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THE

CHRISTIAN MINISTER'S

AFFECTIONATE ADVICE

TO

A MARRIED COUPLE.

CHAPTER 1.

Important nature of the Marriage Union.-Danger of

remissness in Duties formerly paid.- Treatment of Relations.

WOR 20JUN 34

The marriage relation is the most important of any you are capable of forming in this life. It is not your own happiness only, but that of others also, that may be affected by an improper behavior in this connection. It is a union constituted with a view, not merely to the reciprocal benefit of the two persons who agree to form it, T

but likewise to the manners and the happiness of society at large.

Smaller communities are the nurseries of larger ones. At a certain time of life a transplantation is made, and the larger field of society takes its character from those qualities which were brought into it from the little inclosures of family life. You are therefore not to consider yourselves merely as two friends, who have agreed to share each other's trials or enjoyments; but as the founders of a little community of rational and immortal creatures, who may hereafter found other small communities, and from whom, in process of time, a multitude may spring. To this multitude, stationed here and there, according to the allotments of Divine Providence, you may give a cast of character, the influence of which may be matter of pleasure or of pain, both to themselves and those with whom they are connected, long after you have ceased to act in the present scene.

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And though you may never move far frorn the spot on which these observations are addressed to you; yea, and ere long be forgotten even in this little circle; yet the good or evil influence of

your

conduct this circumscribed spot may take such a range, as to be felt where the name even of your country is scarcely known.

But even this, though a large view of the possible extent of your influence, is comparatively but a confined one. It may be felt to eternity. The members of your family are immortals. Such also will be their successors. They will not only have a place in society, but an account to render to God. Before him they must appear at the great audit of the world, “ to receive according to the things done in the body, whether they be good or bad,” 2 Cor. 5 : 10; and to you they may be in some measure indebted for the terror or the transport they may feel at that solemnity.

From these considerations, see the importance of your connection, and accept of that advice which your minister feels it his duty to address to you.

I will consider you as fellow travellers on the road of life; not brought together by accident, or as those who have consented to keep together on the journey merely from a regard to convenience, but from a cordial esteem of each other, heightened by a tender attachment, which has led you to make choice of each other as companions, independent of a view to the conveniences of travelling in company. You have given yourselves up to each other; and have, in the presence of God, pledged yourselves to bear each other's burdens, to

onsult each other's peace of mind, and to concur, invariably, in endeavoring to render the journey as pleasant to each other as possible. Thus conjoined, you have committed a trust to each other. Neither of you have your felicity in your own hunds. Neither of you have it in your

power to be completely happy without the consent of the other. Never may you repent of this surrender. But a knowledge of the imperfections of human nature makes me anxious for you; lest, after rendering the first stage of the journey delightful by the interchange of every endearment, you should sink into the unhappy condition of those to whom the greatest infelicity of the journey is that they are obliged to travel together.

To avoid the evils into which the infirmities of our nature may plunge us, we should enter betimes on the use of preventives.

With this view, the first thing to which I exhort you is, an attention to the preservation of that affection for each other which first determined you to be partners for life. In the continuance of this alone, you will find the sufferings of the present state considerably reduced. Trials and difficulties are the common lot of humanity, and you

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