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not long after, those poor illiterate men, who had been the companions of Jesus, appeared publicly, testifying, with uncommon boldness, that he had risen again from the dead, according to his prediction ; that they were well assured of this by many infallible tokens, and that, at last, they saw him ascend into heaven. When I saw that no threatenings, no infamy, no punishment, could intimidate them---when, moreover, I observed fo many undeniable proofs of supernatural power co-operating with them, and exerted in the name of Jesus, as risen from the dead-then the late wonderful works of Jesus, before his death, recurred upon my thoughts; the former impressions I had been at so much pains to stifle, revived afresh upon me---in short, the evidence crouded so fast upon me from every quarter, I found there was no gainsaying it. But still I was averse to the last degree to admit it. I was shocked at the train of consequences which I saw must follow; and thus I questioned with myself.--Has reason itself deceived me? Do all our best books of divinity and morality proceed upon false principles ? Must I give up all my choicest sentiments ? Is there no such thing as wisdom or righteousness in the world? Are all the world fools and enemies to God but these rude Galileans ? The reflection is confounding ! But what do these men propose? what do they aim at by their alarming the public in this manner, with their testimony about the resurrection of Jesus ?---They can have no good design, no benevolent intention towards men: they seem rather to be infuenced by a most malignant disposition---they certainly in tend to bring this man's blood upon us---to prove us all to be enemies to God, and objects of his wrath---they intend to make us desperate, and utterly miserable. With such reflections, whatever inward disquiet I should undergo, I resolved to combat whatever evidence they could produce; till one day that I heard them charged by some of my friends in authority with the malevolent purpose I have just now mentioned---But such was their reply, that I think I shall never forget it!---- they indeed not only allowed, but demonstrated all the confequences I was so averse to admit, with such force and evidence, as quite defeated all my resolution. But then they at the same. time laid open such a treasure of such divine good will towards mena--they drew such a character of God, no less amiable than awful---they laid such a solid foundation of everlasting consolation and good hope, for the most desperate and miserable wretch, as did infinitely more than counterbalance the loss of all my favourite principles, all my fond reasonings, and every
worldly advantage I had connected with them. And all this they shewed, with the greatest fimplicity and clearness, to be the plain meaning and import of the fact which they testified, even the resurrection of "Jesus. And they confirmed every thing they said by the unanimous voice of the prophets, whom I had never understood till now. Their doctrine, in respect of authority, resembled the word of a king, against whom there is no rising up; and in respect of evidence, the light of the sun; or, to use a far more adequate fimilitude, it resembled the fact which they testified, and whereof it was the meaning. And it well corresponded thereto in its effects, for it proved sufficient to raise the dead, and give hope to the desperate. The fact and its import, the hand-writing and the interpretation, equally became the majesty of him who is the Supreme. I faw plainly, that in the resurrection of Jesus, there must have been the agency of a power superior to the power of nature--even capable to controul and reverse the course thereof; therefore I concluded, that this operating power was greater than the God of the Sadducees and the philosophers. I found also, that this power had a peculiar character, manifeft from the nature of the controversy, wherein it interposed its agency and gave decision. I found, by the decision, that its character was more grand and perfect, as well as its agency stronger than that of the God of the pharisees. As to its agency, it was able to raise from deeper misery to higher blefledness than the pharisees thought of. As to its character, it appeared with unlimited sovereignty just and merciful in perfection.---Whereas the God of the pharisees was such only partially and by halves; incapable to execute the threatened curse against every sin, and yet shew mercy and boundless favour to the transgreffors; not so just as to maintain the honour, the fpirit, and extent of the perfect law at all events; nor fo merciful as to have any favour for the utterly worthless and wretched--but halving the matter---merciful to men of good repute, and just in accepting those who are deficient in their righteousness; or, in another view, just in exacting the debt of five hundred pence, and merciful in forgiving that of fifty; or shewing juftice only against the utterly insolvent, and mercy only to those who can make partial payment: in short, (like all created potentates) incapable of appearing, at once, without limitation of either attribute, just and merciful in perfection.
.. (To be continued.)
LETTERS ON WOMEN.
DEAR SIR, I HAVE thought of sending you, for insertion in the Mif
cellany, a series of letters relative to Females, their natural capacities, education, manners, the important sphere they are intended to occupy in society, &c. &c. &c. The subject is certainly of great importance, as it relates to, and has for its object, the stimulating to every posiible exertion for the improve. ment of the minds, and the rendering useful in society, to the utmost of their power, about half the human species, If the following remarks should be thought worthy of a place in your periodical publication, I propose continuing the subject, and bringing together scriptural, historical, and philosophical matter, theoretical, practical, and entertaining, upon the female part of the human race.
Woman, who was formed to be the counterpart to man, to share in all his sentiments, virtues, and enjoyments, has been strangely degraded in all parts of the world, and by such degradation deprived of that mental improvement which she might otherwise have attained, and rendered incapable of that usefulness in society of which she miglit otherwise have been. Even in England women have too generally been deemed incapable of sharing in the literary pursuits, of participating in the public virtues, of becoming the companions of men in all those things which dignify human nature, and render man a blessing to his species. They have too generally been viewed as pretty playthings, designed to entertain us in the hours of relaxation from our serious studies and pursuits, but not poslessed of capacities to share in those studies, or to assist us in those pursuits. All their use in society has been supposed to consist in making puddings, keeping the house in order, administering to the gratification of their male companions, and in contributing towards the procreation and rearing of the next generation.
My fair countrywomen! justly may you feel indignant at the realoning of your haughty and imperious masters, who, tenacious of their own prerogatives, have thrown you into the back ground, as a mere appendage to themselves, as mere subordinates to their pleasure and convenience; they have denied that you possess mental capacities like them; they have withholden from you the advantages of education which them
selves enjoy. After having instilled into your minds the idea that God had formed you incapable of attaining such knowledge and virtues as themselves--after confining your education, so as to put equal knowledge and virtue out of your reach-after flattering your pride, ftimulating your vanity, and doing every thing in the world to render your conversation frivolous, they have been absurd enough to satyrize you for your frivolity.
It has been sometimes questioned whether women have any fouls, and in some countries it seems to have been taken for granted, though a point utterly incapable of proof, that they have none. Mr. Winchester has so fully demonstrated, in his Lectures, that women have fouls as well as men, that nothing is necessary to be said by me upon that head. Indeed, could it be proved that they have no souls, the point of their necessary mental inferiority would be fully demonstrated; but I much doubt whether it can upon any other ground: for though a sexual distinction attaches to bodies, I know not what evidence can be brought to prove that it attaches to souls likewise, any more than that there is male or female in Christ Jesus, or than there will be marrying or giving in marriage in the resurrection state. In fact, it is my opinion, that there are no sexes in souls.
Still it is contended by many that the souls of women are inferior to the souls of men. If facts be adverted to as proofs of this position, I think, where women have had an equal opportunity of improving and displaying their powers, which has been the case but in few instances, it will be found that they have proved themselves by no means inferior in mental ability to men, But man has taken the vantage ground---he hath placed himself on the hill, and confined woman in the valley below, and then boasted that she did not stand so high as himself. He hath fettered her powers by a narrow education, by maximns of falle delicacy, and what has been deemed a necessary inertness, and then gloried in his fuperior strength of mind, and his more heroic virtues? Is this fair? Can the supposed disparity between males and females, with respect to mind, ever be brought to an equitable trial while this continues to be the case? Let females be suffered to enjoy all the advantages of a liberal education---let them be told, that all the sources of knowledge are as much open to them as they are to men. -- let them be stimulated to active usefulness in society, and not be any longer retained as the passive instruments of our pleasure and convenience---give them leave to feel and exercise their mental energies, and see how the case will then itand,
The apostle's having said, that woman is the weaker veslel, has been supposed a proof of mental inferiority in women.
That she is not poslessed of the same corporeal strength as man---that her authority is weaker than his---and that, in the conjugal relation, she is to be subordinate to her husband, I readily admit; but does it follow; that she must vecessarily remain inferior to him in any mental attainment? To woman's corporeal frame being more delicate and feeble, her authority weak in comparison of man’s, and to that subjection which is necessary in the conjugal state, I expect Peter referred in the words alluded to.--not to an inferiority in knowledge or virtue.
Many persons are disposed to judge of the mental capacity by the strength and robustness of the animal frame; and hence they infer, that man, being a stronger and more robust animal than woman, she must necessarily remain greatly inferior to him in mental capacity and ability for usefulness. But if corporeal strength was the standard or measure of intellect, how came such diminutive persons as Watts and Pope to be so far superior in their capacities to many of their more robust contemporaries? If mere animal strength was the standard of mental excellence, the lion and many other animals would be superior intelligences to man.
Man is undoubtedly the head of the woman in the conjugal relation, the domestic circle, and in the exercise of authority when it relates to those things which concern both sexes; but it does not follow', that women are incapable of the fame mental attainments, and of using them for the general benefit of society, for matters of fact have sometimes proved that they are not.
I admit, that a woman is not to teach in the church of Christ, or to usurp the government thereof, which belongs to man to execute, according to divine direction: for the admission of this I have divine authority; and I have the same authority for saying that women are capable of attaining every branch of Christian knowledge and enjoyment, and of exer: cising every Christian virtue for the good of others.
I had intended adding to the above remarks an account of the Female Benefit Society in this town; but finding I have not room enough to do justice to that important institution in this letter, I defer my account thereof to my next on females, and in the mean time remain yours, &c. - WISBEACH, APRIL 10, 1799.