Page images
PDF
EPUB

her return again, neither take they hold of the paths of life. It is said that there is mourning at the last, when the flesh and the body are consumed. Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death.

She destroys herself. Her career of sin is transient, and seems but commenced, when it closes forever. Disease-her own disease-comes sternly, and almost certainly. Beauty and attractiveness rapidly wane away. Meanwhile, the heart is already dead. This world is hung in sackcloth; and the future is darker and more terrible still. Herself wicked, wicked ones surround her. God has withdrawn-heaven is closed-foul spirits are in attendance

and she dies in despair,-welcomed out of this world by her associates in crime-welcomed among the unclean and the lost-kindred beings, for whose companionship she hath prepared herself.

Daughter! come not thou into their secret ;-to their hateful assembly be not thou united!

The Virtuous Woman. She is of great price; of so much value as not to be compared with precious stones, silver and gold, houses and lands, or whatever riches the world can afford. For what is all the world, if she be absent? Or what of all other earthly losses, if she remain ?

Her husband trusts her ; trusts her without misgiving ; trusts her with all his heart. Nor is his confidence betrayed. He trusts her safely. All the affairs of his house are managed with great economy and wisdom, so that he has no need of spoil; no need of invading the rights of others, either for his own support or gratification.

She will do good to her husband, without mixture of evil. Her words are pleasant words as he meets her at the table, in the parlor, or elsewhere. Her deeds are pleasant deeds, and such as conduce to her husband's happiness and welfare; while, by her goodness and prudence, she will give him no pain, and bring him no reproach or injury. Such will be her practice perpetually. The beauty of her conduct and character will gild her husband's years with unclouded sunshine.

She is provident, and prepares whatever may be necessary. Not careful for superfluities, all materials for necessity and comfort are, if possible, in her house ; nor are her own hands idle in all the requisite duties of her family. And there is no reluctance. She suffers no caprice or discouragement to restrain her activity. Her efforts and movements are sprightly, and willing, and cheerful. Her heart accords with her judgment; and she has no clearer perception of what is proper in her house, than she has readiness and delight in her efforts to secure it.

To say of her that she is not idle, is frigid. She is of great industry. “She riseth while it is yet night.” The day commences with the dawn, and it is a day of action-of decided, strong, and welldirected effort. She waits not for her duties to be suggested by another ;-“she seeketh ;"—her eye is intent upon what may be necessary or useful, and her powers go forth in constant and earnest industry. And those powers are strong and efficient. In the midst of her industry, and the high purposes of her mind and heart, she is awake, and animated, and joyous. No time has she for desponding, or weakness, or faltering, or murmuring. She appreciates the important position which she holds, as well as the duties that are appropriate, and "she girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms." Should reverses happen-as happen they will

she still keeps her eye upon the great God of providenceappropriates his promise--emerges above the billows--and prosecutes with vigor the works of her hands.

And the works of her hands are genuine and excellent. “She perceiveth that her merchandise is good.” Nothing marred, unseemly, defective, proceeds from her industry. The linen she makes is "fine linen;"-in other words, all her products are beautiful and good. A pure and lovely fountain is she, and the streams thereof are only sweet and refreshing streams.

She is of great enterprise. There is no meanness in her plans, nor in any of her arrangements or processes. She has the merchant's enterprise, and food from distant countries is seen, at suitable times, upon her table. For there may be piety, as well as gratification, in tasting the fruits of other climes; and every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving

She is farseeing. When there is necessity, she can plan for the future comfort of her family, as well as for present enjoyment. Hence, if any exigency require it, she is capable of negociating purchases, and of providing more ample domains -the fruit of her own industry and wisdom.

Thus, she is above want. Her house is comely and respectable. She is not afraid of the snows and storms of winter, for all her household are clothed in scarlet. They are clothed abundantly, in other words, and with appropriate neatness and elegance. And her food, from far and near, is laid up, and there is a sufficiency for all that comprise her household. The aged ones, if they be there--the maidens- the little childrenthe

6. She

husband--all are duly and abundantly provided for.

Nor, amid her abundance, are the desolate and poor forgotten. Her virtuous heart is not encaged within her own doors. Providing well for her own household, her eye is abroad also in quest of suffering and sorrowing ones. For these too she has a portion. Nor does she wait for them to come to her she seeks them out. stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.” As she moves amid the destitute and the suffering, her steps are as those of some bright angel of mercy, and the blessings of such as are ready to perish nieet her as she goes.

She is benignant. When she speaks, it is with wisdom. Her voice is music ;--there is no harshness nor bitterness; but “in her tongue is the law of kindness.” She is a friend to all; she would do good to all; she will, if possible, give pain to none. Her smiles are abundant, and they are genial, like the reviving sunbeams, and waking along her pathway a thousand hopes, and cheering and blessing the heart of sadness. She is beautiful, amid the circles of her influence and usefulness, as the bright star of evening, and her name is precious as ointment poured forth.

For she is honorable; honorable at home; and, as a mother, “her children rise up and call her blessed." A blessing has she been to them beyond human computation. A part of her worth

10*

« PreviousContinue »