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413. There stands a mysterious prophecy, relating to woman which no scholar who accepts the rabbinical view as to the inferior rank of woman in the divine economy is capable of understanding or interpreting. The guesses at its meaning would fill a considerable niche in a museum of literary curiosities. We refer to Jer. 31:22, which is translated: “How long wilt thou go about, O thou backsliding daughter? for the Lord hath created a new thing in the earth, A woman shall compass a man.”

We suggest this rendering: How long wilt thou keep turning away, O thou turning away daughter? for the Lord hath created [something] new in the earth, Female will lead male about. In other words, it seems God’s design that the “new woman” in Christ Jesus, shall no more “turn away,” as did Eve, to her husband, but remaining loyal to God alone, and true to her destiny as the mother of that Seed,¾both the literal, Jesus, and the mystical Christ, the Church,¾shall lead man about,¾out of the wilderness of the inefficiency of egotism into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For, who shall specially conquer Satan, if not the sex to whom God gave the honor from the beginning of being in eternal enmity against Satan, in the promise, “I will put enmity between thee and the woman?” But woman must be truly meek to fulfill this her promised destiny.[2]

414. But none of God’s promises are the mere reading of fate. That which God promises will never be fulfilled excepting to those who seize the promise. God overrides no human will. But as woman has passed through a long night of travail to bring forth the sons of men on earth, so shall God render to her double for all she has undeservedly suffered through the cruelty and slight and disrespect of man, by giving her a very large share in the work of saving the world through the preaching of the Gospel, if woman will not despise her birthright.

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411. In all the Bible no sin is held up to human contempt more than Esau’s. Now we readily imagine that Esau, after he had sold out his birthright, might attempt to bolster up his self-respect by putting a gloss of virtue over his sin. “See how I loved Jacob! See how self-effacing I have been! Behold my meekness! In my humility I gave my brother the chief place.” But God would say to all this, “Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.” God turns away with loathing from the sin of the self-indulgent shirk. Such “virtuous” veneer is not thick enough to hide woeful self-indulgence as its mainspring. Women need to study well the lesson. Woman was created as a help “meet,” sufficient for man; and because it was “not good” for him to be alone. And later, by all he had lost she was left sole heir of a great inheritance,¾to furnish the seed for a better race. She has fulfilled her call in part, by the virginal birth of Jesus Christ. Its complete fulfillment implies a large spiritual progeny growing out of the spiritual activity of woman. She must not sell her birthright (for it is the same one, except greater, that Esau sold), by a vicious self-effacement.

412. That is sham virtue in woman which lends a cloak or gives stimulus to vice in man. “By their fruits ye shall know them.” That which begets virtue in others is virtue; that which begets vice is vice. A wifely self-immolation which encourages masculine sensuality is vice. A feminine “humility” which gives place for the growth of masculine egotism is vice.

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31. After Adam was created, Genesis 1:31 tells us, “God saw everything that He had made, and, behold, it was very good.” Therefore Adam was very good; but this condition did not last. Genesis 2:18 tells us that presently God says: “It is not good that the man [or “Adam”], should be alone.” The “very good” state of humanity becomes “not good.” What had wrought signs of this change? We are not told, but the following points should be weighed: (1) Adam was offered “freely” the tree of life (2:16), but did not eat of it (3:22); (2) was made keeper, as well as dresser of the Garden, (2:15), but Satan later enters it, (read paragraphs. 36, 37). (3) Had God simply meant by the words “not good” that one person alone was not a desirable thing, the Hebrew expression for “one alone” in Joshua 22:20, Isaiah 51:2, etc., would seem more appropriate. This expression means, “in-his-separation,”—and from whom was Adam “in separation” but from God?

32. Attention to some of these matters has been called by more than one theologian, only to be ignored by the generality of Bible expositors. For instance, William Law, a learned theologian and one of the most accomplished writers of his day, declares: “Adam had lost much of his first perfection before his Eve was taken out of him; which was done to prevent worse effects of his fall, and to prepare a means of his recovery when his fall should become total, as it afterwards was, upon eating of the earthly tree of the knowledge of good and evil. ‘It is not good that man should be alone,’ saith the Scripture. This shows that Adam had altered his first state, had brought some beginning of evil into it, and had made that not to be good, which God saw to be good, when He created him.”

33. The late Dr. Alexander Whyte, of Edinburgh, in his book, Bible Characters, set forth some of the views of William Law, and also of an earlier writer, Jacob Behman, the great German philosopher (whose writings Wesley. in his days, required all his preachers to study). Whyte quotes Behman as teaching,—

“There must have been something of the nature of a stumble, if not an actual fall, in Adam while yet alone in Eden . . . Eve was created [he should say, “elaborated”] to ‘help’ Adam to recover himself, and to establish himself in Paradise, and in the favor, fellowship and service of his Maker.”

34. As to Adam’s need, God said, ‘I will make a help meet for him.” This word for “help” does not imply an inferior, but a superior help, in O. T. usage. It occurs 21 times in the O. T. Here it is used twice of Eve. In Isaiah 30:5, Ezekiel 12:14 and Daniel 11:34 of human help; but in every other use made of the word, it refers to Divine help, as, for instance, Psalm 121:2, “My help cometh from the Lord.” Please notice, further, that the expression is not “helpmeet,” or helpmate, as is often quoted. The word “meet” is a preposition, and Gesenius, the greatest authority as to the meaning of Hebrew words, defines this preposition as often implying, “As things which are before us, and in the sight of which we delight, are objects of our care and affections, hence Isaiah 49:16, ‘Thy walls are before me,’ they have a place in my care and affections.” With this preposition “before,” or “over against,” is coupled the adverb “as,”—the whole meaning “as before him,” (see margin).

35. By the elaboration of Eve, and her separation from Adam, God intended the development of the social virtues, as an aid for Adam. Again William Law says, “Could anything be more punctually [pointedly] related in Scriptures than the gradual fall of Adam? Do you not see that he was first created with both natures [male and female] in him? Is it not expressly told you, that Eve was not taken out of him, till such a time as it was not good for him to be as he then was?”

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