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young woman cannot herself possess ade. quate means of investigating, let the advice and inquiries of virtuous relatives be folicited. Let not their opinions, though the purport

of them should prove unacceptable, be undervalued; nor their remonftrances, if they should remonstrate, be construed as unkindness. Let it be remembered that, although parental authority can never be justified in constraining a daughter to marry against her will; there are many cases in which it may be justified in requiring her to pause. Let it be remembered that, if she should unite herself to a man who is unsettled as to the principles, or careless as to the practical duties of Christianity; she has to dread not only the risk of personal unhappiness from his conduct towards her, but the dangerous contagion of intimate example. She has to dread that his unsteadiness

may render her unsteady, his carelessness may teach her to be careless. Does the scene appear in prospect gloomy or ambiguous ? Let her be wise, let her exert

herself,

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herself, before it be too late. It is better to encounter present anxiety, than to avoid it at the expence of greater and durable evils. And even if affection has already acquired such force, as not to be 'repressed without very painful struggles ; let her be confoled and animated by the consciousness that the facrifice is to prevent, while prevention is yet in her power, years of danger and of misery ; that it is an act not only of ultimate kindness to herself, but of duty to God; and that every act of humble and persevering duty may hope to receive, in a better world, a reward proportioned to the severity of the trial.

In a union so intimate as that of matrimonial life those diversities in temper, habits, and inclinations, which in a less close connection might not have been distinctly perceived, or would have attracted notice but feldom, unavoidably swell into importance. When surfaces are contiguous, every little prominence is mutually felt. Hence, among

the

the qualifications which influence the probability of connubial comfort, a reasonable similarity of disposition between the two parties is one of especial moment. Where Itrong affection prevails, a spirit of accommodation will prevail also. But it is not desirable that the spirit of accommodation should be subjected to rigorous or very frequent experiments. Great disparity in

age between a husband and a wife, or a wide difference in rank antecedently to marriage, is, on this account, liable to be productive of difquietude. The sprightliness of youth feems levity, and the fobriety of maturer years to be tinctured with moroseness, when closely contrasted. A sudden introduction to affluence, a sudden and great elevation in the scale of society, are apt to intoxicate; and a sudden reduction in outward appearance to be felt as degrading. Instances, however, are not very rare in which the force of affection, of good sense, and of good principles, shews itself permanently superior to the influence of causes, which,

CHAP. XII.

ON THE DUTIES OF MATRIMONIAL

LIFE.

Among

Mong the most important of the duties peculiar to the situation of a married woman, are to be placed those arising from the influence which she will naturally posfefs over the conduct and character of her husband. If it be scarcely possible for two persons connected by the ties of common friendship, to live constantly together, or even habitually to pass much time in the society of each other, without gradually approaching nearer and nearer in their sentiments and habits; still less probable is it, that from the closest and most attractive of all bands of union a similar effect should not be the result. The effect will be

experienced by both parties, and perhaps in an

equal

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equal degree. But if it be felt by one in a greater degree than by the other, it is likely to be thus felt by the husband. In female manners inspired by affection, and bearing at once the stamp of modesty and of good sense, example operates with a captivating force which few bosoms can resist. When the heart is won, the judgement is easily persuaded. It waits not for the flow process of argument to prove that to be right, which it already thinks too amiable to be wrong. To the fascinating charms of female virtue, when adorned by its highest embellishment, diffidence, the Scriptures themselves bear testimony. St. Peter, addressing himself to married women, fome of whom, in those days, had been converted to the Christian religion, while their husbands remained yet in idolatry, speaks in the following

“ Likewise, ye wives, be in sub“ jection to your own husbands; that if

any obey not the word, they also, without the word, may be won by the con“ versation of the wives; while they behold

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