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ing feeble, finite, erring man to the unerring, infallible, and glorious God. She has her place in that system, wltich works on, to consummate at last the perfection of human character, and the supreme felicity of human destiny.

CHAPTER IX.

PROPRIETIES OF MARRIED LIFE.

SARAI AND HAGAR.

As some fair violet, loveliest of the glade,
Sheds its mild fragrance on the lonely shade,
Withdraws its modest head from public sight,
Nor courts the sun, nor seeks the glare of light,
Should some rude hand profanely dare intrude,
And bear its beauties from its native wood,
Exposed abroad its languid colors fly,
Its form decays, and all its odors die ;
So woman, born to dignify retreat,
Unknown to flourish, and unseen be great;
To give domestic life its sweetest charm,
With softness polish, and with virtue warm;
Fearful of fame, unwilling to be known,

Should seek but Heaven's applauses and her own.
AND SARAI, ABRAHAM'S WIFE, TOOK HAGAR, HER MAID, THE

EGYPTIAN, AFTER ABRAHAM HAD DWELT TEN YEARS IN THE LAND OF CANAAN, AND GAVE HER TO HER HUSBAND ABRAHAM, TO BE HIS WIFE. Gen. 16: 3.

It is almost impossible for us, with our notions of life, and our well-regulated governments, to appreciate the position of the men and women who lived in patriarchal ages. The customs of society are so changed, the world has so wonderfully increased in numbers and knowledge, that an unbridged chasm separates us from the years beyond the Christian era. We are unable to account for the follies, or put a proper estimate upon the virtues, of the early inhabitants of the world. And yet a knowledge of patriarchal life would go far to disabuse our minds of false impressions, and relieve us of distressing doubts, which we often cherish.

In the early ages of the world, before civil governments were instituted, or constitutions were written, the father was sole law maker and judge. His children, his servants, all his dependants, looked to him for law, and his word was life or death. Human society was in its simplest state, and the head of the family exercised all the control of an absolute monarch. If he did wrong, there was no power on earth to call him to an account. He held his authority direct from God, to whom alone he was accountable, and who alone was able to punish him. His dependants were abject slaves. They came to him for protection, and banded with his family against the robbers of the wilderness. He held their lives and fortunes, and rewarded or punished them according to his pleasure. This patriarchal life Abraham was

living at the time he was first introduced to our notice. He was the head of a large household, consisting of servants, and herdsmen, and other dependants who had clustered about him. His absolute reign was approved of God, who gave him direction as to his course of conduct and his line of duty.

Sarai was his wife. She was his half sister, the daughter of his father. In those early days, God had as yet given no instruction as to the marriage relation ; and as marriage is arbitrary, it was no sin for Abraham to take for his companion so near a relative. There was no law but that of preference, and that he obeyed. Sarai was a native of Uz, a city of the Chaldees, in Mesopotamia. Her name signifies a princess of royal lineage, and she was probably accomplished and engaging. The people of Uz were fire worshippers, and from her youth Sarai had witnessed the devotions in the temple of the sun. But in the absence of positive proof, we have some reason to believe that Sarai was a worshipper of God. Her soul rose above the gross and sensual mass which bowed in bondage to a bonfire at night, or the sun by day. It may be that this religious superiority made Abraham select her from all the beautiful women to whom he had access, and who would have been flattered by the attentions of a man so wealthy and powerful.

Sarai first appears to us making a noble sacrifice for the good of her husband. The first positive information we have concerning her presents her in a noble and endearing light. God commanded her husband to depart from his own country, from his kindred, and from his father's house, into a distant land. Where this land was he was not informed; how long it would take to find it he knew not; what dangers would beset him in the way were not told him. Sarai, like a true wife, determined to accompany him. She loved her home, and many fond ties bound her to her kindred and her clime. But her husband's business and welfare required him to depart, and she was willing to leave all, and go with him. We must consider, in estimating the conduct of Sarai, that she was about encountering the greatest hardships. There were no levelled turnpikes, no cushioned rail cars, no modern improvements and facilities for travelling in those days. It was a weary march which they were to commence. The love of home and the entreaties of friends united against what must at first have appeared to her as a Quixotic movement. But she went. There was no murmuring on her part. Where her husband was she wished to be, to share his joys and mitigate his sorrows. And this will be the spirit of every true wife. Her pleasures will

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