WOMAN ENTHRONED

"There are threescore queens."—Solomon's Song 6:8.

So Solomon, by one stroke, sets forth the imperial character of a true Christian woman. She is not a slave, not a hireling, not a subordinate, but a queen; and in my text Solomon sees sixty of these helping to make up the royal pageant of Jesus. Crown and courtly attendants and imperial wardrobe are not necessary to make a queen, but graces of the heart and life will give coronation to any woman. Woman's position is higher in the world than man's, and although she has often been denied the right of suffrage, she always does vote, and always will vote, by her influence, and her chief desire ought to be that she should have grace rightly to rule in the dominion which she has already won. My chief anxiety is not that woman have other rights accorded her, but that she by the grace of God rise up to the appreciation of the glorious rights she already possesses. I shall enumerate some of those rights this morning.

I. In the first place, woman has the special and superlative right of blessing and

[269]

COMFORTING THE SICK.

What land, what street, what house has not felt the smitings of disease? Tens of thousands of sick-beds! What shall we do with them? Shall man, with his rough hand and heavy foot and impatient bearing, minister? No. He cannot soothe the pain. He cannot quiet the nerves. He knows not where to set the light. His hand is not steady enough to pour out the drops. He is not wakeful enough to be watcher. The Lord God, who sent Miss Dix into the Virginia hospitals, and Florence Nightingale into the Crimea, and the Maid of Saragossa to appease the wounds of the battlefield, has equipped wife, mother, and daughter for this delicate but tremendous mission.

You have known men who despised woman, but the moment disease fell upon them, they did not send for their friends at the bank, or their partner in business, or their worldly associates. Their first cry was, "Take me to my wife." The dissipated young man at the college scoffs at the idea of being under home influences, but at the first blast of the typhoid fever on his cheek he says,

"WHERE IS MOTHER?"

I think one of the most pathetic passages in all the Bible is the description of the lad [270]who went out to the harvest-field of Shunem and got sun-struck, throwing his hands on his temples and crying out, "Oh, my head! my head!" and they said: "Carry him to his mother." And then the record is: "He sat on her knees till noon, and then died." It is an awful thing to be ill away from home in a strange hotel, once in a while men coming in to look at you, holding their hand over their mouth for fear they will catch the contagion. How roughly they turn you in the bed! How loudly they talk! How you long for the ministries of home!

I knew one such who went away from one of the brightest of homes for several weeks' business absence at the West. A telegram came at midnight that he was on his death-bed, far away from home. By express train the wife and daughters went westward; but they went too late. He feared not to die; but he was in an agony to live until his family got there. He tried to bribe the doctor to make him live a little while longer. He said: "I am willing to die, but not alone." But the pulses fluttered, the eyes closed, and the heart stopped. The express trains met in the midnight—wife and daughters going westward, lifeless remains of husband and father coming eastward. Oh, it was a sad, pitiful, overwhelming spectacle! When we are sick we want to be sick at home. When the time comes for us to die,

[271]

WE WANT TO DIE AT HOME.

The room may be very humble, and the faces that look into ours may be very plain; but who cares for that? Loving hands to bathe the temples; loving voices to speak good cheer; loving lips to read the comforting promises of Jesus. In the war men cast the cannon; men fashioned the musketry; men cried to the hosts, "Forward, march!" men hurled their battalions on the sharp edges of the enemy, crying, "Charge! charge!" but woman scraped the lint; woman administered the cordials; woman watched by the dying couch; woman wrote the last message to the home circle; woman wept at the solitary burial, attended by herself and four men with a spade. We greeted the generals home with brass bands and triumphal arches and wild huzzas; but the story is too good to be written anywhere, save in

THE CHRONICLES OF HEAVEN,

of Mrs. Brady, who came down among the sick in the swamps of the Chickahominy; of Annie Ross in the cooper-shop hospital; of Margaret Breckinridge, who came to men who had been for weeks with their wounds undressed, some of them frozen to the ground, and when she turned them over, those who had an arm left waved it, and filled the air with their "hurrah!"—of Mrs. [272]Hodge, who came from Chicago with blankets and with pillows, until the men shouted: "Three cheers for the Christian-Commission! God bless the women at home!" then sitting down to take the last message: "Tell my wife not to fret about me, but to meet me in heaven; tell her to train up the boys whom we have loved so well; tell her we shall meet again in the good land; tell her to bear my loss like the Christian wife of a Christian soldier"—and of Mrs. Shelton, into whose face the convalescent soldier looked and said: "Your grapes and cologne cured me."

Men did their work with shot, and shell, and carbine, and howitzer;

WOMEN DID THEIR WORK

with socks, and slippers, and bandages, and warm drinks, and Scripture texts, and gentle strokings of the hot temples, and stories of that land where they never have any pain. Men knelt down over the wounded and said: "On which side did you fight?" Women knelt down over the wounded and said: "Where are you hurt? What nice thing can I make for you to eat? What makes you cry?" To-night, while we men are sound asleep in our beds, there will be a light in yonder loft; there will be groaning down that dark alley; there will be cries of [273]distress in that cellar. Men will sleep, and women will watch.

II. Again, woman has a superlative right to take

CARE OF THE POOR.

There are hundreds and thousands of them in all our cities. There is a kind of work that men cannot do for the poor. Here comes a group of little barefoot children to the door of the Dorcas Society. They need to be clothed and provided for. Which of these directors of banks would know how many yards it would take to make that little girl a dress? Which of these masculine hands could fit a hat to that little girl's head? Which of the wise men would know how to tie on that new pair of shoes? Man sometimes gives his charity in a rough way, and it falls like the fruit of a tree in the East, which fruit comes down so heavily that it breaks the skull of the man who is trying to gather it. But woman glides so softly into the house of destitution, and finds out all the sorrows of the place, and puts so quietly the donation on the table, that all the family come out on the front steps as she departs, expecting that from under her shawl she will thrust out two wings and go right up toward heaven, from whence she seems to have come down.

O Christian young woman, if you would [274]make yourself happy and win the blessing of Christ, go out

AMONG THE DESTITUTE!

A loaf of bread or a bundle of socks may make a homely load to carry; but the angels of God will come out to watch, and the Lord Almighty will give His messenger hosts a charge, saying, "Look after that woman; canopy her with your wings and shelter her from all harm;" and while you are seated in the house of destitution and suffering, the little ones around the room will whisper, "Who is she? Ain't she beautiful?" and if you will listen right sharply, you will hear dripping down through the leaky roof, and rolling over the rotten stairs, the angel chant that shook Bethlehem: "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good-will to men."

Can you tell me why a Christian woman, going-down among

THE HAUNTS OF INIQUITY

on a Christian errand, never meets with any indignity? I stood in the chapel of Helen Chalmers, the daughter of the celebrated Dr. Chalmers, in the most abandoned part of the city of Edinburgh; and I said to her, as I looked around upon the fearful surroundings of that place, "Do you come here nights to hold a service?" "Oh yes," she said, "I [275]take my lantern and I go through all these haunts of sin, the darkest and the worst; and I ask all the men and women to come to the chapel; and then I sing for them, and I pray for them, and I talk to them." I said, "Can it be possible that you never meet with an insult while performing this Christian errand?" "Never," she said, "never."

That young woman who has her father by her side walking down the street, and an armed police at each corner, is not so well defended as that Christian woman who goes forth on gospel work into the haunts of iniquity, carrying Bibles and bread. Some one said, "I dislike very much to see that Christian woman teaching those bad boys

IN THE MISSION SCHOOL;

I am afraid to have her instruct them." "So," said another man, "I am afraid too." Said the first: "I am afraid they will use vile language before they leave the place." "Ah!" said the other man, "I am not afraid of that. What I am afraid of is that if any of those boys should use a bad word in that presence, the other boys would tear him to pieces and kill him on the spot."

SOLICITATION OF CHARITIES.

Backed up by barrels in which there is no [276]flour, and by stoves in which there is no fire, and by wardrobes in which there are no clothes, a woman is irresistible; passing on her errand, God says to her, "You go into that bank, or store, or shop, and get the money." She goes in and gets it. The man is hard-fisted, but she gets it. She could not help but get it. It is decreed from eternity she should get it. No need of your turning your back and pretending you don't hear; you do hear. There is no need of your saying you are begged to death. There is no need of your wasting your time, and you might as well submit first as last. You had better right away take down your cheque-book, mark the number of the cheque, fill up the blank, sign your name, and hand it to her.

There is no need of wasting time. Those poor children on the back street have been hungry long enough. That sick man must have some farina. That consumptive must have something to ease his cough. I meet this delegate of a relief society coming out of the store of such a hard-fisted man, and I say, "Did you get the money?" "Of course," she says, "I got the money; that's what I went for. The Lord told me to go in and get it, and He never sends me on a fool's errand."

III. Again I have to tell you that it is woman's specific

[277]

RIGHT TO COMFORT

under the stress of dire disaster. She is called the weaker vessel; but all profane as well as sacred history attests that, when the crisis comes, she is better prepared than man to meet the emergency. How often you have seen a woman who seemed to be a disciple of frivolity and indolence, who, under one stroke of calamity, changed to a heroine. Oh, what a great mistake those business men make who never tell their business troubles to their wives! There comes some great loss to their store, or some of their companions in business play them a sad trick, and they carry the burden all alone. He is asked in the household, again and again, "What is the matter?" but he believes it a sort of Christian duty to keep all that trouble within his own soul. Oh sir, your first duty was to

TELL YOUR WIFE

all about it. She perhaps might not have disentangled your finances or extended your credit, but she would have helped you to bear misfortune. You have no right to carry on one shoulder that which is intended for two.

There are business men here who know what I mean. There came a crisis in your affairs. You struggled bravely and long; but after a while there came a day when you [278]said, "Here I shall have to stop," and you called in your partners, and you called in the most prominent men in your employ, and you said, "We have got to stop." You left the store suddenly. You could hardly make up your mind to pass through the street and over on the ferry-boat. You felt everybody would be looking at you, and blaming you, and denouncing you.

You hastened home. You told your wife all about the affair. What did she say? Did she play the butterfly? Did she talk about the silks and the ribbons and the fashions? No. She came up to the emergency. She quailed not under the stroke. She helped you begin to plan right away. She offered to go out of the comfortable house into a smaller one, and wear the old cloak another winter. She was one who understood your affairs without blaming you. You looked upon what you thought was a thin, weak woman's arm holding you up; but while you looked at that arm, there came into the feeble muscles of it the strength of the eternal God. No chiding. No fretting. No telling you about the beautiful house of her father, from which you brought her ten, twenty, or thirty years ago. You said, "Well, this is the happiest day of my life. I am glad I have got from under my burden. My wife don't care—I don't care."

[279]At the moment you were utterly exhausted. God sent a Deborah to meet the host of the Amalekites, and scatter them like chaff over the plain. There are sometimes women who sit reading sentimental novels, and who wish that they had some grand field in which to display their Christian powers. Oh, what grand and glorious things they could do if they only had an opportunity! My sister, you need not wait for any such time. A crisis will come in your affairs. There will be a Thermopylæ in your own household, where God will tell you to stand. There are scores and hundreds of households in this city to-day where as much bravery and courage are demanded of women as was exhibited by Grace Darling, or Marie Antoinette, or Joan of Arc.

IV. Again, I remark, it is woman's right to

BRING TO US THE KINGDOM

of heaven. It is easier for a woman to be a Christian than for a man. Why? You say she is weaker. No. Her heart is more responsive to the pleadings of divine love. She is in vast majority. The fact that she can more easily become a Christian I prove by the statement that three-fourths of the members of the churches in all Christendom are women. So God appoints them to be the chief agencies for bringing this world back to God.

[280]

THE GREATEST SERMONS

are not preached on celebrated platforms; they are preached with an audience of two or three, and in private home life. A consistent, consecrated Christian service is an unanswerable demonstration of God's truth.

A group of rough men were assembled at a tavern one night. It came on toward morning—one or two o'clock. One man boasted that it did not make any difference what time he went home, his wife cheerfully opened the door, and provided an entertainment if he was hungry when he got home. So they laid a wager. They said: "Now, we'll go along with you. So much shall be wagered. We'll bet so much that when you go home and make such a demand she will resist it." So they went along at two or three o'clock in the morning and knocked at the door. The door opened, and the man said to his wife, "Get us a supper." She said, "What shall I get?" He selected the articles of food. Very cheerfully were they provided, and about three or four o'clock in the morning they sat down at the table—the most cheerful one in all that presence the Christian wife—when the man, the ruffian, the villain who had demanded all this, broke into tears, and said: "I can't stand this. Oh, what a wretch I am!" He disbanded that group. He knelt down with his Christian wife and asked her to pray for [281]the salvation of his immortal soul, and before the morning dawned they were united in the faith and hope of the Gospel.

A patient, loving, Christian demeanor in the presence of transgression, in the presence of hardness, in the presence of obduracy and crime, is an argument from the throne of the Lord Almighty, and blessed is that woman who can wield such an argument. A sailor came slipping down the ratline one night, as though something had happened, and the sailors cried, "What's the matter?" He said,

"MY MOTHER'S PRAYERS

haunt me like a ghost." Home influences, consecrated Christian home influences, are the mightiest of all influences upon the soul. There are men here to-day who have maintained their integrity, not because they were any better naturally than some other people, but because there were home influences praying for them all the time. They got a good start. They were launched on the world with the benedictions of a Christian mother. They may track Siberian snows, they may plunge into African jungles, they may fly to the earth's end, they cannot go so far and so fast but the prayers will keep up with them.

I stand before women this morning who have the eternal salvation of their husbands [282]in their right hand. On the marriage-day you took an oath before men and angels that you would be faithful and kind until death did you part, and I believe you are going to keep that oath; but after that parting at the door of the grave, will it be an eternal separation? Is there any such thing as

AN IMMORTAL MARRIAGE,

making the flowers that grow on the top of the sepulchre brighter than the garlands which at the marriage banquet flooded the air with aroma? Yes; I stand here as a priest of the most high God to proclaim the banns of an immortal union for all those who join hands in the grace of Christ. O woman, is your husband, your father, your son away from God? The Lord demands their redemption at your hands. There are prayers for you to offer, there are exhortations for you to give, there are examples for you to make; and I say now, this morning, as Paul said to the Corinthian woman: "What knowest thou, O woman, but thou canst save thy husband?"

A man was dying, and he said to his wife: "Rebecca, you wouldn't let me have family prayers, and you laughed about all that, and you got me away into worldliness; and now I am going to die, and my fate is sealed, and you are

[283]

THE CAUSE OF MY RUIN."

O woman, what knowest thou but thou canst destroy thy husband? Are there not some here who have kindly influences at home—are there not some here who have wandered far away from God, who can remember the Christian influences in their early home? Do not despise those influences, my brother. If you die without Christ, what will you do with your mother's prayers, with your wife's importunities, with your sister's entreaties? What will you do with the letters they used to write to you, with the memory of those days when they attended you so kindly in times of sickness? Oh, if there be but just one strand holding you from floating off on that dark sea, I would just like, this morning, to take hold of that strand and pull you to the beach. For the sake of your wife's God, for the sake of your mother's God, for the sake of your daughter's God, for the sake of your sister's God, come this day and be saved.

V. Lastly, I wish to say that one of the specific rights of women is, through the grace of Christ, finally

TO REACH HEAVEN.

Oh, what a multitude of women in heaven! Mary, Christ's mother, in heaven; Elizabeth Fry in heaven; Charlotte Elizabeth in heaven; the mother of Augustine in heaven; [284]the Countess of Huntingdon—who sold her splendid jewels to build chapels—in heaven; while a great many others, who have never been heard of on earth, or known but little, have gone into the rest and peace of heaven. What a rest! What a change it was from the small room, with no fire and one window, the glass broken out, and the aching side and worn-out eyes, to the "house of many mansions!" No more stitching until twelve o'clock at night, no more thrusting of the thumb by the employer through the work to show it was not done quite right. Plenty of bread at last. Heaven for aching heads. Heaven for broken hearts. Heaven for anguish-bitten frames. No more sitting up until midnight for the coming of staggering steps. No more rough blows across the temples. No more sharp, keen, bitter curse.

Some of you will have no rest in this world. It will be toil and struggle and suffering all the way up. You will have to stand at your door fighting back the wolf with your own hand red with carnage. But God has a crown for you.

I want you to realize, this morning, that He is now making it, and whenever you weep a tear He sets another gem in that crown, whenever you have a pang of body or soul He puts another gem in that crown, until, after a while, in all the tiara there will be no room for another splendor, and God will say [285]to His angel, "The crown is done; let her up that she may wear it." And as the Lord of Righteousness puts the crown upon your brow, angel will cry to angel, "Who is she?" and Christ will say, "I will tell you who she is. She is the one that came up out of great tribulation, and had her robe washed and made white in the blood of the Lamb."

A BANQUET.

And then God will spread a banquet, and He will invite all the principalities of heaven to sit at the feast; and the tables will blush with the best clusters from the vineyards of God, and crimson with the twelve manner of fruits from the Tree of Life; and water from the fountains of the rock will flash from the golden tankards; and the old harpers of heaven will sit there making music with their harps; and Christ will point you out amid the celebrities of heaven, saying, "She suffered with me on earth, now we are going to be glorified together." And the banqueters, no longer able to hold their peace, will break forth with congratulation, "Hail! hail!" And there will be handwritings on the wall—not such as struck the Persian noblemen with horror, but fire-tipped fingers writing in blazing capitals of light and love and victory: "God hath wiped away all tears from all faces!"