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affair of love, unknown to her parents; you must first use your utmost endeavours to dissuade her from it; and, if she persists, positively and solemnly declare against being a confidant in such a case. Suffer her not to speak to you on the subject, and warn her to forbear acquainting you with any step she may propose to take towards a marriage unsanctified by pa. rental approbation. Teil her, you would think it your duty to apprize her parents of the danger into which she was throwing herself. However unkindly she may take this at the time, she will certajuly es. teem and love you the more for it, whenever she recovers a sense of her duty, or experiences the sac effects of swerving from it...
There is another case, which I should not choose to suppose possible, in addressing myself to so young a person, was it not that too many instances of it have of late been exposed to public animad. version: I mean the case of a married woman, who encourages or tolerates the addresses of a lover, May no such person be ever called a friend of your's ! but, if ever one whom, when innocent, you had loved, skould fall into so fatal an error, I can only say that, after proper remonstrances, you must immediately withdraw froin all intimacy and confidence with her. Nor let the absurd pretence of innocent intentions, in such circumstances, prevail with you to lend your countenance, a moment, to disgraceful conduct. There cannot be innocence, in any degree of indulgence to unlawful passion. The sacred obligations of marriage are very ill un. derstood by the wife, who can think herself innocent, while she parleys with a lover, or with love, and who does not shut her heart and ears against the most distant approaches of either. A virtuous wife, though she should be so unbappy as not to be secured, hy having her strongest affections fixed on her husband will never admit an idea of auy other inan, in the light of a lover; but, if such an idea should unawares intrude into her mind, she would instantly stifle it, before it grew strong enough to give her much uneasiness. Not to the
most intimate friend, --hardly to her own soul, would sbe venture to confess a weakness, she would so sincerely abhor. Whenever, therefore, such infidelity of heart is made a subject of confidence, depend upon it the corruption has spread far, and has been faultily indulged, Enter not into her counsels: Shew her the danger she is in, and then withdraw yourself from it, whilst you are yet uysullied by contagion.
It has been supposed a duty of friendship to lay open every thought and every feeling of the heart to our friend. But I have just mentioned a case in which this is not only unnecessary, but wrong. A disgraceful inclination, which we resolve to con. quer, should be concealed froin every body; and is more easily subdued when denied the indulgence of talking of its object; and, I think, there may be other instances, in which it would be most prudent to keep our thoughts concealed even from our dearest friend. Some things I would communicate to one friend, and not to another wliom, perhaps, I loved better, because I might know that my first friend was not so well qualified as the other to counsel me on that particular subject: a natural bias on her mind, some prevailing opinion, or some connection with persons concerned, might make her an improper confidaut with regard to one particu. lar, though qualified to be so on all other occasions.
sweetest pleasures and greatest advantages. The human heart often stands in need of some kind and faithful partner of its cares, in whom it may repose all its weaknesses, and with whom it is sure of find. ing the tenderest sympathy. Tar be it from me to shut up the heart with cold distrust, and rigid cau. tion, or to adopt the odious maxim, that " we * should live with a friend, as if he were one day “ to become an enemy." But we must not wholly abandon prudence in any sort of connection; since, when every guard is laid aside, our unbounded openness may injure others as well as ourselves. Secrets entrusted to us, inust be sacrediy kept, eren
from our nearest friend; for we have no right to dispose of the secrets of others.
If there is danger in making an improper choice of friends, my dear child, how much more fatal would it be to mistake in a stronger kind of attachinent, in that which leads to an irrevocable engagement for life! yet so much more is the under: standing blinded, when once the fancy is captivated, that it seems a desperate undertaking, to convince a. girl in love that she has mistaken the character of the man she prefers.
If the passions would wait for the decision of judgment, and if a young woman could have the same opportunities of examining into the real character of her lover, as into that of a female candidate for her friendship, the same rules might direct you in the choice of both, for, marriage being the highest state of friendship, the qualities requisite in a friend are still niore important in a husband. But young women know so little of the world, especially of the other sex, and such pains are . usually taken to deceive them, that they are every way unqualified to choose for themselves, upon their own judgment. Magy a heart-ache siall I feel for you, my sweet girl, if I live a few years longer!--Since, not only all your happiness in this world, but your advancement in religion and virtue, or your apostacy from every good principle you have been taught, will probably depend on the companion you fix to for life. Ilappy will it be for you, if you are wise and modest enough to withdraw from temptation, and preserve your heart free and open to receive the just ecoinnendation of your parents: fartier than a recommendation, I dare say, they will never go, in an affair which, though it should be begun by them, ought never to be pro. ceeded in without your free concurrence,
Whatever toniantic notions you may hear or read of, depend upon it, those matches are the happiest which are roade, on rational grouods;-on suitable. bess of character, degree, and fortunc, on mutual csteem, and the prospect of a real and permanent
friendship. Far be it from me to advise you to marry where you do not love ;-a mercenary niarriage is a detestable prostitution: But, on the other hand, an union formed upon mere personal liking, without the requisite foundation of esteem, without the sanction of parental approbation, and, consequently, without the blessing of God, can be productive of nothing but misery and shanie. The passion, to which every consideration of duty and pru. dence is sacrificed, instead of supplying the loss of all other advantages, will soon itself be changed into mutual distrust,-repentance, reproaches, and finally, perhaps, into hatred. The distresses it brings, will be void of every consolation; you will have disgusted the friends who should be your support,-debased yourself in the eyes of the world, and, what is inuch worse, in your own eyes, and even in those of your husband: above all, you will have offended that God, who alone can shield you from calamity.
From an act like this, I trust, your daty and gratitude to your kind parents, the first of duties next to that we owe to God, and inseparably connected with it, will effectually preserve you. But most young people think they have fulfilled their duty, if they refrain from actually marrying against prohibition: They suffer their affections, and even, perhaps, their word of honour, to be engaged, without consulting their parents; yet satisfy themselves with resolving not to marry without their consent: not considering that, beside the wretched, useless, uncomfortable state they plungethemselves into, when they contract an hopeless engagement, they must, likewise, involve a parent in the misé. rable dilemma of either giving a forced consent against his judgment, or of seeing his beloved child pine away her prime of life in fruitless anxiety; seeing her accuse him of tyranny, because he re. strains her from certain ruin;- seeing her affections alienated from her family; and all her thoughts engrossed by one object, to the destruction of her health and spirits, and of all improvements and oc. eupations. What a cruel alternative for parents, whose happiness is bound up with that of their child! The time to consult them is before you have given a lover the least encouragement; nor ought you to listen a moment to the man who would wish you to keep his addresses secret; since he thereby shews himself couscious that they are not fit to be encouraged.
But perhaps I have said enough on this subject at present; though, if ever advice on such a topic can
sion of the heart, and silenced both reason and principle. Fix, therefore, in your mind, as deeply as possible, those rules of duty and prudence, which now seem reasonable to you, that they may be at hand in the hour of trial, and save you from the miseries, in which strong affections, unguided by discretion, involve so many of our sex.
If you love virtue sincerely, you will be incapable of loving an openly vicious character. But alas! your innocent heart may be easily ensnared by an artful one; and from this danger, nothing can secure you but the experience of those to whose guidance God has entrusted you: may you be wise enough to make use of it! So will you have the fairest chance of attaining the best blessings this
with a worthy man, who may direct your steps in safety and honour through this life, and partake with you the rewards of virtue in that whieh is to come. But, if this happy lot should be denied you, do not be afraid of a single life. A worthy woman is never destitute of valuable friends, who, in a great measure, supply to her the want of nearer connections. She can never be slighted or dises. teemed, while her good temper and benevolence render her a blessing to her companions. Nay, she must be honoured by all persons of sense and vir. tue, for preferring the single state to an union unworthy of her. The calamities of au unhanno marriage are so much greater than can befall a single person, that the unmarried woman may find