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IV. The salvation of the immortal soul., ter3 pride and forgetfulness of God; adverThis is indeed a personal concern; an in-sity only hardens him the more; reason is terest which cannot be transferred or com- perverted, passion has acquired the ascendniunicated. The good-will of another can-ant, the power of habit predominates: but not impart it; the remissness of another can- the Lord God has provided "an help meet for not defeat it: to God, his great Master, here, him.” When public instruction and foreign overy man standeth or talleth, for “every reproof have failed, the mind is still accessione must give account of himself to God.” | ble. The unaffected, unostentatious charm But is it not obvious, that example, that rea- of genuine female piety is felt and underson, that co-operation, possess a mighty influ- stood, and becomes efficacious; the silent ence toward promoting or obstructing per- unupbraiding regret of conjugal tenderness sonal piety, growth in grace, meetness for the supplies the place of a thousand arguments, kingdom of heaven? Is the man impressed and forces its way to the heart; “ the effecwith the worth, with the danger of his own tual fervent prayer” of a gracious woman soul; does he feel the powers of a world “availeth much;" the "believing wife" to come;" is his mind turned to devotion; draws to the Redeemer, with the cords of is the love of God shed abroad in his heart? love, “the unbelieving husband;" she beHow will such impressions be fixed and comes the blessed instrument of “convertstrengthened, by endeavouring to communi- ing the sinner from the error of his way, she rate them to a beloved object, and by receiv- saves a soul from death, she hides a multiing back the impression, heightened and im- tude of sins," and, in the noblest sense of proved, from that object? How much more the word, approves herself “an help meet" exalted and affecting is a sense of divine for man. goodness, when it is beheld embracing more In all these important respects, the origithan one! when it is seen conferring immor- nal design of Eternal Wisdom, in the formatality, eternity, on virtuous human affection of woman, is plain and palpable. To tions! what a live coal applied to devotion, have fulfilled one branch of duty, and even when the solitary my Father and my God, is to have excelled in it, is no exemption from changed into the social our Father and our the obligation of the rest. The duties of life God! How is the hope of glory ennobled, and of religion run in a series, one is linked extended, animated, by the prospect of par- with another, supposes it, cannot be sepaticipation! “Here am I, Holy Father, with rated from it. To no purpose are children her whom thou gavest me, to be an help well educated, if through the indolence, meet for me. We were one in interest and folly, or vice of parents, they are launched affection; one in the faith of the gospel, and into the world in doubtful, dishonourable, the practice of piety; our prayers ascended embarrassed or distressful circumstances. in one stream of incense, and every gift of What is it to me, that my fortune is pruthy, providence and grace was multiplied dently and frugally managed, if my person and sweetened to each by being bestowed is neglected, my temper trifled with, my on the other. Sweet were our labours of reputation sacrificed,“ my good name filched love to our joint offspring; sweet our united from me?" And what is the acquisition of efforts to improve the bounty of our com a world, at the expense of my soul? mon parent; sweet the sympathies of kin Let it be understood and remembered, that dred hearts, in sickness and in health, in every word which has been said of the oblisorrow and in joy, in good and in bad report; gation laid on woman, as “an help meet" but sweeter far the consolations of religion, for man, applies with at least equal propriety the prospect of life and immortality brought and force, to man, as the helper and friend to light by the gospel." We come together of woman. Does he possess superiority of to " receive the end of our faith, the salvation any kind ? It is evidently intended not to of our souls; as, through grace, we have been oppress, but to support. His greater strength made helpers of each other's faith, let us be, is given for her protection; his more vigoreternally, helpers of each other's joy." ons or profound powers of thought are de
Is the man, unhappily, dead to all sense of signed to be her instructer and guide. Whatreligion; swallowed up of time and sense; ever advantage, real or apparent, each may is his great or only inquiry, "What shall I have above the other, Providence clearly eat, what shall I drink, wherewithal shall I wills to be employed for the benefit of the be clothed ?" Or, more wretched still, is he other. A contention of mutual affection, delivered over “to commit iniquity with beneficence, forbearance, forgiveness, is the greediness,"
,” “and to glory in his shame?" only strife which nature, reason, and decency What are the most likely means of awaken- permit to this state and relation. ing bim to reflection, of reaching his con We proceed to illustrate female utility science, of melting his heart, of changing and importance in social life, by certain his conduct? Preaching is vain; he turns noted examples from the sacred record. "a deaf ear to the voice of the charmer, May God smile on every attempt to commucharm he never so wisely;" prosperity fos- | nicate useful truth. Amen.
HISTORY OF DEBORAH.
And Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, she judged Israel at that time. And she dwelt under
the palm-tree of Deborah, between Ramah and Beth-el, in mount Ephraim: and the children of Israel came up to her for judgment.JUDGES IV. 4, 5.
THE unremitting attention paid by a wise, the limits of duty, and the sphere of usefuland gracious Providence to the affairs of ness and exertion. men, affords equal matter of wonder and But the great God is pleased to make himgratitude, with the astonishing power and self known, not only by general conformity skill displayed in the first formation of this to established laws, but by occasional deviagreat universe. Let us suppose the care of tion from them.
That the sons of men may that Providence for a little while suspended, know, it is according to his high will, that and the world left to itself. Who is not all creatures are, and think, and act. shocked in looking forward to the probable, The history, which this evening comes the certain consequences of that remission? under our review, exhibits a new thing in Behold instantly the bars of the vast abyss the annals of human nature; asserts the burst asunder, and " hell itself breathing forth sovereignty of the Most High over all perdestruction to mankind.” Behold the prince sons and events; places the female character of the power of the air reigning and raging and importance in a new, a striking, and a without control. Behold chaos and ancient respectable point of view; and thereby adnight resuming their murky empire, and monishes the one sex to think of their own darkness covering the face of the deep; natural general superiority with deference, earth and air confounded; nature convulsed affection, and honour to the manly excellenby the fury of contending elements, unre- cies of the female mind, when cultivated by a strained by law; universal confusion and proper education, directed to a worthy object, wild uproar prevailing.
and roused into exertion by a great and Alas, it is not necessary to state the sup- worthy occasion. Hitherto we have seen position so high. To conceive the wretched- wise and good women, in the retired vale ness of mankind, deprived of the constant, of domestic life, their proper and peculiar superintending care of Heaven, it is needless sphere; Sarah, co-operating in the duties of to let loose the demons of the bottoinless pit; hospitality with her venerable lord; Rebekah, it is needless to unbridle the fury of the refreshing the weary traveller and the thirsty ocean, or to assist the roaring winds in blow- camel with water from the well, as they ing up the fire into a hotter flame. Under went on their way; Rachel and the seven the slightest alteration of the established daughters of Jethro tending their father's order of things, all nature languishes. Re-focks, and making them to lie down under move for a moment the all-ruling, all-sup- the shade at noon; Miriam leading the fesporting hand of the great Father of the tive dance and song, in celebrating the lovuniverse, and lo, this fair and fertile region is ing kindness of the Lord, and the triumphs overwhelmed with an inundation, and that is of Israel; and Rahab giving shelter to the burned to one pumice-stone, by the force of persecuted spies, and providing for the safety celestial or subterraneous fire. Here arises, of her father's house. a race all males, like the fabled generation But we are now to contemplate female
of warriors which sprung from the serpent's genius and talents forcing their way to pub, teeth, armed at all points for mutual destruc- lic observation, and to everlasting renown:
tion and slaughter: and there, a nation of eclipsing masculine sagacity and fortitude; timid, defenceless females, inviting violence the inspirer and the example of generous and insult. But under that uninterrupted patriotism and martial prowess. We are to divine superintendence all goes on well; contemplate feminine warmth and eagerness, there is no schism in the body, every thing under the influence of prophetic inspiration, is found in its place, every thing performs its and blended with the dignity and integrity function. The exactest proportion between of the judgment seat; female spirit, giving nale and female births is preserved; the breath to the bloody trumpet of war, directrobuster frame is still found united to the ing the movements of the embattled host, stronger mental faculties; the delicacy of waking into sacred, poetic rapture, and adaptthe feminine form indicates, to the very eye, ing the joyful strains of victory, to the mushe softer, gentler qualities of the spirit sical sounds of the living lyre. which inbabits it; and nature assigns to each Israel had now enjoyed a blessed repose of
of their friends in their behale, and whom, of flope seems quite extinguished in Israel.
fourscore years; and are again corrupted by naan, part of whose formidable hcst consisted ease and prosperity. Their national charac- of nine hundred chariots of iron; and who ter and conduct, are a striking representation for "twenty years together mightily opof those of many individuals, whom we are pressed the children of Israel.” Calamity is daily meeting with in the world; who are peculiarly oppressive, when it is embittered capable of bearing neither prosperity nor ad- with the reflection, that it might have been versity; whom it is impossible to serve or prevented; that it is the native fruit of our to save; who, by their perverseness or folly, own doings: and with finding the wretched are perpetually undoing the kindest designs, associates of our guilt the wretched partakers
the most vigorous our wo at length, friends are constrained to abandon Not one man of common spirit, in the course in despair. Well has Nehemiah, their coun- of twenty years'oppression, appears awakened tryman, described this character, and display- to a sense of his country's wrongs, and geneed the patience and long-suffering of God, rously prompted to hazard his life in removin that recapitulation of their history, addressing, or avenging them. But the cause of ed solemnly to Heaven, in the ninth chapter the church of God is never to be despaired of. of his book: “And they took strong cities, Its emblem is, “ the bush burning, but not and a fat land, and possessed houses full of consumed." Its motto, “cast down, but not all goods, wells digged, vineyards, and olive-destroyed.”. And whither are our eyes, at yards, and fruit-trees in abundance. So they this time, directed to behold the saviour of a did eat, and were filled, and became fat, and sinking country? Behold the residue of the delighted theṁselves in thy great goodness. Spirit is upon the head of a woman; the saNevertheless, they were disobedient, and cred flame of public spirit
, smothered and rebelled against thee, and cast thy law be- dead in each manly breast, yet glows in a fehind their backs, and slew thy prophets which male bosom; and the tribunal of judgment, testified against them to turn them to thee, deserted by masculine virtue and ability, is and they wrought great provocations. There-honourably and usefully filled by feminine fore thou deliveredst them into the hand of sensibility, discernment, honesty, and zeal. their eilemics, who vexed them: and in the " And Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Latime of their trouble, when they cried unto pidoth, she judged Israel at that time."* She thee, thou heardst them from heaven; and was a wife and a mother in Israel, and such according to thy manifold mercies thou a wife is a crown to her husband, such a mogavest them saviours, who saved them out of ther, the glory and pride of her children; but the hand of their enemies. But after they her great, her capacious soul, embraced more had rest, they did evil again before thee: than her own family, aimed at the happiness therefore leftest thou them in the hand of of thousands, sweetly blended public with their enemies, so that they had the dominion private virtue. Is it unreasonable to sup over them; yet when they returned and cried pose, that the discreet and wise management unto thee, thou heardst them from heaven, of her own household, first procured her the and many times didst thou deliver them public notice and esteem: and that the pruaccording to thy mercies; and testifiedst dent deportment of the matron, passed by a against them, that thou mightest bring them natural and easy transition into the sanctity again unto thy law; yet they dealt proudly, of the prophetess, and the gravity and auand hearkened not unto thy commandments, thority of the judge? Certain it is, that the but sinned against thy judgments, which if reputation which is not established on the baa man do, he shall live in them; and with- sis of personal goodness, like a house built drew the shoulder, and hardened the neck, upon the sand, must speedily sink, and fall to and would not hear. Yet many years didst pieces. thou forbear them, and testifiedst against Hitherto, we have seen only “holy men them by the Spirit in thy prophets : yet, of God speaking as they were moved by the would they not give ear: therefore gavest Holy Ghost.” But the great Jehovah is no thou them into the hand of the people of the respecter of persons or sexes: "the secret lands. Nevertheless, for thy great mercies' of the Lord is with them that fear him, and sake thou didst not utterly consume them, he sheweth unto them his holy covenant." nor forsake them; for thou art a gracious The simple dignity of her unadorned, unasand merciful God."*
suming state, is beautifully represented : If we are to judge of the atrocity of the of- "She dwelt under the palm-tree of Deborah, fence committed on the occasion before us, between Ramah and Beth-el, in mount from the severity of the punishment, the Ephraim: and the children of Israel carne up length of its duration, and the violence of to her for judgment.”+ Behold a female their oppressor, we must conclude it to have mind exalted above the pageantry and pride been uncommonly grievous; for the Lord of external appearance; not deriving consesold them into the hand of Jabin, king of Ca- quence from the splendour of her attire, tho
* Judges iv. 46
+ Judges iv. 5
• Neh. ix. 25-31.
charms of her person, or the number of her fate, not to serve their bleeding country; it retinue, but from the affability of her man was to rouse their haughty oppressors into ners, the purity of her character, the sacred- more violent rage and cruelty, not to attack ness of her office, the impartiality of her con- them with a probability of success. The forc:0 duct, the importance of her public services; called for by the prophetess, by divine apnot wandering from place to place, hunt- pointment, was thus small, tnat the glory of ing after a little empty applause, but sought all, in the issue, might be ascribed solely to unto of all Israel for the eminency, and God: and it was thus great, to teach manextensive utility of her talents and her vir kind, that, as they hope to prosper, their own tues. Her canopy of state was the shade exertions must co-operate with the influence of the palm-tree, her rule of judgment the of overruling Providence. law and the testimony of the living God; her Such was either the general despondency motive, the inspiration of the Almighty; her that prevailed in Israel, at that dark period, aiman i end, the glory of God, and the good of or such the general confidence reposed in her people; her reward, the testimony of a good Deborah, that Barak accepts the commission conscience, the respect of a grateful nation, given him, and consents to head the forces of the admiration of future generations, the his country into the field, under the express smiles of approving Heaven. What are, condition that their prophetess and judge compared to these, the ermined robe, the ivory would be his companion and directress in the sceptre, the chair of state, the glittering dia- warfare. To this she yields a cordial asdem!
sent, and cheerfully engages to take part in But alas! what availeth the most upright all that regarded the public service, whether and impartial administration of justice, among counsel or resolution were needful to carry it a people enslaved in the extreme, groaning on. She would not, could it with propriety under a foreign yoke, holding liberty, pro- be avoided, become a leader in arms, but feels perty, and life, by the wretched tenure of a no reluctance, is conscious of no fear, when tyrant's caprice? The ardent soul of Debo- attending the captain of the Lord's host into rah aspires at nothing short of a total eman “the valley of decision.” It is pleasant to cipation of her bleeding country from these observe how the manly virtues, properly modiinglorious chains. And like a true prophet-fied and corrected, may be adopted into the ess of the living and true God, she engages female character, not only without giving ofin this noble and generous enterprise, not fence, but so as to communicate the highest with the zeal of an enthusiast, not in an idle, satisfaction and win approbation; and how, on inactive reliance on supernatural assistance; the other hand, the softest of the female but in the honest confidence of a good cause, graces, may, without sinking the manly chathe diligent use of the most promising means, racter, without exciting contempt, become a the ultimate dependence on the blessing of shade to the boldest, hardiest, masculine Him“ who worketh all things after the qualities. Courage has been reckoned an counsel of his will."
attribute peculiar to men; but it is easy to The character of this illustrious heroine, conceive it so raised, and so expressed, and grows upon us as we proceed; and exhibits so exerted, as to be not only pardonable in, a picture of female excellence, to which her but highly ornamental to, woman. “ A hen own sex may look with emulation and honest gathering her chickens under her wings," is pride, and ours, with admiration and esteem, a picture not only of maternal tenderness, but unroixed with envy. An ordinary woman, of the most undaunted intrepidity. “ A bear in her place, and possessed of her advantages, bereaved of her whelps,” is not more fierce would probably have aimed at the sole repu- and more fearless. A mother defying the tation of having delivered her country. But danger of the pestilential air which she inwhen a military operation is to be set on foot, hales from her smitten child; a mother flying for the attainment of this end, with the modest as a lioness on the brutal wretch who dared reserve becoming her sex, she satisfies her- to crush her little darling; how dignified, self with advising only. When the sword of what a noble creature she is! A tender vir. Israel is to be drawn, let it be wielded by gin stirred up into holy indignation at hearmanly hands; let Barak come in for a share ing her absent friend traduced by the tongue of the danger, the labour, and the praise. She of malevolence, forgetting herself for a mois to be the directing head, and he the active ment, to repel the barbarous insult. O it is hand. But what was the broken strength of a disorder so lovely, that it almost deserves to two of the least of the tribes of Israel? What be stamped with the name of virtue. To see were ten thousand men, to carry on offensive Deborah quitting her seat under the palmwar, against a power which could employ tree, to attend Barak to the top of mount Tanine hundred chariots of iron as part of his bor, when the enemies of her God and of her force ? What must have been the number of country are to be engaged and subdued; what infantry that corresponded to this formidable heart does not catch fire from her heroic ararmament? For such a handful of men to dour! what tongue can withhold its tribute appear in arms, was to provoke their own of praise !
While Deborah, without hesitation, agrees But, II. However weak and contemptible to accompany Barak to the high places of the the instrument were in itself, from the hand field, by virtue of the spirit of prophecy which that wields it, it becomes mighty and respectwas found upon her, she informs him that the able: and the history before us becomes, and glory he should obtain, was to suffer consi- that not darkly, a typical representation of derable diminution, not only by her participa- the gospel of Christ, which was “to the Jews tion of it, but also by the communication of a stumblingblock, and to the Greeks foolishit to another wonan, for whom Providence ness.” Pride and self-sufficiency smile at the had reserved the honour of putting the last idea a fer prophet, a female judge, a fehand to this arduous undertaking. Indeed male poet, a female politician, a female warrior; this seems to be a crisis, in the history of hu- and yet, in truth women have filled all these man nature, at which Providence intended offices, with credit to themselves, and with sato exhibit the powers of the female mind in tisfaction to the public. And “who hath made all their force and all their extent; intended man's mouth? or who maketh the dumb or to represent the sex in every situation that deaf, or the seeing, or the blind?” In the can create esteem, inspire love, command re- honoured list of those who “through faith spect, or awaken terror. The united spirits subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, and achievements of Deborah, and Jael the obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, wife of Heber, seem to comprehend the whole quenched the violence of fire, escaped the compass of the feminine character in its more edge of the sword, out of weakness were extraordinary feelings and exertions; and in make strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned the displaying the conduct of these two indi- to flight the armies of the aliens,” female viduals, rouse our attention to the whole sex names too stand recorded with commendation as the most warm, steady, and affectionate of and renown. And “what hast thou, O man, friends, or the most formidable, dangerous, but what thou hast first received ?" God and determined of enemies.
hath chosen the foolish things of the world to But we must not bring forward both at confound the wise; and God hath chosen the once. We conclude with a reflection or two, weak things of the world to confound the on what has been suggested from the history things which are mighty; and base things of of Deborah.
the world, and things which are despised hath I. It exposes the folly of despising or un- God chosen, yea, and things which are not, dervaluing any description of our fellow-crea- to bring to nought things that are: that no tures in the lump. All national reflections flesh should glory in his presence.' are founded in ignorance and folly; and the III. As the great Ruler of the world never despisers have often paid dear for their inso- can want an instrument to save, so he is allence and presumption. The illiberal abuse ways provided with instruments to punish. so indiscriminately poured upon the gentler
• He is wise in heart and mighty in strength; sex, is of the same nature. It generally comes who hath hardened himself against him and from men something worse than the worst hath prospered ?" The haughtiest of mopart of womankind. The truly sensible, and narchs is at length constrained to "praise, the truly brave, entertain far better and far and extol, and honour the King of heaven, more just sentiments of female utility and all whose works are truth, and his ways judgimportance in the scale of being; and are ment, and those that walk in pride he is able ever disposed to ascribe to female capacity to abase.” “By a strong hand and stretchedand worih, more than female modesty and out arm,” Pharaoh is at length compelled to wisdom are disposed to assume, or even to • let Israel go." “Humble" then “thyself," receive. No good man ever wished to see O man, “under his mighty hand.” “Be wise the female character undervalued or de- now, O ye kings, be instructed, ye judges of graded ; and perhaps very few good women the earth, serve the Lord with fear, and rehave ever violently coveted stations and em-joice with trembling." ployments which belong peculiarly to men. The next Lecture will carry on the histoBut as nature delights in producing variety, ry of Deborah, in connexion with that of Jael. as well as uniformity, it is not to be wonder- I conclude the present, with calling on the ed at, if we sometimes meet with men more female part of my audience to bless God, that silly, timid, and frivolous, than the most insig- while he has carried some of their sex, nificant of the other sex; and on the other through the most arduous employments, most hand, women as daring, as enlightened, as eminent stations, and most hazardous entermagnanimous, as public spirited as the first prizes, not only with safety, but with applause, among mankind. The rivalship, however, he is pleased, in general, to put their talents and competition of the sexes, is altogether and their virtues to a trial less severe; and ridiculous and absurd. Each has its dis- let them remember, that after all which has tinct, and both have their conjoined dig- been, or may be said, in praise of the few nity and usefulness--and mutual concession who have acted wisely and well upon the is the truest wisdom in the one aad in the public theatre, to the generality, “the post other.
of honour is a private station."