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destroy the influence and to injure the moral and christian character of the ministers of Boston. The Sermon was received with that approbation, to which it was entitled by its forcible illustrations of truth, and by its excellent spirit. Every reader, who recollects the extent of the provocation, must admire the generous and truly christian forbearance, with which it was met by the author; and will acknowledge, that Unitarianism has at least one mark of truth, and that is, the benignant and forgiving temper which it inspires. The discourse was sent to England by one of the hearers, without a thought of its being published. But, for the reasons stated in the introductory observations," a few copies were printed. This partial publication has induced the friends of the author to issue an edition of it in this country. His absence renders an application for his consent impossible ; but if he shall learn, in another hemisphere, that, whilst distant from us, he continues to diffuse the truths and spirit of the gospel, we trust that the sufferings of absence and sickness will be mitigated, and his submission to the providence of God be animated and confirmed."

In the American edition, some important errors of the English one were corrected. A few immaterial alterations from it have been made in the present edition, and generally on the authority of the original manuscript.

SERMON XX.*

INFLUENCE OF THE FEMALE

CHARACTER.

PROVERBS, XXXI. 28.

Her children arise up, and call her blessed.

The society which has intrusted to me the office of addressing you on this occasion, proposes to itself an object so evidently important, that it hardly seems to require any thing more to be said in its favour than simply to state what it is. If beneficence is ever a duty, if charity is ever a virtue, if the sentiment of pity is ever graceful and lovely in the human breast, it must be when our exertions are directed to alleviate the sufferings of the indigent widow, and extend protection to the helpless innocence of female youth. Besides the general considerations, however, which recommend this institution, there is a point of view not so immediately obvious, in which its value strikes the mind with peculiar force. It not only aims to save the orphan child from want, but to preserve it from vice; not only to save its body from suffering, but its mind from degradation. It offers to an interesting portion of the community the opportunities and means of virtue and improvement, and thereby contributes to raise the character, not only of these children, but of all those to whom their influence may hereafter extend.

* Preached before the Salem Female Charitable Society, Aug. 3, 1814.

As then this society proposes to improve the character of a portion of the female sex, its value may be measured by the degree and importance of that influence which the female sex exerts on society. It has seemed to me therefore that I shall take a subject altogether appropriate to this occasion, by offering some remarks on the influence of the female character, on the civilization and manners, the intellectual character, the virtue, the religion, and consequently the happiness of man here and hereafter. The subject is a very extensive one, and I can, therefore, only hope to present you with a few general considerations, which may perhaps lead you to pursue the inquiry more fully for yourselves.

As the subject thus selected is not usually made a distinct topic of discourse from the pulpit, it may be proper to offer one or two preliminary observations. From some remains probably of the extravagant spirit of the age of chivalry, or from some less respectable cause, it has been usual to speak of women, when in the presence of the sex, only in a strain of the most extravagant and unmeaning adulation. I trust it is scarcely necessary to say, that I deem far too highly of the real dignity of the female character, of the sanctity of this place, and of the cause with which I am entrusted, to be influenced by such a custom. I should feel humbled and degraded, if it were thought possible that I could speak on this subject in any other language, than I should use if my audience were entirely of my own sex. It may

be proper also to observe that when the influence of the female character is spoken of, its general and steady influence is meant, and not that which

may be considered as merely accidental and extraordinary. There have been individuals whose character has produced powerful effects in particular countries, by the display of powers which are not the usual attributes of their sex.

Such names as those of Semiramis, Boadicea, Elizabeth, and Catharine, are connected no doubt with many great and important events; but they are surrounded with a kind of splendour, which seems to me neither natural nor pleasing. We regard them very much as we do those wandering luminaries, which are but rarely seen in the heavens, and which appear to have deserted their proper and accustomed sphere. There is something of a feeling of dread, mingled with our admiration of their fierce and dazzling lustre. But the true and permanent glory of woman is a star of milder aspect, and more benignant influence. She decorates and cheers a less ambitious and erratie sphere; and without bringing “ fear of change

to nations,” shines only on the retirements, and gives life to the virtues and joys, of private and domestic life.

The influence of the female character on the civilization and manners of a community, will readily be acknowledged by all who remember what has been the history of the progress of society. Where woman is respected, the circumstance is always found to be an unfailing proof of the existence of the essential arts, habits and feelings of cultivated life. The manner in which the female character operates on the state of society in this respect, it might not be easy fully to explain; but it is in some particulars exceedingly evident. Civilization is marked by a regard to those laws, which give peace and order to social life in general, and by which the whole community is made the guardian of the rights and privileges of each member of it. Manners consist in a voluntary submission to certain particular and conventional regulations of private society, which are tacitly agreed on for its comfort and happiness, as well as its decoration. The influence of woman tends most powerfully to prepare

and train men for obedience to both these classes of laws. Where woman is regarded with respect, her favour will be sought by a conformity to what she approves. In her presence, therefore, the expression of the ruder passions will be silenced, the fierceness of pride will be subdued, the arrogance of

power will be repressed, and it is for

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