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secret inclination to insist upon what they think their dignity of merit, and an inward expectation of such an over measure of deference and regard, as answers to their extravagant false scale, and which nobody can pay, because nobody but themselves can tell exacıly to what pitch it amounts.
It cannot be conceived by those who are involved in libertine pursuits, the sweet satisfaction that must arise from the union of two persons, who have left all the world, to procure delight for each other by all the methods which reason, urged by duty, forwarded by passion, can intimate to the heart. Such a pair give charms to virtue, and make pleasant the ways of innocence. A deviation from the rules of such a commerce would be courting pain; for such a life is as much to be preferred to any thing that can be communicated by criminal satisfaction, to speak of it in the mildest terms, as sobriety and elegant conversation are to intemperance and rioting.
He is a very unhappy man who does not reserve the most pure and kind affections of his heart for the marriage state; he will otherwise be reduced to this melancholy circumstance, that he gave his mistress that kind of affection which was proper for his wife, and has not for his wife the usual tenderness which men bestow upon their mistresses.
Married persons are both more warm in their love, and more hearty in their hatred, than any others whatsoever. Mutual favours and obligations, which may be supposed to be greater here than in any other state, naturally beget an intense affection in generous minds: as, on the contrary, persons who have bestowed such favours have a particular bitterness in their resentments, when they think themselves ill treated by those of whom they have deserved so much.
If married people received every token of regard, and all those offices which are necessary to mutual happiness, as fa. vours, not as duties, and appeared grateful instead of silently contented, it would preserve the desire of obliging, and give a spirit to every duty.
It perhaps requires more virtues to make a good husband or wife, than to finish the most shining character whatever.
Discretion seems absolutely necessary; and accordingly we find that the best husbands have been most famous for their wisdom. Homer, who has drawn a perfect pattern of a prudent man, to render it the more complete, has celebrated him for the just returns of fidelity and truth to his Penelope ; insomuch that he refused the caresses of a goddess for her sake ; and to use the expression of a pagan author, “ Vetulam suam prætulit immortalitati,” his old woman was dearer to him than immortality.
Virtue is the next necessary qualification for this domestic character, as it naturally produces constancy and mutual esteem. Thus Brutus and Portia were more remarkable -for virtue and affection than any others of the age in which they lived.
Good nature is a third necessary ingredient in a marriage state, without which it would inevitably sour on many oc. casions. When greatness of mind is joined with this amia. ble quality, it attracts the admiration and esteem of all who behold it. Thus Cæsar, not more remarkable for his for. tune and valour than for his humanity, stole into the hearts of the Roman people, when breaking through the custom, he pronounced an oration at the funeral of his first wife.
Good nature is insufficient, unless it be steady and uniform, and accompanied with an evenness of temper, which is above all things to be preserved in this friendship contracted for life. A man must be easy within himself, before he can be so to others. Socrates and Marcus Aurelius are instances of men, who, by the strength of philosophy having entirely composed their minds and regulated their passions, are celebrated for good husbands, notwithstanding the first was yoked with Xantippe, and the other with Faustinia.
If the wedded pair would but habituate themselves for the first year to bear with one another's faults, the difficulty would be pretty well conquered. This mutual sweetness of
temper and complacency was finely recommended in the nuptial ceremonies among the heathens, who when they sacrificed to Juno, at that solemnity, always tore out the gall from the entrails of the victim, and cast it behind the altar,
VIRTUE, CHEERFULNESS, AND CONSTANCY, ABSOLUTELY
NECESSARY TO MAKE THE MARRIED STATE HAPPY.
Those who would live happily in the marriage state should never enter into it without loving and being beloved, and should render this love genuine and durable by founding it on virtue. If it has no object but beauty, a graceful air, or the bloom of youth, it will be as frail as these fleeting advantages, and like them too will soon vanish ; but if it is fixed by the perfections of the mind, it will then stand the test of time.
A marriage contracted without tenderness is a kind of violence ; for to possess, when the mind does not consent, is to violate the law of nature. The gifts of Hymen ought only to be dispensed by the hands of Love ; and whoever receives them from another is no better than a usurper.
Vicious habits, capricious humours, and opposite opinions, disturb the best established love. Thus a niggardly, ava. ricious husband will conceive a disgust for that wife, who, thinking more nobly, imagines she ought to regulate her expenses by their joint income. On the contrary, a prodi. gal will despise bis wife merely for being a good economist.
Marriage is the highest state of friendship : if happy, it lessens our cares by dividing them, at the same time that it doubles our satisfactions by mutual participation. It is a
state which ought not to be entered into with indifference on either side.
In unequał marriages, those frequently incur censure who more happily yoked might be entitled to praise.
Husbands and wives, who live together in a good understanding, give to strangers an almost unerring proof of the goodness of their hearts.
When we choose our companions for life, if we hope to keep both them and ourselves in good humour to the last stage of it, we must be extremely careful in the choice we make, as well as the conduct on our own part. When the persons to whom we join ourselves can stand an examina. tion, and bear the scrutiny, when they mend upon our acquaintance with them, and discover new beauties the more we search into their characters, our love will naturally rise in proportion to the knowledge of their perfections.
But because there are very few possessed of such ac. complishments of body and mind, we ought to look after those qualifications both in ourselves and others, which are indispensably necessary toward this happy union, and which are in the power of every one to acquire, or at least to cultivate and improve. These, in my opinion, are cheerfulness and constancy. A cheerful temper joined with in. nocence, will make beauty attractive, knowledge delightful, and wit good natured. It will lighten sickness, poverty, and affliction ; convert ignorance into an amiable simplicity, and render deformity itself agreeable.
Constancy is natural to persons of even tempers and uniform dispositions ; and may be acquired by those of the greatest fickleness, violence, and passion, who consider seriously the terms of union upon which they came together ; the mutual interest in which they are engaged, with all the motives that ought to incite their tenderness and compassion towards those who have their dependence upon them, and are embarked with them for life in the same state of happi. DESS or misery