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Female Scripture Biographies, Vol. II by Francis Augustus Cox

Part 5 out of 6

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infidelity as a distinctive mark of pre-eminence, which is, in fact, a
proof of debasement and guilt. If a system of religion were to be so
constructed as to be exempt from the ridicule of the profane, it must be
itself ridiculous; because their distorted minds cannot discern the
beauties of truth, and their depraved feelings will not admit her claims.
To secure their approbation religion must change her character, alter her
doctrines, new cast her precepts, and new modify her principles.

Lydia presents an interesting specimen not only of the reality but of the
nature of the great work of conversion; and, however contemptible the
subject may appear in the eye of a dissipated world, or to the mind of a
prejudiced reader, we hesitate not to state the sentiments which
necessarily arise out of the present example respecting the seat and
source of this change, the agent by whom it is accomplished, and the
corresponding effects produced.

1. Our attention is, in the first place, to be directed to _the seat of
this spiritual renovation_. It is said of Lydia, that her HEART was
opened. This change, therefore, is of a moral nature, not merely
circumstantial, but radical. It does not consist in assuming a new name,
professing new opinions, using a new language, performing a few rites and
ceremonies, or reforming a few exterior vices, These are only
branches--the tree itself must be made good--the crab stock of nature must
be grafted with spiritual principles, and by being planted in the garden
of the Lord be brought under a heavenly culture. It is then only "the
fruits of righteousness" may be anticipated, "which are to the glory and
praise of God."

The disordered state of the passions is a striking evidence of human
degeneracy. In consequence of this a thousand mistakes are committed, and
a thousand follies practised. Each passion is fixed on a wrong object,
pursues an unworthy end, and is susceptible of false impressions. Indeed,
the will is totally perverted, and chooses, with obstinate resolution,
whatever is erroneous and criminal; on which account men are represented
in the metaphorical language of Scripture, as "loving darkness rather than
light." So astonishing is the degree of this perversion, that the Supreme
_Good_ is dreaded and avoided as if he were the only _evil_ in the
universe; and, however vain the attempt, guilt is continually seeking
concealment in some secret covert, some supposed security from his
omniscient inspection. Captivated by deceitful appearances, human
confidence is perpetually misplaced, and therefore perpetually betrayed;
the siren song of pleasure soothes the unhappy captives of her bewitching
charms into the bosom of destruction--the splendour of earthly
distinctions dims the eye of sense, and prevents its perception of the
bright realities of heaven. In fact, such has been the melancholy effect
of sin upon the perceptions of the human soul, that every thing is seen
through the medium of sensual passions in an inverted position--good seems
evil, and evil good--and till this disorder become rectified by a divine
touch, the heart will remain at enmity against God, the refuge and resort
of the worst dispositions, and the great central pandemonium of every
diabolical affection. Such is the statement of Jesus Christ himself, "From
within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries,
fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit,
lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness; all these
things come from within, and defile the man."

As the intellectual and moral state of man are, in a religious view,
closely connected, the renovation of the heart is essentially connected
with an important change in the understanding. The latter may, indeed, be
considerably improved and informed when no spiritual effect is produced
upon the former, but the former cannot be renewed without corresponding
and coincident effects on the latter; and the illumination of the
understanding is so universal, that believers are said to be "light in the
Lord." Their perceptions of truth are not mere gleamings and streaks of
divine radiance thrown across the obscurity of the mind, but all is light.
Nor is it merely new light diffused over objects familiar to the thoughts,
but a discovery of new scenes. The soul, in a sense, changes its
hemisphere, emerges from darkness, ascends to the summits of Pisgah, and
contemplates the ineffable glories of a new creation. "If any man be in
Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away, behold all
things are become new." How touching and how worthy of adoption the
poet's language:

"Celestial light
Shine inward, and the mind through all her powers
Irradiate; there plant eyes, all mist from thence
Purge and disperse!"


The total renovation of the heart is evinced by susceptibility of
conscience. This moral faculty, in an unregenerate state, is either
perverted or hardened. In the former case, our obligations are not
clearly discerned, or are easily dispensed with; in the latter, the most
powerful appeals to love or fear are resisted. In the progress of sin to
its most awful consummation, those gentle whispers which were at first
noticed, and made the transgressor tremble till he sometimes let fall the
forbidden fruit, are at length unheard. Every intimation is silenced by
guilty merriment, which perhaps was at first forced, but soon becomes
habitual. Where conscience is not lulled into total inaction, it is, in
this state of character, violated with little remorse. The mind loses
sight of the glory of God, its best regulating principle; it is alive to
personal interests only, and discards every thing of a nobler nature. But,
in the sincere and humble Christian, conscience is tender, easily offended
with evil, and gradually approximating that state of susceptibly in
respect to sin, in which it resembles a well-polished mirror, that shows
the slightest particle of dust or damp upon its surface. Such a conscience
is no less _rigorous_ than it is tender, and repels temptation with
persevering energy. It will hold no debate with the tempter; and so far
from seeking to ascertain how far it may advance towards sinful
compliances without contracting actual guilt, it will "abstain from all
_appearance_ of evil."

In stating that the heart is the seat of those principles and the source
of that transformation of character which is comprehended in the term
_conversion_, it is intended to express the _permanent_ nature of the
change. It is not an opinion or an emotions resembling the morning cloud
and early dew that pass away, but an abiding and deep-wrought alteration.
"He which hath begun a good work in you, will carry it on until the day of
Christ Jesus;" in consequence of which, "the path of the just is as the
shining light that shineth more and more unto the perfect day."

"That such improvements of character often _have_ occurred, and are often
taking place now, cannot be denied by any philosophic observer of human
nature: to disregard them, or to neglect an investigation of their use, is
to neglect one of the most interesting classes of facts observable amongst
mankind. Who has not either heard of or witnessed the most extraordinary
changes of conduct, produced through the _apparent_ influence (to say the
least) of religious motives? I say nothing here of the _three thousand_
converted in one day at the feast of Pentecost--of the conversion of St.
Paul and others mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles--because those are
usually ascribed to the miraculous and _extraordinary_ influences of the
Holy Spirit in the apostolic times. But I may call your attention
ttomatters of more recent occurrence. You have witnessed instances of men
running eagerly the career of folly and dissipation, who have been
suddenly arrested, and changed from 'lovers of pleasure' to 'lovers of
God.' You have known others who have devoted themselves early to the
military profession, who literally knew _no_ fear, who have spent their
lives in the pursuit of glory, who have approached the verge of life full
of scars and full of honours, still panting after 'glory, honour,
immortality,' but thinking nothing of 'eternal life;' till, touched by an
irresistible hand, they have been transformed from good soldiers to 'good
soldiers of Jesus Christ,' have buckled on 'the armour of God,' 'fought
the good fight of faith,' and following 'the Captain of their salvation,'
have obtained 'the victory,' and been rewarded with _unfading_ laurels.
Others again, you have known, who have been strong and _high-minded_,
professing never to be subdued but by the force of argument, and
dexterously evading an argument when it _was_ forcible, if it were
calculated to expose the sophistry of 'free-thinking,' (as it is called,)
or to exhibit the reasonableness and advantages of being pious; you have
seen them increase in the dexterity of unbelief, and in callousness to
_moral_ impression, year after year,

'Gleaning the blunted shafts that have recoil'd,
Aiming them at the shield of truth again;'

and when a band of them has gone to church for the purpose of quizzing, or
of staring out of countenance some preacher of rather more than usual
energy and zeal, have known one of this band pierced by 'a dart from the
archer,' convinced that religion is 'the one thing needful,' and though he
came 'to scoff, remaining to pray.'" [47]

II. The second observable circumstance in the inspired account of Lydia's
conversion is, _its accomplishment by divine agency_. It is stated that
the LORD opened her heart. The effect is not ascribed to the apostle Paul,
or his illustrious coadjutors in the Christian ministry. They might speak
with the tongue of angels, and hum with the zeal of seraphs; to them might
be given in trust "the everlasting Gospel," which, like the apocalyptic
angel, they were carrying through "the midst of heaven" to the inhabitants
of the earth, "to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people;" they
might indeed possess the power not only of placing facts in the clearest
light, or urging arguments in the most forcible manner, but even of
working miracles; still they could not "open the heart." Indefatigable as
they were in their labours, they could not command success. At this
precise point human instrumentality ceases, and divine agency commences.

It is by no means an unfrequent effect of ministerial fidelity, to confirm
the native aversion of the impenitent to the doctrines of Christ. Pride
resists conviction, and fosters prejudice; and however unanswerable the
statements, or fervent the appeals which may be addressed to them, the
mind still remains unsubdued, the heart is still unopened. It requires the
interposal of a mightier power than either reason, remonstrance, or
miracle, to accomplish this wonderful transformation of character. Hosts
of apostles and legions of angels would be incompetent by their own
unaided exertions, to do "any thing as of themselves;" to give light to
_one_ blind eye, or to rectify _one_ prejudiced heart.

Human agency, then, cannot be of itself effectual. It is the _Lord_ who
opens the ear, the eye, the conscience, the understanding, and the
_heart_. The weapons of that spiritual warfare, in which Christian
ministers are engaged, can alone "pull down strong holds, cast down
imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the
knowledge of God," and "bring into captivity every thought to the
obedience of Christ," being "mighty _through God_." What would the weapon
accomplish, if the hand of Almighty power were not to grasp and wield it?
The experience of modern preachers, no doubt, resembles that of their
apostolic predecessors in the same field of holy labour. When
stout-hearted sinners have been attacked by all the force of argument, all
the power of eloquence, all the fire of zeal, all the holy violence of
appeal, all the tenderness of tears, and all the terrors of
denunciation--and when it might have been expected that a heart of marble
thus smitten must yield and break, and yet no emotion, at least no
repentance, no relinquishment of sin, and no obedience to Christ has
resulted--how often have they retired exclaiming, "_O the impotence of
human instrumentality!_" But when returning to their work, desponding or
deeply apprehensive, "going forth weeping, bearing precious seed," they
have at length seen the rebel struck, and in a moment abashed, humbled,
penitent--melted at a word--his prejudices dashed to the ground, like
Lucifer from heaven--his heart opened, like that of Lydia, and the bitter
stream of his enmity turned into the sweetness of Christian love--They
have paused--inquired--wondered--beheld the "_excellency_ of the power,"
which was "not of man, but of God;" and have retired exclaiming, "_O the
omnipotence of divine grace!_"

It is an extraordinary circumstance, that the agency of God, in the
production of the natural world, should be universally admitted, because
no other adequate cause can be assigned; and yet that it should, with so
little hesitation, be denied in the moral world. Why is God to be excluded
from this superior creation, but because men "do not like to retain him in
their knowledge," and because corrupted reason would deify itself and
dethrone the Almighty?--And here we have the characteristic distinction
between religion and irreligion. The former assigns God as the cause and
agent in every thing, born interior and exterior to us. It places him upon
the throne, subordinates every thing to his will, attributes every thing
to his influence. It contemplates his dominion as infinite, and his will
as the law of nature and of nations. It fully believes, that naturally and
spiritually "in him we live, and move, and have our being."
Irreligion--and we may comprehend in the term, not only extravagant
immorality or gross impiety, but a system which is found to exist under
the cloak of religion, and the pretence of doing God service--irreligion
of every class and in every form is perpetually limiting the empire of the
Deity, prescribing bounds to his influence, criticising and defining his
prerogatives, and refusing him the "right to reign over us."

The Scriptures uniformly ascribe the first principle, all the successive
actions, and the final consummation of religion in the heart, to the
Spirit of God. It is the subject of express promise: "And the Lord thy God
will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord
thy God with all thine heart and with all thy soul, that thou mayest
live."--"This shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of
Israel: After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their
inward parts, and write it in their hearts, and will be their God, and
they shall be my people."--"A new heart also will I give you, and a new
spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of
your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh; and I will put my Spirit
within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my
judgments and do them." The nature of this moral transformation is
distinctly stated in such passages as the following--"_Born_, not of
blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of
God"--"Ye are not in the flesh, but in the spirit, if so be the Spirit of
God dwell in you. But if any man have not the Spirit of God, he is none of
his"--"As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of
God"--"We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works,
which God hath ordained, that we should walk in them." In the same manner,
the increase of religion is ascribed to the Spirit. "He which hath begun a
good work in you, will perform it unto the day of Jesus Christ"--"Now the
God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great
Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make
you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which
is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ." Let us then, as
Moses expresses it respecting the bush which he saw at the back of Horeb,
burning, but still unconsumed, "turn aside and see this great sight." "God
is every where by his _power_. He rolls the orbs of heaven with his hand,
he fixes the earth in its place with his foot, he guides all the creatures
with his eye, and refreshes them with his influence; he makes the powers
of bell to shake with his terrors, and binds the devils with his word, and
throws them out with his command, and sends the angels on embassies with
his decrees.... God is especially present in the hearts of his people, by
his Holy Spirit; and indeed the hearts of holy men are temples in the
truth of things, and in type and shadow they are heaven itself. For God
reigns in the hearts of his servants: there is his kingdom. The energy of
grace hath subdued all his enemies; this is his power. They serve him
night and day, and give him thanks and praise; that is his glory. The
temple itself is the heart of man; Christ is the high priest, who from
thence sends up the incense of prayers, and joins them to his own
intercession, and presents all together to his Father; and the Holy Ghost,
by his dwelling there, hath also consecrated it into a temple; and God
dwells in our hearts by faith, and Christ by his Spirit, and the Spirit by
his purities; so that we are also cabinets of the mysterious Trinity; and
what is short of heaven itself, but as infancy is short of manhood, and
letters of words?" [48]

How inconceivably glorious is the beauty of holiness in the renovated
soul! That "God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness," should
"shine into our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of
God in the face of Christ Jesus"--that the vileness of our nature should
be superseded by the purity of grace--that sinners should be pardoned and
sin subdued--that the good seed should vegetate in such a barren and
overgrown wilderness of desolation--that we who were "sometime darkness"
should become "light in the Lord," is truly marvellous. This establishment
of "the kingdom of God _within_ us," excites the gratitude of saints, the
wonder of angels, and the loud anthems of triumph that vibrate from the
harps of heaven. When God made a fair world from a formless mass of
matter, "the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted
for joy;" but when he devised the plan to make a holy human being from a
base and fallen rebel, they sung "Glory to God in the HIGHEST."

How animating the consideration, that the hope of salvation inspired in
the soul by the Spirit of God, can never be extinguished! The grace that
powerfully impels him to take the first step in the Christian life, as
forcibly urges him forward to the end of his course. The light which is
kindled in his bosom will burn and brighten, and consummate his immortal
bliss. It is itself the pledge of this increase and perfection. The
felicity of the Christian here is similar in its essence to his glory
hereafter, as the first ray of morning is the same in nature with the
noontide brightness. It may struggle through obscurities, but will rise to
perfect day. Death indeed is rapidly approaching: but as the solar orb
plunges for a short season into darkness, to reappear with new splendour;
so will the righteous eventually ascend above the tomb and, the worm, to
"shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father."

The manner of Lydia's conversion ought not to be overlooked. Her heart was
_opened_. There is something gentle, as well as effectual, in the
representation. The Spirit of God not only operates by a variety of
instruments, but by a considerable diversity of modes. He descends on
Sinai in tempests, and on Calvary in smiles. Sometimes his manifestations
are terrible, and sometimes soothing; sometimes he breaks, and sometimes
opens the heart. In scripture we are furnished with illustrations of this
diversified operation. Manasseh, who "made Judah and the inhabitants of
Jerusalem to err, and to do worse than the heathen," and who "would not
hearken" to divine monitions, was taken by the Assyrians "among the
thorns, and bound with fetters, and carried to Babylon." He who was
unaffected, either by mercies or menaces, in his prosperity, "when he was
in affliction, besought the Lord his God, and humbled himself greatly
before the God of his fathers, and prayed unto him; and he was entreated
of him and heard his supplication, and brought him again to Jerusalem into
his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord he was God." Paul, who
breathed out threatening and slaughter against the Christian church, was
suddenly struck to the earth by a miraculous light from heaven, and from a
persecutor transformed into an apostle. The Philippian jailer exclaimed
amidst his terrors, "What must I do to be saved?" and was not only
prevented from committing suicide, but directed to heaven by the doctrine
of his apostolic prisoner, which through grace he cordially received:
"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shall be saved, and thine
house." On the other hand, Samuel, Timothy, and Lydia, were "drawn with
bands of love." They heard the whispers of mercy, and felt the attractions
of grace. Each of their hearts, like that of Lydia, was _opened_. Passion
subsided, prejudice withdrew, ignorance melted away. They were not taken
by storm, but made "_willing_ in the day of his _power_."

The importance of this change is intimated in the remarkable declaration
of Jesus Christ to Nicodemus, "Except a man be born again, he cannot see
the kingdom of heaven." It is essential to the possession of paradise; it
constitutes the very basis of the Christian character; and to be
indifferent to it is a mark of condemnation. Its present influence, and
its future consequences, are so wonderful, that it becomes us to cherish
an immediate and incessant solicitude upon the subject. Look
upward--Almighty love "waits to be gracious"--Is it not recorded, and can
it ever be forgotten, that "every one that asketh receiveth; and he that
seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened? If a son
shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone?
or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? or if he shall
ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how
to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your heavenly
Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?"

III. The account of Lydia is further illustrative of the _effects
resulting from a divine influence upon the human heart_.

The first of these effects is intimated by the statement, that "she
attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul." Her spirit was
exceedingly different from that of the hearers of Ezekiel: "Thou son of
man, the children of thy people still are talking against thee by the
walls and in the doors of the houses, and speak one to another, every one
to his brother, saying, Come, I pray you, and hear what is the word that
cometh forth from the Lord. And they come unto thee as the people cometh,
and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but they
will not do them; for with their mouth they show much love, but their
heart goeth after their covetousness And lo, thou art unto them as a very
lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an
instrument; for they hear thy words, but they do them not." Lydia, on the
contrary, heard to profit. She listened, reflected, and "inwardly
digested," the truths of the Gospel. She heard with seriousness and with
self-application. The doctrine was to her novel and interesting. The
Gospel came to her, "not in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy
Ghost, and in much assurance;" for she "received the word of God which she
heard, not as the word of men, but, as it is in truth, the word of God,"
which "effectually worketh" in believers.

And is this descriptive of _our_ views and feelings? Do we _pay attention_
to divine instructions, and "hear so that our souls may live?" Is the word
of God to us like descending manna from the skies, which we go forth with
eager haste to gather for our spiritual subsistence? Whenever we repair to
"the house of God," are we "more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice
of fools?" Do we dwell upon the lips of the preacher? Do we aim to
remember, seek to understand, and humbly resolve to practise what is
taught? Or, do we go to public worship with reluctant and hesitating
steps, compelled alone by the force of habit, education, example, or
terror? When _arrived_, do we enter with irreverence, assume a careless
and familiar attitude, give the rein to our wandering thoughts, resign our
bodies or our consciences to unhallowed slumber, or watch with frequent
glances the slowly revolving hour that will free us from an irksome
service? When _retired_ from public engagements, do we forget God our
Maker, dissipate consecrated hours, and at length lose every salutary
impression amidst the cares of life, and the subordinate concerns of
a moment?

It is possible you may even plead temporal anxieties and business, as an
extenuation of the guilt of religious negligences, or as a sufficient
ground of exemption from the claims of piety. You are forsooth too busy,
too needy, too perplexed in establishing connections or conducting
commercial transactions, to pay an immediate regard to the interests of
the soul and eternity; and although you at present defer such
considerations, you apologize for your folly by saying, it does not arise
from aversion, but inconvenience. You do not deny, you only procrastinate.
But who has insured your life? Who has perused for you the page of
destiny, which numbers the years of your mortal existence? Who has given
you any evidence, that the distant day of intentional repentance, shall be
a day of health, seriousness, and leisure? Who can tell that the sun,
which illumines the path of your prosperity at this period of
irresolution, will not, upon the arrival of the predicted hour of
penitence, shine only upon your grave? Who has given you authority to
invert the order which Christ has established in the admonition, "Seek ye
FIRST the kingdom of God and his righteousness?"

But we have a valuable example to cite. Go to Philippi. Learn of a woman,
whose name cannot perish, though generations pass away, and the stars
become extinct. _Lydia_ was not a person of leisure; she was a "seller of
purple," or cloths, which were died of a purple colour, or purple silks.
[49] She had surely sufficient occupation, and yet she has no apologies
at hand. She was not too much engaged to be concerned about her eternal
salvation; but when the apostle of the Gentiles preaches, she _must_ go,
she _must_ hear, she _must_ attend. She was "diligent in business," but
this did not preclude her being "fervent in spirit." As a seller of purple
she could only have become _rich_--the acmè, indeed, and summit of human
wishes, but a miserable barter for real and everlasting happiness; as a
hearer of Paul, she might and did become "_wise to salvation."_

Every thing is beautiful in its season. We must not wander from our proper
business under pretence of religion, nor must we neglect religion upon a
plea of business. Religion does not require a relinquishment of our
calling and station in society, but no civil engagements can justify a
disregard of religion. We may sell our purple--but we must also attend to
the instructions of the ministry and the word of God. If we imitate Lydia
in diligence, let us not forget to imitate her in piety. It is vain and
wicked to aver, that, the concerns of this world and those of another
interfere; because an ardent religion is not only compatible with worldly
occupations, but promotes both their purity and integrity, if it do not
secure their success.

Another effect of divine influence upon the heart of Lydia, and
essentially connected with her reception of the great principles of
Christianity, was an immediate attention to the ordinance of baptism. "She
was baptized and her household." In the true spirit of that apostle from
whose lips she received the truth of heaven, and by whom she was directed
to "the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world," "she conferred
not with flesh, and blood." With a promptitude which was at once
expressive of the sincerity of her faith and the zeal of her mind, she did
not hesitate to observe the baptismal institution of her Lord and Saviour.
What were to her the wonder of ignorant spectators--the ridicule of her
fellow-traders--the reflections of her heathen neighbours--when balanced
against the approbation of God and her own conscience? She had "bought the
truth," and would not sell it--she had found "the pearl of great price,"
and went and sacrificed every temporal consideration for it--she had
"found the Messiah," and was resolved to follow his foot-steps
whithersoever they conducted her. She did not dispute or hesitate, but she
obeyed. May the bright example of Lydia stimulate us to a similar conduct!

In the primitive times it is obvious that whoever received the Gospel was
baptized in the name of Christ, and to express a resolution to adhere to
him. And this obedience is a part of that decision of character which
should distinguish the genuine disciple of Christ. He demands it as a
proof of love, and by virtue of his supreme authority in the church. The
command to be baptized is, in the New Testament, usually connected with
the exhortation to repent, because this is the order of things which the
Son of God has established, and the most convincing evidence that we have
voluntarily devoted ourselves to his service. Baptism was significant of a
burial and resurrection with Christ, of being regenerated by his Spirit,
renewed by his influence, and separated from all the unholy principles of
a depraved nature, and from the sinful practices of a corrupt world. The
abundant use of water in this institution was considered as illustrative
of the purifying influences of the Holy Spirit, of his miraculous descent
on the day of Pentecost, and of the overwhelming sufferings of the
crucifixion. The precursor of our Lord predicted Christ as coming to
"baptize them with the Holy Ghost and with fire." John immersed our
Saviour himself in the river Jordan; when, as he "went up straightway out
of the water," he beheld the "heavens opened unto him," saw the descending
Spirit of God like a dove, "lighting upon him," and heard a voice saying,
"This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." Viewing in awful
perspective the tragical scenes of his life, which were to terminate in
the more tragical sufferings of his last hour, he exclaimed, "I have _a
baptism_ to be baptized with, and how am I straitened till it be

Happily, Lydia was not alone in her public profession of religion. She had
the satisfaction of seeing her household introduced by baptism into the
church of Christ. We are not informed either of their number, sex, or age.
The circumstances of the case seem most naturally to point out her
servants or adult children, to whom, as in the instance of the jailer, the
word of the Lord might be addressed. She no doubt felt extreme solicitude
for their spiritual interests, and from the moment of her own conversion
would give them every opportunity of attending the apostolic instruction.
To have witnessed in them the kindlings of divine love, the workings of
genuine penitence, the dawnings of true religion, must have afforded her
the richest pleasure, in comparison with which all the accumulations of
trade and commerce dwindled into perfect insignificance.

But let us inquire whether we resemble Lydia. Do we monopolize the hopes
of salvation and the cup of spiritual blessing? or are we active
distributors of the heavenly bounty? What do we _feel_ for our families,
our children, our domestics, our dependants, our friends and connections?
What have we _done_ for them? They need instruction--they possess souls to
be saved, or lost--they are responsible creatures--they are given us in
charge by providence, and will finally meet us at the tribunal of God.
Should it not awaken alarm to be accessary in any degree to their
destruction by negligence, if not by compulsion or by bad example? Is it
not worthy of a holy ambition to become instrumental to their eternal
welfare? Do you lead them to the domestic altar? Do you watch over their
conduct with a vigilant and paternal eye? Do you guide them to the house
of God?--To show them the path to heaven--to be instrumental in lodging
_one_ important sentiment in their minds--to sow, if but a single grain,
that may vegetate and rise into a tree of holiness, is incalculably more
satisfactory and more honourable than to obtain the victories of an
Alexander, or the riches of a Croesus. O, let us never remain content with
a solitary religion; but aim, like Lydia, to multiply our satisfactions,
and in the spirit of an exalted charity, to distribute happiness in the
earth! "None of us liveth to himself, and no man (as a Christian,) dieth
to himself."

A third and most visible effect of Lydia's conversion, was an affectionate
regard to the servants of Christ. With the zeal of a new convert and the
generosity of a genuine Christian, she invited Paul and the companions of
his labours to "come into her house and abide there." She thus proved
herself "a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men;" which although it
be one of the appropriate characteristics of "a bishop," or spiritual
overseer and pastor, enters into the very elements of a religious
character in every station. We are exhorted "to do good to all men,
especially to them that are of the household of faith:" and Jesus Christ
has represented love to the brethren as an indication of discipleship.

The invitation of Lydia was not cold and formal. She did not merely pass
the compliment of asking these holy guests to her board, but solicited it
as a favour, and with an unusual degree of importunity. She entreated--she
"constrained" them. Her plea was modest, but so expressed as to be
irresistible. They could not deny her request when put upon this basis:
"If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house."

Gratitude was undoubtedly a principal occasion of this urgency. She had
received through their instrumentality the best gift of Heaven. The eyes
of her understanding had been enlightened--the affections of her heart had
been excited and sanctified to a noble purpose. They had proclaimed to her
with surprising effect, "Jesus and the resurrection;" and, although she
had been a devout proselyte of the Jewish religion, she would not, humanly
speaking but for them, have become acquainted with the Christian, of which
the former was only a pre-figurative shadow. They had unlocked the door
of wisdom, and put her in possession of the ample treasures of truth;
they had taught her the evil of sin, and shown her "the Lord our
righteousness;" they had dispersed her doubts, dispelled her fears,
removed her darkness, satisfied her inquiries, and conducted her to "the
light of the world," new risen upon benighted nations, and whose blessed
radiance was already diffused in every direction. Lydia was anxious to
repay these benefits, or rather to testify her overwhelming sense of their
immensity. What could she do but invite them home? They were "strangers,"
amongst senseless idolaters and persecuting foes, and she "took them in,"
conscious of having incurred an obligation which she could but imperfectly
discharge. And have we cherished similar sentiments? Have we revered and
ministered to the servants of our Lord? Have we supplied their
necessities--cherished their persons--guarded their reputation? Have we
thus "rendered honour to whom honour is due"--esteeming them very highly
in love for their work's sake--and having made "partakers of their
spiritual things," considered it our "duty to minister unto them in carnal
things?" Respect for the truth itself ought to generate a suitable
predilection for such as faithfully dispense it. We should value the
"earthen vessels" for the sake of "the heavenly treasure" they contain. If
in any instances the professed ministers of the Gospel act inconsistently
with their character, a mind like that of Lydia, would not become
dissatisfied with the truth itself, nor hastily utter extravagant censure.
We have known persons take an apparent pleasure in detailing the faults of
persons eminent either for character, or for official situation. They have
betrayed, by their triumphant air, significant inuendoes, or needless
circumstantiality, a secret and criminal gratification, whilst loudly
protesting their sorrow. But a sincere piety, which sympathises with all
the adversities and prosperities of the Christian cause, and knows the
general and especially the personal consequences of such deplorable
inconsistencies, will commiserate, and weep, and pray.

The importunity of Lydia was no less honorable to Paul and his coadjutors
than to herself. It proves their delicacy and consideration. They felt
unwilling to accept her hospitality, lest it should prove burdensome or
troublesome. These were not men to take advantage of the impressions they
produced, and to gain a subsistence by art and fraudulence. They knew how
to use prosperity, and how to sustain adversity, how to "abound, and to
suffer want." They were not ashamed of poverty, nor afraid of labour.
Hardship, imprisonments, scourgings, and even death, had lost their
terrors; and on every occasion they were solicitous of evincing a
disinterestedness of spirit that might compel their bitterest enemies to
attest the purity of their motives. Hence Paul could appeal to the elders
of the Ephesian church, "I have coveted no man's silver, or gold, or
apparel. Yea, you yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto
my necessities, and to them that were with me;" and to the Corinthian
believers, "what is my reward then? Verily, that when I preach the gospel,
I may make the gospel of Christ without charge; that I abuse not my power
in the gospel." His language to the Thessalonians is still more
remarkable: "We did not eat any man's bread for nought; but wrought with
labour and travel night and day that we might not be chargeable to any
of you."

Lydia might probably be influenced in making this request by another
consideration. She expected great advantage from more familiar intercourse
with her guests. In the social hour--at the friendly table--in the
retirement of home--she could propose inquiries, which such a man as Paul
would be happy to hear, and ready to answer. He who could thus address the
saints at Rome--I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some
spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established; that is, that I may be
comforted together with you, by the mutual faith both of you and me--"must
have proved an interesting companion to so pious and inquisitive a woman."
She would receive him as a father and honour him as an apostle. Happy,
thrice happy for us, when we make a proper selection of our bosom friends,
and improve the hours of social intercourse to the purposes of spiritual
improvement! Nothing is more advantageous than reciprocal communication;
it elicits truth, corrects mistake, improves character, conduces to
happiness, animates to diligence, and gives anew impulse to our moral
energies. "Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another, and
the Lord hearkened and heard it; and a book of remembrance was written
before him for them that feared the Lord and that thought upon his name.
And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts in that day when I make up
my jewels; and I will spare them as a man spareth his own son that serveth
him. Then shall ye return and discern between the righteous and the
wicked; between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not."

In reviewing this history, we cannot help regreting the specimen it
affords of the paucity of real Christians. The whole city of Philippi
furnished only Lydia, the jailer, and a few others, who attended to the
preaching of Paul. Immersed in business, devoted to superstition, or
depraved by sensuality, the glad tidings of salvation were despised or
disregarded. They had neither eyes to see, ears to hear, nor hearts to
feel. The God of this world blinded them, that they did not believe. There
was not even a Jewish synagogue in Philippi--not one altar erected to the
true God--and only a small retreat by the river-side, to which a few
female inquirers resorted unnoticed or abhorred. Such is the world in
miniature! In reviewing the long track of ages, we can observe but here
and there a traveller along the road to Zion. The "narrow way" appears an
unfrequented path, while thousands and myriads crowd the "broad road that
leadeth to destruction." The page of history is not adorned with the
names of saints, but, blessed be God, they are recorded in Scripture, and
will shine forever in the annals of eternity.

The subject, however, presents another aspect. Lydia was the first convert
to the Christian faith in EUROPE! In her heart was deposited the first
seed that was sown in this new field of labour, in which so rich and
extensive a harvest has since sprung up. It was then, indeed, according to
the parabolical representations of Christ, but as "a grain of mustard
seed," which is the "least of all seeds;" but what a plant has it since
become, striking deep its roots, and waving wide its branches, so that the
nations recline beneath its refreshing shade, and feel the healing virtue
of its sacred leaves! At that distant period, while Asia was under
spiritual culture, Europe presented nothing to the eye but an outstretched
wilderness of desolation--ignorance spread over her fairest regions "gross
darkness," and the very "shadow of death"--and superstition reigned upon
his gloomy throne with triumphant and universal dominion. The particular
state of Britain may be inferred from the general condition of the world;
but if any difference existed, there is reason to suppose, from its
peculiar disadvantages and insular situation, that a blacker midnight
enveloped this region, than spread over the more civilized provinces of
the Roman empire. There was, indeed, no nation in which the grossest
practices of idolatry did not prevail, and where human nature did not
appear in a state of awful degeneracy. Their very reason was folly; their
very religion impiety. Let us, then, be unceasingly grateful to that
providence, which has not only sent the gospel to Europe, but has caused
the light to shine with peculiar glory in this favoured land, which, at
its first promulgation, was in a state of singular depravity; fixed, so
to speak, in the very meridian of the benighted hemisphere.

Britain has now emerged into day; and has not only caught the rising beam
of mercy, but is becoming the very centre of illumination to every kindred
and people of the globe. The different orders of Christians engaged in
missionary under-takings--_Moravian, Baptist, Independent_, and _Church
Societies_, ought to be mentioned with distinguished approbation, and
hailed as FELLOW LABOURERS in the vineyard. May they ever co-operate and
not control each other! May they be one in spirit, though diverse in
operation! May they unite their respective energies in one common cause,
while bigotry retires abashed from the glory of such a scene!

Above all, "the United Kingdoms may fairly claim, what has been freely and
cheerfully accorded by foreign nations, the honor of giving birth to an
institution, (the British and Foreign Bible Society,) the most efficacious
ever devised, for diffusing that knowledge which was given to make men
wise unto salvation.

"But although the approbation so generally bestowed on the British and
Foreign Bible Society, may be received as a gratifying homage to the
simplicity, purity, benevolence, and importance of its design, it is not
to the praise of men, but to the improvement of their moral and religious
state, that the Society aspires. Acting under the influence of an ardent
desire to promote the glory of God, and adopting the spirit of the
apostolic injunction, 'As we have opportunity let us do good unto all men,
especially to those who are of the household of faith;' its object is to
administer comfort to the afflicted, and rest to the weary and
heavy-laden; to dispense the bread and water of life to those who hunger
and thirst after righteousness; to feed the flock of Christ at home and
abroad; and to impart to those who sit in darkness the cheering rays of
the Sun of Righteousness.

"The theatre on which the Society displays its operations, is that of the
whole world. Considering all the races of men as children of one common
Father, who 'maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and
sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust;' and who wills 'that all men
should come to the knowledge of the truth;' the British and Foreign Bible
Society offers the records of eternal life to the bond and the free, to
Heathens and Christians,--in the earnest hope that they may become a lamp
unto the feet, and a light unto the paths of those who now receive them,
and of generations yet unborn.

"To support the character which the British and Foreign Bible Society has
assumed, to realize the hopes which it has excited, to foster and enlarge
the zeal which it has inspired, are obligations of no common magnitude,
and which cannot be discharged without correspondent exertions. 'As a city
that is set on a hill cannot be hid,' the eyes of nations look up to it
with expectation. Immense portions of the globe, now the domains of
idolatry and superstition; regions where the light of Christianity once
shone, but is now dim or extinguished; and countries where the heavenly
manna is so scarce, that thousands live and die without the means of
tasting it,--point out the existing claims on the benevolence of
the Society.

"To supply these wants, fill up these voids, and display the light of
revelation amidst the realms of darkness, will long require a continuance
of that support which the British and Foreign Bible Society has derived
from the public piety and liberality, and perhaps the persevering efforts
of succeeding generations. Let us not, however, be weary in well doing;
'for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.'

"Whatever may be the extent of the existing or increasing claims on the
British and Foreign Bible Society, it has ample encouragement to proceed
in its sacred duty of disseminating the Word of Life.

"'I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in
paths that they have not known; I will make darkness light before them,
and crooked things straight.'

"These are the words of the Almighty himself. Let the British and Foreign
Bible Society, uniting its prayers with those that are daily offered up at
home and abroad for the blessing of God on its proceedings, humbly hope
that it may become the instrument of his providence, for accomplishing his
gracious promises; and that, by means of the Scriptures distributed
through its exertions, or by its influence and encouragement, nations now
ignorant of the true, God, may learn 'to draw water from the wells of
salvation.' The prospect is animating, the object holy, its accomplishment
glorious; for the prospective efforts of the Society are directed to a
consummation, (whether attainable by them or not, is only known to Him who
knoweth all things,) when all the ends of the earth, adopting the language
of inspiration, shall unite their voices in the sublime strains of
heavenly adoration: 'Blessing and honour, and glory and power, be unto Him
that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever:
Hallelujah! for the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth!"' [50]

Essay on What Christianity Has Done for Women.

At this distance of time, and possessing only the very brief information
with which it has pleased Infinite Wisdom to furnish us in the commencing
chapters of the book of Genesis, it is impossible to ascertain with
precision the nature of that disparity which originally subsisted between
the first parents of mankind. The evidence does not seem to be decisive,
whether their characteristic differences were merely corporeal or mental,
exterior or internal, natural and essential, or accidental. It is
questionable whether the superiority of Adam arose out of the revelations
he received, and the priority of his existence to his "fair partner Eve,"
or from an innate pre-eminence which marked him, not only as the head of
the inferior creation, but as the appointed lord of the woman. A close
examination of the subject, perhaps, would lead us to infer, that an
equality subsisted in all those respects which are not strictly classed
under the epithet _constitutional_; and that the authority which
revelation has conceded to the man, results from his present fallen

It is indeed observable, that when God determined upon the creation of the
woman, because it was not deemed good that the man should be alone, she is
represented as the intended "help meet _for_ him;" but this expression is
not perhaps to be understood, as referring so much to subserviency as to
suitability. The capacity of one being to promote the happiness of
another, depends on its adaptation. The virtuous and the vicious, the
feeble and the strong, the majestic and the mean, cannot be associated
together to any advantage, and a general equality appears requisite, to
render any being capable of becoming the _help meet_ to a perfect
creature. This idea of his new-formed companion pervades the language of
Adam, when she was first brought to him by her Almighty Creator: "This,"
said he, "is now bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be
called Woman, because she was taken out of man. Therefore shall a man
leave his father and mother, and shall cleave unto his wife, and _they
shall be one flesh_."

To this it may be added, that subjection to the man is expressly enjoined
as a part of the original curse upon the female. This infliction
necessarily implies a previous equality in rank and station. There was
evidently before, no competition, no struggle for dominion, and no sense
of inferiority or pre-eminence. The language of Jehovah in denouncing the
respective destinies of these transgressors, unquestionably conferred a
power or claim upon man, which he did not originally possess, and which
was intended as a perpetual memento of the woman having been the first to
disobey her Maker. "Unto the woman" he said, "I will greatly multiply thy
sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shall bring forth children; and
thy desire shall be to thy husband, and _he shall ride over thee_."

But, whatever were the original equalities or inequalities of the human
race, this, at least, is certain, that the influence of depraved passions
since the fall, is sufficiently conspicuous in rendering the claims and
duties of both sexes more and more ambiguous, and disarranging the
harmonies of the first creation. In proportion to the degree in which
society is corrupt, power will assume an authority over weakness, and they
who ought to be help meets will become competitors. Opposition generates
dislike, and dislike, when associated with power, will produce oppression.
It is in vain to plead the principle of right, to solicit attention to the
voice of reason, or to attempt to define the boundaries of influence, when
no means exist of enforcing the attention of him who can command
obedience. There is no alternative but submission or punishment. Upon this
principle, the female sex may be expected to become the sport of human
caprice, folly, and guilt. But Christianity tends to rectify the disorders
which sin has introduced into the universe, and both in a natural and
moral sense, to restore a lost paradise. Like that mighty Spirit, which in
the beginning moved upon the surface of the waters, when the earth was
without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep, it
corrects the confusion of the moral system, pervades and reorganizes the
formless mass of depraved society, and pacifies the turbulence of human
passions. With a majesty that overawes, a voice that will be heard, an
influence that cannot be resisted, it renews the world, and will
eventually diffuse its unsetting glory through every part of the
habitual globe.

The subject before us presents a large field of research, and it would
well repay the labour to walk with a deliberate step around its spacious
borders and throughout its ample extent; but we must content ourselves
with tracing out some of its principal varieties, and collecting
comparatively a few of its productions.

Our plan will require the induction _of facts_, as the necessary basis of
argument or illustration; and these refer to the state of women, in
countries and during periods in which the religion of the Bible was wholly
unknown, as in the nations of Pagan antiquity, in Greece and Rome; in
savage, superstitious, and Mahometan regions; and their condition
previously to the establishment of Christianity, in patriarchal time and
places, or during the Jewish theocracy.

I. The Pagan Nations of Antiquity demand the first consideration.

Our knowledge of the _ancient Egyptians_ is extremely limited, being
derived from the Greek writers, whose accounts are often contradictory.
Their testimony, however, is sufficiently precise respecting the
prevalence of domestic servitude. The Egyptians were a people remarkable
for jealousy, which was carried to such an extreme, that after the death
of their wives, they even entertained apprehensions respecting the
embalmers. [51] Having decreed it to be indecent in women to go abroad
without shoes, they deprived them of the means of wearing them, by
threatening with death any one who should make shoes for a woman. They
were forbidden music, probably with a view of preventing their possessing
so dangerous an attraction as that of an elegant accomplishment.

With regard to the _Celtic nations_, it is true, that the Romans were
surprised at the degree of estimation in which these barbarous tribes held
their women, and the privileges which they conceded to them; and it must
be admitted that certain stern virtues characterized those who were
addicted to military achievements, resulting partly from their incessant
occupation as warriors, and partly from some indefinite but splendid
ideas of fame and glory. Seduction and adultery were vices of rare
occurrence; the bridegroom bestowed a dowery upon the bride, consisting of
flocks, a horse ready bridled and saddled, a shield, a lance, and a sword;
[52] and they were often stimulated by their presence and excitement in
their warlike expeditions. But though generally contented with one wife,
the nobles were allowed a plurality, either for _pleasure_ or _show_; the
labours of the field, as well as domestic toil, devolved on the women;
which, though practised in very ancient times, even by females of the most
exalted rank, evidently originated in the general impression of their
inferiority in the scale of existence. Their great Odin, or Odinus,
excluded from his paradise all who did not by some violent death follow
their deceased husbands; and in time they were so degraded, that by an old
Saxon law, he that hurt or killed a woman was to pay only half the fine
exacted for injuring or killing a man. But the argument in favour of
Christianity, as assigning women their _proper place_ in society, is
corroborated by observing the extremes of oppression and adulation, to
which the Scandinavian nations alternately veered. While polygamy and
infanticide prevailed, the practice of raising into heroines,
prophetesses, and goddesses, some of their women, was no less indicative
of a very imperfect sense of the true character of the female sex. [53]
The public and domestic life of the _Greeks_ exhibit unquestionable
evidences of barbarity in the treatment of women. Homer, and all their
subsequent writers, show that they were subjected to those restrictions,
which infallibly indicate their being regarded only as the property of
men, to be disposed of according to their will. Hence they were bought and
sold, made to perform the most menial offices, and exposed to all the
miseries and degradation of concubinage. The daughters, even of persons of
distinction, were married without any consultation of their wishes, to men
whom, frequently, they had never seen, and at the early age of fourteen or
fifteen; previous to which period, the Athenian females were kept in a
state of as great seclusion as possible. Their study was dress; and
slaves, their mothers excepted, were their only companions. The duties of
a good wife were, in the opinion of the wisest of the Greeks, comprised in
going abroad to expose herself as little as possible to strangers, taking
care of what her husband acquired, superintending the younger children,
and maintaining a perpetual vigilance over the adult daughters. After
marriage, some time elapsed before they ventured to speak to their
husbands, or the latter entered into conversation with them. At no time
were wives intrusted with any knowledge of their husbands' affairs, much
less was their opinion or advice solicited; and they were totally excluded
from mixed society. One of the most excellent of the Athenians admitted,
there were few friends with whom, he conversed so seldom as with his
wife. [54]

Solon, in his laws, is silent with regard to the education of girls,
though he gave very precise regulations for that of boys. That legislator
imagined that women were not sufficiently secluded, and therefore directed
that they should not go abroad in the daytime, except it were in full
dress; or at night, but with torches and in a chariot. He prohibited their
taking eatables out of the houses of their husbands of more value than an
obolus, or carrying a basket more than a cubit in length. [55] The
Athenians had previously possessed the power of selling their children and
sisters; and even Solon allowed fathers, brothers, and guardians, this
right, if their daughters, sisters, and wards, had lost their innocence.
From various enactments, it appears that adultery was extremely common,
and female modesty could not be preserved even by legislative restraint.
Most of the Greeks, and even their philosophers, concurred with the
Eastern nations in general in associating with courtesans; who were,
indeed, honoured with the highest distinctions. The Corinthians ascribed
their deliverance, and that of the rest of Greece, from the power of
Xerxes, to the intercession of the priestess of Venus, and the protection
of the goddess. At all the festivals of Venus, the people applied to the
courtesans as the most efficacious intercessors; and Solon deemed it
advantageous to Athens, to introduce the worship of that goddess, and to
constitute them her priestesses. In the age of Pericles, and still more
afterward, prostitution, thus yoked with superstition, and sanctioned by
its solemnities, produced the most baneful effects upon public morals.
From idolatrous temples, the great reservoirs of pollution, a thousand
streams poured into every condition of life, and rolling over the whole of
this cultivated region, deposited the black sediment of impurity upon the
once polished surface of society, despoiling its beauty, discolouring its
character, and ruining its glory.

The Athenians did not hesitate to take their wives and daughters to visit
the notorious Aspasia in the house of Pericles, though she was the teacher
of intrigue, and the destroyer of morals. The most celebrated men lived in
celibacy, only to secure the better opportunities of practising vice,
which however did not conceal her hideous deformity in the shades, but
stalked forth at noonday, emblazoned by the eloquence of a Demosthenes,
and enriched by treasuries of opulence.

In many respects the Spartans differed from the other Greeks in their
treatment of the female sex. The women were as shamefully exposed as those
of the other states were secluded; being introduced to all the exercises
of the public gymnasium at an early age, no less than the other sex, and
taught the most shameless practices. The laws of Lycurgus were in many
instances utterly subversive of morality, and too outrageous for citation.
The depravity of the sex was extreme even at an early period, and
Xenophon, Plutarch, and Aristotle, impute to this cause the ultimate
subversion of the Spartan state.

The _Romans_ differed materially from the Greeks and the oriental nations
in one point with regard to their treatment of women; namely, in never
keeping them in a state of seclusion from the society of men: but the
husbands were very incommunicative: and it seems at least to have been an
_understood_, if not a written law, that they should avoid all
inquisitiveness, and speak only in the presence of their husbands. In the
second Punic war, the Oppian law prohibited the women, from riding in
carriages and wearing certain articles of dress; which was, however,
afterward repealed. The ancient laws considered children as slaves, and
women as children who ought to remain in a state of perpetual tutelage.
According to the laws of Romulus and Numa, a husband's authority over his
wife was equal to that of a father over his children, excepting only that
he could not sell her. The wife was stated to be in servitude, though she
had in name the rights of a Roman citizen. From the moment of her marriage
she was looked upon as the daughter of her husband and heir of his
property, if he had no children; otherwise she was considered as his
sister, and shared an equal portion with the children. Wives had no right
to make wills, nor durst they prefer complaints against their husbands;
and the power of the latter over them was as unrestricted as that which
they possessed over their children: in fact, the husband could even put
his wife to death, not only for gross immoralities, but for excess in
wine. [56]

Considerable changes took place in the laws after the period of the
destruction of Carthage, some of which allowed greater privileges to
females; but as divorces became more frequent, crimes multiplied. In the
latter periods of the republic women had the principal share in public
plots and private assassinations, and practised the worst of sins with the
most barefaced audacity.

The morals of women are indicative of the state of society in general, and
of the estimation in which they are held in particular. If the other sex
treat them as slaves, they will become servile and contemptible, a certain
degree of self-respect being essential to the preservation of real dignity
of character. The way to render human beings of any class despicable is
to undervalue them; for disesteem will superinduce degeneracy. If this be
the case, then the state of women in any age or country is a criterion of
public opinion, since the vices of their lives indicate their condition;
upon which principle, Greece and Rome exhibit wretched specimens of female

But there is one circumstance in the history of the Romans which must not
be wholly overlooked. Their conduct was marked by _capriciousness._ Though
the usual treatment of their women resembled that of other Pagan nations
in barbarity, like some of them, too, they frequently rendered them
extraordinary honours. On some occasions they even transferred to their
principal slaves the right of chastising their wives; and yet, on others
they paid them distinguished deference: as in the case of vestals, and the
privileges conceded to them after the negotiation between the Romans and
Sabines. Various individual exceptions to a barbarous usage might be
adduced; sufficient, however, only to evince the general debasement of the
female sex, and the total absence of all fixed principles of moral action
in unchristianized man.

II. Next to the nations of antiquity, the state of women in SAVAGE,

In treating this part of the subject, it will be necessary to make a rapid
circumnavigation of the globe, touching at least at the most
remarkable places.


GREENLAND. The situation of females in this country might well justify the
exclamation of an ancient philosopher, who thanked God that _he was born a
man and not a woman_. The only employment of girls, till their fourteenth
year, is singing, dancing, amusements, attending on children, and fetching
water; [57] after which they are taught, by their mothers, to sew, cook,
tan the skins of animals, construct houses, and navigate boats. It is
common for the men to stand by as idle spectators, while the women are
carrying the heaviest materials for building; the former never attempting
to do any thing but the carpenter's work. Parents frequently betroth their
daughters in infancy, and never consult their wishes respecting marriage;
if no previous pledge be given, they are disposed of to the first suiter
that chances to make the application. From their twentieth year, the usual
period of marriage, the lives of the women, says Cranz, are a continued
series of hardships and misery. The occupations of the men solely consist
in hunting and fishing; but so far from giving themselves the trouble to
carry home the fish they have caught, they would think themselves
eternally disgraced by such a condescension.

The Greenlanders have two kinds of boats, adapted to procure subsistence.
One of them is the great woman's boat called the _umiak_, from twelve to
eighteen yards in length, and four or five in width. These boats are rowed
by four women, and steered by a fifth, without any assistance from the
men, excepting in cases of emergency. If the coast will not allow them to
pass, six or eight women take the boat upon their heads, and carry it over
land to a navigable place.

Mothers-in-law are absolute mistresses in the houses of their married
sons, who frequently ill-treat them; and the poor women are sometimes
obliged to live with quarrelsome favourites, and may be corrected or
divorced at pleasure. Widows who have no friends, are commonly robbed of a
considerable portion of their property by those who come to sympathize
with them by an affected condolence; and can obtain no redress,--on the
contrary, they are obliged to conciliate their kindness by the utmost
obsequiousness. After a precarious subsistence in different families, and
being driven from one hut to another, they are suffered to expire without
help or notice. When widows have grown-up sons, their condition is much
superior to that in which they formerly lived with their husbands. When
aged women pretend to practise, or are suspected of witchcraft--if the
wife or child of a Greenlander happen to die--if his fowling piece miss
fire, or his arrow the mark at which it was shot--the supposed sorceress
is instantly stoned, thrown into the sea, or cut in pieces by the
_angekoks_ or male magicians. There have even been instances of sons
killing their mothers, and brothers their sisters. The infirmities of age
expose women to violent deaths, being sometimes with their own consent,
and sometimes forcibly, interred alive by their own offspring.

RUSSIA. Over this extensive empire, including sixteen different nations,
the condition of women is such as equally to evince the degraded character
of the men. Among the Siberians, an opinion is entertained that they are
impure beings, and odious to the gods; in consequence of which, they are
not permitted to approach the sacred fire, or the places of sacrifice. In
the eastern islands, in particular, there exists tribes to whom the
nuptial ceremony is unknown; and in cases where the daughters are
purchased by goods, money, or services, their fathers never consult their
children, and their husbands treat them as slaves or beasts of burden. In
Siberia, conjugal fidelity is bartered for gain, or sacrificed at the
shrine of imaginary hospitality. The sale of their wives is by no means
uncommon, for a little train oil, or other paltry considerations. To this
the women offer no objection, and at an advanced age frequently seek
younger wives for their husbands, and devote themselves to domestic
drudgery. [58] The same degrading facts apply to the Tungusians and other
tribes. In some respects the Kamtschadales differ from the rest, but the
extreme debasement arising from their libidinous brutality must not be
described, and can scarcely be credited. [59]

Among all the Slavon nations of Europe, wives and daughters have ever been
kept in a state of exclusion. Brides are purchased, and instantly become
slaves. Formerly sons were compelled by blows to marry, and daughters
dragged by their hair to the altars; and the paternal authority is still
unbounded. The lower classes are doomed to incessant labour, and are
obliged to submit to the utmost indignities. [60]

The picture of Russian manners varies little with reference to the prince
or the peasant.... They are all, high and low, rich and poor, alike servile
to superiors; haughty and cruel to their dependants, ignorant,
superstitions, cunning, brutal, barbarous, dirty, mean. The emperor canes
the first of his grandees; princes and nobles cane their slaves; and the
slaves their _wives_ and _daughters_. [61]

ITALY AND SPAIN. These two countries may be classed together, because the
condition of the female sex is very similar in both: the education of
woman is totally neglected, and they are not ashamed of committing the
grossest blunders in common conversation. Such is their situation that
they cannot intermeddle with the concerns of their husbands, without
exciting their jealousy. Girls are in early years left to the care of
servants who are both ill educated and immoral; the same may be said of
their mothers, whose conversation and public conduct tend to perfect the
growth of licentiousness in their uncultivated children.

PORTUGAL. Young women in this kingdom are not instructed in any thing
truly useful or ornamental; and even those who belong to respectable
families, are often ignorant of reading and writing. Parents keep their
daughters in the most rigid confinement, frequently not allowing them even
to go abroad to church to hear mass, and never unattended. They are
secluded from all young persons of the other sex, who are not permitted to
visit families where there are unmarried females. The consequence of this
austerity is an extended system of intrigue, for the purpose of evading
all this circumspection--by which means they are full of cunning
and deceit.

TURKEY. Women, in Constantinople, are confined in seraglios for life, or
shut up in their apartments. They are not permitted to appear in public
without a vail, and can only obtain their freedom by devoting themselves
to prostitution.

"The slave market," says Mr. Thornton, "is a quadrangle, surrounded by a
covered gallery, and ranges of small and separate apartments. The manner
of purchasing slaves is described in the plain and unaffected narrative of
a German merchant, which, as I have been able to ascertain its general
authenticity, may be relied on as correct in this particular. He arrived
at Kaffa, in the Crimea, which was formerly the principal mart of slaves;
and hearing that an Armenian had a Georgian and two Circassian girls to
dispose of, feigned an intention of purchasing them, in order to gratify
his curiosity, and to ascertain the mode of conducting such bargains. A
Circassian maiden, eighteen years old, was the first who presented
herself; she was well dressed, and her face was covered with a vail. She
advanced towards the German, bowed down, and kissed his hand: by order of
her master, she walked backwards and forwards in the chamber to show her
shape, and the easiness of her gait and carriage: her foot was small, and
her gesture agreeable. When she took off her vail, she displayed a bust of
the most attractive beauty. She rubbed her cheeks with a wet napkin, to
prove that she had not used art to heighten her complexion; and she opened
her inviting lips, to show a regular set of teeth of pearly whiteness. The
German was permitted to feel her pulse, that he might be convinced of the
good state of her health and constitution. She was then ordered to retire,
while the merchants deliberated upon the bargain. The price of this
beautiful girl was four thousand piastres, [equal to four thousand five
hundred florins of Vienna."] [62]

GREECE. The condition of females, in Modern Greece, may be inferred from
an anecdote or two related by _Lieutenant Collins_. He and his friends
were approaching _Macri_, on the coast of Asia Minor. "Encouraged to
proceed," he remarks, "we approached the second groupe, which we passed
in a similar manner; but some woman, who were near them, appeared to fly
at our approach, and view us at a distance with astonishment and fear. But
no sooner had we advanced, than, as with general consent, they all caught
their children in their arms, and with the fears of a mother apprehensive
for the safety of a beloved child, flew to their houses, and shut
themselves in, and we saw no more of them till our return.

"Our company during dinner consisted of Greeks only--it was served up by
the women, attended by one of her children, who with all the family
appeared in an abject state; for on offering her a little of the wine,
which they so kindly furnished us with, she shrunk back, with an
expression of surprise at our condescension, which excited ours also; and
the man understanding a little Italian, we inquired the reason; 'Such,'
says he, is the inferiority and oppression we labour under, that it is in
general thought too great honour for a Turk to present a person of this
description with, any token of respect, and forward in her to accept it,
which is the reason of her timidity, in not accepting the wine from
you.'" [63]

In Greece, the women are closely confined at home; they do not even appear
at church till they are married. The female slaves are not Greeks, but
such as are either taken in war or stolen by the Tartars from Russia,
Circassia, or Georgia. Many thousands were formerly taken in the Morea,
but most of them have been redeemed by the charitable contributions of the
Christians, or ransomed by their own relations. The fine slaves that wait
upon great ladies, are bought at the age of eight or nine years, and
educated with great care to accomplish them in singing, dancing,
embroidery, &c. They are commonly Circassian, and their patron rarely
ever sells them, but if they grow weary of them, they either present them
to a friend, or give them their freedom.


TARTARY. This immense country, in its utmost limits, reaches from the
Eastern Ocean to the Caspian Sea; and from Corea, China, Thibet,
Hindoostan, and Persia, to Russia, and Siberia; including a space of three
thousand six hundred miles in length, and nine hundred and sixty in width,
and comprehending all the middle region of Asia. Its two great divisions
are into Eastern and Western; the former chiefly belongs to the emperor of
China, the latter to Russia.

The Mahometan Tartars are continually waging war against their neighbours
for the purpose of procuring slaves. When they cannot obtain adults, they
steal children to sell, and even make no scruple of selling their own,
especially daughters. In case of any disgust, their wives share a similar
fate. Among the pagan Tartars incestuous practices are prevalent, and
their wives are generally dismissed at, or previous to, the age of forty.
The mothers of sultans, among the Crim Tartars, neither eat with their
sons, nor sit in their presence. They are, in fact, the slaves of their
caprice, often ill-treated by them, and sometimes even put to death. [64]

The _Calmucks_ are considered as remarkably lenient in their conduct to
the women: but fathers dispose of their daughters without their consent,
and even antecedently to their birth. Their chiefs and princes have,
besides, large harems or seraglios where domestic rivalship imbitters
existence. They are, moreover, regarded in general as servants, and
infidelity is compensated by a trifling offering to their
mercenary rapacity.

The _Georgians and Circassians_ are celebrated for their surpassing
beauty, and their young women are brought up to some industrious habits.
The daughters of slaves receive a similar education, and are sold
according to their beauty, at from twenty to a hundred pounds each, or
upwards. They consider all their children in the light of property,
exposing them to sale as they would their cattle, and too often obtain
large sums from the agents of despotism and depravity.

CHINA. In this, and almost all the countries of Southern Asia, the
condition of women is truly deplorable. Forced marriages and sales are
universal, and the Chinese are so excessively jealous, that they do not
permit their wives to receive any visitors of the other sex, and transport
them from place to place in vehicles secured by iron bars. Their
concubines are not only treated with the most degrading inhumanity, but
are slaves to the wives, who never fail to sway a despotic sceptre; they
are besides liable at any time to be sold. The children of concubines are
regarded as the offspring of the legitimate wife; hence they manifest no
affection for their real mothers, but often treat them with the most
marked disrespect. The laws of China and Siam allow the lawful wives and
sons, after the death of their husbands and fathers, to exclude concubines
and their children from all share in the property of the deceased, and to
dispose of their persons by public or private sale.

The wives of people of rank are always confined to their apartments from
motives of jealousy; those of a middle class are a kind of upper servants
deprived of liberty; and the wives of the lower orders are mere domestic
drudges. The handsomest women are usually purchased for the courts and
principal mandarins.

"We can readily," says a respectable writer, "give credit to the custom of
a landlord taking the wife of a ryat or peasant, as a pledge for rent, and
keeping her till the debt is discharged (in the kingdom of Nepaul;) since
we know, on the best authority, that their wise polished neighbours, the
Chinese, have found it necessary to enact a prohibitory statute against
lending wives and daughters on hire." [65]

Another writer observes, "Since the philosophical inquiry into the
condition of the weaker sex, in the different stages of society, published
by Millar, [66] it has been universally considered as an infallible
criterion of barbarous society, to find the women in a state of great
degradation. Scarcely among savages themselves is the condition of women
more wretched and humiliating than among the Chinese. A very striking
picture of the slavery and oppression to which they are doomed, but too
long for insertion in this place, is drawn by M. Vanbraam. [67] Mr. Barrow
informs us, that among the rich, the women are imprisoned slaves; among
the poor, drudges; 'many being,' says he, 'compelled to work with an
infant upon the back, while the husband, in all probability, is gaming,--I
have frequently seen women,' he adds, 'assisting to drag a sort of light
plough, and the harrow. The easier task, that of directing the machine, is
left to the husband.' [68] The Chinese value their daughters so little,
that when they have more children than they can easily maintain, they hire
the midwives to stifle the females in a basin of water as soon as they are
born.' [69] Nothing can exceed the contempt towards women which the maxims
of the most celebrated of their lawgivers express. 'It is very
difficult,' said Confucius himself, 'to govern women and servants; for if
you treat them with gentleness and familiarity, they lose all respect; if
with rigour, you will have continual disturbance.'

"Women are debarred almost entirely from the rights of property; and they
never inherit. Among the worst savage nations, their daughters are sold to
their husbands, and are received and treated as slaves. [70] When society
has made a little progress, the purchase-money is received only as a
present, and the wife, nominally at least, is not received as a slave.
Among the Chinese, the daughter, with whom no dowry is given, it uniformly
exchanged for a present; and so little is the transaction, even on a
purchase, disguised, that Mr. Barrow has no scruple to say, 'the daughters
may be said to be invariably sold.' [71] He assures us, that 'it is even a
common practice among the Chinese to sell their daughters, that they may
he brought up as prostitutes.' [72] [73]

BIRMAN EMPIRE. This extensive dominion comprehends the state of Pegu, Ava,
Arracan, and Siam. Women are not secluded from the society of men, but
they are held in great contempt. Their evidence is undervalued in judicial
proceedings. The lower classes sell their women to strangers, who do not,
however, seem to feel themselves degraded. In Pegu, Siam, Cochin China,
and other districts, adultery is regarded as honourable. Herodotus
mentions a people called Gendanes, where the debasement of the female
character is such, that their misconduct is an occasion of boasting and a
source of distinction.

HINDOOSTAN. The following extracts, from the letters of the Baptist
missionaries, in India, will speak volumes, and might, if it were
necessary, be corroborated by a thousand similar citations.

At an early period of the Baptist mission to India, Dr. Carey communicated
the following interesting account to a friend:--"As the burning of women
with their husbands is one of the most singular and striking customs of
this people, and also very ancient, as you will see by the _Reek Bede_,
which contains a law relating to it, I shall begin with this. Having just
read a Shanscrit book, called _Soordhee Sungraha_, which is a collection
of laws from the various Shasters, arranged under their proper heads, I
shall give you an extract from it, omitting some sentences, which are mere
verbal repetitions. Otherwise, the translation may be depended on as
exact. The words prefixed to some of the sentences are the names of the
original books from which the extracts are made.

"_Angeera._ After the husband's death, the virtuous wife who burns herself
with him, [74] is like an Asoondhatee, [75] and will go to bliss.--If she
be within one day's journey of the place where he dies, and indeed
virtuous, the burning of his corpse shall be deferred one day for
her arrival.

"_Brahma Pooran_. If the husband die in another country, the virtuous wife
shall take any of his effects; for instance, a sandal, and binding it on
her thigh, shall enter the fire with it. [76]

"_Reek, Bede._ If a wife thus burn with her husband, it is not suicide; and
her relations shall observe three days' uncleanness for her; after which
her _Shraddha_ [77] must he properly performed.--If she cannot come to the
place, or does not receive an account of her husband's death, she shall
wait the appointed ten days of uncleanness, [78] and may afterwards die in
a separate fire.--If she die in a separate fire, three days' uncleanness
will be observed; after which the _Pinda_ must be performed.--After the
uncleanness on account of the husband is over, the _Shraddha_ must be
performed according to the commandment.--Three days after his death, the
_Dospinda_ [79] must be made, and after ten days the regular _Shraddha_.

"_Goutam. Brahmmanee_ can only die with her husband, on which account she
cannot burn in another fire. When a woman dies with her husband, the
eldest son, or nearest relation, shall set fire to the pile; whose office
also it is to perform the _Dospinda_, and all the obsequies. He who
kindles the fire shall perform the _Dospinda_: [80] but her own son, or
nearest relations, must perform the _Shraddha_.--If a woman burn
separately, only three days' uncleanness will be observed for her; but if
in the same fire ten days.

"_Asouch Shunkar_. If another person die before the last day of
uncleanness for a death or birth, then the uncleanness on account of the
second person's death will be included in the first, and the time not
lengthened out.

"_Bishnoo Pooran_. If the husband die in war, only present uncleanness, or
till bathing, will be observed for him: if, therefore, the wife burn with
him only one night's uncleanness will be observed for her; but, if in a
separate fire, three days; and in that case the husband's _Pinda_ will be
at the end of three days.--If the husband and wife burn in one fire, they
will obtain separate offerings of the _Shraddha_.--If a woman die with
her husband voluntarily, the offerings to her, and all her obsequies will
be equal to his.--If they die within a _Tithee_, or lunar day, the
offerings will be made to both at the same time.--If the person be
_Potect_, or sinful; that is, has killed a _Brahmman_, or drinks
spirituous liquors, or has committed some sin in his former life, on
account of which he is afflicted with elephantiasis, consumption, leprosy,
&c. [81] all will be blotted out by his wife burning with him, after
proper atonement has been made. [82]--A woman with a young child, or
being pregnant, cannot burn with her husband.--If there be a proper person
to educate the infant, she may be permitted to burn.--If any woman ascend
the pile, and should afterward decline to burn, through love of life or
earthly things, she shall perform the penance _Prazapatya_, and will then
be free from sin.'" [83]

The following statement is taken from the more recent communication of
another of the Baptist missionaries to India:--

"Jan. 9, 1807. A person informing us that a woman was about to be burnt
with the corpse of her husband near our house, I, with several of our
brethren, hastened to the place; but, before we could arrive, the pile was
in flames. It was a horrible sight. The most shocking indifference and
levity appeared among those who were present: I never saw anything more
brutal than their behaviour. The dreadful scene had not the least
appearance of a religious ceremony, It resembled an abandoned rabble of
boys in England, collected for the purpose of worrying to death a cat or a
dog. A bamboo, perhaps twenty feet long, had been fastened at one end to a
stake driven in the ground, and held down over the fire by men at the
other. Such were the confusion, the levity, the bursts of brutal
laughter, while the poor woman was burning alive before their eyes, that
it seemed as if every spark of humanity was extinguished by this cruel
superstition. That which added to the cruelty was, the smallness of the
fire. It did not consist of so much wood as we consume in dressing a
dinner: no, not this fire that was to consume the living and the dead! I
saw the legs of the poor creature hanging out of the fire, while her body
was in flames. After a while they took a bamboo, ten or twelve feet long,
and stirred it, pushing and beating the half-consumed corpse, as you would
repair a fire of green wood, by throwing the unconsumed pieces into the
middle. Perceiving the legs hanging out, they beat them with the bamboo
for some time, in order to break the ligatures which fastened them at the
knees; (for they would not have come near to touch them for the world.) At
length, they succeeded in binding them upwards into the fire; the skin and
muscles giving way, and discovering the knee-sockets bare, with the balls
of the leg bones; a sight this, which, I need not say, made me thrill with
horror; especially when I recollected that this hopeless victim of
superstition was alive but a few minutes before. To have seen savage
wolves thus tearing a human body limb from limb, would have been shocking;
but to see relations and neighbours do this to one with whom they had
familiarly conversed not an hour before, and to do it with an air of
levity, was almost too much for me to bear! Turning to the Brahmman who
was the chief actor in this horrid tragedy, a young fellow of about
twenty-two, and one of the most hardened that ever I accosted, I told him
that the system which allowed of these cruelties, could no more proceed
from God than darkness from the sun; and warned him, that he must appear
at the judgment-seat of God, to answer for this murder. He, with a grin,
full of savage contempt, told me that 'he gloried in it, and felt the
highest pleasure in performing the deed.' I replied, 'that his pleasure
might be less than that of his Master; but seeing it was in vain to reason
with him, I turned to the people, and expostulated with them. One of them
answered, that 'the woman had burnt herself of her own free choice, and
that she went to the pile as a matter of pleasure.'--'Why, then, did you
confine her down with that large bamboo?'--'If we had not, she would have
run away'--'What, run away from pleasure!' I then addressed the poor lad,
who had been thus induced to set fire to his mother. He appeared about
nineteen. 'You have murdered your mother! your sin is great. The sin of
the Brahmman, who urged you to it, is greater; but yours is very
great.'--'What could I do? It is the custom.'--'True, but this custom is
not of God; but proceedeth from the devil, who wishes to destroy mankind.
How will you bear the reflection that you have murdered your only
surviving parent?' He seemed to feel what was said to him; but, just at
this instant, that hardened wretch, the Brahmman, rushed in, and drew him
away, while the tears were standing in his eyes. After reasoning with some
others, and telling them of the Saviour of the world, I returned home with
a mind full of horror and disgust.

"You expect, perhaps, to hear that this unhappy victim was the wife of
some Brahmman of high cast. She was the wife of a barber who dwelt at
Serampore, and had died that morning, leaving the son I have mentioned,
and a daughter about eleven years of age. Thus has this infernal
superstition aggravated the common miseries of life, and left these
children stripped of both their parents in one day! Nor is this an
uncommon case. It often happens to children far more helpless than these;
sometimes to children possessed of property, which is then left, as well
as themselves, to the mercy of those who have decoyed their mother to
their father's funeral pile." [84]

CEYLON. "Idolatrous procession. Each carriage has four wheels of solid
wood, and requires two hundred men to drag it. When they are dragged along
the streets, on occasions of great solemnity, women, in the phrensy of
false devotion, throw themselves down before the wheels, and are crushed
to death by their tremendous weight; the same superstitious madness
preventing the ignorant crowd from making any attempt to save them." [85]

SUMATRA. "The modes of marriage," says Mr. Marsden, "according to the
original institutions of these people, are by _jujur_, by _arnbel anak_,
or by _Semando_. The jujur is a certain sum of money, given by one man to
another, as a consideration for the person of his daughter, whose
situation, in this case, differs not much from that of a slave to the man
she marries, and to his family; his absolute property in her depends,
however, upon some nice circumstances. Besides the _botang jupu,_ (or main
sum,) there are certain appendages, or branches, one of which, the _tali
kulo_, or five dollars, is usually, from motives of delicacy or
friendship, left unpaid; and so long as that is the case, a relationship
is understood to subsist between the two families, and the parents of the
woman have a right to interfere on occasions of ill treatment; the husband
is also liable to be fined for wounding her: with other limitations of
absolute right. When that sum is finally paid, which seldom happens but in
cases of violent quarrel, the _tali kulo_, (tie of relationship,) is said
to be _putus_, (broken,) and the woman becomes to all intents the slave of
her lord. She has then no title to claim a divorce in any predicament; and
he may sell her, making only the first offer to her relations."

Speaking of another part of the _country_, (Batta,) he says, "the men are
allowed to marry as many wives as they please or can afford, and to have
half a dozen is not uncommon. The condition of the women appears to be no
other than that of slaves, the husbands having the power of selling their
wives and children." [86]

JAVA. At Bantam, and in other parts of the island, fathers betroth their
children at a very early age, lest they should be taken from them to
supply the harems of kings, or be sold for slaves on the death of the
fathers by the monarch, who is heir of all his subjects. [87]

Among all the nations of Southern Asia, and the East Indian and South Sea
Islands, the women are despised and oppressed; the wives and daughters of
every class are offered to strangers, and compelled to prostitute
themselves. They are moreover used with the utmost cruelty by their
husbands, and not permitted to eat, or even to sit down, in the presence
of the men; and yet, with marvellous inconsistency, many nations allow
themselves to be governed by women, who sometimes reign with despotic

NEW HOLLAND. "The aboriginal inhabitants of this distant region are,
indeed, beyond comparison, the most barbarous on the surface of the globe.
The residence of Europeans has been wholly ineffectual; the natives are
still in the same state as at our first settlement. Every day are men and
women to be seen in the streets of Sydney and Paramatta naked as in the
moment of their birth. In vain have the more humane of the officers of the
colony endeavoured to improve their condition: they still persist in the
enjoyment of their ease and liberty in their own way, and turn a deaf ear
to any advice upon this subject." [88]

"They observe no particular ceremony in their marriages, though their mode
of courtship is not without its singularity. When a young man sees a
female to his fancy, he informs her she must accompany him home; the lady
refuses; he not only enforces compliance with threats, but blows; thus the
gallant, according to the custom, never fails to gain the victory, and
bears off the willing, though struggling pugilist. The colonists, for some
time, entertained the idea that the women were compelled, and forced away
against their inclinations; but the young ladies informed them, that this
mode of gallantry was the custom, and perfectly to their taste." [89]

PERSIA. "Women are not allowed to join in the public prayers at the
mosques. They are directed to offer up their devotions at home, or if they
attend the place of public worship, it must be at a period when the male
sex are not there. This practice is founded upon the authority of the
traditionary sayings of the prophet, and is calculated to confirm that
inferiority and seclusion, to which the female sex are doomed by the laws
of Mahomed.

"In Persia, women are seldom publicly executed; nor can their crimes,
from their condition in society, be often of a nature to demand such
examples; but they are exposed to all the violence and injustice of
domestic tyranny; and innocent females are too often included in the
punishment of their husbands and fathers, particularly where those are of
high rank. Instances frequently occur where women are tortured, to make
them reveal the concealed wealth of which they are supposed to have a
knowledge; and when a nobleman or minister is put to death, it is not
unusual to give away his wives and daughters as slaves; and sometimes
(though rarely) they are bestowed on the lowest classes in the community.
There are instances of the wives of men of high rank being given to
mule-drivers." [90]

ARABIA. The ancient Arabs considered the birth of a daughter as a
misfortune, and they frequently buried daughters alive as soon as they
were born, lest they should be impoverished by having to provide for them,
or should suffer disgrace on their account. [91]

"The horrid practice of female infanticide has been an usage of many
nations. Among the ancient Arabs, as among the Rajpoots of the present
day, it proceeded as much from a jealous sense of honour, as the pressure
of want." [92]

Of eastern manners, in general, it has been remarked, that "excepting the
Chinese and Javanese, all the nations of the south of Asia, and all the
inhabitants of the East Indian and South Sea islands, offer the Europeans
their wives and daughters, or compel them to prostitute themselves to
strangers." [93]

"A man, in the East, dares not inquire concerning the health of the wife
or daughter of his most intimate friend, because this would instantly
excite suspicion of illicit views and connections; neither does etiquette
permit him to make mention himself of his own wife or daughter. They are
included among the domestic animals, or comprehended in the general
denomination of the house or the family. When, however, an Oriental is
obliged to mention his wife or his daughter, in conversation with a
physician, or any other person whom he wishes to treat with deference and
respect, he always introduces the subject with some such apology as we
make in Europe, when we are obliged to speak of things which are regarded
as disgusting or obscene. Conformably with this Asiatic prejudice,
Tamerlane was highly affronted with the vanquished Turkish emperor
Bajazet, for mentioning, in his presence, such impure creatures as women
are considered by the Orientals." [94]



Here all the gentle morals, such as play
Through life's more cultur'd walks, and charm the way;
These far dispers'd, on tim'rous pinions fly,
To sport and flutter in a kinder sky.


The women cook the victuals, but though of the highest rank, they are
never permitted to partake of it, till all the males, even the servants,
have eaten what they think proper; and in times of scarcity, it is
frequently their lot to be left without a single morsel; and should they
be detected in helping themselves during the business of cookery, they
would be subject to a severe beating; and be considered afterward, through
life, as having forfeited their character.

"The accounts we have had of the effects of the small pox on that nation
(the Maha Indians) are most distressing; it is not known in what way it was
first communicated to them, though probably by some war party. They had
been a military and powerful people; but when these warriors saw their
strength wasting before a malady which they could not resist, their
phrensy was extreme; they burnt their village, and many of them put to
death their _wives_ and _children_, to save them from so cruel an
affliction, and that all might go together to some better country." [95]

WEST INDIES. _Hayti_ (late St. Domingo.) Extract of a letter, dated Nov.
1810. "The Indigenes, or natives of Hayti, are extremely ignorant; but few
can read: their religion is Catholic; but neither it, or its priests, are
much respected. That they are in a most awful state of darkness, is but
too evident: mothers are actually panders to their own daughters, and reap
the fruit of their prostitution. The endearing name of father is scarcely
ever heard, as the children but rarely know to whom they are indebted for
existence." [96]

SOUTH AMERICA. In this region there are whole nations of cannibals, who
devour their captives. Sometimes they slay their own wives, and invite
their neighbours to the repast.

NEW ZEALAND. "Tippechu, the chieftain," says Mr. Savage, "has a
well-constructed dwelling on this island, and a large collection of
spears, war-mail, and other valuables. A short distance, from the
residence of the chief is an edifice, every way similar to a dove-cote,
standing upon a single post, and not larger than dove-cotes usually are.
In this, Tippechu confined one of his daughters several years; we
understood she had fallen in love with a person of inferior condition, and
that these means were adopted to prevent her from bringing disgrace upon
her family. The space alloted to the lady would neither allow of her
standing up, or stretching at her length; she had a trough, in which her
food was deposited as often as was thought necessary, during her
confinement; and I could not find that she was allowed any other
accommodation. These privations, and all converse being denied her, proves
that Tippechu was determined to exhibit a severe example to his subjects;
at least to such of the young ladies of this part of New Zealand, as might
be inclined to degrade themselves and their families by unsuitable
alliances. The long confinement with all its inconveniences, produced the
desired effect, in rendering the princess obedient to the wishes of her
royal parent. This barbarous case, which is ornamented with much grotesque
carving, still remains as a memento in _terrorem_ to all the young ladies
under Tippechu's government." [97]


TUNIS. "The Tunisines have a curious custom of fattening up their young
ladies for marriage. A girl, after she is betrothed, is cooped up in a
small room; shackles of silver and gold are put upon her ancles and
wrists, as a piece of dress. If she is to be married to a man who has
discharged, despatched, or lost a former wife, the shackles which the
former wife wore, are put upon the new bride's limbs: and she is fed,
until they are filled up to the proper thickness. This is sometimes no
easy matter, particularly if the former wife was fat, and the present
should be of a slender form. The food used for this custom, worthy of
barbarians, is a seed called drough; which is of an extraordinary
fattening quality, and also famous for rendering the milk of nurses rich
and abundant. With this seed, and their national dish '_cuscusu_,' the
bride is literally crammed, and many actually die under the spoon." [98]

MOROCCO. "When an ill-disposed husband becomes jealous or discontented
with his wife, he has too many opportunities of treating her cruelly; he
may tyrannize over her without control; no one can go to her assistance,
for no one is authorized to enter his harem without permission. Jealousy
or hatred rises so high in the breast of a Moor, that death is often the
consequence to the wretched female, who has excited, perhaps innocently,
the anger of her husband. A father, however fond of his daughter, cannot
assist her even if informed of the ill treatment she suffers; the husband
alone is lord paramount; if, however, he should he convicted of murdering
his wife, he would suffer death; but this is difficult to ascertain, even
should she bear the marks of his cruelty or dastardly conduct, for who is
to detect it? Instances have been known, when the woman has been cruelly
beaten and put to death, and the parents have been informed of her decease
as if it had been occasioned by sickness, and she has been buried
accordingly; but this difficulty of bringing men to justice, holds only
among the powerful bashaws, and persons in the highest stations; and
these, to avoid a retaliation of similar practices on _their_ children,
sometimes prefer giving their daughters in marriage to men of an inferior
station in life, who are more amenable to justice." [99]

This writer informs us also, that "in Morocco, slaves are placed in the
public market-place, and there turned about and examined, in order to
ascertain their value." p. 249. "A young girl of Houssa, of exquisite
beauty, was once sold at Morocco, whilst I was there, for four hundred
ducats [of 3s. 8d. sterling,] whilst the average price of slaves is about
one hundred; so much depends on the fancy or the imagination of the
purchaser." p. 247.

DARFOR. "Slaves indeed, both male and female, rarely draw near their
master, if he be seated, except creeping on their knees. A man, who is
possessed of several women, rarely enters the apartments of any of them,
hut sends for one or more of them at a time to his own. Whether free or
slaves, they enter it on their knees, and with indications of timidity and
respect.... The slaves are rarely allowed to wear any covering on their
feet. Free women, on the contrary, are ordinarily distinguished by a kind
of sandal; which, however, is always taken off when they come into the
presence of, or have occasion to pass, a person of any consideration of
the other sex. It is not uncommon to see a man on a journey, mounted idly
on an ass; whilst his wife is pacing many a weary step on foot behind him;
and moreover, perhaps, carrying a supply of provisions or culinary
utensils. Yet it is not to be supposed, that the man is despotic in his
house; the voice of the female has its full weight." [100]

MANDINGOES. "About noon," says Mr. Park, "I arrived at Kolor, a
considerable town; near the entrance into which I observed, hanging upon a
tree, a sort of masquerade habit, made of the bark of trees; which, I was
told on inquiry, belonged to MUMBO JUMBO. This is a strange bugbear,
common to all the Mandingo towns, and much employed by the Pagan natives in
keeping their women in subjection; for as the Kafas are not restricted in
the number of their wives, every one marries as many as he can
conveniently maintain; and as it frequently happens that the ladies
disagree among themselves, family quarrels sometimes rise to such a
height, that the authority of the husband can no longer preserve peace in
his household. In such cases, the interposition of Mumbo Jumbo is called
in and is always decisive.

"This strange minister of justice (who is supposed to be either the
husband himself, or some person instructed by him,) disguised in the dress
that has been mentioned, and armed with the rod of public authority,
announces his coming (whenever his services are required) by loud and
dismal screams in the woods near the town. He begins the pantomime at the
approach of night; and, as soon as it is dark, he enters the town, and
proceeds to the Bentang, at which all the inhabitants immediately

"It may easily be supposed, that this exhibition is not much relished by
the women; for as the person in disguise is entirely unknown to them,
every married female suspects that the visit may possibly be intended for
herself: but they dare not refuse to appear, when they are summoned; and
the ceremony commences with songs and dances, which continue till
midnight, about which time Mumbo fixes on the offender. This unfortunate
victim being thereupon immediately seized, is stripped naked, tied to a
post, and severely scourged with Mumbo's rod, amidst the shouts and
derision of the whole assembly; and it is remarkable, that the rest of the
women are the loudest in their exclamations on this occasion against their
unhappy sister. Daylight puts an end to this indecent and unmanly
revel." [101]

"In the Mandingo countries," says Durand, "there is a mosque in every
town, from the steeple of which the people are called to prayers, the same
as in Turkey. Polygamy is practised in these regions in its utmost
latitude. The women are frequently hostages for alliance and peace; and
the chiefs of two tribes, who have been at war, cement their treaties by
an exchange of their daughters: private individuals do the same; and this
circumstance may be the reason why the chiefs, in particular, have such a
great number of women. A girl is frequently betrothed to a man as soon as
she is born. On the day agreed on for the marriage, the bridegroom places
on the road which the bride has to pass, several of his people at
different distances, with brandy and other refreshments; for if these
articles be not furnished in abundance, the conductors of the bride will
not advance a step further, though they may have got three parts of the
way on their journey. On approaching the town, they stop, and are joined
by the friends of the bridegroom, who testify their joy by shouting,
drinking, and letting off their pieces." [102]

MOORS OF BENOROM, &c. "The education of the girls is neglected altogether:
mental accomplishments are but little attended to by the women; nor is the
want of them considered, by the men, as a defect in the female character.
They are regarded, I believe, as an inferior species of animals; and seem
to be brought up for no other purpose, than that of administering to the
sensual pleasures of their imperious masters. Voluptuousness is,
therefore, considered as their chief accomplishment, and slavish
submission as their indispensable duty." [103]

KAMALIA. "If a man takes a fancy to any one [of the young women,] it is
not considered as absolutely necessary, that he should make an overture to
the girl herself. The first object is to agree with the parents,
concerning the recompense to be given them for the loss of the company and
services of their daughter. The value of two slaves is a common price,
unless the girl is thought very handsome; in which case, the parents will
raise their demand very considerably. If the lover is rich enough and
willing to give the sum demanded, he then communicates his wishes to the
damsel; but her consent is, by no means, necessary to the match; for if
the parents agree to it, and eat a few kolla-nuts, which are presented by
the suiter as an earnest of the bargain, the young lady must either have
the man of their choice, or continue unmarried, for she cannot after be
given to another. If the parents should attempt it, the lover is then
authorized, by the laws of the country, to seize upon the girl as
his slave.

"The negroes, whether Mahomedan or Pagan, allow a plurality of wives. The
Mahomedans alone are, by their religion, confined to four; and as the
husband commonly pays a great price for each, he requires from all of them
the utmost deference and submission, and beats them more like hired
servants than companions." [104]

BANISERILE. "One of our slatus was a native of this place, from which he
had been absent three years. This man invited me to go with him to his
house; at the gate of which his friends met him with many expressions of
joy, shaking hands with him, embracing him, and singing and dancing before
him. As soon as he had seated himself upon a mat, by the threshold of his
door, a young woman (his intended bride) brought a little water in a
calabash, and kneeling down before him, desired him to wash his hands;
when he had done this, the girl, with a tear of joy sparkling in her eyes,
drank the water; this being considered as the greatest proof she could
possibly give him of her fidelity and attachment." [105]

THE KAFFERS. The principal article of their trade with the Tambookie
nation, is the exchange of cattle for their young women. Almost every
chief has Tambookie wives, though they pay much dearer for them than for
those of their own people. Polygamy is allowed in its fullest extent, and
without any inconvenience resulting from the practice, as it is confined
nearly to the chiefs. The circumstances of the common people will rarely
allow them the indulgence of more than one wife, as women are not to be
obtained without purchase. The females being considered as the property of
their parents, are invariably disposed of by sale. The common price of a
wife is an ox, or a couple of cows. Love with them is a very confined
passion, taking but little hold on the mind. When an offer is made for the
purchase of a daughter, she feels little inclination to refuse; she
considers herself as an article in the market, and is neither surprised,
nor unhappy, nor interested, on being told that she is about to be
disposed of. There is no previous courtship, no exchange of fine
sentiments, no nice feelings, nor little kind attentions, which catch the
affections and attach the heart. [106]

THE PEOPLE OF SNEUWBERG, GRAAFF REGNET, "The only grievance of which I
ever heard them complain," says Mr. Barrow, "and which appears to be a
real inconvenience to all who inhabit the remote parts of the colony, is a
ridiculous and absurd law respecting marriage: and as it seems to have no
foundation in reason, and little in policy, except, indeed, like the
marriage-acts in other countries, it be intended as a check to population,
it ought to be repealed. By this law, the parties are both obliged to be
present at the Cape, in order to answer certain interrogatories, and pass
the forms of office there, the chief intention of which seems to be that
of preventing improper marriages from being contracted; as if the
commissaries appointed to this office, at the distance of five or six
hundred miles, should be better acquainted with the connexions and other
circumstances regarding the parties; than the landrost, the clergyman, and
the members of the council residing upon the spot. The expense of the
journey to the young couple is greater than they can frequently well
afford. For decency's sake they must set out in two wagons, though in the
course of a month's journey across a desert country, it is said they
generally make one serve the purpose; the consequence of which is, that
nine times out of ten the consummation of the marriage precedes the
ceremony. This naturally produces another bad effect. The poor girl, after
the familiarities of a long journey, lies entirely at the mercy of the
man, who, having satisfied his curiosity or his passion, sometimes deserts
her before their arrival at the altar; and it has sometimes happened, that
the lady has repented of her choice in the course of the journey, and
driven home again in her own wagon. Though, in our own country, a trip to
Scotland be sometimes taken, when obstacles at a nearer distance could not
safely be surmounted, yet it would be considered as a very ridiculous, as
well as vexatious law, that should oblige the parties intending to marry,
to proceed from the Laud's End to London to carry their purpose into
execution. The inhabitants of Graaff Regnet must travel twice that
distance, in order to be married." [107]

NEGRO NATIONS. "It is a practice equally, nay, perhaps still more common
among the negroes than among the Americans, to offer their wives and
daughters to Europeans." [108] "Parents sell their daughters not only to
lovers, but to suiters of any kind, without doubting or even asking their
consent. The negroes in general, receive for their daughters a few bottles
of brandy, and at the furthest, a few articles of wearing apparel; and
when these prices are paid, the fathers conduct their willing children to
the huts of the purchasers." [109] "A negro may love his wife with all the
affection that is possible for a negro to possess, but he never permits
her to eat with him, because he would imagine himself contaminated, or his
dignity lessened, by such a condescension; and at this degrading distance,
the very negro-slaves in the West Indies keep their wives, though it
might be presumed that the hardships of their common lot would have tended
to unite them in the closest manner." [110] "The poorest and meanest
negro, even though he be a slave, is generally waited upon by his wife as
by a subordinate being, on her knees. On their knees the negro women are
obliged to present to their husbands tobacco and drink; on their knees
they salute them when they return from hunting, or any other expedition;
lastly, on their knees, they drive away the flies from their lords and
masters while they sleep." [111]

GAGERS. Various writers of credit and veracity report, that in the
southern portion of Africa, many princes and chieftains keep great numbers
of young girls, not merely to gratify their passions, but to satiate their
tigerlike appetite for human flesh. In order to convince ourselves, that
the fate of the black women of Africa is not less severe than the
condition of the brown females of the American continent, it is sufficient
to state, that among the negro-women, to whom Cavazzi administered
baptism, some acknowledged with tears that they had killed five, others
seven, and others again ten children, with their own hands.
Notwithstanding the despotic authority of the legislatrix of the Gagers,
she was unable, even by the strictest prohibition, to restrain her
warriors from regaling themselves with the flesh of women. Rich and
powerful chieftains continued to keep whole flocks of young girls, as they
would of lambs, calves, or any other animals, and had some of them daily
slaughtered for the table; for the Gagers prefer human flesh to every
other species of animal food, and among the different classes of human
kind, they hold that of young females in particular estimation. [112]

brief examination, as a necessary means of elucidating the
general subject.

Having already, in the preceding inquiries, ascended to an early date, and
traced the condition of women through a long series of historic record to
the present age, it may seem an imperfection in the plan to conduct the
reader back to a still more remote antiquity than has hitherto been
noticed; but this arrangement will be allowed, perhaps, to be founded in
propriety, upon observing that the design was first to exhibit a complete
series of illustrations, derived from a view of the circumstances of
mankind as _destitute of the light of revelation_, and then to compare the
condition of the female sex under the influence of a precursory and
imperfect system of the _true religion_, with their actual state, or with
the privileges secured to them by the nobler manifestations of
CHRISTIANITY. By this mode of conducting the argument we trace the great
epochs in the history of female melioration: the glory of woman appears at
first eclipsed, as behind a dark cloud, which the passions of a degenerate
race had interposed to hide and debase her: she then emerges, though
partially, to view, through the mists and obscurities of a temporary
dispensation, adapting itself to the circumstances of mankind as they then
existed, but unsuited to what they were destined to become--till at
length, "fair as the moon," ascending to the noon of her glory, and
tinging with the mildness of her beam every earthly object, woman attains
her undisputed eminence, and diffuses her benignant influence in society.

Were we to attach entire credit to the pleasing descriptions of the muses,
we must admit, that the earliest ages of the world deserved the epithet of
"golden" as exhibiting man devoid of those artificial wants which
refinement and luxury have superinduced, and divested of those violent
prejudices, that selfishness and that arrogance, which have filled the cup
of human wo to the brim: we should see him inhabiting a tent of the
simplest construction, furnishing himself with necessary subsistence with
his own hands, sharing with his companion the services of domestic life,
breathing the very soul of hospitality, and adorned with the most
attractive manners: we should even see princes and princesses devoting
themselves to what we are accustomed to denominate the menial offices both
of husbandry and house-keeping, but without any sense of degradation in
the one sex, or any tyrannical assumption in the other.

The authority of the sacred writings also upon this point is express and
decisive. The most distinguished of the human race were, in patriarchal
times, devoted to rural occupations and to plain habits; and it is not
easy, nor is it altogether desirable, to divest oneself of those feelings
of enchantment which the view of such scenes and manners naturally
inspires. Who can remain unaffected at the recital of the story of an
Abraham, running to the herd and fetching a young and tender calf to
refresh his angelic visiters; or at the various memorable instances of
simplicity that occur in the stories of Isaac, Jacob, and their

But the question is, whether the actual condition of women did or did not
indicate the lordly views of their husbands, and a general state of
slavish subordination? What can be said to the practices of polygamy and
concubinage, which prevailed even in these golden times and in pious
families? Do they evince any proper estimate of the character of women? or
have they not an evident tendency to degrade them? Does not their very
institution assert the subserviency of the one sex to the will and
pleasure of the other? [113] The state of women may not only be inferred
under such circumstances, but is clearly seen. Wives possessed no other
advantages over concubines than the right of inheriting; and domestic
unions were formed without any reference to the nobler felicities of
social intercourse. Hence infertility not only excited dislike, but was
held to justify repudiation. In the earliest ages, marriage was not only
very unceremonious with regaird to the mode in which it was conducted, but
this important union was arranged without any previous agreement between
the parties, and wives were often purchased. Men had the right of
annulling all the oaths and engagements of their daughters and wives, if
they had, not been present when they were contracted. "We can discover,"
says Segur, "in these first ages, nothing worthy of the title of 'golden,'
which has been applied to them. Abraham and Isaac were continually afraid
of being assassinated for their wives; and the oath which they enacted
from their neighbours not to attempt their lives, savoured little of a
_golden_ age."

Under the Jewish theocracy the Levitical law appointed a variety of
regulations which evinced their imperfect emancipation from a state of
inferiority. They were in particular subjected to the trial of the waters
of jealousy, not only in cases of real departure from conjugal fidelity,
but when a suspicion existed in the mind of the husband, even though it
were without any foundation: and there were cases in which misconduct of a
similar natute exposed them to be stoned to death. The doctrine of vows
also, in the cases of daughters, wives, and widows, corroborates the
general argument, by evincing the marked subordination of the woman to
the man. "If a woman also vow a vow unto the Lord, and bind herself by a
bond, being in her father's house in her youth; and her father hear her
vow, and her bond wherewith she hath bound her soul, and her father shall
hold his peace at her: then all her vows shall stand, and every bond
wherewith she hath bound her soul shall stand. But if her father disallow
her in the day that he heareth; not any of her vows, or of her bonds,
wherewith she hath bound her soul, shall stand: and the Lord shall forgive
her, because her father disallowed her. And if she had at all an husband,
when she vowed, or uttered aught out of her lips, wherewith she bound her
soul; and her husband heard it, and held his peace at her in the day that
he heard it: then her vows shall stand, and her bonds wherewith she bound
her soul shall stand. But if her husband disallowed her on the day that he
heard it; then he shall make her vow which she vowed, and that which she
uttered with her lips, wherewith she bound her soul, of none effect: and
the Lord shall forgive her. But every vow of a widow, and of her that is
divorced, wherewith they have bound their souls, shall stand against her.
And if she vowed in her husband's house, or bound her soul by a bond with
an oath; and her husband heard it, and held his peace at her, and
disallowed her not: then all her vows shall stand, and every bond
wherewith she bound her soul shall stand. But if her husband hath utterly
made them void on the day he heard them; then whatsoever proceeded out of
her lips concerning her vows, or concerning the bond of her soul, shall
not stand: her husband hath made them void; and the Lord shall forgive
her. Every vow, and every binding oath to afflict the soul, her husband
may establish it, or her husband may make it void. But if her husband
altogether hold his peace at her from day to day; then he establisheth
all her vows, or all her bonds, which are upon her: he confirmeth them,
because he held his peace at her in the day that he heard them. But if he
shall any ways make them void after that he hath heard them, then he shall
bear her iniquity."

* * * * *

From the dark and deeply shaded back-ground of the picture of female
degradation, formed by the facts which have now been adduced, and which
might easily be corroborated by an immense accumulation of evidence,
Christianity is brought forward with conspicuous prominence, and in all
her gracefulness. The contrast is at once striking and affecting: the
moral scene brightens upon the view as we contemplate this attractive
figure combining majesty and mildness--fascination in her smiles and
heaven in her eye.

The superiority which the religion of Jesus has secured to women above the
state of barbaric degradation, Mahometan slavery, and Jewish subjection,
proclaims the glory of that system, which has already meliorated society
to its minutest subdivisions, and will eventually transform the moral
desert of human being into a paradise of beauty and bliss. The argument,
however, will be seen with more distinctness, by the following
brief detail.

1. _The personal conduct of the divine Author of Christianity, tended to
elevate the female sex to a degree of consideration in society before
unknown._ During the life of our Lord, women were admitted to a holy
familiarity with him, attended his public labours, ministered to his
wants, and adhered to him with heroic zeal, when their attachment exposed
them to insult, danger and death.

Immediately after the marriage of Cana in Galilee, where he attended with
his mother, he accompanied her with his brethren and disciples to
Capernaum. That excellent spirit, for which he was remarkable from his
earliest years, continued to influence his mind in maturer life, and
taught him justly to appreciate and perfectly to exemplify the domestic
and social duties. He did not scruple to converse with a Samaritan woman,
who came to draw water at Jacob's well, though his disciples, in whose
minds Jewish prejudices continued to prevail, expressed their astonishment

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