The Young Lady's Mentor eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 263 pages of information about The Young Lady's Mentor.

Now, if conscientiousness and unselfishness be the two main supports of women’s beneficial influence, how can any education be good which has not the cultivation of these qualities for its first and principal object?  The grand objects, then, in the education of women, ought to be, the conscience, the heart, and the affections; the development of those moral qualities which Providence has so liberally bestowed upon them, doubtless with a wise and beneficent purpose.  Originators of conscientiousness, how can they implant what they have never cultivated, nor brought to maturity in themselves?  Sovereigns of the affections, how can they direct the kingdom whose laws they have not studied, the springs of whose government are concealed from them?  The conscience and the affections being primarily enlightened, all other cultivation, as secondary, is most valuable.  Intelligence, accomplishments, even external elegance, become objects of importance, as assisting the influence which women have, and exert too often for unworthy ends, but which in this case could not fail to be beneficial.  Let the light of intellect and the charm of accomplishments be the willing handmaids of cultivated and enlightened conscience.  Cultivate the intellect with reference to the conscience, that views of duty may be comprehensive, as well as just; cultivate the imagination still with reference to the conscience, that those inward aspirations which all indulge, more or less, may be turned from the gauds of an idle and vain imagination, and shed over daily life and daily duty the halo of a poetic influence; cultivate the manners, that the qualities of heart and head may have an additional auxiliary in obtaining that influence by which a mighty regeneration is to be worked.  The issues of such an education will justify the claims made for women in these pages; then the spirit of vanity will yield to the spirit of self-devotion:  that spirit confessedly natural to Women, and only perverted by wrong education.  Content with the sphere of usefulness assigned her by Nature and Nature’s God, viewing that sphere with the piercing eye of intellect, and gilding it with the beautiful colours of the imagination, she will cease the vain and almost impious attempt to wander from it.  She will see and acknowledge the beauty, the harmony of the arrangement which has made her physical inferiority (the only inferiority which we acknowledge) the very root from which spring her virtues and their attendant influences.  Removed from the actual collision of political contests, and screened from the passions which such engender, she brings party questions to the test of the unalterable principles of reason and religion; she is, so to speak, the guardian angel of man’s political integrity, liable at the best to be warped by passion or prejudice, and excited by the rude clashing of opinions and interests.  This is the true secret of woman’s political influence, the true object of her political enlightenment. 

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The Young Lady's Mentor from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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