Page images

we cannot increase our dearest delights. No one objects to riches, because they add to his cares, and his chances for loss. The absence of evil will not satisfy any one: all want positive good; and for the enjoyment of it, we cheerfully take the risk of losing it.

As to loss of liberty by increasing one's tieswe always intend, and very frequently gain by the loss. It is only an exchange, as in a pure republic we give part of our rights to the control of others, for the same power over their rights. We cannot exist in society without an exchange of rights in some degree : it is a means of promoting individual and general happiness.

With respect to the fourth objection, it is to be remembered, that we cannot take one step in life, which promises good, free from the possibility of evil. If the chances be in favour of a pursuit, it is deemed wise. In this, as in every other case, we reason, and follow where happiness seems to lie. When persons arrive at the period of life for important action, and look around the world for happiness, hazard and uncertainty attend every object, and darkness rests on all things future. Their nature powerfully inclines them to pursuit. Taking, then, reason and virtue for their guides, they should select those objects which afford the fairest probability of success. Hope, the cordial of exist. ence, animates the various pursuits through the whole journey of life, and often strews with flowers the untrodden path. Marriage enlarges the field of hope ; it seems to in. şure a kind of immortality. In offspring our morning star arises, before our evening sun declines. This prevents a total eclipse, and enlightens our whole existence.

In fact, all the wants and wishes, the passions and sensibilities, of humanity, which constitute delight, find their ob. ject in the matrimonial circle.

When, too, we contemplate the brevity of life, and look forward to that world whence no traveller returns, we may anticipate the enlargement, even of eternal felicity, in seeing our posterity from age to age ascend, to people the realms of light, and embrace us with seraphic love. This idea is natural, and there is nothing in reason or revelation against the pleasing conclusion.

To imitate the Parent of the Universe, by communicating felicity, gives back the most divine pleasure which the human mind can feel ; and to communicate it to those we love, is the sublime of existence. The mind rises in bliss, whilst it dwells on the idea. The heart palpitates in an energy of rapture.

Happy, thrice happy, are the citizens of this republic ! whose free government and fertile regions invite to marriage, and promise the full reward of love. Here the corrupt maxims of the old world are little known. Here love is the loan for love ; and the pure principle of personal es. teem forms the union between the sexes. Here mutual af. fection rises superior to fortune, and gives domestic felicity, unknown where avarice, ambition, or vicious pleasure rule the heart. Here industry, crowned by the blessing of-benignant Heaven, supplies the wants of all; and the bloom. ing youth are seen in every dwelling, smiling around their parents, like blossoms on a fruitful tree.

Health glows on the cheek, innocence and contentment sparkle in the eye, and the voice of nature tells the traveller, “ HAPPINESS DWELLS HERE."



My Dear Miss, I am at a loss how to write, not having a letter to answer. It is true, your mamma gave me some hint of a subject, but I have nothing very interesting to offer upon that head at pre. sent. My best wishes and prayers attend you, that the Lord may guide, shine upon, and bless you, in every relation and circumstance of life that may be before you. I have reason to speak well of the married state ; and it al. ways gives me pleasure, when, in the way of my office, I am called to tie the marriage knot, when I have reason to believe the prospect is warranted by prudence, the parties united by affection, and that they come together in the fear and in the name of the Lord. I think I may take it for granted, from your mamma's letter, that these requisites concur in your concern, and therefore I heartily bid you God speed. And I congratulate your lover, whoever he be, be. lieving that if the Lord bestows you upon him, and gives him a heart to value you aright, you will prove a treasure and a blessing to him. However, let me remind you, upon this occasion, that vanity is deeply engraven upon all below the skies ; and that the more happy we are in creature comforts, so much the more are we exposed to snares and

O, how happy it is to know the Lord, the foun. tain of living waters! for every other acquisition without Him will prove a broken cistern. But as he has taught your heart to choose and rest in himself supremely as your portion, you have a warrant from his gracious promises to hope, that he will bless you in all your connexions and concerns


How different, for the most 'part, is the appearance between a wedding day and a dying day! yet, however long the interval may be between them, the latter must come, and then the space, which in prospect might seem long, will af. fect us no more than the remembrance of a morning dream. Could I have been told when I married, that Mrs. Nand I should live together more than twenty-three years ; that our affection should increase as we went on; that the Lord would favour us with a path remarkably smooth, and exempt us from nine trials out of ten which are ordinarily found in wedded life ; how would my poor vain heart have been elated! Well, all this and more has happened. For almost twenty-four years past, I have never seen a single day or hour in which I wished to change my situation with any person upon earth ; and we are still spared to each other. But now, shall I tell you what I see when I take a review of past times. Forgetful as I am, I can recollect innumerable instances of the Lord's mercy. We set out in life like two strangers who had a wilderness before them, and knew not a single step of the way; but, 0, how wonderfully has he led us! I can recount, likewise, innumerable evils, snares, sins, trials, and inquietudes, which, if put together, would make a large abatement of what, if viewed in the lump, might seem a uniform course of happiness and satisfaction. And as to all the rest, it is gone beyond recall; the shadows of the evening are beginning to advance over us, and how miserable should we now be if our hope was only in this life ! May the Lord write upon your heart, while you are young, a conviction, that communion with him, grace to glorify him and serve him in the world, are the only things which make life, in its best estate, valuable and desirable.

Believe me to be,

Sincerely yours.


The attachments of the heart, on which almost all the happiness or misery of life depends, are most interesting objects of our consideration. I shall give my dear niece the observations which experience has enabled me to draw from real life, and not from what others have said or written, however great their authority.

The first attachment of young hearts is friendshipthe noblest and happiest of affections, when real and built on a solid foundation ; but oftener pernicious than useful to very young people, because the connexion itself is ill understood, and the subjects of it frequently ill chosen.

It is a melancholy consideration that the judgment can only be formed by experience, which generally comes too late for our own use, and is seldom accepted for that of others. I fear it is in vain for me to tell you what dangerous mistakes I made in the early choice of friends ; how incapable I then was of finding out such as were fit for me, and how little I was acquainted with the true nature of friendship, when I thought myself most fervently engaged in it! I am sensible all this will hardly persuade you to choose by the eyes of others, or even to suspect that your own may be deceived.

If there is danger in making an improper choice of friends, how much more fatal would it be to mistake in a stronger kind of attachment, in that which leads to an irrevocable engagement for life ! yet so much more is the understanding blinded, when once the fancy is captivated, that it seems a desperate undertaking to convince a girl in love that she has mistaken the character of the man she prefers.

If the passions would wait for the decision of judgment, and if a young woman could have the same opportunities

« PreviousContinue »