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and dressmakers, who, to avoid displacing their work, often expose themselves day after day to breathe an impure air, and inhale dusty particles into their lungs. To this, perhaps, still more than to their sedentary employment, may be traced the wan, pallid looks of a large portion of this class of females. It is possible to sit a great many hours at work, and yet preserve a comfortable degree of health, by steady attention to air and exercise, combined with early rising and habits of strict temperance.
It is not uncommon for young women, who gain their livelihood by needle-work, to work by the day in the houses of their employers, and in many respects it is very advantageous. The wall to and fro, and the change of scene, are conducive to health and enlivening to the spirits, and many opportunities of observation and improvement are afforded. These will be carefully taken advantage of by the young woman who duly appreciates selfimprovement. I should pity the girl who, having been accustomed to work in the houses of intelligent, well-informed, and well-disposed families, should have failed to treasure up stores of sound principles, judicious observations, and praiseworthy habits for her own guidance and imitation. I should fear that her mind was entirely engrossed by vain and frivolous, if not vicious pursuits; and I should despair of her attaining excellence of any kind. a
But this is a digression. The immediate object of introducing this kind of female employment was to hint to the young person so engaged the importance of being suitably equipped, so as to guard against exposure to cold, in going and
returning to her habitation. This is one of the many instances in which her earnings had better be expended on warm, substantial, weatherproof clothing, than on flimsy finery, which a shower of rain would spoil, or which would leave the wearer exposed to injury from damp and cold. Think it not a needless precaution when a mother, or other prudent friend, urges on you to change damp shoes or stockings, or to defend the chest from keen or night air, but consider it a serious duty to pay attention to these kind injunctions. The command of nature and of Scripture is, “ Do thyself no harm;" and the inconsideration and perverseness of young people in these respects are not without sin.
But in the choice of an employment, health is not the only important matter of consideration. No prudent young person will enter on an engagement without due regard to its probable bearings on her moral and religious interests. No prospect of worldly gain can justify her in entering on a situation where her virtue would be in danger, where the sabbath would be violated, or where she would be exposed to the snares of evil company. It is possible that these evils may not appear at first sight, and yet really exist in a situation which, on the whole, has many
advantages; they then form an especial ground for circumspection and firmness. They may form an imperative reason for immediately quitting the situation, or they may only call for the exercise of unusual degrees of conscientious firmness and holy watchfulness. In giving general hints, it is impossible to prescribe for particular cases. There is certainly great danger when young people are inclined to trust in their own strength, and to venture in the way of temptation. At the same time, there may be a needless and unwarrantable timidity in shrinking at the first sight of difficulty, without making a single effort to turn aside the evil. Now, there have been cases in which a pious and conscientious young person, on finding herself in a situation where the sabbath has not been duly regarded, has, by a modest statement of her principles, and by a diligent and forecasting arrangement of the business of the week, not only prevailed in gaining her own sabbath to be suitably enjoyed and improved, but has been the means of quietly and gradually working a change in the habits of the whole establishment. In like manner, she who modestly reproved the first expression she heard of profanity or indecency, who turned a deaf ear to the frivolous tales and foolish songs that seemed to engross the minds of her companions, and who steadily resisted every temptation to swerve in the slightest degree from the path of duty and propriety, like Daniel in the court of Babylon, has not only been enabled by the power of Divine grace to maintain her own honour and integrity unsullied, but has even constrained those around her, by her good works, which they beheld, to glorify her Father in heaven. In these cases, it proved better to withstand and conquer the difficulty than to flee from it. But there are cases in which such a course would not be safe. The young person who finds herself in circumstances of difficulty will do well to seek the advice of some judicious and experienced friend, at the same time humbly and earnestly imploring Divine direction, and carefully studying the precepts of Scripture, that she may know what the Lord would have her to do. But, supposing the young reader to be settled in a suitable employment, a few hints may yet be acceptable.
1. It is the duty, and will be the interest of young persons in the situations here supposed, to render themselves truly useful to their employers, by their fidelity, diligence, aptitude, and discretion. A young person while learning a business, without absolutely doing any thing that would drive her from her situation in disgrace, may act in such a way as grievously to injure the interests of her employers, and to render the expiration of her term a period of continual desire; or, on the other hand, -she may secure the friendship of her employers, and make herself so valuable, as shall render them solicitous to retain her services on advantageous and honourable terms. It was thus even with selfish Laban, when his faithful servant Jacob proposed to quit his service ; he said to him, “I pray thee, if I have found favour in thine eyes, tarry. Appoint me thy wages, and I will give it; for I have learned by experience that the Lord hath blessed me for thy sake." It is peculiarly important when first entrusted with the work, the property, the time and the interests of others, to cultivate a conscientious habit of doing them service with good will, as unto the Lord, and not unto men. This principle constantly kept in view, would prevent all that squandering of time, slighting of work, wasting of materials, and petty purloinings, that are so commonly complained of by
employers, and which are sometimes inadvertently entered upon by young persons; but which are always sinful in the sight of God, and often prove the first steps in a guilty and ruinous course.
The conscientious fidelity above recommended is peculiarly essential to those young females, who may be in any way entrusted with the care and management of children. In proportion as theirs is a more important and responsible sphere, so is their conscientious fulfilment of its duties.' The workwoman who wastes or purloins the goods committed to her care, may injure her employers and offend their customers, and disgrace herself ; but what shall be the result of unfaithfulness when the property at stake is of no less value than the immortal soul? Think, my dear young friend, what may be the effects of your conversation and conduct on your tender charge. Habituate yourself constantly to reflect that you are sowing seeds for eternity. As far as you are concerned, these children will inevitably be the better or the worse for their connexion with you.
They are entrusted to you as a solemn charge, both by their parents and by God himself. A strict account is kept of your conduct towards them. It is impossible for us to calculate the extent or duration of its' influence, but you will meet the record at the last day. Oh how dreadful to be then reproached for having neglected, corrupted, and ruined their souls ! How delightful to be hailed with gratitude as the instrument of leading their infant minds to the Saviour, of training their dispositions, and forming their habits in such a way as to render them blessings to society on earth, and, through the