MOTIVES LEADING TO MARRIAGE.
The duty of woman to marry is exactly equal to that of her brother, and marriage in either, for money or position, without natural fitness or true affection, is perjury.' I would urge earnestly that no woman marry where money is the deciding motive. When you would not, could not, marry the man if everything of position and monetary resource was swept away and only individual worth and integrity remained, with hope of bare competence, do not take marriage -vows upon you. If you marry a young man who is a fast liver, a moderate drinker, a gambler, debauched or loose in life, dishonest or idle, no matter how pure or generous your motive, you are risking all your earthly happiness. If such an one tells you (as all such lovers do) a thousand times that you are the good angel upon whom his eternal destiny hangs, that sure destruction will be his fate if rejected, —the poor fellow, deceived and deceiving, speaks falsely; and if he goes down without you, be sure it would have been no better, but far worse, had your destiny and that of your children been linked with his. There is but one Saviour. You are not that one, and if you cannot before marriage lead your lover to Him for redemption, you cannot do it afterwards. You can wait, being patient for years even, but you must not blight your children or their home by choosing for them a degraded father. If you marry a man who debases himself by licentiousness, he is not going to love or treat you any better than he does himself. If
it is needful that your brother ascertain the character of the one who is to be the presiding genius of his home, it is no less necessary for you to know assuredly the general character and standing of the man who seeks you for a wife. Do not permit yourself to be interested, to love at all, till you are assured here. Your father, brother, or some reliable male friend, must be your guide, not your feelings, which may prove no better than the ignis fatuus leading the benighted traveller to his death. I have never, in a wide range of experience, known a runaway match, or an obstinate unfilial marriage against the advice of friends, to result in a happy home, but I have known many result in disordered, unhappy ones.
Do not marry a man, however worthy or honorable, whose presence or whose near approach brings recoil or aversion. If the feeling lingers or increases upon more intimate acquaintance, tell him of it frankly, for it is God's voice in nature, forbidding marriage, so do not disregard it. This instinctive feeling is generally much stronger in women than in men; for in this, as in many things of highest moment, the decisions lie with woman. You can live usefully, and far more happily, unmarried, than in a false or unworthy marriage.