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Necker wielded an influence, which she ought to have more respected, long before her writings were the admiration of Europe. It is not authors nor queens, the gifted with talent nor with wealth, who determine the spirit and character of the age. It is the many, of whom each individual is an important one.
If through female encouragement and example, the spirit of this age is to be purified of folly, if it is to be elevated and adorned by excellence, women must be sincerely and practically religious. Their regard for religion must not be superficial; their reverence and love for it must appear to be seated in the heart. Let it be known that they are the advocates of a piety which they cherish in their own souls, and that they are opposed, in principle and habit, to every practice inconsistent with the morality of the gospel, and however great a change must be made in the sentiments or usages of the other sex, it will be made.
For when the alternative is amendment or exclusion from their favor, hesitation will not long precede choice. Here is a suitable and noble field for their patriotism. Here they may render better service to the State, than if their votes were given for its rulers, or their voices were heard in its deliberative assemblies. They may send to exercise the prerogatives of freemen and magistrates those, who, never swerving from the line of duty, will fear God and work righteousness.
The situation of woman is very different now, from her condition before Christianity had enlightened the world; very different now in Christian Europe and America, and in Mohammedan or Pagan Asia and Africa. The sex owe a debt of gratitude to the gospel of Jesus Christ, which they can never discharge; and in this circumstance, I find a reason for urging upon them the culture of religious character.
It was Christianity, which raised woman from degradation and servitude, which placed her by the side of man, and taught him to treat her as an equal and a friend. It was Christianity, which revived in her the consciousness of a nature which the blind tyranny of the other sex had doomed to inaction and oblivion. It was Christianity, which opened to her treasures of happiness, from which she had been debarred on earth, and joys celestial, to which she had never dared to lift an eye of hope. It is Christianity, which has made her what she is in every civilized nation on the globe, and may ultimately redeem every one of her sex from an unjust bondage to ignorance and human will.
An Address to a young
YOUR parents have watched over your helpless infancy, and conducted you, with many a pang, to an age at which your mind is capable of manly improvement. Their solicitude still continues, and no trouble nor expense is spared, in giving you all the instructions and accomplishments which may enable you to act your part in life, as a man of polished sense and confirmed virtue.
You have, then, already contracted a great debt of gratitude to them. You can pay it by no other method, but by using properly the advantages which their goodness has afforded you. If your own endeavors are deficient, it is in vain that you have tutors, books, and all the external apparatus of literary pursuits. You must love learning, if you would possess it. In order to love it, you must feel its delights; in order to feel its delights, you must apply to it, however irksome at first, closely, constantly, and for a considerable time.
If you have resolution enough to do this, you cannot but love learning; for the mind always loves that to which it has been so long, steadily, and voluntarily attached. Habits are formed, which render what was at first disagreeable, not only pleasant, but necessary. Pleasant indeed, are all the paths which lead to polite and elegant literature. Yours then is surely a lot particularly happy. Your education is of such a sort, that its principal scope is, to prepare you to receive a refined pleasure during your life.
Elegance, or delicacy of taste, is one of the first objects of classical discipline; and it is this fine quality which opens a new world to the scholar's view. Elegance of taste has a connexion with many virtues, and all of them virtues of the most amiable kind. It tends to render you at once good and agreeable; you must therefore be an enemy to your own enjoyment, if you enter on the discipline which leads to the attainment of a classical and liberal education, with reluctance. Value duly the opportunities you enjoy, and which are denied to thousands of your fellow creatures.
By laying in a store of useful knowledge, adorning your mind with elegant literature, improving and establishing
your conduct by virtuous principles, you cannot fail of being a comfort to those friends who have supported you, of being happy within yourself, and of being well received by mankind. Honor and success in life will probably attend you. Under all circumstances you will have an eternal source of consolation and entertainment, of which no sublunary vicissitude can deprive you.
Time will show how much wiser has been your choice than that of your idle companions, who would gladly have drawn you into their association, or rather into their conspiracy, as it has been called, against good manners, and against all that is honorable and useful. While you appear in society as a respectable and valuable member of it, they will, perhaps, have sacrificed at the shrine of vanity, pride, and extravagance, and false pleasure, their health and their sense, their fortune and their characters.
HIS little rill that, from the springs
To crop the violet on its brim,
And when the days of boyhood came,
Words cannot tell how glad and gay
Years change thee not. Upon yon hill
The same sweet sounds are in my ear, My early childhood loved to hear; As pure thy limpid waters run, As bright they sparkle to the sun; As fresh the herbs that crowd to drink The moisture of thy oozy brink; The violet there, in soft May dew, Comes up, as modest and as blue; As green amid thy current's stress, Floats the scarce-rooted water cress; And the brown ground bird, in thy glen, Still chirps as merrily as then.
Thou changest not-but I am changed, Since first thy pleasant banks I ranged; And the grave stranger, come to see The play-place of his infancy, Has scarce a single trace of him, Who sported once upon thy brim. The visions of my youth are past— Too bright, too beautiful to last.
I've tried the world-it wears no more
A few brief years shall pass away,
And I shall sleep-and on thy side,
Children their early sports shall try,
But thou, unchanged from year to year,
To the Evening Wind.-BRYANT.
SPIRIT that breathest through my lattice, thou That cool'st the twilight of the sultry day, Gratefully flows thy freshness round my brow;