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Still rich ladies must have husbands, and of course somebody must marry them. If all the other qualifications pertain to a lady, and a gentleman really loves her, the simple objection that she has some fifty or a hundred or two thousand dollars, would not probably in most cases be insurmountable.
If you should ever have occasion to surmount such an objection, which it is rather to be hoped you will not, your best way will be, never to have any thing to do with your wife's property. Let it be secured to her in law before you are married, that you may never bear the reproach of wasting her estate or living upon her interest.
Beware that you never trifle with female affections; you can hardly do anything more base and wicked. Be careful never to awaken any reasonable supposition of your having designs, unless you really have them and mean to execute them. The female heart is highly susceptible, easily prepared for disappointment, and when disappointed the wound strikes deep. Many, many a female of the finest mould has been ruined by the base trifling of a pretended lover.
It is better for your own safety also, that all your intercourse with a lady before your mind is fully made up, should be of such a nature as not to awaken the least suspicion. Then her conduct
is more unconstrained and artless ; you can study her mind and character better; you can make your inquiries of others, and obtain honest answers.
Having made your choice and obtained the object of your desire, let it be your ambition that both she and those who gave her to you, may ever find increasing cause to rejoice in the union. Consider how great and sacred the gift, those parents have bestowed - a beloved daughter ! One long and fondly cherished, dear to them as their own souls, they have entrusted to your fidelity for life. What trust like this? Seldom have I been called to solemnize a marriage, when I have not seen the glistening tear moisten the father's eye, or the trickling drops upon the mother's and the sister's cheeks.
Nor is it strange. How uncertain are even the brightest prospects of earth! Who shall lift the veil, and reveal the future history of that darling child and sister? Will he remember his vow? Will he prove a kind and faithful husband ? Will he lead her tenderly and gently over the rugged paths of earth, to that bright world ? Will he be father, and mother, and brother, and sister, and home, all that she forsakes for him, unto her ? Or will he
- ? But I forbear. No. Not a suspicion is entertained. When the parents give him their daughter, they give him
their hearts. Still, nature will have her yearnings, and despite of all their love and confidence, a wave of emotion will roll over them, when they think of yielding up their child forever into the hands of another. Turn back that wave, convert those tears into redoubled joy, by so conducting in all future time, as that they shall see they have not lost a daughter, but gained a son.
In concluding this work, I would offer to the young reader a few thoughts respecting what may be called the CHRISTIAN BALANCE OF MIND.
This is of very great importance to your permanent and greatest usefulness.
So many conflicting schemes and interests as there are in the world, urged forward with such an impulse, every young Christian is liable to have his mind jostled and thrown off its balance; and thus to become eccentric, unsound in his judgment, one-sided. This state of mind is sometimes the less controllable, from the very fact of its being under a religious impulse ; since for this reason it becomes a matter of conscience, perhaps a supposed excellence of character.
All good men will agree that the great object of our existence is to glorify God and enjoy him forever ; that it is our duty to give up this world and
all idolatrous attachments from our hearts, and to take God for our supreme portion and King ; to join ourselves to Christ and his cause, trusting in his grace, and endeavoring to advance his kingdom.
But respecting the best means of promoting religion, respecting the particular things to be done, there have ever been some differences of opinion; and if I mistake not, in the present modes of operation, there is some tendency to increase them.
Let a man fix his eye strongly on some one specific form of evil or sin to be removed, or of supposed good to be done, let him perhaps converse, write or lecture constantly upon it, and it will at length fill his mental vision and absorb his interest. Let a family take a periodical exclusively devoted to some one object, let this constitute the most of their transient reading, and they will finally come into the same state of mind.
Now I am not objecting to having particular persons set apart to particular objects. I believe that to some extent the principle of the division of labor demands it. Much less would I object to the natural operation of that law of mind, which gives to a man a deep and peculiar interest in any particular good object which he has espoused. I love to see it. It argues sincerity. It is one of the essential means of accomplishing the world's renovation. But two cautionary rules are neces
ry, only two, the observance of which will
always carry '
my young reader safely, and preserve his mental balance.
Should you ever become absorbed in any one good object, you have in the first place only to remember this law of mind which I have stated, and to consider that there are many others too, who have their particular objects, which they consider of as much importance as you do yours. It is said that in England some men spend their lives, operating upon no larger an object than the head of a pin. If they have a becoming zeal and fidelity in their calling, that object engages their thoughts and absorbs their secular interest more than all the other affairs of the kingdom. Yet if they have common sense and a very slight knowledge of the world, they know very well that there are other objects besides the head of a pin, and if they are aware of this law of mind to which I have alluded, they know that other men view their respective objects in some measure as they do theirs. So that a man may even adopt the head of a pin for his object, and still preserve the integrity and balance of his mind, if he will only remember what the human mind is.
In the second place, considering the different positions occupied by different minds, if you cannot in a moment make others see your object just as you do, you must not grow impatient and begin to denounce them. Perhaps at the very moment be