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value from the food which they administer to vanity and the love of admiration; the averfion, which almost every individual of either sex is prone to feel towards a rival, is particularly called forth. And when objects attainable so easily as exterior ornaments occupy the heart, there will be rivals without number. Hence it is not very unusual to see neighbouring young women engaged in a constant state of petty warfare with each other. To vie in oftentatiousness and in coftliness of apparel ; to be distinguished by novel inventions in the science of decoration ; to gain the earliest intelligence respecting changes of fashion in the metropolis ; to detect, in the attire of a luckless competitor, traces of a mode which for six weeks has been obsolete in high life; these frequently are the points of excellence to which the whole force of female genius is directed. In the mean time, while the mask of friendship is worn on the countenance, and the language of regard dwells on the tongue, indifference, disgust, and


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envy, are gradually taking poffeffion of the breast; until, at length, the unworthy contest, prolonged for years under confirmed habits of diffimulation, by which none of the parties are deceived, terminates in the violence of an open rupture.

The Scriptures have spoken too plainly respecting unreasonable solicitude about dress, to permit me to quit the subject without referring to their authority. Our Saviour, in one of his most folemn discourses, warns his followers against anxiety " wherewithal “they should be clothed,” in a manner particularly emphatical, by claffing that anxiety with the despicable pursuits of those who are studious “ what they shall eat, and what they shall drink;” and by pronouncing all fuch cares to be among the characteristical features by which the heathens were distinguished and disgraced (c). It ought to be observed, that these admonitions of Chrift refpe&t men no less than women. St. Paul,

(c) Matt. vi. 31, 32.

in the following passage, speaks pointedly concerning female dress : “ I will, in like “ manner also, that women adorn them“ felves in modest apparel, with shame“ facedness and fobriety: not with broi“dered hair, or gold, or pearls, or coftly “ array; but, which becometh women pro“ fessing godliness, with good works (d).” In another passage, which remains to be produced from the New Testament, St. Peter also speaks expressly of the female sex ; and primarily of married women, but in terms applicable with equal propriety to the single: “ Whose adorning, let it not be " that outward adorning of plaiting the hair “ and of wearing of gold, and of putting “ on of apparel. But let it be the hidden " man of the heart,” (the inward frame and disposition of the mind,)“ in that which is “ not corruptible; even the ornament of a “ meek and quiet spirit, which is in the “ fight of God of great price (e).” It would be too much to assert, on the one (d) Tim. ii. 8. 10. (e) 1 Peter, iii. 3, 4. K 3


hand, that it was the intention of either of the Apostles, in giving these directions, to proscribe the use of the particular kinds of personal ornament which he fpecifies. But on the other hand, it was unquestionably the design of both, to proscribe whatever may justly be styled solicitude respecting any kind of personal decoration ; and to censure those who, instead of resting their claim to approbation folely on the tempers of the soul, should seek to be noticed and praised for exterior embellishments, as deviating precisely in that degree from the fimplicity and the purity of the Christian character. These observations may, by parity of reasoning, be extended from the subject of dress to folicitude respecting equipage, and all other circumstances in domestic economy, with which the idea of thewy appearance may be connected.






Amusements, private as well as public, , form another province over which custom and fashion are generally allowed to preside. The claim is, under due limitations, not unreasonable. But that propensity to imitation in the female sex, which has already been explained, concurs with the high spirits and inexperience of youth occasionally to lead women to venture, in this province, on ground that is manifestly inauspicious, and sometimes on ground which ought to be deemed forbidden. In former ages,

when the barbarous combats of gladiators were exhibited in the Roman Circus ; and exhibited in so many cities

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