Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

charge, and the vile teachers of foul iniquity. Parents must remember that God has committed to them the nurture of their own children, and will hold them accountable for the performance of this sacred trust. Whatever else is relinquished, the oversight of our offspring should never be de!egated to others. The mother who hires a servant to take care of her babes and then spends her days on the public promenade in gossip, or in literary pursuits, or even in religious meetings, may discover too late that she has lost her jewels, and retains only a worthless casket. Children are to be nurtured, not dressed and sent to school, and they must find at home the sympathy and affection for which they yearn, and have presented there the beauty of a holy life, into which their souls are to be conformed.

We confess a distrust of boarding-school education, especially for those in early youth, whose habits and principles are in the sap, and have not become firm of texture. The providential loss of proper guardianship may justify an exile, and when a child has been matured under parental discipline, a year of such exposure may be an appropriate introduction to the responsibilities of the adult; but to suffer a young girl to leave a mother's arms and a father's eye for the crowded school-room and the strange companionship of such an institution, is exchanging the cradle of the chamber for the cot of the foundling hospital. Nor is the influence of home merely a silent power, the dewy baptism of purity and love, but duty should be wisely inculcated and the soul trained in virtue by precept. The fact is significant that either extreme, of wealth or poverty, engenders unchastity. The reasons are obvious, because in the former case indolence, and in the latter destitution, produce the same baneful results, and this suggests an important lesson on the necessity of training woman to find in work respectability. We abundantly sympathize with the attempts to open new avenues for female industry, ar.d should rejoice in her introduction to all stations for which she is physically qualified, but we are disposed to think that this end is not to be accomplished by resolution or legislation, not even by the consent of employers, but by a change of female sentiment as to the dignity of such offices. If we are not greatly in error, there has been a serious lapse during the last few years in the opinion of woman herself, notwithstanding the public clamor by certain of the sex for the political rights of freemen. Many females do not willingly engage in any manual service, and anticipate release from toil, as the earthly paradise of their hopes and desires. Even the high office of instruction is regarded as a drudgery, while

very few have any conception of being useful in a quiet, unostentatious industry. Female education is far too much the attainment of accomplishments, not the training for service and trusts. Mothers insist that their daughters shall learn to finger a piano, but not to knead bread, to talk French under the teachings of a German governess, but not to cut their own garments. The woman who can do her own washing, if necessary, and is not ashamed of it, has a higher respectability than the leader of ton, or the graceful image at the head of a supper table. Our danghters ought to be educated with the ambition of being useful in the household, to reliere rather than increase the burdens of the family. Nor is this inconsistent with the best mental discipline: yet even if some branches of polite literature must be sacrificed, if the maiden must relinquish Italian or the guitar to attain the virtue of self-respect and the ability to work, we heartily respond to the lesson of the verse,

“Be good, sweet maid, and let who will be clever,
Do noble deeds, not dream them all day long,
So shalt thou make life, death, and the vast forever,

One grand sweet song." The self-respect and independence thus produced are the surest defense against temptation, and cultivate the noblest qualities. Above all, should a woman be taught that she is responsible for her own character and conduct, and that the contempt with which a loss of virtue is treated has its foundation in a correct conception of the relations and obligations of the sex. The virtuous woman is above solicitation, and when the fall from purity is extenuated on the plea of fenuinine weakness, the palliation is an accusation. The assumption is a VOL. XVII.

32

calumny, taking for granted that woman can never be trusted, and would justify Turkish seclusion, and the keepers of the harem. We had hoped that in this age such an estimate of the sex was impossible, and yet we have read within a few weeks the grossest lust apologized for from the sweetness and gentleness of the being who had yielded. Daughters of a Christian land-be not beguiled by such a delusion, but remember always that God has entrusted you with the maintenance of virtue in simple reliance upon His grace. Your innocence is your shield, and you can walk fearlessly through peril, unharmed, if you look up for guidance, and strive to obey the precepts of His blessed gospel.

The domestic training which we have described is the strongest bulwark of national purity, for in such homes the sentiment deepens into a principle, and the fountains are healed; woman is thereby elevated and ennobled, and profligacy is forced to hide itself and flee into distant places.

Our hearts respond tearfully to the miseries which ruin multitudes annually, when we learn of villains who by fair promises overcome the hitherto innocent, and then forsake their victims; when we read of the horrible destitution, which has led others to sacrifice themselves to relieve not merely their own wants, but to deliver a sister or child from starvation; we shudder at the fiendish rapacity of husbands and parents who are enriched by the pollution of wives and daughters; we are astounded at the unrelenting hate of a mother who turns from her door the erring though penitent child and compels her to become a prostitute; but this commiseration constrains us to urge more zealously the necessity of cultivating in woman herself the sense of her own responsibility; and to denounce more indig. nantly as both false and perilous, the notion that the lapse from virtue is to be regarded as venial and even excusable. Such a tenet is a libel on American women; and if adopted, would permit and create the profligacy of imperial Rome. Woe to the land where the women are slaves, and they have no

, homes !

Nothing that has been said conflicts in the least with the treatment which the gospel of Christ enjoins towards the peniWe believe that there is no temporal salvation for the abandoned, except in the renewal of the Holy Ghost, and that the labors of those who seek their reformation should be directed to awaken the hope of again attaining self-respect, through forgiveness and acceptance by Him who blessed the sinning but weeping ontcast kneeling at His feet.

We have written to little purpose if the reader has not been persuaded that the vice of unchastity threatens society at the present moment with fearful woes, and that every patriotic and philanthropic feeling should be eniisted in checking the progress of the pestilence, which would destroy peace and purity. We have endeavored to direct attention to the proper functions of government, the church, and especially of the family, in arresting the plague. Nothing will however be accomplished, until the public sentiment is toned into harmony with truth and chastity. The individual conscience must be quickened, and the pure minded must exert themselves in behalf of virtue, or the demoralization will extend, until we find ourselves past recovery from this moral corruption.

Much has been said of late about the inherent force of raca. The Anglo-Saxon boasts his blood, and claims supremacy over humanity, appealing proudly to his career of conquest in both hemispheres, while the North American Indian and the Mexican fade before his progress as the leaves of the last season are exterminated by the opening buds of to-day. The disturbance of such complacency would be an ungracious task, and indeed there is a strong showing in its support, but it behooves the dominant race to search after the source of their strength, lest, like Samson, they be shorn of their locks, and compelled to grind in the mill of the Philistines.

The earliest allusions to the Germanio people in the annals of history, describe them as barbarians possessing the singular grace of chastity. They, in that ancient day, astonished the Romans by their reverence for woman; and ministers of their religion were priestesses. Divorce was hardly known among them, and adultery and fornication were capital offenses. This was the race which conquered the Roman after his thousand years of imperial dominion, when he had sunk into the mire of debauchery. The Anglo-Saxons who exterminated the lewd and savage Britons were a branch of this family, and held the marital rights in such esteem, that they compelled the adulteress to elect between suicide or death by torture, then burning her body to ashes, executed upon the spot her partner in guilt. This race originated the chivalry of the middle ages, with its devotion to the female sex, wreathing in its crowns the laurel of valor and the lily of chastity. Hence sprung the Puritans, and the English Home, and our Pilgrim Fathers. The hiding of power in the race is Chastity. This endows our blood with the royal prerogative which masters others, through its infusion either extinguishing or combining and elevating. When however the virtue that has conferred manly vigor is polluted—when the cavaliere servente of the Italian becomes an attendant upon our wives—when the laxity of French morals governs our legislation--when fornication is protected, and adultery unpunished--when the faithless spouse is pitied but not condemned, Samson has fallen into the embrace of Delilah and his locks are shorn. The nation will awake from the debauch a captive, whose doom can be read in the silent streets of Pompeii and among the ruins of the Coliseum.

« ПредишнаНапред »