New Century

From Pulpit and Press by

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             [The New Century, Boston, February, 1895]


         We all know her — she is simply the woman of the past

         with an added grace — a newer charm. Some of her

12    dearest ones call her “selfish” because she thinks so much

         of herself she spends her whole time helping others. She

         represents the composite beauty, sweetness, and nobility

15    of all those who scorn self for the sake of love and her

         handmaiden duty — of all those who seek the brightness

         of truth not as the moth to be destroyed thereby, but as

18    the lark who soars and sings to the great sun. She is of

         those who have so much to give they want no time to take,

         and their name is legion. She is as full of beautiful possi-

21    bilities as a perfect harp, and she realizes that all the har-

         monies of the universe are in herself, while her own soul

         plays upon magic strings the unwritten anthems of love.

24    She is the apostle of the true, the beautiful, the good, com-

         missioned to complete all that the twelve have left undone.

         Hers is the mission of missions — the highest of all — to

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1      make the body not the prison, but the palace of the soul,

         with the brain for its great white throne.

3      When she comes like the south wind into the cold haunts

         of sin and sorrow, her words are smiles and her smiles are

         the sunlight which heals the stricken soul. Her hand is

6      tender — but steel tempered with holy resolve, and as

         one whom her love had glorified once said — she is soft

         and gentle, but you could no more turn her from her

9      course than winter could stop the coming of spring. She

         has long learned with patience, and to-day she knows

         many things dear to the soul far better than her teachers.

12    In olden times the Jews claimed to be the conservators

         of the world’s morals — they treated woman as a chattel,

         and said that because she was created after man, she was

15    created solely for man. Too many still are Jews who

         never called Abraham “Father,” while the Jews them-

         selves have long acknowledged woman as man’s proper

18    helpmeet. In those days women had few lawful claims

         and no one to urge them. True, there were Miriam and

         Esther, but they sang and sacrificed for their people, not

21    for their sex.

         To-day there are ten thousand Esthers, and Miriams

         by the million, who sing best by singing most for their

24    own sex. They are demanding the right to help make

         the laws, or at least to help enforce the laws upon

         which depends the welfare of their husbands, their chil-

27    dren, and themselves. Why should our selfish self longer

         remain deaf to their cry? The date is no longer B. C.

         Might no longer makes right, and in this fair land at least

30    fear has ceased to kiss the iron heel of wrong. Why then

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1      should we continue to demand woman’s love and woman’s

         help while we recklessly promise as lover and candidate

3      what we never fulfil as husband and office-holder? In

         our secret heart our better self is shamed and dishonored,

         and appeals from Philip drunk to Philip sober, but has

6      not yet the moral strength and courage to prosecute the

         appeal. But the east is rosy, and the sunlight cannot long

         be delayed. Woman must not and will not be disheart-

9      ened by a thousand denials or a million of broken pledges.

         With the assurance of faith she prays, with the certainty

         of inspiration she works, and with the patience of genius

12    she waits. At last she is becoming “as fair as the morn,

         as bright as the sun, and as terrible as an army with ban-

         ners” to those who march under the black flag of oppres-

15    sion and wield the ruthless sword of injustice.

         In olden times it was the Amazons who conquered the

         invincibles, and we must look now to their daughters to

18    overcome our own allied armies of evil and to save us from

         ourselves. She must and will succeed, for as David sang

         — “God shall help her, and that right early.” When we

21    try to praise her later works it is as if we would pour

         incense upon the rose. It is the proudest boast of many

         of us that we are “bound to her by bonds dearer than free-

24    dom,” and that we live in the reflected royalty which

         shines from her brow. We rejoice with her that at last

         we begin to know what John on Patmos meant — “And

27    there appeared a great wonder in heaven, a woman clothed

         with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her

         head a crown of twelve stars.” She brought to warring

30    men the Prince of Peace, and he, departing, left his scepter

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1      not in her hand, but in her soul. “The time of times”

         is near when “the new woman” shall subdue the whole

3      earth with the weapons of peace. Then shall wrong be

         robbed of her bitterness and ingratitude of her sting,

         revenge shall clasp hands with pity, and love shall dwell

6      in the tents of hate; while side by side, equal partners in

         all that is worth living for, shall stand the new man with

         the new woman.

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Love is the liberator.