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ing into a general substitute for principle. Abuse not so noble a quality as Christian candour, by mis-employing it in instances to which it does not apply. Pity the wretched woman you dare not countenance ; and bless HIM who has “ made you to differ.” If unhappily she be your relation or friend, anxiously watch for the period when she shall be deserted by her betrayer; and see if, by your Christian offices, she can be snatched from a perpetuity of vice. But if, through the Divineblessing on your patient endeavours, she should ever be awakened to remorse, be not anxious to restore the forlorn penitent to that society against whose laws she has so grievously offended ; and remember, that her soliciting such a restoration, furnishes but too plain a proof that she is not the penitent your partiality would believe ; since penitence is more anxious to make its peace with Heaven than with the world. Joyfully would a truly contrite spirit commute an earthly for an everlasting reprobation . To restore a criminal to public society, is perhaps to tempt her to repeat her crime, or to deaden her repentance for having committed it, as well as to injure that society; while to restore a strayed soul to God will add lustre to your Christian character, and brighten your eternal crown. In the mean time, there are other evils, ultimately perhaps tending to this, into which we are falling, through that sort of fashionable candour which, as was hinted above, is among the mischievous characteristics of the present day; of which period perhaps it is not the smallest evil, that vices are made to look so like virtues, and are so assimilated to them, that it requires watchfulness and judgment sufficiently to analyze and discriminate. There are certain women of good fashion who practise irregularities hot consistent with the strictness of virtue ; while their good sense and knowledge of the world make them at the same time keenly alive to the value of reputation. They want to retain their indulgencies, without quite forfeiting their credit; but finding their fame fast declining, they artfully cling, by flattery and marked attentions, to a few persons of more than ordinary character; and thus, till they are driven to let go their hold, continue to propa falling fame.
On the other hand, there are not wanting women of distinction, of very correct general conduct, and of no ordinary sense and virtue, who, confiding with a high mind on what they too confidently call the integrity of their own hearts ; anxious to deserve a good fame on the one hand, by a life free from reproach, yet secretly too desirous on the other of securing a worldly and fashionable reputation; while their general associates are persons of honour, and their general resort places of safety; yet allow themselves to be occasionally present at the midnight orgies of revelry and gaming, in houses of no honourable estimation ; and thus help to keep up characters, which, without their sustaining hand, would sink to their just level of contempt and reprobation. While they are holding out this plank to a drowning reputation, rather, it is to be feared, shewing their own strength than assisting another's weakness, they value themselves, perhaps, on not partaking of the worst parts of the amusements which may be carrying on; but they sanction them by their presence; they lend their countenance to corruptions they should abhor, and their example to the young and inexperienced, who are looking about for some such sanction to justify them in that which they were before inclined to, but were too timid to have ventured upon without the protection of such unsullied names. Thus these respectable characters, without looking to the general consequences of their indiscretion, are thoughtlessly employed in breaking down, as it were, the broad fence which should ever separate two very different sorts of society, and are becoming a kind of unnatural link between vice and virtue.
There is a gross deception which even persons of reputation practise on themselves. They loudly condemn vice and irregularity as an abstract principle ; nay, they stigmatize them in persons of an opposite party, or in those from whom they themselves have no prospect of personal advantage or amusement, and in whom therefore they have no particular interest to tolerate evil. But the same disorders are viewed without abhorrence when practised by those who in any way minister to their pleasures. Refined entertainments, luxurious decorations, select music, whatever furnishes any delight, rare and exquisite to the senses, these soften the severity of criticism; these palliate sins, varnish over the flaws of a broken character, and extort not pardon merely but justification, countenance, intimacy . The more respectable will not, perhaps, go all the length of vindicating the disreputable vice, but they affect to disbelieve its existence in the individual instance; or, failing in this, they will bury its acknowledged turpitude in the seducing qualities of the agreeable delinquent. Talents of every kind are considered as a commutation for a few vices, and such are made a passport to introduce into honourable society characters whom their profligacy ought to exclude from it. But the great object to which you who are, or may be mothers, are more especially called, is the education of your children. If we are responsible for the use of influence in the case of those over whom we have no immediate control, in the case of our children we are responsible for the exercise of acknowledged flower: a power wide in its extent, indefinite in its effects, and inestimable in its importance. On You, depend in no small degree the principles of the whole rising generation. To your direction the daughters are almost exclusively committed ; and until a certain age, to you also is consigned the mighty privilege of forming the hearts and minds of your infant sons. By the blessing of God on the principles you shall, as far as it depends on you, infuse into both sons and daughters, they will hereafter “ arise and call you blessed.” And in the great day of general account, may every Christian mother be enabled through divine grace to say, with humble confidence, to her Maker and Redeemer, “Behold the children whom thou hast given me !” Christianity, driven out from the rest of the world, has still, blessed be God : a “strong hold” in this country. And though it be the special duty of the appointed “watchman, now that he seeth the sword come upon the land, to blow the trumpet and warn the people, which if he neglect to do, their blood shall be required of the watchman’s hand :” yet, in this sacred garrison, impregnable but by
neglect, You too have an awful post, that of arming the minds of the rising generation “with the shield of faith, whereby they shall be able to quench the fiery darts of the wicked;” that of girding them with “that sword of the spirit which is the word of God.” If you neglect this your bounden duty, you will have effectually contributed to expel Christianity from her last citadel. And, remember, that the dignity of the work to which you are called, is no less than that of preserving the ark of the Lord.
on the education of women.—The prevailing system tends to establish the errors which it ought to correct.–Dangers arising from an excessive cultivation of the arts.
IT is far from being the object of this slight work to of. fer a regular plan of female education, a task which has been often more properly assumed by far abler writers; but it is intended rather to suggest a few remarks on the reigning mode, which, though it has had many panegyrists, appears to be defective, not only in a few particulars, but as a general system. There are indeed numberless honourable exceptions to an observation which will be thought severe; yet the author questions if it be not the natural and direct tendency of the prevailing and popular system, to excite and promote those very defects, which it ought to be the main end and object of Christian education to remove; whether, instead of directing this important engine to attack and destroy vanity, selfishness, and inconsideration, that tripple alliance in league against female virtue ;)the combined powers of instruction are not sedulously confederated in confirming their strength and establishing their empire : If indeed the material substance, if the body and limbs, with the organs and senses, be really the more valuable objects of attention, then there is little room for animadversion and improvement. But if the immaterial and immortal mind; if the heart, “ out of which are the issues of life” be the main concern; if the great business of education be to implant ideas, to communicate knowledge, to form a correct state and a sound judgment, te: resist evil propensities, and, above all, to seize the favourable season for infusing principles and confirming habits; if education be a school to fit us for life, and life be a school to fit us for eternity; if such, I repeat it, be the chief work and grand ends of education, it may then be worth inquiring how far these ends are likely to be effected by the prevailing system. Is it not a fundamental error to consider children as innocent beings, whose little weaknesses may perhaps want some correction, rather than as beings who bring
into the world. a corrupt nature and evil dispositions,
which it should be the great end of education to rectify 2 This appears to be such a foundation truth, that if I were asked what quality is most important in an instructor of youth, I should not hesitate to reply, such a strong imfiression of the corruption of our nature, as should insure a disfiosition to counteract it ; together with such a deef. view and thorough knowledge of the human heart, as should be necessary for develofting and controlling its most secret and comfilicated workings. And let us remember that to know the world, as it is called, that is, to know its local manners, temporary usages, and evanescent fashions, is not to know human nature : and where this prime knowledge is wanting, those natural evils which ought to be counteracted will be fostered. Vanity, for instance, is reckoned among the light and venial errors of youth ; nay, so far from being treated as a dangerous enemy, it is often called in as an auxiliary. At worst, it is considered as harmless weakness, which subtracts little from the value of a character; as a natural effervescence, which will subside of itself, when the first ferment of the youthful passions shall have done working. But those know little of the conformation of the human, and especially of the female heart, who fancy that vanity is ever exhausted, by the mere operation of time and events. Let those who maintain this opinion look into our places of public resort, and there behold if the ghost of departed beauty is not to its last flitting fond of haunting the scenes of its past pleasures; the soul, unwilling