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looking for demonstration on subjects which, by their very nature, are incapable of affording it. If they are less conversant in the powers of nature, the structure of the human frame, and the knowledge of the heavenly bodies, than philosophers, physicians, and astronomers, they are, however, delivered from the error into which many of each of these have sometimes fallen, - I mean from the fatal habit of resting in second causes, instead of referring all to the first; instead of making " the heavens declare the glory of God, and proclaim his handy-work;" instead of concluding, when they observe “how fearfully and wonderfully we are made, marvellous are thy works, O Lord, and that my soul knoweth right well.”
And let the weaker sex take comfort, that in their very exemption from privileges, which they are sometimes foolishly disposed to envy, consists not only their security but their happiness. If they enjoy not the distinctions of public life and high offices, do they not escape the responsibility attached to them, and the mortification of being dismissed from them? If they have no voice in deliberative assemblies, do they not avoid the load of duty inseparably connected with such privileges ? Preposterous pains have been taken to excite in women an uneasy jealousy, that their talents are neither rewarded with public honours nor emoluments in life; nor with inscriptions, statues, and mausoleums after death. It has been absurdly represented to them as a hardship, that, while they are expected to perform duties, they
must yet be contented to relinquish honours; that they must unjustly be compelled to renounce fame, while they must sedulously labour to deserve it. *
But for Christian women to act on the low views suggested to them by their ill-judging panegyrists; for Christian women to look up with a giddy head and a throbbing heart to honours and remunerations so little suited to the wants and capacities of an immortal spirit, would be no less ridiculous than if Christian heroes should look back with envy on the old pagan rewards of ovations, oak-garlands, parsley-crowns, and laurelwreaths. The Christian hope more than reconciles Christian women to these petty privations, by substituting a nobler prize for their ambition, “ the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus;" by substituting for that popular and fluctuating voice, which may cry “ Hosanna” and “ Crucify" in a breath, that “ favour of God which is eternal life.”
If women should lament it as a disadvantage attached to their sex, that their character is of so delicate a texture as to be sullied by the slightest breath of calumny, and that the stain once received is indelible; yet, are they not led by that very circumstance to shrink, as if instinctively, from all those irregularities to which the loss of character is so certainly expected to be attached, and to shun, with keener circumspection, the most distant approach towards the confines of danger? Let them not lament it as a hardship, but account it to be a privilege, that the delicacy of their sex impels them more scrupulously to avoid the very “ appearance of evil;" let them not regret that the consciousness of their danger serves to secure their purity, by placing them at a greater distance, and in a more deep intrenchment, from the evil itself.
*“Rights of Women.”
Though it be one main object of this little work rather to lower than to raise any desire of celebrity in the female heart, yet I would awaken it to a just sensibility to honest fame: I would call on women to reflect that our religion has not only made them heirs to a blessed immortality hereafter, but has greatly raised them in the scale of being here, by lifting them to an importance in society unknown to the most polished ages
of antiquity. The religion of Christ has even bestowed a degree of renown on the sex beyond what any other religion ever did. Perhaps there are hardly so many virtuous women (for I reject the long catalogue whom their vices have transferred from oblivion to infamy) named in all the pages of Greek or Roman history as are banded down to eternal fame in a few of those short chapters with which the great Apostle to the Gentiles has concluded his epistles to his converts. Of 66 devout and honourable women,” the sacred Scriptures record “ not a few." Some of the most affecting scenes, the most interesting transactions, and the most touching conversations which are recorded of the Saviour of the world passed with women. Their examples have sup
plied some of the most eminent instances of faith and love: they are the first remarked as having “ ministered to him of their substance :” theirs was the praise of not abandoning their despised Redeemer when he was led to execution, and under all the hopeless circumstances of his ignominious death; they appear to have been the last attending at his tomb, and the first on the morning when he arose from it: theirs was the privilege of receiving the earliest consolation from their risen Lord: theirs was the honour of being first commissioned to announce his glorious resurrection; and even to have furnished heroic confessors, devoted saints, and unshrinking martyrs to the church of Christ, has not been the exclusive honour of the bolder sex.
JECT. ON THE TEMPERS AND DISPOSITIONS TO BE INTRODUCED IN IT. ERRORS TO BE AVOIDED.
OF THOSE ERRORS.
The sexes will naturally desire to appear to each other such as each believes the other will best like: their conversation will act reciprocally; and each sex will wish to appear more or less rational as they perceive it will more or less recommend them to the other. It is, therefore, to be regretted that many men, even of distinguished sense and learning, are too apt to consider the society of ladies as a scene in which they are rather to rest their understandings than to exercise them; while ladies, in return, are too much addicted to make their court by lending themselves to this spirit of trifling: they often avoid making use of what abilities they have, and affect to talk below their natural and acquired powers of mind, considering it as a tacit and welcome flattery to the understanding of men to renounce the exercise of their
Now, since taste and principles thus mutually operate, men, by keeping up conversation to its proper standard, would not only call into exercise the powers of mind which women actually possess,