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ing to the Bible, the unerring standard for decision, they are found to be the baseless fabrics of men's device, and tekel has been, or is about to be written on them all.
The claim which we now wish to be weighed in the balance, professes to be of greater antiquity than any of the preceding; and to be invested with higher prerogatives, to wit, the right, which the male sex claim, to rule the female. This unites in itself a claim to the authority of the three preceding, with some modifications, and demands greater reverence than all the others combined. Now, such pretensions should be supported by indubitable testimony, and be so plain, “ that he may run that readeth it.”
It may be thought, that we charge this authority with laying claims to prerogatives which it never professed, and that either of the three preceding assumes incomparably more arbitrary rule. But we speak advisedly when we say, that it lays claim to greater reverence and authority than all the others combined, which we pledge ourselves to demonstrate in the sequel.
It predicates its authority on the supposed obedience the wife owes to the husband: Gen. iii. 16, Eph. v. 22, 24, with other kindred passages. From the plenitude of the husband's authority over the wife, he being a man and she a woman, is supposed to constitute men in cumulo, a great aristocracy, with plenary powers to rule exclusively in the church, in the state, and in the domestic circle.
The rights of the human family are subjects of intense interest, because their duties are of momentous importance. Obligations and rights are correlatives ; for, wherever we have rights, we have corresponding duties. Man's ecclesiastical, political, and civil rights, have all been subjects of deep research and patient investigation. His liberty is well. defined, and any encroachment is readily detected and sympathy moved on his behalf.
There is no question in which a greater diversity of opinion obtains than in this, the true position of woman. But it is generally admitted, that she does not occupy that position in society which the God of nature intended she should. Why is she divested of her rights? Is it because she is too weak to contend for them? or too degraded to aspire after a more exalted position? Why cannot her rights and du
ties be ascertained as well as man's? We are persuaded they can; nay, we are sure they can.
We solicit a patient investigation of this question, which is of vital importance—the rights and duties of one half of the human family, and one which involves the happiness and well-being of the whole human family. All know that it is necessary that every member of a body must have the due exercise of all their functions to ensure successful operation. “The eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee; nor, again, the head to the feet, I have no need of you.” As the Bible is the magna charta of our rights, the unerring standard of our duties,—where they are minutely detailed, either by precept or example, or legitimate inference,—to the oracles of God we therefore appeal for decision on this question; and, for the purpose of ascertaining our rights and duties, we will commence at the creation of man.
So momentous and important a work was the creation of man, that the sacred historian represents the persons of the
Trinity as holding a consultation. “Let us make man in our iinage, after our likeness, and let them have dominion,” &c. &c., Gen. i. 26. We see by this, that man and woman's creation was simultaneous in the Divine mind, (we speak after the manner of men,) and whatever was the design our Creator had in forming man, woman was the same : “let them have dominion," in the plural, not “let him.” Though the plan was laid, it was not immediately fully consummated.
Adam was first formed, which taught him it was “not good for him to be alone.” The plan of mankind's creation was but half executed; it could not be said of it that all was very good. Adam was formed a social being; even paradise itself could not impart true happiness to him when he remained a solitary individual. It also taught the woman that she was not to usurp authority; she was not formed for the purpose of ruling the man, but to help him to rule, together with all other duties. God created both Adam and Eve on the sixth day, as is related in the first chapter, and gave them dominion over the earth and its inhabitants. Adam dominion over Eve ? No, not one word of this. There is no doubt but that Eve was present at the naming of the irrational creatures, to help in taking charge of them, being constituted one of their lords—“Let them have dominion.” And in the twenty-eighth verse they are both specially invested with dominion over the world and the irrational creation, and where Adam or man is named they are both included, man being the generic term, except where Eve or woman is put in contrariety. Such an important transaction was the creation of man, that the sacred historian recapitulates it again and again. We have, in the second chapter and seventh verse, a recapitulation of his creation, and of transactions in which he was employed. But it is apparent that it is not related in the order in which it transpired. In the eighth verse, second chapter, the Almighty is representer as planting a garden to place the man, in order to dress it, whereas all trees and herbs were formed on the third day; the eighteenth verse speaks of man as being alone; in the next verse, the Almighty is represented as forming the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air and bringing them to Adam. Now we would suppose, from this passage, that Adam was formed prior to the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, which we know was not the fact. We know that both the man and the woman were called Adam, or red earth, Gen. v. 2. We would suppose that the man was exclusively spoken of in the last three verses of the third chapter, and we are certain that they were both included. Now it is apparent from this, that the order of time is not attended to in the second chapter;- but only in the first events are related as they transpired, and both Adam and Eve are spoken of in the twenty-sixth and twenty-eighth verses as being placed conjointly in dominion. So it appears from this that Eve was present, as a helpmeet to Adam, when he took charge of the irrational creation.
We have spoken of the creation of man as a generic term, including both male and female, and have shown that the design of the creation of man and woman were simultaneous in the Divine mind; and whatever purpose God had in creating man, woman was the same, and that neither man nor woman was placed in dominion over their associate, but on a perfect equality of standing.
We will now more particularly examine the history of the creation of woman. God had said it was not good for
man to be alone; he would make a help-meet for him. The wise man says, “ Two are better than one; nay, wo to him that is alone when he falleth, for he hath not another to help him up.” A help-meet for man must be a moral, intellectual being like himself, one with whom he could have an interchange of knowledge; one that could impart and receive instruction-a partaker of his joys; one that would love and be beloved ; one whose capacity would qualify her for being a help-meet, and not an encumbrance.
We have the creation of woman recorded in Gen. ii. 21, 24: “God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh instead thereof.” Adam was asleep when the rib was tranferred, and he had no instrumentality in the transaction whatever. The Great Proprietor always held the property-right in him, and saw proper to transfer a part without causing any diminution of his organization, and without pain or suffering; and, when thus transferred, God “ builded” of it a woman, to wit, a being of the same species and grade with the man, a second man, like unto the first. Hebrew scholars all agree that it is the same word, (but, as some say, of feminine termination,) a perfect human being, with all the attributes of man, with individuality, capable of that mode of expression ; I myself a free moral agent, capable of willing or refusing, responsible only to God. Thus stood woman, in all the dignity of human nature, from the hand of the Great Architect
-not, indeed, made immediately from the dust, as Adam, but of the same substance, of the same blood, consequently equal.
God had now consummated his plan of creation by putting on the top stone; but did the morning stars sing together and the sons of God shout for joy?—for O what a retrogression in the work of the Great Architect! as our commentators would have it. As creation progressed previous to this, the creatures also advanced in perfection ; but O what a falling away! But to return more particularly to the sacred history:
Woman was now from the hand of her Creator: mature in body, created in the image of God, in knowledge, righteousness, and holiness, qualified to meet her great responsibilities the same as man. She is now conducted to Adam, the man; then the marriage, the only marriage ceremony related in the Bible. And Adam said, (but bear in mind they were both called Adam, and might with propriety both say the ceremony, for neither of them could know the history of the case only by revelation, for Adam was asleep when his rib was transferred.) “ This is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh,” &c. And God draws the inference from the premises, Matt. xix. 5, 6: “For this cause shall a man leave his father and his mother and cleare to his wife, and they twain shall be one flesh.” Is there any superiority or inferiority here? “ They are no more twain, but one flesh.” Can myself be superior to myself, or myself inferior to
Man has been famed for seeking out inventions. The Almighty intended to teach affection and an indissoluble union between a man and his wife, that nothing but death, or perfidy to the marriage covenant, would disannul ; but man has made it an emblem of his dominion. Mr. Scott, the commentator, says, “Eve was taken from Adam, and not out of the ground, that there might be a natural foundation of moderate subordination on the woman's part, and sympathizing tenderness on the man's part, as a man rules over, yet carefully defends and tenderly takes care of, his own body.”
We have heard this sentiment embodied in the marriage ceremony. Now, here is a sentiment advanced which constitutes every man every woman's ruler by nature, which is destitute of the least shadow of proof from the divine record. Thus is woman cast down from her excellency. Poor, imbecile Eve could not take care of herself !” Though she was immediately from the hand of her Creator, created in knowledge, and holiness and righteousness, intended as a help-meet for man, both to rule the irrational creation and also a ruler in the human family, as indicated indirectly in the fourth and directly in the fifth precept of the Decalogue, and yet it appears she could not rule herself! Truly, poor Adam had a heavy charge, mark, “the moderate subordination, just as a man rules over his own body.”
This sentiment, we think, savours a little of slavery. We know a man has absolute dominion over his own body, as