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SELECTIONS.

ON THE EXTENT

OP

FEMALE INFLUENCE,

AND TIIE IMPORTANCE OF EXERTING IT IN

FAVOUR OF CHRISTIANITY.

The influence of women in the community of mankind cannot be made a question. They are one half of the rational world, and are endued by the Creator with moral and intellectual qualities in common with men; their relative weight must therefore be felt in every civilized country. What is the extent of this influence—and what are its appropriate objects, are questions well worth our most serious consideration.

The delicate texture of the female frame, so inferior in size and strength to that of man, is a plain indication that Providence has not allotted to both the same theatre of action. Her inferiority in this particular has, from the beginning of time, very naturally assigned to her the em. ployments of social and domestic life, and these employments, again, have especially prepared her for the discharge of all those interesting duties which flow from their various

relations. The education of man, and his intercourse with the world—almost from his childhood—are calculated to fit him for the tumult of public life, and to give that direction to his taste. He goes forth boldly to meet the storm—but woman must endure it, in the sanctuary of her home. He may seek “the bubble, reputation"-he may pursue wealth and honours. Display and notoriety are dishonourable to her; she must use her talent in the modest shade of retirement, and be content with the approval of her own conscience, and the reaction upon herself of the blessings she dispenses. Nor is she exempted from her full share of trials. Her cares and her labours require an exertion, both mental and bodily, often more than pro. portionate to her strength.

There was a time when all scholarship beyond reading, writing, and a very small portion of arithmetic, was denied to women; and it must be ascribed to the excellence of their natures, and to their domestic education, that without the benefits of scholastic knowledge, they were good wives, good mothers, and good housekeepers. That their usefulness in these primary duties may be increased, and their influence extended beyond the sphere of domestic life, cannot be denied.

It is not the error of this liberal age to keep women in ignorance. The temple of science has opened wide her doors, and invited them to enter, and explore all her mysteries. Nor are they circumscribed, as formerly, in their circuit of action. They are now allowed the honour of participating with men, in schemes for the moral improvement of the human race. How far they may indulge in

such pursuits, in consistency with their peculiar duties, and what kind and degree of knowledge is essential to their efficiency, both in this, and in their private station, are all-important inquiries.

As our thoughts are not directed to females in all the relations they sustain, but to the claims of society upon their influence, we pass at once to those where this talent can be exerted for the common good. The character of a young woman can hardly be said to be formed and cer. tainly it is little known, until she marries. She is first seen, in the capacity of a wife. She is then first put to the test. Virtues and defects, not previously supposed to exist, are then called into action. Tenderness is the nature of a female. In the most endearing associations of life she passes that period of her days when impressions are most readily received, and most tenaciously remembered, and thus her propensity to kindness is strengthened and confirmed. This feeling alone, inclines her to great devotion to the husband of her choice. She knows no pleasure equal to the pleasure of pleasing him. Self is forgottenhis comfort-his convenience, is the object of her cares and her labours; and she is willing to spend and be spent in his service. We shall not contend that all women have these amiable dispositions; we know that the perverse and the selfish are to be found among them; but we think that their domestic education, acting upon the softness of their natures, has a powerful tendency to produce these affections, and we do verily believe, that a very large majority of women are entitled to this praise. This yielding disposition is often the bane of her peace. Man," the lord

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