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of examining into the real character of her lover as into that of a female candidate for her friendship, the same rules might direct you in the choice of both ; for marriage being the highest state of friendship, the qualities requisite in a friend are still more important in a husband. women know so little of the world, especially of the other sex, and such pains are usually taken to deceive them, that they are every way unqualified to choose for themselves, upon their own judgment. Many a heartache shall I feel for you, my sweet girl, if I live a few years longer! Since not only all your happiness in this world, but your advance. ment in religion and virtue, or your apostacy from every good principle you have been taught, will probably depend on the companion you fix to for life. Happy will it be for you, if you are wise and modest enough to withdraw from temptation, and preserve your heart free and open to receive the just recommendation of your parents : farther than a recommendation, I dare say, they will never go, in an affair which, though it should be begun by them, ought never to be proceeded in without your free concurrence.
Whatever romantic notions you may hear, or read of, depend upon it, those matches are the happiest which are made on rational grounds, on suitableness of character, degree, and fortune, on mutual esteem, and the prospect of a real and permanent friendship. Far be it from me to advise marry where you
do not love : a mercenary marriage is a detestable prostitution, but, on the other hand, a union formed upon mere personal liking, without the requisite foundation of esteem, without the sanction of parental ap. probation, and consequently without the blessing of God, can be productive of nothing but misery and shame. The passion to which every consideration of duty and prudence is sacrificed, instead of supplying the loss of all other advantages, will soon itself be changed into mutual distrust, repentance, reproaches, and finally perhaps into hatred. The distresses it brings will be void of every consolation : you will have disgusted the friends who should be your support; debased yourself in the eyes of the world ; and, what is much worse, in your own eyes, and even in those of your husband : above all, you will have offended that God who alone can shield you from calamity.
From an act like this, I trust, your duty and gratitude to your parents, the first of duties next to that we owe to God, and inseparably connected with it, will effectually preserve you. But most young people think they have fulfilled their duty, if they refrain from actually marrying against prohibition. They suffer their affections, and even perhaps their word of honour to be engaged, without consulting their parents : yet satisfy themselves with resolving not to marry without their consent ; not considering that, besides the wretched, useless, uncomfortable state that they plunge themselves into when they contract a hopeless engagement, they must likewise involve a parent in the miserable dilemma of either giving a forced consent against his judgment, or of seeing his beloved child pine away her prime of life in fruit. less anxiety, seeing her accuse him of tyranny because he restrains her from certain ruin, seeing her affections alien. ated from her family, and all her thoughts engrossed by one object, to the destruction of her health and spirits, and of all her improvements and occupations. What a cruel alternative for parents whose happiness is bound up with that of their child! The time to consult them is before you have given a lover the least encouragement; nor ought you to listen a moment to the man who would wish you to keep his addresses secret; since he thereby shows himself conscious that they are not fit to be encouraged.
But perhaps I have said enough on this subject at present; though, if ever advice on such a topic can be of use, it must be before passion has got possession of the heart and silenced both reason and principle. Fix, therefore, in your mind, as deeply as possible, those rules of duty and prudence which now seem reasonable to you, that they may be at
hand in the hour of trial, and save you from the miseries in which strong affections, unguided by discretion, involve so many of our sex.
If you love virtue sincerely, you will be incapable of loving an openly vicious character. But, alas! your inno. cent heart may be easily ensnared by an artful one; and from this danger nothing can secure you but the experience of those to whose guidance God has intrusted you : may you be wise enough to make use of it! So will you
have the fairest chance of attaining the best blessings this world can afford, in a faithful and virtuous union with a worthy man, who may direct your steps in safety and honour through this life, and partake with you the rewards of virtue in that which is to come.
How earnestly I wish you this happiness you can never know, unless you could read the heart of
Your truly affectionate,
HAVING A REGARD TO MONEY IN LOOKING OUT FOR A WIFE.
DEAR SIR, It would be wrong to make you wait long for an answer to the point you propose in your last. It is an important
I am not a casuist by profession, but I will do my best. Suppose I imitate your laconic manner of stating the question and circumstances.
I doubt not but it is very lawful at your age to think of marriage, and in the situation you describe, to think of money likewise.
am glad you have no person as you say, fixedly in view ; in that case advice comes a post or two too late. But your expression seems to intimate that there is one transiently in view. If it be so, since
have no settlement, if she has no money, I cannot but wish she may pass on till she is out of sight and out of mind. this will not do ; I must get into my own grave way about this grave business. I take it for granted, that my friend is free from the love of filthy lucre ; and that money will never be the turning point with you in the choice of a wife. Methinks I hear you say, if I wanted money I would either dig or beg for it; but to preach or marry for money, that be far from I commend you.
However, though the love of money be a great evil, money itself, obtained in a fair and honourable way, is desirable upon many accounts, though not for its own sake. Meat, clothes, fire, and books, cannot easily be had without it: therefore, if these be necessary, money which procures them must be neces. sary likewise.
If things were otherwise than you represent them, if you were able to provide for a wife your. self, then I would say, find a gracious girl, (if she be not found already,) whose person you like, whose temper
you think will suit; and then, with your father and mother's consent, (without which I think you would be unwilling to move,) thank the Lord for her, marry her, and account her a valuable portion, though she should not have a shilling. But while you are without income or settlement, if you have thoughts of marriage, I hope they will be regulated by a due regard to consequences. They who set the least value upon money, have in some respects the most need of it. A generous mind will feel a thousand pangs in strait circumstances, which some unfeeling hearts would not be sensible of. You could, perhaps, endure hardships alone, yet it might pinch you to the very bone to see the person you love exposed to them. Besides, you might have a John, a Thomas, and a William, and half a dozen more to feed, (for they must all eat;) and how could this be done without a competency on one side or the other, or so much on both sides as will make a competency when united, I see not. Besides, you would be grieved not to find an occasional shilling in your pocket to bestow upon one or other of the Lord's poor, though you should be able to make some sort of a shift for those of your own house.
But is it not written, • The Lord will provide ?? but it is written again, • Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.' Hastily to plunge ourselves into difficulties, upon a persuasion that He will find some way to extricate us, seems to me a species of tempting himn.
Therefore, I judge, it is so far lauful, for you to have a regard to money in looking out for a wife, that it would be wrong, that is, in other words, unlawful for you to omit it, supposing you have a purpose of marrying in your present situation.
I am, &c.