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149. He shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on his left. Mat. xxv, 33.

289

Because the Latin text says oves instead of arietes, Vieyra[1] takes it for granted that ewes are meant, not rams, and 290explains it by affirming that more women than men are to be saved. This he proves not only by the text in question, but also by the parable of the wise and foolish virgins, in which as many entered as were excluded: whereas when men are spoken of as bidden to the marriage feast, it is written “that many are called but few chosen.” In addition to these authorities he quotes S. Teresa, who affirms both from her own knowledge, and that of the blessed Fr. Pedro de Alcantara, that the Lord imparts his favours to many more women than men. Thus, he adds, we see in the lives of the saints that females are much more the darlings of God, and much more regaled by him, and the reason may be because the holiest of all pure creatures was a woman. But besides this, he says, there are many other strong reasons among christians. Women usually die with all the sacraments, which does not happen to men, of whom so many thousands

291finish without confession in war, in shipwreck, in quarrels, in duels, &c. They have less occasion of damnation, for they are neither judges, nor advocates nor presidents, nor ministers of kings; neither are they bishops, nor priests; property in the ordinary course of things seldom passes through their hands;.. finally they are so free from occasion to offend God, that they who go to hell deserve double punishment there. Hæc pro devoto fæmineo sexu. That devout sex will acquit him of all flattery when they hear the conclusion of his argument… More frequently than men, he says, they may be saved by reason of invincible ignorance; because they have less understanding they have less malice, and being the weaker vessels, they move divine mercy the more to compassion.

Tirante el Blanco has also some curious reasons, theological and physical, why women are better than men. Because, says this strangest of all the knights of 292romance, Christ after his resurrection, appeared to his mother and to Mary Magdalen, before he appeared to the apostles: because God made man of clay, but woman of the man’s rib: and because if a woman washes her hands thrice successively, the second water remains unsoiled, whereas let a man wash in fifty waters, the last will always be sullied: proof of his impure origin, his flesh being of the earth earthy, her’s, as it were, of double refined materials.

Italian translation, T. 2. ff. 45.


  1. Sermoeus, t 15, p. 159