“And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.” (Genesis 1:31)
A thing of beauty is a rose in full bloom. What a pleasure to hold in the hand a perfect rose and admire its soft, velvety petals, to smell of its rich fragrance, and to feast upon its beauty of coloring! One would be tempted to say, “In this nature has done her best.” But nature, and the God of nature, gave us many beautiful and glorious things.
After the uncertainties of girlhood, when the crudeness and lack of symmetry in body and mind have been put away, and the woman of promise is before us in all her beauty and grace, we are privileged to see in her who was once the girl, one of the most blessed of God’s creation, a good, true woman. Just such a fulfillment of hope and expectancy every true mother wants in her daughter.
The grown woman who stands just at the door of life’s responsibilities, ready to enter in upon her life work represents powers and possibilities unbounded. Her influence in the world is sure to go on down to the end of time. It is impossible that she should live entirely for and to herself.
First is her influence upon womankind. There are none of us so weak and insignificant but that someone will pattern after us, or draw courage from us. By our trueness to principle, our loyalty to right and truth, we can each be a stay and fortress to the weaker sisters about us. In the home, in the neighborhood, in the congregation, everywhere, a good woman is a mighty force among women. And just as powerful is the influence of a woman who is not good. It lies in the power of woman to lift up, and terribly in her power to pull down and destroy.
The woman has influence unbounded with mankind. A good woman can be like a star of hope, a beacon light, a safe retreat, to the man who is struggling against the obstacles of the world. In her he can see the ideal of purity and truth, and the manhood in him will strive to be worthy of her. But if she steps down from the path of true, virtuous womanhood and becomes petty or sinful, she will be his downfall. There is no true woman who does not know that in a great measure she is her brother’s keeper.
Then comes the influence of a true woman upon the youth of her acquaintance. It may be that the boys and girls about her seem to be full of nonsense and foolishness, that they do not see her example of earnest, lovely nobility; but in a few years more she will see that her life does bear fruit among those with whom she associates. Every girl has her ideal woman, and that woman is picked from among her acquaintances. No woman can live to herself.
If the influence of a bad woman is great among her sisters, and yet more so among her brothers, it is far worse among the young. A woman with a sweet, smiling face, and a heart that is unclean, is as great a curse as can come into the life of either a boy or girl.
Oh, girls! girls! Life is so great, so wonderful, so full of possibilities, that none of us can afford to be anything but what is good and pure and true! Let us make the perfect rose an emblem of our womanhood, and strive that its fragrance shall bless all who come in contact with it.
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