The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women
BLAST OF THE
Veritas temporis filia.
M. D. LVIII.
The kingdom appertaineth to our God.
Wonder it is, that amongst so many pregnant wits as the isle of Great Britain hath produced, so many godly and zealous preachers as England did sometime nourish, and amongst so many learned, and men of grave judgment, as this day by Jezebel are exiled, none is found so stout of courage, so faithful to God, nor loving to their native country, that they dare admonish the inhabitants of that isle, how abominable before God is the empire or rule of a wicked woman (yea, of a traitress and bastard); and what may a people or nation, left destitute of a lawful head, do by the authority of God's word in electing and appointing common rulers and magistrates. That isle (alas!) for the contempt and horrible abuse of God's mercies offered, and for the shameful revolting to Satan from Christ Jesus, and from his gospel once professed, doth justly merit to be left in the hands of their own counsel, and so to come to confusion and bondage of strangers. But yet I fear that this universal negligence of such as sometimes were esteemed watchmen, shall rather aggravate our former ingratitude, than excuse this our universal and ungodly silence in so weighty a matter. We see our country set forth for a prey to foreign nations; we hear the blood of our brethren, the members of Christ Jesus, most cruelly to be shed; and the monstrous empire of a cruel woman (the secret counsel of God excepted) we know to be the only occasion of all these miseries; and yet with silence we pass the time, as though the matter did nothing appertain to us. But the contrary examples of the ancient prophets move me to doubt of this our fact. For Israel did universally decline from God by embracing idolatry under Jeroboam. In which they did continue even unto the destruction of their commonwealth. And Judah, with Jerusalem, did follow the vile superstition and open iniquity of Samaria. But yet ceased not the prophets of God to admonish the one and the other: yea, even after God had poured forth his plagues upon them. For Jeremiah did write to the captives in Babylon, and did correct their errors, plainly instructing them who did remain in the midst of that idolatrous nation. Ezekiel, from the midst of his brethren (prisoners in Chaldea) did write his vision to those that were in Jerusalem; and, sharply rebuking their vices, assured them that they should not escape the vengeance of God, by reason of their abominations committed.
The same prophets, for comfort of the afflicted and chosen saints of God, who did lie hid amongst the reprobate of that age (as commonly doth the corn amongst the chaff), did prophesy and before speak the changes of kingdoms, the punishment of tyrants, and the vengeance which God would execute upon the oppressors of his people. The same did Daniel, and the rest of the prophets, every one in their season. By whose examples, and by the plain precept which is given to Ezekiel, commanding him that he shall say to the wicked, Thou shalt die the death, we in this our miserable age are bound to admonish the world, and the tyrants thereof, of their sudden destruction, to assure them and to cry unto them, whether they list to hear or not, that the blood of the saints, which by them is shed, continually crieth and craveth the vengeance in the presence of the Lord of Hosts. And further, it is our duty to open the truth revealed unto us, unto the ignorant and blind world; unless that, to our own condemnation, we list to wrap up and hide the talent committed to our charge.
I am assured that God hath revealed to some in this our age, that it is more than a monster in nature that a woman shall reign and have empire above man. And yet, with us all there is such silence, as if God therewith were nothing offended. The natural man, enemy to God, shall find, I know, many causes why no such doctrine ought to be published in these our dangerous days: first, for that it may seem to tend to sedition; secondarily, it shall be dangerous, not only to the writer or publisher, but also to all such as shall read the writings, or favour this truth spoken; and last, it shall not amend the chief offenders, partly because it shall never come to their ears, and partly because they will not be admonished in such cases.
I answer, if any of these be a sufficient reason, that a truth known shall be concealed, then were the ancient prophets of God very fools, who did not better provide for their own quietness, than to hazard their lives for rebuking of vices, and for the opening of such crimes as were not known to the world. And Christ Jesus did injury to his apostles, commanding them to preach repentance and remission of sins in his name to every realm and nation. And Paul did not understand his own liberty, when he cried, Woe be to me, if I preach not the evangel!. If fear, I say, of persecution, of slander, or of any inconvenience before named, might have excused and discharged the servants of God from plainly rebuking the sins of the world, just cause had every one of them to have ceased from their office. For suddenly their doctrine was accused by terms of sedition, of new learning, and of treason. Persecution and vehement trouble did shortly come upon the professors with the preachers. Kings, princes, and worldly rulers did conspire against God, and against his anointed Christ Jesus.
But what? Did any of these move the prophets and apostles to faint in their vocation? No. But by the resistance (which the devil made to them by his supporters) were they the more inflamed to publish the truth revealed unto them, and to witness with their blood, that grievous condemnation and God's heavy vengeance should follow the proud contempt of graces offered. The fidelity, bold courage, and constancy of those that are passed before us, ought to provoke us to follow their footsteps, unless we look for another kingdom than Christ hath promised to such as persevere in profession of his name to the end.
If any think that the empire of women is not of such importance, that for the suppressing of the same any man is bound to hazard his life: I answer, that to suppress it is in the hand of God alone. But to utter the impiety and abomination of the same, I say, it is the duty of every true messenger of God, to whom the truth is revealed in that behalf. For the especial duty of God's messengers is to preach repentance, to admonish the offenders of their offences, and to say to the wicked, Thou shalt die the death, except thou repent. This, I trust, will no man deny to be the proper office of all God's messengers, to preach (as I have said) repentance and remission of sins. But neither of both can be done, except the conscience of the offenders be accused and convicted of transgression. But how shall any man repent, not knowing wherein he hath offended? And where no repentance is found, there can be no entry to grace. And therefore, I say, that of necessity it is that this monstiferous empire of women (which amongst all enormities that this day do abound upon the face of the whole earth, is most detestable and damnable) be openly revealed and plainly declared to the world, to the end that some may repent and be saved. And thus far to the first sort.
To such as think that it will be long before such doctrine come to the ears of the chief offenders, I answer, that the verity of God is of that nature, that at one time or at another it will purchase to itself audience. It is an odour and smell that cannot be suppressed. Yea, it is a trumpet that will sound in despite of the adversary. It will compel the very enemies, to their own confusion, to testify and bear witness of it. For I find that the prophecy and preaching of Elijah were declared in the hall of the king of Syria, by the servants and flatterers of the same wicked king, making mention that Elijah declared to the king of Israel whatsoever the said king of Syria spoke in his most secret chamber. And the wondrous works of Jesus Christ were notified to Herod, not in any great praise or commendation of his doctrine, but rather to signify that Christ called that tyrant a fox, and that he did no more regard his authority than did John the Baptist, whom Herod before had beheaded for the liberty of his tongue.
But whether the bearers of the rumours and tidings were favourers of Christ, or flatterers of the tyrant, certain it is that the fame, as well of Christ's doctrine as of his works, came to the ears of Herod: even so may the sound of our weak trumpet, by the support of some wind (blow it from the south, or blow it from the north, it is no matter), come to the ears of the chief offenders. But whether it do or not, yet dare we not cease to blow as God will give strength. For we are debtors to more than princes: to wit, to the multitude of our brethren, of whom, no doubt, a great number have heretofore offended by error and ignorance, giving their suffrages, consent, and help to establish women in their kingdoms and empires, not understanding how abominable, odious, and detestable is all such usurped authority in the presence of God. And therefore must the truth be plainly spoken, that the simple and rude multitude may be admonished.
And as concerning the danger which may hereof ensue, I am not altogether so brutish and insensible, but that I have laid my account, what the finishing of the work may cost me for my own part. First, I am not ignorant how difficult and dangerous it is to speak against a common error, especially when the ambitious minds of men and women are called to the obedience of God's simple commandment. For to the most part of men, lawful and godly appeareth, whatsoever antiquity hath received. And secondarily, I look to have more adversaries, not only of the ignorant multitude, but also of the wise, politic, and quiet spirits of the world, so that as well shall such as ought to maintain the truth and verity of God become enemies to me in this case, as shall the princes and ambitious persons who, to maintain their unjust tyranny do always study to suppress the same. And thus I am most certainly persuaded that my labour shall not escape reprehension of many.
But because I remember that accounts of the talents received must be made to him who neither respects the multitude, neither yet approveth he the wisdom, policy, peace, nor antiquity, concluding or determining anything against his eternal will, revealed to us in his most blessed word I am compelled to cover my eyes, and shut up my ears, that I neither see the multitude that shall withstand me in this matter, neither that I shall hear the opprobrium, nor consider the dangers which I may incur for uttering the same. I shall be called foolish, curious, despiteful, and a sower of sedition; and one day, perchance (although now I be nameless) I may be attainted of treason. But seeing that it is impossible, but that either I shall offend God, daily calling to my conscience that I ought to manifest the known verity; or else that I shall displease the world for doing the same; I have determined to obey God, notwithstanding that the world shall rage thereat.
I know that the world offended (by God's permission) may kill the body; but God's majesty offended, hath power to punish body and soul for ever. His majesty is offended when his precepts are contemned and his threatenings esteemed to be of none effect. And amongst his manifold precepts given to his prophets, and amongst his threatenings, none is more vehement than is that which is pronounced to Ezekiel in these words: Son of man, I have appointed thee a watchman to the house of Israel, that thou shouldest hear from my mouth the word; and that thou mayest admonish them plainly, when I shall say to the wicked man, O wicked, thou shalt assuredly die. Then if thou shalt not speak, that thou mayest plainly admonish him, that he may leave his wicked way, the wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require of thy hand. But and if thou shalt plainly admonish the wicked man, and yet he shall not turn from his way, such a one shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul
This precept, I say, with the threatening annexed, together with the rest that is spoken in the same chapter, not to Ezekiel only, but to everyone, whom God places watchman over his people and flock (and watchmen are they, whose eyes he doth open, and whose conscience he pricks to admonish the ungodly), compels me to utter my conscience in this matter, notwithstanding that the whole world should be offended with me for so doing. If any wonder why I do conceal my name, let him be assured that the fear of corporeal punishment is neither the only, neither the chief cause. My purpose is thrice to blow the trumpet in the same matter, if God so permit. Twice I intend to do it without name; but at the last blast to take the blame upon myself, that all others may be purged.
THE FIRST BLAST TO AWAKE WOMEN DEGENERATE.
To promote a woman to bear rule, superiority, dominion, or empire above any realm, nation, or city, is repugnant to nature; contumely to God, a thing most contrarious to his revealed will and approved ordinance; and finally, it is the subversion of good order, of all equity and justice.
In the probation of this proposition, I will not be so curious as to gather whatsoever may amplify, set forth, or decor the same; but I am purposed, even as I have spoken my conscience in most plain and few words, so to stand content with a simple proof of every member, bringing in for my witness God's ordinance in nature, his plain will revealed in his word, and the minds of such as be most ancient amongst godly writers.
And first, where I affirm the empire of a woman to be a thing repugnant to nature, I mean not only that God, by the order of his creation, hath spoiled woman of authority and dominion, but also that man hath seen, proved, and pronounced just causes why that it so should be. Man, I say, in many other cases blind, doth in this behalf see very clearly. For the causes are so manifest, that they cannot be hid. For who can deny but it is repugnant to nature, that the blind shall be appointed to lead and conduct such as do see? That the weak, the sick, and impotent persons shall nourish and keep the whole and strong? And finally, that the foolish, mad, and frenetic shall govern the discreet, and give counsel to such as be sober of mind? And such be all women, compared unto man in bearing of authority. For their sight in civil regiment is but blindness; their strength, weakness; their counsel, foolishness; and judgment, frenzy, if it be rightly considered.
I except such as God, by singular privilege, and for certain causes known only to himself, hath exempted from the common rank of women, and do speak of women as nature and experience do this day declare them. Nature, I say, doth paint them forth to be weak, frail, impatient, feeble, and foolish; and experience hath declared them to be inconstant, variable, cruel, and lacking the spirit of counsel and regiment. And these notable faults have men in all ages espied in that kind, for the which not only they have removed women from rule and authority, but also some have thought that men subject to the counsel or empire of their wives were unworthy of public office. For thus writeth Aristotle, in the second of his Politics. What difference shall we put, saith he, whether that women bear authority, or the husbands that obey the empire of their wives, be appointed to be magistrates? For what ensueth the one, must needs follow the other: to wit, injustice, confusion, and disorder. The same author further reasoneth, that the policy or regiment of the Lacedemonians (who other ways amongst the Greeks were most excellent) was not worthy to be reputed nor accounted amongst the number of commonwealths that were well governed, because the magistrates and rulers of the same were too much given to please and obey their wives. What would this writer (I pray you) have said to that realm or nation, where a woman sitteth crowned in Parliament amongst the midst of men?
Oh fearful and terrible are thy judgments, O Lord, which thus hast abased man for his iniquity!
I am assuredly persuaded that if any of those men, which, illuminated only by the light of nature, did see and pronounce [the] causes sufficient why women ought not to bear rule nor authority, should this day live and see a woman sitting in judgment, or riding from Parliament in the midst of men, having the royal crown upon her head, the sword and the sceptre borne before her, in sign that the administration of justice was in her power: I am assuredly persuaded, I say, that such a sight should so astonish them, that they should judge the whole world to be transformed into the Amazons, and that such a metamorphosis and change was made of all the men of that country, as poets do feign was made of the companions of Ulysses; or at least, that albeit the outward form of men remained, yet should they judge their hearts were changed from the wisdom, understanding, and courage of men, to the foolish fondness and cowardice of women. Yea, they further should pronounce, that where women reign or be in authority, that there must needs vanity be preferred to virtue, ambition and pride to temperance and modesty; and finally, that avarice, the mother of all mischief, must needs devour equity and justice.
But lest that we shall seem to be of this opinion alone, let us hear what others have seen and decreed in this matter. In the Rules of the Law thus is it written: Women are removed from all civil and public office, so that they neither may be judges, neither may they occupy the place of the magistrate, neither yet may they be speakers for others. The same is repeated in the third and the sixteenth books of the Digests, where certain persons are forbidden, Ne pro aliis postulent, that is, that they be no speakers nor advocates for others. And among the rest, women are forbidden, and this cause is added, that they do not against shamefastness intermeddle themselves with the causes of others; neither yet that women presume to use the offices due to men. The Law in the same place doth further declare that a natural shamefastness ought to be in womankind, which most certainly she loses whensoever she taketh upon her the office and estate of man. As in Calphurnia was evidently declared, who having license to speak before the senate, at length became so impudent and importunate, that by her babbling she troubled the whole assembly. And so gave occasion that this law was established.
In the first book of the Digests, it is pronounced that the condition of the woman, in many cases, is worse than of the man: as in jurisdiction (saith the law), in receiving of cure and tuition, in adoption, in public accusation, in delation, in all popular action, and in motherly power which she hath not upon her own sons. The Law further will not permit that the woman give anything to her husband, because it is against the nature of her kind, being the inferior member, to presume to give anything to her head. The Law doth moreover pronounce womankind to be most avaricious (which is a vice intolerable in those that should rule or minister justice). And Aristotle, as before is touched, doth plainly affirm, that wheresoever women bear dominion, there must needs the people be disordered, living and abounding in all intemperance, given to pride, excess, and vanity; and finally, in the end, they must needs come to confusion and ruin.
Would to God the examples were not so manifest, to the further declaration of the imperfections of women, of their natural weakness and inordinate appetites. I might adduce histories, proving some women to have died for sudden joy; some for impatience to have murdered themselves; some to have burned with such inordinate lust, that for the quenching of the same, they have betrayed to strangers their country and city; and some to have been so desirous of dominion, that for the obtaining of the same, they have murdered the children of their own sons, yea, and some have killed with cruelty their own husbands and children. But to me it is sufficient (because this part of nature is not my most sure foundation) to have proved, that men illuminated only by the light of nature have seen and have determined that it is a thing most repugnant to nature, that women rule and govern over men. For those that will not permit a woman to have power over her own sons, will not permit her (I am assured) to have rule over a realm; and those that will not suffer her to speak in defence of those that be accused (neither that will admit her accusation intended against man) will not approve her that she shall sit in judgment, crowned with the royal crown, usurping authority in the midst of men.
But now to the second part of nature, in the which I include the revealed will and perfect ordinance of God; and against this part of nature, I say, that it doth manifestly repugn that any woman shall reign or bear dominion over man. For God, first by the order of his creation, and after by the curse and malediction pronounced against the woman (by reason of her rebellion) hath pronounced the contrary.
First, I say, that woman in her greatest perfection was made to serve and obey man, not to rule and command him. As St. Paul doth reason in these words: Man is not of the woman, but the woman of the man. And man was not created for the cause of the woman, but the woman for the cause of man; and therefore ought the woman to have a power upon her head (that is, a coverture in sign of subjection). Of which words it is plain that the apostle means, that woman in her greatest perfection should have known that man was lord above her; and therefore that she should never have pretended any kind of superiority above him, no more than do the angels above God the Creator, or above Christ Jesus their head. So I say, that in her greatest perfection, woman was created to be subject to man.
But after her fall and rebellion committed against God, there was put upon her a new necessity, and she was made subject to man by the irrevocable sentence of God, pronounced in these words: I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception. With sorrow shalt thou bear thy children, and thy will shall be subject to thy man; and he shall bear dominion over thee. Hereby may such as altogether be not blinded plainly see, that God by his sentence hath dejected all women from empire and dominion above man. For two punishments are laid upon her: to wit, a dolour, anguish, and pain, as oft as ever she shall be mother; and a subjection of herself, her appetites, and will, to her husband, and to his will. From the former part of this malediction can neither art, nobility, policy, nor law made by man deliver womankind; but whosoever attaineth to that honour to be mother, proves in experience the effect and strength of God's word. But (alas!) ignorance of God, ambition, and tyranny have studied to abolish and destroy the second part of God's punishment. For women are lifted up to be heads over realms, and to rule above men at their pleasure and appetites. But horrible is the vengeance which is prepared for the one and for the other, for the promoters and for the persons promoted, except they speedily repent. For they shall be dejected from the glory of the sons of God to the slavery of the devil, and to the torment that is prepared for all such, as do exalt themselves against God.
Against God can nothing be more manifest than that a woman shall be exalted to reign above man; for the contrary sentence hath he pronounced in these words: Thy will shall be subject to thy husband, and he shall bear dominion over thee. As God should say, Forasmuch as you have abused thy former condition, and because thy free will hath brought yourself and mankind into the bondage of Satan, I therefore will bring thee in bondage to man. For where before thy obedience should have been voluntary, now it shall be by constraint and by necessity; and that because thou hast deceived thy man, thou shalt therefore be no longer mistress over thy own appetites, over thine own will or desires. For in thee there is neither reason nor discretion which are able to moderate thy affections, and therefore they shall be subject to the desire of thy man. He shall be lord and governor, not only over thy body, but even over thy appetites and will. This sentence, I say, did God pronounce against Eve and her daughters, as the rest of the scriptures do evidently witness. So that no woman can ever presume to reign above man, but the same she must needs do in despite of God, and in contempt of his punishment and malediction.
I am not ignorant, that the most part of men do understand this malediction of the subjection of the wife to her husband, and of the dominion which he beareth above her. But the Holy Ghost giveth to us another interpretation of this place, taking from all women all kinds of superiority, authority, and power over man, speaking as follows, by the mouth of St. Paul: I suffer not a woman to teach, neither yet to usurp authority above man. Here he nameth women in general, excepting none; affirming that she may usurp authority above no man. And that he speaketh more plainly in another place in these words: Let women keep silence in the congregation, for it is not permitted to them to speak, but to be subject, as the law saith. These two testimonies of the Holy Ghost are sufficient to prove whatsoever we have affirmed before, and to repress the inordinate pride of women, as also to correct the foolishness of those that have studied to exalt women in authority above men, against God and against his sentence pronounced.
But that the same two places of the apostle may the better be understood: it is to be noted, that in the latter, which is written in the first epistle to the Corinthians, the 14th chapter, before the apostle had permitted that all persons should prophesy one after another, adding this reason, that all may learn and all may receive consolation; and lest that any might have judged, that amongst a rude multitude, and the plurality of speakers, many things little to purpose might have been affirmed, or else that some confusion might have arisen, he addeth, The spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets; as he should say, God shall always raise up some to whom the verity shall be revealed, and unto such you shall give place, albeit they sit in the lowest seats. And thus the apostle would have prophesying an exercise to be free to the whole church, that everyone should communicate with the congregation what God had revealed to them, providing that it were orderly done. But from this general privilege he excluded all women, saying, Let women keep silence in the congregation. And why, I pray you? Was it because that the apostle thought no woman to have any knowledge? No, he giveth another reason, saying, Let her be subject, as the law saith. In which words is first to be noted, that the apostle calls this former sentence pronounced against woman a law: that is, the immutable decree of God, who by his own voice hath subjected her to one member of the congregation, that is to her husband. Whereupon the Holy Ghost concludeth, that she may never rule nor bear empire above man; for she that is made subject to one, may never be preferred to many. And that the Holy Ghost doth manifestly express, saying: I suffer not that woman usurp authority above man. He saith not, I will not that woman usurp authority above her husband; but he nameth man in general, taking from her all power and authority to speak, to reason, to interpret, or to teach; but principally to rule or to judge in the assembly of men. So that woman by the law of God, and by the interpretation of the Holy Ghost, is utterly forbidden to occupy the place of God in the offices aforesaid, which he hath assigned to man, whom he hath appointed and ordained his lieutenant in earth, secluding from that honour and dignity all women, as this short argument shall evidently declare.
The apostle taketh power from all women to speak in the assembly. Ergo, he permitteth no woman to rule above man. The former part is evident, whereupon doth the conclusion of necessity follow; for he that taketh from woman the least part of authority, dominion, or rule, will not permit unto her that which is greatest. But greater it is to reign above realms and nations, to publish and to make laws, and to command men of all estates, and finally, to appoint judges and ministers, than to speak in the congregation. For her judgment, sentence, or opinion proposed in the congregation, may be judged by all, may be corrected by the learned, and reformed by the godly. But woman being promoted in sovereign authority, her laws must be obeyed, her opinion followed, and her tyranny maintained, supposing that it be expressly against God and the profit of the commonwealth, as too manifest experience doth this day witness.
And therefore yet again I repeat, that which before I have affirmed: to wit, that a woman promoted to sit in the seat of God (that is, to teach, to judge, or to reign above man) is a monster in nature, contumely to God, and a thing most repugnant to his will and ordinance. For he hath deprived them, as before is proved, of speaking in the congregation, and hath expressly forbidden them to usurp any kind of authority above man. How then will he suffer them to reign and have empire above realms and nations? He will never, I say, approve it, because it is a thing most repugnant to his perfect ordinance, as after shall be declared, and as the former scriptures have plainly given testimony. To the which to add anything were superfluous, were it not that the world is almost now come to that blindness, that whatsoever pleaseth not the princes and the multitude, the same is rejected as doctrine newly forged, and is condemned for heresy. I have therefore thought good to recite the minds of some ancient writers in the same matter, to the end that such as altogether be not blinded by the devil, may consider and understand this my judgment to be no new interpretation of God's scriptures, but to be the uniform consent of the most part of godly writers since the time of the apostles.
Tertullian, in his book of Women's Apparel, after he hath showed many causes why gorgeous apparel is abominable and odious in a woman, addeth these words, speaking as it were to every woman by name: Dost thou not know, saith he, that thou art Eve. The sentence of God liveth and is effectual against this kind; and in this world, of necessity it is, that the punishment also live. Thou art the port and gate of the devil. Thou art the first transgressor of God's law. Thou didst persuade and easily deceive him whom the devil durst not assault. For thy merit (that is, for thy death), it behoved the Son of God to suffer the death; and doth it yet abide in thy mind to deck thee above thy skin coats?
By these and many other grave sentences and quick interrogations, did this godly writer labour to bring every woman in contemplation of herself, to the end that every one, deeply weighing what sentence God had pronounced against the whole race and daughters of Eve, might not only learn daily to humble and subject themselves in the presence of God, but also that they should avoid and abhor whatsoever thing might exalt them or puff them up in pride, or that might be occasion that they should forget the curse and malediction of God. And what, I pray you, is more able to cause a woman to forget her own condition, than if she be lifted up in authority above man? It is a thing very difficult to a man (be he never so constant) promoted to honours, not to be tickled somewhat with pride (for the wind of vain glory doth easily carry up the dry dust of the earth). But as for woman, it is no more possible that she, being set aloft in authority above man, shall resist the motions of pride, than it is able to the weak reed, or to the turning weathercock, not to bow or turn at the vehemency of the inconstant wind. And therefore the same writer expressly forbiddeth all women to intermeddle with the office of man. For thus he writeth in his book De Virginibus Velandis["on the veiling of virgins"]: It is not permitted to a woman to speak in the congregation, neither to teach, neither to baptize, neither to vindicate to herself any office of man. The same he speaketh yet more plainly in the Preface of his sixth book written Against Marcion, where he recounting certain monstrous things which were to be seen at the Sea called Euxinum, amongst the rest, he reciteth this as a great monster in nature, that women in those parts were not tamed nor abased by consideration of their own sex and kind, but that, all shame laid apart, they made expenses upon weapons, and learned the feats of war, having more pleasure to fight than to marry and be subject to man. Thus far of Tertullian, whose words be so plain, that they need no explanation. For he that taketh from her all office appertaining to man, will not suffer her to reign above man: and he that judgeth it a monster in nature that a woman shall exercise weapons, must judge it to be a monster of monsters that a woman shall be exalted above a whole realm and nation. Of the same mind are Origen and divers others, whose sentences I omit to avoid prolixity.
Yea, even till the days of Augustine, who, in his twenty-second book written Against Faustus, proveth that a woman ought to serve her husband as unto God, affirming that in nothing hath woman equal power with man, saving that neither of both have power over their own bodies. By which he would plainly conclude, that woman ought never to pretend nor thirst for that power and authority which be due to man. For so he doth explain himself in another place, affirming that woman ought to be repressed and bridled betimes, if she aspireth to any dominion; alleging that it is dangerous and perilous to suffer her to proceed, although it be in temporal and corporeal things. And thereto he addeth these words: God seeth not for a time, neither is there any new thing in his sight and knowledge: meaning thereby, that what God hath seen in one woman (as concerning dominion and bearing of authority) the same he seeth in all; and what he hath forbidden to one, the same he also forbiddeth to all. And this most evidently yet in another place he writeth, moving this question, How can woman be the image of God, seeing (saith he) she is subject to man, and hath none authority, neither to teach, neither to be witness, neither to judge, much less to rule or bear empire? These be the very words of Augustine, of which it is evident that this godly writer doth not only agree with Tertullian, before recited, but also with the former sentence of the Law, which taketh from woman not only all authority amongst men, but also every office appertaining to man.
To the question how she can be the image of God, he answers as follows: Woman, saith he, compared to other creatures, is the image of God, for she beareth dominion over them. But compared unto man, she may not be called the image of God, for she beareth not rule and lordship over man, but ought to obey him, etc. And how that woman ought to obey man, he speaketh yet more clearly in these words, The woman shall be subject to man as unto Christ. For woman, saith he, hath not her example from the body and from the flesh, that so she shall be subject to man, as the flesh is unto the Spirit, because that the flesh in the weakness and mortality of this life lusteth and striveth against the Spirit, and therefore would not the Holy Ghost give example of subjection to the woman of any such thing, etc. This sentence of Augustine ought to be noted of all women, for in it he plainly affirmeth, that woman ought to be subject to man, that she never ought more to desire pre-eminence him, than that she ought to desire above Christ Jesus.
With Augustine, agreeth in every point St. Ambrose, who thus writeth in his Hexameron: Adam was deceived by Eve, and not Eve by Adam, and therefore it is just, that woman receive and acknowledge him for governor whom she called to sin, lest that again she slide and fall by womanly facility. And writing upon the epistle to the Ephesians, he saith, Let women be subject to their own husbands as unto the Lord; for the man is head to the woman, and Christ is head to the congregation, and he is the Saviour to the body; but the congregation is subject to Christ, even so ought women to be to their husbands in all things. He proceedeth further, saying, Women are commanded to be subject to men by the law of nature, because that man is the author or beginner of the woman: for as Christ is the head of the church, so is man of the woman. From Christ the church took beginning, and therefore it is subject unto him; even so did woman take beginning from man that she should be subject. Thus we hear the agreeing of these two writers to be such, that a man might judge the one to have stolen the words and sentences from the other. And yet plain it is, that during the time of their writing, the one was far distant from the other. But the Holy Ghost, who is the Spirit of concord and unity, did so illuminate their hearts, and direct their tongues, and pens, that as they did conceive and understand one truth, so did they pronounce and utter the same, leaving a testimony of their knowledge and concord to us their posterity.
If any think that all these former sentences be spoken only of the subjection of the married woman to her husband: as before I have proved the contrary by the plain words and reasoning of St. Paul, so shall I shortly do the same by other testimonies of the foresaid writers. The same Ambrose, writing upon the second chapter of the first epistle to Timothy, after he hath spoken much of the simple arrayment of women, he addeth these words: Woman ought not only to have simple arrayment, but all authority is to be denied unto her. For she must be in subjection to man (of whom she hath taken her original), as well in habit as in service. And after a few words, he saith, Because that death did enter into the world by her, there is no boldness that ought to be permitted unto her, but she ought to be in humility. Hereof it is plain, that from all woman, be she married or unmarried, is all authority taken to execute any office that appertaineth to man. Yea, it is plain, that all woman is commanded to serve, to be in humility and subjection. Which thing yet speaketh the same writer more plainly in these words: It is not permitted to women to speak, but to be in silence, as the law saith. What saith the law? 'Unto thy husband shall thy conversion be, and he shall bear dominion over thee'. This is a special law, saith Ambrose, whose sentence, lest it should be violated, infirmed, or made weak, women are commanded to be in silence. Here he includeth all women; and yet he proceedeth further in the same place, saying, It is shame for them to presume to speak of the law, in the house of the Lord, who hath commanded them to be subject to their men.
But most plainly speaketh he, writing upon the 16th chapter of the epistle of St. Paul to the Romans, upon these words: Salute Rufus and his mother. For this cause, saith Ambrose, did the apostle place Rufus before his mother, for the election of the administration of the grace of God, in the which a woman hath no place. For he was chosen and promoted by the Lord to take care over his business, that is, over the church, to which office could not his mother be appointed, albeit she was a woman so holy that the apostle called her his mother. Hereof it is plain, that the administration of the grace of God is denied to all woman. By the administration of God's grace, is understood not only the preaching of the word and administration of the sacraments, by the which the grace of God is presented and ordinarily distributed unto man, but also the administration of civil justice, by the which, virtue ought to be maintained, and vices punished. The execution whereof is no less denied to woman, than is the preaching of the evangel, or administration of the sacraments, as hereafter shall most plainly appear.
Chrysostom, amongst the Grecian writers of no small credit, speaking in rebuke of men, who in his days were become inferior to some women in wit and in godliness, saith, For this cause was woman put under thy power (he speaketh to man in general), and thou wast pronounced lord over her, that she should obey thee, and that the head should not follow the feet. But often it is, that we see the contrary, that he who in his order ought to be the head, doth not keep the order of the feet (that is, doth not rule the feet), and that she that is in place of the foot is constitute to be the head. He speaketh these words, as it were, in admiration that man was become so brutish, that he did not consider it to be a thing most monstrous that woman should be preferred to man in anything, whom God had subjected to man in all things. He proceedeth, saying, Nevertheless, it is the part of man, with diligent care, to repel the woman that giveth him wicked counsel; and woman, which gave that pestilent counsel to man, ought at all times to have the punishment which was given to Eve sounding in her ears. And in another place, he induceth God speaking to the woman in this sort: Because you left him, of whose nature thou wast participant, and for whom thou wast formed, and have had pleasure to have familiarity with that wicked beast, and would take his counsel; therefore I subject thee to man, and I appoint and affirm him to be thy lord, that thou mayest acknowledge his dominion; and because thou couldst not bear rule, learn well to be ruled. Why they should not bear rule, he declareth in other places, saying, Womankind is imprudent and soft (or flexible): imprudent, because she cannot consider with wisdom and reason the things which she heareth and seeth; and soft she is, because she is easily bowed. I know that Chrysostom brings in these words, to declare the cause why false prophets do commonly deceive women, because they are easily persuaded to any opinion, especially if it be against God; and because they lack prudence and right reason to judge the things that bee spoken. But hereof may their nature be espied, and the vices of the same, which in no wise ought to be in those that are appointed to govern others. For they ought to be constant, stable, prudent, and doing everything with discretion and reason, which virtues women cannot have in equality with men. For that he doth witness in another place, saying, Women have in themselves a tickling and study of vain glory; and that they may have in common with men. They are suddenly moved to anger; and that they have also common with some men. But virtues in which they excel, they have not common with man; and therefore hath the apostle removed them from the office of teaching, which is an evident proof that in virtue they far differ from man.
Let the reasons of this writer be marked, for further he yet proceedeth, after that he hath in many words lamented the effeminate manners of men, who were so far degenerate to the weakness of women, that some might have demanded, Why may not women teach amongst such a sort of men, who in wisdom and godliness are become inferior unto women? He finally concludeth, That notwithstanding that men be degenerate, yet may not women usurp any authority above them. And in the end he addeth these words, These things I do not speak to extol them (that is women), but to the confusion and shame of ourselves, and to admonish us to take again the dominion that is meet and convenient for us; not only that power which is according to the excellency of dignity, but that which is according to providence, and according to help and virtue; for then is the body in best proportion when is hath the best governor.
Oh that both man and woman should consider the profound counsel and admonition of this father! He would not that man for appetite of any vain glory should desire preeminence above woman. For God hath not made man to be head for any such cause, but having respect to that weakness and imperfection which always letteth woman to govern. He hath ordained man to be superior; and that meaneth Chrysostom, saying, Then is the body in best proportion when it hath the best governor. But woman can never be the best governor, by reason that she, being spoiled of the spirit of regiment, can never attain to that degree to be called or judged a good governor; because in the nature of all woman lurks such vices as in good governors are not tolerable. Which the same writer expresseth in these words, Womankind, saith he, is rash and foolhardy; and their covetousness is like the gulf of hell, that is insatiable. And therefore in another place, he wills that woman shall have nothing to do in judgment, in common affairs, or in the regiment of the commonwealth (because she is impatient of troubles), but that she shall live in tranquility and quietness. And if she hath occasion to go from the house, that yet she shall have no matter of trouble, neither to follow her, neither to be offered unto her, as commonly there must be to such as bear authority.
And with Chrysostom fully agreeth Basilius Magnus, in a sermon which he maketh upon some places of scripture, wherein he reproveth divers vices; and amongst the rest, he affirmeth woman to be a tender creature, flexible, soft, and pitiful; which nature God hath given unto her, that she may be apt to nourish children. The which facility of the woman did Satan abuse, and thereby brought her from the obedience of God. And, therefore, in divers other places doth he conclude that she is not apt to bear rule, and that she is forbidden to teach.
Innumerable more testimonies of all sorts of writers may be adduced for the same purpose, but with these I stand content; judging it sufficient, to stop the mouth of such as accuse and condemn all doctrine as heretical which displeaseth them in any point, that I have proved by the determinations and laws of men illuminated only by the light of nature, by the order of God's creation, by the curse and malediction pronounced against woman by the mouth of St. Paul, who is the interpreter of God's sentence and law, and finally, by the minds of those writers who, in the church of God, have been always held in greatest reverence: that it is a thing most repugnant to nature, to God's will and appointed ordinance (yea, that it cannot be without contumely committed against God), that a woman should be promoted to dominion or empire, to reign over man, be it in realm, nation, province, or city. Now resteth it in a few words to be shown that the same empire of women is the subversion of good order, equity and justice.
Augustine defineth order to be that thing by the which God hath appointed and ordained all things. Note well, reader, that Augustine will admit no order where God's appointment is absent and lacketh. And in another place he saith, that order is a disposition, giving their own proper places to things that be unequal, which he terms in Latin, parium et disparium, that is, of things equal or like, and things unequal or unlike. Of which two places, and of the whole disputation (which is contained in his second book De Ordine), it is evident that whatsoever is done either without the assurance of God's will, or else against his will manifestly revealed in his word, is done against order. But such is the empire and regiment of all women (as evidently before is declared); and therefore, I say, it is a thing plainly repugnant to good order: yea, it is the subversion of the same.
If any list to reject the definition of Augustine, as either not proper to this purpose, or else as insufficient to prove mine intent, let the same man understand, that in so doing he hath infirmed mine argument nothing. For as I depend not upon the determinations of men, so I think my cause no weaker, albeit their authority be denied unto me; provided that God by his will revealed, and manifest word, stand plain and evident on my side.
That God hath subjected womankind to man, by the order of his creation, and by the curse that he hath pronounced against her, is before declared . Besides these, he hath set before our eyes two other mirrors and glasses, in which he will that we should behold the order which he hath appointed and established in nature: the one is the natural body of man; the other is the politic or civil body of that commonwealth, in which God by his own word hath appointed an order. In the natural body of man, God hath appointed an order that the head shall occupy the uppermost place; and the head he hath joined with the body, that from it life and motion do flow to the rest of the members. In it hath he placed the eye to see, the ear to hear, and the tongue to speak, which offices are appointed to none other member of the body. The rest of the members have every one their own place and office appointed, but none may have neither the place nor office of the head. For who would not judge that body to be a monster, where there was no head eminent above the rest, but that the eyes were in the hands, the tongue and the mouth beneath in the belly, and the ears in the feet? Men, I say, should not only pronounce this body to be a monster, but assuredly they might conclude that such a body could not long endure. And no less monstrous is the body of that commonwealth where a woman beareth empire; for either it doth lack a lawful head (as in very deed it doth), or else there is an idol exalted in the place of the true head.
An idol I call that which hath the form and appearance, but lacks the virtue and strength which the name and proportion do resemble and promise. As images have face, nose, eyes, mouth, hands, and feet painted, but the use of the same cannot the craft and art of man give them, as the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David teacheth us, saying, They have eyes, but they see not; mouth, but they speak not; nose, but they smell not; hands and feet, but they neither touch nor have power to go. And such, I say, is every realm and nation where a woman beareth dominion. For in despite of God (he of his just judgment so giving them over to a reprobate mind) may a realm, I confess, exalt up a woman to that monstriferous honour, to be esteemed as head. But impossible it is to man and angel to give unto her the properties and perfect offices of a lawful head; for the same God that hath denied power to the hand to speak, to the belly to hear, and to the feet to see, hath denied to woman power to command man, and hath taken away wisdom to consider, and providence to foresee, the things that be profitable to the commonwealth: yea, finally, he hath denied to her in any case to be head to a man, but plainly hath pronounced that man is head to woman, even as Christ is head to all man .
If men in a blind rage should assemble together, and appoint themselves another head than Christ Jesus (as the Papists have done their Romish Antichrist), should Christ therefore lose his own dignity, or should God give to that counterfeit head power to give life to the body, to see whatsoever might endanger or hurt it, or to speak in defence, and to hear the request of every subject? It is certain that he would not. For that honour he hath appointed before all times to his only Son; and the same will he give to no creature besides. No more will he admit nor accept woman to be the lawful head over man, although man, devil, and angel will conjure in their favour. For seeing he hath subjected her to one (as before is said), he will never permit her to reign over many. Seeing he hath commanded her to hear and obey one, he will not suffer that she speak, and with usurped authority command realms and nations.
Chrysostom, explaining these words of the apostle, The head of woman is man, compareth God in his universal regiment to a king sitting in his royal majesty, to whom all his subjects, commanded to give homage and obedience, appear before him, bearing everyone such a badge and cognizance of dignity and honour as he hath given to them; which if they despise and contemn, then do they dishonour their king. Even so, saith he, ought man and woman to appear before God, bearing the ensigns of the condition which they have received of him. Man hath received a certain glory and dignity above the woman; and therefore ought he to appear before his high Majesty bearing the sign of his honour, having no coverture upon his head, to witness that in earth man hath no head. Beware Chrysostom what thou sayest! Thou shalt be reputed a traitor if Englishmen hear you, for they must have my sovereign lady and mistress; and Scotland hath drunken also the enchantment and venom of Circe let it be so to their own shame and confusion.
He proceedeth in these words, But woman ought to be covered, to witness that in earth she had a head, that is man. True it is, Chrysostom, woman is covered in both the said realms, but it is not with the sign of subjection, but it is with the sign of superiority: to wit, with the royal crown. To that he answereth in these words: What if man neglect his honour? He is no less to be mocked, saith Chrysostom, than if a king should depose himself of his diadem or crown and royal estate, and clothe himself in the habit of a slave. What, I pray you, should this godly father have said, if he had seen all the men of a realm or nation fall down before a woman? If he had seen the crown, scepter, and sword, which are ensigns of the royal dignity given to her, and a woman cursed of God, and made subject to man, placed in the throne of justice to sit as God's lieutenant? What, I say, in this behalf, should any heart unfeignedly fearing God have judged of such men? I am assured that not only should they have been judged foolish, but also enraged and slaves to Satan, manifestly fighting against God and his appointed order.
The more that I consider the subversion of God's order, which he hath placed generally in all living things, the more I do wonder at the blindness of man, who doth not consider himself in this case so degenerate, that the brute beasts are to be preferred unto him in this behalf. For nature hath in all beasts printed a certain mark of dominion in the male, and a certain subjection in the female, which they keep inviolate. For no man ever saw the lion make obedience, and stoop before the lioness; neither yet can it be proved that the hind taketh the conducting of the herd amongst the harts. And yet (alas!) man, who by the mouth of God hath dominion appointed to him over woman, doth not only to his own shame stoop under the obedience of women, but also, in despite of God and of his appointed order, rejoiceth and maintaineth that monstrous authority, as a thing lawful and just. The insolent joy, the bonfires and banqueting, which were in London, and elsewhere in England, when that cursed Jezebel was proclaimed queen, did witness to my heart that men were become more than enraged; for else how could they have so rejoiced at their own confusion and certain destruction? For what man was there of so base judgment (supposing that he had any light of God), who did not see the erecting of that monster to be the overthrow of true religion, and the assured destruction of England, and of the ancient liberties thereof? And yet, nevertheless, all men so triumphed, as if God had delivered them from all calamity.
But just and righteous, terrible and fearful, are thy judgments, O Lord! For as sometimes thou didst so punish men for unthankfulness that man shamed not to commit villainy with man, and that because, knowing thee to be God, they glorified thee not as God even so hast thou most justly now punished the proud rebellion and horrible ingratitude of the realms of England and Scotland. For when thou didst offer thyself most mercifully to them both, offering the means by the which they might have been joined together for ever in godly concord, then was the one proud and cruel, and the other inconstant and fickle of promise.
But yet (alas!) did miserable England further rebel against thee. For albeit thou didst not cease to heap benefit upon benefit during the reign of an innocent and tender king, yet no man did acknowledge thy potent hand and marvellous working. The stout courage of captains, the wit and policy of counsellors, the learning of bishops, did rob thee of thy glory and honour. For what then was heard as concerning religion, but 'the king's proceedings, the king's proceedings must be obeyed? It is enacted by Parliament, therefore it is treason to speak in the contrary.'
But this was not the end of this miserable tragedy. For thou didst yet proceed to offer thy favours, sending thy prophets and messengers to call for reformation of life in all estates. For even from the highest to the lowest, all were declined from thee (yea, even those that should have been the lanterns to others). Some, I am assured, did quake and tremble, and from the bottom of their hearts thirsted amendment, and for the same purpose did earnestly call for discipline. But then burst forth the venom which before lurked; then might they not contain their despiteful voices, but with open mouths did cry, 'We will not have such a one to reign over us.' Then, I say, was every man so stout that he would not be brought in bondage; no, not to thee, O Lord, but with disdain did the multitude cast from them the amiable yoke of Christ Jesus. No man would suffer his sin to be rebuked; no man would have his life called to trial. And thus did they refuse thee, O Lord, and thy Son Christ Jesus to be their pastor, protector, and prince. And therefore hast thou given them over to a reprobate mind. Thou hast taken from them the spirit of boldness, of wisdom, and of righteous judgment. They see their own destruction, and yet they have no grace to avoid it. Yea, they are become so blind that, knowing the pit, they headlong cast themselves into the same, as the nobility of England do this day, fighting in the defence of their mortal enemy, the Spaniard.
Finally, they are so destitute of understanding and judgment, that although they know that there is a liberty and freedom which their predecessors have enjoyed, yet are they compelled to bow their necks under the yoke of Satan, and of his proud ministers, pestilent Papists and proud Spaniards. And yet they cannot consider, that where a woman reigneth and Papists bear authority, that there Satan must needs be president of the council. Thus hast thou, O Lord, in thy hot displeasure, revenged the contempt of thy graces offered.
But, O Lord, if thou shalt retain wrath to the end, what flesh is able to sustain? We have sinned, O Lord, and are not worthy to be relieved. But worthy art thou, O Lord, to be a true God, and worthy is thy Son Christ Jesus to have his evangel and glory advanced, which both are trodden under foot in this cruel murder and persecution, which the builders of Babylon commit in their fury, have raised against thy children for the establishing of their kingdom. Let the sobs therefore of thy prisoners, O Lord, pass up to thine ears; consider their affliction; and let the eyes of thy mercy look down upon the blood of such as die for testimony of thy eternal verity; and let not thine enemies mock thy judgment for ever. To thee, O Lord, I turn my wretched and wicked heart; to thee alone I direct my complaint and groans; for in that isle to thy saints there is left no comfort.
Albeit I have thus (talking with my God in the anguish of my heart) somewhat digressed, yet have I not utterly forgotten my former proposition: to wit, that it is a thing repugnant to the order of nature that any woman be exalted to rule over men. For God hath denied unto her the office of a head. And in the treating of this part, I remember that I have made the nobility both of England and Scotland inferior to brute beasts, for they do to women that which no male amongst the common sort of beasts can be proved to do to their female: that is, they reverence them, and quake at their presence; they obey their commandments, and that against God. Wherefore I judge them not only subjects to women, but slaves of Satan, and servants of iniquity.
If any man thinks these my words sharp or vehement, let him consider that the offence is more heinous than can be expressed by words. For where all things be expressly concluded against the glory and honour of God, and where the blood of the saints of God is commanded to be shed, whom shall we judge, God or the devil, to be president of that council? Plain it is, that God ruleth not by his love, mercy, nor grace in the assembly of the ungodly; then it resteth that the devil, the prince of this world, doth reign over such tyrants. Whose servants, I pray you, shall then be judged, such as obey and execute their tyranny? God, for his great mercies' sake, illuminate the eyes of men, that they may perceive into what miserable bondage they are brought by the monstiferous empire of women!
The second glass which God hath set before the eyes of man, wherein he may behold the order which pleaseth his wisdom (concerning authority and dominion) is that commonwealth to which it pleased his Majesty to appoint and give laws, statutes, rites, and ceremonies, not only concerning religion, but also touching their policy and regiment of the same. And against that order it doth manifestly repugn, that any woman shall occupy the throne of God: that is, the royal seat which he by his word hath appointed to man; as in giving the law to Israel, is evident, concerning the election of a king. For thus it is written, If thou shalt say, 'I will appoint a king above me, as the rest of the nations which are about me;' thou shalt make thee a king, whom the Lord thy God shall choose: one from amongst the midst of thy brethren thou shalt appoint king above thee. Thou mayest not make a stranger, that is not thy brother. Here expressly is a man appointed to be chosen king, and a man native amongst themselves; by which precept are all women and all strangers secluded.
What may be objected for the part or election of a stranger shall be, God willing, answered in The Blast of the Second Trumpet. For this present, I say, that the erecting of a woman to that honour is not only to invert the order which God hath established, but also it is to defile, pollute, and profane (so far as in man lies) the throne and seat of God, which he hath sanctified and appointed for man only, in the course of this wretched life, to occupy and possess as his minister and lieutenant, secluding from the same all women, as before is expressed.
If any think that the fore written law did bind the Jews only, let the same man consider that the election of a king and appointing of judges did neither appertain to the ceremonial law, neither yet was it merely judicial; but that it did flow from the moral law, as an ordinance having respect to the conservation of both the tables. For the office of the magistrate ought to have the first and chief respect to the glory of God, commanded and contained in the former table, as is evident by that which was enjoined to Joshua by God, what time he was accepted and admitted ruler and governor over his people, in these words: Thou shalt divide the inheritance to this people, the which I have sworn to their fathers to give unto them; so that thou be valiant and strong, that thou mayest keep and do according to that holy law, which my servant Moses hast commanded thee. Thou shalt not decline from it, neither to the right hand, neither to the left hand, that thou mayest do prudently in all things that thou taketht in hand. Let not the book of this law depart from thy mouth; but meditate in it day and night, that thou mayest keep and do according to everything that is written in it. For then shall thy ways prosper, and then shalt thou do prudently, etc..
And the same precept giveth God by the mouth of Moses to kings, after they be elected, in these words: When he shall sit in the throne, or seat of his kingdom, he shall write to himself a copy of this law in a book. And that shall be with him, that he may read in it all the days of his life; that he may learn to fear the Lord his God, to keep all the words of this law, and all these statutes, that he may do them,etc.. Of these two places it is evident, that principally it appertaineth to the king, or to the chief magistrate, to know the will of God, to be instructed in his law and statutes, and to promote his glory with his whole heart and study, which be the chief points of the first table.
No man denieth, but that the sword is committed to the magistrate, to the end that he should punish vice and maintain virtue. To punish vice, I say: not only that which troubles the tranquillity and quiet estate of the commonwealth (by adultery, theft, or murder committed), but also such vices as openly impugn the glory of God, as idolatry, blasphemy, and manifest heresy, taught and obstinately maintained, as the histories and notable acts of Hezekiah, Jehoshaphat, and Josiah do plainly teach us; whose study and care was not only to glorify God in their own life and conversation, but also they unfeignedly did travail to bring their subjects to the true worshipping and honouring of God; and did destroy all monuments of idolatry, did punish to death the teachers of it, and removed from office and honours such as were maintainers of those abominations. Whereby, I suppose, that it be evident, that the office of the king, or supreme magistrate, hath respect to the law moral, and to the conservation of both the tables.
Now, if the law moral be the constant and unchangeable will of God, to which the Gentile is no less bound than was the Jew; and if God will, that amongst the Gentiles the ministers and executors of his law be now appointed, as sometimes they were appointed amongst the Jews; further, if the execution of justice be no less requisite in the policy of the Gentiles, than ever it was amongst the Jews; what man can be so foolish to suppose or believe, that God will now admit those persons to sit in judgment, or to reign over men in the commonwealth of the Gentiles, whom he by his expressed word and ordinance did before debar and exclude from the same? And that women were excluded from the royal seat, the which ought to be the sanctuary to all poor afflicted, and therefore is justly called the seat of God (besides the place before recited of the election of a king, and besides the places of the New Testament, which be most evident), the order and election which were kept in Judah and Israel doth manifestly declare. For when the males of the kingly stock failed, as oft as it chanced in Israel, and sometimes in Judah, it never entered into the hearts of the people to choose and promote to honours any of the king's daughters (had he never so many); but knowing God's vengeance to be poured forth upon the father by the taking away of his sons, they had no further respect to his stock, but elected such one man or other as they judged most apt for that honour and authority. Of which premises, I conclude (as before) that to promote a woman head over men is repugnant to nature, and a thing most contrarious to that order which God hath approved in that commonwealth which he did institute and rule by his word.
But now to the last point: to wit, that the empire of a woman is a thing repugnant to justice, and the destruction of every commonwealth where it is received. In probation whereof, because the matter is more than evident, I will use few words.
First, I say, if justice be a constant and perpetual will to give to every person their own right (as the most learned in all ages have defined it to be), then to give, or to will to give, to any person that which is not their right, must repugn to justice. But to reign above man can never be the right to woman, because it is a thing denied unto her by God, as is before declared. Therefore, to promote her to that estate or dignity can be nothing else but repugnancy to justice. If I should speak no more, this were sufficient. For except that either they can improve the definition of justice, or else that they can entreat God to revoke and call back his sentence pronounced against woman, they shall be compelled to admit my conclusion.
If any find fault with justice as it is defined, he may well accuse others, but me he shall not hurt, for I have the shield, the weapon, and the warrant of him, who assuredly will defend this quarrel; and he commandeth me to cry: Whatsoever repugneth to the will of God, expressed in his most sacred word, repugneth to justice; but that women have authority over men, repugneth to the will of God expressed in his word; and therefore my Author commands me to conclude, without fear, that all such authority repugneth to justice. The first part of the argument, I trust, neither Jew nor Gentile deny; for it is a principle not only universally confessed, but also so deeply printed in the heart of man, be his nature never so corrupted, that whether he will or not, he is compelled at one time or other to acknowledge and confess that justice is violated when things are done against the will of God, expressed by his word. And to this confession are no less the reprobate co-acted and constrained, than be the children of God, albeit to a divers end.
The elect, with displeasure of their fact, confess their offence, having access to grace and mercy, as did Adam, David, Peter, and all other penitent offenders. But the reprobate, notwithstanding they are compelled to acknowledge the will of God to be just, the which they have offended, yet are they never inwardly displeased with their iniquity, but rage, complain, and storm against God, whose vengeance they cannot escape as did Cain, Judas, Herod, Julian called Apostate, yea, Jezebel and Athaliah. For Cain no doubt was convicted in conscience that he had done against justice in murdering of his brother. Judas did openly before the high priest confess that he had sinned in betraying innocent blood. Herod, being stricken by the angel, did mock those his flatterers, saying unto them, Behold thy God (meaning of himself) cannot now preserve himself from corruption and worms. Julian was compelled in the end to cry, O, Galilean! (so always in contempt did he name our Saviour Jesus Christ) thou hast now overcome. And who doubts but Jezebel and Athaliah, before their miserable end, were convicted in their cankered consciences to acknowledge that the murder which they had committed, and the empire which the one had six years usurped, were repugnant to justice? Even so shall they, I doubt not, which this day do possess and maintain that monstiferous authority of women, shortly be compelled to acknowledge that their studies and devices have been bent against God, and that all such authority as women have usurped repugneth to justice; because, as I have said, it repugneth to the will of God expressed in his sacred word.
And if any man doubt hereof, let him mark well the words of the apostle, saying, I permit not a woman to teach, neither yet to usurp authority above man. No man, I trust, will deny these words of the apostle to be the will of God expressed in his word; and he saith openly, I permit not, etc., which is as much as I will not, that a woman have authority, charge, or power over man; for so much importeth the Greek word authentein in that place. Now, let man and angel conspire against God; let them pronounce their laws, and say, We will suffer women to bear authority: who then can depose them? Yet shall this one word of the eternal God, spoken by the mouth of a weak man, thrust them every one into hell. Jezebel may for a time sleep quietly in the bed of her fornication and whoredom; she may teach and deceive for a season; but neither shall she preserve herself, neither yet her adulterous children, from great affliction, and from the sword of God's vengeance, which shall shortly apprehend such works of iniquity. The admonition I defer to the end.
Here I might bring in the oppression and injustice which is committed against realms and nations, which some times lived free, and now are brought in bondage of foreign nations by the reason of this monstiferous authority and empire of women. But that I delay till better opportunity. And now I think it expedient to answer such objections as carnal and worldly men, yea, men ignorant of God, use to make for maintenance of this tyranny (authority it is not worthy to be called) and most unjust empire of woman.
First, they do object the examples of Deborah, and of Huldah, the prophetess, of whom the one judged Israel, and the other, by all appearance, did teach and exhort.
Secondarily, they do object the law made by Moses for the daughters of Zelophehad.
Thirdly, the consent of the estates of such realms as have approved the empire and regiment of women.
And last, the long custom which hath received the regiment of women, their valiant acts and prosperity, together with some papistical laws which have confirmed the same.
To the first I answer, that particular examples do establish no common law. The causes were known to God alone, why he took the spirit of wisdom and force from all men of those ages; and did so mightily assist women against nature, and against his ordinary course; that the one he made a deliverer to his afflicted people Israel, and to the other he gave not only perseverance in the true religion, when the most part of men had declined from the same, but also to her he gave the spirit of prophecy, to assure King Josiah of the things which were to come. With these women, I say, did God work potently and miraculously; yea, to them he gave most singular grace and privilege.
But who hath commanded that a public, yea, a tyrannical and most wicked law be established upon these examples? The men that object the same are not altogether ignorant that examples have no strength when the question is of law. As if I should ask, What marriage is lawful. And it should be answered, that lawful it is to man not only to have many wives at once, but also it is lawful to marry two sisters, and to enjoy them both living at once, because that David, Jacob, and Solomon, servants of God, did the same. I trust that no man would justify the vanity of this reason. Or if the question were demanded, if a Christian, with a good conscience, may defraud, steal, or deceive? And answer were made, that so he might, by the example of the Israelites, who, at God's commandment, deceived the Egyptians, and spoiled them of their garments, gold, and silver: I think likewise this reason should be mocked.
And what greater force, I pray you, hath the former argument: Deborah did rule in Israel, and Huldah spoke prophecy in Judah; ergo, it is lawful for women to reign above realms and nations, or to teach in the presence of men. The consequent is vain, and of none effect. For of examples, as is before declared, we may establish no law; but we are always bound to the law written, and to the commandment expressed in the same. And the law written and pronounced by God forbiddeth no less that any woman reign over man, than it forbiddeth man to take plurality of wives, to marry two sisters living at once, to steal, to rob, to murder, or to lie. If any of these hath been transgressed, and yet God hath not imputed the same, it maketh not the like fact or deed lawful unto us. For God (being free) may, for such causes as are approved by his inscrutable wisdom, dispense with the rigour of his law, and may use his creatures at his pleasure. But the same power is not permitted to man, whom he hath made subject to his law, and not to the examples of fathers. And this I think sufficient to the reasonable and moderate spirits.
But to repress the raging of woman's madness, I will descend somewhat deeper into the matter; and not fear to affirm, that as we find a contrary spirit in all these most wicked women (that this day be exalted in to this tyrannical authority) to the spirit that was in those godly matrons; so I fear not, I say, to affirm, that their condition is unlike, and that their end shall be diverse. In those matrons, we find that the spirit of mercy, truth, justice, and of humility did reign. Under them we find that God did show mercy to his people, delivering them from the tyranny of strangers, and from the venom of idolatry, by the hands and counsel of those women. But in these of our ages, we find cruelty, falsehood, pride, covetousness, deceit, and oppression. In them we also find the spirit of Jezebel and Athaliah; under them we find the simple people oppressed, the true religion extinguished, and the blood of Christ's members most cruelly shed; and, finally, by their practices and deceit, we find ancient realms and nations given and betrayed into the hands of strangers, the titles and liberties of them taken from the just possessors. Which one thing is an evident testimony, how unlike our mischievous Marys be unto Deborah, under whom were strangers chased out of Israel, God so raising her up to be a mother and deliverer to his oppressed people. But (alas!) he hath raised up these Jezebels to be the uttermost of his plagues, the which man's unthankfulness hath long deserved. But his secret and most just judgment shall neither excuse them, neither their maintainers, because their counsels be divers.
But to prosecute my purpose, let such as list to defend these monsters in their tyranny prove, first, that their sovereign mistresses be like to Deborah in godliness and piety; and secondarily, that the same success doth follow their tyranny, which did follow the extraordinary regiment of that godly matron. Which thing, although they were able to do, (as they never shall be, though they blow till they burst) yet shall her example profit them nothing at all. For they are never able to prove that either Deborah, or any other godly woman (having commendation of the Holy Ghost within the scriptures), hath usurped authority above any realm or nation by reason of their birth and blood; neither yet did they claim it by right or inheritance; but God by his singular privilege, favour, and grace, exempted Deborah from the common malediction given to women in that behalf; and against nature he made her prudent in counsel, strong in courage, happy in regiment, and a blessed mother and deliverer to his people. The which he did, partly to advance and notify the power of his majesty, as well to his enemies as to his own people, in that he declared himself able to give salvation and deliverance by means of the most weak vessels; and partly he did it to confound and ashame all men of that age, because they had for the most part declined from his true obedience. And therefore was the spirit of courage, regiment, and boldness taken from them for a time, to their confusion and further humiliation.
But what maketh this for Mary and her match Philip? One thing I would ask of such as depend upon the example of Deborah, whether she was widow or wife when she judged Israel, and when God gave that notable victory to his people under her? If they answer she was a widow, I would lay against them the testimony of the Holy Ghost, witnessing that she was wife to Lapidoth. And if they will shift and allege that so she might be called, notwithstanding that her husband was dead: I urge them further, that they are not able to prove it to be any common phrase and manner of speech in the scriptures, that a woman shall be called the wife of a dead man, except that there be some note added, whereby it may be known that her husband is departed, as is witnessed of Anna. But in this place of the Judges, there is no note added that her husband should be dead, but rather the contrary expressed. For the text saith, In that time a woman named Deborah, a prophetess, wife to Lapidoth, judged Israel. The Holy Ghost plainly speaketh, that what time she judged Israel, she was wife to Lapidoth. If she was wife, and if she ruled all alone in Israel, then I ask, Why did she not prefer her husband to that honour to be captain, and to be leader to the host of the Lord? If any think that it was her husband, the text proveth the contrary; for it affirmeth that Barak, of the tribe of Naphtali, was appointed to that office. If Barak had been her husband, to what purpose should the Holy Ghost so diligently have noted the tribe, and another name than was before expressed? Yea, to what purpose should it be noted that she send and called him?
Whereof I doubt not but that every reasonable man doth consider, that this Barak was not her husband; and thereof, likewise, it is evident, that her judgment or government in Israel was no such usurped power as our queens unjustly possess this day; but that it was a spirit of prophecy which rested upon her, what time the multitude of the people had wrought wickedly in the eyes of the Lord; by the which spirit she did rebuke the idolatry and iniquity of the people, exhort them to repentance, and, in the end, did bring them this comfort, that God should deliver them from the bondage and thralldom of their enemies. And this she might do, notwithstanding that another did occupy the place of the supreme magistrate (if any was in those days in Israel), for so I find did Huldah, the wife of Shallum, in the days of Josiah, king of Judah, speak prophecy and comfort the king; and yet he resigned to her neither the scepter nor the sword.
That this our interpretation, how that Deborah did judge in Israel, is the true meaning of the Holy Ghost, the pondering and weighing of the history shall manifestly prove. When she sendeth for Barak, I pray you, in whose name giveth she him his charge? Doth she speak to him as kings and princes use to speak to their subjects in such cases? No, but she speaketh as she that had a special revelation from God, which neither was known to Barak, nor to the people, saying, Hath not the Lord God of Israel commanded thee? This is her preface, by the which she would stir up the dull senses of Barak and of the people, willing to persuade unto them, that the time was come when God would show himself their protector and deliverer; in which preface, she usurpeth to herself neither power nor authority. For she saith not, I, being thy princess, thy mistress, thy sovereign lady and queen, command thee upon thy allegiance, and under pain of treason, to go and gather an army. No, she spoils herself of all power to command, attributing that authority to God, of whom she had her revelation and certitude to appoint Barak captain, which after appeareth more plainly. For when she had declared to him the whole counsel of God, appointing unto him as well the number of his soldiers, as the tribes out of which they should be gathered; and when she had appointed the place of battle (which she could not have done but by special revelation from God), and had assured him of victory in the name of God; and yet that he fainted, and openly refused to enter in to that journey, except that the prophetess would accompany him; she did use against him no external power, she did not threaten him with rebellion and death. But for assurance of his faint heart and weak conscience, being content to go with him, she pronounces, that the glory should not be his in that journey, but that the Lord should sell Siserah into the hand of a woman.
Such as have more pleasure in light than in darkness may clearly perceive that Deborah did usurp no such power nor authority as our queens do this day claim; but that she was endued with the spirit of wisdom, of knowledge, and of the true fear of God, and by the same she judged the facts of the rest of the people. She rebuked their defection and idolatry, yea, and also did redress to her power the injuries that were done by man to man. But all this, I say, she did by the spiritual sword, that is, by the word of God, and not by any temporal regiment or authority which she did usurp over Israel: in which, I suppose, at that time there was no lawful magistrate, by the reason of their great affliction. For so witnesseth the history, saying, And Ehud being dead, the Lord sold Israel into the hand of Jabin, king of Canaan; and he by Siserah his captain afflicted Israel greatly the space of twenty years. And Deborah herself, in her song of thanksgiving, confesseth that before she did arise mother in Israel, and in the days of Jael, there was nothing but confusion and trouble.
If any stick to the term, alleging that the Holy Ghost saith that she judged Israel, let them understand that neither doth the Hebrew word, neither yet the Latin, always signify civil judgment, or the execution of the temporal sword; but most commonly is taken in the sense which we have before expressed. For of Christ it is said, He shall judge many nations, and that, He shall pronounce judgment to the Gentiles and yet it is evident that he was no minister of the temporal sword. God commanded Jerusalem and Judah to judge betwixt him and his vineyard, and yet he appointed not them all to be civil magistrates.
To Ezekiel it is said, Shalt thou not judge them, son of man? And after, Thou son of man, shalt thou not judge? Shalt thou not judge, I say, the city of blood? And also, Behold, I shall judge betwixt beast and beast. And such places, in great number, are to be found throughout the holy scriptures. And yet I trust no man will be so foolish as to think, that any of the prophets were appointed by God to be politic judges, or to punish the sins of man by corporeal punishment. No, the manner of their judgment is expressed in these words: Declare to them all their abominations; and thou shalt say to them, 'Thus saith the Lord God, A city shedding blood in the midst of her, that her time may approach, and which hath made idols against herself that she might be polluted; thou hast transgressed in the blood which thou hast shed; and thou are polluted in the idols which thou hast made'.
Thus, I say, do the prophets of God judge, pronouncing the sentence of God against malefactors. And so I doubt not but Deborah judged, what time Israel had declined from God, rebuking their defection, and exhorting them to repentance, without usurpation of any civil authority. And if the people gave unto her for a time any reverence or honour, as her godliness and happy counsel did well deserve, yet was it no such empire as our monsters claim; for which of her sons or nearest kinsmen left she ruler and judge in Israel after her? The Holy Ghost expresseth no such thing; whereof it is evident, that by her example God offereth no occasion to establish any regiment of women above men, realms, and nations.
But now to the second objection, in which women require (as to them appeareth) nothing but equity and justice, whilst they, and their patrons for them, require dominion and empire above men. For this is their question: Is it not lawful that women have their right and inheritance, like as the daughters of Zelophehad were commanded by the mouth of Moses, to have their portion of ground in their tribe?
I answer, it is not only lawful that women possess their inheritance, but I affirm also that justice and equity require that so they do. But therewith I add that which gladly they list not understand, that to bear rule or authority over man can never be right nor inheritance to woman; for that can never be just inheritance to any person which God by his word hath plainly denied unto them. But to all women hath God denied authority above man, as most manifestly is before declared; therefore to her it can never be inheritance. And thus must the advocates of our ladies provide some better example and stronger argument, for the law made in favour of the daughters of Zelophehad will serve them nothing.
And assuredly great wonder it is, that in so great light of God's truth, men list to grope and wander in darkness. For let them speak of conscience, if the petition of any of these forenamed women was to reign over any one tribe, yea, or yet over any one man within Israel. Plain it is they did not, but only required that they might have a portion of ground among the men of their tribe, lest that the name of their father should be abolished. And this was granted unto them without respect to any civil regiment. And what maketh this, I pray you, for the establishing of this monstrous empire of women? The question is not, if women may not succeed to possession, substance, patrimony, or inheritance, such as fathers may leave to their children; for that I willingly grant. But the question is, if women may succeed to their fathers in offices, and chiefly to that office, the executor whereof doth occupy the place and throne of God. And that I absolutely deny, and fear not to say, that to place a woman in authority above a realm is to pollute and profane the royal seat, the throne of justice, which ought to be the throne of God; and that to maintain them in the same is nothing else but continually to rebel against God.
One thing there is yet to be noted and observed in the law made concerning the inheritance of the daughters of Zelophehad: to wit, that it was forbidden unto them to marry without their own tribe, lest that such portion as fell to their lot should be transferred from one tribe to another, and so should the tribe of Manasseh be defrauded and spoiled of their just inheritance by their occasion. For avoiding of which, it was commanded by Moses that they should marry in the family or household of the tribe and kindred of their father. Wonder it is, that the advocates and patrons of the right of our ladies did not consider and ponder this law, before that they counselled the blind princes and unworthy nobles of their country to betray the liberties thereof into the hands of strangers: England, for satisfying of the inordinate appetites of that cruel monster Mary (unworthy, by reason of her bloody tyranny, of the name of a woman), betrayed, alas! to the proud Spaniard; and Scotland, by the rash madness of foolish governors, and by the practices of a crafty dame, resigned likewise, under the title of marriage, into the power of France.
Doth such translation of realms and nations please the justice of God? Or is the possession, by such means obtained, lawful in his sight? Assured I am that it is not. No otherwise, I say, than is that possession whereunto thieves, murderers, tyrants and oppressors do attain by theft, murder, tyranny, violence, deceit, and oppression, which God of his secret (but yet most just) judgment doth often permit for punishment, as well of the sufferers as of the violent oppressors, but doth never approve the same as lawful and godly. For if he would not permit that the inheritance of the children of Israel should pass from one tribe to another by the marriage of any daughter, notwithstanding that they were all one people, all spoke one tongue, all were descended of one father, and all did profess one God and one religion; if yet, I say, God would not suffer that the commodity and usual fruit which might be gathered of the portion of ground limited and assigned to one tribe should pass to another, will he suffer that the liberties, laws, commodities, and fruits of whole realms and nations be given into the power and distribution of others by the reason of marriage? and in the powers of such as besides that they are of a strange tongue, of strange manners and laws, they are also ignorant of God, enemies to his truth, deniers of Christ Jesus, persecutors of his true members, and haters of all virtue? As the odious nation of Spaniards doth manifestly declare, who for very despite which they do bear against Christ Jesus, whom their forefathers did crucify (for Jews they are, as histories do witness, and they themselves confess), do this day make plain war against all true professors of his holy gospel. And how blindly and outrageously the French king and his pestilent prelates do fight against the verity of God, the flaming fires which lick up the innocent blood of Christ's members do witness, and by his cruel edicts is notified and proclaimed. And yet to these two cruel tyrants (to France and Spain I mean) is the right and possession of England and Scotland appointed. But just or lawful shall that possession never be, till God do change the statute of his former law, which he will not do for the pleasure of man. For he hath not created the earth to satisfy the ambition of two or three tyrants, but for the universal seed of Adam; and hath appointed and defined the bounds of their habitation, to divers nations assigning divers countries, as he himself confesseth, speaking to Israel in these words: You shall pass by the bounds and limits of thy brethren, the sons of Esau, who dwell in Mt. Seir. They shall fear you; but take diligent heed that ye show not yourselves cruel against them; for I will give you no part of their land; no, not the breadth of a foot. For Mt. Seir I have given to Esau to be possessed. And the same he doth witness to the sons of Lot, to whom he had given Ar to be possessed.
And Moses plainly affirmeth, that when the Almighty did distribute and divide the possessions to the Gentiles, and when he did disperse and scatter the sons of men, that then he did appoint the limits and bounds of peoples, for the number of the sons of Israel. Whereof it is plain, that God hath not exposed the earth in prey to tyrants, making all things lawful which by violence and murder they may possess; but that he hath appointed to every several nation a several possession, willing them to stand content (as nature did teach an ethnic to affirm) with that portion which by lot and just means they had enjoyed. For what causes God permitted this his distribution to be troubled, and the realms of ancient nations to be possessed of strangers, I delay at this time to entreat. Only this I have recited, to give the world to understand that the reign, empire, and authority of women have no ground within God's scriptures. Yea, that realms or provinces possessed by their marriage is nothing but unjust conquest; for so little doth the law made for the daughters of Zelophehad help the cause of thy queens, that utterly it fighteth against them, both damning their authority and fact. But now to the third objection.
The consent, say they, of realms and laws pronounced and admitted in this behalf, long conseutude and custom, together with the felicity of some women in their empires, have established their authority. To whom I answer, that neither may the tyranny of princes, neither the foolishness of people, neither wicked laws made against God, neither yet the felicity that in this earth may hereof ensue, make that thing lawful which he by his word hath manifestly condemned. For if the approbation of princes and people, and laws made by men, or the consent of realms, may establish anything against God and his word, then should idolatry be preferred to the true religion; for more realms and nations, more laws and decrees published by emperors, with common consent of their counsels, have established the one than have approved the other. And yet I think that no man of sound judgment will therefore justify and defend idolatry; no more ought any man to maintain this odious empire of women, although that it were approved of all men by their laws. For the same God, that in plain words forbiddeth idolatry, doth also forbid the authority of women over man, as the words of St. Paul before rehearsed do plainly teach us. And therefore, whether women be deposed from that unjust authority (have they never usurped it so long), or if all such honour be denied unto them, I fear not to affirm that they are neither defrauded of right nor inheritance. For to woman can that honour never be due nor lawful (much less inheritance) which God hath so manifestly denied unto them.
I am not ignorant that the subtle wits of carnal men (which can never be brought under the obedience of God's simple precepts), to maintain this monstrous empire, have yet two vain shifts. First, they allege, that albeit women may not absolutely reign by themselves, because they may neither sit in judgment, neither pronounce sentence, neither execute any public office; yet may they do all such things by their lieutenants, deputies, and judges substitute. Secondarily, say they, a woman born to rule over any realm may choose her a husband, and to him she may transfer and give her authority and right. To both I answer in few words.
First, that from a corrupt and venomed fountain can spring no wholesome water. Secondarily, that no person hath power to give the thing which doth not justly appertain to themselves. But the authority of a woman is a corrupted fountain, and therefore from her can never spring any lawful officer. She is not born to rule over men, and therefore she can appoint none by her gift, nor by her power (which she hath not), to the place of a lawful magistrate; and therefore, who soever receiveth of a woman office or authority are adulterous and bastard officers before God. This may appear strange at the first affirmation, but if we will be as indifferent and equal in the cause of God as that we can be in the cause of man, the reason shall suddenly appear. The case supposed, that a tyrant by conspiracy usurped the royal seat and dignity of a king, and in the same did so establish himself, that he appointed officers, and did what him list for a time; and in this meantime the native king made strait inhibition of all his subjects, that none should adhere to this traitor, neither yet receive any dignity of him; yet, nevertheless, they would honour the same traitor as king, and become his officers in all affairs of the realm: if after the native prince did recover his just honour and possession, should he repute or esteem any man of the traitor's appointment for a lawful magistrate, or for his friend and true subject? Or should he not rather with one sentence condemn the head with the members? And if he so should do, who were able to accuse him of rigour, much less condemn his sentence of injustice? And dare we deny the same power to God in the like case? For that woman reigneth above man, she hath obtained it by treason and conspiracy committed against God. How can it be then, that she, being criminal and guilty of treason against God committed, can appoint any officer pleasing in his sight? It is a thing impossible.
Wherefore, let men that receive of women authority, honour, or office, be most assuredly persuaded, that in so maintaining that usurped power, they declare themselves enemies to God. If any think, that because the realms and estates thereof have given their consents to a woman, and have established her and her authority, that therefore it is lawful and acceptable before God, let the same men remember what I have said before: to wit, that God cannot approve the doing nor consent of any multitude, concluding anything against his word and ordinance; and therefore they must have a more assured defence against the wrath of God than the approbation and consent of a blinded multitude, or else they shall not be able to stand in the presence of the consuming fire. That is, they must acknowledge that the regiment of a woman is a thing most odious in the presence of God. They must refuse to be her officers, because she is a traitress and rebel against God. And finally, they must study to repress her inordinate pride and tyranny to the uttermost of their power.
The same is the duty of the nobility and estates, by whose blindness a woman is promoted. First, insofar as they have most heinously offended against God, placing in authority such as God by his word hath removed from the same, unfeignedly they ought to call for mercy. And, being admonished of their error and damnable fact, in sign and token of true repentance, with common consent, they ought to retreat that which unadvisedly and by ignorance they have pronounced; and ought, without further delay, to remove from authority all such persons as by usurpation, violence, or tyranny, do possess the same. For so did Israel and Judah after they had revolted from David, and Judah alone in the days of Athaliah. For after that she, by murdering of her son's children, had obtained empire over the land, and had most unhappily reigned in Judah six years, Jehoiada the high priest called together the captains and chief rulers of the people; and showing to them the king's son Joash, did bind them by an oath to depose that wicked woman, and to promote the king to his royal seat; which they faithfully did, killing at his commandment not only that cruel and mischievous woman, but also the people did destroy the temple of Baal, break his altars and images, and kill Mattan, Baal's high priest, before his altars.
The same is the duty as well of the estates as of the people that have been blinded. First, they ought to remove from honour and authority that monster in nature: so call I a woman clad in the habit of a man, yea, a woman against nature reigning above man. Secondarily, if any presume to defend that impiety, they ought not to fear, first to pronounce, and then after to execute against them the sentence of death. If any man be afraid to violate the oath of obedience which they have made to such monsters, let them be most assuredly persuaded, that as the beginning of their oaths (proceeding from ignorance) was sin, so is the obstinate purpose to keep the same nothing but plain rebellion against God. But of this matter in The Second Blast, God willing, we shall speak more at large.
And now, to put an end to The First Blast. Seeing that by the order of nature; by the malediction and curse pronounced against woman, by the mouth of St. Paul, the interpreter of God's sentence; by the example of that commonwealth in which God by his word planted order and policy; and, finally, by the judgment of the most godly writers; God hath dejected woman from rule, dominion, empire, and authority above man: moreover, seeing that neither the example of Deborah, neither the law made for the daughters of Zelophehad, neither yet the foolish consent of an ignorant multitude, be able to justify that which God so plainly hath condemned; let all men take heed what quarrel and cause from henceforth they do defend.
If God raise up any noble heart to vindicate the liberty of his country, and to suppress the monstrous empire of women, let all such as shall presume to defend them in the same most certainly know, that in so doing they lift their hand against God, and that one day they shall find his power to fight against their foolishness. Let not the faithful, godly, and valiant hearts of Christ's soldiers be utterly discouraged, neither yet let the tyrants rejoice, albeit for a time they triumph against such as study to repress their tyranny, and to remove them from unjust authority. For the causes alone why he suffereth the soldiers to fail in battle, whom nevertheless he commands to fight. As sometimes did Israel fighting against Benjamin. The cause of the Israelites was most just; for it was to punish that horrible abomination of those sons of Belial, abusing the Levite's wife, whom the Benjamites did defend; and they had God's precept to assure them of well-doing, for he did not only command them to fight, but also appointed Judah to be their leader and captain; and yet fell they twice in plain battle against those most wicked adulterers.
The secret cause of this, I say, is known to God alone. But by his evident scriptures we may assuredly gather, that by such means doth his wisdom sometimes beat down the pride of the flesh (for the Israelites at the first trusted in their multitude, power, and strength); and sometimes by such overthrows he will punish the offences of his own children, and bring them to the unfeigned knowledge of the same, before he will give them victory against the manifest contemners, whom he hath appointed nevertheless to uttermost perdition; as the end of that battle did witness. For although with great murder the children of Israel did twice fall before the Benjamites; yet after they had wept before the Lord, after they had fasted and made sacrifice in sign of their unfeigned repentance; they so prevailed against the proud tribe of Benjamin, that after twenty-five thousand strong men of war were killed, in battle, they destroyed man, woman, child, and beast, as well in the fields as in the cities, which all were burned with fire; so that only of that whole tribe six hundred men remained, who fled to the wilderness, where they remained four months, and so were saved.
The same God who did execute this grievous punishment, even by the hands of those whom he suffered twice to be overcome in battle, doth this day retain his power and justice. Cursed Jezebel of England, with the pestilent and detestable generation of Papists, make no little brag and boast, that they have triumphed not only against Wyatt, but also against all such as have enterprised anything against them or their proceedings. But let her and them consider, that yet they have not prevailed against God; his throne is more high than that the length of their horns be able to reach.
And let them further consider, that in the beginning of this their bloody reign, the harvest of their iniquity was not come to full maturity and ripeness. No! it was so green, so secret I mean, so covered, and so hid with hypocrisy, that some men (even the servants of God) thought it not impossible but that wolves might be changed into lambs, and also that the viper might remove her natural venom. But God, who doth reveal in his appointed time the secrets of hearts, and that will have his judgments justified even by the very wicked, hath now given open testimony of her and their beastly cruelty. For man and woman, learned and unlearned, nobles and men of baser sort, aged fathers and tender damsels, and finally, the bones of the dead, as well women as men, have tasted of their tyranny. So that now, not only the blood of father Latimer, of the mild man of God the bishop of Canterbury, of learned and discreet Ridley, of innocent Lady Jane Dudley, and many godly and worthy preachers that cannot be forgotten, such as fire hath consumed, and the sword of tyranny most unjustly hath shed, do call for vengeance in the ears of the Lord God of hosts; but also the sobs and tears of the poor oppressed, the groanings of the angels (the watchmen) of the Lord, yea, and every earthly creature abused by their tyranny, do continually cry and call for the hasty execution of the same.
I fear not to say, that the day of vengeance, which shall apprehend that horrible monster Jezebel of England, and such as maintain her monstrous cruelty, is already appointed in the counsel of the eternal. And I verily believe that it is so nigh, that she shall not reign so long in tyranny as hitherto she hath done, when God shall declare himself to be her enemy, when he shall pour forth contempt upon her according to her cruelty, and shall kindle the hearts of such as sometimes did favour her with deadly hatred against her, that they may execute his judgments. And therefore, let such as assist her take heed what they do; for assuredly her empire and reign is a wall without foundation. I mean the same of the authority of all women. It hath been underpropped this blind time that is past, with the foolishness of people, and with the wicked laws of ignorant and tyrannous princes. But the fire of God's word is already laid to those rotten props (I include the pope's law with the rest), and presently they burn, albeit we espy not the flame. When they are consumed (as shortly they will be, for stubble and dry timber cannot long endure the fire), that rotten wall, the usurped and unjust empire of women, shall fall by itself in despite of all men, to the destruction of so many as shall labour to uphold it. And therefore let all men be advertised, for the trumpet hath once blown.
Praise God, ye that fear him