But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,…
The position of women in the ancient world was, as a rule, one of deep degradation. There are some great and saintly women in ancient Israel — Miriam, Deborah, Hannah, Huldah. There are women who are socially or politically great in paganism, without being at all saintly — Semiramis, Aspasia, Sappho, and the wives and mothers of the Caesars. But, as a rule, in antiquity woman was degraded; women were at the mercy, and the caprice, and the passions of men. They lived as they live to-day in the Mohammedan East, at least generally, a life in which the luxuries of a petty seclusion scarcely disguise the hard reality of their fate. And yet women were then, as now, the larger part of the human family; and one object, we may dare to say, of the Divine Incarnation, was to put woman's life on a new footing, within the precincts of the Kingdom of Redemption; and this was done when the Redeemer Himself God's Own Eternal Son, owning no earthly father, yet deigned to be "born of a woman." The highest honours ever attained by or bestowed upon the noblest or the saintliest members of the stronger sex, surely pale into insignificance when contrasted with this altogether unique prerogative of Mary. She herself, in the great hymn of the Incarnation, is already conscious of this. Let us think of the best man or woman we have ever known in life, and ask ourselves if it would be possible for him or her to say, without presumption, without absurdity, "Behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed." But Mary — she utters these words, and from age to age Christendom verifies them. To have been the mother of the Divine Redeemer is a privilege unshared and incommunicable, and it sheds a glory upon all Christian women to the very end of time. It is this fact which has silently created that rare and beautiful feeling which in the Middle Ages took the form of chivalry, but which is wider and more lasting than to be identified with any one period of the Church's life; that feeling which, without the aid of legislation, without reducing itself to a theory or a philosophy, insensibly corrected the wrongs of centuries, and secured for woman that tender respect and deference which is the true safeguard of her commanding influence, and which alone secures it. The best guarantee of woman's liberty and influence is to be found in the fact that the Eternal Son deigned to be "born of a woman."
Parallel VersesKJV: But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,