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would be past forever. It is not by three of the evangelists. And it probable, indeed, that Mary, any is a delightful thought, that after more than the apostles, had fore. the lapse of near twenty centuries, seen that Christ, before the expira- and at the distance of half the cirtion of that very week, would suf- cumference of the globe from the fer the death of crucifixion. It was place where the prediction was utthe ardour of her affectionate reve- tered, I am, at this moment, contrirence for her Lord, which prompted buting my mite, to its verification. her to do what she had done. But she Do we not learn from all this, had done what was right in itself; that when, from real and fervent and the overruling providence of love to Christ, we do what we can God had so ordered it, that this ho- to serve and glorify him, he marks nourable anointing of the sacred it with the most peculiar approbaperson of the Messiah, should take tion, and will confer on it the most place immediately before he was cut distinguished reward ? off_“She hath done, (said he) what “She hath done what she could" she could; she is come aforehand to -It seems to be a legitimate infeanoint my body to the burying." rence from these words, a general As if he had 'said—“Others are proposition which they will fairly about to insult and despise me, and support, that Christian women to put me to an infamous and pain- ought to do all that they can, to maful death; but she hath done what nifest their love to the Saviour, and she could for my gratification, and their desire to do him honour.to show me honour and respect; For who will say that others ought and let her not be blamed for this not to do as Mary did ? Few indeed, The anointing of the dead is in- it is believed, except avowed infideed attended with considerable dels, will deny the truth of this doc. expense. But would you grudge trine, when proposed in the abstract such an expense to my dead body? form in which it is here stated. Yet My enemies would not permit Mary when we come to examine it in de. to do what has occasioned this cost, tail, and to apply it to practice, we after my decease; and God hath find that opinion is by no means therefore put it into her heart to uniform, even among professing anoint me aforehand." Nor did Christians. the Saviour content himself, with - We propose, therefore, in the sesimply justifying this noble and af- quel of this discourse, to endeavour fectionate expression of Mary's at- to ascertain and state, what Chris. tachment and devotedness. He tian women may do; and what they went farther in his commendation may not do ; in manifesting their of it than he ever went-so far as love to Christ, and their desire to do we are told-in approving any other him honour. act of kindness or respect, that was It may be proper just to remark, shown to his person. 'He declared in a preliminary way, that genuine that wherever his Gospel should be love to Christ, and a rational desire preached in the whole world, and to todo him honour, will always manithe end of time, this deed of Mary fest themselves in earnest endeashould be told, as an honourable vours to render the Redeemer
prememorial of her. Accordingly we cious in the estimation of others.find, in fact, that although the ac- In using all proper means to propation is apparently not of the great- gate the knowledge of his glorious est importance, in the history of our person; of his excellent doctrines; Lord, and very many of his own of his great salvation; of the obliacts, as St. John informs us, are not gations which sinners owe him ; recorded at all, yet this deed of and of the absolute necessity of Mary is circumstantially narrated their embracing for themselves his offered mercy, as the only sure is one of their best distinctions, ground of their hope for eternity. which renders them amiable, and It is by thus doing that we comply which, while it unfits them for comwith our Lord's own directions on mand, and subjects them, in a dethis subject. “Herein (said be) is gree, to the rougher sex, gives them, my Father glorified that ye bear at the same time, an appropriate much fruit, so shall ye be my disci- and very powerful influence. It
. ples-If ye love me, keep my com- was therefore not to be expected, mandments-Feed my sheep, feed that he who formed them with this my lambs-Inasmuch as ye did it natural and retiring modesty, and to one of the least of these my bre- under a qualified subjection to man, thren, ye did it unto me." Let it would ever require, or even permit be remembered then, that our Sa- them, to do any thing in violation of viour is identified with his religion ; his own order; and least of all that and that to love, to promote, or to he would permit this, in his own adorn the religion of Christ, is to immediate service. Hence I apexpress love to himself, and to ho- prehend it is, that we find in the nour him before the world. Our New Testament, such texts as the representations and language, in following-1 Tim. ii. 11-14. "Let the discussion before us, will be in the woman learn in silence with all conformity with this remark. subjection. But I suffer not a wo
In prosecuting our purpose, as man to teach, nor to usurp authori. already stated, we may find it ad- ty over the man, but to be in sivantageous to consider
lence. For Adam was first formed, I. The negative part of our sub- then Eve. And Adam was not deject; namely, what Christian wo- ceived, but the woman being demen may not do, in manifesting ceived was in the transgression." their love to their Saviour, and their Again, 1 Cor. xiv. 34, 35. “Let desire to do him honour.
your women keep silence in the It is plainly intimated in the churches; for it is not permitted text, that Mary's efforts to honour unto them to speak; but they are her Redeemer, were limited. When commanded to be under obedience, it is said, “ she hath done what she as also saith the law. And if they could,” the implication is obvious, will learn any thing, let them ask that she would have done more, if their husbands at home; for it is a more had been in her power—if shame for women to speak in the propriety would have permitted, or church.” if means and opportunity had not The same apostle, who, under the been wanting. By what circum- unerring guidance of Divine inspistances and considerations, then, ration, delivered these plain and were her efforts limited ? In the positive injunctions, has also saidfirst place, I answer by the bounds i Cor. xi. 5. “Every woman that prescribed to her by her sex itself. prayeth, or prophesieth, with her Happy is that woman who always head uncovered, dishonoureth her finds that she cannot do, what it is head; for that is even all one as if improper for her to do as a woman; she were shaven.” Here, unqueswhose whole mind and feelings are tionably, is a direction how women so set against whatever misbecomes ought to appear and act, when her, that she experiences a fortu- speaking in a publick Christian a'snate incapacity to attempt it. The sembly; for the connexion of the Saviour, to whom Christian women passage shows clearly, that it is of
, are to manifest their attachment, is such an assembly that the apostle is their Creator and Lord. He framed here treating. This latter directhem with that shrinking delicacy tion, therefore, has the appearance of temperament and feeling, which of militating pointedly with the
texts before recited ; and as we Spirit of Christ, speaking by the know that inspired truth can mouth of St. Paul, is now in force, never contradict, or be inconsistent without an exception. Women are, with itself, it becomes a serious in no case, to be publick preachers question-how is this apparent in- and teachers, in assemblies promisconsistency to be cleared up! We cuously composed of the two sexes. answer, that in our apprehension - This is explicitly and pointedly it can be done in one way only; but prohibited. Here, then, is one thing in that way, easily and perfectly. that Christian women may not do, Let it be carefully observed then, in their endeavours to promote and that during the period of miraculous extend the religion of Christ. And endowments, under the Gospel dis. I am well assured, that in making
I pensation, as well as under that of the statement you have just heard, Moses, the gift of supernatural in- all that I have said, accords as fully spiration was sometimes conferred with the views, wishes and feelings on women, as well as
of that Society at whose request, We are told expressly, that Philip and in whose behalf, I now speak,
, the Evangelist " had four daugh- as it does with the spirit and inters, virgins, that did prophesy." junctions of Sacred Scripture. Now, in the last quoted passage, the 2. The endeavours of Christian apostle is plainly speaking of wo- women to promote and extend the men under supernatural inspira- religion of Christ, must be limited tion; but in the other passages, of by a due regard to the means they women under no such inspiration. may have at command, and the opIt appears, therefore, that by a mi- portunities which may offer for the raculous gift, the great Head and purpose. This indeed is a rule of lawgiver of the church, took the case duty which, taken at large, is as apof the women on whom he bestow. plicable to men as to women. The ed that gift out of the general rule; efforts of all to do good, must be and authorized them to utter, even
bounded by their means and opporin publick assemblies, what his own tunities. But there is a special apSpirit dictated at the time. Buton plication of the rule to the female all other and ordinary occasions— sex, which ought to be distinctly to which our first quotations refer- noticed and carefully regarded. they are absolutely required not to Their means of contributing both speak, but to keep silence in the to publick and private charities, churches. It is also worthy of spe- must frequently be derived from cial remark, that even when divine- the other sex. What they give ly authorized to speak, they were must often come from the purses of still commanded to be covered ; as their husbands, fathers, brothers, or indicative of a delicate reserve, and other near kindred, or particular as recognising a state of subjection. friends; and they certainly, in all The explanation here given, as it such cases, ought to be consulted, seems indispensable to the recon- and to determine on the amount of ciling of one part of Holy Writ charity which, in any given instance, - with another, so it will be found to it is proper to bestow-unless inbe countenanced and warranted, by deed a general discretion has been the context of the passages we have previously allowed. recited. But as we assuredly be- Sometimes, we know, the case is lieve, that miraculous inspiration otherwise. In a number of instances, has long since ceased in the Chris- women have property of their own, tian church, no such excepted cases entirely free from any foreign conas those we have mentioned, can trol; and then their duty, as to chaany longer occur. The general ritable donations, is clearly under rule, therefore, laid down by the no other restriction, than that which
is common to them with men; and good are more circumscribed than this seems to have been the case those of men, we only remark in with her to whom our text refers. general, that as we can easily see We are not, indeed, expressly told that the propriety of what was done that such was the fact. But the cir- by her to whom the text relates, cumstances which are narrated ap- depended much, not only on the pear to indicate, that what she did known character of the Saviour, but was unlooked for by the whole com- on what she did being done at the pany, except by Him who knew all house of a friend, and in the prethings that neither Lazarus nor sence of her own family and of Martha was acquainted with their many other witnesses; so Christian sister's design, till it was executed. women now, ought to be sensible, If this were so, the expensive pur- that they can seldom be required to chase which Mary had made, was expose their persons to insult, or probably made from her separate their characters to unfavourable and independent part of the family imputations, by any enterprises or estate; or from her own earnings. errands of benevolence; or by any Be this as it might, it is an obvious exertions to propagate the Gospel. duty for every Christian woman to I will not indeed say, that there submit to her relatives, implicitly, may not be some extraordinary octhe disposition of their own proper- casions, on which it may be their ty; after laying before them, as she duty to put both safety and reputalawfully may, the considerations tion at considerable risk. But all and motives which influence her such cases must be clearly and own mind in favour of a contem- strongly marked. Duty, in general, plated charity.
will consist, in submitting to the I cannot, however, forbear to men- allotments of God's providence, in tion here, that it is a noble expres- all the circumstances of our characsion of Christian benevolence, which ter and state ; and not in disregardis now witnessed in various parts of ing his order, by an indiscreet atour country, where pious and pub- tempt to render services, beyond the lick spirited females cheerfully sa- limits which he has prescribed. crifice superfluous expense in dress Let us now consider, more dior equipage; and others as cheer- rectly, fully labour with their own hands,
II. What Christian women may in forming garments, or in making properly do, as a manifestation of for sale to the rich, certain articles their love to their Saviour, or for of taste or ornament; and both the promotion or extension of his classes put the proceeds of the religion. whole into the treasury of the Lord; Here we might say, summarily -to extend, in various ways, the in- and at once, that women may and estimable blessings of his precious ought to do, in the service of their Gospel. These sacrifices and la- Saviour, whatever is not prohibited bours, when kept within any mode in the exceptions and restrictions rate bounds, are by no means to be that have been specified-That, considered as violations of female with these exceptions and restricduty ;-and those who endeavour tions, their moral and religious duharshly to restrain them, or to dis- ties, are, in all respects, the same courage them by ridicule and ban- as those of men: and this is unter, act a part, to which we give questionably the general truth, in only its proper character, when we regard to this subject, which ought say that it is, at once, unmanlyto be remembered and acted on. base and wicked.
But questions sometimes arise, as On the circumstance, that the op- to the particular acts that ought, or portunities which women have to do that ought not, to be considered as
exceptions and restrictions: and it their tender minds to piety, intel. may also be of use a little to explain ligence, and virtue. Here is a wide and inculcate, as well as to enume- and fertile field for their approprirate, female duties. We therefore ate labours, in the service and for proceed to state,
the honour of their Redeemer. The First, that Christian women earliest years of children are usushould be very sensible that the re- ally and necessarily past, almost ligion of their Saviour is greatly wholly, under female care; and it is adorned, and sometimes directly much earlier than is commonly suppromoted, 'by an exemplary dis- posed, that their minds and moral charge of all the customary duties feelings take a cast, which is often of life, and by sustaining all its re- as lasting as life. Of what inconlations in the most praiseworthy ceivable importance is it then, that manner. It is creditable, in a very this first moulding of the mind and high degree, to evangelical piety, heart should be favourably made; when the world itself is constrained and that mothers should know and to confess, that its professors are remember that if so made, it must more exact and active in fulfilling commonly be made by them. They all social and relative obligations, have the capacity of mingling, as it and are more amiable and exem- were, their own souls with the souls plary in their whole deportment, of their children-of breathing into than those who are destitute of re- them, with a maternal tenderness ligion. Perhaps it belongs to we- and sympathy for which there can men to prove the truth of this ob- be no substitute, those sentiments servation, more frequently and of filial reverence for their Creator strikingly than can be done by men. and Redeemer, and of veneration The apostle Peter says" If any for all that is holy and lovely in the obey not the word, they may, with- religion of the Gospel, which, under out the word, be won by the conver- the Divine blessing, may become; sation of the wives, when they be- and do often in fact become, the hold your chaste conversation, cou- germs of early and vital godliness. pled with fear.” It should, there- By pious mothers, chiefly, must fore, never be forgotten, that Chris- children be taught to use, and to tian women ought practically to de- use properly, those little forms of monstrate, that the influence of devotion, in which they may lisp their religion has rendered them their petitions and thanksgivings to better wives, better mothers, better God; and those hymns and spiridaughters, better sisters, better tual songs, by which "out of the neighbours, and better friends, than mouths of babes and sucklings,” the they would otherwise be; and more Saviour's praise is “perfected;" active, punctual, conscientious, and and to become familiar with those persevering, in the discharge of all Scripture narratives, with which the ordinary duties of life-That nearly the whole of sacred story is although they cannot sacrifice their connected ; and by which the funallegiance to their Saviour to any damental doctrines of revealed worldly consideration whatsoever, truth may be taught and inculcated. yet only allow them to maintain By the prayers of pious mothers, that allegiance unimpaired, and you must their dear offspring be comshall find them ready to make any mended to the providential care and other sacrifice to which they may effectual grace of God, with that be called.
frequency and fervour, to which the 2. It is one of the peculiar and most favourable answer may reamost important duties of Christian sonably be expected; and to which women, to instruct and pray with such an answer has often been children, and to endeavour to form most remarkably returned.