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she is by no means prepared, either in spirit or habits; and in which she can never be happy.
For these, and for many other reasons, I should strongly advise, that you guard against all engagements of this kind, until your professional studies are completed, and you have a fair prospect of a speedy settlement, or, at least, of being able to decide where you are likely to be ultimately placed. You may think, this advice of small importance now; but if you act in opposition to it, I venture to predict, that you will review your conduct with bitter repentance at a future day. 4. Carefully GUARD AGAINST EXCITING EX
A MATRIMONIAL INTENTION, WHEN YOU HAVE NO SUCH SERIOUS PURPOSE. You are, probably, not ignorant, that young clergymen are considered as one of those classes of suitors who are apt to be peculiarly popular with the female sex. And, truly, it would be a great reflection on their judgment if it were not so. For, in the case of young men of your profession, there is all that pledge of piety, virtue, conjugal fidelity and kindness, and general respectability of character, that official duty and engagements can give. Is it strange, then, that many young ladies of enlightened minds, and virtuous sentiments, should manifest a preference, other things being equal, to promising candidates for this pro
fession? I should indeed think it strange if it were otherwise. Alas! that their confidence should have been sometimes misplaced ; and th:t +ven clergymen should have been found capable of making unkind and miserable husbands !
Let it also be further remembered, that as young
ladies of pious amiable character are predisposed, as a matter of course, to think favourably of the general moral qualities of young clergymen, and, in many cases, to regard what are supp»sed to be advances on their part with a propitious eye ; so there is another consideration which is worthy of your notice. When a young minister pays attentions to a young female, which have the appearance of being particular, they are apt to go for much more than the same attentions would, if paid by a secular man.
The latter, it is understood, may, perhaps, have in view, in such attentions, his own present amuse rent only. But the fair presump!ion is, that the former has too much honour, integrity, and purity of principle, to sport, for one hour, with the feelings of a female acquaintance. An equal degree of attention, from him, therefore, will be apt to be considered as meaning more, than from a person of another profession,
Let your whole deportment, my young
friend, fully justify this presumption in favour of the clerical character. While you treat every female, with whom you may become acquainted, and who may be entitled to such treatment, with respect and due attention, c'refully guard against every thing like particular attention, unless you have serious thoughts of seeking a niatrimonial union.
To act a part intended to excite the expectations, and ensnare the affections of an ingenuous female, when you had no real intention of offering her your own heart and hand, would be a compound of meanness and wickedness of which I am confident you will never be deliberately guilty. But I have known young ministers to pursue, inadvertently, a course of conduct which led to this unhappy result. They have greatly res. pected a particular female acquaintance, and taken more pleasure in her company, than in that of any other of her sex in the neighbourhood ; and have been thus led to be frequent in their visits, without the remotest thought of a matrimonial connexion ; and taking for granted that it would be so understood on all hands. It is dangerous thus to act. The prace of an unsuspecting and estimable individual may thus be, unintentionally, indeed, but totally destroyed. Remember that more scrupulous delicacy, caution, and self-denial are required, and are really
due, from young men of your profession than of any other. Never visit frequently where you are not willing to realize the most serious expectations that can be formed : and when you discover, or think you discover, that such expectations exist, without any proper ground, immediately adopt such a course of conduct as will, respectfully and delicately, but effectually, terminate them. Only suppose the case of the female in question to be that of a sister of your own, and then every christian and manly feeling will dictate the proper course.
There is a tendency on the part of amiable and intelligent young ministers, to form what they call special friendships, with young females of fine understandings and amiable man
These friendships are formally understood, in the beginning, by both parties, not to have matrimony for their object. Still they are carried on with many effusions of refined sentiment; the epithets of brother and sister are agreed to be employed in their intercourse; an epistolary correspondence is kept up; and every thing wears the aspect of what is commonly styled “courtship.” Let me warn you against every thing of this kind, unless you are perfectly willing and desirous to marry the individual in question. Such“ friendships” have a tendency to ensnare, and finally to embarrass the parties themselves. They seldom
fail of making an erroneous impression on oth
And I am confident the winding up” is rarely satisfaetory to all concerned. I always regret to see an epistolary correspondence going on between a young minister and a young female whom he professes to have no intention or desire of marrying 5. BE ON
YOUR GUARD AGAINST THE ADVICE
INTERFERENCE MATCH MAKERS. There are such persons in every community. They are your forward, , sanguine, and often well-meaning busy-bodies, who have a wife or a husband ready for almost every unmarried individual of their acquaintance; and who appear always willing to incur the responsibility of being the known contrivers of a match. Never court the assistance, or put yourself in the power of such a pestiferous race. They may, sometimes, indeed, amidst many failures, be instrumental in forming a happy connexion. But trust them not. Never put yourself implicitly under their guidance. Nay more,
if you are not extremely vigilant, they will be apt to entrap you,
you are aware of it, into a situation from which you will find it difficult to retreat. Of this I have known some of the most striking and melancholy examples. Let no single individual dictate to you on such a subject. Consult, not many, but several judicious friends, especially pious