And what has caused this change? The bright star which appeared to the “wise men of the East,” eighteen hundred years ago, heralding a Savior’s birth, foretold also woman’s release from the thraldom which had bound her. It was to her a star of promise, telling her that the strong chains of ignorance and superstition which bound her, should be broken asunder by the gentle influences of the religion of the lowly Jesus. It is Christianity which has raised her from the degradation which was once hers, and induced man to acknowledge her equality with him.
Education exalts and refines the mind of woman, and enables her to contribute to the happiness of those around her. It is that which renders her the dutiful and obedient daughter, the kind and affectionate sister, the trusting and loving companion, and the fond and tender parent. The old adage, “woman must be ignorant in order to be useful,” has been long thrown aside among the rubbish of the past, and remembered only as a relic of the superstitions of other days. Home, with its duties, is woman’s sphere of action; and, to fulfil properly those duties, she must be educated; she must not be kept in intellectual bondage, but must be fully awakened to the responsibilities of her station. It is she who watches over our infancy, guides our childhood, presents to our infant minds the rudiments of knowledge, and cheers us in our progress by showing us the honors which attend those who acquire true wisdom, and therefore must her mind be early taught to comprehend the duties which devolve upon her.
A broad field is that of Education; and while she strives to make acquisitions in the various branches of knowledge, let her not forget that better education of the mind and heart. Talent, without virtue to guide, is like a ship without sails or rudder, exposed to the wild winds of the storm on the broad expanse of the ocean. What sadder spectacle can there be, than to behold a mind employing its talents and its learning in endeavoring to lead its fellow-beings away from the paths of rectitude, disregarding the laws of God and man, and refusing to acknowledge the Source that gave it birth? From such an example we turn with sorrow and disgust, and gladly look to those good and noble ones who have adorned their sex. The names of Hannah More, Maria Edgeworth, Felicia Hemans, Letitia Landon, Harriet Martineau, and a host of others, show what woman can do when properly educated; for they are equally distinguished in private, for their amiable and domestic qualities, as in public for their high intellectual attainments. Let woman follow their example, never failing to embrace all opportunities presented to her for moral and intellectual improvement.
We are all brothers and sisters of one great family, and should always treat each other as such. If you suffer provocation, let the remembrance that it is a brother who has injured you, prevent retaliation, and secure for him entire forgiveness. He who can forgive injuries, puts himself beyond the reach of harm, and secures a peace of soul more valuable than the gold of Ophir.