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BY BISHOP HORNE.
Psalm LxxvI11. 5, 6. He established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed
a law in Israel, which he commanded our father's that they should make them known to their chil. dren: that the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; uho should arise and declare them to their children.
At a time when the world resounds with the noise of war and the bustle of politics, an interval of separation from its concerns becomes more than usually agreeable. We see, and take refuge in the sanctuary with double ardour and delight. Suuday arises upon us in new beauty, and appears with fresh charms. We bless God that we have such a day to keep, and a church to which we may repair, where the weary mind, as well as the weary body, may cease a while from its labours, and be refreshed in the multitude of peace. The solemnity of the place, the decency and propriety of the services, with the sight of so many cheerful countenances attending in composure and silence to the word of God, affect the beholder with unutterable pleasure, and, whatever bis seutiments might have been at his first entrance, conform him by degrees to the same temper and behaviour.
This is more especially the case in an assembly met, as at present, upon the promotion of a noble and generous design for the benefit of our fellow. creatures and fellow Christians. Religiou, as she descended from heaven in original purity, is the choicest gift of God to man; and charity, though the youngest, is the fairest daughter of religion. “ Now abide faith, hope, and charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity*'—the greatest, as it is a virtue subsisting in the divine mind (where faith and hope can have no place), and from thence derived to man; the greatest, as it is the end and crown of the other two; the greatest, as it is immediately connected with happiness, since we cannot do any good to others without doing more to ourselves, even in our present feelings ; and the greatest, as charity will remain, when faith shall be lost in sight and hope in enjoyment. Not that this virtue will, or can, then exert itself as it does now. As God himself in another world will be men's portion, and therefore they can want nothing, charity will then act inwardly, by making us partake of that happiness which others enjoy, and, outwardly, by expressing, in ways suitable to our state, how much we are delighted with their happiness. Where this regard is mutual, as in heaven it must ever be, each person will not only increase his own felicity, but prove the occasion of heightening that of others; so that the principle itself will be eternally strengthening, and the effect which it produces be eternally improving.
In the present life, charity principally shows itself in attempts towards removing the binderances of happiness, or at most in supplying materials for it; and therefore, those attempts most deserve encouragement which extend farthest; which take in both parts of the human composition; and provide, at the same time, for the bodies and the minds of those who are the objects of them; so that while the former appear clothed in the livery of charity, the latter may have put on knowledge as a vesture, and righteousness as a garment.
The following discourse shall be confined to the particular subject of the institution now before us, by first offering some thoughts upon the importance of forming the female character by education, and then exhibiting a picture of that character, as it ought to appear, when formed; after which, few words will be required to induce you to support a charity designed for the purpose of forming it.
I. No pains or expenses are spared in teaching man kuowledge. Not so, in teaching it to woman. But why? Are women incapable of it? By no means. There have been instances to the contrary in every age : there are many shining ones in the present. They are what they are by education. If ignorant, it is through want of instruction, not of capacity.
It may, perhaps, be said, that they are of that sex usually styled and allowed to be the weaker sex. So much the more necessity is there, then, for their being strengthened and fortified by sound precepts well inculcated, and good examples set before them.
But do not women that are become learned, make themselves ridiculous ? Perhaps they may sometimes, for want of being taught the most useful part of learning, which is discretion. But though some do this, others do it not. They know how to manage their learning, when they hare got it; and possess it, as if they possessed it not. · Women, however, are not designed to govern the state, or to command armies; to plead in Westminster Hall, or to preach in the church ; and therefore need not study the sciences leading to those several professions. But there are employwents suited to them, and to which they ought to be suited; and no small degree of knowledge is required to suit them. The knowledge that is necessary for men, may not be vecessary for them; but they are not, for that reason, to be left in ignorance.
A young woman that is ignorant will be idle, because she knows not what to do; if she is idle, she will soon be miserable; because, throughout the world, from the highest to the lowest, happiness consists in employment; if she is miserable, she will seek to relieve her misery by wandering abroad, running after shows and diversions. When she is arrived thus far, she may soon go farther; she may become vicious herself, and then most probably will spend the rest of her life in making others so that have the misfortune to fall in her way. And how many these may be, who can say ? T bad education of women doth generally even more mischief than that of men; since the vices of men often proceed either from the ill education they received at first from their mothers, or else froin the passions which other women inspire into them at a riper age.
Female influence always has been, and always must be, very great in the world; and therefore it is in the power of a well educated woman, whatever be her station, to do much good in it. :
How valuable to a family is a prudent and faithful servant of this sex, aud of what vast import. » ance to tlie temporal interests of a master or mistress has such an one proved !--sometimes to interests of a higher nature. Curious, to this purpose, is the story told in the fifth chapter of the second book of Kings. The Syrians had invaded vhe land of Israel, and, among other prisoners, had brought away captive, a little maid, and she waited on the wife of Naaman, the king of Syria's general, a man of high renown, and in great favour at court, but afflicted with a terrible and loathsome disease, the leprosy, incurable by human means. This servant, who had been educated in the true religion, and therefore knew the power of the God of Israel, and the miracles wrought by the hands of his prophets, grieved at the unhappy condition of her new master, expressed her wishes to her mistress that he would apply for help to Elisha. “ Would God," said she, “my lord were with the prophet that is in Samaria; for he would recover him of his leprosy.” The words were so remarkable, that presently “one weut in, and told his lord, saying, Thus and thus said the maid, that is of the land of Israel.” The consequence was, that the general took a journey to the prophet, and was