« السابقةمتابعة »
In truth, the mother's influence over the child, as it begins earlier, so it is of much longer duration than the father's. The son, having become a man, or approaching to that state, begins to feel uneasy under the restraints of paternal authority; he longs to shake the yoke from off his neck; he pants for independence—he must obtain it. But what ingenuous young man ever felt a mother's yoke galling, or longed for emancipation from the silken fetters in which her gentle fingers had entangled his soul! In the perfection of understanding, in the plenitude of power, in the self-gratulation of independence, to her milder reason he still submits, her unassuming sway he readily acknowledges, and, independent on all things else, he feels he cannot do without the smiles of maternal approbation, the admonitions of maternal solicitude, the reproofs of maternal tender
mother, commences from the moment she has the prospect of being a mother; and the care of her own health is, thenceforth, the first duty which she owes to her child.* From that moment too she becomes in a peculiar sense an help meet" for man, as being the depositary and guardian of their most precious joint concern. How greatly is her value now enhanced! Her existence is multiplied, her duration, is extended. A man-child is at length born into the world; and what helper so meet for the glad father in rearing the tender babe, as the mother who bare him. There are of fices which she, and only she, can perform; there are affections which she, and only she, can feel; there are difficulties which she, and only she, can surmount. Nature has here so happily blended the duty with the recompence, that they cannot be distinguished or separated. In performing every act of maternal tenderness, while she tends and nou-ness and integrity. rishes the body of her infant, she is gradually Whatever be the dispositions, whatever the and insensibly informing his mind. His very faculties of the child, whether earlier or later first expressions of look, voice, and gesture, in life, the business neither of father nor are expressions of the important lessons which masters can proceed wisely and well, withhis mother has already taught him, attach-out the co-operation of the mother. Who ment, gratitude, a sense of obligation and de- knows so well as she, the road to the underpendence. Hitherto she is the sole instructer, standing, the road to the heart? Who has and $6 a stranger intermeddleth not with her still like her, to encourage the timid and rejoy." The dawning of reason appears; the press the bold? Who has power and address solicitude of a father awakes; what a task is like a mother's, to subdue the stubborn and imposed upon him! Who is sufficient for it? confirm the irresolute? Who can with such But he is not left to perform it alone. The exquisite art draw out, put in motion, and diLord God has provided him "an help meet rect ordinary or superior powers; place goodfor him," one prompted by duty, drawn by ness in its fairest and most attractive light, affection, trained by experience, to assist him and expose vice in its most hideous and forin the bidding form? In the case of those persons who have unhappily grossly deviated from the path of virtue, how many have been stopped, converted, brought back, by considerations of maternal feelings-shame, and sorrow, and regret; and by the recollection of early lessons, and principles, and resolutions. Having been "trained up, when a child, in the way wherein he should walk," the man calls it to remembrance in old age, approves it, returns to it, and "departs from it" no
Delightful task! To rear the tender thought,
THOMSON. Spring, 1748.
In the more advanced stages of education, after the pupil is removed from under the maternal wing, of what assistance to the father, of what importance to the child, are the delicate ideas and the tender counsels of a wise and virtuous woman! Read " the words of king Lemuel, the prophecy which his In educating the children of her own sex, mother taught him," and judge whether a the mother seems to be more than an help mother may be an useful "help," in instruct- meet" for man. The trust chiefly, if not ening a son, a grown son, and that son a prince. tirely, devolves on her: and where could it * The instructions given to the wife of Manoah, and be deposited so well? The knowledge she mother of Samson the Nazarite. (Jud. xiii. 4.) Now, has of herself, experience of the world, and therefore beware, I pray thee, and drink not wine nor strong drink, and eat not any unclean thing," are not maternal affection, are all she needs to quamerely arbitrary injunctions adapted to a particular lify her for this arduous undertaking. A mobranch of political economy, and intended to serve local and temporary purposes; no, they are constitutions of ther only can enter into the feelings, and nature, reason, and experience, which unite in recom- weaknesses, and necessities of a young femending to those who have the prospect of being mothers, male, entering on an unknown, varying, tema strict attention to diet, to exercise, to temper, to every thing which, affecting the frame of their own body or pestuous, dangerous occan; for she rememmind, may communicate an important, a lasting, per-bers how she herself felt and feared, what haps indelible impression to the body or mind of their offspring. A proper regimen for themselves is, therefore, the first stage of education for their children. The ne glect of it is frequently found productive of effects which
No future culture is able to alter or rectify.
+ Prov. xxxi. 1–9.
she needed, and how she was relieved, and assisted, and carried through. And to a mother only can a young female impart the numberless, nameless anxieties which every
step she takes in life necessarily excite. When she converses with her mother, it is only thinking aloud. A mother's conduct is the loveliest pattern of virtue, and the hope of a mother's applause is, next to God's, the most powerful motive to imitate it. The superiority of female to male youth in respect of moral, whatever be the case as to intellectual improvement, is clearly deducible from the larger share which the mother has in the education of the one, than of the other. And the more liberal and enlarged spirit of the times we live in, procuring for the female world a more liberal and rational education, is daily evincing to what an equality of intellectual endowment they are capable of rising, and thereby of, in all respects, fulfilling the design of the Creator, who said in the beginning, "I will make for man an help meet for him."
I now proceed to mention a second most important respect, in which it is the obvious intention of Providence that woman should be "an help meet" for man, namely, the care and management of his worldly estate. In a paradisaical state man did not, and in, what is improperly called, the state of nature, he could not long continue. In the former, there was labour, imposed not as a burden or a punishment, but bestowed as a privilege and a source of delight. The help of woman enhanced the value of that privilege, and improved that delight: and even in paradise, the attention of Eve to the disposal of the fruits of his labour, must have been to the man, an exquisite accession to the pleasure of enjoying them. The arrangement which her taste and care had made, constituted the charm of the repast. In a state of uncultivated nature, the subsistence of the day is man's object. He has no idea of " much goods laid up for many years." But the society and assistance of his rude companion are necessary to give a relish to "what he took in hunting;" and "the burden and heat of the day," he cheerfully encounters, in the prospect of the refreshment and repose of the evening; and even the hut in the desert exhibits the accomplishment of the Creator's purpose, woman "an help meet" for man, managing his scanty portion with discretion, and doubling it by participation.
surplus, for the evil day which may come. No man ever prospered in the world, without the consent and co-operation of his wife. Let him be ever so frugal, regular, industrious, intelligent, successful-all goes for nothing, if she is profuse, disorderly, indolent, or unfaithful to her trust. His farm prospers, his barn is filled with plenty, "the floors are full of wheat, the fats overflow with wine and oil," his cattle increase, he is waxing rich. His neighbour's commerce thrives, his plants were well laid; Providence smiles; the wings of every wind are wafting to his door, gold, and silver, and precious things. The talents of a third are procuring for him reputation, and distinction, and honour, and wealth. How came they all to fail? Who opened the door, and let poverty rush in as an armed man? The thing speaks for itself. The design of Heaven is defeated; the parties were "unequally yoked;" the "help" found for these men was not "an help meet" for them. Skill was counteracted by carelessness; the fruits of diligence were scattered about by the hand of dissipation; the labours of a year perished in the sitting of an evening; "by much slothfulness the building decayed, and through idleness of the hands, the house dropped through."
But "O how good a thing it is, and how pleasant," when the gracious intentions of God and nature are fulfilled? With what spirit and perseverance does a man labour in his vocation, when he knows that his earnings will be faithfully disposed, and carefully improved! With what confidence will he resort to his farm, to his merchandise, fly over land, over the seas, meet difficulty, meet danger, if he has the assurance, that he is not spending his time and strength for nought and in vain; that all is well and safe at home; that indulgent Heaven has crowned all his other blessings, with that of "an help meet for him," a discreet manager of his estate, a fellow-labourer with him, from interest, from affection, from a sense of duty, in "doing justly," in seconding the goodness of Divine Providence, in making fair provision for the time to come, in "providing things honest in the sight of all men!" I conclude this branch of my subject, with a portrait drawn by the pencil of inspiration; may Heaven propagate the resemblance.
As the state of society advanced, new ideas of property must have been produced. The "Who can find a virtuous woman? for labour of to-day began to look forward; "to- her price is far above rubies. The heart of morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow." her husband doth safely trust in her, so that The care of posterity arose. Permanency he shall have no need of spoil. She will do must be given to possession. The earth and its produce are parcelled out, men "call their lands by their names," "house is joined to house, and field added to field." But could man do this alone? No. In vain have his labour and skill provided "bread enough, and to spare," unless the woman's prudent attention manage that sufficiency, and lay up that
him good and not evil, all the days of her life. She seeketh wool and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. She is like the merchants' ships, she bringeth her food from afar. She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens. She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands
she planteth a vineyard. She girdeth her | nor tenderness cool the fever in the blood. loins with strength, and strengtheneth her But the sufferer is not left destitute. There arms. She perceiveth that her merchandize is one ear into which he can pour out all his is good her candle goeth not out by night. heart; there is one hand ever ready to reShe layeth her hands to the spindle, and her lieve him; "one life bound up in his life.” hands hold the distaff. She stretcheth out And as enjoyment derived all its relish from her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth participation, so misery loses all its anguish forth her hands to the needy. She is not in the bosom of sympathy and kindness. afraid of the snow for her household: for all The spirit of penitence is inferior only to her household are clothed with scarlet. She unsullied innocence and next to the blessmaketh herself coverings of tapestry: her ing of unimpaired health, and uninterrupted clothing is silk and purple. Her husband is comfort, is the consolation of sickness alleknown in the gates, when he sitteth among viated, and comfort restored, by the gentle the elders of the land. She maketh fine language and engaging offices of love. What linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles shall I say? Is there not, perhaps, in the unto the merchant. Strength and honour restoration of repenting guilt, and in the are her clothing: and she shall rejoice in suspension of wo, by the assiduity of affec time to come. She openeth her mouth with tion, a peculiar satisfaction, and a delight, wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of which perfect innocence and perfect health kindness. She looketh well to the ways of could not possibly have known? her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all. Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates."*
A third respect in which God intended that woman should be "an help meet" for man, is the care of his health, and every thing connected with it; his tranquillity of mind, his temper, his character, and reputation: without which the greatest bodily vigour will quickly decay and sink, and life will cease to be a blessing.
The regular temperature of a man's body is, however, only one ingredient in the cup of health. "An help meet for him" will be anxious to preserve a sound mind in a sound body; will endeavour to prevent or dispel painful reflection; will remove disquieting objects; will present smiling images; will watch the ebbing and flowing of passion, will bear and forbear, and, like the best of beings," will overcome evil with good."
She will likewise consider herself as entrusted with the care of his good name. His reputation is her brightest ornament; his honour is her joy, and crown of rejoicing. If he is disgraced, she is degraded. Every instance of misconduct in her, she knows, glances at him; and therefore to support his It is pleasant to have a companion in soli- dignity is a powerful motive with her to act tude, an assistant in labour, a fellow-partaker wisely and well. She reflects, that not only in joy. But human life contains varieties by gross deviations from duty in the wife, painful, as well as pleasant. Sorrow, and does the husband suffer in character, but that pain, and solicitude, and disappointment levity, indiscretion, carlessness in her, are an enter into the history of man; and he is but imputation upon his understanding, and, in half provided for the voyage of life, who has the opinion of the world, incessantly upbraid found an associate for his happier days only; him with the choice he has made, of "an while for his months of darkness and distress help meet for him." As she would therefore no sympathising partner is prepared, no compassionately nurse his body in pain and "help meet" is found. The provident care sickness; and prudently study and watch his of the Almighty meets every wish and want temper, amidst the conflict of contending of man; and in bestowing upon him a com- passions, so, to approve herself what God and panion for youth, a sharer in felicity, a part-nature meant her to be, she will guard his ner in property, he was securing for him, at fame, the life of his life, "as her precious a distance, a friend in age, a solace in afflic-eye," and thus, in every thing relating both tion, a partner in want-"a friend that stick-to mental and bodily health, to private con eth closer than a brother."
If a man's worldly estate, whether it be much or little, is wisely managed, one foundation of health and comfort is laid; and she who is thus habitually employed, may be considered as administering a perpetual medicine or cordial to her husband. But no prudence of foresight can ward off the attack of disease, or prevent the stroke of calamity; affluence cannot purchase release from pain,
* Prov. xxxi. 10-31.
fort and public estimation," she will do him good, and not evil all the days of her life."
But there is somewhat still dearer, still more sacred to a man than children or pro perty, than health or reputation; somewhat which, neglected, forfeited, lost, it will profit him nothing to gain even the whole world ;" and in the securing and promoting of which, who is so qualified to minister and assist as her, whom the Father of mercies gave him, to be "an help meet for him?" I mean,
IV. The salvation of the immortal soul. This is indeed a personal concern; an interest which cannot be transferred or communicated. The good-will of another cannot impart it; the remissness of another cannot defeat it: to God, his great Master, here, every man standeth or falleth, for "every one must give account of himself to God." But is it not obvious, that example, that reason, that co-operation, possess a mighty influence toward promoting or obstructing personal piety, growth in grace, meetness for the kingdom of heaven? Is the man impressed with the worth, with the danger of his own soul; does he feel "the powers of a world to come;" is his mind turned to devotion; is the love of God shed abroad in his heart? How will such impressions be fixed and strengthened, by endeavouring to communicate them to a beloved object, and by receiving back the impression, heightened and improved, from that object? How much more exalted and affecting is a sense of divine goodness, when it is beheld embracing more than one! when it is seen conferring immortality, eternity, on virtuous human affections! what a live coal applied to devotion, when the solitary my Father and my God, is changed into the social our Father and our God! How is the hope of glory ennobled, extended, animated, by the prospect of participation! "Here am I, Holy Father, with her whom thou gavest me, to be an help meet for me. We were one in interest and affection; one in the faith of the gospel, and the practice of piety; our prayers ascended in one stream of incense, and every gift of thy providence and grace was multiplied and sweetened to each by being bestowed on the other. Sweet were our labours of love to our joint offspring; sweet our united efforts to improve the bounty of our common parent; sweet the sympathies of kindred hearts, in sickness and in health, in sorrow and in joy, in good and in bad report; but sweeter far the consolations of religion, the prospect of life and immortality brought to light by the gospel." We come together to "receive the end of our faith, the salvation of our souls; as, through grace, we have been made helpers of each other's faith, let us be, eternally, helpers of each other's joy."
ters pride and forgetfulness of God; adversity only hardens him the more; reason is perverted, passion has acquired the ascendant, the power of habit predominates: but the Lord God has provided "an help meet for him." When public instruction and foreign reproof have failed, the mind is still accessible. The unaffected, unostentatious charm of genuine female piety is felt and understood, and becomes efficacious; the silent unupbraiding regret of conjugal tenderness supplies the place of a thousand arguments, and forces its way to the heart; "the effectual fervent prayer" of a gracious woman "availeth much;" the " believing wife" draws to the Redeemer, with the cords of love, "the unbelieving husband;" she becomes the blessed instrument of "converting the sinner from the error of his way, she saves a soul from death, she hides a multitude of sins," and, in the noblest sense of the word, approves herself "an help meet" for man.
In all these important respects, the original design of Eternal Wisdom, in the formation of woman, is plain and palpable. To have fulfilled one branch of duty, and even to have excelled in it, is no exemption from the obligation of the rest. The duties of life and of religion run in a series, one is linked with another, supposes it, cannot be separated from it. To no purpose are children well educated, if through the indolence, folly, or vice of parents, they are launched into the world in doubtful, dishonourable, embarrassed or distressful circumstances. What is it to me, that my fortune is prudently and frugally managed, if my person is neglected, my temper trifled with, my reputation sacrificed, "my good name filched from me?" And what is the acquisition of a world, at the expense of my soul?
Let it be understood and remembered, that every word which has been said of the obligation laid on woman, as "an help meet" for man, applies with at least equal propriety and force, to man, as the helper and friend of woman. Does he possess superiority of any kind? It is evidently intended not to oppress, but to support. His greater strength is given for her protection; his more vigorous or profound powers of thought are designed to be her instructer and guide. Whatever advantage, real or apparent, each may have above the other, Providence clearly wills to be employed for the benefit of the other. A contention of mutual affection, beneficence, forbearance, forgiveness, is the only strife which nature, reason, and decency permit to this state and relation.
Is the man, unhappily, dead to all sense of religion; swallowed up of time and sense; is his great or only inquiry, "What shall I eat, what shall I drink, wherewithal shall I be clothed?" Or, more wretched still, is he delivered over "to commit iniquity with greediness," "and to glory in his shame?" What are the most likely means of awakening him to reflection, of reaching his con- We proceed to illustrate female utility science, of melting his heart, of changing and importance in social life, by certain his conduct? Preaching is vain; he turns noted examples from the sacred record. "a deaf ear to the voice of the charmer, May God smile on every attempt to commu- charm he never so wisely;" prosperity fos-nicate useful truth. Amen.
HISTORY OF DEBORAH.
And Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, she judged Israel at that time. And she dwelt under the palm-tree of Deborah, between Ramah and Beth-el, in mount Ephraim: and the children of Israel came up to her for judgment.-JUDGES iv. 4, 5.
THE unremitting attention paid by a wise and gracious Providence to the affairs of men, affords equal matter of wonder and gratitude, with the astonishing power and skill displayed in the first formation of this great universe. Let us suppose the care of that Providence for a little while suspended, and the world left to itself. Who is not shocked in looking forward to the probable, the certain consequences of that remission? Behold instantly the bars of the vast abyss burst asunder, and "hell itself breathing forth destruction to mankind." Behold the prince of the power of the air reigning and raging without control. Behold chaos and ancient night resuming their murky empire, and darkness covering the face of the deep; earth and air confounded; nature convulsed by the fury of contending elements, unrestrained by law; universal confusion and wild uproar prevailing.
the limits of duty, and the sphere of usefulness and exertion.
But the great God is pleased to make himself known, not only by general conformity to established laws, but by occasional deviation from them. That the sons of men may know, it is according to his high will, that all creatures are, and think, and act.
of domestic life, their proper and peculiar sphere; Sarah, co-operating in the duties of hospitality with her venerable lord; Rebekah, refreshing the weary traveller and the thirsty camel with water from the well, as they went on their way; Rachel and the seven daughters of Jethro tending their father's flocks, and making them to lie down under the shade at noon; Miriam leading the festive dance and song, in celebrating the lov ing kindness of the Lord, and the triumphs of Israel; and Rahab giving shelter to the persecuted spies, and providing for the safety of her father's house.
The history, which this evening comes under our review, exhibits a new thing in the annals of human nature; asserts the sovereignty of the Most High over all persons and events; places the female character and importance in a new, a striking, and a respectable point of view; and thereby admonishes the one sex to think of their own natural general superiority with deference, affection, and honour to the manly excellencies of the female mind, when cultivated by a proper education, directed to a worthy object, and roused into exertion by a great and Alas, it is not necessary to state the sup- worthy occasion. Hitherto we have seen position so high. To conceive the wretched-wise and good women, in the retired vale ness of mankind, deprived of the constant, superintending care of Heaven, it is needless to let loose the demons of the bottomless pit; it is needless to unbridle the fury of the ocean, or to assist the roaring winds in blowing up the fire into a hotter flame. Under the slightest alteration of the established order of things, all nature languishes. Remove for a moment the all-ruling, all-supporting hand of the great Father of the universe, and lo, this fair and fertile region is overwhelmed with an inundation, and that is burned to one pumice-stone, by the force of celestial or subterraneous fire. Here arises, a race all males, like the fabled generation of warriors which sprung from the serpent's teeth, armed at all points for mutual destruction and slaughter: and there, a nation of timid, defenceless females, inviting violence and insult. But under that uninterrupted divine superintendence all goes on well; there is no schism in the body; every thing is found in its place, every thing performs its function. The exactest proportion between male and female births is preserved; the robuster frame is still found united to the stronger mental, faculties; the delicacy of the feminine form indicates, to the very eye, the softer, gentler qualities of the spirit which inhabits it; and nature assigns to each
But we are now to contemplate female genius and talents forcing their way to public observation, and to everlasting renown: eclipsing masculine sagacity and fortitude; the inspirer and the example of generous patriotism and martial prowess. We are to contemplate feminine warmth and eagerness, under the influence of prophetic inspiration, and blended with the dignity and integrity of the judgment seat; female spirit, giving breath to the bloody trumpet of war, directing the movements of the embattled host, waking into sacred, poetic rapture, and adapting the joyful strains of victory, to the musical sounds of the living lyre.
Israel had now enjoyed a blessed repose of