« ZurückWeiter »
he was not : yea, I sought him, but he could not be found. Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace.” Psalm xxxvii. 25, 35—37. “ Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations; ask thy father, and he will shew thee; thy elders, and they will tell thee.”—Deut. xxxii. 7.
11. In the pursuit of knowledge, while we must never lose sight of what is necessary to qualify us for the discharge of our present duties, neither should we neglect to look into futurity. We should do this, not as an idle speculation, but with diligent endeavours to prepare ourselves for other circumstances, into which we must certainly or may probably be brought. With this view, it is incumbent on every young woman to acquire such a knowledge of the relative claims and duties of life, of the details of domestic operations, and of the structure and susceptibilities of the human frame, as may fit her for the intelligent and efficient discharge of the duties which, at a future period, may devolve upon her, as a wife, a mother, a mistress, or an instructress. It is for want of the cultivation of such knowledge, in early life, that so many persons enter upon these important and responsible stations, wholly incompetent to the fulfilment of their duties, and that in so many families, health, peace, competence, respectability, and even life, are sacrificed to the ignorance, indolence, and extravagance of their female head, or at best are left to the uncertain mercies of hirelings, often uninstructed and prejudiced, if not unprincipled. With the same view, it is wise to lay up such stores of knowledge as will furnish an internal resource of pleasure and satisfaction in the hour of solitude, and the period when the pleasures and gaieties of life shall have lost their attraction. She is indeed a poor pitiable creature who cannot endure an evening's solitude without dulness or low spirits, and who cannot grow old with a good grace; but who clings with a disgraceful tenacity to the gay circles, of which she is more probably the scorn than the ornament. " When I was a child,” said the apostle, “I thought as a child;" and the thoughts and actions of childhood and youth, while they are innocent, are allowable and pleasing ; “but,” he adds, “when I became a man, I put away childish things.” And do you, my young reader, while indulging the innocent vivacity of youth, and pursuing its guiltless pleasures, cultivate advancing preparation for the periods of maturity and decay. Let it not be said of you, that you are a woman only in stature, and a child in knowledge and experience. It is not years or stature alone that can render you respectable or important, nor grey hairs alone that can command veneration ; these are the portion of those alone whose youth has been passed in accumulating the stores that shall enrich and adorn their manhood and old age, that shall render them honourable in themselves, the benefactors of society, and justly entitle them to the respect and gratitude of their contemporaries and descendants. But above all, let there be no contemplation of futurity in which provision is not made for the interests of eternity. You may or you may not live to old age; you may or you may not be introduced into new relations in life ; but you must inevitably die and enter on eternity, and you know not how soon. Let not then the present day pass without commencing, nor any subsequent day without advancing, your preparation for death and eternity. Let it be your daily concern to know Him, “whom to know is life eternal;' to learn the way of reconciliation, acceptance, and salvation, through the Lord Jesus Christ; and to cultivate that experience which can enable you to anticipate death with wellgrounded composure and confidence, such as the apostle realized when he said, “I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day."
THE PERSONAL HABITS OP YOUNG FEMALES.
Much has been said and written on the power of habit. Man has been called the creature of habits : habits are said to be second nature; and, in course of years, they become so inveterate, that for a person to forsake old and bad habits, has been compared to the Ethiopian changing his skin, or the leopard its spots. Youth is the period for the formation of habits: how important, then, that young persons should guard against contracting such habits as might be injurious, dangerous, or at least annoying, and that they should be solicitous to cultivate and cherish such as are good, and useful, and praiseworthy.
We may begin by noticing the habits of young persons with reference to health. This is a matter of which they are too apt to be regardless, and almost to take a pride in fancying themselves superior to the restrictions and precautions which age and experience would suggest. This would not be the case if they duly considered health as a talent of unspeakable value, bestowed upon
them, not merely for their personal gratification, but as the means of qualifying them for activity and usefulness. A young person may tell us, and perhaps may have deluded herself into the idea, that what is injurious to others never hurts her; or, if she occasionally suffers from her indiscretions, that she alone has to bear it: but this is a great mistake. Look at two females in similar circumstances to each other, the mothers of large families ; each, by education and disposition, affection and principle, alike disposed to discharge her duties as the head of her household,—the mother, the nurse, the instructress of her children. But one of them possesses sound, vigorous health, energy of mind, and cheerfulness of spirit; she is enabled to carry out her purposes with vigour, resolution, perseverance, and success. Her active exertions and her superintending presence may be calculated upon in the family, and all dependent upon her reap the full advantage of her influence and example. But the other, feeble in her health and irregular in her spirits, is liable to continual interruptions in her purposes and duties. She is unequal to the fatigue of nursing, and her infants suffer from being committed to the care of hirelings. The education of her children is impeded, or inefficiently attended to, from her want of energy or regularity; her servants sink into habits of negligence and extravagance from want of the superintending vigilance of a mistress; the husband misses many comforts and attentions which he ought to enjoy, and the whole dwelling wears an air of desolation and discomfort. At first sight of these contrasted scenes, we should be ready to