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Adam Bede

says, 'She that's married careth for the things of the world how she may please
her husband'; and may happen you'll think me overbold to speak to you about it
again, after what you told me o' your mind last Saturday. But I've been thinking it
over again by night and by day, and I've prayed not to be blinded by my own
desires, to think what's only good for me must be good for you too. And it seems
to me there's more texts for your marrying than ever you can find against it. For
St. Paul says as plain as can be in another place, 'I will that the younger women
marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to
speak reproachfully'; and then 'two are better than one'; and that holds good with
marriage as well as with other things. For we should be o' one heart and o' one
mind, Dinah. We both serve the same Master, and are striving after the same
gifts; and I'd never be the husband to make a claim on you as could interfere with
your doing the work God has fitted you for. I'd make a shift, and fend indoor and
out, to give you more liberty-- more than you can have now, for you've got to get
your own living now, and I'm strong enough to work for us both."
When Seth had once begun to urge his suit, he went on earnestly and almost
hurriedly, lest Dinah should speak some decisive word before he had poured
forth all the arguments he had prepared. His cheeks became flushed as he went
on his mild grey eyes filled with tears, and his voice trembled as he spoke the
last sentence. They had reached one of those very narrow passes between two
tall stones, which performed the office of a stile in Loamshire, and Dinah paused
as she turned towards Seth and said, in her tender but calm treble notes, "Seth
Bede, I thank you for your love towards me, and if I could think of any man as
more than a Christian brother, I think it would be you. But my heart is not free to
marry. That is good for other women, and it is a great and a blessed thing to be a
wife and mother; but 'as God has distributed to every man, as the Lord hath
called every man, so let him walk.' God has called me to minister to others, not to
have any joys or sorrows of my own, but to rejoice with them that do rejoice, and
to weep with those that weep. He has called me to speak his word, and he has
greatly owned my work. It could only be on a very clear showing that I could
leave the brethren and sisters at Snowfield, who are favoured with very little of
this world's good; where the trees are few, so that a child might count them, and
there's very hard living for the poor in the winter. It has been given me to help, to
comfort, and strengthen the little flock there and to call in many wanderers; and
my soul is filled with these things from my rising up till my lying down. My life is
too short, and God's work is too great for me to think of making a home for
myself in this world. I've not turned a deaf ear to your words, Seth, for when I saw
as your love was given to me, I thought it might be a leading of Providence for
me to change my way of life, and that we should be fellow-helpers; and I spread
the matter before the Lord. But whenever I tried to fix my mind on marriage, and
our living together, other thoughts always came in--the times when I've prayed by
the sick and dying, and the happy hours I've had preaching, when my heart was
filled with love, and the Word was given to me abundantly. And when I've opened
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