« FöregåendeFortsätt »
husband's power and authority, would go farther than wearing a veil.
The ardent thirst man has after dominion is wonderful. He considers it the very acme of human glory and happiness. Wherever there is authority, there is great responsibility. What has the wife's vassalage to do with the “woman'sright question ?” Every woman is not a wife.
It is strange that a woman can never be mentioned unless she stands in the character of wife, let her be married or not. The wife's vassalage is intended to operate on the mooted question called “woman's rights,” of which R. says, “ The devil has turned the greatest question that ever was discussed into a question of woman's rights,” which is now eliciting considerable interest, and is growing in interest, although the devil ” proposed the question. R. wants to throttle this bantling in the cradle.
It is very singular that the apostle spoke so obscurely about this all-important garment, the veil. The scriptures were not designed alone for “ eastern countries," and the veil is just as necessary to be worn now as then, for the reason R. gives. R. understands the apostle perfectly, but it is certainly not plain to ordinary readers. It takes considerable historical research and acquaintance with “ eastern customs” to understand it as a token of the husband's power and authority.
The apostle takes his directions from nature,—there are no “ eastern customs” about it. Every man and every woman stands in this character. He represents the man as the head or source from which woman originally sprang, and says he should not cover his head when he prophesied, or preached, or prayed publicly. What he has reference to, is plain from what he says in the 12th verse, where he represents her as the mother or source of all mankind, or runs the parallel between man and woman. The apostle does not connect any thing he says with ruling. If any thing like ruling were designated, the mother certainly would have a large share of government over the children,” although the parental authority is the highest authority in the world, and the best established by scripture, and the mother's authority is most assiduously guarded. But neither maternal nor any other authority of an earthly character can enter into the temple of God. We say he is plain, so far as our practice is concerned, for the reasons the apostle specified. He said it was most becoming “ for the woman to have power on her head, because of the angels,” or to have her head covered when she spoke in their public, religious assemblies ; when she prophesied or preached, or addressed God by prayer. He proposed it to themselves for adjudication, if it was comely for her to pray to God uncovered. You may call the power on her head the veil, if you please.
We suppose it is not important what the form was, or what the material was, or we would have had an exact pattern. One thing is plain, that it was a token of her being an accredited ambassador for Christ to perishing sinners. It was perfectly right that men and women should be distinguished in their apparel, and it was right that the woman should adorn herself in modest apparel, with shame-facedness and sobriety when she exhibited herself publicly, to show that she had no desire to exhibit her person to be gazed at, or to elicit admiration, which, from the licentiousness of manners in eastern countries, rendered this very necessary. Instead of this, the Corinthian women had spoken with their heads uncovered, and the men with theirs covered—the dictates of nature might have taught them better. The apostle tells them there was no such custom in the Church of God. All things were to be done decently and in order, that they might give no reason for the adversary to speak reproachfully; for that would bring reproach on religion, and would be blazed abroad by heathen spies, or messengers, or angels; or because her guardian “angel, that always stood in the presence of her heavenly Father,” (Matth. xviii. 10,) might report her improprieties. “Neither say thou before the angel, that it was an error." Eccle. v. 6. For, although God is every where present, yet it is matter of revelation that He employs these spiritual beings as His agents, of which we could give numerous examples. But we believe that it is to the former the apostle alludes, and that he spoke rather obscurely, as he did not wish to give any unnecessary offence to any who might occasionally visit their religious assemblies. 1 Cor. x. 32. The apostle in this passage is hard to be understood, but he is plain in the application. In the succeeding verse he says—"Nevertheless, neither is the man
without the woman, neither the woman without the man in the Lord.” Although there was to be a difference in their personal appearance, yet they were to be “fellow-labourers in the Lord.” “For, (or because,) as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman, but all things of God.” And then he proceeds to say—“Judgein yourselves, is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered ?” He says, judge in yourselves, is it comely that a wife, or woman, (for every woman is a wife,) goes into public worshipping assemblies without the token of her husband's power and authority “over her,” thus placing the husband in God's stead. The sentiments of the above article, of which the extract we have had under review is a part, are not peculiar to the author. We have frequently alluded to a correspondence we had on the woman's-rights question,” with a minister of the gospel. He said, “the veil was the emblem at the sanctuary and at the altar, that she (the woman) was not to usurp authority over the man-that she was subordinate. He said, “This was the law of the sanctuary.” So here we see the woman is represented as wearing a veil at the sanctuary and at the altar, by the command of the laws under the old testament dispensation, to show that she was subordinate, without the least shadow of proof. Men have just said what they pleased on this question without any contradiction. Where, in the Bible, is that law of the sanctuary recorded? What is said of the Popish Church for " founding doctrines on the traditions of men?” To the law of God and his testimony we appeal for decision on this question. But “there is nothing new under the sun." We read of a class of men “who loved the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, and to be called of men rabbi! rabbi!" as do a goodly number in our day.
Now it is evident, from the description of Hannah, that there was no such regulation with the Israel of God. 1 Samuel i. 13, 14. It is said, “ As she continued praying before the Lord, that Eli marked her mouth. Now Hannah spake in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard.” From this it is evident she was not veiled, or it would have obstructed Eli's vision. But it is unnecessary to offer any more proof to refute this assertion, as there is nothing of the kind recorded in the law of Moses. It is a
222 A RECENT WRITER ON WOMAN'S STANDING, REVIEWED.
favourite notion with ecclesiastics, that women wore veils in ancient times, by God's authority, to show their subjection to the men. And we have reason to believe that the opinion is in accordance with the opinion of the editor of the Evangelical Repository and its correspondents or contributors, as no opposition appeared in its columns to R.'s interpretation of the language of the veil.
There was a communication sent to the Repository, in answer to R., couched in respectful language, and cautiously written, so as to give no unnecessary offence, as we knew it was a “delicate question,” but the editor would not give it publicity. He acted just as we anticipated. The persuasion of friends, who were patrons of the Repository, induced us to send the communication. Its pages had been open to communications on other subjects from the same author when · Doctor Martin edited the Monitor, and in his successor, Mr. Webster's time, and also since the present editor conducted the Evangelical Repository. “The woman's-right question” is like the anti-slavery question : it will not bear discussion. The editor had a good reason for excluding it, as it is “the Devil” who agitates the question of “woman's rights,” that is, the side of the question that “places man and woman on a level.” But the other side of the question is considered perfectly evangelical, and is eminently adapted to adorn the pages of the Evangelical Repository. The proslavery members of congress have no objection to have the slavery question discussed”; nay, they propose it for discussion, if they get all the talk to themselves; but they do not like the side discussed that places the slave and the master “on a level.” They do not like the notion that all mankind are created equal, consequently won a level.”
OPINIONS OF WOMAN'S STANDING, AS EXHIBITED FROM THE
We have said at the beginning of the preceding article, that our popular commentators are the standards of public opinion on woman's position in the human family; except that recent writers and speakers, say nothing about women's inspiration at the first promulgation of the gospel, nor their active agency in its outset. For farther corroboration of this, we will give some notes on a lecture which we heard delivered on the 14th chapter of 1st Corinthians, from 26th to 35th verses, where the apostle is regulating supernatural gifts. The preacher laid it down as a principle, that the supernatural gifts of the Spirit were given for the edification of the church, which we wish the reader to bear in mind, and see how this principle was violated in the sequel. In speaking on the 34th verse, which is as follows, " Let your women keep silence in the churches, for it is not permitted unto them to speak, but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law,”—(the reader will observe, “they are commanded,” is not in the original, but is a supplement by the translators,—the preacher endeavoured to prove it an unequivocal, general and universal prohibition against a woman's speaking in the church.
He said, "He was surprised that any person having common sense could hold a contrary opinion on this subject: the apostle had commanded women to be obedient to their husbands, as also saith the law.” This obedience he proved from Gen. iii. 16; Numb. xxx. We have already said, they are commanded, is a supplement. It was the translators who said it, not the apostle. He said, “What the apostle says in this chapter was designed to regulate the church to the end of time, and what was said in the 11th chapter was only intended to be temporary in its operation,” but gave no reasons for this opinion. Now, in this chapter, the