( Originally Published 1879 )
MARRIAGE has a great refining and moralizing tendency. Nearly all the debauchery and crime is committed by unmarried men, or by those who have wives equal to none, at least to them. When a man marries early, and uses prudence in choosing a suitable companion, he is likely to lead a virtuous, happy life. But in an unmarried state, all alluring vices have a tendency to draw him away. We notice in the State penitentiary reports that nearly all the criminals are bachelors. The more married men you have, the fewer crimes there will be. Marriage renders a man more virtuous and more wise. An unmarried man is but half of a perfect being, and it requires the other half to make things right; and it cannot be expected that in this imperfect state he can keep straight in the path of rectitude any more than a boat with one oar can keep a straight course. In nine cases out of ten, where married men become drunkards, or where they commit crimes against the peace of the community, the foundation of these acts was laid while in a single state, or where the wife is, as is sometimes the case, an unsuitable match. Marriage changes the current of a man's feelings and gives him a center for his thoughts, his affections and his acts.
If it were intended for man to be single, there would be no harm in remaining so; and, on the other hand, it would become a crime if any persons would unite and live as wedded. But, since this is not the Divine law, it is a sin and crime if men do not marry, and live as designed.
Marriage is a school and exercise of virtue; and though marriage hath cares, yet single life hath desires, which are more troublesome and more dangerous, and often end in sin; while the cares are but exercises of piety; and, therefore, if the single life hath more privacy of devotion, yet marriage hath more variety of it, and is an exercise of more graces. Marriage is the proper scene of piety and patience; of the duty of parents and the charity of relations; here kindness is spread abroad, and love is united and made firm as a center. Marriage is the nursery of heaven. The virgin sends prayers to God; but she carries but one soul to him; but the state of her marriage fills up the numbers of the elect, and bath in it the labor of love, and the delicacies . of friendship, the blessings of society, and the union of hearts and hands. It hath in it more safety than the single life; it hath more care, it is more merry and more sad; is fuller of sorrows and fuller of joys; it lies under more burdens, but is supported by all the strength of love and charity which makes those bur-dens delightful. Marriage is the mother of the world, and preserves kingdoms, and fills cities, and churches, and heaven itself, and is that -state of good things to which God hath designed the present constitution of the world.
We advise every young man to get married. The chances are better by fifty per cent., all through life, in every respect. There is no tear shed for the old bachelor; there is no ready hand and kind heart to cheer him in his loneliness and bereavement; there is none in whose eyes he can see himself reflected, and from whose lips he can receive the unfailing assurances of care and love. He may be courted for his money; he may eat and drink and revel; and he may sicken and die in a hotel or a garret, with plenty of attend-ants about him, like so many cormorants waiting foi their prey; but he will never know the comforts of the domestic fireside.
The guardians of the Holborn Union lately advertised for candidates to fill the situation of engineer at the work-house, a single man a wife not being allowed to reside on the premises. Twenty-one candidates presented themselves, but it was found that as to testimonials, character, workmanship, and appearance, the best men were all married men. The guardians had therefore to elect a married man.
A man who avoids matrimony on account of the cares of wedded life, cuts himself off from a great blessing for fear of a trifling annoyance. He rivals the wise-acre who secured himself against corns by having his legs amputated. My bachelor brother, there cannot, by any possibility, be a home where there is no wife. To talk of a home without love, we might as well expect to find an American fireside in one of the pyramids of Egypt.
There is a world of wisdom in the following: "Every schoolboy knows that a kite would not fly unless it had a string tying it down. It is just so in life. The man who is tied down by half-a-dozen blooming responsibilities and their mother, will make a higher and stronger flight than the bachelor who, having nothing to keep him steady, is always floundering in the mud. If you want to ascend in the world, tie yourself to somebody."