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The author did hope, that this volume would have embraced the Varieties of Female
The author gratefully acknowledges, that he has not appealed in vain to the Mothers
NEWINGTON GREEN, 1836.
MARTHA AND THE MARTHAS. heavenly things have any real place in their affecThe key to the second volume of the Lady's Clotions. Others, again, have so much to contend set Library, must be taken from the fact, that with, either from temperament or condition, from pious females, who have not exactly the spirit of trials or temptations, that they are almost the creaMary, are usually ranked with Martha. Indeed,
tures of circumstances, and vary in their feelings they regard themselves as Marthas, and are some
with all the variations of their bealth or prosperiwhat doubtful whether they have really « chosen ty. They are the good part, which shall not be taken from"
“Every thing by turns, them. It is, therefore, because these who are not
And nothing long." very like Mary, class themselves, and are classed, with Martha, that I bring under her name, “The It would be easy (and as useless as easy) to deVarieties of Female Piety.” Many of its varie- pict these faults and defects. It would be still ties are almost as unlike her, as she was unlike easier, and more useless, to condemn them. They her sister : but all of them, so far as they are oc- can only be reproved with effect, by what can casioned by faults or defects of character and cure them effectually. Nothing but the remedy temper, require the same treatment which Martha provided for them in the gospel, can bring home received from Christ ;-tenderness enough to pre- their sin or folly to the heart. It is only when we vent despair, and reproof enough to check pre- see, from the designs of grace, and from the chasumption.
racter of glory, what we ought to be, and what we Martha's faults are not the only faults, which may be, that we acknowledge, even to ourselves, the Saviour rebukes and chastises, in all whom what we really are. It is when confronted with He loves. His object is, to have all his real disci- the image of Christ and the image of the Heaples conformed to His own image ; and, therefore venly, that we become alarmed at the “
“earthy" he contends against whatever, in each of them, is features of our own image. No light, but the most unlike himself. Whatever had been the be- light of eternity, can expose our faults fully, and setting sin of Martha's character or spirit, his re- yet set us to correct them willingly, at the same buke,—“ Martha, Martha !” would have been time. We may yield partly to human influence ; equally pointed and unequivocal. It applies, there but nothing less than Divine authority, and that fore, to all those varieties of piety which, like only in its paternal spirit and eternal sanctions, hers, leave some doubt upon all minds (the pos- can sway our inclinations. sessors not excepted) of its present reality, or of Convinced of all this by my own experience, its future issue. The rebuke bears directly, not and from the contact or correspondence into which indeed upon all imperfection, but upon all impru- my “GUIDES” have brought me with so many of dence and oversight, negligence and self-will. the varieties of male and female piety, at home Accordingly, it is applied to themselves, by many and abroad, I have not confronted the peculiaripious females, who never went Martha's lengths in ties of men and women “ professing godliness ;” ill-temper. There are meek and amiable women, nor contrasted the Marthas with the Marys; nor who feel instinctively that they have more of Mar- even compared the sexes : but have brought all tha, than of Mary, in their character. Some of the varieties of piety, to the one standard by them, although not “ cumbered about much serv- which they will all be tried at last,—the image of ing,” are yet so cumbered about something, that Christ ! And where there is not conscience their hearts are almost divided between God and enough to take lessons there-I certainly do not the world. Others, again, although not "careful include such characters amongst the varieties of and troubled about many things,” are yet so ab- Christians. They vary too little from the world, sorbed with some earthly good or evil in their lot, to have any identity with the Church. In a word, that it is very doubtful to themselves, whether I have nothing to say, in this volume, to any female who is quite satisfied with her own piety, either as Martha was as much delighted, on this occasion, to its kind or degree. It is intended to encourage to take her sister to the feet of Jesus, to hear his those who " stand in doubt” of themselves, and “gracious words," as she was once offended with to “stir up, by way of remembrance,” the “ pure her for sitting at his feet. minds” of those who are doubted by others. Al this is highly creditable to her; and it ex
Such being my design, I have said little about plains, in some degree, why « Jesus loved Martha,” Martha. I entertain no doubt of her piety. She as well as Mary. Still, I dare not take her piety presents, in her honest, although bustling, regard out of the cloud, which the Saviour's rebuke,– to the Saviour, a noble contrast to her nation, and “ Martha, Martha !"_left upon it. That rebuke to the mass of her sex. She was even more was as much intended for warning, as His conprompt than Mary, to meet Christ, when he came tinued love was for encouragement. It would, to Bethany on the death of Lazarus ; and she therefore, be as unwise to make the star of His was the first to whisper cautiously to her, (whom love disperse the cloud of His reproof entirely, as she had once, perhaps often, scolded) “The it would be unfair to make the cloud eclipse the Master is come, and calleth for thee.” He had star, at all. They are equally over Martha's called for Mary; but he had not sent Martha head, in her history; and, therefore, I dare not with his message. She, however, would not trust separate nor soften them : but must leave the the tenderness or the prudence of any one, to star in all its brightness, and the cloud in all its break the good news to her weeping sister ; but, darkness, to make their own impression upon the moment she saw that they were good news, every female, who is conscious of any thing which away she ran, to prepare Mary for them, and to deserves the “ Martha, Martha !” of the Saviour bring her to Jesus without fear or surprise. Thus she loves and desires to be loved by.