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Having mentioned Sentiment so often, I will now once for all offer you a caution, on which I lay a particular stress. It is this ; not to mistake the capacity of thinking justly, or of taiking well, for the same thing with a disposition to act wisely. The truth is, that people are not wise in consequence either of profound knowledge, or vast learning, or beautiful notions, or the most cultivated taste, or the greatest ability in displaying these ; but by virtue of a few plain notior's settled into principles of conduct; even as people are not healthy by feasting on rich dainties, or indulging a too nice palate, but by living on simpler fare, where temperance does not wish for much variety, and where hunger does not want it.
Nevertheless, there is not perhaps any thing that fiatters the human mind more than depth or fluency of remark, than compass or facility of conversation. in effect, they are talents not often possessed, and such as confer a superiority felt by all, however it may be acknowledged by few, When it is acknowledged, such praise transports; and those who receive it set themselves down for every thing that is great and accomplished. Alas! they forget, that these are still at best but in the second class of excellence ; that in a moral view they are of no value ; and that fine discourse and a fine character are things totally distinct.
In reality, your best talkers are very seldom your best livers. From their encomiums on virtue, and their declamations against vice, they often receive such high pleasure as with them passes for love of the one, and abhorrence of the other ;" when it is only perhaps a vain complacence in their own powers, joined to that natural sense of right and wrong, which is common to them with all others,
In this they rest, well satisfied to leave to others the less showy, and more troublesome part, which belongs to practice. To that also speculation is frequently an enemy, in the same manner as familiarity is to respect.
Religion, beloved, is a majestic form always to be treated with reverence; with affection too, I confess, as being likewise an amiable form. Bat this affection resembles that which a wise subject would show for his prince, into whose friendship he found himself graciously admitted. Such a mar woald never forget his own subordination so far, as to drop the reverence due to royalty. If his prince condescended to treat him with the openness of confidence, and the caress of joy ; yet still would he bear in mind, that he was only a subject, and
every freedom on his side would be tempered with respectful modesty.
Perhaps there is nothing so uncommon as to speak of divine objects with the proper veneration. How have I been shocked to hear the sanctimonious, yet audacious, prate of some pretenders to religion! Those that have the strongest perceptions of it will be most struck by its sublimity, and most conscious how far they fall short of so high a standard. By consequence they will profess it with the greatest modesty, and mention it with the utmost caution. Those that are most intimately acquainted with God and themselves, will be most deeply impressed with his grandeur and their own littleness, will most clearly perceive the difference between knowing his will, and performing it, will feel most sensibly how much easier it is to descant on all his perfections than to copy one of them.
In conclusion ; let me beseech you beyond all things, to converse much with your Maker and yourselves;
to study his character and your own; to trace his attributes wherever displayed; to learn his counsels however revealed; to examine your consciences, chiefly by the written word; to canvass your past actions, present pursuits, and prevailing views ; to approve or condemn, as under his eye; to ascertain your interest in the friendship of your Divine Sovereign, and cherish an unalterable Faith in his Spirit and Providence, as ever ready to assist your honest though feeble efforts ; together with a joyful assurance, that if you are not wilfully wanting to yourselves, you shall at last attain immortal excellence and glory, through Jesus Christ our Lorda,
I wii-that women adorn themselves 'in modest apparel, with
shamefacedness and sobriety: not with broidered hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array, but (which becometh women professing, godliness) with Good Works.
You have seen a venerable matron encircled, with a race of lovely daughters, all different from one another, yet all marked with an air of mutual resemblance, and taking jointly after their honour
parent, to whom from time to time they direct their looks with dutiful attention; while she smiles on each by turns, superintends their behaviour, and prescribes their several occupations, encourages them in every thing praiseworthy, and, with proper regard to their respective talents and dispositions, trains them to growing excellence. In. her, my fair ones, you beheld an emblem of Religion. Thus is that most dignified of all forms surrounded by the Virtues, her beautiful offspring; thus do they bear the lineaments of their common descent, and near affinity ; and thus-But I leave you to trace the particulars of the similitude. The general truth on which it is founded, seems plainly intimated in our text, where Godliness is assumed as the leading pri.ciple of all that the apostle inculcates on women. Are women professmg. Christianity
he addresses them: and whatever a consistency with that profession demands, he would be understood to enjoin. He mentions particularly modest apparel, shamefacedness, sobriety, and Good Works. It now remains to enforce the last of these, together with those Kind Affections which they presuppose ; and to touch as we go along on their connexion with the Religious Principles which gave them birth. '
But before we proceed, truth requires one mortifying observation. It is this, that amongst the many women professing godliness, the number of those that practise it is comparatively small. In all professions the mere pretenders will ever be numerous. They will be most so, in those that are at once reputable and difficult.' That of Religion, as was formerly remarked, is approved of in your sex éven by such as laugh at it in ours. At the same time it is certain, that when the habits of piety have not been very early acquired, and very happily directed, by means of a wise education, the rarest as well as the greatest of blessings, the forming of them afterwards will always prove a task too arduous, and painful, for the generality of those who are bred to dissipation, and pleasure.
But then, on the other hand, where this divine principle is. cultivated with care and judgment, it is no less certain, that we may expect from it the most valuable fruits. And first; I say, that a young woman professing godliness with understanding, and from choice, will never be wanting in the great article of Filial Duty- On this subject, as on many others, the subtilty of speculation has pút cases, which there is little probabiliy of happening in life. But where casuistry is not neces