The following from the pen of the Rev. H. L. Wayland should not be a mere fancy sketch, but the reality with every born woman. He knows one such he tells us. Let that one stand the prophecy of all women in the future. We do not expect much of humanity, and so do not realize much in man or woman. “According to your faith be it unto you,” is one of the truest and sublimest utterances in human language, and one of the most important. And the principle runs through all human action and aspiration. We expect nothing, we aim at nothing, we arrive at nothing, is true of an awful proportion of the human race. The Hot Wells of Bath, England, have brought multitudes there to die as well as to be cured during the centuries, and the Old Abbey church is filled with mural and other monuments of the departed, but scarcely a name known to fame appears among them all. And a satirist there has left this tracing to be read as his estimate of them:
“These walls adorned With monument and bust,
Show how Bath’s waters serve to lay the dust.”
Over how many cemetery gates might not the substance of this be placed? And the satire will be just until loftier ideas of human possibility and perfection are entertained.
Men sometimes say of a caged lion, if he only knew his strength, how soon he would be free! So of the man, if he only knew his power, his possibilities, how quickly he would burst the second death cements that now hold him, and leap to loftier life and action? Who shall speak the new word of life to stir the stagnant souls of these unburied dead, that make our nation and the world of man so like the vision of the Hebrew prophet: a valley of dry bones! Who shall cry with his fervor and his faith too, “Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live!”
But our readers shall not lose Mr. Wayland in these musings of our own. It should be impressed on the mind and heart of universal humanity that the rare models like this described below, and all the sublimest attainments ever yet reached by saint or sage, are but the beginning, not the end, of what every mortal man and woman will one day reach in the earthly life, not the heavenly, where it doth not yet appear, even in a few models, what we shall be.
Mr. Wayland says:
“I know one lady (I use the singular number not unadvisedly), and she is not compelled by her circumstances, who makes housekeeping an art, who studies chemistry and physiology, that she may adapt her table to the comfort and health of her family; who is the mistress of her servants, and not their unpaid dependent; who knows when the work of the house is done, and if it is not done is able to show the servants the reason of their failure; and with all this, she is not a drudge, with a soul confined to pots and pans, but a sensible, pleasing and truly religious woman, who, while enhancing the happiness of her family and doubling the income of her husband, alike by reducing his expenses and freeing his mind from vexing cares, yet is also reading the best books, is serving God, and dispensing charity to man. One such woman I know; pray how many do you know?”
Source: The Revolution, August 13, 1868.
Top Image: Brooklyn sanitary fair in 1864 as shown in New England Kitchen.