Wednesday, April 1, 2009

My Creed as to Matrimony

A selection from a letter by B. M. Palmer to R. H. Reid, a young man in the ministry whom he had taught and was a mentor. Reid had asked Rev. Palmer for advice regarding marriage. He hesitated to offer advice on this subject but after consulting with Mrs. Palmer, did so anyway, even recommending a young lady in his congregation for consideration! The letter was written from Columbia, South Carolina, May 1, 1850.

… I have but two suggestions on the general subject; for really my creed as to matrimony is exceedingly simple. The first is, commit this selection of a wife to Providence, and wait until you are caught… My second suggestion is, do not surrender yourself blindly to the impulses of the taste and heart, but weigh in the balance of a sound judgment the qualities of any who may have caught you by the horns… A good wife is from the Lord; therefore deliver yourself in this to the guiding of his Providence. The great secret of a happy choice may be given in a single sentence: it consists in uniting the taste and the judgment equally in the selection. Let the former be the active power, going forward in the choice; and let the latter be the satisfying power, indorsing or else vetoing, as the case may be. If both are satisfied, there is not much danger of forming a connexion that will be regretted hereafter.

The Life and Letters of Benjamin Morgan Palmer, by Thomas Cary Johnson, first published in 1906, reprinted by The Banner of Truth Trust, 1987, pp. 145-46.

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