If we pass into the dominions of the crescent, we find the condition of females, in some respects, rather worse, it would seem, than better. For, in pagan India, debased and abused as woman is, she is still allowed some interest in religion, and some common expectations with the other sex, concerning the future state. But in Mohammedan countries, even this is nearly or quite denied her. “It is a popular tradition among the Mohammedans, which obtains to this day, that woman shall not enter Paradise;” and it requires some effort of the imagination to conceive how debased and wretched must be the condition of the female sex, to originate and sustain such a horrible and blasphemous tradition.
Even in the refined and shining ages of Egypt, Greece, and Rome, where the cultivation of letters, the graces of finished style, the charms of poetry and eloquence, the elegances of architecture, sculpture, painting, and embroidery, the glory of conquest, and the pride of national distinction, were unsurpassed by any people before or since—even then and there, what was the woman but the abject slave of man? the object of his ambition, or his avarice, or his lust, or his power? the alternate victim of his pleasures, his disgust, or his cruelty? the creature of his caprice? and, what is worse, the menial slave of her own mental darkness, moral debasement, and vicious indulgences? If history is not false, the answer is decisive. This, and only this, was she!
But how entirely has our religion reversed all this, and rendered her life a blessing to herself and to society. And as Christianity has done so much for woman, she ought in return to do much for Christianity. Every thing that can render life desirable, she owes to Christ. Think for one moment of the hole of the pit from which Christ has taken you! Think of what would be your present condition, had it not been for the Christian religion! You might have been with the debased and wretched victims of pagan oppression, cruelty, and lust; burning alive upon the funeral pile; or sacrificed by hands of violence or pollution; or cast out, and neglected, to pine in solitary and hopeless grief. Or, with the female followers of the false prophet, or, in more refined but unchristian nations, you might have been little else than the slave or the convenience of man, and left to doubt whether any inheritance awaits you beyond the grave.
From these depths of debasement and wretchedness, Christianity has taken you, and placed you on high, to move, and shine, and rejoice, in the sphere for which the Creator designed you. Not only has it made your condition as good as that of man, but, in a moral view, in some respects superior to it. How much, then, do you owe to Christ! To turn away from him with indifference or neglect, what ingratitude is this! How preposterous, how base, how unlovely, is female impiety! There was much sense in a remark made by an intelligent gentleman, who, although not pious himself, said: “I cannot look with any complacency upon a woman who does not manifest gratitude and love to Jesus Christ. Above all things, I hate to see so unnatural an object as an irreligious woman.”