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"Then come the wild weather -come sleet or come snow,
LONGFELLOW-from the German.
IN the lighted parlor gathers a joyous company, and none more elated with hope than he who is about to take, and she who is about to become a bride. Important era in the life of the youthful pair! What years of joy or sorrow, what chapters of hope or despair, what unfolding destinies are hung upon the utterance of these brief words! - You have now presented yourselves, as the partners of each others' decided choice, to have sealed your marriage vow. And, in the presence of Almighty God, and these witnesses, you promise to receive each other in the mutual relation of Husband and Wife-to love, cherish, and respect each other in all the vicissitudes of your earthly toil—in sickness and in health, in prosperity and adversity the same rejoicing with each other in joy, and sympathizing with each other in sorrow - thus remembering your plighted vow till these bands are broken by the hand of death.
TILL THESE BANDS ARE BROKEN BY THE HAND OF DEATH! In five flying minutes is consumated a union for a life-time of weal or woe! What responsibilities crowd this conjugal relation as we think of the marriage seal thus set for LIFE! None but God himself can sunder the tie thus suddenly created! Even though the union be blasted by the blight of misery, and riving discord tear the heartstrings as spider webs, it is done for LIFE.
Ponder it, ye BRIDES and BRIDEGROOMS at the altar of God!
Ye make a choice that compasses the whole of your
carthly career and unites your destinics, if not your hearts. Darkness may cover your pathway as a murky cloud, and on ye are to travel together amid the uncertainties of the future. For ye have stood in solemn attitude before the Searcher of hearts, and made the irrevocable pledge to be one,—
"Till death us do part."
Then ponder well the momentous import of this life-relation. Open your ears to the voices that will echo from every scene of domestic experience, coming up, loud and clear, from the depths of anguish in the soul, and bursting out from every brilliant avenue of joy, and pealing like a trumpet along the outstretching paths of wedlock,-for life! Listen to the stirring truth, embracing all that ye have, and are, and hope for, in this earthly lot, until ye catch the meaning, and your hearts awaken to the appeal· LIFE!
Often men are inconsiderate in assuming the duties of this sacred relation. Rash are the steps that bring a host to the threshold of wedded life. Because of this, ten thousand who marry for an earthly paradise, awake, when the dreams of the "honey-moon are over, to find themselves in an earthly purgatory. They "marry in haste and repent at leisure." Says FOSTER, "Alas! many an enamored pair have courted in poetry, and after marriage, lived in prose.' " Nor is this true alone of the young and inexperienced-the throng of brainless upstarts and dandies that infest society — but also of many of the learned and wiser ones. If not really inconsiderate, they have, nevertheless, taken to themselves com panions unsuited to their wants and ways. Socrates, the famed philosopher of ancient Athens, was thus unfortunate in his wife, Xantippe. In all his toils she tormented him by her impertinence, her peevish disposition, and harsh invectives. And all have doubtless read of that amusing incident in his life, when this unwomanly woman, after com
ing down upon him in a hail-storm of invective, poured a pail-full of filthy water upon his head, to which the amiable sage cooly replied, "after thunder rain generally falls." John Wesley, the eloquent and gifted preacher, was wedded to a woman who proved herself a perpetual torment to him in his sacred calling. Goaded by her cruel jealousy, and her yet more cruel temper, she beset him at every point, and followed him even with a persecuting spirit, until he was compelled to leave her to her sin and folly. And MILTON, the mighty English poet, had not lived long with his wife before a difference arose which ended in separation, though she afterwards returned and begged pardon on her knees. It is supposed that this contributed materially to his writing that pathetic scene, in Paradise Lost, in which Eve addresses Adam for pardon and peace.
But we need not pass the precincts of our own neighborhood to become familiar with the numerous "jars" in families consequent upon hasty alliances. The scold, the fret, the drone, the torment, the tyrant, are epithets that express the reigning discords in families. There is "the old man's pet," and "the young man's slave." There is "the lazy man's drudge," and the "proud man's doll." There is the worn woman's master," and the "jaded man's thorn." There is discord, war and bondage in the marriage state. Many a wife has driven her husband to the practice of dishonesty and fraud, to the saloon of the gambler and the doom of the drunkard, by her pride, extravagance, idleness, fretfulness, or all. And many a husband has crushed the gentle spirit of his wife, and sent her down, heart-broken and sad, to an early grave, by the neglect and cruelty of his faithless heart.
How sad the perpetual union of a pair between whose hearts there are no blest affinities! With no delight in each other's society, yet compelled to abide as Mutual enmity, perhaps, rankling and burning in
their hearts, and yet tied together for life! It was the custom of a certain Emperor of Tuscany to punish offenders by binding the living criminal to the body of a dead malefactor, face to face; and the wretched culprit bore about the loathsome and dissolving carcass, until he died in its foul embrace. Fit symbol of the way God often punishes the offender in the marriage life, binding him to a companion from whom his heart has become strangely alienated, even to dreadful loathing, yet compelled to submit to the union, and bear about with him the hated one until released by death. No severer punishment could be inflicted upon man or woman for an inconsiderate alliance. There is meaning in the old proverb, "better be half-hanged than ill-wed."
It is wise, then, "to weigh well what we can only once decide" to ponder the DUTIES that are involved in this conJUGAL RELATION. The sentiment has become proverbial,"he who is about to marry should consider how it goes with his neighbors." From the results of this sacred connection, witnessed on every hand, much may be learned concerning the duties of husband and wife.
Solomon, the wise, has given us the beau ideal of a wife. Why he has given less prominence to the husband, in this regard, may be a query. Perhaps, the reason lies in the fact, that the former contributes more to the joys or sorrows of domestic life. How frequently are the misfortunes or success of men ascribed to their wives! The prosperous man has an economical and industrious wife; while the wife of the unfortunate one is an extravagant and faithless woman. Hence, the Irishsaying, "a man must ask his wife's leave to be rich."
The following is Solomon's description of a model wife, and which good Matthew Henry calls, A LOOKING-GLASS FOR LADIES." "Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.