Page images

circumstances, what an endless source of profitable and dignified employment may he derive from reading and meditation. But for this he must have fitted himself in earlier life; he must have laid the foundation in youth, or at least in manhood. He who would either preserve the dignity, or alleviate the unavoidable infirmities of age, he must be sober, temperate, and grave. Of such a character we have an example in the aged Barzillai, who, in return for the favour he had formerly done unto David, and for his steady loyalty, was invited by that king to accompany and partake of all the favours and the festivities of the court. How dignified was his reply, and how consistent with his age! With what reverence it appears to have impressed the king, who kissed him, and blessed him. He, instead of aping the follies of youth, or desiring the splendour and gaieties of the palace, he remembers that he is now fourscore years old; he respectfully reminds the king, that his infirmities will not suit the pleasures which are offered, and desires only to spend the remainder of his days in tranquillity and repose, looking for the day in which he may be allowed to “die in his own city, and be buried by the grave of his father and his mother.”

The aged man is to be exhorted to be sound in faith, charity, and patience. Of these the two latter will tend greatly to smooth the passage of his declining age. Charity will subdue all those unholy and troublesome dispositions, which both cause us to injure others, and at the same time to destroy our own repose.

Patience will enable him to wait all the days of his appointed time, in humble submission to the divine wisdom, and to bear the infirmities and afflictions, inseparable from his state, with resignation, calmness, and dignity. His faith will furnish him with materials for high and holy meditations; will show him the ways of his God; the mercies and the merits of his Redeemer. It will wean him from all attachment to this world; it will cause him to set his affections upon those things, which alone can dignify and support the aged, which truly render the hoary head a crown of glory. It will enable him to approach the grave with Christian hope, and Christian joy; instead of clinging with a vain and degrading attachment to the things of this life, he will be anxious only for the next. He will to the last persevere in welldoing, longing for the time of his departure; when, full of faith and hope, meditating upon the goodness and the truth of God; well grounded in the knowledge, and intent upon the promises, of His Word, he may, like the aged Simeon, exclaim, “ Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace according to thy word; for mine eyes have seen thy salvation."

[ocr errors]




() God, forasmuch as without thee we are not able to please thee; Mercifully grant, that thy Holy Spirit may in all things direct and rule our hearts, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

1 Pet. jii. 5.



ST. PETER, in this chapter, alludes to the important effects which females, when directed by discretion, and furnished with scriptural knowledge and principles, may produce upon society. He speaks first of the influence they may have over those who

1 This Sermon, with the exception of the text, and a few introductory and concluding remarks, is Bishop Horne's. My reasons for changing the text and introduction are, that the Bishop's text had not a sufficiently direct reference to female character; and his introduction relates to a charity, which was the occasion of the delivery of the Sermon, and not applicable to a general view of the subject.-I. E. N. M.

[merged small][ocr errors]

obey not the word,” in winning them over to the way of life, and to obedience to the yoke of the Gospel. And he then directs their attention to the beauty and grace of the female character, when properly formed; teaching them, that it sheds around them attractions, with which no personal charms, or ornaments, can vie; and which are not only engaging to man, but precious in the sight of God. He exhorts them not to let their adorning be “that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel ; but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves."

Nor can we fail to see that the Apostle has made no more than a just estimate of the importance of forming the female character, and recommended to them such knowledge as will enable them to have their full influence on society, and to give the largest range to that usefulness, which they are fitted by their Creator to confer upon both families and the community. The following remarks upon this subject, by Bishop Horne, may be serviceable in directing the efforts of those who can promote female education, and especially of females them

[blocks in formation]

selves, to some points, in which their usefulness may be extended, by the assistance and counsels of the former, and by the study, diligence, and zeal of the latter. The Bishop divides his subject into two general heads: the first treats of the importance of forming female character by education; and, in the second, he proceeds to exhibit a picture of that character when so formed.

“ I. No pains or expense are spared in teaching man knowledge. Not so, in teaching it to woman. But why? Are women incapable of it? By no means. There have been instances to the contrary in every age: there are many shining ones in the present. They are what they are by education. If ignorant, it is through want of instruction, not of capacity.

“ It may, perhaps, be said, that they are of that sex usually styled and allowed to be the weaker sex. So much the more necessity is there, then, for their being strengthened and fortified by sound precepts well inculcated, and good examples set before them.

“ But do not women that are become learned, make themselves ridiculous? Perhaps they may sometimes, for want of being taught the most useful part of learning, which is discretion. But though some do this, others do it not. They know how to manage their learning, when they have got it; and possess it, as if they possessed it not.

« PreviousContinue »