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I must not omit to mention, that the buckwheat scheme failed entirely, owing to the seed being sold to Hortensia, as she herself told me, by a cunning, deceitful man, that would do any thing for money. 66 He knew he was telling me a story,” said she, “when he said the seed was good!—I have a great mind to sue him for a fraud!"So much for Hortensia.
When once a woman has experienced the evil of standing alone in this bad world, she wonders that she could ever have coveted independence. There is in fact no such reality in life. We must depend on each other, for comfort and happiness. Throughout the whole social compact, each link of the connecting chain, imposes some penalty upon the person who bears it; but if he lays it down, he finds that he loses in comfort, far more than he gains in liberty. Women should never brood over the imaginary advantages of independence. It is wiser to submit to inevitable evils, than to lay them down and take up greater. When women resign themselves into the hands of Providence, it is their interest as well as their duty, to take up the cross that is put upon them, and bear it cheerfully along their appointed path. Let them reflect, when they are ready to sink under its weight, that others may be as hardly pressed as themselves. They naturally see more of their own burden, which therefore appears heavier; but if they could exchange with others, they would probably find themselves mistaken in their estimate of human evil. Women should strive against self-will, as one of their most dangerous foibles. They are too apt to encourage this innate propensity, until it obtains the mastery over them completely. That women are self-willed in general, is owing to their defective education. They are not instructed in the duty of self-denial early enough. The child is indulged until it is too late to impose salutary restraints, then the evil breaks loose upon the poor young husband, who is probably unprepared for such a conflict. If he is firm, he keeps his ground, while she keeps hers, and the two parties are opposed to each other in mutual defiance. If his temper is ductile, he yields for peace sake, and becomes a very submissive drone, who obeys orders, and practises the virtues rejected by his wife.
Why do we look with disgust upon a man who is governed by a woman?
Because we cannot help despising the weakness that made him surrender his post of duty to an incompetent agent. Women never prosper in these usurpations. I know a striking example of a woman, who was certainly superior in understanding to her husband; but nevertheless, when she boldly assumed the helm of domestic government, her energies availed her even less than the supineness of her companion, in averting ruin from her family.
The odium attached to these usurpations, should deter women from attempting them. Whatever may be their advantages over the lawful head of the family, they should only be used in subordination to him. I have known women to avert ruin by the skilful management of their own department; but I never knew good to result from their taking the reins of government into their own hands. There is certainly much temptation to disingenuousness, where the husband is a tyrant and an incompetent director, both together; but still I affirm, that success is only to be expected, where the blessing of heaven attends virtuous exertions. That blessing can only be expected in the path of duty. When we leave that, we leave the favour of our Heavenly Father also. I confess, my dear Mary, that I had rather hear you pitied as a submissive wife to a strict husband, than applauded as having usurped the govern
ment from the hands of an incompetent person. In this world, we frequently have nothing left us but a choice of evils, and both reason and religion prompt us to choose that which is approved by God, rather than what might be deemed expedient by man. If we choose a heavier burden in the appointed track of duty, we shall have help from heaven to enable us to sustain it; when a lighter one, without that aid, might overwhelm us. God no where promises help to those who step out of their appointed sphere; but he is rich in promises to those who follow his providence, and leave consequences in his hand. Let it be your endeavour, my dear girl, to find out your place in the busy scene of life, and perform its allotted duties so as to glorify him who put you there. This is the chief end of woman-to advance the cause of the Redeemer, by exerting quietly the influence she possesses as a woman, over the feelings, more than the understandings, of her fellow beings. This is decidedly her sphere. While rude, dictatorial manners tend to rivet the chains of error; the bland sunshine of å gentle, affectionate demeanour, will break down the sternest barriers raised by pride or prejudice against the truth.
Adieu, dear girl, may you be all that woman ought to be!
MY DEAR MARY,
You are intimately connected with some common specimens of female excellence, who are, nevertheless, without that faith in Christ Jesus, which I have taught you to consider as indispensable to salvation. Doubtless, when you contemplate these characters, you are ready to accuse me of violating that charity which I so recently expounded to you, in condemning them as dangerous examples. But, my dear girl, there is such a thing, even in this wicked world, as unprofitable virtue. I am obliged to declare to you, that your lovely and interesting friends are out of the covenant of safety, as much as if they were followers of wickedness. “Except ye believe, ye shall all likewise perish,” is a plain, but decisive sentence against them. Their good deeds cannot justify them in the sight of God, though they may be such as to win the applause and approbation of man. Unless the sinner is first justified through faith in Christ, his fairest deeds are to be considered in no other light, than as refinements in selfishness. All that he does is for himself alone. He does not seek divine favour, for he knows not how to appreciate the love of God, as it is shed abroad in the hearts of his people. But the time is coming, in our gospel favoured country, when the ignorant will be instructed, and those who have grown up in darkness, will have their eyes strengthened to behold the light. I ardently trust, that your unbelieving friends will yet be converted to the true faith, and end their days in the Redeemer's service. The virtues they are accustomed to practise habitually, will have a new spirit breathed in them, and be directed towards a new object.
you can lift
When I see so much zeal and
upon the ephemeral trifles of life, I cannot but mourn deeply over perverted powers. At present, it would avail little, were you to express to these friends your own ideas of their danger. They would doubtless think you presumptuous, if their habitual courtesy of manner prevented them from saying so.
up your soul in prayer for their conversion, and daily ask, at the throne of grace, the boon of their salvation. It is strange, how pious people can neglect to pray for their unbelieving friends; one would think that they were really indifferent or thoughtless, on this momentous subject. Surely the reflection, that their immortal good is at stake, ought to make those who love them, diligent in using the only means of procuring safety for them. But it would seem that Satan prompts us to neglect the most important privilege with which we are invested, namely, that of interceding for those, who are still in the gall of bitterness and bonds of iniquity. Some delusion must surely be exercised over believers, to occasion their unaccountable negligence in the use of intercession. If all Christians were to unite in heartily desiring, and earnestly soliciting the conversion of their friends, would not the work be carried on more effectually?-is not the promise firm and comprehensive, that we shall receive what we ask in faith? But impatience is the great error of our nature. We pray earnestly for a little while, and then, if the required blessing is not granted, we are discouraged, notwithstanding the exhortation, to pray without ceasing, for in due time we shall reap, if we faint not. Another thing happens to believers, that often damps the fervour of their supplications. They sometimes think the very favour they are soliciting, is about to be removed out of their reach, and give up in despair their accustomed solicitations. They forget that all