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On Early Marriages. 207 derate marriages, it is my wish to address to them, through the means of your work, a few points for consideration. In the higher orders, we know that a certain provision is generally considered necessary before they enter upon the married state; a certain laudable feeling of independence exists among them, making them unwilling to enter into an engagement which may affect their station in life, or bring them into difficulties. But, among my own class, I cannot discover that this feeling generally exists. When young people have hastily made choice of their partner for life, the girl will leave an ex.cellent place, or the young man an old and decrepid parent to the care of the parish, and they will marry, and, as they call it, set up for themselves. The consequences of which folly will be at least an increased share of anxiety and care, and very probably misery and want for life. · Where there is no provision for times of sickness and distress laid up, where there is no money increasing month by month in the Savings' Bank, it must happen that an increasing family must produce an increase of care and anxiety. As the children can be only fed and clothed by the man's daily labour, and there is nothing to spare or lay up,-if the husband be sick or out of work, the family is exposed to starvation, or at least immediately driven to the parish for relief. I have very often witnessed cases of very grievous distress among my neighbours who have large families, and who live from hand to mouth on the produce of their daily labour. Young people marrying without a proper provision are in danger of entailing misery upon their children :-and, I think, when they consider the state of want, and nakedness, and ignorance in which so many children are brought up, whose parents say they cannot find them clothes or shoes to go to school, or to feed them as their growth requires, my fellow-cottagers will not be able to deny this. Children thus cruelly circumstanced by the thoughtlessness of their parents, are brought up like the beasts of the field, taught to think of nothing, to hope for nothing but the means of procuring their daily food. And no Christian person can deny that this is indeed a state of misery. All the offsprings of these early marriages, it is true, are not thus situated; but still it is a state to which they are all exposed. Early marriages among the poor are likewise injurious to the community at large, and more especially to the labouring classes When we ask why work is becoming so much scarcer, and wages so much lower, why so many are unable to procure work at all, and with their helpless families are thrown upon the parish, we are told that it is owing to too great an increase in our po. pulation; if we ask the cause of that, we are told, is early marriages.” When we see many who really have work, receiving parish relief, because unable to support so large a family, we are told that this has been caused by“ an early marriage.”. When we hear of the misery, the want, the state of utter wretchedness in which the poor are placed in Ireland; we are told that it is in part owing to "early marriages ;" as almost every man in Ireland when he can build a mud cabin takes a wife. When we hear of their being sent off in ships to distant countries far over the sea, by whole families at once, and ask the reason of this, we shall be told that the number of people in Ireland is already much greater than the land can support; and this we shall be told is caused by “early marriages." If our richer neighbours suffer from this want of thought in the poor, much more do the poor themselves, upon whom the distress caused by scarcity of work and lowness of wages of course falls most heavily.
I do not wish to prevent my fellow-cottagers from marrying, but only to delay it till they have, either in service or by daily labour, gathered, between them, so much together as to enable them (as far as in
209 this life things can be ensured) against poverty and want in the married stated.
A SHROPSHIRE COTTAGER.
Dialogue from Pestalozzi. Gertrude. This morning's sermon, went to my heart.
Leonard. And to mine too, my dear wife. · Gertrude. How could it be otherwise ? I ever believed and hoped, that the good God would one day remove from us the load of wretchedness, under which we have so long suffered. Our degree of Faith has helped us, and the text, “ If ye have Faith, as a grain of mustard-seed,” &c. is fulfilled in us. • Then laying her hand on Leonard's, she said, We will pray to God daily, to “ increase our Faith."
And thank him, that it now goes well with us, cried Heirli.
Yes, we will be thankful to the Almighty God, Heirli, and evermore make it our study to do that which is right in his sight, answered the mother.)
She then took her Bible, as she usually did at noon, and, by the side of the father, read some chapters out of it, to her children.
When the afternoon service was over, they all sat together round the fire again. The elevation of soul, which the text, “ If ye have faith, as a grain of mustard-seed,” &c. had this morning occasioned in Gertrude, was still lively in her. She spoke again, actuated by this feeling, and said, All help; . which God gives us for this life, is nothing in comparison of the help, which he has obtained for us through Jesus Christ our Lord, for the life to come.
The family were sitting sociably together, and a tear stole down Gertrude's cheek, as she said, Our sole aim is, that we may all, one day, be thus reunited in eternity.
To be thus united upon earth, answered Leonard, certainly leads towards our being thus re-united one day in heaven.
Yes, cried Heirli, to sit thus together round the Fire-side, is beautiful. Sure mother, said he again, a Christian feeling is nourished within us, when we sit thus together, and speak of God, and pray and sing to him.
The Fire-side was to the ancients sacred; but perhaps no one ever bestowed greater praise upon it, than our little Heirli. The mother too, as soon as he had uttered these words, took up her Prayerbook from the table, around which they usually sat and knelt at their devotions, and read, prayed, and sang with them for an hour by the Fire-side; neither did she remove from it, when the hour of prayer was over. The father, mother, and children, remained thus by their Fire-side the rest of the evening until supper-time. Not one of them went out of the house, and God and Eternity, and their Redeemer, Jesus Christ, and also the blessings they had experienced, filled their hearts the whole of the evening.
Whoever had thus passed the evening with them, could not but have felt, why the ancients held the Fire-side as sacred, and how true is the observation, which they made thereupon, " That a woman, who, by her Fire-side, thinks much on her husband and on her children, has not generally an unholy or an uns blessed house." This is what Gertrude did throughout the whole of the day wherever she happened to be; and least of all did she do any thing at her Fireside, without thinking on her husband and on her children. Did she but boil him a few potatoes, she boiled them for him so, that he ever perceived by
The Delights of Drinking. 211 them, that she had thought on him ;—and the Lord blessed and sanctified their house.
Sent by G. B.
THOUGHT FOR MAY. " Thus shall it be with thee, O man ! and so shall thy life be renewed. Beauty shall spring up out of ashes, and life out of dust."-BARBAULD.
Toe groves their leafy robes resume ;
The hedges wear their brightest green ;
New life pervades each beauteous scene.
Their naked boughs, and verdure lost;
New honours and new verdure boast.
Renew, beneath the vernal skies?
Without a hope again to rise ?
And rest for ever in the ground?
Be in eternal slumbers bound?
Jesus shall break the tyrant's chain ;.
And man shall wake to Life again,
In more than tenfold charms array'd ;
THE DELIGHTS OF DRINKING. The following remarks are an abridgment of an article in the Morning Herald ;--the original article was in Blackwood's Magazine. · What a disgrace and a sin for any virtuous woman