To promote a woman to beare rule, superioritie, dominion or empire aboue any realme, nation, or citie, is repugnant to nature, contumelie to God, a thing most contrarious to his reueled will and approued ordinance, and finallie it is the subuersion of good order, of all equitie and iustice
In the probation of this proposition, I will not be so curious, as to gather what soeuer may amplifie, set furth, or decore the same, but I am purposed, euen as I haue spoken my conscience in most plaine and fewe wordes, so to stand content with a simple proofe of euerie membre, bringing in for my witnesse Goddes ordinance in nature, his plaine will reueled in his worde, and the mindes of such as be moste auncient amongest godlie writers.
And first, where that I affirme the empire of a woman to be a thing repugnant to nature, I meane not onlie that God by the order of his creation hath spoiled woman of authoritie and dominion, but also that man hath seen, proued and pronounced iust causes why that it so shuld be. Man, I say, in many other cases blind, doth in this behalfe see verie clearlie. For the causes be so manifest, that they can not be hid. For who can denie but it repugneth to nature, that the blind shal be appointed to leade and conduct such as do see? Causes why women shuld not have preeminence ouer men. That the weake, the sicke, and impotent persones shall norishe and kepe the hole and strong, and finallie, that the foolishe, madde and phrenetike shal gouerne the discrete, and giue counsel to such as be sober of mind? And such be al women, compared vnto man in bearing of authoritie. For their sight in ciuile regiment, is but blindnes: their strength, weaknes: their counsel, foolishenes: and iudgement, phrenesie, if it be rightlie considered.
Priuate example do not breake the generall ordinance. I except such as God by singular priuiledge, and for certein causes knowen onlie to him selfe, hath exempted from the common ranke of women, and do speake of women as nature and experience do this day declare them. Nature I say, doth paynt them furthe to be weake, fraile, impacient, feble and foolishe: and experience hath declared them to be vnconstant, variable, cruell and lacking the spirit of counsel and regiment. And these notable faultes haue men in all ages espied in that kinde, for the whiche not onlie they haue remoued women from rule and authoritie, but also some haue thoght that men subiect to the counsel or empire of their wyues were vn worthie of all publike office. For this writeth Aristotle in the seconde of his Politikes:2 Politicorum Aristotelis. what difference shal we put, saith he, whether that women beare authoritie, or the husbanesd that obey the empire of their wyues be appointed to be magistrates? For what insueth the one, must nedes folowe the other, to witte, iniustice, confusion and disorder. The same author further reasoneth, that the policie or regiment of the Lacedemonians (who other wayes amongest the Grecians were moste excellent) was not worthie to be reputed nor accompted amongest the nombre of common welthes, that were well gouerned, because the magistrates, and rulers of the same were to[o] muche geuen to please and obey their wyues. What wolde this writer (I pray you) haue said to that realme or nation, where a woman sitteth crowned in parliament amongest the middest of men. Reade Isaie the thirde chaptre. Oh fearefull and terrible are thy iudgementes^ (o Lord) whiche thus hast abased man for his iniquitie! I am assuredlie persuaded that if any of those men, which illuminated onelie by the light of nature, did see and pronounce causes sufficient, why women oght not to beare rule nor authoritie, shuld this clay liue and see a woman sitting in iudgement, or riding frome parliament in the middest of men, hauing the royall crowne vpon her head, the sworde and sceptre borne before her, in signe that the administration of iustice was in her power: I am assuredlie persuaded, I say, that suche a sight shulde so astonishe them, that they shuld iudge the hole worlde to be transformed into Amazones,Amazones were monstruouse women, that coulde not abide the regiment of men, and therfore killed their husbandes, reade Iustine. and that suche a metamorphosis and change was made of all the men of that countrie, as poetes do feyn was made of the companyons of Vlisses, or at least, that albeit the owtwarde form of men remained, yet shuld they iudge that their hartes were changed frome the wisdome, vnderstanding, and courage of men, to the foolishe fondnes and cowardise of women. Yea they further shuld pronounce, that where women reigne or be in authoritie, that there must nedes vanitie be preferred to vertue, ambition and pride to temperancie and modestie, and finallie, that auarice the mother of all mischefe must nedes deuour equitie and iustice. But lest that we shall seme to be of this opinion alone,Arist.2. Politic. let vs heare what others haue seen and decreed in this mater. In the rules of the lawe thus it is written: Women are remoued from all ciuile and publike office,Lib.50. de regulis iuris. so that they nether may be iudges, nether may they occupie the place of the magistrate, nether yet may they be speakers for others. The same is repe[a]ted in the third and in the sextenth bokes of the digestes: what women may not be Where certein persones are forbidden, Ne pro aliis postulent, that is, that they be no speakers nor aduocates for others.3.16. lib. Digestorum. And among the rest are women forbidden, and this cause is added, that they do not against shamefastnes intermedle them selues with the causes of others, Ad Senatus consul. Velleianum nether yet that women presume to vse the offices due to men. The lawe in the same place doth further declare, that a naturall shamfastnes oght to be in womankind,Lib.3. de postulatione, Tit.1. whiche most certeinlie she loseth, when soeuer she taketh vpon her the office and estate of man. As in Calphurnia Calphurnia was euidentlie declared, who hauing licence to speake before the senate, at length became so impudent and importune, that by her babling she troubled the hole assemblie. And so gaue occasion that this lawe was established.
De statu hominum Titul.8. In the first boke of the digestes, it is pronounced that the condition of the woman in many cases is worse then of the man. As in iurisdiction (saith the lawe) Fromme women power is taken away by the Ciuile lawe ouer their own children. in receiuing of care and tuition, in adoption, in publike accusation, in delation, in all popular action, and in motherlie power, which she hath not vpon her owne sonnes. The lawe further will not permit, that the woman geue any thing to her husband, Dig. lib.24. de donatione inter virum et foeminane because it is against the nature of her kinde, being the inferiour membre to presume to geue any thing to her head. The lawe doth more ouer pronounce womankinde to be the most auariciouswomen be couetous therefore vnmete gouernors (which is a vice intolerable in those that shulde rule or minister iustice). And Aristotle^, as before is touched, doth plainly affirme, Lib.1. Digest. de le gib. et senatuscon Titul.3. Politic.2. that wher soeuer women beare dominion, there must nedes the people be disorded, liuinge and abounding in all intemperancie, geuen to pride, excesse, and vanitie. And finallie in the end, England and Scotland beware. that they must nedes come to confusion and ruine.
Wold to god the examples were not so manifest, Great imperfections of women. to the further declaration of the imperfections of women, of their naturall weaknes, and inordinat appetites. I might adduce histories, prouing some women to haue died for sodein ioy, some for vnpaciencie to haue murthered them selues, some to haue burned with such inordinat lust, that for the quenching of the same, they haue betrayed Romilda the wife of Gisulphus betrayed to Cacanus the dukedome of friaul in Italie, to strangiers their countrie and citie: and some to haue bene so desirous of dominion, that for the obteining of the same, they haue murthered the children of their owne sonnes. Yea and some haue killed with crueltie their owne husbandes and children.Iane quene of Naples hanged her husband.
Athalia, 4. Reg.11. Hirene, Anton. Sabell. But to me it is sufficient (because this parte of nature is not my moste sure foundation) to haue proued, that men illuminated onlie by the light of nature, haue seen and haue determined, that it is a thing moste repugnant to nature, that women rule and gouerne ouer men. For those that will not permit a woman to haue power ouer her owne sonnes, will not permit her (I am assured) to haue rule ouer a realme:If the lesse thinges be denied to women, the greater cannot be granted. and those that will not suffer her to speake in defense of those that be accused, nether that will admit her accusation intended against man, will not approuel her, that she shal sit in iudgement crowned with the royal crowne, vsurping authoritie in the middest of men. But now to the second part of nature: In the whiche I include the reueled will and perfect ordinance of God, and against this parte of nature, I say, that it doth manifestlie repugne that any woman shal reigne or beare dominion ouer man. For God first by the order of his creation, and after by the curse and malediction pronounced against the woman, by the, reason of her rebellion, hath pronounced the contrarie. woman in her greatest perfection was made to serue man. First, I say, that woman in her greatest perfection, was made to serue and obey man, not to rule and command him: As saint Paule doth reason in these wordes.1 Cor.11. 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 therfore oght the woman to haue a power vpon her head (that is a couerture in signe of subiection). Of whiche words it is plaine that the Apostle meaneth, that woman in her greatest perfection shuld haue knowen, that man was Lord aboue her: and therfore that she shulde neuer haue pretended any kind of superioritie aboue him, no more then do the angels aboue God the creator, or aboue Christ Iesus their head. A good comparison. So, I say, that in her greatest perfection woman was created to be subiect to man: But after her fall and rebellion committed against God, their was put vpon her a newe necessitie, A newe necessity of womans subiection and she was made subiect to man by the irreuocable sentence of God, pronounced in these wordes: I will greatlie multiplie thy sorowe and thy conception. woman by the sentence of God, subiect to man. Gen.3. With sorowe shalt thou beare thy children, and thy will shall be subiect to thy man: and he shal beare dominion ouer the. Herebie may such as altogither be not blinded plainlie see, that God, by his sentence, hath deiected all woman frome empire and dominion aboue man. For two punishmentes are laid vpon her, to witte, a dolor, anguishe and payn, as oft as euer she shal be mother; and a subiection of her selfe, her appetites and will, to her husband, and to his will. Frome the former parte of this malediction can nether arte, nobilitie, policie, nor lawe made by man, deliuer womankinde, but who soeuer atteineth to that honour to be mother, proueth in experience the effect and strength of goddes word. But (alas) ignorance of God, ambition, and tyrannie haue studied to abolishe and destroy the second parte of Goddes punishment. For women are lifted vp to be heades ouer realmes, and to rule aboue 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 persones promoted, except they spedelie repent. The punishment of women unjustlie promoted and of their promoters. For they shall be deiected from the glorie of the sonnes of God, to the sclauerie of the deuill, and to the torment that is prepared for all suche, as do exalte them selues against God. Against God can nothing be more manifest, then that a woman shall be exalted to reigne aboue man. For the contrarie sentence hath he pronounced in these wordes:Gene.3. Thy will shall be subiect to thy husband, and he shall beare dominion ouer the. As God shuld say: forasmuch as thou hast abused thy former condition, and because thy free will hath broght thy selfe and mankind in to: the bondage of Satan, I therfore will bring the in bondage to man. For where before, thy obedience shuld haue bene voluntarie, nowe it shall be by constraint and by neeessitie: and that because thou hast deceiued thy man, thou shalt therfore be no longar maistresse ouer thine own appetites, ouer thine owne will nor desires. For in the there is nether reason nor discretion, whiche be able to moderate thy affections, and therfore they shall, be subiect to the desire of thy man. He shall be Lord and gouernour, not onlie ouer thy bodie, but euen ouer thy appetites and will. This sentence, I say, did God pronounce against Heua, and her daughters, as the rest of the Scriptures doth euidentlie witnesse. So that no woman can euer presume to reigne aboue man, Let all women take hede. but the same she must nedes do in despite, of God, and in contempt of. his punishment, and maledictjon.
Answer to an obiection. I am not ignorant, that the most part of men do vnderstand this malediction of the subiection of the wife to her husband, and of the dominion, which; he beareth aboue her: but the holie ghost geueth to vs an other interpretation of this place, taking from all women all. kinde of superioritie, authoritie and power ouer man, speaking as foloweth, by the mouth of saint Paule.1 Tim.2. I suffer not a woman to teache, nether yet to vsurpe authoritie aboue man. Here he nameth women in generall, excepting none, affirming that she may vsurpe authoritie aboue no man. And that he speaketh more plainly, in an other place in these wordes:1 Cor.14. Let women kepe silence in the congregation, for it is not permitted to them to speake, but to be subiect as the lawe sayeth. These two testimonies of the holy ghost, be sufficient to proue what soeuer we haue affirmed before, and to represse the inordinate pride of women, as also to correct the foolishnes of those that haue studied to exalt women in authoritie aboue man, against God, and against his sentence pronounced. But that the same two places of the apostle may the better he vnderstand: it is to be noted, that in the latter, which is writen in the first epistle to the Corinthes the 14. chapitre, before the apostle had permitted that all persones shuld prophecie one after an other: addinge this reason: that all may learne and all may receiue consolation. And lest that any might haue iudged, that amongest a rude multitude, and the pluralitie of speakers, manie, thinges litle to purpose might haue bene affirmed, or elles that some confusion might haue risen: he addeth, the spirites of the prophetes are subiect to the prophetes: As he shuld say, God shall alwayes raise vp some, to whome the veritie shalbe reueled, and vnto such ye shal geue place, albeit they sit in the lowest seates. And thus the apostle wold haue prophecying an exercise to be free to the hole churche, that euerie one shuld communicate with the congregation, what God had reueled to them, prouidinge that it were orderlie done. Fromme a generall priuilege is woman secluded. But frome this generall priuiledge he secludeth all woman, sayinge: let women kepe silence in the congregation. And why I pray you? was it because that the apostle thoght no woman to haue any knowledge? no he geueth an other reason, saying; let her be subiect as the lawe saith. In which wordes is first to be noted, that the apostle calleth this former sentence pronounced against woman a lawe, that is, the immutable decree of God, who by his owne voice hath subiected her to one membre of the congregation, that is to her husband, She that is subiect to one, may not rule many wherupon the holie ghost concludeth, that she may neuer rule nor bear empire ahoue man. For she that is made subiect to one, may neuer be preferred to many, and that the holie ghoste doth manifestlie expresse, saying: I suffer not that women vsurpe authoritie aboue man: he sayth not, I will not, that woman vsurpe authoritie aboue her husband, but he nameth man in generall, taking frome her all power and authoritie, to speake, to reason, to interprete, or to teache, but principallie to rule or to iudge in the assemblie of men. So that woman by the lawe of God, and by the interpretation of the holy ghost, is vtterly forbidden to occupie the place of God in the offices afore said, which he hath assigned to man, whome he hath appointed and ordeined his lieutenant in earth: secluding frome that honor and dignitie all woman, as this short argument shall euidentlie declare.
A strong argument. The apostle taketh power frome all woman to speake in the assemblie. Ergo he permitteth no woman to rule aboue man. The former parteis euident, whereupon doth the conclusion of necessitie folowe. NOTE. For he that taketh from woman the least parte of authoritie, dominion or rule, will not permit vnto her that whiche is greatest: But greater it is to reigne aboue realmes and nations, to publish and to make lawes, and to commande men of all estates, and finallie to appoint iudges and ministers, then to speake in the congregation. For her iudgement, sentence, or opinion proposed in the congregation, may be iudged by all, may be corrected by the learned, and reformed by the godlie. But woman being promoted in souereine authoritie, her lawes must be obeyed, her opinion folowed, and her tyrannic mainteined: supposing that it be expreslie against God, and the prophet [profit] of the common welth, as to[o] manifest experience doth this day witnesse. And therfore yet againe I repete that, whiche before I haue affirmed: to witt, that a woman promoted to sit in the seate of God, that is, to teache, to iudge or to reigne aboue man, is amonstre in nature, contumelie to God, and a thing most repugnant to his will and ordinance. For he hath depriued them as before is proued, of speakinge in the congregation, and hath expreslie forbidden them to vsurpe any kinde of authoritie aboue man. Howe then will he suffer them to reigne and haue empire aboue realmes and nations? He will neuer, I say, approue it, because it is a thing most repugnant to his perfect ordinance, as after shalbe declared, and as the former scriptures haue plainlie geuen testimonie. To the whiche, to adde any thing were superfluous, were it not that the worlde is almost nowe comen to that blindnes, that what soeuer pleaseth not the princes and the multitude, the same is reiected as doctrine newelie forged, and is condemned, for heresie. I haue therfore thoght good to recite the mindes of some auncient writers in the same mater, to the end that suche as altogither be not blinded by the deuil, may consider and vnderstand this my iudgement to be no newe interpretation of Goddes scriptures, but to be the vniforme consent of the most parte of godlie writers, since the time of the apostles. Tertullian Tertullian de habitu mulierum. in his boke of womens apparell, after that he hath shewed many causes why gorgious apparell is abominable and odiouse in a woman, addeth these wordes, speaking as it were to euery woman by name: Dost thou not knowe (saith he) that thou art Heua? the sentence of God liueth and is effectuall against this kind, and in this worlde of necessity it is, that the punishment also liue. Thou art the porte and gate of the deuil. Thou art the first transgressor of goddes law. thou diddest persuade and easely deceiue him whome the deuil durst not assault.Let women hearken what Tertullian an olde Docto saith. For thy merit (that is for thy death) it behoued the son of god to suffre the death, and doth it yet abide in thy mind to decke the aboue thy skin coates? By these and many other graue sentences, and quicke interrogations, did this godlie writer labour to bring euerie woman in contemplation of her selfe, to the end that euerie one depelie weying, what sentence God had pronounced against the hole race and doughters of Heua, might not onely learne daily to humble and subiect them selues in the presence of God, but also that they shulde auoide and abhorre what soeuer thing might exalte them or puffe them vp in pride, or that might be occasion, that they shuld forget the curse and malediction of God. And what, I pray you, is more able to cause woman to forget her owne condition, then if she be lifted vp in authoritie aboue man? It is a thingverie difficile to a man, (be he neuer so constant) promoted to honors, not to be tickled some what with pride (for the winde of vaine glorie doth easelie carie vp the drie dust of the earth). NOTE. But as for woman, it is no more possible, that she being set aloft in authoritie aboue man, shall resist the motions of pride, then it is able to the weake reed, or to the turning wethercocke, not to bowe or turne at the vehemencie of the vnconstant wind. And therfore the same writer expreslie forbiddeth all woman to intremedle with the office of man. For thus he writeth in his book de virginibus velandis:Tertull. lib.8. de virginilis verlandis.: It is not permitted to a woman, to speake in the congregation, nether to teache, nether to baptise, nether to vendicate to her selfe any office of man. The same he speaketh yet more plainly in the preface of his sixte boke writen against Marcion,In proæmio 6. lib. contra Marcionem. where he recounting certain monstruous thinges, whiche were to be sene at the sea called Euxinum, amongest the rest, he reciteth this as a greate monstre in nature, that women in those partes, were not tamed nor embased by consideration of their own sex and kind: but that all shame laide a parte, they made expenses vpon weapons and learned the feates of warre, hauinge more pleasure to fight, then to mary and be subiect to man. Thus farre of Tertullian, whose wordes be so plain, that they nede no explanation. For he that taketh from her all office apperteining to man, will not suffre her to reigne aboue man: and he that iudgeth it a monstre in nature, that a woman shall exercise weapons, must iudge it to be a monstre of monstres, that a woman shalbe exalted aboue a hole realme and nation. Of the same minde is Origen, and diuers others. Yea euen till the dayes of Augustine, whose sentences I omit to auoide prolixitie.
Augustine in his 22. boke writen against Faustus,August. lib.22. contra Faustum, c.31. proueth that a woman oght to serue her husband as vnto God: affirming that in no thing hath woman equall power with man, sauing that nether of both haue power ouer their owne bodies. By whiche he wold plainlie conclude, that a woman oght neuer to pretend nor thirst for that power and authoritie which is due to man. For so he doth explane him selfe in an other place,De Trinitat. lib.12 cap.7. affirming that woman oght to be repressed and brideled be times, if she aspire to any dominion: alledging that dangerous and perillous it is to suffre her to procede, althogh it be in temporall and corporall thinges. And therto he addeth these wordes: God seeth not for a time, nether is there any newe thinge in his sight and knowledge, meaninge therby, that what God hath sene in one woman (as concerning dominion and bearing of authoritie) the same he seeth in all. And what he hath forbidden to one, the same he also forbiddeth to all. And this most euidentlie yet in an other place he writeth, mouing this question: howe can woman be the image of God, seing (saith heIn quæct. veteris Testamenti, quaest.45.) she is subiect to man, and hath none authoritie, nether to teache, nether to be witnesse, nether to iudge, muche lesse to rule, or beare empire? These be the verie wordes of Augustine, of which it is euident that this godlie writer, NOTE. doth not onelie agree withe Tertullian before recited, but also with the former sentence of the lawe, whiche taketh frome woman not onelie all authoritie amongest men, but also euerie office apperteining to man. To the question howe she can be the image of God, he answereth as foloweth. Woman (saith he) compared to other creatures is the image of God, for she beareth dominion ouer them: but compared vnto man, she may not be called the image of God, for she beareth not rule and lordship ouer man, but oght to obey him &c. And howe that woman oght to obey man, he speaketh yet more clearlie in these words: the woman shalbe subiect to man as vnto Christ. For woman (saith heLib. de Continentia cap.4.) hath not her example frome the bodie and from the fleshe, that so she shalbe subiect to man, as the fleshe is vnto the spirite. Because that the flesh in the weaknes and mortalitie of this life, lusteth and striueth against the spirit, and therfore wold not the holie ghost geue example of subiection to the woman of any suche thing &c. This sentence of Augustine oght to be noted of all women, for in it he plainlie affirmeth, that woman oght to be subiect to man, that she neuer oght, more to desire preeminence aboue him, then that she oght to desire aboue Christe Iesus. With Augustine agreeth in euerie point S. Ambrose, who thus writeth in his Hexaemeron:Ambros. in Hexaemero lib.5. c.7. Adam was deceiued by Heua, and not Heua by Adam, and therfore iust it is, that woman receiue and acknowledge him for gouernor whom she called to sinne, lest that again she slide and fall by womanlie facilitie. And writing vpon the epistle to the Ephesians,Cap.5. he saith: let women be subiect to their owne husbandes as vnto the Lorde: for the man is heade to the woman, and Christ is heade to the congregation, and he is the sauiour of the bodie: but the congregation is subiect to Christ, euen so oght women to be to their husbandes in all thinges. He procedeth further saying: women are commanded to be subiect to men by the lawe of nature, because that man is the author or beginner of the woman: for as Christ is the head of the churche, so is man of the woman. From Christ, the church toke beginning, and therfore it is subiect vnto him: euen so did woman take beginning from man, that she shuld be subiect. Thus we heare the agreing of these two writers to be such, that a man might iudge the one to haue stolen the wordes and sentences from the other. And yet plain it is, that duringe the time of their writinge, the one was farre distant frome the other. But the holie ghost, who is the spirite of Concorde and vnitie, did so illuminate their hartes, and directe their tonges, and pennes, that as they did conceiue and vnderstand one truth, so did they pronounce and vtter the same, leauing a testimonie of their knowledge and Concorde to vs their posteritia. If any thinke that all these former sentences, be spoken onelie of the subiection of the maryed woman to her husband, as before I haue proued the contrarie, by the plain wordes and reasoning of S. Paule, so shal I shortlie do the same, by other testimonies of the forsaid writers. The same Ambrose writing vpon the second chapitre of the first epistle to Timothie,Ambros. super.2. c.1 epist. ad Timoth. after he hath spoken much of the simple arrayment of women: he addeth these wordes: woman oght not onelie to haue simple arrayment, but all authoritie is to be denied vnto her: for she must be in subiection to man (of whome she hath taken her originall) aswell in habit as in seruice. And after a fewe wordes he saith: because that death did entre in to the world by her, there is no boldenes that oght to be permitted vnto her, but she oght to be in humilitie. Hereof it is plain, that frome all woman, be she maried or vnmaried, is all authoritie taken to execute any office, that apperteineth to man. Yea plain it is that all woman is commanded, to serue, to be in humilitie and subiection. Whiche thing yet speaketh the same writer, more plainlie in these wordes.Ambros. in 1. epist. ad Corin. cap.14. It is not permitted to women to speake, but to be in silence, as the lawe saith^. What saith the lawe? Vnto thy husband, shall thy conuersion be, and he shall beare dominion ouer the.Genes.3. This is a speciall lawe (saith Ambrose) whose sentence, lest it shulde be violated, infirmed, or made weake, women are commanded to be in silence. Here he includeth all women. And yet he procedeth further in the same place saying:whose house I pray you ought the parliament house to be, Goddes or the deuilles? It is shame for them to presume to speake of the lawe in the house of the Lord, who hath commanded them to be subiect to their men. But moste plainly speaketh he writing vpon the 16. chapitre of the epistle of S. Paule to the Romaines, vpon these wordes:Rufus is by S. Paul saluted before his mother. 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 whiche a woman hath no place. For he was chosen and promoted by the Lorde, to take care ouer his busines, that is, ouer the churche, to the whiche office could not his mother be appointed, albeit she was a woman so, holie, that the apostle called her his mother. Hereof it is plaine that the administration of the grace of God, is denied to all woman. By the administration of Goddes grace, is vnderstand not onely the preaching of the worde and administration of the sacramentes, by the whiche the grace of God is presented and ordinarilie distributed vnto man, but also the administration of ciuile iustice, by the whiche, vertue oght to be mainteined, and vices punished. The execution wherof is no lesse denied to woman, then is the preaching of the Euangile, or administration of the sacramentes, as herafter shall most plainlie appeare.
Chrysostome amongest the Grecian writers of no small credit, speaking in rebuke of men, who in his dayes, were becdmen inferior to some women in witt and in godlines, saith:Chrysost. homil.17. in genes. for this cause was woman put vnder thy power (he speaketh to man in generall) and thou wast pronounced Lorde ouer her, that she shulde obey the, and that the head shuld not folowe the feet. But often it is, that we see the contrary, that he who in his ordre oght to be the head, doth not kepe the ordre of the feet (that is, doth not rule the feet) and that she, that is in place of the foote, is constitute to be the head. He speaketh these wordes as it were in admiration, NOTE that man was becomen so brutish, that he did not consider it to be a thing most monstruouse, that woman shulde be preferred to man in any thing, whom God had subiected to man in all thinges. He procedeth saying: Neuer the lesse it is the parte of the man, with diligent care to repel the woman, that geueth him wicked counsel: and woman, whiche gaue that pestilent counsel to man, oght at all times to haue the punishment, whiche was geuen to Heua, sounding in her eares. And in an other place he induceth God speaking to the woman in this sorte:Homil.15 in Genes. Because thou left him, of whose nature thou wast participant, and for whome thou wast formed, and hast had pleasure to haue familiaritie with that wicked beast, and wold take his counsel: therfore I subiect the to man, and I apointe and affirme him to be thy Lorde, that thou maist acknowledge his dominion, and because thou couldest not beare rule learne well to be ruled. Why they shulde not beare rule, he declareth, in other places, saying:God graunt all womens hartes to understand and folow this sentence. womankinde is imprudent and soft, (or flexible) imprudent because she can not consider withe wisdome and reason the thinges which she heareth and seeth: and softe she is, because she is easelie bowed. I knowe that Chrysostome bringeth in these wordesIn Mat. cap.23. homil.44. to declare the cause why false prophetes do commonlie deceiue women: because they are easelie persuaded to any opinion, especiallie if it be against God, and because they lacke prudence and right reason to iudge the thinges that be, spoken. But hereof may their nature be espied, and the vices of the same, whiche in no wise oght to be in, those, that are apointed to gouerne others: For they oght to be constant, stable, prudent and doing euerie thing with discretion and reason, whiche vertues women can not haue in equalitie with men. For that he doth witnesse in an other place, saying: women haue in them selues a tickling and studhe of vaine glorie, and that they may haue common with men: they are sodeinlie moued to anger, and that they haue also common with some men. woman can no haue vertue in equalitie with man. Ad Ephe. cap.4. sermone 13. But vertues in which they excell, they haue not common with man, and therfore hath the apostle remoued them from the office of teachinge, which is an euident proof that in vertue they farre differ frome man. NOTE. Let the reasons of this writer be marked, for further he yet procedeth: after that he hath in many wordes lamented the effeminate maners of men, who were so farre degenerate to the weaknes of women, that some might haue demanded: why may not women teache amongest suche a sorte of men, who in wisdome and godlines are becomen inferior vnto women? We finallie concludeth: that not withstanding that men be degenerate, yet may not women vsurpe any authoritie aboue them, and in the end, he addeth these wordes: These thinges do not I speake to extolle them (that is women) but to the confusion and shame of our selues, and to admonish vs to take again the dominion, that is mete and conuenient for vs, not onelie that power which is according to the excellencie of dignitie: but that which is accordinge to prouidence, and according to helpe, and vertue. The body lackinge the head, can not be well gouerened nether can common welth lackinge man. For then is the bodie in best proportion, when it hath the best gouernor. O that both man and woman shulde consider the profound counsel and admonition of this father! He wolde not that man for appetit of any vaine glorie shuld desire preeminence aboue woman. For God hath not made man to be heade for any suche cause: but hauing respecte to that weaknes and imperfection which alwayes letteth woman to gouerne. He hath ordeined man to be superior, and that meaneth Chrysostome, saying: then is the bodie in best proportion, when it hath the best gouernor. But woman can neuer be the best gouernor, by reason that she being spoiled of the spirit of regiment, can neuer attein to that degree, to be called or iudged a good gouernor. Because in the nature of all woman, lurketh suche vices, as in good gouernors are not tolerable. Which the same writes expresseth in these wordes:In ca.22. Ioh. homil.87. womankind (saith he) is rashe and foolhardie, and their couetousnes is like the goulf of hell, that is, insaciable. And therfore in an other place,In Ioh. homil.41. he will that woman shall haue no thing to do in iudgement, in common affaires, or in the regiment of the common welth, because she is impacient of troubles, but that she shall liue in tranquillitie; and quietnes. And if she haue occasion to go frome the house, that yet she shal haue no matter of trouble, nether to, folowe her, nether to be offered vnto her, as commonlie there must be to such as beare authoritie: And with Chrysostome fullie agreeth Basilius Magnus in a sermonBasilius Mag. in aliquot scripturae locos. which he maketh vpon some places of scripture, wherin he reproueth diuers vices and amongest the rest, he affirmeth woman to be a tendre creature, flexible, soft and pitifull: whiche nature, God hath geuen vnto her, that she may be apt to norishe children. The which facilitie of the woman, did Satan abuse, and therby broght her frome the obedience of God. And therfore in diuers other places doth he conclude, that she is not apt to beare rule, and that she is forbidden to teache. Innumerable mo testimonies, of all sortes of writers may be adduced for the same purpose, but withe these I stand content: iudgeing it sufficient to stoppe the mouthe of such as accuse and condemne all doctrine, as hereticall, which displeaseth them in any point that I haue proued, by the determinations and lawes of men illuminated onelie by the light of nature, by the ordre of Goddes creation, by the curse and malediction pronounced against woman, by the mouth of saint Paule, who is the interpreter of Goddes sentence, and lawe, and finallie by the mindes of those writers, who in the church of God, haue bene alwayes holden in greatest reuerence: that it is a thing moste repugnant to nature, to Goddes will and apointed ordinance, (yea that it can not be without contumelie committed against God) that a woman shuld be promoted to dominion or empire to reigne ouer man, be it in realme, nation, prouince or citie. Now resteth it in few wordes, to be shewed, that the same empire of women is the subuersion of good ordre equitie and iustice.
Augustine definethDe ordine lib.1 c.10 ordre to be that thing, by the whiche God hath appointed and ordeined all thinges. Note well reader, that Augustine will admit no ordre, where Goddes apointment is absent and lacketh.
And in an other place he saith,De ciuit. Dei, lib.19 cap.13. that ordre is a disposition, geuing their owne propre places to thinges that be vnequall, which he termeth in Latin Parium et disparium, that is, of thinges equall or like, and thinges vnequall or vnlike. Of whiche two places and of the hole disputation, which is conteined in his second boke de ordine, it is euident,what soener done withowt the appointment of Goddes will is done withowt ordre. that what soeuer is done ether whithout the assurance of Goddes will, or elles against his will manifestlie reueled in his word, is done against ordre. But suche is the empire and regiment of all woman (as euidentlie before is declared) and therfore, I say; it is a thing plainlie repugnant to good ordre, yea it is the subuersion of the same. If any list to reiect the definition of Augustin, as ether not propre to this purpose, or elles as insufficient to proue mine intent: let the same man vnderstand, that in so doinge, he hath infirmed mine argument nothinge. For as I depend not vpon the determinations of men, so think I my cause no weaker, albeit their authoritie be denied vnto me. Prouided that god by his will reueled, and manifest worde, stand plain and euident on my side. That God hath subiected womankinde to man by the ordre of his creation, and by the curse that he hath pronounced against her is before declared. Two mirrors, in which we may beholde the ordre of nature. Besides these, he hath set before our eyes, two other mirrors and glasses, in whiche he will, that we shulde behold the ordre, which he hath apointed and established in nature: the one is, the naturall bodie of man: the other is the politik or ciuile body of that common welth, in which God by his own word hath apointed an ordre. In the natural body of man God hath apointed an ordre, that the head shail occupie the vppermost place. And the head hath he ioyned with the bodie, that frome it, doth life and motion flowe to the rest of the membres. In it hath he placed the eye to see, the eare to hear, and the tonge to speake, which offices are apointed to none other membre of the bodie. The rest of the membres, haue euery one their own place and office apointed: but none may haue nether the place nor office of the heade. For who wolde not iudge that bodie to be a monstre, where there was no head eminent aboue the rest, but that the eyes were in the handes, the tonge and mouth beneth in the belie, and the eares in the feet. Men, I say, shulde not onlie pronounce this bodie to be a monstre: but assuredlie they might conclude that such a bodie coulde not long indure. Common welthes under the rule of women, lacke a laufull heade And no lesse monstruous is the bodie of that common welth, where a woman beareth empire. For ether doth it lack a laufull heade (as in very dede it doth) or els there is an idolIdol. exalted in the place of the true head. An idol I call that, which hath the forme and apparance, but lacketh the vertue and strength, which the name and proportion do resemble and promise. As images haue face, nose, eyes, mouth, handes and feet painted, but the vse of the same, can not the craft and art of man geue them: as the holy ghost by the mouth of Dauid teacheth vs, saying:Psal.115. they haue eyes, but they see not, mouth, but they speake not, nose, but they smell not, handes and feet, but they nether touche nor haue power to go. And suche, I say, is euerie realme and nation, where a woman beareth dominion. For in despite of God (he of his iust iudgement, so geuing them ouer in to a reprobat minde) may a realme, I confesse, exalt vp a woman to that monstriferous honor, to be estemed as head. The empire of a woman is an idol. But impossible it is to man and angel, to geue vnto her the properties and perfect offices of a laufull heade. For the same God that hath denied power to the hand to speake, to the bely to heare, and to the feet to see, hath denied to woman power to commande man, and hath taken away wisdome to consider, and prouidence to forsee the thinges, that, be profitable to the common welth: yea finallie he hath denied to her in any case to be head to man: but plainly hath pronounced that man is head to woman, euen as Christ is heade to all man.1. Cor.11. If men in a blinde rage shulde assemble to gether, and apointe them selues an other heade then Iesus Christ (as the papistes haue done their romishe Antichrist) shuld Christ therfore lose his owne dignitie, or shulde God geue that counterfet head power to geue life to the bodie, to see what soeuer might endamage or hurte it, to speake in defense, and to heare the request of euerie subiect? It is certein that he wold not. For that honor he hath apointed before all times to his onelie sonne: and the same will he geue to no creature besides: no more will he admit, nor accept woman to be the lauful head ouer man, NOTE. althogh man, deuil, and angel will coniure in their fauor. For seing he hath subiected her to one (as before is saide) he will neuer permit her to reigne ouer manie. Seing he hath commanded her to heare, and obey one, he will not suffre that she speake, and with vsurped authoritie command realmes and nations. Chrysostome explaning these wordes of the apostle:1. Cor.11. (the heade of woman is man) compareth God in his vniuersall regiment to a king sitting in his royall maiestie,Marke the similitude of Chrysostome. to whome all his subiectes commanded to geue homage and obedience, appeare before him, bearing euerie one suche a badge and cognisance of dignitie and honor, as he hath geuen to them: which if they despise and contemne, then do they dishonor their king, Euen so saith he oght man and woman to appeare before God, bearing the ensignes of the condition, whiche they haue receiued of him. Man hath receiued a certein glorie and dignitie aboue the, woman, and therfore oght he to appeare before his high maiestie, bearing the signe of his honor, hauinge no couerture vpon his heade: to witnesse that in earth man hath no head, (beware Chrysostome what thou saist, NOTE. thou shalt be reputed a traytor if Englishe men heare the: for they must haue my souereine lady and maistresse, and Scotland hath dronken also the enchantment and venom of Circes, let it be so to their owne shame and confusion, he procedeth in these wordes) but woman oght to be couered, to witnesse, that in earth she hath a head, that is man. Trewe it is (Chrysostome) woman is couered in both the said realmes,Howe women be couered in England and Scotland. but it is not with the signe of subiection, but it is with the signe of superioritie, to witt, with the royal crowne. To that he answereth in these wordes: what if man neglect his honor? he his no lesse to be mocked (saith Chrysostome) then if a king shulde depose himself of his diademe or crowne and royal estat, and cloth him self in the habit of a sclaue. What, I pray you, shulde this godlie father haue saide, if he had sene all the men of a realme or nation fall downe before a woman? If he had sene the crowne, sceptre, and sworde, whiche are ensignes of the royall dignitie, geuen to her, and a woman cursed of God, and made subiecte to man, placed in the throne of iustice, to sit as Goddes lieutenant? What, I say, in this behalfe, shuld any hart vnfeinedlie fearing, God haue iudged of suche men? I am assured that not onlie shulde they haue bene iudged foolishe but also enraged, and sclaues to Satan, manifestlie fighting against God and his apointed ordre. The more that I consider the subuersion of Goddes ordre, which he hath placed generallie in all liuinge thinges, the more I do wondre at the blindnes of man, who doth not consider him self in this case so degenerate, that the brute beastes are to be preferred vnto him in this behalfe. Brute beastes to be preferred. For nature hath in all beastes printed a certein marke of dominion in the male, and a certeine subiection in the female, whiclie they kepe inuiolate. For no man euer sawe the lion make obedience, and stoupe before the lionesse, nether yet can it be proued, that the hinde taketh the conducting of the heard amongest the hartes. And yet (alas) man, who by the mouth of God hath dominion apointed to him ouer woman, doth not onlie to his own shame, stoupe vnder the obedience of women, but also in despit of God and of his apointed ordre, reioyseth, and mainteineth that monstruouse authoritie, as a thing lauful and iust. Insoluent ioy bringeth sodein sorowe. The insolent ioy, the bonefiers, and banketing which were in london and els where in England, when that cursed Iesabell was proclaimed qwene, did witnesse to my hart, that men were becomen more then enraged. For els howe coulde they so haue reioysed at their owne confusion and certein destruction? For what man was there of so base iudgement (supposing that he had any light of God) who did not see the erecting of that monstre, to be the ouerthrowe of true religion, and the assured destruction of England, and of the auncient liberties therof? And yet neuer the lesse, all men so triumphed, as if God had deliuered them frome all calamitie.
But iust and rightuouse, terrible and fearfull are thy iudgements, o Lorde! For as some times thou diddest so punishe men for vnthankfulnes, Rom.1. that man ashamed not to commit villanie withe man; and that because, that knowinge the to be God, they glorified the not as God, euen so haste thou moste iustlie nowe punished the proude rebellion and horrible ingratitude of the realmes of England and Scotland. For when thou diddest offre thy selfe moste mercifullie to them both, offering the meanes by the whiche they might haue bene ioyned to gether for euer in godly Concorde: then was the one proude and cruel, and the other vnconstant, and fikle of promise. But yet (alas) did miserable England further rebell against the. For albeit thou diddest not cease to heape benefit vpon benefit, during the reigne of an innocent and tendre king, yet no man did acknowledge thy potent hand and meruelouse working. what robbed God of his honor in England in the time of the Gospell. The stoute courage of capitaines, the witte and policie of counselors, the learning of bishoppes, did robbe the of thy glorie and honor. For what then was heard, as concerning religion, but the kinges procedinges, the kinges procedinges must be obeyed? It is enacted by parliament: therefore it is treason to speake in the contrarie. But this was not the end of this miserable tragedie. For thou diddest yet precede to offre thy fauors, sending thy prophetes and messagers, to call for reformation of life in all estates:Goddes benefites shewed to England. For euen frome the highest to the lowest, all were declined frome the (yea euen those that shuld haue bene the lanterns to others) some I am assured did qwake and tremble, and frome the botome of their hartes thirsted amendment, and for the same purpose did earnestly call for discipline. But then brust forth the venome which before lurked; then might they not conteine their despiteful voices, but with open mouthes did crie: we will not haue suche a one to reigne ouer vs. Then, I say, was euerie man so stoute, that he wolde not be broght in bondage: Discipline refused in England. no not to the, O Lord, but with disdein did the multitude cast frome them the amiable yoke of Christ Iesus. No man wolde suffre his sinne to be rebuked, no man wolde haue his life called to triall. And thus did they refuse the, O Lorde, and thy sonne Christ Iesus to be their pastor, protector and prince. And therfore hast thou geuen them ouer in to a reprobat minde. Thou hast taken from them the spirit of boldnes, of wisdome and of rightuous iudgement. They see their owne destruction, and yet they haue no grace to auoide it. Yea they are becomen so blinde, that knowing the pit, they headlong cast them selues into the same; The nobilitie and the hole realme of England, caste themselues willingly in to the pit. as the nobilitie of England, do this day, fighting in the defense of their mortall ennemie the Spaniard. Finallie they are so destitute of vnderstanding and iudgement, that althogh they knowe that there is a libertie and fredome, the whiche their predecessors haue inioyed; yet are they compelled to bowe their neckes vnder the yoke of Satan, and of his proude ministres, pestilent papistes and proude spaniardes. And yet can they not consider that where a woman reigneth and papistes beare authoritie, that there must nedes Satan be president of the counsel. Thus hast thou, O Lorde, in thy hote displeasure reuenged the contempt of thy graces offred. But, O Lord, if thou shalt reteine wrath to the end, what Aeshe is able to susteine? Confession. We haue sinned, O Lord, and are not worthy to be releued. But worthy art thou, O Lord, to be a true God, and worthy is thy sonne Christ Iesus, to haue his Euangil and glorie aduanced: whiche both are troden vnder foot in this cruell murther and persecution, whiche the builders of Babylon commit in their furie, haue raised against thy children, for the establishing of their kingdome. Let the sobbes therfore of thy prisoners, O Lord, passe vp to thine eares, consider their affliction: and let the eyes of thy mercie looke downe vpon the blood of such as die for testimonie of thy eternal veritie: and let not thine ennemies mocke thy iudgement for euer. To the, O Lorde, I turne my wretched and wicked hart: to the alone, I direct my complaint and grones: for in that Ile to thy saintes there is left no comfort. Albeit I haue thus (talkinge with my God in the anguishe of my harte) some what digressed: yet haue I not vtterlie forgotten my former proposition, to witt, that it is a thing repugnant to the ordre of nature, that any woman be exalted to rule ouer men. For God hath denied vnto her the office of a heade. And in the intreating of this parte, I remembre that I haue made the nobilitie both of England and Scotland inferior to brute beastes, for that they do to women, which no male amongest the common sorte of beastes can be proued to do their females: that is, they reuerence them, and qwake at their presence, they obey their commandementes, and that against God. Wherfore I iudge them not onelie subiectes to women, but sclaues of Satan, and seruantes of iniquitie. If any man thinke these my wordes sharpe or vehement, let him consider that the offense is more haynous, than can be expressed by wordes. For where all thinges, be expressedly concluded against the glorie and honor of God, and where the blood of the saintes of God is commanded to be shed, whome shall we iudge, God or the deuil, to be president of that counsel? NOTE. Plain it is, that God ruleth not by his loue, mercie, nor grace in the assembly of the vngocllie. Then it resteth, that the deuii, the prince of this worlde, doth reigne ouer suche tyrannes. whose seruantes, I pray you, shal then be iudged, such as obey, and execute, their tyrannie? God for his great mercies sake, illuminate the eyes of men, that they may perceiue in to what miserable bondage they be broght, by the monstriferous empire of women.
NOTE. The seconde glasse, whiche God hath set before the eyes of man, wherein he may beholde the ordre, whiche pleaseth his wisdome, concerning authoritie and dominion, is that common welth, to the whiche it pleaseth his maiestie to apoint, and geue lawes, statutes, rites and ceremonies not onelie concerninge religion, but also touching their policie and regiment of the same. And against that ordre it doth manifestly repugne, that any woman shall occupie the throne of God, that is, the royall seate, whiche he by his worde hath apointed to man. As in geuing the lawe to Israel, concerning the election of a king, is euident. For thus it is writen:Deut.17. If thou shalt say, I will apoint a king aboue me, as the rest of the nations, whiche are aboute me: Thou shalt make the a kinge, whome the Lorde thy God shall chose, one frome amongest the middest of thy bretheren, thou shalt apointe kinge aboue the. Thou maist not make a strangier that is not thy brother. Here expressedly is a man apointed to be chosen king, and a man natiue amongest them selues, by whiche precept is all woman and all strangier secluded. What may be obiected for the parte or election of a strangier, shalbe, God willinge, answered in the blast of the second trumpet. For this present, I say, that the erecting of a woman to that honor, is not onely to inuert the ordre, which God hath established: but also it is to defile, pollute and prophane (so farre as in man lieth) the throne and seat of God, God hath apointed man his ministre and lieutenant. whiche he hath sanctified and apointed for man onely, in the course of this wretched life, to occupie and possesse as his ministre and lieutenant: secluding from the same all woman, as before is expressed. If anythinke the fore writen lawe did bindethe Iewes onelie, Answer to an objection. let the same man consider, that the election of a kinge, and apointing of iudges, did nether apperteine to the ceremoniall lawe, nether yet was it mere iudiciall: The election of a king floweth frome the moral lawe. but that it did flowe frome the morall lawe, as an ordinance, hauing respect to the conseruation of both the tables. For the office of the magistrate oght to haue the first and chief respect to the glorie of God, commanded and conteined in the former table, as is euident by that, whiche was inioyned to Iosue by God, what time he was accepted and admitted ruler and gouerner ouer his people, in these wordes: Iosue 1. Thou shalt diuide the inheritance to this people, the whiche I haue sworne to their fathers, to geue vnto them: so that thou be valiant and strong, that thou maist kepe and do, according to that hole lawe, whiche my seruant Moses hath commanded the. Thou shalt not decline frome it, nether to the right hande, nether to the left hand, that thou maist do prudentlie in all thinges, that thou takest in hand, let not the boke of this lawe departe from thy mouth, but meditate in it, day and night: that thou maist kepe and do, according to euery thing, that is writen in it. For then shall thy wayes prosper, and then shalt thou do prudently &c. Rulers should take hede to this. And the same precept geueth God by the mouth of Moses, to kinges, after they be elected, in these wordes:Deut.17. when he shal sit in the throne or seate of his kingdome, he shall write to him self a copie of this lawe in a boke, and that shalbe with him, that he may reade in it all the dayes of his life, that he may learne to feare the Lorde his God, and to kepe all the wordes of this lawe, and all these statutes, that he may do them &c. Of these two places it is euident, that principallie it apperteineth to the king or to the chief magistrate, to knowe the will of God, to be instructed in his lawe and statutes, and to promote his glorie with his hole hart and studie, which be the chief pointes of the first table. No man denieth, but that the sworde is committed to the magistrate, to the end that he shulde punishe vice, and mainteine vertue. what vices magistrates oght to punishe. To punishe vice I say, not onelie that, whiche troubleth the tranquillitie and quiet estat of the common welth by adulterie, theft or murther committed, but also suche vices as openly impugne the glorie of God: as idolatrie, blasphemie, and manifest heresie, taught and obstinatly mainteined: as the histories and notable actes of Ezechias, Iosaphat, and Iosias do plainlie teache vs. Whose study and care was not onlie to glorifie God in their own life and conuersation, but also they vnfeinedlie did trauel to bring subiectes to the true worshipping and honoring of God. And did destroye all monumentes of idolatrie, did punishe to deathe the teachers of it, and remoued frome office and honors suche, as were mainteiners of those abominations. Wherbie I suppose that it be euident, that the office of the king or supreme magistrate, hath respect to the lawe morall, and to the conseruation of both the tables.
NOTE. The gentil no lesse bounde to the lawe moral then the Iewe. Nowe if the lawe morall, be the constant and vnchangeable will of God, to the which the gentil is no lesse bounde, then was the Iewe; and if God will that amongest the gentiles, the ministres and executors of his lawe be nowe apointed, as somtimes they were apointed amongest the Iewes: further if the execution of iustice be no lesse requisite in the policie of the gentiles, then euer it was amongest the Iewes: what man can be foolishe to suppose or beleue, that God will nowe admit those persons, to sit in iudgement or to reigne ouer men in the common welth of the gentiles, whom he by his expressed word and ordinance, did before debarre and seclude from the same? And that women were secluded from the royall seate, the which oght to be the sanctuarie to all poore afflicted, and therfore is iustlie called the seat of god (besides the place before recited of the election of a king, and besides the places of the newe testament, whiche be moste euident) the ordre and election which was kept in Iuda and Israel, doth manifestlie declare. NOTE. For when the males of the kinglie stocke failed, as oft as it chaunced in Israel and sometimes in Iuda, it neuer entered in to the hartes of the people to chose and promote to honors any of the kinges doughters, (had he neuer so many) but knowing Goddes vengeance to be poured furth vpon the father by the away taking of his sonnes, they had no further respect to his stocke, but elected suche one man or other, as they iudged most apt for that honor and authoritie. Of whiche premisses, I conclude (as before) that to promote a woman heade ouer men, is repugnant to nature, and a thinge moste contrarious to that ordre, whiche God hath approued in that common welth, whiche he did institute and rule by his worde. But nowe to the last point, to wit, that the empire of a woman is a thing repugnant to iustice, and the destruction of euerie common welth, where it is receiued. In probation whereof, because the mater is more then euident, I will vse fewe wordes. First, I say, if iustice be a constant and perpetuall will to geue to euerie person, their own right (as the moste learned in all ages haue defined it to be) then to geue, or to will to geue to any person, that whiche is not their right, must repugne to iustice. The first argument that the authoritie of women repungeth to iustice. But to reigne aboue man, can neuer be the right to woman: because it is a thinge denied vnto her by God, as is before declared. Therfore to promote her to that estat or dignitie, can be no thing els but repugnancie to iustice. If I shulde speake no more, this were sufficient. For except that ether they can improue the definition of iustice, or els that they can intreate God to reuoke and call backe his sentence pronounced against woman, they shalbe compelled to admit my conclusion. If any finde faute with iustice, as it is defined, he may well accuse others, but me he shall not hurt. For I haue the shield, the weapon, and the warrant of him, who assuredlie will defend this quarel, and he commandeth me to crie:
The second argument. What soeuer repugneth to the will of god expressed in his most sacred worde, repugneth to iustice: but that women haue authoritie ouer men repugneth to the will of God expressed in his worde: and therfore mine author commandeth me to conclude without feare, that all suche authoritie repugneth to iustice. The first parte of the argument I trust dare nether Iewe nor gentile denie: for it is a principle not onelie vniuersallie confessed, but also so depelie printed in the hart of man, be his nature neuer so corrupted, that whether he will or no, he is compelled at one time or other, to acknowledge and confesse, Nature doth confesse that repugnancie to Goddes will is iniustice. that justice is violated, when thinges are done against the will of God, expressed by his worde. And to this confession are no lesse the reprobate coacted and constrained, then be the chosen children of god, albeit to a diuers end. The elect with displeasure of their facte, confesse their offense, hauing accesse to grace and mercie, as did Adam, Dauid, Peter, and all other penitent offenders. Howe the reprobat confesse Goddes will iust. But the reprobat, not withstanding they are compelled to acknowledge the will of God to be iust the which they haue offended, yet are they neuer inwardlie displeased, with their iniquitie, but rage, complain and storme against God, whose vengeance they can not escape:Genes.4. Mat.27. as did Cain, Iudas, Herode, Iulian called apostata, Yea Iesabel; and Athalia. For Cain no doubte was conuict in conscience, that he had done against iustice in murthering of his brother. Iudas did openlie, before the high priest confesse that he had sinned, in betraying innocent blood. Herode being stricken by the angel, did mocke those his flaterers, saying vnto them: beholde your God (meaning of him selfe) can not nowe preserue him self frome corruption and wormes. Iulianus was compelled in the end to crie, O galilean (so alwayes in contempt did he name our sauiour Iesus Christ) thou hast nowe ouercomen. And who doubteth but Iesabel, and Athalia, before their miserable end, were conuicted in their cankered consciences, to acknowledge that the murther, which they had committed, and the empire whiche the one had six yeares usurped, were repugnant to iustice: Euen so shall they I doubt not, whiche this daye do possesse and mainteine that monstriferous authoritie of women, womans authoritie bringeth furth monstres. shortlie be compelled to acknowledge, that their studies and deuises, haue bene bent against God: and that all such as women haue usurped, repugneth to iustice, because, as I haue saide, it repugneth to the will of God expressed in his sacred worde. And if any man doubte herof, let him marke wel the wordes of the apostle, saying: 1. Tim.2. I permit not a woman to teache, nether yet to vsurpe authoritie aboue man. No man I trust will denie these wordes of the apostle, to be the wil of God expressed in his worde: and he saith openlie, I permit not &c. Which is asmuch as, I will not, that a woman haue authority, charge or power ouer man, for so much importeth the greke word authentein in that place. Nowe let man and angell conspire against God, let them pronounce their lawes, and say, we will suffre women to beare authoritie, who then can depose them? yet shall this one worde of the eternal God spoken by the mouth of a weake man, thruste them euerie one in to hell. Iesabel may for a time slepe quietlie in the bed of her fornication and hoordome, she may teache and deceiue for a season: Apoca.2. but nether shall she preserue her selfe, nether yet her adulterous children frome greate affliction, and frome the sworde of Goddes vengeance, whiche shall shortlie apprehend suche workes of iniquitie. The admonition I differe to the end.
Here might I bring in the oppression and iniustice, which is committed against realmes and nations, whiche some times liued free, and now are broght in bondage of forein nations, by the reason of this monstriferous authoritie and empire of women. But that I delay till better oportunitie. And now I think it expedient to answer such obiections, as carnal and worldlie men, yea men ignorant of God, vse to make for maintenance of this tyrannic (authoritie it is not worthie to be called) and most vniuste empire of woman.
Iudic.4. Parn.3. The defenses of the aduersaries First they do obiect the examples of Debora, and of Hulda the prophetesse, of whom the one iudged Israel, and the other, by all apparance, did teache and exhorte.
Secondarily they do obiect the lawe made by Moses for the doughters of zalphead. Numb.27 Thirdlie the consent of the estates of such realmes as haue approued the empire and regiment of women. And last the longcustome, which hath receiued the regiment of women. Their valiant actes and prospesitie, together with some papistical lawes, which haue confirmed the same.
Answer to the first obiection. To the first, I answer, that particular examples do establishe no common lawe. The causes were knowen to God alon, why he toke the spirite of wisdome and force frome all men of those ages, and did so mightely assist women against nature, and against his ordinarie course: that the one he made a deliuerer to his afflicted people Israel: and to the other he gaue not onlie perseuerance in the true religion, when the moste parte of men had declined from the same, but also to her he gaue the spirit of prophecie, to assure king Iosias of the thinges which were to come. With these women, I say, did God worke potentlie, and miraculouslie, yea to them he gaue moste singular grace and priuiledge. But who hath commanded, that a publike, yea a tyrannicall and moste wicked lawe be established vpon these examples? The men that obiect the same, are not altogether ignorant, that examples haue no strength, when the question is of lawe. Examples against lawe haue no strength when the question is of lawe. As if I shuld aske, what mariage is laufull? and it shulde be answered that laufull it is to man, not onelie to haue manie wiues at ones, but also it is laufull to marie two sisters, and to enioye them both liuing at ones, because that Dauid, Iacob, and Salomon, seruantes of God did the same. I trust that no man wold iustifie the vanitie of this reason. Or if the question were demanded, if a Christian, with good conscience may defraude, steale or deceiue: and answer were made that so he might by the example of the Israelites, who at Goddes commandement, deceiued the Egyptians, and spoiled them of their garmentes, golde and syluer. I thinke likewise this reason shuld be mocked. And what greater force, I pray you, hath the former argument? Debora did rule in Israel, and Hulda spoke prophecie in Iuda: Ergo it is laufull for women to reigne aboue realmes and nations, or to teache in the presence of men. NOTE. The consequent is vain and of none effect. For of examples, as is before declared, we may establishe no lawe, but we are alwayes bounde to the lawe writen, and to the commandement expressed in the same. And the lawe writen and pronounced by God, forbiddeth no lesse that any woman reigne ouer man, then it forbiddeth man to take pluralitie of wiues, to mary two sisters liuing at ons, to steale, to robbe, to murther or to lie. If any of these hath bene transgressed, and yet God hath not imputed the same: it maketh not the like fact or dede lawfull vnto vs. For God being free, may for suche causes as be approued by his inscrutable wisdome, dispense with the rigor of his lawe, and may vse his creatures at his pleasure. But the same power is not permitted to man, whom he hath made subiect to his lawe, and not to the examples of fathers. And this I thinke sufficient to the reasonable and moderate spirites. But to represse the raging of womans madnes, I will descend somwhat deeper in to the mater, and not feare to affirme: that as we find a contrarie spirit in all these moste wicked women, that this day be exalted in to this tyrannouse authoritie, to the spirite that was in those godly matrons: so I feare not, I say, to affirme, that their condition is vnlike, and that their end shalbe diuers. In those matrones we finde that the spirit of mercie, truthe, iustice and of humilitie did reigne. Antithesis betwixt the former matrones, and our Iesabelles. Vnder them we finde that God did shewe mercie to his people, deliuering them frome the tyrannie of strangiers, and from the venom of idolatrie by the handes and counsel of those women: but in these of our ages, we finde crueltie, falshed, pride, couetousnes, deceit, and oppression. In them we also finde the spirit of Iesabel, and Athalia, vnder them we finde the simple people oppressed, the true religion extinguished, and the blood of Christes membres most cruellie shed. And finallie by their practises and deceit, we finde auncient realmes and nations geuen and betrayed in to the handes of strangiers, the titles and liberties of them taken frome the iuste possessors. Which one thinge is an euident testimonie, howe vnlike our mischeuous Maryes be vnto Debora, vnder whome were strangiers chased owt of Israel, God so raising her vp to be a mother and deliuerer to his oppressed people. NOTE. But (alas) he hath raised vp these Iesabelles to be the vttermoste of his plagues, the whiche mans vnthankfulnes hath long deserued. But his secret and most iust iudgement, shal nether excuse them, neither their mainteiners, because their counsels be diuers. But to prosecute my purpose, let such as list to defend these monstres in their tyrannie, prbue first, that their souereine maistresses be like to Debora in godlines and pitie: and secondarilie, that the same successe doth folowe their tyrannie, which did folowe the extraorelinarie regiment of that godlie matrone. Which things althogh they were able to do NOTE. (as they neuer shalbe, let them blowe til they brust) yet shall her example profet them nothing at all. For they are neuer able to proue that ether Debora, or any other godlie woman No godlie woman did euer claime authoritie ouer man by reason of her birth and blood. (hauing the commendation of the holie ghoste within the scriptures) hath vsurped authoritie aboue any realme or nation, by reason of their birth and blood. Nether yet did they claime it by right or inheritance: but God by his singular priuiledge, fauor, and grace, exempted Debora from the common malediction geuen to women in that behalf: and against nature he made her prudent in counsel, strong in courage, happie in regiment, and a blessed mother and deliuerer to his people. The whiche he did partlie to aduance and notifie the power of his maiestie as well to his ennemies, as to his owne people: why God sometimes worketh by extraordinarie meanes. in that that he declared himself able to geue saluation and deliuerance, by meanes of the moste weake vesselles: and partlie he did it to confound and ashameall man of that age, because they had for the moste part declined frome his true obedience. And therfore was the spirit of courage, regiment, and boldnes taken from them for a time to their confusion and further humiliation. But what maketh this for Mary and her matche Phillippe? One thing I wold aske of suche as depend vpon the example of Debora, whether she was widowe or wife, when she iudged Israel, and when that God gaue that notable victorie to his people vnder her? If they answer she was widowe, I wold lay against them the testimonie of the holie ghost, witnessinge that she was wife to Lapidoth. Iudic.4. And if they will shift, and alledge, that so she might be called, notwithstanding that her husband was dead, I vrge them further, that they are not able to, proue it to be any common phrase and maner of speache in the scriptures, that a woman shall be called the wife of a dead man, except that there be some note added, wherbie it may be knowen that her husband is departed, as is witnessed of Anna. Luc.2.
Iudic.4. But in this place of the iudges, there is no note added, that her husband shuld be dead, but rather the expressed contrarie. For the text saith: In that time a woman named Debora a prophetesse, wife to Lapidoth iudged Israel, The holie ghost plainlie speaketh, that what time she iudged Israel, she was wife to Lapidoth. If she was wife, and if she ruled all alone in Israel, NOTE. then I aske why did she not preferre her husband to that honor to be capitain, and to be leader to the host of the Lord. If any thinke that it was her husbande, the text proueth the contrarie. For it affirmeth that Barak, of the tribe of Nephtalie was apointed to that office. If Barak had bene her husband: to what purpose shuld the holie ghost so diligentlie haue noted the tribe, and an other name then was before expressed? Yea to what purpose shuld it be noted, that she send and called him? whereof I doubt not, but that euerie reasonable man doth consider that this Barak was not her husband, and therof likwise it is euident, that her iudgement or gouernement in Israel was no such vsurped power, as our quenes vniustlie possesse this day, but that it was the spirit of prophecie, which rested vpon her, what time the multitude of the people wroght wickedlie in the eyes of the Lord: by the whiche spirit, she did rebuke the idolatrie and iniquitie of the people, exhort them to repentance, and in the end, did bring them this comfort, that God shuld deliuer them from the bondage and thraldom of their ennemies. And this she might do, NOTE. not withstanding that an other did occupie the place of the supreme magistral, (if any was in those dayes in Israel) for, so I finde did Hulda the wife of Sallum in the dayes of Iosias king of Iuda 2. Reg.22. speake prophecie and comfort the king: and yet he resigned to her nether the sceptre; nor the sword. That this our interpretacion, how that Debora did iudge in Israel is the true meaning of the holie ghost, the pondering and weying of the historic shall manifestlie proue. When she sendeth for Barak, I pray you, in whose name geueth she him his charge? Debora commanded not as princes vse to commande. Doth she speake to him as kinges and princes vse to speake to their subiectes in suche cases? No, but she speaketh, as she that had a speciall reuelation frome God, whiche nether was knovren to Barak nor to the people, saying: hath not the Lord God of Israel commanded the? This is her preface, by the whiche she wold stirre vp the dull senses of Barak, and of the people, willing to persuade vnto them, that the time was comen, when God wold shewe him selfe their protector and deliuerer, in which preface she vsurpeth to her selfe, nether power nor authoritie. For she saith not, I being thy princes, thy maistresse, thy souereine ladie and quene, commatide the vpon thine allegeance, and vnder pain of treason to go, and gather an armie. No, she spoileth her self of all power to commande, attributing that authoritie to God, of whom she had her reuelation and certitude to apoint Barak capitain, which after appeareth more plainlie. For when she had declared to him the hole counsel of God, apointing vnto him aswell the nombre of his souldiors, as the tribes, owt of which they shuld be gathered: and when she had apointed the place of the batel, (whiche she coulde not haue done, but by especiall reuelation of God) and had assured him of victorie in the name of God, and yet that he fainted and openlie refused, to entre in to that iourney except that the prophetesse wold accompanie him, she did vse against him no external power, she did not threaten him with rebellion and death, but for assurance of his faint hart and weake conscience, being content to go with him, she pronounceth, that the glorie shulde not be his in that iourney, but that the Lord shuld sell Sisera in to the hand of a woman. Such as haue more pleasure in light then in darknes, may clearlie perceiue, that Debora did vsurpe no such power nor authoritie, as our quenes do this day claime. But that she was indued with the spirit of wisdome, of knowledge, and of the true feare of God: and by the same she iudged the factes of the rest of the people. She rebuked their defection and idolatry, yea and also did redresse to her power, the iniuries, that were done by man to man. But all this, I say, she did by the spirituall sworde, that is, by the worde of God, and not by any temporall regiment or authoritie, whiche she did vsurpe ouer Israel. In which, I suppose, at that time there, was no laufull magistrate, by the reason of their greate affliction. For so witnesseth the historic, saying: And Ehud being dead, the Lorde sold Israel in to the hand of Iabin king of Canaan. And he by Sisera his capitain afflicted Israel greatlie the space of twentie yeares. And Debora her self, in her song of thankes geuing, confesseth that before she did arise mother in Israel, and in the dayes of Iael, there was nothing but confusion and trouble. If any sticke to the terme, alledging that the holie ghost saith, that she iudged Israel: To iudge is not alway understand of the ciuil regiment. let them vnderstand, that nether doth the Ebrue word, nether yet the Latin, alwayes signifie ciuile iudgement, or the execution of the temporall sword, but most commonlie is taken in the sense, which we haue before expressed. For of Christ it is said: he shal iudge many nations. And that he shall pronounce iudgement to the gentiles. Isaie 2.
Isaie.5. And yet it is euident, that he was no minister of the temporal sword. God commandeth Ierusalem and Iuda to iudge betwixt him and his vineyarde, and yet he apointed not them all to be ciuil magistrates. To Ezechiel it is said: Ezech.20. Ezech.22. Ezech.34 shalt thou not iudge them sonne of man? and after: thou sonne of man, shalt thou not iudge? shalt thou not iudge, I say, the citie of blood? and also: behold, I shall iudge betwixt beast and beast. And such places in great nombre, are to be founde thrughout the hole scriptures, and yet I trust, no man wilbe so foolish, as to thinke that any of the Prophetes were apointed by God to be politike iudges, or to punishe the sinnes of man, by corporal punishment. No the maner of their iudgement is expressed in these wordes:Ezech.23 Declare to them all their abominations, and thou shalt say to them: Thus saith the Lorde God: a citie shedding blood in the middest of her, that her time may approche and which hath made idoles against her selfe, that she might be polluted. Thou hast transgressed in the blood which thou hast shed, and thou are polluted in the idoles, which thou hast made. Thus, I say, do the prophetes of God iudge, pronouncing the sentence of God against malefactors. And so I doubt not but Debora iudged, what time Israel had declined from God: rebuking their defection, and exhorting them to repentance, without vsurpation of any ciuill authoritie. And if the people gaue vnto her for a time any reuerence or honour, as her godlines and happie counsel did well deserue, NOTE. yet was it no such empire, as our monstres claime. For which of her sonnes or nerest kinsmen left she ruler and iudge in Israel after her. The holie ghost expresseth no such thing. Wherof it is euident, that by her example God offreth no occasion to establish any regiment of women aboue men, realmes, and nations.
An answer to the second obiection. But now to the second obiection. In whiche women require (as to them appeareth) nothing but equitie and iustice. Whilest they and their patrones for them, require dominion and empire aboue men. For this is their question: Is it not lauful, that women haue their right and inheritance, like as the doughters of Zalphead were commanded by the mouth of Moses to haue their portion of grounde in their tribe?
I answer, it is not onlie laufull that women possesse their inheritance, but I affirme also that iustice and equitie require, that so they do. But therwith I adde that whiche gladlie they list not vnderstand: what woman wold not gladly heare. that to beare rule or authoritie ouer man, can neuer be right nor inheritance to woman. For that can neuer be iust inheritance to any person, whiche God by his word hath plainlie denied vnto them: but to all women hath God denied authoritie aboue man, as moste manifestlie is before declared: Therfore to her it can neuer be inheritance. And thus must the aduocates of our ladies prouide some better example and strongar argument. For the lawe made in fauor of the doughters of Zalphead, will serue them nothing. And assuredlie greate wonder it is, that in so greate light of Goddes truthe, men list to grope and wander in darknes. For let them speak of conscience: the daughters of Zalphead desired to reigne ouer no man in Israel. if the petition of any of these fore named women was to reigne ouer any one tribe, yea or yet ouer any one man within Israel. Plain it is, they did not, but onelie required, that they might haue a portion of ground amonge the men of their tribe, lest, that the name of their father shuld be abolished. And this was graunted vnto them without respect had to any ciuil regiment. And what maketh this, I pray you, for the establishing of this monstruous empire of women? The question is not: if women may not succede to possession, substance patrimonie or inheritance, such as fathers may leaue to their children, for that I willinglie grant: women may succede to inheritance but not to office. But the question is: if women may succede to their fathers in offices, and chieflie to that office, the executor wherof doth occupie the place and throne of God. And that I absolutelie denie: and feare not to say, that to place a woman in authoritie aboue a realme, is to pollute and prophane the royall seate, the throne of iustice, which oght to be the throne of God: and that to mainteine them in the same, is nothing els, but continuallie to rebell against God. One thing there is yet to be noted and obserued in the lawe Num.36 made concerning the inheritance of the doughters of Zalphead, to wit, that it was forbidden vnto them to marie without their owne tribe, lest that such portion as fell to their lotte, shuld be transferred frome one tribe to an other, and so shuld the tribe of Manasses be defrauded and spoiled of their iust inheritance by their occasion. For auoiding of which it was commanded by Moses, that they should marie in the familie or housholde of the tribe and kindred of their father. Wonder it is that the aduocates and patrones of the right of our ladies did not consider and ponder this lawe Our patrones for women do not marke this caution. before that they counseled the blinde princes and vnworthie nobles of their countries, to betray the liberties therof in to the handes of strangiers. England for satisfying of the inordinat appetites of that cruell monstre Marie (vnworthie by reason of her bloodie tyrannie, of the name of a woman) betrayed (alas) to the proude spaniarde: and Scotlande by the rashe madnes of foolish gouerners, and by the practises of a craftie dame resigned likewise, vnder title of mariage in to the power of France. Doth such translation of realmes and nations please the iustice of God, or is the possession by such means obteined, lauful in his sight? Assured I am that it is not. Realmes gotten by practises are no iuste posession. No other wise, I say, then is that possession, wherunto theues, murtherers, tyrannes and oppressors do attein by theft, murther, tyrannie, violence, deceit, and oppression, whiche God of his secrete (but yet most iust) iudgement doth often permit for punishment, as wel of the sufferers, as of the violent oppressors, but doth neuer approue the same as laufull and godlie. For if he wold not permit that the inheritance of the children of Israel shuld passe frome one tribe to an other by the mariage of any doughter, NOTE. not withstanding that they were all one people, all spake one tonge, all were descended of one father, and all did professe one God, and one religion: If yet, I say, God wold not suffer that the commoditie and vsuall frute, which might be gathered of the portion of grounde limited and assigned to one tribe shulde passe to an other: Will he suffer that the liberties, lawes, commodities and frutes of hole realmes and nations, be geuen in to the power and distribution of others, by the reason of mariage, and in the powers of suche, as besides, that they be of a strange tonge, of strange maners and lawes, they are also ignorant of God, ennemies to his truth, deniers of Christ Iesus, persecutors of his true membres, and haters of all vertue? As the odious nation of spaniardes doth manifestlie declare: who for very despit, which they do beare against Christe Iesus, whome their forefathers did crucifie (for Iewes they are, The spaniardes are Iewes and they bragge that Marie of England is the roote of Iesse. as histories do witnesse, and they them selues confesse) do this day make plaine warre against all true professors of his holie gospell. And howe blindlie and outragiouslie the frenche king, and his pestilent prelates do, fight against the veritie of God, the flaming fiers, which lick vp the innocent blood of Christes membres, do witnesse, and by his cruel edictes is notified and proclaimed. Note the law which he hath proclaimed in France against such as he termeth Lutherians. And yet to these two cruell tyrannes (to France, and Spain I meane) is the right and possession of England and Scotland apointed. But iust or laufull shall that possession neuer be, till God do chaunge the statute of his former lawe: whiche he will not do for the pleasure of man. For he hath not created the earth to satisfie the ambition of two or three tyrannes, but for the vniuersall seed of Adam: Act.17. and hath apointed and defined the boundes of their habitation to diuerse nations, assigning diuers countries as he him selfe confesseth, speaking to Israel in these wordes: You shal passe by the boundes and limiter, of your bretheren the sonnes of Esau, who dwell in mount Seir. Deuter.2. They shall feare you. But take diligent hede, that ye shewe not your selues cruell against them. For I will geue you no part of their land. No not the bredth of a foote. For mount Seir I haue geuen to Esau to be possessed. And the same he doth witnesse of the sonnes of Lot,Deut.32. to whom he had geuen Arre to be possessed. And Moses plainlie affirmeth, that when the almightie did distribute, and diuide possessions to the gentiles, and when he did disperse, and scatter the sonnes of men, that then he did apoint the limites and boundes of peoples, for the nomber of the sonnes of Israel. NOTE. Wherof it is plain, that God hath not exposed the earth in pray to tyrannes, making all thing laufull, which by violence and murther they may possesse, but that he hath apointed to euery seuerall nation, a seuerall possession, willing them to stand content (as nature did teache an ethnik to affirme) Cicero offic. lib.1. with that portion, which by lotte and iust meanes they had mioyed. For what causes God permitteth this his distribution to be troubled, and the realmes of auncient nations to be possessed of strangiers, I delay at this time to intreate. Onlie this I haue recited to geue the worlde to vnderstand, that the reigne, empire, and authoritie of women, hath no grounde within Goddes scriptures. Realmes gotten by mariage, is uniust conquest. Yea that realmes or prouinces possessed by their mariage, is nothinge but vniust conquest. For so litle doth the lawe made for the doughters of Zalphead helpe the cause of your quenes, that vtterlie it fighteth against them, both damning their authoritie and fact. But now to the thirde objection.
The consent, say they, of realmes and lawes pronounced and admitted in this behalfe, long consuetude and custorne, together with felicitie of some women in their empires haue established their authoritie. Answer to the third obiection. To whome, I answer, that nether may the tyrannie of princes, nether the foolishnes of people, nether wicked lawes made against God, nether yet the felicitie that in this earthe may herof insue, make that thing laufull, whiche he by his word hath manifestlie condemned. For if the approbation of princes and people, lawes made by men, or the consent of realmes, may establishe any thing against God and his word, then shuld idolatrie be preferred to the true religion. For mo realmes and nations, mo lawes and decrees published by Emperours with common consent of their counsels, haue established the one, then haue approued the other. And yet I thinke that no man of sounde iudgement, will therfore iustifie and defend idolatrie. No more oght any man to mainteine this odious empire of women, althogh that it were approued of all men by their lawes. For the same God that in plain wordes forbiddeth idolatrie, doth also forbidde the authoritie of women ouer man. As the wordes of saint Paule before rehearsed do plainly teach vs. And therfore whether women be deposed from that vniust authoritie women may and oght to be deposed from authoritie. (haue they neuer vsurped it so long) or if all such honor be denied vnto them, I feare not to affirme that they are nether defrauded of right, nor inheritance. For to women can that honor neuer be due nor laufull (muche lesse inheritance) whiche God hath so manifestlie denied vnto them.
I am not ignorant that the subtill wittes of carnall men (which can neuer be broght vnder obedience of Goddes simple preceptes to maintein this monstruous empire) haue yet two vaine shiftes. the fourth obiection. First they alledge, that albeit women may not absolutelie reigne by themselues, because they may nether sit in iudgement, nether pronounce sentence, nether execute any publike office: yet may they do all such thinges by their lieutenantes, deputies and iudges substitute. Secondarilie, say they, a woman borne to rule ouer anyrealme, may chose her a husband, and to him she may transfer and geue her authoritie and right. To both I answer in fewe wordes. First that frome a corrupt and venomed fountein can spring no holsome water: Secondarilie that no person hath power to geue the thing, which doth not iustlie appertein to them selues: women can make no laufull officer. But the authoritie of a woman is a corrupted fountein, and therfore from her can neuer spring any lauful officer. She is not borne to rule ouer men: and therfore she can apointe none by her gift, nor by her power (which she hathn ot) to the place of a laufull magistrat. And therfore who soeuer receiueth of a woman, Let England and Scotland take hede. office or authoritie, are adulterous and bastard officers before God. This may appeare straunge at the first affirmation, but if we will be as indifferent and equall in the cause of God, as that we can be in the cause of man, the reason shall sodeinlie appeare. The case suposed, that a tyranne by conspiracie vsurped the royall seat and dignitie of a king, and in the same did so established him selfe, that he apointed officers, and did what him list for a time, and in this meane time, the natiue king made streit inhibition to all his subiectes, that none shuld adhere to this traitor, nether yet receiue any dignitie of him, yet neuer the lesse they wold honor the same traitor as king, and becomme his officers in all affaires of the realme. If after, the natiue prince did recouer his iust honor and possession, shuld he repute or esteme any man of the traitors apointement for a laufull magistrate? or for his frende and true subiect? or shuld he not rather with one sentence condemne the head with the membres? And if so he shuld do, who were able to accuse him of rigor? much lesse to condemne his sentence of iniustice. And dare we denie the same power to God in the like case? For that woman reigneth aboue man, she hath obteined it by treason and conspiracie committed against God. Howe can it be then, that she being criminall and giltie of treason against God committed, can apointe any officer pleasing in his sight? It is a thing impossible. woman in authoritie is rebel against God. Wherefore let men that receiue of women authoritie, honor or office, be most assuredly persuaded, that in so mainteining that vsurped power, they declare them selues ennemies to God. If any thinke, that because the realme and estates therof, haue geuen their consentes to a woman, and haue established her, and her authoritie: that therfore it is laufull and acceptable before God: let the same men remembre what I haue said before, to wit, that God can not approue the doing nor consent of any multitude, concluding any thing against his worde and ordinance, and therfore they must haue a more assured defense against the wrath of God, then the approbation and consent of a blinded multitude, or elles they shall not be able to stand in the presence of the consuming fier: 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, what the nobilite oght to do in this behalf. because she is a traitoresse and rebell against God. And finallie they must studie to represse her inordinate pride and tyrannie to the vttermost of their power. The same is the dutie of the nobilitie and estates, by whose blindnes a woman is promoted. First in so farre, as they haue moste haynouslie offended against God, placing in authoritie suche as God by his worde hath remoued frome the same, vnfeinedly they oght to call for mercie, and being admonished of their error and damnable fact, in signe and token of true repentance, with common consent they oght to retreate that, which vnaduisedlie and by ignorance they haue pronounced, and oght without further delay to remoue from authority all such persones, as by vsurpation, violence, or tyrannie, do possesse the same. For so did Israel and Iuda after they had reuolted from Dauid, and Iuda alone in the dayes of Athalia.2 Reg.11. For after that she by murthering her sonnes children, had obteined the empire ouer the land, and had most vnhappelie reigned in Iuda six years, Ichoiada the high priest called together the capitaines and chief rulers of the people, Marke this fact, for it agreeth with Goddes lawe pronounced. and shewing to them the kinges sonne Ioas[h], did binde them by an othe to depose that wicked woman, and to promote the king to his royall seat, which they faithfullie did, killinge at his commandement not onlie that cruell and mischeuous woman, but also the people did destroie the temple of Baal, break his altars and images, and kill Mathan Baales high priest before his altars. The same is the dutie aswell of the estates, as of the people that hath bene blinded. First they oght to remoue frome honor and authoritie, that monstre in nature. (so call I a woman cled in the habit of man, yea a woman against nature reigning aboue man). Secondarilie if any presume to defende that impietie, they oght not to feare, first to pronounce, and then after to execute against them the sentence of deathe. If any man be affraid to violat the oth of obedience, which they haue made to suche monstres, let them be most assuredly persuaded, that as the beginning of their othes, preceding from ignorance was sinne, so is the obstinate purpose to kepe the same, nothinge but plaine rebellion against God. But of this mater in the second blast, God willing, we shall speake more at large.
And nowe to put an end to the first blast, seing that by the ordre of nature, by the malediction and curse pronounced against woman, by the mouth of S. Paule the intrepreter of Goddes sentence, by the example of that common welth, in whiche God by his word planted ordre and policie, and finallie by the iudgement of the most godlie writers, God hath deiected woman frome rule, dominion, empire, and authoritie aboue man. Moreouer, seing that nether the example of Debora, nether the lawe made for the doughters of Zalphead, nether yet the foolishe consent of an ignorant multitude, be able to iustifie that whiche God so plainlie hath condemned: An admonition. let all men take hede what quarell and cause frome hence furthe they do defend. If God raise vp any noble harte to vendicat the libertie of his countrie, and to suppresse the monstruous empire of women, let all suche as shal presume to defend them in the same, moste certeinlie knowe, that in so doing, they lift their hand against God, and that one day they shall finde his power to fight against their foolishnes. Let not the faithfull, godlie, and valiant hartes of Christes souldiers be vtterlie discouraged, nether yet let the tyrannes reioise, albeit for a time they triumphe against such asstudie to represse their tyrannie, and to remoue them from vniust authoritie. For the causes alone, why he suffereth the souldiers to fail in batel, whome neuerthelesse he commandeth to fight as somtimes did Israel fighting against Beniamin. The cause of the Israelites was most iust: for it was to punishe that horrible abomination of those sonnes of Belial, Iudic.20 abusing the leuites wife, whome the Beniamites did defend. And they had Goddes precept to assure them of well doing. For he did not onelie commande them to fight, but also apointed Iuda to be their leader and capitain, and yet fell they twise in plain batel against those most wicked adulterers.
The secret cause of this, I say, is knowen to God alone. But by his euident scriptures we may assuredly gather, Why God permitteth somtimes his owne souldiers to fall in batel. that by such means doth his wisdome somtimes, beat downe the pride of the flesh (for the Israelites at the firste trusted in their multitude, power and strength) and somtimes by such ouerthrowes, he will punish the offenses of his owne children, and bring them, to the vnfeined knowledge of the same, before he will geue them victorie against the manifest contemners, whom he hath apointed neuerthelesse to vttermost perdition: as the end of that batel did witnesse. For althogh with greate murther the children of Israel did twise fall before the Beniamites, yet after they had wept before the Lorde, after they had fasted and made sacrifice in signe of their vnfeined repentance, they so preuailed against that proude tribe of Beniamin, Iudic.20 that after 25. thousande strong men of warre were killed in batel, they destroyed man, woman, childe and beaste, as well in the fieldes, as in the cities, whiche all were burned with fier, so that onelie of that hole tribe remained six hundredth men, who fled to the wildernes, where they remained foure monethes, and so were saued. The same God, who did execute this greuous punishment, euen by the handes of those, NOTE. whom he suffred twise to be ouercomen in batel, doth this day retein his power and justice. Cursed Iesabel of England, with the pestilent and detestable generation of papistes, make no litle bragge and boast, that they haue triumphed not only against Wyet, but also against all such as haue entreprised any thing against them or their procedinges. But let her and them consider, that yet they haue not preuailed against god, his throne is more high, then that the length of their hornes be able to reache. And let them further consider, that in the beginning of their bloodie reigne, the haruest of their iniquitie was not comen to full maturitie and ripenes. No, it was so grene, so secret I meane, so couered, and so hid with hypocrisie, that some men (euen the seruantes of God) thoght it not impossible, but that wolues might be changed in to lambes, and also that the vipere might remoue her natural venom. But God, who doth reuele in his time apointed the secretes of hartes, and that will haue his iudgementes iustified euen by the verie wicked, hath now geuen open testimonie of her and their beastlie crueltie. For man and woman, learned and vnlearned, nobles and men of baser sorte, aged fathers and tendre damiselles, and finailie the bones of the dead, aswell women as men haue tasted of their tyrannie, so that now not onlie the blood of father Latimer, of the milde man of God the bishop of Cantorburie, of learned and discrete Ridley, of innocent ladie Iane dudley, and many godly and worthie preachers, that can not be forgotten, such as fier hath consumed, and the sworde of tyrannie moste vniustlie hath shed, doth call for vengeance in the eares of the Lord God of hostes: but also the sobbes and teares of the poore oppressed, the groninges of the angeles, the watch men of the Lord, yea and euerie earthlie creature abused by their tyrannie do continuallie crie and call for the hastie execution of the same. I feare not to say, that the day of vengeance, whiche shall apprehend that horrible monstre Iesabal of England, and suche as maintein her monstruous crueltie, is alredie apointed in the counsel of the Eternall; and I verelie beleue that it is so nigh, that she shall not reigne so long in tyrannie, as hitherto she hath done, when God shall declare him selfe to be her ennemie, when he shall poure furth contempt vpon her, according to her crueltie, and shal kindle the hartes of such, as somtimes did fauor her with deadly hatred against her, that they may execute his iudgementes. And therfore let such as assist her, take hede what they do. For assuredlie her empire and reigne is a wall without foundation: The authoritie of all women, is a wall without foundation. I meane the same of the authoritie of all women. It hath bene vnderpropped this blind time that is past, with the foolishnes of people; and with the wicked lawes of ignorant and tyrannous princes. But the fier of Goddes worde is alredie laide to those rotten proppes (I include the Popes lawe with the rest) and presentlie they burn, albeit we espie not the flame: when they are consumed, (as shortlie they will be, for stuble and drie timbre can not long indure the fier) that rotten wall, the vsurped and vniust empire of women, shall fall by it self in despit of all man, to the destruction of so manie, as shall labor to vphold it. And therfore let all man be aduertised, for the trumpet hath ones blowen.
Praise God ye that feare him.