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In bringing the Ladies’ Work-Table Book to a close, we cannot persuade ourselves to dismiss the subject, without a word or two to our fair friends, as to the use, necessary to be made, of all the useful or ornamental accomplishments their circumstances and situations may enable them to acquire. We should never, for one moment, suffer the utile to be absent from our thoughts: she who has no definite aim in what she does, can never have any good ground of hope, that, in her progress through life, she can attain to excellence.

These remarks apply principally to that large class, who are dependent upon exertion of some kind, for the means of comfort and respectability, in their respective stations. But, as those ladies, whose circumstances render a practical acquaintance with the arts here treated of, a matter of indifference, a knowledge of them is, by no means, unnecessary. In many ways indeed, a lady, blessed with affluence, may render an acquaintance with the details of needlework extensively useful.

It is often the case that young persons are engaged in families, whose education has been, from some cause or other, lamentably neglected. In those cases, the lady who feels her obligations, and[157] is actuated by a true Christian spirit, will consider herself as standing in the place of a mother to her humble dependents; and, under a deep sense of her high responsibilities, will endeavor to improve, and fit them, by suitable and kindly-imparted instructions, for the proper discharge of the duties of that station, which it may be presumed they will in after days be called upon to fill. In this case, how useful will the kind and careful mistress find a knowledge of that art, which teaches the proper method of making those articles of dress which are so essential to every family who, however humble, are desirous of securing the respect of the wise and the good, by judicious economy, and a neat and respectable appearance.

Those ladies who are in the habit of devoting a portion of their time to the superintendence of our female charity schools, will also find such knowledge extremely beneficial. To those who are disposed to follow the example of the holy Dorcas, in providing garments for the deserving and destitute poor, an acquaintance with plain needlework is indispensible; and indeed, it will, in every walk of life, be found useful to her who is, by the animating love of the Lord Jesus, disposed

“To seek the wretched out,
And court the offices of soft humanity.”

Another advantage may also be gained, by a manifestation of the kindly solicitude for the improvement of domestics, here pointed out. In cases where the secular tuition of young persons has been neglected, it will be generally found that their religious and moral training has been equally uncared for. Let the Christian lady evince a real desire to improve the temporal condition of those beneath her influence, and she will soon find that the best affections of the heart are opened to the reception of instructions of a higher[158] and still more important character. Hard indeed must be that heart which can resist the influence of genuine kindness exercised in a friendly Christian spirit. We once had the pleasure of seeing a young servant baptized in the faith of Christ, while those in whose service she was, and two others, highly respectable persons, answered for her at the font. This beautiful meeting together of the rich and the poor, took place in one of the most splendid parish churches in England, and left on our minds an impression which will never be effaced.

In the foregoing pages we have endeavored to lay before the young votary of the needle, such instructions as we hope will be found sufficiently clear to enable her to produce many a delightful specimen of her assiduity, taste, and judgment. We have sought to be concise, without being obscure; and to give plain directions, without making our readers mere imitators, or copyists. One fault which is to be found in all the books on these subjects, which we have seen, we have carefully avoided; that is, the giving a list of the various colours to be employed in the fabrication of each example given. Nothing can be more absurd, and mischievous than this. The young work-woman can only exercise her judgment, to any extent, in this department of her labors. The various stitches she must form according to the prescribed rule; because, in most instances, they can be performed in no other manner; but in the choice of materials, and colors, she should have free scope: here judgment, taste, and fancy, should range untrammelled by rules and forms; and yet this is rarely done, because the lady is taught to rely upon her patterns, and scarcely ever to consult her own sense of beauty or propriety. We see the effect of this, in the sameness, and monotonous appearance of almost all kinds of fancy-work: and we have endeavored to do our best, to introduce a more cor[159]rect taste and principle into this department of the elegant arts, in which females are engaged. We know that much native genius exists among our fair countrywomen; and we wish to see it expand, as freely as the refreshing breeze, that sweeps over our native hills.

We have before alluded to the various and interesting uses to which the needle can be applied, and the high moral ends it is so well calculated to promote: and if such be its importance, then it will be readily admitted by all, that he who has made the most improvements, and produced the most finished specimens of this all-important instrument, has conferred a real benefit upon his race.

We have a higher end in view, than promoting the acquisition of accomplishments, however elegant or pleasing. We wish to direct the minds of those whom we are thus endeavoring to interest and instruct, to the immortal beauties of moral excellence. These works may be made conducive, in a high degree, to the development of family affection, and the promotion, to a vast extent, of the purposes of genuine charity, benevolence, and friendship. But there is yet a higher kind of use, to which we would apply them. We would have the young lady, who is becoming expert and clever at her needle to reflect, as the beautiful fabric grows beneath her forming hand, that her work, and the power and skill to plan and execute it, is an emanation of the Immortal Mind; of that Mind, whose creative powers are a faint, but legible transcript of the Omnipotent Wisdom of the Deity. This thought gives a permanency to what would, in any other light be only transitory as the summer cloud. It is Omnipotent Wisdom and Power, which has contrived and executed all the beautiful wonders of creation; and that Wisdom and Power were called into activity by Omnipotent Love. We wish to impress this sublime truth upon the mind of our young[160] readers, because we wish them to place their Heavenly Father before them—as their pattern and example—in all that they take in hand; and to remember that, as He formed the universe by Wisdom, from Love—so all their actions and elegant contrivances should be the result of judgment, guided by affection—that they may thus become like their Father, who is in Heaven.

Indeed, it is only when accomplishments are rendered subservient to the development of moral goodness, that they may become pursuits at all worthy of an accountable being. We were not sent into this world to flutter through life, like the gaudy butterfly, only to be seen and admired. We were designed to be useful to our fellow beings; and to make all our powers and capabilities, in some way or other conducive to the happiness and welfare of our co-journeyers on the path of time. To this end, we wish our fair countrywomen to devote their best attention; and, in its attainment, to exert every energy which they possess. We wish them to make all the knowledge which they may acquire subserve some noble purpose; which will outlive the present hour. But to do this, the well-spring of the purest affections must be opened in the soul; and the elegant productions of taste and genius become vitalized, and animated, by the spirit of love. Thus, and thus only, can the occupations of a leisure hour be converted into efficient ministers of good; and such they will assuredly be found, if practised from right motives, and placed in due subordination to the right exercise of more important duties. The young votaress of the needle, of drawing, or of music, should ever bear in mind, that the time employed in those pursuits, will be accounted lost or improved, by the impartial Judge of all—just in proportion as they have been made to serve the purposes of selfish gratification, or to minister to the development of an elevated moral character—generous and warm affections—and[161] the cultivation of those virtues, which, as essentials of the Christian character, shall outlive the ravages of time, and qualify the soul for all the beatitudes of a coming eternity.

In all then that the young lady aims to learn, or to accomplish, let her place a high and moral standard before her, and resolve to render every transaction of her life conducive to her preparation for a higher state of being. Our various faculties and powers were not given us to be wasted, but to be used to the honor of our Creator—the comfort and welfare of those around us—and, as a consequence of our faithful discharge of our several obligations, conducive, in an eminent degree, to our happiness. No mistake can be more fatal, than an idea that, for what we call trifles, we shall have no account to render. What we call trifles, may be, in their consequence, both to ourselves and others, the most important acts of our lives. It is not by great events that our characters are formed; but by the neglect or performance of our duties in that state of life, into which the Wisdom of our Heavenly Father has seen fit to call us. To elevate the sufferings, soothe the sorrows, increase the comforts, and enhance the joys of all around us, should be the highest aim of a laudable ambition—and every endeavor should be most assiduously devoted to the accomplishment of these important ends. It is, in fact, only when we thus employ our various talents and capabilities, that they are really useful, in any other case, they are only ministers to our personal pride, and selfish gratification, instead of becoming links in that golden chain, by which the faithful performance of appointed duties is elevated to the possession of “a crown of righteousness, that fadeth not away.”

Let, then, the youthful female, as she plies her needle, or exercises her judgment or ingenuity, in the choice of colors or mate[162]rials, or in the invention of new developments of creative genius, ever remember to exercise those powers as a Christian—let her cultivate, in her inmost soul, the conviction, that all her skill and power is imparted from on high—and let her be careful to make all she does, a sacrifice, acceptable to her God, by doing all in the spirit, and under the influence of that sacred charity—that boundless benevolence—which ever rejoices, in making its various capabilities subservient to the good of others, and thus gives to the otherwise perishable occurrences of time, an endurance and a continuity, that shall endure for ever.


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