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gium ! O how much more precious to the ingenuous mind, to be embalmed in the memory of the virtuous and the wise, than to be commemorated by the sculptured marble, or the massy pyramid ! How much bet. ter than all the blaze of heraldry, or“ pomp of pow. er,” to have it said concerning us, when we are gone
“ There lies one who fed me when I was hungry; who clothed me when I was naked ; who enlightened my mind with heavenly knowledge, and pointed to me the path of life eternal.”
The apostle having witnessed those tears, and contemplated these memorials, requested the mourn. ers to withdraw, that he might avoid all appearance of ostentation in the miracle which he was about to perform ; and that he might with more perfect freedom pour out his soul in prayer. When they had retired, he kneeled down and prayed; and, turning him to the body, said Tabitha, arise. And she opened her eyes; and when she saw Peter she sat up. And be gave her his hand, and lifted her up; and when he had called the saints and widows, he presented her alive.
Who can describe the surprise and joy of the attendants at seeing their amiable friend restored to life and usefulness? Above all, who can describe the mingled emotions of regret and pleasure, which must have filled the mind of Dorcas, to find herself hrought back to a world which she had supposed herself to have for ever quitted ; and again united to companions whom she had expected never to see more until they should join her in the paradise of God? I dare not attempt the task. Leaving, therefore, this topic oft meditation, which however deeply interesting, cannot subserve any important practical purpose,
I hasten to employ the example of this excellent womán as the basis of some very brief and general remarks on the APPROPRIATE DUTY AND ORNA, MENT OF THE FEMALE Sex.
And here I shall not stop to enquire, whether the native character of the female mind is, in all respects, precisely the same with that of the other sex. What ever opinion may be formed on this subject, I take for granted, we shall all agree, that Women ought not to be considered as destined to the same employments with Men ; and, of course, that there is a species of education, and a sphere of action, which more particularly belong to them. There was a time indeed, when a very different doctrine had many advocates, and appeared to be growing popular :-.-viz. that in. conducting education, and in selecting employments, all distinctions of sex ought to be forgotten and con. founded; and that females are as well fitted to fill the academic Chair, to shine in the Senate, to adorn the Bench of justice, and even to lead the train of War, as the more hardy sex. This delusion, however, is now generally discarded. It begins to be perceived, that the God of nature has raised everlasting barriers against such wild and mischievous speculations; and that to urge them, is to renounce reason, to contradict experience, to trample on the divine authority, and to degrade the usefulness, the honor, and the real en: joyments of the female sex.
But an error of an opposite kind has gained a la. mentable currency in the world. This is, that the station of females is so humble, and their sphere of duty so extremely limited, that they neither can, nor ought to aspire to extensive usefulness. This is the mistake of indolence, or of false humility; and is as plainly contradicted by reason, by scripture, and by experience, as the extreme before mentioned. While females are shut out by the express authority of God from some offices, and by the common sense of mankind from others; there is yet open to them an immense field for the most dignified activity, in which they may glorify God, render essential service to so. ciety, and gain everlasting honor to themselves.
We often have occasion from the sacred desk, to exhibit in contrast, the representations of scripture,
and the sentiments of a depraved world. This contrast seldom appears in a stronger light than it does on the subject of which we are now speaking In the codes of modern infidelity and licentiousness, as well as among uncivilized nations, woman is exhibited as the mere servile instrument of convenience or pleasure. In the volume of Revelation she is repre. sented as the equal, the companion, and the help-meet of man. In the language of worldly taste, a fine woman, is one who is distinguished for her personal charms, and polite accomplishments. In the lan., guage of Scripture, she is the enlightened and virtuous inistress of a family, and the useful member of society. The woman who is formed on the princi. ples of the world, finds no enjoyment but in the cir. cles of affluence, gayety, and fashion. The woman whois formed on the principles of the Bible goath about doing goad: she visiteth the fartherless and the widows in their affliction: she stretcheth forth her hands to the poor, yea, şhe reachesh forth her hands to the needy. The one dresses with elegance, and shines in the dance: the other opens her mouth with wisdom ; in her tongue is the law of kindness, and her most valued adorning is nat gold, or pearls, or costly array; but good works, and the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit. The hours of the one are divided between routs, and assemblies, and visiting, and theatres, and cards: the other looketb well to the ways of her
. household, and gateth not the bread of idleness. "The business of the one is pleasure ; the pleasure of the other is busi
The one is admired abroad; the other is beloved and honored at home.” Her children rise sp. ani call ber blessed ; ber busband also, and he prciseth her. Favor is dcceitful, and beauty is vain ; But a woman that feareth the Lord, sbe shall be praised.
From these representations of sacred writ, and from many others of similar import, it is manifest, that the ornament and the duty of the female sex, are as appropriate as they are important; and that they
pertain especially to the relations which they bear as wives, -as mothers, -as domestic companions, and... as members of society. On each of these relations, an extensive field of enquiry opens to our view; but it is only possible to take a very rapid glance at each, in the order in which they have been mentioned.
I. How interesting and important are the duties devolved on females as wives! On their temper and deportment, more than those of any other individuals, it depends, whether their husbands be happy or mise. rable; whether the households over which they preside be well ordered and regular, or neglected and wretched; whether the property of their partners be wisely and economically applied, or carelessly and ignobly squandered; in a word, whether peace, affection, order, and plenty, reign in their dwellings, or waste, confusion, discord, and alienation disgrace them. Females have been often honored with the title of angels. If it be ever proper to apply such an appellation to a daughter of a fallen race, there is sure. ly no mortal to whom it so properly applies, as a pru. dent, virtuous, and amiable wife, the counsellor and friend of her husband; who makes it her daily study to lighten his cares, to sooth his sorrows, and to augment his joys; who like a guardian angel, watches over his interests, warns him against dangers, comforts him under trials ; and by her pious, assiduous, and attractive deportment, constantly endeavors to render him more virtuous, more useful, more honored and more happy. The blessings which such a woman is capable of conferring on her partner, and through him, on society, are more numerous and dia versified than a yolume would be sufficient to display. In how many instances have we known wives of this character become the means of winning their unbelieving husbands to the obedience of the faith! Wherv this is the case, who can estimate the greatness of the hlessing? Like the light of day, it pours its beniga
influence upon each member of the favored domestic circle; and ever permanent in its effects, reaches through eternal ages.
II. No less numerous and weighty are the duties devolved on females as MOTHERS. Children, during the first years of their lives, are necessarily committed almost entirely to the care of mothers. And the impressions which are then made on their tender minds, generally decide their character and destiny, not only for this life, but also for that which is to come. In that soft and plastic season, when the temper, the principles and the habits are formed; when the heart is deeply impressed; when the conscience is tender, when the whole character is ductile; when almost every thing but the regeneration of the heart may be said to be within the power of a parent to bestow; and when even the attainment of this greatest of all gifts has a closer connection with parental faithfulness than is generally imagined--- This is empathatically, the period of the maternal empire. Her's is the delightful, the all-important task, to watch over the infant years of her offspring ; to guard them from the thousand dangers to which they are exposed; to form a sound mind in a sound body; to whisper in their listening ears, the sentiments of virtue and piety; and to prepare them for living to God, to their country, and to themselves.
On this ground, I have no scruple in avowing my conviction, that in the whole business of education, - THE MOTHER IS THE MORE IMPORTANT PARENT, It may, perhaps, without extravagance be said, that to the female sex pre-eminently belongs the mighty task, so far as it depends on human agency, of forming the beads and hearts of the great mass of mankind. To them it belongs to render their families the nurseries either of heaven or hell. Their enlightened fidelity or their criminal negligence, will, under God, decide the character of those future citizens, on whose virtues