« PreviousContinue »
common welfare, and form, both together, but one soul! This design of religion and of nature is frustrated by those married persons, who, instead of consoling and assisting each other, seek to impose upon one another a miserable slavery. This design of religion and of nature is frustrated by those who, through the capriciousness and perversity of their tempers, scatter thorns over a path where peace ought to attend their steps. This design is frustrated by those who, though living in a condition intended to be the safeguard of moral principle, trifle with its solemn engagements, and give themselves up to all the licentiousness of unbridled appetite; thus converting into evil what God intended for good, and wholly defeating, as far as regards themselves, his salutary purposes. Happy they, who devote themselves, with sincerity of heart, to the discharge of duties at once so sacred, and, for upright minds, so pleasant to fulfil! Happy the virtuous and faithful pair, who, guided by a love of duty, and inspired by affectionate regard, labour in concert to promote their mutual prosperity; and by means of a constant interchange of kindness and good offices, are enabled to preserve inviolate the union to which they are vowed! They know, by experience, that virtue is its own recompense. Within the precincts of their home, all things breathe calmness, serenity, confidence; there, the effusions of reciprocal intimacy are poured forth; there, the ills of life are assuaged, and its sufferings forgotten ; there, its pleasures are multiplied by participation; there it is, that prosperity confers its highest charm, that adversity finds a refuge and a consolation. But why do I name adversity, in speaking of marriages where the union consists far more in affection and in goodness, than in the legal ties which bind the parties? Can Heaven, whose laws they are fulfilling in their lives, be deaf to their prayers? Has not the conjugal union been at all times entitled to draw down the Divine benedictions upon its votaries? Where, generally speaking, but in the dwellings of virtuous couples, are prosperous and happy families reared ? It is the privilege of such to see their children, obedient, like themselves, to the Divine voice within them, laying the foundations of their rising fortunes, far from those storms to which the passions give rise,—to see them preparing, by the exercise of virtues which themselves have instilled, to become the ornament and comfort of their old age. And when, summoned to the bosom of their Saviour, they shall have exchanged their abode in this perishable world for the dwellings of eternity, those children, now become in their turn husbands, and wives, will cherish their memory as the dearest subject of their discourse; they will shed tears of tenderness when they call to mind those revered parents, under whose care they passed their earliest
years in the peace of innocence; and their hearts will be a temple in which shall unceasingly burn for them the incense of veneration and fond regret. Such is the destiny provided for conjugal virtue. As hear me, as are husbands or wives, realize it for yourselves! Enjoy the help and the peace which your condition affords; smoothe each other's
passage through that path of life which your God has called you to pursue together;
and thus, having tasted here below the first-fruits of that union which is the lot of the saints in glory, you will find its full perfection in the blessed immortality which the Lord reserves for his faithful servants! Amen.