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her influence, who possesses through the feelings, the key to the whole moral nature. It is the mother, who from infancy has watched each opening germ, who can develope character, draw out latent power and energies, counteract the low or worldly influences of the school-training boys must go through, and prepare her son to go forth into the world fit to stand, and act, and struggle alone, with a strong will and earnest purpose, and fit to exercise over others the influence of high moral power. If women whom God has blessed by making them mothers, choose to neglect the noble task thus imposed on them, let them, at least, never complain of the narrowness of their earthly sphere.
When they have neglected it, content, after nursery cares are over, to think their duty done,—when avowing, with a strange humility, that their own child is beyond their control, they passively watch the growth of faults which will wring their hearts in later years,-when having let neglect do its worst at home, they consign the poor, unprepared, undisciplined boy, to the chances of school education, to the conflict with the hardships, and vices, and temptations of that mimic world, and to the cold, spiritless training of the intellect, unguarded by the moral influence which should have been to him as a tutelary spirit, present, though invisible; then, indeed, they have lost what can never be regained. It rarely happens that even a father's influence can remedy the deficiency. A man has neither the same opportunities, nor the same natural capacity for studying the characters of children. Generally speaking, the various ties of active life leave him no time to acquire that influence over them which naturally flows from a mother's hourly presence and care, unless she herself destroys it. The benefit of a father's virtues and example is felt only at a later period, when the mind is becoming capable of considering that wider sphere of life in which he moves; but ere then, habits are often formed, prepossessions rooted, and the character has acquired a bias not easily changed, even if there be capacity to perceive the beauty of the example held up in the father's conduct and sentiments. No doubt there are cases in which the influence of the latter has corrected that of a frivolous mother; as likewise there are many in which noble characters are seen shaping themselves, as if by some principle, inverse from any which parental example on either side has inculcated; while others, again, slowly improve in the hard school of experience and suffering; but these exceptions prove nothing against the general statement, that to raise the moral standard, and to fashion character upon a higher mould, must be the work of mothers, and that in their hands, therefore, it rests to build up the foundations of national honour and happiness.
Such is the task,-requiring knowledge, vigorous understanding, acute perceptions, and moral power,-that young women rush from the giddy round of frivolous pleasures, fearlessly to undertake! Such are the responsibilities, to prepare for which the young mother, who is as proud of her baby now, as she was of her first ball-dress but a short time before, has, perhaps, never devoted one hour of serious study, not one hour of such mental labour, as the least important of man's professions would force him to undergo in preparation for its duties! While this is so common, it is little wonder if the influence of women is feeble, and their position undervalued.
The early entrance of women into society, necessarily dangerous, appears an unavoidable evil. Nor while beauty is so shortlived, and its first bloom so dazzling, will early marriages cease, however prudence may sigh over them, and society suffer by them; but these considerations only make that training the more necessary, which may, in some measure, strengthen the inexperienced, enable them to resist the evil influences of society, and render them capable, at least of feeling and understanding the importance of duties and responsibilities which may too soon. devolve upon them. They make it the more necessary that the short period allowed to prepare for those duties should not be wasted in frivolous idleness, that the young should be early taught to consider their position, in its wide and varied bearings,, and to feel that their true dignity and worth, as God's creatures, must depend on the use they make of His gifts; on the measure of self-improvement they labour to attain; on the degree of their usefulness to others in the sphere in which they are placed.
In the extreme uncertainty of woman's fate, over which she has no control, it may appear difficult to some to determine how they can prepare for positions so different as that of married or single life. We answer, that a sound and liberal education is all the preparation needed for either; not mere acquisition of knowledge, but an education that will call forth the mental powers, and train them to exercise and form a high and decided tone of moral character. When men prepare by a peculiar professional education for their future career, it is because some peculiar branch of knowledge, some technical information, or familiar acquaintance with certain methods or forms are necessary for that profession, which are not requisite for others; but the possible varieties of woman's fate and avocations, require no such preparation as this. The great requisite for them is the general development of the mind, as it acts upon character, that wellgrounded and equable discipline of all the faculties, which makes
them fit to labour, should serious labour be required; that ready appreciation of all that is excellent and great; that wide sympathy with every real interest of mankind, which keeps heart and mind ever awake and active ;-in a word, the habitual dwelling on the high ground, where the mental and moral nature seem to blend in their fullest development, and which, if not the best training ground for attaining eminence in any special department of learning, is at least best fitted to give that tone to the whole mind, which adds the weight of intellect to moral influence, and sheds the beauty of virtue and feeling over the exercise of mental power. She who by such an education is made most fit to be a truly valuable wife, most fit to acquit herself of the mother's high office, will also be most fit to stand alone, should such be her lot, to walk cheerfully on her way, guided by that light from above shining into the soul, which "maketh all things light."
PREPARATION FOR THE FUTURE.
VIEWS OF LIFE, AND THEIR INFLUENCE ON EDUCATION.
THE preceding observations appear to us to establish clearly two important and inseparably connected facts, namely, the necessity of a better education for women, and the necessity of grounding that education on a more comprehensive view of human life. If many of the present deficiencies of women may be traced to a low estimate of their position in the social scale, it follows that an attempt to remedy those errors and to counteract the evil effects produced by them, must be based on a wider and nobler view of existence. We have seen, in speaking of independence of character, what the nature of that higher view should be, extending beyond the transitory relations of our earthly life, while including them in as far as they are founded on the laws of Nature; remembering, that although belonging to our human condition, they are not of mere human devising.
The consideration of these two phases of existence, the great methodising idea of life, which, duly kept in mind, would give the true measure of importance and value for almost all that occupies and agitates mankind, cannot be lost sight of by women without ruin to every hope of improvement. A man may pursue a proud and active career without being stimulated by those motives which, as a Christian and a philosopher, would have ennobled his exertions; but no such alternative is left to woman. Even the career of noble usefulness, which the due exercise of influence opens to her, is a blank to one who does not feel the force of motives which belong to spiritual views of life. She may teach a form of religious belief, or instil some religious sentiment while ministering with gentle kindness to earthly necessities, but
she will neither educate her sons, nor aid national prosperity by her social influence. Christianity alone rescued woman from degradation, and it is only through the influence of those ideas of "life and immortality," which Christianity "brought to light," that she can maintain her rightful position, and fulfil her highest mission.
NARROW VIEWS OF
On the other hand, contempt of earthly ties and interests is likewise full of danger. Where enthusiastic notions or superstitious forms of piety have existed, they have produced this evil, inducing exclusive attention to the spiritual nature, or, rather, to one class of sentiments belonging to that nature, to the neglect of all mental cultivation, and due regard to the application of religious truth to our mixed condition here below. To avoid both errors, it is essential that we should habitually consider our mortal and immortal nature and destiny as parts of one great whole; and the more we dwell upon the two in conjunction, the more we shall see how the lesser flows from the greater, and derives from it its sanction and importance.
If we consider this earthly life alone, the discordant elements are so many and so jarring-the mysteries so dark,—truth so obscured,-evil so triumphant,-the ties which bind us to it so transient and so fragile, compared with the intensity of feeling they call forth,-the sphere of action so limited and so unsatisfying, measured by the boundless cravings of the soul; that we sink discouraged, listless, and overpowered; or, full of bitterness and passion, we rail at the power we cannot resist, and at laws we neglect to study, because we cannot scan their full extent and meaning. But if we stretch our view beyond, if we consider our life on earth as a portion only-a short portion of immortal existence, a preparatory training for a wider sphere of life—then harmony and beauty spread over much that was most painful to contemplate. The discord of opposing principles is still there, but some grand results of that ceaseless conflict become apparent. Truth remains veiled, but our search after it seems no longer so vain, for we soar in thought to a region where we may yet behold and be satisfied; the intensity of affections and feelings, the unspeakable grandeur of the spirit's conceptions and desires no longer seem given in mockery of our feebleness and our sorrows. Humble and patient, with earnest hope and lofty endeavour, we are enabled to bear with the burden of doubt, and mystery, and suffering that belongs to this stage of existence, ever reaching forward to a period of higher development and better knowledge.
It may appear needless in a Christian country to dwell upon the difference introduced into our views of life by the contemplation of a future state, but the deep inconsistency between