Sunday, January 18, 2009

Female Industry...

(taken from The Pathway of Life by T. Dewitt Talmage)

I see in my subject an illustration of the beauty of female industry.
Behold Ruth toiling in the harvest-field under the hot sun, or at noon taking
plain bread with the reapers, or eating the parched corn which Boaz hauded
to her. The customs of society, of course, have changed, and without the
hardships and exposure to which Ruth was subjected, every intelligent woman
will find something to do.
I know there is a sickly sentimentality on this subject. In some families
there are persons of no practical service to the household or community ; and
though there are so many woes all around about them in the world, they
spend their time languishing over a new pattern, or bursting into tears at
midnight over the story of some lover who shot himself They would not
deign to look at Ruth carrying back the barley on her way home to her
mother-in-law, Naomi. All this fastidiousness may seem to do very well while
they are under the shelter of their father's house ; but when the sharp winter
of misfortune comes, what of these butterflies ? Persons under indulgent parentage ma}^ get upon themselves habits of indolence ; but when the}^ come
out into practical life their souls will recoil with disgust and chagrin. They
will feel in their hearts what the poet so severely- satirized when he said
Folks are so awkward, things so impolite,
They're elegantly pained from morning till night.
Through that gate of indolence how many men and women have marched,
useless on earth, to a destroyed eternity-! Spinola said to Sir Horace Vere
" Of what did your brother die ?"
" Of having nothing to do," was the answer.
"Ah," said Spinola, " that's enough to kill any general of us.'
Oh ! can it be possible in this world, where there is so much suffering to
be alleviated, so much darkness to be enlightened, and so man}' burdens to be
carried, that there is au}^ person who cannot find anything to do ?
Mme. De Stael did a world of work in her time ; and, one day, while she
was seated amid instruments of music, all of which she had mastered, and
amid manuscript books which she had written, some one said to her
" How do 3' on find time to attend to all these things ?"
" Oh," she replied, " these are not the things I am proud of. My chief
boast is in the fact that I have seventeen trades, by any one of which I
could make a livelihood if necessary."
Elihu Burritt learned many things while toiling in a blacksmith's shop.
Abercrombie, the world-renowned philosopher, was a philosopher in Scotland,
and he got his philosophy, or the chief part of it, while, as a physician, he
was waiting for the door of the sick room to open. Yet how many there are
in this day who say they are so busy they have no time for mental or spiritual
improvement ; the great duties of life cross the field like strong reapers
and carry off all the hours, and there is only here and there a fragment left
that is not worth gleaning. Ah, my friends, you could go into the busiest
day and busiest week of your life and find golden opportunities, which, gathered,
might at least make a whole sheaf for the Lord's garner. It is the
stray opportunities and the stray privileges which, taken up and bound
together and beaten out, will at last fill you with abounding joy.
There are a few moments left worth the gleaning. Now, Ruth, to the
field ! May each one have a measure full and running over ! O you gleaners,
to the field ! And if there be in your household an aged one or a sick relative
that is not strong enough to come forth and toil in this field, then let
Ruth take home to feeble Naomi this sheaf of gleaning : " He that goeth
forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with
rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him." May the Lord God of Ruth and
Naomi be our portion forever!

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