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pitiful and generous, and saves from evils of every kind, and communicates blessings of every kind, as God gives him opportunity and ability. But it is proper to mention more especially these labours of love by women in more exalted stations, on account of the forwardness of some, in these days, in blaming their zeal and exertions for instructing the young and the ignorant; for promoting religious knowledge; for providing for the sick and the destitute; for contributing to the more general promulgation of the gospel, with all its blessings, and privileges, and joys. It is their high honour, and it is the honour of the age, that many women in the higher ranks have been active and exemplary in these good works. We have already noticed the winning attractions and superior influence of female excellence. The women of rank and wealth distinguissied for Christian charity are "set upon a hill;" their activity, and zeal, and perseverance, and success, attract attention, secure approbation, diffuse a philanthropy of the purest nature; " they are," to use the strong language of the apostle, " workers to"gether with God; they are the glory of '* Christ J their praise is in the churches."
It is, however, in the family, in the church of their own children, and friends, and domestics, over which they preside, that Christian matrons, with more certainty, and with more immediate effects, contribute to the great objects of Christian benevolence. This is the sphere in which they move with dignity. Order, and harmony, and peace, attend their steps. It must be with happy effects that a family, especially a large family, is distinguished for regularity and decency, for the observation of the worship of God, and honouring the institutions of religion, with all the worth of character, and all the duties of life they exhibit, and promote, and secure. Such matrons are the "salt of the ** earth, they are lights of the world;" they shall be praised.
III. We have observed, that their claim on our esteem and commendation does not depend on the station and circumstances in which pious women are placed. We know worth depends not on external condition. In the eye of discernment and of intimate friendship, whoever fears God is truly estimable: their excellence, manifested in the , deepest deepest poverty and affliction, is, in the sight of God, of great price. Let us give them all the credit of their good dispositions and worthy behaviour. In the more distinguished circumstances and stations, however, the worth of superior female piety and excellence must be perceived by the superficial themselves; and few, I trust, are so lost to a sense of right and wrong, of good and evil, as not to allow its claim on esteem and commendation. The worthless and wicked themselves feel and express respect and homage for the conduct and example that form men to order, to propriety, to harmony and enjoyment; mother words, to the diffusive goodness of the woman of superior influence that feareth the Lord.
But whatever others do, the worthy part of mankind will honour those who fear the Lord, and give them all the credit due to their excellence.
The pious wife shall be honoured by her husband; he knows most thoroughly her worth, and his obligations; and her every claim on esteem and commendation.
The pious mother mail be honoured by her children, who have beheld and expert enced her amiable and excellent qualities and character, and owe more than they can express or duly estimate, to her affection and piety. To her friends, her memory is blessed; her name is as ointment poured forth. The neighbourhood sounds with her praise. She is praised especially by those who have largely and frequently experienced her compassion and liberality, and her exertions to render them wife, and good, and happy.
To be a little more particular on this subject, sincere esteem and praise vindicate the character and conduct of her that feareth the Lord.
They are not truly happy of whom all men of every character speak well; obloquy, and contempt, and persecution, have seized on the excellent of the earth. "Marvel "not," says our Lord, " if the world hate "you; it hated me before it hated you." While the world ridicules, or despises, or misrepresents and calumniates those who fear the Lord, let us do them justice; let us Wipe off the aspersions of ignorance, or envy, or malice; let us show, that which they called hypocrisy was true religion and undefiled before God; that which they inveighed against as severity, was just hatred and indignation of vice; that their forwardly condemned ostentation was true benevolence; that their satirized and mean penuriousness was frugality and economy, for being enabled to do more good, and communicating and diffusing more happiness.
But this taste, to which sometimes we may be called, in justice to worthy characters, in our neighbourhood, or at a distance, when alive, and after death, though necessary, is less pleasant. It is an agreeable office to place their excellence in just points of light, to recount their virtues, to preserve and circulate the memory of their worthy conduct. All this is to be done, not in an ostentatious manner, indeed, not obtrusively or officioufly, but as opportunity naturally offers, and as the occasion requires.
There is a still less equivocal method of manifesting respect, a more effectual proof