“For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?” (1 Cor. 7:16).
“His wives turned away his heart after other gods” (1 Kings 11:4).
There is no such thing as negative influence. We are all positive in the place we occupy, making the world better or making it worse, on the Lord’s side or on the devil’s, making up the reason for our blessedness or banishment; and we have already done a mighty work in peopling Heaven or hell. By the force of your evil influence you have already consumed infinite values, or you have, by the power of a right influence, won whole kingdoms for God.—De Witt Talmage.
I know not a more serious thing than the responsibility incurred by human affection. Only think of this: whoever loves you is growing like you! Neither you nor he can hinder it save at the cost of alienation. Oh, if you are grateful for but one creature’s love, rise to the height of so pure a blessing. Drag them not down by the very embrace by which they cling to you, but through their gentleness and trust secure their consecration.—James Martineau.
The tidal wave of deeper souls
Into our inmost being rolls,
And lifts us unawares
Out of all meaner cares.
—H. W. Longfellow.
A striking example of the above principle is the case of Reubens, the great painter. His works of art are distinctly influenced by the two women who shared his life at different periods. His first wife exerted a spiritual and refined effect. While she lived, his paintings showed a dignity of refinement, culminating in his greatest masterpiece, “The Descent from the Cross.”
Under the baser influence of his second wife, Reubens’ paintings predominantly catered to the lower instincts of coarseness and sensuality.
If we can produce such a lasting effect upon those who love us, how careful we should be of the sway we hold over a human soul.
She never found fault with you, never implied
Your wrong by her right; and yet men at her side
Grew nobler, girls purer, as through the whole town
The children were gladder that pulled at her gown—
My Kate.—Elizabeth B. Browning.