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the Time of their Childhood, grievously exposed to many Hardships and Poverty upon the Death of their parents, I have often wished there were more of the Callings or Employments of Life peculiarly appropriated to Women, and that they were regularly educated in them, that there might be a better Provision made for their Support. What if all the Garments which are worn by Women were so limited and restrained in the Manufacture of them, that they should all be made only by their own Sex? This would go a great way toward Relief in this Case: And what if some of the easier Labours of Life were reserved for them only? But this is not my Province. • However it may be as to this Matter, it is the Custom of the Nation, and indeed it hath been the Custom of most Nations and Ages, to educate Daughters in the Knowledge of Things that relate to the Affairs of the Houshold, to Spin and to use the Needle, both for making Garments and for the Ornaments of Embroidery : They have been generally employed in the Preparation of Food, in the regular Disposal of the Affairs of the House for the Conveniences and Accommodations of human Life, in the Furniture of the Rooms, and the Elegancies of Entertainment. Sarah made ready three Measures of Meal and kneaded it, and made Cakes upon the Hearth. Gen. xviii. 6. And the Women
.of. of Israel that were wife-bearted did spin with their Hands both Blue and Purple and Scarlet and fine Linen for the Tabernacle. Exod. xxxv. 25. Women Mall bake your Bread. Lev. xxvi. 16. Womer few Pillows and make Kerchiefs. Ezek, xiii. 18. which Words, though perhaps they are a Metaphor in that Text, yet denote the Office or Work of Women, And Dorcas made Coats and Garments for the poor. Acts ix. 36. 39. I might cite many antient Heathen Authors to prove the same Thing among the Greeks and Romans, if it were needful.
Some of these Things are the constant Labours and Cares of Women in our Day, whereby they maintain themselves : The most laborious Parts of them belong to the Poor. And it is the Opinion of the best Judges that, even in superior and wealthy Circumstances, every Daughter should be so far instructed in them, as to know when they are performed aright, that the Servant may not usurp too much Power, and impose on the Ignorance of the Mistress. Nature and Providence seem to have designed these Offices for the Sex in all Ages and in all Nations, because while the Men are engaged in harder and more robust Labours, and are often called abroad in Business, the Women are more generally accustomed to keep House and dwell at Home; and the Word of God as well as the Custom of bu
man Life recommends it. Tit. ii. 5. i Tin. V. 14.
A LL Children Mould have some InA struction given them in the Conduct of human Life, fome necesary Rules of Prudence, by which they may regulate the Management of their own Affairs, and their Behaviour towards their Fellow-Creatures. Where all other Sorts of Knowledge are conferred upon Children, if this be wanting, they make but a contemptible Figure in the World, and plunge theinfelves into many Inconveniences.
Some of these Rules of Prudence are of a general Nature and necessary at all Times and upon all Occasions : Others are more particular, and proper to be used according to the various Occurrences of Life.
If I were to enquire what are the Foun. dations of human Prudence, I should rank them under these three Heads.
1. A Knowledge of ourselves. Here every one should be taught to consider within hima felf, what is my Temper and natural Inclination ; what are my most powerful Appetites and my prevailing Paffions; what are my chief Talents and Capacities, if I have any at all, what are the Weaknesses and Follies to which I am most liable, especially in the Days of Youth; what are the Te:nptations and Dangers chat attend me ; what are my Circumstances in the World; and what my various Relations to Mankind round about me ; what are my constant and what my occasional Duties; what are the inward or outward Advantages that attend me, or the Disadvantages under which I labour. A wise and just Survey of all these Things, and keeping them always in Mind, will be of unspeakable Use to us in the Conduct of Life, that we may set our chief Guard upon our weak Side, and where our greatest Dangers lie; that we may employ our Talents aright, and seize all Advantages to improve them for the best Purpose, and proceed in the shortest Way to Piety, Usefulness and Peace.
2. THE Knowledre of Mankind is also necessary to acquire Prudence. And here young Persons Thould not only be taught what is the general Nature and Capacity, the Virtues and the Vices and the Follies of Mankind; but they should be informed alfo, or at least thould be taught to observe more particularly, what are the peculiar Tempers, Appetites, Passions, Powers, good and evil Qualities of the Persons with whom
. VI. they have most to do in the World ; that they may learn to behave wisely with regard to others, and that they may make a proper Improvement of all the brighter and darker Characters which they observe amongst Men, both for their own Advantage and for the Benefit of their Fellow-Creatures. This may have a happy Influence to lead them to avoid the Vices and Follies which have plunged others into Mischief, to imitate the Virtues of those who have behaved well in Life, and to secure themselves from many Dangers and Miseries, as well as to pity the Weaknesses and Sorrows of Mankind, and afford them a willing and chearful Relief.
3. THE Knowledge of the Things of the World and the various Affairs of human Life must be included as one of the chief Foundations of Prudence. It would be endless to run over Particulars of this kind ; but in a special Manner young Persons Thould apply themselves to know those Things which most nearly concern them, and which have the most immediate Relation to their own Business and Duty, to their own Interest and Welfare: And it is a valuable Part of Wisdom to neglect other Things, and not to waste our Time and Spirits in them when they Itand in any Competition wiih our proper and most important Work, whether we consider ourselves as Men or as Chriftians.