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ing the Gospel to every creature, but ing on the part of women, then it is the choice of the ways and the means, not right that they should be engaged the modes and the instruments, by as Sunday-school teachers, and, inwhich this work is to be done, has deed, every Christian woman who has been left, very largely, to the judg- written a religious book, or conment of the Church, under the con- tributed a religious article to a magastant guidance of the Holy Ghost. zine, comes within the scope of Paul's Therefore, there may be in our censure. No, the Apostle, with that Christian work many things that are keen sense of propriety which disnot once referred to in the Scriptures, tinguished him, forbad most positively but are, nevertheless, in reality, quite a woman's taking part in the public as scriptural, because as truly in services of the Church; but we shall accordance with the spirit of Scrip- see that he provided for women other ture, as if Christ and his Apostles had work in Christ's cause, and work more distinctly specified them, and, in so befitting their character, their gifts, many words, commanded us to adopt and their position. He tells Titus to them.
teach the aged women, “that they But, however certain we may feel be, in behaviour, as becometh holithat this or that mode of operation ness, not false accusers, not given to is in harmony with the spirit of much wine, teachers of good things ; Scripture, it is always a source of that they may teach the young women great satisfaction to be able to appeal to be sober, to love their husbands, to to the direct authority of the Divine love their children, to be discreet, word. Now, as to the employment chaste, keepers at home,good, obedient of women as missionaries, there is to their own husbands, that the word something that does, at least come of God be not blasphemed.” Here very near to direct scriptural war- certainly is something like missionrant. It must be confessed that St. ary work for women; but I confess Paul, in one or two instances so ex- that it is, literally, only for the aged presses himself as to convey an im- women; and to the question, when pression unfavourable
to the employ- do women become aged ? he must be ment of women as teachers of religion. a very courageous man who would " Let your women keep silence in venture to reply, and Paul hiinself is the churches, for it is not permitted discreetly silent upon this point. unto them to speak; but they are However, this, at all events, is estabcommanded to be under obedience, lished, the employment of Christian as also saith the law. And if they women in good works that are diswill learn anything, let them ask tinctly specified, and especially in their husbands at home : for it is a this, the teaching of the younger shame for women to speak in the women. But we have in the last church.” (1 Cor. xiv. 34, 35.). "Let chapter of the epistle to the Romans the woman learn in silence with all the names of several women who are subjection. But I suffer not a woman stated to have engaged much in active to teach, nor to usurp authority over Christian service; Phoebe, Priscilla, the man, but to be in silence.” Mary, Tryphena, and Tryphosa. In (1 Tim. ii. 11, 12.) It is obvious, his Epistle to the Phillippians Paul however, that what Paul forbids, in writes thus, “And I entreat thee these passages, is a woman's taking also; true yoke-fellow, help those part in the public services of the women which laboured with me in Church. If the Apostle's language be the Gospel." (Phil. iv. 3.) There is pressed so far as to exclude all teach- not an exact specification of the sort of Christian service to which these and encouragement." (Ch. Hist. vol. good women consecrated themselves. 1. p. 262, Bohn's Edition. It is not Phæbe is called “a servant of the easy to determine how long this order Church at Cenchrea ;” and the word of persons continued to exist in the translated servant has led many to Church; it can be traced down to adopt the somewhat doubtful hypo- the tenth century, in the Latin thesis that Phoebe was a deaconess, Church, and to the close of the twelfth and that this order of persons existed in the Greek; but, by that time, in the Church at that time. All we this very sensible and useful instituknow is, that she was a servant of tion had been superseded by the the Church, or as the older versions unnatural and superstitious practice call her, a minister of the Church of establishing nunneries. Yet, howand that she had been a succourer ever strongly we, as Protestants, may of many, and of Paul amongst the object to the conventual system, we number. Of Priscilla we read that cannot, for a moment, question its she, as well as her husband, helped great influence and power, as an to expound the way of God more element of Romanism. The zeal and perfectly to A pollos.
activity of some of the Catholic sisThe testimony of Scripture, then, terhoods are well known. We daily with regard to this subject, is to the see these devout women going about, effect that Christian women were, in and, in their way, doing good. To the the Apostolic age, very extensively church with which they are conemployed in the service of the nected they must be invaluable
. Church; they were not permitted to Very wisely has Romanism availed teach in the public assemblies of itself of such a power as that which Christians, but, with this single ex- womanly intelligence, earnestness, ception, they appear to have been en- gentleness and patience afford ; and gaged in every variety of work that it surely behoves Protestants to conwas calculated to promote the cause sidervery seriously whether they have of Christ.
not placed themselves at a great disad. There is no doubt whatever that, vantage in not enlisting the services under the name of deaconesses, of Christian women after a systematic women served in the Christian manner and on an extensive scale. Church, for some centuries after the Apart, however, from all scriptural Apostolic age. “ Although,” says authority, and all historical example, Neander, “in conformity with their there seems to be abundant reason natural vocation, the women were for the employment of Christian excluded from the offices of teaching women, in some kinds of Christian and governing in the Church, yet work. Pastoral visitation is, unthe peculiar qualities of the sex were doubtedly, an institution of great in this way now claimed as special value, and, possibly, it is far too much gifts for the service of the Church. neglected by some Christian minisBy the means of such deaconesses ters; but, really, in many cases, the Gospel would be introduced into when the pastor calls at a poor man's the bosom of families where, from house, his presence cannot be very the customs of the East, no welcome; he may, to some extent, could gain admittance. As Christian cause an interruption of the domestic wives, too, and mothers of tried ex- duties, a derangement of the houseperience in all the duties of their hold economy; the very respect sex, they were also bound to assist which may be felt for him only the younger women with their counsel
serves to increase the inconvenience
which his untimely call has produced. account for it, and, if possible, still But a Christian woman can go to that more unable to cure it. Perhaps he home at any time and create no con- reads a chapter and offers up a prayer, fusion; she can always make herself when, in point of fact, what is most welcome to the abodes of the poor. needed is some sensible advice on the She alone knows the trials, the diffi- mending of clothes, the cooking of culties, the sorrows, and, if there be food, the washing of floors, the treatany, the weaknesses of her fellow- ment of children, and the way to women. There are many things which make a shilling go as far as possible. though not directly irreligious are The good woman of the house comvery near akin to irreligion, and plains, with sighs and tears, that she upon which women only can speak has nothing but trouble, and she details to women. The pastor goes to some her troubles at great length, and the house in which there is a great lack pastor, good man, piously reminds of order, of cleanliness, of thrift. The her that all things work together for presiding genius of the place is a good, and tells her of that rest in gossip, a slattern, and a scold. She which all troubles will cease. This and her children are dirty and
is very well, but it would be more to ragged ; there is great waste in the the immediate purpose if he showed house; the food is not economically
her how nineteen-twentieths of her chosen ; it is very badly cooked; the grievances arose from her own foolfamily could be maintained comfort- ishness, and how by a little diligence, ably for less than it costs to keep it and care, and good temper, she might wretchedly ; debt is contracted; ar
This, however, the ticles of furniture and of clothing are pastor probably cannot do; but even pledged at the pawnbroker's; the if he can, he had better not venture travelling packman tempts the simple to open his mind on such subjects, woman with his gaudy wares, and,
lest he should make bad worse, for without her husband's knowledge, nothing is more likely to be resented she contracts obligations to pay so than his interference with the domuch per week, for some piece of mestic affairs of this unfortunate flaunting finery. Altogether, through family, and he goes away knowing want of thrift, cleanliness, order, and that he has not remedied, and cannot good sense, the house is a scene of remedy the evils that are demoralising, great wretchedness, and the husband if they have not already demoralised, unable to endure such miseries, flies that home.
But a Christian woman for refuge to the pot-house. Now goes and, almost instinctively, recogmuch of this state of things the nizes many a cause of misery which pastor probably does not detect, and the pastor cannot recognize at all, therefore cannot cure.
How is he to and, with her practical knowledge, teach the most economical way of and her tact, she can quietly and conducting such a house ? How is kindly offer suggestions which are he to give instructions upon domestic likely in some measure to be acted matters? If he be a man in the true upon.
She has a thousand times the sense of the word, he is profoundly power of the best pastor, if the quesignorant of all such things; if he tion be how are the homes of the have a wife of the right stamp she poor to be made happy? Order, will take care that he shall know ab- cleanliness, and thrift are not religion, solutely nothing of domestic economy; but they are very powerful helps to so there he sits down in the midst of religion, and Christian women, and this wretchedness, utterly unable to Christian women only, can secure them in the homes of many of the to be feared that this entirely volunpoor. And when such a missionary tary service will prove ineffectual, engages, as she will engage, in direct and that it will require to be supChristian instruction, when she reads plemented by the efforts of those the Bible and talks about sacred whose whole time shall be given to things, her fellow-women, whose con- it. Purely voluntary effort may fidence she has gained, by her prac- suffice for our Sunday Schools, betical sympathy with them, in their cause on the Sunday, Christian men difficulties and troubles, will converse and women have time at their diswith her in a free and unconstrained posal, but it is very often found that manner, will open their hearts to her purely voluntary effort cannot be fully; she understands them, and relied upon in Ragged Schools, bethey understand her. In seasons of cause, on other days of the week, no sickness, too, and when death is near leisure can be had by the majority at hand, what a great advantage it
our people. The Christian must be if the words of Christian women who are most at liberty to consolation and hope are associated do the work of district visitation are, with those offices of tender kindness for the most part, persons whose which none but a Christian woman position in society, to a great extent, can perform
disqualifies them from thoroughly Certainly, there is much work of understanding the wants of the a directly, and much more of an in- humbler classes, and they are, theredirectly religious character, which fore, incapable of rendering them all Christian men, whatever their abili- the instruction and help that are ties and whatever their zeal, are not required. The district visitor who, at all capable of doing, and which having ample means at her disposal, , the manliest men are especially in- gives pecuniary help, does not confer capable of doing. As to the work anything like so great a boon as she of the Town missionary, and the who, though unable to give a fraction, Scripture reader, the pastor, if he had can, by her practical knowledge, set time, might undertake that very a poor woman's house to rights, or, well, but such work as we have just rather teach her how to do it herself. noticed is not work for men; to be We greatly need such visitors as can done at all, it must be entrusted to do this; but, as a rule, such are to the Phæbes, the Priscillas, the Try- be found only amongst those who phenas, and Tryphosas, whom God, have no time to spare, who have to from time to time, raises up and work for their own subsistence. If qualifies, for such services of Chris- then we are to have Christian women tian wisdom, sympathy, and love. in all respects qualified to cheer,
Now, to some extent, this work is direct, and help the poor, and give done by what is usually called the their whole time to this service (and system of district visitation. A large it is only by giving one's whole time number of Christian women, inspired to anything that it can be done well) by love to Christ and love to their we must have those who cannot fellow sinners, voluntarily undertake afford to work gratuitously and whom this arduous service, and go from we must liberally support. house to house, paying visits that are Impressed by such considerations like those of angels, not because as these, many churches and many they are a few and far between,” but private individuals have sought out because they are so full of kindness, and engaged women to act as misand instruction, and help. But it is sionaries. With the church of which
the author of this letter is the pastor with few exceptions, the missionaries three such agents are associated, and meet with a very kind reception and a few words which are the result of are almost always asked and expected experience will scarcely be considered to repeat their visits. In connection out of place. In the case referred to, with these missions, which are conthe experiment is now old enough to ducted in different parts of the town, afford facts by which the value of mothers' meetings are held by the the system may be tested. Of the missionaries and the superintendents three missionaries employed, one is under whose direction they work, and engaged by members of the Church these meetings are well attended, and and congregation, the others by the are means of accomplishing great Sunday School Teachers; and women good.
good. The pastor of the Church can more thoroughly efficient it would be also bear witness that no small prodifficult to find; ever since their ap- portion of those who have been united pointment they have increasingly to the Church since the organization enjoyed the confidence and esteem of these missions, have been brought of those who support them and under to a knowledge of Christ through the whose auspices their work is carried instrumentality of these excellent on. Some idea of the nature and women; and he feels that, were their extent of that work may be formed operations to be abandoned, the from the fact that one of these good Church would sustain a calamity women paid about 3,500 visits last which it would be difficult to exyear,chiefly, indeed almost exclusive. aggerate. In short, of all the forms ly, to people of the humblest class of Christian philanthropy with which many of whom, if not indeed he is acquainted there is none which the great majority, were not in
not in he has reason to esteem more highly the habit of attending public wor- than that which has given to himself ship. When visiting the people, and to the Church this admirable it is the missionary's custom to read agency. and pray, to converse upon the evils But, for his facts, the writer does of intemperance, uncleanliness, ex- not rely merely upon the results of travagance, debt, and bad temper, his own experience. He has made and the practical aspects of Christi- enquiries as to the working of this anity are always kept in view; and kind of agency in various churches, the writer of this letter has no and ascertained that, as a rule, it is doubt that a thousand pieces of of the most satisfactory character. good advice have been given which Difficulties have been experienced, would never have occurred to him- and are likely to be experienced, in self, or which, if they had occurred the effort to obtain the services of to him, he would not have ven- well-qualified persons; but just the tured to give. The journals kept same difficulty is met with in endeahy these Christian sisters abound vouring to discover men who are fit with instances of neglected children to undertake home missionary work, brought to the Sunday School, of and, indeed, the writer strongly ingodless and miserable men and clines to the belief that, in most women induced to frequent the sanc- churches, for one man fit to engage tuary, of drunkards of both sexes in such work, three women far better persuaded to become sober characters, qualified for it might be found. of homes, once destitute and filthy, One word as to the expenses which converted into scenes of plenty and are likely to be incurred by a church of cleanliness. It is also found that, when it engages a Bible woman.