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ineditated coolness. Common attentions of civility shewn towards a third personi are indignantly beheld as tokens of deliberate preference. Hence arise prejudices and antipathies, which years may not be able to eradicate. Or filly affronts are taken on points of precedence. Because a lady is ushered into a room, or led forth to dance a minuet, before another who deemed herself superior; the company is thrown into confusion, and lasting hostilities take place between the parties. Yet the preference was perhaps given, where, according to the rules of etiquette, it was deserved. Or the merits of the case, though determined erroneously, might be so nearly balanced, that the whole assembled college of heralds would have been perplexed to decide the question. Where then is the fpirit inculcated by the Apostle? “ Let “ nothing be done through ftrife or vainIn the progress of matrimonial life it is scarcely possible but that the wife and the husband will discover faults in each other, which they had not previously expected. The discovery is by no means a proof, in many cases it is not even a presumption, that deceit had originally been practised. Affection, like that Christian charity of whose nature it largely participates, in its early periods, “ hopeth all things, believeth “ all things (n).” Time and experience, without necessarily detracting, from its warmth, superadd judgement and observation. The characters of the parties united mutually expand; and disclose those little recesses which, even in dispositions most inclined to be open and undisguised, scarcely find opportunities of unfolding themselves antecedently to marriage. Intimate connection and uninterrupted society reveal shades of error in opinion and in conduct, which, in the hurry of spirits and the dazzled state of mind peculiar to the season of growing attachment, escaped even the vigilant eye of (n) Cor. xiii: 7.
glory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than themfelves(m).” (m) Philipp. i. 3.
folicitude. Or the fact unhappily may be, that in consequence of new scenes, new cir- , cumstances, new temptations, failings which did not exist when the matrimonial state commenced, may have been contracted since. The stream may have derived a debasing tincture from the region through which it has lately flowed. But the fault, whether it did or did not exist while the parties were single, is now difcerned. What then is to be the confequence of the discovery? Is affection to be repressed, is it to be permitted to grow languid, becaufe the object of it now appears tinctured with fome one additional defect? I allude not to those flagrant desertions of moral and religious principle, those extremes of depravity, which are not unknown tothe connubial ftate,andgive a shock to the tenderest feelings of the heart. I speak of those common deficiencies, which long and familiar intercourfe gradually detects in every human character. Whether they are perceived by the hufband in the wife, or by the wife in the husband, to contribute
by by every becoming method to their removal is an act of duty strictly incumbent on the discoverer. It is more than an act of duty; it is the first office of love. “ Thou shalt not bate thy neighbour in
suffering fin upon him (o),” is a precept, the disregard of which is the most criminal in those persons, by whom the warmest regard for the welfare of each other ought to be displayed. In the course of the foregoing pages I have had occasion fully to notice the power which a married woman pofsefses of influencing the dispositions of her husband, and the confequent duty of exerting it for the improvement of his moral and religious character. It remains how to guard the wife against the effect of emotions and impressions, which might prevent her from reaping the benefit of similar exertions of duty and kindness on the part
of her husband. Let her beware of discouraging him, by irritability of temper, or by inconsiderate proneness to mis
(0) Levit. xix. 17.
construction, construction, from communicating to her his opinion, when he believes that she has fallen, or is in danger of falling, into error. To point out failings in the spirit of kindness, is one of the clearest indications of friendship. It is, however, one of those delicate offices from which friendship may the most easily be deterred. If a husband finds his endeavours to discharge it frequently misconceived ; if he fees them usually producing perturbations difficult to be allayed, and extending far and wide beyond the original subject of discussion; he may
learn to think it wiser to let an evil exist in filence, than to attempt to ohviate it at the hazard of a greater. If his conscience at any time calls upon him to set before his affociate in connubial life fome defect, either in her general conduct, or in a particular instance; he ought unquestionably to fulfil the task with a lively conviction of his own imperfections, and of the need which he has of indulgence and forbearance on her part. He ought to fulfil