Imatges de pÓgina

tent power, extending from the meanest to the highest of his creatures, I afford, by analogy, the most convincing proof that these records are true. I bring them to the tribunal, where truth alone is heard in evidence to that high court of judicature, from which there is no appeal.

To unite, then, in the great work of the Education of the people, Science and Philosophy, as handmaids to Religion, is, in our opinion, at the present time, highly expedient: this is the next step to improvement. It will be argued, as it has been argued, that the lower orders know too much already; some will raise the smile of indifference, or the sneer of scorn, and affect to laugh at the idea of National Schoolboys being turned into "Natural Philosophers." Some will no doubt predict that should such dreadful things take place, the world would surely be at an end; others will be scared at the possibility of their own children, on whom they expend so much, being worse educated than charity boys; and would keep them ignorant, that their own sons may be so likewise. Some will fear that the poor should tread on their heels; and that physical and intellectual strength combined, would upset the aristocracy of wealth, and the aristocracy of rank, and the aristocracy of idleness; and all the arguments that were formerly used against giving the Bible to the laity, and, some hundred years afterwards against teaching the poor to read, will be dressed up in modern attire, to prevent the teaching of things rather than names; but all the rhetoric that Dowager Prejudice can conjure up, or that pantaloon Antiquity can call from the "vasty deep," will be unable to stay the progress of knowledge. The hitherto ice-bound stream is in motion on the hill, and it must reach its base. The only question now is, how shall we direct its course? if left to itself, it will be devastating, and dreadful as the Alpine torrent: if guided into proper channels, it will flow on, an enriching and a fertilizing stream, making green the pastures, and filling the valleys with delight.

But let it not be thought that we would either undervalue instruction in the sacred oracles, or the infixing of the true principles of religion; in the emphatic words of the holy apostle Paul, we would reverentially exclaim, "God forbid." No, we appeal to nature, as a context to the scripture; to science, as an illustration of Gospel truth. To honour God is to receive right notions concerning Him; we would be sedulous to infix right notions, drawn from all his glorious works, as the Parent of Good. We would so present to the mind and plant in the understanding, his wisdom, his providence, and his goodness, from the surrounding sphere of our instruction, that the child should not stumble against a stone, nor view the falling of a leaf, without a religious impression. We would so imbue the mind with all the relations of nature, that man should feel himself a part of all with which he is surrounded; that God might be continually in his thoughts; and that wherever he went, and in whatever he might be engaged, the multiform operations of nature might present to him the Creator unceasingly at work. Thus would the whole universe be turned into a temple for constant adoration: and he would be led to find "morals on trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in / stones, and good in every thing."

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OUR wise Creator has beneficently ordained, that while man should present a form of strength and aptitude for exertion and fatigue, and a mind capable of enterprise, of research, and investigation; woman should exhibit a beautiful contrast in the softness and delicacy of her bodily form-the tender devotedness, the mild enthusiasm, and the lovely bienséance of her mind and character. Man, isolated and drawn out by himself, is like the stubborn and hardy steel, black and brittle from the furnace; but in the social intercourse of woman, he finds the temper which renders him susceptible of that brilliant polish, which is one of his highest ornaments; at the same time that it renders him useful to society at large.


If we look at the history of mankind, we shall find that just in proportion as woman has assumed an influence, and exerted her power, so has been the progress of civilization, and the advance of man from the ferocity of savage life; and, on the contrary, wherever we find woman to have been kept degraded, and all those fine instincts, of which she is the sole recipient, repressed and subdued, we have seen the male sex to be men of blood," ferocious, and rude; children of the tempest and the storm. Among the Indian tribes, women are treated as beasts of burden, and looked upon as slaves. Among the Tartars and the Arabs they have been held in a scale of the most degrading inferiority; and in eastern countries they have been immured in palaces, and kept for the gratification of a monarch's lust. But in all these cases their tyrants have been more or less retarded in their progress to civilization, or a social state; and have been unaltered by even the change of climates or the lapse of time.

It was an act more expressive of true wisdom in a monarch, than even the most splendid scheme of conquest and subjugation laid claim to, when Peter the Great, as the first step to the civilization of Russia, threw off the shackles which for twenty centuries had kept woman in bondage, and, by it, man also in debasement. From that hour the whole tone and manners of society were changed; the social confederacy and bond of urbanity was cemented by a purer gem, and sealed with a lovelier image, whose impression gave assurance of a title-deed of liberty, greater and more comprehensive than the tables of the Roman republic or the Magna Charta of England.

The ancient views and systems of religion, which exalted woman to her natural dignity, had always a more powerful effect in humanizing the brutal nature of man, than those which degraded and debased her. The Egyptian and Greek mythology either held her up as the mere victim of passion, or the beast of burden; and the Egyptians and Greeks, with all their temples, their pyramids, and their conquests, were never a social people; but the devotedness, the piety, and the transcendent virtue of the Roman matrons, immortalized as they were by fable, by the historian and the poet, exercised an influence over the minds of the people, such as had never before been known to the world. Lucretia, Volumnia, and Virginia, produced revolutions through their virtues which sustained the sacred cause of liberty in its most trying hour,

and produced consequences to the world, perhaps the most important of any that the historian has to record.

But it was reserved for Christianity to set before the world the true dignity and beauty of the female character. Our blessed Lord called forth pre-eminently their faith, their constancy, and devotion; for be it remembered, it was in them he found the greatest faith it was a woman who touched his garment that she might be whole— who washed his feet with tears, and wiped them with her hair ;-women stood round the cross after his disciples had "forsook him and fled;" —a woman came to the sepulchre, and first knew him to be the Lord. It was Christianity that drew the female character from even the sacred heroism of Roman grandeur, to embue it with heroism of a higher and more congenial kind-the heroism of faith. In woman's breast the "sweet and divine religion of the cross" finds an attractive sympathy, and an echo holding mysterious converse. Tenderness, purity, affection, compassion, "love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith," the more kindred emotions in her bosom, answer to the voice of the Redeemer; and while the eye moistens, and the heart bleeds, and the tongue falters, it responds, like Memnon's sun-touched lyre, to the genial warmth of its adored God, the hymn of sacred obedience and of undying constancy.

There is a season in which female influence is indeed deeply felt, and the more deeply in proportion as the sex are imbued with religion:-a season that is as common to our nature, as the spring-bird's song, or the blossom of the flower; that comes upon us in that ambrosial time when all is fresh, and glowing, and lovely, around us; and the heart and the mind full of all the energy of youthful prime, seem ready to overleap their destinies. But with female worth associated, these high energies of the soul take a softer turn; the holy impulses of Christian virtue, looking forth from female eyes, would seek to, and do in a manner, subdue the grosser feelings of our nature; the rare qualities that shine out from her, like the veins of some beautiful marble vase, brought to the light by the celestial polish that it bears, awe us into virtue, and all those finer sympathies of which she is so dear an inheritor, throw a chain around us that would bind us with higher hopes and purer longings-that would lift us from this sphere of earthliness, and translate us to a brighter atmosphere. We become changed in heart and purpose, our feelings are attuned to a sweeter harmony, and our whole being takes a new form and character; our aspirations are more holy, our desires are more pure, and the "universe of things" seems to catch our inward likeness. Nature becomes exalted with us, the sunset seems to have a more tender ray, the forest bough has a softer sigh, the stars more chastened brightness; and the very shadows have less of gloom, and more of that sacred melancholy which gives the soul an eagle's wing, and brings it to the threshold of God's throne.

Such is the influence of woman in the spring-tide of our youth. But, beautiful as it is, and redolent as it may be with all that can enchant us with her power, and embue us with a love of virtue; yet, still this influence will bear no comparison with that which she exer

cises as "a wife:" here all those virtues which were before indicated, and were seen in prospective vision, burst into brightness; here she is the creator, the queen, and conservator of all the joys of domestic life-happiness is centered in her. Home is no home without her, but a "sterile promontory ;" and all the charms of other hearths will be to him, who has "the gude wife at hame," but a "pestilential congregation of vapours:" and then her constancy-how do we see it marked! from the highest to the lowest grade, it is enduring, faithful, and sublime. In the hour of trial it rises above her sex, as exemplified in a Russell; and is ready with counsel and advice in the time of need. Her night watchings, her prayers, and her devotion, when sickness hangs out the ashy banner upon the cheek, speak no less of her influence; for they sooth the power of pain, and throw blossoms upon the bed of death. Add to this, her household business and her domestic economy. Franklin says, no man is poor when the wife keeps the accounts; and so it is. Thousands have been saved from a prison, by their money matters being kept in the hands of their wives; and thousands have been irretrievably ruined, by their being "slow to consult," and less slow to intrust their wives with their affairs.

But above all the ways in which "female influence" is felt, is that which woman exercises as a mother. In this character it is, that all her feelings, all her enthusiasm, all her tenderness, is brought forth. To a mother's influence the best, the wisest, and most extraordinary of our species have attributed their advancement, their character, and their fame. Napoleon, Howard, Pestalozzi, Bloomfield, and a hundred others of a like difference in character, whom we could name, have attributed to a "mother's influence" all that they deemed estimable or great in themselves. Her influence it is, that, more or less, makes generations what they are ;-and when does this influence commence? Why, with the young heir to immortality at the breast, nay, before even this period it is felt. She not only gives birth to the body but to the mind, and the milk of nurture flows from her to one as well as to the other. The creation of principles, the gift of ideas, the development of faculties, all are subject to her influence; and as this is wholesome or otherwise, such will be the future being she has brought into the world. Hitherto the world has been the scene of rapine, of tumult, and of blood; our records make us blush and weep. War, war, war, has been the beginning, the middle, and the end of states, of communities, and nations. Where shall we look for the influence which shall change this scene, and fill the earth with the fruits of peace and benevolence? It is Christianity, as taught, not only publicly, but from a mother's lips. When our land shall be filled with virtuous and patriotic mothers, then will it be filled with virtuous and patriotic men. She who was first in the transgression must be yet a principal earthly instrument in man's restoration, promoting his best interests, and bringing him to those feelings and those principles which correspond with the Divine will, and breathe the spirit of the Redeemer's love. No combination of causes, no aggregation of circumstances, and no earthly influence can be so great as that of maternity. The patriot who hopes that schools, and colleges, and academies, and

universities, and the general diffusion of knowledge, will change the present habits of the community, while family government is neglected, and a mother's high influence is unknown, will find he is attempting to purify the streams which are flowing from a corrupt fountain.


Of how great an importance, then, must be the education of females: and it is with regret that we observe that schools for the instruction of boys, are double those in number for the instruction of girls; if it is possible to feel deeper regret, it is in the conviction we have that in these education is by no means what it should be. It is miserably deficient in nearly all that should be a female's inheritance." The knowledge of her importance in the social state, and of all those circumstances with which she will be hereafter surrounded, is systematically concealed from her. The duties that will devolve on her are never shown; domestic virtue and domestic economy are never taught; and this remark holds good, from the highest establishments down to our very national schools. In the one we find what are called the accomplishments superseding the higher accomplishments of family management. Miss can play, and sing, and draw, and lounge, and dance, and quadrille. But of principles for the guidance, the care, and management of her future offspring, she has no further knowledge than the dressing of her doll; and self-management in the married or domestic state she knows no more than a heathen. There is, however, one class of people in this country who go very far to set us an example in this respect; and these are the people of the " Society of Friends." Compare the young females of that class with the common “boardingschool misses," and it will be found how much a solid, a serious, and a religious education, in which all superfluities are rejected, has to do in making woman what she ought to be. The female children of the poor are taught to read and write, and to repeat verses of scripture and catechisms; and although we will not deny the wholesomeness of this, yet we are compelled to advance, that a most extensive field for operation is left untouched,-the domestic habits, the moral feelings, self-knowledge, and the duties of station, are utterly neglected. If we would therefore improve society, let us look to these things. We do not advocate masculine education for woman, —we utterly abhor those systems which would jump at the other side of the argument, and would endeavour to make women embrace the studies which their physical organization positively forbids them. We would have them acquainted with all that will be useful to them in making their home the scene of intellectual, chaste, and sweet delights. She should be, not only the wife, but the "young man's best companion." We would have her well taught in all that she might teach her children in their early years, self-government, self-control, self-knowledge; we would have this taught as equally to the poor as to the rich; and we shall hail, as one of the first steps to national improvement, any establishment that shall have for its object Female Education on these principles.

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