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Sabbath, in every place where the Christian's God is worshipped, and men bow with heads uncovered, while women are permitted to wear covering on their heads, the superior moral purity of the female sex is proclaimed as by a voice from heaven. Angels are witnesses that "the woman is the glory of the man."
This glory she would forfeit, should she attempt "to usurp authority over him." And while the wife is commanded to reverence and obey her husband, is he not the superior? In the estimation of the world he is, because he holds the highest place in the family; but the tenure of his office proves her superior moral endowments. The wife must reverence and obey her husband, because "he is the saviour of the body;'*. that is, the worker or provider, the protector, and the lawgiver. He has been placed in this office by God; every office so given demands obedience and reverence; and the wife should, unhesitatingly, submit to this law.
But the command to men is" Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church, and gave himself for it." Now, love is always called forth by qualities of character in the being beloved, while reverence and obedience may belong to the external condition only.
We are commanded to "love God," while we are only "to honour the king." Throughout the Bible, the injunction "to love" always directs the heart, morally speaking, towards the good; lifts up the soul towards an object above it; draws the mind to contemplate a being more perfect than itself. It is the word always used to designate the homage men owe to God. There is in the Bible only one single application of the word reverence to the feelings men should cultivate towards God; this occurs in Hebrews, Chap. XII., ver. 28, where the apostle is enforcing the duty of submitting to the chastenings of God as to a Father; the term reverence, as there applied, savours more of human than of heavenly things. Invariably it is love God requires of his creatures; love, called forth by the contemplation of His holy attributes; love elevating the nature of the one who entertains it towards a higher nature. Love is then a purifying process, an emotion directed towards a better object; and God, by commanding husbands to love their wives, has set his seal to this doctrine that women are holier than men. The world also bears witness to the doctrine; for, of all the sinful deeds done on earth, nine-tenths are committed by men, or caused by their wickedness.
The church bears witness to the truth of this doctrine; more than three-fourths of the professed followers of Christ are women.
Men themselves bear witness to the truth of this doctrine; there is not a man, brought. up under the influence of Christianity, who would dare lay open before woman the scenes of iniquity which he has witnessed or in which he has participated. He feels, as he enters the presence of a virtuous woman, a moral restraint which he does not feel in the presence of the most holy man. It is no excuse to say that he must be abroad in the world, which is full of temptations to vice, while she can live in the pure atmosphere of home. What makes the world a sink of iniquity, but the wickedness of man? What makes the home a place of safety, but the innocence-comparatively speaking-of woman? Even when woman sins, it is because she is "deceived" by the tempter; not that she loves iniquity. The Saviour's stern rebuke to those who brought before him the woman "taken in adultery," is a proof in point. Deeply he drove the dagger of self-accusation into the heart of every accuser; and as their violated vows, wicked devices, and brutal lusts, rose like dark and foul spectres before them, how like branded felons they staggered and slunk away, priest and ruler, pharisee and publican, from the holy light of truth He had opened before them! And thus it will break upon many men who hold themselves righteous, at the last day, when the secrets of their wickedness are discovered, and the "enmity" they have dared act out against the moral purity of the woman will be shown as the sin next in enormity to their rejection of
*See Ephesians, Chap. V.; verses, from 22 to 33.
But the woman, the poor, feeble, fallen woman, who no sooner heard her Saviour's voice than she confessed him-called him "Lord"-how kind was the word of Jesus to her! He knew her dependent condition, her wrongs, her temptations, her sorrows, her repentance. He did not condemn her, while condemning the sin. In judging between the sexes, he has left this record, that man is the greatest sinner; and hence Christian lawgivers should take warning and example, restrain their own passions, and make laws to punish their own sex; while carefully protecting the honour, safety, and happiness of women.
I anticipate the time when wise, and good men will consider this subject of providing for the well-being of the female sex as their most important earthly duty. Hitherto the mass of men in Christian countries may be said to be at "enmity" with any improvement of women that does not gratify their own sensuous propensities. Women are free to adorn their persons; but if they seek to cultivate their minds, it is treason against the prerogative of The source from whence this jealousy of female intelligence springs, is not fear that the sex will excel in learning; it is hatred of the moral influence the sex would wield, were they better instructed. Sensuality and selfishness always dread enlightened women. Charles II. wanted none but pretty fools around him; and Napoleon was more afraid of Madame de Stael than of a regiment of armed foes. An obtuseness of the moral sense, even in good men, has prevented them from perceiving the capacity of the female sex to aid the cause of human improvement. What but this torpor of soul could have kept the Christian world from reading aright this declaration of God that there should be "enmity" between sin and the woman? It has passed into a proverb, that every eminently great man owes his talents as well as virtues to his mother; yet still to cast contempt on female intellect has been and is the fashion with the greater portion of Christendom.
Can a stream rise higher than its fountain; or a weak root nourish a lofty tree; or a light burn clear unless fed with pure oil? Thus the genius and the goodness of the mother are manifested through her sons, while unmindful of the source from whence this higher standard of humanity is derived, far the greater portion of the advantages of education are conferred on man. Some of my own sex, feeling the injustice of these things, are seeking to" emancipate" themselves, and contending for the right of entering the arena of business and public life equally with men. The attempt will never succeed. Thanks be to heaven, woman cannot put off the moral delicacy of her nature. Could she do so, it would be as if Venus, leaving her sweet office of shining the morning and the evening star, should become a fiery comet, and rush through the sky, bringing dismay with her light, and causing a deeper darkness as she passed away. The first woman left to her daughters one duty to perform, because it was imposed by God, the obedience of each wife to her own husband; and she left also the holy privilege which motherhood gives over childhood, and the high honour of a human nature akin to that of Jesus Christ.
But with the privileges we must take the position of women; leave the work of the world and its reward, the government thereof, to men; our task is to fit them for their office, and inspire them to perform it in righteousness. Nor is female influence, though hidden from the public eye, of small importance. The most mighty agent in the material world is least known. The sun is brilliant and powerful, giving light and heat to our planetary system; all eyes may see his glory, all nature bask in his beams; but the mightier influence of gravitation, which binds Orion and the Pleiades with our planet, controls the universe, and reaches - perchance to the throne of God; who has seen gravitation, or can estimate its power?
Thus it is in the moral world. The forms of religion and the force of laws, which men make and administer with pomp and observance, impose on the imagination, and may regulate the conduct; but how feeble are these to touch the heart and improve the character of mankind, compared with the unseen spiritual influence which the loving deeds and kind words of pious Christian women possess !
The Record I have prepared will show these things; and will, moreover, bring to light
one curious fact, never before, I believe, noticed, but which goes far to prove that the female was never formed, had she remained in innocence, to take an equal share in the work of Eden. Setting aside her delicacy of organization, woman has very little of that kind of genius termed mechanical or inventive. Among these hundreds of celebrated ladies, not one has ever made herself famous by great discoveries in physical science, or by any wonderful invention in the arts. Nor is it the lack of learning which has caused this uniform lack of constructive talent. Many ignorant men have studied out and made curious inventions of mechanical skill; women never. I am constrained to say, I do not believe a woman ever would have invented the compass, the printing-press, the steam-engine, or even a time-piece. Seeking to find out the reason for this lack of mechanical skill in the female, I have studied the Bible, history, philosophy, and life; my position and pursuits have favoured the research; I believe I have found the cause; but those who hold the doctrine of sexual equality will be no doubt shocked to hear that I am convinced the difference between the constructive genius of man and woman is the result of an organic difference in the operations of their minds. That she reasons intuitively, or by inspiration, while he must plod through a regular sequence of logical arguments, is admitted by all writers on mental philosophy; but there is another difference which has not been noticed. Woman never applies her intuitive reasoning to mechanical pursuits. It is the world of life, not of things, which she inhabits. Man models the world of matter. These manifestations are precisely such as would result from the differences in the nature of the two sexes, as I have described them in Adam and Eve. And also we here find the perfect solution of the assertion of St. Paul, that man "is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of the man." -An image is something visible; the glory of God which men see, is in the things He has created; consequently, to create is to show forth, or be the "glory of God." Man is the maker or creator on earth: true, he cannot absolutely make or create a particle of matter; but he can, by new combinations, create innumerable differences in the particles of matter; and make, apparently, new elements and new things. He, therefore, represents on earth the Creator's glory.
But to create is not man's greatest glory; it is to worship God in spirit and in truth. The manifestation of this worship is moral goodness. Woman cannot create or make, like man; but, better than he, she worships God in spirit and in truth; and thus, showing forth the beauty of moral goodness, becomes "the glory of the man."
Hence it is apparent that those who are secking to elevate women through industrial pursuits and competition with men in the arts, will never succeed. The wife cannot work with materials of earth; build up cities; mould marble forms; or discover new mechanical inventions, to aid physical improvement. She has a better, a holier vocation. She works in the elements of human nature; her orders of architecture are formed in the soul;-Obedience, Temperance, Truth, Love, Piety,-these she must build up in the character of her children; often, too, she is called to repair the ravages and beautify the waste places which sin, care, and the desolating storms of life, leave in the mind and heart of the husband she reverences and obeys. This task she should perform faithfully, but with humility; remembering that it was for woman's sake Eden was forfeited, because Adam loved his wife more than his Creator; and that man's nature has to contend with a degree of depravity into which the female, by the grace of God, has never descended. Yes, the wife should be humble. She is dependent on her husband for the position she holds in society; she must rely on him for protection and support. She should look up to him with reverence as her earthly guardian, the "saviour of the body," and be obedient. Does any wife say her husband is not worthy of this honour! Then render it to the office with which God has invested him as head of the family; but use your privilege of motherhood to train your sons so that they may be worthy of this reverence and obedience from their wives. Thus, through your sufferings, the world may be made better; every faithful performance of private duty adds to the stock of public virtues.
And man should he not bear himself humbly, from the remembrance that to woman's
loving care he is indebted for preservation during helpless infancy; that his mind takes its impress from her daily teachings; from her example he derives faith in those affections and virtues which are the life of the soul; that "God has chosen the weak things of this world to confound the things which are mighty;" and given to woman the moral sceptre under which men must pass before they can be prepared to enter heaven ?*
Humility is a Christian virtue equally necessary for both sexes; by giving to each one particular endowments to which the other must pay honour, all cause for boasting is removed from both; each should seek to promote the other's happiness and glory, and then the true happiness and glory of both would be won.
It is the moral influence woman is destined to wield which makes imperative the necessity for female education. If the mind which stamps the first and most indelible impression on the child is in a state of mental darkness, how can the true light be communicated? A mother will teach the best she knows to her son; but if she does not understand the true, she will, of necessity, imbue his mind with the false. Woman has a quicker capacity for comprehending moral truth or sentiment than man, but she cannot explain this truth, nor expose error to his comprehension, unless her intellect has been, in some measure, trained like his. Men have little sympathy with intuitive knowledge, or feeling-"pure Reason"— in the doctrine of Kant: hence they must have the truth set before them in its relations with "practical Reason." The mother who can in this intelligible manner aid the mind of her son in his pursuit of knowledge, will have over him a double control; he will honour as well as love her. And the pious woman who can give, clearly and wisely, a "reason for her hope," will often silence the proud infidel who scoffs at believing what is only felt to be true.
The examples in this "Record" prove the beneficial results of education on the female mind and character, and also show that men gain happiness and glory when aiding and encouraging the genius of woman. There is rarely an example where the father has given his daughter a liberal education, but she has nobly and sweetly repaid his care, added enjoyment to his life, and honour to his memory. There is scarcely an instance where the husband has admired and cherished the intellectual gifts of his wife, but these have proved to himself a blessing, a "help," and a "glory." The wide field of my plan, gathering records of women from every age, country, condition and character, presents an opportunity, never before accessible, of ascertaining the scope of female talent, and the effect the cultivated intellect of the sex, when brought to bear on Christian civilization, would exercise. It must be manifest to every person who will examine this subject, that the "woman is the glory of the man," and that her condition settles the destiny of humanity. In every country where men are at "enmity" with her moral and intellectual influence, there the race is barbarian, brutal, or
* I am far from intending to represent that every individual woman is better, morally speaking, than any individual man. The broad lines of distinction between the sexes is what I am describing; there are innumerable shades of moral character in both; some women appear nearly as devoid of moral sensibility as men; while these last, when trained by pious mothers, or renewed by divine grace, approach the female standard of feeling. A few instances of the highest moral purity have been found in men; Joseph is an example. When a man is thus, as it were, clothed in righteousness, he exhibits to the world a spectacle of the sublimity of moral virtue above that of woman. Our own Washington is another example; he acted out, by his strong will, the holy precepts of his mother; the grandeur of her goodness was made visible through his brave soul; the awe which this moral virtue inspired surrounded him, while he lived, with a majesty above that of kings, and has made his memory the glory of his country, and a blessing to the world.
† At the close of the work, some suggestions will be offered respecting the means and ends of female education, showing how the cultivated intellect of woman may be best employed to her own and the general good. Many wise men are doubtful of the expediency of giving to females a thorough education, lest they should become unfitted for their feminine duties, and obtrusive in encroaching on the prerogatives of the other sex. There is no danger from either of these results, if the Bible doctrine is clearly recognized and obeyed. Ignorance is not goodness, nor is it "bliss." The higher the standard of female excellence, the higher will be man's glory.
The list of authorities" will be found at the close of the work.
bigoted. Where the female sex is most kindly protected and most highly honoured, there the race enjoys the greatest degree of civil freedom and social happiness, and is most rapidly advancing in intelligence, prosperity, and civilization.*
This result will become every year more apparent, if female education and influence go on progressively; because, as woman rises, she will elevate, proportionably, the mind and life of Such is her mission; for though human nature in both sexes is rendered sinful or prone to sin by the "fall," yet woman's nature has never sunk to the brute sensuality of man's; this comparative purity has kept her mind, as regards morality, above the standard which even the most Christian men fix for their own sex. This assertion requires no laboured proof. Look around on society-who are the conservators of domestic purity, of social decorum, of public sentiment? The moral sense† is the highest natural faculty or element of the human soul; woman has this moral sense, the intuitive feeling of disgust for sensuality, vice, and falsehood; the intuitive feeling of love for the innocent, beautiful, and true, better developed and more active than is found in the other sex.
I might here cite many authorities to show that good and great men have had glimpses of these truths, that they have felt what woman has done, what she may do, and what she will become, when men, acknowledging her moral mission, shall allow her the education and opportunity necessary for its fulfilment. I have room now for only a few of these; at the close of the volume I shall recur to the subject.
"The little of true piety which yet exists on earth we owe to women much more than to theologians. Our religion is that of our mother," says the learned Aimé-Martin. "The mother is endowed, and endowed by God himself, with all the qualities which should render her fit to become the principal agent in the moral and intellectual development of her child," says the good Pestalozzi. "What the elevation of woman has done for the reform of social manners, her educated mind is doing for our books," says our own eloquent Bethune. the cultivation of the minds of women depends the wisdom of men," says the penetrating Sheridan. "The future destiny of the child is always the work of the mother," said the sagacious Napoleon.
But higher than these testimonies of good, learned and great men to the influence of the female soul, comes the authority of God's Word. That the eulogy on woman was uttered by a wicked and voluptuous king, who had dishonoured the sex by abolishing, so far as his example had power, the true idea of marriage, militates nothing against its divine truth. Like Balaam, Solomon was compelled to speak what the Lord permitted; had it been otherwise, had that selfish sensualist commended what he practised, the Bible would have been no better than the Koran. It is because the written counsel even of this bad man was wise and good, that we feel the inspiration of the Holy Spirit dictated to his conscience that remarkable declaration and prophesy concerning woman, in the chapter of his praises of the feminine virtues : "Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come."
*The United States of North America is the land of modern chivalry, where the moral qualities of woman are most highly valued, and her station in society as "the glory of the man" most fully acknowledged. The remarkable effect this has had on the destiny of the nation was comprehended by M. de Tocqueville, who observed the result, though he did not analyze the process. At the close of his work on America, he remarks, that if he were required to point out the cause of the wonderful advancement in prosperity and civilization of the American people, he should reply "It was the superior character of their women."
By moral sense, I mean that feeling, or sentiment, which not only distinguishes between right and wrong, but inclines to the right-an enlightened conscience; or " the primitive law of the heart," as the German philosopher expressed it. Faith in God is a feeling or faculty of the soul above this moral sense; but such saving grace or faith is the supernatural gift of God. (See Ephesians, II. 8.)