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The Review and Herald Articles
for the Year 1871
(Vol. 37, #17)
I have been shown that parents generally have not taken a proper course with their children. They are not restrained as they should be. They are left to indulge in pride, and follow their own inclinations. Anciently, parental authority was regarded, and children were in subjection to their parents. They feared and reverenced them; but the order in these last days is reversed. Some parents are in subjection to their children. They fear their children, and yield to them. They fear to cross the will of their children. But just as long as children are under the roof of their parents, dependent upon them, they should be subject to them. Parents should move with decision, requiring the following out of their views of right.
Eli might have restrained his wicked sons, but he feared their displeasure. He suffered them to go on in their rebellion, until they were a curse to Israel. Parents are required to restrain their children. The salvation of children depends very much upon the course pursued by their parents. In their mistaken love and fondness for their children, they indulge them to their hurt, nourish their pride, and put upon them trimmings and fixings which make them vain, and lead them to think that dress makes the lady or gentleman. But a short acquaintance convinces those with whom they associate that an outside appearance is not sufficient to hide the deformity of a heart void of the Christian graces, but filled with self-love, haughtiness, and uncontrolled passion. Those who love meekness, humility, and virtue, should shun such society, even if it be Sabbathkeepers' children. Their company is poisonous; their influence leads to death. Parents realize not the destructive influence of the seed which they are sowing. It will spring up, and bear fruit which will make their children despise parental authority.
Children, even after they are of age, are required to respect and look after the comforts of their parents. They should listen to the counsel of godly parents, and not feel that, because a few years are added to their life, they have grown out of their duty to them. There is a commandment with promise to those who honor their father and their mother.
Children in these last days are so noted for their disobedience and disrespect that God has especially noticed it, and it constitutes a sign that the end is near. It shows the power of Satan upon minds, and the almost complete control he has of the minds of the young. By many, age is no more respected. It is considered too old-fashioned to respect the aged, for it dates back as far as the days of Abraham. Says God, "I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him." Anciently, children were not permitted to marry without the consent of their parents. Parents chose for their children. It was considered a crime for children to contract marriage upon their own responsibility. The matter was first laid before the parents and they were to consider whether the person to be brought into a close relation to them was worthy, and whether the parties could provide for a family. It was considered by them of the greatest importance that they, the worshipers of the true God, should not intermarry with an idolatrous people, lest they lead their families away from God.
Even after their children were married, the most solemn obligation rested upon them. Their judgment then was not considered sufficient without the counsel of their parents; and they were required to respect and obey their wishes, unless they should conflict with their duty to God.
Again I was directed to the condition of children in these last days. Children are not controlled. Parents should commence their first lesson of discipline when their children are babes in their arms. Teach them to yield their will to yours. This can be done by bearing an even hand, and manifesting firmness. Parents should have perfect control over their own spirits, and with mildness, and yet firmness, bend the will of the child until it shall expect nothing else but to yield to their wishes.
Parents do not commence in season. The first manifestation of temper is not subdued, and the children grow stubborn, which increases with their growth, and strengthens with their strength. Some children, as they grow older, think it a matter of course that they must have their own way, and that their parents must submit to their wishes. They expect their parents to wait upon them. They are impatient of restraint, and when old enough to be a help to their parents, they do not bear the burdens they should. They have been released from responsibilities, and grow up worthless at home and worthless abroad. They have no power of endurance. The parents have borne the burden, and have suffered them to grow up in idleness, without habits of order, industry, and economy. They have not been taught habits of self-denial, but have been petted and indulged, their appetites gratified, and they come up with enfeebled health. Their manners and deportment are not agreeable. They are unhappy themselves, and make those around them unhappy. And when the children are but children still, and while they need to be disciplined, they are allowed to go out in company, mingle with the society of the young, and one has a corrupting influence over the other.
The curse of God will surely rest upon unfaithful parents. Not only are they planting thorns which will wound them here, but they must meet their own unfaithfulness when the Judgment shall sit. Many children will rise up in the Judgment and condemn their parents for not restraining them, and charge upon them their destruction. The false sympathy and blind love of parents cause them to excuse the faults of their children, and pass them by without correction, and their children are lost in consequence, and the blood of their souls will rest upon unfaithful parents.
Children who are thus brought up undisciplined, when they profess to be Christ's followers, have everything to learn. Their whole religious experience is affected by their bringing up in childhood. The same self-will often appears; the same lack of self-denial; the same impatience manifested under reproof; the same love of self and unwillingness to seek counsel of others, or to be influenced by others' judgment; the same indolence, shunning of burdens, lack of bearing responsibilities, are seen in their relation to the church. It is possible for such to overcome; but how hard the battle! how severe the conflict! how hard to pass through a course of thorough discipline, which is necessary for them to reach the elevation of Christian character! Yet if they overcome at last, they will be permitted to see before they are translated how near the precipice of eternal destruction they came, caused by the lack of right training in youth, and by not learning submission in childhood. By Ellen G. White.
(Vol. 37, #18)
Some who are poor in this world's goods are apt to place all the straight testimony upon the shoulders of the men of property. But they do not realize that they also have a work to do. God requires them to make a sacrifice. He requires of them to sacrifice their idols. They should lay aside such hurtful stimulants as tobacco, tea, and coffee. If they are brought into straightened circumstances while exerting themselves to do the best they can, it will be a pleasure for their wealthy brethren to help them out of trouble.
Many lack wise management and economy. They do not weigh matters well, and move cautiously. Such should not trust to their own poor judgment, but counsel with their brethren who have experience. Those who lack good judgment and economy are often unwilling to seek counsel. They generally think that they understand how to conduct their temporal business, and are unwilling to follow advice. They make bad moves and suffer in consequence. Their brethren are grieved to see them suffer, and they help them out of difficulty. Their unwise management affects the church. It takes means from the treasury of God which should have been used to advance the cause of present truth. If these poor brethren would take a humble course and be willing to be advised and counseled by their brethren, and then are brought into straightened places, their brethren should feel it their duty to cheerfully help them out of difficulty. But if they choose their own course and rely upon their judgment, they should be left to feel the full consequences of their unwise course, and learn by dear experience that "in a multitude of counselors there is safety." God's people should be subject one to another. They should counsel with each other, that the lack of one be supplied by the sufficiency of the other. I saw that the stewards of the Lord have no duty to help those persons who persist in using tobacco, tea, and coffee. By Ellen G. White.
Speculations.--I saw that some have excused themselves from aiding the cause of God because they were in debt. Had they closely examined their own hearts they would have discovered that selfishness was the true reason why they brought no freewill offering to God. And some will remain in debt. Because of their covetousness, the prospering hand of God will not be with them to bless their undertakings. They love this world better than they love the truth. They are not being fitted up and made ready for the kingdom of God.
If a new patent passes through the country, men who profess to believe the truth have found a way to raise means and join the enterprise. God is acquainted with every heart. Every selfish motive is known to him, and he suffers things to arise to try the hearts of his professed people, to prove them, and develop character. In some instances the Lord will suffer men to go on, and meet with an entire failure. His hand is against them to disappoint their hopes and scatter what they possess. Individuals who have really felt an interest in the cause of God, and have been willing to venture something for its advancement, will find it a sure and safe investment. Some will have a hundredfold in this life, and in the world to come life everlasting. But all will not receive their hundredfold in this life, because they cannot bear it. They would, if intrusted with much, become unwise stewards. The Lord withholds it for their good; but their treasure in Heaven will be secure. How much better is such an investment as this! The desire that some of our brethren possess to earn means fast, leads them to engage in a new enterprise and invest means, and their expectations of making money are not realized. They sink that which they could have spent in God's cause. There is an infatuation in these new enterprises. And notwithstanding these things have been acted over so many times, and the example of others is before them who have made investments and have met with an utter failure, yet they are slow to learn. Satan allures them on, and makes them drunk with anticipated hopes. When these hopes are blasted, they suffer many discouragements in consequence of their unwise adventures. If means are lost, the person looks upon it as a misfortune to himself, as his loss. But he must remember that it is the means of another that he is handling, that he is only a steward, and God is displeased with the unwise management of that means which could have been used to advance the cause of present truth. The unfaithful steward must give an account of his stewardship at the reckoning day. By Ellen G. White.
(Vol. 37, #19)
The unbelieving world will soon have something to think of beside their dress and appearance; and as their minds are torn from these things by distress and perplexity, they have nothing to turn to. They are not prisoners of hope, and therefore do not turn to the Stronghold. Their hearts will fail them for repining and fear. They have not made God their refuge, and he will not be their consolation then, but will laugh at their calamity, and mock when their fear cometh. They have despised and trampled upon the truths of God's word. They have indulged in extravagant dress, and have spent their lives in hilarity and glee. They have sown to the wind, they must reap the whirlwind.
In the time of distress and perplexity of nations there will be many who have not given themselves wholly to the corrupting influences of the world and the service of Satan, who will humble themselves before God, and turn to him with their whole heart, and find acceptance and pardon.
Those among Sabbathkeepers who have been unwilling to make any sacrifice, but have yielded to the influence of the world, are to be tested and proved. The perils of the last days are upon us, and a trial is before the young which they have not anticipated. They are to be brought into most distressing perplexity. The genuineness of their faith will be proved. They profess to be looking for the coming of the Son of Man, yet some of them have been a miserable example to unbelievers. They have not been willing to give up the world, but have united with them, have attended picnics, and other gatherings of pleasure, flattering themselves that they were engaging in innocent amusement. Yet I was shown that it was just such indulgences that separate them from God, and make them children of the world. God owns not the pleasure or amusement seeker as his follower. He has given us no such example. Those only who are self-denying, and who live a life of sobriety, humility and holiness, are true followers of Jesus; and such cannot engage in, and enjoy, the frivolous, empty conversation of the lovers of the world.
Isa. 3 was presented before me. I was shown that this prophecy has its application to these last days; and the reproofs are given to the daughters of Zion who have thought only of appearance and display. Read verse 25: "Thy men shall fall by the sword, and thy mighty in the war." I was shown that this scripture will be strictly fulfilled. Young men and women professing to be Christians, yet having no Christian experience, and having borne no burdens, and felt no individual responsibility, are to be proved. They will be brought low in the dust, and long for an experience in the things of God which they failed to obtain. By Ellen G. White.
(Vol. 37, #24)
"How to Conduct Meetings"
I recently received a letter from a brother I highly respect, making inquiries in regard to meetings, how they should be conducted. He inquires if there should be many prayers offered in succession, and then a relief of a few moments, and quite a number of prayers again.
From the light I have had upon the subject, I have decided that God does not require us, as we assemble for his worship, to make these seasons tedious and wearisome, by being obliged to remain bowed quite a length of time, listening to several lengthy prayers. Those in feeble health cannot endure this taxation without extreme weariness and exhaustion. The body is weary by remaining bowed down so long. And that which is worse still, the mind becomes so wearied by the continuous exercise of prayer that no spiritual refreshment is realized, and the meeting to them is worse than a loss. They have become wearied mentally and physically, and they have obtained no spiritual strength. Meetings for conference and prayer should not be made tedious. All should, if possible, be prompt to the hour appointed; and if there are dilatory ones, who are half an hour or fifteen minutes even behind the time, there should be no waiting. If there are but two present, they can claim the promise. The meeting should open at the appointed hour, if possible, be there few or many present. Formality and cold stiffness should be laid aside, and all be prompt to duty. There should not be, upon any common occasion, prayer of more than ten minutes' duration. If any feel the burden of prayer, after there has been a change of position, and the exercise of singing or exhortation has relieved the sameness, then let them pray.
All should feel it a Christian duty to pray short. Tell the Lord just what you want without going all over the world. In private prayer, all have the privilege of praying as long as they desire, and of being as explicit as they please. They can pray for all their relatives and friends. The closet is the place to tell all their private difficulties, and trials, and temptations. A common meeting to worship God is not the place to open the privacies of the heart.
What is the object of assembling together? Is it to inform God? or to instruct him by telling him all we know in prayer? We meet together to edify one another by a mutual interchange of thoughts and feelings, thus making one another acquainted with our aspirations, our hopes, and gathering strength, and light, and courage, from one another. By our earnest, heartfelt prayers, offered up in faith, we receive refreshment and vigor from the Source of our strength. These meetings should be most precious seasons, and made interesting to all who have any relish for religious things.
There are some who I fear do not take their troubles to God in private prayer, but reserve them for the prayer meeting, and then do up their praying for several days in these meetings. Such may be named social conference and prayer meeting killers. Their cold, frozen prayers and lengthy, backslidden testimonies cast a shadow. They emit no light. They edify no one. All are glad when they get through, and it is almost impossible to throw off the chill and darkness their prayers and exhortations have brought into the meetings. From the light which I have received, our meetings should be spiritual and social, and not too long. Reserve, pride, vanity, and fear of man, should be left at home. Little differences and prejudices should not be taken with us to these meetings. Like a united family, simplicity, meekness, mutual confidence, and love, should exist in the hearts of brethren and sisters who meet to be refreshed and invigorated by bringing their lights together.
Ye are the light of the world, says the heavenly Teacher. All have not the same experience, and the same exercises in their religious life. But those of diverse experiences come together, and with simplicity and humbleness of mind, talk out their experience. All should have, and will have, an experience that is living, that is new and interesting, if they are pursuing the onward Christian course. A living experience is made up of daily trials, conflicts, and temptations, strong efforts and victories, and great peace and joy gained through Jesus. A simple relation of such experiences give light, strength, and knowledge, that will aid others in their advancement in the divine life. The worship of God should be both interesting and instructive to those who have any love for divine and heavenly things.
Jesus, the heavenly teacher, when he was upon the earth, among the children of men, did not hold himself aloof from them, but in order to benefit them, he came from Heaven to earth where they were, that the purity and holiness of his life might shine upon the pathway of all, and light the way to Heaven.
The Redeemer of the world sought to make his lessons of instruction plain and simple, that all might comprehend them. He generally chose the open air for his discourses. There were no walls which could inclose the multitude which followed him. But he had special reasons for choosing the groves and the seaside to give his lessons of instruction, for he could have a commanding view of the landscape and scenery, and make use of objects and scenes with which those in humble life were familiar, to illustrate the important truths he made known to them. The works of God in nature, he associated with his lessons of instruction. He made use of the birds which were caroling forth their songs without a care, and the flowers of the valley glowing in their beauty, and the lily that reposed in its purity upon the bosom of the lake, the lofty trees, the cultivated lands, the waving grains, the barren soil, the tree that bore no fruit, the everlasting hills, the bubbling stream, the setting sun, tinting and gilding the heavens, to impress his hearers with divine truth. He connected the works of God's finger in the heavens and upon the earth with the words of life he wished to impress upon their minds, that as they should look upon the wonderful works of God in nature, his lessons would be fresh in their memories.
Christ, in all his efforts, sought to make his teachings interesting. He knew that a tired, hungry throng could not receive spiritual benefit, and he did not forget their bodily needs. He wrought a miracle to feed five thousand, who had gathered together to listen to the words of life which fell from his lips. Jesus regarded his surroundings, when giving his precious truth to the multitude. The scenery was such as would attract the eye, and awake admiration in the breasts of the lovers of the beautiful. He could extol the wisdom of God in his creative works, and could bind up his sacred lessons by directing their minds through nature up to nature's God.
The landscape, the trees, the birds, the flowers of the valley, the hills, the lake, and the beautiful heavens, were associated in their minds with sacred truths, which would make them hallowed in memory, as they should look upon them after Christ's ascension to Heaven.
When Christ taught the people, he did not devote the time to prayer. He did not enforce upon them, as did the Pharisees, long, tedious ceremonies, and lengthy prayers. He taught his disciples how to pray: "And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are; for they love to pray standing in the synagogues, and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily, I say unto you, they have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. But when ye pray use not vain repetition, as the heathen do; for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them; for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him. After this manner therefore pray ye."
Christ impressed upon his disciples the idea that their prayers should be short, expressing just what they wanted, and no more. He gives the length and substance of their prayers, expressing their desires for temporal and spiritual blessings, and gratitude for the same. This sample prayer, how comprehensive! It covers the actual need of all. One or two minutes is long enough for any ordinary prayer. There may be instances where prayer, in a special manner, is indited by the Spirit of God, and where supplication is made in the Spirit. The yearning soul becomes agonized, and groans after God. The spirit wrestles as did Jacob, and will not be at rest without special manifestations of the power of God. This is as God would have it.
But there are many prayers offered in a dry, sermonizing manner. These pray to men, not to God. If they were praying to God, and really understood what they were doing, they would be alarmed at their audacity; for they delivered a discourse to the Lord in the mode of prayer, as though the Creator of the universe needed special information upon general questions in relation to the things that were transpiring in the world. All such prayers are as sounding brass, and tinkling cymbal. They are made no account of in Heaven. Angels of God are wearied with them, as well as mortals who are compelled to listen to them.
Jesus was often found in prayer. He resorted to the lonely groves, or to the mountains, to make his requests known to his Father. When the business and cares of the day were ended, and the weary were seeking rest, Jesus devoted the time to prayer. We would not discourage prayer; for there is far too little praying and watching thereunto. And there is still less praying with the Spirit and the understanding also. Fervent and effectual prayer is always in place, and will never weary. Such prayer interests and refreshes all who have a love for devotion.
Secret prayer is neglected, and this is the reason why many offer such long, tedious, backslidden prayers, when assembled to worship God. They go over in their prayers a week of neglected duties, and pray round and round, hoping to make up for their neglect, and pacify their condemned consciences, which are scourging them. They hope to pray themselves into the favor of God. But frequently these prayers result in bringing other minds down to their own low level in spiritual darkness. If Christians would take home the teachings of Christ in regard to watching and praying, they would become more intelligent in their worship of God. E. G. W.
(Vol. 37, #24)
God is merciful. His requirements are reasonable, in accordance with the goodness and benevolence of his character. The object of the Sabbath was that all mankind might be benefited. Man was not made to fit the Sabbath; for the Sabbath was made after the creation of man, to meet his necessities. God rested, after he had made the world in six days. He sanctified and blessed the day upon which he rested from all his work which he had created and made. He set apart that special day for man to rest from his labor, and reflect, as he should look upon the earth beneath, and the heavens above, that God made all these in six days, and rested upon the seventh; and that his heart might be filled with love and reverence to his Maker, as he should behold the tangible proofs of his infinite wisdom.
In order to keep the Sabbath holy, it is not necessary that we inclose ourselves in walls, shut away from the beautiful scenes of nature, and also deprive ourselves of the free, invigorating air of heaven. We should in no case allow burdens and business transactions to divert our minds upon the Sabbath of the Lord which he has sanctified. We should not allow even our minds to dwell upon things of a worldly character. The mind cannot be refreshed, enlivened, and elevated, by being confined nearly all the Sabbath hours within walls, listening to long sermons and tedious, formal prayers. The Sabbath of the Lord has been put to a wrong use, if thus celebrated. The object is not attained for which the Sabbath was instituted. The Sabbath was made for man, to be a blessing to him, by calling his mind from secular labor, to contemplate the goodness and glory of God. It is necessary that the people of God assemble to talk of him, to interchange thoughts and ideas in regard to the truths contained in the word of God, and to devote a portion of time to appropriate prayer. But these seasons, even upon the Sabbath, should not be made tedious by their length and lack of interest. During a portion of the day, all should have an opportunity to be out of doors.
How can the minds of children become better impressed, and receive a more correct knowledge of God, than in spending a portion of their time out of doors; not in play, but in company with their parents? Surrounded with nature's beautiful scenery, as their minds are associated with God in nature, by their attention being called to the tokens of God's love to man in his creative works, their young minds will be attracted and interested. They will not be in danger of associating the character of God with everything that is stern and severe. But as they view the beautiful things he has created for the happiness of man, they will be led to regard him as a tender, loving Father. They will see that his prohibitions and injunctions are not made merely to show his power and authority, but that he has the happiness of his children in view. As the character of God puts on the aspect of love, benevolence, beauty, and attraction, they are drawn to love him. You can direct their minds to the lovely birds making the air musical with their happy songs, the spires of grass, and the gloriously tinted flowers in their perfection perfuming the air. All these proclaim the love and skill of the heavenly Artist, and show forth the glory of God. Parents, why not make use of the precious lessons God has given us in the book of nature to give our children the correct idea of his character? Those who sacrifice simplicity to fashion, and shut themselves away from the beauties of nature, cannot be spiritually minded. They cannot understand the skill and power of God as revealed in his creative works, therefore their hearts do not quicken and throb with new love and interest, and are not filled with awe and reverence as they see God in nature.
All who love God should do what they can to make the Sabbath a delight, holy and honorable. They cannot do this by seeking their own pleasure in sinful, forbidden amusements. They can do much to exalt the Sabbath in their families, and make it the most interesting day of the week. We should devote time to interest our children. We can walk out with them in the open air. A change will have a happy influence upon them. We can sit with them in the groves, and in the bright sunshine, and give their restless minds something to feed upon by conversing with them upon the works of God, and inspire them with love and reverence by calling their attention to the beautiful objects in nature. The Sabbath should be made so interesting to our families that its weekly return will be hailed with joy. In no better way can parents exalt and honor the Sabbath than to devise means to impart proper instruction to their families, and to interest them in spiritual things, giving them correct views of the character of God, and what he requires of us, in order to perfect Christian characters and to attain to eternal life. Parents, make the Sabbath a delight, that your children shall look forward to it, and have a welcome in their hearts for it. E. G. W.
(Vol. 37, #24)
Eph. 3:6,7: "That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel; whereof I was made a minister according to the gift of the grace of God, given unto me by the effectual working of his power."
"Whereof I am made a minister:" not merely to present the truth to the people, but to carry it out in your lives.
"And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God." Verse 9. It is not merely the words that roll off your tongue, it is not merely to be eloquent in speaking and praying, but it is to make known Christ, to have Christ in you, and make him known to those that hear.
"Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom," not novices, not in ignorance, "that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. Whereunto I also labor, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily." Col. 1:28, 29. It is the work of God, the grace from God, that is to be realized and felt, that is to grace the life and actions, which is to make a sensible impression upon those that hear.
But it is not this only. There are other things that are to be considered; in which some have been negligent, which are of consequence, in the light they have been presented before me. Impressions are made upon the people by the deportment of the speaker in the desk, by his attitude, and by his manner of speaking. If these things are as God would have them, the impression they make will be in favor of the truth, especially will that class be favorably impressed who have been listening to fables. It is important that your manner be modest and dignified, in keeping with the holy, elevating truth you teach, that a favorable impression may be made upon those who are not naturally inclined to religion.
Carefulness in dress is an important item. There has been a lack here with ministers who believe present truth. The dress of some has been allowed to be even untidy. Not only has there been a lack of taste, and a lack of order to arrange the dress in a becoming manner upon the person, and to have the color suitable and becoming for a minister of Christ, but the apparel has been with some, even slovenly and untidy. Some ministers wear a vest of a light color, while their pants are dark, or the vest dark and pants light, with no taste or orderly arrangement of the dress upon the person in coming before the people. These things are preaching to the people. They give them an example of order and set before them the propriety of neatness and taste in their apparel, or they give them lessons in lack of taste and slackness which they will be in danger of following.
I was pointed back to the children of Israel anciently, and was shown that God had given specific directions in regard to the material and manner of the dress those ministering before him should wear. The God of Heaven, whose arm moves the world, who sustains us, and gives us life and health, has given us evidence that he could be honored or dishonored by the apparel of those who officiated before him. He gave especial directions to Moses in regard to everything connected with his service. He gave instruction even in regard to the arrangements of their houses, and specified the dress those should wear who were to minister in his service. They were to maintain order in everything, and especially to practice cleanliness. Read the directions that were given to Moses to make known to the children of Israel, as God was about to come down upon the mount, to speak in their hearing his holy law. What did he command Moses to have the people do? To be ready against the third day; for on the third day, said he, the Lord will come down in the sight of all the people, upon the mount. They were to set bounds about the mount. "And the Lord said unto Moses, Go unto the people and sanctify them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their clothes."
That great and mighty God who created the beautiful Eden, and everything lovely in it, is a God of order; and he wants order and cleanliness with his people. That mighty God spoke to Moses to tell the people to wash their clothes, lest there should be impurity in their clothing and about their persons, as they came up before the Lord. And Moses went down from the mount unto the people, and they washed their clothes, according to the command of God.
And to show the carefulness they were to observe in regard to being cleanly, Moses was to put a laver between the tent of the congregation and the altar, "and put water therein to wash withal." And Moses and Aaron that ministered before the Lord, and Aaron's sons, were to wash their hands and their feet thereat when they went into the tent of the congregation, and when they went in before the Lord.
Here was the commandment of the great and mighty God. There was to be nothing slack and untidy about those who appeared before him, when they should come into his holy presence. And what was this for? What was the object of all this carefulness? Was it merely to recommend the people to God? Was it merely to gain his approbation? The reason that was given me was this: that a right impression might be made upon the people. If those who ministered in the sacred office should fail to manifest care and reverence for God in their apparel and their deportment, the people would lose their awe and reverence for God and his sacred service. If the priests showed great reverence for God, by being very careful and very particular as they came into his presence, it gave the people an exalted idea of God and his requirements. It showed them that God was holy, that his work was sacred, and that everything in connection with the work of God must be holy; that it must be free from everything like impurity and uncleanliness; and that all defilement must be put away from those that approach nigh to God. From the light that has been given me, there has been a carelessness in this respect. I might speak of it, as Paul presents it. It is carried out in will-worship and neglecting of the body. But this voluntary humility, this will-worship and neglecting of the body, is not the humility that savors of Heaven. That humility that savors of Heaven will be particular to have the person, and actions, and apparel, of all who preach the holy truth of God, right, and perfectly proper, so that every item connected with us will recommend our holy religion. The very dress will be a recommendation of the truth to unbelievers. It will be a sermon in itself.
But things that transpire in the sacred desk are often wrong. One minister conversing with another in the desk before the congregation, laughing and appearing to have no burden of the work, or lacking a solemn sense of their sacred calling, dishonors the truth, and brings the sacred down upon a low level with common things. The example is to remove the fear of God from the people, and to detract from the sacred dignity of the gospel Christ died to magnify. According to the light that has been given me, it would be pleasing to God for them to bow down as soon as they step into the pulpit, and solemnly ask help from God. What kind of an impression would that make? There would be a solemnity and awe upon the people. Why, their minister is communing with God. Their minister is committing himself to God before he dares to venture to stand before the people. Solemnity rests down upon the people, and angels of God are brought very near. Ministers should look to God the first thing as they come into the desk, thus saying to all, God is the source of my strength. A minister negligent of his apparel often wounds those of refined sensibilities and good taste. Those who are backward in this respect, should correct their errors and be more circumspect. The loss of some souls at last will be traced to the untidiness of the minister. The first appearance affected the people unfavorably because they could not link his appearance in any way with the truths he presented. His dress was against him; and the impression given, was, that they were a careless set anyhow; we see that they do not care anything about their dress, and we do not want anything to do with such a class of people.
Here, according to the light that has been given me, there has been a manifest neglect among our people. Ministers sometimes stand in the desk with their hair in disorder, and looking as if it had been untouched by comb and brush for a week. God is dishonored when they engage in his sacred service so neglectful of their appearance. Anciently the priests were required to have their garments in a particular style to do service in the holy place, and minister in the priest's office. They were to have garments in accordance with their work, and God distinctly specified what these should be. This laver was placed between the altar and the congregation, that before they came into the presence of God, in the sight of the congregation, they might wash their hands and their feet. What impression was this to make upon the people? It was to show them that every particle of dust must be put away before they could go into the presence of God; for he was so high and holy that unless they did comply with these conditions, death would follow.
But look at the manner and style of dress as worn by some of our ministers at the present day. Some who minister in sacred things so arrange their dress upon their persons that it destroys to some extent, to say the least, the influence of their labor. There is an apparent lack of taste in color and neatness of fit. What is the impression given by such a manner of dress? Why, it is, that the work in which they are engaged is considered no more sacred or elevated than common labor, as plowing in the field. The minister, by his example, brings down the sacred upon a level with common things.
The influence of such preachers upon the people is not pleasing to God. If any are brought out to receive the truth from their labors, they frequently imitate their preachers, and come down to the same low level with them. It will be more difficult to remodel and bring such into a right position, and teach them true order, and love for discipline, than to labor to convert to the truth, men and women out of the world who have never heard it. The Lord requires of his ministers to be pure and holy, and to rightly represent the principles of truth in their own lives, and by their example bring them up upon a high level.
God requires of all who profess to be his chosen people if they are not teachers of the truth, to be careful to preserve cleanliness and purity of their bodies, also cleanliness and order in their houses and upon their premises. We are examples to the world, living epistles known and read of all men. God requires of all who profess godliness, and especially those who teach the truth to others, to abstain from all appearance of evil.
Dark or black material is more becoming a minister in the desk, and will make a better impression upon the people than to have his apparel of two or three different colors.
From the light I have had, the ministry is a sacred and exalted office, and those who accept this position should have Christ in their hearts, and manifest an earnest desire to have him worthily represented before the people, in all their acts, in their dress, in their speaking, and even in their manner of speaking.
They should speak with reverence. Some destroy the solemn impression they may have made upon the people, by raising their voices to a very high pitch, and hallooing and screaming out the truth. Truth loses two-thirds or three-quarters of its sweetness, its force, and solemnity, by being presented in this manner. But if the voice is toned right, if it has in it solemnity, and is so modulated as to be even pathetic, it will have a much better impression. This was the tone in which Christ taught his disciples. He impressed them with solemnity. He spoke in a pathetic manner. But this loud hallooing--what does it do? It does not give them any more exalted views of the truth. It does not impress people any more deeply, but causes a disagreeable sensation to the hearers, and is only wearing out the vocal organs of the speaker.
The tones of the voice have much to do in affecting the hearts of those that hear. And many who might be useful men, are using up their vital forces, and destroying their lungs and vocal organs, by the manner of their speaking. Some ministers have acquired a habit of hurriedly rattling off what they have to say, as though they had a lesson to repeat and were hastening through it as fast as possible. This is not the best manner of speaking. Every minister can educate himself, by using proper care to speak distinctly and impressively, and not hurriedly crowd the words together without taking time to breathe. He should speak in a moderate manner that the people can get the ideas fastened in their minds as he passes along. But when the matter is rushed through so rapidly, the people cannot get the points in their minds, and they do not have time to get the impression that it is important for them to have; nor is there time for the truth to affect them, as it otherwise would.
Speaking from the throat, letting the words come out from the upper extremity of the vocal organs, all the time fretting and irritating them, is not the best way to preserve health or to increase the efficiency of those organs. You should take a full inspiration and let the action come from the abdominal muscles. Let the lungs be only the channel, but do not depend upon them to do the work. If you let your words come from deep down, exercising the abdominal muscles, you can speak to thousands with just as much ease as you can speak to ten.
Some of our preachers are killing themselves by long, tedious praying, and loudly exercising the voice, when a lower tone would make a better impression, and save their own strength. Now while you go on regardless of the laws of life and health, and follow the impulse of the moment, don't lay it to God if you break down. Many of you waste time and strength as you commence to speak in long preliminaries and excuses. You should commence your labor as though God had something for you to say to the people, instead of apologizing because you are about to address them. Some use up nearly half an hour in making apologies; and time is frittered away; and when they get to their subject where they are desirous to fasten the points of truth, the people are wearied out and cannot see their force or be impressed with them. You should make the essential points of present truth as distinct as mileposts so that the people will understand them. They will then see the arguments you want to present, and the positions you want to sustain.
There is another class that address the people in a whining tone, not with hearts softened by the Spirit of God; but they think they must make an impression by the appearance of humility. Such a course does not exalt the gospel ministry. It brings it down and degrades it, instead of elevating and exalting it. Ministers should present the truth warm from glory. They should speak in such a manner as to rightly represent Christ, and preserve the dignity becoming his ministers.
The long prayers made by some ministers have been a great failure. Praying to great length, as some do, is all out of place. They injure the throat and vocal organs, and then talk of breaking down by their hard labor. They injure themselves when it is not called for. Many feel that praying injures their vocal organs more than talking. This is in consequence of the unnatural position of the body, and the manner they hold the head. You can stand and talk, and not feel injured. The position in praying should be a perfectly natural one. Long praying wearies, and is not in accordance with the gospel of Christ. Praying a half or a quarter of an hour is altogether too long. A few minutes' time is long enough to bring your case before God, telling him what you want; and you can take the people with you, and not weary them out, and lessen their interest for devotion and prayer. They may be refreshed and strengthened, instead of exhausted.
There has been a mistake made by many in their religious exercises--in long praying, in long preaching, upon a high key, with a forced voice, in an unnatural strain and an unnatural tone. The minister has needlessly wearied himself, and really distressed the people, by the hard, labored exercise, which is all unnecessary. Ministers should speak in a manner to reach and impress the people. The teachings of Christ were impressive and solemn. His voice was melodious. And should not we, as well as Christ, study to have melody in our voices? He was a man that had a mighty influence--the Son of God. We are so far beneath him and so far deficient that, [even if we] do the very best we can, our efforts will be poor. We cannot gain and possess the influence that Christ had; but then, I ask you why we should not educate ourselves and bring ourselves just as near to the Pattern as it is possible for us to do, that we may have the greatest possible influence upon the people. Our words, our actions, our deportment, our dress, everything, should preach. Not only with our words should we speak to the people, but everything pertaining to our person should be a sermon to them, that right impressions may be made upon them, and that the truth spoken may be taken by them to their homes; and thus our faith will stand in a better light before the community.
I never realized more than I do today, the exalted character of the work, its sacredness and holiness, and how important that we should be fit for the work. I see it in myself. I must have a new fitting up, a holy unction, or I cannot go any further to instruct others. I must know that I am walking with God. I must know that I understand the mystery of godliness. I must know that the grace of God is in my own heart; that my own life is in accordance with his will; that I am walking in his footsteps. Then my words will be true, my actions will be right.
But there is a word more I had almost forgotten. It is in regard to the influence the minister should exert in his preaching. It is not merely to stand in the desk. His work is but just begun there. It is to enter into the different families, and carry Christ there; to carry his sermons there; to carry them out in his actions and his words. As he visits a family, he should inquire into the condition of that family. Is he the shepherd of the flock? The work of a shepherd is not all done in the desk. He should talk with all the members of the flock; with the parents, to learn their standing; and with the children, to learn theirs. A minister should feed the flock over which God has made him overseer. It would be agreeable to go into the house and study. But if you do this, to the neglect of the work God has commissioned you to perform, you do wrong. Never enter a family without inviting them together, and bowing down and praying with them before you leave. Inquire into the health of their souls. What does a skillful physician do? He inquires into the particulars of the case, then seeks to administer remedies. Just so the physician of the soul should inquire into the spiritual maladies with which the members of his flock are afflicted, then go to work to administer the proper remedies, and ask the great Physician to come to his aid. But give them the help that they need. Such ministers will receive all that respect and honor which is due them, as ministers of Jesus Christ. And in doing this, their own souls will be kept alive. They must be drawing strength from God in order to impart strength to those they shall minister to.
May the Lord help us to seek him with all the heart. I want to know that I daily gather the divine rays from glory, that emanate from the throne of God, and shine from the face of Jesus Christ, and scatter them in the pathway around me, and be all light in the Lord. E. G. W.
(Vol. 38, #6)
Christians should be the most cheerful and happy people that live. They may have the consciousness that God is their father, and their everlasting friend. But many professed Christians do not correctly represent the Christian religion. They appear gloomy, as if under a cloud. They often speak of the great sacrifices they have made to become Christians. They appeal to those who have not accepted Christ, representing by their own example and conversation that they must give up everything which would make life pleasant and joyful. They throw a pall of darkness over the blessed Christian hope. The impression is given that God's requirements are a burden even to the willing soul, and that everything that would give pleasure, or that would delight the taste, must be sacrificed.
We do not hesitate to say that this class of professed Christians have not the genuine article. God is love. Whoso dwelleth in God, dwelleth in love. All who have indeed become acquainted, by experimental knowledge, with the love and tender compassion of our Heavenly Father will impart light and joy wherever they may be. Their presence and influence will be to their associates as the fragrance of sweet flowers, because they are linked to God and Heaven, and the purity and exalted loveliness of Heaven are communicated through them to all that are brought within their influence. This constitutes them the light of the world, the salt of the earth. They are indeed savors of life unto life, but not of death unto death.
It is the privilege and duty of Christians to seek to refresh their spirits and invigorate their bodies by innocent recreation, with the purpose of using their physical and mental powers to the glory of God. Our recreations should not be scenes of senseless mirth, taking the form of the nonsensical. We can conduct them in such a manner as will benefit and elevate those with whom we associate, and better qualify us and them to more successfully attend to the duties devolving upon us as Christians. We cannot be excusable in the sight of God if we engage in amusements which have a tendency to unfit us for the faithful performance of the ordinary duties of life, and thus lessen our relish for the contemplation of God and heavenly things. The religion of Christ is cheering and elevating in its influence. It is above everything like foolish jesting and joking, vain and frivolous chitchat. In all our seasons of recreation we may gather from the Divine Source of strength fresh courage and power, that we may the more successfully elevate our lives to purity, true goodness, and holiness.
Even the great God is a lover of the beautiful. He has given us unmistakable evidence of this in the work of his hands. He planted for our first parents a beautiful garden in Eden. Stately trees were caused to grow out of the ground, of every description, for usefulness and ornament. The beautiful flowers are formed, of rare loveliness, of every tint and hue, perfuming the air. The merry songsters, of varied plumage, caroled forth their joyous songs to the praise of their Creator. It was the design of God that man should find happiness in the employment of tending the things he had created, and that his wants should be met with the fruits of the trees of the garden.
God, who made the Eden home of our first parents so surpassingly lovely, has also given the noble trees, the beautiful flowers, and everything lovely in nature, for our happiness. He has given us these tokens of his love, that we may have correct views of his character. He has implanted in the hearts of his children the love of the beautiful. But by many this love has been perverted. The benefits and beauties which God has bestowed upon us have been worshiped; while the glorious Giver has been forgotten. This is stupid ingratitude. We should acknowledge the love of God to us in all his creative works, and our heart should respond to these evidences of his love by giving him the heart's best and holiest affections.
God has surrounded us with nature's beautiful scenery to attract and interest the mind. It is his design that we should associate the glories of nature with his character. If we faithfully study the book of nature, we shall find it a fruitful source for contemplating the infinite love and power of God.
Many extol artistic skill which will produce lovely paintings upon canvas. All the powers of the being are by many devoted to art, yet how far short do these come of the natural. Art can never attain to the perfection seen in nature. Many professed Christians will go into ecstacies over the painting of an evening sunset. They worship the skill of the artist; but they pass by with indifference the actual glorious sunset which it is their privilege to look upon every cloudless evening. Where does the artist obtain his design? From nature. But the great Master Artist has painted upon heaven's shifting, changing canvas the glories of the setting sun. He has tinted and gilded the heavens with gold, silver, and crimson, as though the portals of high Heaven were thrown open, that we might view its gleamings, and our imagination take hold of the glory within. Many turn carelessly from this heavenly wrought picture. They fail to trace the infinite love and power of God in the surpassing beauties seen in the heavens, but are almost entranced as they view and worship the imperfect paintings, in imitation of the Master Artist.
The Redeemer of the world generally chose the open air in which to give his lessons of instruction, rather than to be inclosed in walls. He could make his teachings more impressive when surrounded with the beauties of nature. He chose the groves and the seaside, where he could have a commanding view of landscape and varied scenery, that he might illustrate important truths of the kingdom of God, by the works of God in nature. He made use of the birds, caroling forth their songs without a care, and the lilies of the valley in their beauty, outrivaling Solomon in all his glory, and the lily, emblem of purity, reposing upon the bosom of the lake, the lofty trees, the cultivated lands, the waving grain, the barren soil, the tree that bore no fruit, the everlasting hills, the bubbling stream, the setting sun, tinting and gilding the heavens, to impress his hearers with divine truth.
He connected the works of God's fingers in the heavens and upon the earth, with the words of life he wished to impress upon their minds, that as they should look upon the wonderful works of God in nature, his lessons would be fresh in their memories. He could extol the wisdom of God in his creative works, and could bind up his sacred lessons by directing their minds through nature up to nature's God. The landscape, the trees, the birds, the flowers of the valley, the hills, the lake, and the beautiful heavens, were associated in their minds with sacred truths, which would make them hallowed in memory, as they should look upon them after Christ's ascension to Heaven.
As we are attracted to the beautiful in nature, and associate the things which God has created for the happiness of man with his character, we will regard God as a tender, loving Father, rather than merely as a stern judge. As the character of God thus bears the aspect of love, benevolence, beauty and attraction, the mind is drawn to him. The heart is quickened, and throbs with new and deeper love, mingled with awe and reverence, as we contemplate God in nature.
It is for our health and happiness to go out of our houses, and spend as much of our time as possible in the open air. The mind of the invalid should be withdrawn from self, to the beautiful scenes in nature. We can but be cheerful as we listen to the music of the happy birds, and feast our eyes upon flourishing fields and gardens. We should invite our minds to be interested in all the glorious things God has provided for us with a liberal hand. And in reflecting upon these rich tokens of his love and care, we may forget infirmities, be cheerful, and make melody in our hearts unto the Lord. E. G. White.
(Vol. 38, #13)
I am sorry to say that there is a strange absence of principle which characterizes the professing Christians of this generation in regard to their health. Christians, above all others, should be awake to this important subject, and should become intelligent in regard to their own organism. Says the psalmist, "I will praise Thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made." If we would be able to comprehend the truths of God's word, and the object and purpose of our living we must know ourselves, and understand how to relate ourselves rightly to life and to health.
A diseased body causes a disordered brain, and hinders the work of sanctifying grace upon the mind and heart. The apostle says, "With the mind I myself serve the law of God. " If then we pursue a course of wrong which weakens or beclouds our mental powers, so that our perceptions are not clear to discern the value of truth, we are warring against our eternal interest Pride, vanity, and idolatry enslave the thoughts and affections, and blunt the finer feelings of the soul. These resist the sanctifying grace of God. Many do not realize their accountability as parents. A sense of their moral responsibility is not felt in the existence and education of their children who are the dearest objects of their affections.
Children are often made objects of pride rather than sanctified affection. Parents are not excusable if they do not seek knowledge in regard to the origin of human life, and understand what influence their living and dressing will have on their posterity. It is a crime for parents to pursue a course of life which will lessen physical and mental strength, and perpetuate their miseries for their children. If we do the work God would have us perform in this life, we must have sound minds in sound bodies. When wrong habits wage warfare against nature, we are warring against our souls. The Spirit of God cannot come to our help, and assist us in perfecting Christian characters, while we are indulging our appetites to the injury of health, and while the pride of life controls.
Fashionable women, who live for dress and display, for visitors to admire their dress made after the latest style of fashion, and whose chief happiness is in attending parties, theaters, and balls will have an account to render to their Maker for the responsibilities they assumed in becoming mothers, and then so lightly throwing them off to be controlled by the tyrant fashion.
Health, strength, and happiness, depend upon immutable laws; but these laws cannot be obeyed where there is no anxiety to become acquainted with them. The Creator has given us natural life, and physical laws, which relate to the preservation of the life he has given; and we are under most sacred obligations to become intelligent in regard to the laws of our being, lest we be found unwittingly transgressors and be obliged to pay the penalty of our lawless course by disease and suffering.
All who transgress physical law must sooner or later suffer the penalty of physical suffering. God has not changed, neither does he propose to change, our physical organism, in order that we may violate a single law, without feeling the effects of its violation.
But many willingly close their eyes to the light. They do not wish to become intelligent on the subject of life and health, because they know that if they do become informed, and put that knowledge to a practical use, they have a great work to do. By indulging their inclinations and appetites, they violate the laws of life and health; and if they obey conscience, they must be controlled by principle in their eating and dressing, rather than be led by inclination, fashion, and appetite. Men and women cannot be practical Christians, and close their eyes to the light.
Christians are required to love God with all their heart, with all their mind, with all their soul, and with all their strength, and their neighbors as themselves. The powers of the entire being God claims, to be devoted to his service. In how much higher degree we can render service to God in the vigor of health, than when palsied by disease.
It is not only the privilege, but the sacred duty, of all to understand the laws God has established in their being, and to be so governed by these laws as to bring their habits into harmony with them. And as they more fully understand the human body, the wonderful work of God's hand, formed in the image of the Divine, they will seek to bring their bodies into subjection to the noble powers of the mind. The body will be regarded by them as a wonderful structure, formed by the Infinite Designer, and given in their charge to keep this harp of a thousand strings in harmonious action. By intelligence they may be able to preserve the human machinery as perfect as possible, that they "may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height, and to know the love of Christ." Here is the secret of true happiness. By Ellen G. White.--Health Reformer.
(Vol. 38, #18)
Obedience to the laws of our being should be regarded of great importance, and to every individual, a matter of personal duty. Indifference and ignorance upon this subject is sin. The two great principles of God's moral government are supreme love to the Creator, and to love our neighbor as ourselves. We are under obligations to God to take care of the habitation he has given us, that we may preserve ourselves in the best condition of health, that all the powers of our being may be dedicated to his service, to glorify his name, whose we are, and whom we ought to serve. It is impossible to render to God acceptable service while we, through wrong habits, are diseased physically and mentally.
We are also under obligation to ourselves, to pursue a course which will not bring unnecessary suffering upon ourselves, and make our lives wretched, we groaning under the weight of disease. If we injure unnecessarily our constitution, we dishonor God, for we transgress the laws of our being. We are under obligation to our neighbors to take a course before them which will give them correct views of the right way to pursue to insure health. If we manifest an indifference upon this great subject of reform, and neglect to obtain the knowledge within our reach, and do not put that knowledge to a practical use, we will be accountable before God for the light he has given us, which we would not accept and act upon.
I have heard many say, I know that we have wrong habits that are injuring our health; but our habits have become formed, and it is next to impossible to change, and do even as well as we know. By hurtful indulgences these are working against their own highest interest and happiness in this life, and are, in so doing, disqualifying themselves to obtain the future life. Many who are enlightened still follow in a course of transgression, excusing themselves that it is very inconvenient to be singular. Because the world at large choose to war against themselves and their highest earthly and eternal interest, they who know better venture to do the same, disregarding the light and knowledge which hold them responsible for the result of their violation of nature's laws. God is not responsible for the suffering which follows the nonconformity to natural law and moral obligations to him. Enlightened transgressors are the worst of sinners, for they choose darkness rather than light. The laws that govern physical life, they may understand if they will; but the desire with them is so strong to follow popular, sensual indulgences of the day that are in opposition to physical and moral health, that they are insensible to its importance, and will not impress it upon others either by precept or example.
Their neglect of this important subject exposes them to a fearful accountability. Not only are they suffering themselves the penalty of nature's violated law, but their example is leading others in the same course of transgression. But if men and women would act in reference to their highest temporal good, untrammeled by fashion, living naturally, we should see fewer pale faces, hear less complaint of suffering, and attend less deathbeds and funerals.
Because the majority choose to walk in a path which God has positively forbidden, shall all feel compelled to tread the same path? The question is not, What will the world do? but, What shall we as individuals do? Will we accept light and knowledge, and live simply and naturally, feeling that we are under obligation to society, to our children, and to God, to preserve health and a good constitution, serene tempers, and unimpaired judgment. We have a duty to live for the interest of others. In order to benefit others, many think they must conform to custom, or they will lose the influence they might have upon the world. But when they do this, their influence to reform and elevate is lost, and their example leads away from reform. They are on a level with transgressors, therefore, cannot elevate them while their own example sanctions the customs and enslaving fashions of this age. The only hope of benefiting society is in showing them a better way by proper instruction sustained by a correct course on our part.
Those who have means at their command, can do a good work if governed by religious principles. They can demonstrate, if they will, to rich and poor, that happiness does not consist in outward adornings and needless display. They may show by their own simplicity of dress and unaffected modesty of manners that there are higher and nobler attainments than conformity to the latest styles of fashion.
If we would have happiness in this life, we must live for it, and show to society that we can preserve firm principles in defiance of extravagant and injurious fashion. If we conform to the world and bring on disease by violating the laws of life and health, fashionable society cannot relieve us of a single pain. We shall have to suffer for ourselves, and if we sacrifice life, we shall have to die for ourselves. We should as individuals seek to do right, and to take care of ourselves by living naturally instead of artificially.
We cannot afford to live fashionably, for in doing thus, we sacrifice the natural to the artificial. Our artificial habits deprive us of many privileges and much enjoyment, and unfit us for useful life. Fashion subjects us to a hard, thankless life. A vast amount of money is sacrificed to keep pace with changing fashion, merely to create a sensation. The votaries of fashion who live to attract the admiration of friends and strangers, are not happy--far from it. Their happiness consists in being praised and flattered, and if they are disappointed in this, they are frequently unhappy, gloomy, morose, jealous, and fretful. As a weather vane is turned by the wind, those who consent to live fashionable lives are controlled by every changing fashion, however inconsistent with health and with real beauty. Very many sacrifice comfort and true elegance, to be in the train of fashion. The most enfeebling and deforming fashions are now enslaving those who bow at her shrine.
Fashion loads the heads of women with artificial braids and pads, which do not add to their beauty, but give an unnatural shape to the head. The hair is strained and forced into unnatural positions, and it is not possible for the heads of these fashionable ladies to be comfortable. The artificial hair and pads covering the base of the brain, heat and excite the spinal nerves centering in the brain. The head should ever be kept cool. The heat caused by these artificials induces the blood to the brain. The action of the blood upon the lower or animal organs of the brain, causes unnatural activity, tends to recklessness in morals, and the mind and heart is in danger of being corrupted. As the animal organs are excited and strengthened, the moral are enfeebled. The moral and intellectual powers of the mind become servants to the animal.
In consequence of the brain being congested its nerves lose their healthy action, and take on morbid conditions, making it almost impossible to arouse the moral sensibilities. Such lose their power to discern sacred things. The unnatural heat caused by these artificial deformities about the head, induces the blood to the brain, producing congestion, and causing the natural hair to fall off, producing baldness. Thus the natural is sacrificed to the artificial.
Many have lost their reason, and become hopelessly insane, by following this deforming fashion. Yet the slaves to fashion will continue to thus dress their heads, and suffer horrible disease and premature death, rather than be out of fashion.
Pleasure seeking and frivolity blunt the sensibilities of the professed followers of Christ, and make it impossible for them to place a high estimate upon eternal things. Good and evil, by them, are placed upon a level. The high, elevated attainments in godliness, which God designed his people should reach, are not gained. These lovers of pleasure seem to be pleased with earthly and sensual things, to the neglect of the higher life. The enjoyments of this life, which God has abundantly provided for them in the varied works of nature, which have an elevating influence upon the heart and life, are not attractive to those who are conformed to the fashions of the world. They rush on unmindful of the glories of nature, seen in the works of God's hands, and seek for happiness in fashionable life, and in unnatural excitement which is in direct opposition to the laws of God established in our being.
God has surrounded us with his glories, that the natural eye may be charmed. The splendor of the heavens, the adornments of nature in spring and summer, the lofty trees, the lovely flowers of every tint and hue, should call us out of our houses to contemplate the power and glory of God, as seen in the works of his hands. But many close their senses to these charms They will not engage in healthful labor among the beautiful things of nature. They turn from shrubs and flowers, and shut themselves in their houses, to labor and toil in closed walls, depriving themselves of the healthful, glorious sunlight, and the pure air, that they may prepare artificial adornments for their houses and their persons. They impose upon themselves a terrible tax. They sacrifice the glow of health God has given in the human face, the blended beauty of the lily and the rose, and tax the physical and mental in preparing the artificial to take the place of the natural. The beauty of the soul, when compared with outward display, is regarded almost valueless. In the anxiety to meet the standard of fashion, beauty of character is overlooked.
The majority of pleasure lovers attend the fashionable night gatherings, and spend in exciting amusements the hours God has given them for quiet rest and sleep in order to invigorate the body. Hours are spent in dancing. The blood becomes heated; the system is exhausted; and while in this feverish state of excitement, the late suppers are introduced, and the unnatural appetite is indulged, to the injury, not only of the physical, but the moral health. Those things which irritate and burden the stomach, benumb the finer feelings of the heart, and the entire system must feel it, for this organ has a controlling power upon the health of the entire body. If the stomach is diseased, the brain nerves are in strong sympathy with the stomach, and the moral powers are overruled by the baser passions. Irregularity in eating and drinking, and improper dressing, deprave the mind and corrupt the heart, and bring the noble attributes of the soul in slavery to the animal passions.
Many in returning to their homes from these night scenes of dissipation, expose themselves to the damp, chilly air of night. They are thinly clad with thin slippers upon their feet, the chest not properly protected, and health and life are sacrificed. By the limbs and feet becoming chilled the circulation of the blood through the system is unbalanced. Very many have, by pursuing this course, brought upon themselves lung difficulties and various distressing infirmities, which have, in a few months, carried them to an untimely grave.
Many are ignorantly injuring their health and endangering their life by using cosmetics. They are robbing the cheeks of the glow of health, and then to supply the deficiency use cosmetics. When they become heated in the dance the poison is absorbed by the pores of the skin, and is thrown into the blood. Many lives have been sacrificed by this means alone. By Ellen G. White. Health Reformer.
(Vol. 38, #20)
Health is a great blessing, and can be secured only in obedience to natural law. Good health is necessary for the enjoyment of life. A calm, clear brain, and steady nerve, are dependent upon a well-balanced circulation of the blood. In order to have good blood, we must breathe well.
Mothers are accountable, in a great degree, for the health and lives of their children, and should become intelligent in regard to laws upon which life and health depend. Their work does not end here. They should carefully educate their children upon this subject, that they may, by obedience to nature's laws, avoid disease, and secure health and happiness. It is not necessary that all mothers should teach their children all the details of physiology and anatomy. But they should avail themselves of all the means within their reach to give their children instruction relative to the simple principles of hygiene.
It is well that physiology is introduced into the common schools as a branch of education. All children should study it. It should be regarded as the basis of all educational effort. And then parents should see to it that practical hygiene be added. This will make their knowledge of physiology of practical benefit. Parents should teach their children by example that health is to be regarded as the chiefest earthly blessing. They cannot do this while the love of money and of display is made of greater consequence than the health of their children.
Mental and moral power is dependent upon the physical health. Children should be taught that all pleasures and indulgences are to be sacrificed which will interfere with health. If the children are taught self-denial and self-control, they will be far happier than if allowed to indulge their desires for pleasure and extravagance in dress.
The great burden of life with very many is, What shall I eat? What shall I drink? And wherewithal shall I be clothed? Many mothers indulge in pride, and in many things which are hurtful to the health of the body, in order to be in fashion. What deplorable lessons are they giving their children in this respect. They do not, by precept and example, educate their children to practice self-denial as a sacred duty, in order to possess health, serene tempers goodness, and true beauty. Good health, sound minds, and pure hearts, are not made of the first importance in households.
Many parents do not educate their children for usefulness and duty. They are indulged and petted, until self-denial to them becomes almost an impossibility. They are not taught that to make a success of Christian life, the development of sound minds in sound bodies is of the greatest importance. The dear children should be taught to flee every taint of sin. In order to do this, they must separate from the hurtful fashions of the world.
It is a sad fact that many, even professed Christians, make their pleasures, their amusements, the gratification of pride in dress, the gratification of appetite, almost everything; while the cross of Jesus Christ, and purity of heart and life, are left out of the question. God has claims upon them, but they do not, by their life, show that they have a sense of their duty to him. They acknowledge the claims of the world in their obedience to fashion. They devote time, service, and money, to its friendship, and, in so doing, prove themselves to be not the true friends of God. He demands of his people the first place in their hearts. He requires their best and holiest affections. The Christian religion invites, urges, and claims self-denial, and the bearing of the cross for Christ's sake. And the soul's interest should come first.
The world may clamor for our time and affections, fashion may invite our patronage; but the words of the apostle should be enough to lead Christian mothers from the indulgence of pride in dress and demoralizing amusements. "Know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God?" "Whosoever, therefore, will be a friend of the world, is the enemy of God."
Christian mothers should take their position on the platform of truth and righteousness; and when urged to unite with the world in patronizing fashions which are health destroying and demoralizing, they should answer, We are doing a great work, and can not be diverted from it. We are settling the question of our everlasting destiny. We are seeking to develop in our children, sound and worthy and beautiful characters, that they may bless the world with their influence, and have immortal beauty and glory in the world to come that will never fade. If children had such an example from their parents, it would have a saving influence upon their lives.
But it is a lamentable fact, that many professed Christian women, who are mothers, take the lead in patronizing the fashions, and those who make no pretensions to Christianity follow in the footsteps of professed Christians. Some who are in humble circumstances in life, in their efforts to keep pace with fashion, that they may retain their position in fashionable society, endure privation, and work far beyond their strength, that they may dress equal to the example given them by their more wealthy Christian sisters. Unless they can dress somewhat to compare with their more wealthy sisters, they have no desire to attend church, where there is such a display of costly adorning. The contrast is humiliating, say they, and they can only think of their humble dress.
The temptation is so strong before some to come up to the standard of fashion that they are sometimes led into dishonesty and theft to gain their desired object. Others sell their virtue, that they may have the means to decorate themselves for display. They see this is the great aim of life with many who profess to be righteous. Professed Christians, whose example thus proves a stumblingblock to their weak sisters, will have a fearful account to meet in the day of final reckoning. They have, by their example, opened a door of temptation to the inexperienced, who are charmed with the respect paid to those dressed in fashionable style, and they became so infatuated that they at last sold honor and virtue, woman's greatest adornments, and sacrificed health and happiness for artificial decorations for display. I clip the following pointed remarks from the Marshall Statesman, under the caption of Fashionable Ruin:
"At a fashionable party in Fifth avenue, New York, a few evenings since, a beautiful young woman turned sharply upon an elderly dowager who was prosing about the Magdalens, and the hopelessness of doing anything for these 'lost women,' with the assertion: 'I know a class more hopelessly lost than they. We fashionables, who murder time and squander money, and lead women to become Magdalens that they may dress like us, why does nobody send missionaries to us?' The intensity of the utterance was eloquent of better possibilities. No doubt there are more ways than one of being lost. The sirens are not all of one class, or confined to one locality."
The apostle presents the inward adorning, in contrast with the outward, and tells us what the great God values. The outward is corruptible. But the meek and quiet spirit, the development of a beautifully symmetrical character, will never decay. It is an adornment which is not perishable. In the sight of the Creator of everything that is valuable, lovely, and beautiful, it is declared to be of great price. "Whose adorning, let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel. But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. For after this manner, in the old time, the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection to their own husbands." 1 Pet. 3: 3-5.
It is of the greatest importance that we, as Christian mothers, show, by precept and example, that we are cultivating that which the Monarch of the universe estimates of great value. In doing this, what an influence for good can we have upon our children; and how important we can make our lessons of instruction, that purity and holiness should be the great aim and object of their lives. The following should be read with attention:
Dress. "Female loveliness never appears to so good advantage as when set off with simplicity of dress. No artist ever decks his angels with towering feathers and gaudy jewelry; and our dear human angels, if they will make good their title to that name, should carefully avoid ornaments, which properly belong to Indian squaws and African princesses. These tinselries may serve to give effect on the stage, on the ball-floor, but in daily life there is no substitute for the charm of simplicity. A vulgar taste is not to be disguised by gold or diamonds. The absence of a true taste and refinement of delicacy cannot be compensated for by the possession of the most princely fortune. Mind measures gold, but gold cannot measure mind.
"Through dress the mind may be read, as through the delicate tissues of the lettered page. A modest woman will dress modestly; a really refined and intellectual woman will bear the marks of careful selection and faultless taste."
A great amount of time and money is squandered upon needless adornments. Many inventions have been sought out in extra puffings, tucks, and trimmings, which have a direct tendency to lessen vitality and shorten life. Almost every conceivable style of dress may be seen in crowded cities, and upon the great thoroughfares of travel. There are customs and styles in dress current now, that a few years ago would have been looked upon by Christians as monstrosities.
The corsets which are again being generally worn to compress the waist is one of the most serious features in woman's dress. Health and life are being sacrificed to carry out a fashion that is devoid of real beauty and comfort. The compression of the waist weakens the muscles of the respiratory organs. It hinders the process of digestion. The heart, liver, lungs, spleen, and stomach, are crowded into a small compass, not allowing room for the healthful action of these organs.
The following item is clipped from the Herald of Health: --
"A female servant died suddenly a short time since in the East. The doctor could not account for the death, and made a postmortem examination, which showed that the stomach had been reduced to the size of a child's, and the heart pushed out of its proper place through tight lacing."
Where tight lacing is practiced, the lower part of the chest has not room sufficient for action. The breathing, therefore, is confined to the upper portion of the lungs, where there is not sufficient room to carry on the work. But the lower part of the lungs should have the greatest freedom possible. The compression of the waist will not allow free action of the muscles.
Alcohol and tobacco pollute the blood of men, and thousands of lives are yearly sacrificed to these poisons. Confinement indoors, shut away from the glorious sunshine, and deprived of the invigorating air of heaven, improper eating, with wrong habits of dressing, corrupt the blood of women. The compression of the waist by tight lacing prevents the waste matter from being thrown off through its natural channels. The most important of these is the lungs. In order for the lungs to do the work God designed, they must be left free, without the slightest compression. If the lungs are cramped they cannot develop; but their capacity will be diminished, making it impossible to take a sufficient inspiration of air. The abdominal muscles were designed to aid the lungs in their action. Where there is no compression of the lungs, the motion in full breathing will be observed to be mostly of the abdomen. When lacing prevents this, the breathing is restricted to the upper portion of the lungs. Women's dress should be arranged so loosely upon the person, about the waist, that she can breath without the least obstruction. Her arms should be left perfectly free, that she may raise them above her head with ease.
By lacing, the internal organs of women are crowded out of their positions. There is scarcely a woman that is thoroughly healthy. The majority of women have numerous ailments. Many are troubled with weaknesses of most distressing nature. These fashionably dressed women cannot transmit good constitutions to their children. Some women have naturally small waists. But rather than regard such forms as beautiful, they should be viewed as defective. These wasp waists may have been transmitted to them from their mothers, as the result of their indulgence in the sinful practice of tight lacing, and in consequence of imperfect breathing. Poor children born of these miserable slaves of fashion have diminished vitality, and are predisposed to take on disease. The impurities retained in the system in consequence of imperfect breathing are transmitted to their offspring.
Very many children are born with their blood tainted with scrofula through the wrong habits of the mother in her eating and dressing. The very many miscarriages that now occur may generally be traced to fashionable dress. Lacing causes displacements, and this character of disease is increasing with each successive generation. Many suffer years without making their condition known. They remain in ignorance of the causes of their difficulties, and endure sufferings, which it is impossible for language to express. Not a few women have strength sufficient to carry them through the period of childbearing. Either her own life or that of her offspring is frequently sacrificed. If both live, she has not been able to give her offspring physical vitality sufficient to withstand accidents and prevailing epidemics. Any trifling cause may put out the feeble flame of existence. And the Christian mother tries to be resigned to her bereavement, which she believes to be in God's special providence. But could she look back, and trace in her life the true cause, and be convinced that her living and dressing fashionably had put out of the life of her child, she might be wise, and repent of her murderous work.
The following excellent remarks are from The Household:
"The ordinary dress that men wear diminishes their breathing capacity one-fourth; and what woman wears her clothing so loose as that? I call a dress too tight that you hit when you draw in the fullest possible breath.
"'But my waist is naturally slender,' says one woman. She means that she has inherited small lungs. Her ancestors, more or less of them, compressed their lungs in the same way that we do, and it has become in her case a congenital deformity. This leads us to one of the worst aspects in the whole matter--the transmitted results of indulgence in this deadly vice. And it shows itself in diminished vitality and in liability to take on disease of many kinds. A mother may even make her child scrofulous by her imperfect breathing during the period of gestation, and many a mother does so. Almost all the reading public, very possibly all whose eyes fall upon these lines, and have been told again and again how the tightness of clothing about the waist and abdomen (please remember my definition of tightness) displaces the yielding viscera within, pressing them upward upon the lungs and downward upon pelvis, and produces directly or indirectly all the female complaints to which the generation is so largely subject. One medical writer declares that 'this influence upon the organs in the lower part of the abdomen is so great that it furnishes to the medical profession nearly half its business,' notwithstanding the fact that many women and young girls from native delicacy keep their sufferings to themselves. The very list of these complaints is alarming, and there is no question but the public at large, and even women themselves, have very little idea how much they suffer in this way from the effects of tight dress.
"Of course, in this form it does not end with the individual, unless she dies before marriage, or so utterly disables herself that she cannot bear children at all, which is not unfrequently the case. If not quite so bad as that, she is still often unable to complete her time, and the little one falls out of being from sheer lack of the vitality which the mother has not been able to give it. She cannot take nearly breath for one, much less for two. A large proportion of the alarming number of miscarriages in respectable society is directly due to tight dressing. I met a lady a few days since who would have been a beautiful and queenly woman but for this deformity (her waist was less than half the circumference of her shoulders), and I was not at all surprised to learn that a few months before she had come within a few minutes of death from this cause.
"In many cases where the child lives, it drags out a feeble existence, ready to be snatched away by any trifling accident, and the mother piously tries to be 'resigned to the will of Providence.' She never dreams that it was through any fault of hers. 'I am perfectly healthy,' said such a childless mother to me once, and then she went on with a list of the untoward circumstances that took away one little innocent after another, without a suspicion of the truth that if she had been 'perfectly healthy' she would have been able to give each child such vitality that it would have brushed aside these accidents as trifles lighter than air. I do not say that all such troubles arise from tight dressing, but I do say that so far as mothers are concerned, it is far the most prolific source of them.
"And this sort of thing will go on, I suppose, until our women acquaint themselves with practical physiology, so as to get some idea what it means to be 'perfectly healthy.' It will be absolutely necessary, too, in order to make them comprehend intelligently the mischief of tight dress, that they should know something about individuality of the organs within, and the importance of keeping them in [the] right places."
Says the Western Rural: "I saw a young lady, not long since, dressed for a party. Her waist was incased in corsets, laced so tightly that she was absolutely deformed, still it wasn't tight (of course not; it would be absurd to imagine it was ); and for fear of looking stout, she wore one thin skirt only. On remarking it, she demanded to know if one hadn't a right to lace if she pleased. No, said I, emphatically, one has no right to entail misery upon her offspring, nor commit suicide, and then unjustly accuse the Lord of taking them out of the world.
"But what is the use of talking? Ignorance and folly go hand in hand, and stronger brains are wanted before we can hope for reform. The day after the party, the young lady mentioned was forced to wear her dress several inches looser than usual, was unable to take a full inspiration without experiencing a sharp pain in her side, and endured the torture throughout the day from pain in the chest; and I suppose the heroism which enabled her to endure it was sublime."
"While on a tour west, we spent some hours in Chicago, at the Massasoit House. Several young ladies waited upon the table, and all of them were deformed by tight lacing. My husband's hands could have spanned their waists. Their shoulders were broad, their hips were large. The artificial paddings over the chest, and the large appendages upon the back of the head, and upon the small of the back, made these girls appear anything but attractive. Their faces were pale, and they moved about languidly. There was nothing like sprightliness or gracefulness in their movements. Their vital organs were pressed in so small a compass that it was impossible for them to fill their lungs. They could not breathe naturally. They could only gasp. They could not walk naturally and gracefully. They wriggled in their walk, as though every step required an effort. Thought I, this is one of Dame Fashion's tortures. And these poor girls adopt her inventions, although in so doing they appeared like fools going to the correction of stocks. Read what Good Health says of [corsets.]
"Corsets." "Among the causes which prevent muscular exercise, the compression of the chest by corsets is the most remarkable. Where on the earth, or under the earth, or in the waters, or in the air, in things animate or inanimate, this fashion found its original model, unless it be in the venomous wasp, it would be hard to discover. Tradition insists that corsets were invented by a butcher of the thirteenth century, as a punishment for his wife. Finding nothing to stop her loquacity, he put a pair of stays on her to take away her breath, and so prevent her from going about and talking. This effectual punishment was inflicted by other cruel husbands, till at last there was scarcely a wife in all London who was not tied up in this manner. The punishment became so universal at last, that the ladies, in their defense, made a fashion of it, and so it has continued to the present time. The form given by corsets to the female chest is directly opposed to Grecian and Roman models of beauty."-- Health Reformer.