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suffered to dissolve those of filial piety, it may be well, however, to suggest this hint to married persons :-let them avoid, as far as is consistent with duty to relations, that kind of manner in their treatment of them, which is calculated to awaken jealousy in the married partner. Through an indiscreet neglect of this rulè of prudence, the visit of a relation has sometimes been the epoch of misery to a couple, who had hitherto lived in harmony. Cannot we be glad to see a parent, a sister, or a brother, without reducing a wife or a husband to a cipher in the house, during their stay in it? Is it prudent to be so profuse in the expressions of our regard for them, as to lead the partner of our life to have an interest in their departure ?
These admonitions on the article of attentions, seemed to me deserving of your regard. To enforce rules of conduct-may indeed be thought to imply, that there are certain evils incident to people in married life, which it requires constant efforts to escape, and this may seem to militate against the doctrine, that matrimony was instituted with a view to the happiness of human creatures. That it was instituted for this purpose, there can be no reasonable doubt. But.it is not necessary to the fulfilment of this intention, that happiness should spring up spontaneously to those who enter into the state of wedlock. It deserves our thankfulness to Him who ordained this anion, that it will fully answer its intention to
those who will be at the pains of guarding against whatever may defeat that intention.
By this sober view I wish you to adjust your hopes. Do not entertain visionary expectations of bliss, which the circumstances of the world, and the imbecility of your nature, will render it impossible to realize. You must lay your account in the expectation not only of meeting with untoward circumstances in the world, but likewise in the expectation of discovering faults in each other. Neither the scene, nor the actors, will in the sequel be found to answer the ideas you may form of them, from the imposing style of congratulation. The scene you cannot alter; it will be managed by superior power, but you may accommodate yourselves to it. And this is incumbent on you, not only in the relation you both sustain to the great Disposer, but with respect to the obligations you are under to support one another comfortably in the various changes of situation through which you may have to pass.
Among other things which should be your care in this view, is the cultivation of good temper. But this is of such importance to you, that it seems necessary to appropriate a separate article to the consideration of so essential a point.
ON THE NECESSITY OF THE CULTIVATION OF
GOOD TEMPER. Of the subject of this article, it may be said, that without it, you can neither enjoy a pleasing situation, nor support an inconvenient one. Without good nature there may be many valuable qualities, but they will be all gladly exchanged (if it be possible to make the transfer) for that sweetness of disposition which compensates for a thousand defects. With this engaging quality, the attentions which have been recommended will be so far from being impracticable, that they will be as it were spontaneously produced; or if there be an occasional failure, the omission will be kindly interpreted. It will be attributed to want of thought, rather than to any thing of a more reprehensible nature.
The improvement of our temper is 'a thing not so much out of our power as is commonly supposed. The general idea is, that good temper is a certain gift of nature, like beauty, which a man cannot have, unless he is born with it. It must be confessed, that some seem formed from their very birth to be the delight of human kind in this respect, and that others again seem to have brought into the world with them an unhappiness of temper, which seems incapable of amelioration. The generality of mankind, however, are not found in these extremes. The tempers of most people are made up of a mixture of good and bad, and it is frequently seen, that where these were once in an equal proportion, in a course of time one of these qualities predominates. The character of the person in point of temper is denominated accordingly: namely, from that quality which has the ascendency.
The predominance of condemnable tempers is not to be charged wholly to the circumstances that excite them, but in part to the not imposing on ourselves that discipline, which has a tendency to counteract the influence of those circumstances which tend to deprave the temper. That the good in our temper may prevail is unquestionably a most desirable thing, and this desirable thing is attainable. Now, if interest may be allowed to second the voice of duty, hear what it says to the wedded pair :“If you wish to render your union delightful in all situations, and to relish it to the very last of its continuance, seek the improvement of your tempers at any price.”
On the cultivation of this necessary ingredient in domestic comfort, good nature, let me suggest a few hints:
Endeavour to ascertain what is that particular defect of temper into which you are most liable to fall, and make a point of setting a strong guard over yourself in that particular. Let this idea be ever present to your mind : “ At that weak part of my nature all the miseries of matrimonial life may enter.” This will probably be found a hard service, but the neeessity of the case obliges you to it. You have the choice of but two things: you must be incessantly vigilant and self-denying here, or suffer every domestic delight to be torn from
But I have another piece of advice to give, which is easier to practise, and by attending to which you may save yourself some of the severities to which the preceding admonition calls you. Avoid the occasions which excite any unruly temper to which you may be particularly liable. This is a piece of advice given to you both, with respect to each other. Having ascertained each other's particular imperfection, you have likewise learnt what things they are that call it forth; that which provokes your partner must as far as possible, be shunned. *
Here a number of little things become objects deserving attention ; nor must they be passed over because they are little. Little things are felt to have great power, when they act upon a tender part. An insect could have blinded Samson, when in his full strength. No small portion of the uneasiness that has imbittered married life, has arisen out of the insect occurrences which every day produces, and contemptible as they are in themselves, they must
* The author has expressed himself with this limitation, because it sometimes happens that what is objected to is a duty which God has expressly enjoined.