Friday, September 11, 2009


1. Love.—Let it ever be remembered that love is one of the most sacred elements of our nature, and the most dangerous with which to tamper. It is a very beautiful and delicately contrived faculty, producing the most delightful results, but easily thrown out of repair—like a tender plant, the delicate fibers of which incline gradually to entwine themselves around its beloved one, uniting two willing hearts by a thousand endearing ties, and making of "twain one flesh": but they are easily torn asunder, and then adieu to the joys of connubial bliss!

2. Courting by the Quarter.—This courting by the quarter, "here a little and there a little," is one of the greatest evils of the day. This getting a little in love with Julia, and then a little with Eliza, and a little more with Mary,—this fashionable flirtation and coquetry of both sexes—is ruinous to the domestic affections; besides, effectually preventing the formation of true connubial love. I consider this dissipation of the affections one of the greatest sins against Heaven, ourselves, and the one trifled with, that can be committed.

3. Frittering Away Affections.—Young men commence courting long before they think of marrying, and where they entertain no thoughts of marriage. They fritter away their own affections, and pride themselves on their conquests over the female heart; triumphing in having so nicely fooled them. They pursue this sinful course so far as to drive their pitiable victims, one after another, from respectable society, who, becoming disgraced, retaliate by heaping upon them all the indignities and impositions which the fertile imagination of woman can invent or execute.

4. Courting Without Intending to Marry.—Nearly all this wide-spread crime and suffering connected with public and private licentiousness and prostitution, has its origin in these unmeaning courtships—this premature love—this blighting of the affections, and every young man who courts without intending to marry, is throwing himself or his sweet-heart into this hell upon earth. And most of the blame rests on young men, because they take the liberty of paying their addresses to the ladies and discontinuing them, at pleasure, and thereby mainly cause this vice.

5. Setting Their Caps.—True, young ladies sometimes "set their caps," sometimes court very hard by their bewitching smiles and affectionate manners; by the natural language of love, or that backward reclining and affectionate roll of the head which expresses it; by their soft and persuasive accents; by their low dresses, artificial forms, and many other unnatural and affected ways and means of attracting attention and exciting love; but women never court till they have been in love and experienced its interruption, till their first and most tender fibres of love have been frost-bitten by disappointment. It is surely a sad condition of society.

6. Trampling the Affections of Women.—But man is a self-privileged character. He may not only violate the laws of his own social nature with impunity, but he may even trample upon the affections of woman. He may even carry this sinful indulgence to almost any length, and yet be caressed and smiled tenderly upon by woman; aye, even by virtuous woman. He may call out, only to blast the glowing affections of one young lady after another, and yet his addresses be cordially welcomed by others. Surely a gentleman is at perfect liberty to pay his addresses, not only to a lady, but even to the ladies, although he does not once entertain the thought of marrying his sweet-heart, or, rather his victim. O, man, how depraved! O, woman, how strangely blind to your own rights and interests!

7. An Infallible Sign.—An infallible sign that a young man's intentions are improper, is his trying to excite your passions. If he loves you, he will never appeal to that feeling, because he respects you too much for that. And the woman who allows a man to take advantage of her just to compel him to marry her, is lost and heartless in the last degree, and utterly destitute of moral principle as well as virtue. A woman's riches is her virtue, that gone she has lost all.

8. The Beginning of Licentiousness.—Man it seldom drives from society. Do what he may, woman, aye, virtuous and even pious woman rarely excludes him from her list of visitors. But where is the point of propriety?—immoral transgression should exclude either sex from respectable society. Is it that one false step which now constitutes the boundary between virtue and vice? Or rather, the discovery of that false step? Certainly not! but it is all that leads to, and precedes and induces it. It is this courting without marrying. This is the beginning of licentiousness, as well as its main, procuring cause, and therefore infinitely worse than its consummation merely.

9. Searing the Social Affections.—He has seared his social affections so deeply, so thoroughly, so effectually, that when, at last, he wishes to marry, he is incapable of loving. He marries, but is necessarily cold-hearted towards his wife, which of course renders her wretched, if not jealous, and reverses the faculties of both towards each other; making both most miserable for life. This induces contention and mutual recrimination, if not unfaithfulness, and imbitters the marriage relations through life; and well it may.

10. Unhappy Marriages.—This very cause, besides inducing most of that unblushing public and private prostitution already alluded to, renders a large proportion of the marriages of the present day unhappy. Good people mourn over the result, but do not once dream of its cause. They even pray for moral reform, yet do the very things that increase the evil.

11. Weeping Over Her Fallen Son.—Do you see yonder godly mother, weeping over her fallen son, and remonstrating with him in tones of a mother's tenderness and importunity? That very mother prevented that very son marrying the girl he dearly loved, because she was poor, and this interruption of his love was the direct and procuring cause of his ruin; for, if she had allowed him to marry this beloved one, he never would have thought of giving his "strength unto strange women." True, the mother ruined her son ignorantly, but none the less effectually.

12. Seduction and Ruin.—That son next courts another virtuous fair one, engages her affections, and ruins her, or else leaves her broken-hearted, so that she is the more easily ruined by others, and thus prepares the way for her becoming an inmate of a house "whose steps take hold on hell." His heart is now indifferent, he is ready for anything.

13. The Right Principle.—I say then, with emphasis, that no man should ever pay his addresses to any woman, until he has made his selection, not even to aid him in making that choice. He should first make his selection intellectually, and love afterward. He should go about the matter coolly and with judgment, just as he would undertake any other important matter. No man or woman, when blinded by love, is in a fit state to judge advantageously as to what he or she requires, or who is adapted to his or her wants.

14. Choosing First and Loving Afterwards.—I know, indeed, that this doctrine of choosing first and loving afterward, of excluding love from the councils, and of choosing by and with the consent of the intellect and moral sentiments, is entirely at variance with the feelings of the young and the customs of society; but, for its correctness, I appeal to the common-sense—not to the experience, for so few try this plan. Is not this the only proper method, and the one most likely to result happily? Try it.

15. The Young Woman's Caution.—And, especially, let no young lady ever once think of bestowing her affections till she is certain they will not be broken off—that is, until the match is fully agreed upon, but rather let her keep her heart whole till she bestows it for life. This requisition is as much more important, and its violation as much more disastrous to woman than to man, as her social faculties are stronger than his.

16. A Burnt Child Dreads the Fire.—As a "burnt child dreads the fire," and the more it is burnt, the greater the dread: so your affections, once interrupted, will recoil from a second love, and distrust all mankind. No! you cannot be too choice of your love—that pivot on which turn your destinies for life and future happiness.