« EelmineJätka »
allowed to lie fallow, only brings forth wild fruits, "thorns and thistles.” And God has not made the souls of women, any more than he has those of men, to be like a shallow, sterile, and unwholesome soil.
Again, every reasonable creature will have to give an account to God of his or her gifts; every one, according to the judgment of God, will be treated in accordance with the gifts received, and in accordance with the profitableness and the works of each.
God has given us all hands, which, according to the commentators, represent vigorous and intelligent action, but on condition that we do not return to him empty-handed. In short, He bas explained Himself categorically in the parable of the talents, in which He declares that a strict account will be required of the use of every talent. And I do not know of any Father of the Church, or of any moralist, who has thought hitherto that this parable did not concern women as well as men. There is no distinction made here, each will have to give an account of that which has been intrusted to him or her; and human as well as divine good sense shows plainly enough that women, not more nor less than men, have the right to bury or to squander the gifts conferred upon them by God for the purpose of making a right use of them.
I will then say with St. Augustine, that no creature to whom God has in. trusted the lamp of intelligence ought to permit herself to behave like one of the foolish virgins, in imprudently letting her lamp go out for want of trimming it; thus allowing the light to be spent, which is first intended for herself, and next, for others beside herself; and, since the question is about wives and mothers, for her husband and her children.
I say it without any hesitation, Christian morality alone teaches woman, with a decisive and absolute authority, her real rights and duties in their necessary reciprocal relation. Yes; until you have persuaded woman that she is created first of all for God, next for herself and for her own soul, and lastly for her husband and her children, but after God, with God, and always for God, you will have done nothing either for the happiness or the honor of your families.
The contrary system rests on a Pagan view of their destiny, and also, as has been truly said, on the idleness of men who wish to retain their superiority without effort. The Pagan view is, that women are only charming, creatures, passive, subordinate, and only made for the pleasure and the amusement of man. But, as I have said, Christianity has far other ideas. In Christianity the virtue of a woman, like that of a man, ought to be voluntary, noble, active, and intelligent. She ought to know the whole extent of her duties, and all the divine knowledge which can be derived from them, for the benefit of her husbaud and her children.
DANGER OF IGNORANCE AND FRIVOLITY.
Human nature requires to be instructed, enlarged, enlightened, and elevated in all its powers; and I must say, for my own part, that I have never found any thing more dangerous than repressed capabilities, unsatisfied desires, and a thirst unquenched. Thenco arises that longing for knowledge which, for want of the good and the true, fixes on the bad and the false; thence arise those pas. sions, naturally generous and commendable, which turn against truth and virtue; thence arise those crooked, bad, and perverse notions adopted by an ignorance which knows neither how to exercise choice, judgment, or restraint impaired healtlı), from defective nursing, in families who could and would gladly pay for efficient nursing, if procurable, than even under the defective nursing which, till lately, was almost general in hospitals. Most of the hos. pital nurses had at least some knowledge of what they were about. However devoted and watchful the relative or the private nurse may be, while she is gaining her experience of what ought to be done, the object of her care has often passed out of its reach, or her own health has given way, and death has thus multiplied its victims. If relieved by the aid of a trained nurse, she might with an easy mind have left her charge and obtained the necessary rest."
RULES OF THE LIVERPOOL NURSES TRAINING SCHOOL. 1. That the nurses are to attend the sick, both rich and poor, at hospitals or private houses, as the Committee or Lady Superintendent may appoint.
2. That when sent from the Home to attend a patient, they receive their in. structions from the Lady Superintendent, and do not leave the case without communicating with her; this they can do by letter at any time.
5. That no present or gratuity of any kind be accepted by a nurse, beyond some very tritling remembrance from or of the patient.
4. That nothing belonging to a deceased patient is to be accepted by the
5. That while on duty at the Home, at the Infirmary, or in private houses the regulations of the establishment with regard to dress are to be observed by the nurse.
6. That no male visitors to the nurses be admitted at the Home without special permission from the Lady Superintendent.
7. That the nurses shall not take more than 1} pint each of table beer in the twenty-four hours, and no wine or spirits without à medical order; and that they shall carefully avoid adding unnecessarily to the expenses of a household either in board or washing.
8. That a nurse is always to bring back with her a certificate of conduct and efficiency from the family of her patient or from the medical attendant.
It is expected that the nurses will bear in mind the importance of the situa. tion they have undertaken, and will evince, at all times, the self-denial, for. bearance, gentleness, and good temper so essential in their attendance on the sick, and also to their characters as Christian nurses. They are to take the whole charge of the sick room, doing every thing that is requisite in it, when called upon to do so. When nursing in families where there are no servants, if their attention be not of necessity wholly devoted to their patient, they are expected to make themselves generally useful. They are also most earnestly charged to hold sacred the knowledge which, to a certain extent, they must obtain of the private affairs of households or individuals they may attend.
A building (the Nurse's Home) capable of accommodating a staff of nurses with a superintendent, a deputy, and three servants, was erected at the expense of an individual (Mr. W. Rathbone, merchant of Liverpool), on the grounds of the Infirmary, and placed under the charge of Miss Agnes Elizabeth Jones (daughter of Col. Jones of Fahan on the Lough Swilly, Ireland), who spent some time in the Nightingale School in connection with St. Thomas' IIospital, and in Kings College Hospital, to learn the system of these two nursing schools, the method of study, and the surgical and medical training pursued there. In the organization and instruction of the Training Department, Miss Jones was eminently successful, until her health failed. She died February 19, 1868, in the midst of her usefulness, with 50 nurses, 150 pauper scourers, and 1,350 patients under her charge.
Sir James Mackintosh thus writes in his Journal, after devoting a fortnight (at intervals) to Madame de Sevigné's Letters :
POLITE CONVERSATION AND FAMILIAR LETTERS.
When a woman of feeling. fancy, and accomplishment has learned to converse with ease and grace, from long intercourse with the most polished so. ciety, and when she writes as she speaks, she must write letters as they ought to be written; if she has acquired just as much babitual correctness as is reconcilable with the air of negligence. A moment of enthusiasm, a burst of feeling, a flash of eloquence may be allowed; but the intercourse of society, either in conversation or in letters, allows no more. Though interdicted from the long-continued use of elevated language, they are not without a resource. There is a part of language which is disdained by the pedant or the declaimer, and which both, if they knew its difficulty, would dread; it is formed of the most familiar phrases and turns, in daily use by the generality of men, and is full of energy and vivacity, bearing upon it the mark of those keen feelings and strong passions from which it springs. It is the employment of such phrases which produces what may be called colloquial eloquence. Conversation and letters may be thus raised to any degree of animation, without departing from their character. Any thing may be said, if it be spoken the tone of society; the lighest guests are welcome, if they come in the easy undress of the club; the strongest metaphor appears without violence, if it is familiarly expressed; and we the more easily catch the warmest feeling, if we perceive that it is intentionally lowered in expression, out of condescension 10 our calmer temper. It is thus that harangue and declamations, the last proof of bad taste and bad manners in conversation, are avoided, while the fancy and the heart tind the means of pouring forth all their stores. To meet this despised part of language in a polished dress, and producing all the effects of wit and eloquence, is a constant source of agreeable surprise. This is increased when a few bolder and higher words are happily wrought into the texture of this familiar eloquence. To find what seems so unlike author-craft in a book, raises the pleasing astonishment to its highest degree.
Letters must not be on a subject. Lady Mary Wortley's letters on her Journey to Constantinople, are an admirable book of travels; but they are not lit
A meeting to discuss a question of science is not conversation; nor are papers written to another, to inform or discuss letters. Conversation is relax. ation, not business, and must never appear to be occupation; nor must letters. Judging from my own mind, I am satisfied of the falsehood of the common notion, that these letters owe their principal interest to the anecdotes of the court of Louis XIV. A very small part of the letters consist of such anecdotes. Those who read them with this idea, must complain of too much Grignan. I may now own that I was a little tired during the two first volumes: I was not quite charmed and bewitched till the middle of the collection, where there are fewer anecdotes of the great and famous. I felt that the fascination grew as I became a member of the Sevigné family; it arose from the history of the immortal mother and the adored daughter, and it increased as I knew them in more minute detail ; just as my tears in the dying chamber of Clarissa depend on my having so often drank tea with her in those early volumes, which are so audaciously called dull by the profane vulgar. I do not pretend to say that they do not owe some secondary interest to the illustrious age in which they were written; but this depends merely on its tendency to heighten the dignity of the heroine, and to make us take a warmer concern in persons who were the friends of those celebrated men and women, who are familiar to us froin our childhood.
I once thought of illustrating my notions by numerous examples from 'La Sevigné.' The style of Madame de Sevigné is evidently copied, not only by her worshiper, Walpole, but even by Gray; who, notwithistanding the extraordinary merits of his matter, has the double stiffness of an imitator, and of a college recluse.
POWER OF CHARACTER-UNCONSCIOUS INFLUENCE.
From “ Sermons for the New Life, by Horace Bushnell."
The following passages, in which Dr. Bushnell sets forth in a novel and masterly manner the power, which a Christian exerts in the circle in which he moves, by what he is, in distinction from what he professes, is strikingly true of the Teacher. So it seemed to us when we first heard it delivered in the old North Church, Hartford, forty years ago, and so it seems to us now, when we have come to estimate more highly than ever before, the subtle, yet beneficent and inspiring influences which stream out from the voice, manner, action,—the daily life of the true teacher, as he goes out and in before his pupils, and discharges all bis manifold duties in and out of the school-room. The train of thought is suggested by the record in John's Gospel (xx, 8), in which the unhesitating step of Peter, as he approaches and at once enters the sepulchre, decides John,_" then went in also that other disciple."
There are two sorts of influence belonging to man; that which is active or voluntary, and that which is unconscious ;-that which we exert purposely or in the endeavor to sway another, as by teaching, by argument, by persuasion, by threatenings, by offers and promises, -and that which flows out from us, unawares to ourselves, the same which Peter had over John when he led him into the sepulchre. The importance of our efforts to do good, that is of our voluntary influence, and the sacred obligation we are under to exert ourselves in this way are often and seriously insisted on.
But there needs to be produced, at the same time, and partly for this object, a more thorough appreciation of the relative importance of that kind of influence, or beneficence which is insensibly exerted. The tremendous weight and efficacy of this, compared with the other, and the sacred responsibility laid upon us in regard to this, are felt in no such degree or proportion as they should be; and the consequent loss we suffer in charaeter, as well as that which the Church suffers in beauty and strength, is incalculable.
The influences we exert unconsciously will almost never disagree with our real character. They are honest influences, following our character, as the shadow follows the sun. And, therefore, we are much more certainly responsible for them, and their effects on the world. They go streaming from us in all directions, though in channels that we do not see, poisoning or healing around the roots of society, and among the hidden wells of character. If good ourselves, they are good; if bad, they are bad. And, since they reflect so exactly our character, it is impossible to doubt our responsibility for their effects on the world. We must answer not only for what we do with a purpose, but for the influence we exert insensibly.
Histories and biographies make little account of the power men exert insensibly over each other. They tell how men have led armies, established empires, enacted laws, gained causes, sung, reasoned, and taught;-always occupied in setting forth what they do with a purpose. But what they do without a purpose, the streams of influence that blow out from their persons unbidden on the world, they can not trace or compute, and seldom even mention. So also the public laws make men responsible only for what they do with a positive purpose, and take no account of the mischiefs or benefits that are communicated, by their noxious or healthful example. The same is true in the discipline of families, churches, and schools; they make no account of the things we do, except we will them. What we do insensibly passes for nothing, because no human government can trace such influences with sufficient certainty to make their authors responsible.
But you must not conclude that influences of this kind are significant, because they are unnoticed and noiseless. How is it in the natural world? Behind the mere show, the outward noise and stir of the world, nature always conceals her hand of control, and the laws by which she rules. Who ever saw with the eye, for example, or heard with the ear, the exertions of that tremendous astronomic force, which every moment holds the compact of the physical universe together? The lightning is, in fact, but a mere fire-fly spark in comparison; but, because it glares on the clouds, and thunders so terribly in the ear, and rives the tree or the rock where it falls, many will be ready to think that it is a vastly more potent agent than gravity.
The Bible calls the good man's life a light, and it is the nature of light to flow out spontaneously in all directions, and fill the world unconsciously with its beams. So the Christian shines, it would say, not so much because he will, as because he is a luminous object. Not that the active influence of Christians is made of no account in the figure, but only that this symbol of light has its propriety in the fact that their unconscious influence is the chief influence, and has the precedence in its power over the world. And yet, there are many who will be ready to think that light is a very tame and feeble instrument, because it is noiseless. An earthquake, for example, is to them a much more vigorous and effective agency. Hear how it comes thundering through the solid foundations of nature. It rocks a whole continent. The noblest works of man, --cities, monuments, and temples,—are in a moment leveled to the ground, or swallowed down the opening gulfs of fire. Little do they think that the light of every morning, the soft and genial, and silent light, is an agent many times more powerful. But let the light of the morning cease and return no more, let the hour of morning come, and bring with it no dawn: the outcries of a horror-stricken world fill the air, and make, as it were, the darkness audible. The beasts go wild and frantic at the loss of the sun. The vegetable growths turn pale and die. A chill creeps on, and frosty winds begin to howl across the freezing earth. Colder, and yet colder, is the night. The vital blood, at length, of all creatures, stops congealed. Down goes the frost toward the earth's center. The heart of the sea is frozen; nay, the earthquakes are themselves frozen in, under their fiery caverns. The very globe itself, too,