« AnteriorContinuar »
BIOGRAPHY OF ADAM.-(CONCLUDED.)
5 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorroi
and thy conception: in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.”
Gen. iii. 16.
"Ye know not what will be on the morrow." Such was the sound and seasonable suggestion of one of the apostles to persons too much busied in sketching out plans for future operations, while regardless of the privileges and una mindful of the duties of the present hour. We need not say to you that this same suggestion has been equally appropriate and equally seasonable in every succeeding age. From the humblest cottager up to the master of empires, all human beings are prone to occupy themselves in sketching plans for futurity. Plans predicated on the stability of their present possessions, or on the security of those objects which they have in prospect:-Plans that have no value but as connected with to-morrow; and yet to-morrow belongs not to the projector. What lessons are we taught on the instability of human things! When we pass by the grave of genius, prematurely struck off from the lengthening roll of fame; when we pass the grave of the gager and successful man of business, burried away from
his occupations e'er he had half reached the point to which they were directed; when we look on the termination of any one career, no matter what, by which our attention had been arrested, we concede "in sober sadness” the instability of human things; and sighing, say to the now inactive slumberer, O, if thou hadst known, even thou, how soon and suddenly thy career must terminate, how differ, ent the prospects on which thine eager eye had bent! how different the objects that had engaged thine efforts! But wiry refer to the lessons of many ages? Why pry into the hearts of eager multitudes pressing forward to a goal which few of them will reaeh, and intoxicated with prospects which they shall never realize.
We have before us in the history of these first of human kind a far more interesting and pointed lesson on the instability of human things, than any other that can be exbibited from the records of our race. Let your eye rest on this mother of all living. In the morning she walked forth the mistress of creation; bow exquisite in beauty, how lovely in her innocence, what lustre in her eye, what grace in every step, they can best instruct you who know how God can beautify and dignify his works, and whose hearts are most alive to the power of female loveliness when consecrated by intelligence and purity of heart. We know very well that there is no object in creation--no, neither man nor even angel can levy such a tribute as wo. man may extort when in any measure resembling the creature God first made her. It is not so much the lustre of surprising beauty, it is not the lofty port of all-confounding intellect, it is not the sentiment of pity for weakness and dependence:-it is nothing of all this that constitus her power. It is that mixture of intelligence and loveli
þess and tenderness; it is those ten thousand nameless beauties too exquisitely delicate to paint, too variant to delineate, and too rare to have names in our common-life vocabulary, that constitute the inexplicable, the unutteras ble charm. We have recognized and we yet do homage to the lineaments of these perfections in a few of her many daughters: but the mother of all living inherited them all. She was the first of this new species in creation, and it was proper that she should exhibit what it is in the powerof God all-sufficient to create and to combine. See her, then, walk forth on the morning of this day; modest, but yet not bashful; dignified, but not repulsive; beautiful, but not vain. Is it wild to imagine that her husband would gaze after her with unutterable tenderness; that the tenants of the garden would bow before her as she passed in fondness mingled with inexplicable awe; and that even the inanimate part of the creation, the tender blade of grass, the flowret and the shrub, bending as they were beneath the dew drops of the morning, would bend in lowlier hom. age as she moved.
And did creation furnish to this loveliest of God's crea tures no reflections of her own! Yes, for she had feelings exquisitely wrought; every feature was brightened by the glow of feeling, every pulsation darted pleasure through her frame. Yes, she bad a mind most intelligent and lua cid; she could not but be alive to the blessings which enriched her; such a mind must dwell on the prospects spread before her. Bright were her anticipations of many coming years. But they were anticipations never to be realized. A few short hours have flown, and you see
See her arraigned, a shame-faced, guilty and despairing culprit, an unprincipled seducer of her once
noble partner, the corrupter of innocence, the destroyer op happiness, the exterminator of those beauties of which she had been the crown.
But we commented on her offences in a former exercise; our theme is the judgments which so speedily avenged them. We need not say to you that nothing more than a very small portion of the evils she inherited are delineated in this sentence. We know that in all countries, whatever be the curses that smite the earth, whatever be the woes or degradation of our nature, woman still comes in for her proportion of the penalty. But this judgment had respect to her distinctive penalty: it struck deep into the sources of female happiness; and it marked her for an anguish peculiarly her own
Whatever the reigning fashion, or the obtrusive gallantry of a false philosophy may teach us, nothing is more plain than that the scriptures teach us by the whole current of their precepts and examples, that the proper burden of female occupation is of a domestic kind, and that the sources of her felicity, as designed by her Creator, are mainly to be sought for in the domestic circle. Solomon in his proverbs does mention women who are “loud and stubborn," and whose "feet abide not in their house:" but then he names them with marked disapprobation. The apostle Paul also describes a female character, such as is both useful and happy, but then it is a character of very different stamp
Yes, whatever a false taste, or a false gallantry may dictate, the tender sensibilities and retiring modesty of woman was designed to render home a paradise, and fit her to derive the principle share of all that deserves the name of happiness, from the circle of her home. Those affec- : tions, so tender and so exquisitely moulded, will wither beneath the ray of the noontide sun;, those thousand thousand graces that play upon the cheek, so timid and so tender, will fly away forever, if tortured with the noise and the bustle of the crowd. No, let them throw their magic aroupd the domestic circle; let them expand and shed their fragance upon the circle of her friends, in those moments of social and of happy intercourse, where heart meets heart, and where every countenance beams confidence and love. Let them be cherished as the source of blessing to her children, and let the returning fondness of her inno-. cents be as the re-action of blessedness
herself. Thu. was woman formed. And she cannot alter the laws of her Creator. These are still her resources where she is really happy, and it is upon these that the penalty is hung., Yes, a mother shall be happy, beyond what tongue can tell in the caresses of her babe. But oh, what agony bas this penalty affixed, as the price of all this happiness! An agony which has no parallel in nature: an anguish so keen that the scriptures recognize no term so fit as that to paint the anguish of accursed spirits. To her husband her thoughts shall still recur; on him shall the eye of complacency be bent. Nor is there any thing in nature that attaches itself so strongly as a really amiable and uncorrupted woman attaches all her heart to the husband of her youth. Not only to the worthy, to the attentive, to those who repay affection with return. But how often has it been seen, that when vice had degraded, when villany. had dishonoured, when crime had involved the existence of a man; though friends have deserted, though brethren have disregarded, though parents have disclaimed the convicted culprit as the dishonor of their blood; yet a wife has forgotten the ill-treatment of many years, has forgotten the wrong committed against her peace, has forgiven