Youth's Magazine,  3rd ser. 4 (1831), 326–32.

Passive Duties



Short Fiction—Introduction; Letter; Afterword


Medical Practitioners, Expertise, Disease, Morality, Piety, Providence

    The introduction explains that Ellen Montague lost her mother just as she reached womanhood, and relied heavily on the counsel of Mrs Arnold, who was 'her senior by several years', and was 'married to a physician, at some distance from the metropolis where Ellen usually resided' (326). The letters between Ellen and Mrs Arnold chiefly focus on Ellen's disinclination to follow the advice of her medical attendants that she should rest. Dr Arnold, having made a visit to her while in London, has seconded the opinion of her own physician. Ellen, however, considers that she is doing wrong in neglecting 'present opportunities of doing good, in order to preserve a useless life for future service, to which, probably, I may never be called', and thinks Dr Arnold overestimates the importance of health (328). Mrs Arnold advises her that there are 'passive, as well as active duties', and under conditions of illness 'abundant opportunity is afforded to glorify God and benefit others, by our patient acquiescence in the Divine will, our holy cheerfulness in the midst of outward suffering'. Even more may be gained in terms of personal piety in the 'school of affliction'. (330)

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