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heretofore been interpreted. She was not made to gratify his sensual desires, but to refine his human affections, and elevate his moral feelings. Endowed with superior beauty of person, and a corresponding delicacy of mind, her soul was to "help" him where he was deficient, -namely, in his spiritual nature. She was made for him, not to minister to, and thus increase his animal appetites, but to purify his tastes and exalt his hopes. She was made "a help meet for him" in Paradise; and that he there needed her help shows that he was not perfect while standing alone. She must have been more perfect than he in those qualities which were to "help" him. She had not his strength of body or his capacity of understanding to grasp the things of earth; she could not help him in his task of subduing the world; she must, therefore, have been above him in her intuitive knowledge of heavenly things; and the "help" he needed from her was for the "inner man." This will be shown more clearly as we proceed.
Permit me, however, to remark here, that I am not aiming to controvert the authority of the husband, or the right of men to make laws for the world they are to subdue and govern. I have no sympathy with those who are wrangling for "woman's rights;" nor with those who are foolishly urging my sex to strive for equality and competition with men. What I seek to establish is the Bible doctrine, as I understand it, that woman was intended as the teacher and the inspirer for man, morally speaking, of "whatsoever things are lovely, and pure, and of good report." The Bible does not uphold the equality of the sexes. When created, man and woman were unlike in three important respects.
1st. The mode of their creation was different.
2d. The materials* from which each was formed were unlike.
3d. The functions for which each was designed were dissimilar.
They were never equal; they were one; one in flesh and bones; one in the harmony of their wills; one in the unison of their souls; one in their hope of earthly happiness; one in the favour of God. Thus perfect was their union in Eden while they were innocent. Yet as in their corporeal forms woman was the most refined and delicate, so her spirit (by the term, I mean heart, soul, mind, including all the affections and passions) was purer and holier than man's. He was formed of the earth, and had in the greatest development those powers of mind which are directed towards objects of sense; she, formed from his flesh and bones, had in greatest development those powers of mind which seek the affections. But these differences did not hinder their union; such diversities only served to enhance the intensity and enlarge the variety of their enjoyments. It is not disparity of intellect, or difference in the innocent enjoyments of life, which make the miseries of the married pair; it is disunion of hearts and hopes, the conflicts of passion and will; these mar domestic bliss. There was nothing to disturb the serenity of Eden till sin entered; then we learn how the sexes differed.
In the Biography of Eve, I have given a particular account of the manner of the " "fall;" showing that the man and woman were together when the serpent tempted her; and that the idea of her being out alone gathering flowers is as fabulous as the story of Proserpine. The Bible says:" And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave unto her husband with her; and he did eat." Genesis, Chap. III., ver. 6.
Most commentators, men, of course, represent woman as the inferior, and yet the most blamable. She could not have been both. If man, who had the greatest strength of body, had also the greatest wisdom of mind, and knew, as he did, that the serpent was a deceiver, then surely man was the most criminal. He should have restrained or at least warned his wife.
* Chemically tested, their bodily elements were similar; like diamond from carbon, woman had been formed from man; yet the refining process which increased her beauty and purity did not alter this elemental identity; and hence they were one in the flesh.
The Bible, however, is the authority to guide us in understanding which was the guilty transgressor; which sinned because loving the things of earth more than the wisdom of God. St. Paul says that—"The woman, being deceived, was in the transgression;" thereby affirming that if she had understood what was to follow, she would not have disobeyed.
That this is the true interpretation of the apostle's words is made sure by the trial of the guilty pair, and their sentence from their Creator, who knew their motives and could weigh their sin.
Woman pleaded that she was deceived-" The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat."
The man said "The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat."
That Adam intended, in thus accusing his wife, covertly to throw the blame on God for creating her, seems probable from the severity with which his sentence is worded. He is judged as though he was the selfish criminal, disobeying God from sensuous inclinations— "of the earth, earthy;"—his sin is so great, that the ground is "cursed for his sake;" like a felon he is condemned to hard labour for life; and his death, connected with his origin from dust, is set before him in the most humiliating light. The only ray of hope to which he could turn was the promise made to his wife; thus showing him that she was still considered worthy of trust, and must therefore have been the least culpable. A corroboration of this is found in the sentence pronounced against the serpent or spirit of Evil which had deceived her; the clause reads thus :-" And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel." Gen. III. 5.
Now mark the words :-God says,—“ I will put enmity between thee and the woman." Is not here the assurance that the female had still in her nature the disposition towards good, which should be opposed to evil in this world? How could there be "enmity" between her and the tempter, if her heart was wholly corrupt? The conflict with sin was to be first waged by her and with her. How could this be, unless she was then endowed with the germ of divine grace, which, unfolded by the breath of the Holy Spirit, would, in the fulness of time, be honoured by her glorious "seed," the Saviour, who would "put all His enemies under His feet?"
This "enmity" between sin and the woman, which is as positively predicted as the coming of Christ, and his conflict with the powers of Evil, has never been noticed by any writer on the Bible. Yet the history of the world proves it is true, that to degrade and demoralize the female sex is one of the first and most persevering efforts of false religions, of bad governments, and of wicked men.
The difference between the sin of the man and that of the woman, and the condition in which they stood before their omniscient Judge, may well be illustrated by a passage from the sermon of a learned and pious clergyman,* who had no thought, however, of this application. The text was from Psalms, CXIX., ver. 11. "Thy word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against thee." In the course of the sermon this true and striking description of human nature occurs: "Man is what the affections make him. His body, in its physical powers, obeys the behests of his HEART. Mind, in its wondrous faculties, is also moulded by the same influence. The Will bows to the Affections; the Judgment is reversed by its decisions; Reason yields to its power; and Conscience even is taught to echo what the HEART desires."
It is the record of the Bible that the heart of the woman desired wisdom. Even in the act of disobedience she did not withdraw her heart wholly from God. True, she sinned, because she disobeyed, or in other words, aspired above her human condition, which God had forbidden. Yet her aspirations were heavenward, while the man disobeyed wilfully and from
* Rev. Dr. Stevens, Rector of St. Andrew's Church, Philadelphia.
sensuous motives; he had no faith in the tempter's promises, no hope of obtaining heavenly wisdom.
Another extract from this excellent sermon is important as an illustration of my views; the preacher truly says,-"The destinies of life lie not in the intellect, but in the dispositions and affections of man. The truths of the Bible brought to bear upon the heart will produce this change, (regeneration;) nothing else can. Hence, if God's word be hid in one's heart, it will lead him to renounce sin and lead a new life, following the commandments of God."
Now, bear in mind that the "word," which after the "fall" was given to direct the human race, is all contained in the declaration of God concerning the woman and her seed; there was no other Law or Gospel, no other word of promise, given for eighteen hundred years. That Eve kept this word hid in her heart, is made sure by what she said on the birth of Cain: "I have gotten a man from the Lord." She believed God's word; she clung to His promise, even when her soul was pierced with such sore affliction as might have been almost an excuse for distrust: "God hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew," was her pious reflection, when Seth was given her. While she thus had the word of God hid in her heart, could she have been utterly depraved?
The sentence of her punishment proves also her comparative innocence. She is not accused of disobedience against God; the word of hope is given her before she hears her doom; and that doom shows the possession of warm sensibilities and fond affections, even a heart of flesh.—"I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception: in sorrow shalt thou bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee." Gen. III. 16.
The human pair were judged apart; of course, they were severed beings; they could be no longer one in the sense of mutual reliance on God, and consciousness of perfect love towards each other, when the wife was placed under the rule of her husband. Had she been made inferior to him in mind, heart, soul, where would have been her punishment? She would naturally, inevitably, have fallen into this inferior position. But if her nature was more refined, more spiritual, a nearer assimilation with the angelic, and therefore the highest degree of excellence in the human, then to be subjected to the coarser, earthlier, more sensuous nature of man, would be a sad and humiliating lot. Much did she need the gracious word she had received and could keep "hid in her heart," that her seed should at last triumph over the tempter who had wrought her woe; and that although she must bear oppression and endure sorrow, yet she should not fall into the utter depths of sin; there should be "enmity" between her nature and the spirit of Evil. Moreover, that she did, at first, hold the sovereignty of the earth in equal trust with man, is as surely true as that, after the "fall," her husband was appointed to "rule over" her. God gave them joint dominion;* but she had sought to be wise above her human condition; by his door, sin had entered Eden; the effect of sin was to separate the creature from the Creator; the earthly triumphed over the heavenly, the sensual over the moral; man would rule; and that woman, with the word hid in her heart, was subjected to him, could not separate her happiness from his, but must work out the moral sense of her sex through the physical strength of his, was the only way of improvement, of salvation for the race.
This, then, is the doctrine of the Bible, that, when banished from Eden, man was ordained to become the Worker or Provider; the Protector; and the Lawgiver.
Woman was to be the Preserver; the Teacher or Inspirer; and the Exemplar.
Had each performed the part assigned, in love, and faith, and truth, the world would have become an Eden to the human family; but sin was with them, to poison their happiness, divide their hopes, and corrupt their inclinations. This declension would, if my views are true, naturally begin on the part of the man. The Bible shows, by the record of the first
* See Genesis, Chap I., verse 28.
murder, that it did so begin, and thus it continued; the more he exercised his physical strength and cultivated his intellectual powers, directing these, as in a state of nature he always has done, for selfish ends, earthward, the less he appreciated the delicate sensibilities of the companion God had given him, whose excellence was in the purifying power she should have held over his grosser passions. But he hated the true and the good, when these checked his animal propensities, and only prized the beautiful in woman's outward form, because it ministered to his sensual desires. He could not, or he would not, understand that her mission was to help him in his spiritual nature, his warfare with sin; and so he forced her to become the slave of his power or the toy of his lusts. Woman was compelled to yield; but her nature had an innate spiritual strength he could not wholly overcome. There was for her no resource but in this superior subtlety of her moral sense; she could not resist his stronger arm, but she could turn his passions against each other, and against himself. She did this. *Delilah and Sampson are illustrations of these truths. And thus the sexes, being in this false position, continued to corrupt each other more and more during the four thousand years before the coming of Christ.
It was not to exhibit the great deeds of my sex, as the world understands greatness, that I undertook the task of preparing this Record of celebrated Women. Viewed in the light, or rather shadow of earthly value, the female sex has done little worthy of fame, little to advance the material interests of society, or build up the renown of nations. But I venture to assert that, in the moral progress of mankind, woman has been God's most efficient agent, the co-worker with His Providence, in those remarkable events which have changed the fate of nations, brought light out of darkness, and given impulse and direction to the souls of men, when these sought to advance the cause of righteousness.
In order to give more clearness to my views, I have divided the work into eras, or portions of time, so that the progress of woman and her influence may be distinctly traced.
Era First includes the forty centuries from the creation to the Messiah's advent. During all this time, the female sex had only their natural gifts of a lovelier organization of form, and a purer moral sense, to aid them in the struggle with sin which had taken possession of the brute strength, and human understanding of men.†
* See page 36.
What this struggle was, and how the "enmity" of the "serpent," or wicked men who represent the devil on earth, was manifested towards the " woman," may be inferred from the present condition of the female sex among heathen nations. Mrs. Ann H. Judson gives the following account; no one who has visited India, or read its history, will question her accuracy.
"In Bengal and Hindostan, the females, in the higher classes, are excluded from the society of At the age of two or three years, they are married by their parents to children of their own rank in society. On these occasions, all the parade and splendour possible are exhibited; they are then conducted to their father's abode, not to be educated, not to prepare for the performance of duties incumbent on wives and mothers, but to drag out the usual period allotted in listless idleness, in mental torpor. At the age of thirteen, fourteen, or fifteen, they are demanded by their husbands, to whose home they are removed, where again confinement is their lot. No social intercourse is allowed to cheer their gloomy hours; nor have they the consolation of feeling that they are viewed, even by their husbands, in the light of companions. So far from receiving those delicate attentions which render happy the conjugal state, and which distinguish civilized from heathen nations, the wife receives the appellation of my servant, or my dog, and is allowed to partake of what her lordly husband is pleased to give at the conclusion of his repast! In this secluded, degraded situation, females in India receive no instruction; consequently, they are wholly uninformed of an eternal state. No wonder mothers consider female existence a curse; hence their desire to destroy their female offspring, and to burn themselves with the bodies of their deceased husbands. This last circumstance might imply some attachment, were it not a well-known fact that the disgrace of a woman who refuses to burn with the corpse of her husband is such, that her nearest relations would refuse her a morsel of rice to prevent her starvation."
Another dreadful picture of the "enmity" of sin or wicked men to the "woman," is drawn by Mr. J. J. Jarvis, in his "History of the Hawaiian or Sandwich Islands." He had been a resident there, and was well acquainted with the character and condition of the people. He says:-" Oppressive as
Era Second includes the time from the birth of Christ to the year 1500. Woman had now the aid of the blessed Gospel, which seems given purposely to develop her powers and sanction her influence. And that the laws Christ enjoined on his followers are pre-eminently favourable to the development of her faculties, while they repress or denounce the peculiar characteristics usually called manly, is an irrefragable proof that her nature was the best. We can trace the effect of Christianity everywhere by its tendency to elevate woman; that is, give her that rightful place of honour which makes her "the glory of the man ;" and through the reaction of her purifying influence on her husband and children we trace the gradual improvement of society.
Era Third contains sketches of the eminent women who have lived and died since the year 1500. These were favoured with another great advantage. The Gospel had emancipated the soul of woman; the invention of printing gave freedom to her mind. Instead of the ignorance in which, like slaves, the sex had been kept, the cultivated intellect and superior manual ingenuity of their rulers were now made to contribute to their rapid advancement. The results of this mental cultivation on the female character are most cheering. The philosopher, seeking to disseminate truth; the philanthropist, eager to do good; the patriot, aiming to exalt his country; the Christian, in earnest to promote his religion; will each and all find in educated woman, as the Bible represents her mission, and this Record shows her influence and her works, their best earthly helper, counsellor, encourager and exemplar.
Era Fourth is devoted to the living, who are already known by their writings. A new element of improvement, now in course of rapid development, is destined to have a wonderful effect on the female mind and character. This element is individual liberty, secured by constitutional laws. Such freedom gives all the true light and life nations derive from the Word of God, because this liberty is of the Bible; and only where religious freedom and civil liberty have made some progress, is the Bible permitted to be freely read.
The BIBLE is woman's Magna Charta; in it is set forth her duties and her destiny. Allow me to request those who desire to learn what the Scriptures teach concerning the female sex,
were the laws to the men, they were far more so upon the women. Their sex was but an additional motive for insult and tyranny. The right of blood gave to the highest femal the power to rule; but she, equally with the humblest dependent, was subject to the iron law of the "tabus." Neither could eat with men; their houses and their labours were distinct; their aliment was separately prepared. A female child from birth to death was allowed no food that had touched its father's dish. The choicest of animal and vegetable products were reserved for the male child; for the female, the poorest; and the use of many kinds, such as pork, turtle, shark, bananas, and cocoanut, were altogether interdicted. Whatever was savoury or pleasant, man reserved for his own palate; while woman was made bitterly to feel her sexual degradation. When young and beautiful, a victim of sensuality; when old and useless, of brutality."
Nor is this "enmity" of sin to the "woman" confined to heathen nations. Everywhere among those called Christians, are wicked men, "earthly, sensual, devilish," to use the apostle's words, who strive to degrade and pollute woman. An account in this same "History" shows the worse than brute wickedness of the commanders of vessels touching at the Islands. These fiends in human shape strove to reintroduce the licentiousness which had prevailed before the arrival of the missionaries, and the conversion of the people to Christianity; and there was exhibited a complete picture of the "enmity" of the "serpent" or sin to the "woman," (that is, to her moral influence, for she can have none when becoming a slave to the lusts of man,) and also of the "enmity" of his seed or wicked men to her seed, or Christian men. The officers of these vessels were Englishmen and Americans one was an officer in the American navy; and these men, brought up in Christian communities, were not ashamed to allow their sailors to menace and attack the missionaries, who prevented them from obtaining their victims.
* See Jarvis's "History of the Sandwich Islands," pp. 263-4-5. Also, Tracy's "History of Missions," p. 184, for the name of this miserable man. I will not stain the pages of this work with the relation of the conduct of one who disgraced the American flag, by using the power it gave him for the pollution of woman, and degraded the mother who bore him, by his "enmity" to the moral purity