Pp.45-46 This model of subjection unreserved subordination, and reverential deference, is a woman in the ties of wedlock to make her exemplar - if she would be found in that relation such as God approves. Let her be frugal, industrious, cleanly, and chaste; she is to have the praise of all these good qualities; but let her remember, that if withal she is self-willed and refractory, she is destitute of that virtue in which the holy Scriptures seem to have concentrated all the good qualities of a wife. Much as she may triumph in the contemplation of her superiority over the idle and extravagant with whom she compares herself, she resists the order of God; and she resembles not the church, but the world. She acts as if she were determined to go as far as possible from the pattern which God has set before her, and had chosen one that is the very reverse of the church.
P. 6 Perhaps one of the most indispensable and endearing qualifications of feminine character is an amiable temper. Cold and callous must be the man who does not treasure the meek and gentle spirit of a confiding woman. Her lips may not be sculptured in the lines of beauty, her eye may not roll in dazzling splendor; but if the native smile be ever ready to welcome, and the glances are fraught with clinging devotion or shrinking sensibility, such must be held as far above "gold and rubies." a few moments of enduring silence would often prevent years of discord and unhappiness, but the keen retort and waspish argument too often break the chain of affection, link by link, and leave the heart with no tie to hold but a stern and frigid duty.
It is almost impossible to pay too much attention to these things. Nor should that aid and assistance which a faithful and considerate wife may render to her husband in his business be disregarded. A woman may be of great assistance to her husband in business, by wearing a cheerful smile continually upon her countenance. A man's perplexities are increased a hundred fold, when his better half moves about with a continual scowl upon her brow. A pleasant cheerful wife is a rainbow set in the sky, when her husband's mind is tossed with storms and tempests; but a dissatisfied and fretful wife, in the hour of trouble, is like one of those fiends who delight to torture lost spirits.
Pp. 15-16 I have said, that the influence which each has had upon the character of the other, previous to, frequently passes away after marriage. It will do so if it has not been the result of changed principles, and is not continued by the same efforts by which it was obtained. The assiduity to please, which was then rendered delightful, and was sufficiently compensated by affecting its object, must still be persevered in; the same endeavours must not now be relaxed; then, your happiness might depend upon your success; now it does depend upon it. Let it therefore never be forgotten, that during the whole life, beauty must suffer no diminution by inelegance, but every charm must contribute to keep the heart which it contributed to win; whatever would have been concealed, as a defect, from the lover, must with still greater diligence be concealed from the husband. The most intimate and tender familiarity cannot surely be supposed to exclude decorum; and there is a delicacy in every mind which is disgusted at the breach of it, though every mind is not sufficiently attentive to avoid giving an offence which it has often received. One of the most bitter and repulsive thoughts that can rankle in a husband's bosom, is, that his wife should only have deemed it necessary to charm his eye until she had obtained his hand; and that through the whole of his after-life, he must look vain for the exercise of that kind consideration in consulting his tastes and wishes, that used to lend so sweet a charm to the season of youthful intercourse.
P. 35 I have said much respecting the personal and family duties of a wife, and of the influence their due performance will confer. I have, however, hitherto restricted my observations to the influence she may have upon the disposition, temper, the domestic and commercial concerns of her husband. If she is a superior-minded and well-educated woman, she may raise the intellectual character of her husband; - even statesmen have owed some of their finest bursts of eloquence - their most lucid reasonings, to the influence of a superior wife. The honors of the bar, the senate, and even of the battlefield, have been won under the inspiring influence of woman! She may, however, have still higher aims; she may be the means of bringing her husband to the knowledge of the gospel, or an instrument in upholding his faith. She may by her wisdom, her example, her influence, not only happily pass with him her pilgrimage on earth, but die with a "full and certain hope" of enjoying with him a glorious eternity.
Pp. 98-99 Under this head I will just add, that since by modesty the weaker govern the stronger, it is of immense importance that woman should know the true secret of maintaining her power; and also by what means she is likely to jeopardize that power. And without undertaking to determine what means she is likely to jeopardize that power. And without undertaking to determine what shall be the precise rules of female action, and the precise limits of the sphere within which the Author of her nature designed she should move, is it not worth serious inquiry, whether she does not, as a general fact, lose influence the moment she departs widely from the province which God in nature seems to have allotted her; when, like a Woolstoncroft, or a Wright, or others still of less painful notoriety, she mounts the rostrum, and becomes the centre of gaping, perhaps admiring thousands of the other sex, as well as her own. So did not the excellent women of Galilee, eighteen hundred years ago; although they were engaged, heart and hand, in a cause than which none could be more glorious, or afford a greater triumph, especially to their own sex. They probably knew too well their power to endanger it thus in the general scale; or if not, they probably yielded to the impulses of a spirit which could direct them in a path more congenial to their own nature, as well as on the whole more conducive to their own emancipation, elevation and perfection.
P 14 If in the character of such a husband some shades arise (and be assured in every one some will appear,) it is a wife's hand that must throw over them the graceful veil of concealment, nor may she suffer any one with impunity to raise it.
Her bosom must be the sacred repository of his little imperfections, nor must the slightest breath whisper them to another.
Thus have I pointed out to you the pleasing duties of a wife, delightful
in the performance, and sweet in their recollection. But I must now, though
with a trembling hand, reverse the picture; for, alas! it is the lot of
many of our sex to have also its painful ones to fulfill. Oh! may this severest
of trials never be your's. It is one of so strong a nature, that the heart
of tenderness and sensibility would break under it, were it not for the
consoling voice of religion, whose ready hand mercifully presents the healing
balsam for every wound.
pg 15-16 Your children, those pledges of peace and happiness, may be robbed of the affections of a father, whilst their innocent endearments, once the sweet sources of both to him, converted by his dereliction from the paths of domestic virtue, into the scorpion stings of self-reproach, are avoided like the touch of contagion. Frequent and lengthened absences adding to our anxieties, as well as his neglects, may steal the rose of health from your cheek; and the flower of happiness thus blighted, owns "no second spring;" but oh! recollect, I ardently entreat, nay, CONJURE you, that in this awful trial you are exercised in those great and Christian virtues, forbearance and fortitude. Seek not to recall the wanderer by even a look of reproof; let him see the smile of uncomplaining resignation on your brow, although that of happiness can no longer be traced there; but above all things, let him see you still watchful in the performance of every duty as a Wife, and doubly solicitous for his interest, his welfare, and his honour, although he may himself cruelly desert these sacred posts.
Such a mode of conduct, however painful in its adoption, may perhaps recall the wanderer to your bosom, from which one upbraiding word might estrange him for ever. Your very virtues and forbearance will be a keener reproof, a more powerful language, than the most gifted eloquence could utter; and thus gently, thus tenderly led back to the path of domestic peace, he may return never to wander from it more.
If, alas! on the contrary, your best and gentlest efforts fail to recall him to the forsaken road, and forfeiting at once the dignity and the character of his sex, he throws you upon a cold unfeeling world, in the most desolate, the most agonizing of situations, that of a deserted wife, then daily, nay, hourly implore of him by whom often-
"In love directed, and in mercy meant,
Are trials suffer'd, and afflictions sent,"
to assist you with the powerful aids of religion and virtue in this most awful trial. Recollect, if self-reproach be not added to it, terrible as it may appear, it might have been made infinitely more severe. Never suppose, for a moment, that a husband's neglect of his duties, however flagrant and complex, absolves a wife from the performance of her's; nor assume the fatal language, or more fatal ideas, of retaliation.
pg.32 The first lesson I should recommend to you for self-instruction,
is that of bearing disappointments cheerfully. Like the cherished plant
of the green-house, you have hitherto by parental tenderness been sheltered
so carefully, that not one of its storms has been suffered to reach you;
but like that, when removed from its protection, and exposed to a different
atmosphere, expect not to escape them altogether. Disappointments of that
nature, which the poet so elegantly gave as a test of his Serena's triumph,
are too trifling to be considered by a well-regulated mind, but as the little
vexations of the moment; yet may be made most useful, by looking upon them
as preparatory to those greater ones, which may be given to our lot in life,
as well as to another's.
104-105 A low voice and soft address are the common indications of a wellbred woman, and should seem to be the natural effects of a meek and quiet spirit; but they are only the outward and visible signs of it; for they are no more meekness itself, than a red coat is courage, or a black one devotion.
Yet nothing is more common than to mistake the sign for the thing itself;
nor is any practice more frequent than that of endeavouring to acquire the
exterior mark, without once thinking to labour after the interior grace.
Surely this is beginning at the wrong end, like attacking the symptom and
neglecting the disease. To regulate the features while the soul is in tumults,
or to command the voice while the passions are without restraint, is as
idle as throwing odours into a stream when the source is polluted.
pg.108 Meekness, like most other virtues, has certain limits, which it no sooner exceeds than it becomes criminal. Servility of spirit is not gentleness, but weakness; and if allowed, under the specious appearances it sometimes puts on, will lead to the most dangerous compliances. She who hears innocence maligned without vindicating it, falsehood asserted without contradicting it, or religion profaned without resenting it, is not gentle, but wicked.
pg 109 Meekness is imperfect, if it be not both active and passive; if it will not enable us to subdue our own passions and resentments, as well as qualify us to hear patiently the passions and resentments of others.
pg 216 It is said that "lovers quarrels" are but the renewal of love; but it is not so in truth. Continued differences and bickerings will undermine the strongest affection, and a wife cannot be too careful to avoid disputes upon the most trivial subjects; indeed it is the every-day occurrences which try the love and tempers in the married life - great occasions for quarrels can seldom occur. Every wish, every prejudice must meet with attention, and the first thought of a woman should be the pleasing and providing for her husband. It is impossible to enumerate all the little incidents which frequently annoy married men, or the little unobtrusive pleasures which it is in the power of a wife to give; but throughout her life, in her employments and in her amusements, she must ever bear his pleasure in her mind. She must act for him, in preference to herself, and she will be amply rewarded by witnessing his delight in her and in his home. To a woman who loves her husband with all the devotedness of her nature, this will be a pleasure, not a task; and to make him happy, she will never grudge or feel any sacrifice of self.
But no state will insure perfect happiness; the most amiable and the most deserving may suffer. God is all-powerful and all-wise, and he chooses various ways to try our love for Him, and our faith in his promises of eternal life - He is all-merciful, and never taxes us beyond our strength - He is beneficent, and chastiseth those whom he loves. The greater our trials, the greater will be our reward if we come our to them with honour.
The greatest misery a woman can experience, is the changed heart and alienated affection of her husband; but even in that painful case she must not relax in the performance of her duties; she must not upbraid, she must bear with fortitude and patience her great disappointment; she must return good for evil to the utmost, and her consolation will be the consciousness that her trials have not their rise of or continuance in any dereliction of affection or duty on her part.
Some women, in order to win back a husband's wandering love, have recourse to the attempt to arouse his jealousy; but they are much mistaken in pursuing such a method. A man, however debased may be his conduct never entirely forgets the love he once bore to the bride of his youth: there are moments when feelings of tenderness for her will return with force to his heart; and to reap the benefit of such moments the injured but forgiving wife must still be enshrined in the purity of former times. A husband will excuse his fault to himself, and in some measure also stand exonerated to the world, if his wife relax in the propriety of her conduct; while on the contrary, the gentle forbearance, the uncomplaining patience, and unobtrusive rectitude of the woman he injures, will deeply strike his heart, and do much to win him back to his former love, and to the observance of the vows he breathed at the altar, when his heart was devoted to the being from whom it has wandered. A kind look, an affectionate expression half-uttered, must bring his wife to his side, and she must with smiles and tenderness encourage the returning affection , carefully avoiding all reference to her sufferings, or the cause of them.
pg 275-277 Jealousy is, on several accounts, more inexcusable in a woman than in a man. There is not any thing that so much exposes her to ridicule, or so much subjects her to the insult of affrontive addresses; it is an inlet to almost every possible evil - the fatal source of innumerable indiscretions, the sure destruction of her own peace, and is frequently the bane of her husband's affections. When once embarked in the matrimonial voyage, the fewer faults you discover in your partner the better: never search after what it will give you no pleasure to find; never desire to hear what you will not like to be told: therefore, avoid that tribe of impertinents who sow dissension wherever they gain admission by insinuating invented falsehood; or, by telling unwelcome truths, injure innocent people, disturb domestic union, and destroy the peace of families.
Should the companion of your life be guilty of some secret indiscretions, run not the hazard of being told, by these malicious meddlers, what it is better for you never to know. But if some accident betrays an imprudent correspondence, take it for a mark of esteem that he endeavours to conceal from you what he know you must upon a principle of reason and religion, disapprove. Do not, by discovering your acquaintance with it, take off the restraint which you supposed ignorance lays him under, and thereby give a latitude to undisguised irregularity. Be assured, whatever accidental sallies the gaiety of inconsiderate youth may lead him into, you can never be indifferent to him whilst he is careful to preserve your peace of mind by concealing what he believes might be an infringement of it. Rest satisfied, therefore; that time and reason will get the better of all faults which proceed not from a bad heart; and that by maintaining the first place in his esteem, your happiness will be built on too firm a foundation to be easily shaken.
Happy Christian Wife
pg 76"One general rule may her be laid down, which is-"Do everything for your husband which your strength and a due regard to your health will admit." I will not say that it were not wise, sometimes, to go even beyond your strength- to deny yourself-and even to make a self-sacrifice. But I do insist on your going to the borders, at least, of self-denial and self sacrifice.
"Such advice at first view, may seem t be unreasonable. It may be said that I would make woman a slave. No such thing: I would make her a Christian - and a happy one. I would give her that freedom to which Christianity, with its high hopes and promises, bids her to aspire.
"She will not long be compelled to be a menial to her husband. He must be a brute, and worse than a brute, whom such a course of active devoted service will not arouse to corresponding action. I am not ignorant of the fact that, in some instances the more we do for others, the more they will allow us to do for them; and that what is at first considered on all hands as gratuitous on our part, they will ere long, if continued, claim as their due."
"But it is seldom thus in the matrimonial relation Few who bear the shape, and none who have the souls of men, will permit a wife to continue long to do everything in the way I have mentioned. they will yield, and be led gradually to imbibe the same spirit. When this is done - when the husband an d wife both strive to do everything in their power for each other - then will the have attained a high degree of felicity. Then, too, will they have secured, most effectually, the power to rise still higher, and to love each other more and more ardently."
pg 81-82 "The individual who gives herself up to he use of improper or unchaste language, or even to the endurance of it unchecked, is giving up at the same time the out-posts of all human virtue. The evil of being immodest, or unchaste, or indelicate, is great enough in itself considered. but this is not all. The vices are all associated; and they who have been introduced to either, or especially to all of these, are likely soon to become acquainted with others, and perhaps the whole brotherhood of them. Let us therefore beware of an improper or indelicate word or look, or even thought. Let us set a guard over the thoughts; for it is out of the abundance of these that not only the mouth speaks, but the hands act. Especially is it incumbent on the wife to do this.
"Every young wife may have a delicate and modest husband. But in order to this, he must first have a wife of true modesty and delicacy. She may not indeed transform him in a day, or a week; but her ultimate success, if she persevere, is certain. No husband who has the least claim to the name, can always withstand it. I know there are many husbands who are somewhat brutish; but I know, too that there are many wives who are wanting in true delicacy of thought and feeling, and sometimes of language.
"She is not truly delicate who uses, or endures patiently the use in others, of those coarse, vulgar words with which the conversation of many persons is continually interlarded; such as - "My stars!" "My soul!" "By George!" "Good heavens!" &c. Such expressions, besides being indelicate, savor not a little of profanity. They are exceedingly unbecoming in all, but especially in females."
pg.373 Perhaps your husband is in danger of intemperance, or you fear he is. HE stops occasionally at doubtful places, or falls in occasionally with doubtful company. Will you therefore rate or scold him? Can you do more than to make home as agreeable as possible, and allure him to it by your cheerful, sprightly conversation, your love of study and your fondness for his society in preference to that of all others?
I have said enough elsewhere of the importance of making your husband's home a happy one - a scene of the purest pleasure and the most exalted improvement. If this point is not gained, remember that nothing is gained. All else goes for nothing, while home is not pleasant, and while one regards it as but doing penance to be there.
In short, unless you love your husband as your ought, and have caught the spirit of improvement, you will never succeed in finding anything worthy the name of happiness below the sun. But with this love and this spirit, and a good fund of plain common sense you will not, you cannot fail to be happy. With this, all external circumstances will be pleasant - at least comparatively so. Life will be such as will be likely to secure life's great end; and death will be but the door to a better and more enduring state of happiness.
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