THE TRUE WOMAN:
A SERIES OF DISCOURSES
BY REV. J. D. FULTON, (TREMONT TEMPLE, BOSTON.)
TO WHICH IS ADDED
WOMAN VS. BALLOT.
THE TRUE WOMAN,
WHO, THROUGH CHRIST, BLESSES MAN, AND HELPS TO MAKE HIS HOME A JOY AND HIS LIFE A PRIVILEGE,
IS RESPECTFULLY DEDICATED.
This book grew. Its history is very brief. The lecture entitled "Woman versus Ballot," while well received by the majority, has met with a strong opposition from those who do not believe in the position assigned to Woman in the Word of God. This turned the attention of the author to the scriptural argument more and more, and resulted in producing the impression that the effort to secure the ballot for woman found its origin in infidelity to the Word of God and in infidelity to woman.
In "Woman as God made Her" we saw Eve as she was brought to Adam, and familiarized ourselves with the purposes He had in her creation, which were chiefly embodied in the one word "Helpmeet." In "Woman as a Tempter" we saw the ideal woman despoiled of her glory, and influencing the world to turn from the worship of the Creator to that of the creature. For ages woman suffered the consequences of sin. In Eve she lost her recognition; through Christ she regained it. The study of the Bible has convinced the writer that the purpose of God, in creating woman, still lives, and is to find its complete fulfilment under the New Dispensation. We have seen that Christ—the embodiment of all manly properties—turned his face towards and lavished his blessings upon womanly characteristics, such as meekness, purity, love, and humility, and that, because of His influence, woman is invited to take her place in the church on an equality with man, to help on the cause of truth by an illustration of those virtues which received the glory shed upon them by the life of the Son of Man and the Son of God.
In the work devolving upon mankind, woman has a distinct mission to fulfil. Society owes to her love, honor, and protection. Every right, social and religious, should be guarded. Associations calculated to secure for her every privilege enjoyed by man, should be formed and supported. Above all else, efforts should be made to lead her to recognize in Christ her Saviour, for Christ in woman is her hope of glory, her joy and strength. Said Florence Nightingale,—
"I would say to all women, Look upon your work, whether it be an accustomed or unaccustomed work, as upon a trust confided to you. This will keep you alike from discouragement and from presumption, from idleness and from overtaxing of yourselves. Where God leads the way, he has bound himself to help you to go the way. I would say to all young ladies who are called to any peculiar vocation, Qualify yourselves for it, as man does for his work. Don't think you can undertake it otherwise.
"And again, if you are called to do a man's work, do not exact a woman's privileges—the privileges of inaccuracy, of weakness, of the muddle-head. Submit yourselves to the rules of business, as men do, by which alone you can make God's business succeed. For he has never said that he will give his blessing to sketchy, unfinished work. And I would especially guard young ladies from fancying themselves like Lady Superiors, with an obsequious following of disciples, if they undertake any great work. I would only say, Work, work, in silence at first, in silence for years. It will not be time wasted. And it is very certain that without it you will be no worker—you will not produce one 'perfect work,' but only a botch, in the service of God."
In the above spirit, and with a kindred desire, this volume was written. For good or ill, for better or worse, the book is sent forth in the hope that it may recall attention to the Divine IDEAL for Woman, and aid in inducing man, to prize her as the first gift of God to him, designed "as a helpmeet for him."
WOMAN AS GOD MADE HER Man's Faith in a Helper suited to him Woman Man's Complement What Man desires to have loved Woman is God's Gift to Man What the Fact implies:— 1. The Father's Right to give away the Child 2. The Purpose for which God created her
WOMAN A HELPMEET Man's Longing for Companionship Meaning of the Word Woman Woman dislikes to give a Reason for her Faith Requisites to Companionship Count Zinzendorf's Tribute to his Wife Irving's Description of a Wife The Advantages derived from Culture Mrs. Thomas Carlyle and others Why the Ballot injures Woman
WOMAN AS A TEMPTER Satan undermines Woman's Confidence in God Satan raises Suspicion Ritualism the Outgrowth Mother Superior and Sisters of Charity Satan employs Mystery Spiritualism Satan's Influence deceived Woman The Girl of the Period Woman's Peril and her Hope The Effects of Sin Characteristics of Woman's Power as a Tempter Influence of Married Women How Rome uses Woman The Remedy
THE GLORY OF MOTHERHOOD Woman's Hope of Triumph Man's Destiny and Mission Woman ignored in Eve Woman recognized in Mary Woman in Nestoria and the East Trials of Motherhood The Glory of Motherhood
MARIOLATRY NOT OF CHRIST The Worship of the Virgin Mary Woman's Position previous to the Advent The Place she fills in the Scheme of Redemption The Influences set in Motion by the Life of Christ Christ's personal Relations to Mary reviewed A Lesson for Woman Peril arising from Perversions of Truth Mary's Glory
WOMAN'S WORK AND WOMAN'S MISSION Woman's Work and Mission go hand in hand Love lightens Labor Woman's Work a Work of Charity Cause of Trouble with Servants Education must fit Woman for the Home Woman's Mission inferred from the Wants of Man A proper Conception of the Truth a Help to Woman Woman's Mission social as well as domestic Woman's Help needed in the Cause of Reform Woman needs Help A Mother's Power—her Mission religious The Value of her Sympathy Woman's Power a Glory and a Joy
WOMAN vs. BALLOT, Three Facts which stand in the Way of Woman's being helped by the Ballot—God, Nature, and Common Sense The Scriptural Argument God's Care for Woman Her Condition in other Countries An Illustration of Woman's Nature Teachings of Nature Teachings of Common Sense Gail Hamilton vs. Ballot Woman not a Lawmaker Education essential for her Woman not in Captivity
WOMAN AS GOD MADE HER.
The biography of our first parents, as God made them, and described them, before sin ruined them, is very brief and truly suggestive. It is as follows:—
"And Jehovah God created the man in his image; in the image of God created he him; a male and a female created he them. And God blessed them; and God said to them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it, and rule over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the heavens, and over every living thing that moves on the earth. And God said, Behold, I have given to you every herb scattering seed, which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree, in which is the fruit of a tree scattering seed, to you it shall be given."—Gen. i. 27-30.
"And Jehovah God formed the man of the dust of the ground, and he breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living soul. And Jehovah God planted a garden in Eden, on the east, and there he put the man whom he formed, ... to till it and to keep it. And God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat. But of the tree of knowledge of good and evil thou shalt not eat of it, for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. And God said, It is not good that the man should be alone. I will make for him a helper, suited to him. And God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. And of this rib which he took from the man, Jehovah God formed a woman, and brought her to the man. And the man said, This now is bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh. This shall be called Woman, because from man was she taken. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they shall be one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed."—Gen, ii. 7, 8, 15-18, 21-25.
Brief as are these utterances, and familiar as is this language, it is interesting to notice that God has crowded into them every essential fact concerning the origin of woman, the purpose of her creation, and the sphere marked out for her by the Creator's hand.
The simple outline of the story is given us, yet how wonderful is the picture! In the first chapter the origin of man is proclaimed, and his work, "to fill earth and subdue it," is placed before him. In the second chapter, the relation of the sexes is given, and the nature of marriage is explained. What arrests the attention most surely is the resemblance that exists between the experience of our first parents and of their descendants, or between Adam and Eve and ourselves. The "It is not good for man to be alone," spoken by God in Eden, embodies a truth which has lived with the ages, and sets forth an experience felt by every son of Adam. The words "I will make for him a helper suited to him," is man's authority for the faith, that somewhere on the earth God has made a helper suited to him, whom he will recognize, and who will return the recognition. For in all true marriages, now as in Eden, the man and woman do not deliberately seek, but are brought to one another. Happy those who afterwards can recognize that the hand which led his Eve to Adam was that of an invisible God. Man knows that it is not good for him to be alone. Separated from woman's influence, man is narrow, churlish, brutal. Woman is a helper suited to him. With her help he reaches a loftier stature; for love is the very heart of life, the pivot upon which its whole machinery turns, without which no human existence can be complete, and with which it becomes noble and self-sacrificing.
Woman's origin is thus declared:—
"And Jehovah God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. And of the rib which he took from the man God formed a woman, and brought her to the man. And the man said, This now is bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh. This shall be called Woman, because from man was she taken. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they shall be one flesh."[A] Woman was taken out of man. It is man's nature to seek to get her back. He feels that a part of him is away from him, until he obtains her. Long years before he sees the woman whom he feels God designed to be his wife, if he be a Christian, believing that she is on the earth, he prays for her weal.
[Footnote A: Gen. ii. 21-24.]
"Taken out of man!" How significant these words! Man, without woman, wants completeness—physically, mentally, and spiritually. First, physically. The fact is noticeable that short men often marry tall women, and tall men marry short women. Nervous men marry women who are opposites to them in temperament. This is not a happen so, for that which so often to the unreflecting mind seems unnatural and absurd, to the thinking soul appears as an evidence of God's provident care. Second, mentally. Man desires in his wife that which he lacks. A bookish man seldom desires a wife devoted to the same branch of literature, unless she works as a helpmeet. In taste and in sentiment there must be harmony without rivalry. They must bring products to the common garner, gathered from varying pursuits and from different fields of thought. In music the same law rules. Man, from his very nature, finds in woman a helper in song. Their voices blend in harmony, and give volume, symphony, and variety to the melody produced. Jenny Lind married her assistant, because in sympathy they were one. He was essential to her womanly strength, and without her, he was a mere cipher in the musical world. Together they were a power, felt and acknowledged.
A man full of thought and of genius requires for a wife, not only one who can understand his moods and enjoy his creations, but one who is content to take care of the home, and, perhaps, to manage the business affairs; while many a woman of genius and ability links her fortunes with a plain and appreciative husband, who gladly affords her every means in his power to work in her special sphere. When the wife refuses to act thus wifely, because of her talent, the happiness of the home is imperilled, and the children suffer quite as much, comparatively, as they do in those manufacturing neighborhoods where the wife forsakes the home for the shop, and gives up the vocation of woman to do the work which belongs to man. God made them male and female. He fitted each for separate duties, not for the same duties. Each fills a sphere when each discharges the duties enjoined upon them by their Creator and by society. Wonderful women there are; few of them care to duplicate their power. They prefer to obtain by marriage that which they have not, and which must be supplied by material from without. Homely people oftentimes find beautiful ones to mate them. The rugged seeks the weak. The nervous, the lymphatic. Counterpart that which makes itself complete. This tendency to assimilate is often carried to extremes, because all naturally love that which they possess, and come to prize highly those who regard it with favor. Hence, poor men sometimes marry rich wives, and seldom fail to give something in return. The story is familiar of the two foppish young men who were said to have met at a noted hotel or on change, when one accosted the other by the question, "Who did you marry?" "Ah," said he, "I married fifty thousand dollars. I forget her other name." Such men, however, are exceptions to the rule. There are brainless creatures called men, who will marry a pretty face, though the heart and brain be uncultured, provided there be associated with her sufficient of this world's goods to gratify a mercenary ambition; but the majority, both of men and women, wisely prefer to marry money in a partner rather than money with a partner. The world has a profound contempt for shallow, fussy, empty people, no matter what positions they may occupy.
All sympathize with the rebuke administered to a so-called lady of quality by a Quaker gentleman, who occupied a seat near her in a public coach. She wore an elegant lace shawl, and was dressed to the top of the fashion, but was suffering from the cold. Shivering and shaking, she inquired, "What shall I do to get warm?" "Thee had better put on another breastpin," answered old Broadbrim. The rebuke was timely. Woman degrades herself when she surrenders to fashion that which helps the woman, and which aids her in securing the confidence, the friendship, the respect, and admiration of sensible men.
The truth embodied in the words, "This shall be called Woman, because from man was she taken" sheds light upon many a mysterious chapter in life, reconciles the union of contraries in accordance with the law of God, and fills wide realms of life with the radiance of hope, which otherwise would remain mantled in perpetual gloom. If we depended upon those who are like ourselves to sympathize with us, and gird us with strength, we should utterly fail. Oaks cannot lend support to oaks. The vine can do this for the oak, and the oak can give support to the vine; but an oak cannot give strength to its kindred while fulfilling the functions of its life. The same law rules in the mental world. Genius seldom applauds genius, working in its own realm. Very likely it loathes it. The tributes paid to labor are given by the soft-handed rather than by the hard-handed sons of toil. This principle lies back of the appreciation, the commendation, and the support rendered by the different classes of a community to each other.
The God-given and Christ-restored thought of equality between the sexes is seen in the household partnership, where the woman looks for a "smart, but kind" husband, the man for a "capable, sweet-tempered" wife. The man furnishes the house, the woman regulates it. Their relation is one of mutual esteem, mutual dependence. Their talk is of business; their affection shows itself by practical kindness. They know that life goes more smoothly and cheerfully to each for the other's aid; they are grateful and content. The wife praises her husband as a "good provider;" the husband, in return, compliments her as a capital housekeeper. This relation is good as far as it goes; but the heart of the man or woman is unsatisfied, if to household partnership intellectual companionship be not added.
Men can hire their houses kept. Love cannot be purchased. Soul communion is the gift of God. It is very often enjoyed on earth. Men engaged in public life, literary men and artists, have often found in their wives companions and confidants in thought, no less than in feeling. And as the intellectual development of woman has spread wider and risen higher, they have, not unfrequently, shared the same employments.
Thirdly, spiritual. The highest grade of marriage union is the spiritual, which may be expressed as a pilgrimage towards a common shrine.
There is something in every man which he feels to be the essential thing about him. This it is which he desires to have loved. Neglect what else you choose, you must not neglect that. It is the spiritual part of man,—the God-given characteristic which longs for sympathy. Men feel that this want has been met when they say, "Such a one understands me, knows me, sees me, is in sympathy with me." Such moments are to all of priceless value. Whoever meets this want is a boon from God. No matter what the complexion, nor how the features seem: soul meets soul. The heart feels a new life. The union is formed. Call it affinity, or what you will, they love in one another the future good which they aid one another to unfold. This includes home sympathies and household wisdom. Such fellowship makes of home a joy, and of toil a delight. When first the joy is reached, a foretaste of heaven is enjoyed. "For it is the one rift of heaven which makes all heaven appear possible; the ecstasy of hope and faith, out of which grows the love which is our strongest mortal instinct and intimation of immortality."
Women are as conscious of this feeling as are men. There are times when women meet their counterpart. The nature they long for and seek after with unutterable longing, is before them. Finding it, they recognize their lord, under whose protection they take shelter, and to whose rule they submit, because of love which masters and controls them. The heart cries out for a person—not for things. Spirit desires spirit; soul yearns for soul. It is the genius of woman to be electrical in movement, intuitive in penetration, and spiritual in tendency. She excels not so easily in classification or recreation as in an instinctive seizure of causes, and a simple breathing out of what she receives, that has the singleness of life, rather than the selecting and energizing of art. More native is it to her to be the living model of the artist, than to set apart from herself any one form in objective reality. More native to inspire and receive the poem than to create it. In so far as soul is in her completely developed, all soul is the same; but in so far as it is modified in her as woman, it flows, it breathes, it sings, rather than deposits soil, or furnishes work; and that which is especially feminine, flushes in blossom the face of the earth, and pervades, like air and water, all this seeming solid globe, daily renewing and purifying its life. Such is the especial feminine element which man desires as a helper, and which is suited to him, and which compels him to exclaim, "O, my God, give it to me for mine!"
It is said, "A woman will sometimes idealize a very inferior man, until her love for him exalts him into something better than he originally was, and her into little short of an angel; but a man almost invariably drops to the level of the woman he is in love with. He cannot raise her; but she can almost unlimitedly deteriorate him." This was true of Adam. Eve, sinning, brought him to her level. Why this should be, Heaven knows; but so it constantly is. We have but to look around us, with ordinary observation, in order to see that a man's destiny, more than even a woman's, depends far less upon the good or ill fortune of his wooing than upon the sort of woman with whom he falls in love.
Before a man loves, he is under obligations to himself, to his future, and to the world, to ask himself, Is this woman suited to me? Will she help me to fulfil my mission? Does she supply my want? Can I recognize her as God's gift to me? If Yes, then he is right in loving; for
"He either fears his fate too much, Or his deserts are small, Who dares not put it to the touch, And win or lose it all."
A woman, writing of woman, has truly said, "There are but two ways open to any woman. If she loves a man, and he does not love her, to give him up may be a horrible pang and loss; but it cannot be termed a sacrifice: she resigns what she never had. But if he does love her, and she knows it, and if she loves him, she has a right, in spite of the whole world, to hold to him till death do them part. She is bound to marry him, though twenty other women loved him, and broke their hearts in loving him. He is not theirs, but hers; and to have her for his wife is his right and her duty." "And in this world are so many contradictory views of duty and exaggerated notions of light, so many false sacrifices and remunerations, weak even to wickedness, that it is but fair sometimes to uphold the right of love,—love sole, absolute, and paramount,—firmly holding its own, and submitting to nothing and no one, except the laws of God and righteousness." Well and truthfully spoken. Lift up this principle, and behold how it showers benedictions upon all classes and upon all men.
Much is said against amalgamation, as though it were a crime. There is no crime in it or about it. There is much of prejudice, but no crime. Soul marries soul. If a white man loves the soul of a black woman, there is no law in God's code forbidding the union. God made of one blood all nations of men to dwell on all the face of the earth. Complexions may differ, owing to climate, or temperament, but the blood is the same. The race has a common Father in God.
In this intermingling of races, coming to this land from all climes, we perceive the seedling of a glorious hope. The future American is to be the product of this blending of the distinctive features of all the various nations of earth.
Against this result there is an immense amount of prejudice, born of slavery; but in Europe it does not exist, nor is it in fact so universal in this land as many suppose. Many a white man has found his helpmeet in a black woman, and many more will find helpmeets from the same source.
2. "Woman was taken out of man." There is significance in the locality from which she was taken. Not from the superior part, that she might think herself superior to man, or endowed with the right to rule him. Her sin consisted in her failing to recognize the position assigned. She was created an associate and an equal, and acted independently, and as an adviser. She took advantage of her position as wife, and became an ally of Satan.
She was not taken from an inferior portion of his body, that he might think her inferior to himself, and to be trampled on by him, but out of his side,—from his rib,—that she might appear to be equal to him; and from a part near his heart, and under his arm, to show that she should be affectionately loved by him, and be always under his care and protection.
Wherever man has failed to recognize this truth society has gone back to barbarism, and the very conception of a home has been banished from the mind. In the East man rules woman as lord. She is his slave; and in the Arabic language there is no word meaning "home." Christian civilization lifts woman up, and thrones her in the heart of a home.
She was made from "bone and flesh,"—quickened dust,—and so in her make and constitution she is of superior quality and of finer mould.
The Hebrew word translated "made," means built. From the rib God built this woman. How instructive the fact! Woman added to man is the foundation of the home or family. She is built out of man. Man is necessary to her development. A man can continue the work begun by God. He can build up a woman; and as he builds her up he builds up himself. She is also a builder. She builds up a home, or degrades it. If woman is honored in a home, she makes it honorable.
At the outset she was man's equal: perhaps she may have thought herself to be superior to him—more refined, of better material. She forgot her place, and ignored her sphere, and lost all. She was not created as things were, out of nothing. She was meant to be something better than a thing; and she must be something better than a thing, or she is nothing. She was not formed as Adam was, out of the dust of the earth. Had she been, perhaps she would not have disliked dust so terribly. She is a part of man's life. This describes her mission. The life of a woman who does not care to be a man's toy or ornament, but desires rather to be his helpmeet,—supplying all he needs, as he supplies all she needs,—is but the continuance, the flowing out and flowing on of man's higher life, into the flowers of love, which decorate the home, and make that chosen retreat the very portals of heaven.
As man feels that in woman he finds the complement to himself, and almost his other self, woman finds in man the same complement to herself, and recognizes in him the ruler of her life, her friend, her lover; and happy is she if she finds in him her husband, who rightfully assumes his rights and his sovereignty.
3. "God brought her unto man." Woman is God's first gift to man. She must never occupy a second place. In the heart she holds a first place, or she holds none at all. The moment she holds a secondary place she is ruined. It is in her power to hold the first place. To do this, she must prize it; make sacrifices to keep it; almost, at times, deny herself, and bear a cross, to hold on to it. Yet it is hers, and God will see to it that she maintains her right.
"God brought her." Every husband in this world should feel that his wife is God's gift to him, and it is his duty to study its characteristics, and minister to them. Every man can make the partner of his life a good wife, and can feel that she was God-given, and must be used in such a manner that when the day of reckoning comes, he can give a good account of the manner in which he has used this blessing. To go to the judgment, and meet a broken-hearted woman, over whom man has exercised tyranny, and to whom he has been a monster, until hope died, and the grave became a refuge, will not be a pleasant meeting.
In this bestowal of woman upon man, we recognize two facts.
1. The father's right to give away his child—a right which exerts its influence at the present time, and which every young man who seeks properly the hand of woman is compelled to recognize. In that act of Eden lie the rule and example to be followed by parents and children: the one to dispose of their children, and the other to have the consent of their parents in reaching conclusions upon which hinges the destiny of the individual for time, and perhaps for eternity. Happy the child that trusts a wise parent, and refuses to walk a path over which the shadow of parental disapproval rests! Happy the parent who finds pleasure in the fresh young love of the child, and watches the opening flower and the ripening fruit with pride and pleasure.
This giving away of the child requires the enjoyment of perfect confidence between father and daughter and mother and son.
God knew Eve, for he built her. He knew her heart, her mind, her aspiration. A parent knows something of the child; and well it is for both parent and child when this knowledge is perfect, and when the relation subsisting between parents and children is such that home is a place of consultation. A home without secrets, without closed doors, and locked drawers and sugar-boxes,—a home where thought is free, and mind is untrammelled, is the very gate of heaven.
There are homes where the children are excluded from counsel, from love, from plan, from association. Those children live in a world apart from their parents, and it will not be strange if they are swept out by the waves of evil to ruin.
There are homes where the father shuts himself away from the wife and children. To the children he is harsh, unsympathetic, and morose. Ah! there is sorrow in that house. The mother—God bless her!—has a hard time. She has to keep in with the father, and she will keep in with the children. In that bundle of life the tendrils of her nature are bound up. She fights a prolonged battle in regard to expenditure and education. Happiness only comes when the household is one, and the relations between father and children are perfect, as God designed them to be.
Again, God gives his sanction not only to the truth that man's wants can only be met by the gift of woman,—a fact which every man has felt, and which causes every man to feel that somewhere on earth his wife is living, who will recognize and welcome him to the bliss of love and to the joy of companionship,—but this additional truth is taught: Man has a right to marry. Love is no disgrace. It is the pretence of it, for base purposes, which is disgraceful. The nuptial vow was first whispered in the garden. God was sponsor, and all Eden witnesses. This bond of union was God's gift to the race. The curse did not touch it. The marriage vow and marriage rite, with the faith in woman as a helpmeet, have survived the fall, and are our joy and rejoicing at this time.
In conclusion, think of God's care for man, in providing woman as a blessing. There is no necessity for man's being alone. Some one waits to bless or has blessed him. Let us make more of our wives and sisters than ever before. Let us build them up in love and in those generous qualities which fit woman for her high destiny in this fallen world.
2. Think, woman, of your noble mission. You are to be a help to man. You are to help him morally and spiritually. For this God created you. For this he preserves you. "You are queens and bondmaids too, as royal when you serve as when you rule." Man must respect you, for when man loses his respect for woman he is lost. He goes down, down to irremediable ruin. With woman as God designed her, man gets much of Eden back, for in Christ she is reconciled to God. It is for man and woman to get back Eden. Christ came to be our common helper. He is woman's Saviour as well as man's, and offers to all that help which changes life's desert into a garden, and life's gloom into the brilliancy of an eternal day.
"Hail, woman! Hail, thou faithful wife and mother, The latest, choicest part of heaven's great plan. None fills thy peerless place at home, no other Helpmeet is found for laboring, suffering man. Hail, thou home circle, where, at day's decline, Her moulding power, her radiant virtues shine! Not in the church to rule or teach, her place; Not in the mart of trade, or senate halls; Not the wild, festive scene is hers to grace; Not Fashion's altar her its victim calls; Not here her field of triumph; but alone She moves the queen of her own quiet home."
REV. MARK TRAFTON.
WOMAN A HELPMEET.
The purpose of God in the creation of woman was to provide man with a helpmeet. The language is unmistakable. "And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone. I will make for him a helper suited to him." Woman was made to be man's helpmeet in Eden; that purpose survives the fall. For right or wrong, for good or ill, her influence is felt. She lifts man up or drags him down. Scoff at it, oppose it, cast opprobrium upon this ancient utterance, the fact remains, woman is made for man. Helpmeet she was, helpmeet she must be, or leave her work undone, and suffer the blight that results from the lack of love. God placed man in the garden to keep it, and he placed woman there to fill the bower with love, and his home with joy.
The coming of Eve to Adam is a beautiful story. He had been taught to realize his need of her. It was a part of his constitution. The same is true now wherever woman is appreciated. The felt want is the recognition of the fact. A wife chosen by one's parents, not by himself, is devoid of all of those special characteristics which distinguish her where processes of love begin, go on, deepen and tighten, until the bond is woven and the union formed.
"Nothing so delights man as those graceful nets, Those thousand delicacies that daily flow From all her words and actions, mixed with love And sweet compliance, which declare unfeigned Union of mind, or in them both one soul."[A]
[Footnote A: Paradise Lost, Book VIII.]
The knowledge of congeniality of tastes can only be obtained by mutual acquaintance, and by a careful study. It is said nothing is so blind as love. Nothing is so foolish as a blind love. Man needs a helpmeet, and woman needs a man she can help. It is possible to know before marriage that the parties are able to fulfil this trust. If they cannot fulfil it, marriage is a sin, which brings forth continuous sorrow and discontent.
The purpose of God to provide a helpmeet was avowed, but Adam did not know the fact. Under the arch of God's promise we discover the working of God's providence. The Bible, if properly studied, is a more thrilling narrative than any novel, because in it we can behold the infinite God working with man and for man. "It is not good that man should be alone." This is the general proposition. As a counterpart we find man feeling that it was very sad to be alone. In his heart there is a want at work, making him ready for the blessing which God is preparing for him.
The want of the soul means a purpose on the part of God to supply it. This is true in regard to all that vitally interests man in this world. My want is the basis of my hope. God, who is above and around me, would not send forward the desire unless he had purposed to grant it.
Prayer stirring in the soul, is to man spiritually what a bill of goods preceding the payment is to a merchant. Do we long for salvation, for a revival, for any spiritual outpouring? have faith in God. There is a motive in it. Expect the blessing, and you will receive it.
"The Spirit itself," said Paul, "beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God; and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ, if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together." This is enjoyed despite the curse. "Jesus sent us the Comforter, who helpeth our infirmities, for we know not what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are thus called according to his purpose." This fatherhood of God comes to us under all circumstances and in all conditions. In the home, in the heart with all its wails, in the battle, in the victory, on earth and in heaven. Notice how Adam was made ready for his helpmeet.
"And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air, and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them; and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found a helpmeet for him."
Imagine Adam feeling this want of companionship as the beasts of earth in their pristine beauty pass before him. There are those who mate with a horse or a dog. Who make a pet of a brute, and, ignoring their higher relations, live for their lower nature. We know that animals can be brought to do almost anything but talk, and some birds have the gift of speech. It was doubtless true of Eden. The serpent's talking did not surprise Eve.
Perhaps Adam may have found animals that could have kept him company. Yet he could find none who could meet his want as a helpmeet. Milton has fancifully described Adam expressing his want to the Infinite. It grew upon him. Then he has pictured him asleep, and seeing, as in a trance, the rib, with cordial spirits warm, formed and fashioned with his hands, until
"Under his forming hands a creature grew, Manlike, but different sex, so lovely fair That what seemed fair in all the world seemed now Mean, or in her summed up, in her contained, And in her looks, which from that time infused Sweetness into my heart unfelt before, And into all things from her air inspired The spirit of love and amorous delight."
Then she disappeared. The dream haunted him in his waking hours. In the gallery of the Louvre there is a picture of Henry IV becoming entranced by the picture of his future wife, and next to it is the picture of the proud man being married to the woman whose face in the picture had once captivated his fancy. Those pictures were the realization of the one described in Milton's verse. Adam saw in Eve the realization of his dream, and was happy when he welcomed to his embrace this first gift of God, which met his want and answered his prayer. God created man not only a social being but an intellectual being. A beast can mate with beasts. They do so. A distinguished writer says, "the family relation is almost universal among the higher classes of animals." Adam's immortal nature longed for a kindred spirit. One to commune with, one to love, one to guide, one to look at life from another standpoint, one whose opinions should be diverse, and yet alike in difference, one to help in all the affairs of life, not only for the propagation of the species, but to provide things useful and comfortable for him, and like himself in temper, in disposition, and destiny. One to whom God shall be a loving Father, and heaven a common home. One with whom soul can join with soul in worship and love. A kindred spirit. A spirit having a common love, a common purpose, a common aspiration, and a common interest.
This longing for companionship was the earliest recorded emotion of the soul. It comes earliest to us and stays longest. In childhood, very often, instinct and desire rule wisely, and matches formed in heaven are recognized in life's morning on earth far oftener than we are accustomed to think. This longing never ceases. The child wants companionship, and old age, shattered and broken, feels the need of this loving support which God provides in the opposite sex quite as much as does the youthful heart. Our perfect humanity is made up of the two, and is not complete without this union.
The most magnificent scenery is tame, unless you can point out its beauties to the one you love. The picture gallery is worthless, unless some other lip can press the goblet of your pleasure, and sip nectar from the flower of beauty which blossoms in your thought or imagination. It is not good for man to be alone, even in Eden. Eden is not Eden without its Eve. Before Eve came, Eden was the pastureland of beasts; after it, the place took on home-like properties, bowers of love were formed, and the place became the house of God, and the gate of heaven.
The characteristics of woman as a helpmeet deserve our notice.
1. Consider this word "Woman." Woman was the name given to our mother because she was taken out of man. The word itself means pliant. In this definition we discover the first characteristic of a womanly nature. She is pliant. She adjusts herself to circumstances. She is adapted to meet man's wants, because she finds it in her nature to adapt herself to meet them.
It is gentlemanly to avow an opinion. We feel that it is womanly to waive one. We never think less of a woman for not forcing her opinions upon a company. We do not desire her to be without opinions, nor is it expected that she will desist from expressing an opinion, but if one must yield, it is womanly in woman to do so.
Indeed, oftentimes a woman of strong mental calibre, whose opinions are derived from thought and study, has built her husband up by permitting his expression to stand even though her own judgment might differ from him. If she be a true wife or sister, she will seek, in retirement, to correct an opinion which could not be avowed in public without weakening a husband's or a brother's influence. A woman that builds up another is herself a power and a praise.
The word pliant does not demand an absence of quality. The Damascus blade is pliant; it can be bent but it is not easily broken, while its edge is the keenest and its strength is a marvel. So woman is not necessarily weak because she is pliant. She may be the very reverse, and yet be pliant. Oftentimes her power of control is the more potent because it is unseen and unostentatious. An opinion held, to be uttered in the moment of cool and calm reflection, may be more telling than if spoken while the storm of debate was raging. The still, small voice came after the lightning and the thunder and the earthquake, and God spake in it with power and effect. It is the quiet utterance in the home which is of marvellous power in the world. It is womanly to adorn rather than to plan.
She fits herself for companionship rather than for leadership. By her tact and by her very nature she is enabled to harmonize antagonistic elements, and promote concord, if she cannot secure union. Like the lily living in the water, she feeds on her native element, love. The lily, though it floats on the wave, opens wider its leaves to the rain and dew. So woman, though living on love, finds pleasure and rapture in fresh manifestations of love day by day. It is her nature to love. It is her life to be beloved.
2. Think of this other title, feminine. This word, in its meaning, furnishes the second characteristic. It pertains to woman, and denotes a soft, tender, and delicate nature. Effeminate means destitute of manly qualities.
A woman truly feminine is thus described: "No coarseness was mingled with her plainness of speech; no boisterousness with her zeal. Her feelings, her sensibilities, her tastes were all characterized by a gentleness and delicacy seldom surpassed. While her heroic daring and unconquerable energy excited admiration, her love of birds and flowers, and indeed of all that is beautiful in nature, made her seem almost childlike." This characteristic, so loved and admired, is woman's glory, and yet it is effeminate. Woman's mind is quicker, more flexible, more elastic than man's, though the brain, in weight, is much lighter. Man's brain weighs, on an average, three pounds and eight ounces. Woman's brain weighs, on an average, two pounds and four ounces. The female intellect is impregnated with the qualities of her sensitive nature. It acts rather through a channel of electricity than of reasoning. Its perceptions of truth come, as it were, by intuition. It is under the influence of the heart, that has deep and unfathomable wells of feeling; and truth is felt in every pulse, rather than reasoned out and demonstrated. You cannot offend a woman so quick, in any way, as to ask her why she wishes to do thus, or why she reaches such a conclusion. Her reply is, invariably, "'Cause!" And that is about all she knows about it; and yet woe be to the man who ignores her intuitions, or treats with disdain her advice. Woman reads character quicker and better than man. Her policy lies in her heart. She feels rather than reasons. Man reasons rather than feels. Hence she is a helpmeet. She fills a lack, and supplies a want.
In her the imagination and fancy have such a lively play, that the homeliest principles assume forms of beauty. In intellectual pursuits she is destined to excel by her fine sensibilities, her nice observations, and exquisite tastes, while man is appointed to investigate the laws of abstruse sciences, and perform in literature and art the bolder flights of genius. She may surpass him in representing life and manners, and in the composition of letters, memoirs, and moral tales, in descriptive poetry, and in certain styles of music and painting, and even in sculpture. But she will never write an Iliad or a Paradise Lost, or tragedies like those of Aeschylus. She will never rival Demosthenes in producing a political oration, nor a massive philosophic history like Thucydides. She will not paint a Madonna like Raphael, nor chisel an Apollo Belvedere. The logic of Aristotle, the polemics of Augustine, the prodigious onsets of a Luther, the Institutes of a Calvin, the Novum Organum of Bacon, the Principia of Newton, the Cosmos of Humboldt—the like of these she will never achieve, nor is it desirable that she should.
Women seldom invent. There are all manner of inventions, often hundreds of applications in a single day, for patents at the Patent Office, yet among them there are no female applicants. Woman cannot compete with man in a long course of mental labor. The female mind is rather quiet and timid than fiery and driving. It admires rather than covets the great exploits of the other sex. Woman never excelled in architecture. To her belong the gentler arts of quiet life and retirement, where she has power to soften and refine the heart of him who is accustomed to battle with the elements and the forces of external nature.
We might speak at length of woman's gentle nature, present striking examples of female submission, endurance, and heroism, and speak in general of her charms and of her beneficent influence in domestic and social life. It would be equally pertinent, perhaps, to exhibit brilliant specimens of female genius and culture in the more graceful walks of literature, science, or art. These gay flowers of humanity lie scattered all over the vast field of history. But our subject leads us in another direction. Woman as a helpmeet finds in her own nature the natural introduction to the spheres of usefulness and influence ever open to her. She has a body, a mind, and soul. She must help, physically, mentally, and spiritually. The household partnership is opened to her physical nature. This relation is good as far at it goes. But it is only the beginning. It is rather the result than the commencement of the union. There is a closer tie found in intellectual companionship. Mind comes in contact with mind; the wants of the intellect are met, and a union is the result. Men engaged in public life, literary men and artists, have often found in their wives companions and confidantes in thought no less than in feeling. And as the intellectual development of woman has spread wider, and never higher, they have been mutual helpers, suited to each other. Roland and his wife in Paris, William and Mary Howitt of England, and Mr. and Mrs. Browning, are beautiful illustrations of this principle, though they are exceptional in their character. As a rule, when men find helpers in women, there is no community of employment. Harmony exists in difference no less than in likeness, if only the same key-note governs both parts. Woman the poem, man the poet! Woman the heart, man the head! Such instances lie all about us. Man rides to battle, while his wife is busy in the kitchen; but difference of occupation does not prevent that community of inward life, that perfect esteem which causes him to say,—
"Whom God loves, to him gives he such a wife"
And yet there is a still higher realm open before woman, because of her spiritual nature.
Woman as a helpmeet needs something besides a well-stored mind. She requires a heart filled with pure affections. Here we perceive how essential to her well being is submission to Christ.
The assumption of the New Testament is, that we possess an animal nature. The meaning of the word flesh, in all the New Testament writings, is, that the human family are living in an animal condition. It is taught that in that condition it is impossible for them to understand higher truths, or to feel higher influences, or to enter into the experiences which belong to the full development of the higher faculties. Christ came to us, suffered, and died for us, that an escape from this lower into the higher realm might be possible. It is possible. There is inherent under the divine influence the power of recreating, so that the soul shall escape from the prison-house of the flesh, and shall henceforth lead the mind and the body into a higher realm of thought and action. The very nature of woman makes her susceptible to religious impressions. Her lively imagination, her quick sensibilities, and her ready sympathy enable her readily to give Christ, the personification of every manly attribute and the embodiment of every virtue, a welcome to her soul.
It is possible for woman's spiritual nature to so marry Christ, that her physical nature can, without a great sacrifice, forego the joys of earthly companionship. Hence some women mated with a brute of a man, shine as Christians, and make excellent mothers. Woman as a Christian is a helpmeet indeed and in truth. Her power as such is felt in the church and in the world. She is peculiarly adapted to carry forward enterprises which have to do with meliorating the condition of society. Who is so adapted as she to manage an orphan's home, or to minister to the sick in hospitals, or to give support and sympathy to the aged, or to train children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord? The first requisite to companionship is a heart imbued with the love of Christ. A heart must be emphasized, for a heartless woman is a terror in society, but a woman with a great heart, reverent and obedient to God, and full of love for Christ and his work, is a benefaction to a man, to a home, to a community, and to the world. "Favor is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised." And a woman that feareth the Lord and serveth him, is praised and prized beyond rubies. The next requisite to holiness may be said to be skilfulness in the home. Woman must be trained to household duties. If she lacks here, she is wanting in much that makes her a real wife or mother or sister.
America, the land of homes, finds the housewife essential to its future. Housework in woman is ever honorable. It ought to be her glory and her pride. Let us make it so more and more.
The second requisite is intelligence. A woman must keep up with man in literature, in general news, in what interests the community, and especially in growth in grace, and in the knowledge of the word of God, if she would make her home attractive. Thus shall they
"Sit side by side full sunned in all their powers Dispensing harvests; Self-reverent each and reverencing each Distinct in individualities; But like each other even as those who love, Then comes the statelier Eden back to man. For it is possible in wedded pair a harmony More grateful than harmonious sound to the ear."
Said Count Zinzendorf, in regard to his wife, "Twenty-five years' experience has shown me that just the helpmeet whom I love is the only one that could suit my vocation. Who else could have so carried through my family affairs? Who lived so spotlessly before the world? Who so wisely aided me in my rejection of a dry morality? Who so clearly set aside Pharisaism, which, as years passed, threatened to creep in among us? Who so deeply discerned as to the spirits of delusion which sought to bewilder us? Who would have governed my whole economy so wisely, richly, and hospitably, when circumstances commanded? Who have taken indifferently the part of servant or mistress without, on the one side, affecting an especial spirituality; on the other, being sullied by any worldly pride? Who, in a community where all ranks are eager to be on a level, would, from wise and real causes, have known how to maintain inward and outward distinctions? Who, without a murmur, has seen her husband encounter such dangers by land and sea? Who undertaken with him and sustained such astonishing pilgrimages? Who, amid such difficulties, would have always held up her head and supported me? Who found such vast sums of money and acquitted them on her own credit? And, finally, who, of all human beings, could so well understand and interpret to others my inner and outer being, as this one, of such nobleness in her way of thinking, such great intellectual capacity, and so free from the theological perplexities that enveloped me?" Let any one peruse, with all intentness, the lineaments of this portrait, and he will be impressed with the fact, that it is possible for woman to fulfil her mission, and become a true helpmeet. This woman was not a copy. She was not a cipher. She was an original; and while she loved and honored her husband, she thought for herself on all subjects, with so much intelligence, that he could and did look on her as a sister and friend also.
The third and highest grade of marriage union is the religious, which may be expressed "as a pilgrimage round a common shrine." This includes the other,—home sympathies and household wisdom,—for these pilgrims know how to assist each other along the dusty way.
These facts should be remembered in her education. The beautiful forms which everywhere exist in nature should be impressed upon the female mind, and the treasures of elegant literature should be opened to her in no stinted measure.
A well-disciplined and a well-stored mind she does indeed require; but a heart of pure affections, a lively imagination, and quick sensibilities to give depth, and form, and beauty, and vivacity to the character of her mind, are so peculiarly feminine accomplishments, that without them a woman of the greatest intellect is, as it were, unsexed and disrobed of her loveliest charms. She may be a Queen Elizabeth, and conquer a Spanish Armada, but she will never conquer the heart, nor be recognized as a model of female character. She is to be the mother of her race. This fixes the sphere of her duties in the home. Think of Helen Olcott, the wife of Rums Choate; of the first Mrs. Webster, and of her influence upon that man who won the proud appellation, "The Great Expounder."
The story is told of Daniel Webster meeting a woman with her two boys loaded down with bundles, at the Jersey Ferry, in New York. The lady had lost her fortune through the failure of her husband. She was poor, and the old set ignored her. But she lived in a little cottage in New Jersey, and made it bright with her face of love. She was tired and sad. Many had passed her. Mr. Webster, seeing her perplexity, offered to relieve her of her bundles, and take charge of one of the boys. They entered the cars. He talked to her of her God-given trust, of her work, and of the results that would naturally flow from her efforts; of the province of a mother, of the trust reposed in her by God himself. She was encouraged and strengthened, and when she came to the depot, she said, "Please, sir, give me your card, that I may mention your name to my husband." She hurried out, and looked at it, and saw the name of Daniel Webster. The woman was thrilled with the joy that came to her in her sphere of service. Earth knows no fairer, holier relation than that of mother; and she turned with delight from the bubbles and froth of fashion to the grand work before her of raising men for God and humanity.
"The treasures of the deep are not so precious As are the concealed comforts of a man Locked up in woman's love. I scent the air Of blessings when I come but near the house. What a delicious breath marriage sends forth! The violet bed's not sweeter."
Think of the realm in which woman may rule. If she be elegant and refined; if she has learned how to govern, first herself, and then those about her, there is a charm diffused through the home which reveals itself in the good order of the establishment, in the politeness of the servants, in the genial disposition of the children, in the delightful intercourse of the different portions of the household, and in the fact that "her husband is known in the gates when he sitteth among the elders of the land. Strength and honor are her clothing, and she shall rejoice in time to come. She openeth her mouth with wisdom, and her tongue is the law of kindness. She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. Many daughters have done virtuously; but thou excellest them all."
In such words did King Lemuel praise this excellency of woman. Blessed memory! Who does not remember that one form of the old-fashioned mother,—the law of whose life was love; one who was the divinity of our infancy, and the sacred presence in the shrine of our first earthly idolatry; one whose heart was ever green, though the snows of time had gathered in the boughs of her life-tree; one to whom we never grow old, but in the plumed troop or the grave council are children still; one who welcomed us coming, blessed us going, and forgets us never; one who waits for the echo of our returning footstep, or who, perhaps, has gone on to the better land, and keeps a light in the window for those left behind.
Such women have power now as did the Hannahs and the Ruths of the olden time. When thinking of them, you are convinced that, young or old, they remain among the best of God's gifts to man. This leads us to remark further, that woman's right to be a woman implies her right to help woman. Woman must be true to her sex, or society will neglect its duty. That old story of Ruth and Naomi has ploughed through the world, because it reveals woman's power as a helper. Ruth clung to Naomi, and Naomi helped her daughter to find Boaz, that noble prince in Israel; and so she became identified with the succession of promise. The life of Mrs. Sigourney illustrates the same truth. See her among the young, calling forth their powers, and starting them in a career of usefulness. Impressed with the importance of an education, she aided by her pen, as by her example, to induce the ladies of her acquaintance to obtain a thorough knowledge of the primary branches that enter into daily use.
We want a woman to be intellectual without being puny. We ask that she remain a pliant vine, and that she be not made into the rugged oak.
Woman owes it to herself that she be fitted to occupy any position in society. In this land, as in no other, the barriers of caste are removed, and every line of separation obliterated. The rich and the poor meet together.
The cultured sewing-girl is quite likely to become the wife of the future millionnaire; and the lady reared in the midst of every luxury, and endowed with a fortune, amid the reverses of fortune may be compelled to draw upon her own resources of labor, and of love, and culture, to stay up the hands and encourage the heart of the man more than ever dependent upon her for happiness and hope.
Such a woman Irving must have painted when he wrote, "I have often had occasion to remark the fortitude with which women sustain the most overwhelming reverses of fortune. Those disasters which break down the spirit of a man, and prostrate him in the dust, seem to call forth all the energies of the softer sex, and give such intrepidity and devotion to their character, that at times it approaches to sublimity."
Nothing can be more touching than to behold a soft and tender female, who had been all weakness, and dependence, and alive to every trivial roughness, while treading the prosperous paths of life, suddenly rising in mental force to be the comforter and supporter of her husband under misfortunes, and abiding, with unshrinking firmness, the bitterest blasts of adversity.
As the vine, which has long twined its graceful foliage about the oak, and been lifted by it into sunshine, will, when the lordly plant is rifted by the thunderbolt, cling round it with caressing tendrils, and bind up its shattered boughs, so it is beautifully ordained by Providence that woman, who is the mere dependent and ornament of man in his happier hours, should be his stay and solace when smitten with sudden calamity; winding herself into the rugged recesses of his nature, tenderly supporting the head and binding up the broken heart.
To fill this feature of the wife, education is essential in household affairs, quite as much as education in books, in music, and the ways of fashion is essential to the young wife whose husband has suddenly become rich, and has given up his chambers and taken an elegant house in some fashionable street.
It is as bad to fall from the heights of opulence, and know not how to sweep a room, make a bed, or cook a meal, as it is to rise to an exalted position, and know not how to welcome company or preside at a feast.
The women in America who suddenly become elevated in rank, and buy pictures by the yard and books by the cord, are quite as abundant as are those who lose fortune and rank, and are compelled to seek menial employments.
The happiness secured by the proper employment of time, and by the cultivation of the mind, furnishes a high incentive to exertion.
Contrast the woman who is educated with the one uneducated. See her in her home, reigning a queen, while her uneducated sister, though she may have wealth and beauty, will constantly feel the lack of that which gold cannot procure nor fortune provide. "We are foolish, and without excuse foolish," said Ruskin, "in speaking of the 'superiority' of one sex to the other, as if they could be compared in similar things. Each has what the other has not; each completes the other, and is completed by the other; they are in nothing alike; and the happiness and perfection of both depend on each asking and receiving from the other what the other only can give. Their separate characters are briefly these: The man's power is active, progressive, defensive. He is eminently the doer, the creator, the discoverer, the defender. His intellect is for speculation and invention; his energy for adventure, for work, for conquest, whenever war is just, whenever conquest is necessary. But the woman's power is for love, not for battles; and her intellect is not for invention or creation, but for sweet ordering arrangement and decision. She sees the qualities of things, their claims, and their places. Her great function is Praise; she enters into no contest, but infallibly judges the crown of contest. By her office and her place, she is protected from all danger and temptation. The man, in his rough work in the open world, must encounter all peril and trial. To him, therefore, the failure, the offence, the inevitable error; often he must be wounded, or subdued, often misled, and always burdened. But he guards the woman from all this. Within his house, as ruled by her,—unless she herself has sought it,—need enter no danger, no temptation, no cause of error or offence. This is the true nature of home,—it is the place of peace; the shelter, not only from all injury, but from all terror, doubt, and derision. In so far as it is not this, it is not home; so far as the anxieties of the outer life penetrate into it, and the inconsistently-minded, unknown, unloved, or hostile society of the outer world is allowed, either by husband or wife, to cross the threshold, it ceases to be home; it is then only a part of that outer world which you have roofed over and lighted a fire in. But so far as it is a sacred place, a vestal temple, a temple of the hearth, watched over by household gods, before whose faces none may come but those whom they can receive with love,—so far as it is this, and roof and fire are types only of a nobler shade and light,—shadows of the rock in a weary land, and light as of the Pharos in the stormy sea; so far it vindicates the name, and fulfils the praise, of home. And wherever a true wife comes, this home is always round her. The stars only may be overhead; the glow-worm in the night—cold grass may be the only fire at her foot; but home is yet wherever she is; and for a noble-woman it stretches far round her, better than ceiled with cedar, or painted with vermilion, shedding its quiet light far, for those who else were homeless."
Possess these qualifications and woman will be respected and beloved. Her area of usefulness will be enlarged.
The man of brains and of industry and economy, has the promise of wealth and position much more certainly than the indolent son of a wealthy father. Respect such young men, and fit yourselves, young women, to be worthy of them.
Remember position is emptiness itself, unless there be talent, piety, and culture to adorn it.
We have asked the poor to help the rich. It is equally important that the rich help the poor. It is impossible to overestimate the value of those visitations of the noble few who leave their homes and seek out the little room of the poor seamstress, and carry sunlight and love and comfort into the abodes of the impoverished and the sorrowful.
Not only that, but it is possible and practicable for women of wealth and culture to help their sex to reach positions of respectability and usefulness.
Mary Lyon is known and honored throughout the world for her work in behalf of women.
Imagine our first ladies opening their parlors to girls who earn by industry and diligence in study, by purity of heart and blamelessness of life, the right to attention and respect.
Let it be known that the woman who makes a good record in the shop shall be respected in the home, and that she who becomes skilled in thought and acquainted with scientific research, should find thereby an introduction to society, that will ennoble her, and it is impossible to describe the effect that would be produced upon the minds of all. In this work women of culture can keep step with Jesus, and become the benefactresses of their sex and blessings to mankind. Let woman help woman, and society will be reformed. Let man be true to woman, and society will be adorned.
Of late there have been going round the press pen portraits of Bulwer, Dickens, and Carlyle. The two first are separated from their wives, and their lives are sunless and their homes are empty. Carlyle, that dry and laconic talker and that fierce hater, is made beautiful when you read that he conducts his company to the pretty sitting-room of his wife.
Mrs. Carlyle is a lively, pleasant creature, and a world of thought beams from her dark eyes. She has learned a great deal; her father gave her a most profound education, and she is possessed of a keen, yet mild judgment, of which her husband himself is afraid. There she sits sewing with her handsome fingers a new cravat for her Diogenes. In these surroundings all feel at ease, and Carlyle becomes talkative and witty, and displays his whole famous eloquence. Happy the man who grows witty in the society of his wife, and finds there the atmosphere calculated to promote his highest, grandest, and fullest development.
Mutual confidence is essential to happiness. The woman cannot confide in the man unless he can sympathize in her tenderness; nor can the man counsel with the woman, unless she can in some measure look upon the world as he looks upon it.
Hence it is wisely ordained that in every great man there are to be seen some of the feminine elements, and in every great, true woman, there are always to be found some elements of the sterner sex.
It is because the ballot has a tendency to make woman the rival rather than the companion of man, that it is opposed to the purest sentiments of woman. She wishes no division, and cannot tolerate independence or separation from the object of her love. Love cannot feed on strife. The husband and wife are one, though God made them male and female. If one acts in opposition to the other, domestic peace is slain on the altar of love. What God hath joined, let not potentates or anything else put asunder. It is an old truth, "Better a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox with hatred therewith." Man asks that his wife be pure, that she know but little of the deceptions and trials of trade, that she come not in contact with the rough exterior of life, that ever before the mind of man there might stand forth the beautiful ideal woman, whose influence irradiates the faith, with the light of love, in his journeyings through the wilderness.
"The family, and not the individual, is the true social integer. This is implied in the inspired history of the creation of man. God made of two 'one flesh,' or a unit of the human species. Generals and legislators have not overlooked the fact that married men and women can be relied on in emergencies where single persons cannot be trusted. Either part of a social integer is a pledge of the whole. The vitality of society lives in its integers. The future grows out of its integers. They are, therefore, what ought to be represented in its political structures. That it belongs more properly to the man than to the woman to represent the family, is manifest from revelation. 'The head of the woman is the man, whom she is commanded to obey.'"
WOMAN AS A TEMPTER.
It will be admitted by all who will read the history of man's ruin, as recorded in Genesis, the third chapter, and sixth verse, that woman first partook of the forbidden fruit, and "gave also to her husband, and he did eat." Admit the truth of history, and woman appears as man's first tempter.
"Woman as a Helpmeet" described her condition before the fall; "Woman as a Tempter" describes her in the fall; and, alas! while it is the high privilege of woman to be a helpmeet in the midst of the ruin wrought by sin, it is unwise to disguise the truth that as a tempter she has not abandoned her vocation.
Plain speaking may prove to be disagreeable. God grant that it may prove to be profitable. There is need of it. Disguise it as we may talk as we choose about man in his narrowness, in his degradation, a wicked woman was, and to a large extent is, the means employed by Satan in leading astray the unwary. The manner of her fall has been declared. It may be profitable to review the steps of her downward descent from the bliss of Eden to the woe of the desert; from the position of an equal to the position of a subject.
1. Satan, in the form of the serpent, undermines woman's confidence in God. The serpent, the most subtle beast of the field, said to the woman, "Is it even so, that God has said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?" Thus he attempted to weaken the child-like confidence she reposed in her Creator, and endeavored to inspire in its place a spirit of unbelief and distrust. This done, and the battle was half won, and the work was well nigh accomplished. Truly has it been said, "The sure basis of simple trust in God as the all-loving and the all-wise, once shaken, there is little left to be done." This is the rock on which character builds its hopes. There is nothing so essential to woman as faith in God. Destroy this, or let woman attempt to live without it, and she is in imminent peril. It was an infidel woman who declared, "It has been said that marriage is a divine institution, because all power comes from God. We know very well that all power comes from God', and therefore we wish neither God nor power." Shall professedly Christian women, by action, give their assent to such an utterance?
2. Satan rouses woman's suspicion. "And the woman said to the serpent. Of the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat. But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden God has said, Ye shall not eat of it, and ye shall not touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said to the woman, Ye shall not surely die. For God knows that in the day ye eat thereof your eyes will be opened, and ye will be as God, knowing good and evil."
"Your eyes will be opened," expresses the power of mentally apprehending things before unperceived and unknown; but, of course, both in an intellectual and moral sense. The position taken appeared reasonable, and had a semblance of truth, and exerted its consequent influence.
"Will be as God, knowing good and evil." Knowing for yourselves, and able to choose between the evil and the good. Here ambition again overleaped itself. Humility was slain, and a womanly virtue was destroyed by the tempter, who aimed to infuse into the mind of the woman, first, a doubt of the truth of the Word of God, and of the certainty of the divine threatening; second, a suspicion that God was withholding from her a good, instead of guarding her against an evil; and, third, he attempted to induce her to believe that adherence to this divine command stood in the way of her freedom, of her growth, and so by the words, "Ye will be as God, knowing good and evil," he strove to awaken the feeling of self-exaltation,—the longing for a higher development, in which she should attain to self-discretion and freedom of choice and action.
This suspicion is very common, even among our good women. When a woman gets cold in her love for Jesus, she becomes suspicious of those she loves. She permits the feeling, "My husband gives too much for benevolence, too little to me, and he is away too much in meetings, and is too little in his home," to influence her. She begins to talk against the church, and loves to stay at home. Finds excuses for keeping away from the prayer meeting or from the paths of endeavor, and becomes a hinderance instead of a blessing to husband, to family, and to society. A man finds it difficult to push the bark of benevolence and of holy endeavor up against the current of womanly opposition and suspicion, but when in the work of God she acts the part of a helpmeet, everything moves smoothly. A recent writer uses this language: "Expel woman as you will, she is in fact the parish. Within, in her lowest spiritual form, as the ruling spirit she inspires, and sometimes writes the sermons. Without, as the bulk of his congregation, she watches over his orthodoxy, verifies his texts, visits his schools, and harasses his sick." ... "The preacher who thunders so defiantly against spiritual foes, is trembling all the time beneath the critical eye that is watching him with so merciless an accuracy in his texts. Impelled, guided, censured by woman, we can hardly wonder if, in nine cases out of ten, the parson turns woman himself, and the usurpation of woman's rights in the services of religion has been deftly avenged by the subjugation of the usurpers. Expelled from the temple, woman has simply put her priesthood into commission, and discharges her ministerial duties by proxy." Woman is the mainspring and the chief support of Ritualism. Things were at a dead lock and stand still, until the so-called devotion gave an impetus to the movement. The medieval church have glorified the devotion of woman; but once become a devotee, it had locked her in the cloister. As far as action in the world without was concerned, the veil served simply as a species of suicide, and the impulses of woman, after all the crowns and pretty speeches of her religious counsellors, found themselves bottled up within stout stone walls, and as inactive as before. From this strait woman released herself by the organization of charity. The Sisters of Charity at once became a power. They discovered the value of costume. The district visitor, whom nobody had paid the smallest attention to in the common vestments of the world, became a sacred being as she donned the crape and hideous bonnet of the "Sister."
"The 'Mother Superior' took the place of the tyrant of another sex who had hitherto claimed the submission of woman; but she was something more to her 'children' than the husband or father whom they had left in the world without. In all matters, ecclesiastical as well as civil, she claimed within her dominions to be supreme. The quasi-sacerdotal dignity, the pure religious ministration which ages have stolen from her, was quietly resumed. She received confessions, she imposed penances, she drew up offices of devotion. If the clergyman of the parish ventured an advice or suggestion, he was told that the sisterhood must preserve its own independence of action, and was snubbed home again for his pains. The Mother Superior, in fact, soon towered into a greatness far beyond the reach of ordinary persons. She kept her own tame chaplain, and she kept him in a very edifying subjugation. From a realm completely her own, the influence of woman began to tell upon the world without. Little colonies of Sisters, planted here and there, annexed parish after parish. Astonished congregations saw their church blossom its purple and red, and frontal and hanging told of the silent energy of the group of Sisters. The parson found himself nowhere, in his own parish: every detail managed for him, every care removed, and all independence gone. If it suited the ministering angels to make a legal splash, he found himself landed in the law courts. If they took it into their heads to seek another field, every one assumed it a matter of course that their pastor would go too." It is because of this influence that in certain quarters the ecclesiastical hierarchy are taking, year by year, a more feminine position. It is not impossible that a church who worships Mary as the Mother of God may be brought to recognize woman as the proper head of the church. True, as the writer quoted above adds, "she must stoop to conquer heights like these." Yet the question has been seriously asked, "Is not the Episcopal office admirably adapted to woman?" Between a priest and a nun there is only the difference of a bonnet in their dress, and we know how easily woman can be persuaded to go without a bonnet, or to exchange it for a hat such as is worn by men. In England, the curate is sometimes called the first lady of the parish; and what he now is in theory, a century hence may find him in fact. "It would be difficult, even now, to detect any difference of sex in the triviality of purpose, the love of gossip, the petty interests, the feeble talk, the ignorance, the vanity, the love of personal display, the white hand dangled over the pulpit, the becoming vestment, and the embroidered stole, which we are learning gradually to look upon as attributes of the British curate. So perfect, indeed, is the imitation, that the excellence of her work may, perhaps, defeat its own purpose, and the lacquered imitation of woman may satisfy the world, and for long ages prevent any anxious inquiry after the real feminine Brummagem."
The tendency thus truthfully described furnished the seedling out of which grew the Monasticism of the past, and in which the Ritualism of the present finds its underlying cause. The Church of Rome harnesses woman to her system, and compels her to contribute greatly to its prosperity. In Europe the people tire of those great establishments and endowments, which rest like an incubus on the national life. In America we are so blind that we foster them by grants from our legislatures, by giving up the care of hospitals to their use, where the weak are subjected to the influences of superstition, and the thoughtless are led astray. Another avenue to power is opened by the ballot. Grant this to that church, which, through a fatherhood of priests and a sisterhood of nuns, reaches every portion of the body politic, and the promise of Religious Liberty and a Free Republic is at once exchanged for the despotism of Rome and the imperialism of France. Infidelity joins hands with Rome in asking this power. Christianity, united with patriotism, must refuse to grant the request.
3. Mystery was employed as an instrument in securing woman's fall. Rouse a womanly curiosity, and there is little difficulty in leading the excited one astray. Hold out to her a key which promises to unlock the hidden and concealed glories of the unexplored future, and woman will be tempted again to forego God's favor and the joys of paradise to grasp or wield it. In every heathen religion women occupied a prominent place. Priestess or prophetess, she stood in all ministerial offices on an equality with man. Christianity rejects the ministerial services of women, and selects for its standard bearers men acquainted with life, filled with religious zeal, and capable of hardy endeavor, assuring faith and martyr patience.
The Church of Rome dealt with women as the Empire dealt with its Caesars: it was ready to grant her apotheosis, but only when she was safely out of this world. It was only when the light of revelation was extinguished in her midst that the teachings of the Bible were ignored, and woman was welcomed back to the place she held in pagan climes and at heathen shrines.
Spiritualism, that scourge of modern times, which has swept like the breath of a pestilence over the land, found in woman its prophetess and minister. Satan works in erring woman now, as in the past, to destroy and to delude. That power was resisted by Christian woman. Many an irreligious man was saved from this delusion by the fidelity of his wife. Many a good man has been ruined because his wife listened to the siren voice of the tempter, and desired to explore and explain this mystery. The forbidden fruit ever grows upon the tree beside her. Those who would be wiser than that which is written, have plucked and eaten it, and have given to others that which is so destructive. Witchcraft is a womanly profession. The heathen divinities were nearly all ministered unto by woman, and mystery was the influencing cause. We know the result in the case of Eve. It led her away from God. It caused her to listen to the enemy of her soul. Does it not become woman to ask herself, "Am I losing my hold on God? Is suspicion that some good is being withheld, or does the desire to pry into the future, exercise an undue influence upon my heart and imagination?" If so, your ruin has commenced, and a speedy return to God is your only door of escape.
4. Deception was the result. "And the woman saw the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make her wise; and she took of its fruit and ate, and gave also to her husband and he ate." Sight deceived, desire allured, and action born of a delusive faith destroyed her happiness. The process of temptation culminated in deception. This is the end ever kept in view by Satan. Every individual that refuses to be ruled absolutely by God, in little or great affairs, may know of a truth that the end is deception, and the consequent ruin is sure to follow. There is no exception to the rule. Paul felt this when he wrote the church in Corinth, concerning his interest in them, saying, "For I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy; for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ;" "But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve, by his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from your simplicity toward Christ." Many claim that error is not mischievous while truth is left free to combat. Error poisons the mind, and so produces disease, and bars out truth, which carries health to the mind and blesses the soul.
Eve knew the law, for she quotes it word by word. She deliberated as to obeying it. Here she made her first mistake. A woman cannot do this. The moment a woman hesitates in regard to discharging the duties she owes to herself or to God she falls. She seems to be provided with an almost self-acting nature. It is natural for her to protect herself. She revolts against her higher self when she hesitates. Her intuitions, allied to a sensitive nature, unite in defending against evil. Had Eve said, "I do not need to sin to secure the development of my higher nature; the Creator knows my wants much better than one who seeks to be my destroyer," she would have been saved. Faith in God would have been a sure defence against the tempter's wiles.
But she deliberated, yielded, and fell, and the world is still full of the resounding echoes of that fall. The race fell with her. That fact teaches its lesson. Some one falls with every ruined soul. We lift up or drag down those associated with us. "For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself;" an influence goes out from us, which is a felt power in the world either for or against God and humanity.
Consider the effects of the temptation. 1. It caused Eve to become to Adam an agent of Satan. Tempted herself, she became a tempter. Ruined in her nature by this exclusion of God, and by this welcome of Satan, she seeks to ruin her companion. This principle rules now. The carnal heart is at enmity with God, the converted heart is in union with God. Here is a significant fact. A man loves to have woman pure, if he is impure. Temperate, if he is intemperate. Holy and Christian, if he is the opposite in every particular. Not so a woman. Intemperate herself, she seeks to induce others to be like her. Here is the peril of society. If our fashionable women love wine, they become emissaries of the wicked one to a fearful extent. It is almost an impossibility for the tempted to withstand their wiles. In fashionable, perhaps, more than in the other grades of life, woman as a leader in intemperance, in extravagance, and in opposition to Christ, is to be feared. Her power is fearful to contemplate. The Secretary of the Treasury declares that the national debt is increased, and threatens to increase, unless the fashionable world shall declare against the, importation of that which costs gold, but which fails to contribute to the prosperity of the community. This is by no means wholly chargeable to women. Men share in the blame. A sadder fact is the expressed dissatisfaction with woman's work and with woman's sphere. The home of the olden time is passing out of mind, and in its place is the fashionable boarding-house. The skilled housewife is felt to be unappreciated. Men, they tell us, prefer a pretty face to a noble heart, a delicate to a skilled hand, a girl who can play the piano rather than one who can cook a dinner, a pretty doll instead of a glorious woman capable of keeping the house, and of guiding the man with womanly strength. Ah, it is a mistake. America is the land of homes. Our undeveloped territory offers to every man a farm. Men and women need not to be cooped up in garrets or shut up in cellars, if they will but possess the spirit of those who sought in this Western world a home, and who, as they toiled with the axe, the plough, and the loom,
"Shook the depths of the forest gloom With their hymns of lofty cheer."
The cause of this discontent is apparent. There is something in the commonplaces of fashionable life which turns woman from the real to the unreal, from the substantial to the superficial, which smothers all originality of thought, and makes her a simple reproduction in appearance, if not in disposition, of the "Anonyma," with her meretricious beauty and dashing toilets. Is it well for woman to subject herself to be criticised as follows? "The girl of the period is a creature who dyes her hair and paints her face, whose sole idea of life is a plenty of fun and luxury, and whose dress is the object of such thought and intellect as she possesses. Her main endeavor is to outvie her neighbors. She cares little for advice or counsel. Nothing is too extraordinary, and nothing too extravagant, for her vitiated taste; and things which in themselves would be useful reforms if let alone, become monstrosities worse than those which they have displaced, so soon as she begins to manipulate and improve. If a sensible fashion lifts the gown out of the mud, she raises hers midway to the knee. If there is a reaction against an excess of hair oil, and hair slimy and sticky with grease is thought less nice than if left clean with a healthy crisp, she dries and frizzes and sticks hers out on end like certain savages in Africa, or lets it wander down her back like Madge Wildfire's, and thinks herself all the more beautiful the nearer she approaches in look to a maniac or a negress! What the demi-monde does in its frantic efforts to excite attention, she also does in imitation. If some fashionable courtesan is reported to have come out with her dress below her shoulder blades, and a gold strap for all the sleeve thought necessary, the girl of the period follows suit next day, and then wonders that men sometimes mistake her for her prototype, or that mothers of girls, not so far gone as herself, refuse her as a companion for their daughters."
If the fashionable danseuse is imported from the brothels of Paris, and is brought to our cities to exhibit herself to whoever is vulgar and lewd enough to desire to see her, thousands of the fashionables go with opera glass, and tolerate a disgusting play that they may enjoy a sight which is a guarantee to every young man that the woman knows little of and cares less about the virtue which distinguished the girl of the olden time, before whom men bowed in admiration, and concerning whom an impure thought seemed like an unpardonable sin. Women may say that "men desire them to go, and they must gratify them." It is not true. Every man loves to have his wife and daughters virtuous, and unless he be besotted by intemperance, or given over to courses of shame, will quietly and joyfully yield to the remonstrance of a virtuous wife or daughter against patronizing scenes which degrade, and against permitting the mind and heart to give welcome to thoughts which pollute. True men desire to love, and to be influenced by pure, tender, loving, retiring, and domestic women.
Woman, it is your fault if you do not retain the affections of a true and noble man. Alas, how frequently young men mourn your fickleness, your frivolity, your fondness for show and dress, and your total lack of desire for the more solid attainments which enrich character, and beautify life. "Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies." Whoever conforms to the requirements of fashion, at the expense of culture, is false to her high nature, and degrades herself in the estimation of every true man. A woman is constructed for companionship, and in her normal condition her yearnings are more mental than physical. It is natural for man to desire to enjoy this God-given boon. A talented woman, that will talk sense, is the idol of sensible men. Nothing displeases a true woman more than to waste an evening on a brainless fop. Nothing is more needless. Let her develop herself, and she will be sought after by men whose opinions are valuable, and whose love is a recompense. Better far would it be for women who are poor, to spend their evenings in reading, writing, and study, in familiarizing themselves with those themes of ennobling thought, which will fit them to win love by conversation, by culture, by the graces of refinement, rather than by the outward adorning, by plaiting the hair, and wearing of gold and of costly apparel; "for it is the hidden man of the heart, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price."
Young women need to be reminded of this. They are in peril. Exposure lines the paths of those who pass from the factory, or from the workshop, to their little rooms and cheap boarding-houses. You see it in the leering look of depraved men, and in the atmosphere of crime that contaminates their shops. They show it by their themes of conversation. Woman must be resolute, if she would change all this. Let her be true to herself and to Christ, and there will be no danger. The condition of women in many of our factory villages is frightful to contemplate, and few seem to have any knowledge of it. They pass from their factory to their boarding-houses. Their rooms are cold and cheerless in winter. There is no common reading-room or sewing-room. Unless they will suffer from cold, they must retire to their beds, or seek warmth and companionship in the world without. As a result they are watched by men who care not for their comfort or happiness, but for the gratification of passion and the pleasures of social excitements. Hence, thousands of good country girls are annually ruined in many of our large factory villages and cities, for the lack of comfortable houses or associations, where talents can be cultivated, piety promoted, and virtue protected.
1. "She gave to her husband, and he did eat." It was altogether natural. She was the provider in the home, as he was the keeper of the garden. She gave him and he ate. Man fell because of woman's fall. A woman can repel a man. It is difficult for a man to resist the wiles of a woman. God has placed in woman a fearful power, and devolves unmeasured responsibilities upon her in the home, in society, and in the world.
2. The second result is seen in the effect produced. "Lust conceived and brought forth sin, and sin brought forth shame." And the eyes of both of them were opened, not so as to have an advanced knowledge of things pleasant, profitable, and useful, as was promised and expected, but of things very disagreeable and distressing. Their eyes were opened to see that they had broken God's law, lost his favor, destroyed their home, and left themselves exposed to the terrors of the judgment. They heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.
They knew that they were naked. In place of conscious innocence and purity came the sense of guilt and shame. "We are not to understand," says Dr. Conant, "that there is allusion here to any physical effect of the eating of the forbidden fruit. So gross a conception is foreign to the spirit and purpose of the narrative. As the language in ch. ii. v. 5, is an expression of purity and peace of mind, so the language used here is the expression of conscious guilt, of self-condemnation and shame." Look at that criminal arrested. See him shiver as if cold. His nature is exposed because it is weakened. Righteousness is a defence. A man in sweet communion with God is girded with strength and endurance, with recuperative energies, of which a man is ignorant when he is alienated from God, and exposed to wrath. "For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature that is not manifest in his sight; but all things are naked and opened to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do." The Lord God was abroad. They hid themselves. They were afraid. Ah, there is a nakedness which the culprit feels, which cannot be covered up. God's eye pierces through every form of concealment, and lays bare the cause of ruin and the deed of shame. It is impossible to hide from God. If this world is deceived by our disguises, and pasteboard faces, and long robes, the Being with whom we have to do shall laugh at our calamities and mock when our fear cometh, as we shall stand out in our true characters, and shall be judged for the deeds done in the body, whether they be good or evil.
3. Sin not only changed their relations to each other, awakening their animal nature and killing their spiritual hope of sweet communion with God, but it changed their relations towards God. They became aliens to him. They lost their love, and were tortured by fear. They feared him whom they once loved. "And Jehovah God called to the man, and said to him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and was afraid because I was naked, and hid myself. And he said, Who has showed thee that thou art naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree which I commanded thee not to eat? And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate."
Adam, in his beginnings of sin, furnishes an example to sinners, which has been abundantly copied. He says, "The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate." He finds fault with God the giver, and fails to condemn woman the sinner. The passage is sometimes falsely interpreted, as an unworthy attempt of the man to cast the blame of his offence on the woman. But the emphasis lies on the words whom thou gavest to be with me, by which utterance he seeks to transfer the responsibility from himself to God, who gave him the companion by whose example he was betrayed into sin, instead of placing it upon the woman, who was the guilty cause. Thus he refuses or neglects to denounce the sin; but takes for granted that woman was as God made her, and acted in accordance with her mechanism. Hence, Adam argued, if any one was responsible, it was her Maker. She acted in accordance with the nature which had been given her. We hear this doctrine advanced daily. "I am what God made me." A cotton mill weaves cotton because it was made to weave cotton. It is not responsible. It weaves well or ill in accordance with the skill of the mechanism, and not in accordance with the desire of the proprietor. If it weaves ill, you blame the maker. If well, you praise the maker. Adam, in his reply, ignored woman's moral nature, and talked of her as though she had been a machine. "The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate." He forgot his own higher nature, forgot his position, and fell. How he differed from the second Adam we shall see before we are done.