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[She rises earlyb: and when occasion requires, goes late to resto. She encourages industry in her dependents d, and sets them an example of it herself, willingly', regularly 5, without regarding fatigue h] 2. Her prudence
[She sells the produce of her labour', and lays out her money with judgment for the permanent benefit of her familyk. She provides comfortably for her family in respect of food and clothing m. She guards against all waste of her husband's property". She employs her leisure in improving her mindo; and conducts herself with love and kindness towards all P.] 3. Her piety
[She is not satisfied with performing her duties towards man, but endeavours to serve God also 9. She accounts “ the fear of God” to be the one thing needful. She labours above all things to cultivate this divine principle: she makes it the source and motive, the rule and measure, the scope and end, of all her actions; and, while she serves her God, she delights also to benefit the poor".]
Of such a character it is not easy to estimate, II. The worth
Rubies are accounted valuable among earthly treasures : but the worth of such a woman is infinitely above them—she is, 1. An ornament to her sex
[However highly beauty is prized among men, the endowments before mentioned render their possessor incomparably more lovely. The person possessing them must be admired in any station in life; but her excellence is then most conspicuous and most valuable, when she sustains the relations of a wife and a mother t. It is to be lamented that such characters are rarely “ found ":" but the more scarce they are, the more worthy are they of our esteem.] 2. A blessing to her family
[Of whatever rank they be, they cannot fail to reap much benefit from her prudent management, and pious example. If they be poor, especially, the good arising to them will be incalculable. They will enjoy a thousand comforts, of which others
b ver. 15. c ver. 18. d
f ver. 13. & ver. 27. ver. 17. i ver. 24.
ver. 15. m ver. 21. In the margin it is “ with double garments." n ver. 11, 12.
o ver. 26. P ver. 26. 9 ver. 30. I ver. 20. s ver. 30.
u The text.
of their class are destitute. Their decent appearance will procure them respect, and redound to her praise *. Her children will love and honour her, and bless God on her accounty. Her husband will delight in her himself, and make his boast of her to others ?. They will all esteem her as a rich and continued source of domestic felicity.] 3. A comfort to all around her
[The rich will be glad to aid her by their wealth and influence. The poor will find in her a friend, to counsel them in difficulty, and relieve them in distress. All who behold her, will be constrained to applaud her conduct “, and many will be excited to follow her example.]
We may now hope for a favourable attention, while we set before you, III. The tendency of this institution to increase their
number— Though piety is as common among the poor as among any class of the community, yet it is very rare indeed that we can find among them a combination of the qualities before insisted on.
[From want of education they know not how to manage their affairs - And from habits of inattention, they are indisposed to learn ---]
But to the rising generation much good will arise from a school of industry
[The instruction which they gain in common schools, is very confined; but in this they will be taught all that can qualify them for usefulness in this world, or happiness in the next. To read the Bible, and to fear God, will be proposed as the first objects of their attention. To qualify them for service, and to fit them to manage their own families at some future period, is the next concern we wish to promote. To call forth their own exertions, and stimulate a desire to excel, every encouragement will be afforded them. Thus habits of industry, of economy, of subordination to men, and of piety to God, being formed, they will fill up their future stations in life with far greater advantage to themselves, and benefit to society.] We will now consider somE OBJECTIONS that may be
[Some think it better that the poor should be kept in ignorance. But these are themselves ignorant, unfeeling, and ungodly. Some have a fear that persons may be wanted for agricultural work; but there will always be found many who stand in need of employment.] 2. Among the poor
X ver, 23.
y ver. 28.
2 ver. 28.
a ver, 31.
[These are unwilling to forego the immediate earnings of their children. But in a little time they will earn much more than they now do. They will sooner find situations where they will live at free cost. They will probably be able at a future period to aid their parents, instead of being a grief, and perhaps a burthen, to them. They will have a far better prospect of heaven, by having their minds instructed, and their conduct regulated, than they would have had, if brought up in ignorance and sin.]
We conclude with recommending the institution to your support
[If self-interest alone were consulted, the rich should help forward such institutions: for, if extensively promoted, they would soon lower the rates. But if benevolence be allowed to operate, it has unbounded scope for exercise in such institutions as these; since they render the lower orders of people more intelligent, more useful, more properous, and more happy.]
THE VANITY OF THE CREATURE.
Eccl. i. 2. Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of
vanities; all is vanity. IF experience entitles a man to credit, and gives weight to his testimony, we derive great advantage as to the credibility of the inspired writings: for respecting much of which the Prophets and Apostles wrote, they could say, “ What mine eyes have seen, mine ears have heard, and my hands have handled of the word of life, that same declare I unto you.” And if this be an advantage in reference to the excellency of religion, it may well be regarded as of some importance in reference also to the vanity of all earthly pursuits. That there should have been a man possessed of such abundant means of gratification as Solomon was, and so ardent in the pursuit of it in every possible line, and at the same time so faithful in declaring his own experience in relation to it all, must be considered as an advantage to all subsequent generations, who should hear and receive his testimony respecting the things which he had so fully tried, and so invariably proved to be vanity itself. The words before us express a conviction that admitted not of doubt, and a decision that left no room for controversy. “ The Preacher” who uttered them was inspired of God, at the same time that he recorded what, from personal knowledge, he was qualified to declare. And in considering his testimony, I shall, I. Confirm it
The things of which he spake were, all that the world contains; its grosser and more common pursuits of pleasure, riches, and honour, as also its more refined attainments of wisdom and knowledge. And all of them, without exception, are vanity; 1. In their acquisition
[It is not without great labour and toil that earthly distinctions are obtained. The merchant, the warrior, the philosopher will bear record, that in their respective pursuits they have endured much fatigue, and many disappointments; insomuch that to one whose taste was different from theirs, they would appear to have paid too dear a price for all that they have gained.] 2. In their use
[Suppose that the labours of any person have been crowned with success; What, after all, has he gained ? He thought he was following something substantial; but, to his mortification, he finds that he has grasped a shadow. He has “ hewn out cisterns” for himself, indeed, with great labour; but he finds, after all, that they are “ broken cisterns, which can hold no water.” At the first moment, whilst the charm of novelty is upon them, the various objects we have attained afford a pleasing gratification to the mind: but scarcely have they been enjoyed a few days, before they lose their sweetness, and descend into the common routine of earthly comforts. The man who rolls in wealth, and he who is dignified with highsounding titles, is soon brought to a level with his inferiors in point of actual enjoyment: and even he who has acquired knowIedge, finds, that, “ in having increased knowledge, he has also increased sorrowa ;" because of the envy which his eminence has excited, and the uncertainty of much which he thinks he has attained.] 3. In their continuance-
[What is there of which a man may not be despoiled ? Pleasure may, in a very little time, be turned into pain: honour may speedily be blasted by some unforeseen event: “ riches make themselves wings, and fly away :” and through disease or accident, even reason itself, with all its highest attainments, may sink into more than infantine weakness and infirmity. But grant to these things all that the most sanguine imagination can impute, how soon do they vanish away! Even life itself is but as a hand-breadth, or as a shadow that declineth: and the moment that death comes, " all our thoughts perish,” and we go out of the world as naked and as destitute as we came into it.”] 4. In their issue
a ver. 18.