Scottish Puritanism, 1590-1638

By David George Mullan | Go to book overview

5 The Ambiguity of the Feminine

I marvell of thir vane fantastik men
The quhilk haldis wemen in abhominatioun
The veritie and trewt thay do misken
Thruch thair obdurat obstinatioun
Devulgant thair Intoxicatt blasphematioun
To dimegrat fair wemenis honest Lyfe
To quhome god hes schawin lufe superlatyf

[?] Wedderburn, in The Bannatyne Manuscript. 1

Consider that there be two sorts of servants set down here, man-servants and maid-servants; and this is to let us know that both sexes may be confident in God. Not only men may be confident in the power of God, but even women also, who are more frail and feeble. Not only may women mourn to God for wrongs done to them, and have repentance for sin, but they may be confident in God also. And therefore see, in that rehearsal of believers and cloud of witnesses, not only is the faith of men noted and commended by the Spirit of God, but also the faith of women . . . And therefore we must not judge of grace as we do of nature; for there may be Christian courage in women as well as in men, albeit courage be not so natural to them: and they may adhere to Christ even when men forsake him.

Alexander Henderson, Sermons, Prayers, and Pulpit Addresses (1638), 335-6. 2
The women of Scotland did not lack for poetic admirers. One of these was William Drummond of Hawthornden who wrote a number of sonnets and other pieces in praise of a young woman taken from him by death just at the point of uniting in matrimony:

-140-

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Scottish Puritanism, 1590-1638
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Scottish Puritanism 1590-1638 iii
  • Preface vii
  • Contents xi
  • List of Abbreviations xii
  • Prologue 1
  • 1: A Puritan Brotherhood 13
  • 2: A Ministry of the Word 45
  • 3: Conversion and Assurance 85
  • 4: The Pilgrim's Progress 111
  • 5: The Ambiguity of the Feminine 140
  • 6: Covenants and Covenant Theology 171
  • 7: A Schism Defined 208
  • 8: Political and National Divinity 244
  • 9: The Damnable Covenant 285
  • Epilogue 318
  • Bibliography 323
  • Index 361
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