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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
The Worship of Woman
By Auguste Comte (1798–1857)
 
From the ‘Positive Polity’

WOMAN’S function in society is determined by the constitution of her nature. As the spontaneous organ of feeling, on which the unity of human nature entirely depends, she constitutes the purest and most natural element of the moderating power; which while avowing its own subordination to the material forces of society, purposes to direct them to higher uses. First as mother, afterwards as wife, it is her office to conduct the moral education of Humanity.  1
  Woman’s mission is a striking illustration of the truth that happiness consists in doing the work for which we are naturally fitted. Their mission is always the same; it is summed up in one word,—Love. It is the only work in which there can never be too many workers; it grows by co-operation; it has nothing to fear from competition. Women are charged with the education of sympathy, the source of real human unity; and their highest happiness is reached when they have the full consciousness of their vocation and are free to follow it. It is the admirable feature of their social mission, that it invites them to cultivate qualities which are natural to them, to call into exercise emotions which all allow to be the most pleasurable. All that is required of them in a better organization of society is a better adaptation of their circumstances to their vocation, and improvements in their internal condition. They must be relieved from outdoor labor, and other means must be taken to secure due weight to their moral influence. Both objects are contemplated in the material, intellectual, and moral ameliorations which Positivism is destined to effect in the life of women. But besides the pleasure inherent in their vocation, Positivism offers a recompense for their services which Catholic Feudalism foreshadowed but could not realize. As men become more and more grateful for the blessing of the moral influence of women, they will give expression to this feeling in a systematic form. In a word, the new doctrine will institute the Worship of Woman, publicly and privately, in a far more perfect way than has ever been possible. It is the first permanent step towards the worship of Humanity; which is the central principle of Positivism viewed either as a philosophy or as a polity.  2
 
 
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