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derive their superior beauty and excellence.
Not long after the creation, the first woman was tempted by the serpent
to eat of the fruit of a certain tree, in the midst of the garden of
Eden, with regard to which God had said, "Ye shall not eat of it,
neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die."
This deception, and the fatal consequences arising from it, furnish the
most interesting story in the whole history of the sex.
On the offerings being brought, and that of Abel accepted, Cain's
jealousy and resentment rose to such a pitch, that, as soon as they came
down from the mount where they had been sacrificing, he fell upon his
brother and slew him.
For this cruel and barbarous action, Cain and his posterity, being
banished from the rest of the human race, indulged themselves in every
species of wickedness. On this account, it is supposed, they were called
the _Sons and Daughters of Men_. The posterity of Seth, on the other
hand, became eminent for virtue, and a regard to the divine precepts. By
their regular and amiable conduct, they acquired the appellation of
_Sons and Daughters of God_.
After the deluge there is a chasm in the history of women, until the
time of the patriarch Abraham. They then begin to be introduced into the
sacred story. Several of their actions are recorded. The laws, customs,
and usages, by which they were governed, are frequently exhibited.
WOMAN IN THE PATRIARCHAL AGES.
The condition of women among the ancient patriarchs, appears to have
been but extremely indifferent. When Abraham entertained the angels,
sent to denounce the destruction of Sodom, he seems to have treated his
wife as a menial servant: "Make ready quickly," said he to her, "three
measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes on the hearth."
In many parts of the east, water is only to be met with deep in the
earth, and to draw it from the wells is, consequently, fatiguing and
laborious. This, however, was the task of the daughters of Jethro the
Midianite; to whom so little regard was paid, either on account of their
sex, or the rank of their father, as high priest of the country, that
the neighboring shepherds not only insulted them, but forcibly took from
them the water they had drawn.
This was the task of Rebecca, who not only drew water for Abraham's
servant, but for his camels also, while the servant stood an idle
spectator of the toil. Is it not natural to imagine, that, as he was on
an embassy to court the damsel for Isaac, his master's son, he would
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