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band, subjected to him and inferior to the other sex.” Now, in this gentleman's whole discourse, there is not one word said about moral or intellectual endowments; not one hint that man was made in God's moral image, but the image of the Divine dominion. What signifies dominion without moral and intellectual qualifications ? Not one hint that any of this display of authority is for the good of the governed, but, Nebuchadnezzar-like, just to show the might of man's power and the honour of his majesty. Is this Christianity or heathenism? Nor one word that, if he is the head, she must be the body, whom, in a special manner, he is to love as himself. How can he love one as himself so much inferior by nature? It would not be his duty. The views of these commentators are the standards of public opinion among a great majority of those who claim for themselves the title of the orthodox. This rodomontade of commentators still continues to be dealt out to us in its old, rusty, thread-bare habiliments; it has not even had a change of dress--its antiquated costume adds to the savageness of its appearance. We hear nothing new advanced on this question, although the commentators are almost universally erroneous on the question of human liberty. Humanity was nothing in their view when it came into competition with arbitrary power.
We most sincerely deplore the want of a Christian spirit of meekness and humility, which manifestly runs through the expositions of our commentators when the rights and privileges of the human family are under review. “They have their lords many and gods many," which manifestly demonstrates that the exaltation of the creature, instead of the Creator, is their object, though “ we wot that through ignorance they have done it.” But what they eagerly wished for they easily credited. “We know not to give flattering titles to men,” under such circumstances. “Nor will we accept any man's person.” The apostle says, “For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head;" that is, when the apostle says that she wore this in token of having power on her head, he meant to say, “ that she wore this to show that she had no power on her head ; but it betokened that her husband had power over her head, and that she was inferior to the other sex. Inferior to the other
sex! Is the mother inferior to the son, and is she to bow in adoration to him? There is a greater dishonour done to the great God of heaven and earth by the iterating and reiterating of this blasphemous sentiment than any we have ever heard uttered by any who called themselves Christians. Who is it “ that exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped, sitting in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God ?” What! a woman appearing as a messenger of the Lord of hosts, an ambassador of Christ, minister extraordinary, carrying the emblem of her vassalage to her fellow worm emblazoned on her forehead, declaring to God, angels, and men, that her fellow creature is her supreme master? Does this authority pursue the woman to the altars of God? Is Christ not the only master in his own temple? Why was she not permitted to remain in some sequestered corner of the house—some negro pew? Certainly men were not so scarce but her services might have been dispensed with. Did God pour out his Spirit upon her to make her a conspicuous spectacle of degradation ? Is she thus “ The glory of the man ? Is not Ichabod written on her ? The glory is departed. Is “ God a respecter of persons ?” Is there either “ male or female in Christ Jesus?” There is no gospel truth more clearly revealed, than that there are “neither lords many nor gods many among Christ's disciples.”
This aristocracy of sex raises its haughty crest far above any thing that the Pope ever pretended to. There is some little plausibility in what the Pope pretends to, that the Spirit of God will so direct him in judgment that he will not err; and he wishes people to be governed by them, for their own good, (by pope and council.) But this aristocracy of sex just claims authority for self-adulation, having men's persons in admiration for self-glorification. There is nothing parallel in any Christian country-it is fully equal to caste among the heathen. There is no other authority on earth lays claim to any thing of the kind—the ministers of Christ are all equals: the parent, the civil power, the master, all these authorities fall prostrate when they enter the temple of God. Not even that hideous monster, slavery, appears with his yokes and manacles at the altars of God; there are, indeed, our negro pews, but they are only a social inequality. A slave has to wear no veil to show that he is under the authority of his master, and inferior to free men, as a moral and intellectual being. What a spectacle to a son, to behold his mother standing up, delivering a message immediately from Heaven, with subordination and inferiority” to the other sex glaringly portrayed on her head! Did the apostle ever intimate such an idea ? He said the woman was to have power on her head; but, directly it is metamorphosed into an emblem of “the man having power over her head”-and for fear it will not be so understood, we have a large marginal comment in our Bibles conveying this opinion.
The apostle has not said one word that is calculated to lower woman in the human family, as a moral and intellectual being; nor one word in this connexion respecting her subordination. Supposing he does represent man as the head, or source, the head is never represented in any part of scripture as ruling the body; and after his whole reasoning, he concludes by placing her in juxtaposition with man: praying and prophesying, or preaching in the congregation. He is plain in the application of his sermon, and that is what concerns our practice. Verse 11th, he says, “ Neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man in the Lord;" and gives a reason for it, verse 12, “For as the woman is of the man, so is the man also by the woman, but all things of God.” And as to the covering of her head, he concludes by saying, “ Judge in yourselves, is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered?” Her superabundance of hair is a glory to her-God gave it to her for a covering, in condescension to her weakness. Instead of construing the covering of her head, from any thing the apostle says, to be a degradation, it was her privilege on account of her physical weakness—nor could it be a sign of subjection to her husband, for the probability is that a majority of the women who spoke publicly had no husbands. We know Philip had four daughters, virgins, who did prophesy, or preach. Did they wear veils to show their subjection to their husbands? But woman and wife are synonymous with our wiseacres. What a paralyzing effect it would have on what would proceed out of her mouth! Was she not the mouth of God to the congregation for the time being? Christ says, “ He that despiseth you, despiseth me, and he that despiseth me, despiseth Him that sent me." Does God ever degrade any of his messengers, and thus subvert their influence? Was she not a corner-stone in the sacred edifice, polished after the similitude of a palace?
What a spectacle to see Deborah sitting veiled when judging Israel forty years, to show that she was under the authority of her husband, and inferior to the other sex! We do not hear a word of the Old Testament prophetesses wearing veils; it must be entirely an appendage of the New dispensation. It would appear to us very unnecessary to wear a veil to show the “inferiority of the sex.” Would not the fact of her being a woman be the best evidence of her inferiority?
It is astonishing that any wise men could suppose that a veil could have any tendency to show inferiority of a moral and intellectual being. If they were inferior, their exhibitions would be the best test. It might show caste among the heathen, but with enlightened people it is perfectly ridiculous. But this rodomontade of Commentators, a part of which we have had under review, is all necessary for the support of their much admired theory, that women were excluded from speaking in the church, because of their subordinate, inferior position in the human family. But all their efforts have failed to prove it.
Suppose a woman should wear a veil when she spoke in the church, would she then be keeping silence? Setting her at making psalms or hymns, failed to prove that she did not teach; for the apostle had directed to that exercise, as one special mode of teaching. And the very object of inspiration is to teach; they revealed something which was not known, or gave clearer views of what had already been revealed. God never gives extraordinary gifts, when ordinary will do. If ever any person speaking would be impertinent, it would be standing up in the congregation telling things which every body knew, and men's patience taxed in sitting silently to hear such common-place remarks. A person would feel very impatient, even supposing the person was veiled; and, on the supposition they were not permitted to speak in the church at all, what will we make of the apostle writing fourteen verses to regulate what he would, before he rose from his seat, positively forbid; consequently flatly contra
dicting himself—so they may choose which of the horns of the dilemma they please.
If mart is the head, is not woman the body? Would any wise man tax his imagination to show what a great head he had, and what an inferior body? The headship spoken of in this chapter, is evidently nothing more than that man was the source from which God saw proper that all mankind should spring, which laid him under obligations on that account. The apostle manifests this by running the parallel between man and woman. He says, “ As the woman was of the man, so is the man by the woman," which also lays her under obligations to her posterity. And whatever dishonours man, dishonours woman; and, conversely, whatever dishonours woman, dishonours man. The greater the woman, the more 'glory to the man. It is rather puny to say, he is great because she is little. What we detract from others, adds nothing to our stock. Supposing it was said, she was made in the image of the man, which is not so, for it is expressly said, “she was made in the image of God." Gen. i. 26, 27. But she could not be the image of the man, unless she were his equal. The Almighty is a perfect limner. It may be said, man was created in the image of God, and yet is far inferior. True, but who can be likened unto God? But when it is said, that God created one human being in the image of another, we would expect a perfect likeness in all the attributes of humanity.
Why is there such an anxiety manifested to degrade woman? Do they not degrade themselves by degrading woman, the mother of mankind? Can a slave produce a prince? Are they not as much degraded by their mother being “a Hittite, as by their father being an Amorite?” Are we not all partakers of the same nature? Was not that nature exalted by being united to the Godhead, and was not woman, if we are permitted to use the expression, the connecting link by which the Divine Personage became “bone of our bones, and flesh of our flesh?” Is not woman in possession of every attribute that would glorify and adorn humanity, as well as man? And did not the Spirit of the Lord speak by many women? and was not his word on their tongue? Wherefore, then, should we not be afraid to speak against the instrumentality of women? We ought to take care that we do not speak disre