Sidor som bilder

husband's duty from a portion of the same chapter, Ephes. v. 26,33, and found it correspondent with what we have said respecting his being a nourisher and cherisher. Ruling is never spoken of as one of his duties, but, if he had a right to rule, it would certainly be his imperative duty to exercise it. We think we have shown that there is neither precept nor example in all Divine revelation for husbands ruling; and we have scripture history for a period of four thousand years, and not one sentence of husbands ruling, or issuing a law, or a command, with the exception of Abraham, telling his wife to bake some cakes!! We have also shown that Sarah gave Abraham a command of far greater importance.

Strange, indeed, that we have a history of the reign of a dynasty of absolute sovereigns, for a period of four thousand years, and the conduct of those sovereigns being examples for succeeding generations, and no mention made of their issuing a law or giving a command during all that period : with the exception of one telling his wife to bake some cakes for strangers that were going to eat bread with him, and he assisted in preparing the meal himself. We have seen that if the husband is to govern, his government is an anomalythat there is no precept given him how he is to conduct his authority, nor for what purpose he holds it, nor a promise to support him, nor a penalty for his non-performance. The parent, the minister of the gospel, the civil ruler, have all directions how to govern, promises to support them, and penalties annexed for delinquency, but not one word of any thing of the kind respecting the husband, nor is it even mentioned as one of his duties to rule. We have seen that we have very perverted theological teachings on this subject, constituting the woman a mere machine, representing the husband as having authority to “ lord over her conscience," awarding to him authority to compel her to receive religious instruction, and to conform to religious exercises, that the preaching to wives corresponds to the ludicrous sermons preached to slaves, making obedience to the husband the summum bonum of religious duties.



RIAGE RELATION, ANIMADVERTED ON. We will now examine some ethics on the conjugal relation, in standard works,-commencing with a short extract from Dr. Paley's Moral Philosophy, on the chapter that treats of marriage, which says,—“The parties by this vow (marriage vow) engage their personal fidelity expressly and specifically; they engage, likewise, to consult and promote each other's happiness; the wife, moreover, promises obedience to her husband. Nature may have made and left the sexes of the human species nearly equal in their faculties, and perfeetly so in their rights; but to guard against those competitions which equality, or a contested superiority, is almost sure to produce, the Christian scriptures enjoin upon the wife that obedience which she here promises, and in terms so peremptory and absolute, that it seems to extend to every thing not criminal, or not entirely inconsistent with the woman's happiness, Let the wife, (says St. Paul,) be subject to her ewa husband in every thing.' The ornament of a meek and quiet spirit,' says the apostle Peter, speaking of the duty of wirew, is in the sight of God of great price.' No words Pleverpressed the true merit of the female character so well

Now this conjugal authority is a Proteus, both in our therlogical and moral teachings. Dr. Paley says, “the parthem the marriage covenant, engaged to consult and prohave ether' happiness," and, again, he says, that “the WOMEN obedience in terms so peremptory and abso

18 h i primus to extend to every thing not criminal or H u ile de resistent with the woman's happiness.”

Will the husband de consulting and promoting the wife's AMMA We planting such obedience? "The legs of

Papiha H e al," and Dr. Paley is so indefinite, that M en det er of contention to gnaw at, all their

feite News at the woman is to obey in every thing by the habilitate a His

w ork inconsistent with her happiness."

He does not tell us, whether it is the husband or the wife who is to be the judge of what is not entirely inconsistent with her happiness. The husband and wife might make very different estimates of this matter. The husband might think, if she were to “bring up children,” that is, if she were to give laws to her children, (they are not to forsake the law of their mother")—if she were to “lodge strangers," “wash the saints' feet,” “relieve the afflicted,” and perform her quota of every family duty, and diligently to follow every good work, that would make her, in a family capacity, equal to him, and though these seemed to be scriptural duties, and God made her responsible for them, if Providence had placed her in the circumstances, yet obedience to him was paramount to all other duties; and when they come in competition with his sovereignty, they are null and void, therefore it was not “entirely inconsistent with her happiness” to be deprived of performing these duties, if he saw proper to restrict her. The wife might think, that as God enjoined all these duties, it would be "entirely inconsistent with her happiness,” to prevent her from performing them, and when his commands came in competition with God's commands, she chose to “ obey God rather than man.” And still further, she might suppose she had a scriptural right, and in consequence a natural right, to acquire property on her own behalf. She had a right to a consider a field and buy it with the fruit of her hands;" she had a right to “ plant a vineyard," and it would be entirely inconsistent with her happiness to be deprived of these rights. If she were always to obey another's will, instead of her own, it would constitute her an automaton. She might think that she had no pursuit of happiness at all, when another was to be the judge of what was her happiness. Now they might wrangle and quarrel in defining what was not "entirely inconsistent with her happiness.

He should have constituted the husband the judge of what was not entirely inconsistent with her happiness." He has generally an extra portion of bone and muscle, and the purse-strings on his side, which are weighty arguments. Is it not preposterous to speak of a woman having any pursuit of happiness whatever? If any should be so fanatical, or ultra, as to suppose that Dr. Paley deprived the woman


of any of her rights, as he says, man and woman are perfectly equal in rights, he endeavours to give her a full equivalent, even a monopoly of the Christian graces, “meek and quiet spirit,” &c. &c. Now we think the Christian graces are designed for both men and women; they would even adorn the brow of a doctor of divinity. So Paul says, 2 Tim. ii. 24, 25. We do not wish women to monopolize the Christian ornaments, -we are for equal rights.

As Dr. Paley was brought up and educated under a monarchical government, we could not but expect his sentiments would be tinged with a monarchical spirit, which would give a colouring to his sentiments on governments of any character, whether domestic or national.

But we will now turn to our republican, moral writers, our « land of the free, and home of the brave.” Her sons being brave, we will expect them to be magnanimous; being free themselves, they will be disposed to extend that boon to the whole human family. They have declared that “ life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, are among the inalienable rights of mankind ;" in consequence of which, we will expect to find an oasis, where woman will enjoy her natural rights—that she will here enjoy rights and privileges above any other place on the face of the globe. It may be said writers on morals have no authority to give rights: they are only defining heaven-born rights.

We have shown that there is a great diversity of opinion respecting those God-given rights of woman, which have not been reduced to a system ; that respectable talented writers and speakers have contradicted each other, and themselves also, when speaking or writing on this question ; that, if the basis of our government is true, "all mankind are created equal ;" that we would expect that woman's standing in this world will correspond to this principle, and that this will be, indeed, a spot where woman will have some authority in what relates to this world ; and that her liberty will not be wholly confined to what is barely and indispensably necessary for her final acceptance in another world. In fine, we will expect that our brethren, who are imbued so much with the principles of liberty for themselves, that, if their every act, which did not immediately violate the conscience, were to be dictated by another's will, they would consider themselves mere machines—all which they would abhor. We will expect that their explanation of the Divine will concerning this matter will correspond with the rule of decision in all matters relating to our intercourse with our fellow-men. “ Therefore, all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them, for this is the law and the prophets ;" there is no mistake here. But we will let our republican ethics speak for themselves.

We will give some extracts on the marriage relation from Dr. Wayland's Moral Sciences, p. 307, third edition. In speaking of the marriage contract, third item of the contract, he says, “ This contract is essentially mutual. By entering into it, the members form a society; that is, they have something in common. Whatever is thus in common, belongs equally to both; and, on the contrary, what is not thus surrendered, remains as before in the power of the individual.” In the sixth item, he distinguishes between what the parties have and have not surrendered. 1st. He says, “ neither party surrendered to the other any control over any thing appertaining to the conscience ; neither party surrenders to the other any thing which would violate prior and lawful obligations; thus, a husband does not promise to subject his professional pursuits to the will of his wife.” Seventh particular, on the nature of the contract, he says, “ As, however, in all societies, there may be differences of opinion, even where the harmony of feeling remains unimpaired, so there may be differences here. Where such differences of opinion exist, there must be some ultimate appeal. In ordinary societies, such questions are settled by a numerical majority; but, as in this case, such a decision is impossible,--some other principle must be adopted. The right of deciding must rest with either the one or the other. As the husband is the individual who is responsible to civil society, as his intercourse with the world is of necessity greater, the voice of nature and of revelation unites in conferring the right of ultimate authority upon him. By this arrangement, the happiness of the wife is increased no less than that of the husband. Her power is always greatest in concession. She is graceful and attractive, while meek and gentle ; but angered and turbulent, she loses the fasci

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