Page:A Few Hours in a Far Off Age.djvu/10

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because they imagined it to be a proof of superiority. By use of it they were enabled, during all the low ages, to keep women in a very subjective state, which you will find the more degrading the nearer we descend to the brute period. Little wonder then should we feel that when men commenced forms of religion they framed them with doctrines for continuing the humiliation of women. In all their so-called religious exercises they dinned in her ears old men's tales of how she had been the primary cause of every wrong-doing, for which she had been doomed to suffer cruel punishment, and be subservient to man through all earthly life. Some even went so far in their self-exaltation as to rear woman in the belief that she had no soul—no existence beyond the debasing one allotted to her by those near cousins of apes and tigers. The 'religious' ceremony of marriage in use by the ancestors of our own race was characteristic of the very small place conscientiousness then held in the world's mind. Men trained to the profession of goodness—called 'clergymen' or 'ministers of God'—administered the sacred oaths, knowing they thereby assisted in the perpetration of a crime; for the husband—so the man was named, and meant master—vowed to the Infinite that he would endow his wife—old name for slave—with all his 'worldly goods,' and that he would 'cherish' and 'love' her. Except in very rare cases, the endowment not only ended in nothing, but he annexed everything valuable that belonged to her, under the miserable pretext similar to others they used in all their acts of unjust dealing with women—that woman's brain was inadequate to the care of her own property; and, with the same ape logic they asserted that her strength was insufficient for the various light situations monopolized by man. So she generally