Monday, March 24, 2008

Vashti has lost her veil.

“I want you to consider Vashti, the veiled. Had she appeared before Ahasuerus and his court on that day with her face uncovered, she would have shocked all the delicacies of Oriental society, and the very men who in their intoxication demanded that she come, in their sober moments would have despised her.
As some flowers seem to thrive best in the dark lane and in the shadow, and where the sun does not seem to reach them, so God appoints to most womanly natures a retiring and unobtrusive spirit. God once in a while does call an Isabella to a throne, or a Miriam to strike the timbrel at the front of a host, or a Marie Antoinette to quell a French mob, or a Deborah to stand at the front of an armed battalion, crying out, “Up! up! This is the day in which the Lord will deliver Sisera into thy hands.” And when women are called to such out-door work, and to such heroic positions, God prepares them for it; and they have iron in their soul, and lightnings in their eye, and whirlwinds in their breath, and the borrowed strength of the Lord omnipotent in their right arm. They walk through furnaces as though they were hedges of wild flowers, and cross seas as though they were shimmering sapphire, and all the harpies of hell sink down to their dungeons at the stamp of their womanly indignation.
But these are exceptions. Generally, Dorcas would rather make a garment for the poor boy, Rebecca would rather fill the trough for the camels, Hannah would rather make a coat for Samuel, the Hebrew maid would rather give a prescription for Naaman’s leprosy, the woman of Sarepta would rather gather a few sticks to cook a meal for famished Elijah, Phebe would rather carry a letter for the inspired apostle, Mother Lois would rather educate Timothy in the Scriptures.

When I see a woman going about her daily duty – with cheerful dignity presiding at the table, with kind and gentle, but firm, discipline, presiding in the nursery, going out into the world without any blast of trumpets, following in the footsteps of Him who went about doing good – I say, “This is Vashti with a veil on.” But when I see a woman of unblushing boldness, loud-voiced, with a tongue of infinite clitter-clatter, with arrogant look, passing through the streets with a masculine swing, gaily arrayed in a very hurricane of millinery, I cry out, “Vashti has lost her veil.” When I see a woman struggling for political preferment, and rejecting the duties of home as insignificant, and thinking the offices of wife, mother, and daughter of no importance, and trying to force her way on up into conspicuity, I say, “Ah, what a pity; Vashti has lost her veil.”
When I see a woman of comely features, and of adroitness of intellect, and endowed with all that the schools can do for her, and of high social position, yet moving in society with superciliousness and hauteur, as thought she would have people know their place, and undefined combination of giggle, and strut, and rodomontade, endowed with allopathic quantities of self, but only homoeopathic infinitesimals of sense, the terror of dry-goods clerks and railroad conductors, discoverer of significant meanings in plain conversation, a prodigy of badness and innuendos --- I say, “Vashti has lost her veil.”

T. DeWitt Talmage - Photo by Mirjam LCV

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