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she ever dare to hope again, were there not One above, who has called himself the widow's God?
For a while she is utterly overwhelmed. The world is shrouded in a universal pall. It no longer seems to contain any thing worth living for. She is awakened at last from the stupor of grief by the reflection that this world, if it can be no longer enjoyed, must still be endured. She is still further roused by the fact that she must not only suffer, but act. She finds a melancholy refuge in the thought, that if she can no longer live for herself, she can and must live for her children. Renouncing then, all those wide and boundless expectations of happiness, in which the imagination loves to revel, she contracts her hopes to the successful care of the fatherless. In this hope and employment she finds tranquillity and a measure of enjoyment. Her character and talents are drawn upon for their last resources, and it is surprising how often they are found equal to the emergency. Women brought up in tenderness and luxury, without the knowledge or the tact for business, are found, when compelled by necessity to make exertions, to manage their affairs
with skill and ability. If there be in them any materials of character they are now brought out and consolidated. The stern realities of life put to flight its phantasies and its follies, and impart to it that measure of wisdom and strength which it is capable of receiving
Her children, if any she have, are at first the source of indescribable anxiety. She is tempted by the difficulties of her situation, and the dark-boding fancies of future ill which gather into her anticipations of coming years, to wish that she had never been a mother. But Providence knew better what was for her good. Those children, which are now the objects of so much solicitude, become to her the greatest blessings. They are the only tie which connects her with the world. God is the God of the fatherless as well as of the widow. The more straitened their circumstances the more propitious to the formation of character. The necessity of early exertion and self-dependence is the best possible discipline to character and talent. Indeed there is nothing else which can give the mind a perfect training to all excellence. Nothing but this can form the
habits to that industry, frugality, sobriety and perseverance, which are the only sure foundation for permanent prosperity. In short such a beginning of life trains up just such men as the world wants, as it will employ and reward. And thus it is that the world is in perpetual revolution. While the sons of the wealthy by idleness, or folly, or want of business talent, dissipate their hereditary estates, and fall from the high places of society, the sons of the widow find their way into the places of business, the stations of honor, the offices of trust and power. And the widow who sent her children forth into the world from the abode of poverty, often passes the evening of her days with them in affluence and splendor.
Such is the lot of woman, a mingled scene of joys and sorrows, smiles and tears. It might fill the heart with an infinite sadness, were it not that it is a slight exaggeration only of the common lot of humanity, and were we not assured that woman's peculiar constitution exactly fits her for her sphere. In her deeper affections, in her more lively imagination, in her profounder trustfulness she finds a compensation for all. And when to human eye the blackest night has settled about her, the star of religious faith rises to dissipate the gloom. It sheds upon her path its calm, benignant beam, till the morning breaks which ushers in eternal day.
ON THE EDUCATION OF WOMAN.
Having taken a general view of the sphere and duties of woman, we are the better prepared to decide what is that training which will best fit her for them. That is the question which we propose in the present lecture to discuss, how is woman to be educated to be useful, agreeable, and happy? It is a question of transcendent importance, for a new generation is continually coming forward, and receiving that culture, which will make them the ornaments of society, the delight of the domestic circle, the innocent and happy participants of the pleasures of this life, or useless cumberers of the ground, unhappy in themselves, and the cause of misery to others. A great change has undoubtedly taken place in public sentiment upon this subject within the last half century.