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serious hours of business or retirement, nor hastily mistake that reserve or gloom, which may arise from difficulties in their affairs abroad, for ill temper or disgust at home.
It is the duty of a wife, not only to regulate her own temper towards her husband, but also pay such an attention to his, as may prevent it from ever appearing in a disagreeable light. By studiously observing the proper seasons for the different subjects on which she may have occasion to ad. dress him, she may, imperceptibly to him, and almost to her. self, obtain the power of guiding his concurrence, or denial.
A sensible and virtuous woman, pursuing such a line of conduct for the mutual advantage of her husband and fa. mily, without any selfish views, of which only little minds are capable, comes nearest to the idea that mortals are taught to conceive of a guardian angel, who, unseen, directs our doubtful choice to what is best, and leads our erring steps into the paths of happiness and peace.
I have hitherto considered this great article of temper only in one point of view, merely as relates to the colloquial intercourse between a wedded pair. I come now to show, that its influence is universally extensive ; and that it is one of the main springs which guides or deranges the human machine, through every station and situation of life. An unmarried woman is very rarely said to be ill tempered ; and yet there are such prodigies in nature as young vixens, who, however they may conceal their ill humour from their lovers and general acquaintances, will surely betray it to their parents, inmates, and servants. “ A little lump lea. veneth the whole," and a peevish maiden will infallibly make a cross wife ; for when once a sourness of disposition be. comes habitual, there is no alkaline in nature sufficiently powerful to correct the heart-burnings and bitterness of a dissatisfied temper.
A person so affected, like one infected with the plague, necessarily spreads the contagion of discon. tent around her. Her parents lament the badness of her disposition; her other relations and connexions are sensible
of aversion, instead of affection, towards her; and her ser. vants regret that the irksomeness of servitude is aggravated by receiving their subsistence from a tyrant, whom they can neither please, respect, nor love.
As gravity, which is sometimes but another name for dulness, has been frequently mistaken for wisdom, so is cheerfulness often accepted for good humour. But that species of cheerfulness which we meet with in society, that laughs in the eye, and lights up the countenance, generally proceeds rather from an ebullition of the spirits, than a designed and consistent exertion of our powers to please ; and is more frequently the result of a lively than a placid disposition. As it flows from an accidental cause, its effects must necessarily be precarious ; it is therefore subject to causeless and sudden dejection, to which habitual good humour is by no means liable.
Distinct as these two qualities are, they have yet one property common to both, and at the same time different from what can be imputed to any other happy endowment; which is, that they are most meritorious where they are least natural. An idiot may be constitutionally good humoured, and a villain be cheerful, from a glow of health or a flow of spirits; but that species of good humour which is the result of sense, virtue, and gratitude to Providence, will be uniform in its appearance, and consistent in its manners: it will not, like an April day, lower and shine in the same moment ; nor like the flaming heats of July, will the brightness of the meridian sun foretell the approaching thunder ; but clear, calm, and undisturbed, shall it shine on even to its latest hour.
Such a blessed state of mind must necessarily communi. cate the happiness it feels to all around it. 6 Like the smooth stream, it reflects every object in its just proportion, and in its fairest colours ; whilst the turbulent and ruffled spirit, like troubled waters, renders back the images of things distorted and broken, and communicates to them all
that disordered motion, which arises solely from its own agitation.'
This beautiful simile has a double claim to female atten. tion; for rage, jealousy, or any other ungentle passion, de. forms the fairest face almost as much as they degrade the mind, and can “ unsex the loveliest of the lovely kind, e'en from the top to the toe.”
But there is a higher and stronger motive than I have yet mentioned for "possessing our souls in quietness," if we presume to call ourselves Christians. Shall the disciple of a suffering Saviour dare to resent with furious outrage the real or imaginary injuries she may receive? Or can she kneel before the throne of mercy, and supplicate the God of peace and good will to man, for pardon or protection, whilst her heart is agitated with a spirit of malice or revenge towards a fellow creature, frail as her wretched self? This were an insult upon piety, a mockery of devotion!
We are assured, that God rejects the proud, and that an humble and a contrite heart is precious in his sight. Shall we then cast away the heartfelt transport of thinking our. selves under the guidance and protection of an Almighty Providence, to sacrifice to Moloch ? and give away the birthright of the redeemed, for the sad privilege of torturing ourselves ? For Providence has wisely ordained, that all the malevolent passions of the human breast should prey upon
their possessors. Peace never dwelt with envy, rage, or hate.
As marriage, among Christians, is of divine institution, all married persons should consider a proper conduct towards each other, as the fulfilling of a religious duty. To pro. mote harmony, peace, order, and happiness in their families, is the mutual and undoubted obligation both of man and wife. This rule once established and reduced to practice, even libertines will own that marriage is the happiest state on
earth; but when the fiends of discord, rage, confusion, and misery, usurp the place of those dear household gods, their very opposites, we must agree with Dr. Tillotson, and own, that such a state is but “a lesser hell, in passage to the greater.”
Be it your care then, my gentle and much interested readers, to reverse this sad idea, and by the mildness of your manners, and the sweetness of your tempers, render the marriage state a lesser heaven, in passage to the greater.
In the variety of courses which the generality of mankind pursue for the attainment of happiness, it is not a little surprising, that so many of them should be inattentive in one of the most material points that can possibly insure it. The point I mean is, that union of the sexes, which, properly concluded, is the foundation of felicity to individuals, and of security to the public. Nature has given every parent the power of directing the inclinations of their children, but allows of no unreasonable authority to force them; and such as have a sensible concern for the happiness of their offspring should be particularly careful that a reciprocal pas. sion existed between the parties, before they consented to an inviolable union. The ill-directed tenderness of paternal affection has often been productive of the most unhappy consequences; and many a father has made his children miserable for life, by an erroneous solicitude for their wel. fare, and by making a provision for their happiness which was not in the least essential, and for which they had not, in all probability, any manner of occasion. I am led natu. rally to this subject by a paper now lying before me, the contents of which I here present the reader.
I am the most miserable of men; and notwithstanding it might be more prudent to conceal the cause of my afflic. tion, I find an inclination to disclose it in this public manner too strongly resisted. I am a young fellow of five and