Imágenes de página

his. But, efpecially, we perceive her claims on his tenderest affection, in every image the brings into the world, of herself, and of their father. Their lifping tongues are eloquent, and fuccefsfully plead for all his love. In what she has felt, in what fhe feels, in what fhe will feel, for them; in all their ails and joys, in all their conditions, acquirements and character, in all their calamities and all their happiness; fhe filently, but effectually, renews, and heightens and fecures that conjugal character; that union of every the most amiable fentiment, that fecures to her hufband the esteem and approbation of the wife and good.

THIS excellence of the righteous is not, and indeed cannot poffibly be, always equally manifefted: every fituation is not equally favourable for its being known and honoured. Absence may be without blame, and neceffary: there may, alas! be poverty, and labour, and difeafe: foon death may diffolve the marriage union. There is a more affecting explanation ftill of the worth of conjugal excellence not appearing: you know, I mean defect of worthy qualities: the follies or the

vices of the partner for life. But he who is at the head of a large family, and is in an eminent ftation, for a long courfe of years, has many opportunities of difplaying the united virtues and graces that become and adorn the conjugal character, in happily paffing through life with the wife whom he justly loves and honours, efteeming and feeling her happiness his own. The memory of fuch a husband is bleft, this righteous man fhall be had in everlasting remembrance.

THE character and duties of a worthy parent, also claim and secure, a respectful, affectionate, and lafting remembrance. The father of a large family, especially, who is a man of real worth, attracts regard, and commands efteem and praise.

As you mufe on the affection of parents to their children, perhaps you naturally recollect with me a very tender paffage in the book of Genefis. It is part of the admirable hiftory of the patriarch Jofeph, which no man of taste and feeling can perufe without emotion and fympathy. The brother, the aged abfent parent, equally interest us, and affect

affect our hearts. It is Judah's expoftulation with Jofeph, refpecting Benjamin's being brought to Egypt. His argument is this, My aged father's grey hairs will be brought down with forrow to the grave, fhould any mischief befal his youngest son, seeing, says he, "his life is bound up in the life of the "lad." The feelings of parents justify the expreffion. And it is in a large family, more especially, the character of a father is feen to advantage. His house is a theatre in which are naturally exhibited the various amiable appearances, and cares and exertions, and pleasures; and, in them, all the various and varying excellence, of parental affection. A large family, from infancy, to the latest period of a parent's life, occafions in him much searching of heart. The unfolding of their minds, the progrefs of their education, their health and their ails, their attainments and disappointments, their fuccefs and calamities: these, and a thousand other objects of intereft and care, which parents only figure and know, tenderly, yet pleafingly and amiably, affect his mind whom God has bleft with many children. I cannot reckon up, and, if I could, it is unnecefс fary,

fary, the plans and exertions, the fears and fufferings, the hopes and joys of worthy parents, for they rise before you more perfectly than by my attempts to defcribe them. They rife before you, as you figure the variety of the condition and history of a family they rife before you, in a more lively manner ftill, if memory faithfully records many changes, and trials and fufferings, and enjoyments of a large family. Much deferving of praise is the father who is affectionate and dutiful to his children; and, for a length of years, displays the parental character in its various, and amiable, and interesting appearances. Can we doubt that his memory will be preferved and cherished, in the minds of his affectionate and dutiful, and highly favoured family? His memory will be preferved and cherished, by all to whom his hiftory and worth are known.

FROM the Parent, you naturally turn your attention with me, to the Master of a large family, and his juft claims on the respect and approbation of mankind.


THE master of a family, of a large family, especially, and of an extensive establishment, has many duties to perform, has many eyes upon him, has many opportunities of being known, and praised and blamed; according to his difpofitions, and conduct and character, naturally, and fometimes more perfectly unfolded before his domeftics, and more perfectly known by them than by others. The mafter who treats his fervants with neglect and contempt, is, without all queftion, deftitute of worthy and amiable qua-, lities. Humanity and juftice, generosity and gratitude, difpofe and determine heads of families, to be interested in their fervants, and to study and promote their happiness. The attentions and kindneffes of worthy masters, are, alas, too often rendered more endeared and memorable, by the inattention and harshness of those who seem to be wholly forgetful of a fervant's claim to any favour; and to confider him as a mere inftrument of his will; not as a fellow man, whose labours and fidelity entitle him to the dutiful regards of his employer. "A righteous man regardeth the life of his beaft," fays Solomon, and fays univerfal obfervation: he will


C 2


« AnteriorContinuar »