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by Dr. John Thomas
The same law applied to a wife.
A widow, or divorced woman, were both bound to fulfil; unless their husbands had made them void before separation.
If not, being subject to God, they had no release.
This throws light upon the apostle's instructions concerning women.
"They are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law".
And "Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.
But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over man, but to be in silence".
The reason he gives for imposing silence and subjection, is remarkable.
He adduces the priority of Adam's formation; and the unhappy consequences of Eve's talkativeness and leadership in transgression; as it is written, "Adam was first formed, then Eve.
And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression" first.
And then, as to their public ministrations, he says, "Let women keep silence in the congregations; for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but to be under obedience, as saith the law.
And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the congregation".
It is true, that in another place the apostle says, "Let the aged women be teachers of good things"; but then this teaching is not to be in the congregation, or in the brazen attitude of a public oratrix.
They are to exercise their gift of teaching privately among their own sex, "that they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God (which they profess), be not blasphemed".
Christian women should not copy after the god-aspiring Eve, but after Sarah, the faithful mother of Israel, who submitted herself in all things to Abraham, "calling him lord".
Nor should their obedience be restricted to Christian husbands only.
They should also obey them "without the word"; that is, those who have not submitted to it, in order that they may be won over to the faith when they behold the chaste and respectful behaviour of their wives, produced by a belief of the truth.
Such are the statutory provisions enacted in the world's constitution at the beginning, with respect to the position of women in the body social and political.
Any attempt to alter the arrangement is rebellion against God, and usurpation of the rights of men to whom God has subjected them.
Their wisdom is to be quiet, and to make their influence felt by their excellent qualities.
They will then rule in the hearts of their rulers, and so ameliorate their own subjection as to convert it into a desirable and sovereign obedience.
A man should never permit the words of a woman to intervene between him and the laws of God.
This is a rock upon which myriads have made shipwreck of the faith.