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declare them. When God would inaugurate the reign of sympathy and tenderness, his angels appear to women. They receive them with modest confidence, and accept their tidings with grateful joy. Men scoff at the credulity of the weaker sex and decline the heavenly message. Whilst the mouths of Mary and Elizabeth are filled with grateful words giving glory to God, their hearts resting in tranquil assurance that the hour of the world's

is come. Zachariah stands confused and dumb, crippled by his own infidelity. Without arguing and without gainsaying, the heart of woman receives the profound and sublime truths of human existence, and almost without reflective consciousness, she sets herself to perform the duties which they enjoin. Man's more scientific eye may discern abstract and speculative truth more clearly and decisively than hers; but her chaster and purer spirit discerns the practical and practicable truths of human life with a clearer comprehension than man's. Let a human soul but once completely realize the dignity of its vocation, feel the sublime tasks and spheres to which it is called ; will it not give itself to enter upon them? It steps may falter, its courage may waver, its progress may be slow; but every step taken shortens the distance between it and its goal; every effort made to gain the goal is a pledge that it shall be reached at length. Human progress is a slow and toilsome journey. The caravan of humanity proceeds by short and painful stages. Israel spent forty years in the desert; the journey from Goshen to Canaan can be performed in less than a week. At times it may seem that our path is retrograde; but history is a barren and unprofitable study, if it does not assure us that the march of man is forward. Every generation is wiser and better than its predecessors; there may be fewer demigods towering like obelisks between ourselves and heaven, to catch and herald the earliest dawn; but there are fewer obstacles between the eyes of the rising masses and the glowing East. Woman has ever been the first to know what she can do, and what her heart divines her lips will speak and her hands will show. Fulfilling the duties of a lowlier sphere, she is inevitably advanced to a higher. Duty done not only increases the strength of the character, but purges the eyes of the soul. Seeing more clearly, she works more nobly; working more nobly she sees more clearly still. Thus, in twenty centuries, has she advanced from the estate of the drudging Martha of Bethany, untaught in literature, unrefined in manners, toiling without possibility of elevation, “ cumbered with much serving," the mere slave of man's appetites, or the toy of his caprice, to the sacred and venerable standing of our mothers, to the beautiful and beloved relation of our wives.


In the early centuries of our era our Țeyton an



and a spear.

cestors purchased their wives for a pair of oxen, and then presented their ladies fair with a horse, a shield

The chaste mothers of the barbarian hordes accompanied their husbands upon their warlike expeditions, and when their lords were recreant in the fight, with brandished arms and threatening cries they drove them back to the field again, to win victory or find an honorable grave. If the fate of the day were adverse, the women of the host fell by their own hands, preferring suicide to captivity and dishonor. Compare the lot of those Amazon Warriors of the Hercynian forest with that of their daughters in England and America to-day. Think of the weird prophetess Velleda, sitting in her ancient tower near the Rhine, inciting the soul of the bold Batavian Civilis to revolt against the Roman power, by her auguries and oracles, encouraging his followers to deeds of heroism by sibylline utterances and songs; think of her in contrast with our own Mrs. Browning, melting us to tenderness by her plaintive “ Cry of the Children, or rousing us to unconquerable resolution by her high heroic verse.

But if you shrink from the golden haired daughters of the Rhine and Danube as barbarians, weatherbeaten, vociferous and disgusting; cast your eyes for a moment upon the Roman dames, the stately highbred ladies of the conquerors of the world. The commonest type of their female character, as represented by Messalina, Faustina, Theodora, is so infaunous and brutal that description would be impossible. As an occasional exception, you have womanly nature, fashioned after the model of Stoical philosophy; annihilating sensibility, seeking apathy as perfection. and cherishing a haughty pride as the only solid virtue. Compare Arria, handing the dagger, reeking with her own heart's blood, to her husband, that he might join her in suicide, with the assurance, by way of encouraging him, “It is not painful, Pætus,” with Florence Nightingale at Scutari, whose conduct reflects brighter lustre upon the English name than all the laurels won in the Crimea. There is no more striking historic evidence of Christianity than that furnished by the change which it has wrought in the condition of woman. The distance between the condition of the Jewish, Teutonic and Roman women at the · beginning of this era, and that of the women of our

time, is almost incalculable. Along the path of elevation and redemption, she has been led by the divine hand of Christ. He was the first to appreciate her woes and wants; he was the first to offer the remedy for her wrongs; his gospel is the only philosophy which recognizes her value, and which points out her true sphere; his spirit is the only guide to lead her to duty and to blessedness.

Let us now attempt a more specific answer to the question, "What is woman's sphere?” I do not seek to



pierce the mysteries of the future; to lay bare the orders of society which the new ages shall produce. I have no wishto amuse you by speculations upon Utopia. My desire is to look calmly and seriously at the structure of our own society-to discern, if it may be, what are the fairest theatres and possibilities for woman.

I say, then, that they are literature, society, and home. These are her limits. If they are too narrow for her aspiring powers, then must her genius be cramped and fettered, and she must willingly accept as her fate the derision of the vulgar and the just condemnation of the best portion of mankind.

The purpose of this discussion does not require that I should enter upon an analysis of woman's faculties; nor is it necessary, in an age when not a few of our grandest works of genius have come from women, to demonstrate their capacity for literature. It is not their want of original endowment that women complain of; but they urge that there is no time to read books or to write them. Is this apologetic reproach-set up both as an excuse and a reflection upon the trammels by which they are hampered—justified by the facts, when used by the mass of women in America ?

There are none so poor that the opportunities of education are not offered them. Our scheme of common and high school education is adapted to the exigencies of the female as well as of the masculine intellect. As

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