To My Dear Precious Children,
This letter is to you, my daughters, because you desire to be godly and today, there is much to draw, tempt and pull you off from the truths of the narrow way. This is also to you, my son, because it will be soon that you may desire a help meet for the comfort of your adult years. "A godly woman, who can find." My daughters and my son, be wise, be patient and let not your flesh lead. These things come not easily, they must be labored after. Watch your souls ever so carefully.
As you are well aware, we have not been trained in the godly ways of the Lord. We have lived "in the world" most of our lives. We have not been taught the narrow way, and so now as we find truths it becomes evident that we are far, far from grasping the depths and the real meanings of issues as they relate to us today. We are groping in the dark, so to speak, at least this is what it feels like. We do not have those "old godly women" to take us aside and show us the way. We have much liberation to weed through to even begin to be able to grasp our roles, relationships and duties. Oh, Praise the Mighty God of the Universe as He has not left us without voices of truth. They are found in the treasures of history. Search, search as for silver and continue to search for those choice treasures that bring truth to your soul. Look to those that have walked the narrow way, that have already had the test of time under their feet. Look to those that knew their Bibles well, that loved God with all sincerity and truth. Know your Bibles better than anything else in the world. Always be watching for error, never trusting your own vain heart.
This gathering of history comes from my heart to you, my dear children. We are living in a time when closeness to the world is an every day occurence, even in what is called the church. We are being swept down by a very fast current toward eternity, with ignorance as our guide. The world has taken our hand and convinced us that this is the way to the Heavenly Kingdom. The ways of today have been the ways of our Mother's and Grandmother's, and what could we possibly see in this that could be harmful to us? This is the story of my own heart, my journey in search of the true godly woman. This is not to say I have come to perfection, you know some of my daily struggles and you know that perfection only comes upon finally putting off our flesh at death. And it will only be glorious - if we have fought the "good fight", and persevered by the precious grace of the true Christ.
My Bible speaks of a woman that is chaste, pure, careful with her every thought, word and deed. My walk has been one of presumption, ignorance and blind faith in a gospel that was not true. I knew something was amiss in my own heart. I saw glimpses of vanity, pride, covetousness, and much more and yet wrote them off as being forgiven issues, that needed no further attention. By His grace I was not left to despair and by God's Providence, diaries of godly chaste women and commentaries written by godly pastors from the past, came into our life. They had a different view of a true walk with God. Their Bible was their looking glass to behold the sins of their heart. It was their guide to send them in repentance to a Saviour that poured out precious grace and gave them strength to put off the ways of the world and with all their heart love the simplicity of the Gospel life. I saw contentment in them, when in my own heart was anxiety. Humility was in them and covetousness and pride in me. Sorrowing for sin in them and a cold heart in me. A sincere desire for purity in them and vanity and hypocrisy in me. Oh, I could say with my mouth, that I too desired these things, but in reality I knew my heart was cold.
A new world opened for me as I began to pray for God to teach me His pure way and to reveal my willful way. In Jeremiah 6:16 and Hebrews 12:1 it guides us to look back at the ways of old and see the great cloud of witnesses that have walked the narrow way of the true saint. We think we are so wise and know much more than those that have gone before us, and yet we are so very foolish in the pride of our hearts. Thomas Brooks in his Precious Remedies Against Satan's Devices speaks in regard to Rev. 2:24 "These poor souls called their opinions the depths of God, when indeed they were the depths of Satan. You call your opinions depths, and so they are, but they are such depths as Satan hath brought out of hell. They are the whisperings and hissings of that serpent, not the inspirations of God." My children, my children, we have been following opinions, not the purity of God's Word.
In Ecclesiastes, it tells us that there is nothing new under the sun. I have found that to be ever so true. We are buying the same lie that Eve did in the garden. We are being told that we can decide for ourselves what sin is, we are doubting that God's simplistic way is the true way. What was sin in ages past is now just accepted behavior. Sin has come to us with painted colors, brought by an angel of light. Some even teach that strongholds of sin merely need to be torn down and cast out, when in fact God teaches us through His word, to call on the power of the Holy Spirit through His grace to mortify our lusts. Because of the false gospel, man does not know how to deal with his wicked heart. The true understanding of mortification, that the saints of old walked in, is not what is taught today. We have been deceived in putting off the old ways, the old paths. (Jer. 6:16) In our ignorance and under the influence of our fleshy lusts we have brought falsehoods to our bosom and called them truth and purity when in fact they are licentious, mere opinions and vain deceits.
We are to be "rooted and built up in Him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving." Colossians 2 vs. 7. This is where I almost shipwrecked, I had been following a false faith that was a mixing of God's way and man's way. Oh, my children, this can never be. If we do so, we will ignorantly fall prey to vain philosophies of the world, for following vs. 7 in Colossians 2 we read in verse 8 "Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ." We need to know that we are on the right road, so we have a great need to look and see where the true saints of old have walked.
As I began walking back in time to godly saints that had walked before me, I saw that they had a deeper understanding of Scripture, a deeper love for God, a clearer understanding of their own deceitful heart and their created purpose for their lives. They knew their own hearts and knew not to trust them (trust not in your own understanding). They knew their Christ and trusted Him in a way I knew nothing of. They experienced and accepted affliction and persecution in ways that convinced me that my faith was built on faulty ground. I had believed what my flesh loved, that I could serve God and my lusts too. Oh, my dear ones, this isn't something that generally occurs to you, you think you are doing what is right (a man is always right in his own eyes) because our natural man is not a considering man, he is content not to be stirred or moved to responsibility. He wants things smooth and Christ tells us to expect much tribulation.
We must be a Psalm 1 Christian, there isn't any other kind, he considers his ways, thinks through them, meditates on God's ways. God's true way is to constantly be searching for thoughts, and desires that come from our flesh, the devil and the world and to mortify them. We must be watchful for sin at its first dawnings, and the difficulty is that if a person is older then his flesh is deep seated and it is loved and held dear. This must be hated and mortified by God's Grace and power of the Holy Spirit. My false gospel only touched certain issues in my life. Oh, of course I wouldn't murder or steal, I was a Christian! But, would I gossip, give your father a questionable glance, raise my voice at you, my dear children, be so busy with what I wanted to do with my day that the running of my home was neglected? Would I entertain, feed and justify thoughts of discontentment, wish I had things at the store that our budget didn't have room for, tell your father about the clothes I wish I could have but didn't have the money for, neglect to pray for your dear father and you precious children? I began to ask myself if I had a love for God that surpassed a love for anything else on this earth. Did I love putting off my flesh or did I love making excuses and justifying it? Did my actions reflect that love for God, or were they a reflection of my self centered willful heart?
Oh, but many said to me that "everyone deals with these things, don't let them get you down". In Pilgrim's Progress, Mr. Worldly Wiseman did that very thing to Pilgrim. I could see that truly I had been a foolish pilgrim, that godly saints of old had lived above these trials. They lived in heavenly places yet walked on the earth. I was like Ignorance in Pilgrim's Progress, only he ended up being shut out of the Celestial City. Oh, my children, I with fear and trembling, cried out to God for truth. In a Puritan commentary it describes the faithful as those "who willingly hearken to His voice, and manifest a ready obedience, as soon as He gives the smallest intimation of His will. The providence of God, I confess, shines forth principally for the sake of the faithful, because they only have eyes to behold it. But as they show themselves willing to receive instruction, God teaches them with gentleness; while, on the other hand, He arms Himself against His enemies, who never submit themselves to Him but by constraint." Please, my children beg the Gracious and Merciful God of heaven and earth for a heart that is willing and watch yourselves for symptoms of submitting only by constraint. I no longer can be one that only follows something because others do and I am comfortable in it and like it. I am becoming more aware of my wretched flesh that is so comfortable in vanity. I have been living in the flesh and serving my own lusts, yet considering myself a Christian. This is complete foolishness, as it is an impossibility with the bounds of Scripture. No man can serve two masters.
Those of the old paths (Jeremiah 6:16) and the cloud of witnesses (Hebrews 12:1) knew that following the true God included putting off their lusts of the flesh, the ways of the world and guarding their hearts from vanities. I found I didn't even know what the lusts of the flesh were. Today we are surrounded by "Worldly Wisemen" that will, with all their breath and strength, try to convince us to follow the world's ways. Our flesh will run in that direction, (as our hearts are deceitfully wicked), if it is not mortified. We are to be wise as serpents and know God's voice and stray not from His narrow way.
This is a gathering of some voices from the past that have helped me to see the foolishness of my own heart in walking after the ways of the world. Many topics come up in these materials. Dress, jewlery, make-up, etc. But, remember that the real issues are the heart issues. All stems from the heart. A piece of material or a bottle of colored substance are not sinful in themselves. It is the wickedness of our own heart that defiles. Mark 7:18-23. From this, many will say that we should be able to wear anything and paint ourselves in any way and still be able to walk uprightly with God. This was my own argument once, and to this I refer you to Paul who knew the wretchedness of his own heart and kept himself from those things that made provision for his flesh. He knew that he was capable of the most vile sins and therefore kept himself far from anything questionable. What he was prone to, he watched himself carefully and guarded against. And what, I ask you my children, is a woman more prone to than vanity, pride, ambition, lack of submission and discontentment?
Woman is prone to vanity, prone to pleasing men, prone to deceit. I began with a question to myself. "Who was I putting on my make-up for and who was I dressing for?" Of course, my first answer was "my husband"! But, as I asked the Holy Spirit to search my heart, I found that I went without make-up at home many times and wore very plain clothes in front of him. I was comfortable with the "real me" in front of my husband. When I was going out somewhere, I needed to put my face on and sometimes change my clothes. It became clear to me that it was for others that I was becoming "someone else". I was taking the face that God had provided for me and making it into another one. Was this discontentment? I said "No, I am a Christian and Christians are not discontent with God!" But, what was I doing with my actions? Wasn't I much prettier when I made the change! People complimented me, I liked the comments, I even pointed the praise to God, how could this be wrong? Wasn't I drawing them to my countenance so they could be pointed to God? Couldn't the plain me be a distraction and with make-up on and my hair done just right and just the right clothes, then wasn't I pleasing to the eye? Couldn't I distract people from the Lord by being just the way God had created me? This was such a battle for me.
All the reasonings that I had heard for years came forth like a computer spilling data, it all sounded so good and it was what my wretched heart wanted to hear. One thing kept bothering me, that these things were a promotion of vanity in my own heart. I reasoned that it must be an immaturity then in my walk with God that caused the difficulty. But, if the difficulty was just that I needed to learn to handle them better, then why were these things once considered sinful? Why could things be once considered sinful and now they aren't? What has changed? Does our culture make the determination of what is sinful or does God's Word? Does His way change? Was I really sure that once these very things that I had made a part of my life were truly sinful? I searched and searched for answers and found precious gold.
We have begun to be aware of some of the Spiritual ignorance that has come upon us as a people. History helps us a great deal to discover what has happened to us. We were never created to be a non-thinking people. Psalm 1 points the Christian to be a considering, wise, and thinking person. Remember, we have minds to consider our ways, if we do not use them for this purpose, we are no better than a non-thinking brute beast. Today, we have such a tendency to just rest and think ourselves fine, when in fact, we are on the brink of disaster. We have had much removed from us, we have had much brought to us in disguise. Oh, dear ones, be watchful, know that every good and profitable treasure takes effort, work, sweat, and tears to be uncovered, understood and useable. The pearl of great price is not easy to obtain, we can look at the rich young man to see this truth. He had Christ in front of him, where he could have begged Him for the grace to obey. Christ told him to give up what he held in his bosom and he went away sorrowful instead. We are a soft people that have had little experience in self-denial and yet Christ makes it clear that this is the beginning of the narrow road. The rich young man wanted to keep some of his flesh close to his bosom and Christ says all must be His. Our wants have to be scrutinized by the Word, or we will lose all.
When we look back for truth, we must look to Christ for strength to persevere and to have increased faith. It is always easier to remain sedentary in the comfort of our habits, but this is not the way of the true believer. He will always be "running" after the truth. When Christ walked on this earth, He brought foundational teachings to birth the early church. The New Testament Scriptures flowed forth in unity with these early churches. Today, many in searching for truth are desiring to go back to the early church. In doing so, an ignorant zeal can deceive us into thinking we are to follow exactly the methods and means that the anointed appostles and Christ used. Ignorance means "void of facts". That is what we are today, very void of living truth. During the early church times, the ceremonial law was still in use. Christ fulfilled it on Calvary, however the Jews continued its use and the early church slowly put off those ceremonial things, as the completed work of Christ made them no longer required. Powers and gifts necessary for the confirmation and growth of the infant church diminished at God's perfect timing with the churches maturity. This truth has always been understood by the "True Saints". We should not be looking for the "powers" of the apostles, we should be looking for the Holy Spirits power of sanctification in our hearts to mortify sin. Many are looking for some new power that should be manifested now thinking that these are the end times. The saints of old, have always understood the end times to be the time after Christ!
There will always be a battle on the earth to attempt to cover, harm, and destroy the true church. This is clear in Scripture and can be clearly seen in history. After the time of Christ and the birth of the early church, errors and much deception crept into the church. Paul was a reformer and left us clear warnings and directives to keep truth alive. At the time of the reformation in the 1500's the church had become very apostate. The church of Rome had adulterated the truths of Christianity. She was and should still be considered the "anti-christ". The ceremonial laws were being followed as necessary tenents of Christianity, outward works were substituted for heart works. The people were blindly following priests, ministers and the powers of the church, thinking they were following truth. Man does not intentionally follow after error, he ignorantly, blindly, and non-thinkingly, comfortably conforms.
The reformers were following the teachings of Christ and being encouraged in truth, by what are called the early church fathers. They began reforming error in church practices and bringing back the pure truths of the gospel. There was a serious lack of understanding then, as there is today, of what Christ's completed work on the cross meant. Many godly saints gave their lives for issues that today we could consider trite. This exposes our ignorant, hardened hearts. We do not feel, we do not cry, nor weep, for the abominable sins committed daily in our nation. Millions of precious tiny babies are murdered right here in our own home land of America. These murders may be lawful in our court system, but in God's court they are not. Just because we have closed our eyes does not mean that God has. We should be crying for repentance and mercy for our home land. We do not feel, nor weep for our own sin of hardness of heart before our Mighty God and Creator. Our cry to God must be to have mercy on us and create in us a clean heart, one that sees sin for the blackness that it is. We should be afraid of doing something that would displease Him, but beyond that, we should be mournful in our own heart over our sin because He has done such a great work for us. In sinning, we show our ungreatfulness for His love for us. These are things we do not hear about often today. We are in need of reformation in our nation, in our churches and of utmost importance in our own hearts.
My precious children, the issues at hand in this letter are not merely about externals. The true issue is our hardness of heart before a pure and holy God. I can not bring this to you enough. We have been hardened into thinking we can justify our desires and wants before Him. This has been part of the false gospel that you have learned, and it is not so. Our desire must be for purity and holiness. Wearing modest apparel or going without make-up do not make one holy or pure. However, if we follow holiness and purity we will not follow that which is deceitful, vain or makes provision for sin in our heart. The issue is the wickedness of our own heart and the necessity of reforming it from within. The outward does not reform the inward, the outward is the fruit of the inward.
Why look at older writings? Why look to the time of the reformation and the early church fathers? Jeremiah 6:16 is a standard of protection for us. We need to look back, not to follow men, not to look for perfection, because they were mere flesh, but for us to see what truth was once understood to be. If something was considered sinful for centuries in the church of the godly saints, and now we consider it Christian liberty, maybe this is something to consider seriously in our hearts. Many things are called Christian Liberty today that really are not. The difficulty lies in the root. For instance, "dress", Calvin reminds us, is an indifferent issue, but "pride" in dress is a sin issue. They are so closely linked and today there is a lack of understanding our accountability to "self denial" and "mortification of the flesh", that some issues are called Christian Liberty when in fact, sin lies at the root. We have little fruit and yet consider ourselves wiser in our day than in previous times. Oh, my children, my dear children, pride lurks at every corner to subdue us. We need to look back at those that have gone before us and ask why? Why did they do what they did, and what did they understand about Scripture that we don't? What did they understand about the woman's heart that we have missed? We are quick to justify our flesh, the word warns us of this. We should begin then by questioning our own self. Is my pursuit truly after godliness, holiness and purity within my soul?
Christ's Kingdom, my children, has always been one of the heart. The battle is for your soul. At birth, man's soul is under the reign of the devil, due to the sin inherited from our father Adam. At conversion, the strong man is cast out and Christ, by His Blood and resurrection, is the conqueror. The Holy Spirit begins the work of sanctification, which is a life long process due to the wickedness of our hearts. "Oh, wretched man that I am" (Roman's 7:24), cries Paul, as he sees the remaining sin that is within him. His old man is always at war with his new nature. The grace that Christ offers becomes precious to him the more he sees his wretchedness. The more he sees God's glory in Christ, the more vile he sees himself. This is the emptying of ourselves that Scripture requires in a believer. This is the truth of being "Poor in Spirit". You must know you are innately depraved and only the blood of Christ can save you from eternal damnation. This is what is called Calvinism. This is what our nation's educational systems were founded on, and this is what our land once stood on.
What has happened to true Christianity? How did we get to where we are now in our nation, with such coldness towards truth? History speaks loudly to us of the disease that is besetting our nation. Harvard was once the citadel of Christianity. Men came to be taught out of the Word of God in preparation for their life's calling. In other words, if they were to be a Lawyer, Doctor, Senator, or Minister they were prepared for their calling by the foundational teachings of the Bible. The doctrine taught at Harvard was Calvinistic (man is born with a depraved heart and needs the converting work of Christ for his only cure). Each of the men entering Harvard were required to know Hebrew and Greek, for this would guard them against heresy and errors. Even non-Christians reasoned somewhat Biblically, although they lacked the saving grace of Christ's Spirit. The Word of God and the Ten Commandments were taught in the public schools. The One and True God was once the God of our nation.
In the early 1800's all of this changed. Modernism came as a movement in full force, when the Unitarians took over Harvard. They removed the requirement of the original languages as prerequisite for enrolling students. They also removed Calvinism as the doctrine and replaced it with the false doctrine of Arminianism. The understanding now was that man no longer was born with a wicked heart, he had something salvageable within him. If he were merely educated he could be reformed. This brought downfall at every avenue. The crime rate, the divorce rate, and child delinquency all increased. Psychology was birthed because man's sinful behavior had to be explained. They taught that he no longer was accountable for his actions to his Creator, due to his sin nature. His actions were results of his education or environment. The lusts of the flesh were considered things man could not help doing and of course they thought not his fault, he was to be excused for his behaviour. Terms were coined for what the Bible called sin such as alcoholism for drunkenness, etc. Now, my children, just because man decides certain issues are no longer sinful does not mean God has changed the requirements of His Word. They will at death see the sinfulness of their foolishness.
Towards the end of the century the woman's sufferage movement was strong. The modern day woman wanted her rights. She wanted to be loosed from the restraint of submission. This is something woman has always been tempted with. It was Eve's downfall and you will be tempted in the same way. This comes in various forms, under various trappings, but the root is always the same, rebellion to authority - God ordained authority. This was a movement to legalize the voting of women. But, many issues rode the wild horse of these foolish women. The women before this time had no reason to vote. Man, being out in the world fulfilling his duty, protected his family by placing the Godliest, fittest men in office. The woman's place was not to know or deeply understand politics. She had many God ordained duties at home, that would have been neglected if she became involved in politics. This was a man's responsibility before God. Some consequences can be seen in the fruits of our nation. Our families are in trouble, and because of this our churches are in trouble and then our nation is affected. This is the way life works. If a nation is licentious you will see it in the arts, the sciences and in the general people and their life styles. Gluttony reigned during the Renaissance period along with immodest dress and sexual perverseness. This was a time of luxury and selfpleasing of mankind. Self restraint was almost non-existent. What do we have today, but a return to this.
What does all of this have to do with you, your heart, modest attire, dress, or make-up? Actually, it has everything to do with it! If we are desiring to follow the Lord, we must know what the requirements are for us. The requirements from God's words are just as pure and holy now as they have always been. We have lost sight of what purity is. Piety is a lost vocabulary word, yet it is still required of us. Oh, my dear ones, you must see how easy it is to believe falsehoods from the world. If God's word tells us not to dress in costly attire or adorn ourselves with pearls and gold, we need to know what this means. We can not say this was written for another culture, for truly Paul's time was a different culture than commentaries prior to the late 1800's and yet the commentaries take his teachings for their time period to mean just what he taught. They still understood the wickedness of the heart. They still knew that to make provision for the flesh could cost them their soul. We too, must distrust ourselves and look to Scripture again for the preserving of our hearts.
What does it mean "not with costly attire" and what is "shamefacedness"? We will be accountable for our ignorance, because God has told us to look back at the old paths, the old ways and He has left us a "cloud of witnesses". They are given by God to help us find the root issues of our heart and point us to Christ's way of simplicity. We know that there are many things in Scripture that we are ignorant of and we must go searching for answers.
I pray, my precious children, that you listen with a sincere heart and remember that it is your soul that is the object of the devil's devices. He will tempt in every way he can to bring compromise and finally destruction. Open your hearts and examine them in the light of God's Word, searching your motivation as to whether you desire to please God, yourself, or others. If it truly is God, then His ways are very simple, without ostentation, pride or vanity. They are purposeful, utilitarian and thrifty. They are pure, honest, without the least bit of guile, pretension, or deceit. But, most of all they are not man's ways, they do not contain vain imaginations. This is the way we want to think, go and do. His way has always been denial of self and it must be so with you.
As far back in history that we can find, Ministers and others, spoke strongly to uphold Biblical modesty, when the world followed fashion. Phillip Stubbs wrote an entire book on Christian Abuses in 1585. Ecclesiastes tells us "there is nothing new under the sun." This is truly so. The devil's temptations are the same, they just wear different clothes, and have different names.
"Our apparel was given as a sign distinctive to discern between sex and sex; and, therefore, one to wear the apparel of another sex is to participate with the same, and to adulterate the verity of his own kind. Wherefore, these women may not improperly be called hermaphroditi, that is, monsters of both kinds, half women, half men; who, if they were natural women, and honest matrons, would blush to go in such wanton and lewd attire, as is proper only to man." The Anatomy of Abuses Phillip Stubbs, 1585.
Phillip Stubbs showed what the reaction of much of the world was to a woman wearing men's attire, such as pants. Just because it is now an acceptable thing with most, does not mean it is acceptable with God. He tells us to dress distinctively to discern sexes. Women for centuries and centuries wore dresses and skirts. The change only came when women put off submission and walked in the rebellion of the woman's sufferage movement. Pants outline a woman's figure, no matter how loose they are. Oh, be not deceived into walking the same path as the rebellious woman. Remember, that just because time has separated us from the real root of the change in fashion that came in at the turn of the century, it doesn't give us the liberty to follow. This would be giving excuse, due to our ignorance. Where is our shamefacedness about the shapliness of our body? Just because we don't feel shame within us does not mean that we shouldn't. It just means that we have a hardened heart. Oh, my little ones, seek God, seek God for purity, seek Him for a contrite and broken heart. Seek Him for a true understanding of shamefaced.
In Henry Scudder's The Christian's Daily Walk, he points us to our heart as our primary reasoner in making decisions for our attire.
"When you arise, and dress yourself, lose not that precious time (when your mind is the freshest) with impertinent and fruitless thoughts, as is the custom of too many to do. This is the fit time to think upon the cause why you have need of apparel; namely, the fall and sin of your first parents, which from them is derived to you. For before their fall, their nakedness was their comeliness, Gen 1:31, and seeing it, they were not ashamed, Gen 2:25. It will likewise be to good purpose to consider what the wise providence of God hath appointed to be the substance of your apparel. The rinds of plants, the skins, hair, or wool; of brute beasts, and the bowels of the silkworm; which, as it doth magnify the wisdom, power, and goodness of God, in choosing, and turning such mean things to such excellent use: so it should humble and suppress the pride of man. For what man in his senses would be proud of the badge of his shame, even of that apparel, for which (under God) he is beholden even to plants and beasts?"
Listen, my children, to this wise man and consider every morning your state and condition before God. It will be a guide for your soul.
In our present day we know very little of what was once understood as our "station" in life. This has to do with where God in His providence, has placed us. Its catagories include gender, family, estate, and calling. Much of the Puritan's reasoning proceeded out of their understanding of their created station.
Charles Hodge says in his Commentary on I Cor 11:3
"Though the apostle praised the Corinthians for their general obedience to his prescriptions, yet there were many things in which they were deserving of censure. Before mentioning the thing which he intended first to condemn, he states the principle on which that condemnation rested; so that by assenting to the principle, they could not fail to assent to the conclusion to which it necessarily led. That principle is that order and subordination pervade the whole universe, and is essential to its being. The head of the man is Christ; the head of the woman is the man; the head of Christ is God. If this concatenation is disturbed in any of its parts, ruin must be the result."
We must search for the true and pure understanding of our created order. We are told many things are alright for us, when, in fact, they are disturbing the order and submission of God's plan for us. "Ruin must be the result" is the fruit that we are experiencing today.
Marcus Dodds speaking on the same subject in his Commentary on I Corinthians states that the laying aside of the veil by the women in the church was...
"The outward expression and easily read symbol of a great movement on the part of women in assertion of their rights and independence...[it] was therefore an expression on the part of the Christian women that their being assumed as members of Christ's body raised them out of this position of dependence and subordination....In order to the harmony of society there is a gradation of ranks; and social grievances result, not from the existence of social distinctions, but from their abuse."
The reason the women of Corinth threw off their token of their created station was discontentment in that created place of order. It was a fruit of rebellion in the heart. We must have an understanding of our created station. Who were we created to be? What is that place, and what must our dress and attire reflect in regard to our contentment in our created place?
Henry Scudder gives us wisdom when he says:
"Now also is a good time to call to mind what rules are to be observed, that you may dress yourself as becometh one that professeth godliness: namely, 1. That your apparel, for matter and fashion, do suit with your general and special calling I Tim 2:9, 10, and with your estate, sex, and age, Deut 22:5. 2. That your apparel be consistent with health and comeliness I Cor. 11:14-15, I Cor. 12:23. 3. That you rather go with the lowest, than with the highest of your state and place. 4. That the fashion be neither strange, immodest, singular, nor rediculous, Zeph. 1:8. 5. That you be not over curious, or over long, taking up too much time in putting it on. 6. Neither the making nor wearing of your apparel, must savour of pride, lightness, curiosity, lasciviousness, prodigality, or base covetousness, Is. 3:18-24. But it must be such as becometh holiness, wisdom, and honesty, and such as is well reported of Phil. 4:8, I Cor. 11. 7. Follow the example of those of your rank and means, who are most sober, most frugal, and most discreet."
Oh, dear children reflect on these things in your heart. I can remember as a young girl walking to my school bus stop in the cold of winter slushing through the snow with my boots in my hand. Why would I do such a foolish thing?...because I fell prey to vanity and pride, and as no one else wore boots to school, if I did, I knew they would laugh at me! As I consider the world around me today, I see the same silly reasoning. We are doing many things for reasons we do not know, nor have we even questioned the propriety of them. We are to regard the inward man more than the outward man, our souls before our flesh. Remember that affliction is always to be chosen over sin! The outward man is to be clothed through the eyes of necessity and purpose. The outward man should truly serve the inward heart.
Henry Scudder again brings us to Christ's feet when he tells us:
"While you dress yourself, it will be seasonable and profitable also, by this occasion, to raise your thoughts, Rev. 3:18; and fix them upon that apparel which doth clothe and adorn your inward man, I Peter 3:4, which is spiritual, and of a divine matter, which never is out of fashion, which never weareth out, but is always the better for the wearing. Think thus: If I go naked without bodily apparel, it will be to the shame of my person, and to the hazard of my health and life. But how much more will the filthy nakedness of my soul appear to the eyes of men, of angels, and of God Himself, Rev. 3:17, Rev. 16:15, Exod. 32:25, whose pure eyes cannot abide filthiness, Hab 1:13, whereby my soul will be exposed to most deadly temptations, and my whole person to God's most severe judgments; except I put on, and do keep on me the white linen of Christ's spouse, the righteousness of the saints, Rev. 19:8, that is, justification by faith in Christ, and sanctification by the Spirit of Christ? And because every day you will be assaulted with the world, the flesh, and the devil, you will do well to consider whether you put on, and do improve your coat of mail, that complete armour, prescribed. Eph. 6:11-18." The Christian's Daily Walk by Henry Scudder.
Dear, dear children, are you delighting and persevering in clothing your souls more than your outward person? This would be my greatest desire for you, put off your flesh and delight in God's pure ways.
We have grown to love and are ever so thankful for God's blessing to us in providing The Christian Directory by Richard Baxter, and in it he states:
"1. The ends [purpose] of apparel are to keep the body warm. 2. To keep it from being hurt. 3. To adorn it soberly so far as beseemeth the common dignity of human nature, and the special dignity of your places. 4. To hide those parts, which nature hath made your shame, and modesty commandeth you to cover. The fitness of apparel consisteth in these things: 1. That it be fitted to your bodies (as your shoe to your foot, your hat to your head etc.). 2. That it be suited to your sex; that men wear not apparel proper to women, nor women that which is proper to men. 3. That it be suited to your age; the young and the old being usually hereby somewhat distinguished. 4. That it be suited to your estate, or not above it. 5. That it be suited to your place or office. 6. That it be suited to your use and service, as 1. To cover your nakedness so far as health, or modesty, or decency require. 2. To keep you from cold. 3. And from hurt in your labour (as the shoe doth the foot, the glove the hand etc.). 4. For sober ornament, as aforesaid."
"Among the ends and uses of apparel the greatest is to be preferred: the ornament being the least, is not to be pretended against any of the rest. Therefore they that for ornament, 1. Will go naked, in any part which should be covered; or 2. Will go coldly to the hurt or hazard to their health. 3. Or will either hurt our bodies, (as our straight-laced fashionists,) or disable themselves from their labour, or travel, or fit exercise, lest they should be hurt by their clothes, which are fitted more to sight than use; all these cross the ends of clothing." The Christian Directory by Richard Baxter
Oh, If I had had these things to consider when I was a young girl, I may have worn my boots to school instead of carrying them, and yet I see how much the world influences us and taunts us to conformity. It is one of our greatest hooks to be drawn off from God.
"Affect not singularity in your apparel; that is to be odd and observably distinct from all those of your own rank and quality; UNLESS their fashions be evil and intolerable. (In pride, immodesty, levity, etc.) and then SINGULARITY IS YOUR DUTY." The Christian Directory by Richard Baxter
Children, we are living in a time when the fashions are evil and intolerable. It is difficult sometimes to tell the difference between a male and a female. It is our duty to dress like a Godly, chaste, shamefaced woman, even if all the other women do not. Today, we have many questionable practices, at least they were questionable in day's gone by. Skirts revealing woman's legs, make-up, women wearing pants and women cutting their hair are all things I have grown up with and did not even consider as questionable. But, to the pious professors of old these were all thought to be abominable before God. What is to be considered immodest fashion and is it determined by the culture we live in, or is it something that in all ages can be decided by Scripture?
Today, there is little remembrance of the shamefacedness that the godly woman once carried in her heart. Many great, great, grandmothers wouldn't put on a pair of pants, they felt that it was putting on their husband's clothes. It was the same with their hair, they would not cut it, they wore it pulled up in a bun. For a woman to cut her hair was an act of immodesty. It was given to her by God as her glory, she had no right to make it something of vanity. A woman could be fired from her position of nanny if she cut her hair. It would have been a direct reflection of her character. Yes, many of the great, great grandmothers finally gave into the temptations of continued coaxing. They had their hair cut and permed. The excuses of more comfort, easier managing, and prettiness allured them. We live in a time when comfort and vanity have become our measuring rules. These will never be pleasing to God as our standards. Our ignorance to these truths must be overcome.
It was only in the late 1800's and early 1900's that women's legs were exposed to view. A shamefaced woman would not have followed such a thing. This all came on the heels of the women's reformation, with her freedom to exert herself in her new found independence from modesty, chastity and the "old ways". Women's legs had no need to be shaven, as a matter of fact, to accidently reveal an unshaven leg would have brought enbarasement and shame to a shamefaced woman. Shaving ones legs and underarms came along with the worlds new found freedom to expose (with the bathing suit). There was no need of such a thing before this time. And where did she find the razor to do such a thing? Her husband's, of course! We can find these things in the history books, and we need to know why these things have happenned to us and why we are walking in what we are.
Oh, sweet children, look, look around you at those clothes that even seem modest by today's standards. Many of them reveal much more of the woman when she bends over, reaches up, or someone is slightly taller than she is. Her figure can be greatly defined, her rear exposed or emphasized, undergarments can be seen with the raising of the arm, and all can occur on a Sunday at church. These things can be done in complete ignorance by those that love the Lord! We can forget that our heart's root is vain, and that we have a responsibility not to ever cause someone to sin by our behaviour or dress. These are forgotten issues. Many have to turn their heads even at church when someone sits down or gets up. When someone drops something or reaches for something it can cause great difficulty. These are things that we must be considering as we choose what is proper attire for the godly woman.
Richard Baxter speaks to our heart:
"An imitating of proud or immodest fashions, 1. Encourageth others in the sin. 2. Showeth a carnal, proud, or temporizing mind, that will displease God Himself to humour men, and avoid their contempt and disesteem. Be much more suspicious of pride and excess in apparel, as the more common and dangerous extreme. 1. Pride appeareth in apparel, when the matter of it is too costly. 2. When in the fashion you are desirous to be imitating those that are above your estate or rank; and when you so fit your apparel, as to make you seem some higher or richer person than you are. 3. When you are over curious in the matter, shape, or dress, and make a greater matter of it than you ought: as if your comeliness were a more desirable thing than it is , or as if some meanness or disliked fashion were intolerable. 4. When your curiosity taketh up more time in dressing you, than is due to so small a matter, while far greater matters are neglected. 5. When you make too great a difference between your private and your public habit; going plain when no strangers see you, and being excessively careful when you go out, or when strangers visit you. These show that pride which consisteth in a desire to appear either richer or comelier than you are."
Children, this has been a grave issue within my heart. I am beginning to discover how my flesh lies to me. I had all the right reasons (I thought) for wearing what I did and doing what I was doing with myself. I had to ask myself who I was doing up my hair for and putting on the make-up, and putting on the fancy clothes for, and I sadly answered "your father of course!" but, this was my heart lying! I could stay home and look pretty awful, even before him and not be distressed. The vanity within me was exposed. I had to fully admit that within me I delighted to have others notice me and even turn their heads as they noticed my dress. My hair would be just right, in the cleanest style, my clothes, not really gaudy, but very sharp, my make-up perfect and of course the earrings and the neck bow to draw the eyes to my countenance. I had all the right reasoning, it sounded so good, but my heart was revealed. These were not God's ways of purity. He is not pleased that men's heads turn when I enter a room. He is not pleased that my husband liked me this way, for I had trained him that this was what a godly woman was. I thought I was more concerned with my own inward heart, but God knows what we are drawn to as women and this is why Scripture gives us much wisdom to save us from ourselves.
Dear ones, your heart is the place to start. It is desperately wicked and will tempt you to vanity and pride. We must keep this in view and be watchful of our own heart and know it will deceive us. Christ taught us to pray to the Father to keep us from temptation. For us to purposely place ourselves into situations of temptation, thinking our heart can handle it is ignorance of the wickedness of our heart and ignorance of what a true walk of God consists of.
As old Mr. Dod said, when one desired him to preach against men's long hair: "Preach them once to Christ and true repentance, and they will cut their hair without our preaching against it."
Preaching against "external" things will only birth legalism. This has been the destruction of many churches. The internal sins of the heart have been the place of God's first works. We need to look there for reformation and then the outward will always follow with the proper fruit.
"As pride would be seen in proud apparel; so humility will appear in a dress like itself; though it desire not to be seen. Mark I Peter 3:3-5, 'Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting [braiding] the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; (that is, curious dressing or adorning the body beyond plain simplicity of attire;) but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in which in the sight of God is of great price. For after this manner (that is, with inward holiness and outward plainness) in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves being in subjection to their own husbands.' Oh that God would print those words upon your hearts! I Peter 5:5, 'Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.' Plainness among Christians is a greater honour than fine clothing, James 2:2-5. I Tim 2:9-10, 'In like manner also that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety, not with broidered hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; but (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.' I entreat those that are addicted to bravery or curiosity, to read Isa. 3 from verse 16 to the end." Richard Baxter The Christian Directory.
"The prophet's business was to show all sorts of people what they had contributed to the national guilt and what share they must expect in the national judgments that were coming. Here he reproves and warns the daughters of Zion, tells the ladies of their faults; and Moses, in the law, having denounced God's wrath against the tender and delicate woman (the prophets being a comment upon the law, Deut 28:56), he here tells them how they shall smart by the calamities that are coming upon them. Observe, I. The sin charged upon the daughters of Zion, v.16. The prophet expressly vouches God's authority for what he said, lest it should be thought it was unbecoming in Him to take notice of such things, and should be resented by the ladies: The Lord saith it. "Whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear, let them know that God takes notice of, and is much displeased with, the folly and vanity of proud women, and his law takes cognizance even of their dress." Two things they here stand indicted for - haughtiness and wantonness, directly contrary to that modesty, shamefacedness, and sobriety, with which women ought to adorn themselves, I Tim. 2:9. They discovered the dispositon of their mind by their gait and gesture, and the lightness of their carriage...They affect a formal starched way of going, that people may look at them, and admire them...[for their] tenderness and delicacy...And two things aggravated it here: 1. That these were the daughters of Zion, the holy mountain, who should have behaved with the gravity that becomes women professing godliness. 2. That it should seem, by the connexion, they were the wives and daughters of the princes who spoiled and oppressed the poor that they might maintain this pride and luxury of their families." Matthew Henry's Commentary , Isa. 3.
Oh, children our hearts would quickly tell us that we are not doing such abominable things, but we can easily be such as they. Our nation is in great apostasy from God. We have lawful murders occurring minute by minute in our very home land. Many things have contributed to our national state, can we as women be responsible for any of our national sins? This is a very weighty question. Could there be sins of omission that we, as ignorant women, are unaware of? Or could there be things that we daily partake in, that actually grieve God? This certainly was true of the Israelite women and it certainly is possible with us. Could it be that we have neglected (or not even realized the need for) work in our hearts due to the busyness of our lives in things that are too high for us?
Children, remember the serious words from J. A. James in Female Piety:
"Has it not been admitted in all ages, and by all countries, that the influence of Female Character upon social virtue and happiness, and upon national strength and prosperity, is prodigious, whether for good or for evil? Is not the declaration with which Adolphe Monod opens his beautiful treatise, perfectly true? 'The greatest influence on earth whether for good or for evil, is possessed by woman. Let us study the history of by-gone ages, the state of barbarism and civilization; of the east and the west; of Paganism and Christianity; of antiquity and the middle ages; of the medieval and modern times; and we shall find that there is nothing that more decidedly separates them than the condition of woman.'"
"To a certain extent, woman is the conservator of her nations welfare. Her virtue, if firm and uncorrupted, will stand sentinel over that of the empire. Law, justice, liberty, and the arts, all contribute of course, to the well-being of a nation; beneficial influence flows in from various springs: and innumerable contributors may be at work, each labouring in his vocation for his countries weal, but let the general tone of female morals be low, and all will be rendered nugatory: while the universal prevalence of womanly intellegence and virtue will swell the stream of civilization to its highest level, impregnate it with its richest qualities, and spread its fertility over the widest surface. A community is not likely to be overthrown where woman fulfills her mission; for by the power of her noble heart over the hearts of others, she will raise it from its ruins, and restore it again to prosperity and joy."
"But it is not woman, gay, frivolous and unbelieving, or woman separated from those Divine teachings which make all hearts wise, that can lay claim to the exercise of such an influence. But when she adds to the traits of sympathy, forbearance, and warm affection, which characterise her, the strength and wisdom of a well cultivated intellect, and the still higher attributes of religious faith and holy love, it is not easy to limit the good she may do in all situations, and in all periods of life." Famale Piety by J.A. James
Children the last sentence in Isaiah 3 could possibly pertain to working women. God's women are to be "keepers at home", they are not to be found in the station or places of the man. A daughter is to be brought up to be a keeper at home. She is to learn what her station is and the responsibilities that lie within it. She has duties to be performed and a place to remain inside of. And if unmarried, she is to be placed in a calling within her God given station, in other words, she could care for the elderly, feed the poor, sew, make meals for the sick, assist mothers with their children, nurse the ill and infirm etc. All of these would remain under the structure of a family government. She belongs within the framework of the family. Remember, it was even "illegal" during the time of the Puritans, for anyone to remain alone, all were to be a part of the government of the family. To us today, thinking of a woman's place as being in the home and not in the man's work place, brings many reactions. Could it be that we too, have bought some of the lies of "Women's suffrage and Women's liberation"? These things are hard for us, yet they have to be considered if we are to guard our souls. Oh, may we be content with little, that covetousness does not tempt us to disobey God and go outside of our home, for monetary gain. Today, we are surrounded by temptations of luxury. We have many things that we call necessities that are really wants. We have much to ask ourselves. And remember it is always better to choose affliction than sin, to go without, rather than use unlawful means. We have much to go to God in search for humility of heart.
Oh, children listen again to what wisdom Female Piety has to give us:
"But what shall I say of those women who claim on their own behalf, or of their advocated who claim for them, of participation in the labours, occupations, rights, and duties, which have usually been considered exclusively appertaining to men? There are those who would expunge the line of demarkation, which nearly all nation's have drawn, between the duties and the occupations of men and those of women. Christianity has provided a place for a woman for which she is fitted, and in which she shines; but take her out of that place, and her lustre pales and sheds a feeble and sickly ray...neither reason nor Christianity invites woman to the professor's chair, or conducts her to the bar, or makes her welcome to the pulpit, or admits her to the place of ordinary magistracy. Both exclude her, not indeed by positive and specific commands, but by general principles and spirit, alike from the violence and license of the camp, the debates of the senate, and the pleadings of the forum. And they bid her beware how she lays aside the delicacy of her sex, and listens to any doctrines which claim new rights for her, and becomes the dupe of those who have put themselves forward as her advocates only to gain notoriety, or perhaps bread. They forbid us to hear her gentle voice in the popular assembly; and do not even suffer her to speak in the Church of God. They claim not for her the right of suffrage, nor any immunity by which she may 'usurp authority over the man'. The Bible gives her her place of majesty and dignity in the domestic circle: that in the heart of her husband and the heart of her family. It is the female supremacy of that domain, where love, tenderness, refinement, thought and feeling preside...A woman who fills well the sphere assigned to her, as a wife, a mother, and a mistress; who trains up good citizens for the state, and good fathers and mothers of other families which are to spring from her own; and so from generation to generation in all but endless succession, need not complain that her sphere of action and her power of influence are too limited for female ambition to aspire to...Who, but a few wild visionaries, and rash speculatists, and mistaken advocates of woman's rights, would take her from the home of her husband, of her children, and of her own heart, to wear out her strength, consume her time, and destroy her feminine excellence in committee-rooms, on platforms, and in mechanics' or philosophical institutions?...Whatever breaks down the modest reserve, the domestic virtues, the persuasive gentleness, of woman, is an injury done to the community. Woman can be spared from the lecturer's chair, the platform of general convocation, and the scene of public business; but she can not be spared from the hearth of her husband and the circle of her children. Substitutes can be found for her in the one, but not in the other." Female Piety by J.A. James
Remember, as you train your own daughter, if the Lord should bless you thus, that they are not exempt from these same standards. They should remain in a household of government. Many Puritan daughters were placed in other homes to learn further skills and to assist others. The homes that they were placed in were carefully scrutenized however, as their fathers' main interest was the care of their souls. They were not sent out to work in the business world like the men. They were not to go anywhere alone unescorted, it was not the thing for a chaste woman to do. Oh, are these not foreign to us today? We have been taught a false gospel that reaches to every corner. Our duty as a Christian Woman is to be searching for those bitter, ugly ways of the world and put them off. The problem that arises is that they are pleasing to the eye and the heart. We do not recognize them for what they are due to their finery of attire. They come in sheep's clothing and attack at the most vulnerable places, "the home", "the family" and the "woman". We have bought many lies, we walk a dangerous path, we need to begin knowing why we do what we do. We need to humbly beseech the God of Heaven to bring us back to the simple way of the godly, chaste, shamefaced, woman.
Children, listen to Richard Baxter as he gives a warning for our hearts to guide us as we learn new truths and attempt to humbly walk in them:
"Be not too censorious of others for different fashions of apparel. Be as plain and modest yourslelves as you can; but lay no greater stress on the fashions of others than there is cause. If they be grossly inpudent, disown such fashions and seek to reform them: but to carp at every one that goeth finer than yourselves, or to censure them as proud, because their fashions are not like yours, may be of worse signification than the fashions you find fault with. I have oft observed more pride in such censures, than I could observe in the fashions which they censured." The Christian Directory by Richard Baxter
Be assured my children, pride will always be lurking, right near your bosom, beware and pursue God's humble ways.
You will remember children, that some have said that one particular type of clothing is Godly only. That some colors are more wicked than others. There can be pride in this too. If Satan can not tempt us away from moderation in one direction, he will try in the other. Richard Baxter say's: "There is a pride which consisteth in a desire to seem more grave and reverent than you are. When you wear doudy, sloppy, disorderly attire under the pretense of religion." It is not the material that holds the sin, it is our own heart.
William Gouge's Of Domestical Duties has great wisdom:
"Modesty appertaining to a wife is much manifested in her apparel. St. Paul requireth this modesty in general of all sorts of women: but St. Peter presseth it in particular upon wives. For as it well beseemeth all women, so wives after a peculiar manner, namely, in attiring themselves, to respect their husbands place and state, then their own birth and parentage, but much rather then their own mind and humor. A wife's modesty therefore requireth that her apparel be neither for costliness above her husband's ability, nor for curiousness unbeseeming his calling. As a poor man's wife must not affect costly apparel, so neither Ministers, grave Counsellors, sage Magistrates, no nor conscionable Professors wives, hunt after new fashions, or in light and garish apparel attire themselves. It is a token of great reverence in a wife towards her husband, to have an eye to his place and state in her apparel."
We see the same criteria in his work as we have seen in the others. Even the minister's wife was to wear very simple clothing according to her station. She above all others should have a grave appearance for her husband was to be an example to his flock, in living in moderation and giving alms to the poor. Her grave and serious dress was to be a reflection of her grave and serious heart. She was to walk in what her husband taught. She was to show the flock that they believed the beautiful teachings of Scripture and brought them to their very bosom.
We see during the Puritan era an example of the flock being up in arms over this very issue. A widow had married a Pastor and was expected to be an example to the flock in modesty and she had been accustomed to finery with her previous marriage. Like the rich young man that came to Christ and went away sorrowful because of his covetous heart, Thomesine Boys had great difficulty stepping into her newly acquired station as a pastor's wife:
"...Francis Johnson married Thomasine Boys, widow of a prosperous haberdasher. This union initiated the infamous 'Milliner's War', which with other intrigues caused the eventual collapse of the Ancient Brethren Church. Thomasine brought her new husband a generous dowry, but her love of finery aroused jealousy among the members of his flock and plunged them into controversy. Francis' brother, George, headed the opposition, while Henry Ainsworth endeavored to patch up the quarrel. George Johnson did an in-depth study of his sister-in-law's misconduct. He declared that she and the wife of the Bishop of London 'for pride and vaine apparel were and joyned together, that she wore 3,4,5, golde rings at once, moreover her busks and her whalebones in her breast were greeved'. George's accusations against Thomasine were listed in detail: 'First the waring of a long busk [corset] after the fashion of the world...2. Wearing of the long white breast after the fashion of young dames, and so low she wore it, as the world call them kodpeece breasts...3. Whalebones in the bodies of petivotrd...against nature, being as the Phisitians affirme hinderers of conceiving or procreating children...4. Great sleeves sett out with whalebones, which the world call...[This was so shocking a word that George Johnson could not bring himself to write it.] 5. Excesse of lace upon them after the fashion of young merchants wives Contrary to the rules of modesty. 6. Foure or five golde rings on at once...7. Accoupple crowned hatt with a twined band, as young Marchants wives, and young Dames use. Immodest and toyish in a Pastors wife. 8. Tucked aprons, like round hose...9. Excesse in rufs, laune coives, muske, and such like things. 10. The painted Hipocritical brest, shewing as if there were some special workes, and in truth nothing but a shadow, contrary to modesty and sobriety. 11. Bodies tied to the peticote with points, as men do their dublets to their hose...12. Some also reporte that she laid forth [took down for all to see] her hair also.'....'First she strode gazine, bracing or vainting in shop doores. contrary to the rules of modest behaviour in the daughters of Zion...2. She so quaffed wine, that a papist in their company said to another women: You leave some, and shew modesty but Mrs. Johnson, shee etc. shee doth not...3. She laide in bedd on the Lordes day till 9 a clock, and hindered the exercise of the worde, she being not sick, nor having any just cause to lie so long." Historical information from Plymouth Plantation.
Children, temptations beset a woman's heart. We live in a time when things are not shocking to us that once shocked the godly. We live in a time that is far removed from the truths of piety, we must go seeking these precious treasures.
"On the contrary, such proud dames as must have their own will in their attire, and think it nothing appertaineth to their husband's to order them therein, who care not what their husbands ability or what his place and calling be, they show little respect and reverence to their husband's. Such are they, who are no wit moved with their husband's example: but though the man's apparel be plain and grave, yet the wife's shall be costly and garish. Yea many there be that stand in some more awe of their husband's sight, but show little more respect unto him, who have their silken gowns, beaver hats, and other like attire not agreeable to their place and state, lie in the country, if they be of the city; or in the city, if they be of the country, in a friend's house where their husband's shall not know it, and when their husband's are not with them, wear them, and paint their faces, lay out their hair, and in every thing follow the fashion. What can they which behold this think, but that such a wife's care is more to please other light vain persons, then her grave, discreet husband: or that her husband can nothing at all prevail with her: which as it staineth her own credit, so it leaveth a blot of dishonor even upon him. If the care of a wife were to give evidence of the reverence which she beareth to her husband, his desire and example would in this respect more prevail with her, than the humor of her own heart." Of Domestical Duties by Wm. Gouge.
Oh, my precious children, can we honestly say we are not willful in our hearts in desiring to follow things that may not be God's best for his precious sheep? Are we not hard hearted when we say it must be proven to us beyond a shadow of a doubt, instead of the meek humility of "Oh, show me where I may be going astray, please show me that I may guard my soul!" Many will use sections such as Ezekiel 16:10-13 to justify following the world. It helps us to look back at the ways of old to see if we are missing something in the understanding of the passages.
"If anyone makes any inquiry about these various kinds of dresses, whether it was lawful for women to use so many ornaments, the answer is easy, that the Prophet here does not approve of what he relates, but uses a common immage. He said that his intention was to show that God could not have treated His people more freely; since in every way He had unfolded the incomparable treasures of His beneficence in adorning the Israelites. He now describes this in a metaphor, and underfigures taken from the common practice everywhere received. It does not follow, therefore, that women ought to adorn themselves in this way. For we know that superfluous ornaments are temptations; and we know also the vanity of women, and their ambition to show themselves off, as the saying is: and we see how sharply this eager desire of women is blamed, especially by Isaiah (Chp 3)". Calvin's Commentary on Ezekiel.
Vs. 16. "Next follows another threatening against the ambition, luxury, and pride of women...he therefore pronounces censure on georgous robes and superfluous ornaments, which were undoubted proofs of vain ostentation. Wherever dress and splendour are carried to excess, there is evidence of ambition, and many vices are usually connected with it; for whence comes luxury in men and women but from pride? First, then, he justly declares pride to be the source of the evil, and points it out by the sign, that is, by their gait; that the women walk with stretched-forth neck. For as it is a sign of modesty to have a down-cast look, (as even heathen writers have declared,) so to have excessively high looks is a sign of insolence; and when a woman lifts up her head it can betoken nothing but pride. The Prophet certainly acts wisely in beginning at the very fountain; for if he had begun by mentioning signs, such as dress, gait, and matters of that sort, it might have been easy to reply that still the mind was pure and upright; and that if their dress was somewhat too elegant and splendid, that was not a sufficient reason for approaching them with such bitter language, and summoning them to the judgment of God. Accordingly in order to meet their unfounded accusations, he lays open the inward disease, which is manifested in the whole of their outward dress. And wandering eyes [wanton eyes]. What he adds about wandering eyes denotes shameless lust, which for the most part is expressed by the eyes; for unchaste eyes are the heralds of an unchaste heart; but the eyes of chaste women are sedate, and not wandering or unsteady...vs. 17...He therefore begins with the head, where ornament is chiefly bestowed, and afterwards takes notice of the other parts. It is worthy of notice that the Prophet had good reason for reproving, with so great earnestness and vehemence, the luxury of women; for while they are chargeable with many vices, they are most of all inflamed with mad eagerness to have fine clothes. Covetous as they naturally are, still they spare no expense for dressing in a showy manner, an even spare diet, and deprive themselves of what nature requires, that their clothes may be more costly and elegant. So grievously are they corrupted by this vice, that it goes beyond every other...Examples...are innumerable in almost every nation, and it is a vice which has been very common in every age. As we are dexterous and sharp-sighted in contriving apologies for defending our luxury and extravagance, the Prophet, on that account, has pointed his finger at the source of all the evils, namely, that mad ambition by which men are hurried along to obtain public notice, and to arrive at eminence above others; for, in order that they may be better known, they wish to outshine their neighbours by the elegance of their dress, that they may draw the eyes of others upon them."
"Having pointed to the source of the evil, the Prophet descends to many particulars for the purpose of bringing to public view the fooleries of women, and enumerates a long catalogue of them, to show that, in gathering them together, nothing can exceed the curiosity which dwells in woman. Indeed there is no end to those contrivances; and it was not without reason that the ancients called the collection of a woman's ornaments a world; (a woman's world) for if they were collected into one heap, they would be almost as numerous as the parts of the world...he heaps up and enumerates these trifles in order that the prodigious variety of them may disclose their luxury and ambition, so as to leave them without any excuse."
"It would be the height of impudence to allege that the contrivances made by the childish vanity of women, beyond what nature requires, are necessary for protecting the body. How many things are here enumerated which are not demanded by nature or necessity or propriety! What is the use of chains, bracelets, ear-rings, and other things of the same sort? Hence it is plain enough that a superfluous collection of such ornaments admits of no excuse; that it gives evidence of excessive luxury which ought to be suppressed or restrained; and that frequently they are unchaste contrivances for weakening the mind and exciting lust."
"We need not wonder, therefore, that the Prophet speaks so sharply, and threatens severe punishments, against this vice...vs. 24...and there is no reason to doubt that in pleasant smells, as well as in other matters, they were luxurious...that they will excite lust and promote luxury is beyond all doubt....He likewise contrasts baldness with curls; because they arranged their hair not in a modest but an extravagant fashion...Again, burning is contrasted with beauty; because fashionable ladies hardly venture to expose themselves to the sun's rays, for fear of being sun-burned; and he tells us that this will happen to them. In short, both men and women are instructed to make a sober use of the gifts of God, both in food and in clothing, and in the whole conduct of life. For the Lord cannot endure extravagance, and absolutely must inflict severe punishment on account of it; for it cannot be restrained by a lighter chastisement." Calvin's Commentary on Isa. 3.
Children, our hearts will lie to us, we can easily convince ourselves that none of what God was displeased with above is in our life. But, if we are following fashion it truly may be that we need to take a deeper look. Crisping pin mentioned in Isaiah..., remember, that in our 1828 dictionary we found that it is a "curling iron". You know some have said that this is an acceptable practice because we are making ourselves pleasing to the Lord? Vs. 15 of I Cor. 11 tells us that our hair is given as a glory to us. "It is a glory to her" This can not be intended by God as something to promote vanity in our hearts, for His desire for us is purity and holiness. Remember, throughout history until the early and even for some, into the mid 1900's, it was thought to be "loose" for a woman to cut her hair. But, more important to us should be what the Scriptural basis for "why" was. What we have found is an understanding that the woman's hair was given to her by God as a crown of glory. It had been originally given to Eve as a covering to hang and drape down over her naked body. When sin came, lust, pride and a multitude of other evils filled the man's and woman's heart. Her hair now, could be a weapon of temptation. It too, must be under her guard.
There was an understanding for centuries that when the woman was given clothing by God it would have included a covering for her head in sign of her place of submission. That is why Scripturally we find women with veils as a part of their modest clothing in the Old Testament. A woman's hair, long and hanging down is temptuous, no matter how hard we try to say that it is not so. There was once an understanding by some that before the fall the woman's long hair was her only covering necessary. After the fall, being put under subjection, "But if a woman have long hair, it is a praise unto her: for her hair is given her for a covering." I Cor. 11:15. In the Geneva Bible marginal notes written by Beza in Geneva, he gives this comment to this verse: "To be a covering for her, and such a covering, as should procure another." Almost for us to see that the fall and sin is the reason for the procuring of another.
As we looked at history together, searching for an answer to head coverings, remember that in all times in America and seen all over the world, the godly, chaste woman was seen to have a covering on her head in following the teachings of I Cor. 11. This is what the history books told us. Do not forget what happened to it. We saw it disappear with the woman's suffrage movement. She threw it off intentionally, as the women that Paul was addressing in I Cor. 11 did. Remember all of the phone calls to the locations that searched original documents for historical facts for us. They too confirmed that women wore something on their heads as an obedience to I Cor. 11 and that they disappeared due to "her" change in thinking (Woman's Suffrage). Even Calvin reminds us in his Institutes of The Christian Religion, that "For if a woman, in the assistance of a neighbor, finds a necessity for such haste as allows her no time to cover her head, she commits no offence in running to the place with her head uncovered" Think upon this, why would he address this as a possible sin issue if she didn't need to have anything on her head at all. What he is telling us, is that when she remembers that she forgot it-she will then put it on. She had not blatantly thrown it off, but inadvertently forgotten it in her haste.
Long hair is as a woman's crown, given to her by God and was considered a special gift. It distinctly revealed a difference between the sexes. Since it was given as a gift from God, to cut it, style it, make yourself prettier by it, to change it in any way other than being a good steward of it by keeping it clean and orderly, was considered sinful. Why? Because, in having to wear a symbol of her created station and subjection, she should be humbled and reminded of her place and the reason why her hair was no longer pure hanging down over her naked body. In other words, it was to turn her to God in seeing her sinfulness. If the woman, cut it, curled it, or styled it, she was serving the creature of her own lustful heart, in vanity.
Oh, listen my sweet children to what was once known by the Saints of Old, hear now Phillip Stubbs, in his Anatomy of Abuses.
"If curling and laying out [letting it down, making it just right] their own natural hair were all (which is impious, and at no hand lawful, being, as it is, an ensign of pride, and the stern of wantonness to all that behold it), it were the less matter; but they are not simply content with their own hair, but buy other hair, either of horses, mares, or any other strange beasts, dying it of what color they list themselves...So where as their hair was given them as a sign of subjection, and therefore they were commanded to cherish the same, now have they made it an ornament of pride, and destruction to themselves forever, except they repent."
We have primped ourselves for so long, that to think of doing anything else with our hair, seems legalistic to us. We want to quickly say that our hearts are what really matter and we can continue in these practices without it affecting our hearts. God's word certainly does seem to give us warning to the contrary view.
Even Paul, as we see in Calvin's Commentary on the subject, struggled with pride:
"Let us carefully consider, who it is that here speaks - He had overcome so many dangers, tortures, and other evils - had triumphed over all the enemies of Christ - had driven away the fear of death - had, in fine renounced the world; and yet had not altogether subdued pride." 2 Cor.12:7.
Curls... how can curling my hair promote vanity or pride in my heart? Am I not just making myself presentable? Would it not also be presentable to have freshly washed and brushed hair neatly pulled up? Does it not take just a few seconds to simply pull up the hair? Is our hair too short? Mine was, I had always kept the front cropped to my face because I felt it took less time to do in the morning. When I realized that it was given to me by my God as a crown of glory and that I had styled it my way, thinking I knew better than God did, I was sick inside. God's way has always been the simple pure way, and my hard heart had rejected it.
I wanted to feel pretty and above all, be accepted by others, not stand out. If I no longer had bangs, what would I look like? Vanity screamed from within me. I fought every argument immaginable that these things in Scripture were just cultural etc. But, the vanity that was exposed in my heart showed me the truth of my own sinfulness. No, I can not take a curling iron to my hair without knowing the purpose would truly be a vain one. Practicality is one of the main tenants seen in the Puritans and Reformers thinking. They knew that earthly things were for necessities and comfort. Both were to come under the direction of moderation.
My hair and what I did with it was a sign of subjection, what I used to do with it, was a sign of my independence, vanity and pride. In this day and age we are surrounded by what John Bunyan calls Worldly Wisemen. They will comfort us in following things that the world does, and we as Christians need to follow only that which is clearly pleasing to God.
Oh, children, look at what it says in Willet Cunnington's Why Women Wear Clothes:
"The curl, drawing Man's fingers toward it with irresistible magnetism, has always been a romantic weapon. Sometimes a single one will lie pendant on a white shoulder, a veritable serpent near forbidden fruit; or a multitude, Medusa-like, guard the whole head. Skilfully employed, the effect is deadly. No wonder the Puritans discountenanced 'the wearing of lascivious curls.' The hair plaited (braided) rope-wise and coiled in loops suggests a bondage which appeals to the masculine mind. And how much can be implied simply by covering the ears by the hair: as though to guard them from the voice of the tempter! Only a cynic would suggest it merely indicated that the ears are badly shaped."
We can tell ourselves that our curling iron or permanented curls are not lascivious, but what is their purpose? Are they really necessary? Yes, we tell ourselves that it saves time in the morning, but there is another question to ask. If God has not given you curls, why are you dissatisfied with what he has given? We can say we aren't dissatisfied, but just by the fact that we go and curl it suggests that we are not content. If God has given us curls, do we then desire to have it straightened? All these issues really rest in the heart, and that is deceitfully wicked above all things and not to be trusted, let alone direct our way. We must see that these issues were considered differently by the Saints. We have several generations that have left the narrow way and we have much to get back to.
Children you know how much older commentaries have helped us, so I have included some here. I pray my generations will search and see that we need deep reforming towards holiness and piety. Scripture is our rule, but today, we have been led far from the truths of the purity of the Word. Look at what these precious places that deal with us as woman had to say by godly teachers of other times. These views were held up until the 1800's, until the woman's suffrage movement changed the world. They should cause us to consider, pray and search our own hearts, for if we are following sinful ways, even ignorantly, we will be held accountable. We are to beware of novel inventions.
Calvin in his Commentary on the first commandment says:
"But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant.(I Cor 14:38). Since it has always been the case that God's truth was never hidden from anybody, except him whose mind the God of this world has blinded. (2 Cor. 4:4). And this especially takes place when light has shown from heaven, which suffers none to go astray but those who shut their eyes. The remedy, therefore, is immediately subjoined, "Ye shall walk after the Lord your God;" as if Moses had said, it was sufficient for their preservation, that they had God to guide them in the right way, who had already prevented them by his gratuitous bounty. But, since numbers respond not to God's call, and regard Him not when He points out the way to them, the words "and fear him" are added; because "the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom." Finally, Moses again inculcates that, if men are only resolved to obey God, they will be sufficiently taught by His voice what they ought to do. By the word 'cleave', perseverance is denoted, and thus he indirectly reproves the instability of those who forsake and forget God, and go astray after empty imaginations." Deut. 13:3.
Oh, my precious children, are we following traditions that are really empty imaginations? We can think that our attire is not a salvation issue. And of itself, it is not. For it is not what goes into the body that defiles it, but what comes out. But, that is our real problem. The attire we are wearing may very well be an indication of vanity and pride. We are a generation of soft, self-willed people. We have not learned self-denial. We, as Christian's, should have our souls growth in the forefront of our minds. We should be watching for temptations and prayerfully mortifying our flesh.
Thomas Brooks in his Precious Remedies Against Satan's Devices states:
"Beloved in our dearest Lord, Christ, the Scriptures, your own Hearts, and Satan's devices, are the four prime things that should be first and most studied and searched. If any cast off the study of these, they cannot be safe here, nor happy hereafter."
Have we fallen prey to devices that Satan has set for us? Do we really know our own heart? The following are sections from commentaries dealing with some New Testament sections addressing women. Seek, hear, pray, study, and commune with your own heart.
"Lest the Christian matrons should imagine that their conversion to Christ, and their interest in all Christian privileges, exempted them from subjection to their pagan or Jewish husbands, the apostle here tells them, 1. In what the duty of wives consists. (1.) In subjection, or an affectionate submission to the will, and obedience of the just authority, of their own husbands, which obliging conduct would be the most likely way to win those disobedient and unbelieving husbands who had rejected the word, or who attended to no other evidence of the truth of it than what they saw in the prudent, peaceable, and exemplary conversation of their wives."
"Learn, [1.] Every distinct relation has its particular duties, which ministers ought to preach, and the people ought to understand. [2.] A cheerful subjection, and a loving reverential respect, are duties which Christian women owe their husbands, whether they be good or bad; these were due from Eve to Adam before the fall, and are still required, though much more difficult now than they were before, Gen 3:16; I Tim 2:11. [3.] Though the design of the word of the gospel is to win and gain souls to Christ Jesus, yet there are many so obstinate that they will not be won by the word. [4.] There is nothing more powerful, next to the word of God, to win people, than a good conversation, and the careful discharge of relative duties. [5.] Irreligion and infidelity do not dissolve the bonds, nor dispense with the duties, of civil relations; the wife must discharge her duty to her own husband, though he obey not the word."
"(2.) In fear or reverence to their husbands, Eph. 5:33. (3.) In a chaste conversation, which their unbelieving husbands would accurately observe and attend to. [1.] Evil men are strict observers of the conversation of the professors of religion; their curiosity, envy, and jealousy, make them watch narrowly the ways and lives of good people. [2.] A chaste conversation, attended with due and proper respect to every one, is an excellent means to win them to the faith of the gospel and obedience to the word."
"(4.) In preferring the ornaments of the mind to those of the body. [1.] He lays down a rule in regard to the dress of religious women, vs. 3. Here are three sorts of ornaments forbidden: plaiting of hair, which was commonly used in those times by lewd women; wearing of gold, or ornaments made of gold, was practised by Rebecca, and Esther, and other religious women, but afterwards became the attire chiefly of harlots and wicked people, putting on of apparel, which is not absolutely forbidden, but only too much nicety and costliness in it. Learn, first, Religious people should take care that all their external behaviour be answerable to their profession of Christianity. They must be holy in all manner of conversation. Secondly, The outward adorning of the body is very often sensual and excessive; for instance, when it is immoderate, and above your degree and station in the world, when you are proud of it, and puffed up with it, when you dress with design to allure and tempt others, when your apparel is too rich, curious, or superfluous, when your fashions are fantastical, imitating the levity and vanity of the worst people, and when they are immodest and wanton. The attire of a harlot can never become a chaste Christian matron."
"[2.] Instead of the outward adorning of the body, he directs Christian wives to put on much more excellent and beautiful ornaments, v.4. Here note, First, The part to be adorned: The hidden man of the heart; that is, the soul; the hidden, the inner man. Take care to adorn and beautify your souls rather than your bodies. Secondly, The ornament prescribed. It must, in general, be something not corruptible, that beautifies the soul, that is, the graces and virtues of God's Holy Spirit. The ornaments of the body are destroyed by the moth, and perish in the using; but the grace of God, the longer we wear it, the brighter and better it is. More especially, the finest ornament of Christian women is a meek and quiet spirit, a tractable easy temper of mind, void of passion, pride, and immoderate anger, discovering itself in a quiet obliging behavior towards their husbands and families. If the husband be harsh, and averse to religion (which was the case of these good wives to whom the apostle gives this direction), there is no way so likely to win him as a prudent meek behavior. At least, a quiet spirit will make a good woman easy to herself, which, being visible to others, becomes an amiable ornament to a person in the eyes of the world."
"Thirdly, The excellency of it. Meekness and calmness of spirit are, in the sight of God, of great price - amiable in the sight of men, and precious in the sight of God. Learn 1. A true Christian's chief care lies in the right ordering and commanding of his own spirit. Where the hypocrite's work ends, there the true Christian's work begins. 2. The endowments of the inner man are the chief ornaments of a Christian; but especially a composed, calm and quiet spirit, renders either man or woman beautiful and lovely."
"2. The duties of Christian wives being in their nature difficult, the apostle enforces them by the example, (1.) Of the holy women of old, who trusted in God, vs. 5. 'You can pretend nothing of excuse from the weaknes of your sex, but what they might. They lived in old time, and had less knowledge to inform them and fewer examples to encourage them; yet in all ages they practised this duty; they were holy women, and therefore their example is obligatory; they trusted in God, and yet did not neglect their duty to man: the duties imposed upon you, of a quiet spirit and of subjection to your own husbands, are not new, but what have ever been practised by the greatest and best women in the world.' (2.) Of Sara, who obeyed her husband, and followed him when he went from Ur of the Chaldeans, not knowing whither he went, and called him Lord, thereby showing him reverence and acknowledging his superiority over her: and all this though she was declared a princess by God from heaven, by the change of her name, 'Whose daughters you are if you imitate her in faith and good works, and do not, through fear of your husbands, either quit the truth you profess or neglect your duty to them, but readily perform it, without either fear or force, out of conscience towards God and sense of duty to them.'"
"Learn, [1.] God takes exact notice, and keeps an exact record, of the actions of all men and women in the world. [2.[ The subjection of wives to their husbands is a duty which has been practised universally by holy women of all ages. [3.] The greatest honour of any man or woman lies in a humble and faithful deportment of themselves in the relation or condition in which Providence has placed them. [4.] God takes notice of the good that is in his servants, to their honour and benefit, but covers a multitude of failings; Sara's infidelity and derision are overlooked, when her virtues are celebrated. [5.] Christians ought to do their duty to one another, not out of fear, nor from force, but from a willing mind, and in obedience to the command of God. Wives should be in subjection to their churlish husbands, not from dread and amazement, but from a desire to do well and to please God."
Woman's attire is found in the middle of a section in Scripture addressing her in her created station. This is the reason the commentary information is in tact here. Our choice of attire should actually be a fruit of the understanding and submission to the created place God's Providence has placed us. It is the same with our words and our actions, as they are a reflection of our inner heart. Children, these are weighty words before us, Oh, may God have mercy on us and pour His grace out to us for humble submission to His simple ways of purity. Matthew Henry's Commentary on I Peter 3:1-6
"He proceeds now to another instance of subjection, and bids wives to be subject to their husbands. And as those seemed to have some pretence for shaking off the yoke, who were united to unbelieving men, he expressly reminds them of their duty, and brings forward a particular reason why they ought the more carefully to obey, even that they might by the probity allure their husbands to the faith. But if wives ought to obey ungodly husbands, with much more promptness ought they to obey, who have believing husbands."
"But it may seem strange that Peter should say, that a husband might be gained to the Lord without the Word; for why is it said, that "faith cometh by hearing? Rom 10:17. To this I reply, that Peter's words are not to be so understood as though a holy life alone could lead the unbelieving to Christ, but that it softens and pacifies their minds, so that they might have less dislike to religion; for as bad examples create offences, so good ones afford no small help. Then Peter shews that wives by a holy and pious life could do so much as to prepare their husbands, without speaking to them on religion, to embrace the faith of Christ."
"While they behold..."For minds, however alienated from the true faith, are subdued, when they see the good conduct of believers; for as they understood not the doctrine of Christ, they form an estimate of it by our life. It cannot, then, be but that they will commend Christianity, which teaches purity and fear."
"Whose adorning...The other part of the exhortation is that wives are to adorn themselves sparingly and modestly: for we know that they are in this respect much more curious and ambitious than they ought to be. Then Peter does not without cause seek to correct in them this vanity. And though he reproves generally sumptuous or costly adorning, yet he points out some things in particular, - that they were not artificially to curl or wreath their hair, as it was usually done by crisping-pins, or otherwise to form it according to the fashion; nor were they to set gold around their head: for these are things in which excesses especially appear."
"It may be now asked, whether the Apostle wholly condemns that use of gold in adorning the body. Were any one to urge these words, it may be said, that he prohibits precious garments no less than gold; for he immediately adds, the putting on of apparel, or, of clothes. But it would be an immoderate strictness wholly to forbid neatness and elegance in clothing. If the material is said to be too sumptuous, the Lord has created it; and we know that skill in art has proceeded from him. Then Peter did not intend to condemn every sort of ornament, but the evil of vanity, to which women are subject."
"Two things are to be regarded in clothing, usefulness and decency; and what decency requires is moderation and modesty. Were, then, a woman to go forth with her hair wantonly curled and decked, and make an extravagant display, her vanity could not be excused. They who object and say, that to clothe one's-self in this or that manner is an indifferent thing, in which all are free to do as they please, may be easily confuted; for excessive elegance and superfluous display, in short, all excesses, arise from a corrupted mind. Besides, ambition, pride, affectation of display, and all things of this kind, are not indifferent things. Therefore they whose minds are purified from all vanity, will duly order all things, so as not to exceed moderation."
"But, let it be the hidden man of the heart...The contrast here ought to be carefully observed. Cato said that they who are anxiously engaged in adorning the body, neglect the adorning of the mind: so Peter, in order to restrain this desire in women, introduces a remedy, that they are to devote themselves to the cultivation of their minds. The word heart, no doubt means the whole soul. He at the same time shows in what consists the spiritual adorning of women, even in the incorruptness of a meek and quiet spirit. "Incorruptness," as I think, is set in opposition to things which fade and vanish away, things which serve to adorn the body...In short, Peter means that the ornament of the soul is not like a fading flower, nor consists in vanishing splendour, but is incorruptible. By mentioning a quiet and tranquil spirit, he marks out what especially belongs to women; for nothing becomes them more than a placid and a sedate temper of mind. For we know how outrageous a being is an imperious and a self-willed woman. And further, nothing is more fitted to correct the vanity of which Peter speaks than a placid quietness of spirit."
"What follows, that it is in the sight of God of great price, may be referred to the whole previous sentence as well as to the word spirit; the meaning indeed will remain the same. For why do women take so much care to adorn themselves, except that they may turn the eyes of men on themselves? But Peter, on the contrary, bids them to be more anxious for what is before God of a great price."
"Even as Sarah...He sets before them the example of pious women, who sought for spiritual adorning rather than outward meretricious ornaments. But he mentions Sarah above all others, who, having been the mother of all the faithful, is especially worthy of honour and imitation on the part of her sex. Moreover, he returns again to subjection, and confirms it by the example of Sarah, who according to the words of Moses called her husband "Lord" (Gen. 18:12). God indeed, does not regard such titles; and it may sometimes be, that one especially petulant and disobedient should use such a word with her tongue; but Peter means, that Sarah usually spoke thus, because she knew that a command had been given her by the Lord, to be subject to her husband. Peter adds, that they who imitated her fidelity would be her daughters, that is, reckoned among the faithful."
"And are not afraid...The weakness of the sex causes women to be suspicious and timid, and therefore morose; for they fear lest by their subjection, they should be more reproachfully treated. It was this that Peter seems to have had in view in forbidding them to be disturbed by any fear, as though he had said, "Willingly submit to the authority of your husbands, nor let fear prevent your obedience, as though your condition would be worse, were you to obey." The words may be more general, "Let them not raise up commotions at home." For as they are liable to be frightened, they often make much of a little thing, and thus disturb themselves and the family. Calvin's Commentary I Peter 3:1-6
"In Like manner also women...Here is a charge, that women who profess the Christian religion should be modest, sober, silent, and submissive, as becomes their place. 1. They must be very modest in their apparel, not affecting gaudiness, gaiety, or costliness (you may read the vanity of a person's mind in the gaiety and gaudiness of his habit), because they have better ornaments with which they should adorn themselves, as becometh women professing godliness, with good works. Note, Good works are the best ornament; these are, in the sight of God, of great price. Those that profess godliness should, in their dress, as well as other things, act as becomes their profession; instead of laying out their money on fine clothes, they must lay it out in works of piety and charity, which are properly called good works. 2. Women must learn the principles of their religion, learn Christ, learn the Scriptures; they must not think that their sex excuses them from that learning which is necessary to salvation. 3. They must be silent, submissive, and subject and not usurp authority. The reason given is because Adam was first formed, then Eve out of him, to denote her subordination to him and dependence upon him; and that she was made for him, to be a help-meet for him. And as she was last in the creation, which is one reason for her subjection, so she was first in the transgression, and that is another reason. Adam was not deceived, that is, not first; the serpent did not immediately set upon him, but the woman was first in the transgression (2Cor 11:3), and it was part of the sentence, Thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee, Gen 3:16. But it is a word of comfort (vs. 15) that those who continue in sobriety shall be saved in child-bearing, or with child-bearing-the Messiah, who was born of a woman, should break the serpent's head (Gen 3:15); or the sentence which they are under for sin shall be no bar to their acceptance with Christ, if they continue in faith, and charity, and holiness, with sobriety."
"II. Here observe, 1. The extensiveness of the rules of Christianity; they reach not only to men, but to women, not only to their persons, but also to their dress, which must be modest, like their sex: and to their outward deportment and behaviour, it must be in silence, with all subjection. 2. Women are to profess godliness as well as men; for they are baptized, and thereby stand engaged to exercise themselves to godliness; and, to their honour be it spoken, many of them were eminent professors of Christianity in the days of the apostles, as the book of Acts will inform us. 3. Women being more in danger of exceeding in their apparel, it was more necessary to caution them in this respect. 4. The best ornaments for professors of godliness are good works. 5. According to Paul, women must be learners, and are not allowed to be public teachers in the church; for teaching is an office of authority, and the woman must not usurp authority over the man, but is to be in silence. But, notwithstanding this prohibition, good women may and ought to teach their children at home the principles of religion. Timothy from a child had known the holy Scriptures; and who should teach him but his mother and grandmother? 2 Tim 3:15. Aquila and his wife Priscilla expounded unto Apolos the way of God more perfectly; but then they did it privately, for they took him unto them, Acts 18:26. 6. Here are two very good reasons given for the man's authority over the woman, and her subjection to the man, vs. 13 and 14. Adam was first formed, then Eve; she was created for the man, and not the man for the woman (I Cor 11:9); then she was deceived, and brought the man into the transgression. 7. Though the difficulties and dangers of childbearing are many and great, as they are part of the punishment inflicted on the sex for Eve's transgression, yet here is much for her support and encouragement: Notwithstanding she shall be saved, etc. Though in sorrow, yet she shall bring forth, and be a living mother of living children; with this proviso, that they continue in faith, and charity, and holiness, with sobriety: and women, under the circumstance of child-bearing should by faith lay hold of this promise for their support in the needful time." Matthew Henry's Commentary I Timothy 2:9-15
"As he enjoined men to lift up pure hands, so he now prescribes the manner in which women ought to prepare for praying aright. And there appears to be an implied contrast between those virtues which he recommends and the outward sanctification of the Jews; for he intimates that there is no profane place, nor any from which both men and women may not draw near to God, provided they are not excluded by their vices."
"He intended to embrace the opportunity of correcting a vice to which women are almost always prone, and which perhaps at Ephesus, being a city of vast wealth an extensive merchandise, especially abounded. That vice is - excessive eagerness and desire to be richly dressed. He wishes therefore that their dress should be regulated by modesty and sobriety; for luxury and immoderate expense arise from a desire to make a display either for the sake of pride or of departure from chastity. And hence we ought to derive the rule of moderation; for, since dress is an indiffernt matter, (as all outward matters are,) it is difficult to assign a fixed limit, how far we ought to go. Magistrates may indeed make laws, by means of which a rage for superfluous expenditure shall be in some measure restrained; but godly teachers, whose business it is to guide the consciences, ought always to keep in view the end of lawful use. This at least will be settled beyond all controversy, that everything in dress which is not in accordance with modesty and sobriety must be disapproved."
"Yet we must always begin with the dispositions; for where debauchery reigns within, there will be no chastity; and where ambition reigns within, there will be no modesty in the outward dress. But because hypocrites commonly avail themselves of all the pretexts that they can find for concealing their wicked dispositions, we are under the necessity of pointing out what meets the eye. It would be great baseness to deny the appropriateness of modesty as the peculiar and constant ornament of virtuous and chaste women, or the duty of all to observe moderation. Whatever is oposed to these virtues it will be vain to excuse. He expressly censures certain kinds of superfluity, such as curled hair, jewels, and golden rings; not that the use of gold or of jewels is expressly forbidden, but that, wherever they are prominenty displayed, these things commonly draw along with them the other evils which I have mentioned, and arise from ambition or from want of chastity as their source."
"Which becometh women; "for undoubtedly the dress of a virtuous and godly woman must differ from that of a strumpet. What he has laid down are marks of distinction; and if piety must be testified by works, this profession ought also to be visible in chaste and becoming dress." Calvin's Commentary I Timothy 2:9-15
"To the aged women. These also must be instructed and warned. Some by these aged women understand the deaconesses, who were mostly employed in looking after the poor and attending the sick; but it is rather to be taken (as we render it) of all aged women professing religion. They must be in behaviour as becometh holiness: both men and women must accommodate their behaviour to their profession. Those virtues before mentioned (sobriety, gravity, temperance, soundness in the faith, charity, and patience), recommended to aged men, are not proper to them only, but applicable to both sexes, and to be looked to by aged women as well as men. Women are to hear and learn their duty from the word, as well as the men: there is not one way of salvation for one sex or sort, and another for another; but both must learn and practise the same things, both as aged and as Christians; the virtues and duties are common. That the aged women likewise (as well as the men) be in behaviour as becometh holiness; or as beseems and is proper for holy persons, such as they profess to be and should be, keeping a pious decency and decorum in clothing and gesture, in looks, and speech, and all their deportment, and this from an inward principle and habit of holiness, influencing and ordering the outward conduct at all times. Observe, Though express Scripture do not occur, or be not brought, for every word, or look, or fashion in particular, yet general rules there are according to which all must be ordered; and I Cor. 10:31, 'Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God'. And Phil 4:8, 'Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.' And here whatsoever things are beseeming or unbeseeming holiness form a measure and rule of conduct to be looked to."
"Not False accusers, - no caluminators or sowers of discord, slandering and backbiting their neighbours, a great too common fault, not only loving to speak, but to speak ill, of people, and to separate very friends. A slanderer is one whose tongue is set on fire of hell; so much, and so directly, do these do the devil's work, that for it the devil's name is given to such. This is a sin contrary to the great duties of love, justice, and equity between one another; it springs often from malice and hatred, or envy, and such like evil causes, to be shunned as well as the effect. Not given to much wine; the word denotes such addictedness thereto as to be under the power and mastery of it. This is unseemly and evil in any, but especially in this sex and age, and was too much to be found among the Greeks of that time and place. How immodest and shameful, corrupting and destroying purity both of body and mind! Of what evil example and tendency, unfitting for the next thing, which is a positive duty of aged matrons, namely to be teachers of good things! Not public preachers, that is forbidden (I Cor. 14:34, I permit not a woman to speak in the church.), but otherwise teach they may and should, that is, by example and good life. Hence observe, Those whose actions and behaviour become holiness are thereby teachers of good things; and, besides this, they may and should also teach by doctrinal instruction at home, and in a private way. The word of King Lemuel, the prophecy his mother taught him. Such a woman is praised, She openeth her mouth with wisdom, and in her tongue is the law of kindness, Prov. 31:26. Teachers of good things are opposed to teachers of things corrupt, or to what is trifling and vain, of no good use or tendency, old wives' fables or superstitious sayings and observances; in opposition to these, their business is, and they may be called on to it, to be teachers of good things."
"There are lessons for young women also, whom the aged women must teach, instructing and advising them in the duties of religion according to their years. For teaching such things aged women have often better access than the men, even than ministers have, which therefore they must improve instructing the young women, especially the young wives; for he speaks of their duty to their husbands and children. These young women the more aged must teach, (1.) To bear a good personal character: To be sober and discreet, contrary to the vanity and rashness which younger years are subject to; discreet in their judgments and sober in their affections and behaviour. Discreet and chaste stand well together; many expose themselves to fatal temptations by that which at first might be but indiscretion. Prov. 2:11, Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee from the evil way."
"Chaste and keepers at home, are well joined too. Dinah when she went to see the daughters of the land, lost her chastity. Those whose home is their prison, it is to be feared, feel that their chastity is their fetters. Not, but there are occasions, and will be, of going abroad; but a gadding temper for merriment and company sake, to the neglect of domestic affairs, or from uneasiness at being in her place, is the opposite evil intended, which is commonly accompanied with, or draws after it, other evils. I Tim 5:13, 14, They learn to be idle, wandering from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not. Their business is to guide the house, and they should give no occasion to the enemy to speak reproachfully."
"Good, generally, in opposition to all vice; and specially in her place, kind, helpful, and charitable; as Dorcus, full of good works and almsdeeds. It may also have, as some think, a more particular sense; one of a meek and yet cheerful spirit and temper, not sullen nor bitter; not taunting nor fretting and galling any; not of a troublesome or jarring disposition, uneasy in herself and to those about her; but of a good nature and pleasing conversation, and likewise helpful by her advice and pains: thus building her house, and doing her husband good, and not evil, all her days. Thus in their personal character sober, discreet, chaste, keepers of home, and good: and,"
"(2.) In their relative capacities: To love their husbands, and to be obedient to them: and where there is true love this will be no difficult command. God in nature, and by his will, hath made this subordination: I suffer not a woman to usurp authority over the man (I Tim 2:12); and the reason is added: For Adam was first formed, then Eve. Adam was not deceived, but the woman, being deceived, was in the transgression, vs. 13,14. She fell first, and was the means of seducing the husband. She was given to be a helper, but proved a most grievous hinderer, even the instrument of his fall and ruin, on which the bond of subjection was confirmed, and tied faster on her (Gen 3:16): Thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee, with less easiness, it may be, than before. It is therefore doubly enjoined: first in innocency, when was settled a subordination of nature, Adam being first formed and then Eve, and the woman being taken out of the man; and then upon the fall, the woman being first in the transgression, and seducing the man; here now began to be a subjection not so easy and comfortable, being a part of the penalty in her case; yet through Christ is this nevertheless a sanctified state. Eph. 5:22-23, Wives submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord, as owing Christ's authority in them, whose image they bear; for the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church; and he is the saviour of the body. God would have a resemblance of Christ's authority over the church held forth in the husband's over the wife. Christ is the head of the church, to protect and save it, to supply it with all good, and secure or deliver it from evil; and so is the husband over the wife, to keep her from injuries, and to provide comfortably for her, according to his ability."
"Therefore, as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be unto their own husbands, as is fit in the Lord (Col. 3:18), as comports with the law of Christ, and is for His and the Father's glory. It is not then an absolute, or unlimited, nor a slavish subjection that is required; but a loving subordination, to prevent disorder or confusion, and to further all the ends of the relation. Thus in reference to the husbands, wives must be instructed in their duties of love and subjection to them."
"And to love their children, not with a natural affection only, but a spiritual, a love springing from a holy sanctified heart and regulated by the Word; not a fond foolish love, indulging them in evil, neglecting due reproof and correction where necessary, but a regular Christian love, showing itself in their pious education, forming their life and manners aright, taking care of their souls as well as of their bodies, of their spiritual welfare as well as of their temporal, of the former chiefly and in the first place. The reason is added: That the Word of God may not be blasphemed. Failures in such relative duties would be greatly to the reproach of Christianity. 'What are these the better for this their new religion?' Would the infidels be ready to say. The Word of God and the gospel of Christ are pure, excellent, and glorious, in themselves; and their excellency should be expressed and shown in the lives and conduct of their professors, especially in relative duties; failures here being disgrace. Rom. 2:24, The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you. 'Judge what a God He is," would they be ready to say, 'by these His servants; and what His Word, and doctrine, and religion, are by these His followers.' Thus would Christ be wounded in the house of His friends. Thus the duties of the younger women." Matthew Henry's Commentary Titus 2:3-4
"We very frequently see, that females advanced in age either continue to dress with the lightness of youthful years, or have something superstitious in their apparel, and seldom hit the golden mean."
"He next corrects other two vices, to which they are often addicted, when he forbids them to be slanderers and slaves to much wine. Talkativeness is a disease of women, and it is increased by old age. To this is added, that women never think that they are eloquent enough, if they are not given to prattling and to slander - if they do not attack the characters of all. The consequence is, that old women, by their slanderous talkativeness, as by a lighted torch, frequently set on fire many houses. Many are also given to drinking, so that, forgetting modesty and gravity, they indulge in an unbecoming wantonness."
"That they may teach young women temperance..."That they may be more attentive to duty, he shows that it is not enough if their own life be decent, if they do not also train young women, by their instructions, to a decent and chaste life. He therefore adds, that by their example they should train to temperance and gravity those younger women whom the warmth of youth might otherwise lead into imprudence."
"To love their husbands and their children..."...he wishes women to be restrained, by conjugal love and affection for their children, from giving themselves up to licentious attachments, he wished them to rule their own house in a sober and orderly manner, forbids them to wander about in public places, bids them be chaste, and at the same time modest, so as to be subject to the dominion of their husbands; for those who excel in other virtues sometimes take occasion from them to act haughtily, so as to be disobedient to their husbands."
"When he adds, that the Word of God may not be evil spoken of, it is supposed that this relates strictly to women who were married to unbelieving husbands, who might judge of the gospel from the wicked conduct of their wives; and this appears to be confirmed by I Peter III:1. But what if he does not speak of husbands alone? And, indeed, it is probable that he demands such strictness of life as not to bring the gospel into the contempt of the public by their vices." Calvin's Commentary Titus 2:3-4
Children, here is a section devoted to make-up. Since there were things written just on this issue alone, we should look at them, searching our own hearts for God's precious ways. Is it truly a pure practice before our God and maker? Or, is it again rooted in even the smallest grain of discontentment? Is it something profitable for our soul or is it something possibly harmful? Is our posture before our Mighty Creator one of true humility and teachableness, or are we like the rich young man that holds desires of the flesh to our bosom? Where has make-up always found its place in history? What posture have the true saints of old held towards it? What did they see as a danger that we may be ignorant of?
"In the Edwardian Age, and still more in the Victorian, no respectable woman ever admitted to using any beauty aid whatever. Rouge and lipstick were only used by cocottes. Whole plays have been written about the dreadful consequences. It is amusing to note that the encyclopaedia Britannica of 1910 has no article at all under the heading: cosmetics."
"It need hardly be said that such practices have always been denounced by the moralists. One of the main charges against Jezebel was that 'she painted her face, and tired her head, and looked out at a window.' Painted woman is a term of abuse in most languages. Yet, the progress of the world seems always to bring face-painting with it." Clothes by James Laver
Even though we do not consider ourselves to be "loose" women or even a "Jezebel", could we have mistakenly followed a practice that even dating back to Scripture has always been understood as ungodly? Could the practice have come to us along with other questionable areas from those women who blatantly were in rebellion to our precious Saviour's commands? Could we be continuing in sin due to ignorance or hard hearts? What is the sin of discontentment in regard to our facial features?
"Our English ladies, who seem to have borrowed some of their cosmetical conceits from barbarous nations, are seldom known to be contented with a face of God's making; for they are wither adding, detracting, or altering continually, having many fucusses in readiness for the same purpose. Sometimes they think they have too much colour, then they use art to make them look pale and fair; now they have too little colour, then Spanish paper, red leather, or other cosmetical rubricks, must be had. Yet, for all this, it may be, the skins of their faces do not please them, off they go with mercury water, and so they remain, like peeled ewes, until their faces have recovered a new spidermisis. Our ladies have lately entertained a vain custom of spotting their faces, out of an affectation of a mole to set off their beauty, such as Venus had, and it is well if one black patch will serve to make their faces remarkable; for some fill their visages full of them, varied into all manner of shapes and figures." Antheopometamorphosis John Bulwer 1650.
This has been such a serious issue in the past that at one time there were laws made to protect men from woman's trickeries:
"That all women, of whatever age, rank, profession, or degree, whether virgins, maids, or widows, that shall, from and after such Act, impose upon, seduce, and betray into matrimony, any of His Majesty's subjects, by the scents, paints, cosmetic washes, artificial teeth, false hair, Spanish wool (wool impregnated with carmine, and used to this day as a rouge), iron stays, hoops, high-heeled shoes, bolstered hips, shall incur the penalty of the law now in force against witchcraft and the like misdemeanours, and that the marriage, upon conviction, shall stand null and void." Act of Parliament 1770
The root of sin is what we take the light of Scripture to in searching our hearts. Thomas Watson, with his gentle wisdom points us to some evils of heart that the Israelite women struggled with:
"Here is a carnal pride. I call it carnal because it is conversant about carnal objects.
1. Some are proud of their bodies. Pride is seen in long and tedious dressings. People spend that time between the comb and the glass which should be spent in prayer and holy meditation.
Pride is seen in painting their faces, overlaying God's work with the devil's colors. Excellence coming from the body is the more welcome beauty.
Pride is seen in spotting themselves. Pimples in the face show that the blood is corrupt. Spots in the face show that the heart is corrupt. Cyprian said, "They who paint and spot their faces may justly fear that at the resurrection their Creator will not know them."
Pride is seen in the strange fashions wherewith some people dress, or rather disguise themselves. They clothe their flesh like the rainbow with divers colors. Adam was ashamed of his nakedness; these should be ashamed of their clothing. They are so plumed and gaudily attired that they tempt the devil to fall in love with them."
Mischief of Sin by Thomas Watson 1671
We have a very wicked heart, beyond our comprehension, we nailed our precious Christ to the cross on Calvary. Everything about us is shameful and will be until the day of our death. Any change of heart has come from God's mercy, we have nothing to glory in or be proud about. Why would we desire to deck, paint, and call attention to this wretched man that we are? Could it be that our sinful, prideful, heart of vanity, wants to pretend that we are not what we really are? Does it want us to feel good when we should really mourn? Does it want us to think young when we should be considering the number of our days? Does it want us to be discontent with that which God has given us?
The following is addressing the question of painting the face, because some considered it the same as an oil. Is it lawful then, to paint the face?
"Here it may be questioned, Whether it be lawful to paint the face, for it is but an oil. Surely no, First, because this is not to preserve thy natural beauty, by oil to make it shine, but to make a counterfeit face, which is deceit and hypocrisy, which God hateth. We must lay aside all manner of hypocrisy, I Peter 2:1, and this is one of them. Secondly, this is vanity of vanities; for if beauty be vanity, Prov. 31:30, then much more the filthy counterfeit of it. It is great folly, for such spoil their natural comeliness at length, as experience telleth, and the prophet Jeremiah speaketh of rending the face with painting, Jer. 4:30. Thirdly, this is great pride, for they dislike the Lord's workmanship, and adulterate it, and would be held fairer than God ever made them, and do proudly glory before men of a counterfeit visage."
"Fourthly, it is not held a matter of good report and honesty, which godly persons should follow after, Phil 4:8, but of dishonesty, such being judged to be light and lewd. In the Scripture it is the mark of a whore, and a whorish woman is described, Jer. 4:30; Ezek. 23:40, and an ungodly woman so practised it, even that harlot and murderess Jezebel painted herself, II Kings 9:30; and we find by experience such to be wantons and lewdly given. Fifthly, the godly and learned fathers have utterly condemned it. Cyprian saith, it is the work of the devil, and they offer wrong to God in despising his work and framing another of their own. Tertullian calleth it the devil's business, unworthy a Christian. Saint Jerome saith that it is the fire of youth, the fuel of lust, and the sign of an unchaste mind. Saint Ambrose saith, they which muse or set their minds upon the adultery of the countenance, do so also upon the adulterating of chastity."
"So, as these godly men think of them but as of whores, the devil's servants, betrayers of chastity, and unworthy to be accounted Christians. Let such, therefore, as never used it beware of it; and such as have, repent; and such as do, abandon and forsake it. For as verbal lying is forbidden, so actual also; such cannot look upon God as his creatures, but as counterfeits, and such as be of the devils's making; they see not their own natural face in a glass, but the counterfeit of another, one perhaps damned in hell for whoredom already. Such as have used this sinful practice, and have turned to God, have repented of this as of an accursed work of the flesh, and as proceeding from Satan's instigation. Lastly, no modest matron ever used it, but chaste hearts have always detested it, and therefore is it carefully to be avoided." Puritan Richard Bernard in his Commentary on Ruth 3:3 1567-1641.
Have we considered what truth really is? How can wearing make-up be a lie, and is a fib displeasing to God? Am I being deceiving by putting another face over mine? If God hates a liar, then how can this be something I can participate in? We all have different levels of participation. Some wear just lipstick, some blush on, some base make-up, eye liner etc. As Phillip Stubbs describes what the women of Ailgna were amiss in, let us not just write off his warnings because we are not as bad as they were. Let our hearts ask if we are seeking to be prettier or better, with the root being discontentment with the way God made us.
"The women of Ailgna color their faces with certain oils, liquors, ointments and waters made to that end, whereby they think their beauty is greatly decored: but who seeth not that their souls are thereby deformed, and they brought deeper into the displeasure and indignation of the Almighty, at whose voice the earth doth tremble and at whose presence the Heavens shall liquify, and melt away. Do they think thus to adulterate the Lord His workmanship, and to be without offence. Do they not know that He is Zelotipus a Jealous God, and cannot abide any alteration of His works, and otherwise than He hath commanded."
"If an artificer, or craftsman should make any thing belonging to his art or science or a cobbler should presume to correct the same: would not the other think him self abused, and judge him worthy of reprehension? And thinketh thou (Oh Woman) to escape the judgment of God, who hath fashioned thee, to His glory, when thy great and more than presumptuous audacity dareth to alter, change His workmanship in thee?
"Thinketh thou that thou canst make thyself fairer than God who made us all? These must needs be their inventions, or else they would never go about to color their faces, with such sibbersauces. And these being their inventions what can derogate more from the majesty of God in His creation. For in this doing they plainly convince the Lord of untruth in His Word who saith He made man glorious, after his own likeness, and the fairest of all other terrestial creatures. If He be thus fair then what need they to make them fairer? Therefore this their coloring of their faces imposteth, (as by probable connecture may be presupposed) that they think themselves not fair enough, and then must God need be untrue in His Word. And also they deny the Lord to be either merciful or almighty or both, and so consequently no God at all: for if He cound not have made them fair, then is He not almighty, and if He could and would not, then is He not a merciful God, and so every way they fall into the sink of offence, being ashamed of the good creation of the Lord, but it is to be feared lest at the day of judgment, the Lord will be ashamed of them, and in His wrath denounce this beauty and inevitable sentence condemnation against them, Depart from me you cursed into everlasting fire prepared for the devil, and his angels, I know you not: (I say) depart, for you were ashamed of me and of my creation in you." Anatomy of Abuses
This is a conversation between two men in Phillip Stubbs Anatomy of Abuses:
"Spud. Whereof do they make these waters, and other lotions where with they besmear their faces, can you tell?"
"Philo. I am not so skilful in their matters of pride, but I hold this for a maxime, that they are made of many mixtures, and sundry compounded simples, both far fetched and near bought, cunningly couched together, and tempered with many goodly condiments and wholesome confections, I warrant you, else you may be sure they would not apply them to their amorous faces, for fear of harming or blemishing the same."
"Philo. Ciprian amongst all the rest, saith a woman through painting and dying of her face, showeth her self to more than whorish. For (saith he) She hath corrupted and defaced (like a filthy trumpet or brothel) the workmanship of God in her, what is this else, but to turn truth into falsehood, with painting and sibbersauces, whereas the Lord saith, Thou canst not make one hair white or black. In another place he saith, Those which paint or color themselves in this world otherwise than God hath made them, let them fear lest when the day of judgment cometh, the Lord will not know them for His creatures."
"Again, Whosoever do color their faces or their hair with any unnatural color, they begin to prognosticate of what color they shall be in hell."
"Ambrose saith that from the coloring of faces spring the enticements to vices, and that they which color their faces do purchase to themselves the blot and stain of chastity."
"For what a sottage is it (saith he) to change the natural face which God hath made thee for a painted face, which thou hath made thyself. If thou be fair, why paintest thou thy self to seem fairer? And if thou be not fair, why dost thou hypocritically desire to seem fair, and art nothing less? Can those things which besides that they be filthy, do carry the brand of God His curse upon their backs forever, make thee to seem fairer? I could show you the sharp connections and grounded reasons of many more, as of Augustine, Hierome, Christostome, Gregorie, Calvin, Peter Martyr, Gualter, and of infinite number more yea of all generally since the beginning of the world, against this whorish and brothellous painting and coloring of faces, but to avoid prolaxity, I will omit them, deferring them to further opportunuty, for, to a wiseman few words are sufficient."
"Spud. It must needs be granted, that the dying and coloring of faces with artificial colors, and unnatural ointments is more offensive to God, and derogatory to His majesty: for do they think that the God of all glory, and who only decketh and adorneth the sun, the moon, the stars and all the hosts of heaven with unspeakable glory, and incomparable beauty, cannot make the beautiful and fair enough (if it please Him) without their sibbersauces? And what are they else than the devil's inventions to entangle poor souls in the nets of perdition?" Anatomie of Abuses
As I finish this letter, dear children, I will include one more quote.
"It is a normal thing for whores to paint their faces. They will not be content with their natural beauty but are more pompous in their apparel than the chaste matrons are. It is so with the whore of Babylon. How glorious are they in all their worship? What strange things do they have to take the outwards senses, not having the purity of God's worship. The Saints' Treasury by Jeremiah Burroughs 1599-1646
Oh, children, could we ignorantly have stepped into the shoes of the Whore of Babylon? Have we not fully understood our created order, station and responsibilites before God? Yes, it is true, we have known nothing of our created order, we have known nothing of our own wicked hearts, we have known nothing of the truths of self-denial and mortification of sin. We have been blinded as to what things are even to be considered sin. But, God is merciful and he has not left us without His truth. We are to be Bereans, we are to dig as for silver, we are to study to show ourselves approved. Praise be to the King of Heaven, as He gives us hope in repentance. "If my people, which are called by My name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their nation." 2 Chron 7: 14.
Resource Material Quoted from:
Precious Remedies Against Satan's Devices by Thomas Brooks,
republished by Banner of Truth Trust
The Anatomy of Abuses by Phillip Stubbs 1585,
facsimile copy obtainable from Walter J. Johnson, Inc.
The Christians Daily Walk by Henry Scudder,
republished by Sprinkle Publications
Charles Hodge's Commentary on I Cor. 11.
Marcus Dodds Commentary on I Cor. 11.
The Christian Directory by Richard Baxter,
republished by Soli Deo Gloria
Matthew Henry's Commentary
Female Piety by J.A. James,
republished by Soli Deo Gloria
Of Domestical Duties by Wm. Gouge,
facsimile copy obtainable from Walter J.Johnson, Inc.
(currently being readied for re-publication in sections
by Sowers Seed.)
Calvin's Commentary, republished by Baker Bookhouse
Institutes of the Christian Religion
Why Women Wear Clothes, by Willet Cunnington
out of print, available through a local library.
Clothes by James Laver, out of print,
available through a local library.
Mischief of Sin by Thomas Watson 1671,
republished by Soli Deo Gloria
Richard Bernard's Commentary on Ruth
The Saint's Treasury by Jeremiah Burroughs,
republished by Soli Deo Gloria.
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