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to minds less happily attempered, and less under the guidance of religious motives, prove sources of anxiety and vexation.
To delude a young man by encouraging his attentions for the pleasure of exhibiting him as a conquest, for the purpose of exciting the assiduities of another person, or from, any motive except the impulse of mutual regard, is a proceeding too plainly repugnant to justice, and to delicacy of sentiment, to require much obfervation. On such subjects, even inadvertence is highly culpable. What, then, is the guilt of her, who deliberately raises hopes which the is resolved not to fulfil!
There remains yet another caution relating to the present subject, which
appears worthy of being suggested. A young woman, unbiassed by interested motives, iş sometimes led to contract a matrimonial engagement without suspecting that the perhaps does not entertain for her intended husband the warm and rooted affection necessary for the conservation of connubial happiness. She beholds him with general approbation : she is conscious that there is no other person whom she prefers to him: she receives lively pleasure from his attentions: and the imagines that she loves him with tenderness and ardour. Yet it is very possible that she may be unacquainted with the real state of her heart. Thoughtless inexperience, gentleness of difpofition, the quick susceptibility of early youth, and chiefly perhaps the complacency which all persons, whose affections are not pre-occupied, feel towards those who distinguish them by particular proofs of regard, may have excited an indistinct partiality which she mistakes for rivetted attachment. Many an unhappy wife has discovered the mistake too late.
ON THE DUTIES OF MATRIMONIAL
Among 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 por, fefs 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 fociety of each other, without gradually approaching nearer and nearer in their sentiments and habits ; ftill 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 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 slow 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, some 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, with
out the word, may be won by the con“ versation of the wives; while they behold
“ your chaste conversation coupled with “ fear (t).” To every woman who, in modern times, is unhappy enough to have a husband ignorant of the evidence, uncon+ vinced of the truth, or utterly regardless of the precepts of Christianity, this direction of the Apostle indicates an object which ought to be among the nearest to her heart;
at the same time describes, with an accurate insight into the nature of the human mind, the methods from which, under the superintending control of Providence, the attainment of it is to be expected. But it speaks to married women universally. To every one who discerns in the behaviour of her husband a habit of deviation, in any respect, from the path of Christian rectitude, it speaks the language of instruction and of encouragement. If the example of a wife endearing herself to her husband by “ chaste conversation,” by purity of manners and of conduct, “ coupled with fear," united with modest respect and unassuming
(t) = Peter, iii. 1; 2.