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Entered according to the Act of Congress, in the year 1835, by
JOHN ALLEN & CO. in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of Massachusetts.
No. 3 Water Street.
PRINTED BY TUTTLE AND WEEKS.
The ancient patriarchs led a quiet pastoral life, far removed from those excitements which kindle the avarice and ambition of men in modern times. Their chief care was to increase their flocks;
and for this purpose they removed their tents, from time to time, near the most verdant pastures and abundant fountains. Their habits and manners partook of the simplicity of their occupations ; of this there is sufficient proof in the story of Jacob's courtship and marriage.
In those times, when the earth was thinly peopled, an increase of laborers was an increase of wealth; hence, physical strength, being the quality most needed, was most esteemed. To be the mother of a numerous family was the most honorable distinction of women; and the birth of a son was regarded as a far more fortunate event than the birth of a daughter. Under such circumstances, women were naturally considered in the light of property; and whoever wished for a wife must pay the parents for her, or perform a stipulated period of service, as Jacob did for Rachel. Sometimes, when parents were desirous to unite their families, the parties were solemnly betrothed in childhood, and the price of the bride stipulated. Marriage in those primitive times consisted merely in a formal bargain between the bridegroom and the father of the maiden, solemnized by a feast.
We are not told how far the affections of women were consulted in these arrangements, but there is every reason to suppose that they were passively guided by others.
Among the Israelites, as well as among tions with whom they sojourned, innocence was by no means universal.
The world seems very soon to have grown old in sin.
Even in the remotest times, there are allusions to
a class of women openly and shamelessly vicious; and it is