softness, weakness, timidity, and tender reliance on man ; your helpless condition in yourselves, and his superior strength for labour, ability for defence, and fortitude in trial ; your tacit acknowledgment of these, and frequent application for his aid in so many winning ways, concur to form a plea, which nothing can disallow or withstand but brutality. Appetite indeed is naturally brutal : untamed by religion, unchained by reason, what havock does it not commit? Nothing can be more wild or ferocious than lawless desire. How often, alas! does it disfigure and degrade minds otherwise adorned with very valuable qualities! Have we not seen men, who in a sober mood were open to the tenderest feelings of humanity, incapable of any thing unjust or dishonourable, calm, and pliant to good advice ; who yet, in the rebellion of their blood, were as ungovernable and fierce as any.beast of the forest, broke through all restraint, and to gratify the passion that impelled them, rushed on crimes utterly repugnant to the best sentiments of
their hearts! Need I to tell you that from such men your virtue is in danger, and by so much the more by how much the qualities just named are, when allowed to operate, particularly engaging ? But the fact is, that, being inlaid in the constitution, they do operate frequently, and never perhaps more than immediately after those unhappy deviations, for which something within whispers the necessity of making every possible atonement. It is in this way that those good-natured but unhappy men keep themselves and one another in countenance, and often steal into your affection. Yet these are by no means the worst enemies of womankind.
It is your smooth, cool, complimental libertines, who have steeled their breasts by a system, whom the boasted principles, or rather no principles of infidelity, have raised to a glorious contempt of all laws human and divine, delivered from the vulgar conceit of immortality, and enabled to conquer the little weaknesses of nature, and the ignoble prejudices of education, which happened to be on the side of justice, honour, sympathy ;-it is such men, my fair ones, such flagitious and obdurate wretches, - whose wiles, should you chance to be thrown in their way, you have most reason to dread. And believe me, they abound every where. From you indeed they will carefully conceal the enormity of their characters, and the blackness of their opinions ; till by gaining your confidence they can insinuate the last with advantage, so as to take off your apprehensions of the first, and blunt the edge of your resolutions. A sense of piety, the love of virtue, a regard to reputation, the fear of consequences, every principle borrowed from this world and the next, they are well aware would be alarmed and excited, were they to disclose their designs, or ex
plain their ideas at once, without preparation or preface. But I will not attempt to unfold the mystery of iniquity, in which they wrap themselves, and work unsuspected. Let it remain involved in its native darkness and horror ; which cannot however hide it from the eye of Heaven, whose hottest vengeance shall one day overtake and blast it.
Your safety, I said before, lies in retreat and vigilance, in sobriety and prudence, in virtuous friendship and rational conversation, in domestic, elegant, and intellectual accomplishments: I add now, in the guardianship of Omnipotence, as that which must give efficacy to all the rest; but which can only be obtained by something more and better than them all, I mean, True Religion. What reason have you to hope for a privilege so great, if you do not ask it? What cause could
have to complain ; if your righteous Creator, un whom every consideration ought to teach you dependence were to leave you to yourselves amidst those dangerous attacks, or artful snares, which you presumptuously imagine you could resist by your own strength, or elude by your caution ? That humility which does not depress, as christian humility never can, is the best means of security. She who is most sensible of her hazard, is most likely to be on her guard. She who perceives her own imbecility, will be glad to invoke a higher power. Nor will the Parent of all be deaf to one of his reasonable offspring, who, apprehensive of the difficulties to which her frame and situation expose her, heartily implores his help.
Vain very often is the help of man, even when afforded in its utmost extent.
What then must be the case, when it is not only not afforded,,but when
he who ought to protect is bent to destroy ? Το whom shall young creatures of your sex, little lambs, innocent, gentle, fearful, undefended, beset by ravenous lions, or by wolves in sheeps' cloth« ing ;"_to whom shall they flee, but to the Shepherd of Israel? And will he, think ye, reject or abandon them; he who has promised to gather
the lambs with his arm, and to carry them in his " bosom ;" he who has always shown himself more especially concerned for objects of distress and destitution, the poor, the prisoner, the stranger, the oppressed, the widow, the fatherless, and such as have none to help them ; in a word, he whose providence is then nearest, and whose assistance is then readiest, when his creatures are most försaken by others?
To obtain the divine interposition, it is urged by the Psalmist as a prevailing argument, that he was unprotected and desolate. “O be not far from
me: for trouble 'is nigh at hand, and there is none to help me. I looked on my right hand, and beheld, but there was no man that would know me : refuge failed me ; no man cared for
soul. “ I cried unto thee, O Lord. I said, Thou art:
my refuge.” The common Father - hears the
young ravens when they cry unto him ;” and are early left by their hard-hearted dams. Are not ye better than many rávens ? “ Can a woman forget “ her sucking child, that she should not have com
passion on the son of her womb ?” says God by the prophet. He speaks of it as a monstrous thing, and scarce credible in any. Can she forgetShe, in the singular Number. The answer is remarkable : “ Yea, They may forget”—They, in the
plural : confessing it possible, that more than one such wretch may be found amongst the dregs of nature. “ Can a woman forget her sucking child ? “ Yea, They may forget, yet. I will not forget " thee." Can you figure any thing more tender and soothing? Can you hesitate a moment to throw yourselves on the everlasting arms, on “ his right-hand, who rides on the heavens for 'your help, on his excellency in the sky ?” Or having so done, can you harbour a doubt of your safety, while “ your place of defence is the munition " of rocks ?”
But to proceed to our last argument : let the injustice, unkindness, and treachery of the world, engage you to greater Prudence, Purity, and Devotion. Any natural or amiable tie, by which you are or may be bound, God forbid that I should seek to slacken. Moderate aff ections for proper objects you are allowed, you are called to indulge. By such means you will fill your places in society, or be in the way to fill them; at the same time that
you the best thing in human life, the friendly feelings of the heart. But shall I repeat once more, what has in one shape or another been said so often, that whenever these are ill directed, or carried too. far, they are sure to entangle in guilt and disquiet. ude ? Now to prevent, as much as possible, the wanderingof your passions, the Almighty makes use of the passions of others. To bring good out of evil is the glory of his government. The worthlessness of those who have abused their freedom, he permits as a warning to you, no less than a punishment to them.
If men will endeavour to despoil that virtue which they should cherish, to corrupt those minds which they should improve ; in a word, to ruin that sex whose honour and welfare are in a great