Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 23 (1908)


Ms 97, 1908




Extracts drawn from Lt 19, 1897 and Lt 45, 1899.

(Extracts from private letters written by Mrs. E. G. White, under dates of March 17, 1899, and July 4, 1897.) 23LtMs, Ms 97, 1908, par. 1

In answer to the questions that have recently come to me in regard to putting on a new style of dress, called the reform dress, I would say that those who are agitating this subject have not been inspired by the Spirit of God. We are very near the great crisis. The Lord would have every action performed with an eye single to the glory of God. To create a new issue on the dress question would be the very thing that would please the enemy. There would be much talk, much burden for one another, because all do not dress exactly alike. 23LtMs, Ms 97, 1908, par. 2

The agitation on this subject is not demanded. Tests are not to be manufactured. We have a test for this time—the Sabbath of the fourth commandment—and nothing is to be brought in to draw the mind and heart from the great work of preparation for this time. The dress question is not to be our present truth. 23LtMs, Ms 97, 1908, par. 3

Should our sisters think that they must adopt a certain style of dress, controversy would arise, and minds which should be wholly given to the work of the third angel’s message would spend their time making aggressive warfare on the outward dress. This zeal, which would be regarded by some as an evidence of piety, would only be an evidence of the want of true piety, of the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which in the sight of God is of great price. 23LtMs, Ms 97, 1908, par. 4

God’s tests are now to stand out plain and unmistakable. There are storms before us, conflicts of which few dream. There is no need now for any special alteration in our dress. The plain, simple style of dress now worn, made in the most healthful way, demanding no hoops and no long trails, is presentable anywhere. These things should not come in to divert our minds from the grand test which is to decide the eternal destiny of a world—the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. 23LtMs, Ms 97, 1908, par. 5

We are nearing the close of this world’s history. A plain, direct testimony is now needed, as given in the Word of God, in regard to plainness of dress. This should be our burden. But it is too late now to become enthusiastic in making a test of this matter. 23LtMs, Ms 97, 1908, par. 6

The dress of our people should be made most simply. The skirt and sacque I have mentioned may be used—not that just that pattern and nothing else should be established; but a simple style, as was represented in that dress. Some have supposed that the very pattern given was the pattern that all were to adopt. This is not so. But something as simple as this would be the best we could adopt under the circumstances. No one precise style has been given me as the exact rule to guide all in their dress. But this I do know—the very same objections, only much stronger, exist today as when the short dress was discarded. The Lord has not indicated that it is the duty of our sisters to go back to the reform dress. Simple dresses should be worn. Try your talent, my sisters, in this essential reform. 23LtMs, Ms 97, 1908, par. 7

Our sisters should clothe themselves with modest apparel. They should dress with simplicity. Your hats and dresses need not the extra trimmings that are put upon them. You are to be clothed with modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety. Give to the world a living illustration of the inward adorning of the grace of God. Let our sisters dress plainly, as many do, having the dress of good material, durable, modest, appropriate for this age, and let not the dress question fill the mind. 23LtMs, Ms 97, 1908, par. 8

Satan would have minds diverted to any subject by which he can create a division of sentiment. There is a work to be done in the heart, lest it shall become a desecrated temple of selfishness, of self-exaltation, of a Phariseeism, that will cheat the soul by mere illusions, by zealous activity in lines of work which God has not appointed to be done. Zeal in those things which God does not require leads to a neglect of the important works of righteousness, which men and women must do in order to be accepted as vessels unto honor, to work in any line where the Lord shall call them. 23LtMs, Ms 97, 1908, par. 9

There is a work which I call upon our sisters to take hold of earnestly, perseveringly, and with prayerful contrition of soul. Search the heart. Penetrate into the daily acts of life. Work earnestly to weed out from the character the defects that exist. Christ has died for you, and you are to live as unto God. Let your reasoning powers, refined, purified, sanctified, be brought to God. The Lord requires the sanctification of the whole being. The mind as well as the body is to be refined, elevated, ennobled. God has claims upon mind, soul, and body. “Ye are not your own, for ye are bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” [1 Corinthians 6:19, 20.] 23LtMs, Ms 97, 1908, par. 10