Imágenes de páginas

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 female 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, 66 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 of her sex.

to read carefully the first four chapters of Genesis; and then every portion connected with the histories of the Bible Women,* named in this Record. And there is one chapter in the New Testament particularly important in its bearing on this subject; I allude to I. Corinthians, Chapter XI., verses from the 1st to the 16th. This chapter has never, in my opinion, been rightly understood. It contains the first exposition of St. Paul on what is now familiarly termed "the woman question," or her right to equal privileges with man, in the family, the church, and the state. In this chapter, and subsequently in others, the apostle gives his opinions, which those who advocate the doctrine of man's supremacy consider as settling the question entirely in their favour; while the champion of "Woman's Rights" always shirks the decisions of St. Paul, seemingly inclined to reject his authority, and even deny the truth of divine revelation, rather than submit to the clear letter of instruction in duties the apostle sets forth.

But I believe his teachings were the result of divine inspiration; that every command he gave was not only binding on the men and women of his day, but will continue to be the law of the true church till the end of time. I do not wish to have a word expunged, a rule altered, nor a command evaded. What I desire is to have the meaning of St. Paul rightly understood. It appears to me this has never been; therefore I trust those who make the Bible their study, wise theologians and learned commentators, will pardon my attempt to show the true interpretation.

Rightly to understand the apostle, we must find out the doctrine he sought to establish and illustrate; which was, as I read the chapter, (Cor. I. XI.,) the same God revealed when declaring to the serpent—“ I will put enmity between thee and the woman." What can this declaration mean, if it does not imply that the female sex held the moral lever of the world? The apostle teaches the same doctrine. Let us examine the manner in which he enforces it. Under the Jewish dispensation, the female sex was included in the covenant by the admission of the male only, because the duties of religion or worship were ceremonial; and therefore, as works, belonged to the province of men. That they had all the outward offices of religion assigned to them, shows they were farther from God than women were. Of two children, let one be naturally strong, stubborn, selfish, sinful; the other delicate, docile, disinterested, devout; - would not a good and wise Father be most concerned for the worst child; take most care in his training; set him tasks to perform, to keep his duties in remembrance, and prove his zeal? Even thus has God dealt; the Hebrew men were appointed to perform all the ceremonies of the Law, while the women kept its word hid in their hearts, and did not require to "go up three times each year to Jerusalem, and sacrifice to the Lord," in order to prove they worshipped the true God. But when the Gospel was revealed, its spiritual worship harmonized with woman's nature, and she made public profession of her faith in Christ. It was natural that some of the female converts, in their devoted zeal, should think they had now the right to bear public testimony to the truth; and it was doubtless in consequence of such pretension by them or their male friends on their behalf, that the apostle's remarks and rules were required. He begins by reasserting the law of God, as

* Eve, Sarah, Rebekah, Jochebed, Deborah, Hannah, Huldah, and others, from the Old Testament; and Anna, Elizabeth, Mary of Nazareth, and others, from the New Testament. He will find the Hebrew woman was the chosen agent of the moral providences of God to that nation, from the time the Saviour was promised to Eve, till this her "seed" appeared; and further, that to woman the Saviour revealed first, and in the clearest manner, his spiritual mission.

Then turn to the history of heathen nations, and see the dreadful condition of the female sex, where the "enmity" of men, in their natural state, is acted out against moral goodness; and, of course, they value woman only as she ministers to their sensuous desires and sensual lusts. They will allow no manifestation of mental or moral power in her; she is bound down in chains of servile ignorance. Yet God revealed to these poor oppressed women His truth, and chose them as His agents. Rahab and Ruth were called to save from utter extermination the stock of those wicked nations God would destroy. Through the female line, as the purest and best, the Gentiles were made progenitors of Christ, and heirs of his Gospel.

declared to Eve, that man should rule, and woman's lot was submission. He does not, in this chapter, forbid her to teach publicly, but rather seems to favour it, by giving directions how she should be apparelled for such a vocation; yet as he afterwards absolutely forbids her, it is reasonable to conclude these directions were only preliminary to his final decision. As God gave him light, he declared the will of God.* But in these directions concerning her apparel, he reveals most surely and clearly the high spiritual office of woman. She must not uncover her head; while man is commanded to uncover his. Is it not the privilege of the superior to remain covered in the presence of the inferior? The passage reads thus :— Verse seventh. "For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man."

That is, man represents in the government of the world the authority of God, and also His creative power, so to speak, in bringing, by industry and art, order out of confusion, and restoring earth to its pristine fruitfulness; while woman, representing the moral power and personal beauty of humanity, "is the glory of the man." He wears the crown of gold, but

she is the pure diamond which makes the crown glorious. This will be more clearly explained soon.

Verse eighth." For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man." True; the man was from the "dust of the ground;" therefore her origin from "his flesh and bones" must have been more pure and delicate than his.

Verse ninth.


"Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the

This proves incontestibly the more perfect nature of the woman; she was needed to make the man perfect; help him to sustain his part in Paradise; and be his "glory" when he should have been redeemed by the blood of Christ.

Verse tenth. "For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head, because of the angels."

Theologians and commentators have sought in vain the solution of this emphatic declaration of the apostle; yet it is the key-stone of his doctrine, and upholds the whole structure of divine truth. What, then, does St. Paul mean, when he says - "The woman ought to have power on her head, because of the angels?" He is declaring that woman represents to the angels who "minister to the saints," and watch around every place where the true God is worshipped, the moral nature of humanity, created at first in the "likeness of God;" and which, when redeemed from sin and clothed with immortality, is destined to rise superior to angelic nature.

That the redeemed are "to judge angels," to "become heirs of God, and joint heirs with Jesus Christ," is positively declared. The Saviour had derived his human nature from woman, his human soul from her soul; his exhibitions of human passions, feelings, sentiments, were such as woman most naturally exhibits; all the Christian virtues are congenial to the feminine character. Did not the Son of God veil his divinity in the most perfect nature of humanity? That He came in the form of man, was necessary to draw men to Him; they are beings of sense, of outward observance, of authority and law. They require to have works to perform in order to train them for his kingdom. The angels could not see in man, whose life was in the outer world, a type of the spiritual purity which, redeemed by the blood of Christ, should become superior to the heavenly intelligences. But woman, permitted to appear even in the house of God with her head covered, bearing in humble silence a glory which made "the glory of the man," not obliged to struggle for dominion over earth, but cultivating the sweet charities of home, and all those tender, spiritual affections which elevate the human above animal nature, on her meek head the angels beheld the "power" which would become, in its development, "above angels." Therefore, on every

* See I. Corinthians, XIV., 34, 35; also, Tim. II., 11, 12.

† See Cor. VI. 3; and Rom. VIII. 17.

« AnteriorContinuar »