Page images


great world, and among such as are not disposed to the more delicate sensations. To them, a word thať overflows from the fulness of the heart; a look that indicates the soul ; an inconsiderate but harmless action ; an unimportant kindness, but performed from real affection ; a calm and silent sentiment of friendship; a free effusion of a person's reflections and feelings into the bosom of his own family, is of more worth than the reiterated protestations of civility and regard, than all the flattering encomiums and blandishments, than all the friendly miens and gestures, than all the splendid entertainments, in which the glory and happiness of the generality of large companies consist.

Wherever domestic happiness is found, it shows persons who are connected together by real intrinsic love and friendship, who live entirely by each other, and who seek their happiness, their honour, and their force, in the mutual union of their hearts. Only to persons of this de. scription can and must every thing be of importance which each has, says, does, and enjoys; how he is inclined, and whatever befalls him. They alone know how to consider their mutual advantages with unerring complacency, and observe the infirmities and failings of each other without displeasure ; to reprehend the deviations of a third with inof. fensive gentleness; understand the looks of each ; and to prevent the wants and wishes of all ; mutually to comply with the designs of edch other ; to harmonize with the feel. ings of the rest; and to rejoice heartily in all the successes, even the most inconsiderable, that happen to each other. Wherever frigidity of temper, untractableness, jealousy, and envy prevail, there no real happiness is possible, in the narrow circle of daily intercourse.

Domestic happiness gives scope to a taste for truth, for nature, for a noble simplicity, and serene repose ; in oppo. sition to error and art, to studied and forced pleasures, and the more ostentatious and poignant diversions. That pure and generous taste alone can give any value to the joys of

To persons

domestic life ; and to such as understand and enjoy it, render all its concerns important, and delightful as the sources of satisfaction and pleasure. For, in this case, they arise, not so much from the object, as from the eye that beholds them, and the heart that feels them; not so much from the importance of the transactions and events themselves, as from the natural and spontaneous manner in which they arise, and the pleasing interest taken in them. of a sound judgment and an uncorrupted heart, the cheerful countenance of the spouse, the lisping of the infants, the mirthful sports of the children, the sight of reason in its bud and in its blossom; to them the earnest curiosity of one, the innocent vivacity of another, the growth and improvement of a third, the contentedness of all, is a scene far preferable, with all its privacy and simplicity, to any other, however intricately conducted, or splendidly performed. The silent and placid existence, in a society of open affection, of unrestrained and unobtrusive benevolence and love, is, to hearts that are able to melt, a kind of existence which they would not exchange for any of those that are so much prized and envied by the multitude.

What a happiness flows to such, more particularly from the superintendence of their tender offspring! The Deity hath provided, that when the first enchanting links of mutual affection and parental love have united us, we should be more endeared to each other, by every instance of care and affection in the education of our children. Nothing so effectually charms the mind into a settled esteem, as concurrence in an employment, so beneficent, so delightful, as the care or education of our own offspring. This is a work of so much importance, and requiring so much time, that it contributes more than any thing toward per. petuating our union. The necessary duties to one child succeeded by the necessary

duties to another, until we have transferred, as it were, our whole souls into our offspring ; passionately love each other again in our


beveral images or representatives ; and live only to make ourselves happy, through the happiness of our children. It is thus we may be said to be renewed, or to be made young again.. We view the progress of an infant mind, the sources and growth of its affections, with more pleasure than is ex. perienced by itself. We interest ourselves in those great passions which determine the events of life ; we forget our infirmities, we imagine ourselves in love again, because our children are enamoured ; and we become fathers and mothers a second time, when they assume those happy denominations, Compare, if you can, the events of what is called a life of pleasure, with such as these. And when nature is decom. posing; when infirmities or disorder menace dissolutionyou may see the man who has acted on the selfish and bru. tal principle of gratifying himself at the expense of truth, honour, and the happiness of others, cursing a world which detests or despises him ; deserted by all, by the very instruments of his pleasures, because universally disesteemed; and sinking into the grave in ignomy or frantic wretched. ness ; whilst those men and women who have gone hand in hand in the pleasing duties of life, will not only have a firm support in honourable recollections, but will be led down its rugged declivity by the tenderest care of an affectionate offspring ; and will consign themselves to rest like useful labourers, a little weary, but satisfied with the work of the day.





Sir, HAVING lived long, travelled much, seen matrimony in all its forms and stages, observation and experience have stamped this truth with infallible certainty : A CONSTANT DESIRE TO MAKE OUR COMPANION HAPPY, IS THE SOUL OF CON

This comprehends the essence of love, and applies to all ages, all times, all circumstances ; it is every thing. This constitutes the balm, the flowers, all the sweets, and the sunshine of life. Where this is wanting, there is form without spirit, shadow without substance, “ sounding brass, and tinkling cymbal.”

If we blot ten thousand pages in giving rules and maxims, and reasoning about it, the quintessence of all is expressed in one line. This truth is confirmed by the adage, “ love begets love;" which is founded in the experience of ages, and sanctioned by the reason of all mankind.

Human nature is formed to feel, and to be influenced by its sensations. The most perverse are affected, in some degree, by the kind attentions of others. In this way only can the meek and innocent wife control the ferocious hus. band, or reduce him to the path of virtue. Thus only can the unprotected domestic reform or mollify the unruly pas. sions of a tyrannical superior. Love, benevolence, is the divine instrument, by which the weak must govern the strong, the virtuous the wicked. Its charms influence all minds ; and the person whom it does not soften or reclaim, is lost for ever.

In any event the good shall not lose their reward; the conscious endeavour to make others wise, vir.

tuous, and happy, will -instill its balm into the benevolent mind, and repay its labour by the secret charm of self-approbation. Such is the constitution of the human mind, by the beneficent appointment of Heaven.

With respect to the advantages and disadvantages of the married state, they merit our deliberate attention, ere we enter into it, to know where the balance will fall.

There is a dark and a bright side, or, in other words, some portion of shade, to every thing in human life. That which is most luminous on the whole, claims our choice. In order to form a just estimate of the means of happiness, we must study the constitution of nature and of man ; for no plan will succeed which is opposed by this constitution. Taking this for the first principle, then observe the subsequent diamond maxim, which is more precious than rubies :

“Let the best course of life your choice invite,
And custom soon will turn it to delight.”

What some call the dark side, or tax of matrimony, is, the cares and expenses of a familymultiplying one's self into many marks for misfortune, sickness, and death-loss of liberty, by increasing one's ties-hazard of ill temper, or want of excellence in the person with whom we form the indissoluble union ; and the like risk in offspring. All these certainly have their weight in the scale : therefore, to act rationally, they must be outweighed by prospects of happiness, before we make the experiment of the conjugal life.

As to cares and expenses, they increase the exertion of our faculties, and thus more often enlarge than diminish our pleasure. We were made for action, not for indolence ; and from pursuits, which have for their object the interest of those we love, the most refined enjoyment results. This constitutes a sublime portion of human felicity, without which life would be a barren existence.

The second objection is unsupported by reason and experience; because, without such a multiplication of friends,

« PreviousContinue »