Searchlights on Health/Influence of Female Character
INFLUENCE OF FEMALE CHARACTER.
1. MORAL EFFECT.—It is in its moral effect on the mind and the heart of man, that the influence of woman is most powerful and important. In the diversity of tastes, habits, inclinations, and pursuits of the two sexes, is found a most beneficent provision for controlling the force and extravagance of human passion. The objects which most strongly seize and stimulate the mind of man, rarely act at the same time and with equal power on the mind of woman. She is naturally better, purer, and more chaste in thought and language.
2. FEMALE CHARACTER.—But the influence of female character on the virtue of men, is not seen merely in restraining and softening the violence of human passion. To her is mainly committed the task of pouring into the opening mind of infancy its first impressions of duty, and of stamping on its susceptible heart the first image of its God. Who will not confess the influence of a mother in forming the heart of a child? What man is there who can not trace the origin of many of the best maxims of his life to the lips of her who gave him birth? How wide, how lasting, how sacred is that part of a woman's influence.
3. VIRTUE OF A COMMUNITY.—There is yet another mode by which woman may exert a powerful influence on the virtue of a community. It rests with her in a pre-eminent degree, to give tone and elevation to the moral character of the age, by deciding the degree of virtue that shall be necessary to afford a passport to her society. If all the favor of woman were given only to the good, if it were known that the charms and attractions of beauty and wisdom, and wit, were reserved only for the pure; if, in one word, something of a similar rigor were exerted to exclude the profligate and abandoned of society, as is shown to those, who have fallen from virtue,—how much would be done to re-enforce the motives to moral purity among us, and impress on the minds of all a reverence for the sanctity and obligations of virtue.
4. THE INFLUENCE OF WOMAN ON THE MORAL SENTIMENTS.—The influence of woman on the moral sentiments of society is intimately connected with her influence on its religious character; for religion and a pure and elevated morality must ever stand in the relation to each other of effect and cause. The heart of a woman is formed for the abode of sacred truth; and for the reasons alike honorable to her character and to that of society. From the nature of humanity this must be so, or the race would soon degenerate and moral contagion eat out the heart of society. The purity of home is the safeguard to American manhood.