« AnteriorContinuar »
regulate her education, simply because this choic is not within their control, but entirely directed by an overruling Providence.
Look at the lower classes ! When a daughter has received but a very common education-and in many cases even this is deemed unimportant—that is, if she can read, write and cipher, and knows enough of christianity to live virtuously and die happy, she will either remain at home, to assist her mother, if circumstances permit, or labor abroad for her living, and in this way enters upon her calling. She may continue in this sphere during life, remain unmarried, serve for wages, without ever commencing a family of her own. Or perhaps she may be chosen by some young man, whom she marries and to whose happiness she devotes herself with fond obedience. Still she continues in her previous employment, only in a more extended and independent way, in which she is her own mistress. Now what have such persons regard to in the education of their daughters ? Their main object doubtless is that their daughters may become pious, faithful, honest, industrious and skillful; that they may learn to perform the ordinary duties of domestic life so soon as possible, upon which they depend for their subsistence. Not every young lady is fit to be received into a family. Certain qualifications are necessary. Besides many other requisites, she is expected very soon to accommodate herself to the new relations into which she may enter, &c. Wise and prudent parents will therefore educate their child in such a manner as to make her willing and able to labor and be useful in any sphere in which she may be called to move, that she may possess all those qualities which will enable her the more readily to make a choice for the future.
These qualifications, which at present I cannot enumerate and discuss at length, are at the same time calculated to commend the young lady to her future husband. If her attainments will satisfy those whom she serves, they will also satisfy her future husband, unless she lacks those qualities which would render her an agreeable companion to him. That she may possess these, or to express myself more clearly, that she may not happen to meet with a lover of a contrary temperament and disposition, but become acquainted precisely with that young man, who admires every feature of her character, whose heart is tenderly alive to the soft and touching responses of her undivided affections ; I say, all this depends upon the direction of a merciful Providence. To say-I refer to this by the way-that beauty and symmetry of form are all that is necessary to commend a young lady for a suitable companion, is not only contrary to
daily experience, but contrary to the divinely constituted order of our social nature. In short, we may say that a young lady of the lower classes has been well educated, when she is willing to be employed for a useful end, and when she possesses those traits of character which will lead her to be chosen for such an end, and if Providence then so designs, she may become the wife of some worthy young man.
Follow me, my honored friend, to a higher social position. A wealthy mechanic has a daughter, who is diligently sent to school. She learns sewing, drawing, embroidery, and every thing else that is taught there. She is confirmed, leaves the school, and now has the choice between two different spheres of employment. She may either remain at home and assist her mother in her work, or she may devote herself to some other calling among the higher ranks of society. She may enter upon a more refined employment, on account of her superior education. She possesses those rarer and more refined traits of character, which always command the respect, and very often the affections of young men of true worth. In this case her future calling is the same as that of the young lady of an humbler social rank, only with this difference, that her superior education may secure for her an admirer from a higher class of society.
But let us suppose that the daughter of the wealthy mechanic remains at home. She assists her mother out of pure love and filial devotion. What education commenced in the former case, the mother continues to perform here-to cultivate and ennoble her affections and the general features of character, that is, to complete her education. And for what purpose ? Evidently that she may gradually become prepared for the duties which the family imposes, that she may advance in the cultivation and ennobling of all her powers, and finally become prepared for the blissful society of heaven.
But more of this hereafter. At present we will simply speak of actual life in its outward form. This daughter remains at home. If it is the will of Providence, and she possesses those traits of character which combine to make her attractive, she will be led to the altar. She enters upon her duties as a wife, and in a more independent form, continues to labor for and superintend the domestic interests of the family.
But how is it if no one will choose hor as his bride? How will it then fare with those lovely qualities, which invest her with such charming attraction ; those special advantages of rank, wealth, unassumed gracefulness and glowing natural beauty? Is all this inimitable excellence but an unrealshadow, of no farther use either to God or man? Have all parental efforts proven fruitless ? By no means. The daughter will remain with her parents so long as they live. After their death she will either devote herself to the service of others, or secure a living by sewing, drawing, &c., or perhaps she has a fortune at command, and may pursue any temporal employment her pleasure may dictate. The excellencies of her character are a permanent, imperishable fund. Wherever she may live and labor, she possesses and exhibits those charming traits—a necessary treasure, indispensable for her present and eternal salvation. For, a want of these would bring her into unutterable misery.
Let us ascend the scale of social rank still farther. I will select a definite and real example. The daughters of your pastor are very amiable and attractive young ladies. Take for example the oldest one, Augustina, I believe is her name. She lived with her parents from early infancy. She received a great deal of schooling, acquired much useful knowledge, was afterwards confirmed by her father, since then she has remained three years with her parents, until she has reached the age of seventeen. Her education seems to be completed, but in reality is not. The highest and most important end is wanting; an end which is the common central object of all education, upon which, so far as the parents are concerned, depends the perpetuation of all the social relations; nay, more, an end for which God himself educates. This end is entirely wanting in her character and training; it is as far removed from her as the probability or possibility of her dying hour. What is this end ? Alas, she is still in a state of virginity. She has not been married. Can it be possible that the husband is the chief end in view ? She possesses all the lovely attractions which would make her an agreeable companion to a worthy young man of corresponding sympatheis and affections. Can it be possible that notwithstanding all these, Augustina and her parents have still mistaken the true aim and end of education, and that she must remain miserable and unhappy, simply because she remains unmarried ? She might perhaps be unhappy in a temporal point of view, if her mother had not trained her to superintend and have care over the affairs of the family; and if she did not find a source of pleasure and perfection in the very act of cultivating these domestic virtues.
But she can never become spiritually unhappy if she has really acquired the above-named virtues. For her religious nature must also be educated to prepare her for the end which Providence may have in view for her.
Let us adduce but one more example from the independent classes of society. The daughter of a well known Earl has all the mental qualities which fit her for a choice, I mean to be chosen for a wife. But suppose she has no desire to marry, or no one will propose to marry her. She need have no care. She is neither dependant upon a choice or a proposal. She has the means to live independent; she may devote herself to some temporal calling, whatever that may be, and in this way labor to promote the perfection of her nature.
But she has also an immortal nature destined for the life and light of heaven. She is to live for Eternity, rather than for time. And now, my honored friend, what think you is the ultimate end of all this improving and cultivating of the immortal part of her nature ? Surely none other but that the Lord Jesus Christ, the faithful shepherd of the ransomed flock, may on the great day of final reckoning, find her among the redeemed, amid the countless throng of an assembled universe, and assign her a place at his right hand as an heir of heaven. This, too, is an election ; and, next to the grace of God, those virtues in which she excelled, mainly condition and determine this choice.
I have now reached the end of my argument, and trust that you are sufficiently prepared, without much surprise, to receive my views with reference to the aim and end of all true female education. And what think you is that? Woman is destined, the young lady must be educated, for a BRIDE.
THE EVENING STAR.
Lo! in the painted oriel of the West,
BY AMELIA WELBY.
Like flowers that softly bloom together,
Upoo one fair and fragile stem, Miugling their sweets in supay weather,
Ere biraoge, rude baads bave parted them, So were we lipked unto each other,
Sweet sisters, in our childish hours,
To us was like the stem to flowers.
In one bright cbaia together bere,
And we were severed far and pear.
Must cast its blossoms to the wind, Yet round the buds, though widely scattered,
The same soft perfume still we find. And thus, although the tie is broken
That linked us round our mother's knee, The memory of the words we've spoken,
When we were cbildren light and free, Will, like the perfume of each blossom,
Live in our hearts where'er we roam,
And dwelt within one happy home.
Sweet sisters, we are not the same,
And all three have a different name; And yet, if sorrow's dimming fingers
Have shadowed o'er ench youthful brow, So much of light around them lingers
I cannot trace those shadows now. Ye both have those who love ye only,
Whose dearest hopes are round ye thrown, While like a stream that wanders lonely,
Am I, the youngest, wildest one.
Sweets sceats upon its unseen wing-
Yet stealeth sweets from every thing. It bath rich thoughts forever leaping
Up, like the waves of flashing seas, That with their musio still are keeping
Soft time with every fitful breeze. Euch leat that in the bright air quivers,
The souods from hidden solitudes, And the deep flow of far off rivers, And the loud rush of many
floods. All these, and more, stir in my bosom
Feelings that make my spirit glad Like dew drops sbaken in a blossom ;
And yet there is a something sad.