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ed out with a pre-eminence perfectly distinguishable. · When of his apostles the most sanguine had denied, had even forsworn, and all the rest had forsaken him and fed; we find those faithful and gentle creatures surrounding his cross with lamentations, which they were neither ashamed nor afraid to avow, Never sure did female tears appear more graceful. Nor were they merely that transient flow of mechanical grief, so easily furnished by too many eyes, where the heart has little or no share in the soft effusion. The love which those devout daughters of Jerusalem bore to their master, nothing could extinguish. Who has not read that affecting story of the visit to his sepulchre, paid by the pious Marys and their little company, together with the kind, generous, and, as it might have proved, very hazardous purpose which produced it? Their setting out alone, at so early an hour, while it was yet dark, to engage in so solemn a scene, afforded a striking proof of the courage and constancy with which their piety had inspired them, amidst all that spirits like theirs must have suffered from so many circumstances of sorrow. In their countenances, words, and gestures on that occasion, I think I read the painful, yet amiable emotions, that wrought in their tender throbbing hearts. I ain particularly charmed with the eager anxiety, and beautiful distress of Mary Magdalene, whose gratitude for the transcendant mercies she had received, did then flame out with such uncommon fervour. While I contemplate the whole transaction, with the conduct that preceded it, I cannot but admire that justice which, in preference to all others, honoured those excellent women with being the first witnesses and publishers of Christ's resurrection, or, as an
ancient writer has expressed it, Apostles to the Apostles themselves. A very natural, as it is in effect a most memorable attachment, and unconquerable fidelity! Surely it was not in vain, that the annals of inspiration have registered those pleasing facts with such particularity. There they stand, and will for ever stand, illustrious monuments of female worth, in a conjuncture most peculiarly trying, and of the extraordinary approbation it met with from him, in whose sight devotion and perseverance, affection and faith will always outshine the more showy qualities that fill the world with history and wonder.
I should have mentioned before this, the friendship of Jesus to the sisters of Lazarus, his applause of the woman of Canaan, and his pathetic address to the women who followed him weeping, while he carried his cross. It is likewise worthy of remark that of all the disciples, he who seems, 'in a certain divine sweetness of disposition, to have resembled him most, directed one of those epistles which make a part of our scriptures to a Lady, a person of distinction much respected by him and all the believers of that time for her eminent piety, and that of her children.
And now, if with encouragements like these to the love of God and of your Saviour, any of you, my fair auditory, should live in forgetfulness of both; what shall we say of such, but that they are destitute of true ambition, and totally insensible to the most distinguishing favours of heaven ?
But perhaps we shall be told, that the perpetual flatteries which many of you meet with from men on account of its inferior gifts, such as youth, beauty, fancy, sprightliness, prevent or destroy those better sentiments which you might be other
wise disposed to cultivate. I doubt it not. But do ye plead this as an excuse? Your situation, we have granted all along, subjects you to temptations in particular instances. But we have now seen, that it frees you from other very dangerous snares, and includes the most powerful attractives to your duty. What are you to infer from the whole, but that you ought to avail yourselves of these advantages, for fortifying and guarding you wherever you lie exposed?
I have just named what appears to me your sex's. weakest side. To arm you on that I have had opportunities of offering a variety of precautions. I now add, and it shall be my last consideration on this occasion, that Revelation concurs with reason to furnish the strongest weapons of defence against that adulation, which is so great an enemy to your souls.
That your souls are immortal is probable from reason, and certain from revelation. But the arguments from either I hold it unnecessary to propose here. To attempt the conviction of female infidels, falls not within my present design. Indeed I fear it were a hopeless undertaking. The preposterous vanity, together with the open or secret profligacy, by which they have been warped into scepticism, would in all likelihood baffle any endeavours of mine. If they be not however so far gone in that. unhappy system, as to be resolved against all sober inquiry, I would earnestly recommend to their perusal a few of the many excellent writings, which this age and country have produced in favour of religion both natural and revealed. At the same time I would just remind them, that the daring and disputatious spirit of un-belief is utterly repugnant to female softness, and!
to that sweet docility which, in their sex, is 50 peculiarly pleasing to ours ; 'not to mention, that from an infidel partner a man can have no prospect of consolation in those hours of distress, when the hopes of futurity can alone administer relief To you, my christian hearers, I was going to observe, that the stedfast and serious belief of immortality, as pointed out in your frame, and brought to light by the gospel, will excite such a mighty concem to secure its grand interests, such a high sense of your internal dignity, such a predominant ambition of being acceptable in his sight, who can make you happy or wretched for ever, as must necessarily lessen in your esteem every external and perishing advantage.
If you be really possessed by those principles, he that from spiritual and everlasting objects would turn your chief regard to skin-deep and short-lived allurements, will surely, in a moment of recollection at least, be looked upon by you as a tempter to be shunned. That pride of life, which in the eye of folly swells into such importance, will shrink and fade away into its native idleness in her view, whose thoughts are often entertained with the magnificence and splendour of eternal things. To that young woman who, like her of Bethany,“ has chosen the * good part,” who meekly pensive sits at the feet of Jesus, and with delighted reverence hears his words; the insinuation of the vitious, impertinence of the vain, in short, whatever would rob her of her portion, or obstruct her enjoying it, will not, I think, be over pleasing. To her the care of her salvation is the one thing needful. Compared with that, even the best things of this world appear, what in truth they are, but trifles ; in which, because the condition of mortality makes it uuavoidable, she shares with cheerfulness, but in
which she shares with moderation too, because she has business to mind of infinite moment,
** What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the 66 whole world, and lose his own soul? The ques. ition was asked by him, who knew right well the valare of both. Had he asked, “What shall it profit a Wo*** man, if she shall gain the whole world, and lose "her own soul?" would the state of the question have been altered ? You will not say it. Weighed against a soul, the empire of the earth were dust in the balance. What then shall we call those things, for which sininers are daily forfeiting their salvation ?
Tell me, ye flattered fair ones, what is the worth of praise or admiration from knaves, or from fools, for which so many of you are ready to forfeit yours ? Ye daughiters of Vanity, tell me what will dress, or show, or gaiety of any kind, where God and goodness are -neglected, “ profit in the day of wrath?
In that day of discovery and decision what will appearances avail?-Give me back these last sentences : I had forgotten : Dress, show, gaiety, appearances, will be then no more.-- But hold; before we look so far let us see what they can perform now.
They can attract attention ; they can allure desire; they can excite encomium, deceive the unwary, and captivate the weak, for a little. But inform us, ye boasted beauties, who are told every day of your power, what permanent essential good can it procure ? Bring it to the proof. Bid the sun that measures your days, stand still; command the current of time that hurries you along, to stop ; say to wrinkled age, to fell disease, Approach me not, ye frightful forms. Alas! they are deaf as the adder, and stubborn as the rock. 'Try then your influence in some smaller thing. Make the experiment on the head-ach : enjoin it to be gone.