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exertion in consequence of that vanity, which often leaves the lively ignorant, and the witty superficial. A girl who overhears her mother tell the company that she is a genius, and is so quick that she never thinks of applying to her task till a few minutes before she is to be called to repeat it, will acquire such a confidence in her own abilities, that she will be advancing in conceit, as she is falling short in knowledge. Whereas, if she were made to suspect that her want of application rather indicated a deficiency than a superiority in her understanding, she would become industrious in proportion as she became modest; and by thus adding the diligence of the humble to the talents of the ingenious, she might really attain a degree of excellence which mere quickness of parts, too lazy because too proud to apply, seldom attains.

There is a custom among teachers, which is not the more right for being common; they are apt to bestow an undue proportion of pains on children of the best capacity, as if only geniuses were worthy of attention. They should reflect that in moderate talents, carefully cultivated, we are, perhaps, to look for the chief happiness and virtue of society. If superlative genius had been generally necessary, its existence would not have been so rare; for Omnipotence could easily have made those talents common which we now consider as extraordinary, had they been necessary to the perfection of his plan. Besides, while we are conscientiously instructing children of moderate capacity, it is a comfort to reflect that, if no labor will raise them to a high degree in the scale of intellectual distinction, yet they may be led on to perfection in that road in which “a wayfaring man, though simple, shall not err." And when a mother feels disposed to repine that her family is not likely to exhibit a group of future wits and growing beauties, let her console herself by looking abroad into the world, where she will quickly perceive that the monopoly of happiness is not engrossed by beauty, nor that of virtue by genius.


There is a certain precocity of mind which is much helped on by these superficial modes of instruction; for frivolous reading will produce its correspondent effect in much less time than books of solid instruction; the imagination being liable to be worked upon, and the feelings to be set a going much faster than the understanding can be opened and the judgment enlightened. A talent for conversation should be the result of instruction, not its precursor; it is a golden fruit when suffered to ripen gradually on the tree of knowledge; but, if forced in the hotbed of a circulating library, it will turn out worthless and vapid in proportion as it was artificial and premature. Girls who have been accustomed to devour a multi.

tude of frivolous books, will converse and write with a far greater appearance of skill, as to style and sentiment, at twelve or fourteen years old, than those of a more advanced age, who are under the discipline of severer studies; but the former, having early attained to that low standard which had been held out to them, become stationary; while the latter, quietly progressive, are passing through just gradations to a higher strain of mind; and those who early begin with talking and writing like women, commonly end with thinking and acting like children.


The religious reader of general history will observe the controlling hand of Providence in the direction of events; in turning the most unworthy actions and instruments to the accomplishment of his own purposes. She will mark Infinite Wisdom directing what appear to be casual occurrences to the completion of his own plan. She will point out how causes seemingly the most unconnected, events seemingly the most unpromising, circumstances seemingly the most incongruous, are all working together for some final good. She will mark how national as well as individual crimes are often overruled to some hidden purpose far different from the intention of the actors; how Omnipotence can, and often does bring about the best purposes by the worst instruments; how the bloody and unjust conqueror is but "the rod of his wrath," to punish or to purify his offending children; how "the fury of the oppressor," and the sufferings of the oppressed, will one day, when the whole scheme shall be unfolded, vindicate His righteous dealings. She will explain to the less enlightened reader how Infinite Wisdom often mocks the insignificance of human greatness, and the shallowness of human ability, by setting aside instruments the most powerful and promising, while He works by agents comparatively contemptible. But she will carefully guard this doctrine of Divine Providence, thus working out his own purposes through the sins of his creatures, and by the instrumentality of the wicked, by calling to mind, while the offender is but a tool in the hands of the great Artificer, "the woe denounced against him by whom the offence cometh!" She will explain how those mutations and revolutions in states which appear to us so unaccountable, and how those operations of Providence which seem to us so entangled and complicated, all move harmoniously and in perfect order: that there is not an event but has its commission; not a misfortune which breaks its allotted rank; not a trial which moves out of its appointed track. While calamities and crimes seem to fly in casual confusion, all is commanded or permitted; all is under the control of a wisdom which cannot err, of a goodness which cannot do wrong.

To explain my meaning by a few instances. When the spirit of the youthful reader rises in honest indignation at that hypocritical piety which divorced an unoffending queen to make way for the lawful crime of our eighth Henry's marriage with Anne Boleyn; and when that indignation is increased by the more open profligacy which brought about the execution of the latter; the instructor will not lose so fair an occasion for unfolding how, in the councils of the Most High, the crimes of the king were overruled to the happiness of the country; and how, to this inauspicious marriage, from which the heroic Elizabeth sprang, the Protestant religion owed its firm stability. This view of the subject will lead the reader to justify the providence of God, without diminishing her abhorrence of the vices of the tyrant.

She will explain to her how even the conquest of ambition, after having deluged a land with blood, involved the perpetrator in guilt, and the innocent victim in ruin, may yet be made the instrument of opening to future generations the way to commerce, to civilization, to Christianity. She may remind her, as they are following Cæsar in his invasion of Britain, that, whereas the conqueror fancied he was only gratifying his own inordinate ambition, extending the flight of the Roman eagle, immortalizing his own name, and proving that "this world was made for Cæsar;" he was in reality becoming the effectual, though unconscious instrument of leading a land of barbarians to civilization and to science; and was, in fact, preparing an island of pagans to embrace the religion of Christ. She will inform her that, when afterwards the victorious country of the same Cæsar had made Judea a Roman province, and the Jews had become its tributaries, the Romans did not know, nor did the indignant Jews suspect, that this circumstance was operating to the confirmation of an event the most important the world ever witnessed.

For, when "Augustus sent forth a decree that all the world should be taxed," he vainly thought he was only enlarging his own imperial power, whereas he was acting in unconscious subservience to the decree of a higher Sovereign, and was helping to ascertain, by a public act, the exact period of Christ's birth, and furnishing a record of his extraction from that family from which it was predicted by a long line of prophets that he should spring. Herod's atrocious murder of the innocents has added an additional circumstance for the confirmation of our faith; the incredulity of Thomas has strengthened our belief; nay, the treachery of Judas and the injustice of Pilate were the human instruments employed for the salvation of the world.


The chief end to be proposed in cultivating the understandings of women, is to qualify them for the practical purposes of life. Their knowledge is not often, like the learning of men, to be reproduced in some literary composition, and never in any learned profession; but it is to come out in conduct: it is to be exhibited in life and manners. A lady studies, not that she may qualify herself to become an orator or a pleader; not that she may learn to debate, but to act. She is to read the best books, not so much to enable her to talk of them, as to bring the improvement which they furnish to the rectification of her principles and the formation of her habits. The great uses of study to a woman are to enable her to regulate her own mind, and to be instrumental to the good of others.

To woman, therefore, whatever be her rank, I would recommend a predominance of those more sober studies, which, not having display for their object, may make her wise without vanity, happy without witnesses, and content without panegyrists; the exercise of which may not bring celebrity, but will improve usefulness. She should pursue every kind of study which will teach her to elicit truth; which will lead her to be intent upon realities, will give precision to her ideas, will make an exact mind. She should cultivate every study which, instead of stimulating her sensibility, will chastise it; which will neither create an excessive nor a false refinement; which will give her definite notions; will bring the imagination. under dominion; will lead her to think, to compare, to combine, to methodize; which will confer such a power of discrimination, that her judgment shall learn to reject what is dazzling, if it be not solid; and to prefer, not what is striking, or bright, or new, but what is just. That kind of knowledge which is rather fitted for home consumption than foreign exportation, is peculiarly adapted

to women.1

There have not been wanting ill-judging females, who have affected to establish an unnatural separation between talents and usefulness, instead of bearing in mind that talents are the great appointed instruments of usefulness: who have acted as if knowledge were to confer on woman a kind of fantastic sovereignty, which should exonerate her from the discharge of female duties; whereas, it is only meant the more eminently to qualify her for the performance of them. A woman of real sense will never forget that, while the greater part of her proper duties are such as the most moderately gifted may fulfil with credit-since Providence never makes that

1 May I be allowed to strengthen my own opinion with the authority of Dr. Johnson, that a woman cannot have too much arithmetic? It is a solid, practical acquirement, in which there is much use and little display: it is a quiet, sober kind of knowledge, which she ac quires for herself and her family, and not for the world.-H. M.

to be very difficult which is generally necessary; yet that the most highly endowed are equally bound to fulfil them; and let her remember that the humblest of these offices, performed on Christian principles, are wholesome for the minds even of the most enlightened, as they tend to the casting down of those "high imaginations" which women of genius are too much tempted to indulge.

For instance, ladies whose natural vanity has been aggravated by a false education, may look down on economy as a vulgar attainment, unworthy of the attention of a highly cultivated intellect; but this is the false estimate of a shallow mind. Economy, such as a woman of fortune is called on to practise, is not merely the petty detail of small daily expenses, the shabby curtailments and stinted parsimony of a little mind, operating on little concerns; but it is the exercise of a sound judgment exerted in the comprehensive outline of order, of arrangement, of distribution; of regulations by which alone well-governed societies, great and small, subsist. She who has the best-regulated mind will, other things being equal, have the best-regulated family. As, in the superintendence of the universe, wisdom is seen in its effects; and as, in the visible works of Providence, that which goes on with such beautiful regularity is the result not of chance, but of design; so that management which seems the most easy is commonly the consequence of the best-concerted plan; and a well-concerted plan is seldom the offspring of an ordinary mind. A sound economy is a sound understanding brought into action; it is calculation realized; it is the doctrine of proportion reduced to practice; it is foreseeing consequences, and guarding against them; it is expecting contingencies, and being prepared for them.

The truth is, women who are so puffed up with the conceit of talents as to neglect the plain duties of life, will not frequently be found to be women of the best abilities. And here may the author be allowed the gratification of observing, that those women of real genius and extensive knowledge, whose friendship has conferred honor and happiness on her own life, have been, in general, eminent for economy and the practice of domestic virtues; and have risen superior to the poor affectation of neglecting the duties and despising the knowledge of common life, with which literary women have been frequently, and not always unjustly, accused.


That reader looks to little purpose over the eventful page of his tory, who does not accustom himself to mark therein the finger of the Almighty, governing kings and kingdoms; prolonging or contracting the duration of empires; tracing out beforehand, in the

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