BLTC Press Titles


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Tao Te Ching

Lao Tzu, James Legge (trans.)


Some Experiences of an Irish R. M.

Edith Somerville and Martin Ross


Further Adventures of an Irish R. M.

Edith Somerville and Martin Ross


Novalis Including Hymns to the Night

Novalis, George MacDonald, Thomas Carlyle


The history of women

by William Alexander

Excerpt:

W O M E N.

CHAP, L

A Jhort Jketch of the Antediluvian History of Women.

BY the Mofaic history of the creation, Chap. it appears, that the males and semales V^ynj of all the brute animals, were formed, not only of the fame materials, and in the fame manner, but also at the fame time. When the facred historian, however, describes the creation of the human genus; he informs us, that the semale was distinguished from the male by being formed, not of the dust of the earth, as he was, but of a part of the body of the male himself*. Those who

• Various and ridiculous are the fables related by oriental writers, concerning the creation of the first pair. We shall only mention a few of these propagated by the Jewish Rabbies, whose ancient legends,

have

Chap, have ascribed to the fair sex a superiority Iav over ours, pretend, that from being thus formed of matter doubly refined, they derive their superior beauty and excellence.

Not long after the creation, the deception of the first woman by the serpent, and the fatal consequences-arising from that deception, surnish the most interesting story in the whole history of the sex*. But as that story is already so well known, we shall pass over it in silence, and proceed to relate those sew anecdotes of their antediluvian state, which Moses and some other ancient historians have handed down to us,

equal, if not surpass, in absurdity even those of more modern ages — God, fay they, at first created Adam with a long tail; but afterward, pn considering him attentively, he thought he would look better without it: resolving, however, not to lose any thing that he had made, he cut it off, and formed it into a woman: and hence the sex derive their low and inferior nature. Others of them tell us, that the first , human being was created double, of both sexes, and joined side to

side; that God improving on his 01 igina! plan, separated the male from the female part, where they had been joined together, and made them into two distinct beings; and that from hence arose the perpetual inclination of the sexes tp join themselves together again.

* An ancient story fays, that Eve not being able, for sometime, to, make her husband partake of the forbidden fruit, at last broke down a branch from the tree of Knowledge, and making it into a cudgel, by th^t powerful argument spon prevaijed ou him to taste it.

Jk the facred history we are told, that Chap. when Cain and Abel, the two sons of Adam, L^vv brought their offerings to the Lord, the of- the differing of Cain was rejected, and that of p"e be" Abel accepted; a circumstance for which caio and Moses does not assign any reason. If tradition, however, deserves any credit, an oriental tradition supplies this desect; and informs us, that Cain and Abel having each of them a twin sister, as soon as they all became marriageable, Adam proposed to them, that Cain should marry the twin sister of Abel, and Abel the twin sister of Cain; alleging as his reason for this propofal, that as their circumstances obliged them to marry their sisters, it was proper that they mould marry those that were seemingly the least related to them. To this propofal Cain would not agree, and insisted on having his own twin sister, because me was fairer than the other. Adam, displeased at his disobedience, reserred the dispute to the decision of the Lord: ordered his sons to brin? each an offering before him; and told them, that the offering which had the preserance, would be a declaration in favour of him who presented it. On the offerings being brought, and that of Abel accepted, Cain, stimulated

by

Chap, by jealousy and resentment, as soon as they ur\> came down from the Mount where they had been sacrificing, sell upon his brother and flew him. And thus a woman became the cause not only of the first quarrel, but of the first introduction of death.


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