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NTEXT to the dispositions and manI ners of Young Women, those of
Young Men may be regarded as of the
greatest consequence, both to the present į and future generations. It is certain they
will be attended with the most powerful e influence on that Sex, whose empire is
universal. Their mutual intercourse indeed is evidently much more efficacious,
in moulding the minds, and directing ī the actions, of others, than the highest
authority, or the wisest example, of age. How deeply society will be affected by the connexions which Young Men shall form, and by the conduct which they shall hold, as they advance, it is not difficult to imagine ; nor can it be necessary to e prove, that, as the behaviour of indivi, duals in their early days gives for the most part a turn to the rest, so from the
character of our Youth in general, we may prognosticate favourably, or otherwise, concerning our own times, and those that shall more immediately succeed thein. For these reasons, and others that need not now be stated, the improvement of the rising age in the best things, has always appeared to me an object of the first magnitude. On this principle Sermons to Young Women were attempted. From the generous reception with which they were honoured by the public, many persons, whose judgement I must ever respect, were induced to intiinate the most obliging wishes that I might proceed to address the Youth of my own sex. But such an undertaking was at first rendered impoffible by ill health ; and afterwards, when I thought of engaging in it, I hesitated long from real diffidence.
· I readily reflected, that I could add but little to the large stores of moral and religious instruction, with which Young Men
disposed to use them were already furnished from a variety of quarters: and when I contemplated those giddy youth who wanted admonition most, I eafily discovered that they were least inclined to receive it. From the impetuosity of their passions, and the force of their prejudices, together with the thousand artifices that were constantly employed to inflame the former and strengthen the latter, while the voice of Virtuous Friendfhip, and of Domestic Wisdom, was either not exerted, or not heard in the din and tumult of the world, nothing seemed so difficult as obtaining the attention of such minds to counsel in the shape of Sermons. I well knew with what contempt and disgust they were taught to look on every thing that bears the name of Preaching: nor was I conscious of possessing skill fufficient to surmount effectually so powerful an obftacle.
The regard to decorum, which the generality of Young Women deem it ne
cessary to preserve ; the happy restraint from many evils, and subjection to useful rules, which that lays them under; their quick feeling of reputation, and ardent desire to please by a derneanour at once attractive and unblemished; the diffusive influence of these qualities on their whole characters; the peculiar warmth and softness of their affections; their superior aptitude for devotion; their prevailing sensibility to whatever can entertain the imagination, or impress the heart; and . perhaps may be added, the lively interest they take in those that are avowedly attached to them, as they might perceive I was ;- all these things concurred to supply me, with such handles in addressing that sex, as I could not hope to find in the other case. If, in consequence of so many advantages, my endeavours met with approbation, it was natural for me to entertain doubts of success, where those advantages did not take place; where, on the contrary, the disadvantages were great;