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trying. But at the same time if this situation be filled up properly, they have an opportunity to render themselves truly respectable and useful. In a superior degree, they may "serve their generation, according to the will of God." In such circumstances, examples of prudence, economy, order, neatness, temper, amiableness, domestication, will not fail to strike and impress the minds of numbers.
But there is another view in which we ought to consider such an help-meet. It is the advantage which her husband derives from her, not only personally, but officially, and by which she is rendered a blessing to others. Are his life and exertions and reputation of importance? And does she, by the excellency of her character reflect honour upon his choice, and secure deference to his judgment? Does she, by her attentions to his personal appearance, the state of his family, and the decorum of his children, add to his respectability. and acceptance?-Does she, by seasonably aiding his remembrance, contribute to the punctuality of his engagements, his visits, and his correspondence?-Does she, by allowing "her husband to trust safely in her," discharge him from secular concerns, and keep him free, to pursue his work with undivided attention ?-Does she by soothing him under distress, and tranquilizing him under irritation, preserve his mind in a frame favourable to reflection and study?-Does,she, by taking care of his health, and spirits, enlarge the number, and. lengthen the course of his labours!-Such a female deserves the esteem and applause of a congregation, a neighbourhood, a country.
Of what avail are reflections like these to such as have already taken unguarded steps. Are not the consequences irretrievable? They are-but yet they may be improveable. I know it is cold comfort to tell a man, involved in difficulty and distress, that all this might have been avoided, and to upbraid him with the warnings which he refused to take. But will it not be useful for
him to ascertain the cause of his mistake, and to review the progress of his infatuation? May he not turn to some good account the lessons of painful experience, and the corrections of maturer judgment? Ought he not to increase in self-knowledge, and self-diffidence? Surely it is meet to be said unto God, I have borne chastisement: I will not offend any more: that which I see not, teach thou me: if I have done iniquity, I will do no more. Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts, and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."
But there are others whose escape is possible, and for whose preservation we are concerned. I hope that my younger brethren in the sacred office, and those who are under a course of preparation for it, will not be offended at my taking advantage of this address to introduce these free remarks on ministerial marriage:
And by concluding-in calling upon them to shew how undeservedly their body has been reproached.Let them beware. Let them see how necessary it is, not only that piety, but prudence should guide them. Let them remember how much their comfort, their honour, their usefulness depend upon a wise, as well as a religious choice. A wrong step here may involve them in embarrassments; make them go mourning down to the grave: strip them of their glory, and take the crown from their head.
A PRUDENT MAN FORESEETH THE EVIL, AND HIDETH HIMSELF, BUT THE SIMPLE PASS ON, AND ARE punished. Keep sound WISDOM AND DISCRETION, SO SHALL THEY BE LIFE UNTO THY SOUL, AND GRACE TO THY NECK.— THEN SHALT THOU WALK IN THY WAY SAFELY, AND THY FOOT SHALL NOT STumble.