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what they really are.
Not that they are austerely to turn away from lighter themes of conversation; or to consider a total abftinence from innocent trifling as one of the effential characteristics of wisdom and of virtue. But it is one thing to be austere, and another to be prudent and discriminating. There is an extreme on the side of compliance, as well as on that of austerity. And good humour is carried to excess, when it excites misconceptions; rivets mistakes fanctions ensnaring customs; and prohibits experience from intermixing, amidst the effusions of cheerfulness and benevolence, the voice of seasonable instruction.
The first obligation incumbent on every individual is habitually to act aright in the sphere of personal duty: the next, to encourage, and in proportion to existing ability and opportunity, to instruct others to do the same. St. Paul, in his directions to Titus (9), respecting the admonitions to be delivered by the latter to elderly women,
(9) Titus, ii. 1. 5.
attends to this distinction.
Speak thou " thethings which become sound doctrine “ that the aged women likewise be in be“ haviour as becometh holiness, not false “ accusers ;” not guilty of calumny and llander. Having subjoined to these in. junctions respecting their personal conduct another which, it may be hoped, is in the present times less frequently applicable in our own country than it seems to have been in Crete (r) in the days of the Apostle, “ that they be not given
to much wine;" he extends his view to the duties which they owe to the younger part of their own sex. He directs that they be“ teachers of good things; that they
may teach the young women to be sober," (full of prudence and moderation,)“ to love “ their husbands, to love their children, to. “ be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, “ good,” (of kind tempers,)“ obedient to " their own husbands; that the word of
(r) Where Titus was resident when St. Paul addressed this Epistle to him.-See Chap. i. 5-12, 13.
“ God be not blafphemed.” The obligation of imparting instruction to young women presses on those who are further advanced in life with the greater force and urgency in proportion to the closeness of the ties, whether of confanguinity or of friendship, by which the latter are connected with the former ; and also to the circumstances of disposition, of time and place, and various other particulars, which may give to the admonition a more or less favourable prospect of success. Let it not however be imagined that it binds you to consult the improvement of your daughter only and your niece, or of some individual thrown by peculiar events under your immediate superintendence. It binds you to consult the improvement of all whom it is in
your power to improve, whether connected with you more or less; whether your superiors, your equals, or your inferiors; whether likely to derive a higher or a lower degree of advantage from your endeavours. It binds you to consult their
improveIt binds you
improvement by deliberate advice, by incidental reflection, by silent example; ftudioully selecting, varying, and combining the means which you employ according to the character and situation of the person whom you desire to benefit. to do all with earnestness and prudence; with sincerity and benevolence. It binds you to beware, left by negligence you lose opportunities which you might with propriety have embraced; or through inadvertence and mistaken politeness contribute to strengthen sentiments and practices, to which, if you are at the time unable to oppose them with effect, you ought, at least, not to have given the apparent sanction of your authority
The good sense and the refinement of the present age have abated much of the contempt, with which it was heretofore the practice to regard women, who had attained or past the middle period of life DD4
without having entered into the bands of marriage. The contempt was unjust, and it was ungenerous. Why was it ever deemed to be merited ? Because the objects of it were remaining in a state of singlehood ? Perhaps that very circumstance might be entitled in a very large majority of instances to praise and admiration. So various are the motives which men in general permit to have considerable influence on their views in marriage ; so different are the opinions of different individuals of that sex as to personal appearance and manners in the other; that of the women who pass through life without entering into a connubial engagement, there are, probably, very few who have not had, earlier or later, the option of contract
If then, from a wise and delicate reluctance to accept offers made by persons of objectionable or of ambiguous character; from unwillingness to leave the abode of a desolate parent, struggling with difficulties,