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p329 MY DEAR SISTER, - I was right in reading the postscript of your sister's letter, for, as I supposed, it shews much more of the state of her mind than all the rest. She has her mind bent on a place of ministry; and I do feel that, blest as she has been, she is on the brink of a precipice, though, as yet, she may not have fallen into it. I do not question that women had gifts. It is evident; the scripture is quite plain. So that all the passages brought to prove this, prove only what is fully admitted, before the real question is touched. Further, that women laboured in the Lord, that is also true, as I doubt not many have most sweetly, even in these days; and for my own part I should most entirely rejoice in it. But that is not the question. The question is about the assemblies of God: and these the word of God is as plain as possibly can be, to forbid it positively. In 1 Corinthians 11 after giving directions for the modesty of the manner of a woman's praying or prophesying, he goes on to speak of their coming together in verse 17: the previous part having nothing to do with an assembly, the directions for which commence with verse 17. He continues on through chapter 14 the question of assemblies, having treated of gifts in themselves, and compared with charity (chap. 13) as necessary to the subject, and resumes fully in verse 23 the assembly; and having spoken of "all assemblies of the saints" - God being the author of peace in them - He says positively, "Let your women keep silence in the assemblies, for it is not permitted unto them to speak." In 1 Timothy 2 the apostle says, "I will therefore that men pray everywhere. … In like manner also that women adorn themselves. … Let the women learn in silence with all subjection: but I suffer not a woman to teach … but to be in silence." Now if the gifts were denied to have been given to women, passages may be produced which plainly shew they had them, and overthrow such denial; but there is nothing whatever to modify these rules. Only two or three prophets were to speak in the assembly; there might be twenty that had gifts in it, but the order of the assembly was such for men: for women it was to hold their tongues. The possession of a gift by a man did not warrant their breaking the rule laid down by the apostle, whose directions were of authority; nor did the possession of a gift by a woman warrant her breaking the rule as to woman. There being neither male nor female in Christ Jesus has nothing to do with gifts in assemblies, but their unity in life and privileges in Christ. No question of expediency can warrant departure from scripture regulations, and departure from them will soon end in sorrow and confusion.

My advice to your sister is, that it is she herself that is setting aside one passage by another: because I admit all her passages recognise the gifts in women and their labour. But as man's exercise of gift was regulated (the spirit of the prophets being subject to the prophets), so also was woman's, and differently: they were not to speak at all in the assemblies, nor to teach. You should urge upon your sister these passages, and that she is going positively contrary to the word of God; and I say to you, I do really think she is in a very dangerous path.

Very faithfully yours, dear Miss -, in the Lord.

[Date unknown.