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every pursuit, a deliberate and candid examination of the evidence of a religion, which furnishes the wifeft rules of conduct for this life, as well as grounds of hope and confolation in looking forward to another.




In the courfe of a work which purposes to investigate somewhat at length the feveral duties of the female fex, the importance of the female character will naturally disclose itself. It is not by attending to formal and ftudied panegyric, but by confidering in detail the various and momentous duties, to the discharge of which, women are called both by reason and revelation, that the influence of feminine virtues is rendered moft confpicuous. It is thus too that the responsibility attached to that influence in all its branches, in all its minutest capacities of being beneficially employed, will be placed in the strongest

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by which they, like their brothers, may distinguish themselves and rife to eminence; are occafionally heard to declare their opinion, that the sphere in which women are deftined to move is fo humble and fo limited, as neither to require nor to reward affiduity; and under this impreffion, either do not difcern, or will not be perfuaded to confider, the real and deeply interesting effects which the conduct of their fex will always have on the happiness of fociety. In attempting to obviate this error, I should be very culpable were I to flatter the ambitious fondness for diftinction, which may, in part at least, have given rise to it. To fuggeft motives to unaffuming and virtuous activity, is the purpose of the following brief remarks.

Human happiness is on the whole much Tected by great but unfrequent of profperity or of adver

or of injury, than by small y recurring incidents of good




light; a circumftance of no fmall weight with regard to precluding the emotions of arrogance and the confidence of felf-fufficiency, which are ever likely to be produced by fimple eulogium. The general contempt, therefore, which is fometimes manifested respecting women by perfons of the other fex, and most frequently by perfons who are unworthy or incapable of forming a judgement concerning those whom they profess to despise, would not have induced me to make any preliminary obfervations on the subject. There is, however, a prejudice which it is defirable to remove without delay, because it is found to exist in female minds, and unavoidably contributes, in proportion to its strength, to extinguish the defire of improvement, and to repress useful exertion. The fact is this. Young women endowed with good understandings, but defirous of justifying the mental indolence which they have permitted themselves to indulge; or disappointed at not perceiving a way open

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