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There is an unreasonableness that is felt to the quick-a self-imagined superiority, which is as deformed as it is ridiculous, and with which the beholder has no sympathy. The folly involved is as intolerable as it is conspicuous; the hateful.. ness is that which is, to the last degree, offensive and sickening; the impure loftiness is that whose depression and humiliation relieves and refreshes our spirits, while it excites our pity.
In innumerable instances, pride has proved one of woman's greatest defects--the foundation of a large proportion of her faults and blemishes, and has spoiled, by its presence, a form and aspect that had otherwise been decidedly beautiful and attractive.
And the proud woman is doomed to disappointment and sorrow. Hateful as pride is in the eyes of man, it is even much more so to God; and, in his providence, is wont to be followed by mournful consequences. To him a proud look is offensive, and every one that is proud of heart is an abomination in his sight. Hence, we read of his resisting the proud of his knowing them afar off-of his not respecting them. And we read of his threatened judgments. The proud shall be abased--they shall be taken in their pride, and a fall is to succeed. Pride goes before destruction-it shall be marred-stained-brought down Wept over-scattered.
The Strange Woman. .
She forgets God. God is not in all her thoughts. She is entirely estranged from Him who is the fountain of all purity, and who cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance. Her endeavor is to place God, and all thoughts of him, as far as possible from her mind, while she is emphatically of that class who are without God in the world. It is thus she prepares herself to work all wickedness with greediness. Cut off from God-from all fear and love toward him, what, in degradation, may not a human being become? Shut off the sun, and turn away amid utter darkness, into what dreadful pitfalls and frightful depths may we not fall ?
She forsakes the guide of her youth. She was taught better lessons in the happy days of her childhood and early youth. The fear of the Lord was impressed upon her mind and heart. Instructions pure and beautiful were wont to fall upon her ear. A father's manly voice had taught her--a mother's deep affection had entreated her. And she once entered the house of God upon the holy Sabbath-day, and used to hear the holy commandment preached and enforced, and the blessed gospel breathing forth its invitation of boundless mercy. And there sometimes swept by her, as it had been sweet voices from another world, whispering of the beauties of holiness; and many an upward and sacred influence came to guide her youth to spiritual and immortal happiness. All that was lovely and good—whether on earth, or in purer and happier worlds—all pointed her away from the joys of sense and the pleasures of sin, and prompted her to lift her heart for a higher and holier destiny. Yet from every golden cord she has broken away-from every scene of innocence and beauty she has retired. From all elevated and lovely circles, she has gone down. The guide of her youth is forsaken—and far off the wanderer strays and her feet are treading near to the dead-and her steps take hold on hell.
She is clothed with the harlot's attire. The costume appropriate to innocence and virtue accords neither with her taste, nor with the purposes of her heart. She covets not the robes with which truth, and beauty, and goodness delight to deck themselves. She adorns herself rather that she may, in her subtilty, ensnare the wandering eye, and the frail, unguarded heart.
She is without in the streets. What knows she of the joys of home—the true and noble delights of the family circle? A husband's smilethe sweet simplicity of childhood-virtuous occupations—instructive books-refreshing converse -holy love what are all these to her? That mind is debased; that heart is withered ; and all the glory has departed; and she knows no home save the excitement and the whirlpool of sin. How can she linger in the presence of virtue ? Or how can she endure the company of her own dark thoughts? She is abroad; and especially “in the twilight." The evening shades are more favorable to her purposes. The destroyer that approaches us will choose darkness rather than light, for his deeds are evil.
She is cruel. She seeks only evil, and no good. Her aim is not to save, but to ruin. She promises, indeed, present joy, but her end is bitter as wormwood—sharp as a two-edged sword. Straying far away from the path of life herself, she would lure others to accompany her, as her feet go down to death. She reacheth forth her arms to embrace her victim, but it is the embrace of destruction.
She watches for her prey. Her eyes are open, as she is abroad in the streets, and she lieth in wait at every corner.
She is subtle of heart, and cunning in that knowledge which is death, rather than life. Her wandering yet observant eye is scanning the passing multitude, and is keen to detect its prey. There he comes ;. a youth, one of the simple ones, and void of understanding. Through the street he is coming, and he approaches near where she waits to deceive. Her evil and practiced eye discerns at once. His dress; his gait; the airs he assumes, all mark him as the victim-alas, the willing victim! Happy, had he been elsewhere amid “the dark night;" or if there, it was a pity that his eye did not look right on, and his eyelids straight before him, and that, with the glad elasticity of youth, he had not hastened his footsteps to his room, his Bible, and his God!
She seduces. With varied and consummate art she allures and captures her object. There is the smile of apparent affection and interest; and there are the lips whose words of flattery drop as the honeycomb, and a voice which is smoother than oil. The fascinating glance-the ensnaring gesture-the soft invitation-are all there. Engaging professions and promises, it may be, are also there. “I came forth to meet thee-diligently to seek thy face, and here I find thee." With her much fair speech she causeth him to yield, and " he goeth after her!”
She destroys. The simple one, being taken in the snare of the strange woman, is ruined. If it be his first step downward, the second step follows almost of course. He has shot within the whirling basin of the awful. Maelstrom, and his doom may be written as certain. As he goeth after her, it is as an ox goeth to the slaughter; till a dart strike through his liver; as a bird hasteth to. the snare, and knoweth not that it is for his life. He is a wounded, bleeding man, cast down and slain, where many a strong man has fallen. But will he not rise again ? Yes, by miracle--not ordinarily. They come not up from that disastrous ruin. For her house inclineth unto death, and her paths unto the dead. None that go unto