THE emancipation of womankind is today effecting most important changes in social conditions. Though this has been brought about gradually, the slow, almost imperceptible shifting of the status of women has now culminated in a revolt against certain laws hitherto regarded as final, and adequate for all circumstances. Mortal mind seems unable to learn from precedent that while spiritual law is unchanging and eternal, human rules and regulations, being only temporal, must vary with circumstances in order to be in harmony with the truth. Buckle the historian has said that the work of a government is to repeal the laws made by its predecessors;and this is largely true, however paradoxical it may appear at first sight, for development can spring only from a right recognition of the variation in human needs. It is the dogged obstinacy of the human mind, when uncontrolled by divine Principle, which causes delay in progress and true civilization.
In the present state of thought regarding the status of woman, it is profitable to study the Bible to find the best course to follow in order to make real progress. There we find a vast array of characters, good, bad, and indifferent, though good women predominate, as they always must do if there is to be improvement and not degeneration in the race. The Old Testament begins with Eve, mother of the embodiment of all material thought, the New Testament with Mary the mother of Jesus, a human manifestation of the spiritual idea, and between these two extreme limits there can be found every type of womanhood. Some of the women mentioned in the Old Testament express the lowest passions, while others show forth the highest aspirations of human endeavor; but to none of them came the spiritual exaltation of Mary, through which all the beliefs of mortal existence were put upon a new footing.
Many are the examples of patriotism, heroism, and self-sacrifice among the women of the Bible, but what concerns us most is to discover through their experience some method of solving the problems of our own day, and to find a way to help mentally in the present unparalleled struggle of woman for equality and justice. Mere rebellion does not advance; a comprehension of conditions, together with wisdom and foresight, is necessary to remove unjust conditions. In the case of Hagar, we see how she was roused to right activity by the angel of God, and was then able to save her son and herself from human blindness and oppression.