To-day's sermon concerns Woman, a Vessel capable of both Holiness and Wickedness alike, but who all too often takes the latter Path, being as she is a Daughter of Eve, whose Envy, Ambition, and Weakness of the Flesh caused the Expulsion from Eden, and eternal Banishment from an Earthly Paradise for all of God's Children.
For what Woman, no matter how Chaste or Pious, has not wag'd Battle with her natural Urge to allow Satan into her Heart, and is not consumed and tormented with Nocturnal Reveries of a lascivious, Three-headed Goat?
What Woman, in the most intimate Recesses of her Soul, has not felt base and evil Impulses to commit lewd and depraved Acts of Onanism upon her own Parts, and to imbibe her own Infant's sweet Blood?
The Lord God Almighty, in His infinite Wisdom, sought to test my Resistance toward the capricious and headstrong Hubris and Vainglory of Woman one Evening about a Fortnight ago, whilst I was reading The Confessions Of Saint Augustine in the Rectory Study.
Mistress Betty Steinhauer, with whom Many in the Congregation are doubtless well-acquaint'd, quite without Warning or with the respectful Propriety and Courtesy with which a Layman should address a Man of the Cloth, knock'd at my Door and asked to speak to me about an important Matter involving the Church.
Such was the Urgency of her Request, and being at that Moment visited with a Flash of Memory of my own anxious Desire to discuss the Thirty-Nine Articles and other Theological Doctrine with my fellow schoolmates at Seminary during odd Hours so long ago, that I decided to overlook the rather unseemly Violation of Convention this Woman had committed and bid her Welcome into my Study.
I was surpris'd, then, when the Goodwoman Steinhauer spoke not of Liturgical Affairs in the slightest, but instead began to propose Something that I neither quite expect'd nor understood.
Would it not be of the Best Interest of the Church, she asked, that it contribute, viz. an ongoing Monetary Stipend, to a Charity devot'd to the Care of Infants and Young Children with Maladies and kindred Defects produc'd during their Gestation and/or Birth?
And that such Monies, she went on to say, could be raised with the Organization of Bake-Sales, Craft-Bazaars, Bingo Nights, and other mystifying Phenomena of which I had never heard in all my Decades in the Ministry.
This I replied to the Woman Steinhauer, with not a small Amount of Sternness in my Voice. She seemed not at all Comprehending of my latent Sentiment of Skepticism and Impatience, and stated that the Wife of the Bishop of our very Synod had arrang'd many such Events, with the Bishop's tacit Approval; and had encourag'd other Parishes to follow Suit for such a Worthy Cause.
Did this Woman dare question my Fealty to the Bishop? I angrily demand'd, no longer capable nor willing to hold my Tongue. Why no, she answer'd, her Voice trembling, only that The Ladies' Ecumenical Newsletter recommended that the Methods she had mentioned were duly proven to raise Money.
This wicked Woman was trying to bring Usury and Money-Changing into the House of God! Filled with Fury, I took up my Cane and began to punish her about the Neck and Buttocks. Sinful Woman! I cried, be gone from the House of God, and never return!
For is it not written that those who commit Transgression against the Laws of God should be soundly Whipt, and cast into the Wilderness, so that they may never again taint the Holy and the Pious?
Merciful God in Heaven, You have penetrat'd me with the Light of your Eternal Word, and given me the Strength and Vigilance to perceive the womanly Sin that snakes all about us, ready to strike and poison the Godly. With multitudinous Prayers of Thanksgiving do I humbly Thank Thee for Thy bounteous Mercy, in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.