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Clapham Common, June 19, 1812.
MY DEAR SIR,
YOUR obliging letter furnishes me with some pleasing information respecting yourself. I do most cordially congratulate you on the occasion of your having entered into the marriage state: a state evidently best for the human species; and in all respects adapted to double our enjoyments. Many who refrain from marrying do, I fear, inani. fest a want of dependance upon the Di. vine Providence, and in so doing, refuse to fulfil a duty which they owe to God, to society, and to themselves.
I remember to have heard an anecdote of a good man, who was about to marry; but whose mind was distressed with pain. ful apprehensions, lest the charge of a family should involve him in difficulties, is dischich hat God
One day, when he had been much perplexed with fears upon the subject, he threw open his chamber window, and the first ohjeet that attracted his notice was a hen, with a numerous brood of chickens: she was busily employed in seeking provisions for her family; and seemed happy in calling them to partake of whatever she could obtain for them. His reasoning upon this circumstance quieted his fears : and encouraged him to trust in God. What a beautiful object to calm and trànquilize the mind, by bringing to recollection the instruction which our Saviour gave to his disciples : “ Consider the fowls of the air, which have neither store houses nor barns, and yet God provideth for them.” Faith in God, my dear Sir, is of great importance to our happiness; and they that put their trust in him, will often enjoy such sacred recollections of providential care, as will fill their hearts with gratitude, and occasion them to experience such delightful and inexpressible pleasure, as Jacob must have felt, when he said, “With my staff I passed over this Jordan; but now I am become two bands.” I do not say there are no circumstances that can justify the conduct of the man who resolves
to live a single life; but it should be recollected, that every one who does so, adds one to the enormous number of females who are obliged, contrary to the order of nature, to pass their lives in celibacy, instead of being happy wives, and joyful mothers. That this is a very great and grievous injury to society, must be manifest to every reflecting mind; and that the fault is chargeable on those men who pass their lives in a single state, is too obvious to require proof. Such certainly do not demonstrate by their conduct, that they believe the word which says: "He that findeth a wife, findeth a good thing, and obtaineth a favour froin the Lord.” But you, my dear Sir, have the happiness to believe, that " the words of the Lord are pure words, like silver seven times purified in the furnace:" and you will certainly find to your great satisfaction, that you will never have reason to repent of your obedience to him, who appointed that a man should leave his father and his mother, and should cleave to his wife.
It has been said with much truth, and great propriety,
“ That marriage rightly understood,
That you and your beloved spouse may be blessed with the enjoyment of every felicity, is the earnest prayer of,
My dear Sir,
P.S. To describe the duties and advantages; the pleasures and sorrows, &c. of the marriage state, would require a very long epistle indeed. It would be impossible to touch upon either without filling a sheet. However, as you are so obliging as to say, that you shall consider it a choice mark of esteem and regard, to be favoured with my thoughts on those subjects; if my knowledge and experience can render you any service, I will embrace the earliest opportunity to comply with your request.
October 20, 1812.
You will at length perceive that I have not forgotten the promise I made to you in my last, I have been collecting and arranging materials for the work ever since. You may therefore expect several long epistles upon the subject.
In order to understand the nature of the duties arising out of any connexion, in which we have voluntarily placed ourselves, we have only to consider the nature of the engagement which we have entered into, either expressed, or implied'; and by always keeping our first intentions in view, we shall be able to ascertain with tolerable certainty, how we ought to conduet ourselves, to maintain the spirit of the engagement, by which we are in duty bound to abide,
Let us then consider the nature of the · marriage covenant, and inquire what is
implied in it. It is evidently the nearest and the dearest of all the relations subsisting among men; because it is ordained, that a man shall leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; and that they shall be one flesh. It is an union by which two persons become one. . Their interests are so blended, that what. ever affects the one, affects the other: consequently their happiness must in a very considerable measure depend on each other.