6. The person of your choice must be NEARLY OF YOUR OWN AGE. Should he be younger than yourself you will be tempted to look upon him as an inferior; and old age will overtake you first. I should suppose the idea of marrying a man advanced in years would be sufficiently revolting to the feelings of a young female to deter her from it. Yet such things often happen. But I consider it as contravening the order of nature, and therefore improper. In such case, you will be called upon rather to perform the office of a daughter and nurse, than a wife.
1. It is desirable that the man with whom you form a connection for life should possess a SOUND BODY. A man of vigorous constitution will be more capable of struggling with the difficulties and trials of this world, than one who is weak in body. Yet, such an erroneous system has been pursued, in the education of the generation just now coming upon the stage of action, that the health of very few sedentary persons remains unimpaired. It would, therefore, be cruel selfishness to refuse to form a connection of this kind, on this ground alone, provided they have no settled disease upon them. A person of feeble constitution requires the comfort and assistance of a companion, more than one in vigorous health. But, it certainly would not be your duty to throw yourself away upon a person already under the influence of an incurable disease.
2. REFINEMENT OF MANNERS is a very desirable quality in a companion for life. This renders a person’s society more agreeable and pleasant, and may be the means of increasing his usefulness. Yet it will not answer to make it a test of character; for it is often the case, that men of the brightest talents, and of extensive education, who are in every other respect amiable and worthy, have neglected the cultivation of their manners; while there are very many, destitute alike of talent and education, who seem to be adepts in the art of politeness. However, this may be cultivated. A person of good sense, who appreciates its importance, may soon acquire a courteous and pleasing address, by mingling with refined society.
3. A SOUND JUDGMENT is also very necessary, to enable a man to direct the common affairs of life. However, this may also be cultivated by experience, and therefore cannot be called indispensable.
4. PRUDENCE is very desirable. The rashest youth, however, will learn prudence by experience. After a few falls, he will look forward before he steps that he may foresee and shun the evil that is before him; but, if you choose such a one, take care that you do not fall with him, and both of you break your necks together.
5. It is a matter of great importance that the person with whom you form a connection for life, should belong to the same denomination of Christians with yourself. The separation of a family, in their attendance upon public worship, is productive of great inconvenience and perplexity; and there is serious danger of its giving rise to unpleasant feelings, and becoming an occasion of discord. I think it should be a very serious objection against any man, that he belongs to a different communion from yourself. Yet, I dare not say that I would prefer single life to a connection of this kind.